Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘end times’

I want to share a dream a very close friend of mine had a few weeks ago. I believe that as we settle down from the holiday food, fireworks, and parades – the message of this dream is so relevant to believers in the United States – or any country that has a strong sense of nationalism, and consequently the mindsets that develop as we endeavor to protect our way of life from foreign and domestic threats.

We are deeply divided against each other and view many other people groups as a whole, as evil. People have been easily herded into passionate crusades of one kind or another since civilization has existed. There is always someone screaming for your undivided loyalty.

The message of this dream conveys so beautifully the truths I have come to understand in the last few years.

I dreamed our family lived in a hotel. But it wasn’t unusual, because the whole world, or at least our country, lived in this hotel. Our government, the Church – everything was in this hotel. And it seemed that everything was in chaos. Terrible chaos. Terrorists everywhere. Government officials were urgently walking into and out of meeting rooms, giving speeches, suggesting one thing after another.

community-300x201But permeating the chaos and terror, and with supernatural power, was a group of young people on whom the Spirit of the Living God rested for just such a time as this. They had no weapons at all, but they were a choir. A choir with the sweetest music imaginable. Music that I couldn’t describe as I told Wes about the dream the next day. Music that made the things of life fade into the background and God into clear focus. They were singing, “Jesus Saves” but it was nothing like the song we know. Infinitely more beautiful.

And these young people were being killed by the dozens. But not retaliating, just ministering the Spirit to all. Gladly giving their lives that others might see and live.

I woke up with such a clear view of the Kingdom of Heaven being around us and in us.

I don’t want to muddy the water here with many of my words, but a few things stood out to me as significant.  The hotel setting shows we are in a temporary situation here.  We invest so much energy into the crises of these times in worry, fear, and anger.  We set up idols of ideologies, and look to human constructs for peace and safety.

But those who recognize the Supernatural walk in the opposite realm of love and living sacrifice.  They realize that retaliation and revenge perpetuate the darkness.  They would rather suffer their own demise as a witness to love than to hate and kill in return.

The song “Jesus Saves” is more beautiful than anything heard before because it’s the music of heaven being played out in their lives – not just a song on their lips.  The message Jesus Saves has been abused and misused for centuries in horror and violence, against Jews, Muslims, Native cultures worldwide, and even between Christian sects.  This was not His way.  This new song sings and walks in the truth.

I see many people caught up and carried away in the currents of world events and choosing sides.  But I also see many, often a younger generation, who are willing to walk the Jesus Road.  Big changes are coming.  Of which Kingdom do we belong?

See also a more urgent plea: Babylon is in Your Hearts

 

Read Full Post »

Pied_Piper_1Play Me a Song

I have lived more than a few seasons of life falling under the spell of pied pipers’ tunes.  Each time I felt excitement over some new knowledge, or believed I belonged to something only special people understood.   Pied pipers draw a respectable following, so I usually enjoyed plenty of company as we merrily danced along.  Having so many people sharing love for the same song made it seem even more pleasant and true.  The longer I listened, the less I could see, except for what the song allowed.  The pipers were preachers and politicians, and the songs told of doctrines and dogmas.  Not that these things are always bad.  Often they contain elements of truth.  The trouble comes when we cease to question the source and nature of the song, or don’t see we are marching away from Jesus into the arms of another.  Our desire was to follow this song no matter what, no matter where.  If someone tried to speak to us about truth, we went back to singing our song even louder to drown them out.  Its familiarity became our comfort and security.  If the pied piper were to die, many others would be willing pick up the flute and keep going.

Then thgood-shepherd.jpg.w300h411e Good Shepherd begins to call again for His wandering sheep and starts to sing softly to our hearts.  I find myself feeling uneasy with the direction I am going.  My eyes focus more clearly to see the surroundings and direction of the march.  I also hear a more beautiful song that seems out of sync with the one I’m following.  I remember the love of the Shepherd and I wonder when it happened, that I left Him behind to follow another? Eventually, the piper’s song begins to sound terribly out of harmony and hurts my ears.  I can hear the notes that don’t belong in the music.  I look back at my friends and try to tell them, “this is all wrong!”  But they can’t hear me.  If one happens to look my way and listen for a moment, they become agitated and sing louder.  Just as I used to do.  I love them, but the Shepherd still calls.  I have to follow Him I know.  So I step out into His love and find peace and freedom.

This analogy is too one-dimensional to describe my life and all the facets that resemble pied piper mindsets.  I have followed more than one at a time and I have friends that left one to follow another.  Some were born under a tune and haven’t considered there may be any other song.  They are even told the Good Shepherd is marching along beside them.  That’s why God calls us sheep.  We are so easily distracted and led astray.  He has also promised that those who belong to Him will hear His voice and not follow another….forever.  This is a huge comfort and I have experienced this so many times.  I want to always be aligning my life to the God song.

Each time I hear Him more clearly, I experience an awakening that brings a family of emotions.  I rejoice in the Truth of Jesus, yet there are painful departures too; people that don’t want to walk with me anymore, objects of affection I have to lay down at His feet.  When I finally realize how opposed my idols are to His heart, the act of surrender then comes easily.  If I hold on to the false image in my mind of what I think my cherished idols are, I tend to cling and not let go.  We must see clearly.  This is why I keep the verse posted on the right margin here, “Jesus, let me see!”

All this to say, since I began writing here, I’ve had another gradual and often painful awakening over the last two or three years.  I have argued with God over this (giving Him all the reasons I don’t want to write about it), argued with myself, and argued with all the voices in my head that oppose what I know to be the Truth in Christ concerning these things.  I started writing in an anonymous place, Jonah style, because the burden to write was so strong I couldn’t say no.  (Yes Lord, I will go somewhere – but not to THAT city.) I don’t want to hurt or upset people I love, or be misunderstood.  I have a hundred reasons why not.

But with each passing day I see more clearly, and the pain of what I see, and what I must say, does not become less.  And the directives from His heart are getting stronger and more specific.  I can say no – and someone else will speak.  (And many are.) But out of love for Him, and those who are being hurt by the false images, I write.

A Waking Up Dream                                       

Let me begin with a very disturbing dream I had a few mornings ago.   It’s horrific actually.  But I believe it represented a core issue for me that I needed to see without confusion.  I was in a house not my own, and my young son was with me, only in the dream I was not the parent.  My role in this dream was a bystander.  His older sister had been brutally killed, put in a trash bag, and thrown out into the city trash can at the curb.  (I don’t watch things like this on TV or in movies by the way.) There was the body of an adult male as well whom I don’t know the identity of.   A woman caretaker had convinced the young boy that things would be better for him if his sister was gone.  He would have more of everything he wanted and he would not need to share anymore or get into fights over anything.  In his young naive mind it sounded attractive.  He agreed.  (In my dream I had knowledge that all this had taken place in a house other than the one we were in.  But the dream scene picked up after the fact.) In the house it’s just the boy and I.  He begins to cry and whine that he wants his sister back.  I am trying to explain to him that she is gone, and can never come back.  I have a horrible sense of finality and grief, of being unable to undo a terrible deed.  And even though in my dream I have not done it myself, I know that I had allowed it without protest.  I have the feelings of a parent (because the children in the dream were mine!), even though that wasn’t my role here.  I realize the parents are coming, and somehow, the guilt for the event is going to fall on me.

The parents arrive, and they are not immediately aware anything is wrong.  I was not the caretaker, but now have gone from bystander to messenger.  I must tell them what has happened, and I feel like it’s all my fault.  I am telling them to please arrest me.  I know I must go to prison for this.  The family is in grief, and the little boy is crying for his sister, and all I can think is that in some way I could have intervened and I did nothing.

The thing that impressed me the most when I first woke up, after I recovered from the horror of it, was the grief of the child who remained.  In the heat of the moment, of maybe a fight over something they both wanted, it seemed like a good solution.  The caretaker made the choice of who would live and who would die, but in the end, both were victims.

I believe the “caretaker” represents false religion that is aligned with the world’s values which are based on logic and reason which protect greed, rather than self-sacrificing love.   This world system is always ready to make a sacrifice of the weak to benefit the strong.   And those who are eliminated are considered “trash”.  Even those who crucified Jesus followed this logic.

