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

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A person God turned around many times.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Comment that it is the word of God believed upon that makes the devil's flee

Lord builds strength and faith during attacks
Jesus is truth

“And last of all He was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.” (1Cor. 15:8). I believe here Paul describes himself as a premature infant. We are all the same, very vulnerable and fighting for life from the Spirit of the Lord Jesus.

The power is in the words of Jesus, His truth and grace. Our mind and spirit are made powerful against the powers of darkness when our mind and spirit entertain the words of Christ. His words alter our mind and thinking and bring us under the law of His kingdom. This is not an imaginary transformation. It isn’t a figment of our imagination. Neuroscience may understand some things about the human brain’s memory and even the workings of the frontal lobe’s judgment making, but they know nothing about it’s spiritual faculties of faith and love. They don’t know that God made us to commune with Him and with His truth and grace. And there is a war going on over the frontal lobe, which is why we see in Revelation the seal of God in the forehead or the mark of the beast. The seal and mark are not visible, but rather spiritual. They represent whether or not our minds and spirits are being governed by the word of God. Jesus beat the devil over this war by living by every word that proceeded from the mouth of God. Nobody beats the devils through hocus pocus or omni domni. We mustn’t even think that we can “rebuke the devil”, even in Jesus’ name. They may leave a person, just like they would for a priest’s exorcism. But they do this only for show to affirm those practices in the minds of the people who don’t know the power of the word. Those demons come right back because the word is not in the mind of the afflicted one.

In the word of God is evidence; and faith is based on evidence. Every word heard, every action witnesses, are evidence that our brains, on auto-pilot, are constantly soaking up and building a case. If we are sealed in the words proceeding from the mouth of God and their evidence for our spirit can make holy contact with, as it was with Jesus (John 6:27), if His words are surrounding our thoughts, then Satan can’t get to us and be a “nice” familiar spirit or a ruthless devil. The power over the devils is by our running to and fro throughout the scriptures, letting it convict us of our sins and weaknesses, wrestling with Jesus over reproof, weeping during the night so joy can come in the morning, filling our minds with all this and thus fortifying our minds. And once we put forth the effort to read and heed the word, then we must then put forth the effort to keep it in our thoughts. The devils that left a person in Jesus’ parable (Matthew 12:44) could find new entrance because the house was empty. Even though the Jesus had cleaned it up and made it beautiful, that person didn’t maintain His truth and grace presence there. Then that person’s final condition was worse than before Jesus threw the devil’s out.

“Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” (Ps. 119:165).

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in His law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” (Ps. 1:1-3).

“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63).

“(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (2Cor. 10:4,5).

God bless you forever, sister.

My comment on Philia Ministries use of the Apocrypha to help define the Law of God


Other than the Apocrypha, the last words from the Old Testament are by Ezra, Nehemiah, and the book of Malachi (which some scholars believe was written by Nehemiah) was of a total apostasy among the Jews. Everything that God had done through the last of His resources in the way of obedient, holy men, Ezra and Nehemiah, the Jews squandered. That would be the last voice from heaven until John the Baptist stood up to prepare his people for the Messiah. No other men 100% dedicated to God, whose hearts were perfect toward Him, would arise to hold back Israel’s rushing after the god of this world. That is why most of them rejected the Messiah when He came.

We can’t rely on the Apocrypha. It is not sent from heaven. It was designed by Satan to be a cushion for Gods people as they fell flat on their faces in transgression. But, without the pain accompanying such a fearful facial impact they would never need a big Saviour from sin. The Apocrypha is not inspired by God. It is full of “smooth sayings and...deceits” (Isa. 30:10). Hence all its rites and practices, all of its examples of men and miracles “from God”, are not to be trusted in. It is the most manifest reason that Jesus said,

“Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honoureth Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me. But in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. (Matt. 15:7-9, cf Isa. 29:13).

“Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour Me, but have removed their heart far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us? Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay.” (Isa. 29:13-16).

And it is why Peter and James at the Jerusalem council said, “Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?” (Acts 15:10). And we know that Peter and James were very firm on keeping the Law of God (James 2; 2 Peter 2). It wasn’t that the Law couldn’t be kept as Moses gave it. To obey is better than sacrifice. “I gave them My statutes, and shewed them My judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them.” (Eze. 20:11).

“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matt. 4:4).

“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63).

Not until Messiah the Prince came was the Law re-sanctified from all the pollutions of humanism.

“The LORD is well pleased for His [Christ’s] righteousness’ sake; He will magnify the law, and make it honourable.” (Isa. 42:21).

All who followed Jesus would fear God and give glory to Him. Their fear wouldn’t be taught by corrupt men, but would come by the strong conviction of the word of God.

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12).

“To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word.” (Isa. 66:2).

The Law that Paul and the others spoke of couldn’t be kept because of the Apocrypha and other assorted additions that came “by the precept of men”. It was these human inventions that needed to be expunged from the Holy Writ so that the truth of God could be understood and shine in all its glory, and thus all the misconceptions of God’s character of love, from the Apocrypha and the Talmud, could be removed.

“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).

The festival of lights is only valid in light of the inspired book of Esther. Let’s gather around the inspired scriptures and let the principles of the Law of God seep into our consciences. Let’s leave the carnal Apocrypha alone.

“For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” (Phil. 3:3).

Like Abraham, like Paul, the YouTube testifiers know the everlasting gospel

Righteousness by faith by Jesus is a beautiful science. The first example of this given in the Bible was Abraham. Paul wrote,

“That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith…. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.” (Gal. 3:14,17,18).

Paul exalts the Father’s promised Spirit of His Son through faith in His Son. Then Paul shifts to another perspective of this science.

“Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; …
But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:19,22-26).

God has always had His Law. Genesis 18:19 shows that Abraham understood the Law of God through his faith experience with the Lord God of the Hebrews. But until the confrontation with Lucifer in heaven the Law, although it was known to exist, it wasn’t known by letters or in writing. It was known by God’s ever-present Spirit upon their hearts and minds. The same “Spirit of [the] Father” (Matt. 10:20) continuously guided the thoughts and actions of the angelic hosts and inhabitants of the worlds. And they all loved to have it so. Likewise was it with Abraham and all the patriarchs. It wasn’t necessary for God to boldly and blazingly present to them a stone hard Law because they knew their Father in heaven, and loved to obey Him.

Rebels have forced God to present precepts in thunder and lightning, and in their face. Insolence required such an in-your-face presentation, if, by all means, hopefully the rebels would back down from their eternal destruction. Even a “ministration of death”, a “ministration of condemnation” (2Cor, 3:7,9), was necessary to save rebellious men. God must make His case plain, not in order to cover His back in Judgment Day, but in order to give every possibility for the rebel to come to repentance and be spared from damnation. Nevertheless, He will be in-your-face to every one of us if we push Him because He is talking to Satan through us.

“Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said,
Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?
Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou Me.
Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.” (Job 38:1-4).

