WHO IS LEADING YOUR LIFE?

WHO IS LEADING YOUR LIFE?

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“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city,

spend a year there, carry on business, and make a profit.  You do not even 

know what will happen tomorrow!  What is your life?

You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord is willing, we will live and 

do this or that.”  As it is, you boast in your proud intentions.

All such boasting is evil.”

(James 4:13-16 BSB)

Do you ever wonder why sometimes things don’t seem to go right in your life?  You make plans and they just seem to fall apart, nothing happens the way you intended it to go.  So, who is leading your life?  Is it God, or is it you?  God wants to be involved in every aspect of your life.  He is our wise Father and wants only good for us.  Do we plan our day?  Do we take matters into our own hands, hoping God is with us, hoping that there will be a blessing at the end of the day after we have already made our decisions.  

Seeking God’s leading, His will, in all things is a ‘learned’ exercise.  It requires submission and then obedience.  When we follow God’s will by listening to the promptings of the Holy Spirit the evidence of our submission to His leading will be seen in the good fruit produced.  If, on the other hand, we do not ‘acknowledge Him in all our ways’ and race forward without His consultation, the result will be confusion, division, contention, in other words, rotten fruit, because we allowed our flesh to rule. 

Here in the Book of James (Doctor James as one of my Bible Teachers used to call him); James is rebuking those who make their own plans and leave God out of the picture.  He calls such self-directed plans ‘boasting’ (verse 16) arrogantly reinforcing the idea that our fleshly man is in charge.  I have to admit that I am as guilty as the next brother or sister in that I get caught up in trying to ‘set the course’ of the day without consulting my Heavenly Father.  

Psalm 10:4 tells us: “The wicked through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in his thoughts.”   The wicked man is self-directed, purpose-driven, intent on bringing his own plans to fruition.  God is looking over His Children on Earth for humbled hearts, hearts willing to follow His direction.  Isaiah 66:2 tells us: “Has not My hand made all these things? And so they came into being,” declares the LORD.  “This is the one I will esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, who trembles at My Word.”  

A man after God’s own heart, King David, frequently inquired of the Lord.  Those who truly seek God habitually will be led by Him in paths of righteousness, for His name’s sake.  Before making our own plans or agreeing to someone else’s plans, we need to add the words “If the Lord wills …” (James 4:15) to our vocabulary.  Then seek God for confirmation.

If you feel a ‘check’ in your spirit before moving ahead on a decision, then God is not with you.  

Selah.

YET YOU HAVE NOT RETURNED TO ME

YET YOU HAVE NOT RETURNED TO ME

“And I have given you cleanness of teeth in all your cities,

and want of bread in all your places:

yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord.”

(Amos 4:6)

The judgments of God have begun.  The unrepentant and those who have set their face against the God of the Universe come up with all kinds of ‘excuses’ as to why the world seems to be spiraling out of control.  But the truth remains that God uses natural disasters to show His displeasure. 

The early Greeks had gods of sky and weather.  The Romans, Tempestas, the goddess of storms or sudden weather.  In Hinduism, Indra, is the god of the weather, storms, sky, lightning and thunder, also known as the King of gods.  As gods require appeasement, in Hyderabad, India you might see Hindu priests sitting in buckets of water and performing the ‘Parjanya Yagna” to Varuna, the rain god.  Raijinis the thunder god in Japan.  Even in Islam, there is an ‘archangel’ that controls the weather, Mikal.  For thousands of years man has believed there were ‘forces’ (deities) controlling the weather.  Sacrifices, rituals and prayers would be made to these deities to appease them, when actually all along it has been the One True God who has been controlling the weather since He created the Earth.

“And also I have withheld the rain from you,

when there were yet three months to the harvest:

and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city:

one piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered.”