The man may have represented a divorce.   The woman caretaker was the bride who did away with her husband to follow what seemed right to her.   This tragedy has taken place throughout history with the people of God.   As we crucify Christ for our own desires, we forget His true identity and take on another one for ourselves.  Because my dream picked up later, “in another house” seems to indicate how a current generation may be tied to the sins of the past, if not recognized and repented of.  The core beliefs and attitudes are carried on, even if we are not directly involved.

Does this seem too shocking and graphic to you? I hope it’s as nightmarish to you as it was to me.  I hope you have not been desensitized by all the violence in media and news stories to not feel the gravity of this.  We would never in a million years agree to something like this with our own children.  Yet, this is the world we live in – and we pass by this type of favoritism, often even supporting it.  Scripture tells us the children of the Most High come from every tribe, tongue and nation on earth.  How can we standby in any conflict and say, “One must die so another may live in peace and prosperity”?  Does this apply to any situation you know of?  I can think of many examples in history, and in the present.  Those who engage in this type of thinking are following a pied piper.  They believe the song that says this is the only solution.  I have believed it, supported it, even wished for it, without daring to think of the human cost.  In this – as a bystander, I do feel my own responsibility.  In the dream the condemnation was heavy and final in my heart.  But I believe God only wanted me to see the tangible reality of responsibility when we walk in agreement to things opposed to His heart.   Cain cried, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” – even as the blood of his brother was on his own hands.   I feel I have gone the way of Cain in the past myself.

I see also the extreme victimization of both the one who dies, and the one who agrees to kill.  There is a deep wound left in the one who remains.  As humans, we are all sons and daughters of God, His Creation.  Even those that will in the end reject Him are loved by Him.  We cannot agree to the elimination of other human beings without ourselves also being deeply wounded.   I have noticed the last three major headlines of horrific maniacal homicides in the past couple weeks have involved former military personnel as the perpetrators.  We send them to war, and they come home severely damaged in their hearts and minds.   We are hurting ourselves all the while believing we are winning a victory.

Formerly, I supported all that my country did in this regard, as well as the state of Israel.   I marched behind that war drum for quite awhile – until I heard Jesus through the flags and national anthems.

I understand nations will defend themselves against attack.  This is a political right and fact.  It does not however mandate how a Christian will react in this situation (having a higher Commander in Chief).  A believer must seek the Lord for His will.  There is a fine line between being in submission to our earthly governments and yet following Christ first and foremost.  Each one must follow their conscience in these things and I do not stand as a judge of anyone who believes in defending their homeland from a human perspective.  But no matter where we find ourselves on the chess board, the issue of love and hate within our own hearts does not change.

Self-defense and does not justify, in my opinion, most of what I see going on in this sick world as it relates to violence, both military and civil.  In the end the value judgments seem to come down to the decision that it’s better for someone else to die, so I can live as I want to live.   Self-defense is the justification for huge liberties taken at the expense of others.   In the end, it’s about self-interest.  Speaking as a U.S. citizen,  I believe this attitude of protecting our own interests is also one factor (of several) in our tragically high abortion rates.  Being pro-life goes much farther than defending the right to life in the womb.   We cannot devalue life without consequences.

The Hebrew Roots Movement’s Song

This pied piper idolatry blinds many people as they get drawn into the Hebrew Roots Movement.  Their love for anything Jewish is as blind as young romance.  They accept anything with Hebrew letters written on it, even if they can’t read it.  Play a song in a minor key and they will dance.  Love the Jewish people and not even care that there are many suffering peoples in the world, including the opposing sides in the Israeli conflicts? You bet!  But this is not of Christ.  This is the way of the old nature, not the New Creation.  We cannot harmonize this deep, ancient evil with the teachings and heart of Christ.  We cannot follow Him and sing this song on anyone’s “side”.   This truth should be realized irrespective of various belief systems about end times and the restoration of Israel.   I don’t quarrel with anyone about these.   I will however stand up for the love of Christ for all people.

And I cannot talk about a blinding love for the nation of Israel as a secular state, without speaking of my own country as well.  We are truly bound together as many prophecy teachers proclaim, yet not in righteousness.  This has been the most painful awakening I think I’ve ever experienced, because it doesn’t mean departing from a small, fringe group.  It means standing against tidal waves of nationalism and pride.  There is a great deal to love and admire in both nations.  I have probably loved Israel even more than my own country.  And now, choosing to stand firmly on the ground of only One Kingdom (of which even Israel is not yet grafted into her Messiah) I am able to lay down my worship and blind devotion to both of them, and truly, deeply love them in the love of Christ.

This means I will not support every military action as a mandate from God Himself.  As earthly kingdoms, these governments succumb to the songs of fear and hatred, but thankfully not all the people inside do.  There is another kingdom within their borders which extends far beyond them.  Citizens of this country will not waver with the winds of war or the seasons of hate.  Their love for Him, the royal family, and all of God’s creation guide and sustain them in all their ways.

I will, and I must – speak more openly about this form of idolatry in relation to the United States and Israel.  Many Christians here are blinded to many things by the false images and their worship of them.  In relation to Israel, they are willing to blend Judaism with Christianity.  Their blind devotion often leads to inadvertently insulting and offending Jewish people, hurting Palestinian brothers and sisters in Christ, and exploiting the Jewish Jesus for profit and popularity.  The Christian Zionist “witness” in Israel I think overall has a damaging affect spiritually on everyone, although it may bring financial benefits.  I have watched it sink down into a favoritism that supports death – within the Christian community.  I was party to this, and have had to repent of my participation in this mindset.   We truly should love the Jewish people and pray for peace.   But how do we expect to see this take place?  Do our hearts ache for peace for all God’s children?  Every side has enough hate of their own to start a thousand wars.  Yet, does peace come through vindicating our own disgust with other human beings?  Is this what Jesus taught?

I used to know a woman who loved her son.  It’s a very good thing to love your son, but not so much that you believe everything he does, in his selfishness and immaturity, are good.  The son lived irresponsibly but she would never admit he had a fault.  He drank, abused drugs, refused to support his family, spent his little income on his own fun, yet she never wavered in her undying devotion to him.  She built up an image to his young daughter, so she would worship and love this man as she did, even though as a father he hurt her terribly with his selfishness that prevented true fatherly love and nurture.  The child was caught between what she was told about her father, and what she experienced.  In this dissonance, we find also the phenomenon of nationalism.  It is good to love our country.  It is natural.  But when we become blind to our faults, and refuse to face the truth of where we diverge from our true King, this love becomes dangerous and harmful.

May we all see Jesus clearly, Who grants us our true sight.   I have so much more I want to share about the Way of the Cross as it relates to our citizenship here on Earth.   I have not agonized over anything I’ve written as much as this, since I began writing here.  Although, as this poem beautifully explains, the God Song cannot ever truly be told in words.

Song of the Soul
by Kahlil Gibran

In the depth of my soul there is

A wordless song – a song that lives

In the seed of my heart.

It refuses to melt with ink on

Parchment; it engulfs my affection

In a transparent cloak and flows,

But not upon my lips.

How can I sigh it?  I fear it may

Mingle with earthly ether;

To whom shall I sing it?  It dwells

In the house of my soul, in fear of
Harsh ears.

When I look into my inner eyes

I see the shadow of its shadow;

When I touch my fingertips

I feel its vibrations.

The deeds of my hands heed its

Presence as a lake must reflect

The glittering stars; my tears

Reveal it, as bright drops of dew

Reveal the secret of a withering rose.

It is a song composed by contemplation,

And published by silence,

And shunned by clamor,

And folded by truth,

And repeated by dreams,

And understood by love,

And hidden by awakening,

And sung by the soul.

It is the song of love;

What Cain or Esau could sing it?

It is more fragrant than jasmine;

What voice could enslave it?

It is heartbound, as a virgin’s secret;

What strings could quiver it?

Who dares unite the roar of the sea

And the singing of the nightingale?

Who dares compare the shrieking tempest

To the sigh of an infant?

Who dares speak aloud the words

Intended for the heart to speak?