But this was not necessary for the Hebrew patriarchs. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph and his brothers all of whom knew heart surrender and peace with God. They had all been tested and they passed the test by humiliation and repentance. They accepted guilt and shame. They knew conviction of sin, and surrendered to its humbling self into the dust. Self-justification did not enter, and salvation reigned in Israel’s holy first generation family after confessing the great sin of selling Prime Minister Joseph into Egyptian slavery.

“My covenant was with [Levi] of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared Me, and was afraid before My name. The Law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with Me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity.” (Mal. 2:5,6).

This is the experience of the YouTube testifiers. Like a great cloud of witnesses, they have borne the brunt of consequences for their disobedience, while they were kept under the Deuteronomy 28 curse of the Law. They were shut up to the faith that later would result from the harsh consequences of their curse. In patience and faith they have sought the YouTube testifiers’ Creator and Redeemer from all sin, all the while being hounded by their old masters.

Even if they never knew theology or the Bible, faith’s innate hoping in Jesus’ mercy kept them trudging along their dark path, following up on every evidence of the goodness of God.

Like a child in the womb, or on its way down the birth canal, knows very little of what is happening around it, these YouTube witnesses in the blind, seeing “through a glass, darkly” (1Cor. 13:12), were being carried to their Saviour. Like the people bringing blind Bartemaeus to Jesus, the angels were guiding these blind distraught ones to God with the encouragement, “Be of good comfort, rise; He calleth thee” (Mark 10:49), as “Jesus stood still, and commanded [them] to be called”.

Doubts bludgeoned them that they might actually be seeking a figment of their imagination. Guilt assaulted them that all their mustered faith might be all in vain, disregarded by the “Whoever You are, Wherever You are” Unknown God because , they “[see] Him not, neither [know] Him”. Fears harassed them that they might be forgotten of God and lost forever.

However, having lost hope in any earthly help, they found no other option. Miserable, devastated, poor, and still a great way off, these determined prodigals eventually saw the God of love move with lightning speed to catch them, sweep them up, and treat them like a war hero, wounded, and limping and totally exhausted.

It was as Jeremiah heard from Jesus as He spoke of the northern kingdom of Ephraim, “Surely after that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh: I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth.
Is Ephraim My dear son? is he a pleasant child? for since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore My bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the LORD.” (Jer. 31:19,20).

Likewise for these YouTube seekers, the heart of Jesus opened immediately at their pleas for His help.

During the long march home all pride dissipated, the only condition for full acceptance with God. Their self-will gradually left off its nagging and they are submissive to God’s unbending will. They accepted their punishment, knowing they deserved much worse. Thankful for the mercy of Christ, hope grew slowly with strength to move forward.

Likewise, faith in the mediating Son has been welling up where no faith was, and God’s justification descends upon them. Seeing the light of Christ’s love they are grateful to God for His condemnation and punishment. They are enthralled in the unmerited goodness from God. Forever they will strive to know this God better by studying His written word. They hear His voice from every page. Their Bible is a friend that they carry with them, daily building their knowledge base and fortifying their minds with truth.

They become authorities on the Bible, even if the whole world is atheistic, and few care to hear what they know. The anointing of Christ teaches them to piece together scriptural phrases to form powerful statements of truth that act as a two-edged sword. “If any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed” (Rev. 11:5). Per the words of  Jesus to Jeremiah:

“I will make My words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them.” (Jer. 5:14). “Is not My word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?” (Jer. 23:29).

And per Jesus’ closing words at His ascension: “Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained”. Revelation shows their power: “These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.” (John 20:23; Rev. 11:6).

As Christ’s proven faithful, and thus only authorized representatives, the witness from the YouTube testifiers, accepted or rejected by their listeners, determines the eternal welfare of all to whom they preach. They rule over a defenseless world of sinners. “He that overcometh, and keepeth My works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of My Father.” (Rev. 2:26,27).

And when Jesus returns in destructive power they will be the ones who personally welcome Him in His glory. “And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.” (Isa. 25:9).

Their reward will forever seem much greater than they could ever deserved in all of their service in His army of soldiers knighted by His anointing Spirit. His home will be their home. “And in this mountain shall the LORD of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.” (Isa. 25:6).

They will sit at the gate of His sanctuary of strength. Never again will a sin nature pull on their yearning to be like Jesus, that mysterious power of iniquity that separated them from His presence. “And He will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.” (Isa. 25:7,8).

The YouTube witnesses never looked back since the holy Spirit of Christ saved them from their world of sin. And they never will.

Friday, November 23, 2018

The presence

“The words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63).

Maybe you’ve noticed the difference between a YouTube testimony in text form (i.e. my blog format) and the actual person telling his or her testimony. The difference is vast. The testimony’s text form on this blog can alter the whole meaning of reality as seen from the video format. This has to do with the way the words were expressed. I’m sure you already knew that, so I hope I didn’t insult anyone’s intelligence by that last sentence.

Expression sets the tone for information. It sets the stage, lays the foundation. When I was a framing carpenter we, without exception, never framed a house differently than the shape of the foundation. It is never done. The idea even sounds ridiculous to non-carpenters. Imagine trying to build a rambler onto a split-level foundation. Or imagine putting a split-level house on a split-fourier foundation. Likewise, the real message of a testimony, or any communication, is set by the source’s tone and look, which a written format can’t translate into the message. We’ve heard it said that the book is often better than the movie, but in this respect the look and sound are better. Otherwise, people wouldn’t be flocking to the theaters. They would stay home and read novels.

Beyond the verbal-tone-to-information connection, the advantage of a sensory format is even more true when you add in the visual factor, i.e. the facial expressions and body movements of arms, hands, torso etc. Is the person relaxed (giving an honest account)? Is the person uncomfortable (and pretending to tell the truth)? Is the person excited (thus, believing what he propounds)? Is the person serious (and fully settled in the truth of what he is saying)? All of these add to the validity of what they are saying as long as their body/face matches the message. Judges and juries look for these things. Right? And so does every audience. But, how can you look or listen for that from a testimony on a written page?

The audio and visual aspects of communication, or the lack thereof, especially impact testimony statements’ colloquialisms and cultural quirks, i.e. the frequent “Um”, “You know”, “Just”, “Like”, and the multitudes of “So” and “And”. These wreak havoc on the reading audience. When I transposed Charo Washer’s testimony, I had to delete so many You know’s and Just’s and also add in a lot of my guesstimated words in [brackets] in order to try to bring out the real meaning of what that beautiful woman of God was saying. I greatly butchered her content with edits! Yet, all of these linguistic “discourse markers” and “filled pauses” seem transparent to anyone watching/listening. So much can be aggravating or superfluous in the text form from its lack of audio-visual benefits. The abundance of discourse markers and filled pauses turn the written presentation into gobbledygook. Therefore the big picture is lost. Even italicizing and bolding words that are in text form fall far short of information transfer from the person’s actual presentation. There is simply no substitute for the personal presence. By far, no man-made construct can substitute for the Creator’s invention of the human look and sound!

