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

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. A Priest sounds the alarm on a shofar

 

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THOUGHTS & COMMENTS

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8I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. (Psalm 40:)



NOT ALL CLEAN


John 13: 1Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. 2And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him; 3Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; 4He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. 5After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. 6Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? 7Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. 8Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. 9Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. 10Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. 11For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean. 12So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? 13Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. 14If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. 15For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. 16Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. 17If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. (Mat 7:)


"Ye are not all clean."

Judas, a disciple of Jesus. Not only a disciple, of whom were many, but called an Apostle by Jesus (Luke 6:13).

Judas was one of the Apostles sent out 2 by 2 to cast out demons and heal the sick (Luke 9:12).

For at least three years Judas followed Jesus and heard His every Word.

Judas was not only baptized, but baptized others (John 4:1-2).

If there is anyone who would be "clean," Judas would surely have been one of them.

Yet Judas fell sway to the devil. Judas was not clean. Had he been clean, as were the other Apostles, all he would have had to do is allow Jesus to wash his feet, his walk, his failings each of us experience day-by-day.


Being washed by the Blood of Jesus is not enough. Yes, it is all that is needed to clean us, but when we dirty ourselves after we are clean, we need to have our feet cleaned. If we fail to wash our feet, to allow our garment of righteousness to become soiled, we will find ourselves drifting farther and farther from our redeemer.


Peter expresses it this way:


17These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. 18For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. 19While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. 20For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. 22But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. (2Pet 2: see also the parable of the seeds cast on the rock, the thistles, and the wayside Mat 13:)


COME, LET US ARGUE TOGETHER


8I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. (Psalm 40:)


Was there one angel at the tomb of Jesus' resurrection, or were their two? Were there two wild men with a legion of demons, or was there only one? Were two blind men healed, or only one? Did the cock crow twice at Peter's denial of Jesus, or did the cock crow three times?

These, and "many" other questions affecting the credibility of the Bible are very important. We must look diligently for the answers to these distressing contradictions in effort to vindicate God and His trustworthiness. After all, how can we trust someone who can't tell the difference between one and two?


Many scholarly documents have been written trying to explain these and other discrepancies. And aren't we glad there are people with the time, knowledge and wherewithal to undertake such a undertaking. Consider: how many people's eternal souls have been lost because they were unable to accept the Word of God when it held such blaring contradictions and mistakes.

It is my understanding that there have been people throughout history who have succeeded to one degree or another in their efforts to explain these contradictions and errors.

Others I have heard or read, instead of trying to explain away these ghastly errors point to the fact that the Bible was written over a period of 6,000 years, by such and such a number of writers, and yet the Bible is more consistent and reliable than any other literary source of material.


The study of the Bible in effort to explain it is called "Apologetics." Apologetic means to apologize.

Apologize? Apologize for what? For whom? God??


I find it interesting that we mere mortals find it necessary to apologize for God, or to try and justify the Word of God.

I say: Isn't there something better they can do with their limited time here on earth? Perhaps they might be more productive looking into their failed interpretations of God's Word (doctrines), instead of trying to mend God's supposed broken grammar and lack of historical knowledge.


Are there discrepancies and unexplainable elements in the Bible? Maybe, maybe not. There may be loads of such "errors" for all I know. The only thing I can say for sure is that in all my research so far, which is very limited I must confess, I have come across no error, contradiction, or misplaced tittle that effected the Truth I was looking for.


Truth of the Word, in my opinion and in my experience, is not in the textural structure of the Bible. I do not look for God's Word in the Bible, although I know it is there. If I looked every day of my life, with every fiber of my being intent on finding the Truth, I would not be able to find it.


The Truth of God's Word is not in God's Word.

We see daily this same principle when we look at the newspaper. On one of the pages, probably the funnies, there is a game called "word puzzle." Here you have a box loaded with letters, none of them making any sense whatever. Seemingly. But somewhere hidden amongst all those letters are words that tell you what the writer of the puzzle wants you to know.

Out of all those letters there may be only 10% that have any meaning at all. Every one of the other sets of letters one might find are either accidental, or they are put there to lead you astray from the real answers.

