FIRST-TRUMP#top..........Sound the alarm in Zion..... ...........................

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. A Priest sounds the alarm on a shofar

 

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FANTASIES, FABLES AND TRADITIONS

Hell or High Water

1Blessed 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.2But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. (Ps 1:)



LAW IS FOR THE LAWLESS


"Don't do that, because if you do God will send you to hell."


From a child we have been told that doing something "Bad" will surely get us sent to hell. What "Bad" is changes from person to person, and from church to church, and from year to year. As I have said before, when I was a kid "Bad" was missing Sunday School or chewing gum in church. Now it's..... Come to think of it, I guess there isn't much you can do to get sent to hell in most churches. In fact, in some churches (and getting more so) the examples being set by the Pastors and Elders are that of "anything goes." For starters, look at the Catholic and Lutheran church. I realize it's only a seed, but watch it grow.

But setting aside the "anything goes," since it might be a year or two before such an attitudes invades all the churches, I will speak as if churches were still following the Gospel.


GOD THE TERRIBLE, GOD THE LOVING


"Don't do that, because if you do God will send you to hell and burn you alive for ever and ever."


Yesterday I was listening to a sermon on the radio by a highly respected and influential preacher. I couldn't believe what I was hearing! He was saying that God was upset with Moses because Moses had misrepresented Him to the people. He said Moses portrayed God as being angry with the Israelites when he struck the rock for water. He said that, in fact God is a loving God and was not angry with His people.

I suspect this preacher has a Bible with many pages missing.

My Bible tells me that God is a "Fearsome" God. My Bible tells me that God was so angry with His creation (man) that He drowned all but eight of them. My Bible tells me that God wiped out hundreds during Korah's Rebellion along with others. My Bible tells me that God was so angry with His people that He told Moses He was going to wipe them all out and start over with him. My Bible says that God let millions die out in the wilderness that He led them into. My Bible tells me that God was going to use the Israelites to wipe out all the Amorites and the Canaanites. My Bible tells me that God is so angry with Man that coming up soon He is going to "spill His Wrath" upon all the earth and wipe everyone (nearly) out.

That's what my Bible says, what does your Bible say?


Is God an angry God? I would have to say that He is, as I read my Bible. I would say He is angry, and that He has every right to be angry. God does everything He can for His people, who then turns around and disrespect Him, denies Him, and demands from Him. Who would do such a thing to God? Me for one. And unless you are one out of millions, you as well.


This is God's creation. We are God's creation. God can do as He likes with what is His. We tend to forget this, and even deny it. But like fire, we can forget and deny that it burns, but that doesn't prevent the fire from burning us.


There are some preachers I have heard, the one mentioned above included, who have stated that in the past (the Old Testament) God was angry. But because Jesus died for all the sins of the World, He is no longer angry.

What! I say? God sends His only Son to us to receive that which He is due, and to bring His own to repentance - and we kill Him.... and so now He is no longer angry? Does that make sense? God's first creations, His first Son if you will, eats an apple and brings the Wrath of God upon all the earth; then when that first Son (mankind) kills His only Perfect Son, God is no longer angry? Come on now! Who are we trying to kid?


Is this what you have been taught? Is this what you believe? Then don't read the book of Revelation, or Isaiah, or Ezekiel, or any of the other books of the Bible that speak of the End Times, because it might confuse you, and that would never do. In those prophetic books God speaks of the terrible Wrath He will send upon this earth, a Wrath that will make Noah's flood look like a gentle shower.

I don't know how you read the Bible, but that does not sound like God has been appeased one tiny bit.

It sounds to me like Adam's sin may be covered, but ours certainly have not!


God is angry, God is Wrathful. Denying God's anger is just one more Fable we human's use to deceive ourselves. The World just denies God's existance, or at least claims that if He exists, He is no longer interested in our affairs. This allows the World to sleep at night.

As a Christian, we are not allowed to deny God, so we must find other means by which we may pacify ourselves whereby we may sleep, yet still do whatever we want without fear of punishment. A child can say to himself (or children to each other) that Papa won't care if he uses a ball-peen hammer on the fender of Papa's new Mercedes. But when Papa comes home and appears at the garage door....!?