Now, let’s apply this principle to the written word of God. Why is it that so many people don’t want to read the Bible? It’s because text alone causes so much confusion that to them reading it is not a pleasant experience. The difficulties of the Bible’s new spiritual paradigms from a sinless and holy God, the ancient colloquialisms and cultural quirks, not to mention the problems with a modern translation of an ancient Greek text, or worse, of an even older ancient Hebrew text, distort the message and discombobulate the reader. This is why Paul made the famous phrase, “The letter killeth.” (2Cor. 3:6). The letter killeth, just at the text ruineth the testimony. By the letter alone so much of heaven’s message gets lost and misunderstood. Here’s the context of Paul’s world-reknown words,

“Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the Spirit: for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.” (2Cor. 3:6).

Given my opening illustration of using YouTube videos versus blog posts as a basis for understanding a communication, if the text killeth the testimony, then how do we apply Paul’s words “the Spirit” to a testimony? Wouldn’t “the Spirit” compare to the living aural-visible component of a video? Wouldn’t “the Spirit” actually provide the audio-visual component of the scripture messages?

We don’t normally think of an audio-visual component to scripture as we do to a YouTube testimony because we don’t have a living prophet today speaking inspired words of God. Isaiah 8:20 doesn’t really work for us today. “To the Law and to the testimony: if they [the false prophets] speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them [the false prophets].” (Isa. 8:20). The living testimony of the true prophet was very important to understanding the Law, but the true prophets have passed away without replacements.

Therefore, everything today that is currently the inspired word of God exists only in written form—books, compilations of books, pages, letters. And the original letters aren’t even on handwritten paper, but on printed page. No trace of human-biblical expression exists for the world today. Today we are as far removed as we can get from the original expression of biblical truth. All we have is the letter of the Law. Is it a wonder that the Bible isn’t read and darkness has covered the earth, and gross darkness the people?

But, wait a minute. Don’t we have audio-visual available today for absorbing God’s words like we have audio-visual in YouTube videos? The written word need not be killing us. Isn’t that what the anointing is for? It’s not only for the prophets. It’s for everyone who repents and is converted.

“The anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him.” (1Jn. 2:27).

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Rom. 8:1).

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (Rom. 5:1-5).

Upon surrender and new birth, the Spirit gives us new eyes and ears to “see” and “hear” deep inside the written word, and to enter into the experiences of the biblical characters as we read, no differently than we do while we watch YouTube testimonies. Isn’t His Spirit of truth how Jesus is able to communicate to our soul?

“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (John 3:5,6).

We must have the Spirit of Christ anointing us for hearing and seeing the truth of God. We must see what the scriptures are saying.

“And this is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life.” (John 6:40). Life from Him must come by His Spirit attending the written words that tell of Him.

With Jesus united with us, our spirit resonating with His, the Bible stories come alive, and we easily and naturally conceptualize, understand, and appropriate their lessons. We absorb what we couldn’t absorb before God gave us His Spirit. This is why Jesus could present the truth so powerfully—He could see His Father and comprehend the Old Testament because He had His Father’s Spirit. And He had that Spirit without measure, abundantly, constantly, rain or shine, in difficulty or in ease, while sitting on the mount of blessing or being beaten and crucified—He was sealed with “the eternal Spirit” (Heb. 9:14).

And this we have seen in the newly anointed YouTube testifiers. We have seen on numerous testimonies that after their conversion they hungered for the Bible and they clung to, and much more easily believed and understood its truth. But, before conversion when they had no quickened love of biblical truth, reading the word of God was like reading a foreign language written in foreign script. Reading the Bible was not an easy or pleasant experience.

What was lacking? It was “the Spirit of His Son” (Gal. 4:6), “the Spirit of Christ” (1Pet. 1:11), “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). This was promised to all who would wrestle with the conviction from His Spirit, and surrender to His gifted Spirit in them. Would they want His help so badly that they would repent? Repentance would be like the person whose stomach’s contents is toxic and needs to be expelled. Will this person stick something down his throat to trigger the unmentionable? Will he suffer the unpleasant experience of regurgitation in order to be relieved of his torments? Will he taste vomit temporarily in order to have eternal peace of body, mind, and soul?

Similarly, will the sinner pass through the saints’ rite of passage during the process of conversion, suffering under seemingly endless condemnation that increases in stages like a woman in travail? Will the sinner have his own Gethsemane next to his Saviour? Will he be crucified with Christ and surrender to the Spirit of truth, pleading, “Lord, remember me! Let me come into Thy kingdom!”?

If he will suffer together with Christ’s example, then he will have the unprecedented privilege of being a holy temple for the Spirit of truth. Truth will be beautiful to him. “The scripture of truth” (Dan. 10:21) will come alive to him. This has been attested to by many, many YouTube witnesses who experienced it. Scripture only makes sense to those whose regenerated spirit can hear and see the vocal and bodily expressions from its letters. They do what Deuteronomy 32:13 says: they suck the honey of grace that God put into His austere truth. They draw a deeper understanding than the surface and the impossible text provide.

“He made [Israel] to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock.” (Deut. 32:13).

“Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.” (Ps. 85:10,11).

This blessedness Jesus ate every day of His life until Gethsemane. The Old Testament was alive to Him and infinitely instructional and understandable. Imagine the Bible always making perfect sense and being always in line with the Law of love. It must be so. And it must be so beautiful.

“Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall He eat, that He may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.” (Isa. 7:14,15). “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me.” (John 14:30).

Jesus’ thoughts were so filled with the scriptures that He was the Word of God, or because He was the Word of God. He was the Spirit of truth. He was the expressions of His Father Jehovah incarnate. “The last Adam was made a quickening Spirit.” (1Cor. 15:45). Therefore He was as solid as a rock to “refuse the evil, and choose the good”. 

We need to receive the Spirit before the words of scripture can be “spirit and…truth”. (John 4:24). And indeed, there is no true worship of God without conversion of heart and a love for the truth.

“God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24).

Everyone who has been born into the divine nature that pervades every citizen of heaven will love not only the Spirit, but also the letter; not only the New Testament, but also the Old; not only the gospel, but also the commandments, the fearsome, awe-filled Law of God. They are “subject to the prophets.” (1Cor. 14:32). And they are “subject to the Law of God.” (Rom. 8:7).

“Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth Him that begat loveth Him also that is begotten of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous.” (1Jn. 5:1-3).

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Samuel and Hannah, and Jesus and His Father

“The scriptures…are they which testify of Me.” (John 5:39).

Israel was in bad shape. “The sin of the young men was very great before the LORD: for men abhorred the offering of the LORD.” (1Sam. 2:17).

