The Grace of God

That Brings Salvation Has Appeared to All Men (Titus 2:11)

Posts Tagged ‘apostasy’

Memorial Day

Posted by israeliteindeed on May 24, 2015

There was a time when days like this gave me vaguely fuzzy feelings for reasons I did not fully understand.  Somewhere, someone had “died for me,” and because they made the ultimate sacrifice, I was now “free.” It sounded pretty amazing. Sentimental parallels have been drawn between these combat soldiers and Jesus. I now know that this is as appropriate as drawing sentimental parallels between Jesus and the antichrist.

When I was converted, the love of God was shed abroad in my heart in a powerful way. I had been the antagonist, the rebel against God’s law and kingdom. I had done what was right in my own eyes for a long time; thus I deserved to be destroyed. But God became a man who died to redeem me, and then He patiently sent ambassadors to draw me into fellowship with Him. Why?  What difference does one stubborn human being make?  I still don’t know the answer to that question, but one thing I know:  I am changed, and I can’t go back to what I was.  When Jesus called me to die to myself and follow Him, He called me to a life of humbling myself to reach those who don’t deserve being reached (just as I didn’t deserve it).  He sent me to “every creature” with good news that God wants them back and has made a way back, if they will surrender.  Who should be exempted from this good news?  I can think of no one that exists outside of “every creature.”

When I recognized that Jesus was rightfully my Lord, I began to desire His opinion on everything, so that I might live pleasing to Him. Not only did I pray to understand His will, but I studied Scripture carefully apart from the direction of a church. This is not a slam on churches, but I’m pretty sure this is what saved me from adopting the “God and country” divided heart that I see in so many professing believers. (I should confess that I have not always been free of a divided heart in other areas.)  It is a tragic reality that many churches proudly display their divided loyalties by having an American flag right by the altar. Can a man give allegiance to two masters who have entirely different goals?

I had been raised a good patriot who believed in the inherent goodness of America compared to other nations. I believed we were free, we were more moral than others, we only fought in “just wars,” and it was possible to strap on a machine gun and go off to war in the name of God. I carried this cultural baggage into my new relationship with God, but eventually I learned that I had never been truly free; neither had I been more moral than others. True freedom is accessible to God’s children from any prison, and is denied to the richest, most powerful people on the planet.  True morality is only found in Christ. [Oh, but you are spiritualizing. Of course I am spiritualizing. We are supposed to be spiritual people, who do not have in mind earthly things but heavenly.] Further, the idea that I could now kill in God’s name and with His blessing seemed greatly at odds with the Great commission, which has the salvation–not the destruction–of people in view (Lk. 9:55-56). God’s command to Peter to put away his sword was suddenly His command to me, and the example and instructions that Jesus gave to His disciples became the plumbline of my life. That included His instructions in the Sermon on the Mount about loving and blessing my enemies–a portion of Scripture men of all denominations have cleverly twisted in order to grant themselves licentious loopholes.

As a member of God’s kingdom, I learned that I would need to walk in God’s “higher ways” rather than in the earth’s ways. Nowhere can His higher ways be seen more clearly than in the life and death of Christ, the innocent suffering to rescue the guilty. I saw that although we have a crude but necessary form of justice in our country, man’s justice will always pale in comparison with the righteous justice of God coupled with His triumphing mercy.

By looking deeper than the picture painted by mainstream media, I also found that the “just wars” we were waging were actually the ungodly schemes of ungodly men by which they enrich only themselves, and destroy multitudes (including those sainted soldiers who signed up to kill people they didn’t know for a cause they only thought they understood).  I saw patriotism for what it really is–“the pride of life”–something that belongs explicitly to this perishing world. Something a child of God should abhor (I John 2:15-17).  I realized that every country sees itself as more moral, more just, etc., than others, and this is only a collective reflection of man’s propensity to judge himself pure in his own eyes.  Patriotic songs and holidays reflect those twisted sentiments that so defy the Word of God (for all have sinned, Rom. 3:23).

And perhaps most importantly, I saw that all nations are, in fact, raging against and competing with God (Psa. 2). They want our allegiance. They want our sworn oaths of unquestioning obedience (Matt. 5:34).  They want us to sing their praises, their virtues, their supremacy over others. They want us to believe that our freedom comes from what they do with live ammunition. They want us to teach the illusion of their goodness to our children, and lead our children to pledge their loyalty to this god-like protector. And if that is not enough, they want the very bodies of our children to sacrifice on their altar of global power.

Oh, they speak great swelling words about our feigned national righteousness, and most of us desperately cling to the lie that the tree is good (or used to be good), despite the evil fruit abounding in our midst. Why? Perhaps we are just afraid of losing our own little piece of the national pie, and instinctively know that our earthly dividends depend upon earthly schemes. If such is the case, we have proven ourselves lovers of this world and not God.

Why not just admit that Psalm 2 is correct?  Why not admit that most, if not all, of the traditions our fathers handed us are vain and only constitute an empty way of life (I Pet. 1:18)?  Why not admit that men globally killing men they don’t know for reasons they don’t comprehend is a bloody manifestation of the Destroyer’s kingdom, not the Kingdom Jesus founded.

This is why I am so critical of any parallel drawn between soldiers who die in armed combat, and the King of kings who gave Himself–silenced and slaughtered–to be food and life for His enemies.  Can light and darkness be equal?  Is giving your own life to save your enemies the same as giving your own life to kill your enemies? They are not the same! And those who have the living Jesus in them should know better.

