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Posts Tagged ‘false prophets’

Just have to share  a blog post from a great friend and former SDA.  I could write a book contrasting the worldview of Adventism vs. The Gospel but it would not come close to the clarity these pictures demonstrate from the books that she and I both grew up with.

Please visit her most excellent blog:  Images of Judgment

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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.

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When I am visiting someone’s home for the first time, if their bookshelves are visible, I find myself irresistibly drawn to look over them… not just because I love books, but because what people read or collect tells me so much about their perspectives on everything.

This week I happened upon a collection of books from an estate.  Of course when I see bins of books, I can hardly wait to dig in and search for treasure, but this collection was different than I had hoped.  Every bin contained a monoculture of a specific genre of religious teaching, one that was unknown in Christianity until the last 30 or 40 years.  When I realized I would find only a handful of “old-fashioned”  mainstream material, I pondered the phenomenon of being totally given over to a specific teacher or religious movement.

Having been there myself at one time, I remembered what this was like, and how it affected my own library shelf for awhile.  I remember as a child  we did not have any books published by any authors outside of our denomination which claimed to have “special truth”.  I distrusted books from Christians outside our realm, and considered them inferior even if they did have some good points.  They didn’t have ALL the truth.  And not only did we have just one source for books, there were many of them.  Many.  Our publishing houses churned them out as quickly as people would buy them.

Here I saw these same characteristics with the singular type and quantity of books as I sifted through bin after bin… losing hope of finding treasure and becoming increasingly sick as I surveyed some downright astonishing book titles and author’s claims.  A few verses came to mind.

This verse speaks to the thirst for only one kind of teaching; something “new” or “restored” (if Jesus, Paul, and the other Apostles didn’t proclaim it, it doesn’t need to be restored),  and considering it superior to “that which we have received from the beginning… which was once and for all, delivered to the saints” (I John & Jude).

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,  and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 2 Timothy 4:3,4

I don’t know when I have ever seen a more clear example of this in a collection of books since I left home.  The sad, obvious fact:  the owner had no interest in anything unrelated to this new and exciting teaching.  Even books with subjects that seemed Biblical – such as “Forgiveness” – revealed chapter titles that brought this subject back around to the same falsehood.  Everything centered on the falsehood, not the truth.

As to the overkill in quantity, exactly how many books do you need that say essentially the same thing?  I’m sure the profits from book sales are intoxicating for these teachers.  Write the same thing, give it  a different title, repackage it 100 different ways, and people keep buying them!  Where can you find a better business model of repeat sales and residual income?  Rock stars maybe?

But the sad characteristic of feeding on spiritual falsehood is that you never have enough.  You never quite get to that place they promise, so you need one more book, one more DVD, one more reassurance that you have found the truth.   But this is not a new development.  We are told from long ago that the last days would be full of false teachers, and I find it interesting that this quality of a continuous stream of “learning” is described.

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.  For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.
2Timothy 3:1-7

False teaching is like junk food.  Once you start to take it in, you develop cravings and lose your taste for healthy food.  Broccoli and apples look boring and tasteless. (think…simple truth of the Gospel!)  The craving and addictions can become intense, but for all the quantity of food you consume, your body is not being nourished.  It seems the spiritual appetite can also be perverted in a similar way, with even worse outcomes.

In contrast, Jesus said..

Matthew 5:6  “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

John 6:35  Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

John 4:14  but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Rev 21:6  And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.

Revelation 22:17  The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

Who are we thirsty and hungry for?
So much deception plays on our desires.  We are led away by them.  Someone dangles a carrot and we blindly follow an empty promise, because they are offering something we want.  This isn’t the whole picture, but most of it.  Eve began in this error, and most of us walk in it too before we find the Narrow Way.

If what we want most in this world is anything but Jesus, we are our own worst enemy, and the world offers us so many appealing alternatives.  This is why the FIRST commandment is to LOVE the LORD with all your being.

When we want HIM with our whole heart, it won’t matter what else we have or don’t have.  We WILL seek Him and find Him.  He has promised this.   These teachers love to quote the Bible, and their books are full of verses to prove out what they say.  But unless you are willing to prayerfully take the Word by itself, verse by verse, passage by passage, to see for yourself – any false thing can be made to sound “Biblical”.