(Amos 4:7)

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Farmer Vance Ehmke in Western Kansas where Wheat Crops are failing (July 2022)

Acts of God occur on a grand scale, so immense that man’s trying to control the results of weather have little or no effect.  Who can stop the earth from shaking?  Or keep a volcano from erupting?  Who can send rain to stop a drought?  Or dry up the earth so that nothing grows.  Who can stop the waves of a storm from flooding the land?  If we believe that God is the Creator, as we look at those things ‘coming upon the Earth’ we need to ask ourselves why are these things occuring with more intensity?  Surely, the arrogance and pride of man has brought this about.  

“So two or three cities wandered into one city, to drink water;

but they were not satisfied: 

yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord.”

(Amos 4:8)

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Colorado River Reservoirs Dry Up – July 2022

Right now 40% of our nation is being affected by a drought, and the problem is just not lack of rain anymore.  When you have a drought, other consequences of that drought begin to appear.  Forest fires, beetles boring through forests and then invading insects destroying crops.  This quote from a man with the Colorado State Forest Service:

“Without rain, trees don’t have any defense.  That’s the key.  For all trees with these bark beetles, moisture really helps them defend themselves.  When they are dry, they just don’t have sap (and) the resources to mount a defense.” —  Mark Loveall, supervisor with CSFS Durango Field Office.

Because of the drought conditions in most of our nation our forests and farms are being attacked by bark beetles, grasshoppers, Mormon crickets, and disease-carrying mosquitoes.  It has been said that already in some areas grasshoppers’ infestations are worse than during the Great Depression, costing millions of dollars.

“I have smitten you with blasing and mildew:

when your gardens and your vineyards and your fig trees and your olive trees increased,

the palmerworm devoured them:

yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.”

(Amos 4:9)

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Douglas Fir Bark Beetles destroying trees in Colorado – July 2022

When droughts occur it causes wildlife to seek water and food in areas where they normally do not go.  Consequently, we have coyotes, mountain lions, snakes, bighorn sheep, ducks and rats invading towns and cities.  We still have not seen the worst of what we may encounter because of our sin(s) … famine.

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Rats are invading cities like New York and Los Angeles – July 2022.

“I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of Egypt:

 your young men have I slain with the sword, and have taken away your horses (strength);

and I have made the stink of your camps to come up to your nostrils:

yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.” (Amos 4:10)

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Homeless Camp – Los Angeles, California

If famine should come, it represents the Third Seal in the Book of Revelations. Hopefully, the Church will be raptured before then.  Even a wealthy nation such as ours can be brought to its knees by famine, and our ‘boasting’ of what a ‘great’ nation we are will do nothing to stop it.  We need to be praying right now to Elohim, the God of Creation.  Praying that God will use each one of us during this shaking of our nation to bring Truth to the lost.  God the Father full of mercy and grace is warning us, return to Him!  Time is short!  

Selah.  

CONFESSION

CONFESSION

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,

and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

(1st John 1:9)

Yeshua told us as recorded in John 16:8 that when the Holy Spirit came (the Comforter) “He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.”  We are told in 1st John 3:7 that there are three that bear record in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.  These three, the Holy Trinity, through their mysterious workings bring ‘light’ (Truth) into the born-again child of God.  Walking in the light of God we have fellowship with Him and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son “cleanses us from all sin.”

But, in order to have a habitual holy walk in communion with God, we should ‘examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith’ which includes ‘confessing our sins’ before God as often as we are prompted to do so.  Scripture also tells us to confess our faults one to another, praying for one another that we may be healed (from persistent sin) (James 5:16).  Many believers have a difficult time confessing their faults to others, which is understandable, particularly in these days of ‘false professors’ and ‘apostate churches.’  Thankfully, we have a blessed resource which is to take our prayers, petitions, and confession directly to the Throne of Grace.  

A good place to start your confession is by examining your heart before God.  Review the Ten Commandments:  1) You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.  2) You shall not make any graven image (carved idol or representation of a god to be used in worship).  3) You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.  4) Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.  5) Honor your father and your mother.  6) Thou shalt not kill.  7) You shall not commit adultery.  8) You shall not steal.  9) You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.  10) You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor nor envy your neighbor.    