If we are deceived any longer about this, we are deceived willingly. There are multitudes of citizens in this internet age who are revealing the secrets of the monster that America is (and this phenomenon is not limited to America). The secrets of the military are accessible to those who actually want to know;  military men are killing themselves in droves for a reason. Any honest person who evaluates the history of this country knows that this was never a land of freedom and justice for all;  there were always at least two classes of people robbed and abused from the beginning (Native Americans and Africans).

But even if these things were not so, we have the words of Jesus. If we have not let Him transform our thinking and behavior, we need to ask ourselves if we are really His sheep.  In His kingdom, a slave is God’s free man, and a free man is God’s slave. The way to life is by first dying, the way to inherit the earth is meekness, the way to deal with enemies is by blessing them, and the way to overcome is to submit. We shall not be as the Gentiles, lording it over others, but we shall be as the One who washed the feet of both the faithful and the betrayer.

But, if we would rather be as “the Gentiles” or “the world”–living by the sword or praising those who do–God will choose our delusion.  It will probably look something like this:

America is the greatest, most moral country on earth, and our soldiers are heroes who died to set us free. 

Such sentiment has become foolishness to me now. To me, Memorial day is a day of pride, purposeful blindness to our faults as a people, and utter rebellion against God’s ways.  I understand why the world participates–and every nation has its similar days. Factions of the world revere the destructive and counterproductive works of men because they do not know God. But what about those who say they DO know God?  Do they profess to know Him, but in works deny Him (Titus 1:16)?

I do not mean to disrespect the dead–perhaps someone you loved–by this writing. Often they were brave men and women who sacrificed a great deal for what they thought was right. However, it is my contention that they were as blinded by the god of this world as the jihadist, and those who celebrate their works are equally deceived. Memorial Day is a day of sadness for me–sadness that so many people kill and die for utter vanity because they never understood the power of the cross of Christ.   If there is still any deception remaining in you, dear brother or sister, I pray that you would shake it off and live as a citizen of heaven from this point on.

serve 2 masters

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Jesus: the Door to the Promises

Posted by israeliteindeed on October 27, 2014

Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers, and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy, as it is written:

“For this reason I will confess to You among the Gentiles,
And sing to Your name.”

And again he says:

“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people!”

And again:

“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles!
Laud Him, all you peoples!”

And again, Isaiah says:

“There shall be a root of Jesse;
And He who shall rise to reign over the Gentiles,
In Him the Gentiles shall hope.” (Rom. 15:8-12)

What promises did Jesus confirm when He became a servant to the circumcision? He confirmed the Old Testament promises. Jesus told the Jews that the Old Testament Scriptures wrote of Him, and that even Moses had written of Him (Jn. 5:39;46).

And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. (Lk. 24:27)

Unfortunately most Jews rejected His claim, and as always occurs when we do not receive a love for the Truth, they embraced lies based on nationalism, genealogy, or ritual; and this has continued to this very day. What is even sadder is that much of the Gentile church in the west is so apostate today, she is lending her support to the works of evildoers and thinking she serves God by doing so. But whether they join hands or no, they will not inherit the promises.

Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. (Gal. 4:30)

It is in Christ that ALL the promises find their fulfillment:

For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. (2 Cor. 1:20)

Now notice in the Romans 15 passage, what effect the fulfillment of the promises would have on the Gentiles. They would be rejoicing “with His people;” they would hope in Him, and they would submit to His Kingly reign along with the believing Jews. We don’t see a cutting off of all God’s Hebrew people, but instead a grafting in of Gentiles with those Hebrews who are faithful. (Same language we see in Rom. 11) Certainly, Paul does not have every single Gentile in view here, but those who are converted to Christ.

The believing Gentiles are grafted into the Olive Tree, which is God’s chosen people–a tree which was stripped of many (but thankfully not all) Jewish branches due to their unbelief (Rom. 11:17-24). (This is not the first time the Olive Tree was pruned; see also Jer. 11:1-17 for an earlier time. One can also see the death of the first generation of Israelites in the wilderness as a pruning, as well as smaller judgments which swallowed up particular families, etc. We must endure to the end to remain in the Olive Tree.)

The Olive Tree is a picture of God’s kingdom.

How can a kingdom (the Israel of God) be made of people from all over the earth?! Christ’s kingdom is within every believer, and is not something that can be observed in this carnal realm or advanced through carnal means (Lk. 17:20-21). But oh, how the carnal man rankles at this teaching, always seeking to set up something that satisfies the lust of his eyes and flesh, and his pride of life.

Herein is the mystery of God revealed, and how the Israel of God shall be populated with the saved–by faith. God’s Kingdom is the Israel of God, and it is not of this world. Away with these lies that keep repeating that His kingdom is of this world! Away with these foolish statements that we must strengthen the hands of evildoers to be blessed! (“We must bless the modern earthly state of Israel to be blessed”=satanic lie.) To enter the kingdom which Jesus came preaching, and to be blessed, every man is commanded to repent of sin and believe upon Christ. When he does so, he becomes an heir with Jesus of the promises.

There is NO PHYSICAL JEW OR GENTILE in Christ! The flesh profits nothing–absolutely nothing. In Christ and His kingdom, there are only “True Jews” and “Israelites In-Deed” who have entered the kingdom of God by loving and submitting to its King (Rom. 2:28-29; Jn. 1:47). He is the only Door to the Promises.