What human dares sing in voice

The song of God?

peace1

Read Full Post »

This post presents yet another illustration of the subject matter addressed here.  I did not intend to post anything about the recent Doomsday prediction by Harold Camping and Family Radio even though it’s nearly identical to the failed prediction that spawned the Seventh-day Adventist organization in 1844.  That was.. until I saw a Sacramento Fox News station interview Doug Batchelor , a well-known Seventh-day Adventist media evangelist (see below).  I am still reeling from the irony of this station choosing a Seventh-day Adventist to comment on Harold Camping’s prediction, not that they are not more than qualified to understand his position, but this commonality they shared never came to the surface.  In fact the name of Batchelor’s denomination was never even mentioned, or included in the name of the church he pastors.  He was introduced as the pastor of the “Sacramento Central Church” but the ACTUAL name is the Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist Church.  Someone is hiding something in this broadcast on purpose.

I found it interesting to hear Batchelor decry a prediction which so closely mimics the very thing that Adventists continue to uphold as a move of God which brought end-time truth to the last-day “Remnant Church of Bible Prophecy”.  Batchelor claims he does not know any other group of pastors who would agree with Campings date calculations.  Interestingly, no other group of pastors outside Adventism agree that Jesus “began to finish” his work of atonement in 1844 either, or that this work is still taking place since that time.

The name of Doug Batchelor’s ministry association is “Amazing Facts” and I’m sure the listening audience would have found the real truth to be amazing facts indeed!  For an overview of the doctrine Adventists still proclaim as their explanation for their own Great Disappointment, read here or check out my Resource page for more links.

I post these things for informational purposes, for those researching.  But for Adventists and Family Radio members alike, I simply plead with you to read the Word alone in prayer, seeking the Truth, and stop relying on the interpretations of men who would profit from you.  Coming from someone that knows what it feels like to say, “I was wrong” and walk away – it’s NOT the end of the world.  Just the beginning.


Vodpod videos no longer available.

Read Full Post »

Read a great post this morning by David Wilkerson.  He was quoting a Puritan preacher from the 1600s warning London of perilous times ahead.  He called for repentance, for people to lead their families to a place of safety –  not a compound, a bunker, or a cave in the wilderness, but eternal shelter in Jesus.  No matter what befalls us here in this world, He has promised in Him we are more than overcomers.   At times He is the protector in the fire, and in other times He gives us visions of heaven as the rocks fly and our spirits return to Him.  In both cases, we have Him and He is glorified.

Our greatest tragedy should be the prospect that we could deny Him, not to suffer at the hands of men or from circumstances.  I do not fear that He would not forgive this failure, but the terrible grief of having done so.  I can’t imagine the broken heart of Peter with one look from Jesus after he had cursed and denied he knew Him – to keep his own skin safe.  But he had to be broken from trusting his own strength, his own promise of “I will never fall away.”  We cannot promise things to God.  We can only trust His.

Yet Peter’s position in the Ark was not affected by this failure.  When the door of the ark is sealed.. you are in or out.  Your safety depends on the strength of the ark, not your ability to keep it afloat.  Theoretically, Noah could have exerted a great effort to somehow climb out and jump, but is this a discussion we need to have?  People seem to spend more time arguing about how to stay in the Ark than calling drowning people into it, but that’s because we’ve invited so many in with one foot only and told them it was fine.

Growing up as an Adventist, our lives were overshadowed constantly with the belief of the coming “Time of Trouble”, as we called it, when God would test the whole world and divide those who served Him from those who served the enemy.   The dividing line would be the Seventh-day Sabbath – and all who did not remain loyal to this holy day would receive the Mark of the Beast – causing all to worship on the false Sabbath – on Sunday.  We were taught that we would be hunted and many killed for not complying with “Sunday Laws”.  Every disaster or political crisis created a buzz of conversation about how soon the Sunday Laws were coming.  My ark of safety in God was a day, and I wasn’t sure I would be strong enough to make it through.  The right Jesus was the Sabbath Jesus.  The only way to know if we had Him or not, was the day.  To abandon the day was to reject Him.  And to fail was to be lost forever.

For much of the world, this tribulation is already here, and growing drastically each day.  The line in the sand is already drawn and many are being hunted and killed for being on the side of Christ.  He is the Sabbath test Himself.  Will we trust His love and finished work or not?  Will we trust someone or something else?  Will we trust ourselves?  I’m sure the temptation is large for those already suffering in the cauldron of man’s hatred.

My expectation of persecution coming to America someday (maybe soon) has not changed all that much – only that now I have total assurance in Jesus alone and not in my allegiance to a shadow observance, or my own ability to be strong.  The world system does want your adoration and trust.  It’s screaming for it, sometimes forcefully, sometimes seductively.  But if your ark is a day or a law, or anything other than Christ, you may have already been taken in while looking to a false sign of reassurance.   We have to go much deeper than external appearances – past the shadows – to the heart of who we love and trust the most.

Wilkerson’s article can be read HERE

Read Full Post »

A dear friend loaned me a book over the weekend, and inside was a pamphlet with this short but powerful work.  I have to share it and was thankful to find it online HERE

I’m not sure after this, there is anything left I need to post! 🙂

Looking to Jesus
by Theodore Monod

translated from the French by Helen Willis
“. . . looking unto Jesus . . .”
Hebrews 12:2

Only these three words,
but in these three words
is the whole secret of life.

LOOKING UNTO JESUS
IN THE SCRIPTURES, to learn there what He is, what He has done, what He gives, what He desires; to find in His character our pattern, in His teachings our instruction, in His precepts our law, in His promises our support, in His person and in His work a full satisfaction provided for every need of our souls.

LOOKING UNTO JESUS
CRUCIFIED, to find in His shed blood our ransom, our pardon, our peace.

LOOKING UNTO JESUS
RISEN, to find in Him the righteousness which alone makes us righteous, and permits us, all unworthy as we are, to draw near with boldness, in His name, to Him who is His Father and our Father, His God and our God.

LOOKING UNTO JESUS
GLORIFIED, to find in Him our Heavenly Advocate completing by His intercession the work inspired by His lovingkindness for our salvation (1John 2:1); Who even now is appearing for us before the face of God (Heb. 9:24), the kingly Priest, the spotless Victim, continually bearing the iniquity of our holy things (Ex. 28:38).

LOOKING UNTO JESUS
REVEALED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT, to find in constant communion with Him the cleansing of our sin-stained hearts, the illumination of our darkened spirits, the transformation of our rebel wills; enabled by Him to triumph over all attacks of the world and of the evil one, resisting their violence by Jesus our Strength, and overcoming their subtlety by Jesus our Wisdom; upheld by the sympathy of Jesus, Who was spared no temptation . . . .Who yielded to none.

LOOKING UNTO JESUS
WHO GIVES REPENTANCE as well as forgiveness of sins (Acts 5:31), because He gives us the grace to recognize, to deplore, to confess, and to forsake our transgressions.

LOOKING UNTO JESUS
TO RECEIVE FROM HIM the task and the cross for each day, with the grace which is sufficient to carry the cross and to accomplish the task; the grace that enables us to be patient with His patience, active with His activity, loving with His love; never asking “What am I able for?” but rather: “What is He not able for?” and waiting for His strength which is make perfect in our weakness (2Cor. 12:9).

LOOKING UNTO JESUS
TO GO FORTH FROM OURSELVES and to forget ourselves; so that our darkness may flee away before the brightness of His face; so that our joys may be holy, and our sorrow restrained; that He may

cast us down, and that He may raise us up; that He may afflict us, and that He may comfort us; that He may despoil us, and that He may enrich us; that He may teach us to pray, and that He may answer our prayers; that while leaving us in the world, He may separate us from it, our life being hidden with Him in God, and our behavior bearing witness to Him before men.

LOOKING UNTO JESUS
WHO, HAVING RETURNED TO THE FATHER’S HOUSE, is engaged in preparing a place there for us; so that this joyful prospect may make us live in hope, and prepare us to die in peace, when the day shall come for us to meet this last enemy, whom He has overcome for us, whom we shall overcome through Him – so that what was once the king of terrors is today the harbinger of eternal happiness.

LOOKING UNTO JESUS
WHOSE CERTAIN RETURN, at an uncertain time, is from age to age the expectation and the hope of the faithful Church, who is encouraged in her patience, watchfulness, and joy by the thought that the Savior is at hand (Phil. 4: 4-5; 1Thes. 5:23).