The Israelite leadership was corrupted, therefore the Israelite people corrupted themselves. How much longer could the Lord protect them and provide for them? Before He would have to destroy them, the Lord acted for their benefit.

He chose a godly man and his godly, humble wife, Hannah, to provide a savior for Israel. God would bring suffering and then sanctify mother and father in order for them to give birth to, and be more prepared to train up, a more easily sanctified son.

But, this humble woman needed utmost humility, and Jesus knew how to make her humiliation happen. In the end, He knew she knew her eternal indebtedness for receiving a miracle child. For this son she had poured out her soul, and vowed to give her firstborn for the service in the temple. One day all too soon, her only begotten son, in whom she would focus her long awaited love, must leave her until the end of her life and be sacrificed for the sake of her sin-loving people.

“Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the LORD.” (1Sam. 1:20).

This was such an amazing miracle because she had been one of those statistics—a woman fated to be barren for life. But in her desperation, her desperate prayer and vow were heard by a desperation hearing God. Her desperation, combined with His immutable promise, transformed her hope into faith and quickened her lifeless womb into a vibrant, functional one. By her desperate faith she was healed. Then by His nature, and her nurture and godly training, the child would be conceived, born, and raised a dynamo of faith and love and purity.

“This is the LORD’s doing; it it marvellous in our eyes.” (Ps. 118:23). “Wherein He hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself:… according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will.” (Eph. 1:8,9,11).

Her husband, “the man Elkanah, and all his house, went up to offer unto the LORD the yearly sacrifice, and his vow. But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the LORD, and there abide for ever.” (1Sam. 1:21,22).

No outside influences were to interrupt her round-the-clock loving attention and perfect preparatory training in holiness and godliness for her little boy’s holy, flawless priesthood. All her love and godliness she poured into his loving heart and developing intellect. All of her focus was on this precious child who she must give up to her great Lord, as she had vowed to Him that day. As well, her focus was also on Jehovah and the great needs of His people. The nursing years seemed like days, for the love that she had for him. All too soon the time arrived for the terrible ordeal, the delivery date.

“And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the LORD in Shiloh: and the child was young.
And they slew a bullock, and brought the child to Eli.
And she said, Oh my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the LORD.
For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him:
Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there.” (1Sam. 1:24-28).

A separation must take place. The redemption of the people demanded a covenant by sacrifice. Every other child and mommy could live together for life, with all the joys that attend their union. But, not so for this child and mommy. Pain of grief must be endured by both mother and son. For this Jesus eased her distress by giving her more children. But, although she received five more to lighten her heart’s burden for special, beautiful Samuel, a mother’s heart can never substitute one child’s love for another child that is missing. She can and does always find room in her heart for each new addition to her little brood, and mourns over even a single baby absent from the fold. Thus, Hannah’s thoughts never ceased for Samuel 12 months of each year while she waited for the next Passover feast that would require them to go to the tabernacle.

Likewise Samuel, all year long remained active and busy with temple matters. But the umbilical bond with his mother that had existed from birth constantly intruded into his thoughts as he accomplished his duties.

In little Samuel’s self-sacrifice to sanctify a corrupted people we “behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). We see “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Rev. 13:8).

Jesus has been the Mediator between the holy God and our unholy human race when He took our planet under His wing. “How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings.” (Matt. 23:37).

But, that role as our Mediator caused a separation between Father and Son. The Father lent to Earth the only begotten, “the Beloved” (Eph. 1:6). Jesus’ middle name should have been, Samuel. God gave His Son to us, to remain one with us forever. “He gave Him to the fallen race. To assure us of His immutable counsel of peace, God gave His only-begotten Son to become one of the human family, forever to retain His human nature. This is the pledge that God will fulfill His word…. In Christ the family of earth and the family of heaven are bound together. Christ glorified is our brother. Heaven is enshrined in humanity, and humanity is enfolded in the bosom of Infinite Love.” The Desire of Ages, p. 25.
But, long before His incarnation, due to His uniting with Adam’s race after they allied with Satan, a separation naturally occurred between the King and His Beloved Prince. God must remain completely aloof from rebellion in order to maintain the strength of His kingdom from sin’s ravaging—and, therefore He must remain aloof from His Son. All the while, lonely years would lapse for the Son who longed for the unimpeded union that He had originally had with His Holy Father until He would be finally destroyed with our rebellion painfully goading His body, mind, and soul. All the rejoicing and peace that had daily pervaded every cell of His body, every fiber of His being, now turned to burning wrath wracking every cell and fiber. The tormented Father would permit His only Begotten to bare our egregious sins; then His agonizing body of sin would be put away forever, that our body of sin might be forever put away with His, our old man yoked to Him and crucified with Him.

Thus, until that impeccable sacrifice would be accomplished the Father and Son knew the stress and pain of the necessary distance that put the Son away from the Most Holy Place of the Sanctuary of strength. Because of humanity captive in the chains of darkness, He must endure a separation that constantly graded on His soul, remaining outside of His beloved, Holy Father’s presence, beyond the sight of Him, until His incarnation. Then His incarnation would separate Them even further, He being encapsulated in a body that had a woefully compromised faculty for communion. Their eternal Spirit made it all doable. Later still, Gethsemane and Golgotha would put on the capstone for a total, fatal, separation.

As Hannah grieved in the loan of Samuel to be a boy priest until he would grow into a holy high priest and righteous judge, so must have the great God terribly groaned from the beginning of the world by loaning His Son to be Priest until the times of the abomination of desolation should be fulfilled.

Then, like Samuel, the Messiah-Prince would take upon Himself the specially weighty work of High Priest in order to cleanse His Father’s Sanctuary of Strength and seal His children from sin.

“I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought Him near before Him.” (Dan. 7:13).

“And I saw another mighty Angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon His head, and His face was as it were the sun, and His feet as pillars of fire: and He had in His hand a little book open: and He set His right foot upon the sea, and His left foot on the earth, and cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when He had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.” (Rev. 10:1-3).

“For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” (Rom. 8:22,23).

Now no more separation from His Most Holy Abba! His Abba will have a chosen generation who have overcome all their sins, and will be awaiting their redemption!

“So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” (Heb. 9:28).

When He will have accomplished the heavenly sanctuary cleansing, then will “Michael your Prince”, “the Prince of princes” (Dan. 10:21; 8:25) don His Father’s Kingly garb and depart from the heavenly sanctuary. 

“And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great Prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.” (Dan. 12:1).

Beaming with joy and power like the Sun in full strength, He will return to claim His precious purchased possession. Their separation forever ended His reward is abundant beyond measure and powerfully destructive to a world usurped by Satan.

“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war.
His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself.
And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God.
And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Rev. 19:11-16).