Word puzzles are not the only place such tactics are used. During the war (and in many other aspects of life) they used what is called "Secret Codes." Usually these codes were melded into everyday speech so they could not be recognized as codes. Anyone listening in to, or reading the code would not know what message was being transmitted without a "Decoder" that told the receiver what to look for. Anyone else who reads the message will be able to detect every word said, but they will have no clue as to the meaning of the message that is being sent.


Man has a way of wanting to know everything. Some of us are more inclined to be this way than others. Those who are most inclined toward this idiosyncracy tend to become instructors, lecturers, experts and hold other such positions of influence.

Man can not know everything. Man can only think he knows everything, and pretend like he knows everything.

And what was it Jesus had to say to those who "knew everything?" Those experts of the Word who dedicated their lives to seeing that Jesus was killed? Read here for the answer: Mat 12:31-37, 23:1-26.


God wrote the Bible so everyone can understand it; isn't that right? "The simplicity of the Gospels," isn't that what you are taught?

Jesus said just the opposite. Check out these verses: Matthew 13:10-17.

Is there anywhere else in the Bible that might give a hint to the fact that God has hidden His Truth in His Word? You might read what Isaiah has to say on the subject: Isaiah 66:4, 28:1-13.


If what I am saying is true, then it certainly looks like God has made it so that nobody can know the Truth. How can somebody find what God wants to keep hidden from us? And why, we might ask, does God want to keep His purposes and His desires for us a secret in the first place? It just doesn't sound logical, does it?

And it isn't logical. And that is exactly the point. When we try to find God's will for us with our logical mind, we will invariably be led astray.


There is a magnet in the earth. We are told this. Whether it be centrifugal force that holds us on this earth, or some other means, we are none the less drawn to the earth and held there.

In the Bible we (man) is called "earth." We are made from the earth, and we will return to the earth. And like the earth, we pull everything toward ourself. We want what's best for us, and we direct our attention and our efforts toward this goal: to satisfy ourself.

We are created in God's image. In order to understand God, we must first understand ourselves. As long as we embed ourself in our lust, and refuse to look for the better parts of ourself, the God-like parts of ourself, we will never understand God.

We draw things toward ourself. If we create something, we do not create that thing for the thing's sake, but for our sake.

God is the same. God created man. At the time He created man, He instilled in His creation a drive to satisfy himself. At the same time as this He also gave us a desire to please our Creator.

We are given a choice - which do we choose? Do we direct our love and energy toward ourself? Or do we direct all that love and energy toward the One who created us, who gave us life, who supplies us with all our needs?

From the first Man in the Garden of Eden, God's creation has chosen to follow his own road rather than follow God's will for him. There have been exceptions, but those exceptions have been few.

The greatest of those exceptions was, of course, God's only begotten Son who did nothing but do the will of His Father.

None of us mortals can do the same. It just is not in us. We follow the pull of the magnet called Ego that directs everything toward our self.

We, on our own can never do anything but please our self. Although this ability to please God and others was planted in us, it is so buried that it is almost impossible to find. And in a society as we have today, where we are taught nothing but the satisfaction of our lusts, that desire to please God and others has become even more deeply buried.


We can not obey God's will for us. It is impossible. Yet we are told this:


10And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. 12For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. 13Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive (Mat 13:)


Does this include the understanding of God's Word? Does this mean that if we turn a blind eye to what God is showing us, and instead listen to someone who thinks they know God's Word, that we will lose what little understanding we have been given?


25At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. 26Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. 27All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. (Mat 11:)


If I read this Scripture correctly, then those who are so wise, the ones we look up to, and those we look to for understanding, are not the ones God has revealed His understanding to. Isn't this pretty well demonstrated by the actions of the wise Pharisees and Scribes?


18I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. 19Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. 20At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. 21He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. 22Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? 23Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 24He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me. (John 14:)


"And keep His Word." And does what Jesus tells us to do. Those who do (there's that nasty works word so despised in most of the churches today) the Words of Jesus will receive the Holy Spirit and have Jesus manifest [disclose, appear, declare, inform] Himself to them.

The talkers, the searchers, the teachers are not the ones who will see Jesus or understand His Words. It's the "babes," those who have humbled themselves as little children and do what they are told to do who will learn what God has said. It's in the doing that we learn, not in our scholarly pursuits to prove God knows what He is talking about.