LOOKING UNTO JESUS
THE AUTHOR AND THE FINISHER OF OUR FAITH: that is to say, He Who is its pattern and its source, even as He is its object; and Who from the first step even to the last marches at the head of the believers; so that by Him our faith may be inspired, encouraged, sustained, and led on to its supreme consummation.

LOOKING UNTO JESUS
AND AT NOTHING ELSE, as our text expresses it in one untranslatable word (aphoroontes), which at the same time directs us to fix our gaze upon Him, and to turn it away from everything else.

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT OURSELVES, our thoughts, our reasonings, our imaginings, our inclinations, our wishes, our plans;

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT THE WORLD, its customs, its example, its rules, its judgments;

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT SATAN, though he seek to terrify us by his fury, or to entice us by his flatteries. Oh! from how many useless questions we would save ourselves, from how many disturbing scruples, from how much loss of time, dangerous dallyings with evil, waste of energy, empty dreams, bitter disappointments, sorrowful struggles, and distressing falls, by looking steadily unto Jesus, and by following Him wherever He may lead us. Then we shall be too much occupied with not losing sight of the path which He marks out for us, to waste even a glance on those in which He does not think it suitable to lead us.

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT OUR CREEDS, no matter how evangelical they may be. The faith which saves, which sanctifies, and which comforts, is not giving assent to the doctrine of salvation; it is being united to the person of the Savior. “It is not enough,” said Adolphe Monod, “to know about Jesus Christ, it is necessary to have Jesus Christ.” To this one may add that no one truly knows Him, if he does not first possess Him. According to the profound saying of the beloved disciple, it is in the Life there is Light, and it is in Jesus there is Life (John 1:4).

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT OUR MEDITATIONS AND OUR PRAYERS, our pious conversations and our profitable reading, the holy meetings that we attend, nor even to our taking part in the supper of the Lord.

Let us faithfully use all these means of grace, but without confusing them with grace itself; and without turning our gaze away from Him Who alone makes them effectual, when, by their means, He reveals Himself to us.

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT TO OUR POSITION IN THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH, to the family to which we belong, to our baptism, to the education which we have received, to the doctrine which we profess, to the opinion which others have formed of our piety, or to the opinion which we have formed of it ourselves. Some of those who have prophesied in the Name of the Lord Jesus will one day hear Him say: “I never knew you” (Matt. 7:22-23); but He will confess before His Father and before His angels even the most humble of those who have looked unto Him.

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT TO OUR BRETHREN, not even to the best among them and the most beloved. In following a man we run the risk of losing our way; in following Jesus we are sure of never losing our way. Besides, in putting a man between Jesus and ourselves, it will come to pass that insensibly the man will increase and Jesus will decrease; soon we no longer know how to find Jesus when we cannot find the man, and if he fails us, all fails. On the contrary, if Jesus is kept between us and our closest friend, our attachment to the person will be at the same time less enthralling and more deep; less passionate and more tender; less necessary and more useful; an instrument of rich blessing in the hands of God when He is pleased to make use of him; and whose absence will be a further blessing, when it may please God to dispense with him, to draw us even nearer to the only Friend who can be separated from us by “neither death nor life” (Rom. 8:38-39).

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT HIS ENEMIES OR AT OUR OWN. In place of

hating them and fearing them, we shall then know how to love them and to overcome them.

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT THE OBSTACLES which meet us in our path. As soon as we stop to consider them, they amaze us, they confuse us, they overwhelm us, incapable as we are of understanding either the reason why they are permitted, or the means by which we may overcome them. The apostle began to sink as soon as he turned to look at the waves tossed by the storm; it was while he was looking at Jesus that he walked on the waters as on a rock. The more difficult our task, the more terrifying our temptation, the more essential it is that we look only at Jesus.

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT OUR TROUBLES, to count up their number, to reckon their weight, to find perhaps a certain strange satisfaction in tasting their bitterness. apart from Jesus trouble does not sanctify, it hardens or it crushes. It produces not patience, but rebellion; not sympathy, but selfishness; not hope (Rom. 5:3) but despair. It is only under the shadow of the cross that we can appreciate the true weight of our own cross, and accept it each day from His hand, to carry it with love, with gratitude, with joy; and find in it for ourselves and for others a source of blessings.

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT THE DEAREST, THE MOST LEGITIMATE OF OUR EARTHLY JOYS, lest we be so engrossed in them that they deprive us of the sight of the very One Who gives them to us. If we are looking at Him first of all, then it is from Him we receive these good things, made a thousand times more precious because we possess them as gifts from His loving hand, which we entrust to His keeping, to enjoy them in communion with Him, and to use them for His glory.

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT THE INSTRUMENTS, whatever they may be which He employs to form the path which He has appointed for us. Looking beyond man, beyond circumstances, beyond the thousand causes so rightly called secondary, let us ascend as far as the first cause – His will: let us ascend even to the source of this very will – His love. Then our gratitude, without being less lively towards those who do us good, will not stop at them; then in the testing day, under the most unexpected blow, the most inexplicable, the most overwhelming, we can say with the Psalmist: “I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; because thou didst it” (Ps. 39:9). And in the silence of our dumb sorrow the heavenly voice will gently reply: “What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter” (John 13:7).

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT THE INTERESTS OF OUR CAUSE, Of OUR PARTY, OF OUR CHURCH – still less at our personal interests. The single object of our life is the glory of God; if we do not make it the supreme goal of our efforts, we must deprive ourselves of His help, for His grace is only at the service of His glory. If, on the contrary, it is His glory that we seek above all, we can always count on His grace.

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT THE SINCERITY OF OUR INTENTIONS, AND AT THE STRENGTH OF OUR RESOLUTIONS. Alas! how often the most excellent intentions have only prepared the way for the most humiliating falls. Let us stay ourselves, not on our intentions, but on His love; not on our resolutions, but on His promise.

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT OUR STRENGTH. Our strength is good only to glorify ourselves; to glorify God one must have the strength of God.

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT OUR WEAKNESS. By lamenting our weakness have we ever become more strong? Let us look to Jesus, and His strength will communicate itself to our hearts, His praise will break forth from our lips.

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT OUR SINS, neither at the source from which they come (Matt. 15:19) nor the chastisement which they deserve. Let us look at ourselves, only to recognize how much need we have of looking to Him; and looking to Him, certainly not as if we were sinless; but on the contrary, because we are sinners, measuring the very greatness of the offense by the greatness of the sacrifice which has atoned for it, and of the grace which pardons it. “For one look that we turn on ourselves,” said an eminent servant of God (McCheyne) “let us turn ten upon Jesus.” “If it is very sure,” said Vinet, “that one will not lose sight of his wretched state by looking at Jesus Christ crucified – because this wretched state is, as it were, graven upon the cross – it is also very sure that in looking at one’s wretchedness one can lose sight of Jesus Christ; because the cross is not naturally graven upon the image of one’s wretchedness.” And he adds, “Look at yourselves, but only in the presence of the cross, only through Jesus Christ.” Looking at the sin only gives death; looking at Jesus gives life. That which healed the Israelite in the wilderness was not considering his wounds, but raising his eyes to the serpent of brass (Num. 21:9).

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT – DO WE NEED TO SAY IT? – AT OUR PRETENSE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. Ill above all who are ill is he who believes himself in health; blind above the blind he who thinks that he sees (John 9:41). If it is dangerous to look long at our wretchedness which is, alas! too real; it is much more dangerous to rest complacently on imaginary merits.

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT THE LAW. The law gives commands, and gives no strength to carry them out; the law always condemns, and never pardons. If we put ourselves back under the law, we take ourselves away from grace. In so far as we make our obedience the means of our salvation, we lose our peace, our joy, our strength; for we have forgotten that Jesus is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth (Rom. 10:4). As soon as the law has constrained us to seek in Him our only Savior, then also to Him only belongs the right to command our obedience; an obedience which includes nothing less than our whole heart, and our most secret thoughts, but which has ceased from being an iron yoke, and an insupportable burden, to become an easy yoke and a light burden (Matt. 11:30). It is an obedience which He makes as delightful as it is binding, an obedience which He inspires, at the same time as He requires it, and which in very truth, is less a consequence of our salvation than it is a part of this very salvation – and, like all the rest, a free gift.

