Arise and Speak

Saturday, June 17, 2017, 5:55 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “God Be with You till We Meet Again.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Jeremiah 1 (Select vv. NASB).

Appointed by God (vv. 4-8)

Now the word of the Lord came to me saying,

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
And before you were born I consecrated you;
I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
Then I said, “Alas, Lord God!
Behold, I do not know how to speak,
Because I am a youth.”
But the Lord said to me,
“Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’
Because everywhere I send you, you shall go,
And all that I command you, you shall speak.
“Do not be afraid of them,
For I am with you to deliver you,” declares the Lord.

We read in Psalm 139:

For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.

And, we read in 2 Tim. 1:8-9 & Eph. 1:3-4 (respectively):

“Therefore, do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.”

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.”

And, we read in 1 Pet. 2:9 & Matt. 28:18-20 (respectively):

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

As believers in Jesus Christ, we are all called (chosen, appointed) by God to a holy calling, which includes proclaiming and teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and making disciples of Christ of people throughout the world. And, we, too, were called of God to this even before the creation of the world; even before we were formed in our mother’s wombs. So, we should not neglect our calling out of fear of what others may think of us, or what they might do to us, or out of complacency and apathy, thinking this is only for those God calls to be preachers or teachers. But, we should be purposeful and intentional in sharing the gospel so that others might hear, and so they may be saved before our Lord Jesus returns to judge and to take us home.

Pluck Up and Build (vv. 9-12)

Then the Lord stretched out His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me,

“Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.
“See, I have appointed you this day over the nations and over the kingdoms,
To pluck up and to break down,
To destroy and to overthrow,
To build and to plant.”
The word of the Lord came to me saying, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” And I said, “I see a rod of an almond tree.” Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over My word to perform it.”

The truth of the gospel of our salvation involves this plucking up, breaking down, destroying, and overthrowing, yet also building and planting. How so, you say? Well, the truth of the gospel is that we are all born sinners (Ro. 3:23), and we all, thus, come up short of attaining God’s divine approval in our own merit. Not one of us can earn or deserve our own salvation. So, Jesus died on a cross for our sins so that, through faith in him, we might be delivered out of slavery to sin, and so we might have new lives in Christ Jesus, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

So, how does this take place? Well, first of all God draws us to Jesus, and then he gives us the faith to believe in him, but we have to take ownership of that faith and apply it to our lives. We have to receive Jesus by faith. And, this faith involves turning from our sins, and turning to follow our Lord Jesus in obedience to his will for our lives. When we believe in Jesus, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are raised with him to newness of life, to be lived to him and to his righteousness. The old has gone, the new has come. We no longer live our lives to gratify our sinful desires, but by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, and we are conducting our lives in accordance with the Spirit of God.

But, this does not mean we will never sin again, or that we won’t ever wander off the path and get off track, and need to be reminded of our calling and prompted to throw off those sins which so easily entangle, and the weight of all that is hindering our walks of faith, so that we can run with perseverance the race marked out for us that we should follow (run). So, sometimes God calls certain people to speak his words of correction and instruction to us, in order to get us back on track with God, and this involves, too, this breaking down of stubborn hearts, and the plucking up of what is causing closed ears, and the overthrowing of sinful behaviors and attitudes so that God may revive us, restore (build) us, and use us again.

A Fortified City (vv. 13-19)

The word of the Lord came to me a second time saying, “What do you see?” And I said, “I see a boiling pot, facing away from the north.” Then the Lord said to me, “Out of the north the evil will break forth on all the inhabitants of the land. For, behold, I am calling all the families of the kingdoms of the north,” declares the Lord; “and they will come and they will set each one his throne at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all its walls round about and against all the cities of Judah. I will pronounce My judgments on them concerning all their wickedness, whereby they have forsaken Me and have offered sacrifices to other gods, and worshiped the works of their own hands.

Now, gird up your loins and arise, and speak to them all which I command you. Do not be dismayed before them, or I will dismay you before them. Now behold, I have made you today as a fortified city and as a pillar of iron and as walls of bronze against the whole land, to the kings of Judah, to its princes, to its priests and to the people of the land. They will fight against you, but they will not overcome you, for I am with you to deliver you,” declares the Lord.