On our own we can not please God. And there is nothing in us that can bring about something pleasing to God. Yet if we do not please God, there is no way we can ever understand the Scriptures. If we can't count on the words of those who have apponted themselves to instruct us, and if we can't use our own carnal wisdom in order to understand God's will for us, then how can we learn? Where do we begin?


25These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. 26But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. 27Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:)


In order to understand God's Word, we must do His will. And to help us do His will, and to understand His Word, He comes to us in the form of the Holy Spirit. And without the Holy Spirit (the Decoder), we can neither do God's will, thereby please Him, nor can understand His Words to us.

Kind of a vicious circle, wouldn't you say? And how do we enter that circle?


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. 9Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? 10Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? 11Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. 12If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? 13And no man
hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. 14And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. (John 3:)


Believing, and by being Born again. This is our entry into that circle which will afford us the knowledge we seek. And once we have found that knowledge everyone is looking so hard for, we discover that the knowledge is nothing, but rather it is the doing of God's will, and the relationship with the One we sought, that allows us to find that knowledge, that is of greatest importance.


In the World's view (and the church's as well, indicated by all the effort it exerts to prove otherwise) the Bible is full of errors, lies and contradictions. What if this were true? What if conclusive, incontrovertible evidence was brought forth proving that the Bible was inconsistent and erroneous. What would that do to Christianity and the church?

Very little I'm afraid. Because the churches are not built upon sound doctrine, nor is the Bible believed in most of the churches. The credibility of the Bible proven one way or the other would have little significance. Christianity is just a name, a title under which people come together and do what they want to do, and where they can feel better than other people because of the choice of church they have decided upon.


Although what I have said is true, and some people who are honest with themselves know this is true, there exists a very small group of Christians of whom this is not true. These people are not a part of the church system as we know it. They very likely attend a church, and they are very likely highly involved in that church, whatever church that may be, it matters not; but their allegiance is not to the church as a group of people, nor is it to a building as are those Christians they work with. They are led and taught by the Lord Himself, and thereby they are not dependant on what the World or the church believes.

If all evidence points to the fallibility of the Gospel, it would prove nothing to these people because the Words written between the covers of a book are not the Words they believe in. The Words that they obey, and that they believe in are those planted in their heart, and in their experience of the Lord.


18And they shall come thither, and they shall take away all the detestable things thereof and all the abominations thereof from thence. 19And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: 20That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God. 21But as for them whose heart walketh after the heart of their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their way upon their own heads, saith the Lord GOD. (Ezek 11:)


2Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: 3Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. (2Cor 3:)

It's not the pages between the covers of a book that is the Word of God. There were no Bibles except the Old Testament when Paul penned these words. It is the lives, and the demonstrated faith of the true believers who are the true Words of God and of Jesus, to the World. But since the churches are filled with people no different than the World they are supposedly witnessing to, the Words of God are not believed, and are therefore counted to be words carved in stone or written on parchment.


17For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 18For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 20Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 22For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 25Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (1Cor 1:)


SEARCH ME


When someone comes to my door unexpectedly it often throws me into a tizzy. Being a bachelor and a relative hermit, I receive very few visitors. Because I entertain so rarely, my house tends to fall behind in upkeep, and I have unfinished projects scattered all around the house. Dishes may be two or three days sink-worthy. The bathroom may look well lived in, and my bedroom may appear as if a family of racoons had taken up residence in it.

I try to keep on top of daily chores, but like I said, I'm a bachelor.


How do you say to someone who has taken their time to visit you: "Please go away and make an appointment so I can prepare for you"? And the more important that person is to you, the more difficult such words would be to say, and the more conscious you would be of the mess they are about to see.


As I invite my guest in, my eyes frantically search the room, becoming painfully aware of every particle of paper on the floor, each scrap looking ever so much like a pile of wadded up newspapers. The stack of dirty dishes in the sink (even if it is only from the meal I just finished) looks to me like Mount Everest with a snowy top of mildew.

As I sit conversing with my guest, I find I am having difficulty concentrating on the words he is saying (and if it a she, and especially if she is a special she) because my mind continually drifts to the next room that is going to become exposed to my guest: and to hurried schemes whereby I may surreptitiously sneak away and hide my dirty laundry.