Examine your Conscience before God.  Do I pray every day?  Have I been thankful to God for all his gifts to me?  Have I put my possessions before God?  Do I read or watch things that God would not approve of?  Do I engage in superstitious practices such as talking to the dead, horoscopes, etc.  Have I taken the name of God in vain?  Have I cursed or made a false oath?  Do I keep the Sabbath refraining from any work?  Did I disobey my parents or ‘lawful’ superiors?  Have I had a fight or quarrel with anyone, did I want revenge?  Did I refuse to forgive?  Was I disrespectful?  

Did I get drunk or take illicit drugs?  Did I consent to or advise anyone to get an abortion?  Did I willfully look at pornographic images?  Entertain impure thoughts or engage in impure conversations?  Have I been unfaithful to my spouse?  Or, if unmarried, engage in sexual activity outside of marriage?  Have I stolen or damaged someone else’s property?  Have I been honest and just in my business relations?  Have I been responsive to the needs of the poor and respected the dignity of others?  Did I tell lies?  Have I made false or defamatory statements about someone in order to damage their reputation (slander)?  Have I judged others rashly?  Have I envied other people?

It is important that we are truly sorry for our sins. “For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation.  There is no regret for that kind of sorrow.  But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.”  (2nd Corinthians 7:10 New Living Translation)  Place your trust in God, our merciful Father, who wants to forgive you.  God wants us to reconcile ourselves to Him.  Our Lord because of His great love and mercy towards us offers forgiveness of sins committed against God and others.  When we sin we damage our relationship with God and we not only hurt the one we sinned against but ourselves also.  Confessing before God is a way to ‘clean the slate.’  If you have wronged someone make sure you make reparation for what you have done.  Resolve, with the help and grace of God, to do better in the future.

Daily confession is good for your body, mind and spirit.  Walking with a clear conscience before God is not only a blessing, but will enable us to hear from Him unhindered.  

Selah.

HONOR THY FATHER AND THY MOTHER

HONOR THY FATHER AND THY MOTHER

“Honor thy father and thy mother:

that thy days may be long upon the land 

which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”

(Exodus 20:12)

THE FIFTH COMMANDMENT IS THE ONLY COMMANDMENT WITH A PROMISE.  To honor someone is to hold them in high regard.  When we honor someone we give them our respect.  We value their opinions and often mimic their life.  We may even tell others about them. We honor (esteem) God with our prayers, our offerings, and our obedience to His Word.  The fifth commandment requires us to honor our father and our mother.

[Note:  There are, of course, circumstances in which it is extremely difficult to honor a parent because of abuse.  In this case, we are to pray for their salvation, and treat them as Jesus would have with godly love.  We are not required to obey anyone who would lead us to sin against God or man.]

The key to society’s stability is reverence and respect for parents.  God in His infinite wisdom included the fifth commandment because He knew that without the respect and honor of  parents in the newly freed nation of Israel there would be chaos.  On their journey to and while in the Promised Land there would be zero tolerance of mis-behavior among the youth.  The term juvenile delinquency means ‘overt’ disrespect of parents, or those in parental authority.     

So we see in the Old Testament that there were severe consequences if a child disrespected his parents, these consequences included capital punishment. “If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of this mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; and they shall say unto the elders of his city, “This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.”  And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among  you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear” (Deuteronomy 21:18-21).  Obviously, we see here that God considers not honoring our parents as a serious offense.  Romans 15:1 tells us that we have an obligation to bear the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.  So, in the case of parents who are not born-again, or acting in an ungodly manner, the Word tells us we still have an ‘obligation’ to bear with them, as they are weak.  Ezekiel 34:4 states, “The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them.”  To complain about your parents is not an option.  When we complain about our parents, we are guilty of grumbling and complaining which is not one of the fruits of the Spirit.  What would our Lord have you to do?

Yeshua rebuked the scribes and Pharisees for not honoring their parents as God the Father had commanded, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?  For God commanded, saying, Honor thy father and mother: and, He that curses father or mother, let him die the death …”  (Matthew 15:1-9).