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT WHAT WE ARE DOING FOR HIM. Too much occupied with our work, we can forget our Master – it is possible to have the hands full and the heart empty. When occupied with our Master, we cannot forget our work; if the heart is filled with His love, how can the hands fail to be active in His service?

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT TO THE APPARENT SUCCESS OF OUR EFFORTS. The apparent success is not the measure of the real success; and besides, God has not told us to succeed, but to work; it is of our work that He requires an account, and not of our success – why then concern ourselves with it? It is for us to scatter the seed, for God to gather the fruit; if not today, then it will be tomorrow; if He does not employ us to gather it, then He will employ others. Even when success is granted to us, it is always dangerous to fix our attention on it: on the one hand we are tempted to take some of the

credit of it to ourselves; on the other hand we thus accustom ourselves to abate our zeal when we cease to perceive its result, that is to say, at the very time when we should redouble our energy. To look at the success is to walk by sight; to look at Jesus, and to persevere in following Him and serving Him, inspite of all discouragements, is to walk by faith.

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT TO THE SPIRITUAL GIFTS which we have already received, or which we are now receiving from Him. As to yesterday’s grace, it has passed with yesterday’s work; we can no longer make use of it, we should no longer linger over it. As to today’s grace given for today’s work, it is entrusted to us, not to be looked at, but to be used. We are not to gloat over it as a treasure, counting up our riches, but to spend it immediately, and remain poor, “Looking unto Jesus.”

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT THE AMOUNT OF SORROW that our sins make us experience, or the amount of humiliation which they produce in us. If only we are humiliated by them enough to make us no longer complacent with ourselves; if only we are troubled by them enough to make us look to Jesus, so that He may deliver us from them, that is all that He asks from us; and it is also this look which more than anything else will make our tears spring and our pride fall. And when it is given to us as to Peter to weep bitterly (Luke 22:62), oh! then may our tear-dimmed eyes remain more than ever directed unto Jesus; for even our repentance will become a snare to us, if we think to blot out in some measure by our tears those sins which nothing can blot out, except the blood of the Lamb of God.

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT THE BRIGHTNESS OF OUR JOY, the strength of our assurance, or the warmth of our love. Otherwise, when for a little time this love seems to have grown cold, this assurance to have

vanished, this joy to have failed us – either as the result of our own faithlessness, or for the trial of our faith – immediately, having lost our feelings, we think that we have lost our strength, and we allow ourselves to fall into an abyss of sorrow, even into cowardly idleness, or perhaps sinful complaints. Ah! rather let us remember that if the feelings with their sweetness, are absent, the faith with its strength remains with us. To be able always to be “abounding in the work of the Lord” (1Cor. 15:58) let us look steadily, not at our ever changeful hearts, but at Jesus, who is always the same.

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT THE HEIGHTS OF HOLINESS to which we attained. If no one may believe himself a child of God so long as he still finds stains in his heart, and stumblings in his life, who could taste the joy of salvation? But this joy is not bought with a price. Holiness is the fruit, not the root of our redemption. It is the work of Jesus Christ for us which reconciles us unto God; it is the work of the Holy Spirit in us which renews us in His likeness. The shortcomings of a faith which is true, but not yet fully established, and bearing but little fruit, in no way lessens the fullness of the perfect work of the Savior, nor the certainty of His unchanging promise, guaranteeing life eternal unto whomsoever trusts in Him. And so to rest in the Redeemer is the true way to obey Him; and it is only when enjoying the peace of forgiveness that the soul is strong for the conflict.
If there are any who abuse this blessed truth by giving themselves over unscrupulously to spiritual idleness, imagining that they can let the faith which they think they have take the place of the holiness which they have not, they should remember this solemn warning of the Apostle Paul: “They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and the lusts” (Gal. 5:24); and that of the Apostle John: “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1John 2:4); and that of the Lord Jesus Himself, “Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire” (Matt. 7:19).

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT OUR DEFEATS OR VICTORIES. If we look at our defeats we shall be cast down; if we look at our victories we shall be puffed up. And neither will help us to fight the good fight of faith (1Tim. 6:12). Like all our blessings, the victory, with the faith which wins it, it the gift of God through our Lord Jesus Christ (1Cor. 15:57), and to Him is all the glory.

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT OUR DOUBTS. The more we look at them the larger they appear, until they can swallow up all our faith, our strength, and our joy. But if we look away from them to our Lord Jesus, Who is the Truth (John 14:6), the doubts will scatter in the light of His presence like clouds before the sun.

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT OUR FAITH. The last device of the adversary, when he cannot make us look elsewhere, is to turn our eyes from the Savior to our faith, and thus to discourage us if it is weak, to fill us with pride if it is strong: and either way to weaken us. For power does not come from the faith, but from the Savior by faith. It is not looking at our look, it is “looking unto Jesus,”

UNTO JESUS
AND IT IS FROM HIM AND IN HIM that we learn to know (not only without danger, but for the well-being of our souls) what it is good for us to know about the world and about ourselves, our sorrows and our dangers, our resources and our victories: seeing everything in its true light, because it is He Who shows them to us, and that only at the time and in the proportion in which this knowledge will produce in us the fruits of humility and wisdom, gratitude and courage, watchfulness and prayer. All that it is desirable for us to know, the Lord Jesus will teach us; all that we do not learn from Him, it is better for us not to know.

LOOKING UNTO JESUS
AS LONG AS WE REMAIN ON THE EARTH – unto Jesus from moment to moment, without allowing ourselves to be distracted by memories of a past which we should leave behind us, nor by occupation with a future of which we know nothing

UNTO JESUS NOW
IF WE HAVE NEVER LOOKED UNTO HIM —

UNTO JESUS AFRESH,
IF WE HAVE CEASED DOING SO —

UNTO JESUS ONLY,

UNTO JESUS STILL,

UNTO JESUS ALWAYS —
WITH A GAZE MORE AND MORE CONSTANT, more and more confident, “changed into the same image from glory to glory” (2Cor. 3:18). Thus we await the hour when He will call us to pass from earth to Heaven, and from time to eternity —
The promised hour,
the blessed hour
when at last “we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1John 3:2).

Read Full Post »

By definition…
Judaize or Judaise
vb
1. to conform or bring into conformity with Judaism
2. ( tr ) to convert to Judaism
3. ( tr ) to imbue with Jewish principles

They have pure devotion to God as their banner and restoration of the Church back to Israel as their mission so the Jewish people may be saved.  Your pagan Jesus is getting in the way of Israel seeing the truth.  By keeping the law of Moses you will no longer offend them with your foreign Jesus and they will accept Him and you both.   Although it may have remained dormant for centuries, this “Moses is for everyone” mindset is nothing new, finding its birth in the unexpected event of a Gentile coming to Christ and being filled with the Holy Spirit.

In the early church, “those of the circumcision” seemed to cause the most controversy.  Today the majority of people placing the yoke of the Law on believers are in fact Gentiles.  You may find it hard to believe after the great effort the Apostle Paul put forth trying to divert people away from this distraction, that 2000 years later, people are now falling for the same divisive teachings.  If the Galatians were bewitched, we are beyond blind.  So many are willingly choosing a theology that requires Paul’s letter to the Galatians be ignored, denied, or twisted beyond recognition – along with many other New Testament passages addressing these issues long ago.

The quest for the salvation of the Jewish people (a most worthy cause) works as an effective lure to many Christians, especially as some segments of the church become increasingly interested in prophecy and the restoration of Israel.  But the Hebrew Roots/Messianic Movement pulls in Christians from all branches of the church, for many reasons.   Many no longer refer to themselves as Christians at all.  They have traveled down a path towards a Yeshua/Yahshua/Yehoshua/Yahoshua repackaged by modern Judaism rather than the Jesus of the New Testament Scriptures.  Although they can’t quite agree on a name for their new Messiah, they view their Christian roots as entirely pagan and their Hebrew Roots as not only restored truth, but a spiritual identity that causes them to feign a Jewish ethnic identity as well in many cases.  Some even ditch their Gentile names for Hebrew ones.