The first testimony I found on the internet

I have gained a real zest for testimonies of conversion by the power of Christ. Here is the first testimony I found on the internet about 8 years ago. It was not a video, so as far as I know there is no web address for it. Nevertheless it is filled with life, so its like you are watching the whole story unfold. Actually, this is the third time I have posted it. The last time was two years ago, but since Im in the testimony mode I thought it should be included. Just FYI the Christian here is a female, if you needed some context. This hardcore, stubbornly resistant atheist was abased, broken, and converted on the spot when Jesus spoke to her through the Bible. He read her while she was reading Him when she heard Him ask her“Who do you say I am?” Enjoy, brothers and sisters.

An ex-atheist finds faith in God after more than twenty years of skepticism. Learn about the discoveries that led to Jesus Christ.
by A.S.A. Jones

I was a devout atheist for over twenty years.  I finally managed to see the biblical truths that had managed to elude me. The following is an account of how I went from hardcore skepticism to hardcore worship of the Savior, Jesus Christ.

I was raised a Roman Catholic in a home where the name of Jesus Christ and God was never mentioned. I was encouraged to attend catechism and church every weekend, but the concept of God was never made completely real to me. I entertained the notion as any child would, but I just wasn’t into the imaginary friend scene and by the time I was thirteen, I had concluded that God was merely a vicious adult version of the Easter bunny. I abandoned the lie, informed my upset parents that I would no longer be attending church, and began seeking truth.

In the absence of a religious belief to answer life’s questions, I turned my mental energy to science. Science had an awesome track record of solving many problems and its resulting technology had provided tangible benefits to all of mankind. Science was the answer! I reasoned that if we could educate our populations and continue to make advances in medicine, agriculture and energy production, we would one day have the mythical Eden as our reality.

I threw myself into my studies, determined to become a scientific messiah who would one day deliver people from the bondage of disease. At the age of sixteen, my IQ and my grades made me eligible for my high school’s early release program and I began my studies in biology and chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh.

I graduated from college with high honors and my prized science degree, but I had lost any motivation to apply that knowledge. I recalled staring at a swarming mass of termites one sunny day, thinking that, from a comparative distance, there was little difference between them and us. I smashed a few dozen with my shoe and ground them into the dirt. What did it matter if these died? What did it matter if they all died? People died every day. The end result would always be death for both the individuals and, eventually, the species.

Humanity had become nothing more to me than an organized network of molecules and enzymes. I viewed people as mere organisms going through their daily routines of metabolizing nutrients and expelling wastes, ovulating their eggs and ejaculating their semen. I knew the psychology of humans almost as well as their anatomies. The hidden things that pulled them this way and that were very evident to me. They were like guinea pigs, only more predictable, and my chief form of entertainment was to see how skillfully I could manipulate them. I knew that I was supposed to care about them, but I didn’t. I couldn’t. If mankind’s goal was to alleviate its own suffering, a bullet to the head was more efficient and made more sense in my thinking than screwing around with medication or disease control.

What was the point of prolonging any one life? What difference did it make if a girl didn’t live to marry or her mother live to see it? Of what value were temporary emotional experiences? They were simply the biochemistry of the brain reacting to sensory input and, upon that individual’s death, any remaining memory of that experience would be thrown away along with the person who had experienced it. My extreme point of view had reduced people into throwaway metabolic units; I had become as cold and indifferent as the logic that I exalted.

If my education would benefit anyone, it would benefit me. I passed up an offer of a low paying research position for a secure and higher paying job in a chemistry lab. My brain rotted there for 40 hours a week for 10 years.

Science had done nothing to answer the questions that raged in my head. Why should I care? How much should I care? Should I care at all? What is my purpose in life? Is there a purpose? How can I love people? Should I love people? Which people should I love? How can I forgive people? Should I forgive people? Have I done what is right? Have I done what is wrong? Is there a right or a wrong?

I turned to philosophy. I started with Jean-Paul Sartre’s “Being and Nothingness”. This man had won a Nobel Prize for basically taking white and logically demonstrating how it was really black. I tried several other atheist philosophers who tried to assign meaning to a life created by chance and I decided that they were all full of crap. If our life is the result of randomness and chance, it is meaningless, no matter how we try to convince ourselves otherwise.

That was fine with me. I was prepared to live my life by this truth and discovered that the prospect of a life without meaning can be a very freeing experience. I set out to take advantage of moral relativism and effectively destroyed any of my remaining conscience. Friends, let me tell you, I fell far, far away, but I didn’t know it. I busied myself with one diversion after another, trying to fill my life with meaningless activity in order to forget how meaningless it was. In my desperation, I grew self-righteous and indignant. I was secretly envious of the morons who seemed blissfully unaware of their own meaninglessness. I wanted to shake them awake and get them to see how worthless their lives really were.

The worst idiots were the Christians. I hated them because, in their ignorance of naturalism, they failed to see that there was no reason for the rest of the world to believe in their god, live by their standards or give a damn about what they had to say, yet there they were, acting as if they had a copyright on truth. Their pretentiousness sickened me, despite my being equally pretentious toward them. After all, I was justified in my pretentiousness! At least I could give logical reasons for not believing in the supernatural. I would challenge them to give reasons for believing in something that couldn’t be seen and they would reply, “You can’t see the wind but it’s there.” I would then try to explain to them that wind was created by differences in pressure and that there was plenty of scientific proof for the existence of wind but none for their god. Even the most intelligent Christians I knew had a difficult time articulating their reason for faith.

Most of the explanations I heard rested on the Bible’s authority. “The Bible says… the Bible says… the Bible says.” Who cared what the Bible said? I certainly didn’t. “It’s all a bunch of made up, superstitious baloney. Can’t you see?” and I would then go into pagan origins, etc., and try to demonstrate that Jesus was a manufactured myth. I ended up knowing the Bible inside and out just to be able to debate against it.

My anti-Christian arguments became my ultimate diversion to a hopeless life. I learned that religious debate wasn’t as much about truth as it was about language and presentation. I began seeing flaws in my own logic while trying to demonstrate certain instances of Biblical errancy, but that didn’t keep me on the bench. To justify my desire to destroy Christianity, I had to find reasons to discredit it. I railed against its hypocrisy, the behavior of its followers, the wars fought in its name and I questioned the motives of its bloody god and the religion’s effective outcome. In short, I began seeing it as the supreme evil, despite the fact that my own view of moral relativism did not permit a logical defense of the concept of evil.

One night, I was very tired and alone in my study. I didn’t reach, as I usually did, for a book of religious argument. I grabbed Lewis Carroll’s “Through The Looking Glass”, plopped myself down in a comfy chair and sleepily began reading. I skimmed through the pages and stopped at Humpty Dumpty’s explanation of ‘Jabberwocky’ to Alice. A thought occurred to me that if I were to read ‘Jabberwocky’ the same way I read the bible, it wouldn’t make any sense at all. I put Carroll’s book aside, folded my hands and stared at the wall, lost in thought.