This is in the natural. This is what I go through when it is someone who could care less about the state of my living quarters.

But let's say the stakes were to be raised considerably. Let us say you (you and I) were to be suddenly investigated by the police or some other agency, and their findings were going to have a great impact on your future. And just to give you an even break, lt's say you had a three hour warning that your house was going to be searched.

What would you do? Would the condition of your house become a major priority at that time? Would dust become hurriedly swept under carpets? Would soiled towels find themselves stuffed in laundry hampers? And what about all those dirty dishes and the unmade beds?

I'll give you an even bigger break than I would have. You are not a hermit, therefore you do not have dirty dishes, an unmade bed, and soiled laundry strewn about the house. You are fully prepared for guests.

But what about your closets? Is there something in one of your closets that might be embarrassing if discovered? No? Your closets are clean?

What about a single drawer? What about that hidden cranny that your eye turns toward nervously when nosy people come to near it?


We are Christians, you and I. At least I assume you are a Christian because you are reading Christian literature.

We know that there is someone who will be checking into all the nooks and crannies of our life one of these days. We call that time the Judgement. And we are taught that even before the Judgement, our Lord will be paying us a visit and will expect that we have taken good care of what He has given us.

And one of those thing He has given us is a new heart, cleansed by His Holy Spirit.

What kind of a custodian have you been? What will He find in that heart He has given you? How clean have you kept that new heart? Is there any of the old you, the old Adam secreted away in that heart that will cause you to fear discovery?


When you became a Christian, you took an oath. Do you remember that oath? If not, you might find it expedient to search your memory and your records because you are going to be held to that oath whether you remember it or not. That oath you took commits you to God as His bride, as a part of His body, and you have given yourself over to him completely.

Have you lived up to such an agreement? If you had a wife (or a husband for you women) who was as loyal and as loving toward you as you have been to the Lord, would you give your spouse the stamp of approval?


We have a tendency to think of this time we have been given as being our own, to do with as we will. And this view is all too often supported by the churches. We think as did the untrustworthy steward in Luke 16; or the unwise servant in Matthew 24; or even the faithful church members, pastors and elders in Matthew 7. We believe that our meager efforts directed toward something other than ourselves are approved sacrifices to our Lord; that He appreciates every little moment we offer Him throughout our day and that He will reward us generously when our time comes. We think, and are taught, that we are special in the eyes of God because we have chosen to wear His name tag.

This is what God has to say about our efforts:


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. (Isaiah 64:)


10So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do. (Luke 17:10)


You have invited Jesus into your heart. You know this. And you know His Holy Spirit can see into every hidden crevice you conceal from the world. What is He seeing? Is there anything hidden that should be brought out into the open and confessed in order that the Lord can prune them from you so that you can be a fruitful branch? Or are you afraid you might end up as a dead branch ready to be bundled alongside the fiery pit?


We are not perfect. We never will be perfect in these mortal bodies. But we should be making every effort to direct ourself toward the perfection that Jesus manifested, and that the Apostles demonstrated. It is not our job to berate ourselves for our failures or our faults. But it is our job to recognize our faults for what they are, and to desire with all our heart to be rid of them. And if we do our part in effort to make us acceptable for the presence of God, Jesus will do His part:


5This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

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:)


Don't let anyone deceive you. You can't be a part of this World and a part of the world to come. All effort is directed toward convincing you that you can have it all now, and still have it all in the end. Don't fall into the trap the World has set for the church. Stay alert to the Words of God that have been placed in your heart:


7Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. (Gal 6:)


11Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. 12For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. 14Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb 4:)


30Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. (John 14:)


22Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. 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. (Rev 2:)


Who controls the reigns of your heart? Are you prepared to have your heart searched? Will you be able to say as Jesus did that Satan can find nothing of his in you? How about a little ego problem? Perhaps a dab of pride? How about your thought life? Your anger? Your relationship with your wife, your children, your boss, your cantankerous neighbor?


Joseph was a picture of Jesus, a foreshadowing of our Lord. In Genesis 44 Joseph "set up" his younger brother whom he loved in order to reward him. He had his own silver cup planted in Benjamin's belongings and then told his soldiers to search his brothers, and bring to him the one who had "stolen" the cup.