When I relate the story of our journey out of this movement, many Christians give me a look of disbelief that anyone could fall for something so illogical.  I am happy to reveal our own foolishness and am always relieved when others see it for what it is.  But as crazy and ridiculous as it may seem to some onlookers, the fact remains that this quietly encroaching disease seems to be taking down people left and right.  Every time I find myself wanting to put this to rest and move on to things I would rather talk about, I am presented with a new example of someone who has given their mind over to this movement.  Its teachers have painted a big, red, bull’s-eye target on your church, because you are the only ones with enough knowledge to understand and desire their complicated messages.  The lost person on the street is of no interest to them.

Spiritual Snipe Hunting
After a few years in this persuasion, focusing on the first five books of the Bible, we deeply sensed the group we led needed to study the New Testament scriptures as well.  We referred to the New Testament (called many things, but never New) when it reinforced the Torah study we were in, but we never approached the New Testament with the same systematic, reverent study as we did the Law.  We followed the same study schedule as the Jewish synagogues.

After one failed attempt to add a mid-week study night, we subscribed to a New Testament study course offered from a “Hebraic” perspective.  Although expensive, we felt it might encourage participation and moved the study to an early Sabbath session, before our main Torah study.  The Torah study took priority and could not be rescheduled or set aside.

I believed at last, after nearly six years, I would finally get to see this Jewish Yeshua that I’d been seeking for all along – to understand and see Him in His fullness.  For me, this had been the original attraction.  I’d been led to believe my Christian Jesus was incomplete and there was some deep wisdom and fabric of life underlying those gospel passages I just could not see.  If someone could bring that out for me, I was convinced I would know Him like never before.

The Hunting Outfitters
We initially chose this particular publisher because they avoided the most divisive subjects in the movement, presenting a sleek, scholarly approach.  Even though we are not customers now, we still periodically receive catalogs and fundraising correspondence from them.  Looking at their offerings with new eyes, I have been wanting to share what I believe are some of the most revealing focus statements.  (The letter discussed here can be read below in its entirety.)  Evaluate the following quotes with the overall pattern and focus of the New Testament writings.

Their Mission Statement:

Proclaiming the Torah and it’s way of life, fully centered on Messiah, to today’s People of God.

Proclaiming what? (Torah)  To Whom? (The people of God).  This is their reason for existence.  Does this align with any ministry found in the New Testament?  Searching the word “proclaim” in the ESV New Testament (often translated “preach” in the KJV) produced 27 results.  They overwhelmingly refer to the gospel of the risen Christ, and related subjects. Not a single example supports the direction of this mission statement above.  No one can proclaim Torah as their first priority and still be “fully centered on Messiah”!  If you are fully centered on Him, you will proclaim Him.

Their Plea:
The first paragraph states this mission is financially suffering and needs your help, even though one of their complete volume studies cost nearly $300 (but you can pay as you go, so it’s fair).

…..over 2 billion people in the world identify themselves as Christians…Almost the entire 2 billion of them are unaware of the Jewish roots of their faith and the amazing, transforming teachings of the Torah.  Who is willing to take this message to them?”

Where does the Word of God ever teach that the Law is the source of transformation for those who are in Christ?  In contrast, we are told:

For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,  in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:3,4

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

What could the Law not do?  Where does our transformation come from?  Who are they replacing with the Torah in these statements?

Some Christians use the Law of Moses as their tool to convict sinners and bring them to Christ, but this ministry is dedicating itself to teaching the entire Jewish system of Law to those who ALREADY trust Christ.  Paul asked the Galatians, “Having begun in the Spirit, will you be perfected by the flesh?” (Gal. 3:3)  Good question.

Their Claim:
The letter becomes increasingly bold as it explains why this is so vitally important, a point which is even underlined for emphasis,

Christian ignorance of Torah is the single-biggest obstacle to Jewish evangelism and the restoration of the body.

The Hebrew Roots solution to antisemitism is to teach Christians how to observe Torah.  Conversely, rejection of Torah, or suggesting Jesus did something new, is often viewed as antisemitic.  They go beyond calling this a reformation but a “restoration” … being entrusted with “the greatest revelation of biblical truth since the apostolic era.”  That is one of the most bold, arrogant claims I have seen. By “restoration of the body”, they mean the inclusion of followers of Yeshua into Israel, which requires their Torah observance.  In their present state, Christians are still defiled and “outside the camp” and the division in the body is our fault for offending our Jewish brothers with bacon and Sunday church attendance.

Jesus was indeed born of the tribe of Judah, keeping the Law, yet the Jewish people as a whole rejected Him then.  Why do these modern teachers think this will work now for the church?  The gospel of John reveals the Jewish leaders sought to kill Jesus because, “being a man, he claimed to be God.”  This is still a huge theological obstacle, and many Messianics have obliged by taking this out of the way as well, conceding that Jesus was just a man.

Impressing or Offending?
I asked a Jewish friend and follower of Christ, living in Israel, to share his perspective on effective Jewish evangelism.  Below is a short interview.  I so much appreciate his willingness to share his thoughts, and grateful to God for bringing our paths together.

8thday4life:  How likely is it that a large sector of Gentile “Christians” pretending to be Jewish (observing and adapting Jewish customs to their own liking) would be a catalyst to help the Jewish people accept their Messiah?

Jeremy:  From my observations most attempts by non-Jews to replicate the rituals of Judaism are clumsy. Therefore the effect is to basically defile those rituals. For example, I knew a (Gentile) pastor who draped a tallit over the podium in an attempt to “make Jews feel at home”. Most Jews are horrified to see their ritual objects used in a way for which they were not intended. It would be like taking the wine and wafer of the Catholic Mass and using it for snacks after the Service. (I have to use a Catholic Mass as an example because I can’t think of sacred objects in most Protestant ritual.)  In actual fact it is my observation that among those adapting Jewish customs Christians who leave Jesus far outnumber Jews who turn to Him. (emphasis mine)

8thday4life:  What do you believe is the single biggest obstacle to the Jewish people recognizing Jesus as their Messiah?

Jeremy:  The Veil. This is a prayer thing. I believe that Christians need to pray and God will speak. God speaking is absolutely the best witness. When Christians humble themselves (in imitation of Christ) rather than imitate a work of man, I believe that this speaks. Love speaks. Love speaks to you, doesn’t it (she?)?

One day during the time when people were witnessing to me I came down with a sore throat. My friends could have laid hands on me and prayed for me and God would have healed me (they prayed their roaches away, so I knew He heard their prayers). But they didn’t do that. They made me hot lemonade. Their love healed my throat.

8thday4life:  What would be the best way for the Church to reach out to them in your opinion?  (Realizing – the history of persecution – the Church has done the Messiah no favors with His people.)

Jeremy:  See above. Make more hot lemonade! But in a natural way, i.e. as God leads. Not in a forced way. Richard Wurmbrand was led to the Lord by a man who prayed all his life that God would let him lead a Jew to Jesus. God put it together. Like I said, I think it’s a Prayer thing. A phony can be spotted a mile off!

(You can read more of his testimony and perspective on the Messianic Movement HERE)

It appears that love, compassion, prayer, and being led by the Spirit may be more effective than parading around in a tallit, nailing a mezzuzah to our door, learning the Shema in Hebrew or abstaining from food on Yom Kippur while we argue about the solar and lunar calendars.  And Jeremy also confirms from his own testimony, and many others like him, the veil Paul spoke of is still the spiritual obstacle to Jewish people seeing their Messiah, which remains while they are reading the Law itself as described in 2 Corinthians 3.

But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:14-17

Lifting up Jesus (and acting like Him), rather than proclaiming our own law-keeping and affinity for Jewishness, seems to be the Scriptural approach.