Papa's coming back home some day soon, and I've got the feeling there's going to be a lot of mouths drop in desperate fear as they stand before Him with their little hammer in their hand.


God is an angry God. God is a vengeful God. And if you are being taught otherwise, and are listening to such teaching and resting on the credibility of that teaching, I hope for your sake that you are right and I am wrong. But if my Bible is right, when Papa comes home, you can point at your Sunday School teacher in effort to pass the blame for your misdeeds; but don't point at me, because I'm telling you loud and clear what my Bible says.


God is an angry God. God is a Loving God. How can that be?

Theologians and preachers through the ages have wrestled with this dilemma. And since they can not reconcile these opposites, they make up Fairy Tales to try and compensate for the apparent discrepancy.

There is no discrepancy, and there is no conflict. The problem is not with God. The problem is not with the Bible or even in the translation of the Bible. No, the problem is with us.

It is natural for us, that is we humans, to try and conceal our ignorance. God calls this "Foolishness," and He says that foolishness is a sin. But rather than reveal our ignorance to our fellow man, we display our foolishness to God.


I have said over and over - you can't read the Bible as "Either--Or," but as "And." If you read that God is angry or loving, you end up with an irreconcilable conflict. But if you read that God is angry and loving, you have a perfectly understandable picture of God.

Papa comes home and finds Junior with a ball-peen hammer in his hand and a fender that looks like a golf ball. Papa is wrathful, and Junior is red on the rear-end.

Papa comes home and finds Junior with a rag in his hand and a bucket of water by his side, and the fender of his car bright and clean. Is Papa angry? Of course not. And Junior gets a big loving hug from Papa.


So is Papa an angry Papa? or a loving Papa?


"Don't do that, because if you do God will send you to hell and burn you alive for ever and ever."


"God will send you to hell to burn for ever and ever." That doesn't sound very "Loving" does it.? Nor does it sound very fair. In fact, it makes no sense at all for God to go to all the trouble He has gone through to create us for just a very brief moment in time, then to spend the rest of Eternity having to put up with the stench of our burning bodies. Have you ever smelled burning flesh?

Besides the reason above, it would seem to me only fair that if God was going to give such harsh and extreme punishment for even slight disobediences that He would have told us so in plain language, and often. But instead all God said is that man (Adam) would return back to dust, and did not even mention a fiery pit, leastwise one that burns for ever and ever. And, in fact, such a concept wasn't even hinted at until 4,000 years after Adam. That doesn't sound very fair to those who were born and died during that period of time. And even then, after Abraham, it was over 400 years until the laws were given, and then to just a few selected people God chose as His own. And the Bible tells us that without the law, there is no sin. You can't disobey an order (sin) you never received.


"Don't do that, because if you do God will send you to hell and burn you alive for ever and ever."


How often have you heard this? Would a hundred times be much of an overstatement? Have you ever questioned this statement? Chances are you haven't because it has been taught as fact from your youth. And if this is the case, how can we blame those who have learned that God does not exist and we all came from bugs that they have been taught since birth?

We are all gullible, and so easily deceived. And there are many deceivers waiting to deceive - both intentionally and those innocently, having been deceived themselves.


Will God send us to hell? Yes, He has said so, and He has made it perfectly clear in the Gospels. Is hell punishment for our sins? No, it's punishment for Adam's sins. It doesn't sound fair that everyone should have to suffer for the sins of another. But death is a part of life. Those who have lived, will have to die. This is what God told Adam.

What has been added that we didn't know before is the Judgement and the Second Death. Adam and Eve were judged for their own actions, their own disobedience. Their sentence was death, which they were clearly warned would be the outcome of the only "law" they had been given.