The Bible didn’t make sense to me. But why did it make sense to others? What were they seeing that I didn’t? Did they so desperately want there to be a God that they had deluded themselves into thinking that there was one? It was New Year’s Day, 1998. I made a resolution to read the entire Bible again, only this time I was going to read it as I would poetry or fiction, and not as a proposal of fact.

In the months that followed, I kept my resolution and I began noticing a change in my way of interpreting the Bible. Intellectually, I found that my mind could logically accept two very different interpretations of almost everything I was reading. One interpretation of any verse or passage would render the whole story as nonsensical. But the other interpretation allowed the whole story to make sense.

If my mind was capable of accepting interpretations that allowed the whole book to make sense, then what was it in me that wanted it not to make sense? This book was reading me as surely as I was reading it. What was I doing when I condemned this god for commanding Moses to kill? Was I arrogantly making my morality superior to that of the being who allegedly authored all of morality? Was I condemning the actions of an entire nation, which was trapped in a kill or be killed situation? What was it in me that wanted to express outrage at Jesus Christ for telling me that I had to give away everything to be considered worthy to follow him? Was it my own selfishness?

For weeks, I was on a high, the type of high that comes about by feeling that one is on the edge of making some sort of profound discovery. I wasn’t sure what I was discovering but my perception of this world was changing. In July, I read these words of Jesus Christ, understanding them for the first time after having read them for years; “Who do you say I am?”

What I had to say about who Christ was, said more about me than it did about Him.

At this moment, I saw it. I saw what the truth of the Bible was! And I was humbled. More than humbled, I was broken. The truth wasn’t about cud chewing bunnies or how much precipitation fell during Noah’s flood. It was the truth about human nature and our efforts to rise above it! It was the truth about human spirit being led by divine spirit! It was the truth about each of us, imperfect in our love for one another, needing to be made complete by the perfect love of God! The truth was about how one man, without sin, had died for us so that we could live! The truth of the Bible was and is JESUS CHRIST!

The moment I was made aware of my despicable nature, I realized that Jesus had died for me. I never had recognized sin and, therefore, thought that Christ had died for nothing. But this man was able to see the horrible nature present in all of humanity and yet he had sacrificed himself to save us from ourselves. In a very real sense, my sinful nature had caused the death of an innocent man. I never believed in hell prior to this, but one of my first thoughts, after seeing how hellish a person that I was, was that I deserved to be in it.

I had been a fool. I had paraded around, thinking myself to be the sophisticate, oblivious to the trail of toilet paper clinging to my shoe. For the first time in my life, I became aware of my soul and how dirty it was when the light of Christ fell upon it. My accusing finger turned around and pointed right back at me. I sucked! Christianity wasn’t what was wrong with the world! A lack of education wasn’t what was wrong with the world! I was what was wrong with the world. I began praying for forgiveness to a god whose existence I had thought was intellectually indefensible. But He was very, very real.

The more I emptied myself of myself, the clearer the truth became. It had been my own selfish sin that had kept me from seeing it before. Jesus Christ became my God and my grand obsession, and for many months, I spent hours with my mind locked in meditation, trying to connect with Him in a more tangible way. I wasn’t disappointed. There is a point that one can reach in prayer where there is nothing at all left of oneself, and it is in that moment that God makes Himself known.

I had been dead for years but now I was born again! I no longer saw people as a sum of their components or this life as a meaningless exercise, but I now saw both as something more valid than my rational thought had allowed. I had spent most of my years examining life, crouched over and focused on the microscope of logic, incapable of seeing the Big Picture that was going on around me.

For me, Biblical truth wasn’t verified through historical accuracy, inerrancy or reliability of the Gospels, because my initial assumptions didn’t include these things. I saw divine inspiration in the actual content of the words attributed to Jesus Christ. The fact that I, or anyone, was capable of understanding spiritual matters became my evidence for the soul.

Learning the things of the spirit dramatically changed my attitude and my outlook on life. It wasn’t that the information available to me had changed, but that my perception had changed and as a result, I was changed. I was dead, but Christ woke me up! He saved me from my selfish self and I have given myself to Him because I am thankful for that which He has given me and hopeful for that which He has promised.

A.S.A. Jones
I wasn’t born again yesterday.
Ms. Jones is married and a mother of three children. She has a B.S. in biology from the University of Pittsburgh.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

False religion and the stimulation of the mind

“Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of His servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God. Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of Mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.” (Isa. 50:10,11).

“Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee.
Behold, they shall be as stubble; the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame: there shall not be a coal to warm at, nor fire to sit before it.
Thus shall they be unto thee with whom thou hast laboured, even thy merchants, from thy youth: they shall wander every one to his quarter; none shall save thee.” (Isa. 47:13-15).

“Against whom do ye sport yourselves? against whom make ye a wide mouth, and draw out the tongue? are ye not children of transgression, a seed of falsehood,
Enflaming yourselves with idols under every green tree, slaying the children in the valleys under the clifts of the rocks?...
I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the LORD; and I will heal him.
But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.
There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.” (Isa. 57:4,5,19-21).

“And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living [instead of] to the dead?
To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
And they shall pass through it, hardly bestead and hungry: and it shall come to pass, that when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse their king and their God, and look upward.
And they shall look unto the earth; and behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish; and they shall be driven to darkness.” (Isa. 8:19-22).

These scripture warn everyone away from the attempt to self-resuscitate their dead soul. Through classical education, science and the humanities, the world’s thought leaders, whether in religious or secular leadership, seek to put a band-aid on the cancer of their hearts and on the hearts of their followers. The dead soul needs more than a bachelor of the sciences and of the arts. Faith in our Creator’s love is the only cure for the deadness of a hopeless soul.

One YouTube testimony came from a man who was so addicted to the hardest drugs that he felt totally dead. He would cut himself and stick needles in the nerves of his teeth because, as he said, “the pain was better than nothing.” Finally he realized that there existed no rescue from the power of his addiction, except death. He wanted to die; so he got a gun. But, just before he pulled the trigger he yelled out, “God, if You’re real, You’ve got to save me because can’t feel, and in 1.2 seconds I’m going to pull the trigger, and I’m going to die!” Immediately a change came over him and he saw a ray of hope that was much more powerful than crack cocaine. All of his addiction was gone and now he is spending his life learning about the God who saved him. He is safe in Christ now. You can find his testimony at, minute 1:44:15 to 1:51:22.

That experience illustrated to me what I have come to see lays behind the wickedness and deception of all false religion. People using earthly constructs to resuscitate themselves. I heard a pastor once say, “Everyone in the world has a devotional life. They are devoted to Jesus or they are devoted to sports or perversions or many other things of this world.” He was so true. Everyone is religious. Everyone is spiritual because we all are spiritual beings. But, we all are also under a delusion from the deceiver, therefore most people don’t want to strive to find the truth and the true religion of the Bible.

