Our Spiritual Journey

Thursday, June 15, 2017, 5:16 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Amazing Grace.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Luke 15:11-32 (NASB).

Two Sons (vv. 11-16)

And He said, “A man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.’ So he divided his wealth between them. And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living. Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him.

Life is a journey, is it not? Every day, hopefully, we wake up, we get out of bed, if we have a bed to sleep on, that is, and we start a new day. Either we do so with purpose and direction, or else we wander aimlessly, going here and there trying to find satisfaction for life, but always coming up empty. Either we are on a straight (righteous, holy) path, because we are trusting God/Jesus Christ with our lives, or else we are on a winding path or life course with no particular destination in mind other than self-pleasure. Yet, it is possible to be somewhere in the middle between these two paths, I believe, for someone could be on the straight path, but they have gotten off course, at least in some respects, and so they need to get back on course.

I believe there are four types of people in this world (four types of soil). The first type is the one who has not ever made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. The second is the one who makes a profession of faith, but it is surface level only (no root), probably because he was taught a false grace gospel which told him that God does not require repentance or obedience, so when things get rough, he yields to pressure, and he abandons the faith altogether. Neither of these have truly believed in Jesus as Savior. And, then there is the one who has believed in Jesus, who was crucified with Christ in death to sin, and risen with Christ to newness of life, but over time the temptations of this world entrapped him again, and so he got off course. And, he needs to return to God and forsake his idols. And, the fourth type is the individual who is walking by faith, is following his Lord in obedience, and who is bearing fruit for God’s kingdom, in keeping with repentance.

God is our creator, which means he gave life to all people, so God is the true father here. So, the two sons could represent the saved and the unsaved. As well, for believers in Jesus Christ, God is our Father and we are his children, so the two sons could also represent the faithful believer in Jesus, though certainly not perfect, and the believer who has gotten off course and has been entrapped by the sinful pleasures of the world once more. The bottom line, though, is that they represent one in fellowship with the Father, who is serving God with his life, who is walking in obedience to the Lord’s commands, and one who has abandoned God, is going his own way, and is living in sensual pleasure and self-indulgence. Yet, even the one in fellowship with the Father has some maturing to do in some areas.

He Came to His Senses (vv. 17-24)

But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”’ So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate.

Oftentimes, sadly enough, it takes some type of a tragedy or difficult situation in life to get people to come to their senses, and to escape the trap of the devil. When sin gets a grip on people, they can do senseless things, even dangerous things, and stuff which might even get them in trouble with the law, or which might ruin their marriages, etc. And, yet, they go headlong right into what they know is wrong, and what they know is destroying their lives and relationships, even their relationship with God, because their desire is greater for the sin than it is for anything else. They don’t want to let go of the sin, because the sin gives them a false sense of security, or because they are angry with God, and so they feel justified in continuing in the sin, or because they have a sense of entitlement, and so they believe God’s grace gives allowance for their sin, and that God requires nothing of them at all.

When things are going well for us, and we are healthy, and all our physical needs are being met, there may be a temptation to rely on ourselves more than we rely on God. We may become complacent regarding fellowship with our Lord and walking in his Spirit, and the trappings of the world may begin to consume us, our time, thoughts, energies, passion and desires. We may give God a back seat in our lives, and even our devotional lives may begin to ebb away. We don’t necessarily have to even get to the point of gross sin and rebellion to be a prodigal son, but we may just neglect our relationship with Jesus Christ, and what we want and desire may, thus, take first place.

So, God may bring into our lives, or may allow in our lives, some difficult trial, tragedy, sorrow, pain or sickness in order to get our attention, and for the purpose to bring us to our senses. This is not to say that those who are living righteously will not also face such troubled times. They will, and it will be for the purpose to mature them, and so they share in God’s holiness, and so they bear the fruit of God’s righteousness. But, he also disciplines his wandering saints in order to bring them back to himself in humility, repentance and obedience. Sometimes we can be so stupid, so strong-headed, and so bent on our own ways, even though we know better, and so it will take being hit over the head by a two-by-four (not literally) to bring us to our senses. And, even this is God’s grace to us, in order to free us, because he has compassion for us. And, when we do return, he revives and restores us to fellowship with him, and he welcomes us back home.

The Curse of Jealousy (vv. 25-32)

“Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. And he summoned one of the servants and began inquiring what these things could be. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound.’ But he became angry and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him. But he answered and said to his father, ‘Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends; but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.’ And he said to him, ‘Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.’”

Like I said, even those who are walking righteously are not yet perfect (without fault). We are maturing in our walks of faith day-by-day. Daily we are putting to death sinful deeds, by the Spirit, and we are responding to the Spirit’s still small voice in convicting us when we falter, or we should be. And, sometimes our Lord will put a finger on an area of our lives where we need to yield control to our Lord and not do it ourselves. And, we need to respond to his voice by submitting to his will, and by walking in his way.

The one who stayed in communion with the Father ended up being jealous of the one who repented of his evil ways, and who returned, because the Father received him with open arms and he celebrated the son’s return. He felt that the father treated the wandering son, who then later repented, greater than he treated him who had remained with the father. And, that can happen to us, too, if we allow self-righteousness to settle in, and if we forget that our righteousness is as filthy rags in God’s sight, and it is only his righteousness granted to us, to be lived out through us in his power, that amounts to anything. We were once lost, too, and God found us and saved us by his grace, so we have nothing to boast about or to feel self-righteous about, because it is only by God’s grace that we are not still in the gutter.

Yet, I find another jealousy existing among those who profess faith in Jesus Christ, which is equally as bad. Sometimes, when a wandering saint does return to the Lord, and is restored to fellowship with God, and is now walking in the Spirit, and is not gratifying the sinful flesh any longer, those who are still giving way to the flesh, who have not yet repented of their sins, will be jealous and resentful of the relationship the faithful believer has with the Lord. And, that may drive the unrepentant even further into sin and rebellion because of their anger with God and with the repentant. Yet, all of us need to have the perspective that it is only by God’s grace that any of us can be restored to God and have communion with him, and that all of us have the opportunity to walk in faithfulness, if we so choose to do so.

