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


. A Priest sounds the alarm on a shofar




25Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. 26Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. (Mat 23:25-26)

Upside-Down, Inside-Out, This Side Up; No matter what it is, we humans will get it wrong. And, of course, the last thing we do is the thing we should do first - such as: Read the Instructions.

Each age of Man thinks they have it right, and that all other ages were ignorant and too stupid to have figured things out the way "Modern Man" can. Take for instance how everyone knew the world was flat; And how only an ignoramus didn't know that the Sun and the Moon were gods flying through the air, and that these gods (a multitude of them) needed human sacrifice of some innocent soul to quench its anger and give up the rain, or whatever other source that particular god had power over.

Then there have been many periods of time in which a certain ruler of a nation declared himself as god - and the world bowed their head to him - or lost it. We look back at such a thing and consider it ludicrous, although that same thing is still happening in many countries today.

Ancient man looked up at the sky and tried to make sense of the Universe that revolved around the earth - and everybody knew that the earth was at the center of creation. And everybody knew that everything was created. Yes, this tiny speck that is nothing but a blink of a moment called Man knew there must be something more to life than himself, and he tried to understand and appease whatever that "something else" might be.

Mankind tried to rise above himself and see the world for what it was - and failed miserably.

There were a few brilliant people who, as we look back, came very close, if not right on. But since their findings did not fit the doctrines of the "church" of the day, they were quickly quieted - usually with a sword.

Modern Man is too smart for such foolishness, and mocks the wisdom (and even the History) of the past. Modern Man knows that the world is not only round, but just a tiny, tiny speck in the whole scheme of things.

And he knows that the earth is not the center of all things as Ancients believed. Of course not - it's a tiny, tiny speck on the tiny, tiny earth called Man that only lives a tiny, tiny moment that is the center of everything.

And Modern Man knows that those balls of lights up in the sky are not gods; of course not - they're huge balls of burning gases that just materialized out of nothing and cast out smaller balls, one of which we just happened to evolve from a bug upon. Why, anyone with a brain can figure that out. Why, the very idea that anyone in this day and age of enlightenment can believe that there is such a thing as a God. Why, it's preposterous.

I consider myself very blessed and privileged to be one of the Ignorant Fools who believes in God. I have a feeling that it won't be long until those who believe as I do will be put to the test, and to the sword (as they already are in many other countries) for their beliefs.

But Mythology is not the subject of this study. Mythology has only been presented as one example of how we humans do everything backwards and can get it wrong if given any kind of a choice at all.

Think of Adam and Eve - two humans with but one decision; the Tree of Life, or the Tree of Death. Wouldn't you think one of them might have thought the Tree of Life more appealing? The fruit of the Tree of Death was apparently appealing; what did the fruit of the Tree of Life look like? Surely Eternal Life must have appealed to them. But of course, they were young, and the young rarely think of such far off things as life or death. Come to think of it, there was no Death for them as long as they left the Bad Tree alone (which, of course, they couldn't, no more than we can today - still hungering for illicit knowledge which we distort and confound).

I have the feeling that the Fruit of the Tree of life did not appeal at all to our first Ancestors. I have a suspicion that it was very similar to Fruit of Salvation that Jesus encountered, and said that all who wish to spend Eternal Life with Him in the Garden of Eden must also partake - and that is to completely rid our self of ego and pride, be others oriented, and to stay just as far away from all that the Tree of Death offers as we possibly can.

We don't like to hear that we "Can't" do something we desire to do. We discover this with the first whining noises we make after birth. It runs contrary to all we are, and it is a hard uphill climb that few ever choose to tackle. And in a day and age like this one where Heaven is either none-existent at worst, or obtained with a simple prayer at best; why should anyone bother with the climb?

Jesus and the Apostles gave us a hundred "Don'ts" for every "Do," but our ability to tunnel-vision allows us to completely ignore the negatives, and focus only on the positive - that is, the "Fruit" which appeals to us.

Unfortunately for us, but fortunately for God and the Garden (Heaven), Mankind will be judged by the "Don'ts" of God's Word, not only the admonitions we chose to accept.

Adam and Eve were foolish at best, and lost everything. The pre-flood people were wicked at best, and lost everything as well. The "Best of the Best" during the time of Jesus and the Apostles hid the Truth they were entrusted with so that it was unrecognizable to the point that they killed the One who was Truth.

Then, before the Apostles could even get a foothold in establishing the Church, they had to battle against those who had no idea about what was being taught, coming in and trying to dictate what the "Truth" was.