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Knowing God

Posted by israeliteindeed on July 28, 2014

“Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness and his chambers by injustice, who uses his neighbor’s service without wages and gives him nothing for his work, who says, ‘I will build myself a wide house with spacious chambers, and cut out windows for it, paneling it with cedar and painting it with vermilion.’ Shall you reign because you enclose yourself in cedar? Did not your father eat and drink, and do justice and righteousness? Then it was well with him. He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well. Was not this knowing Me?” says the Lord. “Yet your eyes and your heart are for nothing but your covetousness, for shedding innocent blood, and practicing oppression and violence.” (Jer. 22:13-17)

This message was given to a son of Josiah, king of Judah. He was promised that he would die a captive and “see this land no more.” Notice God’s complaint about him–unrighteousness and injustice, covetousness, shedding innocent blood, oppression and violence. God compared him to his father, who had done “justice and righteousness,” and asked, “Was not this (doing justice and righteousness) knowing Me?”

All throughout Scripture, knowing God is equated with carefully doing what is right.

For My people are foolish, they have not known Me. They are silly children, and they have no understanding. They are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge. (Jer. 4:22)

To know God is to understand right and wrong, and to do good!

Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the Lord. (Jer. 9:23-24)

Wisdom, power, and wealth are nothing in which to glory. Through all of the world’s “wisdom,” it did not know God (I Cor. 1:21). Solomon, even with his supernatural wisdom, still allowed his heart to be led astray to idol worship; if he understood all mysteries, he did not maintain an enduring love for the Lord. Armies with all of their power can be drowned in the sea the moment they have outlived their usefulness in God’s hand. Riches make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle toward heaven (Prov. 23:5). Let us not glory in any of these things.

To understand and know God is to know that He delights in lovingkindness, judgment and righteousness, and to walk in the same. He keeps covenant and mercy with those who love Him and keep His commandments (Deut. 7:9), but curses those who do not obey (Deut. 11:28).

The Lord brought a charge against Israel, saying:

There is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land. (Hos. 4:1)

Why did He say there was no knowledge of God in the land?

By swearing and lying, killing and stealing and committing adultery, they break all restraint, with bloodshed upon bloodshed. (Hos. 4:2)

He knew by their evil deeds that they did not know Him. And because they “rejected knowledge,” He would reject those evildoers from being priests before Him (Hos. 4:6). Israel would cry, “My God, we know You!” (Hos. 8:2) But their actions showed otherwise–“They do not direct their deeds toward turning to their God…they do not know the Lord.” (Hos. 5:4)

Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. (Dan. 11:32)

Covenant breakers can be corrupted by the flattery of the devil’s servants–they stumble, being disobedient to the Word (I Pet. 2:8). But those who truly know God and know His heart will also know how to behave in difficult times. Even if they should fall by sword, flame, captivity or plundering (Dan. 11:33), they will do no evil, but will overcome evil with good (Rom. 12:21).

Knowing God is no small matter. It is equated with having eternal life (Jn. 17:3; I Jn. 5:20). This has been God’s goal from the beginning, that a people would know Him, obey His Word, and be wholly His.

But what happens when what may be known of God is manifest, and the people to whom He is manifest do not like to retain God in their knowledge? They are given over to a debased mind to do things which are evil, and to approve of the evil of others. (Rom. 1:18-31) There are many in the professing church today who approve of and participate in evil! Through deceit, they refuse to know God (Jer. 9:6).

Paul testified that his countrymen had a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge–they were ignorant of God’s righteousness. Thinking they could establish their own form of righteousness, they tried to be acceptable to God through traditions, while not truly knowing Him or living pleasing to Him. Many were continuing to reject and rebel against God’s Word even after experiencing His judgments through exile, and His mercy in sending Christ to them (Rom. 10). To such unbelieving Jews, Jesus said, ” You know neither Me nor My Father. If you had known Me, you would have known my Father also.” (Jn. 8:19) Anyone who knows the Father also recognizes the Son; all who know God keep His Word.

We can know God by looking into the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4:6). When we see the Son, we see also the Father (Jn. 14:9). What did Jesus teach, how did He teach, how did He respond to people and circumstances? We must deny ourselves (and whatever empty traditions we have received from our fathers) and follow Him. When we abide in Him, keeping all His sayings from our hearts, we also abide in the Father and possess eternal life.

As in Old Testament times, in New Testament times there are still those who claim to know God but follow after sin. Ongoing sin is still the primary evidence of not knowing God.

Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (I Jn. 2:3-4)

Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. (I Cor. 15:34)

They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work. (Titus 1:16)

Paul admonishes the Church to awake to righteousness, lest we deny Him by our disobedience! With spiritual weapons, we must cast down any argument that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:4-5). Through knowledge of Him, we have received all things that pertain to life and godliness, and can be partakers of the divine nature of holiness (I Pet. 1:2-4). A person who knows God will obey the teachings of the apostles who gave us Scripture (I Jn. 4:6), and he will walk in love–“Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (I Jn. 4:7-8) This love always includes keeping God’s commands (I Jn. 5:2).

The Church should be increasing in the knowledge of God–till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Eph. 4:13). Paul prayed for the Colossians that “you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” (Col. 1:9-10)

And what will be the end of those who do not know God and do not obey His gospel?

“…when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.” (2 Thess. 1:7-9)

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The Message of the Church

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 4, 2014

And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. (Rev. 22:17)

To what do the Spirit and the Bride say, “Come”?