  According to the MacArthur Study Bible, Yeshua was speaking to them in this manner because He knew that they were dishonoring their parents.  The Command to honor your parents is clear, but in the times of our Lord, the Israelities were claiming they could not give financial assistance to their parents because they had dedicated (promised) a certain sum of money to God, saying God was greater than their parents.  The rabbis had approved this ‘exception’ and thus nullified God’s law.  Yeshua knew their hearts, it is clear that we are to take care of our parents financially!  

The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Ephesians also brought up the fifth commandment. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.  Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth (Ephesians 6:1-2).  Here again we see that God has promised those who honor their parents with a long life.  I certainly would not want to cut my own life short by dishonoring my parents, would you?

We are commanded by God to be respectful in word and action, esteeming our parents, honoring them.  Those who honor their parents will be blessed.  In contrast to those who dishonor their parents, they become like the heathen, exhibiting ungodliness in these Last Days and are in danger of falling away from God:  “Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful …” (Romans 1:30:31).  “THIS KNOW that in the Last Days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those who are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (2nd Timothy 3:1-4).

Brothers and Sisters, this was written because we have heard from numerous saints that their children are dishonoring them.  Even as a heathen before my own salvation at the age of 33 years, I never disrespected my parents.  Even when I knew that some of the decisions they were making for my life were wrong, I never disrespected them.  I truly believe that if you practice obedience to your parents, you will find it easy to be obedient to God.  

Selah.

CHASTENING

CHASTENING

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten;

be zealous therefore and repent.”

(Revelation 3:19)

THESE ARE THE WORDS OF JESUS speaking to His servant John, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten …”

Man is so vain as to think that once he or she is blessed with the new birth that if he or she sins it is okay with God.  Man also exhibits his vanity when from the pulpit he hears the man-of-God warning against this sin or that sin, and his heart is untouched because of its hardness.  When the Holy Spirit speaks to such a man, he hears that ‘still, small voice’ but makes excuses and continues in his sins.  His vanity tells him that he has his sins under control.  And so it becomes necessary for God the Father to intervene.  Granted the Holy Spirit is always at work within the believer working to guide, direct, and soften the fleshly heart.  But, as God does not remove our free will, nor our inclination to sin, and more importantly because we are His children, called by His Name, He intervenes.  God sends chastening upon us, His children, to correct us and to recover us from our vanity, our bent towards sinfulness.

Whenever the Holy Spirit is in operation with us bringing to remembrance a sin, it is because of God’s grace.  One way to tell if you are out of the will of the Father, and probably in sin, is that your spirit will become vexed, your soul cast down.  You no longer feel His presence, the Spirit doesn’t seem to be communicating with you.  How do we climb out of the hole we have dug for ourselves?   

The Holy Spirit searches the deep things of our heart and it is during these times of not feeling ‘right’ with our Heavenly Father, that we need to ask Him to show us our sins, sins that we are aware of, but also our sins of ignorance.       

“And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you

as unto children, My Son, despise not the chastening of the Lord,

nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loves

He chastens and scourges every son whom He receives.”

(Hebrews 12:5-6)

Being a new creature in Christ does not exempt us from the ‘effects’ of our sins.  And although God does not sit in judgment over our past sins, we certainly cannot continue to sin and not expect God to send a chastening.  If you continually sin, your heart will become hardened.  You will ‘conveniently forget’ in whom you belong.  You will forget the Fatherhood of God and your relation to Him as His dear child.  When chastening comes you may not even recognize it at first as even being from your Heavenly Father.  God’s dealings with His fallen child is a sign of His displeasure.  The fallen child, under the ‘rod of God’, will often feel despondent (without hope) and in despair, not knowing the why’s for their current situation.  But, as Yeshua told us that He would never leave us or forsake us, again the blessed Holy Spirit will prompt and inspire the fallen child and light will break forth.  Spiritual truth will dawn like it did with the prodigal son, “I must return to my Father’s House!” 

Those who would follow Christ wholly – are chastened!  “My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him.” (Hebrews 12:5)  Those who God has placed in positions of leadership within the Body of Christ, some of the ‘saintliest’ of God’s people, those ‘obedient’ to His Call have been and are the greatest sufferers.  These brothers and sisters are under God’s chastening not because they are in gross sin but to ‘correct them’ molding and conforming them into a holy people.  