Then the Catholic church of the Middle and Dark ages took over and completely distorted and confused what wasn't completely hidden of the Word that remained.

But we're beyond that now. We have the "Truth," pure and simple. Aren't we lucky.

Again, here is a case of Modern Man thinking he is too smart for his own good. If it were so that we now had "Truth," why are there a million variations of that "Truth," often diametrically opposed to one another?

"Look at this verse!" one will say. "No!" Another responds, "You look at this verse!" and if you can't find a verse to support your belief - rewrite the Bible.

In my opinion, those people that the devil can't capture for hell, the World will direct his way. And those the World can't direct, the church will confuse and at best stand at the Narrow Gate blocking its entrance.

And the Church, the World and the Devil are not what this study is about either. No, this study is about the Holy Spirit, believe it or not. And it is about the preparing of yourself (me too) for Heaven.

How do we prepare ourself to meet the Lord? According to most of the churches of today, we don't have to do anything, as long as we have recited the Sinner's Prayer. Well, I won't go into my feelings on that, I've done plenty of that elsewhere.

But let's say that you don't feel comfortable sitting in that hard pew where you are told you are secure, and want to get up and serve the Lord as the Bible commands you to do (PS. Don't show this to your pastor, he's likely to start accusing you of becoming one of those cult members who feel they have to Work their way to heaven).

So the first thing you do is start making a mental list of all the things you do that you consider as Sin, and you attack each of these, pruning them from your life like the Bible tells you to do.

It isn't easy, is it? You find that when you quit smoking, you're jumping on the kids and your spouse for no reason. When you give up TV, you fill in the time eating and putting on weight. And the good deeds you do, often cause rejection at worse, and unappreciativeness at best.

"This isn't working," you say. And your right! What you are now doing is just what your pastor accused you of - you are trying to Work your way to Heaven. You are trying to "Do what is right in your own eyes," thinking you are doing God's will. [Judges 21:25]

What you are doing is trying to whitewash a tomb of dead bones. At best, all you will end up with is a pretty grave.

You can't work your way to Heaven!

So then, what must you do? You know there's more to being a Christian then sitting in church, or even being a pastor of a church. But what is that difference? Doesn't the Bible say that we are to prune off those things in our life that are not fit for Heaven?


What the Bible says is that GOD will prune off those things He won't accept in Heaven. What God requires of you is three things, with one thing added. And He gave you signs to indicate if you are fulfilling your part of the "bargain," which are called Fruits of the Spirit." [John 15:1-15] [Gal 5:22-26]

First, you have to REPENT. The first step of that repentance was the Sinner's Prayer where you offered up your sins (And your life as well, though very few people actually go that far, or any father than that initial prayer). And though you might hear that you are no longer to even mention sin in your life, and that you are now forever saved - Jesus apparently never heard that wise doctrine because He said:

27Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. 30For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. 31For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. (1Cor 11:)

9After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11Give us this day our daily bread. 12And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. 14For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Mat 6:)

This is a sample prayer that we are to do often - which includes remembering our debts, which means Sins in God's eyes.

He also said to forgive others if we wish to be forgiven. Check this passage of Scripture out:

3Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. 4And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him. (Luke 17:)

What God expects us to do is that which He does Himself. We are to forgive if they repent, which means to change their mind and turn away from that which they were doing. And Repentance also means that we agree that what we did was wrong - a very important aspect of repentance.

[As a footnote; who is it that might have to come to you over and over to ask for forgiveness, yet will continually offend you? Some examples might be an alcoholic, or someone with another habit that they just can't seem to quit no matter how earnestly they try; Much like our effort to prune sins from our own life as pictured above.]

Notice that repentance is expected each time - not just once then forget it. We were created in God' image, and therefore we know what God is like. If we doubt that, then we have Jesus as an example of what God is like. And except for some extraordinary abilities and attitudes, He was like we are.

I would expect that if a person came to me asking for forgiveness, though it be over and over again, that they confess their wrong, and at least indicate that they repent and are trying to change.

Speaking of confession:

8If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1John 1:)

"If we confess our sins."

I know there are popular preachers out there who say that God is insulted if we continually confess our sins and ask for forgiveness, since Jesus died for the forgiveness of all sins. I have said before what I think of the doctrines of men, but even if those who say such things are right, I would expect that someone wanting my forgiveness, ask for it. And if God said somewhere that He did not want us to confess our sins (which I can't find), I would at least thank Him over and over for that forgiveness that He had given.