My collection of spiritual books I will actually read is narrowing down, as I find the Word of God itself has more treasure than any human teacher can offer.  I do enjoy what the Spirit has taught through many great brothers and sisters through the ages, and it always resonates with what He has shown me through His Word.  But if all I had was the Word, it would be enough.  Jesus is enough.  His Word is enough – through the Book and His Spirit.

My hope is that the owner of the collection I saw this week also found that peace and Living Water in Jesus Christ alone.

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Explaining things to a child can sometimes focus truth for an adult. We can’t use big words or speak of abstract theories. No wonder when God walked with us here on Earth, He talked in pictures. Our understanding is so small compared to His mind. My children may never know how much they teach me until they have kids of their own someday.

Recently I was trying to explain to my young daughter that some things that look true are not. The time had come, sooner than I wished, to introduce the fact that not everyone who talks about Jesus knows the real Jesus. I watched her dismay as her innocent mind tried to comprehend the existence of this kind of falsehood.

I cannot give her the whole picture, but attempt to impress on her that we must seek the Word of God for the truth and not believe everything people say. She wanted to know why some people who read the Bible cannot see the truth about Jesus. This I may never be able to explain. I used to be one of those people and I still don’t understand. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” (John 9:25)

Justin Peters, an evangelist and apologist, produced a video exposing some widespread and heinous false teaching.  He repeatedly says, “A false jesus is a false gospel, and a false gospel cannot save you.” I echo his urgency, although I know my words can do nothing to open the eyes of the blind. I can only invite people to seek the true Jesus, and He will give true sight. Seek Him with your whole heart and be willing to lay aside anything you have once valued and believed as true, in order to gain Him, just as the Apostle Paul did. The other side of the coin is that He will find you first. He plants the desire.

Devotion to the false jesus is just as real and passionate as the love and devotion the true Jesus receives. Looking at sincerity alone will most definitely leave you confused.  This is not the evidence Jesus told us to look for in identifying his true messengers and followers.  Paul described his unbelieving Jewish brothers as having great zeal, but not according to the truth.  Jesus instructed us to look at the nature of their fruit.  The New Testament harmoniously explains what the genuine fruit of Jesus, the vine, looks like.  The false jesus redefines everything about the fruit; how it comes, why it comes, and what it looks like.

Because we can always find good-looking fruit of one kind or another, the imitation can be well-designed and hard to discern. When a person with opened eyes tries to explain the differences to those still blind, they seek to defend the false image and characterize their opponents as petty, critical, and unloving. We all know how real counterfeit money looks. If I am using a $100 bill and the cashier tests it to be false, I will be very upset and wish I had a way to prove its authenticity because I stand to suffer a great loss. People with a counterfeit jesus feel the same. They only see what they stand to lose. The problem is there is enough truth in the lie to make it seem very real.

The irony comes when the counterfeit seeks to prove itself as real. When its followers are confronted, they seek to minimize the differences, but when it comes time to promote themselves, they magnify them.  Their sales pitch will attempt to prove they have something special no one else has.  Their claims of superiority may be blatant, subtle, inviting, or fear-laden.  Those outside the camp with a simple faith and uncomplicated, (although genuine) fruit, may be regarded as less than Christian, or even deceived and lost.

How many times have you heard someone define a real Christian or the “true faith” in terms of Old Covenant observances, proper dress, lifestyle, organizational membership, spiritual gifts, a political party, material blessings, or some other thing found in the fine print? These are not necessarily bad things, they are just not the fruit Jesus talked about. He never told us to draw these lines in the sand. At the least they cause confusion, and at their worst, they re-write the gospel when presented as a defining characteristic of who will be saved or lost.

When the false fruit is presented with salvational implications, this is the point at which I have to sadly draw lines in the sand myself, between the truth and the lie. I draw it with tears because people I love are standing on the other side of the line.  I cannot passively allow my children to view the false jesus as authentic. I must teach them to discern and love at the same time.  As they grow, I pray they will seek truth and have faith based on what their own eyes have seen, not what I have told them.  I am sure they will grow to see many things differently than I do, but I pray no matter what road they take, they always see only the real Jesus.