The Chastened of Christ are given to the Body of Christ as plumb lines.  The prophet Amos was given a vision of a plumb line which became the symbol of the standard by which God’s people would need to live and a measure from which divine judgment would be gauged.  Thus, these chastened saints, leaders within ‘grounded’ churches or home groups, leaders in ministry, and those in the mission fields are sent to us empty of self-sufficiency and self-righteousness.  They are given to the Body for its spiritual growth and yet they are utilized so little by the churches.  Chastisements are sent to strengthen our faith, to give us one-on-one experience with communing with the Most High, to raise us up to the high standard God requires of His children, and to bring us into a state of usefulness for God’s purposes.  Hallelujah!

Divine chastisement will be sent as a preventative to keep us from being prideful, to keep us from ‘heady high mindedness’ over successes while in God’s service.

Here are four examples of men in the Bible who experienced chastening:

King David – God laid His rod upon David for his grievous sins, for open wickedness.  He fell because of ‘self’ confidence and ‘self’ righteousness.  

Job – When we read the Book of Job we are amazed at the magnitude of the suffering that this man experienced.  Loss of family, property, bodily afflictions one on top of the other.  God’s plan was that Job would benefit from all that he experienced and that in the end he would be a greater partaker of His holiness.  In the beginning there was self-righteousness and self-satisfaction in Job, but after His encounter with the Holy One of Israel “he abhorred himself” (Job 42:6). 

Abraham – Abraham experienced trials in order to develop God’s grace upon His life, in this case Abraham’s regeneration and sanctification.  He was tried (chastened) so that his faith would be strengthened and that patience would have its perfect work in him.  Abraham was ‘weaned from the things of this world’ so that he would experience a closer walk with Jehovah.  Therefore he was called ‘a friend’ of God (Isaiah 41:8).

Paul the Apostle – “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure” (2nd Corinthians 12:7).  The ‘thorn’ Paul was given was to keep him from the sin of pride.  The benefit of this thorn was that Paul was made more aware of his weaknesses vs. God’s strength.  Paul’s chastisement again was to break down his self-sufficiency, bringing him to the end of himself or ‘self’ making him totally dependent upon God.

When we see another brother or sister under the chastening of our Heavenly Father let us never assume it is because there is gross sin in their lives.  Chastenings can be retributive (the effect of a sin), corrective (to get us back on the narrow path), educative (to teach us God’s ways and bring us into closer relationship with Him) or preventative (to keep us from heading back on the wide path).  It is our duty as believers to pray one for another and to hold each other in high regard as fellow saints and future citizens of Heaven.  To love one another!

Selah.     

SHINING LIKE THE STARS IN HEAVEN

SHINING LIKE THE STARS IN HEAVEN

“Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens,

and those who lead many to righteousness, 

like the stars for ever and ever.”

(Daniel 12:3)

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It’s time to enter our prayer closets.  Seeking God with our whole heart.  Darkness is descending over our nation and even though we may not be living in an ‘ultra-controlled’ nation like China, we are nevertheless going to be controlled, sooner or later, because the rebellion and sinfulness of our nation’s population is going to demand it.  How this all play’s out, only God knows.

In the meantime, we have a commission to fulfill.  However, you decide to fulfill your commission is between you and God.  Perhaps it is handing out tracts or speaking to your neighbor about the Rapture of the Church or the Soon Return of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Perhaps you feel more comfortable supporting those who take the Gospel to the far ends of the Earth or supporting indigenous evangelists.  However, you do it, do it wholeheartedly.

This is a command, a duty, that has been given to us by God.  James Hudson Taylor (1832-1905) was a British Protestant Christian missionary to China and founder of China Inland Mission.  He spent a total of 51 years in China.  He said, “The Great Commission is not an option to be considered; it is a command to be obeyed.  If we consider ourselves to be disciples of Jesus, we must go and preach the only message of salvation: That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” (1st Corinthians 15:3-4).