Amazing Grace / John Newton

Amazing Grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found
Was blind, but now I see.

‘Twas Grace that taught my heart to fear,
And Grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils, and snares
I have already come.
‘Tis Grace hath brought me safe thus far
And Grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me.
His Word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.

And when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess within the veil
A life of joy and peace.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.

Use It, or Lose It!

Saturday, June 10, 2017, 7:49 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Jesus, I am Resting, Resting.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Ecclesiastes 6 (ESV).

Wealth and Possessions (vv. 1-6)

There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, and it lies heavy on mankind: a man to whom God gives wealth, possessions, and honor, so that he lacks nothing of all that he desires, yet God does not give him power to enjoy them, but a stranger enjoys them. This is vanity; it is a grievous evil. If a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, so that the days of his years are many, but his soul is not satisfied with life’s good things, and he also has no burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. For it comes in vanity and goes in darkness, and in darkness its name is covered. Moreover, it has not seen the sun or known anything, yet it finds rest rather than he. Even though he should live a thousand years twice over, yet enjoy no good—do not all go to the one place?

Some people have been blessed with wealth – either materially and with many possessions, or with knowledge and understanding, or with natural talent and much giftedness. They may have been given many aptitudes for many things. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are blessed with the riches of God’s grace, not only in our salvation from sin, but with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus, and in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. We have been forgiven our sins, delivered from slavery to sin, given new lives in Christ Jesus, to be lived to his righteousness, and indwelt and empowered with the Holy Spirit, and granted eternal life with God (See: Eph. 1:1-14). God gives good gifts to his children (Matt. 7:11; Jas. 1:17).

But, what matters is not what we have, but what we do with what we have. Great wealth, talent, and knowledge means nothing if it is not used for good purposes, or if it is not shared with those who are in need, or with those who may benefit from it in some way. It also means nothing if it is amassed for future purposes, but the person dies before he gets to put it to good use, and especially if he has no heirs, and strangers then get his wealth. Or, if his country is conquered by a foreign entity and he loses it all, and the conquerors then take possession of it. He should have shared it with others while he still had it, for what good is it if an enemy now takes possession of it?

He may also lose it, too, because God takes it away, because he didn’t use it for good, to benefit others, but he squandered his wealth and just used it for his own selfish purposes. And, this can be true of spiritual blessings and giftedness, too. Many people have been given the gift of salvation, and, perhaps, initially they produced fruit in keeping with repentance, or seemed to, but since then they have gotten caught up in the world of sin, or have become lazy and complacent, and they are living their lives wholly for their own self-pleasure. Maybe they initially received the gospel message with joy and with enthusiasm, but as time went on, they went back to their old ways of living for sin and self, and they have forgotten that salvation means death to sin and living to righteousness. They are also ignoring all the warnings in scripture regarding how we will reap what we sow, and instructions which teach that our spiritual walk, or lack thereof, determines our eternal destiny.

Never Satisfied (vv. 7-9)

All the toil of man is for his mouth, yet his appetite is not satisfied. For what advantage has the wise man over the fool? And what does the poor man have who knows how to conduct himself before the living? Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the appetite: this also is vanity and a striving after wind.

The things of this world will never satisfy us. They are like eating a meal. Hours later we need to eat again. They are also a lot like water that only temporarily satisfies our thirst, for then we get thirsty again, and then we need more. The treasures of this life do bring some temporary satisfaction and pleasure (enjoyment), but they are temporal. They are not lasting. One day they will all perish, too. But, since they are only temporarily satisfying, it is human nature to keep wanting more, thinking if we just have this or that, now we will be happy, but they never truly make us happy. And, some of them come with great debt because people buy what they can’t afford, and thus they come with a great financial burden, too. Or else they come with enormous responsibility, and thus they take a great amount of our time, money and energies just keeping them maintained, and for what?

When I think of the wandering of the appetite, it is not just in wanting more possessions, or more food than what we need to eat (to live), but it is going outside the boundaries of our covenant relationships with God or with our spouses. It is not being satisfied with what we have, or with the marriage covenant, or with God alone, and it is going after “other lovers,” thinking they will satisfy the deep longings of our souls. Yet, these are all just empty cisterns full of holes.

Regarding marriage, this adultery can take place via the mind only, lusting after those who are not our own, but it can also involve viewing pornography, and sexually charged movies, TV shows, and books or magazines, too. It can, as well, involve extramarital relationships, that may begin seemingly innocent enough, but which may lead to romantic and/or sexual relationships. As well, private chats or texts with people of interest with whom you might have intimate conversations, especially without the knowledge or approval of your spouses, and behind their backs, is another form of adultery and a “wandering appetite.”

Sovereignty of God (vv. 10-12)

Whatever has come to be has already been named, and it is known what man is, and that he is not able to dispute with one stronger than he. The more words, the more vanity, and what is the advantage to man? For who knows what is good for man while he lives the few days of his vain life, which he passes like a shadow? For who can tell man what will be after him under the sun?

God knows the end from the beginning. He knew before he even created man that he would sin against him. He knew before we were even formed in the wombs of our mothers who we would become, what we would do, and whether or not we would believe in him. But, it is more than just knowing these things in advance. For those of us who know Jesus, or who will yet believe in him, God chose us to be holy and blameless in his sight. He chose us even before the creation of the world (Ro. 8:29; 2 Tim. 1:8-9; Eph. 1:3-4). All the days ordained for me were written in God’s book before one of them came into being (Ps. 139:13-16; cf. Jeremiah 1:4-5). God placed me in the womb of my mother, so he chose the home I would be raised in, even knowing the good, bad and the ugly of it all, because he made me who I am so he could use me in the way he is using me, and all for his glory!

The point here, also, is that there is no point trying to go our own way, or to resist God, because his word will stand true, and he will do what he says he will do. What we sow, that will we also reap. If we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk (in lifestyle) in darkness (sin), we are liars. If we walk according to our sinful flesh, we will die in our sins, even if we profess to believe in Jesus Christ. But, if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live with Christ for eternity. If we persist and insist on going our own way, and continuing in willful and unrepentant sin against God, and we make a practice of doing what is wicked, we do not have the hope of eternal life with God, but a fearful expectation of judgment.