Notice also the verse says if we say we have not sinned, then we make God a liar. If your child, which we all are in God's eyes, were to take something from you and didn't even bother to tell you about it - wouldn't you call that a lie by omission?

Here is another verse of Scripture which shows that those above are not just flukes, and which leads into step two of our search:

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:)

"Hear My Voice." What does that mean? Does it mean that Jesus Himself is calling us? Did you ever hear His voice" the Apostles did, even Paul after Jesus was dead and resurrected in Heaven did. But how about you and me?

1In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. (Gen 1:)

In the beginning the Holy Spirit was on earth, even before Jesus. And here He is doing His job before there was any life on this earth.

What is the job of the Holy Spirit? He is refered to often in the Bible, and Jesus especially stressed His importance.

32And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. (John 12:)

Jesus said this, but how did He plan to accomplish it?

7Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, (John 16:)

So it appears that it is the Holy Ghost's job to do the drawing to Jesus. Perhaps that is what He was waiting to do all those thousands of years.

What else might the Holy Spirit do?

3Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? 5Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. (John 3:)

Well, how about that? Without the Holy Spirit, we are not Born Again Christians! I wonder why we don't hear more about that?

13Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

14And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another. 15Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God, 16That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost. (Rom 15:)

Here we have our Peace and our Joy - and not only that, but it appears our Sanctification (that means to be made Holy, which we must have in order to approach God) comes from the Holy Spirit as well.

12I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. 14He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. 15All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you. (John 16:)

So even our understanding of the Word and what God wants to tell us comes through the Holy Spirit. Have you been having trouble understanding what the Bible is saying, or have you ever wondered if you were hearing from God?

26Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. 28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.(Rom 8:)

20But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, 21Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. (Jude 20:)

And apparently He does the praying for us. How has your prayer life been? I know that I could really tell the difference when the Holy Spirit began doing the praying. It was obvious that He had a connection with the Father that I did not have, and in fact I was standing in His way while I was quenching Him all those wasted years.

16This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 19Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, (Gal 5:)

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:)

Pretty strong statements, wouldn't you say? I wonder why we don't hear more about the Holy Spirit? I'll bet I've already asked that question haven't I? And I'll bet I ask it a time or two again.

By the verses above it would appear that trying to rid our self of habits and sins and attitudes on our own would be impossible. We need God's help. And the way He supplies that help is through the Holy Spirit - which supposedly we received when we said the Sinner's Prayer.

And perhaps many do, I certainly cannot speak for others. But that was not the case with me, I can assure you. And if you find that you are having trouble dealing with sin, and are lacking peace amidst tribulation in your life, I would suggest you look into your Spiritual relationship with the Holy Spirit.

So if we didn't receive the Holy Spirit at "Conversion," (which everyone in "the know" will tell us that we did), how do we receive Him?

13If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? (Luke 11:13)

Is it that simple? I know Paul speaks about false teachers swaying believers away from the simplicity of the Gospel, but to make it so simple that even such a simple thing of asking is omitted? I wish I had heard about this a long time ago. Of course, I should have seen it in the Bible for myself, but like most people, I tended to read the Bible hearing what I had been taught to see, not what was really there.

A good example of this is the Sadducees. Though the first 5 books of the Old Testament, which all the Sadducees believed in, contained numerous references to the Holy Spirit, Angels and such, they did not believe in them. So is it any wonder they didn't believe in Jesus? And these were the high mucky-mucks of the church of their day, even the High Priests!

Unfortunately that is what I tend to do, and that is what our Religious Leaders of today do as well; Which is why I wonder if many of them in fact have the Holy Spirit. I am sure of this - if they did, and they had the experience that I had - all they would want to talk about is the Lord and the Holy Spirit (Trying to convince others to see Them as well).

Following are some further signs that one has the Holy Spirit. But actually, if everyone's experience is anything like my own, they will know without a doubt that they have Him, and won't have to look for signs.

14We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. 15Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. 16Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? 18My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 19And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.