Benjamin is a picture of the Church, the younger brother of Jesus, the one who had the same blood coursing through his body as Joseph had. He is the one Joseph was concerned about, as well as his concern for his father.

All the rest were half brothers, from the same father, but from different mothers. In spite of the fact that they had done Joseph wrong, they reaped the rewards - to a point- that Benjamin received.


28Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. 29But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. 30Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. 31So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free. (Gal 4:)


Although the brothers are of the same family, they will not receive the full inheritance as will the heir, the half brothers of the Lord.


The Jews expected (and I suppose still do) to be the hairs of God's good graces because they were of the seed of Abraham. It didn't matter that they had corrupted God's Word and abused God's Son, their awaited Messiah: because they were Jews, and self righteous Jews at that, they believed God looked favorably upon then.


We have this same situation today. We have churches and church members who believe because they belong to a certain church, or they believe certain doctrines, or because they perform certain rituals, that they are the chosen of God and will inherit the same as will the Apostles and all the faithful Martyrs. They believe they can live the life of the Worldly and reap the harvest planted by the faithful overcomers.


Where do you stand? Are you prepared to have your heart searched? Will you, as did Benjamin, be discovered with that which belongs to Jesus, His Holy Spirit? Or will you stand ashamed before the throne of Judgement hoping your unconfessed and unrepented flesh will not be discovered?


26If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27And whosoever doth not bear his
cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. 28For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? 29Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, 30Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. 31Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? 32Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. 33So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. 34Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? 35It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Luke 14:)


The Sinner's Prayer (remember this?)


Heavenly Father [acknowledges that you are a "son" just as Jesus is ], I know that I have sinned against you and that my sins separate me from you. [Do you know this? Or were these just words said out of desperation or because of emotions?] I am truly sorry. [ Was you telling the truth? Is it still true today?] I now want to turn away from my past sinful life and turn to you for forgiveness. [Did you turn away from your sins? Have you even bothered to learn what God counts as sin?] Please forgive me, and help me avoid sinning again. [Now that you have the foregiveness you asked for, are you working with the Holy Spirit to cleanse you? Or are you settled back and expecting the Holy Spirit to do it all?] I believe that your son, Jesus Christ, died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my prayer. [Believe requires action. Have you studied the Bible to learn what Salvation and Jesus is all about? If you really believe Jesus gave His all for you, do you think you are a believer if you don't want to learn all you can about your Lord and Master?] I invite Jesus to become the Lord of my life, to rule and reign in my heart from this day forward. [Are you letting your "Lord and Master" rule? Or are you expecting your Lord and Master to follow you and supply all your wants and desires?] Please send your Holy Spirit to help me obey You, and to do Your will for the rest of my life. [ What is the Holy Spirit? Do you believe He's real? Is He influencing you at all? If He is real to you, have you developed a relationship with Him? What kind? Would you risk that relationship by not doing all you can to please Him and your Lord?] In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.


Is the above the prayer you prayed? Do you remember? (I can't remember if I even prayed the sinner's prayer, leastwise the words I used. It doesn't matter; I didn't remember the words I used when I swore in as a soldier in the Army either, but I was still bound by them.)


Perhaps the church you attend, or that you attended when you recited the Sinner's Prayer went something more like this:


"God, I know that I am a sinner. I know that I deserve the consequences of my sin. However, I am trusting in Jesus Christ as my Savior. I believe that His death and resurrection provided for my forgiveness. I trust in Jesus and Jesus alone as my personal Lord and Savior. Thank you Lord, for saving me and forgiving me! Amen!"

If this is the case, you haven't said much, nor have you committed anything at all, have you? It's kind of like getting married and acknowledging the fact that what you are doing is marrying a woman (or a man) without any promise of sacrifice. If your spouse, who you love, cherish, protect and sacrifice for had such an attitude toward you as what is expressed in the "sinner's prayer" above, and no more, would you wish to continue your devotion for her?

If such was your sinner's prayer, I suggest you take a good look at the Bible, then have a few words with the one who has been instructing you.

8But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. (Romans 10:)


PICK AND CHOOSE


Romans 8: 1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit


There are two ways to interpret the above verse. One way will get you nowhere, the other way can gain for you Eternal Life with the Lord.

The first half of the verse seems to indicate that all Christians (of course we know this only applies to those Christians in your church) do not have to be concerned about anything they do, or anything they don't do because there is no condemnation to those in the (your) church.

Now, if you enjoy life just as it is, if you are comfortable in your pew on Sunday (or Saturday as the case may be), and you are being told to relax because your fare to Heaven has been paid and is non-revocable, then you continue memorizing the first half of the verse.

If you happen to accidently see the last half of the verse, and it makes you nervous, talk to your pastor or another elder and he will tell you confidently that you received the Holy Spirit at baptism.

Now set back and relax, and enjoy that second cup of coffee.


A word of advise. Don't, whatever you do, look closely at the second half of the verse. You might stumble upon the Words "walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."

Do you know what it means to walk not after the flesh? That means to cease from satisfying you wants, lusts and desires. Do you know what it means to walk after the Spirit? That means to follow Jesus and the Apostles to the cross where everything about the old man is left, and live your life as a servant to God and your fellow man.


There are two ways to look at Salvation. The first way is the most commonly used, and that is to see Christianity as a means by which you are able to make life easier on yourself, and gain eternal life as well.

The second way to view your relationship with God is as a servant, a slave, a soldier ever ready and anxious to do the Lord's bidding, whatever that might entail, whatever may be the cost.


The Bible is written in such a way that either of these views can be made abundantly clear, and proven beyond doubt. If you are looking to serve yourself, then the Bible (and almost all the churches) will cause you to feel perfectly happy and content in your view.

On the other hand, if you have chosen to dedicate your life to the Lord, than all the verses of Scripture that seem to tell you that you can relax on the train to Heavenly Wonderland will mean nothing to you. You will be searching the Scriptures, and your heart for instructions that tell you which sacrifice to make next, and which battle your Lord wants you to take your place in the front of.


God has two churches. The first is the highly visible church called Babylon.

The second church is the unseen Church called the Woman in White, hidden from the World, and preparing to meet her Husband, Her Lord and Master.


RIGHT OR LEFT


The student is not above his teacher: but every one that is educated shall be as his teacher. (Luke 6:40 translation unknown)


The word "educated" is translated "perfect" in the KJ version. At any case, the actual meaning is "to repair, mend, complete thoroughly, join together."

Can you imagine what it will be like to be like our "Teacher," perfect and joined together with Him? This is what the Bible teaches us that we will be, the body with the Head, one being just as perfect as the other.

Does your church teach this? Are you being instructed to set yourself and your wants aside and allow the Holy Spirit to make you just like your Teacher?


What are you being taught? Whatever your teacher is teaching you, whether in school or in church, that is all you can hope to become.

Set your aim high. Obtain for yourself the best of Teachers so you can become just like Him.


CONTENTMENT


One of our famous sayings is, "If you're not content with what you have, you'll never be content with what you want."


Did you get that? It's apparently an old quote that I can't find the source of. But if you got it: enough said.


I FOUND IT!


That's right. After all my griping and complaining that there is no church that is open to the leading of the Holy Spirit: I found one. And to think, it is only a thousand miles from where I live.

What does it mean that I found a church that is following the leading of the Holy Spirit? Does that mean they agree with all my "doctrines," or that I agree with everything they believe?

Not at all. There are a lot of things I don't know about this church. They may have beliefs that differ vastly from mine. And how could it be otherwise? I am learning day by day what the Bible teaches. If I agreed with something today, I might learn something tonight that will have me believing differently than I do right now.

What I have found by investigating the websites, the blogs, and by reading the sermons is that they are pretty well like-minded one with another, and what's more important, they are God-minded and not indoctrinated. I suspect (of course I can't say) that should they discover that something they believe is out of the way, that they would seek the Lord, and follow the direction He leads them.

This is all I have ever asked from anyone, to seek the Truth, and follow it, even if it leads one into darkness for a while before the light is seen. Ridding oneself of error often means cutting the doctrinal security ropes that make us feel comfortable, before the True source of Godly understanding can even be seen. This is what the Bible calls: "Faith."

I am encouraged. If there is one church that is free from Pharisaical doctrine, perhaps there are others.

I sincerely hope so!


 

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