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Anger as privilege

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Anger has become an emotion that some are allowed to have and others are not. If you’re white, male and older you are not allowed to be angry about anything because you have no right to your own feelings.  Daniel Greenfield writes;i-survived-college-without-becoming-a-sjw-t-shirt-libertarian-country_900x

If you’re white and angry about the Terror travel ban, the Paris Climate treaty, ObamaCare repeal or any leftist cause, you’re on the side of the angry angels. But if you’re white and angry that your job is going to China or that you just missed being killed in a Muslim suicide bombing, your anger is unacceptable. (ANGER PRIVILEGE Only leftists are allowed to be angry.)

The ‘angry angels’ are all geared up for war as Social Justice Warriors.  Don’t say anything to get them into a rage!

Anger is useful to silence contrary opinions and civil debate.  Anger is an often used tool by Social Justice Warriors to oppress their opposition.  Greenfield continues; “The angry left demands that everyone recognize the absolute righteousness of its anger as the basis for its power. This anger privilege, like tone policing, is often cast in terms of oppressed groups. But its anger isn’t in defiance of oppression, but in pursuit of oppression.”  Anger is the weapon of choice for those who wish to leverage their outrage into power over others.

Rod Dreher describes this disquieting development in our society in his article – The Injustice Of ‘Social Justice’;

It’s like everybody just wants to be offended, and so offended that they become emotionally disabled, because that’s how they know who they are. I am offended, therefore I am. Not too long ago, to admit to being undone by the least little thing would have been seen as a sign of weakness, of feeble character. . . .

Now? The therapeutic mindset has triumphed so thoroughly that the faintest flap of a butterfly’s wing will cause an emotional hurricane within anyone who feels the air quiver. It’s the way to achieve power.

The Bible says; “‘Be angry, and do not sin’: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, . . . Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.  And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:26,31,32)  In order to get to that point we have to grow up and become emotionally able to deal with our own anger and not use it to put others down.

Rod Dreher concludes by recognizing the wisdom of God’s Word on this issue and our times:

One of the greatest gifts that the Christian religion has given to the world is the idea that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. That is, every single one of us is imperfect, and indeed capable of great evil, because it is in our nature. Christians know, or should know, that all of us are sinners, blinded by our passions. There are times when we have to make judgments — no society could exist without doing so — but we should approach this task with introspective humility. You never see or hear these Social Justice Warrior mobs acknowledging this.

It’s time to grow up,  deal with our anger, see it in the context of our own issues and not use it to oppress others to advance our own social justice opinions. It’s time for everyone to let go of their own ‘angry privilege’ and realize that we are more alike than we are different.  Social space has to allow everyone to express their opinions without resorting to ‘anger privilege.’

That’s my opinion – please don’t be angry.

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Your spirit and faith – where will it take you?

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Each and every one of us lives according to a spirit and has a some sort of faith.  Some say they are spiritual and that’s true because  all of us are spiritual whether we say so or not.  The question is- where will our faith and spirituality take us?fork2bin2broad

Human reality is embedded in a spiritual frame that  conforms  our daily experience to its underlying structure like light follows the curvature of space-time.  This is a mystery but that doesn’t make it any less a reality.  The Bible tells us that creation was framed in through Jesus Christ;  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” (John 1:1-3)  The underlying spiritual structure of our reality is Jesus Christ.  As Christian’s we find comfort in that. Others do not.  We have no choice but to seek Jesus or turn away from Him just as light can travel towards us or away from us.

God spoke His Word and creation  followed (Genesis 1:1,2).  Man was patterned and destined to seek Him.  The Apostle Paul spoke to the free thinking Athenians about the reason for the restlessness of their searching minds;  “ . . . so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;  for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’”  (Acts 17:27,28)  We simply can’t help but travel the track laid down by the Spirit of God either toward Him or away from Him – towards heaven or hell.

How do we perceive this reality?  How do we navigate the journey embedded in this spiritual reality.  The Bible tells us; “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”  (Hebrew 1:3)  Faith is the organ of spiritual sense by which we perceive the hand of God upon us.  God made us with this faith just as He made us with the five bodily senses; “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.”  (Romans 12:3)  Our eyes can work against us when we let them over-ride what our faith perceives; “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 1:1)  Our eyes can and do trick us. Our bodily senses are not trustworthy but faith is the sense by which we perceive the spiritual terrain of our travels.

We all  must navigate a world governed by the spiritual.   Many have a profane kind of faith in what the world says and  are filled with the spirit of the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4)  Those that follow Jesus have faith in His Word  and are filled with the Holy Spirit.  There is no middle, neutral ground for the children of Adam; “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”  (Genesis 2:7) And at the end our spirit returns to God for judgement; “Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.”  (Ecclesiastes 12:7)  The body returns to dust and the spirit to judgment; “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”  (Hebrews 9:27,28)

We will all die once and our bodies will return to the dust but our spirit returns to God.  Those with the dull faith of this world and the spirit of the god of this world are cast away (Revelation 20:15).  Those with the faith in God’s Word and His Holy Spirit go home to heaven; “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.” (Matthew 25:21)

What faith to you have?  When your doctor says – you’re going to develop diabetes or you have cancer – do you take him or her at their word or do you stand on God’s promises?  Do you claim ‘your cancer’ because the doctor declared it yours.  Or do you claim His healing because Jesus went to the cross for you.   Are you surrendered to man’s knowledge and wisdom or God’s?  There is no middle ground – we all surrender on a daily basis- sometimes to Jesus, most of the time to the fear of man.