Whether by mysticism or technology or ballet or sports or political power or to have celebrity or to be part of the elite families of the world, the rich and famous, the deceiver has diverted billions away from their Creator. Everyone is born with a hole in his heart. And the older we get the bigger that chasm gets, with a voice calling out of the chasm for us to somehow repair the breech. So we throw ourselves in movements or curiosities or mysteries or empty rites and sacraments all of which attempt to substitute for reconciliation with the One who has the creative power to restore us to peace in Him. To love and to be loved constituted Eden. David’s praises give us a taste of Adam’s and Eve’s. “Because Thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise Thee.... My soul followeth hard after Thee: Thy right hand upholdeth me.” (Ps. 63:3,8). But, the deceiver seeks to keep us from the glory of the original garden of God that Jesus made for His most precious creation.

The rift born in each person’s soul and the human measures to buttress their spirit through humanly devised stimulation attempts to restore the love and life lost in Eden. For many, their soul is so dead that mental activity, deep thinking, intellectual endeavors are sought out to ease the deadness in the heart. This is where Gnosticism comes into play, as well as the sciences and “the mysteries”. People can literally wrap their mind around a thought so tightly that they seem to find some relief for their nagging, empty heart. This can be true even of theological thought. Remember what Jesus said of the religionists of His day, “In [the scriptures] ye think ye have eternal life.” (John 5:39). Gnostics of all colors seek life from knowledge. But they never come to their Creator that they might have the full eternal, never-ending life. 

And then the devil promotes this practice by pointing out all the advances that sciences have brought to our planet. But there are ways that seems right to the unregenerated mind, which always end in death. Such knowledge is unbalanced; it is one-sided knowledge, and therefore lop-sided because the omniscient Creator and His omniscient truth are not allowed into their perverse knowledge. Any pursuit that involves the intellect alone, intellectual pursuits devoid of pursuing the Law of love, is a dangerous science and philosophy. Such a pursuer who is closed to God’s truth and grace is open to the demons’ subtle whispered deceptions.

To the devotee of wisdom without righteousness and mercy a degree of satisfaction and peace does come. But, indulgence in knowledge that is devoid of faith and dependence on the God of lovingkindness deranges the human soul differently than does the opiate to the drug user. It’s all the wine of Babylon. They believe that their humanly administered stimulation gives spiritual life for the dearth of the soul. “The fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame.” (Isa. 47:14). And because their idols of philosophy seemingly provide for some light and life such devotees will protect those intellectual idols, religious or secular, to the extent that they will dispense capital punishment upon everyone who reproves them of their idolatry. Don’t get between them and their source of life or you will be hurt. You might even die.

But the mystified, enflamed mind, like the nerves of the drug abuser, needs increasingly extreme stimulation until it is completely wasted and there is not “a coal to warm at, nor fire to sit before….” (Isa. 47:14). Only the screams of baby sacrifices can seem to revive the dead soul from its dungeon. The imprisoned heart has no mercy; the lifeless conscience no guilt. And a grandiose, world renown system of human philosophy gives credence to such wickedness. Thus it is perpetuated.

But such a bonafied system is attempting to jump-start a soul that doesn’t have the internal mechanism that allows it to start up—that soul doesn’t have the recreative Spirit of the Life-giver with It’s power of love. The soul of that person has atrophied and died, and to use an artificial substance or philosophy is to abuse the brain and nerves, and then enervate them. “Ye shall lie down in sorrow.” (Isa. 50:11). That soul expends the remaining life that his dead body has until he has zero desire to live.

“The smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night.” (Rev. 14:11).

“He that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3:36).

Finally comes suicide. Or a miracle comes from above by calling for help from the Creator. “God, if Your are real, I desperately need You help!” Then “he that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.” (John 3:36).

The miracle from above, the promised Spirit from Jesus, that precious gift of God, comes to everyone who finally gives up the attempt to fill his soul’s grand canyon, the “great gulf” (Luke 16:26) between the holy God and arrogant, wretched self. When the great divide is closed, the God-sized hole fills instantly as if it was never empty. The Spirit of God makes that soul His new fortress. With Christ’s new presence in that heart and mind comes everything that He is—love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, faith. He glorifies us with His own self. He withholds nothing of Himself, His wisdom, His reconciliation, His sanctification, His redemption, when we give Him access to our heart and will. “Christ Jesus…is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” (1Cor. 1:30). We have unrestricted access to Him, and He has unrestricted access to us. In Christ’s heart the missing object for loving is filled. He is satisfied and so are we. The Christian’s new soul, mind, and body are whole.

The mystical mind flees. The intellectual diversions that gave only temporary relief for the dearth of the soul, flee away. Our education and knowledge and wisdom are balanced between the studies of eternal, heavenly things and temporal, natural things. Heart and brain are brought into every deep thought. Our brain isn’t taxed solely with scientific research, but also with being filled with thanksgiving and joy for God’s creative work in nature, and with researching His Law. All nature sings and ’round us rings the music of His works. We have perfect freedom.

“I will walk at liberty: for I seek Thy precepts.” (Ps. 119:45).

“I have more understanding than all my teachers: for Thy testimonies are my meditation.

I understand more than the ancients, because I keep Thy precepts.” (Ps. 119:99,100).

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Another exciting victory from Jesus

“So - this article is – um - about those little – er – short ‘filler’ words that people use – like – in the middle of sentences – you know?

Yes, written down, the above sentence is incredibly infuriating. Yet, to say it aloud does not sound too different from how people talk to each other every single day.
Long considered to be a sign of stupidity or ineptness, linguists are saying this is unfair. Often, the people who make these sounds, in between actual words recognised in the English dictionary, are being especially conscious of who they are talking to.

Professor Michael Handford, a professor of applied linguistics and English language at Cardiff University, says there are two main reasons people use these filler words. Often these are known as “discourse markers” (‘you know’, ‘so’) or “filled pauses”( ‘um’, ‘er’).

“The functions they fill are often interactional and cognitive,” he told The Independent. “The interactional function is to do with politeness. If you invite somebody to a party and they say no without any of those markers they will appear rude probably. If you say ‘um, well, you know, sorry’ it makes it much more polite. They play a really important politeness function.”

The above article came from the internet. I wanted to explain the many words that can make no sense to non-English readers. I am putting these “discourse markers” and “filled pauses” in parenthesis because some people might live in countries where English is not their main language and may not understand the words that are discourse markers and filled pauses. I’m sorry if they confuse some readers, but I felt like I should transpose every word of people’s testimonies, rather than edit them. So, here is the testimony you have been waiting for. Without further adieu…

“Hi lovelies. I’m Lisa…

(So) to start we need to go back to the very beginning. I was only three or four years old when my dad decided he wanted to find a church to attend because he thought I was going to start asking questions about God and about creation, and all of that. For a little bit of background, my mom was saved when she was a teenager, but she had a fall away from Christ. (So) at this point, her and my dad when they were looking for a Christian church to go to, she did rededicate. And my dad kind of had a very mixed background, but he was not a Christian. (So) at this point, when they started looking for a Christian church, he did eventually come to Jesus. (So) from a young age around three or four, I grew up in a Christian home. We were attending church regularly. I was even enrolled in a Christian school for when I was in kindergarten and then partway through first grade.