20For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. 21Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. 22And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

23And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. 24And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us. (1John 3:)

Note that John said (which is also repeated and portrayed throughout the Bible) the Holy Spirit dwells in us. He is the seed cast upon the ground. (We are but dust, clay for the Potter to mold.) We are the Tabernacles that the SHEKINAH Glory ("Dwelling of God") of the Old Testament is to reside in. ("Many mansions" or "dwelling places.") But like the Tabernacle, and the Temple, it has to be made to very exacting specifications, and be finished to perfection, before the Holy Spirit can take up residence. Until then, the Glory resides on us, as did the Tongues of Fire at Pentecost. He can fill us, as He did many in the Old Testament. But He cannot take up residence until He has made us Holy - something we have discovered we cannot do on our own. [Mat 13:2-23] [Isa 64:8] [2Chron 5:13-14] [Lev 16:2] [Ex 25:8-9; 40:34-38] [1Cor 6:20] [John 14:1-4] [Rom 11:16]

[Acts 2:1-4,16-21] [1Pet 1:15-16] [Col 1:19-23]

A third thing we must do is SUBMIT. Of course, that is what we supposedly did way back (yesterday for some) when we said "I surrender," and decided to accept the Peace Offering that God has provided for us through Jesus, whereby we became friends and children to God, rather than the rebellious adversary we had been before.

But turning our life over to anyone, especially God, is difficult for Man, and when the pressure is off, many "converts" yank back the reins of their lives - a dangerous thing to do.

Many, if not most Ministers and Theologians will tell us we are saved even if we choose to withdraw our lives from the Lord. Not being a theologian, I can't really say (although I do say anyway), if this is so or not. Besides, backsliding is not the subject of this study. But just for consideration, I wonder what those Ministers and Theologians do with these verses:

26For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? 30For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

38Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. 39But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. (Heb 10:15)

1Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. 2By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 3For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. 4For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? (1John 5:)

11He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. (Rev 2:)

7He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 8But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Rev 21:)

19I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.

23And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

25But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. 26And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: 27And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. 28And I will give him the morning star. 29He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. (Rev 2:)

2Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. 3Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. 4Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. 5He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. 6He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. (Rev 3:)

There is a story of a king who was about to be attacked by an army of many thousands against his 500 soldiers. An emissary was sent to him by the king of the larger army to seek his surrender.

The king called two of his soldiers to him. The first he told to jump off a cliff to his death, which the soldier did without hesitation or complaint. The second soldier the king commanded to run a sword through his own heart, which he did.

"I have five hundred more just like these," the king told the emissaries. "I will not surrender."

The emissaries left to inform the king of the larger army; and there was no attack.

Submission implies Obedience. Marriages are based on this principal; armies are ineffectual without obedience, as are businesses and families.

God is our King, and our Creator regardless of whether we submit to Him or not. We have but two choices: We can be a Jonah who runs off in the opposite direction from what we are told to do (which is our inherent rebellious attitude from the get-go); Or we can be a Job who obediently accepts God's will for us, knowing it is for our best in the long run, though it may appear grievous or even tragic at the moment.

God is going to have his way - even if it means killing us. And speaking of death, we may get away with playing the coward and adding a moment or two of tormented life to our span, but in the end, death will win out. But the Bible tells us that if we surrender our life to God, we will gain Life Eternal. But if we try to preserve it and run it ourself, we will lose it eternally. [Mat 16:25]

The two soldiers in the story above may seem to us foolish at best from our perspective. But from their perspective (though I doubt this was their thought at the time) by sacrificing their own life they saved the lives of 500 other soldiers as well as their King and their families. Besides, had they gone to war, the chances are slim that they would not have been killed anyway.

"He might send me to Bangladesh, or Africa," we say in resistance to submitting to God. And you know, you are right. He might send you to Bangladesh or Africa - and if He does, He will also provide you with the joy to go, and a will to do nothing but go. Take a look at all the Apostles; we see cowardly, self-centered men following Jesus on this earthly plane - then suddenly they become super human, others-centered Fanatics ready and willing to give up their lives to serve the Lord and His people.

And that is what He does for us as well - through the HOLY SPIRIT, (which is the second phase of our redemption).

We have discovered that we cannot "Prune" the sin from our own life. Yet we fear letting God do the pruning because He might cut too deep, or cut off our favorite sin that we hate to let go of.

And He will, to be sure. But along with that cutting, he will seal the wound with a great relief to have it gone, and a joy for being free from it. [John 8:36] [Rom 6:18]

We dread going to the dentist to have that infected tooth removed, but what a relief it is once the tooth is removed and healed!

Submission is not our nature, as any two year old will prove. But it is absolutely essential if we expect to have any joy in this life, or to survive into the next.

Submission is that initial thrust a runner gets from the starting line. It is the opening of the starting gate in a horse race. It is what we supposedly did when we came to the Lord on our knees in Repentance.

Submission was the opening our heart to the Holy Spirit; the answering of the door when the Lord knocked.