One other thing here is that it says, the more words, the more vanity. This is not saying that we have to be people of few words, though there is wisdom in that, at times, when we say more than is necessary, or more than we should. Yet, what this makes me think of is how words can be cheap if not accompanied by action. If a man or a woman proclaims to love his or her spouse but he or she cheats on the spouse and then covers it up with lies, they should not call it love, for it is not love. If we proclaim to know and to love God, as well, but we cheat on God with “other lovers,” i.e. with the gods of this world, and we go our own way, and we do what we want, and we think we are ok if we keep sinning, and we think obedience is not required, then all is vanity! Because, our expressions of love are vain, because they are just words.

So, we should not take God and his grace for granted. We should be satisfied with where he has us, what he has us doing, and with the blessings he has bestowed upon us, unless he moves us to something else, according to his plans and purposes for our lives. We should not wander outside our covenant relationships with God or with spouse, but we should be faithful in all that we do, think, speak and are (in character). If God has gifted us and has given us wealth, knowledge, talent, salvation, and spiritual gifts, we should use them for his glory, and for the benefit of others, and not hoard them to ourselves, or to use them only for our own pleasure. But, we should rest in the Lord, believe what he says, do what he shows us, go wherever he sends us, and use what he gives us – all for his glory!

Jesus, I am Resting, Resting
Jean Sophia Pigott

Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For by Thy transforming power,
Thou hast made me whole.

O, how great Thy loving kindness,
Vaster, broader than the sea!
O, how marvelous Thy goodness,
Lavished all on me!
Yes, I rest in Thee, Belovèd,
Know what wealth of grace is Thine,
Know Thy certainty of promise,
And have made it mine.

Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless,
Satisfies my heart;
Satisfies its deepest longings,
Meets, supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings:
Thine is love indeed!

Ever lift Thy face upon me
As I work and wait for Thee;
Resting ‘neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus,
Earth’s dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father’s glory,
Sunshine of my Father’s face,
Keep me ever trusting, resting,
Fill me with Thy grace.

Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.

Many Fall Away

Saturday, June 3, 2017, 5:18 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Matthew 24 (quoting vv. 1-14 ESV).

Thrown Down (vv. 1-2)

Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”

Jesus, in his remarks to the disciples here, was foretelling the destruction of the Jewish temple, which took place in 70 A.D. Then, Jerusalem, the Holy City, was taken by Roman armies, and the temple was laid low. Yet, this was a judgment of God on the Jewish nation because they rejected Jesus Christ as their Lord (God) and Messiah (Savior, deliverer). And, now, the temple of God is Christ’s followers, his body, the church. God’s Spirit now lives within our hearts and lives. We, the church, are now the Holy City, and the Holy of Holies dwells within us. Physical Jerusalem is of Hagar, the slave woman, because she is still in slavery (to sin) with her children (See: Gal. 4:22-31).

Yet, there will be another judgment of God on his people, yet to come, but not speaking of the Jews, who are not his people, if they do not believe in Jesus. This is a judgment of God on his adulterous and idolatrous church who has partnered with the world’s system, and has become worldly, and has diluted the gospel of Christ to make it appealing to human flesh. She has turned the “house of prayer” into a marketplace, has become unequally yoked together with unbelievers, and has turned to humans and/or to governments of men for her support. So, God is calling his church to come out of Babylon so that she does not share in her sins and in her punishment, for her sins are piled high to heaven (See: Rev. 2-3; Rev. 18:1-10).

End of the Age (vv. 3-12)

As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.

We are seeing much of this being fulfilled in our present day and time. Many are coming in Christ’s name who are false shepherds of the people, and who are wolves in sheep’s clothing, whose aim it is to kill, steal and to destroy. They may not literally say that they are “Christ,” but they will act as though they are the savior of the people, or that they have discovered some new revelation, supposedly coming from God, but contrary to God’s Word, or else they will twist the Word of God to their own advantage.

Or, they may just lie, deceive, trick, and manipulate people, and “play” them, i.e. pretend to be on their side while actually undermining them for their own advantage. So, they will make up stories and will pass them off as truth in order to lead the people, especially God’s people, astray. And, these false shepherds are deceiving people by the millions. Some of them are heads of governments, and some are pastors, priests and church elders. And, some are the news media, who merely report the stories they are told to report, most of which is made up, partially or wholly, or is twisted, often in order to shift blame on to someone other than the guilty parties.

For example, there are several main news stories right now that are mostly fabricated in order to deceive and to “play” the people. One of them has to do with this whole fiasco of Russia supposedly hacking the US elections to benefit Donald Trump, and is, thus, questioning D. Trump’s role in all of this. Another has to do with the Paris climate accord (agreement), and Trump supposedly withdrawing the US from the accord. And, it has to do with Trump’s supposed stance on the subject of climate change, which he has purportedly stated previously that it is a hoax, a con job, and nonexistent. Well, he is correct, but don’t let that fool you into thinking he is on your side, for he is not. He is one of them – the one world government people.

Basically, the US government has no real authority of its own. The de facto government in the US is a shadow government of the Elite of the world. And, the US government and military get their orders from them, and they serve as their messengers, enforcers and punishers of all who do not comply with the New World Order “beast.” So, the US government is very much a part of this global alliance. And, this climate agreement is not really about emissions, but it is about the conquering of nations and peoples by this New World Order “beast.” It is about the forcing or manipulating of people and of independent nations, via trickery, scheming and strategy, into uniting with this one world order of law, and its one world religion. And, the Bushes, the Clintons, Obama and Trump are all on board. There is no difference among them. They all served or are serving the same shadow government.

As far as who hacked the US elections, the US government and the New World Order Alliance did. And, this has been going on for many years. Our votes don’t really matter, for, as Trump also claimed, the elections are rigged. And, the shadow government decides who to put in office. We are not a nation of the people, by the people and for the people. We are a nation created to bring about this New World Order and the rule of the beast, which is evidenced by our true history. Many of our forefathers were freemasons, the buildings and statues in D.C. were patterned after foreign gods and goddesses, and our own national seal depicts the all-seeing eye of Horus (the shadow government) hovering over the unfinished pyramid.