One of the ways in which God accomplishes this plucking up, breaking down, destroying and overthrowing of sinful behaviors and attitudes, stubborn hearts and wills, and blocked (stopped up) ears, which are unwilling to obey him, is via divine discipline and correction (judgment; reproving; scourging). He does this for our good, that we may share in his holiness, and that we might be trained (taught) by the discipline, in order that it might produce in our lives the peaceful fruit of righteousness (holiness, godliness, decency). And, this is a painful process (See: Heb. 12:1-11; cf. Rev. 2-3).

Sometimes God will use trials, tribulations and difficulties in our lives as his instruments of divine discipline and correction. Other times, if this is widespread, i.e. if a large percentage of his children are living in stubborn rebellion and/or complacency and apathy, he will use foreign powers or even our own nations’ leaders to come against us, and to war against us – God’s people, his saints – in order to revive and restore (build and plant) us. And, this is where much of the church, at least here in America, is today. So many have gone the way of the world and have gotten off the “straight and narrow” path of righteousness and holiness, and they have wandered off to follow after the flesh and the gods of this world. So, God is going to discipline them in order to bring them back to him.

These “kingdoms of the north,” in our world today, is an alliance of nations, CEOs of corporations, big banks, the Elite (wealthy and powerful) of the world, the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Bilderberg Group, et al. They are called “The New World Order,” and they are definitely coming against the saints of God BIG TIME! They want to break down all which divides us as the people of the world so that we can all come together in unity – with one voice and one heart. They want us all to accept all religions as viable, and to tolerate (be lenient toward) sinful lifestyles. So, they are going after “religious extremism,” which, by definition, includes all those who are preaching the full gospel message. So, they are declaring the gospel, as taught by Jesus and his NT apostles, to be intolerant, bigoted and hateful speech, although they have not yet, to my knowledge, said that directly, but it is implied over and over again.

Yet, we are not to fear their threats, but we are to rely on the strength of the Lord, and we are to keep on speaking, and not be silent, for our God is in control. They will fight against us, but God will help us through it all.

God Be with You till We Meet Again
Jeremiah E. Rankin, William G. Tomer

God be with you till we meet again;
by his counsels guide, uphold you,
with his sheep securely fold you;
God be with you till we meet again.

God be with you till we meet again;
neath his wings securely hide you,
daily manna still provide you;
God be with you till we meet again.

God be with you till we meet again;
when life’s perils thick confound you,
put his arms unfailing round you;
God be with you till we meet again.

God be with you till we meet again;
keep love’s banner floating o’er you,
smite death’s threatening wave before you;
God be with you till we meet again.

Till we meet, till we meet,
till we meet at Jesus’ feet;
till we meet, till we meet,
God be with you till we meet again.

Stand and Obey

Sunday, May 7, 2017, 8:08 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Be Strong and Take Courage.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Acts 5:17-33 (Select vv. NIV).

Go, Stand! (vv. 17-20)

Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people all about this new life.”

In this world we are going to have trials, tribulation and persecutions. We will face opposition from the enemy, and from those who have fallen under his deception; under his spell. Some of these enemies have infiltrated the church, and some are even the pastors, elders, deacons or otherwise spiritual leaders within the church. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing, or else they are the naïve who have been duped by a clever adversary.

Today’s modern church movement has brought worldliness into the church as a way to market the church to the world. So, they entertain the world rather than proclaim God’s plan of salvation from bondage to sin; rather than make calls for repentance – turning from sin to Christ and to his righteousness. In fact, many of them teach God requires no repentance, no submission to Christ and to his cross, and no obedience to God. They teach a grace, instead, which gives free license to lasciviousness (immorality/sin).

Because of this, many of these churches have embraced ecumenicalism or even syncretism, i.e. the blending or merging of different religions and beliefs. Their bible, in practice, rather than being the word of God, has often become marketing books on how to grow their churches (businesses). And, many of these leaders and their followers are followers of humans, rather than followers of God. Thus, the Holy Spirit has been pushed out of many of these churches, because he does not fit with their marketing plans.

Thus, many of these church leaders are being trained in how to choose their targeted audience, and in how to discourage participation from those with “strong convictions,” i.e. from those who still teach the gospel as Jesus and his NT apostles taught it. They don’t want to offend the world with the true gospel, so they create one which is less offensive and more acceptable to the world. And, for many of them, the gospel has been reduced to “good deed doing” rather than confronting sin, warning of judgment, calling for repentance, and promising the hope of eternal life with God for the repentant and the obedient (to Christ and to his commands).

Because of this, many Christians who are following Jesus Christ with their lives, who are living separated lives from the world, who still hold to the tenets of the Christian faith and practice, as taught in scripture, and who stand on the Word of God, and on his gospel message, are being persecuted, even within the worldly church. Some of them, I am sure, are being told to “go someplace else” where they will be a “better fit,” because many of these pastors are saying this, so this is their training. And, not only that, but Christ’s followers are being accused of teaching works-based salvation, even though they are teaching what Jesus and his NT apostles taught. And, beyond that, they are also being accused wrongfully of being hateful, bigoted, intolerant, judgmental, unkind, and even dangerous.

Yet, the Lord Jesus is saying to his persecuted saints to “Go, stand on the Word of Truth, and tell the people about this new life in Christ Jesus.” We are to tell them that Jesus didn’t die just so they could be rescued from hell and have the hope of heaven when they die. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us; and that we might no longer walk (in lifestyle) according to our sinful flesh, but according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God. His grace is not a free license to continue in sin without guilt and without remorse. His grace, which brings salvation, teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (See: 1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15; Ro. 8:1-14; Tit. 2:11-14; cf. Lu. 9:23-25).

Obey God! (vv. 25-33)

Then someone came and said, “Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple courts teaching the people.” At that, the captain went with his officers and brought the apostles. They did not use force, because they feared that the people would stone them.

The apostles were brought in and made to appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.”

Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings! The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead—whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins. We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”

When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death.

When we obey God, and we do what he tells us to do, according to (in agreement with) the teachings and biblical principles of scripture, there are going to be people who will not like us, who will object to what we are doing, and who may even kick us to the curb. Some of these may be pastors. Some may be elders in churches. Some may even be moderators or owners of Christian websites. As well, they may also be government enforcers whose job it is to stop the gospel of Jesus Christ from spreading further, so they may clamp down on what can be said on the internet or in person with people. They may even declare it to be a hate crime to confront sin in sinful humans, to tell them that faith in Jesus Christ is the only path to God and to heaven, and to warn of judgment and to call for repentance.

In the Western World, in particular, it is not the name of Jesus that is an offense, for many make Jesus out to be whatever fits with their lifestyles. What is an offense is the cross of Christ, but not just that he gave his life up for us on the cross, but that he requires that we die with him in death to sin and that we are resurrected with him to newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness, and in order for us to have eternal life with God (See: Eph. 4:17-24; cf. Ro. 6:1-23; Lu. 9:23-25). For, this is what it means to be born again; to be born anew of the Spirit of God.

Yet, when we face opposition to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and even if we are commanded to stop teaching the whole counsel of God, and if we are instructed to take it down a notch, i.e. to remove the offense of the cross, we must obey God rather than men. Always God’s Word trumps! Yes, we are told in scripture to obey our leaders, but NOT if they are commanding us to disobey God, to deny our Lord, and to stop preaching the truth. We need to be men and women of God who stand strong on the Word, who do not compromise with the world of sin, and who do not dilute the gospel message either to be liked by people or out of fear of what humans might do to us.

So, keep on keeping on. Don’t give up. Don’t let discouragement set in, either. God has a plan and a purpose for it all. He is still sovereign over all he has made, and he is still in control over all things. Trust him! Do what he says, and leave the results to him. His word will never return empty, but will accomplish what he desires and achieve the purpose for which he sent it.

Be Strong and Take Courage / Don Moen

Be strong and take courage
Do not fear or be dismayed
For the Lord will go before you
And His light will show the way

Why don’t you give him all of your fears?
Why don’t you let him wipe all of your tears?
He knows, He’s been through pain before
And He knows all that you’ve been looking for.

Lift Up a Standard

Tuesday, April 4, 2017, 3:43 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “I Do Not Seal My Lips.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 62 (NASB).

For Zion’s Sake (vv. 1-5)

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
And for Jerusalem’s sake I will not keep quiet,
Until her righteousness goes forth like brightness,
And her salvation like a torch that is burning.
The nations will see your righteousness,
And all kings your glory;
And you will be called by a new name
Which the mouth of the Lord will designate.
You will also be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,
And a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
It will no longer be said to you, “Forsaken,”
Nor to your land will it any longer be said, “Desolate”;
But you will be called, “My delight is in her,”
And your land, “Married”;
For the Lord delights in you,
And to Him your land will be married.
For as a young man marries a virgin,
So your sons will marry you;
And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
So your God will rejoice over you.

Today Zion, or Jerusalem, in reference to representing God’s holy people, must be regarded as the church, the bride of Christ, his temple. The church is not in one physical location, but is spread throughout the earth. The church is also not a building, or an institution of human-making, but it is a living organism, the body of Christ, comprised of all who have put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of their lives.

The church (Christ’s body) is presently under much oppression and persecution throughout much of the world, but it is also under much deception and captivity, of a different kind, in other parts of the world, particularly here in America. While in some nations Christians are being hunted down and killed for their faith in Jesus Christ, here in America the church, for the most part, is under a veil of deception, and both groups are suffering at the hands of the same enemy, which is Satan, but it is also the US government (and military or privatized forces) and their allies.

God has allowed, and he will allow evil to reign for a period of time, but there is a time coming when he will judge those evil doers. He will bring them to trial, and he will exact their punishment due them. Until then, we must be patient and wait on the Lord. We must not fear what evil men (or women) might do to us. And, we must pray for their salvation, in hopes that they will be turned from their evil ways to follow after our Lord Jesus Christ.

While evil is still allowed to reign on the earth, God is also working in human hearts to bring them to faith in Jesus Christ or to revive the hearts of his wandering saints. He is not slow in keeping his promises, but he is patient, not willing that any should perish (die in their sins), but that all should come to repentance. And, repentance involves forsaking sin and turning of heart and mind away from darkness, and coming into God’s wonderful light, i.e. to his truth and to his righteousness, via the working of the Holy Spirit.

When we put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, he becomes our husband and we become his bride, but it is more in the sense of the Old Testament Jewish marriages. When the agreement was made between the groom and the bride, with the bride’s parents, that they should be married, they were considered married, even though the marriage was not consummated until much later. First the groom had to go prepare a home for them, like Jesus has gone to heaven to prepare a place for us. When the groom had the house ready, then the wedding took place. When Jesus returns for us, his bride, one day, then the wedding banquet will take place.

Yet, there is another aspect to this, which has to do with what was mentioned earlier with regard to all the evil that is now allowed to exist, and all the persecution and deception of Christians that is allowed to presently exist, and that is that, when God exacts punishment on our perpetrators, while we might feel as though we are forsaken now, and we are by some human beings, we will no longer be forsaken. He will rescue us from our oppression and he will take us home to be with him forever. Yet, we can be rescued now, though not physically, but spiritually, as we trust in our Lord and we don’t allow what humans do to us to get the best of us.

Appointed Watchmen (vv. 6-9)

On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen;
All day and all night they will never keep silent.
You who remind the Lord, take no rest for yourselves;
And give Him no rest until He establishes
And makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
The Lord has sworn by His right hand and by His strong arm,
“I will never again give your grain as food for your enemies;
Nor will foreigners drink your new wine for which you have labored.”
But those who garner it will eat it and praise the Lord;
And those who gather it will drink it in the courts of My sanctuary.

While evil still reigns on this earth, and until the Lord Jesus takes us home to be with him forever, the gospel must go forth, but the church must also be warned, encouraged, comforted and confronted with her sins. So, God has appointed certain men (and women) to be his watchmen (and women). Their responsibility is primarily to confront sin in sinful humans, in particular among his wandering saints, to warn of the dangers of sin, rebellion and deception, to caution against false teaching, to forewarn of divine discipline (correction) or judgment, to call for repentance, and to promise hope and healing for the repentant. The goal of all of this is the salvation of human lives and the revival of the spiritually adulterous and idolatrous church.

Right now, here in America, although this may take place in other countries, too, the church has mostly chosen to partner with the US government as 501c3 not-for-profit corporations. This brings the church under the headship of the US government, so the church is in an adulterous relationship with the government, and God is not pleased.

Since they have turned the church into businesses of human-making (institutional churches), they have also adopted many of the patterns of the world in trying to attract the world to the “church.” So, they market the “church” just like the world does any other business. So, “worship services” often turn into large stage productions to entertain the world, and pastors turn into actors and clowns to entertain, as well, and the “bible” becomes the teachings of mere humans, and the gospel is being diluted to where it no longer calls the sinner to repentance, but it entertains him, instead.

I believe God wants to revive his adulterous church, and that he is calling her to come out of “Babylon” so that she does not share in her sins or in her punishment. Basically, he is calling his church (the living organism) to come out from under the influence and headship of the institutional church, which is married to the US government. He is also calling her to come out from underneath worldly influences, marketing schemes, a diluted gospel, etc., and to return to HIM as her only love and husband. And, he will revive, renew and restore her to a right (correct) relationship with HIM.

Remove the Stones (vv. 10-12)

Go through, go through the gates,
Clear the way for the people;
Build up, build up the highway,
Remove the stones, lift up a standard over the peoples.
Behold, the Lord has proclaimed to the end of the earth,
Say to the daughter of Zion, “Lo, your salvation comes;
Behold His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him.”
And they will call them, “The holy people,
The redeemed of the Lord”;
And you will be called, “Sought out, a city not forsaken.”

So, part of the responsibility of his watchmen (and women) is to clear the way for the people of God to return to the Lord or for the people of this world to come to faith in Jesus Christ. This involves pointing out to the people the many ways in which they are presently being deceived and the many ways they have fallen under the trap of the devil once more, so that their eyes might be opened, that they would see, that they would turn from their sins back to God, so God would then heal and restore them.

Yet, not only must the negative be pointed out, but the positive, as well. Not only must sins be addressed, and the people of God be told what must be put out of their lives, but they must be taught what must be put on in their lives in place of what was removed. Even though we are now under grace, God still has a standard that he requires we must follow. His grace, which brings salvation, teaches us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (Tit. 2:11-14). Jesus died, not just so we could escape eternal punishment, and not just so we could go to heaven when we leave this earth, but so we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24).

God’s grace, in other words, is not free license to continue sinning against God without guilt and without remorse. In fact, his Word teaches us that if we continue in sin (make a practice of sinning), there is no sacrifice for sins, we don’t know God, we don’t love God, and we don’t have the promise of eternal life with God. If we want to have eternal life with God, we must forsake our lives of sin and we must be born again of the Spirit of God and we must put on his righteousness – all in the power and working of the Spirit of God at work in our lives in turning us from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that we might receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those sanctified by faith in Jesus Christ (See: Acts 26:16-18).

I Do Not Seal My Lips / An Original Work / January 13, 2014

Based off Psalms 37, 40

Do not fear when evil man
Has success in all their plans,
For like grass they’ll wither soon.
They’ll be cut off from the land.

Trust in the Lord and He’ll give you peace.
Find your delight in Him through all stress.
All of your ways commit unto Him.
All your desires from Him He’ll fulfill.

Wait for the Lord; keep His way.
Delight in His Word always.
He’ll be with you to the end;
Life eternal found in Him.

I waited patiently for my Lord.
He turned to me, and He heard my cry.
He set my feet on the Solid Rock.
He gave to me a firm place to stand.

Blessed are we, who trust the Lord,
Who do not turn to false gods.
Our desire’s to do God’s will.
His word is within our hearts.

I will proclaim salvation to man.
You put a new song now in my mouth.
I’ll not withhold your love and your grace.
I’ll speak forevermore of your truth.