And this from a Chinese House Church Leader:  The Great Commission has not changed. There are many churches trying to create a heaven here on earth, but until the Western Church obeys the Great Commission and takes the gospel to the ends of the earth, people are just playing with God and are not really serious about the truth.  Many churches look beautiful on the outside, but are dead where it counts, on the inside.  If you truly want to see Godmove, the two main things you must do is learn the Word of God and have the obedience to do what God tells you to do.  

Many believers wonder why miracles are so prevalent in China, but not so evident in the West.  In the West we have insurance (life, auto, disability, hospital, medical, dental, vision, short-term disability, long-term disability, long term care insurance, identity theft, flood, fire, and homeowners/renters).  We even have medical insurance for our pets!  Why would the West need God?  In China, they had nothing, they needed God.  The greatest miracles were not the healings, but lives transformed by the Gospel.  In China they do not run after signs and wonders, but believe that signs and wonders will follow when the Gospel is preached.  Here believers think twice before giving to spread the Gospel, in China believers are ready to lay down their lives to spread the Gospel.

Which do you want to be?  A believer that thinks twice before spreading or helping to spread the Gospel – or – one who is ready to lay down his or her life to spread the Gospel.  Do you want to shine like the stars in Heaven – or – resemble a Black Hole?

Selah.

SHAKE THE DUST OFF YOUR FEET

SHAKE THE DUST OFF YOUR FEET

“If anyone does not welcome you,

shake the dust off your feet when you leave that town,

as a testimony against them.”

(Luke 9:5)

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It’s time to enter into our prayer closets.  Seeking God with our whole heart.  Darkness is rapidly descending over our nation and even though we may not be living in an ‘ultra-controlled’ nation like China, the time is coming when we will be controlled, because the rebellion and sinfulness of our nation is going to demand it.  How this all play’s out, only God knows.

Our Lord gave his disciples specific instructions in Luke Chapter 9 on what they needed to do as ‘evangelists’ taking the Gospel to the lost.  Knowing He was sending them into hostile environments, controlled by the prince of this world, His instructions were to be followed precisely. 

One of the things Yeshua told His followers was to wipe the dust off their feet as a ‘testimony’ [to the people’s rebellion against God].  In those days, pious Jews would wipe or shake the dust off their feet to show separation from Gentile practices.  So the disciples understood this concept.   If Yeshua’s  disciples entered into a village or town and they were not received, they were to leave, shaking the dust off their feet.  How does this apply today?  

As Children of the Most High, living under His authority, walking in the Spirit, ambassadors representing God’s Kingdom on earth, what you say and how you act has spiritual significance.  Time is short.  Many of us have spent hours, perhaps years, witnessing to loved ones, friends, relatives and neighbors who show no inclination of receiving Christ as their Lord and Savior.  The time has arrived when we need to wipe the dust off our feet.  We should pray for them, put them into God’s hands and move on.  (I am not saying to stop praying for those your heart grieves for.  But don’t continue to lay ‘your pearls before swine.’)

Perhaps you belong to a club or organization or even where you work.  You have witnessed and given your testimony many times.  It could be that you have been ‘persecuted’ because you are a Christian.  As you have sat in the midst of these unbelievers you have not seen one salvation.  No results.  It is now time to wipe the dust off your feet!  It is not God’s will for His ambassadors to ‘sit still.’  You need to move on, time is short!  If this is a job, God will provide another one, pray that He will send you into a harvest field that is ripe.  

Wiping the dust off your feet is also a prophetic sign that the judgment of God is coming.

When the disciples encountered places that resisted their message and refused to receive them, they went out into the streets of that city and said, “Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet we wipe off in protest against you; yet be sure of this, that the kingdom of God has come near” (Luke 10:11). The disciples wiped the dust from their feet as a prophetic sign-act to demonstrate that they did not want any share in the judgment due for such a place. Sodom and Gomorrah will fare better in the final judgment than the people of the villages that rejected the disciples’ message about the kingdom.  (Extracted from First Fruits of Zion)            

We walk under the power and authority of the Creator of the Universe.  We are not ‘ordinary’ citizens of the world.  We are citizens of Heaven!  Stop acting like you are part of the ‘masses.’  You are not!  Read the Word, follow the instructions of your King (your job description) and start shaking the dust off your feet.

Selah.

THE BRIDE OF CHRIST

THE BRIDE OF CHRIST

“… Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife”

(Revelation 21:9)

All of us are looking forward to the soon return of our Lord Jesus Christ to receive the church (His Bride) up into Heaven.  The rapture of the church is the next prophetic sign which will occur at the end of the church age.  

“For the Lord Himself will descend from Heaven with a loud command,

with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God,

and the dead in Christ will be the first to rise.

After that, we who are alive and remain will be caught up

together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.

And so we will always be with the Lord.”(1st Thessalonians 4:16-17)

Something that will give us a better understanding of who we are (the Bride of Christ) is the story of a Jewish bride.

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The Meeting of Jacob and Rachel – William Dyce (1853)

If a young Jewish man wanted to get married, he would first look around in his own hometown for a suitable bride.  If he could not find one, he would leave his hometown and travel to another town or village.  He would keep looking until finally he found the right bride!  Then he would go to the father of the bride and make a covenant or a contract with him.  He would say, “Here’s what I will give you for your daughter as a bride.  I will pay for her (I will buy her from you),” and they would seal the deal by drinking a cup of wine. 

The girl would then go back to her father’s house and prepare herself because it was her obligation to be ready when the groom came back to get her.  The groom would go and build a house for his new bride right alongside his own father’s house.  When the new house was completed, the groom would leave his house and go back to the bride’s village.  He would usually arrive at night and he would give a shout to her, “Ready!”  

Without any warning when the bride heard the shout, she would come out immediately!  She wouldn’t say, “Hey, give me another week,” or “Give me another month.”  Her job, her hope, her joy, was to be ready when he came to get her!

They would then leave together and go back to his father’s house where for the next seven days there would be a wedding ceremony.  The bride and groom would be hidden away in the father’s house, and at the end of those seven days they would come out and reveal themselves to the people that were waiting.

Do you see a pattern?

CHRIST IS GOING TO COME.

HE’S GOING TO SHOUT, “READY!”

OUR JOY AND HOPE IS TO BE PULLED OFF THIS EARTH TO GO TO BE WITH JESUS IN THE FATHER’S HOUSE.

FOR SEVEN YEARS WE WILL BE IN THE FATHER’S HOUSE WHILE THE TRIBULATION IS RAGING HERE ON THE EARTH.

AT THE END OF THE SEVEN YEARS, THE BIBLE TELLS US WE WILL COME BACK TO THE EARTH FROM HEAVEN AT THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON AND WATCH AS YESHUA, THE LAMB OF GOD, DEFEATS THE NATIONS AT THE BATTLE OF MEGIDDO.

GLORY TO GOD!  WE ARE HIS, WE ARE THE KALLAH … WE ARE THE BRIDE!  

Selah.

(Extracted from What’s Next on God’s Calendar (The Rapture of the Church) by Dr. Rob Lindsted, Milk & Honey Ministries, Bel Aire, Kansas.

THE WEDDING GARMENT

THE WEDDING GARMENT

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“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God;

for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation,

He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,

as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments,

and as a bride adorns herself with jewels.”

(Isaiah 61:10)

Matthew Chapter 22.  Another parable from Yeshua Hamashiach.  This is the parable of the Wedding Feast.

A king goes forth preparing a marriage for his son.  He sends his servants out to those who were invited to the wedding and they would not come.  He sends his servants out again, this time to tell the invited guests about all the wonderful preparations that have been made.  But the invited guests made ‘light of it’ and went their ways.  Some of the invited guests even went so far as to kill some of the king’s servants.  The king hears of this and he is wroth (intensely angry), he immediately sends forth his armies destroying those who murdered his servants and burning up their city.  The king then tells his servants, the wedding is ready, those who were bidden were not worthy, “Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.” (Matthew 22:10).  The servants head out and bring back wedding guests both bad and good, now the wedding is furnished with guests.

When the king arrives to survey the guests, he sees someone who does not have a wedding garment on.  He asks him, “Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?”  The guest was speechless.  Then the king tells his servants to bind the man, hand and foot, take him away and cast him into the outer darkness; where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.  “For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:14)

Did you ever wonder why that man did not have on a wedding garment?  We see from the above parable that all the wedding guests had been brought in off the streets, as the scripture tells us, some good, some bad.  Obviously, if you were on the street and suddenly were invited to a wedding you probably would not have time to find a proper outfit.  So, at some point in this story, the King provided the wedding garments for His guests.  The fact that this man did not have on a wedding garment does not mean he wasn’t invited; rather he chose not to put on a wedding garment.  

This parable was given to us by Yeshua to teach us and possibly warn us.  There are believers who identify with the Kingdom of God externally (in a visible sense); but internally, what comes from their heart (spiritually) reveals whether, in fact, they are clothed with His righteousness.  Refusing to put on a Wedding Garment (the Garment of Righteousness) which Christ offers, means that the individual is insisting that by their own righteousness they are worthy.  

“For they, being ignorant of God’s righteousness,

and going about to establish their own righteousness,

have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.”

(Romans 10:3)

“If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.”

(2nd Corinthians 5:3)

“There is no one righteous, not even one.”(Romans 3:10)
Let’s not be like the ‘invited guests’ who were too busy about their own business to worry about the affairs of God.  Neither should we be like the guest, who did not have on a wedding garment.  Let us not assume that we received this garment automatically when we are born-again.  A wedding garment on a child would be too big.  Instead, we, through our growth in Christ day-by-day, year-by-year are ‘purified’ in a sense so that when we are fitted with the wedding garment it will be a perfect fit.  We do not want to stand naked before Christ, we want to be clothed in His righteousness.  Our prayer is that you will grasp the meaning of the above scriptures.
Selah.      

FREE INDEED!


FREE INDEED!

“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”

(John 8:36)

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Quakers landing on the Shores of the New Land – 1650 

What does freedom mean to you?  I grew up 15 miles outside of the City of Philadelphia.  William Penn named the city Philadelphia for ‘brotherly love’ derived from the Ancient Greek, philos (beloved, dear) and adelphos (brother or brotherly).  Philadelphia is also home of the Liberty Bell and it is where Betsy Ross designed the first American flag.  The Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776 at Independence Hall thus starting the Revolutionary War, the new nation’s fight for freedom from the tyranny of Great Britain.

My father’s parents were Quakers, their relations arriving in North America after fleeing England because of religious persecution.  My mother’s side of the family is Irish.  Her parents, also active in a fight for freedom from England, were members of the Irish Republican Army.  It is my belief that they came to the States because 1) there was a price on their heads, and 2) to raise money for the IRA.  So the principle, the ideal of freedom runs deep in my veins, which, I am sure, molded my values.  Good values, except for the tag-a-longs which included pride, insolence, vanity, not listening to sound advice, and a quick temper.  In other words — Sins of the flesh.  

The word tells us that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).  When Yeshua spoke in John 8:34, telling us that everyone who commited sin was a slave to sin, he was stating a Biblical Truth.  He was not speaking about physical slavery; he was speaking about spiritual slavery.  Bondage is not political, economic, social or even individual (bondage you have put yourself); bondage is our sin, our rebellion against God.

Yeshua was telling the Jewish people hearing him that even though they considered themselves sons of Abraham, they were in reality, slaves of sin.  When Yeshua said, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”  He was saying that only through Him, the Son of God, would the captives to sin (the slaves) be set free.  Those of us who Christ has liberated from the tyranny of sin and the bondage of legalism are genuinely FREE INDEED!

So, dear saints, we thank God for our nation’s Independence, but we should also thank God for our FREEDOM from the bondage of Sin.  What a mighty gift our Heavenly Father gave us when we were born-again, prisoners in darkness set free!  Hallelujah!

Selah.