So, as the people of the world, we have to stop believing what we read or hear or see in the news, because so much of it is twisted, fabricated or faked. They tell us what they want us to believe in order to deceive us into believing their lies. But, we must understand that the news media and our government leaders are not our friends. Most (or all) of them work for the “beast,” and their true goal is the same as his, which is world domination and totalitarian rule of all people. And, they are out to conquer Christians, and even to kill those who will not bow to this beast. So, we can expect that serious persecution of Christians will, in the near future, be a present reality here in America, too, and not just in other parts of the world.

And This Gospel (vv. 13-14)

But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

If we want to have eternal life with God, we must endure in our faith to the end, and not compromise with the world or bow to this beast New World Order. We must stand on the truth of God’s Word, and not give way to fear of what man (humans) may do to us, even if it means we are killed. For, God’s purposes and plans will prevail. He will use this time in history to bring his wayward ones to repentance, to revive his church, and to spread his gospel to all nations so that many may hear and be saved before Jesus returns to judge the people of this earth, and to take us to be with him.

Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah
William Williams / John Hughes

Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah,
Pilgrim through this barren land.
I am weak, but Thou art mighty;
Hold me with Thy powerful hand.
Bread of Heaven, Bread of Heaven,
Feed me till I want no more;
Feed me till I want no more.

Open now the crystal fountain,
Whence the healing stream doth flow;
Let the fire and cloudy pillar
Lead me all my journey through.
Strong Deliverer, strong Deliverer,
Be Thou still my Strength and Shield;
Be Thou still my Strength and Shield.

Lord, I trust Thy mighty power,
Wondrous are Thy works of old;
Thou deliver’st thine from thralldom,
Who for naught themselves had sold.
Thou didst conquer, Thou didst conquer
Sin and Satan and the grave,
Sin and Satan and the grave.

When I tread the verge of Jordan,
Bid my anxious fears subside;
Death of deaths, and hell’s destruction,
Land me safe on Canaan’s side.
Songs of praises, songs of praises,
I will ever give to Thee;
I will ever give to Thee. Amen.

Offspring of Deceit

Saturday, May 27, 2017, 5:27 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “My Jesus, I Love Thee.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 57:1-13 (ESV).

The Righteous Perish (vv. 1-2)

The righteous man perishes,
and no one lays it to heart;
devout men are taken away,
while no one understands.
For the righteous man is taken away from calamity;
he enters into peace;
they rest in their beds
who walk in their uprightness.

Many Christians today are being martyred for their faith in Jesus Christ and for their testimonies for the gospel of our salvation. Others are dying of natural causes before they reach old age. Surely this is a tragedy that so many believers in Jesus are being killed for their faith. It may seem sad to us, as well, that many of them die while they are still young. Yet, they are being spared all the violence, hatred, immorality and evil that is going on in this present world. And, they have entered into their eternal rest. So, the real tragedy here is not that Christians are dying and that they are getting to be with their Lord, but it is the circumstances under which many of them are being killed, and it is that so many Christians are not even aware of those circumstances, and may be blindly supporting the ones doing the killing.

Offspring of the Adulterer (vv. 3-5, 8)

But you, draw near,
sons of the sorceress,
offspring of the adulterer and the loose woman.
Whom are you mocking?
Against whom do you open your mouth wide
and stick out your tongue?
Are you not children of transgression,
the offspring of deceit,
you who burn with lust among the oaks,
under every green tree,
who slaughter your children in the valleys,
under the clefts of the rocks?

Behind the door and the doorpost
you have set up your memorial;
for, deserting me, you have uncovered your bed,
you have gone up to it,
you have made it wide;
and you have made a covenant for yourself with them,
you have loved their bed,
you have looked on nakedness.

God is speaking here to his idolatrous and adulterous children who are the offspring of “the adulterer and the loose woman.” And, he is making application here to America. The adulterer is the US government, and the loose woman is the church which has willfully partnered with the government in an unholy union, and has chosen to bring the body of Christ under the government’s authority and influence (persuasion). The offspring are thus individual believers in Jesus Christ who have given credence to this unholy union, and to government worship, too, via pledging (vowing) allegiance (fidelity) to the US Republic, and with hand over heart.

The sense here is that these individuals are not listening to God’s rebukes, to his warnings, and to his calls for them to come out of “Babylon” and to be separate from her so that they do not share in her sins and in her punishment, for her sins are piled high to heaven (See: Rev. 18:4-5). So, he is here bringing reality into the situation and is helping them collectively to see their spiritual condition through his eyes. He says they are also offspring of deceit. So, how does this fit with American Christians today?

The US government (our leaders) are not really the ones running this nation. They are under the authority of a shadow government of the Elite of the world which is the de facto (actual) government of these United States. This is pictured for us in our national seal, for this shadow government is depicted as an all-seeing eye hovering over top of an unfinished pyramid. It is my belief, from what the Lord has shown me over the years, that our nation was created for the very purpose of transitioning the world to the rule of the “beast” New World Order. And, that is what our government leaders have been doing for many years, maybe ever since the beginning.

So, our leaders are not our real leaders, so when they act as though they are, it is an act, a performance. They also created a history for this nation that is not fully factual (truthful). We are not a nation of the people, by the people or for the people. Our votes don’t really matter, because the shadow government decides (and God appoints) who is going to be in office. There is no such thing as Republican and Democrat. They are two sides of the same whole, and the presentation of the two sides is for performance, too.

As well, our leaders are not the saviors of the world going around the world on humanitarian missions or to protect American citizens from terrorists, for they are the world’s biggest terrorist organization. Our government and military are in many other nations in the world to take them over and to bring them under the rule of the New World Order “beast.” So, they rape, pillage, destroy, steal, kill at will, murder innocents (including Christians) and conquer kings and kingdoms. ISIS is supported by them. They are not going after ISIS, for ISIS is their creation. They are going after all those who do not bow to this “beast” New World Order, and who refuse to or who have decided to come out from under its influence and persuasion.

The real “climate change” accord is a New World Order agreement, for the real “climate change” is political, not environmental (of the elements of nature). So many of these “terrorist” attacks, as well, are orchestrated of the New World Order (Elite of the world), or are completely or partially staged productions, in order to brainwash the American people into believing the lies and to not question whether they are true or not. It is also to condition the American public, and the people of the world, as well, to a false reality that we need to be continuously policed and spied upon for our own protection. They are also indoctrinating the people of this nation, and of the world, to accept compromise of faith, values, and standards, and to accept global government rule as a means of keeping this world “safe.”

This is why we are hearing so much about “religious extremism.” First they create the scenarios of “religious extremism,” turned into “terrorism,” so they can convince the people of this planet that we all need to come together in the middle, in harmony and agreement with one another, to the point where we would get rid of all which divides us as the people of the world in order that we might have “world peace.” But, this is all a sham. “Peace” means we lose our rights as individuals and we have to give up our beliefs, and we have to accept this global rule (totalitarian), and we have to be willing to partner with the world by accepting all religions and multiple lifestyle choices as viable, which is what they call “tolerance.”

We must know here that when they say “religious extremists” they include all believers in Jesus Christ who hold to the notion that Jesus is the only way to God the Father, that there is no other way to heaven except through faith in Jesus Christ, and that we must turn from our sins, and we must walk in obedience to our Lord as part of our believing faith, if we want to have eternal life with God in heaven (See: Lu. 9:23-25; John 6:35-66; Ro. 6:1-23; Ro. 8:1-14; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9). The word “extreme” means “exceeding the ordinary, usual, or expected; very far from agreeing with the opinions of most people: not moderate” (M-W). Another word might be “holy,” i.e. set apart (unlike, different) from the world, because we are becoming like Jesus. We are not supposed to be “usual” or “ordinary.”

The chastisement here is that the adulterous church, in partnership with the US government, and the offspring of this unholy union, chose to come under the influence of the New World Order “beast” via this unholy union with the US government. They are tolerating without complaint much of what our government is doing here and abroad, and without question as to what truly is going on, too; and without questioning the truth of what the news media is spewing forth, either. They have allowed themselves to be brainwashed into believing the performances of our leaders and into buying into their deceit. Thus, they do share in the sins of this “whore” which is forcing the people and kingdoms of this world to bow to the beast and which is persecuting and killing or destroying the lives of all who are non-compliant.

Fear the Lord (vv. 11-13)

Whom did you dread and fear,
so that you lied,
and did not remember me,
did not lay it to heart?
Have I not held my peace, even for a long time,
and you do not fear me?
I will declare your righteousness and your deeds,
but they will not profit you.
When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you!
The wind will carry them all off,
a breath will take them away.
But he who takes refuge in me shall possess the land
and shall inherit my holy mountain.

So, God is calling out to his adulterous and idolatrous people, particularly here in America, though certainly not confined to just this location, and he is asking them to fear him and not the government or the New World Order. To fear God is to reverence, respect, honor, value and esteem him above all else. It is to take him and his Word (his commands) seriously, and it is to submit to him, surrender to his will, and to obey his precepts. He is calling them still to come out of Babylon and to repent of their idolatries and their spiritual adultery so they don’t share in the punishment of the whore. For one day he is going to judge this nation and the adulterous church here, and no idols of men or no government leaders will be able to rescue them.

Yet, for those who have put their trust in the Lord, although they may suffer persecution, false imprisonment, harsh treatment and even death for the sake of the name of Jesus and his Word (his gospel), they will be at peace with God and secure in the promise of their eternal inheritance. They will rest secure in the Lord through all suffering, and trust in HIM always.

My Jesus, I Love Thee
William R. Featherstone / Adoniram J. Gordon

My Jesus, I love thee, I know thou art mine;
For thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art thou;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I love thee because thou hast first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree;
I love thee for wearing the thorns on thy brow;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say, when the death-dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ‘tis now.

In mansions of glory and endless delight;
I’ll ever adore thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

Selfless

Saturday, May 13, 2017, 8:08 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Oh, To Be Like Thee.” I read Hebrews 13:1-6 (ESV).

Think of Others (vv. 1-3)

Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.

What are some ways in which we can show brotherly love to others? If we see someone in need, we can reach out to help him or her with the needs. Part of this may involve ascertaining what the real needs are first, so we know how best to meet the needs. We can pay attention when people talk with us, remembering their names, and remembering specific things about them, to show that we care about them. We can do special things for people to let them know we appreciate them, especially during times when it is not expected (no special occasion). And, we can have neighbors over for a meal, or lend a helping hand, or take someone to the store, etc.

We should not be ingrown to where we only show hospitality to friends, co-workers, other Christians, neighbors and family members. But, we should open our hearts and homes to those we don’t know, too. We should show the love of Jesus to whomever he places in our lives or across our paths, and in whatever manner in which he chooses for us to show them his love and his grace. We should always exercise godly wisdom in whatever we do, but we should not be afraid to minister to strangers. And, included in this may be visiting inmates in prisons and sharing with them the love and the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In addition, we should be concerned for all people who are being mistreated, abused, and taken advantage of. If there is any way we can minister to them, we should, as the Lord leads, and we should pray for the downtrodden, too. As well, we should remember the saints of God (believers in Jesus) throughout the world who are suffering persecution, hardship, and abuse in various forms because of their stand on the Word of Truth, because of their love and service to Jesus Christ, and because they share the gospel so that others might be saved. Many are being hunted down like they are animals, and bombs are being dropped on them, or they are being forced out of their homes into camps where they are ill-treated, so we should pray for their strengthening and courage.

Love Does No Harm (v. 4)

Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.

What does it look like to hold marriage in honor? It means to show your marriage and your spouse absolute respect, value, and high regard, especially in public, or in front of others, as well as privately, and to treat the marriage relationship with decency, morality, uprightness, and dignity. As well, it entails keeping (holding to) the marriage vows with all integrity, truthfulness and faithfulness. Nothing destroys a marriage more than unfaithfulness and lies (deception, cover-ups, or justifications).