"Back to the Wilderness" by Ramone Romero

No Snipe for Dinner Tonight
In the end, as we studied this esteemed publisher’s course, I still did not see this elusive Yeshua who was so superior to Jesus.  The course consisted of tedious, dry information which relied heavily on the writings of Jewish Rabbis who had never believed in their Messiah.  While these writings are valuable in many ways to understand Judaism and provide interesting historical insight, they are not helpful in understanding the Person they did not acknowledge.  These same sages have in some cases cursed both Christ and His followers.  Judaism was opposed to Jesus as its Messiah 2000 year ago, and last I checked, has not changed this firm position.  I am reminded of what the disciples were asked when they were looking for Jesus at the tomb.  “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”

Even though we were studying the gospels, it seemed as if the life had been sucked off the pages and replaced with discussions about the Torah, once again.  Because, in this movement,  the law is a god made synonymous with the incarnated God, who is worth an obligatory mention only as He relates to the higher god of Torah.

I am so thankful that before we finished the gospels, I had delved into Matthew again on my own and seen Jesus like I had never seen Him before – standing alone, above the Law and the Prophets.  This revelation is second only in my life to receiving faith in Him as God and Savior many years earlier, but the grief of my repentance was close to the same, if not deeper, because this time the truth I saw was so simple, I could not find any plausible excuses for my ignorance and vain wanderings.

To its credit, this same study course had a lesson with a description of a rabbinic disciple in the time of Jesus, explaining how they would mimic their teacher in every aspect of their lives.  I realized, by definition, I was not a disciple of Jesus because I was not focusing my attention on His words and endeavoring to imitate Him, but Moses.  I was a disciple of Moses first.  In seeking Jesus, my veil was also lifted.

Don’t Be Led Astray

But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.  For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.  2 Corinthians 11:3, 14

The closing boast of this letter alarmed me most, and prompted me to write this post.

We are in churches, connected with the Church, and bringing truth to the Church with no concern for denominational lines.  Hundreds of pastors from all different denominations read and study FFOZ materials because…. a shared faith in Messiah and Jewish roots is something we all have in common. (emphasis theirs)

This is not about simply engendering understanding between Jews and Christians, but about drawing Christians into Judaism and away from the simplicity of Jesus Christ.  If the common bond you have with someone is defined as Messiah AND something… anything…. presented as “essential and equal truth” you have been taken in by a man-made agenda.  The Jewish people need to be reconciled to their Redeemer and to see in Him the blood of their Passover Lamb they can no longer even sacrifice.  Christianity does not need to be reconciled to Judaism, which is the end goal of this endeavor.  Genuine love will reconcile people to each other who have at one time been enemies, and this unity also comes only in Christ. (See a pattern here?)

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.  For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.  For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.  So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, Ephesians 2:13-19

The wall of hostility in Paul’s day between Jews and Gentiles was the law.  Jews looked down on Gentiles as a sub-species and history shows Christianity later developed a deep hatred for Jews.  Both of these sad developments of human pride are taken away in Christ.  We don’t need to glorify the Law of Moses, but agree with Paul, a pharisee of pharisees, that it has been taken out of the way for both parties, lifting up the Cross where we can stand united, fellow citizens.  Praise God He has done this, is doing this, and will continue to do this, until His Sovereign will has been carried out in this world!

Read Full Post »

This week we finally sat down to watch a DVD someone loaned us weeks ago called “Furious Love”. A man took a movie camera to document the love of God penetrating the world of Wiccans, drug addicts, and the Asian sex industry.  He  also gave a voice to the Persecuted Church in Orissa, India where the secular media has turned a blind eye.    The whole movie showed the power of the Love of God when people are willing to be used by Him in this fractured world.  This film also intensely demonstrates the reality of spiritual warfare.  Not for young children or the faint of heart.

I would strongly encourage anyone who believes they have been called to bring a special message to the world  (i.e. Torah Observance, Sabbath-keeping, speaking of Sacred Names, or some unique end-time prediction, etc… etc..) to watch this film and ask yourself if those who are being set free need to be added to by these most pressing teachings you have focused your heart and mind on.  Not only that, but has your message ever reached anyone in this way?  Does your “truth” compel you at any point to go out into the streets to seek and save the lost sheep?  And I would not ask this just of those who are labeled as “cult” or “heterodoxy” but also those within the mainstream church who have chosen some special point of truth that defines their purpose… if that point is an accessory to Jesus  Christ.  I find the witness of the persecuted church, and the deliverance of souls from the deepest darkness, to be a testimony to the power of Christ alone.  These are the stories that God used to help me to put down my spiritual idols and showed me how powerless they really were.

Most of the ministries featured here echoed the same sentiments.  In short:  “Wake up Western Church!”  Of the many people interviewed for this film, the words of one Dutch man summarized what I have said here too in different ways.  I was about to watch it again just so I could write it down, but found the clip to share instead, which is so much better.  In fact, I found two!  Many more are posted on Youtube.  I encourage you to watch them.

Read Full Post »

"All I Want is You" by Ramone Romero

Jesus loves His Church, His Body – as man and wife become one, so is our Lord with His Bride.  But I have stepped back and realized that very little of what is called church is the actual Church.  Many dear children of God are within the walls of its institutions, but at this point in time, I personally am not able to stay there (but have not forsaken the gathering of believers in true fellowship).  I have not yet been able to find one close enough to attend which is aligned with the heart of Christ, or following His will and commands.  He said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” John 14:15.  And in another place… “You are my friends if you do what I command you.” John 15:14.   Jesus didn’t teach salvation by works, but a salvation that does work.  And it does not take a scholar to discover what this salvation looks like in action according to Jesus and the Apostles.  The sad truth is that those who wish to obey this call often meet resistance in the local church, or are pushed out altogether.

I am not saying it’s right or wrong – or a black and white issue – to belong to an official “church” organization or not.  For those coming out of cults and deception, the structure can be very beneficial and fellowship among believers  is absolutely essential no matter what.  The important thing is to be where God leads you, and at the moment we have been led to step outside for a time.  Maybe not forever.  We did not want to, but this has been the result of seeking to follow Jesus alone.  I read in the scripture where He said, “If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also…” John 12:26.  I prayed for Jesus to show me where He was working in this world, where was His heart?  When He showed me, it was not in the traditional church.

Yesterday six teenagers and some adults stood for hours out in the sun on 105 degree day to host a fundraiser carwash.  As they stood at the road waving signs, they could see the temperature on the bank sign down the road rising one degree at at time.  Yes, complaining abounded from time to time, but no one abandoned the job, and the joy at the end of the day in loving fellowship was worth every drop of sweat.  All this, not for a ski trip, or a prom, but to have money to go out in two weeks to take a meal and clothing to those who have nothing.  And they didn’t raise enough to cover the single meal they wish to take.  They will also sacrifice from their own resources.  I am not telling this to lift them up, but to draw a contrast between the desires and love God has put on their hearts, and the most obvious love and desires of  the visible church (generally speaking).  Jesus also said, “But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out IN GOD.” John 3:21 – (emphasis mine) – because clearly no one can boast of these desires which God planted, and the fruit is of Him, for His glory.  In fact no one would be crazy enough to do something like this with no personal payback involved unless God put an unstoppable love in his heart.

Why did Jesus care about “the least of these”?  Why did He ask us to minister to them?  I believe because in this we see His heart and identify with Him more than in any other act.  He in fact says we minister to HIM, when we serve THEM.  He asks us to offer grace and mercy to the often undeserving just as we have received freely from His hand.  And just as His love has opened our hearts, love opens the door in the hearts of others too.  The end goal is not to fill a stomach or cover a body, but to glorify God as our Lord by our obedience, and call others to follow Him as well.

The contrast:  This group worked within a stone’s throw (tempting imagery) of a church that has just built a beautiful new addition to their small building with exquisite architecture and marble counter-tops.  The cost of this gorgeous work of art was over a million dollars, most of which they still owe.  But even if it was debt free, what is the value of this in God’s eyes?  I won’t go any further with this point, although I could give endless examples of decadence, as well as stories of churches turning away those in need, because it wasn’t “their ministry”.