Adam and Eve died. It was over 900 years later, but they returned to dust. 900 years does not sound like "On the day you sin," but none the less they did die. What did happen "On the Day" they sinned? They were kicked out of Heaven (the Garden) and sent out of the presence of God. If you have ever felt that loss of the presence of God, which is nothing near the extent that Adam and Eve must have had (as well as Jesus), then you have just a smidgin of understanding what it must have been like for Adam and Eve. And along with that, just a tiny taste of what it must have been like for Jesus to hang on the cross while His Father, who He had never been out of the presence of, turned His face from Him as He bore the sins of the world.


We are all bound for hell, destruction. Like clay pots we will be examined for quality, and only those acceptable will be retained. The rest will be thrown in a pit.

What makes for a quality pot? Good works? No, the Bible makes it abundantly clear that our works are useless. Our good works are like a pot trying to mold itself. The pot, besides having neither the skill nor the materials, has no knowledge of what the Creator wants the pot to be. It would be like the child in the illustration above, trying to reshape the new Mercedes into what he thinks the car should look like, which is what he was doing.

We are all going to hell, that is unavoidable. Hell meaning the grave, dust.

But the pit, that is the second death, is avoidable to a selected few. Who are those selected few? Some are "Chosen vessels" such as the Disciples and Paul. We have Scripture indicating that they were chosen, and did not choose their destiny. And Paul was on the fast track to hell when he was slapped to the ground and chosen.

For the rest of us, we are offered a thread of hope, a golden opportunity which has been presented to us by the phrase; "Whosoever Will" that has been repeated several times in the Bible.

Unfortunately for most of those who cling to the hope of "Whosoever Will" they have have only placed their hand on the thread (and many have withdrawn their hand having been taught it is ok) and have been kept from climbing it because their church teaches that works (climbing) is a no-no.


God is looking for good climbers. Anyone who takes hold of the tread and begins their climb God gives a Helper in the form of the Holy Spirit. But when it is all said and done, this world of sin, of works - and the thread as well, will all pass away in a big ball of fire. Those who are climbing will be yanked out of the fire when the thread is withdrawn. Those who are doubtful, are hesitant, those who refuse to climb or to receive the Helper, and those who look back like Lot's wife will be consumed by the destruction.


[ I see the picture, and it is all too clear. Yet the churches do not see the picture and are leading their people astray. I don't know what to do about this situation except to cry out over the web with these pages and studies in hopes that some one has their Spiritual ears opened and will listen.]

Is God and angry God? Yes He is.

Is God a loving God? Yes He is.

The question is not if God is angry or loving. Nor has it ever been.

The question that must be asked is; are you a loving, obedient child of God? Are you the child with a cleaning rag in you hand that will receive the love of God? Or are you the child with a hammer in his hand fearing the wrath of God?

Or, are you a church member who thinks they are a child of God, but in fact are merely an illegitimate son being mollycoddled by your church?

[ I have left out a lot of Scripture and evidence in this article. If you would like to see these, read the study Road to Hell and other such studies as they are completed.]


WHO IS THE BIBLE WRITTEN TO?


"Don't do that, because if you do God will send you to hell and burn you alive for ever and ever."

If you were to write a letter to one of your children saying; "Son (or daughter), when I, your father, get home I will take you out and buy you a great big ice cream." Then years later, I find the letter and take it to you and say: "Take me out and buy me the ice cream you promised me in this letter." Would you feel honor-bound to fulfill my request?

Of course not. Although I may hold your promise in my hand, and the promise was made in earnest - the promise was not made to me no matter how much hope I place in it or how much faith I had in you or your promises.

We do this all the time. From the pulpit, and in commentaries, promises that were made to the Israelites - the faithful and obedient Israelites are grabbed by us and the Ministry and applied to our heads like anointing oil.

And promises that were made to the loyal Apostles that were devoting their lives to the spread of God's Word are slithered down and applied to the barely "Christianized" Couch Potato who occasionally watches a sermon on TV, if there is nothing else to watch.

Yet the warnings and the condemnations are either ignored, or if noticed at all, are applied to the "other guy" whoever that might be, never to our selves.

And the "If"s of the Bible, the conditions are treated like parsley on the plate of goodies, hardly noticed and avoided.


The Old Testament was a letter to the Jews - God's People. It was written to a people God chose to be His own. Like the Apostles, the Jews did not seek God, He sought them.

God brought the Jews out of slavery, out of bondage - just as He has those of us who have chosen to follow Jesus into the wilderness. If it were just a matter of God doing the choosing and the calling, they (and we) could not be held responsible if we had no choice in the choosing. But over and over the Jews would promise to follow and obey God, then they would rebel and begin their murmuring and complaining and wanting to turn back. God would punish them harshly; the Jews would repent and once again promise to be good children - and again they would fall away (backslide) until God finally turned His back on them.

It's the same in this day and age with the Church. What applied to the Jews, now applies to us. Yet we are taught that we are different. We are taught that God is different. I guess those who teach this have not read the book of Hebrews, especially chapter 13 where Paul says:


7Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. 8Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. 9Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace;


Somehow we get the idea that God no longer cares if His people murmur and complain and backslide. We think that God is so desperate to get people on His side that He will allow us to do anything we want, just as long as we call ourselves "Christian."

Oh yeah? Well, maybe they are right. We shall see what we shall see at Judgment. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15).


Some call the Bible a "Love Letter." If it is a love letter, I would hate to see what Hate mail would look like! The Old Testament is almost nothing but laws, and failures, and condemnation for those failures. And a great deal of the Old Testament comprises warning in the form of prophesies of what would happen if the "Bride" didn't straighten up her act.


Of course one could say that the Old Testament was also to the Canaanites and the Amorites and the Egyptians and the Babylonians, etc, etc. One could say that, but the only message to any of these is; "Get ready for the slaughter, because your goose is cooked." Very rarely did it say to do the right thing, because the "right thing" was the laws, and the laws were only for the Jews. And if there happened to be a sentence or two in the Old Testament about being "saved," it was only a temporary salvation of the nation or the flesh - not of the soul.


The New Testament is no different. Although the New Testament is intended for all nationalities, not to the Jew only, it is not to the World. The only message to the World is that the World and all its works (and people) are doomed to a fiery end. All the rules and the promises and the warnings are not to the World. If the World wishes to claim anything of the Scriptures for themselves, they may claim "Whosoever Will," and come to the Lord in total repentant submission. From that point on, all the Bible applies to them - the blessings and the warnings and conditions.


Earlier I said to understand the Bible you must read; "Either - And." And that is true. But there are some places where this does not apply, one of these being in the realm of choice. Jesus did not say: "You are with Me and against Me." Instead He said: "Or against Me." We can't ride the fence. We must either climb all the way on one side or the other. (Rev 3:16)


This is not the message we hear from the pulpit.


TURNING BACK


"By Grace are you saved, and not by Works."

Have you ever heard this before? If you don't hear it from your pulpit there's a good chance you belong to what is called a "Cult," being told you are trying to "Work" your way to Heaven.


And before I start getting hate mail from preachers, I know full well we can't work our way to Heaven. All our works are as filthy rags. My efforts are not to advocate works in any way. Works are worthless from the get-go. My intent is to show that Grace is the Door. Grace is what allows us to enter into God's will and blessings for us. But Grace Alone will only leave you with a sore foot when the Door is slammed on it like with the five foolish virgins and the many who were told; "I never knew you" at the Judgment.


"There's no turning back," you are told. Once you have said "I do" to Jesus He is committed to taking you in regardless of how rotten a person you become afterwards. The "Backslidden" are called "Carnal Christians," but "Saved" Christians none the less.

Are you resting on that hope?

Take a look at God's first love, His first people - the Israelites.

God brought the Israelites out of Egypt and supplied them with all their needs, and made promises to them of a wondrous land.

Many, if not almost all the Israelites wanted to turn back. And when it came to entering into the Promises of God, they were fearful and wouldn't obey. "That's ok," God said to them. "Because I love you so much I'll bring you into my Promises anyway, in spite of the terrible way you treat me."

Is that what God said? Not in my Bible He didn't. But apparently there are a lot of Bibles given to preachers where it does say that, because that is what they are preaching.

In the wilderness, which is where we are at this time - between Egypt (the World) and the Promised Land (Heaven and Eternity) - the Israelites could have turned back if they chose to. Of course to do so would have meant death in the wilderness, or death at the hands of the Egyptians if they made it back. But God only brought those into His promised land who were ready to fight, who were conditioned, who had on their full armor and knew how to use it. Only those Israelites who had learned from their experience in the wilderness to listen to God, which they learned this by falling and getting back up, thereby having faith in God - these saw the Promises offered to their rebellious parents.


Are you Couch Potato Christians listening?

Are you riders of the fence experiencing any uneasiness?

Are you preachers of: "Have it and do nothing" feeling any prick of conscience?


The Bible is written to those who have "Spiritual Ears," that is those who are led by the Holy Spirit. It is not written to those who are uncommitted, or those playing church, or for the unsaved. These will either ignore the Bible altogether, or they will read into it the "Easy Path" that is being preached, or the "Work your way to Heaven" message -- the both of which roads lead to the same pit.


If you don't have the Holy Spirit, then the Bible is not intended for you. If you do have the Holy Spirit, and you are being led by Him, then the Bible is merely a road map showing signposts along the way which you will recognize as part of your life, that is contrary to how you would have been without the Holy Spirit.

The Bible will be, not a set of rules as it is to the World, but a report card showing you what you are doing well, and pointing out areas which must be presented up to the Lord for pruning and further growth.


CHALLENGES


You have been given a choice of two schools at which to further your education and prepare you for your future.

The first school has a board consisting of top-rated instructors and a highly successful athletic record. It is listed high amongst accredited schools, and the tuition is quite reasonable. In addition you discover as you study their application that you are guaranteed to receive top grades and a Diploma comparable to any of the top schools in your field of interest. The school also promises you that you will have to do nothing but pay the tuition and attend classes occasionally. Nothing more will be required of you.

The second school, which is much more expensive and time consuming, promises you the strictest of rules, requires that you maintain a straight "A" average, will provide you with excessive amounts of homework - and states you will receive the same benefits and degree at graduation as the first school.

Which school do you choose?

Which would benefit you most?

Which would you trust?


Here is another.

Your country has required you to enlist for Military duty. They have given you two options, that is, two units have an opening that need to be filled.

The first unit is rather loose in its discipline, allowing the soldiers to dress how they wish, to obey only those orders that appeals to them, provides good food and a large screen TV that you may watch any time you desire. This unit does not require that you learn how to use any weapons of warfare, nor stresses any form of exercise, and yet it promises rapid promotion within its ranks. And though the program is loosely applied, the unit is not exempt from combat duty.

The other unit has the hardest drill Sargent in the armed services, it demands absolute obedience and discipline, it has a reputation for serving the worst food of any unit, and it demands that you not only learn to use every weapon available, but that you keep your personal weapon spotless and at your side at all times.

Which unit do you join?

Which unit will you feel the safest with should your unit be called to battle?


Here's another.

You (I'm using a man for this example, but it could be either gender) have two ladies vying for your attention. The first is not only beautiful and stately, but quite intelligent as well. This girl is very popular and highly respected by all her acquaintances. Everyone tells you she is the most sought after prospect for marriage of any in your state. This girl is also quite loose with her affections, and tells you that if you marry her you won't have to worry about being faithful to her because she fully intends to live her life just as if she wasn't married at all.

The other girl is rather slovenly, is not particularly attractive, and because of her firm beliefs and convictions she is not particularly popular. This girl has shown you that she is dependable, and by her family's example you know she will be a faithful wife and a good, though strict, mother.

Which do you chose?


Have you given any thought to these questions? If so, have you learned anything about yourself by the answers that you gave?


The above was a test of your carnal discernment. Now let me present a test of your Spiritual maturity.


When you read the Bible, assuming you pay close attention to its condemnations and conditions - do you find there are parts you have to ignore, or assume they mean something different than what they say? If you find you are unable to dismiss them in this fashion, do you tell yourself that these parts are not meant for you but for others, that is, unconverted sinners?