Submission is easy when we have no other choice and there is a sword at our neck. And it's the Sword of the Word, and the Fires of this life intended to try us, to purify us, to burn off the chaff and the dross (leftover trash) that burdens us and must be removed in order to make us Holy so that we can enter Paradise.[Rev 3:10] [1Cor 3:13] [1Pet 4:2]

But what happens when the Sword is put back in its sheath? What happens when the Fires of Life return to their normal bed of hot coals? Do we slowly (or quickly, if we think we can do so without being noticed) return to our old, predictable lifestyle? Do we try to glue back on the withered and charred dead limbs that the Holy Spirit pruned from us while we were on our knees?

Any soldier can understand what God expects from him because he has experienced it in other areas of his life.

He entered the service as a rebellious, self-centered, egotistic child, and within days he had become a pincushion for Medics, forced to watch his beautiful locks of hair fall to the barber's floor, hurled over ten foot walls, stood at attention with his footlocker on his shoulder at midnight; fed dust-covered food not fit for a sow while digging holes he has to turn around and fill in again. Then to top it off, he is forced to crawl under live machine gun fire in poison oak after completing a 20 mile forced hike.

In eight weeks he is changed from a 145 pound wimp - to a 175 pound mass of solid muscle.

It was a journey he hated, would have escaped if at all possible - yet one that he will treasure once it is completed.

That is submission. And that is obedience. But once that Basic Training is over, and the rebellion is knocked out of the youth - what happens?

Unless that trained soldier goes to war where his newfound skills and conditioning are applied, he is likely to be returned to a normal routine (though in uniform) not much different than if he was a civilian.

The sword has been removed from his neck. Now what does he do with what he has gained when there is no one to force him to be under constant submission?

Some young men push on, keeping up their physical condition and adding to their training. They attend specialized schools in the field of their endeavor and place themself in positions that add to their ability to submit.

They leave the Service as fit young men ready to tackle the world and make the best of it.

I didn't. After three years I came out a withdrawn, resentful young man with no particular training and with 180 pounds of blubber that had somehow replaced all that hard-earned muscle.

My submissiveness had turned to resistance to authority rather than respect, and any self-confidence or esteem I had acquired had long since escaped.

Perseverance makes the difference. It's not the fastest horse out of the gate that wins the race, it's the one who doesn't stumble and makes it to the finish line that wins.

And we know the one who trains the hardest, and has the most intent desire to win is often the one who wins.

But a constant winner becomes a so-what after a while; not only to others, but to themselves as well. When winning becomes easy, those who seek the feeling of accomplishment move on to other endeavors where they have to start near the bottom and work their way up again.

But there are many others who merely seek the recognition of having "won," and realize that they either have to continue working hard to maintain their status, or to resign and rest on their laurels (crowns given to Olympic winners).

What of those who stumble out of the starting gate? What of those who stumble many times throughout the race?

It's the stumblers who get the attention. It's the stumblers who get the recognition. As the great, accomplished runner passes the finish line and gets his usual accolades, which soon dies down - it's the one who stumbled often and received the bruises and perhaps sprains and breaks, but continues the race even though hours behind the slowest of runners, who gets the tearful, joyous recognition. It's the paraplegic in the wheelchair; it's the retarded youngster who isn't even sure why he is there or which direction to go that is heralded.

But those who fell, and stayed down; those who quit when they saw they weren't going to win; and of course those who talked a good race, but never entered - these are ignored at best, and boo'd at worst.

In this Spiritual race for Eternity it's the finishers who are going to win. It's those who work fast, and those who work slow. It's those who answer their call early, and those who come on the job late in the day who receive their reward - and all receive the same reward! [Mat 20:2]

Paul speaks of only one winning the race. If you fear that you will not be that "One," fear not, because that "One" is the "One New Man" which is the Christ; that is Jesus as the Head of His body, and those who enter and finish the race which is His Body, having been pruned and cleansed and made Holy. Upon these Jesus will place the White Linen Robes of His own Righteousness , and give crowns to each of them. [1Cor 9:24] [Eph 2:15][Rom 12:4] [Phil 3:21] [Rev 19:7-8; 2:10; 3:11]

It's Perseverance; it's endurance; and it's keeping your eyes on the Prize (which is Jesus and His Righteousness - not the "What's in it for me" attitude) that finishes what has been started. [Ps 25:15]

So put away that pocket knife that you have been using to whittle away at your dead limbs and dead works, and turn the job over to the One who is specially skilled at pruning.

Admit the sin; Permit the pruning; and Submit what remains to the Lord.

Keep in mind; we do everything backwards. We start from the outside of the vessel and try to work inward.

The Holy Spirit does the cleansing - from the Inside-Out.





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