Let not the world or the god of this world  have the last say.   You can follow the doctor’s advice while putting your faith in Jesus for your healing.  This isn’t contradictory – I trust that God will keep me safe when I travel but I take my car to the mechanic and listen to his advice.  Let Jesus be your first and last Word.

Are you born again and  filled with the Holy Spirit or born of flesh and filled with the spirit of this world?  These questions should make you squirm in the pews because the sinners prayer said long ago and not lived out is faint hope.  Every day is the day of salvation and we must say as the great prophet Isaiah said; “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.” (Isaiah 25:9)

Our battle isn’t anything this world can throw at us – our battle is within us and always over which banner of faith to rally around!  We have to trust in the Lord, speak His Word into our lives and walk after His Spirit every day, every step and over every obstacle, sickness and tragedy until  we go home to heaven.

Anything else is the road to hell.

No way to live the Christian life!

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A message to my local church in rural Ontario given to the fellowship on May 5, 2019.

We have a problem in the church.  We have been settling for less than God’s best for us.  Why are we doing that?  What is the best that God has for us? And how do we get back on track?

salvationGod’s best for us is salvation, the  assurance of our salvation, relationship with and trust in Him, abundant life which includes peace, joy and healing, and the empowering as His disciples to continue His works – in even greater measure.  John 3:16, 17 proclaims; “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”    That is Good News – we can be born again into eternal life by believing in Jesus.  Now, here comes the part that is surprising and sad. Many of us only hope we are saved and we live like it. If I asked you this morning, are you saved, would your answer be yes, no, or I hope so? [i]  Believing means trusting in our salvation and until we do – we’re an ‘almost Christian’ according to John Wesley who admitted this heart condition even as an ordained clergyman. [ii]

Only the Holy Spirit’s testimony in you can give you that assurance.  If you don’t have it how do you get it?  John Wesley says keep asking God until He assures you! [iii] The Bible says; “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”(Romans 8:16)  Without that belief and trust, we have no faith.  That leaves us in a serious religious predicament; “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”  (Hebrews 11:6)  If we can’t fully believe and aren’t assured for salvation then we aren’t even trusting in half of the Gospel – the salvation half!  And there’s more!

What is the more?  Abundant life here and now!  The devil tries to draw us away from abundant life with distractions, worries, aches and pains (real and imagined).  Jesus is clear; “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”  (John 10:10)  It is God’s desire that we live in abundance of joy, health and relationship.  He promised!    How many of us struggle through life dying to go to heaven so we can at last experience Jesus’ promises?

Isaiah prophesied the full Gospel; “But He was wounded  for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.”  (Isaiah 53:5)  Salvation and healing – it’s a package deal!  Jesus declared Himself to be the One Isaiah was prophesying about (Luke 4:18, 21)  They didn’t believe Him then; they couldn’t see Jesus’ as the Son of God; “Is this not Joseph’s son?” (Luke 4:22)   Jesus is who He says He is!  If we don’t believe Him we won’t ever trust Him.  If we don’t trust Him – we don’t really believe His Word even if we can quote Him.  Our trust issues hamper the Holy Spirit’s witness us.

Are you experiencing the Holy Spirit’s assurance that you are His?  And if so, is trust flowing from this assurance into your daily  life and well-being?  Jesus saved and healed all who came to Him.  He sent His disciples out to heal and preach the Gospel.  (Luke 10:1,9,10)   What about us?  Aren’t we His disciples too?

What’s He promised us?  Jesus gave us a powerful promise; “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.  And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you  ask anything in My name, I will do it.”  (John 14:12-14)  That’s a promise!  Do we believe Him?  He said it but do we TRUST Him?

We have another, Who will help us trust Jesus.  Jesus sent Him to us; “If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”  (John 14:15-17)   Do you see Him? Do you know Him?  Is He in You?  If it’s yes to these questions, we can walk and live in trust, that will grow stronger day by day – building your working faith as your body and soul prospers (3 John 1:2) Every Christian is equipped to live an abundant life by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Sadly, not every Christian walks in this Spirit.

So that’s the best Jesus has for us – a life of overcoming, full assurance and health.  Why the disconnect from our reality and Jesus’ promises? Belief, faith and motive often fall short. Many at their best are converted (saved by faith) but they aren’t disciples learning to  live by the power of that faith.  That’s why we are living with less.

How do we get back on track?  Most of us want the healings, want the miracles, want the gifts, and want the overcoming but how much of an investment into growing our faith are we willing to make?  Are we rooted in God’s Word on a daily basis.  Let’s take a look at the parable of the sower and apply it to ourselves as a congregation.  When God’s Word takes root into a person’s heart then it grows into  a crop. Jesus said; “But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”  (Mark 4:20)  We know these people by the abundance of joy, hope and peace in their lives- They prosper.

What happens if God’s Word falls on stony ground; “. . . they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble.”  (v. 16,17)  Do you depend on others for prayer because you just don’t know His Word.  Do you receive prayer and encouragement with gladness but then go home and begin to doubt never bothering to read God’s promises for yourself? This was me at the start of my Christian journey.  There were a lot of stones in the soil of my heart that had to be worked out and cast aside.