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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).

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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In many ways I am thankful for our time in the Hebrew Roots Movement, simply for the perspective we gained.  I find it so difficult to express in words the magnitude of the contrast between a law-based approach to the Word of God and  a Christ centered one (so this post might be a jumbled mess).   In the HRM our eye was filled with the Torah and the modern nation of Israel.  I was recently looking over the website of a self-proclaimed Messianic “prophet” and had to dig long and hard to find any mention of  Yeshua.  I finally found Him mentioned almost in passing, and no New Testament scriptures were referenced anywhere in all his teachings that I could find.  I asked him via email what he believed regarding Yeshua, and he agreed we were reconciled to God through His atonement, yet this fact was not worthy of addressing in his writings. (And of course not applicable if we refuse to obey the Law of Moses.)  Plenty of criticism of Christianity for not keeping the Torah, and other such things, but no gospel.  Not even a false one.  Our focus was not much different. Of course we claimed faith in Jesus, but we seldom spoke of Him unless it was how He upheld the Law in some way.

Reading the gospels now, we sense so strongly the tension Jesus created when He began to declare His  authority both in Word and in demonstration. The point of contention truly was His authority.  The religious leaders were not remotely interested in genuine righteousness or justice.  The Torah put them in the “seat of Moses” so they were not about to let anyone rob them of the influence and authority this gave them.  When Jesus challenged them and the Law itself, establishing His own authority as God, they sought to kill Him.  They said..”What will we do?  Look.. the whole world is following after Him!”  Even Pilate sought to set Him free “For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up. ” Matt. 27:18.

John tells how they came to take Him in the Garden and He asked, “Who are you looking for?”  They said, “Jesus of Nazareth.”  He said… “I AM”.   My Bible translates it “I am he” but the footnote says the pronoun is not there in the Greek.  John 18:6 says that when He spoke this, they drew back and fell to the ground.  This is the name of God.  Did it occur to them they were seeking to kill God in order to sustain their own authority?  Isn’t this the bottom line for all of us?  We all have chosen our own authority at some point over God’s.  When we have done so, we also are members of the angry mob yelling “Crucify Him!’

Jesus declared I AM several times through the gospels.  It seems like a subtle way to say.. “I am God, and this is what God is for you.”  I AM the bread of life, I AM the water of life, I AM the light of the world.  In all these things He was showing Himself to be the sustenance of our humanity, our true Source for life and light, and the fulfillment of all the types and shadows contained both in the Law and in the mighty acts of God in the past to sustain and deliver His people.  At the end He prayed to the Father, “I have made your name  known to them.”

Have you ever watched a mystery unfold in a movie?  I enjoy movies where you really can’t predict the outcome.  They hold your attention till the very last minute when everything is finally explained.  The climax of the whole story is to know the TRUTH about what had taken place.  We read the Old Testament now with full knowledge of how Jesus fulfilled it.  We lose sight of the climax factor in the story.  Try to imagine reading the Bible for the first time with no knowledge of the outcome as you read.  Do you realize how HUGE Jesus is to the scope of the story the whole Bible tells?  He is just not one of many interesting stream of characters, He is the climax of the history of the entire human race!  How on earth can we shove him under the table as essential for salvation, but unnecessary in knowing God and His will for us?  How can we look to a contract with an ancient people for our ultimate revelation of who God is?  This is a good definition of insanity now that I look back on it.

So many gain followers by merchandising secrets, but the truth about God is no longer a secret or a mystery!  It has been declared and made manifest in His Son!  Instead we get bored with that simplicity and try to find some other complex hidden thing that no one else has ever found in the 2000 years of the faith.  I promise you.  There is no new truth under the sun.  Lies are often recycled, but truth has been made plain.  We can grow deeper in it – but it doesn’t move.

I have been working through the Gospel of John several times and am seeing a very interesting picture I hope I have time to write about soon – if I can get a working outline.  Jesus truly is everything.

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