And, this is not just about not having sexual relations with another individual, but it also includes not looking at another lustfully, especially in front of your spouse, not thinking lustful thoughts about others, not flirting with another, and not viewing pornography, or magazines, movies, or TV shows with partially clad people of interest, or with sexual situations or sexual humor. It also involves no sexting, and no intimate conversations with another to whom you are not married, i.e. no private texting or chatting without your spouse’s knowledge, and with someone of the opposite sex or same sex attraction. I would include in this also not watching romantic movies or reading romantic novels where you find yourself longing for such a relationship with someone other than your spouse, and which makes you dissatisfied with your own marriage.

You don’t have to have physical sexual relations with another in order for your marriage bed to be defiled. It is defiled whenever you dishonor your marriage and your spouse by all or by most all of what I just mentioned. And, it continues to be defiled as long as you lie to your spouse and/or withhold from your spouse what is his or her right to know, i.e. if you are cheating on him or her either physically, emotionally or mentally. And, I have to include masturbation in this list, too, because that is a selfish act which involves choosing self-gratification over the marriage bed.

Yet, if our spouse does commit adultery against us in any one of these ways, we need to be willing to forgive, and to lovingly encourage faithfulness, and to work toward the healing of the relationship, as much as it is within our power to do so. We need to pray for our spouse and always hold out hope for better days to come.

Be Contented (vv. 5-6)

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say,

“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?”

You know, this fits with adultery, too, because when someone turns to lust, pornography, masturbation, sexting or romantic or sexual affairs, etc., in place of faithfulness to marriage and spouse, it is because the person is not content with his or her spouse, and so is looking to have their needs met outside the marriage, and outside the marriage bed. So, similar counsel needs to be given here, too, in that we should learn to be content with the one to whom we are married, and we should pursue that relationship rather than looking elsewhere for satisfaction and pleasure.

Yet, with regard to the love of money, this actually entails much more than just money, but it has to do with extreme greed for money or for material things, never satisfied with what we have, but always wanting more and more. In America I know this is a huge problem because we are an affluent nation with so much stuff, food, entertainment, possessions, hobbies, etc., but the more people buy the more they think they need until we have houses and closets full of stuff no one really needs, i.e. we have houses, garages, attics and closets full of excess.

So, the counsel here is to be content with what we have, and to not seek after or worship, idolize, lust for, prefer, or long for what we don’t have, or what is not ours to have, or what we can’t really afford, or what would just be filling our barns with excess while others go without the basic necessities of life.

We should trust the Lord to meet all our needs, and we need to be generous in giving to others as they have need, too. Instead of being selfish, we need to be those who make a practice of being selfless. And, we need to not fear that our needs will not be met if we don’t take matters into our own hands. God knows what we need, and he will supply, not what we want, necessarily, or what we might decide that we need, but he will take care of us, so we should never be afraid. He will work all things out for good for those who love him, so we rest in him.

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Thomas O. Chisholm / W. J. Kirkpatrick

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

Time Not Our Friend

Saturday, April 15, 2017, 7:17 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Here I Go Again.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Malachi 3 (ESV).

Prepare the Way (vv. 1-4)

“Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.

John the Baptist was the messenger of God who prepared the way for Jesus Christ’s first coming. He preached a message of repentance (turning from sin to God) for the forgiveness of sins, and so did Jesus. Jesus is the Lord who came to the physical temple in physical Jerusalem to preach to them the gospel message of salvation from sin. Outside of faith in Jesus Christ, not one of us can stand before God at the day of his second coming.

All have sinned and have come up short of attaining God’s divine approval, i.e. the glory of God. Only through Jesus Christ’s shed blood on the cross for our sins can any of us approach the throne of grace and find mercy. And, it is only God-given faith which can save us, i.e. a faith which is divinely persuaded as to God’s will for our lives, and thus it submits itself to Christ and to his cross. And, the cross is death to sin. And, Jesus’ resurrection is living in the power of the Spirit of God to Christ and to his righteousness.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God (God the Son), who gave his life up for us, so we could be delivered from slavery to sin and eternal damnation, and so we could have new life in him, is coming again one day to judge the world and to take his bride to be with him. And, again, a messenger has been sent before him in the spirit of Elijah (See: Mal. 4:5-6) to prepare the way for his second coming, i.e. to prepare the hearts of the people to be ready for him for when he comes again.

And, I see that messenger in two different forms. One form is those of us whom God has called to give out messages such as this one which confronts sin in the church, in particular, warns of divine judgment (discipline, correction), calls for repentance, and promises the hope of deliverance and internal peace for the one who repents of his or her sin, and who turns his or her heart to Jesus Christ, making him their Lord (owner-master) and Savior.

The other messenger, I believe, is that of the judgments of God which will take place during the time of tribulation, which we may have already entered into, or upon which we may be on the precipice. So, this messenger, just like the one mentioned above, is a divine instrument of God’s judgments, first on his temple, the body of Christ, and then on the world. One messenger speaks words of judgment, but also of mercy, while the other carries out the judgments of God, which is also God’s mercy to bring hearts to (or back to) himself. And, the purpose for this judgment on the people of God is to refine us and to purify us so that we bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord.

For Judgment (v. 5)

“Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts.

Since November of 2004 the Lord Jesus has been showing me these judgments of God which are taking place and will yet take place on nations, peoples, and on Christians throughout the world, including inside America, as is prophesied in the scriptures (the Bible). He has also opened up my eyes to see America and its government in an entirely different light than I had ever seen before. I believe we, the USA, or at least our government and military and financial sector, are Babylon, the harlot which rides the beast. Our government is like the right-hand man of this beast (New World Order), doing the bidding of the de facto government of these United States, i.e. a shadow government of the Elite (wealthy and powerful) of this world.

So, the government we feel we have elected as our leaders are not really the ones running this country. This shadow government is, and behind the scenes. Our “elected” officials work for them, and they can only do what the Elite tell them to do. So, when President Trump orders a strike on Syria, or when a US military general in Afghanistan orders a huge bomb to be dropped on some people in Afghanistan, the orders come from this shadow government of the Elite (the New World Order and/or the All-Seeing Eye). And, their purpose for all the evil crimes they commit against humanity is to bring the world together as one – under a one world totalitarian government and into a one world religion, which embraces all religions and lifestyles.

In a nutshell, judgment is at the door for America, but not just for us, but for the world as a whole, and yet I believe what has been happening and what will yet happen is for the purposes described in this passage of scripture, and that is to refine and to purify the church, and to revive the part of the church which has become complacent, idolatrous, and spiritually adulterous in her relationship with the Lord.

Also, the US government is not who they claim to be, and most of what we read or hear in the media is a pack of lies, because the media is mostly owned by the Elite (this shadow government). I believe the US is behind the chemical weapons attack in Syria and that it was used as a false flag operation in order to aggressively go after the people of Syria. Also, ISIS, Al Qaeda, the Taliban, etc. are mostly all supported, trained, and equipped by the US, so we are not going after terrorists, but we ARE the terrorists who are killing innocents across the globe, and in particular Christians – we are the persecutors, under orders from this shadow government. Our own government will also come against us, too, to take down our nation.

I believe nuclear war is coming to the world. I don’t know when. I believe it could be very soon. I believe the weapons, at the hands of the US government are ready to go for whenever they get the order, i.e. the authority to use this type of force. The Lord has shown me nuclear weapons in bodies of water more so than he has shown me them in the air, though certainly they could be transported by air into the bodies of water. This shadow government (New World Order ‘beast’) is using the threat of nuclear attacks as a means presently to get the nations of this world and the people of this world to bow to the beast. Not everyone is complying. Many are resisting. If they do not comply, though, they will face the wrath of this global government. Where we are headed, I believe, is to a divided world, i.e. there will be those who will follow the beast and those who will follow Jesus Christ. There will be no more middle ground – one side or the other.

God Does Not Change (application of vv. 6-18 to today)

“For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. (v. 6)

I am not familiar with the church across the world, but I am familiar with the church here in America. God is going to come in judgment against America because the vast majority of his church first of all partnered with an evil government (via the 501c3). Thus, they brought the government into the church as head and turned the body of Christ into a human business, and they have marketed it just like a business to the world. They entertain the world instead of preaching repentance to them for forgiveness of sins. And, so they dilute the gospel to make it more attractive to the world, and to give people carte blanche (free rein) to continue in sin without guilt.

Although this does not apply to all Christians in America, or to all local fellowships of believers, many Christians in America have gone the way of the world and have adopted its ways, values, attitudes, thinking and behaviors. It is barely distinguishable between the church and the world anymore. So many Christians spend hours upon hours watching TV, surfing the NET, chatting on social media sites, texting their friends, exchanging pictures and videos, especially selfies, watching ballgames, playing sports, or taking care of their prized possessions, and often to the exclusion of time spent alone with our Lord. But, it isn’t just the time, but that they give their hearts, devotion, loyalties, commitments, passion, etc. to these things which have no eternal value whatsoever, while they neglect the family of God and the kingdom of heaven and their Lord, who is to be their owner-master.

But, even beyond that, many Christians in America have returned to sinful lifestyles and are involved in pornography or in watching sexual or sensual material on TV or on the internet. A large percentage of our pastors have dabbled in or are addicted to pornography, too. Many Christians have gotten involved in extra-marital affairs at the work place or on the internet, via social media sites and private chats. Since so many Christians have adopted or are influenced by the ways and values of the world, many of them also have no conscience about lying, deceiving, cheating, stealing, gossiping, or overeating, etc. And, even when God convicts their hearts, they don’t listen, and they don’t obey him, but they continue on in their sinful ways. Yet, through judgment, God intends to revive his church and to bring her back to him as her ONLY Lord and Savior.

Yet, this doesn’t describe every Christian, not that we are all perfect who are not walking in sin, but there are Christians in America who fear the Lord with awe, honor and respect, who are praying for revival in our nation and for the salvation of their loved ones before the Lord returns. And, many more will be there, too, when revival does come, and then we will see that division, i.e. that distinction between those who serve God and those who serve the flesh and the devil (and the beast). Yet, until then, we have to realize that time is not on our side. These things prophesied in scripture will take place. God’s Word will be fulfilled. So, take this to heart.

Here I Go Again / Casting Crowns

…So maybe this time
I’ll speak the words of life
With Your fire in my eyes
But that old familiar fear
is tearin’ at my words
What am I so afraid of?
‘Cause here I go again
Talkin’ ’bout the rain
And mullin’ over things
that won’t live past today
And as I dance around the truth
Time is not his friend
This might be my last chance
to tell him that You love Him…

Walk in The Way

Friday, April 14, 2017, 8:08 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Near the Cross.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Malachi 2 (Select vv. ESV).

If You Don’t Listen (vv. 1-3)

“And now, O priests, this command is for you. If you will not listen, if you will not take it to heart to give honor to my name, says the Lord of hosts, then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings. Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you do not lay it to heart. Behold, I will rebuke your offspring, and spread dung on your faces, the dung of your offerings, and you shall be taken away with it.

Lest we might think that this is Old Testament, and thus it does not apply to the church today, let me share with you that there are many “If” verses in the New Testament, too.

Jesus said that IF we continue in his Word, then we are really his disciples, and we will know the truth, and the truth will set us free. Jesus’ kindness (his grace) is extended to us provided (IF) we continue in his kindness (grace). Otherwise, we can be cut off just like the Jews were cut off who refused to believe in Jesus Christ. [Grace = NOT a free license to continue in sin without guilt. Teaches us to say “NO” to ungodliness and to live uprightly – Tit. 2:11-14.] We are saved by the gospel IF we hold firmly to the Word preached to us by Jesus Christ and by his NT apostles, i.e. IF we hold to the preaching of The Word of God. IF we don’t, we have believed in vain.

We are reconciled to God by Christ’s death for us on a cross IF we continue in our faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. IF we disown him, he will also disown us. We are God’s house IF we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast. We have come to share in Christ IF we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. IF the Word of God remains in us, we will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he promised us—even eternal life. And IF, when God calls us to repent of our sins, we don’t listen, and we continue to go our own way, we can expect divine discipline and correction (judgment).

[John 8:31-32; Romans 11:17-24; I Co 15:2; Col 1:21-23; II Tim 2:10-13; Hebrews 3:6, 14-15; 2 Pet. 1:5-11; I John 2:24-25; Revelation 2-3]

He Stood in Awe (vv. 4-7)

“So shall you know that I have sent this command to you, that my covenant with Levi may stand, says the Lord of hosts. My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him. It was a covenant of fear, and he feared me. He stood in awe of my name. True instruction was in his mouth, and no wrong was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many from iniquity. For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.

In contrast to those who do not listen to God and to his Word (the whole counsel of God), who do not take his Word to heart, and who do not give honor to his name, is a picture of those who walk in integrity and in the fear of the Lord. They are those who stand in awe of his name. Boy, is this so lost in today’s modern church. The fear of the Lord is not being taught much at all today in American churches, but this is not just O.T. This is N.T., too.

In every nation, anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. Therefore, let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God. [See: Ac. 10:34-35; 2 Co. 5:6-11; 7:1; Phil. 2:12-13; Heb. 12:28-29; Rev. 11:18; 14:7; 15:4.]

You Have Turned Aside (vv. 8-9)

“But you have turned aside from the way. You have caused many to stumble by your instruction. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi, says the Lord of hosts, and so I make you despised and abased before all the people, inasmuch as you do not keep my ways but show partiality in your instruction.”

Wow! This is SO relevant to today’s church here in America! It does not apply to everyone, mind you, but it does fit with the vast majority of those who call themselves Christians and who are part of the church, the body of Christ, or who are part of the institutional church here in the USA.

So, what is “the way”? Well, it is the way to God the Father through faith in Jesus Christ, who is God the Son (the Son of God). Jesus Christ (God) came to earth, took on human flesh, died on a cross for our sins, was resurrected from the dead, ascended back to heaven, then sent his Holy Spirit to give new life in the Spirit to his followers, to convict of sin, and to empower Christ’s disciples (us) to walk in holiness, godliness and with integrity, etc. Through God-given faith in Jesus Christ we can be saved from slavery (addiction) to sin, be forgiven our sins, be given new lives in Christ to be lived to his righteousness, and have eternal life with God. Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. This IS the gospel of Christ.

But, many have turned aside from the way and have wandered off to follow after the gods of this world, such as entertainment, lust, greed, immorality, sexual deviation, lies, money, power, sensuality, violence, hatred, mockery, slander, and gossip, etc. And, this is not speaking of just the people out in the world, but this is speaking of many who say they are Christians. Their lives are not much different from those who make no claims to faith in Christ at all. And, even many leaders in our churches are leading their people, and all who would listen to them, to believe in a false grace gospel which gives them carte blanche (free rein) to continue in sin without guilt and remorse.

A Foreign God (vv. 10-12)

Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers? Judah has been faithless, and abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem. For Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the Lord, which he loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god. May the Lord cut off from the tents of Jacob any descendant of the man who does this, who brings an offering to the Lord of hosts!

The vast majority of the church here in America has partnered with (married) the U.S. Government via the 501c3 not-for-profit corporation status for tax exempt purposes, which they did not have to do since they were already tax exempt. Thus, they have turned the church, the body of Christ, into a business of human-making and with the government as head instead of Christ. And, God sees this as an abomination and as profaning his sanctuary, which is the hearts of those he loves, who have believed in him as their Lord and Savior. We, the people of God, are the church, not some institution of men, and especially not with the government as our head, but with Christ ONLY as our head, master and Savior. So, God is calling out to his church to come out of her (the institutional 501c3 church) so that she does not share in the sins of this Babylon, and in her punishment.

Evil Called Good (v. 17)

You have wearied the Lord with your words. But you say, “How have we wearied him?” By saying, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delights in them.” Or by asking, “Where is the God of justice?”

This is such a picture of what is going on in our world today and within much of the institutional church here in America. So many things are backwards.

Our churches are teaching their people to worship the government by teaching and encouraging them to vow (pledge) their fidelity (allegiance) to our republic with hand over heart, by singing patriotic songs, and by the honoring of our military as heroes and as our “saviors,” who they say are keeping us safe. And, yet they water down the gospel, do not teach that we should vow our fidelity to God, and, in fact, teach that God requires nothing of us at all – no allegiance, no loyalty, no repentance, no obedience and no submission to Christ and to his cross. In fact, they paint God as weak and as a doting grandfather in the sky there to grant our every request, and that he is pleased with us no matter what we do, even if we are enslaved to sin. And then they picture salvation as merely an escape from hell and the promise of heaven when we die. Yet, salvation = death to sin; alive to God in Christ.

They will also not confront sin within the church, in most cases, but will teach tolerance, “love” that is not love, and will smooth over sin by calling it something less offensive like “I messed up,” or they will give it some kind of psychological diagnosis in order to excuse it away, so as to say the person can’t help himself (or herself). Yet, they will attack and accuse those who preach the Word of Truth, and who do call out sin, warn of judgment, call for repentance, and yet tell of the hope that is ours for the one who is penitent. They call us hatemongers, intolerant, bigoted, and teachers of “works-based salvation,” even though we are teaching the very words of Christ and of his NT apostles. So, their argument is with God, not with his messengers.

So, God is calling out to them to repent of their sins and to turn to him, to walk in his truth, in the fear of the Lord, and to walk in his ways, while there is still time.

Near the Cross / Fanny J. Crosby / William H. Doane

Jesus, keep me near the cross;
There a precious fountain,
Free to all, a healing stream,
Flows from Calvary’s mountain.

Near the cross, a trembling soul,
Love and mercy found me;
There the bright and morning star
Sheds its beams around me.

Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day
With its shadow o’er me.

Near the cross I’ll watch and wait,
Hoping, trusting ever,
Till I reach the golden strand
Just beyond the river.

In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever,
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.