What about where the Word takes root but gets crowded out; “Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” (v.18,19)  How much time do you spend reading God’s Word and studying it for yourself? When was the last time you attended a midweek Bible study or got together with other believers to check out scripture or watch a teaching together on TV? For many years as a churchman, I looked good and played the part but my trust was in the world along with my concerns and anxieties as I built my career and life.  God was squeezed out and there was very little trust in Jesus.  I walked in the way of the world not with the Spirit.getotknow_ret

You can’t believe what you don’t know.  You can’t trust Jesus if you don’t have a relationship with Him (visiting Him once a week for an hour – doesn’t built relationship)  If you don’t trust Jesus you have no working faith.  If Jesus is only your ‘go to’ in times of trouble or frustration when things aren’t going your way your motives are selfish (James 4:3).

How do we get back on track to a victorious fruitful Christian life? In one word  – START.  Start reading His Word regularly.  Start building a relationship with Him every day.  Start seeking out Christian fellowship that strengthens your commitment to Jesus.  Start trusting Him even we don’t see or feel Him working. – Start


[i] Our great Rev. John Wesley, an ordained minister in the Anglican Church just prior to his missionary trip to America in 1735 didn’t think he was saved.  He confided in a letter; “My chief motive is the hope of saving my own soul.  I hope to learn the true sense of the gospel of Christ by preaching it to the heathen. . . “ John Wesley, Basil Miller, p.41 ?

ii John Wesley,  http://soundliving.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/The-Almost-Christian-Wesley-Whitefield.pdf

[iii] John Wesley tells us  plainly; “But  cry unto him day and night, who, ‘while we were without strength, died for the ungodly,’ until thou knowest in whom thou hast believed, and canst say, ‘My Lord, and my God!’ Remember, ‘always to pray, and not to faint,’ till thou also canst lift up thy hand unto heaven, and declare to him that liveth for ever and ever, ‘Lord, Thou knowest all things, Thou knowest that I love Thee.’” John Wesley, http://soundliving.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/The-Almost-Christian-Wesley-Whitefield.pdf)

Spirituality for the modern Christian mind

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Have you ever met someone who describes themselves as ‘spiritual’ but they don’t go to church or read the Bible.  What does being ‘spiritual’ really mean? Is there a kind of ‘spirituality’ in the secular world?  Do non-believers have a ‘spiritual’ life?  Is ‘spirituality’ always positive?  Are there real, negative spiritual forces operating in the world and can they influence Christians? There is a great deal of confusion in the Church about these questions and it is hindering us.  Just as ignorance of germs in the microscopic world can make us sick,  ignorance of the Biblical spiritual reality can make us sick as well.gods-love-18-638

The Bible tells us about a ‘spiritual’ slave girl; “Once when we [Paul and friends] were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling.”  (Acts 16:16)  We also read about a powerful sorcerer who wanted to buy the Holy Spirit; “When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money 19 and said, ‘Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.’”  (Acts 8:18,19)  Spirituality can be lucrative and the motives involved in it aren’t always benign nor are all spirits involved benign.

Jesus cast out demons from people who due to their demonic possession were ‘spiritual’; “For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For it had often seized him, and he was kept under guard, bound with chains and shackles; and he broke the bonds and was driven by the demon into the wilderness.”  (Luke 8:29) The Gospels tell us that even little children could be possessed;  “When Jesus saw that the crowd of onlookers was growing, he rebuked the evil spirit.  ‘Listen, you spirit that makes this boy unable to hear and speak,’ he said.  ‘I command you to come out of this child and never enter him again.’ Then the spirit screamed and threw the boy into another violent convulsion and left him.”  (Mark 9:25,26)  In the days of Jesus and the apostles – the spiritual world could be a dark oppressive reality and that hasn’t changed today.

Indeed the Bible tells us that without the Gospel, Satan and spiritual destruction is the default in our reality; “We know that we are of God, and the whole world is in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). There are two camps in this world – those of God and those who are not;  “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”  (2 Corinthians 4:4,5)  People who don’t believe the Gospel are blinded to their true ‘spiritual’ state.  Satan is active in our world; “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” ( 1 Pe 5:9)  Peter is warning the church here not the world.  We as Christians can be half-blinded when we don’t accept the entire spiritual reality of our world.

It is not enough to simply say the sinner’s prayer without living it out.  Without Jesus as Lord and Saviour in our life, Satan has control over those areas where Jesus doesn’t rule; “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,  in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.”  (Ephesians 2:1-3) DON’T EVER MAKE THE ASSUMPTION THAT THE   WORLD IS SPIRITUALLY NEUTRAL!  If you’re not a child of God, you’re a child of wrath.  If you are not completely surrendered to His Will, you surrender to the devil the territory that you hold back.  And this is where torment enters into a Christian’s life.

This is a very sobering thought.  There is no fence sitting in the spiritual world – and we are all spiritual – atheist, Christian or pagan.  Only born again, Bible believing, and Holy Spirit filled Christians are ruled by Jesus – the rest live under the authority of the devil.  This is what the Bible tells us.  Partial surrender to Christ allows the devil to torment us on those grounds we cede him authority.

Can Christians be influenced by the devil?  Can Christians be devoured? Recall 1 Peter 5:8!  Yes, when we give authority to the devil over certain areas in our lives.  Do you hold a grudge, watch porn (sometimes), gossip, slander, lust for flesh or possessions, idolize people or your children or celebrities, dabble in astrology or ‘white magic’?  This is more common among Christians than we like to admit.  Are you angry, bitter and depressed and wonder why life has been such a raw deal? Are you afraid, anxious and pessimistic about life?

As Christians we should be jumping with Joy influenced by the Holy Spirit’s affirmation of our status as children of God, yet this isn’t the daily reality for many professing Christians.  Why?   An uncomfortable answer to this disconnect is that as a Christian you have opened yourself up to demonic oppression by giving the devil authority in certain areas of your life.

The Bible tells us; “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.” (1 John 2:15,16)   What do you elevate higher than God in your life? When you uplift the world higher than Jesus you provide a possible platform for demonic oppression.

This oppression kills your joy and it can eventually make you emotionally and physically ill.  The pursuit of purity for holiness is a good message.  But I say a more pressing problem for many Christians is dealing with the demons in their lives even if modern Christianity balks at the idea of the demonic.  Sometimes, purity is necessary not to make us holy but to take the demon off our back!

Life for too many Christians involves sustained ‘oppressiveness’ in the sense of a  heaviness of heart along with dealing with all the  modern lifestyle ailments (diabetes, heart disease, obesity etc.). As Christians we allow magical thinking to wrap a warm fuzzy blanket around the stark spiritual reality of oppression.  We don’t take demons, witches or sorcery seriously today.  If we don’t talk about demons then they don’t exist.  If demons don’t exist then they can’t torment us or make us sick.  There must be some other cause to explain those persistent problems that medicine, surgery or therapy can’t seem to cure.  Yet the Bible tells us these spiritual forces are not only active but  forceful in our world.

We elevate medical doctors, psychologists and therapists over the healing power of the Cross.  Jesus can save our soul but only doctors, medicine and psychology can  heal our body and mind.  Contemporary theology  has cut our faith in half.  We accept Jesus‘ work on the cross for salvation  – the first half of Isaiah 53:5 “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities,” – our sins are forgiven.  But we can’t accept the last half of Isaiah 53:5;  The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.”  We can’t seem to accept Jesus’ finished work on the cross for healing.  Our faith is cut in half because the Gospel we believe is cut in half.

How did this happen?  I believe it is because we have ignored half of the spiritual reality that the Bible teaches.   We love the idea of heaven and going there when we die. We accept the warm fuzziness of good angels ministering to us (Hebrews 1:14) but balk at Satan being the god of this world.  We don’t want to think about the dark angels who were expelled from heaven along with Satan’s (Rev. 12:7-9).  Where do you think those guys are now and what do you think they’re doing?   Our fear of man is greater than our fear of God.  We will accept half a Gospel in order to be accepted as modern rational people by the world.  Most people think you’re crazy if you speak of demonic.  We elevate worldly thinking over a Biblical world view and pay the price for it because it compromises our spirituality – our walk with the Holy Spirit.  This has been going on since the Renaissance where being accepted as an ‘evolved’ rational thinker became something to lust after.

Yet Jesus actively portrayed the Gospel  as a package deal – salvation, healing and well-being.  He confronted the Pharisees with this package deal; “Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk?’ But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on the earth to forgive sins…” He said to the paralytic, ‘I tell you, get up, pick up your mat, and go home.’”  (Luke 5:23,24)  Faith in Jesus Christ empowers us to be healed (and heal) as well as saves our souls.  Remember that Jesus has promised that we, His disciples will do greater works; “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”  (John 14:12-14)  If we are His disciples, we will do these works of healing through belief, faith and prayer.

Sadly we have been steeped in half a Gospel for so long that living half the Gospel is normal.  All too often we grit our teeth and limp through life –  dying to go to heaven.  That’s not was Jesus came for; “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”  (John 10:10) The half-truth of the half Gospel is the devils best lie in our modern world. Don’t you think the devil has gotten away with it for far too long.  It’s time to stop living half a life.

How do we get back to living a full Christian life rather than the anemic ‘waiting for heaven’ struggle that far too many of us settle for?  Finding our way back means becoming steeped in God’s Word, searching and learning to listen to the Holy Spirit. As well as learning to walk by the Spirit and not by sight.  It can be done and in Christ Jesus – you can do it if you’re willing to let the Gospel rule in your life.

You can be His disciple!

A tale of two churches . . .

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These days are days of old-time prophecy.  We can scarce believe the times we are in.  Evil is called good and good is called evil and few seem to raise any alarm about it.  The great prophet Isaiah described these times as a time of woe; “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”  (Isaiah 5:20)   The Forerunner Commentary[i] sums it up; “A curse falls on those who water down standards and substitute individual preferences and ethical compromises for absolutes, leading to moral relativism and societal upset.”  And I’m not talking about the non-believers – I’m talking about Christendom.[ii]  Biblical prophecy tells us that things are going to change and change rapidly and not for the better.

I am writing about the two kinds of church that has existed side by side since the fourth century  when Emperor Constantine issued the Edict of Milan decriminalizing Christian worship and paved the way for Christianity to become the state religion of Rome. These two churches are the corporately organized church with centralized leadership, property and denominational doctrine and the pre-existing true church of Jesus Christ – the Bride of Christ.  The former doesn’t necessarily preclude the latter nor does the latter confine itself to the physical walls or particular denominational lines of the former.

The Bride of Christ is organized spiritually (Eph. 4, 5:25-27). Christ is the head of this church and those in it eagerly await His return.   The first century church tells us a lot about such churches. They met in houses.  There was no formalized clergy-laity divide over authority or the sacrament.  House churches were often small, flexible assemblies devoted to teaching and growing people to be disciples.  We cannot turn back the clock but we can take lessons from history.  At times of great persecution the church needs to become untouchable or immune to the seductive and coercive the forces of the world.  Not to be invisible but rather to be so constituted as to be invulnerable to the very influences that the corporate church is susceptible to (such as tax exempt status and the necessity of making money to support the bricks and mortar ).

I have no wish to bash the corporate church or in anyway denigrate its historic contribution to the world.   However the corporate church is very susceptible to political and cultural influences of the world.  There are tough times coming for any corporate church that thinks it can stick handle around the political and social forces of our time and place in North America.  We will see a day where the beliefs of honest Bible believing disciples of Jesus Christ will be ‘criminalized’ again with the tacit agreement of the corporate church (Matthew 10:17).

In the Unitied States; “The campaign to stigmatize Christian institutions is also seen in the ACLU’s sudden willingness to sue Catholic hospitals and health groups for refusing to provide abortions or transgender services. It will come to Evangelical colleges that have dorm or conduct policies that reflect their convictions about marriage and sex. One can predict with near certainty that in a few years a handful of real stories of neglect or abuse will be used to create a general moral panic about religious homeschoolers.  The cumulative effect of these campaigns of legal and social harassment . . . . will be a major test of faith for Christians themselves.” [iii]  Here in Canada, Pastor Steve Long who met with our Prime Minister reports; “Sadly my last meeting with him in his office was very disappointing. He told […] me that evangelical Christians were the worst part of Canadian society.”  [iv] With this anti-Christian climate forming, we must ask; ‘how will Bible believing Christians organize themselves in a time of hatred towards them and Jesus Christ by our society?’   Will they find safety and refuge within the walls of their corporate denominational churches?

Some corporate church denominations that have bought into the secular worldly sanctioned morality and gender theories are portraying fundamentalist and charismatic churches  as ‘cultish.’ The United Church Observer, January 2019 edition, contains a story entitled; ‘Former fundamentalists describe the trauma of leaving their faith’, which  features a book which describes the ‘trauma’ a Bible believing upbringing can have on a child.   The UC Observer continues;  “Psychologist Marlene Winell . . . . is the author of Leaving the Fold: A Guide for Former Fundamentalists and Others Leaving Their Religion, and she coined the term religious trauma syndrome (RTS). Winell says its symptoms closely resemble those of post-traumatic stress disorder (such as intense fear and issues around self-worth). She’s been urging the mental health community to take it seriously for nearly 30 years.”[v]  When will the state be knocking at our doors in order to save our children from RTS?  And will the state have the blessing of the corporate ‘Christian’ church in doing so!

We have been warned of the times to come.  Jesus tells us; “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.  And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.  Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.  And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.”  (Matthew 24:9-12)  Many corporate churches are lapping up the sewage of all the false prophets of today.  Contrary to God’s Word (Gen 1:27) the United Church calls out; “We are committed to being a welcoming church that is opposed to discrimination against any person on any basis, and affirm that all human beings are made in the image of God regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.” [vi] This mainline church even provides a pulpit for ministers who don’t believe in God![vii]  Why?  For the experience:  “The chairman of the West Hill church board, Randy Bowes, expressed delight at the outcome, saying Vosper was a product of the church and . . . . ‘West Hill’s non-exclusive language provides a church experience that draws participants across a wide spectrum of belief and unbelief, . . .” The United Church  isn’t only mainline apostate corporate church but it certainly is a front-runner.

And now atheists can  proudly wear the uniform  and vestments of clergy!  Godly men and women who have been ordained wear the same collar and uniform of heretics and false prophets.  People can’t tell  the real deal from clergy impostors at least as far as their outer garb is concerned.  The corporate head offices otherwise faithful churches have been remarkably silent about this enemy infiltration into the leaders of Christendom  often believing that silence is the Godly thing.  Or perhaps, they believe silence is the only thing that will keep them from  falling into disfavor with the world.   Warren Smith questions this silence; “Why is there almost no call for spiritual discernment within the Church (except to warn believers not to be deceived into doubting their appointed Christian leaders)? Why is spiritual experience taking precedence over spiritual discernment? Why are there so few warnings about a counterfeit ‘ new gospel’  movement that maligns the person of Jesus Christ and threatens the lives of His followers? Why is ‘new revelation’ in many ministries starting to supersede God’s written Word? Why are Christians only being prepared for blessings and not for persecution? What in the world is going on?”[viii]

The apostate church will not die out.  It will grow and multiply through political power, deception and the silence of ‘faithful’ churches, clergy and laypeople.   The Bible tells us; “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:  For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,  unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”  (2 Timothy 3:1-9)  These deceivers will not fool those who follow Jesus and abide in His word; “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,  and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”  (2 Thess. 2:9)

The corporate church needs the approval of the government in order to incorporate and gain tax exempt status and the government needs the corporate church’s vote, volunteers and public agreement.    So, the fear of man in the church leaderships will allow compromise to go unchecked until the corporate church is literally  eaten up by it.  The apostle Paul continues; “But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.”  (v. 13)  The trend will increase until  the anti-christ comes forward to take its place at the head of it.  How many in the pews will be pulled into the ranks of an unfaithful fake religion?

Jesus gives a good indication of the numbers in the church who will be gathered up when He comes for us; “Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left.  Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left.  Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.”  (Matthew 24:40-42)  The parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25 is very instructive; “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish.  Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them,  but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.  But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’  But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’  And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. . . . ‘Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”  (v.  6-13)  We are looking here at 5 in 10 being  the Bride of Christ – which reduces to 1 in 2.

The picture is even darker in the Book of Revelation.  Of the seven churches Jesus addresses in Revelation only two of the churches are completely acceptable in His sight[ix], the church in Smyrna – a poor church (Rev. 2:9) and the church in Philadelphia – a church with ‘a little strength’ (Rev. 3:8)  Two out of seven churches is a very small fraction.  When the church is raptured what do you think will happen with those religious impostors left behind.   By that time a large corporate world religion will be in place that will cheer the installation of the anti-christ as a world leader.

The Bride of Christ is not susceptible to worldly influences  “. . . , just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,  that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.”  (Ephesians 5:25-27)  It doesn’t need the world’s approval.  The true church thrives under persecution;  “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  (2 Corinthians 12:10)  The true church has no shared interest with the world for money; “No one can serve two masters: Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”  (Matthew 6:24)  The true church is immune to the world’s influences and pressures.

We must remember, people in the corporate church and the world are not our enemies – this is a spiritual war (Ephesians 6:12) and ‘these things must come to pass’  (Matthew 24:5-7). There is no stopping this progression. What will be happening between now and the rapture? Jesus’ disciples will find their position in the evolving corporate church become more and more untenable– whatever the denomination may be.  As corporately organized churches cave into the forces of politics, deception and fear of man, honest disciples of Jesus will be put in situations where eventually they will have to withdraw.   Eventually, even whole church congregations may have to give up their corporate status or compromise their belief in His Word.  What will they do, where will they meet?  How will we stay on His mission for us until He returns?

But for now, we as disciples of Christ must prepare for this eventual yet imminent exit.  If anyone has a shepherd’s heart, he or she will realize the need to make a spiritually safe place for God’s children to go to.  Not to retreat from the world but to continue in His purpose (Matt. 28:19,20) And until forced to leave we must prepare to take in refugees that will be ‘church shy’ because of hurt, disillusionment and persecution while supporting the existing local church communities that we belong to.  We literally have an outreach ministry into the corporate church that must not be abandoned until the time comes when compromise makes our place in it untenable.

Withdraw to where and what? Withdraw to a church that is organized spiritually not corporately.  Every mature disciple of Christ needs to be involved in forming, supporting and linking small groups where fellowship, teaching and worship can flourish (1 Corinthians 14:26).  This needs to be done now and continue until Jesus returns for His Bride.  Small, flexible groupings will allow for the mission of Jesus to move forward; “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:19,20).  That doesn’t take money, buildings, denominational doctrine  or a specialized clergy caste.  It takes commitment and the fear of the Lord and the leading of the Holy Spirit!

Where will the corporate denominational church end up?  As a concept or an idea, the corporate church will cease to exist along with every other ‘doctrine of men’ when the end comes.  As a body of people, those in the corporate church who rely upon their denomination and ‘church’ membership for salvation and not Jesus, they will end up in the lake of fire; “And I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence the earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and the books were opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged, every one of them according to their deeds… and death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:11-15)   What a sad ending for otherwise many good people who put their trust in men and not Jesus.

Don’t be deceived.


 

Endnotes

[i] https://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Bible.show/sVerseID/17760/eVerseID/17760

[ii]  Christendom or the Christian world, in the widest sense, means Christianity as a territorial phenomenon. That means: those countries where most people are Christians and because of that are part of Christendom. See: https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christendom

[iii] The Coming Test Acts Will Challenge Religious Freedom,  https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/01/test-acts-will-challenge-religious-freedom/?fbclid=IwAR38_xcA7wuKRNkZzgfc6xgblRmuROTfMCwABOAEGT1hgU_rljPt7LOIpF4

[iv] In Trudeau’s Canada, Christians are Not Welcome,  https://www.christianpost.com/voice/in-trudeaus-canada-christians-are-not-welcome.html

[v] United Church Observer,  January 2019, https://www.ucobserver.org/faith/2019/01/former_fundamentalists/

[vi] https://www.united-church.ca/community-faith/being-community/gender-and-orientation

[vii] https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/atheist-united-church-minister-keeps-her-job-heresy-trial-called-off-1.4170525

[viii] https://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=22953

[ix] http://biblestudyforlife.com/seven_churches_in_revelation.htm

 

The Language of faith!

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Most would agree that what you say and how you say it makes a big difference in your life.  I say what comes out of your mouth  is who you are (Matthew 12:34).  Our words save us or condemn us.  The Bible tells us; “From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled; with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied.  The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. “  (Proverbs 18:20-21)  And Jesus taught us; “A man is not defiled by what enters his mouth, but by what comes out of it.” (Matthew 15:11)    What you say and how you say it is who you are.hqdefault

Far too many Christians live their lives as spiritual children.  They are born again and still remain babies – they babble or speak baby talk.  They don’t know the language of faith.  Others,  learn a stilted, immature mixed language of faith and worldly- wishful thinking.    The Bible tells us this isn’t good; “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.  But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Hebrews 5:12-14) Why are we unskilled in the ’word of righteousness?’  Why is there so much baby talk among Christians and so little of His Word spoken among ourselves  and into our own lives?  These are important questions to ask ourselves.  For now let me just observe that mature speech comes from practice and growing in our faith.

kl-faith-as-small-as-a-mustard-seed-1-953x1024What is this language of faith and the power of it? Jesus tells us; “if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20)  He goes on:  “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.  And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”  (John 14:12-14) Notice, we have to believe and we have to use our mouth and ask using the language of faith!

So what is faith?  The Bible tells us plainly; “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  (Hebrews 11:1) For; “. . .  by it the elders obtained a good testimony.” (v. 2)  Is there a good testimony in what you hope for?  Is your faith based on what you believe about God and His Word over what you see with your eyes?   I think a major shortfall in many a Christian’s life deals with our hopes and expectations.  Our hopes never exceed our expectations.  We desire things in proportion to our abilities, our station in life and WHAT WE WANT FROM THE WORLD!  We save for what we want because we expect our paycheck will eventually cover cost.  We hope for the big house, the fancy car, the prestigious career and the tropical vacations because somehow we expect that good people deserve good lives.  Somehow desiring what God wants always comes second to what we want.  There is  no possibility for faith in a soul that places God in second place.  Idolatry empties out the power of our lives.

The apostle James nails our problem  with faith;  “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?  You desire but do not have,. . . . You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”  (James 4:1-3)  If you find your faith journey going around in circles it’s because you’ve got one foot firmly planted in the world.  You can’t speak any word of faith into your own life or anyone else’s.  Like a baby you can’t stand on your own two feet unless you’re hanging onto something or someone  in the world.  We’ve got the wrong priorities – spiritually immature priorities and the earning power for a full-grown worldly adult.  And we wonder why we have no authority over our life.  We’re hanging on to the temporary and seen things of the world and not relying the unseen but eternal Word of God!  This is your problem, my problem and our problem.  It blocks our spiritual maturity and renders our speech ineffective.  We have no power because we do not speak from His authority but rather out of our own wants, anxieties, fears and yes – lusts.

Listen to what Jesus tells us about speaking with authority; “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.”  (John 14:10) And what are the words that Jesus speaks ; “I have not spoken on My own, but the Father who sent Me has commanded Me what to say and how to say it.  And I know that His command leads to eternal life. So I speak exactly what the Father has told Me to say.”  (John 12:49,50)  I we claim to be disciples of Jesus we should emulate His teachings!  What stops us?

The healing of the Paralytic at the Pool of Bethesda is a case in point.  Jesus discerned that the real problem was one of choice;  “Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years.  When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, ‘Do you want to be made well?’” (John 5:5,6)  For thirty-eight years the poor man chose to try to get well by his own strength; “The sick man answered Him, ‘Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.’” (v. 7)  It didn’t work.  Then he made a different choice – to take Jesus at His Word; “Jesus said to him, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk.’  And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.”  (v. 8,9)  No more talk of being dunked in a pool.  Well you might say; ‘If Jesus said that to me now in Person, I would be healed of my ailments too!’  That’s no excuse.  Unlike the poor paralytic, us, Born Again Christians have His Holy Spirit speaking to us 24/7 – why aren’t we listening and choosing His Word over our own strength and worldly thinking?!!!

The solution is as simple and effective as it is frightening.  It is  frightening because it puts the responsibility for falling short right on us – right here, right now.  We must choose to speak on His authority, by His Word and do His Works.  That’s right it’s our decision to exercise what God has given to us freely.  God told Cain at the beginning; “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”  (Genesis 4:7)    Jesus gave His disciples the same authority He gives us; “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”  (Luke 10:19)  And Jesus saw our problem all too well; “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  (Matthew 26:41)  All too often we choose to live life following our flesh rather than the Holy Spirit.  We give in to anxiety, fear and lust because it’s easier, safer and feels better because we’re not responsible.  Going with the world’s flow is better than standing firm on His Word.  AND WE CHOOSE it because it takes the pressure off us.c7a4fd4542b18e0448ccfa6aa0df6c39

Many say, well that just blames the victim; the poor person that dies of cancer or heart disease or any other disease we fear, didn’t choose to live for Jesus.  This is not what I’m saying.  Everyone is going to die someday (Hebrews 9:27). What I’m saying is don’t let cancer, or the fear of it kill you before your dead.  Disease names are just words, and certainly not God’s Word – don’t let them rule your life.  Here is the Word of God;  “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies. And everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.” (John 11:25,26)  Believe, speak and live that Truth rather than the lying slippery words of disease.  I will die someday but I’m not letting any word of man kill me before my God appointed time.  And even then I won’t stay dead, not because I’m so tough but because God is Who He says He is!

So, how do we turn our lives around.  We simply make the decision in our soul – our mind to listen through our spirit as the Holy  Spirit speaks into us.  When cancer or some other disease says ‘you will die,’ we pay no attention to this dire word from our flesh.  When the Holy Spirit says to our spirit; “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5), live by that Word.  We choose to listen to the Holy Spirit and we choose to walk in His Word, not our flesh fear; “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)   It’s our decision, the responsibility is ours  and when we quake in fear and our flesh says; ‘I can’t do that I don’t have enough faith,’  listen and speak what the Holy Spirit says; “You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.” (Philippians 4:13)  The awesome and awful truth is the only person stopping you from living an authentic Christian life is YOU!  That’s awesome because you can choose to change and awful if you choose not to.

Dear brothers and sisters – stop dying of your fears and start living now, today, immediately!

Trudging or overcoming?

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How is it that people can hear the same message and some will benefit by it while others won’t?  Why do some people listlessly ‘trudge’ through life with little joy while others march forward with assurance and energy?  This is an age old problem with eternal consequences! The Bible sheds light on it; “Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.” (Hebrews 4:1,2) It’s not enough to hear the Good news, or even agree in principle with it; the Gospel must be combined with belief in those that hear it.gospel plus faith

The Forerunner commentary says; “The Israelites would not use their faith; they would not step out. They held back because the bottom line was that they did not really believe it. Do we believe what we are hearing from the Word of God? If we do not believe it, we will do nothing. We only do what we believe. Everybody in the world operates by this principle—they do what they believe!” The Israelites after leaving Egypt wouldn’t believe what God said, they preferred idols and lies instead. They balked and complained at every turn. They trudged the desert for forty years (Numbers 14:30-33). They heard the gospel from God through Moses, but didn’t trust it.

They refused to enter the promised land because they believed lies over God’s Word (Numbers 13,14). They knew it was God’s Word, they agreed ‘in principle’ (God was powerful and good) but not ‘in practice’ (but God wasn’t going to save them.) They cried out; “Why has the Lord brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” (Numbers 14:3 Paul says; “and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience . . . . “ (Hebrews 4:6) So all but two died trudging in the wilderness because they really didn’t believe for themselves. They didn’t add faith to God’s Word and so disobeyed because they knew better than God. They never realized the ‘profit’ after 40 years of trudging along because they never made the investment of faith by following through on His Word in their actions. Do you believe what you see through your own fearful eyes over God’s promises? Do you believe what someone else says over what God’s Word has in store for you? If you do and still come to church every Sunday you’re trudging with disbelief and a longing for ‘Egypt’ in your heart. There’s no profit in that.

Have you made the investment of faith needed to realize the profit of God’s promises? Or are you living from Sunday to Sunday (like some live from paycheck to paycheck) , thinking you’re just keeping ahead of the sin that piles up on us? John Wesley, put it this way; “But the word which they heard did not profit them – So far from it, that it increased their damnation. It is then only when it is mixed with faith, that it exerts its saving power.”

How do you know if you are a trudger or marcher? Recall that the Israelites wandered for 40 years in the desert as a group. Yet, there were of that two of that generation who marched into the promised land – Caleb and Joshua (Numbers 14:30) Caleb and Joshua were in the desert for 40 years as well – they marched as the rest trudged. They didn’t just march across the Jordan. They marched the entire time – walking in faith – with the stride of an ‘overcomer!’ How did they do that?

Do you notice that among our assemblies there are some who, no matter what, walk through life with the stride of an ‘overcomer?’ How to they do that? How do they navigate the swamps and wastelands of life, marching joyously while others trod along – groaning with the burdens and bruises of life? We have all trudged along some parts of our way but the good news is we can all march boldly every step of the way? How?

Trudging or marching

The key, we heard in last week’s lesson and scripture. Moses asked God to walk with Him; “Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people.” (Exodus 33:13) He knew he couldn’t march forward without God’s grace. Moses knew that God’s grace was far better than anyone’s experience or capabilities. And what was God’s reply; “And He said, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’” (v. 14) Moses believed in God’s Word in principle and action – he made the investment so he could lead His people forward. Moses had faith.

What is this faith like? To understand, let’s look as an everyday example. Most everybody trusts the bank. We put money into our savings account or checking account or RRSPs and we expect some return on the deposits, called interest. We don’t earn interest –it is the profit provided by making the investment. It’s the reward we get for having faith in our financial system. That faith is so ingrained in us that we act on it as a matter of course. Is this the kind of faith you have in God? – ingrained and completely trusting? That’s the faith that Moses, Caleb and Joshua had. This is the kind of faith that is necessary to please God; “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6,7)

When we make an investment of faith and believe whole heartedly that God will come through, we profit through our spiritual decision to trust and our action in accordance. It may take time. Just like we don’t need to check our bank balance every minute we don’t need to ask God why haven’t you fixed this yet. We trust and rest content in our belief. Our faith grows stronger. How does that work? When we do physical exercise to increase our strength and endurance it isn’t the exercise and physical exertion that makes us stronger. Rather this tears our muscles and breaks them down making us weaker. It is the rest period that is built into every proper exercise program that provides time for our muscles to heal. When muscles heal they get stronger. Spiritually, the rest that God promised provides the healing and restoration to our spiritual ‘muscles’ that strengthen our faith and provide an even greater capacity for marching forward in faith. This too is a wonderful dividend of profit when we mix the Word with faith.

Constant anxiety, depression or fear weakens faith. Without entering into God’s rest when we go through trials or even daily life we falter in our Christian walk. The daily disappointments, breakdowns and catastrophes of life tear all of us down and make us weaker – non-believer and believer alike. God’s promised rest to the faithful – builds up, restores and strengthens the believer making the lifelong journey of overcoming possible. Have you experienced that rest? Do you experience it every day? Rest in His Word. Stand on His Promises. Trust Him. It’s that simple.

In Christ we are upheld; “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18) Keep your eye on Jesus, believe His Word over what your eye may see or fear, and walk accordingly. Increase your stride and march forward with confidence in Him.

And there is the difference between an untrusting trudger and an overcoming marcher -not only is the destination glorious but so is the journey. The joy is not just in the arrival but also in every step that brings us closer to God – the Joy of the Lord comes from His presence in our lives! Every step in Joy makes you richer instead of poorer.

Stop trudging and start marching – your eternal life, now and in heaven, depends on it.
Amen!

 

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