Do you find chunks of Scripture that seem out of place and disconnected, and perhaps often contradictory and even unbelievable at times? Do you find that you are relieved when your Sunday School teacher, Pastor or some commentary explains these in such a way that, though they still do not fit jointly together, they at least appear to have an explanation that the experts seem to understand?

Or.

Do you find yourself nodding your head with understanding when you come across passages of Scripture that appear confusing or condemning? Do you apply these judgements and condemnations to yourself as either a problem the Holy Spirit has overcome in you, or problems you recognize as something that needs offered up to the Lord in order that He might prune them from your life? Do you find you can claim the human failings presented as your own, and thereby also claim the promises of God as well?


How did you do on this Spirituality test? Are you pleased with your answers? Or have you found yourself condemning the very ground I walk on to even think such an outlandish test has any credibility?

If this is the case, just take this page to any Sunday School teacher or Pastor and I have no doubt they will fully confirm your conviction that I have the Scriptures all tangled up and confused. And if you have any doubts at all, please do have my opinion obliterated from your thoughts. I want you to sleep well tonight.


For those of you who are either finding this article interesting, or if you are just plain masochistic, here is another test - a Scripture Awareness test. For this study I am using the fifteenth chapter of John.


John 15

1I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

9As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 10If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. 11These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. 12This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 13Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. 15Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. 16Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. 17These things I command you, that ye love one another.

18If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. 21But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me. 22If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin. 23He that hateth me hateth my Father also. 24If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. 25But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.

26But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: 27And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.


Did you spot the conditions? Did you see the "If"s, or did you just see the promises and take them for yourself as you are taught to do in church?

Did you see the words: "Abide in Me"? Jesus used that phrase several times in this chapter. I wonder what He meant by that? Did you notice what will happen if a person doesn't abide in Jesus? Fire? Burn? I wonder what He meant?


"Even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love."


I would suppose that if there was any doubt as to what Jesus meant, that doubt should be cleared up when we consider how Jesus "Abided" in His Father's love, shouldn't it?


Do you pray: "Our Father who art in Heaven....."?

Do you think you can rightly do that without abiding in God's love as Jesus did?


"This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you"


Jesus told the Pharisee that there were two Commandments he must follow. One of these was to love the Father with all his heart.

Here Jesus is telling His disciples (are you a disciple? If not, then none of this applies to you anyway - right?) that they should love one another as He loved them. How did He love them (His disciples)? He gave His life for them. Are you ready to "Love one another" as Jesus did? I know, you have been told that the New Testament obliterated all the commandments. But apparently Jesus didn't get the message because here He is giving a Commandment, which He repeated twice. And this Commandment requires a great deal of sacrifice it seems to me.


"But I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. 16Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit,"


We sing: "What a friend we have in Jesus." Do we? I see here that Jesus has been calling His disciples, even the twelve, "servants." Now, the Twelve, He is allowing to call Him "friend" because they had been with Him from the beginning, and had heard all He had to say.

Do you call Jesus "Friend"? Did you follow Jesus from the beginning and hear all He had to say?

I didn't. In fact I am so far from being a "friend" by my behavior that I couldn't possibly call Him "Friend." Some day I hope to, but for now, and maybe forever, I will call Him "Lord and Master."

As for hearing what Jesus had to say, I have his Scriptures for that. Of course there is no way I can understand His Words - except for the promise He made to the Twelve that I find also applies to us in that we, too, can receive the Holy Spirit Who will instruct us of the Word's meanings.


"therefore the world hateth you"


Here is another promise Jesus made to His disciples (again, to us as well if we are in fact His disciples). Did Jesus really mean "Hate," and "Persecuted"?

That's hard to say off hand. I mean, we pampered Christians in a free country do not feel so persecuted and hated for our beliefs - yet. But in other countries around the globe (and in times past) that certainly is the case. Did those to whom Jesus was speaking have to endure Hatred or Persecution? If you are spending the time reading this far into what I have to say, I have no doubt you have read what happened to the Apostles. The very same thing that happened to Jesus.

And the very same thing that happened to the early Christians, and will happen to Christians during the Tribulation.

I know, I know - you have been assured by your Sunday School teacher that you will be yanked off your couch so quickly you won't even have time to turn off your TV or put down your bag of potato chips. But those poor souls who are dedicated and loyal to Jesus to the end even through great tribulation won't have that privilege. So we must consider them, mustn't we?


"I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit."


God is going to "purge" those branches that don't bear enough fruit. Now I know you are thinking (or should I say "assume") Jesus is here talking about those old dead branches that don't bear any fruit. Is that so? No, Jesus said that those old dead branches will be burned. (1Cor 3:15)

But of course Jesus meant those old unconverted sinners, did He not?

I don't know about your Bible, but my Bible says Jesus was talking to His disciples!

So those branches that don't bear enough fruit will be "purged." Have you ever wondered what "Purged" means? According to the Greek it means to cleanse, or more specifically, to "Prune." Anyone who has watched a tree be pruned knows what that means. If not, then think of "amputate."

Sound like fun? Jesus said in Luke chapter 14 that anyone who wishes to be His disciple should first count the cost. I wonder how many have been told that the "cost" Jesus was talking about was not only giving up their potato chips (oops, I forgot, we no longer have to give up anything do we), but also be pruned, and hated, and possibly even have to surrender their life!?


Now, I highly suspect you either already knew just what I was going to say, and had already read this chapter just as I described it; or you know what it says, and that it means something entirely different than what I "read into it."


Psalm 1

1 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.

2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

3 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.

4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.


1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. (Rom 8:)


21Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Put your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat flesh. 22For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices: 23But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you. 24But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward. 25Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them: 26Yet they hearkened not unto me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck: they did worse than their fathers. 27Therefore thou shalt speak all these words unto them; but they will not hearken to thee: thou shalt also call unto them; but they will not answer thee. 28But thou shalt say unto them, This is a nation that obeyeth not the voice of the LORD their God, nor receiveth correction: truth is perished, and is cut off from their mouth. (Jer 7:)


1The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.

2Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. 3The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. 4Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. 5Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. 6From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment. 7Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers. 8And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. 9Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.

10Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. 11To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. 12When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? 13Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. 14Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. 15And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.

16Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; 17Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. 18Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. 19If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: 20But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. (Isa 1:)


18They have not known nor understood: for he hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; and their hearts, that they cannot understand. 19And none considereth in his heart, neither is there knowledge nor understanding to say, I have burned part of it in the fire; yea, also I have baken bread upon the coals thereof; I have roasted flesh, and eaten it: and shall I make the residue thereof an abomination? shall I fall down to the stock of a tree? 20He feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?

21Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou art my servant: I have formed thee; thou art my servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me. 22I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee. (Isa 44:)


6Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: 7Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 11So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. 12For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. 13Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off. (Isa 55:)


1Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: 2But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. 3For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness. 4None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity. 5They hatch cockatrice' eggs, and weave the spider's web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper. 6Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works: their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands. 7Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths. 8The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace.

9Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness. 10We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noonday as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men. 11We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves: we look for judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far off from us. 12For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them; 13In transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood. 14And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. 15Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment. (Isa 59:)


1Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence, 2As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence! 3When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence. 4For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him. 5Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways: behold, thou art wroth; for we have sinned: in those is continuance, and we shall be saved.

6But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. 7And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities. 8But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. 9Be not wroth very sore, O LORD, neither remember iniquity for ever: behold, see, we beseech thee, we are all thy people. 10Thy holy cities are a wilderness, Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation. 11Our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised thee, is burned up with fire: and all our pleasant things are laid waste. 12Wilt thou refrain thyself for these things, O LORD? wilt thou hold thy peace, and afflict us very sore? (Isa 64:)


14And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; 15I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 17Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 18I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 19As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 20Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. 21To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. 22He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. (Rev 3:)


9And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be? 10And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. 11Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. 13They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. 14And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. 15But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience. 16No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light. 17For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad. 18Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have. (Luke 8:)


11For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. 14If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. (1Cor 3:)


3For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, 4In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 6Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? (1Cor 5:)


 

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