Do they say, “Come and fill our pews”?
Do they say, “Come and support our programs”?
Do they say, “Come and reform your life a little”?
Do they say, “Come and add a little religion to your weekly to-do list”?
Do they say, “Come and be part of a club that will make you feel better about yourself”?

While many who profess to be the Bride–the Church–are saying these things to the unsaved, the Spirit is not saying these things to the unsaved.

The Spirit of God is calling unbelievers to come and take the water of life, which is Jesus and His so-great salvation. He specifically addresses His invitation to the thirsty and the desirous, for the “doing just fine, thank-you” crowd has no need of a Physician, but those who know they are sick.

For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water. (Jer. 2:13)

I may sound like a broken record, but it’s true–many churches in America today are broken cisterns which hold no water. In the name of the Lord, people have left Him and done their own thing for Him–a thing He has not commanded, and which will not profit. If the thirsty go to their services, they find nothing to drink. If the hungry go, they find no bread. In fact, surrounding them on the pews are mostly people who don’t really want true food and drink. They are fed the worthless junk food that keeps the coffers full and the show showing, and they love to have it so (Jer. 5:31). They eat and eat this food, but never grow; they are always learning but never coming to a knowledge of the Truth. They have a name that they are alive, but they are the walking dead, because Jesus and His Living Water is not among them. If they evangelize, their converts are worse off than they are. Those who came thirsty and hungry eventually join their desensitized and malnourished ranks, or leave in search of true food, depending upon how bad they want it.

O Lord, the hope of Israel, All who forsake You shall be ashamed. “Those who depart from Me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the Lord, The fountain of living waters.” (Jer. 17:13)

Jesus said to the woman at the well,

“If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water…Whoever drinks of this (physical) water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:10-14)

Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:37-38)

To what or to whom should the desperate, needy, poor, and thirsty come? They must come to Jesus. They must believe on Him exactly as the Scripture has declared Him, not as their imaginations or traditions have painted Him.

And to truly believe that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life will of necessity cause a dramatic change in a person. He will stop creating broken cisterns (repent), and will instead drink deeply of Jesus–the Word of God. Out of his heart will flow rivers of living waters, rather than evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, & blasphemies (Matt. 15:19). He will be born again and see the kingdom of God in all of its glory–the absolute right-ness of the benevolent authority of God, and the absolute wrongness of rebellion.

Many religious voices are saying “Everyone come to this or that church program, even if you’re not thirsty,” in the hopes that they can “grow the church” with people who are not even living stones. But the Lord only adds to the Church those who are being saved (Acts 2:47). The register of these forgiven souls is in heaven, not on the church membership list (Heb. 12:23), because the Lord knows those who are His (2 Tim. 2:19). He does not build His church with unconverted people, regardless of how good it might feel to fill an auditorium with them in His Name.

Other religious voices are saying to the self-seeking, “Come, bring money and sow into what God is doing, and then He will bless you,” only furthering them in their idolatrous love of pleasure. And still more cry, “Come and feel peace, peace” to those who are still at war with God, making them feel just good enough to never repent (Jer. 6:14; 8:11). These are all false messages creating false converts and false churches. We cannot stay in step with the Spirit while saying things He does not say to the ungodly.

If we are the Bride–the true Church–let us keep our message Scriptural. “Let the one who thirsts (after righteousness), and desires (forgiveness and a new life) come to Jesus and receive the water of life freely.

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Our Troops Are Women

Posted by israeliteindeed on September 23, 2013

Nahum 3:13
Behold, your troops
are women in your midst.
The gates of your land
are wide open to your enemies;
fire has devoured your bars.

It has been my observation that many spiritual realities play themselves out in the natural. For example, when there is a famine of spiritual bread in the land, there very often is a famine of natural bread also. When spiritual destruction is falling on a people, “natural disasters” seem to increase.

Many decry the allowance of homosexuals and women in the military, but could this be a picture of what has happened to our people spiritually? Our “mighty men” have become women, and I am not just referring to homosexuals. I refer to the lack of spiritual manliness in our nation and the church. 

How many fathers are taking seriously their responsibility to lead their families spiritually? So few– even among those who profess Christ!

Women also are out of order, chasing the supposed “freedom from responsibility” their men only seem to have. They reject being keepers at home and motherhood, and pursue self- sufficiency through careers that sap them of energy they might have poured into their families. Could the new “liberated woman” killing herself and destroying her children be a picture of a greater spiritual reality?

If so, what other parallels and lessons can we draw from these things? I plead with Jesus to give us His eye salve that we can see.

The gates of our land are indeed wide open to our enemies. And if we think denying homosexuals and women entrance in the military will solve the problem, we are still thinking carnally. 

Our land is full of “soldiers” who are women, and silly women at that. Most who claim to be spiritual people are fighting a carnal battle with carnal weapons against flesh and blood enemies with a carnal motive, but they think because they shout “glory to God,” their carnality is thus baptized. 

The professing American church is in such a deep sleep spiritually, she imagines keeping “In God We Trust” on our currency would be a tremendous victory for God. But God does not support lies, and we cannot be healed by patching up surface wounds with band aids when our whole head is sick and our whole heart is faint (Isa. 1:5-6).

In like manner, the church has sought to validate herself by an outcry against homosexuality and females in the military, and other surface symptoms of national decay.

But she doesn’t look deeper lest she indict herself. 

If she would present her wound-covered body before the ever searching eye of the Lord in true humility and acknowledgment that she has destroyed herself by forsaking His ways, He would again have mercy on her.

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Pleading for Baal

Posted by israeliteindeed on February 12, 2013

Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian for seven years…So Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites, and the children of Israel cried out to the Lord. And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried out to the Lord because of the Midianites, that the Lord sent a prophet to the children of Israel, who said to them, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘I brought you up from Egypt and brought you out of the house of bondage; and I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians and out of the hand of all who oppressed you, and drove them out before you and gave you their land. Also I said to you, “I am the Lord your God; do not fear the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell.” But you have not obeyed My voice.’”  (Jud. 6:1-10)

Israel–the “people of God” separated unto Himself–had not obeyed His voice.  They loved the idols of the heathen, so they were delivered into the hand of Midian.

American “people of God” need to see that we also are delivered into the hands of God’s enemies because of our disobedience. It is not that God can’t or won’t help us. It is that we will not obey.

I believe God has sent some prophets to the people of America. They are men and women who have the testimony of Jesus and keep His commandments. (Rev. 12:17)  While others are bitterly blaming the Midianites, these are rightly assessing the problem–the problem of disobedience in the professing people of God.

Gideon was not told to start a petition to make the Midianites obey God’s law. Instead, he was told to tear down the altar to Baal that was in his own back yard.

To do so, he would have to stand against his own family, for his father owned the altar and the wooden image beside it. Frightened as he was, Gideon did as God asked. He tore down the false altar and set the wooden image ablaze, and sacrificed his father’s bull to the Lord.

When the men of the city saw what had been done, they wanted to kill Gideon. How does a culture that once declared, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods” (Josh. 24:16) switch to calling for the death of a man who tore down a false altar in their midst?  The deceitfulness of sin!  Israel would go on to kill and crucify and scourge and persecute many of its prophets, including its own Messiah.

Surprisingly, Gideon’s father protected his life by saying that if Baal was a god, let Baal plead for himself against Gideon. Perhaps Gideon’s father was convicted by Gideon’s bold obedience to the Lord and repented.

Today among the people of God, we have many pleading for Baal. If you touch their false altars or their idols, they are angry enough to kill you.  They will brand you a heretic, a legalist, or a Pharisee, in hopes that others won’t listen to you.  When you tell them to love the Lord with all their heart, they confess it perfectly impossible to love the Lord. They cannot love the Lord and they cannot cease from sin because they love their idols. They are doubleminded and unstable in all their ways.

I am not talking about the Midianites, but about the professing people of God.

By and large, the American church is modern-day Laodicea, fully deceived about our condition before God. We don’t know that we are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked. How can this be? The deceitfulness of sin!

We have called good evil, and called evil good, in an attempt to serve God and idols simultaneously. Sincere obedience is now the new legalism. The gospel message we preach is powerless because we add and take away from the Word of God. We don’t require true repentance lest someone be offended at God. We don’t require endurance to the end in obedient faith, lest we contradict some man-made doctrine in a man-made creed.  We have reduced the “born again” experience to a repeated prayer that changes nothing–the old has not gone and the new has not come. The same old sinners carry their Bibles to church and encourage one another in their evil deeds. Brother, we all sin every day. Thank God for His grace, eh?  So religious, so void of power.

You know it is true. Look at the youth group in your church;  how many young people are living holy to the Lord?  How many are truly set apart from this world?  Where is the power? I will tell you where it is. It has departed, and we are turned over to our enemies. We plant and the enemy burns up the whole crop.  ICHABOD is written across the doors of most churches, but the show goes on. The majority of the people have never known the true power of the Lord, and so they don’t miss it. Those who know something is missing weep in secret.

If you have a heart for the Lord and zeal for His kingdom and righteousness, be like Gideon. Be prepared to obey the voice of the Lord when He asks you to prove your devotion to Him by tearing down a false altar that has been in your family–or your country–for years. Religious people will come out against you. They will destroy your reputation.  They will put you out of their churches. They will unite “Christians” against you, and they will plead for Baal.  Know that it is for the Lord’s sake that you suffer. Know that if you would be the friend of God, you must bear a small portion of His burden. Know that there is only one worth pleading for, and you are His ambassador and witness. Be faithful and endure hardness for His sake.

God bless you.

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American Excuses Rather Than Repentance

Posted by israeliteindeed on January 18, 2013

When you begin to call people to give their allegiance to God’s Kingdom and His righteousness, rather than to man’s kingdom and man’s agendas, many invariably push back with excuses.

Here are some excuses I received in a letter yesterday from a Baptist pastor. I have reworded these arguments slightly to give better coherence to them, but I believe I have maintained the author’s intent.  The words in brackets are mine.

  • “The Judeo-Christian principles this nation was founded on are worth fighting for [with weapons or civil war if necessary] until the day they strip it all away.”
  • “The righteous lost the gift of freedom because they allowed the unrighteous to rule.” [Implying that if we can replace our rulers with “the righteous”  either by vote or by force, we will win back our freedom and all will be well.]
  • “In the Old Testament, God did not frown upon righteous and sincere people defending their property and family, and I believe I am justified even in sending an unsaved to person to hell with a bullet if necessary.”
  • “I believe I am justified to rage against a communistic/socialistic society that depresses me politically and spiritually.”

I have posted my response below.

Dear —-,

I used to think like you currently do, but my heart has changed. I believe Jesus has changed it. There are many Scriptures that changed my heart and mind when I accepted them by faith. The Sermon on the Mount, for example.

You say “the idea held by the founding fathers…is worth fighting for.” By fighting, I think you mean fighting against flesh and blood with carnal weapons in order to hold onto things that are temporal. I am sure you already know the Scriptures I am alluding to (Eph. 6:12; 2 Cor. 10:3-5; 2 Cor. 4:18; Matt. 6:19-21).

I personally find it ironic that so many people say America became great due to Christian principles, yet think the way back to greatness is by setting Christian principles aside and fighting for our rights with instruments of death. We are like Peter wildly swinging the sword and telling the Lord “This shall never happen to you.” We have in mind the things of men rather than the things of God.

We are apparently to love our enemies only when we have nothing to lose.

Likewise, when we want the grace of God to cover our sin, we elevate the New Covenant to the exclusion of the Old [thinking, wrongly, that New Testament grace allows for continuation in sin], but we do not wish to extend that concept of grace to others. When our personal rights are being threatened, we return to the Old Testament to justify what really boils down to a preoccupation with what we think we are owed.  We conveniently  claim that Jesus’ New Covenant command to love our enemies does not apply to our particular situation.

We did not lose America because we accidentally let the wrong person get in office. We lost America by our own gradual erosion of faithfulness to God, beginning in our hearts, our homes, and our churches.

Christians began to love the creation more than the Creator. They wanted more and more “stuff” and they celebrated their “stuff” and they called it “the blessing of God.” And they failed to teach their children to love God with all their hearts, and they put idols before their children and led them in idolatry. And when wickedness began to multiply in churches and homes, they swept it under the carpet and imagined a God who is blinded by a one-time profession of faith and “cannot see my sin.” They preached this false view of God until almost the whole country of America thought they were Christians while living in the most abject rebellion against God.

And it has continued to this day, and there has not been wide-scale repentance. Because the show must go on.

Churches have bills to pay, and we must have offerings to pay them. So we have to preach what tickles the ears of the people or they will stop paying our bills. The people love their sin, so we must preach a God who doesn’t mind sin and in fact expects them to sin. The repentance God requires is all mental; it means nothing (according to them.) When Jesus said take up your cross and follow me, He only meant a select few who want “more blessing”–the great majority who enter the Kingdom of God will continue to live for themselves and their own agendas, and God doesn’t mind their double-mindedness (according to them).

It is all a lie, and to this day we continue to have deceived pew-warmers who give God lip-service but their hearts are far from Him. Their hearts are with their television images, and their vacation packages, and their “rights.” They will kill others if they are threatened because they love what they have more than they love God and their neighbor, and because they reject the teachings of the Messiah they claim to follow.

This may seem a harsh denunciation, but I believe God’s heart is not in patriotism one iota. He is not an American. He did not die to give us freedom to run a business or money to buy a horse; He died to give us freedom from sin and the death it brings, and He commissioned those who obey the gospel to take it to every nation. Most professing Christians admit that wickedness has grown like out-of-control leaven in this society, but few will take personal responsibility. Few will pray like Daniel (chapter 9). We want our government to repent, but we don’t want to clean house at home or in our churches.

I understand people’s fears and their default to self-protection. Followers of Jesus are called to self-denial and promised affliction; but that’s not all–they are also given a hope that poverty, slavery, and even death cannot quench. They belong to an eternal kingdom and they seek that heavenly country whose builder and maker is God, wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God.

They do not rage against authorities, and they are not depressed. Paul considered himself a “prisoner of the Lord” and kept right on joyfully working until a wicked secular government put him to death. They know they are here to be witnesses to the enemies of God, and they will live and not die until their work is completed. They know how to abound and how to be abased, and how to be content in all circumstances. Their happiness is not dependent on whether they are slave or “free,” or whether they have attained the “American dream” or not. They know they are set to defend the gospel, not a piece of land or some supposed “right.”

I know I may not persuade you in a post. But I do ask that you continue to seek God’s heart on this subject, because I’m convinced the patriotism we have received has come to us by man’s tradition rather than by God’s Spirit. And although many denominations encourage it, that doesn’t make it pleasing to God.

I believe many who think they are serving God have actually defected to serve the kingdoms of men. Their motivations are diverse–some wish to defend their rights, some wish to protect their stuff, some are just following the rhetoric of others and being frenzied with the multitude, and some don’t have a real allegiance to Jesus or His kingdom, but only follow Him where it is convenient for them.

See also “Proudly Armed Christians or Humble, Cross-Carrying Disciples” and “Man’s Kingdom vs. God’s Kingdom” and “Do Christians Love Guns by Andrew Strom”

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A Form of Godliness Denying the Power

Posted by israeliteindeed on August 9, 2011

Solomon wrote in Eccl. 1:9–

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

Remembering this, we can take God’s words to His stubborn Israelites, and understand how they apply to those who claim to be His people today.  Just as God’s people turned to wickedness and idolatry in the Old Testament, but thought their past calling coupled with a traditional continuation in religious practices saved them, so many think today. This is gross deception, and it is to this deception that I would like to aim the truth written in Amos 5.

There, the prophet spoke the following for the Lord–

For thus saith the LORD unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live:  but seek not Bethel, nor enter into Gilgal, and pass not to Beersheba: for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, and Bethel shall come to nought.  Seek the LORD, and ye shall live; lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour it, and there be none to quench it in Bethel. Ye who turn judgment to wormwood, and leave off righteousness in the earth, seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name: that strengtheneth the spoiled against the strong, so that the spoiled shall come against the fortress. (4-9)

We must seek the Person of the Lord if we want to live. In Him is life. Think not that seeking religious places will save you. Think not that going to church will alone make you right with God. Think not that entering an “anointed” service and giving financially to “the man of God” will make you right with the Lord. His fire will break out even in these places, for judgment begins in the house of God (I Pet. 4:17).  Are you doing religious things while turning justice to wormwood and neglecting righteousness? You had better seek the One who is able to make the day dark, who is able to flood the earth with water from the sea, who is able to plunder the mightiest of men–seek Him in truth, seek His forgiveness, and seek to learn and practice His ways.  Make peace with this mighty King now, who is more than able to destroy you when you come face to face (Luke 14:31-32).

The prophet continues in verses 10-13–

They hate him that rebuketh in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly.  Forasmuch therefore as your treading is upon the poor, and ye take from him burdens of wheat: ye have built houses of hewn stone, but ye shall not dwell in them; ye have planted pleasant vineyards, but ye shall not drink wine of them.  For I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins: they afflict the just, they take a bribe, and they turn aside the poor in the gate from their right.  Therefore the prudent shall keep silence in that time; for it is an evil time.

Oh yes, religious sinners hate the one who rebukes them and speaks what is right!  “Pharisee!  Legalist!” they cry, not knowing what they are talking about. Yes, religious sinner, God knows your manifold transgressions and mighty sins, though you think to yourself that professing Jesus blinds God to what you do, that God can be mocked, and that He can be made use of for free pardon while you have no intention of ever changing.  Are truly righteous men falling silent around you because of your abhorrence for truth and your trampling on them when their righteousness manifests your own wickedness? Have you perfected the art of excusing your sin and making your continuation in wickedness sound like humility? Have you falsely accused the Lord’s true brethren, who do the Father’s will, of “self-righteousness”?  It is an evil time when professors of Christianity are the wickedest of men, preaching that God’s children must be relentless sinners until the day they die, with fair speeches deceiving the hearts of the simple. They serve their own bellies and not the Lord Jesus. They make the heart of the righteous sad, and they afflict the just exactly as Cain afflicted Abel, hating them for their righteous works while their own works are evil (I John 3:12).

Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken.  Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph. (14-15)

Do you really want the Lord to be with you in truth? You have  been saying He is with you, but He has been against you because you have denied Him by your evil works (Titus 1:16). Perhaps you have felt the void in your heart despite your fine-sounding words.  Do you want to change all that? You will have to seek good and not evil from now on. You will have to hate evil and love good! You will have to establish judgment in the gate–begin to uphold all that is true and right in every area of your life. You will have to love the one who rebukes you, and change accordingly.  It may be that the Lord God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant. It may be.  Though they have sinned against His name, it may be that He will yet bless them.  Though He does not owe them a thing, yet He is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy (Psa. 103:8). Let them seek good and not evil from here on; let them call upon Him for forgiveness and help.  His blood will purge the stain of the past; and He will speak peace to His people and to His saints.  But let them not turn back to folly (Psa. 85:8)!

And in all vineyards shall be wailing: for I will pass through thee, saith the LORD. Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light.  As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him. (17-19)

“I will pass through thee”–not to your joy, your laughter, your delirious drunkenness, but to your wailing.  This Day of the Lord, this darkness, will come upon the pretenders at Christianity–those who have an outward show, but refuse to deny themselves and carry their own crosses and follow the Lord Jesus in truth. Many of these occupy high places in the visible church;  they are parishioners in good standing, liberal givers, eloquent teachers, deacons, and even pastors.  They have a form of godliness that can fool the untrained eye of the undiscerning, but they do not have the power of God unto a holy life; and from such, the truly God-fearing turn away (2 Tim. 3:5). Consider what it is when the Lord Himself brings darkness and not light–when He gives men who did not love the truth over to a lie.  What a fearful thing it is to fall into the hands of the living God! Does God want your feasts, your meetings, your offerings and your songs while your heart remains far from Him?–

I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies.Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts.Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols.  But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream. (Amos 5:21-24)

Among His people, God is looking for judgment (between right and wrong) and determined righteousness (purposely choosing the right.)  If we won’t give Him this, He doesn’t want our feasting, our assemblies, our offerings or our noisy songs. If we won’t give up our idols and truly love and give Him the preeminence He deserves, we cannot rightly call ourselves His people, and we can expect only the judgment and fiery indignation which shall devour the Lord’s adversaries (Heb. 10:27)

Have ye offered unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel?  But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves. (25-26)

How about you? Have you fasted, tithed and given offerings to the Lord even while you held onto other gods? Did your heart seek after the world, its riches and goods, its celebrities, a job you knew was leading you away from Jesus, or a friendship or romance that choked the life of God in you? Were you doing your best to serve two masters? Were you afraid to speak of Christ before others because you loved the praises of men? Were you ashamed of His words, feeling the need to water them down and make Jesus more pleasing to those who heard you? In so doing, have you made a god to yourself–one that you can feel comfortable following and preaching because he is not intolerant of sin and offensive to rebels?

The Lord is a jealous God and rightly so. He knows that those who do not walk in the true Light will be destroyed in the shadows, not knowing where they are going. He knows that He alone is absolute Truth, He alone has the one Way, and in Him alone is Eternal Life. He does not want lip-service, which is only hypocrisy. He wants you to recognize His value and love Him from your heart, to recognize the folly of going your own way, and cling instead to His Way.  He is willing to forgive and cover past transgressions, but most professing Christians are not willing to leave them, and so their sin remains–creating an ongoing separation between them and God (Isa. 59). Many believe they are chosen and kept safe in the Lord even while they disobey the Lord, but no such promise is ever given in the Holy Scriptures.

What does the Lord say in Amos 5 to these who added the worship of idols to the worship of God?–

Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith the LORD, whose name is The God of hosts.  (27)

Therefore. Because you have done this, you will be captives. Because you insisted on carrying the gods of the heathen with you, you will be ruled by the same.  Because you have willingly served sin, you will be a slave of sin. You will not be free anymore. Though you profess to be the Lord’s, He will cause you to go into captivity.

Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?  (Rom. 6:16)

And so I repeat, for those with ears to hear:  Seek the Lord and you will live. Love good and hate evil. Establish justice and good judgment. Leave off hypocrisy and false Christianity, which is a stench to God and a snare to men. Humble yourself in the sight of God; be completely real with Him. Depart from iniquity and purge yourself from the deeds of dishonor, that He can have mercy on you and make you a vessel worthy of honor.

Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.  But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.  If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.  (2 Tim. 2:19-21)

God bless you.

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A God Who Hurts and Rejoices

Posted by israeliteindeed on July 27, 2011

And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. (Gen. 6:5-6)

What a wonderful record of the beautiful heart of God!  In the face of sin and rebellion, He is more than just angry, wrathful or vengeful. He is grieved in His heart. It hurts Him. In longsuffering, He waits, giving a space to repent (I Pet. 3:20) In light of the first commandment to love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, I think it very good to meditate on the fact that God has a heart that is made to feel sorrow by our sins.

Because God exercises such amazing self-control, and is longsuffering and merciful toward us, we tend to forget that God hurts.

He testified that he was grieved forty long years with the generation of Israelites He had rescued from Egypt (Psa. 95:10). Later, when new generations of Israelites had fallen away, He gave these stirring testimonies:

Behold, I am pressed under you, as a cart is pressed that is full of sheaves. Amos 2:13

Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.  Isa 1:14

I am broken with their whorish heart, which hath departed from me, and with their eyes, which go a whoring after their idols. Ezek 6:9

God felt pressed, weary, and broken because of the sins of His people! Yet all this time, He was patiently working out His great salvation for those who would repent and seek Him wholeheartedly. What amazing love and goodness!  Is He not worthy of our returned love? Should we not repent of grieving His heart, of wearying Him, of causing His brokenness by our whoring after the idols that only ruin us?

The same God who is capable of feeling intense grief, is also capable of ecstatic and appropriate joy when we repent.  He is the self-less Shepherd who leaves the ninety-nine safe sheep to find one that wandered away, and when He finds him, he lays him on His broad shoulders rejoicing. And He is like the woman who seeks diligently to find her one lost coin, and afterwards celebrates with friends. Likewise, there is joy in the presence of the angels over one sinner that repents (Luke 15:4-10). He is the father who runs to his returning son, still stained by the muck of the pig-pen. How eagerly He clothes his repentant son with the best robe and receives him back into the family! Not only that, he declares that it is fitting to make merry and be glad, for the son who was dead in sin is alive again, and the son who was lost is found at last.

Sinner, won’t you leave off wounding the great and passionate heart of God with your sins today? Won’t you stop crucifying the Son of God afresh? Won’t you come to your senses and stop sinning? Won’t you return to the Father–admitting you deserve nothing,  but willing to serve–and cause rejoicing in the presence of the angels?  Is He not worthy?

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My God, We Know Thee (Lord, Lord!)

Posted by israeliteindeed on July 19, 2011

Israel shall cry unto me, My God, we know thee.  Israel hath cast off the thing that is good: the enemy shall pursue him. (Hos. 8:2-3)

Is God mocked? Can He be fooled into accepting those who treat His redeeming blood as an unholy thing by their continuation in disobedience after God has provided so great a salvation? No–

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.   For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. (Gal. 6:7-8)

Please note: according to this passage, depending on what we “sow” (do), we will either reap corruption or everlasting life (salvation).  This passage says nothing about losing a few rewards while still receiving everlasting life, as many are falsely teaching. Do not be deceived.  Israel was delivered from Egypt by the mighty power of God, and atonement was provided for his sins.  Yet because he cast off the thing that was good, counting the great things of God’s law a strange thing, the Lord declared, “The LORD accepteth them not; now will he remember their iniquity, and visit their sins: they shall return to Egypt.” (Hos. 8:13)

It is not enough to cry out, “My God, we know thee!”–even if you really knew Him at one time. It is not enough to have a Bible and knowledge of what it says. We must cease from casting off the thing that is good. We must willingly wear the good yoke of Christ, keeping in step with Him through the Spirit, living as He is–holy–in this world (I Jn. 4:17). If we cast off the thing that is good, the enemy shall pursue us, for sin always brings forth death.

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.  (Matt. 7:21-23)

Have you escaped the pollutions of the world through knowing Jesus Christ, only to become entangled therein again? Have you known the way of righteousness only to turn from the holy commandment? Are you a worker of iniquity that must be barred from entering the kingdom of heaven?  Unless you repent, you would have been better off having never known Him! (2 Pet. 2:20-22)  For we will be judged according to what we did with what we were given, and the one who knew his Master’s will and did not do it will be beaten with many stripes, as opposed to the few stripes that will punish the ignorant (Luke 12:47-48).

Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. (Jam. 1:22)

God bless you.

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