But we did end up leaving that church and going to a different church, and the pre-school Christian school I was apart of—not pre-school—kindergarten, that I was a part of, was a part of our old church. (So) my parents actually enrolled me in public school after that. I was super, super thankful, for the most part, to be raised in a Christian home. My parents really tried to live their lives for God, and to teach me about God, to get me to church every week, and basically to live by an example.

(So) from a young age I learned about God, learned the Bible stories, (you know), in Sunday school, and at home. We would pray as a family together. (So) from a young age I learned about God, and I began to love Him and know more about Him.

Then when I was eight years old, my family and I went to the Christmas Eve service at our church. And the pastor, at the end of the message, kind of gave a salvation talk. He talked about, (you know), when Jesus came down to the world because, of course, that’s what Christmas is all about. We celebrate the day that Jesus was born, that our Saviour came into the world. (So) he (just) talked about how we need to be repentant of our sin. How we are all sinners. In Romans it says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” And this was the first time even though I had been learning about God, and I knew about Jesus, this was the first time that this was really hitting me and things (just) kind of clicked for me. I realized that when Jesus died on the cross for my sins, that I needed to repent of my sin and ask Him to come into my life to be my Lord and Saviour, and to really start a relationship with Jesus. (So) he continued on with his message. And at the end he asked if anybody wanted to accept Christ into their life. And I didn’t at that point, but I went home and (just) for some reason, at this point, it (just) really clicked with me. And I kept (just) thinking about it and trying to understand it.

Then, (you know), honestly, it was the Holy Spirit (just) beginning to reveal truth to me, and opening my heart to want to accept Jesus. And (so) we went home that night and I had been thinking about it the whole ride home and then that evening. And finally I (just) asked my dad, “How do I accept Christ as my Saviour? How do I ask Him into my life?”

And my dad (just) told me all you have to do is pray and ask Him. And I’m (like), “Will you help me?” And (so) my dad actually led me in a prayer to accept Jesus into my life, and for Him to forgive me of my sins and become my Lord and Saviour.

I know I was young, but I can tell you that this was a genuine commitment to Jesus. Even now (just) (like) thinking back on it, I totally remember what it was (like) when that (just) clicked in my heart and in my head, the need and (just) the knowledge that I needed Jesus in my life. (So) that from that point on I was saved and had begun a relationship with Jesus.

My family and I would continue to go to church. I continued to learn more about Jesus, and I eventually got baptized. As well, my dad and I got baptized together, which was really cool.

However something that I hadn’t fully grasped was kind of the discipline part of being a Christian. And what I mean by that is being disciplined in reading God’s word every day and continually praying to Jesus. I would pray, for the most part, every day. But I hadn’t developed that discipline of getting into God’s word and reading the bible every day, which is really how God communicates to us, and how we can grow, really grow further and more into our relationship with Christ.

 In junior high I really felt that struggle of wanting to please God, but then on the other had having the fleshly desires, (like) the want to be popular and to fit in at school, and all of that. Some days I would honor God with my decisions and choose to follow Him. And then other days I would put my desires before God. And it was (just) the constant struggle and battle. Now I don’t have some crazy testimony or story where, (you know), I went off and did all these drugs, or I got arrested, or I, (you know), gave myself away to all these guys. I don’t have a story (like) that. I know that I some people’s testimony.

But my struggle still was whether to put God first in my life or to put my desires first. And this continued to happen. And this is going to continue to happen throughout a believer’s life. That is (just) our struggle with our own flesh and our own sinful desire.

But my freshman year of high school, in the spring time I actually went on a missions trip with my church. And every year the high schoolers and the college students would go on a mission trip to Mexico, to help some of the churches down there and (just) help people in need. We would build houses. There was VBS teams for kids in the areas at the churches that we would do and stuff, a lot of really awesome stuff. This was something that I had looked forward [to] since I was in junior high. I knew I wanted to go on this trip.

(So) my freshman year I went and it was during this trip that I felt God really speaking to me, and really place a desire on my heart. He (just) revealed to me that I was not putting Him first in my life and that I was not actively pursuing Him. I had made this commitment to Him. He was in my life but I wasn’t actively pursuing a relationship with Him. It was during this trip that I learned what it meant to serve God. And I also learned what I meant to worship God. Not (just) in actual worship when we’re singing praises to Jesus, but to worship God with our life and with your actions.

(So) this is kind of the second part of my testimony. I was already saved when I was eight years old. But after this trip to Mexico when I (just) felt (like) God was speaking to me, I kind of rededicated my life. I wouldn’t say (like) I officially (like) asked God, ‘I want to be rededicated to You.’ But I was praying with Him, and I (just) felt this desire that I knew I needed to make some changed in order to put Him first.  I started making reading my Bible a priority and really trying to do it every day, and be disciplined in it. I also tried to be more involved at my church, (so) [that] I could (just) learn more, but then also serve Him.

And it was kind of from that point on that I really saw growth in my walk with God. I felt a lot closer to Jesus. I saw myself changing more, my desires were different. It was put on my heart to be a light and an example at my school and to my friends. Even though I was definitely nowhere perfect, I made plenty of mistakes, and there were times that I didn’t choose to honor God. But it was more a priority in my life to place God first and to really try. Even when I would fall I would get back up again and choose to follow Jesus.

Having Jesus in my life I can honestly say that I have a certain peace and a certain joy. It’s not happiness, which can be washed away when something when a storm comes in this life, when something bad happens, when things go wrong, things don’t go according to plan. It’s this joy that, through any circumstance, I know that Jesus is with me, that He sees the whole picture. He sees what my life looks (like), and I am in His hands. And no matter what I go through I know that He loves me, that He has saved me. He has redeemed me, and His plans are good.

(So) that is my testimony. My story of how I can to know Jesus and how I entered in to a personal relationship with Jesus. If you’re watching this and you have never made that commitment to Jesus, and you want to, it is so simple. I (just) want you to know that Jesus came down to this earth. He lived a perfect life here. I died on the cross for our sins even though He had lived a perfect life. And then He rose again three days later which He defeated sin, He defeated death. (So) now we can enter into a personal relationship with God and be forgiven of our sin. And then when we die we go to heaven and live in eternity with Him. All you have to do is pray. Ask Jesus to come into your life to be your Lord and Saviour, and repent of your sin. Which repenting doesn’t mean to (just) be sorry for something, but it actually means to turn away. (So) you are, yes, saying sorry for your sin to God but then you are turning away from it and choosing to follow Him. (So) if you believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and that God raised Him from the dead and you accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, you will be saved. It’s as simple as that because this is purely the grace of Jesus.

But I hope you all enjoyed this video….”