I write this out of urgency to call people to see God’s true REALITY.. not what we have imagined it to be.  The dream I posted a few weeks ago still haunts me.  I cannot stay in buildings that will burn or walk with those who do not have  heart for those that will be brought into judgment with themselves.  As Paul spoke of the coming vengeance of God on two groups of people; those who do not know God, AND those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. (II Thessalonians 1:9)

I am not the only one sensing these things deeply.  This following message resonates with me as well.  Test all things… including my words and these – but I must share this:

DEATH of the USURPER CHURCH by Stephen St. Louis

"Your Bride" by Ramone Romero

God has ever kept for Himself a remnant who have not bent a knee nor kissed Baal (1 Kings 9:18). We may be looking at that even now. Several months ago, the Lord gave me an insight during worship that I felt compelled to write down. I shared it with my pastor. The jist of it was that God was going to deal harshly with the Usurper Church and her leaders so that His true bride might take her rightful place once more. Whether this will happen before Christ comes back or when He comes back I can’t tell you, nor do I believe it is particularly important. The main focus (and the reason why I gave it to my pastor in the first place) is that we need to make sure we are part of the Bride and not the Usurper.

The PROPHECY ITSELF

I was in church having listened to an announcement about the money needed for the elevator ($30,000) thinking to myself, “Do we really need it? What else could that money be used for? If they can raise that money that fast to put an elevator in, why can’t they do the same to put towards missions or helping those in need in our own community?”

As worship started again, I felt this welling up inside that just had to come out so I wrote it all down (hence the desire to have the actual words). It started off with almost a rebuke about not doing those things which the Bible clearly calls us to:  looking after the needs of the poor, the lost and the hurting.
Then it went into what God was going to do about it. Firstly, he was going to deal harshly with, as I said before, the Usurper, meaning the people that call themselves The Church but are not. He was using words like “expose her ugliness” and the image that I had was of a beautiful bride in a veil who is discovered to be ugly and fat and diseased when the veil is lifted. God said He was going to remove the usurper and restore His true bride to her rightful place. Now as for the bit about the usurper’s leaders I believe the words used were “fall by the hundreds and by the thousands.”

I came across another “word” that I’d written down about a month before (dated April 18th 2010). The two go surprisingly hand in hand. Again I was sitting in church during the worship. I believe I had my Bible open to 1 Samuel 5 (either that or the Lord brought that story to  mind).This is what He said.

“… How much time do you think you have? Repent. Repent of substituting my idea of church for yours. I did not build my church with bricks and stone but with hearts and minds… I am going to crush the idol of mammon like I did Dagon only worse. Those that worship that idol will be crushed beneath it. Those whose hope is in mammon will be devastated by its destruction.”
The image that I had in my head while I was writing this was of an idol of stone being exploded violently such that only the tiniest pieces remained. It was shattered beyond description or repair.

Source:  http://www.johnthebaptisttv.com/

More Hebrew Roots Movement postings soon!!

Read Full Post »

In my last post I shared a dream I had which included a symbol of black water.  I believe this video shows one of the manifestations of this.

Appearances alone are not enough to prove this is false, although this is a large part of the equation..  Most pagan religions have trance-like states where people lose control of their own bodies.  There is no Biblical way to test this, because it simply isn’t there.  Paul says… the LOVE OF CHRIST controls us.  This is not that.

The real proof to me (and the explanation of why these manifestations have come) is in the false gospels of “self” they are preaching, and the corresponding fruit – which is rampant immorality and greed, which is not hidden, but out in the open for all to see.  Yet men are not held accountable for their sin.  Jesus said, “By their fruits you will know them.”  I am not saying there are not sincere born-again Christians taken in by this for now, but those leading it are not inspired by the one true God.

I was saved in a charismatic/word-of-faith church about the time these things were beginning to spread.  I am thankful I heard enough truth that day to trust Christ; that through the proclamation of Jesus as Lord, He  revealed Himself to me.  But the church did not see the gospel of Christ as their primary message and the priority became experiencing supernatural manifestations and material blessing, which even as a new Christian, felt extremely wrong to me.

It’s hard for me to post this because some people I love think this is really from God.  While I do believe in miracles, and gifts of the Spirit to edify the Body and share the Good News, I share the desire with others to sound a warning here for discernment.  I have been involved also in the New Age, and its spirits and power are real.  Just because something is supernatural and makes you feel good does not mean it is from God.  Just because a lot of Christians believe something, does not mean it’s from God.

Read Full Post »

I woke up anxious.  Fears came on me about many things, especially anxiety about making a wrong decision.  I prayed for God to ease my mind and to really show me the right path to take.  I fell back to sleep and had this dream.

A pastor and his wife were spending the night at our house.  The next day was Sunday but we all overslept.  We made sure they were able to get ready to go first (only one bathroom) and they left.  When it was time for us to go,  I realized I had not had a chance to get cleaned up, put on make-up, or get dressed.  I thought… I can’t go in looking like this, so I will just stay out in the car.

As we were driving to the church..  it was dark like night.   (The whole dream took place in a night setting)  We turned a corner to go down the road where the church was and there were buildings on fire everywhere.  Off in the distance was a huge grain silo and it was burning up with flames going way into the sky.  Several other buildings were also on fire.  I was shocked and afraid to see so much fire and wondered what could have caused all of it.  I looked down the road, and the church was meeting in one part of a long building.  Their end was near the highway and the opposite end was a restaurant which was also on fire.  I saw alot of activity – people coming and going out of the church – so I thought it wouldn’t matter how I looked, considering the current crisis.  We went inside, but none of the activity I had seen from the road was related to the crisis.  No worship service was taking place and no fire-fighting, but alot of chaos.  I found a room with merchandise.. kids running everywhere… but just chaos.

I tried to go back outside to see what was going on and in front of the building there was a river of black water between the building and the highway, which had  bridge over it.  I looked and there was a big semi parked on the bridge, and there the road ended.  In front of the truck was a cliff and the same black water was at the bottom of the cliff, kind of like a coastline.  A woman got out of the passenger side and went to the edge.  She looked at me and said…. “It’s painless this way.” And she jumped.

I was trying to get around to the other side of the building to check on the fire situation, but there was not enough room on the bridge between the truck and the drop off down into the river to get by.  I started to slip into it and I knew if I did I would die, so I stopped trying to cross the bridge.

I went back into the building and found the pastor and asked him if he knew the other half of the building they were in was on fire.  He seemed surprised and and not terribly concerned.  I couldn’t understand how he didn’t know what was going on outside.  We found a side door and went out.  Next door an old traditional style church building was also on fire, but no one was there.  I felt urgent that someone needed to call and tell them their building was also on fire.. but no one seemed concerned about any of the fire.  That’s all I remember.

This week I have had so much grief seeing more and more the state of the American church.  I go between wanting to throw up and wanting to weep.  It’s heavy and I can’t shake it off.  And it feels like hardly anyone sees or cares.  I know some do.  Our country is full of churches but we have fallen into so many ditches.  False teaching, complacency, profit-seeking, fun-seeking, status seeking, political influence… and people are indeed heaping up for themselves teachers that will tell them what they want to hear.  Ironically,  I woke up from this dream to read in my devotional time, I Thessalonians 5 about the Day of the Lord.  I found the parallels about night and sleeping interesting as they were elements in my dream.

1Th 5:1  Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you.
1Th 5:2  For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.
1Th 5:3  While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
1Th 5:4  But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief.
1Th 5:5  For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.
1Th 5:6  So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.
1Th 5:7  For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night.
1Th 5:8  But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.
1Th 5:9  For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
1Th 5:10  who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.
1Th 5:11  Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
1Th 5:12  We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you,
1Th 5:13  and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.
1Th 5:14  And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.
1Th 5:15  See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.
1Th 5:16  Rejoice always,
1Th 5:17  pray without ceasing,
1Th 5:18  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1Th 5:19  Do not quench the Spirit.
1Th 5:20  Do not despise prophecies,
1Th 5:21  but test everything; hold fast what is good.
1Th 5:22  Abstain from every form of evil.
1Th 5:23  Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1Th 5:24  He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
1Th 5:25  Brothers, pray for us.
1Th 5:26  Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss.
1Th 5:27  I put you under oath before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers.
1Th 5:28  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

The sleeping, and the not being dressed for action – that is a huge problem.  I sense it deeply.  We (myself included) need to wake up and “come clean’ with God and each other.  We need to recognize the urgency of the time…. have some concern for those under judgment around us, even if we have ourselves managed to escape it.  The black water.. a false Holy Spirit that people are seeking to escape what is coming… the painless way… the way that offers what we want, not what God wants.

It’s time to wake up.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: