AWAKE TO RIGHTEOUSNESS: BOOK ONE

Awake to Righteousness I

 

AWAKE TO RIGHTEOUSNESS, BOOK ONE

A six month devotional taken from the daily essays of Robert B. Thompson sent by E-mail.

Compiled and Edited by

Edward J. Reiter

Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

January

February

March

April

May

June

January 1st

KEEPING GOD’S COMMANDMENTS

Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:20)

Perhaps the greatest need of the hour is for us Christians to keep God’s commandments, to joyously walk in righteousness.

There are numerous commandments listed in the New Testament, beginning with the Gospel of Matthew and going through to the Book of Revelation. God expects us to keep His commandments, to think righteously, to speak righteously, and to act righteously. The commandments given in the New Testament range all the way from not stealing, keeping pure sexually, not coveting, forgiving our enemies, taking up our cross and following the Lord Jesus, to presenting our body to God as a living sacrifice.

God has shown us what is good. He desires that we act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.

Once while traveling by airplane I was working on my notebook computer.

The stewardess looked over my shoulder and said, "What are you writing about?"

I answered, "I am a Christian and I am writing about the need for us to behave righteously."

She exclaimed, "I am a Christian but I hate the word righteousness!"

Why would a believer hate the word righteousness? This is strange because righteous behavior is one of the main topics of the Bible. The righteous Lord loves upright, honest, truthful, faithful behavior. Isn’t that true? The very scepter of the Lord Jesus is a scepter of righteousness.

It is difficult for non-Christians to behave righteously although many do. But we Christians have access to the very Throne of Grace to obtain wisdom and strength so we can keep God’s commandments. We have the body and blood of Christ. We have the Holy Spirit. We have the New Testament writings. We have the elders and the assembling of saints to guide and strengthen us.

With the help of Jesus through His Holy Spirit we can keep God’s commandments. We can overcome the evil in the world.

As we keep God’s commandments we grow in eternal life. We gain love, joy, and peace of mind. Other people see our good works and glorify God. The light of our life influences all of those who are around us and they become curious about the hope we have.

But when we do not keep God’s commandments the opposite is true. We do not grow in Christ, in eternal life. We gain bitterness, misery, and turmoil. Other people are not led to the Lord. They do not ask us about our great hope.

Some of the countries that have been thoroughly evangelized are engaging in civil war; others are crumbling in moral decay, sexual perversion, violence, and drugs. Why is this? Perhaps we have not made disciples of the new believers or taught them to keep the holy commandments written to us by the Apostles of the Lamb. Perhaps we are emphasizing the grace of forgiveness and mercy in a time when the grace of spiritual growth needs to be stressed.

Let us all keep God’s commandments, practice righteousness, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. Then we are building our house on the rock. Others will come to Jesus and, in addition, God will heal our land.

We show Christ our love for Him by keeping His commandments.

January 2nd

FAITH AND WORKS

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, (Philippians 3:8)

In order to win Christ we must keep faith and works in balance.

The Apostle Paul tells us we are saved by grace through faith. He also wrote toward the end of his life that he had suffered the loss of all things in order to win Christ. He was reaching toward the mark of perfection—the resurrection from among the dead. He exhorted us to be of the same mind.

Obviously there is more to salvation than confessing with our mouth the Lord Jesus and believing in our heart that God has raised Him from the dead, unless we are referring to making this confession and belief the center of all we think, say, and do during each day.

Paul says we are justified (righteous in God’s sight) by faith. James, writing by the same Holy Spirit, says we are justified by works. Does the Bible contradict itself? Did Jesus do it all or is there a required response on our part? Is there really an abstract faith that has a life of its own or is it true that faith lives only in works of righteousness? How do you feel about this?

Paul pointed out that Divine grace is an alternative to the Law of Moses. Paul also indicated that the grace of God received correctly brings forth a new righteous creation. If the Apostle Paul had presented Divine grace as an alternative to righteous behavior his writings would be inconsistent.

James says, "I will show you my faith by my works." Does faith bring us to the land of promise while we sit in Egypt, or do we have to go through the wilderness of temptations and then follow the Lord in battle into our land of promise?

Can you imagine the Israelite sitting in Egypt, eating from the pot of fish and vegetables, and exclaiming that God was bringing him into the land of milk and honey?

The most marvelous goal has been set before us—that of being changed into the moral image (and finally bodily image) of the Lord Jesus Christ.

God would have us set this goal before us as a mark, as a treasure that is the objective of our quest. There are many adversaries as the experienced Christian understands very well. Yet if we press forward with joyful confidence in the Lord we can and we shall reach the finish line.

You may have been a Christian for many years and are tired and discouraged. It is time now to get up and fight the good fight of faith. The water of the Spirit is beginning to trickle out from under the threshold of the temple of God. On the horizon there is a cloud the size of a man’s hand.

Fasten the robe of salvation about you and begin to run for a deluge is upon us.

The Kingdom of God, the doing of God’s will in the earth, is at hand!

Paul says we are saved by faith in Jesus Christ. Paul also told Timothy that he would save himself and his hearers by being diligent in the things of Christ. If one statement is of God, then so is the other.

January 3rd

THE LORD JESUS SAVES US FROM OUR SINS

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21)

The Lord Jesus forgives our sins and then saves us from our sins.

There is a time when the grace of God needs to be emphasized. The discouraged, frightened sinner needs to know he doesn’t have to release himself from his own chains and earn the approval of God. Divine grace stands ready to forgive, to cleanse, to heal, to completely restore.

Then there is a time when growth in Christ needs to be emphasized. We think we are living in such an hour. We are of little use for God’s kingdom purposes until we begin to grow spiritually.

To grow spiritually is to be able to recognize the difference between good and evil and to have the desire and strength to choose the good and refuse the evil.

This is what salvation is—deliverance from the person and works of Satan.

There is a clear, decisive beginning of salvation when we recognize our need of the Savior and come to Him for forgiveness of sin.

There is a clear, Divinely guided working out of our salvation. The working out of our salvation includes deliverance from worldliness, the lusts of our flesh, and the bondage of self-will and self-seeking. It is an unwrapping of the graveclothes from Lazarus.

There is a salvation to come in the last days. The future salvation will include the clothing of our personality with a new body, a robe of righteousness being formed in Heaven as we patiently keep our present garment of flesh clean by confessing of our sins and turning away from them.

As we are being saved from sin we can live joyously in God’s Presence and participate in the roles and tasks of the Kingdom of God.

It has been said that the purpose of the commandments given in the Bible is to bring us to Christ. The idea is that when we see how far we are from God’s laws we will recognize we have to be saved by the merits of Christ. This is true if interpreted correctly.

There is more to the Divine plan, however. After we are forgiven through the blood of the righteous Jesus there is a life to be lived. In order to live that life as God would have us live it we must abide in Christ. We must continually look to Him so His Presence and virtue are overshadowing all we are and do.

When we abide in Christ the fruit of righteousness comes forth in our personality. We do not have to strain to bear fruit any more than a tree has to strain to bear apples. But we do have to abide in Christ. The fruit of righteousness is not the fruit of the Christian but the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit of godliness comes forth naturally when we are abiding in Christ.

We are to do more than call Jesus "Lord." We are to keep His commandments. We can do this joyously and completely because the Divine Fullness is in Him and He is in us.

The Christian salvation includes forgiveness and deliverance from sin. When deliverance does not follow forgiveness, the purpose of forgiveness is aborted.

January 4th

THE DEAD IN CHRIST SHALL RISE

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (I Thessalonians 4:16)

The Lord Jesus will return to earth (in the near future we hope!) and bring justice and peace to this sin-sick world. The pains of the groaning creation are the pains of birth. The Kingdom of God is soon to be born.

When the Lord returns, the dead in Christ will rise. Then we who are living at that time will be changed into immortality and caught up in the clouds along with the saints whom the Lord will bring with Him.

Let us think for a moment about two facts. The first fact is that it is the dead "in Christ" who will rise at His appearing. The second is that they will "rise."

What does it mean to be "in Christ"? It means we are living in Him, thinking in Him, speaking in Him. He is dwelling in us and we in Him.

If any person is in Christ he or she is a new person.

To abide in Christ is to meet Him the first thing every morning, greeting Him as Lord of our Life. Then, after having sought His will for the day, we are to order our steps in a manner pleasing to God, including setting aside time for prayer and seeking the Lord and also for meditating in the Bible.

It is one matter to make an initial profession of Christ. It is another matter to work out our own salvation with meekness and fear. There is an initial salvation. There is a continuing salvation. Then there is a salvation that will come to us with the appearing of the Lord Jesus. None of these is to be emphasized at the expense of the others if we would remain "in Christ."

What does it mean to "rise"? It means to be resurrected. The resurrection of the physical body, its change into immortality, is referred to as the redemption of the body. It is the overcoming of the "last enemy." Since mortality is the last enemy to be overcome, all other enemies must first be conquered.

As we press along in our daily walk with the Lord we are fighting against the forces of sin and death. The only way we can overcome the evil that comes against us is to abide in Christ. The evil in the world is becoming worse each day. When we keep living in Jesus we gain the wisdom and strength to live victoriously. Only the Divine virtue found in the body and blood of the Lord contains enough good to enable us to overcome the perversity of the ever increasing malice and wickedness.

Let us be counted among the wise virgins who will be ready to go to the wedding when the Lord comes. Where the carcass of the slain Lamb is, there will those be gathered who live by eating His flesh and drinking His blood.

The Christian salvation does not always change where we are but of necessity always changes what we are.

 January 5th

 WE ARE SAVED BY GRACE

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; (Titus 2:11,12)

Just what is Divine grace, the grace that comes to us through Christ?

We are saved by grace rather than by observing the Law of Moses. We know that when we come to Jesus we are forgiven because of the blood atonement made by Him on the cross of Calvary.

It has been said that grace is unmerited favor. This is true. In fact, all that God has done for man since the creation is unmerited favor, and so God’s grace has always filled the earth and His glory can be seen everywhere we look.

Great grace is upon us when we abide in the Lord Jesus. Divine grace includes strength, wisdom, joy, peace, love—in fact, all that is desirable in life. There is a grace for living and then a grace for dying. There is a grace by which we give of our material possessions. Grace is given to us so we may be able to serve the Lord and to bear witness of His atoning death and triumphant resurrection.

The grace of God brings salvation. Divine grace teaches and enables us to live soberly, righteously, and in a godly manner in the present world.

Can you think of one sentence that sums up the meaning of Divine grace? What do you think of the following? Grace is the Presence of God in Christ Jesus through which we by faith are able to reach the mark God has set before us, and to do so joyously.

It appears our understanding of Divine grace is confused—probably because we are Gentiles. Whenever the Apostle Paul stressed grace as opposed to works, as he did in the books of Romans and Galatians, for example, Paul was reacting to the Law of Moses.

The first Christian church comprised five thousand Law-keeping Jews who understood little or nothing of the grace of God. Paul, himself a Jew, was entrusted by the Lord Jesus with the responsibility of explaining the relationship of the Law of Moses to the grace of God in Messiah Jesus—a theological controversy existing to the present hour.

There is simplicity in Christ but doctrine can be complex!

To us Gentiles, not coming from the background of a Law-keeping Jew seeking righteousness, as was true of the Apostle Paul, it appears that Paul is saying Divine grace is an alternative to righteous behavior (instead of an alternative to the Law of Moses). We think now that grace has appeared there is no need to attempt to live righteously.

If there exists a greater error in theology or philosophy we do not know of it. The misunderstanding of the purpose of Divine grace has wrecked the intention of God under the new covenant!

Divine grace is not a substitute for righteous conduct. Rather, Divine grace is God in Christ enabling us to become a new righteous creation.

Are we correct in this? What do you think?

Grace is an alternative to the Law of Moses, not to righteous behavior.

January 6th

THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS

In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. (Jeremiah 23:6)

It is commonly believed among Christians that the Lord Jesus is our righteousness. By this we mean we have no righteousness of our own and so God has assigned to us the righteousness of Christ, the righteousness of the One who kept the Law of Moses perfectly.

Let us look more deeply into the expression "The Lord Our Righteousness." Our minds go back to an expression found in the twelfth chapter of the Book of Isaiah, the passage that was chanted during the celebration of the Jewish feast of Tabernacles: "Behold God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation."

As we press forward past the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Passover and begin to enter the feast of Tabernacles we discover we have been playing volleyball with God. "You do this and I will do that. You do that and I will do this."

Now we are going over to the same side of the net.

God no longer is saving us, He Himself has become our salvation.

We no longer are attempting to get God to do something, we are trusting Him and no longer are afraid.

The Lord Himself has become our strength. The Lord Himself has become our song. The Lord Himself has become our salvation.

THE LORD HIMSELF HAS BECOME OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

This does not mean we no longer pray or seek the Lord or cease asking for our desires. We have not arrived as yet in the perfect rest of God where His will and our will have become one. And we never will arrive there unless we keep on praying, seeking, asking, and, with the Lord’s help, striving to keep all of His commandments.

We are pressing toward the mark. Our desire is that Christ Himself live in us, for this is the fulfillment of the new covenant and the rest of God.

Many of us have been as far as the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish feast of Passover. This is to say, we have received the blood atonement and have been born again of the Spirit of God.

Others of us have come to the feast of Pentecost. We are entering life lived in the Spirit of God. It is God’s will for all people that they live in the Spirit of God.

Now we are being called to the third feast, the feast of Tabernacles. As we keep God’s commandments the Father and the Son come to us and make Their abode with us. Do you feel that calling today? It is the third great work of grace. Ask Jesus into your heart in a greater way than you have known.

When the Lord Himself becomes our righteousness then the light of the moral Nature of Jesus will be revealed in us. People will see our good works and glorify God.

Then it will be true that we ourselves will be termed "The Lord our righteousness."

In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness. (Jeremiah 33:16)

Can you think of anything more wonderful than that?

To be fully redeemed is to be brought out from the presence and all the works of Satan into total conformity to the image of Christ and untroubled rest in the Father through Christ.

January 7th

FILLED WITH ALL THE FULLNESS OF GOD

And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. (Ephesians 3:19)

We Christians have Christ in our heart. But there is much, much more for us. Because we are entering a morally dark period of history, God has prepared for us a fullness of Divine life that will make us more than conquerors through Christ.

The saints at Ephesus had been saved and filled with God’s Spirit, as we understand from the context of the epistle. And yet the Apostle Paul prayed for them. If we were to pray for someone who already had been saved and filled with God’s Spirit, would we pray for him or her as Paul prayed:

That he be strengthened with might by God’s Spirit in the inner man?

That Christ may dwell in his heart by faith?

That he increase in the understanding of Christ’s love and God’s salvation?

That he or she be filled with all the fullness of God?

Have you ever prayed for a believer in this way?

The days in which we are living are increasingly filled with malice and every form of perversity and wickedness. Perhaps you have already encountered such evil and are becoming bitter and angry because of the injustice of it all.

God has something better for you than anger and bitterness. God has promised in His Word that if we will keep the commandments of Christ, God will love us and will come in His Fullness and dwell with us.

Then when Satan and his helpers come knocking on our door we have Someone who will answer for us—Someone who has all power in Heaven and on the earth.

We do not need to become angry. God will respond to the enemy.

All things work together for good for those who love God. The spiritual darkness that is increasing will serve only to make the light of Christ, who is the glorious image of God, shine ever brighter.

Don’t focus on what the Devil is doing. Focus on the Lord Jesus Christ. He sits as King of the flood of your life. You will yet sing and dance in the heights of Zion when the lawlessness surrounding you is creating desolation.

Aren’t we supposed to be concerned about the world? Yes, we are. God is! But fretting about evil will lead us only into sin.

All God requires of any of us is to perform with all diligence that which God has given him or her to do, in the meantime seeking the Presence and will of the Lord each day. If we will do this we can rest in God, knowing we have done what we could to aid our generation.

Be encouraged in the Lord! Think only about what is pure, peaceable, and lovely. Refuse to pay attention to Satan as he bangs on his pots and pans seeking your attention. Ignore the evil unless the Lord directs you to do something about it.

We are not to fret ourselves concerning the evil. To do so only destroys our confidence and trust in Christ.

Rejoice in the Lord always. Be filled with all the fullness of God!

Look at Jesus and walk on the water. Look at the waves and sink.

January 8th

TO HIM WHO OVERCOMES

He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. (Revelation 21:7)

The promises we normally think of as being for Christians are addressed to "him who overcomes."

What does it mean "to overcome"? What is it we are to overcome? How do we overcome?

To overcome means to conquer an adversary, to conquer someone or something that is seeking to prevent the Christian from attaining his or her objective. The objective of the believer in Christ is to be in the moral image of Christ and to be resting in untroubled union with Christ in God.

It is God’s will that everyone whom He has called to Himself be in the image of His Son and be at rest in His Person and will.

The believer in the Lord Jesus has three adversaries, three forces that strive constantly to prevent him from being in the moral image of Christ and from resting in God’s will for his life.

The first enemy is the spirit of this present world. The values of the world often are in direct opposition to God’s values. Whoever is drinking of the waters of the world will find himself having a difficult time walking in the steps of Jesus and resting in God’s will. Let us come out of the world and spend time with God.

The first temptation of man has to do with finding survival and security in the world rather than in the Lord.

The second enemy is the sin that dwells in our flesh. Satan uses these weaknesses in us as entrances. When we are burning with lust or violence or covetousness we do not behave as Jesus behaves. We refuse the gently flowing waters of Shiloah. There are no green pastures in which to lie down, only the passions of the flesh that give no rest.

The second temptation of man has to do with finding joy and worship in Satan and our flesh rather than in the Lord. Adam and Eve had a problem with this one.

The third adversary is our self-will. The only legitimate will in the universe is God’s will, His Kingdom. We do not have to create our own heaven and earth. Our task is to find the plan of God for our life.

The third temptation has to do with jumping off the gable of the Temple. Are we to wait on God for success and achievement or are we to use the Scriptures to "step out in faith"?

How do we conquer the world, our flesh, and our self-will? By seeking God continually. By praying and obeying. By meditating each day in the Scriptures. By entering the Holy of Holies and receiving grace so we may be able to resist Satan and have fellowship with God.

God could have made things so we had nothing to overcome. But God is preparing rulers who will prevent future rebellions against His will. By the process of overcoming we develop character—the kind of character that will be necessary if we are to be royal priests during the ages to come.

You cannot overcome the three enemies of man by your own strength and wisdom. But you can overcome them through Christ Jesus. Remember that. You can through Christ be more than a conqueror no matter in what condition you find yourself.

Through His riches in glory you can overcome!

The Lake of Fire has authority over specific behaviors. Until through Christ we overcome those behaviors the Lake of Fire has authority over that part of our personality. He who overcomes shall not be harmed by the second death.

January 9th

CHRISTIANS ARE DISCIPLES

And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch. (Acts 11:26)

A Christian by definition is a disciple of Jesus of Nazareth. Are you a disciple of the Lord Jesus? Am I?

What is a disciple? A disciple is someone who views another person as his or her master. The master speaks and the disciple listens and learns.

Where the master goes, the disciple follows.

The Lord Jesus told us that in order to be His disciple we would have to lay down our life in the present world, take up our cross, and follow Him.

What does it mean to lay down our life in the present world? It means to count we have died to all we hold dear and to embark on a quest for another security, another joy, another fulfillment. This is why it is difficult for rich people to enter the Kingdom of God. They find security, joy, and fulfillment by using their money. They have tasted the "old wine" and they do not desire the new.

To die to all we hold dear does not mean we neglect our family, our job, or any other responsibility. No true Christian neglects his or her responsibilities. But we must put all on the altar so there are no idols in our life. Only then can we have peace. God gives and God takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

The reason believers have difficulty serving the Lord is they do not have the sentence of death in themselves that they should not trust in themselves but in God who raises the dead.

What does it mean to take up our cross? Every would-be disciple is issued some factor in his life that acts as a prison. Usually it is something he wants very badly but in order to get it he has to break God’s laws. He thirsts! Sometimes he must continue in a detestable situation he cannot change without breaking out of the Divine incarceration. He is shut up and cannot come forth.

He remains off balance all his life because of his cross, the thorn that pierces his flesh. No person can be a disciple of Jesus if he refuses to carry his cross. The individual who makes the best of it, concentrating on the joy that is ahead instead of his pain, will find in the end his self-will has been destroyed and he is at rest in the Father through Christ.

What does it mean to follow Jesus? It means to look each moment of every day to the living Lord Jesus, listening for His voice, watching for His Presence. When we do not trust in our own understanding but acknowledge the Lord in all our ways He directs our path. We do not always hear His voice (sometimes we do!) but He directs our path in any case.

Are you a disciple? Am I?

Are you a Christian? Am I?

The true Christian, the disciple of the Lord Jesus, does not neglect his salvation. He always is busy serving the Lord with a pure heart.

January 10th

WORKING ON A BUILDING

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; (II Corinthians 4:17)

We need to think more about the day of resurrection. What kind of body will we receive? Will our conduct today have any effect on the body we will receive?

We know the body we have now will be raised from the dead when the Lord returns. But what about our house that is being prepared in Heaven, the robe we will be given in that day that will clothe our resurrected body?

The third chapter of Revelation speaks of our being clothed with a white robe. The same chapter also implies that if we have soiled our clothing we may not be given a white robe when the Lord appears.

The seventh chapter of Revelation tells of those who have come out of the great tribulation and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. The nineteenth chapter of Revelation reveals that the Bride of the Lamb will be clothed with the white robe of her righteous deeds.

Paul reminds us in Galatians that we shall reap what we are sowing.

In Second Corinthians, Chapter Four Paul describes the renewal of his inner man as his outer man is brought down to death. Then he mentions that his afflictions are producing an eternal weight of glory that far exceeds his comprehension. In the next chapter Paul speaks of his house from Heaven. Since there were no chapter divisions when the New Testament was written we think that by an eternal weight of glory Paul was speaking of his house from Heaven.

Paul was saying the afflictions that came on him were resulting in a resurrected inner man and also a strengthened house from Heaven, a better resurrection.

In the same chapter (Five, of Second Corinthians) Paul reminds us that at the Judgment Seat of Christ we shall receive what we have done in our body, whether good or bad.

Putting all these ideas together we conclude that what we are doing today will directly affect the kind of resurrection we shall have, that is, the kind of house that will clothe our resurrected mortal body.

If we have neglected our salvation, have lived according to the appetites of our body, have not sought out and obeyed the Lord’s will, we will be clothed with a body that is neglectful of God’s salvation, is filled with the death that always results from living in the appetites of the flesh, and neither seeks nor obeys the Lord’s will.

If we have worked out our salvation with fear and trembling, being careful to seek the Lord and obey Him, have prayed, meditated in the Word of God, and have kept the appetites of our body under submission to the Spirit of God, then we will be clothed with a body that fears God and keeps His commandments, that seeks the Lord and sternly obeys His will, that loves to pray and meditate in God’s Word, and that is able to judge and govern the works of God’s hands by the power of incorruptible, resurrection life.

All this is to say if we bury our talent we will end up in the outer darkness. If we diligently apply our talent, we will be placed in a position of rulership, receiving the approval of the Lord.

Have we cut a straight course in the Word of truth? How do you feel about this?

Dying will not change what you are in personality. The coming of the Lord will not change what you are in personality. Only Jesus Christ can change what you are in personality and He is ready to change you right now. Tomorrow may be too late if you are not faithful today.

January 11th

YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (John 3:3)

What does it mean to be "born again"? This phrase has become common in America and probably in many other countries. People speak of being a "born again Christian."

Jesus said we must be born again if we are to see or enter the Kingdom of God. Why is it necessary to be born again?

Being born again is necessary because of the nature of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God does not consist of flesh and blood people but of a new kind of humanity—a humanity that has been born of God. People are born from other people. The members of the Kingdom of God have been born from other people but also from God. They have been born a second time. This is not a figure of speech. When we come to Christ we actually receive the very Life of God into our personality.

Let us say God commanded a monkey to play the piano. Perhaps after consuming a thousand bananas the monkey learned to find middle C and to push down the keys of the C major scale. This would be a remarkable achievement and worthy of a job in the circus. But how many bananas would be required if the monkey is to learn a Beethoven sonata?

So it is with us. We have been commanded to be perfect as our Father in Heaven is perfect. This indeed would be a remarkable achievement but there are not enough "bananas" in the world to do the job.

Now let us imagine Beethoven is born in the monkey and each day the monkey nature is being subdued and the abilities of Beethoven are becoming ever more prominent. It will not be long before we are hearing more than the C major scale. All the monkey will need then is a body like that of Beethoven.

Does something similar take place when Christ is born in the believer? Each day the Adamic nature is being subdued and the Character of Christ is becoming ever more prominent. What occurs? You guessed it. We begin to see evidences of the Divine Nature here and there. All we shall need then is a body like that of Christ.

The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. The Adamic man has as much chance of gaining righteousness, peace, and joy as a monkey does playing Chopin’s Preludes.

No amount of religious "bananas" will accomplish our goal. If we are to please God we must be born again of Christ Jesus.

Perhaps you are a Christian but have become discouraged along the way. Why not count that your old nature died on the cross with Christ and cultivate your new born-again nature by praying, meditating in the Scriptures, and obeying the Lord diligently in all He commands?

You and those around you will be amazed when they see a new personality coming forth.

The holy city, the new Jerusalem, is not holy because God sees the inhabitants through Christ but because Christ has made them actually holy.

January 12th

THE ROYAL PRIESTHOOD

For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. (Acts 2:39)

We saints need to get a firmer grasp on the calling of God. The royal priesthood is not a group of people who randomly chose themselves. The members were called of God when the world was created. Each one is a "saint," that is, someone who has been called by the Lord to be set apart for His special purposes.

The term church literally means "called out from."

We hear people say "I was called to be a mechanic; I was called to be a salesman; I was called to be a housewife."

No you weren’t. You may have abilities in some areas. God might lead you to be a mechanic or salesman or housewife. But your calling is to be a member of the royal priesthood.

There are a variety of gifts and ministries mentioned in the New Testament but none of them has to with being a mechanic, a salesman, or a housewife. Rather they are Divinely endowed abilities with which we are to build up the Body of Christ so that each member may be perfect as measured by the full stature of Christ.

God has tremendous needs. He is calling out of the world a royal priesthood. He needs a wife for the Lamb. He needs living stones for His temple. He needs brothers for His Son. He needs rulers and judges to govern His creation. He needs people who will be expressions of His Person, His will, His way, and His eternal purpose in Christ Jesus.

It is only as we begin to grow to maturity in Christ that we can serve satisfactorily as a royal priest, a member of the Wife of the Lamb, a living stone in God’s eternal temple, a brother of God’s Son, an expression of God’s Person, will, way, and eternal purpose.

If you are a Christian, you have but one calling. Your calling is to be a saint, a holy one, a king, a priest of God. Take your calling seriously. Come out of the spirit of the age, its lusts, its malice, its violence, its covetousness. Ask God to help you purify yourself. You will be a better mechanic, salesman, or housewife if you do.

You are God’s eternal servant, His witness to His creation. You are being formed now. Although God has a purpose for you in the present world, your fullest witness and service will be given throughout the endless ages to come. This is why it is more critical that you live and minister in integrity now, playing by the rules of the game, than it is that you accomplish some great thing in the church world. How terrible to have a worldwide ministry now and then after you die have the Lord say, "I never knew you"!

God has called you to be a royal priest. It is His will that you not disqualify yourself but reach the mark set before you. This you can and shall do because Christ will help you at every point along the way.

Go for it!

If you go through life and miss the plan of Christ for you, you have missed everything of lasting value.

January 13th

CHRIST SITS AS KING OF THE FLOOD

The LORD sitteth upon the flood; yea, the LORD sitteth King for ever. (Psalms 29:10)

The floods are coming upon the world, upon the churches, upon families, upon individuals. The waves and the seas are roaring, so to speak. Everything is being shaken.

The values and expectations to which we once were accustomed are shifting and changing. Surely the Lord has founded the world and its inhabitants on the seas and the waters, on that which is unstable.

Abraham looked for a city that has foundations. How did he know about the new Jerusalem?

Thoughtful people, people of integrity, are not pleased with a world that is constantly shifting and changing. They like to have their life, their home, their family, their moral values, solid and unchanging. These are the builders who create and hold the world together so it is not given over to bread and circus, as in ancient Rome.

But where can they find a foundation to build on? Utopian dreamers throughout the centuries—philosophers, teachers, statesmen—have advanced plans to bring mankind to security and peace. The Lord Jesus told us we would have wars and other problems. Who has proven correct?

Democracy is supposed to be the answer to social oppression. Democracy is producing social anarchy as self-seeking people fill the power vacuum.

Today there are politicians, teachers, psychologists who are promising a bright new world. People never seem to learn! Their well-intentioned schemes will lead only to more anarchy, more poverty, more distress and anguish as is true today in so much of the world.

Indeed a bright new world is coming but only through Jesus Christ. The Kingdom of God is at hand.

How about you? Has the shaking caught up to you? Are you wondering why your tidy home—perhaps a Christian home—has suddenly been torn asunder? You have been a church attender and have tried to interest your children in the things of God. Now your husband is ready to run off with another believer. One son is living with an older woman. Another son is going to court because of involvement in a gang shooting. Your daughter is on drugs.

Your world has come to an end, or so it seems.

Listen carefully! The Lord Jesus sits as King of the flood. His power and love have no end. Bring your problems before Him. You do not need to know any religious formulas. Cry out, "Help, Lord!" He—the living God—will bow the heavens and come down. The foundations of the earth will be revealed. The valleys of the sea will be uncovered. The clouds will be the dust of His feet.

He will give you peace in the midst of your monumental problems. As you follow Him, He will bring light out of darkness, order from chaos. That which seemed to have no solution will suddenly resolve. Little by little you and your loved ones will be placed on an unshakable foundation. Best of all you will come to know the Lord. And this is the greatest gift of all for you will take that knowledge past the grave into the new world of righteousness.

You thought He had forgotten you. But all this has happened that you might pass from the ranks of those who have heard about God to those who know the Lord.

God gives us things to overcome in order to form our character.

January 14th

THE SECOND GOAT

But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness. (Leviticus 16:10)

Two goats were used during the annual Day of Atonement. The first goat was slain and its blood sprinkled upon and before the Mercy Seat to make an atonement for the tribes of Israel.

The second goat was "presented alive before the Lord, to make an atonement with him." Notice carefully that the blood of the second goat was not offered. The goat remained alive and yet it was part of the atonement.

What is this telling us?

The Lord Jesus is the spiritual fulfillment of both goats. The Lord Jesus was slain to make an atonement by the sprinkling of His blood. The Lord Jesus also remains alive and His Life is an important part of the atonement.

The first part of the atonement, that of appeasing God’s justice by means of the shedding of the innocent blood, has been preached faithfully and clearly throughout the centuries of the Christian Era.

The second part of the atonement, the removal of sin from the camp, may not have been as clearly understood. Perhaps now is the time when the second part of the atonement will be preached and experienced.

The Lord Jesus has saved us in our sins. Now He is ready to save us from our sins.

The Lamb of God has made an atonement for the sins of the world. Now He is ready to take away the sins of the world.

Several passages of the New Testament reveal that the program of our salvation is past, present, and future. The Bible speaks of a future hope, a future salvation to come in the last days. We are saved by hope, the hope that our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.

Christ was offered to bear the sins of many. It is written that He shall come the second time without sin unto salvation.

Malachi predicts the coming of One who will purify the sons of Levi, the royal priesthood.

It is clear from Scripture that when the Church is presented to the Lamb it will be without spot or wrinkle. We have faith that a glorious Day of Redemption is soon to appear in which we who have patiently followed the Lord will be like Him.

We think the coming Day of the Lord is casting its shadow beforehand, that the Lord is ready to help us cast off the graveclothes of sin and self-will so we will be ready to appear with Him in glory. Lazarus has been summoned from the dead still bound.

We are not to fret ourselves when we see the maturing of the tares in the world. God will give us more grace and glory, and the tribulations and persecutions produced by the maturing of wickedness will serve to press the believers into the Person and image of the Lord Jesus. Where sin abounds, grace will much more abound. All things are still working together for good!

A salvation that forgives the guilt of our sin is marvelous beyond words. A salvation that not only forgives our sins but actually removes them is even more marvelous and beyond all we could hope or think.

Be encouraged in the Lord. Forget the things that are past. Confess your sins to the Lord and see for yourself if the strength is there to enable you to turn away from them.

You yet will be free from your graveclothes and will dance on the mountains of spices with the Lord!

Salvation includes forgiveness and deliverance. Forgiveness comes instantly as we call on the name of the Lord Jesus. Deliverance is accomplished over a period of time as we cooperate with the Holy Spirit.

January 15th

MOVING PAST PENTECOST

Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty: (Deuteronomy 16:16)

All families of the great Christian body are familiar with the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish "feast of unleavened bread," that is, with repentance, water baptism, and being born again. This is the basic message of the Gospel. Many soldiers of the cross have given their lives that whoever will do so might believe, be baptized, and thus be saved.

Around the turn of the century the "feast of weeks" (Pentecost) was added. Those who have embraced the phenomena of the Spirit have learned that it is only by the Spirit we can truly minister and only by the Spirit we can keep from obeying the lusts of our flesh.

But the act of salvation includes three great platforms, not just two. The types of the Bible reveal three installations of the grace of God, three interventions of God in man’s transformation, such as the three convocations of Israel or the three areas of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. It is on the third day that there is a wedding in Cana of Galilee.

Are you ready to move past Pentecost in your experience with God?

The "feast of Tabernacles," the convocation after Pentecost, portrays God’s great plan, which is to dwell in His people.

Unlike the other creatures of God (as far as we know), human beings were made in half. We are either male or female. Why were we made this way? Why were we made so vulnerable in the realm of relationships?

The answer is, man was made to be the dwelling place of God and also to be the gate through which others can find rest in God. The person who is alone, without God or other people, needs to be ministered to. It is not good that man be alone.

In basic salvation we receive the blood of God’s Lamb so we might have the authority to enter the Kingdom. In Pentecost we receive the wisdom and power by which we enter the Kingdom. Neither of these is the Kingdom. They are the authority and ability to enter the Kingdom.

The Kingdom of God is God in Christ in the saints loving, governing, and blessing the creatures of God.

Passing from "Pentecost" to "Tabernacles" requires a fierce warfare as all that is not of God’s Kingdom is driven from our personality. But there comes a day when we have received double for our sins, when our warfare has been accomplished, when our iniquity has been pardoned.

God tears before He binds up. He is angry and we are rebuked and chastised before His glorious Presence finds untroubled rest in us.

Does this speak to your heart? Are you a seasoned Christian who suddenly is being faced with the unfathomable deceit of your own inner nature?

Rejoice! You are moving from Pentecost to Tabernacles. When you come forth from the fire only your bondages will have been burned away. The Son of God has been with you in the fire.

We have compassed the mountain of Pentecost long enough. Let’s move on toward the land of promise.

The goal of salvation is to be changed into the image of Christ and brought into untroubled rest in Christ in the Father.

January 16th

THE WHEAT AND THE TARES

Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. (Matthew 13:30)

The tares are those who act wickedly and the wheat are those who act righteously. After all has been said and done, after all the scaffolding of religion has been removed, this is what it boils down to: the tares are those who act wickedly and the wheat are those who act righteously.

The primary goal of every righteous person, whether he knows it or not, is to have fellowship with God. God has given the Lord Jesus to us so we can have our sins forgiven and learn to act righteously. The wicked can never have fellowship with God for our God is a God of righteousness.

In the last days (which are now!) God will remove the tares from His Kingdom. First, God will remove the roots of wickedness from His people. After this program has been completed God will remove the people themselves if they have not been willing to allow God to remove the evil from them.

This is what is taking place today. The Lord Jesus is moving among His people. He is knocking at the door. Can you hear Him knocking at your heart? If you will open the door He will come in and dine with you on His body and blood.

He wants to remove every tare from your personality—all worldliness, all the unlawful passions and appetites of your flesh, all the self-will and striving of personal ambition found in you.

Let these go as He calls for them. They will only keep you in misery—now and possibly throughout eternity. I am not certain how unjudged sin will impact on us in the future, especially if we have had the chance to confess and turn away from it. God does have a way of giving us what we insist on!

What a joy it is to have God change us like this! We are becoming new creations of righteousness in the Potter’s hands. We are being made heirs of the new world of righteousness that is on the horizon.

Let us not look back but come out of the world. Let us, through God’s Spirit, cleanse ourselves from all moral filthiness. Let us walk hand in hand with our Father as it was in the beginning.

It’s not too late for you or me to come to Calvary. Cry, "Dear Father." Tell God you love Him. He desires fellowship with you. He will forgive you through the blood of the cross and make Himself real to you.

We never can be satisfied or fulfilled as a person until we are walking with God.

As we look about us in the world, we observe the tares of wickedness coming to maturity. Let us not forget that both the tares and the wheat come to maturity at the same time, according to the Lord’s Word.

Christians can see clearly that Satan is rising up in the peoples of the world. But if we will listen to the Spirit of God we will discover that God is inviting us to partake of more of Christ. There is a greater portion of Christ for every believer who will look up to God and receive.

What is the answer to the moral darkness? It is a greater forming of Christ in us and a greater portion of the Holy Spirit.

God is waiting for you to ask Him for more of His Spirit to enable you to stand no matter what darkness confronts you. Ask Him now. He will not disappoint you.

You will be more than a conqueror through Christ who strengthens you no matter how dark your environment becomes, no matter how the tares abound. Taste and see that the Lord is good!

The righteous belong in Heaven with God and the wicked belong in the fire with Satan. If you want to escape Hell, ask Christ to help you live righteously.

January 17th

TALENTS ARE TO BE USED

His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. (Matthew 25:21)

Every Christian has a talent. The Holy Spirit divides to every believer a portion of the wisdom and power of the ascended Christ.

Perhaps our talent is expressed in a tremendous, recognized gift to the Body such as the apostle or the prophet. Or it may be true that we are the custodian of the church building.

The apostle and the custodian may vary widely in importance in the sight of people. But they do not vary widely in importance in the sight of God. A custodian who does a job in utter faithfulness before the Lord is highly esteemed in the Kingdom of God. He will be issued greater responsibility.

The apostle may be revealing the Scriptures with great power. The prophet may be lifting the saints into the glory of the Kingdom Age. But if the toilet begins to leak and floods the restroom the worshipers are quickly brought back down to the present world.

It is not unusual for the highly gifted individual, the one with ten talents, to go about his or her ministry conscientiously. The believer with the one talent, thinking he is of little importance in the kingdom, may become occupied with his job or family and pay little attention to his one task.

Such difference in diligence can be seen in the churches. The Pastor becomes the "chief cook and bottle washer" until he is "burned out." The members of the assembling who should be performing many of the chores that are killing the Pastor are busy with their home, their vacation schedule and their retirement program.

The one-talented individual who buried his talent suffered in four major ways. First, he was removed from fellowship with his angry Lord. Second, his talent was given to a more industrious person. Third, he lost his crown of rulership. Fourth, he was cast into the outer darkness.

We humans would reserve such harsh punishment for the murderer, the rapist, the thief. We do not view the timid, negligent believer as a candidate for total loss of inheritance.

The Kingdom of God is at hand and will be given to those who esteem it highly enough to turn away from the world and seek it with a whole heart. The fearful, the cowardly, the negligent, the spiritually lazy, may be acceptable to us; but to God who is busily bringing forth a new world of righteousness they are a complete frustration. They are neither hot nor cold.

Let us be up and about our Father’s business. We must be faithful with our few things if we are to be the rulers over many. There are great rewards for serving the Lord!

What do we do about this? We attend diligently to the task set before us. Meanwhile, we ask the Lord for an increased area of service. Ask your Pastor and elders where they think you fit in the work of the ministry.

Covet earnestly the best gifts!

Are you going to return to the Lord a thousand percent on His investment in you?

January 18th

THE REST OF GOD

Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. (Hebrews 4:1)

What is the rest of God?

The Christian Jews to whom the author of Hebrews was writing had been saved, had been filled with the Spirit, had seen the miracles of the Apostles, and had been persecuted to the point of having their possessions confiscated.

Most of us haven’t come even this far.

Was the writer congratulating them on their stature in Christ and encouraging them with the soon coming of the Lord to take them to Heaven?

No such thing! The way the author spoke you would think he was addressing unsaved people who were rejecting the Gospel. But the internal evidence is that he was addressing "holy brethren."

They knew about repentance from dead works, faith toward God, water baptism, the baptism with the Spirit of God, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. They had experienced the heavenly gift of eternal life, had been partakers of the Holy Spirit, had tasted the good word of God and the powers of the world to come.

Now they were being warned about neglecting their salvation, about not holding their confidence resolutely to the end, bearing thorns and thistles instead of the fruit of righteousness, not assembling together, drawing back from the program of salvation—about failing to enter the rest of God.

It reminds us of the Apostle Paul who toward the end of his life was seeking to win Christ and urged us to do the same.

Our salvation is past, present, and future. When we neglect one of these aspects at the expense of the others we are risking the fullness of our inheritance as man and as a son of God.

What is the rest of God? The rest of God is based on the fact that God finished all things on the seventh day of creation and we are not required to create our own heaven and earth. God is resting and we are to enter His rest.

It is the land of promise, the resurrection ground where we are eternally alive in the Spirit of God.

It is the eternal Sabbath where we cease from speaking our own words and acting according to our own pleasure, choosing instead to abide in Christ to the point we are crucified and Christ is living His Life in us.

What is the rest of God? It is that condition in which God’s will and our will have become synonymous. The place where our greatest joy is to do the will of the Father.

No human being ever will find perfect peace, perfect joy, perfect love, perfect fulfillment, until he or she is abiding in untroubled rest in the bosom of the Father through Christ Jesus.

Let us through Christ conquer every enemy until God can find rest in us and we can find rest in God.

Christ can do nothing of Himself apart from the Father. We can do nothing of ourselves apart from Christ.

January 19th

THE LAND OF PROMISE

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14)

The land of promise offered to the tribes of Israel was set forth clearly in several passages of the Old Testament. Canaan, the land of milk and honey, was the goal.

How wonderful it is to embark on a quest, to be pursuing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. A vision, a hope keeps us pressing forward in anticipation. We can carry our cross when there is joy set before us.

In the Christian tradition eternal residence in the garden of God is our hope, our promised land. But as the time for the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth draws near we need to look again to the Scriptures to see if we can discover what God has said concerning the land of promise of the believer in Christ.

Actually there is little said in the New Testament concerning what happens to us from the time we die until the day of resurrection. We have preached and sung about our mansion in the sky. There is nothing at all wrong with looking forward to Paradise no matter where it is located. We have been commanded to set our affection on things above.

Because Paradise was at one time on the earth, the memory of Eden can be found hidden in the subconscious of all the children of Adam. To think and dream about Paradise releases us from the drudgery of life on the earth.

When we turn to the New Testament, we find our hope is to be directed toward the Day of the Lord, the return of Christ. In that Day of all days we shall be raised from the dead and then clothed with immortality. We shall appear with Christ and restore Paradise to the earth. The meek will inherit the earth in that hour!

But Adam and Eve (they are living somewhere in the spirit realm) cannot be brought back into Paradise with their descendants until first they all are changed—not just forgiven but changed!

And why not? You guessed it. Because an unchanged Adam and Eve with their unchanged descendants would fall again and we would have another six-thousand-year lesson to see if we can finally learn to keep God’s commandments.

I am not particularly anxious for that to happen. Are you?

The Kingdom of God is coming to the earth. The best aspects of Heaven, the Presence of God in Christ, the Holy Spirit as a great River of Life, are to fill the earth in the days to come. The saints will return with the Lord Jesus and bring salvation and healing to mankind. This is why we are enduring rigorous training in righteousness, holiness, and obedience to the Father.

The earth and its peoples are the inheritance of Christ and His coheirs. Even today the Lord may be pleased to give us some people to love and guide—and more so as the Day approaches.

He has kept the good wine until now. Look about you and see the hundreds of millions who are waiting for the royal priesthood to minister to them. Ask the Lord and He will give you the nations for your inheritance. They are your land of promise.

Let your eyes see the land that is very far off. Behold the King in His beauty.

January 20th

BEHOLD THE LAMB

The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (John 1:29)

The slain lamb, the figure of Christ, always is the emphasis of Passover.

In human thinking, the important aspect of Passover was the release of the Hebrew tribes from Egyptian slavery and their start toward the land of their inheritance. In God's thinking it is not the release from Egypt but the lamb that is of primary significance; for the lamb speaks of Christ who is to come. Only Christ can bring true, eternal release to human beings.

In the exodus from Egypt, Israel left one kind of bondage only to enter another. After the Jews settled in Canaan, they embraced demons. They gave themselves to serve the lusts of their bodies (a vicious kind of slavery) and offered their children as burnt offerings to the god Moloch.

Israel turned against the Lord. The members of the royal priesthood accepted the chains of demonic bondage. As a result the Lord gave them into the hands of their enemies.

We understand, therefore, that the central issue of Passover is not the physical release from Egyptian slavery but the eternal release of spirit, soul, and body that can come only at the hands of Christ.

The true Passover Lamb is Christ. Christ is the Hope of Israel, the Light of Israel, the Bridegroom of Israel.

In the Passover, God is telling us that release from slavery to the wickedness of the world can come only through the atonement made by the blood of Christ and through eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Christ. To be free from the sin of the world we must eat Christ—eat of Him in whom God dwells, whom God has chosen.

When we eat Christ we come into union with Him. We marry the Bridegroom. The Lord has come to Israel and to us Gentiles as well in the Person of Christ Jesus. The Lord, the Bridegroom, has come for His Bride. Israel is the Bride of the Lamb. We Gentiles become part of Israel by eating the Lamb.

John the Baptist pointed to Jesus of Nazareth as God's Passover Lamb.

Indeed, the Lamb of God takes away the sin of the world. He is our Passover. By the protection of His blood we are saved when the judgment of God strikes the gods of this world.

Even though we are shielded from the death angel by the blood of Christ, we remain chained in bondage to the wicked world spirits, to the lust of our flesh, and to our stubborn self-will.

How can we escape the chains of spiritual slavery? By eating the flesh of God's Lamb and drinking His blood. Only by eating of the Lamb of God and drinking His blood can we escape spiritual slavery and begin the sometimes joyous, sometimes painful journey toward the land of inheritance, the land of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Christ Jesus stands before the door of the heart of each of His elect, Jewish and Gentile. He patiently knocks. If the individual opens the door and receives Him, Christ enters and dines with him or her. He gives him to eat of His body and to drink of His blood. This is the new covenant.

Let us always and forever live by eating the flesh of Christ and drinking His precious blood. The Spirit and the Bride say come. Let whoever will, come and eat and drink freely of eternal Life.

The Bride is not referred to as the Bride of Christ but the Bride of the Lamb. This is because she is married to the Lamb by eating God’s Passover Lamb.

January 21st

DON’T LET ANYONE TAKE YOUR CROWN!

Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. (Revelation 3:11)

It is important to note, in the verse above, that the believers already have a crown. You could not take a crown from someone who has no crown.

When we are born again of Jesus Christ, we assign our old adamic nature to the cross with Christ. We then view our new born-again nature as having risen in Christ to the right hand of the Father, there to await the day of resurrection. As soon as Christ is born in us, He is raised to the highest of all thrones.

We can never go any higher. Our fight is not upward but downward as we seek to bring the Life of the Throne of God into our life here on the earth. We are striving by means of the Spirit of God to do God’s will in the earth as it is performed in Heaven.

Because we are dwelling with Christ in God’s Throne, we have a crown. The crown is the inheritance of man, that is, rulership over the works of God’s hands. It is a crown of righteousness, of life.

It is true we have been imprisoned in a lowly body, a body that keeps us humble and dependent on the Lord for all things. Nevertheless the role of man is to govern the creation.

Because of jealousy and envy the fallen lords of the heavens, often working through people, attempt in every manner possible to pull us down from our lofty position. They bang on their pots and pans. "Look here! Look there! See what we’re doing in the earth. Isn’t it awful?"

Or, "See what we are accomplishing. You aren’t getting anywhere just waiting on the Lord. Why don’t you follow us?"

Or, "Look at how desirable this is! Why don’t you reach out your hand and take a taste? There are deep pleasures here you could be enjoying and no one will ever know" (only the entire universe!).

Or, "God doesn’t want you to be denied any good thing. It is true that if you walk out of your present situation you might be going against what the Bible says. But it can’t be God’s will that you not have what you want so badly. It must be that an exception is being made for you because you are special."

Or, "Let us eat, drink, and be happy for tomorrow we die."

The saint knows better than to look down or disobey the Scriptures. His eyes are glued on Christ, on the reward that has been set before him.

How many stars of God have fallen because they were pulled down by fear, by doubt, by dread, by lust, by personal ambition, by impatience, by attempting to please people, by carelessness, by trying to make a paradise of the present sin-cursed world?

God started you off at the highest level. He forgave your sins and handed you the crown promised to man from the beginning.

There are many angels and people who would like to get some of your talents. Don’t let anyone take that crown from you!

To relate to any person, thing, or circumstance other than through Jesus Christ is to invite idolatry.

January 22nd

YOU SHALL NOT SURELY DIE!

If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. (John 15:6)

Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:21)

I have just finished reading a current book exhorting Christian people to shake themselves and begin serving God. The emphasis is on turning away from our carnal pursuits and making Jesus the Lord of our life, particularly in the area of going forth to reach the unsaved (but when are the Christians going to get saved?).

Toward the beginning of the book the author, a godly man and excellent writer, stipulated that his words must be interpreted as exhortations to Christians, not as condemnation, for we stand in the grace of God. The idea seems to be that we ought to get busy and serve God but underneath is the safety net. If we do not heed the call to action there may be regrettable consequences, but in the final hour we will be ushered into Paradise by grace.

As I prepared a while back to go on the Internet I told several people that I was going to present only the fruit of the last several decades of thought, preaching, and writing—material that believers of every persuasion can accept and profit from. I will show how wonderful it is to be a Christian and offer nuggets of truth that inspire and edify. Isn’t that nice?

But as I read the author’s disclaimer concerning standing in grace, the fire burned inside me. How can I be "nice" when the Church is in danger and God’s will in Christ is being frustrated!

I have nothing but good to say about the author and his book. He has done us all a service by pointing out the backslidden condition of numerous Christian believers.

I would like to point out that if we urge people to repent, and then state that if we do not repent we cannot be condemned because we are saved by grace, it is something like telling a cardiac patient he ought to exercise and change his diet, but if he doesn’t there will be no further angina pains in any case.

Wouldn’t this be wonderful if it were true? I could go back to my regular breakfast of coffee, fried eggs, and sausage. Instead I am eating oatmeal, bran muffins, and an aspirin. Why? Because grace doesn’t cover the grease.

What runner can drive himself to the last searing thrust if he knows he already has won the race? What soldier will expose himself in a dangerous charge against the enemy if he has been told the war already is won as far as he is concerned? Maybe a few dedicated men would. But what if the war has not been won as far as he is concerned but he has been deceived by the enemy who wants him to stop fighting?

What American Christian will turn away from the lethargy decried by the book in question (and by much current preaching for that matter, for which we thank God) if he understands that even if he does not begin to serve God fervently he still will go to a mansion in Paradise when he dies?

Every aspect of our salvation from beginning to end is an opportunity. At no point is the Christian salvation an unconditional amnesty operating independently of our responses.

January 23rd

YOU SHALL NOT SURELY DIE! continued

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13)

We were saying in the previous article that many American Christians will not turn away from the current lethargy until they become persuaded that their actions will significantly affect their destiny in the Kingdom of God.

When the call for repentance goes forth, a few conscientious believers will respond. If these few people will pray, God in His goodness will visit us with a massive move of the Spirit of God resulting in more repentance and worldwide evangelism. But then, when the Spirit of God is lifted, there will be a return to the lethargy. The present doctrine of the churches is not calculated to maintain white-hot consecration.

There was tremendous repentance during the revivals of Aimee Semple McPherson but now lethargy has returned. When the power of the Holy Spirit was present with Sister McPherson, sinners came to the Lord; the lukewarm became hot; the sick were healed. That was only a few years ago.

Why the rapid backsliding? It is because we are teaching that Divine grace is an unconditional amnesty that holds steady whether or not we serve the Lord.

Until the Christian churches come to understand that Divine grace is not an unconditional amnesty the cycle of repentance, revival, and lethargy will continue.

There are numerous verses in the New Testament portraying Divine grace as virtue, power, and wisdom that enable the diligent to serve God and be conformed to the image of Christ. When we are not diligent, we suffer significant loss.

Several reasons are advanced by contemporary Christian teachers to prove that the unfruitful will not actually be removed from the Vine; that the sinning Christian will not actually be barred from entering the Kingdom of God.

All such reasons sound a lot like that which was spoken to Eve in the garden of Eden, "You shall not surely die!"

As long as Christian believers are taught there is a safety net under them that will keep them from serious harm in case they sin and rebel against God, numerous believers will not get serious with the Lord.

Divorce is a major problem of our day. In our following comments we are not addressing those who were divorced before they became a Christian. To such we say, the blood of Christ has washed you clean. Go on from here and sin no more. You may suffer consequences but the Lord has forgiven you.

Having made this part clear, let us proceed.

The only aspect of salvation that is imputed (ascribed) to us is the righteousness of Christ, and that only as we are following Christ in stern discipleship. Every other element of redemption is wrought out in Christ.

January 24th

YOU SHALL NOT SURELY DIE! continued

For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; (Hebrews 3:14)

Let us say there is a Christian family, a father, mother, and two boys. The couple have been married ten years.

The father is not particularly interested in church or "spiritual" matters. He attends on Sunday morning and really loves the Lord. The rest of the time he wants to sit at home and read the paper or go fishing with his boys.

The wife is the demonstrative type. In her enthusiasm she goes from this Bible study to that with her Christian friends. When she is in church, she enthusiastically enters in to whatever the church culture regards as "spiritual." She is a happy, outgoing person, confident she is quite spiritual.

You see, she feels her husband is not as "spiritual."

She meets a young man who also is "spiritual." He sings beautifully. He is very active in the same religious culture.

Her husband obviously (from her point of view) is not a good match for her. He is not spiritual. She is spiritual.

Now her understanding of grace comes into focus along with her personal integrity and faithfulness.

She may think, "If I leave my husband and boys and run off with this future preacher I do not know whether the Lord will be pleased or not." (This is the current understanding of the Consuming Fire of Israel.)

"I know the Lord is a loving God and wants me to be happy. I know I am saved by grace, so even if I displease the Lord I (and maybe my young man) will go to Heaven to live in a mansion. I will say there are irreconcilable differences (meaning I am not happy) and the judge will understand. Maybe I will get custody of my (not our) boys. I know my boyfriend will love them. He is so understanding."

Isn’t God wonderful? Such love! Such mercy!

Of course, the husband and two boys may not see it quite that way when Mother becomes a femme fatale and leaves home.

But if she understood the true grace of God she would think another way: "I want to run off with this spiritual, handsome young man so badly I can hardly stand it. And I just know he loves me!

"I gave my word at the altar of God. What if Jesus were standing before me? What would He say?

"I just can’t leave my family even though I don’t ‘love’ my husband anymore. I will pray. I will go to the Throne of God in prayer and ask for grace to help me remain faithful to my husband and children."

What do you think about these two different understandings of the purpose of grace? The one presents grace as a fire escape. The other presents grace as the Divine strength and virtue from Christ to enable us to do what is righteous.

Which is it? What do you say?

In case you are wavering, let us hasten to say that if the woman leaves her family and marries the young seducer she very well may alter her eternal destiny. After her new marriage turns to ashes and the young man begins to play the field again she may decide to return to the Lord. Let me tell you it will be several years before she begins to find God at all—if she ever does!

This is the result of the preaching of grace as an eternal amnesty. Don’t tell me it does not work out this way. You’re too late. I already have witnessed it.

It is only those who are abiding in Christ each day who are free from condemnation. Those who are living according to their fleshly nature, even though they profess belief in Christ, are under Divine judgment and shall be punished severely.

January 25th

YOU SHALL NOT SURELY DIE! continued

This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. (Matthew 15:8,9)

A recent critic of one of my books suggested I am teaching reincarnation because of my comments that our behavior now will have a direct effect on our resurrection when the Lord comes. Can you believe it? And I paid a publisher more than a hundred dollars for this evaluation! I am teaching reincarnation because of my belief we will be rewarded according to our works when the Lord returns? What has happened to Christian theology?

While I am warmed up to the subject, I would like to speak to the people thirty years of age and younger—down to the age of three. We start the disciples early in our church.

My generation is largely lost to the purpose of God. The chief concern of the older people is their retirement, their stocks and bonds, their house and yard, their Social Security. They come to church and talk religious talk but they are so involved in the world they cannot hear the Spirit of God.

They think that after they are "raptured" God is going to raise Moses and Elijah (or is it Enoch and Elijah) from the dead to preach the Law and the Prophets, not realizing the two witnesses of Revelation symbolize the power of the latter rain that is to be poured on the generation that is intensely serving God and obeying His commandments.

Enoch and Elijah are going to descend from Heaven in a chariot, receive power after that the Holy Ghost has come upon them, and bear witness of Christ (or something!) in Jerusalem, in all Judea, in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth. Old Brother Harris used to say, "Dear Lord, give us one grain of common sense on our brain pan."

If you, young people, do not pick up the baton but get lost in the current church culture with its lawless-grace error, its mythology about mansions in Heaven, then God will wait for your children and grandchildren.

There shall be a generation that will cross the Jordan and enter the land of promise.

Listen to the elders and obey them. Then pray until you strike fire with God. He will show you what to do. You will save yourself and those who hear you.

To the elders I say, who also am an elder, bring the kids back to the God of Israel. Begin with the toddlers. Teach them to wave banners in praise to the Lord. Lift up the standard of holy, righteous behavior. Press the youth toward prayer rather than ice cream socials. Make demands on them. The best among them will respond and God will meet them. Better five young people on fire for God than five thousand attracted by adolescent urges.

A lady wrote me recently that in her church the young mothers had to abandon their Bible study because the Pastor would not make provision for baby sitting. If this is a true account, the Pastor is overlooking a golden opportunity to work not only with the young mothers but also with their children. He is ignoring an important part—perhaps the important part—of his church.

Today the anointing of the Spirit is on the young and many of them are spiritually precocious. Have you noticed that?

Divine grace is not an alternative to righteous behavior, it is the means of producing righteous behavior. What tremendous misunderstanding and moral confusion exist in the Christian churches!

January 26th

YOU SHALL NOT SURELY DIE! continued

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; (Titus 2:11,12)

The teaching of grace has in some instances left the believers with the impression there are not ultimately joyous rewards for following the Lord and not ultimately serious punishments for not following the Lord. Being "saved by fire" is presented as receiving a two-story in place of a three-story mansion, instead of being the terrifying stripping and loss in the Kingdom it will prove to be.

We say Christians should do this and should do that. "Should" walks in big boots. But it is fear and joy that move most people, the prospect of pain and the prospect of pleasure. The Bible presents both in no uncertain terms.

"But we are not to fear God because God is love." The people who talk most about love and mercy are often those who want to make room for their sin, as we have noticed. Satan spoke through Peter in loving terms to the Lord. Satan would have prevented the atonement on the basis of love. Jesus spotted him instantly.

So it is that Satan will speak lovingly to you that you must not suffer. Satan understands that God’s saving power will issue through you only to the extent you are willing to stay on the cross with Jesus. Satan has no reason to fear you until you are ready to lay down your life, take up your cross, and follow the Master.

Satan is not afraid of you or me or our church programs. Satan fears only the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. As long as Satan can "lovingly" keep church people alive in the flesh, he and his kingdom are safe.

The current teaching of grace has in many instances removed the fear of being cut off from Christ. Being cut off from Christ is the warning of the Gospels as well as the Epistles to Christians who do not bear the fruit God is looking for.

We simply do not understand what grace is! Neither do we understand what salvation is!

Salvation is our change from the image of Satan to the image of God. Salvation has nothing to do with eternal residence in Heaven but to eternal life in Christ, as a hasty review of the Scriptures will reveal.

Grace is not an alternative to our change from the image of Satan to the image of God. Grace is the Divine means in Jesus Christ to forgive us and then enable us to change from the image of Satan to the image of God.

I do not think any sincere Christian would dispute the fact that the purpose of salvation is to bring forth a new righteous creation in us. Even the unsaved know (or used to know) that the Bible is the "good book," meaning it tells us how to live in a way that pleases God.

If we are correct in maintaining that salvation is our change from the image of Satan to the image of God, and if we are accurate in stating that Divine grace is the Divine means in Jesus Christ to forgive us and enable us to change from the image of Satan to the image of God, then to state we stand in grace apart from our change into a new, righteous creation is not a defensible position.

If salvation is our change into godly behavior, then to say we are saved by grace even through we are not serving the Lord is to claim we are saved even though we are not being saved.

The wages of righteous behavior is eternal life. The wages of sinful behavior is death. Christ did not come to change the Father's laws but to enable us to behave righteously.

January 27th

YOU SHALL NOT SURELY DIE! continued

And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. (Revelation 2:23)

Salvation is past, present, and future. There is a decisive moment in time when we look to God for salvation through Jesus Christ. Then throughout our lifetime we must work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Also we are kept by the power of God unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. We are saved by hope—hope that when the Lord comes we will be completely free from sin and joyously alive in His Presence.

To overemphasize one of these three aspects at the expense of the others is to bring confusion into our thinking.

No, grace is not an unconditional amnesty. No, grace is not a safety net that protects us whether or not we serve God faithfully. Numerous New Testament passages expose the lie within this concept.

Many believers of our day are expecting to hear the Lord say, "Well done, good and faithful servant." Yet they have been neither good nor faithful. Why this illogical belief? Because they have been taught that Divine grace is an alternative to a new, righteous creation.

The churches are in danger! Judgment is hovering over the Western nations. The Gentile holocaust is at hand. Why? Because we are not teaching the Bible but our traditions concerning unconditional grace.

The fire is burning. How many are willing to turn again to the New Testament and count the verses that warn us we are going to receive the good and the bad we have practiced in our body?

How many are willing to believe Christ when He says "I will give to every one of you according to your works"? The modern response is, "This does not apply to me because I am saved by grace."

How many are willing to believe if the believer does not do what the Lord commanded he is building his house on the sand? The modern response is, "This does not apply to me because I am saved by grace."

How many are willing to believe we show our love to Christ by keeping His commandments? The modern response is, "This does not apply to me because I am saved by grace."

How many believe if we know the way of righteousness—the way of righteousness! —and then turn from it we are as a dog returning to his vomit? The modern response is, "Even though the Scripture portrays this individual as having known the way of righteousness he must never have been saved in the first place because we are saved by grace."

How many understand if we do not bear the fruit of righteousness we will be cut out of the Vine, out of Christ? The modern response is, "The individual never was in the Vine in the first place because we never could be cut out of Christ. We are saved by grace."

How many understand that the Christian who continues in the deeds of the flesh will die? —he or she cannot enter the Kingdom of God? "Paul could not have been speaking to the Christians of Galatia. They were saved by grace."

There is no such thing as a state of grace that is not revealed in a transformed personality. This is a historical error that always destroys the testimony of the Christian churches.

January 28th

YOU SHALL NOT SURELY DIE! continued

And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. (Matthew 10:22)

God said, "He who endures to the end shall be saved." The modern response is, "God must have been speaking to the Jews because we are saved by grace."

Maybe God never heard of the grace we preach and so He was confused at this point, thinking we have to endure to the end to be saved. In fact, if it is he who endures to the end who shall be saved, our modern teaching is in need of modification. We always point back to some time in the past when we were "saved." Something to think about!

Revelation tells us no sinful person will enter through the gates into the new Jerusalem. Again, the modern response is, "But this does not apply to us because we are saved by grace."

Why don’t we just throw out the Bible and be done with it? By our traditions we have made numerous passages irrelevant. We have constructed a promise-box theology. We keep our "precious promises," ignore the context, and forget about the rest of the Bible.

When there is a seeming contradiction (and there are many seeming contradictions in the New Testament writings) we saw off the leg that doesn’t fit our concept of grace and stump about on the other leg.

To the young people again: we have little hope that our words and reasoning will interest most Christians the age of the writer except they may want to argue about who the two witnesses are.

Who the two witnesses are will be revealed in its time. Whether we are caught up before or after the great tribulation will be revealed in its time. (Best to be prepared—right?)

Many are cold but few are frozen. If you are not among the frozen few, ask God about it. See what He has for you. If you are under thirty, or especially under fifteen, you will find there is a special anointing for you. God wants you to live and minister in the power of the Holy Spirit. The older Christians, even though they themselves are still in a psychologic morass, will cheer you on. A cry of praise will go up from the vacation trailers as they remember the old sound, the joyful sound.

Well I got this part off my chest. What about it? Will you help pray that God will remove this monumental error from Christian thinking?

The call for repentance is in the land. How much more of an impact will this call have when we realize that Divine grace is God in Jesus Christ changing people so they can have eternal fellowship with God?—strengthening those who are tempted to sin so they can overcome?—enabling those who have been severely wounded to forgive those who hurt them?

Divine grace is not a ticket to Paradise that unchanged people can present at the gates of the new Jerusalem.

The lazy servant will face an angry Christ and then outer darkness whether or not he or she claims to be saved by grace.

The foolish "virgin" will scream in agony outside the closed door whether or not he or she claims to be saved by grace.

We are blowing the trumpet in Zion, among the Lord’s people. The way of the Lord must be made straight. It is time for a reformation of Christian thinking.

Receiving Christ is the God-given means of producing godly behavior in human beings, not a substitute for godly behavior. Why, then, are we preaching grace as an alternative to godly living?

January 29th

TO HEAL OR TO RECONCILE?

Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. (II Corinthians 5:20)

God loves people! He assuredly takes no pleasure in the wars, plagues, and natural catastrophes that cause such agony.

If God has the power to prevent wars and sickness, why does He permit little children to die of leukemia?

Sometimes people will not receive Christ because they "cannot believe in a God who would let children suffer." Their attitude is understandable but they are not in possession of the facts.

God created man in paradise on the earth. But man chose to disobey God. God’s Nature being what it is, even a single infraction of His will must be dealt with in totality. The original sin has been dealt with in totality—six thousand years of the insane howling of the dust of the ground.

We are not to blame God for being perfectly righteous. The unchanging moral perfection of God is our only hope of an ultimately peaceful, joyous society.

The worst result of the sin of Adam and Eve was the loss of fellowship with God. It is this that God wishes to restore. It is to this end that He gave His Son to die on the cross for our sins. Mankind needs to be reconciled to God!

We must remain careful that the goal of reconciliation is kept in mind. Perhaps because of the influence of humanism (man-centeredness) it has become popular to speak of the need for Christians to go and relieve the sufferings of the world.

It is part of the package that Christians do what they can to feed the hungry and clothe the naked. A glance at history will disclose Christians at the source of many if not most of the great humanitarian efforts, from the care of lepers to the abolition of slavery.

Antichrist himself will encourage Christians to go forth and relieve the suffering of the world (not that he will care a fig about human suffering but in order to exalt himself.).

If we would avoid missing the mark we must hold constantly before us that the goal is to reconcile people to God. Our job is not primarily to remove the pains and problems from mankind. There assuredly is a time and place for this. Rather, our task is to work with God so that people will be turned from Satan to God; from sin to righteousness.

Sometimes people are better off spiritually if they are not delivered immediately. If we relieve the pain of people, we have done a limited, temporary good. If we turn people to God, encouraging them to keep His commandments, we have done a massive, eternal good.

People come to pastors wanting to be extricated from their problems. Often (not always) their problems are the direct result of not obeying the Lord faithfully. In this case the best we can do is get them back on track with God.

We have been charged to go into all the world and lift up Jesus Christ! We are to make men and women, boys and girls, His disciples—not just believers, but disciples! We are to charge them to keep the commandments issued by the Lord and His Apostles. In the process we are to cast out devils, heal the sick, and raise the dead. But these are not humanitarian efforts as such, they are signs pointing toward the highway of holiness.

As we work with the Lord, let us make sure we do not take the side of mankind against God. This is easy to do when we see human misery. Look past the skeleton child, the anguished mother, to the cross of Calvary. Present God’s amazing love. Reconcile the mother and child to God if you can.

The child will go to the garden of God. The mother will see her child again in the Day of the Lord.

People desire to escape Hell and go to Paradise. God desires that people escape sin and behave in a righteous, holy manner.

January 30th

THE CHARIOT OF GOD

But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? (Hebrews 2:6)

It is necessary, if we are to attain the mark God has set before us, that we assign our adamic nature to the cross of Calvary, take up our personal cross, and follow the Lord Jesus into newness of life.

We know of Paul’s testimony that he has been crucified with Christ and now Christ lives in him. We understand this principle and we accept it. We have come to realize that the most troublesome creature in the universe is a believer who will not surrender his self-will, his or her first personality, to the cross.

Hideous occurrences proceed from the self-willed religious person. Think of Korah! Absalom! the chief priests and elders who crucified their own Messiah!

As we pondered the emphasis of God on our giving over to death our first personality we began to wonder why God did not make us the way He wanted us to be in the first place. Why this interim step in the creation of man in God’s image? These musings brought us to the very significant question, "What is man?"

To the doctor man is a patient. To the composer man is a listener. To the politician man is a voter. To the businessman man is a consumer. To the evangelist man is a lost person who must "make a decision for Christ."

We know from the Scriptures that man is destined to govern all the works of God’s hands and judge all God’s creatures. But this is what man does, not what man is.

We know there are a firstfruits of mankind who will serve as members of the Body of Christ, as part of the Wife of the Lamb, as the sons of God, as the brothers of Christ. All of these roles and responsibilities are of awesome importance.

But there is something beyond all of this, a common denominator concerning what man is. Because of man’s supreme role, as well as his other responsibilities and relationships, God is making man in two stages: first, as an adamic creature—an intelligent animal; second, as a life-giving spirit. The life-giving spirit must be abiding in untroubled rest in the Father through Christ and also in the moral image of Christ.

Man is the chariot of God. The supreme role of man is to be the eternal dwelling place of God, the chariot of God. To be the chariot of God, man must be in the image of Christ, having the face of a man, of an ox, of a lion, and of an eagle.

The face of a man is the ability to make moral judgments, to walk in righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God, and especially to be in union with God.

The face of an ox is the capacity and willingness of man to bear burdens in a sacrificial manner just as man’s heavenly Father does.

The face of a lion is the majesty and fierceness that each son of God must have if he is to conquer the forces that would resist God’s will.

The face of an eagle is that which soars with God in the heavenlies, living in prayer, always remaining above the striving of God’s creatures.

God is all these things and so His chariot must have the same characteristics. In order to build the character God desires in His chariots we had to start out imprisoned in a sinful, animal nature. It is as we overcome our handicaps through Christ that a proven new humanity is formed, a life-giving spirit in the moral image of Christ and totally obedient to the Father.

Have patience with God. He is making you in His image so you may be His chariot. Your few tribulations are not to be compared with such incomprehensible glory!

God is moving His throne from the heavens and installing it in the hearts of His obedient saints. This is God's way of showing disdain for the lords of the heavens who rebelled against Him.

January 31st

WORTHY TO WALK WITH CHRIST

Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. (Revelation 3:4)

The Christian church in Sardis had a name that it was alive but it was dead. From the standpoint of Christian people the church was alive. The services were exciting. The music was uplifting. The doctrine was scriptural.

Perhaps it was the "fastest growing church in Asia."

From the standpoint of the Lord Jesus the church in Sardis was dead.

What was wrong?

The growth, excitement, inspiration, and doctrine were all being conducted in the flesh. People were brought in by attractive programs. The services were exciting because something new and interesting was always being presented. The orchestra and choir were of professional quality and played music that was current and upbeat.

What was missing?

Prayer, holiness, stern obedience to the Father, the awe of God.

When the awe of God is missing from a service, no amount of activity will be considered "life" by the Lord Jesus. The awe of God will be present only when some of the congregation are praying consistently, living a holy life, and obeying the Father diligently.

Most of the congregation had dirty garments. They were not walking in open repentance before the Lord. They were not confessing their sins and turning away from them. They were confusing the life of the soul with the life of the Spirit of God.

When the Lord Jesus returns they will not walk in white with Him. They are not members of the royal priesthood. They have not been found worthy of the Lord!

There was a small remnant of believers in the church in Sardis who were true servants of God. They loved the Lord and were still doing their first works of prayer, praise, and service. They had kept their robes clean. When the Lord returns they will be handed another vastly superior robe, the robe given each member of the royal priesthood.

The Lord knows they will take care of their new robe because they have been faithful with the old. They are worthy to walk with the Lord.

How can we be found worthy to walk in white with the Lord as a member of the royal priesthood?

By praying without ceasing, by living a holy, righteous life, by obeying the Father sternly in every matter, by serving God, by thinking, speaking, and acting like a Christian.

"But you are saying we are saved by works."

Brother James would answer, "Show me your faith without your works and I will show you my faith by my works. I have a living faith. What happened to yours?"

It appears that some Christians are trying to see how close they can walk to the Lake of Fire without falling in. Is this wise?

Several verses of the New Testament indicate we must be proven worthy to be always with the Lord Jesus.

I would like to be a member of the royal priesthood. How about you? We both can if we will start serving the Lord with a whole heart instead of fooling around and wasting time!

Are you ready to appear with Christ as part of His coming? Are you dressed for the occasion?

February 1st

LET YOUR LIGHT SO SHINE

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

Our good works are the behavior described by the Lord Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. They have to do with our pure love for God, particularly as our love is revealed in showing compassion and justice toward other people.

The miraculous change in the sinner who becomes a disciple of Jesus, his godly, sincere, upright, and holy behavior, is the Light, the expression of the Life of Christ. It is Christ in him revealing the Person, will, and way of God to the peoples of the earth.

Of all the means by which the saints light the world, the most important may be their godly character and behavior. Righteous and holy behavior that proceeds from the Divine Nature of Christ being created in us and working out through us is the law, the testimony of God, to the nations of the earth.

A godly, upright life, having been created so by the Virtue of God, is the clearest revelation of all to men and angels of the truth concerning God Almighty. If our goal is to lead people to God and keep them moving forward with God, there is no substitute for the example of a human being who is portraying in himself the pure and holy character that has been created by eternal Life working in him.

The effect of the other means of bearing witness to the Light is greatly weakened and sometimes destroyed altogether when unclean behavior is practiced by the believers in Christ. This is why a minister of the Gospel, although he may be gifted with an extraordinary ability to present the Word of God, will eventually prove to be a liability rather than an asset to the Kingdom of God if he is walking in self-centeredness and sin. People eventually see through a sinning ministry and they become cynical, as has happened today in some instances.

Although the Holy Spirit may use an ungodly minister to present the Word of the Gospel to multitudes of sinners, he will not be received of Christ in the Day of the Lord.

In order for the sinning Christian to continue with his testimony, for his "lampstand to be restored to its place," he must repent sincerely and renew his untarnished consecration to God’s holy will.

The saint bears witness of Christ by teaching and living the standards of behavior presented in the Scriptures. To live according to the principles of the Scriptures is to conduct oneself in a godly manner, for this is what both the Old Testament and the New Testament command.

As we keep the words of Christ, practicing them as He gives us the ability, a transformation takes place in us. Christ is formed in us and dwells in us. Now we begin to act like Christ because we are becoming an inseparable part of Him.

First we keep the Word. Our godly behavior reminds mankind that there is a God in Heaven and that He is holy.

Then the Word begins to keep us. God becomes our salvation. We act righteously by nature—the Nature of Christ Jesus in us.

The nations are waiting to see the Nature of Christ in you and me. Let us not disappoint them.

Have you been saved by grace? Good. We would like to see some of it in action.

February 2nd

CHANGING THE CHURCH THAT THE CHURCH MAY CHANGE THE WORLD

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:8)

A recent series on the NBC Nightly News was titled "The Fixing of America." Perhaps most Americans would agree that America needs to be fixed, that change must take place if we are to prosper as a nation.

Several of the people interviewed gave their opinion of what needs to be changed and how it should be changed. We Christians have more than just our opinion of what needs to be changed and how it should be changed. We have God’s opinion!

God has told us clearly what He expects of people. God has shown us what is good. He wants us to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God.

Many American people want the leaders of their government to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God. But we know it is the Christian churches that are the moral light of the world. Until the government leaders see justice, mercy, and humility being practiced by the Christians they will suppose everyone is wicked and conclude, "why not make the best of it!"

Most of us have seen the symbol of Judaism, the seven-branched lampstand. The lampstand represents Christ, the Light of the world, and all who are part of Christ. The lampstand was prepared during the day and then lighted the Tabernacle at night.

One of the main responsibilities of the priest of Israel was to trim the wicks and to pour in the oil. The Lord Jesus, our great High Priest, is moving among the lampstands today. He is trimming the wicks and pouring in the oil.

The lampstand was solid gold representing the Deity of Christ. The pure olive oil symbolizes the Holy Spirit. Not too much is said about the wicks. Whom do you think the wicks represent?

The Lord Jesus is coming to you today. Maybe you already have experienced the wonderful sensation of having your charred edges cut away and then being pulled up or pushed down so you would give a clear light without a lot of smoke.

If this is happening to you be sure the Lord is getting ready to pour in the oil.

God is giving the gifts of the Spirit in order to increase the light of good works in the Christians. When the people of the world see justice, mercy, and humility coming forth in the believers, and the marvelous hope the believers have, they are going to ask a reason for that hope.

We are entering a period of immorality, and it may get worse if God doesn’t move. Many people, both unsaved and saved, deplore the immorality, greed, and violence. The change to moral purity, generosity, and love must begin in the churches. All of God’s power in Christ stands ready to help each of us as he or she seeks the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.

We are not to fret about the moral darkness of our day. The darkness will serve only to make the Light of Christ shine ever brighter. All things are still working together for good.

Let us accept any needed change in our personality. Let us be as the wick so the only true Light may shine brightly. Then all the peoples of the nations will run to that light and be saved.

If the Christian salvation does not change our behavior it is worthless to God and to man.

February 3rd

SO YOU’VE SINNED!

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: (I John 2:1)

The true Christian life is one of victory over sin. As we walk in the Spirit of God, we gain the wisdom and strength to put to death the deeds of our body.

But gaining victory over the world, our flesh, and our self-will is no easy task. We have enemies in the natural as well as in the spiritual who insist day and night that we must not live in righteousness, holiness, and obedience before the Lord.

It seems that in our day the pressure to sin is greater than ever before.

There is no sacrifice in the Old Testament or the New for willful sin, that is, premeditated, arrogant, presumptuous sin.

One day a young lady said to me, "Tonight I am going out on a date, and I am going to sit in the back seat of a car with a boy and do things I shouldn’t. But tomorrow I am going to ask the Lord Jesus to forgive me."

I was not in a position at that time to rebuke her. But we all need to understand there is no sacrifice for premeditated sin, only for sin that we commit when we are deceived, when it sneaks up on us and we are seduced—as in the case of King David.

If David had sinned willfully, arrogantly, presumptuously, then when Nathan came to him David would have put him to death.

Let’s say you have been living for the Lord and then were deceived into fornication, stealing, violence, covetousness, or some other sin. You believed you were accepted of the Lord. Then you became aware that you may be in deception in this matter.

Ask the Lord to show you clearly if you are in deception.

Confess your actions with your mouth. It often helps to have another mature Christian with you of the same gender as yourself, hearing your confession and praying with you. Your husband or wife is acceptable and often a big help. Name the sin clearly before the Lord. Do not do this in front of the whole church except in rare instances, and then only under the advice and supervision of the elders.

Resolve that you will never practice this behavior again. Flee from the flames of Hell. Cease kissing the demons on the mouth.

Now God will, according to His unchanging Word, forgive your sins and cleanse you from all unrighteousness in this area of behavior.

Draw near to God for restored fellowship. Do not let Satan beat you with accusations. God will forgive you.

Make restitution only as the Lord leads. Take other physical actions if necessary such as moving, changing jobs, or whatever else is needed to avoid temptation.

In the future resist Satan, calling on the Lord for strength. Satan will flee from you in disarray.

Why should you spend eternity in the Lake of Fire? Call on the Lord now to baptize you with fire so that the chaff will be burned away. Then you will be fireproof.

It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.

When we do not judge ourselves and purge ourselves from sin with God's help, God chastens us so we will not be condemned with the world. The chastening is severe and can result in sickness or even death.

February 4th

THE SPIRIT OF INEVITABILITY

And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. (Matthew 17:20)

Life beats the sense of wonder out of us. Jesus often marveled at our unbelief. We would consider commanding a mountain to be an unbelievably great act of faith. Evidently nature is supposed to obey us. Somewhere along the line our normal inheritance of simple, joyous optimism has been crushed.

One time a United States congressman said that when he entered politics he had in mind to save the world. Before he left office he was attempting to save the sand dunes in his home state as a national park. Life had compressed his vision.

The Lord does not want unbelief, torpor, or dread in His palace. He commanded us to not be troubled in spirit. We are to refuse to allow fear to enter our personality. But just try to keep this commandment!

Part of our problem is a deadening spirit of inevitability.

The spirit of inevitability binds us along two lines: a belief that somehow everything will come out satisfactorily; also a feeling we are destined to be what we are and it will never change.

Let’s think about the first problem—everything will come out satisfactorily.

The Lord Jesus advised us that if we would be His disciple, that is, a Christian, we must lay down our life, take up our cross, and follow Him. If you are a Christian, estimate how many of your fellow Christians are actually turning aside from the world, taking up their cross of self-denial, and following the Master intently.

Assuredly there are some disciples in most Christian churches. But what about the rest of the flock?

But we just can’t bring ourselves to believe that those who are bearing their cross are the only true Christians.

Most of us are not historians. Without realizing it we assume that all believers of all time lived as do present-day American churchgoers.

We have never seen the bloody footprints in the snow.

So we have this sense that even though we are not doing what Jesus said, it will come out all right in the end.

From the little we know of the Lord we seriously doubt that such is the case.

The other side of the coin is the idea we are doomed to be what we are and it will never change. Listen! The barns of Heaven are filled with tons of blessings, miracles, opportunities of all kinds just waiting for someone to take God at His Word.

About three decades ago we asked the Lord for the opportunity to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom everywhere that people breathe the air. We were teaching the fifth grade at the time.

At the present time our books and tapes are touching many nations. This morning we learned some Christians from Papua, New Guinea are studying the tapes we put out. We asked for everywhere that people breathe the air and that is just what is going to happen, from Lapland to Tierra del Fuego!

A dramatic prayer has gained some dramatic answers.

Away with this spirit of inevitability!

Why don’t you ask largely? All things are possible to him or her who believes!

Learn to regard the statements of the Bible as goals you are pressing toward, not as experiences you already possess on the basis of belief. Salvation is a dynamic program of redemption, not a static set of beliefs.

February 5th

THE FEAST OF PASSOVER

In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD’S passover. (Leviticus 23:5)

There are seven feasts of the Lord. Passover is the first. Each of the seven portrays an aspect of our salvation. The Christian salvation has a definite beginning, a specific process, and a goal toward which we are to be pressing. Do you know about this program?

There was only one actual Passover—that which took place when the Jews left Egypt. All the other Passover celebrations are remembrances of the original exodus.

We all know the story, how Pharaoh would not permit the Israelite slaves to leave Egypt. After the Lord sent severe plagues on Egypt the final destruction took place. God struck the oldest child of each Egyptian family. The Israelite families were protected by the blood of a lamb sprinkled at the entrance to their homes.

After this catastrophe Pharaoh relented and Israel set out toward the land of promise.

We of today do not like to think about the Lord killing people, about His sacrificing a nation so a royal priesthood He had chosen could go out into the desert in order to receive the greatest moral code ever entrusted to mankind. This is because we have been influenced by humanistic thinking to the place we are ready to tell God what He can and cannot do. Society may have changed its attitudes but the Lord does not change!

To those who would protest that God would be cruel and wicked if He caused the death of thousands of Egyptian children let us point out the fact that God gave His Son as an atonement for our sins. Can you imagine the terrible agony experienced by God and Christ as the sins of the world were borne by the crucified One?

Let no person say God does not love him. Look to Christ hanging on the cross and you will understand how much God loves you (and all people). You will understand also that religion is necessary but it does not always reflect the enormous breadth and depth of the rebellion of mankind against God and God’s measureless love toward His fallen creatures.

Let us have faith in the righteousness and love of God and some day we will understand more than we do now.

Satan is unwilling to let his captives take their journey toward the land of promise. The time will come when the Lord will strike the god of this world until he no longer is able to keep mankind in the chains of sin.

But first God had to provide a lamb.

The Lamb is Christ Jesus. His blood will protect us when God judges the world. When the destroyer sees the blood of Christ He will pass over us.

How about you? Have you by faith sprinkled the blood of Christ over your life and the lives of your family members?

Only the blood of Christ will be able to protect you and your loved ones during the days of destruction that are ahead of us.

Satan cares little for your religious works but he is terrified at the thought you might lay down your life so Christ might live. He will aid your "success" in religious enterprise or do anything else that will keep you from ceasing from your own works.

February 6th

THE FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD

And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. (Leviticus 23:6)

There are seven feasts of the Lord. Passover is the first. Each of the seven portrays an aspect of our salvation. We must come to God through the blood of God’s Passover Lamb, Christ Jesus. Next is the feast of Unleavened Bread.

The spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament feast of Unleavened Bread is repentance and water baptism.

When we come to the Lord we must be as a little child. We must renounce the malice and wickedness of the spirit of this age. We must turn away from our trust in the world, its security and its pleasures. We must sweep the leaven of the world out of our house.

There must be genuine, thorough repentance. Is it possible that today we are asking people to "make a decision for Christ" (an expression not found in the Scripture) without informing them of the need for repenting, for turning away from the ways of the world?

Then we should be baptized in water. This is the Lord’s commandment. If you have never been baptized in water, go to your Pastor and ask to be baptized. He who believes and is baptized shall be saved.

Water baptism has a profound meaning. When you are baptized in water you are saying, "I assign all that I am to the cross with Jesus. When He cried, ‘It is finished,’ He included me. I am finished. My life in the world is over. I am crucified with Christ."

How different Christendom would be if the believers would count that they have died with the Lord on the cross!

We share in His death and in His resurrection. A new godly creation is coming forth (or should be coming forth) in our personality.

Before you can fry a chicken you have to pluck the feathers. When you begin to pluck feathers from a chicken it helps if the chicken is dead. If not you are going to have a commotion on your hands.

When a preacher begins to talk about the need to overcome sin, about denying ourselves and following the Lord, he may have a commotion on his hands. Can you guess why? The chickens aren’t dead yet.

The mainspring of the Christian life is death and resurrection. God has no intention of saving our first personality—not even the good of it. Our most worthy traits still have the leaven of Adam in them and will fail if tested severely enough. The honest will steal under enough pressure. The pure will commit moral sin. The adamic integrity will dissolve if pushed to the limit. But the Life of God never fails.

If we are willing to die in Christ each day we will live in Christ each day.

If any man is in Christ there is a new creation. All the old things have passed away. Everything is new and of God.

Out of the death of the cross comes the eternal life of the resurrection. There is no other source of permanent righteousness.

How about you? Would you like real, lasting change to enter your life? Repent and be baptized into the death and life of Jesus Christ.

It does a person no good to receive Jesus as his Savior if he then does not make this same Jesus Lord of his behavior.

February 7th

THE FEAST OF FIRSTFRUITS

Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: (Leviticus 23:10)

There are seven feasts of the Lord. Passover is the first. Unleavened Bread is the second. Firstfruits is the third. Each of the seven portrays an aspect of our salvation. The Christian salvation has a definite beginning, a specific process, and a goal toward which we are to be pressing.

The Levitical feast of Firstfruits was distinguished by the waving of a sheaf of barley before the Lord. Because the sheaf, the firstfruits of the harvest, became holy by being waved, the entire harvest was considered holy.

The principle of the firstfruits is used widely in the New Testament. For example, the Lord Jesus Christ is the Firstfruits of the Church, of those who are raised from the dead.

When we receive the salvation that comes through Jesus and are baptized in water we are to count that our first, adamic personality has been crucified with Jesus.

This is not the end, however. We are to count also that a new life has been born in us and that our new life has been raised with Jesus to the right hand of God in Heaven.

Our new, born-again nature is a firstfruits of our personality. It is a new creation. It is of God. It actually is the Kingdom of God.

Meanwhile the remainder of our personality, our adamic soul, spirit, and body are still very much on the earth.

Because the firstfruits of our personality has been raised with Christ to the right hand of God, and is therefore holy, our entire personality is holy. This means that since God has accepted our new nature as holy He regards our entire personality as holy.

Just as the entire barley harvest was holy because the sheaf had been waved by the priest before the Lord, so it is true that our entire personality is holy. In fact, the holiness extends to the other members of our family. It is a lamb for a house.

But the idea is that the balance of the harvest will be reaped! The remainder of the barley did not rot in the field, it was reaped!

As soon as we have been born again the program of reaping begins. Little by little the old personality dies and is replaced by the new. In the meantime God regards us as holy even though our body, soul, and spirit are filled with filthiness and rebellion.

As long as we continue in the process of reaping, walking in the light of God’s will, the blood of Jesus covers us and we are without condemnation. If we walk away from the daily process of dying to self and entering eternal life in Jesus, we begin to come under condemnation.

Salvation begins when we receive the Lord Jesus. Salvation continues as we offer our body to God as a living sacrifice and follow the Holy Spirit. Salvation will have attained its goal when the Lord returns and we receive the Fullness of the Lord in a new body like that of the Lord.

The Christian churches of today need to understand that salvation is not a ticket to Heaven. It is a process that we are to work out each day with fear and trembling. What we have now is a firstfruits.

God always is faithful to keep us. If it is our desire to win the fullness of salvation, we can. Let us keep our eyes on Jesus and He will enable us to overcome every obstacle and enter His Presence in total victory.

The mainspring of our salvation is our death and resurrection in Christ.

February 8th

PENTECOST

Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD. (Leviticus 23:16)

There are seven feasts of the Lord. Passover is the first. Unleavened Bread is the second. Firstfruits is the third. Pentecost is the fourth. Each of the seven portrays an aspect of our salvation.

Pentecost! Pentecost! Pentecost! Dynamite from Heaven!

The feast of Pentecost marked the end of the wheat harvest. Two leavened loaves of flour were waved before the Lord. The two loaves testify of the double portion of the Spirit of God that will be poured on the Church just before the Lord returns.

It is interesting that there was leaven in the Pentecostal loaves. Some scholars represent the leaven as sin that still remains in those who have been baptized in the Spirit. Others see the leaven as the new leaven of the Kingdom of God that soon will infiltrate the whole personality of the believer who presses forward in Christ each day.

We think both are true. We speak in tongues but there still is sin in us. Yet the Kingdom of God is working in us and changing us into a new humanity.

At the turn of the twentieth century a great wind blew on the Christian churches. Pentecost was renewed. At the middle of the century the renewal began to pass to the historic churches, both Catholic and Protestant.

Speaking in tongues, once the possession of the illiterate on the "wrong side of the tracks," the "holy rollers," now resounds in the embellished tabernacles of the upper middle class.

Today tongues, prophecy, the laying on of hands, are all practiced among the "respectable." Other gifts of the Spirit abound and still are on the increase. The knowledge of the Body of the Christ has been restored. Jesus is drawing near His people. Those who are praying are hearing from the Lord. Pentecost is here to stay—in fact, the Divine power is building to an unprecedented climax!

Another great wind is blowing today, and as before it is in the possession of a small remnant of believers. Soon it will engulf all the Christian churches. More about this when we discuss the last three feasts.

Pentecost is feast number four of seven. You can go back if you wish to the good ol’ camp meeting days and sing the happy choruses of the newly saved.

But there is a voice in the land crying out, "This is the way. Walk ye in it." The call is to the Holy of Holies, to places in the Lord that only a few of history have walked—to the knowledge of the Consuming Fire of Israel.

The choice is yours. The pressures do not permit stagnation. It is on to the fullness of God or back to wait until a warlike remnant, being clothed with Christ, forces the adversary’s shoulders to the mat.

It is time to take the Kingdom. Are you prepared for it?

After a generation or two, once-fiery groups become mausoleums filled with relics. The Life and revelation of God then are found in other places.

February 9th

THE BLOWING OF TRUMPETS

Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. (Leviticus 23:24)

There are seven feasts of the Lord. Passover is the first. Unleavened Bread is the second. Firstfruits is the third. Pentecost is the fourth. The Blowing of Trumpets is the fifth. Each of the seven portrays an aspect of our salvation. The fact that there were seven feasts is very important to our understanding. It tells us that when we are at Pentecost we are only halfway through the program of salvation, so to speak.

The Blowing of Trumpets is especially meaningful to us who are "at Pentecost," for two principal reasons. First, Trumpets is the next celebration after our present experience, which is Pentecost. We ought to know what comes after Pentecost, what we should be looking for. Second, the Blowing of Trumpets is Rosh Hashanah of the Jews, that is, New Year’s day. We are entering a new year of God’s dealings.

The Jews have two overlapping years, a ceremonial year that begins with Passover and a civil year that begins with Rosh Hashanah. Rosh Hashanah is termed "the year of kings and contracts."

When we come to the Blowing of Trumpets we begin to understand that the Kingdom of God is coming to the earth. As in the twenty-fourth Psalm, the psalm that portrays the characteristics of the spiritual fulfillment of "Trumpets," the emphasis is on the earth.

Every revival brings with it an increase in wisdom and revelation. This is true now. Although we have been unaware of it, the Bible never speaks of eternal residence in Heaven as being the goal of salvation. Rather, the Bible clearly teaches that the Kingdom of God is to be installed on the earth.

Our land of promise is the earth, beginning with our own personality. The Lord Jesus has not come to bring us to a different place, for that would solve nothing. After all, sin began in Heaven around the Throne of God. The Lord Jesus has come so we can possess our own soul, then our own body, and finally our environment. Then we can live anywhere and be in Paradise.

Do you want to see a preview of the Battle of Armageddon? Examine your own personality. The worldwide Armageddon can be fought successfully only by those who first have gained victory through the Lord Jesus over their present circumstances. Does this make sense to you?

As we move into "Trumpets" we can expect an increase in militancy, beginning with our music. The musicians are beginning to sing of war, of the army of the Lord. The Spirit of the Lord is informing us that the coming Day of the Lord will be characterized by "a great and mighty people."

After the Jews were at Mount Sinai (a type of Pentecost), Israel was formed into an army in preparation for the invasion of the land of promise. So it is today. The Blowing of Trumpets announces the most solemn day of the Jewish year, the Day of Atonement. The ten days from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) are the "Days of Awe," the time when God judges the world. In addition to the emphasis on war we will notice an attack on the sin in the world, beginning with the sin in the churches.

All this is preparation for the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish feast of Tabernacles. As soon as His Church has been cleansed, the Lord will enter His people as never before. As soon as God cleanses the world through His Church, God will enter the world, as we read in the last two chapters of the Bible. The conflict of the ages is upon us. Pray for courage if you are fearful. God’s army in Heaven is preparing to invade the earth. Put on your armor, submit to the Lord’s discipline, and prepare to fight.

No person will rule with Christ until Christ rules the person.

February 10th

THE DAY OF ATONEMENT

Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. (Leviticus 23:27)

There are seven feasts of the Lord. Passover is the first. Unleavened Bread is the second. Firstfruits is the third. Pentecost is the fourth. The Blowing of Trumpets is the fifth. The Day of Atonement is the sixth. Each of the seven portrays an aspect of our salvation.

The Day of Atonement is Yom Kippur of the Jews.

Almost fifty years ago when in Bible school the Lord spoke to us about the Day of Atonement. The Lord said the Day of Atonement represented judgment on the Church.

At that time we had never heard a sermon on the feasts of the Lord. Having been saved only a short time we were in no manner prepared for such a word nor did we understand it.

Now, half a century later, the feasts of the Lord, including the Day of Atonement, appear many times in our teaching and writing.

When we first are saved the Lord requires that we come out from the gross sins of the world and follow Him. He protects us under the blood of the cross. He does not at that time deal with the labyrinth of spiritual darkness in our personality.

When the Lord brought the Jews out of Egypt He did not mention the numerous sins of the people. He told them to come out under the protection of the blood of the lamb.

When the Jews came to Sinai God made them aware of their sins and provided the Day of Atonement. When we receive the Holy Spirit, God begins to make us aware of our sins. He already has provided the spiritual Day of Atonement for us.

The Day of Atonement has two main parts. The first is the forgiveness of sins by means of the blood of the slain goat. The second is the removal of sin by means of the removal of the living goat.

The Christian Church understands very well the forgiveness of sins by means of the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Christian Church only now is beginning to understand the removal of sin as the living Lord Jesus comes to us and receives us to Himself.

The Scriptures speak of the salvation reserved for the last days. "To those who look for Him," the Bible says, "Jesus will appear without sin unto salvation."

The deliverance from sin, the work of the second goat, has begun. God is beginning to remove the graveclothes of sin from His Church.

If you are a saved person and have God’s Holy Spirit dwelling in you, you will notice things are taking place in your life that are bringing forth the sin and rebellion in you. How do I know that? Because this is what is happening with all who are following Jesus.

Don’t panic. Name your sin clearly and specifically to the Lord, resolving by His grace never to practice it again. God is faithful and righteous to forgive your sin and cleanse you from all unrighteousness.

Try it and see! It’s a new day. The Jubilee of deliverance is here. The Lord Jesus has come to cleanse the royal priesthood. The Lord will receive you to Himself and as He does He will remove your chains. Whomever the Son sets free is free indeed!

Suppose every time your child stole money you forgave him and did nothing else. What would you be doing? You would be making him a thief. If God kept on forgiving our sins and did nothing more He would be contributing to our sinful, rebellious nature. He loves us more than this!

February 11th

THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES

Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD. (Leviticus 23:34)

There are seven feasts of the Lord. Passover is the first. Unleavened Bread is the second. Firstfruits is the third. Pentecost is the fourth. The Blowing of Trumpets is the fifth. The Day of Atonement is the sixth. The feast of Tabernacles is the seventh and last. Each of the seven portrays an aspect of our salvation. The Christian salvation has a definite beginning, a specific process, and a goal toward which we are to be pressing. Do you know about this program?

The spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles is the climax, the omega of our salvation.

There are three great works of grace: salvation, the baptism with the Holy Spirit, and then the fullness of God. If we would be "full gospel" people, we must press on past Pentecost.

We are saved through the blood of the cross. Then we are baptized with the Holy Spirit of God. The oil comes on the blood, as in the consecrating of the priests of Israel.

The blood gives us the authority. The Spirit gives us the ability. To do what? To be filled with all the fullness of God.

How can we tell when we are entering the spiritual fulfillment of Tabernacles? We can use the twelfth chapter of Isaiah as a checklist.

Isaiah, Twelve was chanted during the feast of Tabernacles. The Jews, with their remarkable sense of the Spirit of God, knew somehow that the feast of Tabernacles was expressed by Isaiah.

In the day of the feast of Tabernacles we go through a period of stressful dealings as the Lord rebukes the sin and self-will in us. But now He is comforting us and we are praising Him.

God has become our salvation. We are filled with trust in Him. It is not that He merely is saving us, He Himself has become our salvation, our strength, our song. It is as though we have been holding His hand and now He is holding our hand.

During the celebration of Tabernacles the Lord Jesus prophesied that rivers of living water would flow from those who believe in Him. The River of Life always flows from the Throne of God. This means God is installing His throne in us. We are becoming a life-giving spirit.

The sea of mankind is dead. God is planting trees of life on the banks of the River of Life. From them the water of eternal life will flow on and out and heal the dead sea of mankind.

The greatest joy any human can know is to draw out water and give drink to the thirsty.

Pentecost is the rain from Heaven falling on all flesh. Tabernacles is the establishing of a well in the saint so he or she can bring eternal life to whoever will receive.

The truest sign we are entering Tabernacles is our desire to exalt the Lord. Thank God, the day of exalted man is drawing to a close. The Lord alone will be exalted in that Day! We now desire to praise the Lord instead of one another. We want to call on His name instead of trying to satisfy our lusts and covetousness by manipulating the metaphysical realm by faith.

God is going to do excellent things. I am tired of hearing about how well-meaning people are going to do this or that "for the Lord." I want to see God at work.

I want the Lord to be exalted. I want the whole world to see Jesus.

It gives me rest to know I don’t have to carry this thing on my back. God is not broke, tired, or sick. His riches in glory are not about to be depleted.

The Holy One in our midst is mighty. Let us do what we can and then stand back and cheer as He bows the heavens and comes down.

This is "Tabernacles." I’m ready for it. How about you?

The Spirit and the Bride are saying, "Come! Come to the waters of life and drink freely."

God is seeking a house in which He can find rest. God's eternal house is the Christ-filled saint.

February 12th

ACTUAL RIGHTEOUSNESS

But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. (Acts 10:35)

There are two kinds of righteousness mentioned in the Bible. The first kind is actual righteousness of behavior, that is, telling the truth, loyalty to one’s family, moral cleanliness, honesty, kindliness, and so forth. God is righteous and He has fellowship with the righteous. Noah was righteous and so God saved him and his family from the flood.

The second kind of righteousness mentioned in the Bible is imputed righteousness. God imputes, or ascribes righteousness to those who put their faith in His Son for salvation.

The Apostle Paul was a strict Jew, what we would call today an Orthodox. Were Paul living today he would have forelocks and wear black clothes and a tall black hat. Somehow God was able to explain to Paul that the laws and statutes of Moses no longer are the basis of righteousness. God is ready to ascribe righteousness to those who look to Jesus Christ for salvation apart from the laws of Judaism.

We Gentiles have made a tremendous error of interpretation. We have understood Paul to mean God no longer is interested in righteous behavior (telling the truth, loyalty to one’s family, honesty, etc.) but ascribes righteousness only on the basis of belief in Christ. By works Paul was referring to circumcision and eating pork. By works we are referring to honesty and moral cleanliness. Because of this enormous misunderstanding, the Christian testimony has been destroyed throughout the world.

The Old Testament teaches in a particular context that there is no righteous person on earth. The Christian model of salvation has seized on this statement, and Paul's use of it, and blown it way out of context. Actually many righteous people are listed in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.

The Apostle Paul picked this idea from the Old Testament to show that all people must come to Christ for salvation for there is no salvation or eternal righteousness in any other name. This is absolutely true. But we Gentiles have gone on to deduce that righteous behavior is not only relatively unimportant but if emphasized is an affront to God and Christ.

Thus the central purpose of God under the new covenant has been aborted. Instead of Divine grace being the means by which God is able to produce a new, righteous creation in people, grace has become an alternative to righteous behavior. If such were the case the new covenant would be inferior to the old.

How many times does Paul in his epistles inform us that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God?

The truth is, our righteous God will not walk with unrighteous people. God has made a way that the unrighteous may approach Him, and that is through the blood of Jesus. But the purpose is for the unrighteous to turn away from his sin and with the help of God’s Spirit begin to live a righteous, holy, obedient life before God.

If the individual, having come to God’s holy Throne through the blood of Jesus, does not turn from his wicked ways and begin by the grace given to him to grow in righteousness, then he is despising the mercy of God in Christ. He is facing the wrath of the Consuming Fire of Israel.

Because God’s people are not growing in actual righteousness of behavior but are counting on ascribed righteousness to save them, the judgment of God is hovering over the Christian nations. The Gentile holocaust is at hand. If you hope to be spared in the evil day that is coming, turn to God; confess your sins and repent of them; humble yourself and ask God to help you deal uprightly with your family, your friends, and all other people with whom you come in contact. Be known as a righteous person and you will bring many with you.

After we get the person out of Egypt we have to get Egypt out of the person.

February 13th

THE COMING OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD

Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. (Mark 1:14,15)

The Kingdom of God is at hand. The Kingdom of God is coming to the earth. We are to pray that God’s kingdom come, that His will be done in earth as it is in Heaven.

What is the Kingdom of God? The Kingdom of God is God in Christ in the saints governing and blessing the creation of God. A small part of the Kingdom is here in the living saints. Most of the Kingdom is in Heaven with God.

At the present time the Kingdom is being formed in us. When the Lord returns, the Kingdom will return with Him and be established on the earth.

There is an inner kingdom and an outer kingdom. The inner kingdom is established as King Self is forced off the throne of our personality and King Jesus takes His place. The outer kingdom will be a revealing of what is being created in us now.

The main consideration of the Kingdom of God is the will of God. There is only one legitimate will in the universe. It is the will of God. As long as any creature, angelic or human, has a will separate from the will of God there is rebellion in the creation.

First of all, the Lord Jesus deals with our love of the world. He emphasizes to us that we are not of this present world system but belong to Him. Our security and survival are to be found only in Him.

Next, King Jesus deals with the sin in our life. He speaks to us of freedom from sin. Our worship and joy are to be found only in Him.

All of this is leading to the removal of our self-will. We are to hail Jesus as Lord, consenting to be His slaves—yes slaves! You heard me right.

Hallgrímur Pétursson of Iceland had it right: "The only free person is the one who is the slave of Jesus Christ."

Humanistic idealism will never consent to our being the slave of Christ. For Heaven’s sake, get the humanism out of your thinking. You’ll never understand God as long as there is one drop of man-centeredness in your mind. The Kingdom of God is on the way and it is not a democracy. Christ sits as absolute monarch and we are happy only when we are obeying Him.

The slave of Jesus Christ is gloriously free from the most hideous monster of all—self-will, self-love, self-centeredness, self, self, self!

Are you in love with yourself? Are you positive you can stand living with yourself for eternity?

We weren’t made to be alone but to be part of another. Our significant "other" is Jesus Christ. When your significant other is yourself, you are kind of weird!

Do you choose the kingdom of man or the Kingdom of God? I choose the Kingdom of God and I invite you to do the same. When you are my age, you will be deliriously happy you did!

Heaven is coming to the earth. God's will shall be done in the earth. God has heard the Lord's prayer.

February 14th

WE SHALL APPEAR WITH HIM

When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:4)

We know that Christ will appear in the clouds and every eye will see Him.

Christ is the Servant of the Lord, the Anointed Deliverer who is to come and bring justice to the nations of the earth.

What may not always be clear is that the Servant of the Lord includes the Head, Christ Jesus, but also a Body. We capitalize body, not because of any false notion of exaltation but because He—the exalted Head—is in each member of the Body and controls the Body.

The Christ who is to come is composed of the great Head and also a Body—the members of the Body of Christ.

Many times in the Old Testament we read of the peace and righteousness the saved nations will experience when Christ comes. But why does it state that when He is revealed we will be revealed with Him?

It is because in the eternal house of God there are many rooms, many living stones. If this were not to be the case, the Lord would have set up His Kingdom when He was here the first time. He had the power, the legions of warrior angels at His command. As soon as He was raised from the dead, He was invulnerable.

Had He set up His Kingdom at that time we would have been spared two thousand years of insanity as the dust of the ground has attempted to shape its own destiny.

But the Lord desires to share His inheritance with His brothers, the saints. He is the chief Cornerstone of the living House of God. We also are stones in that temple made without hands. We are growing together into the tabernacle that will come down from the new sky to wipe away the tears of mankind. This is Christ who is to come.

His (and our) inheritance comprises the nations and the farthest reaches of the earth.

To inherit people on the earth is much more to be desired than a backyard full of diamonds. I’ll trade my diamonds for your people!

The barren will be fruitful. The witnesses of the Lord, those whom God has called from the foundation of the world and formed patiently throughout their lifetime, will be fruitful beyond comprehension.

Abraham is still being fruitful beyond comprehension. Christ is being fruitful beyond comprehension. So is the Apostle Paul.

You too, if Christ is being formed in you and you are learning who God is, will be fruitful beyond comprehension. In what manner? The Divine Life that is being created in you as you submit to the dealings of the Lord will transform into the image and likeness of Christ those to whom you minister. They will be your eternal children, your crown of joy and rejoicing when they and you stand before the Lord.

The Jews are looking for Messiah to appear. Wait until they find out that a multitude of Jews and Gentiles are going to appear with Him to govern and bless the peoples of the earth!

After two thousand years the Church is still talking about Christ with us. But the mystery of the Gospel is Christ in us. When the Lord appears He shall be revealed in us as well as with us. There is all the difference in the world between Christ with us and Christ in us.

February 15th

HE SHALL BAPTIZE YOU WITH FIRE

I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: (Matthew 3:11)

What does it mean to be baptized with fire?

The context of the above verse has to do with separating the wheat from the chaff and burning up the chaff with fire.

This tells us that the Lord Jesus will baptize His Church not only with the Holy Spirit but also with a fiery judgment that will remove what is not of Kingdom worth.

The baptism with fire is taking place today. God’s people are full of chaff. It needs to be burned away.

Perhaps you have been a Christian for many years. All of a sudden the bad things you have been doing are being revealed. You have considered yourself a strong Christian but now you are seeing you are a self-willed gossip. You are proud, critical, you lie on occasion, you steal, you become angry and sullen. You never could see this in yourself before but now it is apparent.

You are being baptized with fire and the fire is revealing what is in your personality.

Don’t despair. The Lord still loves you. In fact it is because He loves you that He is showing you all this darkness. As many as He loves He rebukes and chastens.

But wasn’t all this taken care of when I got saved? When you received Christ, your past sins indeed were blotted out. But you still have a sinful personality.

What are you to do? Do what the Bible says. Confess your sins to the Lord. Ask Him to remove them. He will! Some bondages will flee as soon as they are recognized and confessed. Others take a while because there are a lot of little branches throughout your personality.

Remember Israel! God told them to conquer the land. They did this until the going got tough. Then they compromised.

Never compromise with sin! Keep telling the Lord about it until He removes it. It is His determined will that you be in this world as He is. Isn’t this what the Book says?

Do not become moody or introspective just because you have found out you are not perfect and your bad disposition has caused others to stumble. Keep your eyes on Jesus. You are without condemnation as long as you are abiding in Him each day. Satan may accuse you of things you never have done and never intend to do. Shake yourself and keep on after Jesus.

We are moving past Pentecost to the feast of Tabernacles. The adamic man remains alive until we move past Pentecost. The next move of God deals with who we are. Who we are must be crucified and the new man is to come forth. Part of this process involves the judgment of the sin of the old nature and that is why the baptism with fire.

Some may argue that all our sins were removed when we came to Jesus. Right. If this is the case, why are you still practicing the sins of the flesh?

If there is no devil in you why are you acting like the devil?

Let’s get honest. The world is waiting to see Jesus in the churches. When the chaff has been removed, they will see Jesus and believe in Him.

This is what you want so let God baptize you with fire.

Have you lost the fine edge of your experience with Jesus? Go back to your first altar. Get a touch of fire before it is too late.

February 16th

ONE NEW MAN

Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; (Ephesians 2:15)

One of the great confusions of our day has to do with the relationship of Israel to the Church, or the Church to Israel, however you want to look at it.

Some Messianic Jews are going back to the Law and the feast days because they have found Christian theology to be anemic. And it is! But their solution is not correct.

We have Christians saying the Church replaces Israel in the plan of God. Paul warned this would happen.

We have Jewish Christians saying the Jews are saved by keeping the Law of Moses and the Gentiles are saved by grace, meaning the Gentiles couldn’t live righteously if they tried so God has to baby them up to Heaven. This is not even close. It would be helpful if someone would read the Bible for a change.

We don’t want to get spooky about this but Satan is driving a wedge between the Jews and the Christians. Why? It is because the Christian Jews cannot set up the Kingdom of God without the rest of the Christians and the Gentile Christians cannot set up the Kingdom of God apart from the physical land and people of Israel.

Satan could not care less about the Church flying off to Heaven. What Satan is worried about is the establishing of God’s Kingdom on the earth.

The truth is so simple a smart little six-year-old can understand it.

THERE IS ONLY ONE CHURCH, ONE ISRAEL, ONE NEW MAN, ONE SEED OF ABRAHAM.

It is gauche to write in all caps. I understand this. But how else do you yell in print? Paul said there is one new man. Who is this one new man, pray tell? He is Christ and all who are part of Christ. Is it this simple? It is this simple!

"But what about—what about—what—what—what—but—but—but—"

What about the feast days? They are all fulfilled in Christ. What about the Jews? They have to be born again. What about the difference between Israel and the Church? There is no difference between Israel and the Church.

Israel is the Church and the Church is Israel.

How many olive trees do you want?

But what about the physical land and people of Israel? The Bible says God will turn to them in the last days. When He does, they will be born again.

But I thought you had to go down to the altar when Billy Graham said so in order to get saved.

No, you can get knocked off your horse and see a great light and hear voices.

You mean God is God? Something like that.

Maybe we should rent an airplane and drag a banner across the sky: THERE IS ONE NEW MAN. GET IT?

Do you think it would do any good?

Probably not. This is why we are turning to the children. They can understand that one olive tree is not two olive trees.

The children would find the idea of two brides of the Lamb ridiculous.

Out of the mouth of babes!

There is no such thing as a Gentile Church. There is only the one Olive Tree of God.

February 17th

THE DAY STAR

And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star. (Revelation 2:26-28)

The day star is Venus. Once during World War Two while standing on the deck of an LST just before dawn I saw a bright light rise in the sky. I reported it as a possible distress signal but it turned out to be Venus, the day star.

The day star heralds the new day.

Both Christ and Lucifer are day stars. Each heralds a new day, the kingdom of love, peace, and joy that is to come to the world.

The ever expanding communication devices of our day are presenting Lucifer’s concept of the kingdom, of the new day. The new day is to be one of ungoverned passion, an unending orgy of fleshly lust. The powers of the new day are money and education. The highest good of the new day is the right of every individual to think, speak, and act as he or she pleases.

Christ’s concept of the kingdom, of the new day, is of righteousness first of all, followed by peace and joy. The power of the new day is the Spirit of God. The highest good of the new day is obedience to the Father.

Whoever possesses the winning day star will rule the world.

Both Lucifer and Christ seek to dwell in the hearts of people. Lucifer desires to express his frantic obsession with human flesh plus his ungoverned self-will through people. He is doing this today. Imagine—a fallen cherub wanting to dwell in people!

Christ desires to express His peace and joy, and especially the Father’s righteousness and holiness—and perfect will—through people. He is doing this today.

How much better to have a man living in us than a cherub! "But I don’t want anybody living in me!" Too late! You were made with a vacuum in you, and if God doesn’t live there somebody else will.

I wish these rebellious angels would get away from us.. All they do is harm people. Why don’t they go back where they came from and fly around up there? We have enough problems down here. It’s hard enough to survive spiritually without a pack of demons and angels making things difficult for us.

Well, you have your choice. If you listen to Lucifer—and he is on the sitcoms and talk shows every day so you’ll get lots of opportunity to hear what he has to say—he will be more than glad to influence and possess you. You will have plenty of excitement. Las Vegas—here I come!

How disgusting to be victimized by one’s own appetites!

If you listen to Christ, and you can hear Him in some of the churches and on a few programs, He will be more than glad to influence and possess you. In fact, the Day Star will rise in your heart announcing the new day of God’s Kingdom.

You may not have as much fleshly excitement but you will have peace and joy.

Satan will lead you straight into the eternal furnace and your smoke will go up forever.

Christ will lead you into green pastures and quiet waters, and finally to everlasting joy.

Both day stars are out there. Take your pick.

The only thing at stake is your future!

The physical world shrivels, crumbles, and passes away. But the Life of God grows fresher and brighter as we approach the dawn of eternity.

February 18th

THE NEW COVENANT

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: (Hebrews 8:10)

The new covenant was predicted in the old. The new covenant applies only to the house of Israel. For us Gentiles to enter the new covenant, the new testament, we have to become part of Israel through marriage to the Lord Jesus Christ.

The new covenant is not primarily a covenant of forgiveness but of transformation.

The covenant of Moses was a covenant of forgiveness through the blood of animals. The new covenant, while it includes forgiveness through the blood of Jesus Christ, is distinguished not by forgiveness but by transformation. If any person is in Christ, he or she is a new creation in which all things are of God. This the old covenant can never do.

Unfortunately the new covenant is being preached today as a covenant of forgiveness. New-covenant grace is presented as an unconditional amnesty. This hardly is the case. In fact, the reason God gave us the new covenant is that the old covenant was not producing actual righteousness in people.

The purpose of the new covenant is to create people who walk in righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God. This the Law of Moses cannot do because it depends on the adamic nature to find the moral strength to live according to the Divine standard.

Only God can meet His own standard. Under the new covenant God writes His laws in our mind and heart. Then through the power of God’s Spirit we can meet all the expectations of our Father in Heaven. By His grace (and this is what grace truly is—an enabler) we can be perfect as our Father in Heaven is perfect.

The interpretation of the new covenant as the Divine apology for the misconduct of God’s people, as an alternative to righteous behavior, as an all-inclusive panacea, has wrecked God’s intention.

Ours is a new day. God is giving us truth like heaped-up granaries. Don’t waste any time. Store up the corn of the Word. The hour of the skinny cows will come soon enough.

A radical change of your personality for the better is available for the asking.

It is one matter to save a soul from Hell. It is another matter to get Hell out of the soul. Hell will never be allowed into Paradise.

February 19th

COMPARTMENTALIZED THINKING

For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. (I Corinthians 2:16)

There is a great deal of compartmentalized thinking in the world, even among the saints of God. We have two or more compartments in our brain in which we put ideas. The ideas in one compartment do not agree with the ideas in the other compartment.

We Christians believe in righteousness. We know that without holiness no person will see the Lord. We believe the Bible to be a holy book that directs us to be clean morally, to tell the truth, to refrain from violence and covetousness, and so forth.

But our doctrine does not agree with this. Our doctrine tells us that Jesus did it all and if we will only believe, God will see our conduct only through Christ.

We are happy living in this illogical state but sooner or later we get into trouble. The individual who hears each Sunday about grace then goes off with a woman (sometimes another "grace-filled" believer) and leaves his wife and children.

The minister who preaches grace falls through lust. Then his associates and his congregation who cheered him on in his preaching of grace cry "shame! shame!" and he is barred from the ministry.

If God does not see the man’s misbehavior but only the moral purity of Christ, who are we to cry shame, shame?

This inconsistency has not been so obvious in time past because our cultural mores have taken the place of sound doctrine from the pulpit. We know it is a shame to commit adultery, to lie, to steal. If the Lord Jesus or the Apostle Paul had been an adulterer, liar, or thief, we wouldn’t pay attention to what they said.

But now the cultural mores have been corrupted. Satan has torn down our last defense against sin and we are left with the overemphasis on the grace of forgiveness (as though that were the only aspect of Divine grace). Any sociologist could have predicted the outcome—our nation is on the path to moral desolation and consequent destruction.

The Muslims and the Communists put us to shame in the area of decent moral behavior, in some instances. And we are the children of God?

The Spirit of God is crying for repentance in America. But our doctrine is not compatible with repentance. If we are perfect in Christ, if God sees us only through Christ, there is no real basis for repentance.

We need to hear from God! The fear of the Lord is gone from the American churches because we are overemphasizing God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness. These abound for the truly repentant. We are setting forth the goodness of God but not His severity. If the balance between mercy and wrath is not restored the present generation of Christians will be of little use to the world as a moral light. Our only hope will be the children who are coming up.

God is good, loving, kind, merciful. He has given us Christ, not as an alternative to righteous behavior but as the means of acquiring righteous behavior. May God give us the mind of Christ until our whole body is full of light.

If an individual is not walking in daily trust in the Lord and is not being transformed into the moral image of Jesus, then his church membership will avail him nothing in the Day of the Lord.

February 20th

IS GRACE AN ALTERNATIVE TO RIGHTEOUSNESS?

Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (Romans 3:24)

When we considered going on the Internet the thought came that we should emphasize righteousness, not imputed or ascribed righteousness but actual righteousness of conduct. Perhaps the most important subject of the Bible, next to the revelation and work of Jesus Christ, is righteous behavior.

God’s purpose in giving us a new covenant is that we might have the Divine grace necessary to enable us to live righteously, that is, in honesty, moral purity, faithfulness, truthfulness, upright dealing with other people.

But Divine grace has become an alternative to upright, godly behavior. The result of this perverting of the Divine intention is Christian churches that give a dim moral light or no light at all.

How did this misunderstanding come about?

The view of grace as an unconditional amnesty that operates independently of our moral behavior (which is antinomianism, an ancient heresy) proceeds from a misunderstanding of the early chapters of the Book of Romans.

Paul is speaking primarily to Jewish Christians in these passages of Romans. The Jews already were trained in the laws of righteous behavior even though in some instances they did not obey them. Paul went to the heart of the new covenant and exhorted the Jews to look up from the Law and put their faith in the Lord Jesus for salvation.

Along come the Gentiles. Most of us have not had the excellent training in righteousness given to Jews in the time of Paul. When we read that we are justified freely by the grace of God through Christ we think, "Whoopee! I ought to try to do good but since I’m justified freely by grace I will go to Heaven no matter how I behave" (added confusion in that Paul was not referring to going to Heaven but to salvation in the Day of the Lord).

Paul was not presenting Divine grace as an alternative to godliness (as the remainder of his writings reveal beyond all doubt) but as an alternative to circumcision, not eating pork, and the other aspects of the Law that were peculiar to Israel.

By offering faith in Christ, Paul was not saying we can go ahead and commit adultery, steal, covet the things of our neighbor, and murder people. Paul says several times that if we break the eternal moral laws of God, of which the Ten Commandments are a special edition, we will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

We see then there is enormous confusion today concerning grace.

Grace is not an alternative to righteous conduct. If we do not behave righteously, as God helps us, we will not inherit the Kingdom of God. We will be removed from Christ, from the Vine.

The blindness to this simple biblical truth must be of supernatural origin because devout, otherwise brilliant scholars keep on advising the Christians they do not have to endure to the end in order to be saved.

We have thwarted the purpose of Divine grace. It is time to start preaching the truth. God wants His children to keep His commandments. Let’s quit the excuses and start doing what the Bible says. Maybe God will have mercy on us before the good old USA slides into the ocean.

And please . . . let’s stop calling people legalists who are trying to get the believers to keep the commandments of Christ and His Apostles! They are only trying to fulfill the Great Commission.

Why are the commandments of Christ and His Apostles in the Bible if they are not to be obeyed?

February 21st

ALL THERE IS, IS NOW

Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (Matthew 6:34)

Are you a stressed-out personality? I am—the original choleric.

One evening (just before my heart attack) I was in my office at church praying. The service was about to begin.

The Lord said, "All there is, is now."

I thought, "Boy, I’m a short-termer. I may die before I go out to preach."

Well I didn’t. In fact I am still alive and giving people a bad time.

It took a while before the wisdom of the Lord’s word took hold. It’s really profound! Yesterday at that time was now. Tomorrow will be now when it gets here.

Did you ever lay in bed all tense with your fists clenched and your toes curled up? Analyze the situation. You probably will find there is nothing wrong right now, it is the future or the past that has you tensed up. Right?

It is difficult for some of us to live in the present.

I’m riding in the car. I’m all tensed up. Why? Because I’m thinking about what I’m going to do when I get there.

Did you ever notice on the airplane what happens during a landing? The seat belt sign goes off. Everyone springs to his feet. Most of the people stand bent over because of the low ceiling until they can get out in the aisle. There we stand all tense, waiting for the line to move.

Usually you don’t save five minutes doing this. It makes much more sense to stay seated until there is room. But there we are, living in the future, not aware we are cramped and uncomfortable, worrying about when the line will start moving.

Do you ever do this?

It isn’t easy but I have been trying to catch myself from time to time and say "All there is, is now." It really helps. You begin to relax, realizing you aren’t hurting (most of the time). In fact you might take a nap instead of anticipating the future.

This sounds like Reader’s Digest material but I’m not into smelling the flowers and noticing how beautiful the sunset is. Maybe you are. You’re fortunate. God made a beautiful world and it ought to be enjoyed.

But I’ve got things I want to do, like telling people what I have learned over the last half-century as a Christian and some of the truth the Lord tells me. Maybe somebody will be encouraged and begin to joyfully seek the Lord and walk in righteousness.

One such person makes all the tension worthwhile. But taking a deep breath and saying "All there is, is now" gets rid of some of the strain.

This procedure is most effective if you have committed all that you’re worrying about to the Lord.

Today is the day of salvation. Thank you, Lord.

Mother, are we there yet?

I will lay down at night and sleep peacefully. God gives His beloved sleep and He alone guards them against all evil. Ask the Lord to make this your testimony.

February 22nd

YOUR GIFT TO THE WORLD

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:3,4)

The mainspring of Christianity is death and resurrection.

The true Christian life is a series of deaths and resurrections. Our first nature, that which was born of our parents, may be considered a temporary form that God invented so He could create an eternal humanity.

When we receive Christ, our sins are forgiven. We then embark on the pathway of life. There is no true eternal life in our first nature. Eternal life has to come from outside, from the living God.

In order to embrace the true life we have to turn away from the old. This we do through prayer, step by step as the Spirit of God leads and enables us.

Let us say someone offends us. The adamic nature is easily offended.

Now we have a choice. We can fume and seek revenge, or we can go to God in prayer until the bitterness is past and we are able to let the anger go and get on with life.

If we allow the offense to create anger and bitterness in us (I am talking to Christians now) we keep our adamic nature alive. Soon other sins will crop up. We will lose the portion of eternal life given to us in the beginning. (You can’t hate your brother and have eternal life at the same time!)

If we go to God in prayer, staying at it until we are able to forgive and let the anger go, a part of our old nature will die on the cross with Christ. In its place will come a portion of the nature of the risen Christ. This is what it means to be born again.

Being born again is not some religious experience that begins and ends when you first receive Christ. Rather it begins then and must continue each day until a new creation comes forth.

Death and life! Death and life! Death and life! This is why the Christian life requires patience.

It’s worth it, though. Unless you are pleased with your adamic nature (I am disgusted with mine) you may wish to be changed. Your family wishes you would change. Your friends wish you would change. The world wishes you would change. God wishes you would change. Here is your chance to please everybody.

Anything is better than this!

Make the best of it. Die with your boots on. Say farewell to Adam. You won’t see him in the Kingdom of God.

The new man, Christ in you, is the Kingdom of God. Celebrate Christmas by giving to the world a new person—you!

Give God your best and God will give you His best. "All Mine are Yours and Yours are Mine." Can you follow Christ in this?

February 23rd

THE FORMING OF CHRIST IN US

My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, (Galatians 4:19)

The believers in Galatia had been saved and filled with God’s Spirit. Paul spoke to them, as he did also to the believers in Ephesus, that they were to be strengthened until Christ was dwelling in them in the fullness of God.

There are numerous people in the world today who have been saved through the blood of Christ and have been filled with God’s Holy Spirit. This is not the end. We must go on from here until Christ is formed in us.

We are using the term "born again" incorrectly today. It is as though all a person has to do is "make a decision for Christ" and he then is born again. No such usage is found in the Book of Acts or in the Epistles of Paul.

Making a decision for Christ is just that—it is deciding that Christ is our Redeemer and that we must come to Him if we are to be spared in the day of God’s wrath.

But being born again has to do with our entrance into the Kingdom of God. Each moment of each day we must decide to go God’s way or our own way. If we go our own way, nothing happens. We do not enter the Kingdom of God even though we have "made a decision for Christ."

If we go God’s way of prayer, Bible reading, and obedience, our old adamic nature keeps dying and Christ keeps being born in us. Christ is formed in us, as the Apostle says. All the ministries of the Church keep on working and travailing that we might put our old nature on the cross and rise with Christ in newness of life.

Dying and living. Dying and living. Christianity is a religion. Salvation is a personal experience with the living Christ who gives us daily His body and blood that we might live by Divine Life.

This world is boring at best (unless one is living in the wild excitement of the fast lane—and the end of that is terrifying!) and a horror at worst. He who endures to the end shall be saved. But during this endurance contest we can know the joy of exchanging our adamic nature for the eternal life, wisdom, and power of God.

We cannot see or enter the Kingdom of God except as we are born again. Every member of the Kingdom must be born twice: once of woman and once of God. It is that second birth, birth of the Divine Nature, that brings forth the Kingdom of God, the rule of God, in us.

The weeds and the wheat are coming to maturity in our day. Each one of us is being forced to a decision. The middle ground is disappearing. Either we lay hold on the living Christ or we default to the power of Satan. We are only particles of dust confronted by two colossal personalities.

Choose Christ and you will walk the compressed, thorny path that leads to the gates of splendor.

Neglect Christ and you will walk in increasing deception until you realize you have been the plaything of forces greater than yourself and are driven to the flaming ovens that give no light.

O Lord, give us all eyes to see spiritual reality!

God has saved you and filled you with His Holy Spirit. Are you willing now to allow God to make you His throne, His house, His chariot?

February 24th

THE ALL-INCLUSIVE PANACEA

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8,9)

When I received the Lord a while back, I was given the above verses to memorize. It was a long time before I read the next verse. The next verse does away with what I had been taught about the previous two verses. The next verse tells us we are saved to do good works. Why didn’t they tell me that? Is there some kind of bias, some conspiracy working here? Now I’m getting paranoid.

I was informed that I was saved by grace and no matter what I did I would go to Heaven. But that tenth verse said I was saved to do good works.

It has taken me many years to grasp what was wrong with the Christian (I am a Christian) teaching of grace.

The general understanding is that grace is an all-inclusive panacea. I appreciate the fact that all-inclusive panacea is a redundant expression in that panacea means an all-inclusive remedy. But then the expression "rule and reign with Christ" is redundant and everybody says that!

I thought I had it nailed by defining the current understanding of grace as "forgiveness." But then I realized grace is being used to include far more than forgiveness. It is like a magic, or snake oil, that makes up for every human imperfection.

You’re not serving God? No problem. You’re saved by grace. You’re not taking up your cross and following Jesus? No problem. You’re saved by grace.

You find the demands of the Bible too harsh? No problem. You’re saved by grace.

You want to divorce your husband and leave your four children? You’re a naughty girl and shouldn’t do that. But, Honey, not to worry. You can never lose your salvation. Once you believe in Jesus you’re saved by good ol’ grace.

You want to leave your wife and children and run off with the piano player? Your denomination may defrock you for six months but you will still hear the Lord say, "Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter the joy of your Lord." You are saved by grace.

Grace—the all-inclusive panacea. How wonderful to have some snake oil that will heal your cancer and take rust off your fenders.

Amazing grace is truly amazing! It can reconcile the worst of sinners to God. True grace is God in Jesus Christ forgiving people and then enabling them to live so as to please God.

The grace we are preaching today is even more amazing. The sinner is forgiven and brought to father’s house where he can keep on sinning. We are preaching a panacea that not only forgives people but overlooks every shortcoming. No matter how people behave, they are assured of entrance into the Presence of God.

Do you have any idea how totally unscriptural, how totally abominable such a doctrine is to Jesus Christ? It frustrates completely His intention to take sinful human beings and turn them into holy warriors who can return with Him and drive sin from the creation.

What a wonderful thing such a panacea would be. We could have our cake and eat it too. We could fool around in this world, live as we please, and then appear as a great mountain of fire, ready to "rule and reign" (sic) with the Lord Jesus.

On the other hand it would not be so wonderful at all. We would be stuck in the new Jerusalem with the same crowd of backbiting, spiteful, malicious, slanderous church people, all praising God for His grace.

Dear Lord, deliver us from such "grace." Thank you.

Christ did not come to bring the wicked into Paradise but to enable the wicked to learn righteousness. To not understand this is to not understand the Kingdom of God.

February 25th

DO YOU HAVE ENOUGH OIL IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY?

They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. (Matthew 25:3,4)

One time the writer asked the Lord why he would not be allowed to share his "oil" with the needy in the Day of the Lord. The Lord seemed to reply that in that Day one would have only enough oil for himself. Even the righteous are saved with difficulty. A sobering thought!

In the eighth chapter of Romans, Paul reveals to us why "oil" is so important in the Day of Christ.

We Christians possess a physical body that is dead because of the sin that resides in it.

God already has placed within us the Spirit of life that, in the Day of Christ, will raise us from the dead:

We have a dead body but within us is the Spirit of the resurrection.

If we choose to put to death through the Holy Spirit the deeds of our body, overcoming the lusts of our flesh and our pride and self-will, the resurrection life within us will be powerfully present, awaiting only the trumpet of God to make alive our mortal body.

But if we choose instead to live "in the flesh," thinking and acting according to the desires of our flesh and fleshly mind, the resurrection life within us will decrease in vitality until it is present in minimal amount or not at all:

We still have our Christian "testimony"—our profession of belief in Christ, but the resurrection life is gone out of us.

When the trumpet of God sounds there will be no response from within us. We shall understand, because of our knowledge of the Word of God, what is taking place. But we shall find, to our panic and terror, that there is no eternal life rising up from within us. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth in that hour.

Satan will then turn against us and mock us because he has been successful in causing us to believe we can be involved in the prosperity of this world’s culture and still be a servant of Christ Jesus. Satan will gleefully remind us that we have been as faithless as he himself.

The Day of the Lord will fall as a snare on the inhabitants of the earth, including the believers who have not been looking constantly to Christ Jesus. The Christians who have allowed the love of the world to interfere with their sowing to the life of the Spirit of God will not have the inner power to enable them to join together with the elect who have been raised from the dead.

It is not possible to be entangled with the things of the world, as so many Christians are today, and then respond successfully to the trumpet of God in the Day of Christ.

How about you? Are you carrying a good supply of oil in you?

The Christian who is living according to his fleshly nature is keeping himself out of the Kingdom of God. There is no sin in the Kingdom.

February 26th

A CROWN OR A DIAPER?

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. (Galatians 6:7,8)

The principle of sowing and reaping is a Kingdom law. It shall never be done away or changed in any manner.

Some have speculated that grace somehow modifies or abolishes this law. It is a fact that when we come to the Lord Jesus for the first time He forgives all the sins of the past. We may suffer throughout our lifetime because of some of our actions before we came to the Lord, but our sins are forgiven.

The problem of today is the application of Divine grace to the Christian life such that the Christian can sow sin and yet reap eternal life. This is a horrid error. The Christian will reap what he sows during his life. Grace and mercy will not be standing there in the Day of Judgment to prevent the believer from receiving what he has practiced in the body.

The Lord has made provision for us through the blood of the cross. When we get our robe dirty we can confess our sins and receive the Divine cleansing. God will forgive us according to His Word but He may chasten us severely so that we cease sinning.

The believers are being taught they will not reap what they are sowing. They can be lazy, disinterested in the things of God, neglect attendance at church, not read their Bible, pray very little, and still receive the crown of life and righteousness by grace. This is a tremendous lie and it has wrecked the moral strength of the Christian churches.

In several passages of the New Testament the Lord told us that when He comes He will reward each of us according to his works. The Apostle Paul said that at the Judgment Seat of Christ we will receive the good and the bad we have done.

Modern Christian teaching does away with these several passages. Although we profess belief in the full verbal inspiration of the Scriptures, we are not preaching the Scriptures. The Christian churches throughout the world are being taught error.

God in His kindness has given us Jesus Christ so through Him we can overcome our carnal nature and walk in righteousness before the Lord. But we have twisted God’s intention so we do not have to overcome our carnal nature; we do not have to walk in righteousness before the Lord.

One may ask, "What is the use of grace if I am going to reap what I am sowing?"

The answer is, "The purpose of grace is not to change what you reap but what you sow."

The purpose of grace is not primarily to forgive the drunk but to make him sober.

We are not suddenly made righteous and acceptable to God by dying or by the Lord’s coming. We are made righteous and acceptable to God only by drawing near to Christ each day and doing His will.

Christ will help you, but you must take up your cross and follow Him with sincerity and integrity.

In the Day of the Lord you are going to receive whatever your behavior warrants.

Will you get a crown or a diaper in that day?

What do you mean you are saved by grace? Do you mean you can dwell in the Presence of God while there is rebellion in your heart? Awake to righteousness while there is time.

February 27th

SALVATION IS DELIVERANCE FROM SIN

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. (Romans 6:6)

How do you define salvation? What does the word mean to you?

As used in the Bible the term means to be saved from our enemies, in particular, from the influence of Satan.

We hear people say Christ came to deliver the wicked from Hell. Find that in the Bible! Wicked people belong in Hell, not in Heaven.

Christ came to make the wicked righteous so they no longer belong in Hell. Can you accept that fact?

The Kingdom net brings in of all kinds. In the last days God’s messengers will separate the righteous from the wicked. This is what the Bible says will take place.

You will never find in the Gospels or the Epistles that God’s grace is a substitute for righteous behavior. Rather it is by God’s grace that we receive the wisdom and power to turn from the ways of Satan to the ways of God.

The distinction in both the Old Testament and the New Testament is always between the righteous and the wicked, never between those who "have faith in God" and those who do not "have faith in God." The "wheat" are the righteous. The "tares" are the wicked.

"But I am righteous by faith in Christ!" You are mistaking the bypass for the main highway. When the Bible speaks of wickedness and righteousness it is referring to behavior, as Pastor James reminds us.

"The just shall live by faith" means that truly righteous people look to God for every aspect of life rather than to their own abilities. The expression has nothing whatever to do with belief in doctrine. It is how the righteous live!

God has made provision under the new covenant to forgive us and deliver us from sin. As we confess our sins God forgives us and gives us the grace to cease sinning. This is what salvation is—deliverance from sin.

Salvation as such has nothing to do with going to Heaven or anywhere else. To be saved is to be saved from sin. When we are saved from sin, we will be acceptable to God whether we are in Heaven, on earth, or in outer space.

Salvation is not a movement from one place to another but a transformation of personality.

We know that, don’t we? We know that if any person is abiding in Christ a new creation is coming forth. It is the new creation that is salvation.

You can be delivered from sin if you will come to Christ. I am speaking now to Christian people.

I think my mission is to get the Christians saved! Isn’t that funny?

It may be too late for the older people. But there is hope for the kids.

Getting the man out of the cesspool is repentance. Getting the cesspool out of the man is salvation.

February 28th

TO SUFFER OR NOT TO SUFFER

Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; (I Peter 4:1)

There is some weird teaching going forth. The believers are being taught they are not supposed to suffer. Can you believe this?

That the believers are accounted as sheep for the slaughter is true of the old covenant and the new, as the New Testament teaches plainly.

We have heard it said that if the Apostle Paul had faith he would not have had to suffer. Can you imagine? Too bad Paul didn’t understand about faith.

The next step probably will be that Jesus Christ would not have had to suffer on the cross if He had faith. Is there no end to the presumption of man?

Suffering is an important aspect of salvation. Suffering turns us away from sin, if received correctly, and also helps demolish the greatest problem we have—self-will. This is why it is those who suffer who will rule with Christ.

The saints who went before us are an example to us of patience in suffering.

God is moving through His churches to select soldiers for His army. Those who refuse to suffer, perceiving all suffering as coming from Satan, will be sent home. They do not know the God of Jacob.

Those who are accepted into the army of Christ will experience much tribulation. The tribulations and suffering that come upon them will purify them. Their faith will be tried in the fire becoming more precious than any gold mined from the earth.

The self-will shall be destroyed from them and they will learn obedience to God just as Christ Himself learned obedience through suffering.

We are saved by suffering. The fiery trials that come upon us are a judgment of God on the evil in our personality. If we profit from our suffering, we will be found worthy of the Kingdom of God.

If we would know the power of Christ’s resurrection, we must be willing to share His sufferings.

When suffering comes on you go to God in prayer. If you complain about the tools God uses, whether people or circumstances, you will grow bitter. If you press, press, press into God, you will be formed in the moral image of Christ.

I enjoy writing about suffering but I do not enjoy suffering. I have had my share and wouldn’t trade it. I am better for it. However, I am not anxious for more (unless God finds it necessary). How about you?

You will never find God until you are willing to suffer under His hand.

March 1st

WHO IS IN CONTROL?

Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. (I Corinthians 12:4-6)

Never before in history have God’s people had so much knowledge and possessed so many of the gifts and ministries of the Spirit of God.

This knowledge and possession have brought us to a place of great opportunity and also great danger.

The opportunity has to do with our participation in the last great revival scheduled to take place before the Lord returns.

The danger is that we will take this knowledge and power and attempt to change the world, get rich or famous, or whatever.

You may have read in the Book of Revelation concerning the False Prophet, the miracle worker who supports Antichrist. The False Prophet is the self-driven person who attempts to use the things of Christ according to his or her own desires and understanding.

How do I know? Because the False Prophet has two horns (power) like a lamb but speaks with the voice of the dragon. He imitates Christ but wouldn’t dream of taking up his cross and following the Master.

Those who today are telling us to speak creative words, change our circumstances by "imaging," "say the word of faith," and so forth are speaking with the voice of the dragon. To attempt to use metaphysical power, the power of the fallen adamic nature of man, is not of Jesus Christ.

Read your Bible. You will find that the emphasis is on God, what the Lord will do, on looking to the Lord, on having faith in the Lord, on exalting the Lord. You will find no emphasis on what we are supposed to do by faith in God.

In the entire eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews, the "faith chapter," there is not one instance of aggressive faith, of "doing great things for God."

In every instance the faith was obedience to God.

I know the spirit of the prophet is subject to the prophet. But if the prophet is not subject to the Holy Spirit we have the False Prophet, the spirit of religious seduction.

I have heard it all—"put on your administrative hat and command the universe"; "rise up sons of God and take the Kingdom"; "you don’t have to pray because Christ is in you"; and so on and on ad nauseam.

Don’t these people have any knowledge of God at all?

But didn’t Jesus say we would move mountains and curse trees? He did indeed. But He was not inviting presumptuous acts, He was marveling at how far God’s children had fallen from their inheritance. It always is God’s will for His children to walk on the water and command the fish. But if we managed to do this we would incorporate and send out little white envelopes. We would be lost to God and His purposes.

If self-centered people learn to speak creative words, we will have galactic chaos.

Who is to be in control, God or man?

I have seen all kinds of emotional acting out when the Spirit of God is present with God's people. God is good! But it is the commandments of Christ and His Apostles that need to be emphasized in the present hour.

March 2nd

THE HOLY SPIRIT IS THE LAW

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2)

Did you ever think of the Holy Spirit as being Law? He is indeed the Law of the new covenant.

The Jews came to Mount Sinai fifty days after they left Egypt. Therefore they associate Pentecost (the fifty-day feast) with the giving of the Law. We also should associate Pentecost with the giving of the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus.

The purpose of law is to tell us what we can and cannot do. This is what the Holy Spirit does. As we learn to walk in the Spirit He tells us what we can and cannot do. Also He gives us the wisdom and strength to choose what is good and to do it.

How does the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus set us free from the law of sin and death?

The law of sin and death is the interaction between the Law of Moses and our sinful nature. Our sinful nature lies. The Law of Moses condemns our lying. And so we remain unrighteous before God.

The Holy Spirit, on the other hand, uses the authority of the blood of Jesus to keep us without condemnation. The righteousness of Jesus, who kept the Law of Moses perfectly, is given freely to us when we are following the Spirit.

Then the Spirit gives us the strength and wisdom to recognize and put to death our sins including our lying. If we are praying, reading our Bible, and doing all else the New Testament commands, the Spirit will begin to make us aware of our thoughts, words, and actions that are not in accordance with the Scripture.

When we recognize the sins we are committing we are to confess them to God as sin. As we do the Lord freely forgives our sin and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. The power of the Spirit attacks the sin in our nature and weakens it to the point we then are able to gain victory over it.

It is said sometimes that the only law that governs the Christian is the law of love. This is not true. There are hundreds of commandments that were given us by Christ and His apostles. They are to be obeyed. We can obey them by the grace given to us through the Spirit of God.

I have had some experience with those who profess "love," both inside and outside the church. I would rather dwell with a pride of lions. It would be safer.

The true Christian is the one who prays, reads his Bible, assembles with fervent disciples as he has opportunity, gives, serves, and does all else commanded by the Scriptures. He or she will be led from victory to victory over the sins of the carnal nature.

What we have today is not Christian doctrine but a wresting of the words of the Apostle Paul to mean we can do whatever we want and still be acceptable to Christ.

The author has been accused of legalism, of preaching "works." We do not understand what is meant by "legalism" unless it indicates we are trying to keep God’s laws as the Spirit helps us. If so, we plead guilty.

We understand "works" to mean we are endeavoring to keep God’s commandments. We plead guilty. (How else do you obey the Great Commission?)

I’ll show you my Christian life by my works and you show me your Christian life by your neglect of Christ’s commandments.

(I wouldn’t have to talk such nonsense if people would read their Bibles!)

We are free from the authority of the Law of Moses only as we are crucified with Christ and risen with Christ to walk in the new life of righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God.

March 3rd

GETTING THE VICTORY OVER SIN

For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. (Romans 6:14)

How do we get victory over sin? By praying, reading the Bible, fellowshiping with fervent disciples, giving of our means, serving as we have opportunity, and doing all else the Scripture commands.

We must present our body a living sacrifice to God, which is our reasonable worship.

We must take up our cross of self-denial and follow the Lord Jesus each day.

We must be persuaded that victory over sin is possible and necessary.

We must understand that Jesus did not come to forgive the works of the devil but to destroy them.

We gain victory over the sin of worldliness by keeping our involvement with the world to a minimum and spending time in prayer and Bible reading. Many Christian people waste God’s time as they occupy themselves with sports, with the gaining of money, with hobbies, with amusements of various kinds.

One of the biggest wastes of Christian time is the hours spent in front of the television. The true Christian is not as involved with sports, television, other forms of entertainment, hobbies, the perfecting of talents, the making of money, as is true of the average American. We are different!

When we were baptized in water, we were crucified to the world. Our old adamic nature is on the cross with Jesus and our new born-again nature is in Heaven in Christ at the right hand of God.

We get victory over the lusts of the flesh by praying, seeking the Lord, and claiming the power of the Spirit as we confess and renounce the temptations we experience. As long as we are in this physical body we are tempted. But God makes a way through every temptation if we will pray and seek His face.

The temptation of lust is increasing as the demon hordes are released in America and Europe. Only the most determined believer will be willing to lay hold on God to the point that lust is successfully resisted.

Our biggest problem is self-will. To be a true Christian often means the deferring of our most fervent desires and continuing in a situation we detest. Such prisons can last many years. But only those who remain faithful to death will receive the crown of life and righteousness.

Do not think American or European Christianity is meeting God’s standards. It is not and a Gentile holocaust is on the way. We are not serving Jesus Christ as we should. We are entertaining false apostles. We should know better than to believe God wants us to use our faith in Christ to get rich.

We have no one to blame but ourselves.

We think a great revival is at hand, the outpouring of the promised latter rain. God grant that it be so.

But after the worldwide revival there will be the greatest apostasy of all time unless God’s leaders call the believers to cross-carrying obedience and quit tickling their ears with lawless grace (antinomianism).

We have been deceived. God is giving us a wake-up call.

Unlimited glory and unlimited deception are both at hand. Which will it be for you?

When we continue to sin we still are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

March 4th

BUILDING THE WALL

Now these are the nations which the LORD left, to prove Israel by them, even as many of Israel as had not known all the wars of Canaan; only that the generations of the children of Israel might know, to teach them war, at the least such as before knew nothing thereof; (Judges 3:1,2)

God intends that His servants gain victory over sin through Jesus Christ. We are victorious as we confess our sins and turn away from them, with the Lord’s help. It is urgent that we live the life of victory if we expect to hear "Well done, good and faithful servant."

You don’t hear those words by grace but by doing good and being faithful.

God has the power to remove all sin from us at once just as He gave Joshua a change of clothing (Joshua 3:4). In fact, God easily could have prevented Eve from eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and spared us six thousand years of misery.

Why didn’t He (doesn’t He) do it? In order to understand the reason you have to look at what God is about. God knew before He created the heavens and the earth that man would sin. Sin had begun in Heaven around God’s throne. God has in mind to make an end to sin in His creation.

God’s plan is to create a new race—people who are so filled with Christ they can prevent sin in the future. Make sense?

First Christ had to be severely tested. Having passed the test, we now have a chance through Him to have a wall built in us that forever will keep us and those whom we are governing from sinning and rebelling against God. It is as simple as that!

If you are a Christian you are a saint, a holy one of God. Your role in life is to become a royal priest, that is, someone who can help Christ govern the creation.

It is obvious from this that a Christian who does not gain victory over sin is not suited for such an undertaking. He or she is still part of the problem, not part of the solution. So gaining victory over sin is not a nice thing that some super-Christian does. Victory over sin is the key to your usefulness in the plan of God for your life, for it is in the struggle against sin that the wall is formed.

Two completely false ideas are circulating. One is that we will gain victory over sin by dying physically. This makes physical death our redeemer instead of the enemy it actually is. The other false idea is that the Lord will transform the believers at His coming. They may have been rebellious, sinful, lukewarm. No problem. At His appearing they will be transformed into spiritual giants who will govern the creation.

The man who wasted his talent was not transformed when the Lord appeared to him. Rather he was dismissed to the outer darkness.

Both of these ideas are totally unscriptural, totally false, totally illogical, totally misleading and destructive. This leaves us only one opportunity to become a ruler with God. You guessed it! It happens only as we abide in Christ, following Him carefully each day, keeping His commandments, doing all He tells us. It is here on the earth that the commanders are made. It is here we learn stern obedience to the Father. It is here the wall against sin is constructed. It is here the Son of God was perfected. It is here we shall be perfected.

Satan is spreading lies in the Christian churches. This is because he desires to inherit the earth. He wishes we all would fly away to Heaven—where he came from. We have no intention of flying away. The earth and its nations are our possession. Through Christ we are learning to rule today. When He appears, we shall appear with Him. He will divide the spoil with the strong.

How about you? Do you want to be vomited from the Lord’s mouth? If not, flee from the current ear-tickling sermonettes. Get down to business with God. Obey Him implicitly through the grace He provides. You shall be crowned king if you are willing to stay in the Lord’s prison until He sets you over the land of Egypt.

Why are you hoping to lay around in your mansion when God has called you to govern the nations with a rod of iron?

March 5th

THE BODY OF CHRIST

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. (I Corinthians 12:12)

The above verse is one of those Bible passages (and there are several!) that we kind of block out mentally because of a sense of reverence or propriety, or whatever. However, God means what He says and it is not reverence or practicality on our part to view one of God’s statements as a nice religious saying without any real meaning. Of course any interpretation we make must not conflict with any other part of the Scriptures.

The verse in question is saying that, like the human body, Christ is made up of many parts. The human being has a head and a body. Christ has a Head and a body.

What does the word Christ mean? It means "anointed with oil," signifying the Presence of the Holy Spirit on Jesus so He can serve as God’s Deliverer, Prophet, Priest, and King. Christ is not Jesus’ last name. His name is Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus Bar Joseph. But Jesus Christ means Jesus the Anointed One of God.

Now, what do we mean when we say Christ is made up of many members like the human body? We are saying that the Anointed Deliverer from God is made up of many persons. This is what the Lord meant when He stated there are many rooms in His Father’s house.

A note of warning here. The Lord Jesus is always eternal, always supreme, always Lord of all. Some have made the mistake of picturing Jesus as one part of a many-membered Christ. This is an error. God has made Jesus both Lord and Christ, meaning He is exalted above the other sons of God.

Having received this warning and avoided this error, let us proceed with the truth of the Scripture. Let us fully accept what the Spirit said through Paul.

The Christian Church is the Body of the Christ. It is nothing less and nothing more than this.

Which church are we talking about for there are a thousand competing denominations? We are speaking of each true Christian, each saint whom God has called from the foundation of the world to be a holy person unto Himself.

All true Christians are part of one Body. All true Christians are part of the great Lampstand of God, the light of the world.

Christ will not return alone. If He were to be the only room in the Father’s house, the only dwelling place of the Father, He would have told us so. But Christ is going to return with His saints. The Lord and His saints will appear to the world as one great Divine Light. Because the members of the Body in that day will be one in the Son and the Father, the world will believe in Christ and everyone who believes in Him, calling on the name of the Lord, will be saved from destruction.

The meek of the earth are waiting for salvation to come at the hands of the sons of God—actually the Son in the sons. It is for this reason you are being tested and refined all the day long.

Do not grow impatient with the Divine training program. There are millions of people who are waiting for the blessing and the Presence of God to come to them. It is destined to come through you!

The victorious saints are the foundations of the wall around the new Jerusalem.

March 6th

THE APOSTASY

And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. (Revelation 11:7)

Before the Lord returns, the foulest, most hideous orgies of all time will take place in the nations of the world. Unbridled lust, murder, riotous living, covetousness, occult practices—all that a wicked person has ever desired—will be practiced without restraint on the earth.

It is this apostasy, this lawlessness, this wicked world spirit that will make it possible for a Satan-possessed human being finally to sit on the throne, on the Mercy Seat, in the Temple of God in Jerusalem. He will declare that he indeed is God and greater than all the other gods that have been worshiped by mankind.

If a person were to make such a statement today the Christian people, and the devout Jews as well, would rise up and pray and object until the pretender was overcome. The time is not here as yet but the drift toward lawlessness is preparing the way for the abomination that will bring unprecedented desolation to earth’s cultures.

In those days (and perhaps they are near!) each believer in Christ must choose whether or not to follow the Lord. It will be easy and convenient to yield to Antichrist and worship in a lukewarm church. Antichrist at first will not appear as a monster but as a benefactor of all persons of good will.

But Antichrist insidiously will put pressure on the saints who are fervent and filled with God’s Spirit. He will work until world opinion is against the saints. Economic stress will increase until God’s people will find it increasingly difficult to provide for the needs of their families—just as is true in some countries today.

It will be much easier to agree and have fellowship with the lawless majority than to be a Spirit-filled saint of Christ and bear a true witness of Christ.

Woe! woe! woe to any believer who turns away from the love of Christ and permits his thinking and actions to be molded by the world spirit! He will lose his crown of life and suffer much torment.

Great glory and authority will be given to those who lead a life of victory in Christ during the rule of Antichrist.

He who endures to the end shall be saved. Many who live in the last days will be first in the Kingdom of God. The end-time will witness frightful scenes as the spirit of Satan expresses itself in the lives of men and women. But during that time the Glory of Christ will shine as never before in the hearts of those who are faithful to God.

Divine Virtue always shall triumph over wickedness, even in the dark days ahead. When spiritual darkness attains its fullness, covering earth’s peoples, then the Light of God Almighty will suddenly shine through the saints and the end of sin and rebellion will be at hand.

We must keep clear in our mind the difference between the pursuit of human happiness and the pursuit of God's righteousness, between the rectifying of social problems and the rectifying of spiritual problems, between democracy and the Kingdom of God.

March 7th

THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH DYING

And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. (Hebrews 2:15)

There is nothing wrong with dying, that is, if you are a conscientious disciple of the Lord Jesus.

Perhaps the greatest fear that people have is the fear of death. Except for those who have a terminal illness that causes them to suffer continually, the average person panics at the thought of death.

We are going along fine. Then we find a lump. Next the biopsy and the miserable days before we hear the result.

Let’s talk about those days in between the biopsy and the result of the test.

Will the results be positive or negative? Our week is ruined. Right?

Jesus Christ came to deliver us from the fear of death. By His death He made it possible for us to hope in a future life. Not a future life in a mansion in Heaven, as the present, impractical mythology sets forth. Who would want to live in a fancy house, wear golden slippers, and play a harp? If you are into harps, save up your money and buy one second hand.

Our heart will inform us that harps and slippers are at the bottom of the list. What we want is love, joy, and peace in an earth-like setting with none of the pains and problems of earth. If you are a sincere Christian, this is what you are going to get in the Day of the Lord. Paradise is to be restored to the earth.

But where will we be in the meantime—before the coming of the Lord?

You will be somewhere in the spirit realm. The Bible doesn’t have much to say about this interim period except it will be a time of rest, and we will be gathered to our people.

But it is not the interim period of spirit existence that the Lord came to proclaim. It is real flesh-and-bone life in a real world on a real earth among people we know. The Presence of God will be everywhere. The children will be able to go swimming without drowning. This is what is coming up.

The person who turns away from God does not have this hope, unfortunately. Life after death for the wicked could be very bad indeed. Something like waiting for a court appearance in which the maximum penalty is eternal suffering.

People of today think that such a thing as eternal suffering is not possible. I’d just as soon not wait to find out.

It is a fact of history that a man named Jesus of Nazareth came to earth. Read what He said and make up your own mind. I did, more than fifty years ago, and I’m here to tell you that nobody else on earth has got it right. And I wasn’t raised in church. I’m just a person like you and I’ve got better things to do than sit here writing lies to you.

The same may be said of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

If you are serving God, God will take care of your loved ones better than you ever could. To you death means the end of paying taxes, tiredness, dread, and everything else that makes life unpleasant.

There is nothing to worry about while you’re waiting for the results of the test (I keep telling myself).

Before Abraham was, God is. Your name was written in God's Book from the beginning of the world.

March 8th

$99.99

Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. (Ephesians 4:25)

Nothing in America costs one hundred dollars. It may cost $99.99 but never one hundred dollars. Maybe this is true throughout the world.

No business would advertise an item at one hundred dollars because shoppers would drive across town in their Cadillac to get the same thing at $99.99. They are not willing to pay a hundred dollars but they will chip off $99.99.

Houses sell for $199,999.99 because a lot of people will not buy a house that costs $200,000. The merchants are so caught up in their own deceit they state during a sale they will take off $14.99 from an item. It would be more impressive if they said they were taking off $15.00!

Satan has injured the heel of people. We cannot stand upright. Everything is devious, slippery, a con. We used to talk of propaganda, and then image. Now it is spin. Put the right spin on it, never mind the facts.

Present the image. Keep people from seeing what is in front of them. Aren’t you sick of it? It is enough to make one ill. Everything is image and spin. Banks are built to look rocklike, solid, eternal. But in my wife’s geology class they taught that some rock is slippery and you shouldn’t build on it.

"You deserve a vacation. We have designed this just for you. We love you." A fool and his money are soon parted—they don’t tell you that.

Most of the words that come to us though the media are intended to persuade, to alter our perception. It is one huge lie. The country seems to be composed of liars. Even in the churches sometimes.

I don’t fret myself about the lack of truth. We are commanded not to fret. One of the big problems of the end-time will be keeping our minds on the things that are pure and lovely. Fretting kills our relationship with Christ!

There is a Rock! His name is Jesus Christ. He not only tells the truth, He Himself is Truth. Truth doesn’t answer the questions where is it, what does it look like, how much does it weigh, when did it happen. Truth answers the question, What does it mean? You will get more truth on your knees in prayer than you ever will watching the television. If you want the eleven o’clock news pray at eleven o’clock.

Only Jesus Christ can tell us what a given thing or situation means. He Himself is the Rock of eternity and He isn’t slippery. Do what He says and your house is on the Rock.

If it were not for Jesus Christ I would buy a cabin in the Canadian wilderness and hide there with my wife. At least the animals and fish tell the truth. Even there the satellites will find you and tell you it is only $99.99. But I still wouldn’t fret about it.

Because of Jesus Christ I can relate to God in truth. God is a fire. His eyes are fire. He burns away the chaff. He demands truth in the inward parts. You can’t relate to God with theology but with fire and the blood of His Son. Maybe you are going through a season of judgment at this time. Jacob will change to Israel if you don’t let go of God. Stay with Him until He puts truth in you. Then stand up straight and tell the truth. It doesn’t require many words.

If we boycotted every store in the nation that uses the $.99 gimmick we would have to return to the barter system. Even then we would have to pay $9,999.99 income tax. Get me my lantern!

It may be the work of a moment to get a person out of the world, but it is the work of a lifetime to get the world out of the person.

March 9th

OUR INHERITANCE

Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s. (I Corinthians 3:21-23)

If the Divine redemption consisted primarily of escape to the spirit Paradise where we would live in a beautiful mansion with our loved ones, doing nothing of significance for eternity, then the program of salvation might focus on the blood of the Lord Jesus as our ticket that we present to Saint Peter upon our physical death.

The Divine redemption in actuality has to do with the restoration by force of their inheritance to the sons of God, an inheritance presently in the hands of Satan, a rebellious cherub. The Lord Jesus is not going to accomplish the redemption by Himself but rather will make it possible for the sons of God to drive Satan from their inheritance.

Because the Divine redemption has as its purpose the full restoration of our inheritance, the program of salvation only begins with our forgiveness through the atoning blood. After we are forgiven there is a lifetime of lessons, deliverances, tests, sufferings, ministries, discipline, obedience, patience, and sacrificial service, that must be endured. He who endures to the end shall be saved. The lukewarm believers, those who have neglected such a great salvation, will be vomited from the Lord’s mouth.

If we would understand the Kingdom of God, we must define salvation as our transformation from the image of Satan into the image of Christ, and also our divorce from Satan and our self-will and our entrance into untroubled union with the Father through the Lord Jesus.

Image and union are what salvation is. A transformed personality and restful union in the Lord do not bring us to salvation, they themselves are the Christian salvation.

Salvation makes it possible for us to participate in the several roles and responsibilities desired for His sons by the Father in Heaven. In addition to serving as a member of the Bride of the Lamb we are to become a living stone in the eternal Temple of God. God has been revealed to His creatures through the Lord Jesus. Now God wants to greatly enlarge the revelation of Himself by forming a body for the Lord Jesus.

We cannot serve as a member of the Bride of the Lamb, as a living stone in the eternal Temple of God, or in any of the other roles and responsibilities assigned to the sons of God until we first have been fully redeemed; that is, until we have been transformed in personality and behavior into the image of Christ Jesus and have been brought fully into untroubled rest in the Father. We are neither eligible nor competent to serve in God’s Kingdom until we first have been saved according to the aforementioned standard.

This is not to say that people have to wait until they are perfect before they can serve God. It is our ministry of today that makes us and those who hear us perfect. The purpose of ministry is to bring us to the standard—the standard that is the fullness of Christ. Rather, when referring to eligibility and competence, we are speaking of our eternal service to God in the Kingdom that is coming to the earth.

All of this may sound new to our generation but it is old-fashioned Christianity. The purpose of salvation is to make us like Jesus and bring us to God. Until we are like Jesus and are walking with God we are of little use to God for His future Kingdom purposes. Let us embrace the program of redemption.

The Kingdom of God is coming to the earth. Here is where the heart of Jesus is, and so is yours although you may not realize it.

March 10th

THE KINGS FROM THE EAST

And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. (Revelation 16:12)

If you listen you can hear them, the drums of El Shaddai, the distant thunder of the hoofs, the trumpets. The earth is shaking. The sky is trembling. The sun and the moon grow dark. The stars no longer are shining. It is as dark as the day of crucifixion.

On the distant horizon two huge banners appear. Light streams from them, the only light in an ocean of blackness. One portrays a lamb that had been slain. On the other is emblazoned a ramping lion. The holy light glints from the tips of spears stretching for a hundred miles. The great shields cover the white robes of the riders.

The mighty war stallions move forward majestically, relentlessly. The horses and riders are one in concentrated purpose, in fury. The heavenly host is irresistible. In the lead a tremendous warrior on a powerful white stallion. Fire flames from His eyes. His robe is blood-red. Power comes from His mouth as a palpable force. These all are dead-living warriors having been crucified and raised again. They are terrible in Divine righteousness. They cannot be frightened or bribed. They are uncompromising! Untouchable!

The army of God flows into the dried-up bed of the Euphrates. Some follow the river bed to cut off Antichrist on the north. Several battalions come straight across the desert, spears down ready for the charge. Christ and some of His captains split off and follow the valley opened up by the earthquake preventing Antichrist from moving south. Antichrist has a sea of blood at his back.

Now the charge begins. Three platoons of psychics attempt to block the Lord’s army with metaphysical power. Their curses turn into poisonous spiders that crawl into their eyes, their mouths, their ears.

Computer-guided artillery fire nuclear warheads point blank at the warriors. They hit an invisible shield and the radioactivity released is driven back on Antichrist and his army by a strong east wind. Canisters of poison gas hit the same shield and the fumes are blown back on the forces of evil. Atomic missiles dropped by planes, guided by satellite stations, turn and begin to seek their own planes.

More confusion! A force field begins to affect Antichrist’s computerized systems. The planes and rockets are disoriented. Computer-operated steering mechanisms of armored vehicles become unreliable and the tanks and armored cars run over their own soldiers. Communication is impossible. The world television stations that had been covering Israel pick up meaningless signals.

Antichrist tries to contact other nations for assistance but his message does not get through. Antichrist’s line of battle begins to waver. Then the men and women turn and flee in every direction in the darkness, throwing down their laser rifles. Antichrist and his officers curse their troops and kill some of them in an attempt to turn them around. But to no avail. The terror of God strikes the soldiers. Giant hailstones fall on them from the sky.

Now the first wave of cavalry hits the fleeing soldiers. Soon the field is covered with corpses heaped on corpses. Blood rises as a dark river. In a matter of hours there is no army remaining. The air is filled with birds coming to the carrion banquet. The gentle Jesus would never do this? Read your Bible.

Now the Lord’s army returns to Jerusalem. Amid the shouts of His captains and soldiers the Lord Jesus goes up to the Temple Mount and ascends the throne of David. There King David himself places the crown of all authority on the head of his greater Son.

As we see the wicked vaunting themselves in the earth, we know that the Day of the Lord is not far off. Where will you be then?

God’s intention is to replace the fallen angels and demons that are controlling the physical world with the spirits of righteous people made perfect.

March 11th

SNAKE OIL

I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: (Revelation 2:2)

(The following account is fictitious. If any ministry is offering blue miracle ties—I know of none—I apologize for the coincidental resemblance.)

"All you dear people, listen to me. Jesus loves you. I want to tell you how to get your miracle tie. I have prepared a million genuine silk blue neckties with hand-sewn white crosses and my name on them. I had you in mind because I want to meet your needs. I and the members of my staff have anguished in prayer over each one of these neckties and laid hands on them. I want you to have one so God can bless you.

"If you have cancer, no problem. Just a touch from one of these silk neckties and the cancer is gone. Arthritis leaves immediately. Skin problems disappear. Forget about the flu. A broken bone? Just one touch from your miracle tie and the bone will set perfectly.

"Do you have a loved one or friend having marital problems? Call them up and hold your miracle tie up to the phone. They will call back within an hour, every problem solved, their children have come back off the street and are preparing to go to college.

"Financial problems? Just send an extra donation when you order your tie and God will send you ten thousand dollars within the month. Having problems in school? Wear your miracle tie when you take your next test and you will be able to answer every question.

"You can have one of these miracle neckties for a donation of just $99.99. Three ties for $299.99 to show you how much God loves you. All major credit cards accepted. I don’t want you to go one day longer without your miracle tie."

Barnum said there is one born every minute. He was talking about suckers. God’s people are suckers. They send their money to con artists. Some poor widow signs her Social Security check over to the evangelist who wears five hundred dollar suits and drives an eighty thousand dollar sports car. She and her cat share a can of cat food for supper. As soon as she sends her check an agent of the evangelist comes to her home to see if she has a will and coerces her to change the beneficiary to the evangelist. With smooth talk and flattering words they deceive the hearts of the simple.

The Book of Revelation commends the Ephesian saints for putting the so-called apostles to the test. Today we have Christian leaders, men who are supposed to know God and have integrity, telling us that if we question these hustlers or their "revival" we are on a "witch-hunt" or "laying our hands on God’s anointed."

If I’m a "witch-hunter" I think I’ve found some.

We should be praying for these deceived preachers that God will bring them to repentance, and at the same time warning the sheep of the danger.

Whenever you feel uncomfortable with a preacher or a revival, your discomfort probably is coming from the Holy Spirit. Honor that first impression. Don’t ever be afraid to question a preacher, a doctrine, or a revival. Always test the spirits. You are obligated to do so. If there is questionable moral behavior or doctrine, keep away from it until you know what you are doing.

God is moving in the land today. Move with the Divine flow. Seek God, read your Bible, assemble with people of integrity. Leave the flashy evangelists to the Lord. He will deal with them soon enough. "Depart from me you miracle-workers. I never knew you!"

Jesus Christ is not a pass from Hell to Heaven but the Way of eternal life.

March 12th

DEATH, OR LIFE?

See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; (Deuteronomy 30:15)

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13)

"For if ye." Who are the "ye" spoken of in Romans 8:13? This is an important question.

The writings of the Apostle Paul, as well as the other Apostles of Christ, contain lists of sins and warn us that if we continue in these sins we will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Because of today’s gross overemphasis on grace, grace being defined only as unconditional forgiveness, these lists are viewed as being directed at unconverted people. If we are saved by unconditional forgiveness, and God sees us only through Christ, then the Apostles could not be referring to us when they warn that those who continue in sin will die spiritually and will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

It is difficult to realize how well-intentioned believers who believe in the inspiration of the Scriptures could ever have arrived at such tortured reasoning.

We must establish, first of all, that the "ye," in Romans 8:13, is speaking to Christians and only to Christians. The greeting at the beginning of Romans tells us that the epistle is addressed to the saints in Rome.

Numerous statements in the first eight chapters of Romans indicate that Paul is writing to Christians, in particular, Jewish Christians.

The verse that precedes Romans 8:13 shows that Paul is speaking to the "brethren," not to people who are not Christians.

That the "ye" are Christians is established by the fact that they have the opportunity to attain life by putting to death the deeds of their body. The unsaved have no such opportunity.

The "ye" are Christians. This is true of all the writings of the Apostles. The several warnings that those who continue in sin will not inherit the Kingdom of God are all addressed to Christians.

Christians shall die spiritually if they choose to walk in the appetites of the flesh and soul.

If you are a Christian, turn away from the current overemphasis and misinterpretation of God’s grace in Christ. It is killing you! It is preventing your resurrection unto life and glory!

If you are not a Christian, God’s grace will forgive all your sins through Jesus Christ if you will by faith receive the blood atonement made by Christ. Then, as you look to God each day, He will enable you through that same grace to follow the path that leads to eternal life.

God brings us out of Egypt on eagles' wings. We have to fight to enter the land of promise.

March 13th

DEATH, OR LIFE? continued

See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; (Deuteronomy 30:15)

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13)

There are only two ways in which a human being can live. One way is after the flesh. The other way is after the Spirit of God. To walk after the flesh is to occupy the great bulk of our life with the things of the animal creation. The animal eats. The animal sleeps. The animal works. The animal plays. The animal reproduces. This is the life of the animal.

The human body is well pleased when we eat, sleep, work, play, and reproduce. In the American culture, the ideal life is that of laying on the beach, soaking up the sun, perhaps drinking beer, viewing half-naked people playing volleyball, and also watching a program on a portable television. American people are willing to work hard so one day they can live in Florida or California laying on the beach without having financial worries. This is the American way of life. This is the life of the adamic, animal creation. This is the way of spiritual death.

While the things we have mentioned are not always considered to be sin, they often lead to sin. Satan and his demons have a picnic when people are living in the appetites of the flesh and having "fun." Whenever the demons choose they provoke such vacationers to fornicate, commit adultery, kill someone, lie, cheat, steal, gossip, slander, imagine vain things, dwell on that which is morally filthy, and otherwise break all the commandments of the Lord.

There is nothing we have to do in order to live in the flesh. Living in the flesh is the natural life of the adamic man. The adamic man is a double-minded moral weakling, a coward, a glutton. He is filled with self-love, self-centeredness, self-seeking, self-will, self, self, self! He is covetous and filled with malice and bitterness.

However, there is much we have to do if we would live in the Spirit of God. We must greet each new day with the determination to walk in the will of God, to abide in Christ, to bring every thought into captivity to Christ. We must spend some time each day meditating in the Scriptures. We must never get so busy there is no opportunity during the day to look up to the Lord and seek His face. We must attend the assembling of fervent Christians on a regular basis. People who claim they can stay home and worship God are deceived.

We must give generously of our means to the work of the Lord, and to the poor as the Lord leads. We must desire the gifts of the Spirit so we may minister to our fellow members of the Body of the Christ. We must present our body a living sacrifice in order to prove the will of God for our own life. We must refrain from being conformed to the world but must be transformed by the renewing of our mind.

We must be quick to confess our sins to the Lord, and to one another when indicated. We must be willing to carry our part of the load of the sufferings of Christ. We must remain in the prison in which the Lord places us, for in order to break out of God’s prison we have to break God’s laws. We must do all things without murmuring and complaining, striving to keep peace and unity among the members of our assembling.

We must awake to righteousness and cease our sinning! The Spirit of God will help us when we resolutely determine to do this.

Those who are accepted into the army of Christ will experience much tribulation. The tribulations and suffering that come upon them will purify them. Their faith will be tried in the fire becoming more precious than any gold mined from the earth.

March 14th

DEATH, OR LIFE? continued

See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; (Deuteronomy 30:15)

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13)

"Ye shall die." What does this mean, "ye shall die"?

We have established that "ye" is referring to Christians. Is Paul saying that if Christians live after the flesh they will die physically? Of course not! Christians will die physically whether or not they live after the flesh.

If we are a Christian our physical body is dead, cut off from God, because there is sin dwelling in it. But our new born-again inward nature is alive because of righteousness. The righteousness of the Law of Moses has been ascribed to our inward nature because we are choosing to obey a new law, the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus. Righteousness always is followed by eternal life.

Our body is spiritually dead. Our new inward nature is spiritually alive because it is righteous. It is righteous because the righteousness of Christ has been imputed to it. The righteousness of Christ has been imputed to it because it trusts in Christ and is walking after the Spirit of God.

Numerous believers of our day are not walking after the Spirit of God. They are living after the flesh. Therefore, the righteousness of Christ is not being ascribed to them. The righteousness of the Law of Moses is imputed only to those who walk after the Spirit.

A spiritually dead body. A spiritually alive inward nature.

If the life of our inward nature depends on righteousness being imputed to us, then if we lose the imputed righteousness by not following the Spirit of God our inward nature dies. If our inward nature dies and the Spirit of God no longer is dwelling in us, then our mortal body will not be made alive by God’s Spirit in the day of resurrection. This is what Paul is saying in Romans 8:13.

If all of this is true, and it is, then the kind of resurrection from the dead we are going to have is being directly affected by the kind of life we are living today.

There is no truth of the Scriptures more lacking than that concerning the impact of our life today on the kind of resurrection we will experience in the Day of the Lord. The trumpet needs to be blown in Zion!

The rod of iron is being created in us now as we overcome sin.

March 15th

DEATH, OR LIFE? continued

See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; (Deuteronomy 30:15)

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13)

The eighth chapter of the Book of Romans is the culmination of Paul’s argument against the Judaizers found in chapters two through seven. Paul has been declaring that the Law of Moses has been superseded by the Spirit of God. Whereas the Law of Moses was our guardian to bring us to Christ, now the Spirit of God is our guardian to bring us to Christ.

Every aspect of the new covenant, from the crucifixion of Christ through to the coming down to earth of the new Jerusalem, is the work of the Holy Spirit of God.

Paul, in Chapter Eight of Romans, is emphasizing the necessity for bringing every aspect of our life under the control of the Spirit of God. If we do not do this, we fall back to our adamic state, which is subject to the Law of Moses. Also, we will slay our new born-again inward nature. The result of returning to our adamic state is incomprehensible loss in the day of resurrection.

After we pass Romans 8:13 we move ahead, in the same chapter, to the revealing of the sons of God and the adoption of our physical body. But all of this glory hinges on our faithfulness in living in the Spirit of God. Even our freedom from condemnation depends on our living in the Spirit of God.

We are free from the law of sin and death (which is the Law of Moses interacting with the sin that dwells in our flesh) on the condition we obey the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus. When we are not obeying the law of the Spirit, we are not partaking of the new covenant. This is true whether or not we profess belief in Christ Jesus. God will have no child who is under neither the Law of Moses nor the law of the Spirit of Life.

It is true also that living according to the Law of Moses is no longer possible because animal sacrifice was an integral aspect of the Law of Moses and animal sacrifice no longer is being practiced.

But we who walk in the Spirit of God do have access to the blood of atonement shed by God’s Sacrifice, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The key to daily pressing into eternal life, which is the only manner whereby we can attain the resurrection of the royal priesthood, the first resurrection from the dead, is the Holy Spirit.

It may be well to emphasize at this point that deliverance from sin is accomplished only as we are faithful to the Holy Spirit! Deliverance is our reward for obeying the Spirit. Eternal life is the consequence of the righteous behavior that results from our being delivered from sin. Thus there is a double reward.

The first reward is deliverance from sin. The second reward, eternal life, is based on our receiving the first reward.

When we are revealed at the Judgment Seat of Christ, we will receive the things we have done in our body. What we have done will have resulted in either eternal life or corruption. We shall be clothed in the day of resurrection either with eternal life or with corruption.

The kind of resurrection we will have depends on what we have done with the Holy Spirit.

The true Christian life is a fight against forces that are striving to make us worldly, sinful, and self-willed. An overcomer is a believer who through Jesus is winning the battle.

March 16th

DEATH, OR LIFE? continued

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13)

There are several passages of the New Testament that list the deeds of the flesh. If we do not, through the Holy Spirit, put them to death, we will die spiritually in the present hour. In the day of resurrection we will receive corruption. If we as a Christian practice moral filthiness in the present hour we will receive moral filthiness in the day of resurrection. If we as a Christian practice hatred and strife in the present hour we will receive hatred and strife in the day of resurrection. If we as a Christian practice lying and deceit in the present hour we will receive lying and deceit in the day of resurrection.

When we are made manifest at the Judgment Seat of Christ, we will receive back the things practiced by our body, whether good, or evil and corrupt.

Salvation is a program of redemption. It begins when we make a profession of faith in Christ. It continues throughout our lifetime. We have to work out our salvation. We work it out by putting to death the deeds of the body and laying hold on the virtue of Christ. We are not made a partaker of Christ until we hold fast the beginning of our confidence to the end of our discipleship.

We begin to follow the Spirit in a state of freedom from condemnation, given to us on the basis of the atonement made on the cross of Calvary. As we pray, read the Bible, attend the assembling of fervent believers, the Spirit of God will point out some area of worldliness, lust, or disobedience in our personality. Have you had that happen to you recently? You probably did for we now are entering a period of judgment, the spiritual fulfillment of the Levitical Day of Atonement.

Let us say the Spirit shows you there is bitterness and unforgiveness in your personality. We know that Christ has commanded us to forgive those who sin against us. Our first action in putting to death unforgiveness and bitterness is to confess these as sin. We are to confess with our mouth that we have unforgiveness and bitterness in our personality and that these are sin. When we confess unforgiveness and bitterness as sin, we are passing judgment on these actions. This is why it is so extremely important to confess our sins as sin. The things hidden in our personality must be brought out into the open and judged for what they are. Otherwise they will be made manifest at the Judgment Seat of Christ in the Day of the Lord.

Having confessed them as sin we then are to ask the Lord to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We may be instantly, totally delivered the moment we confess and repent. In other situations there may be a prolonged battle. The Spirit may bring up related behaviors in our personality, such as anger. Our task is to follow the Spirit, read our Bible, pray, serve, give, as we have said previously.

We will find that once we have confessed and denounced a sin its immediate power over us is greatly weakened. If we then keep on serving the Lord as a Christian disciple, remaining diligent, we can keep the particular behavior under control. We will grow in freedom from bitterness and in the ability to forgive those who formerly infuriated us.

As we engage in spiritual warfare, we remain without condemnation. God’s promise is that if we walk after the Spirit in this manner the righteousness of the Law of Moses will continually be imputed to us. Never, never, never compromise with the sin in your personality. Confess it as sin. Bring it to the Lord for forgiveness and cleansing.

You can go as high in the Lord as you are willing to be pruned.

March 17th

DEATH, OR LIFE? continued

See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; (Deuteronomy 30:15)

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13)

Obviously the Apostle was not speaking of living physically because we live physically whether or not we put to death the deeds of our body. In any case the context reveals that the issue here is spiritual life, in particular the making alive of the mortal body in the Day of Resurrection.

If we live after the flesh we will kill our own spiritual life and consequently produce a resurrection of corruption.

The purpose of our Christian life is to attain the resurrection to eternal life, in particular, the crown of life and righteousness. The Apostle Paul toward the end of his life was seeking to attain to the first resurrection from the dead (Philippians 3:11).

The resurrection of the dead, the out-resurrection of which Paul speaks, must be attained. It is not gained by making an initial profession of belief in Christ. If it were, Paul would not still be seeking such perfection after serving the Lord for so many years.

After we receive the forgiveness of sins through the blood atonement made by Christ Jesus, and are baptized in water and in the Holy Spirit, we find we now have a choice. We can continue to live as an adamic man, our mind being involved with the things of this world.

Or we can begin to enter the things of the Spirit of God by praying earnestly each day, meditating in the Scriptures, and having fellowship with fervent Christians.

We can seek to save our life, or we can present our body a living sacrifice that we may prove the will of God for ourselves, finding what area of service He has in mind for us.

It is our opinion that there are few believers who truly are presenting their body a living sacrifice, who are taking up their cross and following the Master. There are some, but they are but a handful compared with the number of people who profess faith in Christ.

As we learn to walk in the Spirit, being guided and helped by godly elders (for walking in the Spirit is an art that requires many years to perfect and there are dangers!), we find we have in our personality a tendency to look to the things of the world for our security and survival, there are many lusts, passions, and appetites in our flesh that are not holy, and we have a strong will that is determined to accomplish its own desires.

These three areas, trust in the world, fleshly lusts, and self-will bring spiritual death.

As we are faithful in cooperating with the Spirit in overcoming the world, our flesh, and our self-will, we are given to eat of the body and blood of Christ. We increase daily in eternal life. Christ is formed in us. The adamic personality continually is being crucified. This is what it means to attain the out-resurrection from the dead.

As the sins in our personality are brought to our attention, and we confess and renounce them, we actually are passing before the Judgment Seat of Christ. If we are faithful in confessing and renouncing our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. These sins never will be brought up again. It is an eternal judgment.

The gift of eternal life is like the gift of a piano. You get out of it only what you put into it.

March 18th

DEATH, OR LIFE? continued

See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; (Deuteronomy 30:15)

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13)

Since we have been sealed by the Spirit to the day of redemption, and since the Scripture teaches that to those who look for Him the Lord will appear the second time without sin unto salvation, it seems safe to say that the sins that have not been dealt with during our lifetime because of lack of time, or for some other reason, will be removed by the Lord when He appears, on the basis that we have been faithful in every opportunity we have had.

But if we have not cooperated with the Holy Spirit when He has pointed out our sins to us, have not confessed and renounced our sins, have not taken up our cross and followed the Master, we will receive the evil we have practiced. We have not been faithful in the lesser, we will not be trusted with the greater. We have wasted the talent given to us. The outer darkness will be our portion.

If we have been faithful in confessing and renouncing our sins, then, in the day of resurrection, we will be clothed with a sparkling white garment of righteous deeds.

If in addition to being faithful in confessing and renouncing our sins we were faithful in entering the sufferings of Christ so that His resurrection life could spill over to those around us, thus turning many to righteousness, we will receive not only a white robe of righteous deeds but also a crown of eternal life and righteousness. When we are crowned with eternal life and righteousness, we will possess the authority and power to command righteousness throughout the area of the creation of God assigned to us.

In order to participate in the first resurrection, the resurrection of the royal priesthood, we must be cleansed from sin to the point that the second death, the Lake of Fire, which has authority over sin, no longer has authority over us.

The Apostle Paul was seeking to attain the out-resurrection, the resurrection that will take place when the Lord appears. He continually brought his physical body under subjection so he would not sin and thus be disqualified.

How about you and me? Are we willing to lay all else aside that we may learn to live by the power of Christ’s resurrection and to share Christ’s suffering—suffering that is continuing to this day as Christ is pressed by the evil in the creation?

Will we count all else as garbage that we may win Christ and be found in Him, not having the righteousness that comes from keeping the Law of Moses but the righteousness given to everyone who trusts in Christ and follows the Spirit of God?

Will it be death or life for you and me?

It will be death if we choose to live in our adamic nature.

It will be a glorious resurrection filled with incorruptible life in spirit, soul, and body if we choose to walk each day in the Spirit of God, looking to the Lord Jesus in all that we think, say, and do.

Death or life! It’s up to you and me to decide.

Every person is born with a throne room in his or her personality. Who sits on the throne of your life?

March 19th

THE ELEPHANT AND THE MOUSE

And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen. (Mark 16:20)

Once upon a time there was a huge elephant who worked for a lumber company. Although elephants ordinarily do not like mice, this elephant was lonesome and asked a little mouse to be with him and help him with his work.

One day the elephant and the mouse were assigned to haul a giant tree to the river so that it could be floated down to the sawmill. The elephant and the mouse put on their harnesses and began to pull with all their might. Slowly the great tree began to move along the path to the river.

When they got there the mouse wiped the sweat from his forehead and exclaimed, "It was hard work but we got the job done."

Ridiculous you say?

But this often has been the attitude of the Christian churches.

For two thousand years the churches, in many instances, have not recognized that it is the Elephant who does the work. Often they have tried to haul the log without the Elephant, supposing that the work of the Kingdom is performed by their plans, programs, money, and talents.

They have been as one witness. Sometimes the other Witness has been present, sometimes not.

During the closing days of the Church Age there will be two witnesses. This is what Satan fears most—that the Christians will lay aside their own plans and programs and seek the Presence of the Lord. Satan will permit any type of religious activity (although Christian efforts may be irritating to him). But he is deathly afraid that the believers will cease from their own works and permit the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to perform the work of the Kingdom in their ministry; in bearing a true witness of God; in their personal growth in Christ; in all they are and do.

Throughout the present century there has been much excellent ministry, but often a false witness of God and Christ have been given. God has been presented as a kindly old gentlemen who continually forgives and blesses people whether or not they present their body a living sacrifice to Him, whether or not they bury their talents. His consuming wrath, His demand for righteous and holy behavior on the part of those who would have fellowship with Him, His attitude toward the members of the churches who are not diligent in their pursuit of the Lord, are not being presented clearly.

Because of God’s great love for people, and because neither the churches nor the world is prepared for the power, the fury, the destruction that will accompany the installation of the Kingdom of God on the earth, God shall empower two witnesses, the Elephant and the mouse, so that all people may see and understand what will come to pass in the near future.

Would you like to participate in the witness of the Kingdom of God without precedent as to power and glory? It is at hand. Look past the garbage of our culture and you will see the angels leaning over the ramparts of Heaven, waiting to equip you for the work that must be accomplished before the Lord returns.

You can chirp merrily and run around the log if you want to but you’re not going to move it without the Elephant!

There will not be two ministries or two gifts in the last days but two witnesses—Christ and those in whom He is dwelling.

March 20th

A SUPERIOR COVENANT

But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. (Jeremiah 31:33)

Christians are fond of saying that God has done away with the Law of Moses. They are correct in one sense but incorrect in another sense. The new covenant indeed is a replacing of the Law of Moses with a better covenant. However, the better covenant is the eternal moral law of God of which the Law of Moses, including the Ten Commandments, is an abridged version.

God never will do away with the moral law. The moral law is eternal, being of the Divine Nature of God. To alter the moral law in the smallest part would be to bring the worst of all calamities on the universe.

The Ten Commandments are a limited expression of the eternal moral law of God. The Ten Commandments are spiritual and perfect. Our adamic nature was born in sin and shaped in lawlessness and in no manner can conform to that perfect, spiritual law of God—the Ten Commandments.

How does God write His law in our hearts and minds? Christ is the Word, the Law of God. As we submit to the crucifixion through which the Lord guides us, Christ is formed in us. The Word is formed in us. The new covenant is formed in us. The eternal moral law, of which the Ten Commandments are, as we have stated, an abridged version, is formed in us.

As death and life work in the Christian he begins to reveal the deeds of the law in his personality. It is not an escaping of the law of God. Rather it is a case of dying to Moses, being married to Christ, and bringing forth the fruit of union with Christ, which is righteous, holy, obedient behavior. The intent of the Law of Moses is righteous, holy, obedient behavior.

If a Gentile believer says to the Jewish person, "I am not under the Law but under grace," he is not conveying the truth of the new covenant although he is quoting a verse from the Book of Romans.

The believer ought to be saying something like the following: "I am not attempting to keep the Ten Commandments in my own strength. I am submitting to death and resurrection so Christ, who is the Law, the Word, made flesh, may be formed in me. I am not without law or else Christ would be the minister of sin. Rather, Christ, who Himself is the Law of God, is bringing forth a new creation in me—a creation that by nature keeps the eternal moral law of God."

The new covenant is not a doing away with the law of God but a bringing forth in us of Christ who Himself is God’s eternal law.

The path of the righteous is a shining light, but where there is no righteous behavior God is not glorified.

March 21st

THE ETERNAL SABBATH

For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. (Hebrews 4:10)

The fourth chapter of the Book of Hebrews presents the rest of God as a goal toward which we should be striving.

The rest of God is the state in which the saint is abiding in the perfect will of God at all times, under all conditions, for eternity.

The rest of God is compared, in the fourth chapter of Hebrews, to the Sabbath day and also to the land of promise.

The rest of God is based on the fact that God finished all His works at the time of the creation of the universe and now is resting.

Each saint is to struggle to enter the rest of God, to cease from his own ways, his own pleasures, his own words, and to honor God by following God’s ways, by embracing God’s pleasures, speaking God’s words. We enter God’s rest by entering the death of Christ and entering His resurrection. When Christ is living in us we fulfill the Sabbath commandment perfectly.

The old covenant commands us to live in God on the seventh day of the week. The new covenant commands us to live in God seven days of the week. We are directed to present our body to God a living sacrifice. The requirement to present his body to God a living sacrifice was not placed on the Jew of the old covenant. He kept the Sabbath one day of the week. We enter the eternal Sabbath, the eternal rest of God, as our adamic nature is crucified and the risen Christ is formed in us.

The demands of the new covenant are much greater than the demands of the old covenant. The grace given under the new covenant is much greater. The promises to the faithful are much greater under the new covenant. It is a superior covenant based on superior promises.

Indeed, our righteousness must exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees. He who is least in the Kingdom of God is greater than the Prophets of Israel.

The writing of the Law in our heart, which is required if we are to attain bodily resurrection to righteousness, immortality, and glory, is the way we enter the rest of God. We enter God’s rest as we cease from our own works and permit the Lord to crucify and then resurrect our inner nature in His own Life —which is equivalent to writing His Law in our heart.

The writing of the law of God in our heart is accomplished one line at a time. Speaking in tongues assists in the process of transformation, for as we speak in tongues we learn to cease from our own strength and wisdom and lean on the Lord.

The end result of leaning on the Lord, allowing Him to slay our old nature and form His own Life in us, is that we "go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken." We find rest as the old Adam is crucified and Christ is formed. The mark of full entrance into the rest of God is the clothing of the Christ-filled inner man with the white robe of righteousness and resurrection glory. After the full transformation of the inner nature it is only the work of a moment to raise the deceased flesh and bones and clothe them with immortality.

Something to look forward to!

God desires our eternal joy, and God has the power to bring us to joy and will do so if we are obedient to Him.

March 22nd

THE POSITION AND THE EXPERIENCE

For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:3)

But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. (Romans 13:14)

Most of our daily living is occupied, if we are striving to be a Christian, with resisting the world, our fleshly nature, and the devil. We battle against lust, hatred, covetousness, pride, idolatry, foolish talk, unthankfulness, selfish ambition, and so forth. Such temptations are common to people—Christians and non-Christians alike.

When we overemphasize our legal position in Christ our testimony may become intellectual, doctrinaire, static. There is too much fussing about words and verses and not enough pressing forward in the spiritual combat that characterizes the Christian warfare.

When, on the other hand, we overemphasize our actual experience of living the overcoming life, we may tend to lose the anchor, foundation, and regenerative guiding force and principle of Christianity, which is identification with the crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. If we are not careful we can become discouraged while struggling against sin, not accepting the victory won for us by Christ.

Any Christian who is not in a warfare against the polluting influence of the world, Satan, the lust of his eyes and flesh, and the pride of life, is in deception. Such warfare is the nature of the true Christian experience.

When a Christian claims he no longer is troubled by satanic opposition he has been deceived. He has turned away from spiritual realities and is making little progress in Christ. He may possess the land of promise legally but he is not making headway toward the actual possession of it.

If the Christian is to live the overcoming life, the life of conquest over the burdens of life, and if he is to progress toward the character transformation and consistent dwelling with the Godhead that are part of the plan of redemption, then he must develop a balance in his life between the legal position in Christ and the actual experience in Christ.

The natural man of the believer includes the physical body with all of its passions, the human mind with all of its pride, and the human soul with all of its self-centeredness, self-will, self-seeking, self-love.

To be a Christian we must assign our natural man to the cross with Christ. The natural man is our self before we bring the physical body under the law of the Spirit of life; before we put on the mind of Christ; before we endure the crucifixion of our self-centeredness, self-will, and self-seeking under the supervision of the Holy Spirit of God; before the new creation grows and comes to maturity in us.

There is only one acceptable place for the first personality of the believer. It must be hung on the cross with Christ. Our old "self" should be considered by us as crucified with Christ. We must adopt this attitude twenty-four hours of every day, seven days of every week.

We must consider ourselves crucified and resurrected with Jesus Christ. Then we by faith, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, must live at all times and in every situation as though this is true.

Have you wished to be a victorious Christian? Try reckoning yourself dead with Christ and alive with Christ. Then arm yourself to fight the good fight of faith.

I think you will be pleased with the results.

You cannot look back and say you were saved at some point in the past. The only day of salvation is today. Are you abiding in Christ today?

March 23rd

WHAT ARE WE SAVED FROM?

To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. (Acts 26:18)

The land of Egypt is not a symbol of the physical earth. Egypt is a symbol of the spirit of the world. Pharaoh is a symbol of Satan. People are not in bondage to the earth itself.

The earth was created by the God of Heaven and He declared that it is good. The earth is good. There is nothing wrong with the earth except the curse of thorns and wearying labor that God placed on it because of sin. Rather it is the spirit of evil dominating the earth that is producing the repulsive fruit of sin. The blood of Jesus has the authority to cleanse us from this filthy spirit.

During the process of becoming a Christian we accept the blood atonement made by Christ Jesus as the payment for our sins. We are baptized in water as a sign of our forsaking the world. The Lord God gives us a new heart and spirit. God plants the Divine Seed, Christ, in us and gives us His Holy Spirit. We are born again of the Divine Nature. By these acts of redemption God rescues us from the authority of Satan and moves us into the Kingdom of God.

God does not move us from the earth when we are saved. He moves us from the spirit of the world. It is important that we grasp the difference between being redeemed from the earth and being redeemed from the bondage of evil. If we remain in the belief that God is performing His works of grace in us so He can move us from earth to Heaven we will not understand the plan of redemption.

The purpose of redemption is not to move us from the earth to Heaven. The purpose of redemption is to move us from the kingdom of Satan to the Kingdom of Christ Jesus.

The redemption of the Christian believer is not from the earth to Heaven. Rather, it is from the control of Satan to the control of Christ Jesus. An understanding of this distinction makes a great difference in the way we view God’s working in us. For if we regard Heaven as the land of promise and the earth as Egypt, we will sit down spiritually and wait for Jesus to come and take us to the land of promise in the sky.

If we regard the fullness of our inheritance in Christ as the land of promise, and bondage to the will of Satan as Egyptian slavery, we will take up our cross and follow the Lord. We will put on an attitude of battle and of overcoming the enemies of Christ until we bring ourselves and our environment into subjection to God’s will, as the Holy Spirit enables us.

Waiting for Christ to carry us to Heaven, and bringing ourselves and our environment under subjection to the will of God in Christ, are two very different approaches to the Christian life.

When we receive Christ as our Savior we are declaring that we desire to leave the bondage of Satan and enter the Kingdom of Christ, the rule of Christ. God in His love and mercy has made it possible for us to do that. God points us toward the land of promise, the land of milk and honey: perfect rest in God in Christ, freedom from sin and rebellion, conformity to the image of Christ, and authority and responsibility as one of God’s eternal kings and priests.

There is a land of tremendous glory and joy toward which we are pressing. The land will be ours in solid reality one day if we do not remove our eyes from the Lord Jesus Christ.

The new covenant has nothing to do with going to Heaven. The new covenant is our change, by the Spirit of the Lord, from glory to glory until we stand complete in the Glory of the Lord.

March 24th

GO FOR IT!

Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the LORD will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said. (Joshua 14:12)

Reader, grasp God’s rest for yourself. Do not come short of it. "Sell all" and give yourself wholly to the things of Christ. Such is the exhortation of the Book of Hebrews. Some of the believers will press through to God’s goal for them. Why shouldn’t you be included in the group of victorious saints?

If you should die before the consummation of the promises, make certain you die in faith. Do not stagger in unbelief at God’s majestic promises. Be strong in faith, giving glory to God, being fully persuaded that what He has promised He is able to fulfill to the uttermost—for you!

Behold these promises afar off, as did Abraham. Confess you are a pilgrim and stranger in the earth. Lift up your cross and take a step toward the vision of the fullness of Christ. Do not look back—even one time. Push on against every temptation, every distraction. Endure hardness as God leads, with the eyes of your faith fixed on Christ.

As you draw closer to Him, His Glory will transform you until you are in the image of Christ and in restful union with the Godhead. The saints in light are cheering you on for without you they cannot "be made perfect."

You are a warrior, a fighter in God. The hordes of Hell will come against you but God is leading you against His enemies. You are bringing the Presence of God Almighty into the land of promise. Your unwavering faith, given to you and maintained by God’s impartation of grace to you, is providing the means by which God can judge and cast out the enemy.

Christ is desirous that all of His beloved younger brothers return His grasp upon them by cooperating with the Holy Spirit until they possess Him, His image, His Life, His dominion.

At His glorious appearing each of us will rise to meet Him in the air but each will receive a different reward. The special place in the land of promise we stake out for our own, as Christ directs and gives us the desire, is possible of complete attainment by us. There is a unique reward for each disciple whom Jesus chooses.

How much of a claim we are able to stake out, to grasp, to hold, depends on the faith and diligence with which we seek Christ. It is foolishness to believe that a careless believer with one eye on Christ and the other eye on the things of the flesh, will inherit the fullness of the promises of God in Christ. The Scriptures state the rewards will be given to the overcomers.

What is your attitude toward God’s land of promise, God’s rest? Is your heart like that of Joshua and Caleb? Do you believe that the Lord God of Heaven is able to give you complete victory over the enemies in your "land"? Do you have a willingness to fight, as did Jacob, who took his inheritance out of the hands of the Amorites with his sword and bow?

And Joshua blessed him, and gave to Caleb the son of Jephunneh Hebron for an inheritance. (Joshua 14:13)

Jesus, your "Joshua," will not disappoint you. You will inherit your "Hebron" in the land of promise!

If you would rule with Christ in His kingdom prepare yourself today. In the ages to come you will rule or be ruled. The Kingdom of God is not a democracy!

March 25th

BE CAST INTO THE SEA!

Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. (Matthew 21:21)

We let life beat the wonder out of us! We no longer believe that with God all things are possible.

Jesus marveled at the unbelief of the disciples.

Sometimes the idea of casting mountains into the sea is presented as a challenge to our faith. The idea is if we could just summon up enough belief we could work mighty miracles. This is not the point at all.

Jesus was referring to the natural relationship of a father to his son. God is our Father. He created all things. He wants us to govern all things and enjoy them, not be bound by them.

The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. All of this is ours when we press through to victory in the Lord Jesus. He who overcomes shall inherit all things.

There are few things in the universe so fixed they cannot be changed by the prayers of the children of God. Of course, the laws of righteousness and holiness cannot be altered because they are of the Nature of God.

But water was made to be walked on. Fig trees had better bear fruit out of season or else! Mountains are to adorn the landscape. Fish love to search around and bring up coins from the ocean floor. And what better sound in the universe than that of trees clapping their hands in delight?

"Oh," you say, "you are not practical. You are a dreamer."

Listen, at seventy-one years of age I am not an impractical dreamer. You know what? We have let our experiences dictate to us what is possible and what is not possible.

Ask what you will and it shall be done. You say, "I have asked and nothing happened." You forgot one little word—"yet"! Nothing obvious has happened yet.

Is God a liar? The moment you asked in Jesus’ name the Divine engines began to turn in order to fulfill your order. Did you give up in unbelief?

Go back to the drawing board. Tell God what you want. Then wait expectantly. Keep aware of God’s Presence because He may invite you to modify your prayer, knowing that what you asked is not what you truly desire but only what you think you want.

Your mountain shall move! Expect a miracle in Jesus’ name.

Go out tonight and look up at the heavens. Consider that God spoke it all into existence.

Then ask something commensurate with the ability of your Father!

If you have no vision, no golden fleece, no treasure at the end of the rainbow, ask God for one. We cannot endure the cross except as we have joy set before us.

March 26th

CALL ON THE LORD

I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. (Psalms 18:3)

Psalms Eighteen is a remarkable description of David’s attitude toward the Lord. Actually it is the Spirit of Christ who is speaking in David.

One aspect of the psalm (which I term "The Warrior’s Prayer") is the manner in which David sought help in his time of need.

When David was desperate he called on the Lord!

What’s new? Don’t all preachers tell us to call on the Lord when we need help?

Maybe they used to.

But a new spirit has entered our ranks. It is the concept of trying to get hold of God in such a manner that we can deliver ourselves.

If we will only listen to the right tape, read the right book, say the right words, take the right attitude, send a thousand dollars to the evangelist, get rid of our bitterness, imagine we are a child wandering through the woods, get right with our wife, pay our bills, tithe to the church, form a mental image of what we want, speak the word of faith, proclaim the creative word, gird up the loins of our mind, think positively, act as though it is true, go to Texas to be prayed for by someone with an outstanding gift, persuade the whole church to fast and pray, we will get what we want.

Have you ever had this kind of advice? "If you can find the right formula you will be delivered."

Many of the items we have listed work very well on certain occasions. On other occasions nothing happens. I can hear you saying "Amen!"

Notice, in Psalms Eighteen, David did none of these things.

What did David do? He called on the LORD.

There is a time to work the moves, try the formulas. But when your head feels like a rotten melon, when you have to look up to see the bottom, the advice of Job’s comforters is a pain in the neck.

Someone said, "When I’m sick don’t let the Christians near me." This is a bit overstated but I know what he means.

I will now tell you the greatest prayer in the English language, one used by the saints of old. Are you ready? "Help me Lord!" If you are from the South, you probably will say, "Hep me Lord!" Same prayer, different dialect. God understands both of them.

If you have a need right now why don’t you call on the Lord? Maybe you’ve tried everything else. Call loudly enough so God can hear you. Blow the trumpet in His ears. God loves that. "Help me Lord."

The Eighteenth Psalm tells you what will take place. God will become excited, bow the heavens by His galactic power, shake up the situation, and come down to find out what’s wrong.

After the Lord delivers you, you will have strength enough to go back to your formulas. Sometimes they’re helpful.

God will tell you what to do. Brother Dowell used to say, "If you can’t get God to go your way, why not try going God’s way?"

And he was from Texas!

Who told you Jesus Christ cannot deliver you from the power of sin? He is not speaking the Word of Christ to you.

March 27th

FAITH IN FAITH OR FAITH IN JESUS?

If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. (John 14:14)

I had a good friend once and we both used to preach sanctification. This was more than forty years ago. But we drifted apart over the teaching of faith.

He said that if we kept saying a thing was true it would take place. If you were sick you kept saying you were healed. If you said it long enough and hard enough it would happen. And you should always act as if it were true. This meant no medicine, no doctors, and so forth. All in Jesus’ name, of course.

I didn’t believe it then and I still don’t believe it. I know there are some verses of the Bible you can use to support this sort of thing but it doesn’t go along with my experience with the Lord.

When we were in Bible school there was a student who went to a "healing" meeting. She was told to break her glasses. She did.

The next day her eyes were all bloodshot. You guessed it. She had to buy another pair of glasses.

A couple of days ago I heard a sad tale about a diabetic who was persuaded to stop his insulin. He did, and died. This actually happened to a well-meaning Christian.

Dr. Charles Price wrote a book titled The Real Faith. I don’t know where you can get it now. Dr. Price had a marvelous ministry of healing. But he told how he never prayed for anyone until the Lord showed him that healing would take place. I saw the same attitude in the ministry of William Branham when he was going strong in the Lord.

The Apostle Paul commanded us to think soberly about the amount of faith we have. Nowhere in the Bible are we commanded to "step out in faith." In fact, this is what Satan advised Jesus to do when He was on top of the Temple.

I think we’ve got soulish faith mixed up with true spiritual faith.

You can close your eyes and say "I believe I believe I believe" all you want to. But I have been healed miraculously several times. On at least two occasions, nearsightedness in my eyes and arthritis in my knee, I was healed instantly when I wasn’t even prayed for. I knew when I was healed because I was healed!

Do you know, God is so powerful He can heal you even if you go to the doctor and take pills? God is bigger than your pills so quit trying to force the issue. The Lord told me to "do what is reasonable" when I am sick. Sometimes that means going to the doctor. The Lord blesses when I do what He says.

Stepping out in faith is another name for presumption except when the Lord directs you to do so. And if you don’t know whether the Lord has directed you, then He hasn’t.

God is real. There is a real faith for healing and other miracles and it comes from God.

Live righteously, pray, love the Lord, delight yourself in Him, and tell Him what you want. Don’t try to do it yourself with your soulish power.

Have faith in Jesus rather than faith in faith.

And as for the current teaching that if you are sick it’s your fault because you don’t have enough faith, this advice is not comforting when someone is ill.

I wonder if Job’s comforters ever got a bad case of boils. It would have helped their ministry.

Faith is not magic or presumption. True faith results in continual rest in the center of God's will.

March 28th

DE JURE AND DE FACTO RIGHTEOUSNESS

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? (Romans 6:1)

God does not just hand the fullness of eternal life to us as a gift on the basis of a de jure (legal) status. While it is true that we receive an initial touch of eternal life when we receive Christ, the complete inheritance of eternal life must be gained, must be sown, must be brought about through our interaction with the body and blood of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Word of God. There must be a true repentance on our part. We must follow the Holy Spirit on the road to complete deliverance from unrighteousness if we would attain the fullness of eternal life.

God gives to us the necessary authority and power so we may be able to lay hold on complete deliverance from the cause of death, which is unrighteousness.

There can be no lasting eternal life apart from actual (de facto) righteousness. There can be no Divine, eternal Life where sin and self-will are active, except as God is leading the believer toward deliverance from such behaviors. Imputed righteousness is a temporary provision.

Imputed righteousness is not the Kingdom of God but a provision God has made so faith-filled people may be able to press forward to the righteousness of behavior that is the Kingdom of God.

It is here in this concept of provisional, temporary righteousness that the nucleus of the error in current theology resides.

The error is as follows: imputed righteousness is an eternal blinding of God, an eternal negating of the Kingdom law of sowing and reaping, and we forever shall be sinners whose actual rebellion of personality is being overlooked through God’s mercy. Our sin and rebellion are being overlooked so we can abide in Paradise, in God’s Presence while we still are sinful and rebellious.

The truth is, the goal of our redemption is a de facto righteousness, a righteousness that governs our actions, our words, and our thoughts and imaginations. De jure (imputed) righteousness holds in full force only on the condition we are continuing in God’s will. God’s will always is bringing us toward complete freedom from sin and rebellion in spirit, soul, and body. It is only as we walk in the light of God’s will that the blood of the Lord Jesus cleanses us from all sin.

Christian scholars may understand in theory that de jure righteousness is a shield that protects us until God delivers us from sin. But the central doctrine of redemption, which is actual sanctification and change into the image of Christ, is not always presented clearly, practically, emphatically in our day. Our deliverance from sin and self-centeredness is being relegated to an undefined time, an undefined place, and an undefined method. There does not seem to be an understanding that the Kingdom of God exists in de facto righteousness.

The result is, the believers do not maintain a vigorous pressing forward toward de facto righteousness. They are taught that God loves them so much He is anxious to bring them into His Kingdom whether or not they are dressed for the occasion.

Far too much stress is placed on being clothed in imputed righteousness, in Christ’s righteousness. Far too little emphasis is being placed on our pressing into Him so His power and Nature can deliver us from sin and self-centeredness.

We may be desiring an amnesty but God is desiring a change in our behavior.

March 29th

WHAT’S GOING ON?

By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. (Hebrews 11:8)

Abraham lived in the land of Canaan as a pilgrim. He could have afforded to build a palace but he chose to live in a tent. Yet, Canaan was to be given to him as an inheritance.

So it is with us. We are living on the earth and are supposed to be a pilgrim. We have been called of God but we don’t know where we are going.

This world is not our home. We understand this. We are not supposed to act as though it is and invest all of our time, effort, and affection in it.

It is true, however, that the earth one day will be given to us as an inheritance.

What, then, is going on? Why doesn’t God just give it to us instead of testing us, testing us, testing us?

The answer is, God wants to see what kind of person we are before He gives us Paradise on the earth.

Abraham was tested severely in the case of Isaac, both as to his birth and later on Mount Moriah. Why did Abraham and Sarah have to suffer such deferrals of the pleasure everyone else was receiving? They were both righteous. Why couldn’t they have children like all their slaves?

The reason was, God wanted to see what kind of people they were before He entrusted them with the permanent possession of the earth.

You may notice that when Abraham was about to kill Isaac, God said, "Now I know that you fear God."

Think about this statement. Doesn’t God know everything from the foundation of the world? Yes, and no. Maybe God did know that Abraham feared God but it had to be established by Abraham’s decision.

The present world is a proving ground, a place of testing. It is a probationary period. Every decision you and I make is influencing our eternal destiny.

The new world that is coming is eternal. We will live on a new earth that lacks nothing we ever could desire. Our love, joy, and peace will be so superior to anything we can imagine that there is no comparison with our present life.

But now is the hour of testing. Now is the one opportunity in all of eternity that we can demonstrate to God whether we fear God, whether we have integrity, what we would do with unlimited power, how we would behave were we returned to Paradise.

The biggest mistake any individual can make is to view the present life as all there is and to clutch the things of the world without regard to God’s commandments or the welfare of other people, especially of those dependent on him or her.

Rather, view the present life as a kind of obstacle course in which situations are contrived to test your character.

Always act with integrity. Put God and others first in importance when you make your decisions. Keep in mind that God is watching to see how you behave under pressure, especially how selfish you are. Remember the rich man and Lazarus.

You have all of eternity to enjoy yourself. Now is the time to show what you’re made of.

Have you counted the cost of being a disciple? Good! Now count the cost of not being a disciple.

March 30th

FLYING BY INSTRUMENT

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Romans 8:14)

Today is Christmas. Yesterday I had a good lesson.

I had bought a bit of jewelry for Audrey (my wife) and had hid it in the usual place (I thought). While I was working out on my treadmill (to please the cardiologist) it came to me to check to make sure Audrey’s present was ready for tomorrow. This was about 10:00 A.M.

No gift-wrapped package in the usual place! Panic!

I looked all over the house. No red package with the yellow bow. Oh man!

I finally went and told Audrey and assured her we would go down in a couple of days and pick out something better. I didn’t want to rush down and pick out any old thing. I had prayed a lot about the jewelry and had found just what I wanted.

So I went into the bedroom and sat down. "Lord, what is going on? I prayed about this so much! You even gave me a special time to buy it without Audrey knowing about it!"

I said to the Lord, "Whatever is going on I want to learn the lesson in it. I know there is a lesson here."

Then I praised the Lord for having shown me before Christmas morning rolled around so we both would be mentally prepared when there was no present for Audrey under the tree.

As I prayed I had the assurance that the gift was in the house and I would find it in time.

Well, you can’t always go by feelings. My son David and I had looked in every possible place. But I kept having this assurance!

Time came for church. Since I am a worrier and like all my ducks in a row I had to pray hard to keep my mind on what I was going to teach. I said, "Lord, I am going to fly by instrument. You have given me the assurance everything will work out fine tomorrow so I am going to press forward even though all my ducks are not in a row."

I thought nobody would be there for the Bible study since it was Christmas Eve, but some new people came and I taught them on the feasts of the Lord. The people that get our tapes love it when I’m teaching new people or children because then I slow down and explain what I’m talking about.

Driving home I thought, "Now is your chance Lord. Time is running out." But I didn’t really expect to find that package.

When I got home I was putting my stuff away, and there it was at the bottom of the cupboard—Audrey’s present. I had been looking for a red package with a bow and forgot I left it in a little black paper bag from the store.

I have been praising God ever since. Boy, did I learn a lesson! You really can fly by instrument. I think this is going to be useful in the days ahead.

It is my habit to listen to the still, small voice. But since this dramatic experience my faith has really increased. "I’m listening, Lord!"

"Lord, help me to trust!"

The problem of life is not how we are to create our own heaven and earth but how to discover God's plan for us, the plan written from the beginning of the world.

March 31st

THE GOVERNORS OF THE NATIONS

And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. (Revelation 5:9,10)

Many of the problems of the world arise from poor government. The rulers and leaders are filled with the love of the world spirit, the lusts of the flesh, and self-seeking. They are not seeking God nor are they humble before Him. They trust in money, military strength, and education to save them. They are seeking their own glory and profit.

Meanwhile those who are being governed are suffering. There are ample resources on the earth to feed and shelter many times the present population. Because of the avarice of the rulers the resources of the earth are overabundant in some areas and lacking in others.

Democratic government is being heralded in many places as the solution to the problems of people. It appears, however, that people have not been created with the ability to govern themselves. The so-called "free" nations are chained in every kind of Satan-inspired corruption. The totalitarian and feudal systems are just as bad if not worse, in terms of an equitable application of earth's resources.

In the meantime there are wars, revolutions, famines, economic distress, while all the governments promise liberation to those who will accept their philosophy.

At the present time in the United States of America a presidential election has been held. It does not matter who was elected. Crime and other forms of social disintegration will become increasingly prevalent unless the nation humbles itself and turns to God.

When the world began, man was placed in a garden, in a situation that contained every element needed for a totally joyous existence. Before the Lord returns, the whole earth will become as Sodom and Gomorrah—indeed, far, far worse than Sodom and Gomorrah. From the large cities the scream of demoniac laughter, the piercing cries of children being molested, the agonized whisper of the tortured fetus, the jungle-beat of drug-inspired music, the foul stench of raging, cursing, drunken men and women will ascend to the heavens.

America is not too far from this condition in the present hour.

This is why the New Testament in so many passages speaks of the saints ruling cities, of kings and priests, of crowns, of governing the nations. God is preparing righteous rulers who will return paradise to the earth.

If you are a Christian, God is dealing with you night and day so you will be prepared to rule. You will suffer many things in order that you may be cleansed from sin and self-seeking.

If you finish the race, if you gain the crown, you will return with the Lord Jesus. Then you will have the incomparable privilege and joy of bringing freedom from sin and eternal life to the peoples of the nations of the earth.

Don’t give up. Heaven plans to come to earth through you!

It is given to man to govern all the works of God, but first God must govern the man.

April 1st

CHRIST—THE CENTER OF GOD’S CREATION

Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by him were all things created, that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. (Colossians 1:15-18)

Christ Jesus is the beloved Son in whom God is well pleased. Christ is the Word of God from the beginning, the image of God’s Person, God’s Being, God’s will, God’s way, God’s holiness, God’s love. There is nothing in Christ that is not in God and there is nothing in God that is not in Christ.

Christ Jesus is the perfect, complete revelation of God Almighty.

God is so pleased with what Christ Is He has determined to fill the creation with the image of Christ. For this reason God counts the creation currently in existence as being dead—finished.

Christ Jesus is the Firstborn of the new creation. He is the Seed that eventually will influence every saved creature on earth and in the heavens. The heavens will be planted with Christ and the foundations of the earth will be laid upon Christ.

Christ is the Way in which God desires every creature exist. Whether we are referring to the heirs of salvation or to the spirits that minister to the heirs of salvation, all will find their proper place in Christ. All will be subject to Christ.

Christ is King and Lord of all. He inherits and fills all things.

Only people can be transformed into the image of Christ. It is not given to angels to become the temple of God, sons of God, brothers of Christ, heirs of salvation, or the Wife of the Lamb. The Presence of Jesus Christ will fill the heavens and the earth, all angels and other spiritual creatures being in absolute subjection to Him.

The method God is employing to fill the universe with the image of Christ is the creation of a company of brothers, of holy ones who themselves are the image of Christ.

The Church, (the Wife of the Lamb, the sons of God, the brothers of Christ Jesus—call the saints what you will) is the enlargement, the magnification of the image of Christ. The Church is the fullness, the completion of Christ. It is the Body of Christ.

In the disciples of Jesus the eternal moral law of God is magnified and made approachable and desirable to people. The disciples are God’s covenant—the new covenant—with the nations of the earth.

The saints are the living epistles of the ministry of the apostles, written with the ink of the Holy Spirit of God, known and read by all people. The disciples are the light of the world, the salt of the earth. But not of themselves—it is because Christ is in them and with them.

The Church, the Servant of the Lord, is the fulfillment of the original proclamation concerning man: "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth." This announcement points toward the day when the heavens and the earth are filled with the image of the Lord Jesus Christ, as expressed through His saints.

The Father's House is Christ. We are rooms in that house.

April 2nd

THE ALTAR, THE LAMPSTAND, AND THE BOOTH

And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. (Hebrews 9:22)

That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Romans 8:4)

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)

There are three great symbols of Judaism. They portray God’s will for mankind. They are the altar, the lampstand, and the booth.

The altar tells us that God must be approached through sacrifice. God is more than a father, a philosopher, a statesman, a teacher. God is the Consuming Fire. We understand very little about God. Christ has come to introduce us to the Father. After billions of eons we may have some small comprehension of God.

The fact that God would sacrifice His Son to save mankind and be appeased by His blood reveals that we do not understand God at all! No human can approach God other than through the blood of God’s Lamb, and after that by offering his or her own body as a living sacrifice.

The lampstand portrays the Holy Spirit of God. There are only two ways in which people can live, move, and have their being. One is by the life of the flesh. The other is by the Life of the Spirit. It is God’s will that all people live by His Spirit. To live after the flesh results only in death.

The booth shows us God’s ultimate intention. It is to have a kingdom in which God governs from within each individual.

Some will reap the inner kingdom one hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. How much of the kingdom we possess depends on how willing we are to be pruned.

To be saved, in the ultimate sense, is to be permitted to enter the new world of righteousness in which every person lives with his life on the altar of God; in which every person lives by the Spirit of God; in which every person has a portion of God in his inner personality.

There is the outer Kingdom of God that will govern the creation from the Throne of God located in the new Jerusalem.

But no person can enter the outer kingdom until first the inner kingdom has been established. Until we are born again we can neither see nor enter the Kingdom of God.

We have been saved, we have been at Pentecost (the lampstand) and now we are pressing toward Tabernacles, toward the Kingdom of God. If you have been camped at Pentecost, get up on your feet. The cloud and the fire are moving forward. Moses, the priests and Levites, the tribe of Judah (praise) are marching toward the land. Can you hear the shofar, the ram’s horn?

There are ranks in the Kingdom of God and they are well worth the taking. Many that are last in time shall be first in the Kingdom. The throne is for you if you want it!

Many who are last in time will be among the first to enter the Kingdom of God.

April 3rd

TURNING AWAY FROM SIN

And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. (I John 3:5,6)

There are two kinds of righteousness that come to us as part of the new covenant. The first is imputed (ascribed) righteousness. God sovereignly forgives our sins through the blood of the Lord Jesus and imputes, or ascribes, Jesus’ own righteousness to us as we put our faith in Him. On the basis of our repentance and profession of faith in Christ, God regards us as acceptable and pleasing in His sight.

The second kind of righteousness is actual deliverance from the nature and effects of sin. It is the removal of the presence of sin from us so we do not sin any more. We no longer practice the actions, such as fornication, lying, stealing, murder, occult practices, and drunkenness, that are contrary to the law of God. Also we obey God without question in all matters in which He speaks to us.

The first kind of righteousness, imputed righteousness, is the foundation of the new covenant. We customarily refer to receiving imputed righteousness as being "saved by grace." Imputed righteousness is the foundation of Christian preaching and teaching.

There is little understanding of the second kind of righteousness. Yet it is the second kind that is the primary purpose of the new covenant.

The Lord Jesus came to remove sin from us; not only or even primarily the guilt of our sin but the actual presence of sin. According to the Book of First John, Christians are not to be sinning. When we sin we are to confess that sin, obtaining both forgiveness and cleansing. We then are restored to God’s Presence. The New Testament does not permit the continued practice of known sin in the life of the believer.

There is no sin in the Kingdom of God. We cannot enter the Kingdom of God while we are practicing sin.

There are relatively few verses in the New Testament that speak of imputed (ascribed) righteousness. However there are numerous passages in the New Testament that proclaim the necessity for the practice of righteous behavior on the part of the believer. By the practice of righteous behavior we mean:

Turning away from the world and all its enticements, the entertainment offered by the world, and the world’s communication systems. We are to lead a wholesome, normal life whenever possible but are not to be caught up in the secular, materialistic patterns of pleasure, competition, and security based on the acquisition of money.

Shunning moral uncleanness, covetousness, stealing, drunkenness, drugs, and other defilements of the body, gossiping, anger, spite, violence, and all forms of the occult.

Recognizing that our calling as a saint is the supreme purpose of all we are and do. Our prime energies must be directed toward our personal consecration and service to God. We no longer are free to do as we will, to pursue our own ambitions and desires.

If we are not diligent in serving the Lord in these areas we are practicing sin.

The teaching that Christians must not be practicing sin is not popular in our day. There is a tremendous overemphasis on the grace of forgiveness. Now God desires that the teaching of righteous, holy, and obedient behavior be restored. God wants His commandments kept!

Our sinning will never be permitted in the Kingdom of God. Either it leaves or we leave.

April 4th

WE DON’T HAVE TO KEEP SINNING!

Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. (Romans 8:12)

The belief that as long as we are alive in the world we must continue to sin comes from ignorance of the provisions of the new covenant. Under the new covenant, the authority of the blood and the power of the Spirit work together with the faith and obedience of the believer to deliver him from sin. There is no sin over which we cannot achieve victory through Christ Jesus. We must confess our sins, repent of them thoroughly, and pray unceasingly to God for the determination to resist them through the grace of God.

We are not to strive, become impatient with ourselves, or grow angry or despairing when we find we are bound by some uncleanness. Rather we are to abide in Christ Jesus, knowing it is His will that we gain complete victory in every area in which He leads us.

What sin is it that Christ cannot overcome in us? Fornication! Hatred? A vicious anger? Violence! Unforgiveness! Profanity! Lying? Stealing? Drunkenness? Bitterness? Gossiping? Criticizing? Christ is more than conqueror of each of these and of all other sins and disobediences that hinder us.

We shall be delivered from sinful deeds when we seek God’s help in Jesus’ name. A period of time may be required before we gain control of our behavior but the Scripture promises victory. We cannot be forced to sin if we belong to Jesus. We are not obligated to satisfy the cravings of our body and soul. Sin cannot maintain dominion over us if we are determined to serve the Lord Jesus.

The light of the testimony of the Christian churches has been nearly extinguished because of the sins of the Christians.

But, one may ask, did not the Apostle Paul state he could not do the things he wished because of the presence of the law of sin in his flesh?

Paul was referring to the moral agony of the righteous person who determines not to sin, not to break God’s laws, and then finds himself or herself doing what he or she despises. However, Paul did not mean by this we Christians should resign ourselves to moral defeat. He meant we cannot keep the Law of Moses, or any other law, by will power alone.

In the eighth chapter of Romans Paul instructs us that we, being under the new covenant, can put sin to death through the power of the Spirit of God.

Under the old covenant there was no provision for deliverance from the law of sin dwelling in our body. Under the new covenant we have the born-again experience, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the body and blood of Christ, and the ministries and gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Under the new covenant we can overcome Satan, the world, and our own lusts and self-centeredness. We can go from victory to victory if we are determined to do so, because God has given us of His Divine Nature so we may be able to escape the lustful corruption that is in the world.

When the Holy Spirit convicts us of a sin we are to deal with that particular sin through the grace of God. We are to leave the remainder of our sinful, self-centered nature under the guard of the blood of Christ.

There is total victory in the Lord Jesus!

We are not delivered from sin by dying and going to Heaven or by the coming of the Lord. Deliverance from sin comes only as we keep on living by the body and blood of Christ.

April 5th

DO YOU REALLY WANT TO GO TO PARADISE?

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)

The belief that the purpose of receiving Christ is that we may go to Heaven when we die, and that going to Heaven is God’s solution to the problem of sin in our life, is not scriptural. It cannot be supported by the Old Testament or the New Testament.

Here we have one of the fundamental beliefs of Christianity; yet it is without foundation in the Scriptures.

The purpose of accepting Christ is not to go to Heaven. This is not to say there is no Heaven for there surely is a place in the spirit realm where the Father, Jesus, and the saints and angels dwell. But the purpose of receiving and following Christ is not that we may go to live forever in the spirit Paradise. The purpose of accepting Christ is to reconcile us to God so we may be saved to God’s new world of righteousness, to the Kingdom of God.

Jesus is the Way to the Father, not the way to Heaven.

I had a student argue with me one time. He said "The Bible says Jesus is the way to Heaven." You judge.

One might exclaim, "But there is no difference!"

No difference between desiring to go to the Father and desiring to go to Heaven? Indeed, there is a very great difference between desiring to go to the Father and desiring to go to Paradise!

Multitudes of believers reveal by their actions that they care little for the Father or for His Christ. They may protest that this is not so but their lives show there are any number of things and persons more important to them than being in the Presence of God, than living in fellowship with God.

They cling to the belief that God will bring them to Heaven when they die. Do they desire to go to Heaven in order to be with God? Not at all! They desire to go to Heaven because they fear Hell and because they think they want to enter Paradise. However, they would not be content in the Paradise of God.

They do not enjoy holiness, righteousness, and obedience to God now. They do not enjoy praying or worshiping God now. Why would they enjoy such a life in the spirit realm? They would not enjoy Paradise. What they would enjoy is to continue in the sinful pleasures of the world without punishment. This is why they flock to the current preaching of "grace." They actually have no love for God or His Christ!

The Christian ministry talks much about Heaven and Hell as though Jesus came to save sinners from Hell so they could go to Heaven. This is not scriptural. The Lord Jesus referred to Hell, to the fire of Gehenna, and to outer darkness; but never to Heaven as the escape from these places. The Apostles of the Lamb had little to say about Hell or Heaven.

The Lord Jesus did not come to save sinners from Hell. Sinners belong in Hell. Jesus came to save sinners from sin so they no longer belong in Hell. When we are delivered from sinful behavior we do not belong in Hell but are fit for the Presence of God.

Do you really want to be with God and the saints? Are you sure you want to live in a place where there is no sin? Do you enjoy praising God in church?

Do you wish to remain in Heaven while God and Christ are ruling on the earth?

April 6th

DELIVERANCE FROM FEAR—PSALM 34

I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. (Psalms 34:4)

Life is filled with fears and dreads of all kinds. The Book of Psalms is especially helpful to us because it contains many passages that deal with enemies, slander, treachery, danger and so forth and then encourages us to turn to God for assistance.

People in leadership roles often have many enemies who slander them and seek to harm them.

This was true of the Lord Jesus, wasn’t it?

Our concerns often come in the form of sickness, accident, financial problems, or dangerous and hurtful situations concerning our loved ones.

When we fear we are to seek the Lord. This is what King David did. He did not trust in his sword and bow, as we know from many of the Psalms. David trusted in the Lord and called on the Lord in his time of need.

Sometimes our fears and dreads mount until we panic. Have you ever had that happen? We become so frightened we are unable to pray. We don’t want to go to bed at night because we are afraid of our thoughts and dreams. We don’t want to get up in the morning because we are afraid we will hear that bad news we have been dreading.

People today watch the television to relieve their anxieties. But television solves nothing. We only postpone the problem. There we sit watching foolish, lustful, or violent scenes. Gnawing at the back of our mind is the thing we fear.

Take hold of yourself and what faith you have and pray. Ask God to help you.

When you do this you may become so frightened at what you are facing you get back up on your feet.

Stay there in prayer! Stay there in prayer! Don’t move until you touch God.

The prayer of relinquishment helps. Tell God that if the evil does happen you know He will work it for good.

Much of our problem with fear occurs because there is something we dread so terribly we can’t face it. We put it out of our mind.. But it’s there. We can’t face it and yet its little head keeps popping up.

Face your dread in prayer. Tell the Lord you want His will above all, and that you know He loves you and will take care of you if the worst happens.

Let go and let God!

If you keep before the Lord you finally will break through into His Presence. The load of oppression will lift. The fear will leave.

"I sought the Lord and He heard me and delivered me from all my fears." It’s the fear that is the problem and it’s the fear that the Lord removes.

When the fear leaves you will be able to face your predicament rationally and calmly. The Lord will guide you if you keep lifting up your soul to Him.

It has worked for me. Maybe it will help you.

Are you cowering in fear because of the enemy? Are you oppressed by the dark forces surrounding you? Lift up your eyes to the mountains. They are filled with chariots of fire guarding those who fear the Lord.

April 7th

THE DESIRES OF YOUR HEART—PSALM 37

Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. (Psalms 37:4)

I was speaking to a member of our church who is proficient in mime. I commented that the young people who were learning mime were much better able to express anger and disgust than triumphant joy.

She agreed that anger and disgust are easier to portray. She went on to say the reason may be that in our experience of living we are more apt to experience dismaying situations than those that keep us in a state of ecstasy.

As I thought about this the experience of Queen Esther came to mind. Six months of the bitter and also six months of the sweet were necessary to prepare her for the king.

Maybe life on earth is the bitter and life in the spirit Paradise is the sweet—both being necessary for our acceptance in the palace of the greatest of kings.

In any case, to follow the Lord Jesus faithfully we must learn to hold steady during seasons when our joy and hope are deferred. In order to make a paradise of the present world we have to break God’s laws.

The Bible tells us deferred hope makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes it is a tree of life—and no sorrow is added with it.

Will we wait patiently for the Lord or will we grab what we want regardless of whom we hurt?

There is no question that the lot of the saints throughout history has been one of patient suffering. Patience in suffering produces a perfect work.

The cross and the crown go together.

The recent teaching that Christians are not to suffer reveals the depths of apostasy to which we have fallen.

The Lord puts us in prison. We either remain as cheerfully as we can in our depressing circumstances or we bolt. I guess a lot depends on our view of God. Could it possibly be of God that we are denied what we so fervently desire?

Human sympathy cries "Never!" The Bible says, "This is the way. Walk ye in it."

True Christianity is a hope for the future. The Bible promises fullness of joy, pleasures forever. But to receive the fulfillments we must wait patiently for the Lord.

If you are to get what you want when you want it you will have to betray those who trust in you. Which is it going to be for you? Will you keep on plodding along faithfully, carrying your cross, denying yourself that Christ may be served, trusting that the Master will reward you in this life or the next?

Or will you manipulate people and circumstances until you have your way? A lot of the latter is going on, unfortunately. Woe unto you if you get in the way of such "Christians!"

But the true people of God will yet emerge in America, I believe. The synagogue of Satan will yet worship God at the feet of the saints.

And how will you feel when, after hanging on the cross of deferred hope, your God brings you into the Palace, ready for your six months of the sweet?

Christ is in His royal palace with more treasures to hand out than mankind could possibly be able to receive.

April 8th

SELECTIVE PROTECTION

A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. (Psalms 91:7)

I think the 34th, 37th, and 91st Psalms were written for our help during the great tribulation. If you die or are "raptured" before the great tribulation they will help you in any case.

Now, it is hard to picture a situation in which eleven thousand people fall all around you but when it happens it doesn’t touch you. Also, plagues will keep away from where you are living. And you won’t be afraid in the middle of the night, which will be a big help.

Bible promises often are conditional and the protection offered here is no exception. The safety is provided for him or her who dwells in the secret place, or shelter, of God.

Sounds kind of like abiding in Christ. The dead "in Christ" shall rise.

What does it mean to dwell in God? It means to look to the Lord for every detail of life. God is first in our thoughts. It is the thought-life that is the problem and it is the thought-life that Satan attacks.

We are transformed by the renewing of our mind.

Ours is a day of communication, of hi-tech media. Never before in the history of man has so much information been transmitted. And it is increasing daily.

The Internet makes possible the transmission of God’s thoughts to wherever people breathe the air. The same is true of Satan’s pornography.

If we are to abide in Christ, in the secret place of the most high God, we are going to have to guard our mind all the day long.

We must pray without ceasing that we will have the mind of Christ.

"O God, keep us! Keep us! Keep us in your Presence at all times. Deliver us from the evil one. Lift us above the filth of the cesspool in which we are trying to keep God’s commandments."

God’s protection can be very selective. We see Nebuzaradan clanking up to Jeremiah while Jerusalem is in flames and everybody is being carried off to Babylon. "Hi, Jerry. How are you doing these days?. The big Boss says to take care of you. Here’s a present for you. You come with me and we’ll put you up in the best hotel in Babylon. Or you can stay here. Whatever you like."

(Maybe Jeremiah should have gone to Babylon, considering how he was treated by the Israelites after this!)

God is well able to take perfect care of you and your family during the great tribulation, in the very teeth of Antichrist, or in any other circumstance. But only if you are abiding in Christ.

Quit worrying about the great tribulation. Worry about pleasing the Lord. If you’re like many American families you’re already in great tribulation. You know what I mean?

In case the rapture doesn’t occur on time you probably can find some use for what I just wrote.

It can’t hurt and it might help!

Ordinarily God does not remove us from the scene of trouble. He clothes us with Christ and we pass through the fire without getting burned.

April 9th

AT THAT DAY

At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. (John 14:20)

That day is the Day of the Lord. The Lord alone shall be exalted "in that day," Isaiah says.

What day is that? When shall we know that Jesus is in His Father and we are in Him, and He is in us? When shall He alone be exalted?

The answer begins in the second verse of the fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of John. "In my Father’s house are many rooms." The Father’s House is Christ Himself. He is the chief Cornerstone and we are the living stones in the House of God.

The Lord went to the cross and then to the Father in Heaven in order to prepare a place for us in Himself, in the Father’s House.

After we are saved through the redeeming blood of Christ and filled with God’s Spirit, Christ comes to us and receives us to Himself. Christ wants us to be with Him where He is, that is, in the Father.

Christ is the way, the truth, and the life of the Father.

Jesus tells us that He is the House of the Father:

Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake. (John 14:10,11)

Then the Lord tells us He will not leave us as orphans. He will come to us. From the context we suggest that Christ is not speaking of His return in the clouds of glory but of His coming to the Spirit-filled Christian in order to make him or her the dwelling place of God.

The world will not see Christ until He returns. But the Spirit-filled Christian will see Him and know He is in His Father and we are in Him and He in us.

Christ has promised to reveal Himself to the person who has His commandments and keeps them.

There are Christian doctrines today that tell us we are saved by grace and therefore do not have to keep Christ’s commandments. They are wrong. Until we keep Christ’s commandments He will not reveal Himself to us.

If we truly love Jesus we will keep His words. Then the Father will love us and He and Christ will come to us and make Their abode with us.

At that day we shall know Christ’s position in God and our position in Christ. The Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. Is the Lord alone exalted in your life?

If you are in Pentecost the trumpet is sounding. It’s time to move on!

Are you gathering to Christ or scattering away from Christ? There is no middle ground.

April 10th

HORNS

Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I will consecrate their gain unto the LORD, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth. (Micah 4:13)

David claimed the Lord was the horn of His salvation. Micah tells us God will make of iron the horn of the daughter of Zion.

Horns are referred to over thirty times in the Old Testament and one time in the New, usually referring to strength and majesty.

And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; (Luke 1:69)

Since animal husbandry was an important occupation of the Israelites they thought much about the power of the horn to accomplish the will of the animal. Without a horn the animal was rendered helpless.

A lady in our church raises sheep. Janet told us of a recent incident. Some dogs broke into a pen and attacked a lamb. The lamb was defenseless. She has no horns.

Very shortly a ram came to her defense and the dogs fled for their lives. You would too if a ram came charging at you. But who would run from a charging lamb?

Lambs do not bite so they are helpless without horns.

If you have no horns Satan is not afraid of you. The churches of today are largely without horns. They pray, and sometimes talk in tongues. But the devil manages to remain with them. Have you noticed that? He is not afraid of lambs that make religious noises.

But when the righteous resist Satan he flees in disarray. Why is this? It is because the righteous have horns—horns of iron!

The powers of Hell are filling the United States. Little by little the wicked are exerting their power in the government at various levels. Immoral practices that a century ago would have been crimes and produced public outrage are now protected by law and more or less accepted by an apathetic public.

The Christians fret themselves because their values are being despised. But they do not have horns much less horns of iron.

What are we to do? We are to humble ourselves, to pray, to seek God’s face, to turn from our wicked ways. We are raging at the government and the Supreme Court because of the unrighteousness of the laws they are establishing. But we are going to wait a long time for the government and the Supreme Court to humble themselves, pray, seek God’s face, and turn from their wicked ways!

It is we Christians who are the problem. It is we who must pray, seek God, and repent of our sins. When we do God will hear from Heaven, forgive our sins, and give us horns of iron. Satan will flee. Then God will heal our land.

We are not fighting flesh and blood and so the weapons of the world and the flesh are worse than useless. But the prayers of the righteous possibly could turn the nation around—if it is not too late!

When a bull decides what God’s will is he lowers his head and paws the ground. Then he rushes forth to do what he esteems to be correct and profitable.

God give us horns of iron!

And we thought only the devil had horns!

It does no good to get people into church if we then don't get them into Christ.

April 11th

THE HEAVENLY SPOT REMOVER

That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:27)

The Lord’s Church will be without spot or wrinkle. The Christian churches of today are not without spot or wrinkle. We know the holy city, the new Jerusalem, is without spot or wrinkle. How do we get from here to there?

By death? There is no evidence that physical death will improve our personality. Death is an enemy that will be destroyed by the Lord. Anyway, sin began in Heaven around the throne of God.

It is not likely that a spotted and wrinkled Church will improve the atmosphere of Heaven.

By a miracle touch of the Lord when He comes? There is no Scripture for this thinking. When the Lord came He did not make the foolish virgins wise. He did not make the man who buried his talent a banker.

But, people say, when He comes we shall be like Him. This idea is taken from the third chapter of the Book of First John. Let’s look at this passage, for it is commonly taught.

First of all, scholars tell us that the Book of First John is a warning concerning the doctrine of antinomianism. Antinomianism means to be saved by grace and faith without obeying the moral laws of God. In fact, today’s Christian teaching is mostly antinomianism.

If you read the Book of first John you will see how many times it states we must keep God’s commandments.

Second, the verse that follows the one that states we will be like Him when He comes says if we have this hope we better start purifying ourselves.

Third, you have to interpret a verse according to other similar statements in the Bible. In the third chapter of Philippians Paul speaks of the Lord changing our body so it will be like His. But a few verses previously Paul says this resurrection must be attained by counting everything as garbage so we may win Christ.

We shall be like Christ when He appears provided we are living a consecrated life today. The change that must take place in us takes place today.

The "spots" of sin are removed by the blood of Jesus as we confess our sins and turn away from them.

The "wrinkles" of worldliness and self-will are pressed out by the hot iron of tribulation. As we patiently suffer tribulation our character is formed in love, joy, peace, and the other attributes of the citizens of the new Jerusalem.

Those of us who are older have learned that things of value have a big price tag. When something sounds too good to be true it usually is.

The price tag on today’s salvation is cheap grace. It is cheap and the results are shoddy.

The price tag on God’s salvation is everything. You have to give everything to get it. But the results are marvelous beyond belief and they last forever.

Merry Christmas!

The blood of Christ does not keep on covering the known sin we keep on practicing.

April 12th

A CHANGE OF WHAT WE ARE

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (II Corinthians 3:18)

The Kingdom of God came into being when Christ Jesus rose from the dead.

Every time a human being is born again it is Christ who is born in him and formed in him. This is a further incarnation, a further revelation of the Lord God of Heaven. God in Christ is seen in the saint who is crucified with Christ. God is eternally enlarging His Being in saints who have become a unique expression of His Person.

Christ died that we may live. Now it is our turn. We must die so Christ can be enlarged. If we cling to our life Christ cannot be revealed in us.

If we grasp our life and possessions, hold on to people and supposed advantages, not allowing the Holy Spirit to do as He will in us and to us, we will lose our life. In addition Christ will lose an opportunity to appear to the world in a wonderfully unique manner. We must die if He is to live.

When we give ourselves without reservation to God, allowing Christ to fill every element of our personality, consenting to the transformation of all that we are, our personality will become all God meant it to be.

A change in what we fundamentally are is very threatening, very difficult for people. Believers may be willing to gain victory over one sin or another. But when it comes to a change in what we are, we resist the Lord. It seems that each of us has some major aspect of personality, some part of Adam, that characterizes us, that is what we are.

Our Christian life may be occupied to a large extent with a struggle against the symptoms of our particular kind of personality, which may be romantic, or filled with a desire for power or status, or ready to judge other people, or apt to harbor bitterness and revenge, or withdrawn, or flirtatious, or capricious, or violent, or fearful, or grasping and covetous, or requiring luxury, or needing to continually be having fun, or a manifestation of some other adamic trait.

While we may be willing to deal with various sins and shortcomings, when the Holy Spirit begins to require a change in what we basically are we may refuse to proceed with the work of transformation. God’s army of victorious sons will include only those who have been willing to allow God to crucify and resurrect their personality as He will.

It is only in Christ that our potential is realized. It is only in Christ that the uniqueness of our personality is developed and clarified. Apart from Christ we are "without form and void."

When the Spirit of God moves on the "deep" of our being, order appears. There is a separation of our spiritual nature from our soulish nature. "Dry land" is revealed. "Vegetation" (spiritual life) is produced.

Then the all-powerful Creator begins to form us in His image, to bring us into union with Himself and with one another, and to lead us in the path which results in very great fruitfulness and dominion over all the works of God’s hands.

Without Christ we remain unformed. As the Life of Christ Jesus is formed in us the image of God in us is revealed for all to witness.

Whoever would walk with God must be circumcised. True circumcision is of the heart and is eternal. The circumcision of the Law of Moses was a temporary provision and passes away with death.

April 13th

THE CROSS

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)

The saints love the cross. The cross is painful and humiliating and it is despised by the world. Our personal cross is a sharing in the sufferings of Christ. The cross is the only path to joy, to peace, to victory over the world, over Satan, and over our flesh and self-will, to fruitfulness and dominion.

The cross is the wisdom of God and the power of God. The cross can be seen and felt in the personality and ministry of the man of God. There is a reproach, a scandal associated with the cross of Christ. The person who gladly bears the shame of the cross is heading straight toward the throne of the Father in Heaven. The cross may be arrayed in light until it is we who are hanging there.

The cross is the only means of destroying the self-seeking of the human personality. Ministry apart from the cross is self-willed, self-seeking, self-vaunting, self-centered. The cross is God’s response to the self-centeredness of man. Religious people erect elegant structures in order to "glorify God." But God is glorified in the cross of Christ. Herod’s Temple was just that—Herod’s Temple. It was not God’s Temple. The same is true with all the striving of men. Men build tabernacles but God builds the cross.

There are three crosses on Golgotha. God is on the cross. The saved thief is on the cross. The unsaved thief is on the cross. All are on the cross. The world died with Christ Jesus. It is finished.

The true saint is on the cross with Christ and beholds the world from his position of helplessness on the cross. The crucified saint looks constantly to the Lord for the eternal power of the Spirit of God. It is this incorruptible wisdom and power that gives life to the saint and overflows from him so that humanity is released from the chains of Satan.

The cross is our protection against deception. The believer who attempts to evade the cross will be deceived by Satan (Matthew 16:23). God Himself will send delusion on him (II Thessalonians 2:11). There is no way around the cross. Whoever is unwilling to forsake all, to take up his cross and follow Jesus, is unworthy of the Kingdom of God. He cannot be a disciple.

The cross is a prison from which we cannot escape without breaking God’s laws for it is God who has locked us up. The cross is a pinnacle. We are not to jump from it "by faith in God’s Word." It is a place of waiting, of restrictions, of suffering, of patience.

It is God’s will that we suffer in this confinement, this prison. It is God’s will that our most intense desires are withheld from us. It is God's will that we are required to keep serving Him in situations that are frustrating us and keeping us praying every moment, day and night.

The believer who forces his way out of God’s prison may gratify his flesh for a season but his end will be grief, disillusionment, anguish, disappointment, loss of fruitfulness, loss of authority, loss of the Kingdom of God. He who saves his life surely shall lose it. He who loses his life for Christ’s sake and the Gospel’s certainly shall find his life again, and eternal fruitfulness with it. His life will be transformed, having been blended eternally with the life of Christ Jesus.

The cross is the glory, the boast of the Christian. It brings him down to helplessness. From the cross he arises in Christ renewed, transformed, vindicated totally, ruler over all.

Having Christ with us makes demands on us. Having Christ in us makes infinitely greater demands on us.

April 14th

A NEW PERSONALITY

Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. (I Corinthians 15:50)

Being born again is used today to refer to our receiving the salvation that is in Christ Jesus. You may notice, however, that the Apostles of the Book of Acts never preached being born again as the entrance to salvation.

Being born again is not only the point at which we accept Christ. Being born again describes the change that takes place throughout our discipleship. It is referring to the fact that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.

The new personality consists of a new inner man and a new outer man. Much has been written by deeper-life teachers about the new inner man; perhaps not as much about the new outer man.

The new inner man is Christ in us. The new outer man also is Christ and will be a direct reflection of our new inner man.

The Kingdom of God is the new creation. Our first personality, the flesh and blood creation born from our earthly parents, will not inherit the Kingdom of God. It is corruption, being little more than an intelligent animal.

"The flesh profits nothing," as the Lord said.

When we receive the Lord Jesus as our Savior we are born again, that is, the Life of God is implanted in us and begins to grow. As we follow the Spirit of God each day the body and blood of the Lord are fed to us. A new creature is formed from this "hidden manna."

Each day the first personality is struck down. Each day the new man is strengthened. We are born again, so to speak. As the new man is formed in us, a counterpart, an outer man, is formed in the Presence of God in Heaven. In the Day of the Lord the new outer man will be the new inner man. This is our eternal personality, the personality that we shall be throughout the countless ages to come.

We do not say it will be impossible to grow in Christ after we die. It seems probable to us that we shall. However certain basic aspects of character can be formed only in the furnace of affliction found in the earth—in particular the competence to rule.

If we do not follow the Lord as we should we may discover in that day that we have lost forever the opportunity to be of first rank in the Kingdom or to be as close to the Lord’s Presence as we desire.

There is a wonderful, terrible justice in the fact that we shall reap precisely what we sow. If we have followed the Lord diligently, walking in stern obedience to our Father in Heaven, we will reap an abundance of eternal life and glory. If we instead sow to our animal appetites we will reap corruption and contempt in the form of a corrupt outward man.

Today—right now—the Christian is shaping his eternal personality. What he is becoming now as he follows Christ with more or less diligence will be revealed in the Day of the Lord. The body with which he is clothed will portray in itself what he has become in his inner personality. Grace and mercy will not enter at this point. The purpose of grace and mercy are not to change what we reap in the Day of the Lord but rather to help us today to sow seed that will result in the kind of reward we desire.

The saint is the flesh being made the Word, the covenant of God with man.

April 15th

I STAND AT THE DOOR AND KNOCK

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20)

The seven trumpets of the Book of Revelation (Chapters Eight through Eleven) portray the effect on the works of men as the King, Christ Jesus, begins to bring all the earth, including His Church, into subjection to Himself.

How are we affected as the Holy Spirit brings us past the fulfillment of the feast of Pentecost and into Trumpets and the Day of Atonement? How are we to address ourselves to the dealings of the King, as He seeks admittance to our personality so He may throw down every false god in us and establish His throne at the core of our being?

The Lord Jesus is coming to each member of His Body today. He stands at the door of our life and knocks (blows the trumpet). He knocks until He gains our attention. Some hear the Lord readily. In other instances it is necessary for the Lord to bring trouble to the individual in order to make him aware that God has come to him.

Then Jesus speaks. If we open the door of our heart to Him He enters us and dines with us and we with Him. The food and drink He gives us are His own body and blood. It is by eating Him that we become married to Him, learning to live by Him as He lives by the Father.

Then the Lord Jesus begins to throw down every throne in us. We must remember that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, it is not ours to do with as we will.

It is God’s will that man not dwell alone in his body. The body of man is made to be the house, the booth, the tabernacle of God. It is our responsibility to present our body a living sacrifice so we may prove the will of God.

If we are willing to receive the Lord, permitting Him to cast out of us the love of the world, the love of sin, and the love of our self-will, the Father and the Son come to us and make Their abode with us. Now there are four of us living in the same body: the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, and the saint.

When we overcome all that hinders the resting of God in us we discover we are sitting with the Lord Jesus in His throne, which is our own heart.

The goal of salvation is to become the dwelling place of God and Jesus, which is the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish feast of Tabernacles.

The King is coming to each of us. If we have ears to hear and open the door He enters us and makes His abode with us. This is our marriage to the Lord.

As Christ settles down to rest in us He deals with everything in us that is contrary to God’s Personality. The dealings of the Lord as He accomplishes our total sanctification can result in enormous upheavals and misunderstandings. Our part is to look steadfastly to Jesus and to continue patiently in faith until the rest in God we desire so fervently has been gained perfectly and completely.

You were born to be the dwelling place of God. Is this what you truly desire?

Christ dwells forever in the bosom of the Father. He desires that you be with Him where He is.

April 16th

FREE FROM THE LAW OR FREE FROM RIGHTEOUS BEHAVIOR?

But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; (Romans 3:21)

A tremendous misunderstanding permeates Christian thinking. It is that the new covenant provides an alternative to righteous behavior. This misunderstanding has arisen because we do not understand where Paul was coming from when he wrote the first five chapters of the Book of Romans.

Paul was what we would call today an Orthodox. He was a Pharisee of the Pharisees, carefully trained in and carefully observant of every minute detail of the Law of Moses.

This is the man God picked to explain the transition from Moses to Christ. God could have chosen a less strict Jew!

God explained to Paul, and to Paul alone, apparently, the difference between the two covenants. Paul then had to stand by himself and attempt to convince the Jews, and the Gentiles influenced by the Jews, that righteousness no longer comes through the observance of the Law of Moses but through faith in Jesus Christ.

Remember, the first Christian church comprised observant Jews who knew little or nothing of the grace of the new covenant. They just added Jesus to the Law of Moses.

But Paul has been grievously misunderstood!

Whenever Paul is arguing about faith and grace he is not contrasting faith and grace with righteous, godly behavior. He is contrasting faith and grace with the Law of Moses! You may notice this particularly in Romans and Galatians.

We Gentiles have interpreted Paul to mean that God no longer requires righteous behavior but a statement of faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord. If Paul were here today he would behave worse than Ezra. He would be absolutely outraged that we have interpreted him to mean that grace and faith are an alternative to righteous, holy, and obedient behavior.

The truth is, the new covenant, if correctly applied, produces righteous behavior. There is no such thing as faith and Divine grace apart from a new creation of righteous behavior. In fact, God gave us the new covenant because the Israelites on the whole were not living righteous lives. (There were notable exceptions.)

We Gentiles have done a magnificent job of totally misunderstanding the new covenant. You don’t accept Jesus in order to evade God’s commandments. You accept Jesus so you will have the grace, that is, Divine wisdom and strength to enable you to keep God’s commandments. What a different thought!

"How do you get eternal life?"

By keeping God’s commandments.

"How do you keep God’s commandments?"

By abiding in Christ and receiving moral strength for the day.

"What happens when a Christian does not keep God’s commandments?"

God will chasten him or her or something worse may happen.

"Is it really this simple and straightforward?"

Yes.

"Why does no one seem to understand this?"

I am not certain. Perhaps the next generation will understand the Bible.

The "Christian" nations of today are going to be punished severely if God’s people do not seek God and repent of their wicked ways!

Whose company would you prefer? The honest person whose integrity and faithfulness you can count on or the individual who makes a profession of faith in Christ but who continues in his dishonesty, treachery, and slander? Perhaps God feels as you do.

April 17th

TIME TO START SERVING THE LORD!

The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 24:50,51)

We Christians have many traditions concerning what happens to us when we die, and concerning the nature of Heaven, that are based in part on the visions of the saints. The writer does not discredit these visions but regards them as inspiring.

We always must keep in mind, however, that the bulk of our traditions concerning Heaven and what happens to us after we die, stem from the unfortunate use of the term "mansions," in the King James translation of John 14:2—a usage that cannot be defended lexically, contextually, or by any other principle of Scripture interpretation. Our traditions concerning "dying and going to Heaven to live in a mansion" are not based solidly on the Scriptures.

The Apostle Paul speaks of some who are "saved; yet so as by fire" (I Corinthians 3:15).

Have we ever stopped to consider what it may mean to be saved, yet so as by fire? Saved by fire?

If this expression is referring to Lot being dragged out of Sodom, we are speaking here of a massive loss of inheritance. Lot, a wealthy man, entered Sodom with much livestock. He left a widower and a pauper.

The incestuous relationship of Lot’s two daughters with him produced Moab and Ammon. God said, "An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the Lord for ever" (Deuteronomy 23:3).

The Moabites and the Ammonites were a thorn in the side of the people of Israel. It was the king of Moab who hired Balaam to curse Israel and who seduced the Israelite warriors to sin.

Is this what we want, to be saved as was Lot with no inheritance, our fruit causing anger on the part of the Lord? Compare the inheritance of Lot with the inheritance of Abraham.

The reason so many Christians use the concept of being saved by fire as proof that once having professed Jesus they never can be lost, is they do not understand the diversity of destinies possible in the Kingdom of God. Their assumption is that if they are "saved" their troubles are over. When the Lord comes they will be transformed into a spiritual giant, will sit in the throne with Jesus, and will govern the nations with a rod of iron. (How they will do this and live in a mansion at the same time I do not know.)

If it is true, as we are maintaining, that being saved as by fire indicates the loss of our birthright as sons of God so we enter blind, deaf, and naked into the spirit realm, there to await the scathing rebuke of the Lord in the Day of Judgment, then being saved as by fire is not such a blessed prospect.

The believers of today who expect a "rapture" to take place momentarily have no conception of what it would be like to be brought into the Presence of the Lord in their sins, foolishness, and disobedience to God.

The Lord Jesus warned us clearly in the Gospels that when He returns He will hold His servants to strict account for their behavior. This is the teaching of the Scripture and it ought to be emphasized.

"Oh, Brother Thompson, this couldn’t apply to me. I’m saved by grace."

It means you! Aren’t you one of the Lord’s servants?

The ability to repent is a gift. It may not be available when you are ready for your "deathbed repentance."

April 18th

THE SERVANT IS BLIND AND DEAF

Who is blind, but my servant? or deaf, as my messenger that I sent? who is blind as he that is perfect, and blind as the LORD’S servant? (Isaiah 42:19)

If we would be perfect, if we would be the Lord’s servant, we must be blind and deaf.

The Lord Jesus was blind and deaf to the sights and sounds of this world. He saw what the Father was doing. He heard what the Father was saying.

When the disciples proudly showed Him the magnificent temple of Herod the Lord saw a pile of rubble. When the Pharisees and Sadducees attempted to deceive Him He heard the warning voice and wisdom of God.

The mark of the perfect Christian is blindness and deafness to the flesh but sight and hearing in the Spirit of God.

How often we hear part of a story and jump to conclusions. Have you ever done that? Instead of waiting until we hear the voice of God we make a number of decisions based on our natural sight and hearing. What mistakes we make!

If we would be the servant of the Lord we must cultivate the Presence of God until we can hear what He is saying and see what He is doing. Then our judgment is just.

I think this is the meaning of Revelation 20:4. There we find the wonderful destiny of those who are beheaded for the testimony of Jesus. But if the first resurrection is restricted to those who have been martyred by physical decapitation many victorious saints will be excluded.

There is another "decapitation." It takes place when we forsake the reasoning of our natural mind and look to God for wisdom and direction in all matters. Here is the very core of Christianity, the linchpin. The Kingdom of God cannot possibly be established by those who are acting in the flesh.

So many voices in the land today! Come here! Go there! Do this! Do that! Which is the voice of God? Hard to tell sometimes.

There’s only one solution. Get alone with God. Wait, wait, wait until you hear from God. Wait until you have the assurance He has heard you.

Are you tired of grinding at the mill of religious building programs?

I think each Christian, each church, each denomination should take stock every year. Set aside a time and ask God if He is still in the thing we are doing. Maybe we are propping up a dead program with more and more money.

How long has it been since you really have heard from the Lord?

I am writing this on New Year’s day, 1997. You probably won’t read it until March or April, possibly later. But there may be someone to whom the exhortation will come with power. God’s timing will be perfect.

That’s the problem with seeing and hearing in the world. We then don’t have a sense of God’s timing.

If we don’t know what we are doing we are the blind leading the blind.

God is moving today. Are you moving with Him or are you on your own?

When two people strive the spiritually stronger must give way, but only in the Lord.

April 19th

I’VE GOT TO BE ME!

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. (II Corinthians 12:10)

God could have left that verse out of the Bible as far as I am concerned. It makes great preaching but tough living. A person has to be a mature Christian if he or she is to take pleasure in pains and problems!

The substitution of God’s wisdom and strength for our wisdom and strength—Adam has a better idea than this!

We try to go forward and are knocked backward. Our "wisest" plans turn out to be foolishness. Our attempts to do good are viewed as having evil motives. We are sick and weak, and sometimes old. We don’t have quite enough money to do what we want. Is it this way with you? Good! This may mean the Lord loves you.

What are you going to do about it? You can become mean and bitter, blaming people and circumstances—and sometimes God. This happens to people, believe me.

Or you can go to the Lord Jesus about every tiny detail of your discomfiture. This is what you are supposed to do.

Maybe your plans still don’t work. Maybe you’re still being slandered. Maybe you are still sick, weak, and old. Maybe you still don’t have quite enough money to travel around like you want to.

But when you call on the Lord something happens. You receive peace, for one thing. And in each and every area of concern you will find a touch of grace! All of this that is taking place will finally be seen to be the best that could have happened.

What is God doing to you? He is teaching you to look to Him instead of to yourself.

"But I want to be me!" So do a lot of other babies.

You were not created to be alone. You were created to be the dwelling place of God. In order to make you the happy dwelling place of God, God has to keep on frustrating your ability to be alone; to do things by yourself.

Maybe you don’t like the idea of being part of God. Someone said (I think it was Lewis) that people would rather rule in the cardboard shacks of Hell than serve in the courts of Heaven. Is this really what you want? I don’t think so.

We were made to be His dwelling place. Until we are our life is incomplete. We end up disillusioned and incontinent, no eternal life, vanishing protoplasm.

The scientists are right. We are only intelligent animals.

That is, until Christ breathes eternal life into us. Then the heights of glory and fruitfulness we can attain are limited only by our willingness to be pruned.

Will you open up the everlasting doors of your heart and let the King of Glory come in?"

You may be nine or ninety. It’s not too early or too late. BE WHAT GOD WANTS YOU TO BE!

In order to break out of God's prison you have to break God's laws. You will be returned to prison and given a longer sentence.

April 20th

HOW WE BECOME DECEIVED

And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: (II Thessalonians 2:10,11)

Perhaps the main reason why believers become deceived is they are trying to find some way around their personal cross. They just cannot believe that the Lord would deny them something they desire so fervently. Not realizing mankind and the earth are still under the Divine curse, they attempt to make a paradise of their present circumstances instead of looking for the Kingdom of God to come in the future. They are not willing to look past the grave for the fulfillment of their dreams.

The Lord Jesus told us to take up our cross and follow Him. He said no man can be His disciple apart from forsaking the world and all he holds dear.

The Christian must, of course, diligently fulfill all his family obligations. The believer who in a fit of religious fanaticism hides himself from his own flesh and blood, not fulfilling his obligations to his family, will not be blessed by the Lord.

The Lord Jesus was speaking rather of the individual who does not in faithfulness follow after Him in self-denial. He or she is not worthy of the Lord and cannot be His disciple.

We see instances in the churches where a woman will leave her family and run off with a new husband who is "more spiritual." Sometimes a man, who is a believer, will take up with a woman, also a believer, being under the delusion that he no longer loves his wife but is willing to support her and the children. He thinks he can still serve the Lord after betraying those who trusted him.

There is a lot of this today. The believers have not always been taught that the Lord Jesus is not willing to bear the cross alone. There is a cross for you and there is a cross for me. If we are unwilling to carry it we cannot possibly avoid being deceived.

The personal cross of the believer is his strongest defense against deception.

How many Christians do you know who are carrying their cross behind the Master? They and they alone are the true Christians. The remainder are susceptible to deception because they do not receive the love of the truth. In fact, God Himself shall deceive them.

If we would know the truth we must do what Christ has said. We must present our physical body a living sacrifice to the Lord, waiting on His will each day of our life. When we do not present our body a living sacrifice we make ourselves vulnerable to the deceptions of the enemy and God Himself sends delusion on us because of our turning away from the truth.

The way of deception is warm, inviting, beautiful, presenting all sorts of fleeces to assure you that you are doing the Lord’s will. But it leads to the house of death.

The way of the cross is bleak, forbidding, ugly, tearing at the soul. But it leads through gates of splendor.

Which way will you take?

None of us knows when he is deceived. The only shield against deception is the personal cross of the believer.

April 21st

LISTENING TO CHRIST BEFORE WORKING FOR CHRIST

And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen. (Mark 16:20)

How can the Lord work with us unless we are doing what He desires? And how can we do what He desires unless we are hearing from Him?

There are times during our discipleship when we are to wait until we hear from the Lord.

We may observe that from the days of the Protestant Reformers there have been several major moves of the Spirit of God. Each move has been characterized by a return to godliness on the part of the believers, by worldwide evangelism, and by an increase in our understanding of the doctrine of the Apostles.

The twentieth century has witnessed the Pentecostal revival. There has been a renewal of interest in godly behavior, worldwide evangelism, and an increase in our understanding of the doctrine of the Apostles.

In the present hour we are being prepared for the greatest of all renewals—the climax of the latter-rain revival. There will be a revival of interest in godly behavior, worldwide evangelism, and an increase in our understanding of the doctrine of the Apostles as a result of this unprecedented outpouring.

There is a time to listen and then a time to work. To work during the hour of listening may produce some good, but there will not be the accompanying interest in righteousness; the work of evangelism will turn into that of proselyting; and there will be little unveiling of scriptural truth.

Today is an hour of listening. This does not mean we are not to continue in normal, necessary business but it does indicate we are to cease from planning endless programs and listen! listen! listen to what the Spirit is saying! It is a time for much prayer!

God is ready to move us past Pentecost to the last three feasts of the Lord: Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles. We are to be listening. God is going to fulfill these convocations in His own manner. We are not to go out and attempt to stick the bones together. We are to prophesy the Word of the Lord to the bones. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this!

To wait on the Lord and listen for His voice is one of the most joyful, peaceful experiences of all. But to grind at the mill of kingdom building is to bring oneself to weariness, frustration, and discouragement.

What is God saying today? Do you know?

We open ourselves to the deceptions of the enemy when we are working for the Lord instead of abiding in the Lord and waiting on Him.

Is our church a sepulcher that is working for the Lord before it listens to Him? More to the point, is our personal ministry a sepulcher instead of a life-giving flow of water from the Throne of God?

If we would buy the truth we must pause frequently and listen to what God is saying. It is best to take nothing for granted. Remember Joshua and the Gibeonites!

When the bush burns by its own fire it quickly is consumed.

April 22nd

RUNNING AHEAD OF GOD

Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. (Joshua 1:3)

The above verse can be construed to mean we should go out and "do great things for God." But when we look at the next verse, and then think about how spies were sent out, about the placing of stones in certain positions, how the captain of the Lord’s army appeared to Joshua, about the time of circumcision, about the ceasing of the manna, about the specific directions concerning Jericho, we begin to realize that it is not just a case of rushing out and trying to take land for God.

God has a specific plan for all we are to do. We are to walk as He directs, not according to our own wisdom and desires.

If one is looking for a verse to verify that we are to go out and do something for the Lord, Joshua 1:3 would be hard to equal. It takes its stand along with "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me"; "go into all the world and make disciples of all nations"; "you shall say to this mountain, be cast into the sea, and it shall obey you."

These invitations to action are found in the holy Scriptures. All are of the Holy Spirit. All serve as a scriptural "support" for the individual who wishes to "do great things for God."

But there is another way! Instead of using such promises and commands we can go to the Lord to find out what He wants us to do; how He desires that we fulfill His Scriptures.

Are we to read the Scriptures and attempt to work for the Lord, or are we to look to the Lord and wait on Him for direction? Which is the best way to please and serve the Lord?

When we first are saved there is much we are to do that is practical and straightforward, such as reading our Bible, praying, attending the assembling of the saints, giving, and serving as we have opportunity.

When we receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit we are to covet earnestly the best gifts, seeking to excel to the building up of the Body of Christ.

Now God is calling us to a further step toward the rest of God. We are to learn how to work with the Lord instead of for Him. It requires faith to enter the rest of God—faith that God is in control and knows what He is doing. God is building His Church. God is reaching out and saving people from all walks of life. Our task as we enter the rest of God, into our inheritance in the Lord, is to be obedient to what God is telling us.

When we take our position on the cross, waiting on the Lord, refusing to jump off the roof of the temple, there are many voices that will challenge us to come down and do something. "Get busy and work for the Lord. The King’s business requires haste."

Now we have a choice to make. Do we refer to verses such as Joshua 1:3 and set out to see how much land we are able to possess, or do we turn to the Lord and seek to find His will, even though many years of waiting may be required before we hear?

How do you feel about this? What decision will you make?

Hold fast to the vision but don't force your way there. Let God guide you to the fulfillment in His time and way.

April 23rd

WHEN MESSIAH COMES

Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. (Isaiah 9:7)

We can notice several facts in Isaiah 9:7 (above).

There is coming a Kingdom to the earth that will increase forever. Maybe this means that people will still be born in the next age, or maybe it means that the rule of Christ in the hearts of people will continue to grow.

There will be a continuing increase of peace. How long have world leaders been seeking peace. It always eludes them. It always shall. Only God can bring peace and He gives it only to the righteous. As long as there is sin in the world there will be uproars.

The Lord Jesus will govern from the throne of King David, no doubt from the Temple Mount in the city of Jerusalem. Let us never forget that the Kingdom of God is Jewish in character and we Gentiles have been made a part of the Kingdom by God’s grace.

The Kingdom is eternal and will be established with justice and righteousness. David was a just, righteous king. His greater Son, Jesus, is infinitely more just and righteous even than King David.

The Christian tradition holds that when Jesus comes He will take His people to Heaven in the spirit realm. This is not scriptural. When Jesus comes He will bring His saints with Him, transform those who remain alive on the earth, bring them all up to meet Him in the air so they can return with Him, and then descend to make an end of injustice and unrighteousness.

Then will the meek rejoice for they shall inherit the earth.

Then will the wicked scream in terror for they shall be destroyed from the earth.

When Messiah comes He will bring peace and justice to the earth. Can you think of anything more needed in our world?

The governments of today talk much of peace and justice. They always and forever will fail of their goals. Why is this? It is because their hearts are wicked. It appears there is more wickedness, dishonesty, covetousness, fornication, treachery, slander, criticism, self-seeking in the governments of the world than anywhere else. How can such people bring justice and peace to the world?

Only Jesus can change the heart of an individual so he brings justice and peace to his own sphere of influence.

How about you? Is Jesus working in your soul to remove worldliness, lust, and self-seeking so you are becoming a peacemaker, a son of God? Is real change taking place in your heart? Are those around you beginning to benefit from your transformation?

I am not asking you if you are a church member or a professing Christian. I am asking if you are being changed.

People don’t want to hear about your religion or how you are saved by imputed righteousness. They are looking for righteous behavior to shine through your personality.

If you are a Christian you are supposed to be an ambassador for the coming Kingdom of God. How well are you representing the King of your kingdom? Are you giving others hope for better things to come?

Rejoice O crazy, drunken, blind, miserable earth. Your true and only King is on the way accompanied by real Christians, not the kind you’ve probably seen but people who care about you and have the power to bring you love, peace, and joy. Rejoice greatly!

The Light even now is on the horizon. Your deliverance is at hand. Make way for the kings from the East.

Hallelujah!

The filling of the earth with the knowledge of the Glory of the Lord that we are looking for will not drop down from the clouds, it will flow from within the saints when they appear with Christ.

April 24th

THE TEMPTATION OF THE BREAD

And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. (Luke 4:3,4)

Every son of God is tested in the area of bread, the kingdoms of the world, and the pinnacle.

The temptation of bread has to do with finding security and survival in the world instead of in God.

Not all people are vulnerable in the same area of personality. Some individuals find the temptation of bread almost impossible to overcome.

Command this stone to be made bread. Focus your life on food, on shelter, on money, on what this world can do for you. The most important thing in life is to make a living. Whoever does not provide for his family is worse than an unbeliever.

We understand we are supposed to work and to provide for our loved ones. Paul says if we don’t work we shouldn’t eat. There are Christians who are "living by faith" who ought to be earning their keep. I have no use for religious bums who go from house to house talking about spiritual things. All such talk gets you nowhere with God.

The Lord Jesus made it plain that God is concerned about our physical survival. He commanded us to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and whatever we need will be added to us. Either He will or He won’t. In my own case God has provided so I am satisfied the Word is true.

There are men who work, work, work until there is no time left for God. They find security in this. They grub in the mud but God wants them to spend some time among the stars. They destroy their spiritual life doing this and will get no thanks for it.

We are supposed to live by the words that come from God’s mouth. God is speaking at all times. Some of those words are directed at us. We are to listen to them and live by them. But we can’t hear them and listen to the world at the same time.

If you are not taking the time to listen to God and are spending your days eating, working, playing, sleeping, and reproducing you might as well be a horse.

The only god Jesus mentioned is Mammon, the god of riches. No one can serve God and money. People amass money in case God doesn’t come through.

Money is one of the chief gods of the United States of America. The money says "In God we trust." It ought to say in money we trust.

I dare you to take time each day to look to God for the survival and security of you and your loved ones. In fact I double-dare you. (We used to say that when we were kids.)

Life is too short to worship the world, money, education, and the rest of the resources of Antichrist. God alone is to be trusted.

You can’t take it with you. Stop now and consider—are you wasting your life? Why not ask for the Bread of eternal life that comes from the great Rock—Jesus?

The true Christian, the disciple of the Lord Jesus, learns to depend on the Lord Jesus for every aspect and detail of life—every action, every word, and every thought. All should be held up in prayer so as to gain the Lord's help in the matter.

April 25th

THE TEMPTATION OF THE KINGDOMS OF THE WORLD

And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. (Luke 4:5-8)

The second arena of temptation has to do with pleasure, and the realm of pleasure is that of worship.

Some individuals are not tempted by the frantic desire for money and material things. They are "party" people. As long as they are having fun they don’t care whether they are paying their rent or sleeping in the gutter.

This is the area of lust, of the arts, of drugs.

A man will leave his wife and children when he is seduced by lust. Satan plays on his mind and he loses touch with reality. All he can understand is the need to satisfy his cravings.

How many mighty saints have been pulled down from their place by lust. They had been among those who stand in the Presence of the Lord. Now they are busily indulging in the cravings of their flesh, driven by grotesque goblins in the spirit realm.

Some are pulled off the ladder by "beautiful" romantic spirits, inspired by Wagner and Chopin. Others fulfill their appetites in sleazy motels, waking up in their vomit, heedless of the commitments made to more faithful people (and their children), beginning to worry about venereal diseases and AIDS.

One more for the road!

These are the kingdoms of the world. Lust, drunkenness, murder, and every other sin abound in the temples of the democracies as well as the palaces of the feudal princes.

All of this is the worship of Satan, the god of this world.

No greater audacity has been witnessed on the world canvas than the fallen cherub asking for the worship of his Creator. How stupid, we say.

Yet we need to be wary. The same cherub approaches you and me, after studying our personality profile. He appeals to the weakness whether gross or highly refined, whether in the area of the bestial or the sublime realms of science and philosophy. It all adds up to Lewis’ "brown girls."

How about you? What is the old deceiver working on in you in the area of pleasure? Is he playing with your mind? Is he speaking to you of depths of joy? But there are no depths in Satan, only the tired old grind of the lusts of the flesh and soul. He and his demons have no joy or glory. They have been condemned to crave the dust of human flesh. They are cannibals.

Have you been tricked in your mind? Cry out to God in the name of Jesus. He will reach down and pull you from the quicksand. Return to those you left in your mad rush to satisfy your cravings. Maybe they’ll take you back.

I hope they do. If you have learned your lesson you will be a more stable person.

Don’t try to sail past that shore tied to the mast. Don’t reason with Jezebel. Don’t imagine you owe anything to the deceived individual whose eyes like your own—if you could see past your fantasy—are burning with fire and sulfur.

Get out of there!

The true Christian, the disciple of the Lord Jesus, thinks, speaks, and acts in an increasingly righteous and holy manner.

April 26th

THE TEMPTATION OF THE PINNACLE OF THE TEMPLE

And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. (Luke 4:9-12)

Every son of God is tested in the area of turning stones into bread, in selling his soul to get the kingdoms of the world, and in showing off by jumping from the pinnacle.

Turning stones into bread has to do with our trust in the world for security and survival. Worshiping Satan in order to gain the delights of the kingdoms of the world involves the pursuit of pleasure. Jumping off the gable of the Temple is a test of our desire for personal achievement.

The temptation of the pinnacle takes place in Jerusalem, in the place of religious activity. Here Christ was murdered because of the desire of the leaders of Israel for preeminence.

We may understand that worldliness is sin and seek to turn away from it, read our Bible, and pray.

We may understand that the lusts of the flesh are sin and the good Book warns us concerning these.

The arena of personal ambition is not as familiar to us, perhaps because we do not consider striving for achievement to be sin. Actually self-seeking is the worst of all sins and the most destructive. How many works of God have been destroyed because the Christians were attempting to force their own will?

"Don’t wait for God! Step out in faith! Do great things for God! Come down from the cross!"

The person who, like so many Bible characters such as Sarah and Hannah, has been barren for many years while other people were "having children by the dozen," often enjoys the mockery of his or her brothers and sisters. "Why don’t you get busy and build a monument like we are doing. You are a loser!"

"Jump off the roof. Step out in faith. The Bible tells you what God wants. Go out and compel them to come in. The King’s business requires haste."

You know what? I am going to sit on this roof until I hear from God. You can do what you want.

"Come down from the wall. We want to talk to you. They’re coming to get you in the night!"

I want God! I want to hear from God! I am not going to jump off and land in the Kidron Valley sewer with a grapefruit on top of my head.

The hardest death we die is to self-will—much harder than worldliness or lust. We have to suffer before we learn stern obedience to the Father. But it is this third death that brings dominion and fruitfulness.

The Church is here now. Samson will bring down the whole kingdom of darkness by his death, never by his life.

Will you help pin the accuser’s shoulders to the mat?

The true Christian, the disciple of the Lord Jesus, does not envy and supplant because of the lust to be preeminent. He rejoices when he is abased and he rejoices when he abounds. He is the servant of all.

April 27th

ARE WE TRULY EXEMPT FROM THE LAWS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS?

For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations. (Isaiah 61:11)

It is the intention of the Lord God of Heaven that righteousness and praise come to maturity in His Church so the nations of the earth may behold, in the saints, the Person, will, and ways of the God of Heaven. When the nations see the true testimony they will glorify God and walk in His ways.

In order to bring into view the righteous behavior He desires, God has given us His only begotten Son so that through His blood we may be forgiven our sins, and through His triumphant life we may be delivered from our sins and commence practicing righteousness in the earth.

This is the new covenant of God with Israel and with all who are grafted on Israel, on Christ—the one true Olive Tree.

But the deceiver has entered the garden of God. He has distorted the purpose and plan of the Divine redemption.

Satan has convinced us that the purpose of Divine grace is to provide us with a pass into Heaven and that righteous works on the earth have little to do with redemption.

He has convinced us that no believer in Jesus will be punished at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

He has convinced us that God loves us so much He stands ready to forgive us even when there has been no genuine repentance. The goodness of God is stressed but the severity and wrath of God are not emphasized.

Satan has convinced us we are not to fear God or His Christ but merely are to reverence Them much as we would reverence the monument to a great statesman. We are quick to accept the change from fear to reverence because our pride and haughtiness will not allow us to fear God as we should.

Satan has convinced us that salvation is unconditional such that after we make a profession of belief in the Lord Jesus, no matter how deeply we return to sin we never can be removed from Christ’s Presence and blessing. This is a clear departure from the Scripture.

He has convinced us there will be a secret translation of the believers so they will not be exposed to the hardships of the great tribulation, using a passage intended by the Apostle Paul to comfort living saints concerning their deceased loved ones.

He has convinced us that the believers in Christ, especially the Gentile believers, are a "special dispensation" of God. They are not required to practice righteousness, to love mercy, or to walk humbly with God. They are to say the name of Jesus and wave the wand of "grace." Now they are exempt from the laws of righteousness that govern all other men. No matter how they behave they will proceed straight to Paradise when they die.

This is the state of things in numerous churches throughout the world. We are in a period of deep apostasy.

Are you one of those who can hear the Spirit? Will you rise up and help us build the wall against sin?

Salvation does not save what we are, it saves us from what we are.

April 28th

THE TRUE VISION OF GOD

Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; having your conversation [manner of life] honest among the Gentiles [nations]: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. (I Peter 2:11,12)

The true vision of God has been removed from the Christian churches and the people are being destroyed. Righteous conduct, that which God always emphasizes to man, is not being emphasized in today’s Gospel preaching. Unless God turns His face toward us and gives us the ability to repent, to cast out these false doctrines from the house of God, to begin living for Jesus as though our eternal life depended on it, the present generation of believers will face an angry Christ when they pass from the earth.

No doubt God soon will visit the wealthy nations of the earth with severe judgments. They are wasting the resources of the earth on their sins and comforts while hundreds of millions are starving spiritually and physically. Where are the Christian churches in this picture? They will receive the greater judgment because they have the Word of truth and eternal life and yet are not setting an example of godliness to the world. They are not bearing a true witness of the Person, will, ways, and eternal purpose of the God of Heaven.

By stressing the grace of forgiveness at the expense of the grace of godly living we have extinguished the light of the testimony, the light of the lampstand of God. Instead of the light of "good works" we are guiding the nations with our self-love, covetousness, immorality, and our willingness to seek the assistance and approval of men rather than the assistance and approval of God. The nations understand this type of behavior and so they are not moved to "glorify God in the day of visitation."

Where are God’s prophets, His witnesses who cannot be bought with money, who care little for the assistance and approval of men but very much for the assistance and approval of God? Where are the people who walk in prayer, who live in godly fear and brokenness of spirit before God? Where are those who know the joyful sound of the God of Israel? Where are God’s holy people? Where are the saints?

How have the mighty fallen! How has truth perished in our land! Is our generation lost to Christ or is it possible to dig out the Scriptures from the rubble of tradition and teach them once again?

Adhering to the truth of God’s Word in a day when our institutions are teaching error will cause turmoil. There always have been consequences when people have chosen truth over popular error. It is our conviction that men and women of integrity do not waste time thinking about the consequences once they have been persuaded of truth.

Let each of us cast from himself as a filthy cloth the unscriptural traditions that have accumulated. Let us first assure ourselves that the traditions indeed are not scriptural, and then let us hurl them from us with boldness and the authority of the Word of God. Any teaching that does not promote, as its first priority, righteous behavior, holiness of personality, and stern obedience to God through faith in the Lord Jesus, is not of God.

Let us turn again to the Lord. Let us cease teaching and preaching lies. God is to be feared as well as loved. Christ is to be feared as well as loved. The righteous shall walk with God; they can stand in the Fire of His Presence. The unrighteous cannot stand in the Presence of God, in the Presence of Christ, in the Kingdom of God.

Where there is no righteous behavior there is no testimony of God; but the righteous behavior of the Christ-filled saint causes people to glorify God.

April 29th

 PREPARING FOR RESURRECTION

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13)

The King, Christ Jesus, comes to us personally. When the Lord Jesus returns from Heaven every eye will see Him. But before His visible coming to the world He comes in the Spirit to the Christian who is pressing forward in the Kingdom of God. Jesus calls forth from the dead the various aspects of the believer’s personality.

It is critically important that the Christian does not put off into some future age all the aspects of the resurrection from the dead, meanwhile living in the appetites of the flesh. We Christians already have passed from death into resurrection life. Our spiritual nature already is located in Heaven at the right hand of God because Christ is our Life. We are part of His resurrection and ascension to the right hand of God. Now the Lord must perform the work of creating resurrection life in our personality so we are able to express in our thinking and actions what is true of us in the heavenlies.

After we repent of our sins and are sprinkled with the blood of atonement, Christ is born in us. From this point forward the Spirit of God seeks to gain control of our mind, our tongue, our motives, and our actions. We are exhorted to live and walk in the Spirit of God and to shun the impulses and appetites of our body and soul.

The resurrection from the dead is at work in us now, not the resurrection of our body but the resurrection of our spirit and soul. Our inner man is responding to Divine Life now. This is why Paul warns us that if we live in the appetites of the flesh we will die. If we spend our energy and time in the occupations of the body and soul, the Divine Life that has been given us upon our receiving Christ will be crowded out of our personality. We will destroy our own resurrection.

Neglecting to cultivate the Divine Life that has been born in us leaves us in a corrupt condition. We become increasingly unable to respond to the call of Christ. Our inability to hear His voice will result in our being unable to respond to Him when He appears from Heaven.

Some will be taken but others, who have neglected their salvation, will be left. It is of the greatest importance that we lay hold on resurrection life today so that when the Lord comes our lamp will be burning brightly.

After we are saved and baptized with the Holy Spirit we enter the Life of the Holy Spirit. We learn to submit to God’s Spirit. Learning to walk in the discipline and true liberty of the resurrection Life of the Spirit of God is part of the spiritual fulfillment of the blowing of Trumpets. The trumpet of the Lord sounds and the dead arise and walk in eternal life.

The Lord Jesus works with us faithfully, preparing us for our place in His Kingdom. The true saint has fellowship with his King each day (although sometimes the way becomes dark and perplexing and we must walk by blind faith). The coming of the King to us in this fashion is part of the spiritual fulfillment of the Levitical Blowing of Trumpets.

Each one of us can stand in triumph before the Lord in that Day.

If this is our hope let’s begin to serve Christ with our whole heart.

Are you seeking to win Christ? If not you are not attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

April 30th

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

There was nothing in the ark save the two tables of stone, which Moses put there at Horeb, when the LORD made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt. (I Kings 8:9)

When the Ark of the Covenant was put in the new Temple of Solomon there was nothing in it but the Ten Commandments. The memorial jar of manna and Aaron’s rod that budded had been removed.

The memorial jar of manna represents the daily grace given to us so we learn to lean on the Lord for all things. The manna will cease when we "enter the land," that is, when we come to the fullness of God.

Aaron’s rod that budded refers to two related truths: (1) the royal priesthood comprises chosen people; and (2) the Life of God comes from that which has died. These two aspects will have been fulfilled when the new Jerusalem comes to the earth.

But the Law, the Ten Commandments, endures forever. We are not saying the Law of Moses endures forever for God plainly stated He would make a new covenant with the House of Israel. Rather it is the eternal law of God, that of which the Ten Commandments are an abridged, covenantal edition, that will endure forever.

Of the seven furnishings of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, only the Ark kept its carrying poles intact when the Tabernacle came to rest.

God is telling us something here. Our experience in Christ must always be dynamic. All of God’s work has as its purpose our being made in the moral image of Christ and our being brought into untroubled rest in the Father. Whenever Christian teaching does not point toward moral reformation it is not serving God’s purpose.

The Christian teaching of today emphasizes the grace of forgiveness (as though that were the only aspect of God’s grace) as being the principal aspect of the new covenant. It is not. The principal aspect of the new covenant is the writing of the law of God in the mind and heart of the believer.

God wants righteous behavior! God wants His people to keep His commandments. We are not doing this. We have substituted a false doctrine of a perpetual unconditional amnesty in place of the commandments found in the New Testament.

We do not love Christ. If we loved Christ we would be keeping His commandments.

We are teaching error. The result is Christian churches throughout the world that are spiritually dead. In place of the New Testament emphasis on moral transformation there is an unceasing, unscriptural emphasis on being caught up to Heaven to live in a mansion.

We are in apostasy because our doctrine is not biblical. We have been grievously deceived.

Perhaps it’s not too late in America. If the Christian ministry will cease emphasizing the catching up of untransformed believers and begin to teach the commandments of Christ and His Apostles the people may humble themselves and turn away from their sins. In this case God will heal our land.

But if lawless grace (antinomianism) and the catching up (can you imagine the Apostle Paul saying if by any means I may attain the catching up?) along with prosperity, magical faith, and uncontrollable laughter continue to be emphasized throughout the nineties, then we are facing a holocaust worse than that experienced by the Jews.

If one preacher turns away from the present-day myths and begins to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom our efforts will have been worth it.

Lord, help us all!

The Bible does not command us in vain to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Many mature Christians have been led astray!

May 1st

THE MEMORIAL JAR OF MANNA

And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. (Deuteronomy 8:3)

Moses put a jar of manna in the Ark of the Covenant. There it remained for a long while, apparently, but no longer was present when the Ark was put in the new Temple of Solomon.

The Ten Commandments in the Ark represent the righteousness wrought in the individual in whom Christ is formed. Aaron’s rod that budded, also in the Ark, speaks of the calling of God on every member of the royal priesthood. Each priest of God must die to the adamic nature and receive the power of the endless life by which Melchisedec ministered.

The jar of manna in the Ark reminds us of our continual dependence on the Lord for all things. For forty years the Israelites ate manna. The manna ceased when they began to eat of the corn of Canaan.

The Bible tells us that the gifts of the Spirit will cease when that which is perfect has come to us. That which is perfect is the fullness of the Father and the Son through the fullness of the Spirit. Then we shall be filled with all the fullness of God.

The Bible informs us that God caused the people to hunger and then fed them with manna. He did this to humble them, that they might learn man does not live only by natural food but by the words coming from the mouth of God.

We have to learn to lean on the Lord!

It is difficult for the adamic nature to find its wisdom and strength in God. The natural man would far rather rush out in a fit of enthusiasm without hearing from the Lord.

God has to keep knocking us flat or we get "in the flesh" quickly!

How about you? Does God keep you scrambling? Do you have things in your life that keep you off balance?

If it wasn’t for him, or her, or this, or that, I could really serve the Lord.

The truth is if it wasn’t for him, or her, or this, or that, you would be making a mess of your life and that of everyone around you.

God much prefers to keep us "hungry." Then He gives us just enough manna for one day. Wouldn’t we love to collect the manna so we could get control of the situation! But yesterday’s manna breeds worms and stinks.

How many Christians are living on yesterday’s manna? And all the religious perfume in the world doesn’t help.

God has something new for you today—a fresh batch of manna, right from the oven, golden brown, crisp, tasty. Have some and see how good it is.

But remember, it won’t be good tomorrow.

You’re going to have to seek God every day if you want that good, fresh manna!

Today is the day of salvation. Tomorrow is the revelation of the choices you make today.

May 2nd

AARON’S ROD THAT BUDDED

And it came to pass, that on the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle of witness; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds. (Numbers 17:8)

The story of Aaron’s rod teaches us two things. First, that God chooses whom He will. Promotion in the Kingdom of God is not based on our striving or on democratic principles. Second, eternal life comes out of death.

These two ideas are related.

The religious world, like the secular, is filled with envy. The Lord Jesus was murdered because of envy.

You would think that as the leaders of the Jews watched Jesus they would have loved Him. Jesus represents the best the Law has to offer. To love God and other people is the sum of the statutes of Moses and this Jesus does to perfection.

Instead the Pharisees and priests howled for His blood, and then sought to kill Lazarus whom Jesus raised from the dead. Pretty hard to argue theology with someone Christ raised from the dead!

Satan and his followers are spiritual creatures. In past eons they had lived in the glory and joy of the Lord. They lost the glory and joy because of their self-seeking. Now they attempt to enter the most spiritual congregation they can find in order to experience that which they lost, and if possible to spread their envy and rebellion.

In the churches there are those whom, like Moses and Aaron, God exalts for "no good reason." There are others who are religiously inclined and resent the fact they are not exalted. The personally ambitious folk argue and cause division.

The leaders God has exalted learn to die in the Lord so that eternal life may lift up those around them. They are dead rods but they bud, blossom, and bear eternal fruit—as did the imprisoned Paul.

There are those who also are of rank in the Kingdom but who, like Korah, desire to be number one. They envy God’s chosen leaders.

These "mountains of Bashan" are a never ending problem, as pastors know well. They are always "leaping." But God has chosen Zion.

You can always tell the Korahs. They are not willing to die in the Lord. They get what they want by politics.

Those God has chosen will prevail while they are ducking the stones.

If you are a number two be the best you can be for the Lord. It really doesn’t matter whether you are riding in the front chariot or cleaning up behind the horses in the royal parade. Do what you do faithfully and you will be called the friend of God.

Brother, Sister, there is no other reward that compares with being the friend of God!

You will never be happy and fulfilled until you are at rest in the center of God’s will.

As for the Korahs, keep your distance if possible. The ground is beginning to shake! You cannot govern with Christ unless you are willing to suffer with Christ.

May 3rd

STERN OBEDIENCE TO THE FATHER

And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt [test] Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. (Genesis 22:1,2)

Here is the third death and resurrection, the trial of obedience, the test that is more demanding and difficult than striving against the bondages of sin.

The calling of Abraham from Ur of the Chaldees is a type of salvation. Then, when Abraham was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and required a walk of sanctification.

In the offering of Isaac we witness a much more severe demand—the offering up to God of Abraham's son, the promised heir, his inheritance in the Lord. Isaac was the only means of obtaining the abundant fruitfulness that God had promised Abraham. Abraham's righteousness was based on the fact he believed the Word of God concerning that fruitfulness.

Wasn't this an exceedingly difficult trial?

Notice that God was testing Abraham. God reserves the right to test any one of us at any time He chooses. Our part is to pray and serve the Lord to the best of our ability in as cheerful and uncomplaining a manner as possible. Sometimes the tests of the Lord are quite difficult to endure. The test we are discussing now was extraordinarily difficult, but an eternal issue was being decided.

God said, "Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest."

"Thine only son Isaac." God had promised Abraham he would be the father of many nations and his seed would be as the stars of heaven. Abraham had proceeded to attempt to work out the fulfillment of God's promise by using Hagar, a servant of Sarah.

God would not accept Hagar's son, Ishmael, as the heir of promise. God commanded, "Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac." At this point, God did not regard Ishmael as a true son of Abraham. Ishmael had not been given to Abraham by the Lord.

Much of our striving in Christian work is not even recognized by the Lord. It will prove to be wood, hay, and straw. All that God will accept in the Christian Church is what He Himself has accomplished in us.

"Thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest."

If God had called for Ishmael the test would not have been nearly as difficult. Isaac was the fruit of the promised miracle. There was no doubt in Abraham's mind that it would be through Isaac the end would come to his lack of fruitfulness and the promise of the Lord would be realized.

If God would require us to sacrifice only those things we have accomplished in the appetites of the flesh it might prove to be a difficult trial of our faith in Him.

When God begins to demand of us what truly is our gift from Him, our acts of obedience bring forth the kind of character that is able to receive successfully the fullness of the fruitfulness and strength God desires to impart to us.

God is your Father and makes joyously possible your perfect obedience in every situation. Anything less is rebellion.

May 4th

DEDICATION TO THE WORK OF THE KINGDOM

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. (Mark 8:35)

If we will diligently employ in the work of the Kingdom what we have been given, the Lord will entrust us with greater responsibilities. We can gain "ten talents" if we will give ourselves to the tasks at hand. Such diligence and faithfulness please the Lord very much.

Many—perhaps most—of God’s people have little idea what their roles are in the Body of Christ, in the Kingdom of God. There may be several excuses for such ignorance but the Kingdom suffers as a result. It is important in the present hour that each saint begin to do something about his or her responsibility in the Kingdom.

"I have a wife and family."

"I am too young."

"I am too old."

"I am not trained."

"I am too busy!"

"I will do the Lord’s will when I retire."

On and on the excuses go but God accepts none of them. The point is, we are to seek first the Kingdom of God. Otherwise our crown will be removed from our head and placed on the head of another who is faithful to the Words of Christ Jesus.

The world rocks along toward the reign of Antichrist. Millions are born and millions die. Moral filth is increasing. A tiny minority has been entrusted with the Word of God. God requires that those who have been so entrusted lay aside all diversions and recognize that being a saint is a full-time calling.

Each member of the Body of Christ has been called to the work of the Kingdom of God. This is his responsibility in the world, the meaning of his life.

We can choose to set ourselves apart to the responsibility and work of establishing the Kingdom of God on the earth. If we do, we will lose our life for Christ’s sake and the Gospel’s and gain eternal life and fruitfulness in the Kingdom of God.

We can choose to make our occupation in the world the focus of our time and energy. We may gain friends, acclaim, material wealth, every physical comfort. We can portion out some of this gain for the work of the Gospel when such giving does not require a painful sacrifice on our part.

The moment we die physically our choices will be evaluated. The believer who has dedicated his life to the work of the Kingdom will be greeted joyfully by Christ Jesus. He will be welcomed to the fellowship of the saints, to the ranks of those who also have dedicated their lives to the work of the Kingdom of God. His gladness of heart will know no bounds.

But the believer who has struggled so laboriously with the affairs of the world will recognize immediately he has been deceived. His dedication to the world and neglect of spiritual values will be revealed for all to behold.

One of the most searing pangs of Hell will be the bitter remorse over opportunities forever lost. To think we could have spent our life for eternal gain! Instead, we so foolishly chose to occupy ourselves with tinsel, baubles, the cackling approval of worldlings. What sharp claws will tear our soul in that moment! It could have been so different. So different.

Let the foolish among us choose to occupy their time and strength with the visible world—that which will be done away when the universe is consumed in God’s fire.

Let the wise among us choose to set ourselves apart to the Kingdom of God. As we do a multitude of others also will be set apart to God by means of the truth our life has become through our Lord Jesus Christ. The salvation that cost God everything to fully achieve costs man everything to fully receive.

May 5th

THE NEW CREATION

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (II Corinthians 5:17)

It may be true that many Christian people almost completely misunderstand the Divine redemption. They are under the impression that Christ died in order to forgive what they are and bring them to Heaven to live forever in the Paradise of God. They perceive the tribulations of this life as unnecessary harassments sent by the devil out of spite. They conceive of belief in Christ Jesus as a ticket to a better life in Heaven and, according to contemporary preaching, a more prosperous life on earth.

But the Divine redemption is not the forgiving and preserving of what we are. Redemption is not a forgiving of our behavior and a transferring of our personality to the spirit Paradise.

God is not saving what we are. God is saving us from what we are.

Redemption is the perishing of what we are and the forming of a new creation. It is true also that redemption does not consist in removing the new creation from the earth. We go to Heaven when we die only because our Life, Christ Jesus, is in Heaven. When our Life returns to the earth, then we also will return to the earth. Our land of promise is the earth.

The Divine redemption is not a transfer from earth to Heaven. What would that accomplish? What good would that do us or anyone else? Rather the Divine redemption is a transformation of what we are. If we have not been transformed we have not been redeemed, whether or not we escape Hell when we die.

Our outward man, our soul and body, perish every day because of trouble, perplexity, persecution, and heavy burdens. Our circumstances continually are frustrating and grieving us, resulting (if we hold steady in prayer and faith) in the death and resurrection of our ambitions, motives, thoughts, and everything else that moves and guides a human being.

Why are pain, bewilderment, and imprisonment necessary? They are necessary because apart from them our original personality continues to govern our behavior.

After we receive Christ Jesus a new personality begins to enter us, a personality born from above. Its ambitions, motives, and thoughts are contrary to those of our old nature. The new man is Christ in us. He is the Kingdom of God. In order for Him to grow our old nature must be struck down continually.

Our old nature will fight furiously for its life, but it must be killed for it cannot inherit the kingdom of God. It is the new man who is blessed of God. If we will allow the Lord to crucify our old nature, the Lord will renew and bless our new nature each day. This is how we grow in Christ, how Christ grows in us. This is the Kingdom of God—the transforming of us into the image of the glory of the Lord.

How about you? Are you content with what you are or do you wish to become a new creation in Christ?

God is not making all new things but all things new. This is what we truly desire.

May 6th

THY KINGDOM COME

Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (Romans 8:21)

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth; not the spiritual Heaven, but the material firmament—space, as we term it, with its suns and planets.

This was the beginning of the material creation—that which is to be released through the unveiling of the sons of God.

What existed before the beginning?

We do not know. It was a spirit realm inhabited by angels, cherubim, seraphim, and other creatures. These beings were not material. They were not in the image of God.

Were there trees, grass, animal, birds, hills, valleys in the spirit realm? We do not know. The Book of Revelation suggests a sea of glass, an altar, thrones, but never the paradise we imagine.

It was a marvelous day when God created the heavens and the earth, the material realm. Satan and the fallen angels hurried to leave their first estate and enter the earth. Why? Because the material realm is more desirable than the spiritual.

When God created the heavens and the earth He did not create a lesser realm, He created a greater. He did not create lesser creatures, He created greater. God always moves from the lesser to the greater as all the saints know well.

Now Christians are hoping God will reverse Himself and bring us back to the prior condition. We want to leave the better realm, the material, and go back to the realm of angels.

God has a much better plan than that.

The material realm was created "very good" and still is very good. The problem is in the spirit realm. Wicked, rebellious spirits have entered the material realm, including our physical bodies. These unclean personalities are destroying everything they touch. Satan, their master, is perverse, treacherous, corrupt, lustful, murderous—abominable beyond all we can imagine.

God has no intention of abandoning His creation to unclean spirits. Rather, God is perfecting a royal priesthood consisting of the spirits of righteous people made perfect.

When these righteous spirits have been prepared fully, Jesus and they will return to earth to drive out the evil spirits.

When the evil spirits have been driven from the material creation, Paradise will be restored to the earth. Nature, dead for six thousand years, will praise God once again, being made alive by the touch of the Spirit of God.

The creation once again will be spiritual-material; not a dead physical thing but a living, joyous, singing creature. The wild animals will graze peacefully with the domestic. Nothing will hurt, nothing will dismay God’s innocents.

What happened? How did man lose Paradise in the beginning?

We lost Paradise because there was no wall around Eden. There was no voice that said with Divine power and wisdom, "Satan, keep out. The wicked, the deceitful, the rebellious, the violent, the drunken, the unclean, the adulterous, the bestial, are not permitted here."

The wall of the new Jerusalem is being created today in the hearts of the believers. Are you one of those who has determined to come before the Father in stern obedience? Do you long for the new world of righteousness and praise that is to come?

If so, rejoice with us. God has heard our prayers. The earth yet shall be filled with the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

The purpose of the resurrection is not to bring us to Heaven but that we once again may be able to enjoy the earth.

May 7th

WINNING CHRIST

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, (Philippians 3:8)

What in the world is Paul talking about?

They say that the Book of Philippians was written toward the end of Paul’s ministry. Churches had been established. Epistles had been written.

How is it that Paul was trying to "win Christ"?

All you have to do today is confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead. Then you’ve got it. No more is necessary. You ought to try to do good, but if you don’t good ol’ grace is standing there ready to receive you graciously.

It’s too bad Paul wasn’t living today. Here the poor fellow was striving with might and main to win Christ when all he had to do was confess with his mouth and believe in his heart.

Maybe mankind has evolved since then so we don’t have to try so hard.

But let’s imagine Paul actually knew what he was doing. What was he trying to win?

In the same passage he says he was trying to attain to the resurrection from the dead. What is that?

My thought is we should ignore all such nonsense and get on with the job of getting people to "make a decision for Christ."

There may be a few radicals around who are giving their whole life trying to gain the fullness of Christ, trying to get resurrected on the inside so they will be raised in the first resurrection, the resurrection of the royal priesthood. Crazy talk! It isn’t even in the Book. If it is it must be for the Jews.

We know it’s of the devil because we don’t understand it.

History reveals the majority is always correct and there are no exceptions to this.

We don’t need the Bible anyway, we have marvelous traditions.

These nuts will keep on talking about perfection and counting everything garbage to "win Christ."

Why should we pay any attention to a few crazy people? The majority will follow us as we teach them how they can make a profession of Christ and then get on with the job of living. We will show them how God loves them so much they can sit in the slops dead drunk with their blonde girlfriend, raise their hand, say I believe, and the Father will come running and give them the ranch.

When the trumpet blows (maybe before I finish this enlightening article) we will be snatched from the slops and brought up to our mansion in Heaven. Then those dumbbells who wouldn’t make a decision for Christ can pay our bills. Ha-ha-ha.

We will sit in air-conditioned comfort and have another cold one while those Jews down there face Antichrist without the Holy Spirit. That’ll teach ’em.

Aren’t you glad you’re a Gentile saved by grace and can do anything you want?

A final word to the nuts. Go ahead. Try to keep Christ’s commandments. Give to God everything that matters to you. Have fellowship with the sufferings of the Lord. Trust in the power of Christ’s resurrection to keep lifting you out of your problems. Act as though God knows what you are doing instead of "seeing you through Christ."

This will be your reward. Your fellow Christians will call you a legalist.

What will God call you?

Only the victorious saints are qualified to participate in the first resurrection from the dead. The remainder of the believers are not authorized or competent to sit in the awesome thrones in the air that govern the earth.

May 8th

THE RIGHTEOUS SHALL LIVE BY FAITH

Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith. (Habakkuk 2:4)

"The just shall live by faith" is found once in the Old Testament, three times in the New Testament.

The phrase is commonly employed to mean if we believe the Christian fundamental doctrines it doesn’t matter how we live. If we have faith in God’s grace in Christ we are saved apart from works of righteousness.

This is not what it means.

In the first place, the expression appeared in the Old Testament while the Law of Moses was still in force.

Second, "the just shall live by faith" is defined in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews. The eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews, the "faith chapter," makes no mention of belief in doctrine but talks about people who chose to live so as to please God rather than in their own strength and vision.

The statement from Habakkuk does not contrast living righteously and living by faith in God, it contrasts living in pride rather than living by faith in God.

The Old Testament (as well as the New) stresses righteous behavior so it would never compare behaving righteously with belief in doctrine. True faith in God always produces righteous behavior.

The righteous shall live by faith is speaking of how we live. If we are persuaded that God exists and is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him, then the energies of our life will be directed toward seeking the Lord, striving to do His will as we understand it. We do not draw back to destruction but press forward in the Lord each day of our life regardless of the cost. We are persuaded of the value of following after God. Our hope is anchored in the Divine promises. We live righteously because we know that God requires such behavior.

If we are proud we will not spend much time waiting for God. Our trust is in our own strength, wisdom, and abilities. A lot of people are like this. They don’t even want you to pray for them. They are filled with their own ways and are not pleasant to be around.

Proud, self-willed people may believe every word of fundamental Christian doctrine. But they are not righteous and they are not saved. They are not righteous because they do not wait on the Lord Jesus for direction each day but forge ahead in their own zeal. They are the captain of their own soul, the master of their own fate—so they think.

They are here one moment and gone the next, a testimony to the utter folly of not looking to God for every detail of life.

Being a dumb Gentile I am not sure how God ever got through my thick head that God is to be feared, loved, and obeyed, and that there is value in this. But He did. And now as I ride off into the sunset I am ever so thankful that the funeral director does not have the last word.

Burn the family albums and especially the genealogies. The best is yet ahead. The sunset is changing into the most glorious sunrise imaginable.

Want to ride along with me?

The only trustworthy evidence of salvation is a godly life.

May 9th

THE CAVE AT MAKKEDAH

Then said Joshua, Open the mouth of the cave, and bring out those five kings unto me out of the cave. And they did so, and brought forth those five kings unto him out of the cave, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon. (Joshua 10:22,23)

The five kings of the Amorites attacked Gibeon because the Gibeonites had made peace with Israel. The Gibeonites sought help from Joshua. Joshua came and God defeated the Amorites before him. The five kings hid themselves in the cave at Makkedah.

When Joshua found out he sealed off the mouth of the cave with large stones. Then he went after the remainder of the Amorites. After slaughtering the Amorites the Israelites returned to the cave at Makkedah.

Joshua brought out the five kings, killed them, and hung them on five trees. Afterward he threw their bodies back in the cave.

For the Bible students, five typifies the beginning of the Kingdom of God, as represented by the Levitical feast of Trumpets and the Altar of Incense of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. God brought forth the beginning of animal life on the fifth day of creation.

The above incident shows us how God deals with sin in our personality. The "kings" of lawlessness that are in us hide themselves when we as a Christian begin to overcome the sins that dwell in our flesh. These kings are sealed off by the blood of Jesus and cannot come forth. They are alive but in hiding.

After we have won many victories the Lord brings us back to where the great kings of our personality are in hiding. Then the Lord calls them out and kills them.

There is no condemnation resting on those who are following the Spirit in putting to death the sins of the flesh. The blood of Jesus covers the remaining sin (keeps them locked up in the cave) provided we are putting to death through the Spirit of God the sins He points out to us. We go from city to city, so to speak, and always are victorious when we are following the Lord.

The destructive error of present-day teaching is that we are without condemnation even though we are not following the Spirit in the war against the evil in our flesh.

But we are not being led of the Spirit. We are not sons of God. Condemnation indeed does rest upon us because we are not obeying God!

Righteousness is never imputed to those who are not obeying the Lord!

We are to deal with the evil of the day as God helps us. As long as we do that the blood of Jesus makes up the difference. This is how we remain without condemnation.

God continually chastens us that we might partake of His holiness.

When we do not judge ourselves God judges us so we are not condemned with the world.

This is the true God and eternal life, as John would say. We are righteous apart from obedience to the Law of Moses provided we are obeying God by following the Lord Jesus and keeping His commandments. Then we have eternal life, because eternal life always results from righteousness.

O Lord, come quickly and put these kings to death!

God won't do it alone and you can't do it alone. It is the sword of the Lord and of Gideon.

May 10th

THE CONVERGENCE

Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; (Ephesians 2:15)

The physical land and people of Israel and the Christian churches are on a converging course.

Before the Lord Jesus came, the physical land and people of Israel were the area and the nation chosen by the Lord to belong to Himself in a way not true of the rest of the world. Now that the Lord Jesus has died for our sins and has risen again as our living Lord many questions are raised concerning the status of the physical land and people of Israel.

It is not true that the Christian churches have replaced physical Israel as God’s chosen people. Neither is it true that in the coming age the Church will have a heavenly destiny and the Jews an earthly destiny. The reason Satan labors so diligently to keep the physical Jews and the Christians apart is that the Kingdom of God, the government that will rule the world, will result from a convergence of physical Israel and the Christian Church.

The "one new man" of Ephesians is speaking of the fact that through the atonement made by Jesus Christ the believing Jews and Gentiles are made one. They converge. But there is more to the convergence than this.

There is a natural Jerusalem on the earth. There is a spiritual Jerusalem in Heaven. The Kingdom of God will come to the earth as the spiritual Jerusalem descends from Heaven and clothes the physical land and people of Israel, just as in the day of resurrection our heavenly body will clothe our resurrected physical body.

As we understand the Scriptures the Jews living in Israel at the time will be born again by a sovereign move of God just as the Saul of Tarsus was born again by a sovereign move of God.

The Kingdom of God, of which every true Christian, Jew or Gentile, is an integral part, will rule from Jerusalem. Jesus Christ will be crowned king and sit on the throne of David on the Temple Mount. The law of God will issue from physical Jerusalem and govern all nations.

Not every person of Jewish blood is a true child of Abraham. Among the Jews as among the Gentiles, the blessing comes by promise, by election. There is but one Seed of Abraham, and that is Jesus Christ and all who are part of Him, independently of natural birth.

But the physical land and people of Israel are specially blessed and the Gospel of the Kingdom is to the Jews first. The born-again experience, the entrance into the Kingdom, was preached first to the Jew Nicodemus. The Kingdom of God began and will end with the Jews. We Gentiles are somewhere in the middle of the sandwich.

Both physical Israel and the Christian churches are portrayed by the very dry bones of Ezekiel. The Spirit of God will assemble and empower both physical Israel and the Christian churches. Then God’s true elect, both Jewish and Gentile by race, will be raised from the dead and brought into the land of Israel. This is the army of the Lord prophesied in so many passages.

The Jews are returning home today, being drawn by the Spirit of the Lord. The same Spirit is speaking to Christian people, calling them past the Pentecostal experience and also giving them a love for physical Israel. The power of the Father is at work. His promises to His Son are to be fulfilled to the letter. No hostile authority or power is as great as that of the Father.

All Israel shall be saved, becoming one new man, one stick in God’s hand. If you want to be part of the Kingdom of God, put away your sin. Great doings are afoot.

The Kingdom of God is God in Christ in the saints governing the world.

May 11th

DID JESUS DO IT ALL?

To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Revelation 3:21)

Someone recently taught that the saints do not have to overcome sin. Jesus did all the overcoming, they stated, and we receive perfect righteousness by believing that Jesus overcame sin. Our belief "actualizes" victory in us. Furthermore, they maintained, whenever we are convicted of sin, this is a trick, a lie of Satan. There can be no sin in us because we believe in the victory won by the Lord Jesus.

How does the "Jesus did it all" approach to salvation differ from the concept that righteousness comes by faith in Christ apart from godly behavior, which often is the Christian position? If Christian grace is salvation by naked belief in the existence and atoning work of Christ, then what place do repentance and gaining victory over sin have in the Christian experience? Of what would one repent if God does not see his behavior except through Christ?

If Jesus did all the overcoming and we merely accept the finished work by faith, then attempting to turn away from sin would be a meaningless exercise. In fact it would be an affront to God who already has given us perfect righteousness. Yet many of us realize that the Spirit of God is calling us to repentance in the present hour.

When Paul spoke of works he was referring to the observances of the Law of Moses, including the Ten Commandments, circumcision, the Sabbath day, the dietary regulations, and the sacrifices of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.

Paul is contrasting being saved by the covenant God made with the Jews, with being saved by accepting what God has accomplished through Christ Jesus. Paul is maintaining we are saved by faith in the Person and atoning work of Christ Jesus and that it is not necessary to add to the Divine atonement the statutes of the Law of Moses.

Paul was not contrasting God’s salvation in Christ Jesus with righteous, godly behavior when teaching we are saved by grace and not by works. He was comparing the atonement made by Christ with the Law of Moses.

Paul was not saying "we are not saved by righteous behavior but by God’s grace." God’s grace when correctly received always leads to righteous behavior. There can be no contrast between God’s grace and righteous behavior.

Paul indeed was teaching we are not saved by the Law of Moses but by the atonement made by the Lord Jesus. How could one add circumcision or not eating pork to the perfect work of Christ on the cross?

However if Paul had been maintaining that because we are under grace we no longer are required to crucify the flesh with its lusts and appetites, we no longer are required to observe the eternal moral laws, then most of the New Testament writings, including the Sermon on the Mount, would have little relevance to the new covenant.

When thinking about the moral decline of the so-called Christian nations one wonders if Christians ought not to take another look at what the New Testament actually teaches. Is the grace of forgiveness the main emphasis or is the grace of repentance and godly living stressed?

Are we Christians called to overcome sin through the Spirit of God or has Jesus "done it all"? How do you feel about this?

Christ did not come to sovereignly deliver man but to enable man to renounce Satan and work out his own salvation. Christ will not do all the work for you and you can do nothing at all apart from Christ.

May 12th

THE LIGHT OF LIFE

In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not [did not understand or overcome it or have any relationship to it]. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. (John 1:4-9)

We can notice in the above passage that eternal Life is in Christ Jesus, the living Word of God. The eternal Life is the light of "every man that cometh into the world."

There is no other moral light by which men can see the truth or in which people can walk without stumbling.

Today great emphasis is placed on education, on the acquiring of knowledge, of facts. But the meaning, significance, and profitable application of the facts can be perceived only in Christ.

In Christ Jesus are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. There exists only one Light by means of which people can perceive reality, can distinguish between what is true and what is false. The one true Light is Christ Jesus and those in whom His Life is being created and revealed; for it is His Life that is Light.

It is difficult to understand how life and light can be the same; how eternal life itself can be our light. But it is true! Christ does much more than inform us of the Person, the will, the way, and the eternal purpose of God. Rather, the Life itself that Christ Is is imparted to us, and that Life reveals to us the true knowledge of the Person, the will, the way, and the eternal purpose of God in Christ.

The Life of Christ given to us leads us into the knowledge of the Father. Christ Himself Is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He Himself Is our wisdom, our power, our authority, our sanctification, our redemption, our joy—all we ever shall need or desire.

This does not mean that because Christ is righteous and holy we are righteous and holy by imputation and identification; that because Christ has joy we have joy vicariously; that we actually are joyless but we say we have joy because Christ has joy. It signifies rather that Christ Is our Sanctification and Joy working in us.

We live in Him and experience His holiness and joy because He is in us. In this manner His Life becomes our light by which we are brought to the place where we love righteousness and hate lawlessness. It is a new creation working in us.

The commandments of God do not of themselves provide the life that enables us to rejoice and practice righteousness. Light without life kills. The letter of the Word without the Holy Spirit kills rather than heals. It is the Spirit who gives Life—the Life that Christ is.

Eternal life is not endless existence but life in the Presence of God through Christ.

May 13th

GIVING EVERYTHING TO GOD

And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. (Matthew 19:29)

It is in the surrender, the relinquishing, the committing that we gain the desires of our heart.

We do not know what we truly desire. We do not know our own destiny. We do not know even our true name. But God knows all these things very well. We must consider the goodness and power of the Lord, realizing He is bringing us to all we desire.

If we struggle to maintain our own way before the Lord, insisting on saving our own life, our own desires, we will lose everything. It is only as we let go and trust God that God is able to bring us to perfect love, perfect joy, perfect peace.

We are not teaching passivity—that the believer is to abandon his desires pretending he doesn’t care what he receives or what happens to him. The individual who is bound by passivity is double-minded and will receive nothing from the Lord.

God commanded us to ask that we may receive. We are to give thanks to God continually, letting our requests be made known to him.

The reader may find it difficult to reconcile our teaching of committal with a clear, decisive approach to letting God know what our desires are.

It is in the battling onward in prayer, continually informing God of our desires, that our character is formed, that our desires are refined until we are moving toward the love, joy, and peace we truly desire. Many of our early desires are not what we truly desire. God knows this and steers us away from what is hurtful and unfruitful. How our adamic nature howls in unbelief!

It is the person who seeks God continually that attains the desire of his heart. Yet he learns that in his seeking he continually must surrender his burden to the Lord. Otherwise he finds himself grasping, straining, cutting himself off from the flowing of God’s Spirit, from resurrection life.

We are not to demand by faith what we want from God.

We are not to forget our desires, accepting whatever comes, throwing away our hope and dreams, drifting along in a state of spiritual passivity and the feeling that the inevitable will take place no matter what we do.

Rather we are to tell God what our hope and dreams are. We ask in Jesus’ name for our desires. Then, we press forward in the Lord, patiently enduring our cross until we attain to our land of promise.

The Lord will withhold no good thing from the person who walks blamelessly before Him.

We learn to live by every word that comes from the mouth of God. We have given our all to Him and so all He is and possesses belong to us. We trust Him to give us what we need, in every area of life, when we need it. Then we are abiding in perfect love, joy, and peace. Then we are dwelling in the secret place of the Most High. Then we are living in the rest of God.

God opens His hand and satisfies the desire of every living thing. Make sure that what you pray for is what you truly want.

May 14th

THE KINGDOM OF GOD

And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. (Luke 9:2)

John the Baptist, Jesus, and the Apostle Paul preached the Kingdom of God. What are we preaching today—the gospel of "make a decision for Christ"?

Search the statement of faith of your church and see if the expression the Kingdom of God is found.

What has happened to the Gospel of the Kingdom?

I wondered for years why we preach that we get saved to go to Heaven since this expression is not found in the Scriptures. Recently I came across the philosophy of Gnosticism that teaches spirit is good and matter is evil. Maybe this is where the gospel of "go to Heaven" came from.

In any case, in these days the spiritual oppression is becoming so strong we need to base our faith on the Scriptures.

Most or all of Jesus’ parables concerned the Kingdom. The Kingdom is like this. The Kingdom is like that. What in the world (or in Heaven) is the Kingdom?

The Kingdom of God is God in Christ in the saints ministering to the needs of God’s creation. It is as simple as that. Tell your friends.

Where is the Kingdom? It is wherever God in Christ in the saints are whether in Heaven or on the earth.

The Kingdom of God is not designed to remain in Heaven but on the earth. God is moving to the earth. The throne of God is coming to the earth. Everybody who reads the Bible knows that.

The gospel of going to Heaven is pretty good but the Gospel that the Kingdom of Heaven is coming to the earth is much better. This way you can have your cake and eat it too.

Ask somebody what Heaven is like. They will describe the earth. Oh there are trees, flowers, birds, children playing, and so forth. You don’t have to leave New England to see all this.

What we mean is there is no pain! We don’t have a burning desire to stand on a sea of glass and play a harp. What we want is the present world without pain!

That’s why Jesus told them to go and heal the sick and tell them about the Kingdom. The Kingdom is about getting healed.

If you want to go to Heaven either you are in pain or else you have many loved ones there—or maybe you are tired and need a rest.

What if the Lord came, brought your loved ones, removed the pain, and gave you unlimited energy. You still want to be a disembodied spirit and parade on a golden street with a palm branch in your hand?

"Oh but I want to be where Jesus is!" That’s the point. You don’t want to be a bodiless spirit you want to be where the King is. Right? Well the King is coming to the earth. Everybody knows that but I guess they forgot.

When He comes He is not going to make a U-turn.

The devil would love to see the whole Church carried up to Heaven. That’s where he came from and he prefers the earth. Here’s the deal. You give the devil the earth. The devil will give you the realm of spirits. Fair enough?

Satan will have a marvelous time here without you!

But what about the nations? They are Christ’s inheritance—and yours if you are a coheir. Are you ready to give all these men and women, boys and girls, and our beautiful earth to a rebellious cherub?

Go ahead. Make your eternal home with the spirits. The Lord and His saints are going to take over the earth and inherit your people.

And quit praying the Lord’s prayer if you don’t believe it!

It is important for us to recognize that God is not making all new things but all things new. All of true worth that we love and enjoy on the earth will be maintained and brought under the control of Christ and His saints.

May 15th

THE OLIVE TREE

And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; (Romans 11:17)

There is only one Divine Olive Tree—the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Olive Tree spoke to Abraham and he left Ur with his family.

By prophesy the Olive Tree continued in Isaac, Jacob, and the twelve sons of Jacob.

The Olive Tree continued with the Jews until Christ’s death and resurrection. Then the Olive Tree passed to a remnant of Jews and a remnant of Gentiles.

The majority of Jews were broken off from the Olive Tree when Jesus Christ came, revealing that the Olive Tree is not physical Israel. The Jews were not broken off from physical Israel.

Paul tells us that the elect Gentiles were removed from the wild olive tree and grafted in among the branches of the cultivated Olive Tree.

Paul tells us also that after the full number of elect Gentiles have become part of the Olive Tree God will remove the ungodliness from the physical Jews and graft them back into their own tree.

In this manner all Israel will be saved, meaning all of those whom God has chosen to be part of the Olive Tree.

Olive oil is a type of the Holy Spirit of God. All who are part of the Olive Tree are part of Christ, part of the One who possesses the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

We see therefore that true Israel, including the elect Jews and Gentiles, are the body of the Christ, the fullness of the Olive Tree.

We all are baptized into the one body of Christ whether we are Jews or Gentiles. Paul teaches clearly that in the last days God will turn again to physical Israel, take away their sins, and restore them to their own Olive Tree.

The Jews of today are not the Olive Tree unless they have been born again in Jesus Christ. Jerusalem on earth is under the bondage of the Law of Moses. The Jerusalem in Heaven is Sarah, the mother of us all.

There is only the one Seed of Abraham—Christ, the one anointed with the Holy Spirit.

Let each Christian do everything in his power to comfort and encourage the Jewish people. We Gentiles have treated them badly in time past. Let us realize God has not forgotten His original chosen people and has promised, both in the Old Testament and the New, that He will turn to them again and remove their sin.

What rejoicing there will be when the Jews receive their Christ! How glad Christ will be!

Let the wicked tremble for they soon will be driven from the earth.

Welcome home, Jewish people. The Gospel of Christ is your bread, your salvation. We Gentiles are as Asenath, standing by while the great Joseph delivers His people. We rejoice with you for we, through our marriage to Christ, are now an integral part of Israel.

Shalom, friends!

Why are you making a distinction between Jewish believers and Gentile believers when Paul says we are all one in Christ? How many seeds of Abraham have you counted?

May 16th

GOD IS NOT SAVING ADAM!

Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. (I Corinthians 15:50)

The most direct meaning of the above passage is that we will not go into the Kingdom of God in our present body but in a resurrected glorified body. But there is much more to it than this.

Our entire first personality, the descendant of Adam and Eve, cannot enter the Kingdom of God.

There are many good traits in our first personality, varying from one individual to the next: honor, truthfulness, faithfulness, integrity, moral purity, and so forth. God is not saving any of these.

In the beginning God took a handful of dust and fashioned a prototype of His image. It wasn’t until two thousand years ago that the true, eternal image of God set foot on the earth.

Our good traits are not eternal. And they will fail if pushed hard enough.

You can only make so much out of dust!

When the Lord Jesus died on the cross He exclaimed, "It has been finished!" No only had the blood atonement been finished, the whole first creation had been finished.

When the Lord Jesus came out of the cave He was the Firstborn of an entirely new creation.

Water baptism demonstrates we are nailing our first personality to the cross with Jesus and are rising with Him into new life, into the Kingdom of God. Baptism means nothing less than this!

Now we are crucified and risen—by faith!

What’s next?

God makes our crucifixion and resurrection a fact.

How does He do that?

By crucifying and resurrecting us.

Moment by moment, day by day, God brings our first personality to death by frustrating, sometimes painful, experiences. If we look to God instead of complaining and blaming people, God raises us into Christ each time we "die." Death and life. Death and life. This is the only true Christian walk.

The philosophy of humanism has inundated the United States. Humanism will never agree to pursuing life through death. In humanistic thinking the individual must always get what he or she wants even if it destroys society.

(Kind of stupid when you think about it.)

A remnant is being drawn from the churches today, something like Gideon’s army. The majority of Christians will attempt to save their life. They will never bear eternal Kingdom fruit if they labor in Christian work all their life. They will bring forth religious people in their own image.

The remnant will accept God’s plan of death and resurrection. The fruit they bear comes out of their death and will stand in God’s Presence for eternity.

How about you? Will you seek to save your life or will you give it up to God so He can bring forth His Kingdom in you?

Are you tired of trying to be a Christian? If you will accept the death He brings you through He will accomplish in your personality what you desire.

Fear not little flock!

You cannot sit on the throne of your own heart until first God and Christ have been established there. He whom the Son sets free is indeed free.

May 17th

DEAD ANIMALS

In him was life; and the life was the light of men. (John 1:4)

You’re not going to enjoy being called a dead animal. But that’s what you are if Christ hasn’t breathed life into you.

Why should you object? Don’t you believe in evolution? Any doctor will tell you that you are a hairless ape. Some monkey is your uncle. So don’t get mad at me. I’m just saying what all the great scientists are telling us.

How could the majority of great scientists be wrong? You’re a smart ape. Get used to it.

But why are you dead? Because you don’t have the Life of God in you. Your body is winding down. You’re getting wrinkles. You’re getting tired more often. Start your funeral plan early. Caskets and plots are expensive these days.

Maybe you’re the type that wants to live. Maybe you would like to live forever—in the body yet!

This is what the Christian salvation is all about. It’s how to escape the cycle of nature and start on the graph that’s climbing toward eternity.

Into the spiritually dead zoo strides the Son of God, eternally alive, with the keys of death and Hell in His mighty grasp. Fortunately for you and me He is willing to share His Divine glory.

Listen! Forget what you have heard about religion. There is a Man! His name is Jesus! He sits on the highest throne in the universe! He possesses all authority and power in Heaven and on the earth!

It’s true. I’ve got better things to do than to write lies to you. I wasn’t raised in church. God called me in a supernatural way. I’m just being obedient. I would rather be out in the woods than doing religious stuff.

I’m telling you that this Jesus is alive! I’ve been at this thing for fifty-two years and while I am not overly intelligent I can see that the things that have happened when I pray have not been random. There’s design here.

I’m glad of it. Our whole world seems to be filled with liars. Everyone is out for his own. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. It’s a mess. It’s disgusting and repulsive.

But there is Someone worth living for. His name is Jesus. He doesn’t lie. He is faithful. He came to bless the poor especially.

He is alive and He is eternal Life! You and I are dead baboons until the Man breathes Divine Life into us. Then He—Christ—is born in us. We not only are eternally alive but we also have become a child of God, not just an orangutan that can read.

It’s for you, and the offer won’t last forever.

Grab it now while you have the chance. The Christian way is not easy because you have to follow the Lord each day and do what He says.

But I’m here to tell you it’s the only truly worthwhile, important experience.

Get a life—eternal life.

Does your life consist primarily of eating, sleeping, playing, working, and reproducing? If so you might just as well be a horse.

May 18th

FORMING THE CONQUERING PERSONALITY

If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: (II Timothy 2:12)

Often the question is asked, What about those who were saved and then died a short while later? Will they receive the rewards of the overcomer? It is our present point of view that the promises to the overcomer, as set forth in the second and third chapter of the Book of Revelation, are not, in a sense, merely "rewards."

Rather, the promises to the overcomer are increments of personality. They are eternal transformations of our personality and actions. The transformations make it possible for us to fulfill our calling as kings and priests of God, to function in the infinitely varied positions of service and responsibility of the eternal Kingdom of God. As we wait patiently in God’s prison the ability to rule is formed in us, the courage, faithfulness, and willingness to wait before making a decision until we are certain what the Lord is saying.

Perhaps those who have not been given time on the earth to be changed have not been called to the roles that require the kind of personality that can be formed only by the tribulations of life on the earth. This is nothing more than speculation on our part. However, it appears that if it were possible to form in Paradise the stern obedience to God, the patience, the humility of mind, the ability to rule in the Kingdom, it would not have been necessary for the Lord Jesus to be tempted as He was; to have had to overcome as He did.

We are not ignoring the fact Christ Jesus had to come and fulfill the Law of Moses so that the righteousness of the Law could be imputed (ascribed) to us. Neither are we unmindful of the fact that by being tempted in this manner He is better able to help us when we are tempted. We are speaking only of the Lord’s acquiring of His predestined inheritance.

It is not that we cannot be tempted in Paradise. Perhaps there will be times after we die and are in the spirit realm when we will have to exercise patience. We will have to be obedient to God whether we enjoy or do not enjoy that which we are called upon to do. There will be no Satan to overcome. There will be no world nor the lusts of the flesh to resist. But we still will have to obey God in all matters even though we may have conflicting desires.

We understand that some kinds of temptations are possible in Paradise because Adam and Eve were in Paradise when they fell. Also, Satan and his followers fell from God’s Presence and blessing while they yet were in Paradise. But it does not seem likely that the setting that can produce trustworthy rulers can be found in the spirit Paradise, in Heaven.

The temptation of Eden was (and is) that man cease trusting God for his betterment (in this instance to become wise, to know good and evil) and proceed to act on his own behalf apart from the Presence of the will of the Lord.

What temptation is it that God’s rulers must overcome? It is the temptation to take matters into our own hands; to act for our seeming betterment apart from the Presence and will of God. Dying and going to Paradise will not change the tendency in us to seek our own betterment, to solve our own problems apart from the Presence, will, and way of God.

God is perfecting rulers who will serve forever as guides and teachers, making sure that no creature of God ever at any time acts for his seeming betterment outside the will of God.

We will not receive a body like that of the Lord Jesus until our inward nature is like that of the Lord Jesus. The body we receive in the day of resurrection will correspond to our inward nature.

May 19th

ATTAINING TO THE RESURRECTION

Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. (II Corinthians 4:10)

Our redemption begins with belief in the Gospel, repenting of our past manner of life, and receiving by faith the blood atonement made by the Lord Jesus.

Then we are baptized in water. Water baptism signifies we have died with the Lord Jesus and have been raised with Him to the right hand of the Father in Heaven.

The remainder of our discipleship consists of working out in practice what we declared to be true in water baptism: our whole first nature, not just our sinful tendencies but our entire old nature has died with the Lord Jesus on the cross; our new born-again nature has ascended in Jesus to the right hand of the Father, there to await the Day of Resurrection.

We bear about in our physical body the dying of the Lord.

A firstfruits of our personality, our born-again spiritual nature, already has entered the Kingdom of God. Now we are to interact with the Divine Life of Jesus until all of our inner personality has experienced the death of the cross and the resurrection Life of the Lord Jesus. It is a daily death and a daily resurrection. It is the forming of Christ in us.

In this manner we attain to the first resurrection, the resurrection to righteousness, immortality, and glory.

At the time of the Lord’s appearing we shall be given the white robe—the body of incorruptible life that is formed as our mortal body is sown to the death of the cross.

Then we will descend from Heaven with the Lord (or be changed if we are still alive on the earth) and clothe our mortal remains with the white robe of resurrection life that has been formed as we faithfully have sown our body to the death of the cross.

This is the first resurrection, the resurrection to righteousness, immortality, and glory. It is achieved by entering the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus on a daily basis.

The Christian pilgrimage is full of challenges. Let us say someone has hurt us grievously. Now the battle is joined. We can place the hurt before God and seek the grace of forgiveness, or we can plan on avenging ourselves.

If we choose to avenge ourselves our inner nature remains unchanged. We have saved our life but we have lost the part of the first resurrection that could have been ours. We have not attained to the first resurrection in this instance.

If we place the hurt before God, obtaining the Virtue of the body and blood of Christ, part of our natural man dies on the cross as he forgives his enemy. In his place comes the body and blood of the Lord, which is eternal life.

The action of forgiving the person who hurt us has resulted in our attaining to the first resurrection, in this measure. Part of us has died. Christ has been formed in part of us. The new creation, the Kingdom, has come into being. The new creation is neither Christ nor us. The new creation is a new person formed from the marriage, the union of our personality with Christ. It is eternal. It is "new wine" and God will put it in a new bottle in the Day of Resurrection.

We don't develop skill or muscle when Christ is fighting all the battles and doing all the work.

May 20th

SEEMING CONTRADICTIONS

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8,9)

Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. (James 2:24)

The two statements, one by Paul and one by James, appear to be contradictory. Yet we know that both are true.

There are seeming contradictions in the Scriptures. A notable one is the concept of predestination versus the concept of God’s willingness that all be saved. Another has to do with the overwhelming love of God that does not seem compatible with the idea of people incarcerated for eternity in a lake of fire and sulfur. A third is the exhortation that we must endure to the end to be saved. Yet the Bible says he who is believes and is baptized shall be saved.

It appears that current theology chooses the most appealing emphasis and neglects or discards the other. Today we are emphasizing that God is willing all be saved and discarding the tremendous New Testament emphasis on election. We are stressing the love of God but not His severity. His severity is as great as His love!

We press people to "make a decision for Christ." Do we then tell them that they have committed themselves to a lifetime of cross-carrying obedience?—that they will gain the crown only if they hold fast their confidence to the end of their pilgrimage?

We submit that historically the present emphases are new. In time past there were excesses in the teaching of predestination, God’s anger, and the extraordinary asceticism required of the saints—just the opposite of today. We would submit also that these new emphases are a product of the philosophy of humanism, that man’s welfare, rights, and happiness must be the first consideration of every endeavor, religious or otherwise.

Philosophers tell us that when there is a thesis and an antithesis truth is found in the synthesis. If the thesis and the antithesis are both God-given, then it undoubtedly is a fact that truth is found in the synthesis.

Are we justified by faith in Christ? Absolutely!

Are we justified by works of obedience to God? Absolutely!

Does God desire that every individual be saved? Absolutely!

Does God work in terms of election and foreknowledge? Absolutely!

Are we saved the moment we believe and are baptized? Absolutely!

Are we saved by enduring to the end? Absolutely!

Please note we are not speaking of balance. Balance tends to remove the power of the exhortation so we are left with jelly. God’s love is not balanced by His wrath. The joy of the Kingdom is not balanced by the torment of the Lake of Fire. Christ’s fierceness as a king is not balanced by His gentleness as a shepherd. Both are totally true, neither one modifying the other.

Christ’s warnings to us are not negated by His love! True, edifying balance is attained when we tell people the whole truth about God and His salvation. We arrive at truth by serving Him who is the Truth. We find then that we are saved both by faith and works. We are free to choose whom we will serve and yet we were called out from the world by election. We were saved, are being saved, and shall be saved in the future. Salvation is always today.

The problem is our pride—we have trouble letting God be God. If we do not understand how the seeming contradictions resolve we refuse to play. Time to leave the sandbox and come in from recess!

Let us not fasten on the "precious promises" and ignore the "wrathful warnings."

May 21st

WATERS TO THE ANKLES

And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ankles. (Ezekiel 47:3)

The description of the Temple of Ezekiel portrays the transformed inner nature of the mature Christian just as the first chapter describes the outer image of Christ, the outer image we also will have when we attain His image. The water coming from the south side of the gate that looks toward the East is the Holy Spirit of God.

The adamic man lives by the resources of flesh and blood. The new man of the Kingdom lives by the resources of the Spirit of God. If we are Christians, you and I are learning to live by the Spirit of God.

There are only two ways in which a human being can live. One is by flesh and blood. The other is by the Spirit of God. It is the will of God that every individual in the new world of righteousness live by the Spirit of God. As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. How do we learn to live by the Spirit of God? We start off in water to the ankles. Don’t try to be a hero. Learning to live by the Spirit of God takes a lifetime of experience. Easy does it!

First we must always keep in mind that when we were baptized in water we became part of Christ’s crucifixion and part of His resurrection. We count ourselves as dead and we count ourselves as raised in Christ to the right hand of the Father in Heaven. Each day God establishes our position to a greater extent. He faithfully brings incidents into our life that cause us to choose between our adamic nature and our new born-again nature. These exercises keep us praying every minute. We have to keep on viewing ourselves as dead indeed unto the world and alive indeed unto the Lord.

In this world we experience numerous pains, dreads, accusations, fears, betrayals, frustrations, insults—just about every type of trouble imaginable. Has this been true of you? Probably so if you’re human. It is what you do with these troubles that will determine whether you are transformed into the image of Christ or whether you end up as decaying protoplasm. You will turn out to be a prophet or a cranky, selfish old person, complaining about everything, with nothing to give the next generation. It’s your choice each day.

God wants you to live in the Spirit! Read your Bible every day. Pray. Give. Serve. Do what you can. Quit your bellyaching. Forget about retiring. Get out there and do something profitable. At least you can pray and that’s one of the most valuable exercises of all. Every problem you have will either drive you further into the flesh or further into the Spirit. Complain, complain, complain and you will grow old and bitter with a face like a pickle.

Pray, pray, pray. Give your troubles to God. Go through the veil to the Mercy Seat. Christ paid for your admittance to the very Presence of the Majesty in the heavens. Quit blaming the devil, people, and God, and pull down some grace to help yourselves and those around you. You are in water to the ankles. You can keep running back on the beach if you want to or you can move on out to deeper waters.

I am too old; I am too young; I am too sick; I am too poor. There always will be an excuse if you are looking for one. For those who love the Lord there are no excuses. They are out there at every age fighting the good fight of faith. They are moving forward in the waters of God. They are learning to live in the Spirit of God.

You can lecture your children and grandchildren about proper behavior but it may do little good. But if you will bring God into your life they will see and feel the glory and it will change them. Which is it going to be? Get up on your hind legs and press the battle!

If we are following Jesus fiery trials will come upon us. This suffering is Divine judgment on the sins of our personality, judgment that saves us by removing worldliness, lust, and self-will from us.

May 22nd

WATERS TO THE KNEES

Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees. . . (Ezekiel 47:4)

When we first are saved we are in water to the ankles, that is, we have a touch of eternal life on our personality. Then we are to move forward in the water and learn to live by the Spirit. We are to lay hold on eternal life.

To live by the Spirit is to commit every decision to the Lord.

We get up in the morning full of energy if we are young, stiff and tired if we are old. The problems of the day hit our mind and we begin to plan or worry. It is right then the decision is made. Do we immediately look up to God and give him the day along with our problems? Or do we begin to scheme and think about whether we should do this or that.

The Lord loves to hear your voice in the morning. Keep looking to Jesus. Keep looking to Jesus. As you do the Spirit of God will envelop you. You may not feel anything but He will be there.

Pray about what you eat in the morning. Pray about what you wear. Pray about everything. Pray without ceasing. This is how you go deeper in the Spirit.

Some will say, "I can’t live like that. I don’t want to be straining all the time to look to Jesus." You don’t have to strain. You keep breathing don’t you? Prayer is like breathing. The issue is not straining over prayer it’s where you are directing your mind. You either are looking to God in every situation or you are scheming and worrying.

When you don’t have enough money look to Jesus. When someone offends you look to Jesus. When the world goes crazy look to Jesus. When you get very bad news look to Jesus. Get out there in water to the knees!

The worst enemy you ever will have is your own mind. Your mind is an enemy of God. God did not give us a brain so we could plan our day. God gave us a brain so we can understand Him and His Word. Commit your way to the Lord. Let Him direct yours paths.

I am not suggesting you should walk around numbly waiting for the great puppeteer in the sky to manipulate your arms and legs. Use the brains you have in order to do what is in front of you but in the meantime keep looking to the Lord.

Looking to the Lord gets to be natural and easy after a while. But you have to keep working at it. Right saints?

When you are in water to your knees you can churn around but it is not as easy as when you are ankle deep. You can even go back to the shore if you want.

But there is a Voice farther out calling to you: "This is the way, walk ye in it."

Do you want to go deeper with Jesus?

You don't know which voice is God's? In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.

May 23rd

WATERS TO THE HIPS

. . . Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins. (Ezekiel 47:4)

You start off in waters to the ankles and then progress to waters to the knees. Before you go from one level of the Spirit to another there has to be a measurement. The measurement means God judges you before you go deeper.

There is an initial judgment of your personality when you first receive Christ. You have to repent of your ways in the world. When you do the Lord forgives you through the blood of Christ.

As you press forward in the Spirit there is a further judgment. Behavior that was not picked up on previously now comes to your attention. Some of the finer points of holiness and righteousness begin to be emphasized, such as gossip, criticism, talking behind people’s back, bitterness, unforgiveness, anger. It sounds like the typical church, doesn’t it? Well, all of these little foxes have to go because they ruin the Lord’s planting.

If you have made it to the knees the Lord is ready to take you on to water to the hips. The hips are the area of cleansing, fruitfulness, and strength. God examines your motivations, self-love, self-seeking, presumption. This is where Jacob wrestles with the angel.

We go along for awhile in the Lord supposing we are Mister Faithful and True. Then we are brought to the Jabbok. God wants to change our name from the supplanter to "he who wrestles with God." All of our self-seeking and religious preening bursts into flame at the Presence of the Holy One of Israel.

If we have integrity we will come forth victorious, although lame as far as our own strength is concerned.

If you are in your wrestling match with God, don’t let go. Are you a phony or for real? There are a lot of slippery characters in the churches, as Jude tells us. In the present hour God is casting about to see who really is part of the Lord Jesus.

It is time for God to give His churches a hot bath with strong lye soap. You know what I mean? Then you will see all the religious mascara come off and the saints will be scrubbed until they are fresh, all the churchy makeup gone from their faces.

What do you say we get real with God! He has great plans for the present hour but he needs men, women, boys, and girls who mean business. God wants the politics out and sincerity in.

We need a revival and we need one badly. Not an increase in ballyhoo but a real work of God.

How about you? Are you willing to seek God until Jacob dies and Israel is born in you? If so you will find yourself in the Spirit of God in a place of fruitfulness and strength you have not known before.

God is going to shake everything before He brings in everlasting righteousness. The Kingdom will be taken by those who are strong in the Lord. The available glory is fantastic!

It’s for you but you’re going to have to lay everything else aside if you expect to get God’s best!

Don't be concerned about how much you seem to be accomplishing for God. Be concerned with your utter faithfulness to God.

May 24th

WATERS TO SWIM IN

Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over. (Ezekiel 47:5)

After we have been saved, filled with the Spirit, and have bowed before God in the surrender of our self-will, what remains? There is a judgment, and then a fourth area. What is it?

The fourth area is the fullness of God.

When Paul speaks of the fullness of God he mentions the love of Christ that passes understanding. The fourth area is rest in the Father in Christ.

Prior to the fourth level we are intent on attaining the fullness of redemption. When we have died to worldliness, bodily lust, and self-will, we have been redeemed from the hand of the enemy.

What remains after we have been redeemed from the hand of the enemy? Two main things. First to be the chariot of God. Second to be a tree of life. The first is for God’s use. The second is for the use of other people.

God has decided to leave Heaven and govern His creation from within human beings. We are being made the throne of God. God doesn’t like the idea of being confined to a temple in Heaven when His children are on the earth. So He has decided to live among His offspring in a temple made from people. The temple made from people is called the church because it has been selected from mankind for God’s holy purposes.

But the nations are made up of people who are spiritually dead. Therefore the Church is being transformed from living souls to life-giving spirits. After the members of the Church have been redeemed they are planted along the banks of the River of Life so they continually can bear the fruit that brings eternal life to those who eat. Also their leaves bring healing to the nations.

It is as simple and straightforward as this.

How would you like to find your life in God and in other people? You will be more than happy to make this transition when you are filled with all the fullness of God, because you will feel within yourself the love of Christ that passes understanding.

The love of Christ grows in us until it is an all-consuming passion. All other aspects of our religion are seen as scaffolding. We would gladly lay down in the street and be run over if it would bring the Presence of God to those to whom the Lord is directing us. You will see what I mean when it touches you.

The Song of Solomon gives us a faint glimmer of the love of Christ. It is the flame of God’s Being. Everything else is seen as of little value when compared with the love of Christ for people, especially for Israel.

You will have to experience it for yourself. I can only tell you it exists.

Water to the ankles, to the knees, to the hips. Redemption. And then the fullness of God. Waters to swim in.

O to lose our life in the fullness of God!

The cry of your heart is not to go to Heaven but to the Father. Did you realize that? Where do you want to be when the Father comes to the earth in Jesus Christ?

May 25th

THE CHRISTIAN AND THE LAW

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. (Galatians 6:15)

The new covenant results in the change from a filthy robe of immorality and violence to a white robe, a robe of righteousness and eternal life.

The Sabbath is fulfilled in us because we are entering God’s rest, not one day out of seven but every day throughout eternity. God is resting, and we are becoming an eternal part of His rest through Christ Jesus. To attempt to add to our rest in God the letter of the fourth commandment, or the dietary ordinances, or circumcision, or observance of the feast days, or any of the other statutes of the Mosaic Law, is not a sin. But it may bring confusion to what should be a simple following of the Lord.

There are believers, both Jewish and Gentiles, who keep the Sabbath-day commandment by doing no work of any kind on Saturday, who observe Passover, the Day of Atonement, and the feast of Tabernacles. These practices may be a blessing to them while Christ, who is the fulfillment of all these, is being formed in them.

The Lord loves His people who observe some of the ordinances of the Law of Moses, and a morality that works by the letter of the Law is better than the current teaching that produces little or no righteous behavior.

The new covenant of death and resurrection has a goal and a process infinitely higher than any previous covenant. There is no religious practice that can add to or improve on the process of death and resurrection. Keeping the Mosaic statutes does not lead to the goal of bodily righteousness, immortality, and glory. Only the death and resurrection of the inner nature can produce the first resurrection.

Since the process of death and resurrection derives its authority from the blood of the Lord, no one can condemn the saint for failing to keep the letter of the Law of Moses. He who has died to the world and is bringing forth fruit through union with Christ need not look back to a lesser covenant. He is without condemnation because the living Christ is justifying him. Yet he is not to despise his brother who does not have this understanding or faith.

Let not the one who is keeping the ordinances of Moses despise the believer who trusts in the Lord Jesus alone for his salvation, and let not the one who observes none of the ordinances despise his brother or sister who believes the observance to be necessary.

Are the Ten Commandments binding on the Christian? No, in the sense he is under a superior covenant. Yes, in the sense that as Christ is formed in him he keeps the eternal moral law of God to an exceedingly greater degree than is possible to the sincere believer who is seeking to go back and observe the letter of the Law.

Let us repeat: there is no sin in observing the several statutes and ordinances of the Law of Moses. Let the believer in Christ observe the Passover, the Sabbath, circumcision, bar mitzvah, Succot, the mikvah cleansing, or whatever else he or she desires to do before the Lord. Let him practice these according to the Scripture and rejoice before the Lord.

The believer also must keep in mind that all such ceremonies are pointing toward the day when Christ is formed in the believer. It is the forming of Christ, the new creation, that is the new covenant and the salvation of the Lord. All else is temporary and a scaffolding that will be done away when we come to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

I can understand why so many Jewish Christians are returning to the Law of Moses. The way we teach "grace" has removed from the Christian Gospel the strength of righteousness and the substance of living.

May 26th

BIRTH PAINS

All these are the beginning of sorrows. (Matthew 24:8)

The Gospel of the Kingdom of God is not the Divine solution for the problems of people. The Gospel of the Kingdom of God is the Divine solution for the problem of God, which is the bringing about of loving obedience on the part of God’s creatures and the establishing of Christ Jesus as the Head, Center, and Significance of every creature and of every other aspect of the creation.

It is when people are exclaiming "Peace and safety," a peace and safety brought about through means of their own resources, that the end will come.

Our afflictions are leading to redemption. Certainly sorrow has been the portion of mankind since the first century. Even in our time the famines, pestilences, and earthquakes continue. Heart disease and cancer are two of the principal pestilences of our day and in some instances overcome the most capable efforts of medical science to combat them.

"All these are the beginning of sorrows." Sorrows may be translated "birth pains," and some editions have adopted this rendering. The wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, and other afflictions of the world are not the pains of death but of birth. The creation is not preparing to die but to live. The redemption of the righteous is drawing near.

The entire material creation is anxiously and hopefully awaiting the revealing of the sons of God because the material creation itself—the earth and those who are saved to dwell therein—will be released from the bondages of sin and death under the ministry of the sons of God.

We are not coming to the end of anything except sin and rebellion against God and His Christ. We stand now at the threshold of the glorious consummation of all that God has envisioned since He planned the creation.

All that God has sown in the earth is near to harvest. The Lord Jesus Christ will return with His saints to bring in the Kingdom of God, that wonderful reign of God in Christ over the nations of the earth.

The earth and its resources belong to Christ as does every individual who has ever been born. Wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes—all are necessary because we build "Herod’s Temples." Saints and sinners alike build for the glory of self more often than not. God in His goodness sends various afflictions on us and the rest of mankind so the works of self and flesh will be torn down before they do extensive damage to God’s plan for the world.

God intervenes in our life before we are so strengthened in our self-will we no longer can be brought under the lordship of Christ Jesus. The only freedom there is comes to man when he accepts the absolute lordship of Christ Jesus over him. Only then is he free.

It is God’s goodness that knocks down every stone of our life until there is not one left on another. All we have built for our self-glory is demolished. Then God in Christ comes to us and builds His own place of rest. We find our true rest in His rest.

The wars, pestilences and earthquakes are not the pains of death, except death to sin and rebellion. Rather they are the pains of life—the travail of the material creation to bring forth the Kingdom of God in the earth.

Glory is on the way. He who endures to the end in Christ Jesus will be saved into the eternal Kingdom of God.

Do not trust the heavens. They shall be shaken. Put your confidence in Jesus alone. No man comes to the Father except through Him.

May 27th

ANTICHRIST

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. (II Thessalonians 2:3,4)

Like Judas, Antichrist probably will start out as a somewhat sincere Christian. However, encouraged by the spirit of religious delusion currently infiltrating various branches of Christianity, including the Charismatics, Antichrist will become filled with self-will until he believes he is God.

The spirit of religious delusion is Christianity minus the personal cross of the believer. It is the attempt to use the things of Christ apart from the Presence and guidance of the resurrected Jesus. Self-governed people speak in tongues and are attempting to build the Kingdom. We see it on every hand.

Christians imagine that Antichrist will be hostile to Christianity in a manner similar to a Fascist or Communist dictator. They do not understand the wisdom of the enemy. It is true, rather, that Antichrist will invite the Christians to help him with the task of improving the quality of life of earth’s multitudes.

Antichrist will not attack the professions of belief of the churches because Satan knows religious beliefs alone cannot destroy his kingdom. Antichrist will attack the manifestation of the Spirit of God. He will discourage prayer and all that has to do with life in the Spirit, and will teach the Christians (who are sheep) to emphasize the "good" they can do in the world—to use their resources and talents to help mankind.

That which is positive in terms of people is to be stressed, and talk about the coming of a Kingdom and a Day of Judgment is to be avoided as not being constructive and helpful. The churches are to be hospitals to "help sinners," not prophets that thunder denunciations of civilization and urge us to accept crucifixion with Christ Jesus. Antichrist will overcome many believers with his smooth words (Daniel 11:32).

Only a praying saint who walks with God will be able to see through the mask of the worldly "friends" of the church and perceive the face of the Hell-filled fallen cherub.

The Christian churches in their present condition represent no danger to Satan. It is God whom Satan fears. As long as we of the churches concentrate on our activities, ambitions ("for the Gospel"), programs, buildings, computerized analyses, seminars, rallies, conventions, Satan is safe.

Satan is safe until some saint goes to his knees in prayer, lays his life (religious and otherwise) at the foot of the cross of Christ Jesus, and then arises under the load of his personal cross and begins to walk in righteousness, holiness, and stern obedience to the Father. It is then Hell trembles.

The accuser of the brothers is overcome only when a saint trusts in the blood of the Lamb, reveals the Word of God in his personality, deeds, and words, and loves not his life to the death. Such a saint learns from the Father that he does not need the help of the world and is not to seek it. His role in the world is not to solve the problems of mankind. His role is to bear witness of the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus and of the Kingdom of righteousness that soon is to come to earth.

Take your gifts and lay them at the cross. Let the living Christ govern all that you do.

The false often comes before the real. We know that revival is in the air. Maybe we better make sure before we say "This is that!"

May 28th

THE FIRST RESURRECTION

If by any means I might attain unto the [out-resurrection] resurrection of the dead. (Philippians 3:11)

Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6)

The word for resurrection in the verse above is "out-resurrection." It is a special term. This is obvious in that the Apostle Paul toward the end of his life would not be striving to attain to the general resurrection, for all that are in the graves will come forth in the general resurrection.

It is our opinion that the out-resurrection of Paul and the resurrection of the royal priesthood seen by the Apostle John are one and the same.

If this is true, and there are major Bible types that reinforce the idea of a remnant gaining the victory in advance of Israel, such as the victory won by Gideon’s army, then not everyone who calls himself a Christian will be raised from the dead and ascend to meet the Lord when Jesus returns.

The resurrection that will take place when the Lord is revealed from Heaven is for the blessed and holy priesthood. The second death, the Lake of Fire, has no authority over them because they have already overcome sin through the Lord Jesus. The second death has authority over all sin whether or not the sin is in a believer. That authority is not removed until we are set free from sin.

The next coming of Jesus is the Day of Wrath described in the Old Testament and the New. It will not be a pleasant time for anyone, including the saints. It is the day of the Lord’s fierce anger.

The only people who will be able to "rest in the day of trouble" are those who have been found worthy of the Kingdom.

The idea of being found worthy of the Kingdom may be a new concept to many although it is found several times in the New Testament. The reason it is a new concept to us is that our preaching of grace is not balanced with the New Testament exhortations to righteous, holy behavior.

Divine grace is not designed to operate in the day of wrath that is coming. Grace operates now as we repent and begin to serve God. The purpose of grace is to deliver us from the obligations of the Law of Moses.

What we have said does not mean we have to strive frantically to be saved in the day of judgment. But it does mean that, like the Apostle Paul, we must lay all else aside if we would win Christ, if we would attain to the out-resurrection from the dead.

No books are opened at the first resurrection because the participants already have been judged and found worthy to walk with Christ in the white robe of the priesthood.

The Church will not go to Heaven when the Lord appears. Rather the Church will come to earth when the Lord appears. It will be the coming, not the going, of the Lord. The Lord is coming with thousands of His saints to judge all sin, particularly that found in the members of the churches.

If you expect to find rest and peace when the Lord appears at the head of His army you must serve God today with all your heart. Even the righteous will be saved with difficulty!

You will be in jeopardy in the day of wrath if you do not humble yourself and, with the Lord’s help, turn away from your sin!

Everyone will be raised from the dead at one time or another, but the first resurrection from the dead must be attained.

May 29th

WE SHALL MEET THE LORD IN THE AIR

Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (I Thessalonians 4:17)

Have you ever wondered why Paul said we would meet the Lord in the air? I think that sometimes people have the idea the Lord is going to make a U-turn and carry us to Heaven when He returns. The only problem with that idea is there is no scriptural basis for it. Check it out! It is the air that is important in the return of the Lord. Notice carefully the following:

Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: (Ephesians 2:2)

"The prince of the power of the air." "The ruler of the kingdom of the air," the NIV has it. We meet Christ in the air because the purpose of the first resurrection, the resurrection that will take place when the Lord is revealed, is to place God’s kings on the thrones in the air that govern the earth.

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: . . . (Revelation 20:4)

Christians can make every effort imaginable to stem the tide of moral corruption that is coming in. Much good may be done. But the kind of total victory we are looking for is possible only when the rebellious angels are driven from the thrones in the air and righteous kings take their place. It is then the earth will break forth into singing. It is then the saved nations of the earth will turn their swords and spears into farm equipment and go up to Jerusalem to learn more about God and His commandments.

Because the purpose of the first resurrection is to establish thrones of righteousness, we who hope to attain to this resurrection, that is, to the resurrection and ascension that will take place when our Lord returns, must be taught the way of righteousness. If we ourselves are not righteous, holy, and sternly obedient to God, we are still part of the problem. We are in no condition to assume one of the thrones in the air.

It is not to late to learn to behave righteously (although other Christians will call you a Pharisee, a legalist, and who knows what else!). Israel always murders the prophets. If you depart from sinful behavior you will make yourself a prey of professing Christians. Try it and find out for yourself.

All you have to do to learn to behave righteously is to read the many exhortations to righteous living found in the New Testament. Then go to the Lord each day for help in keeping His Word. Read the Bible and pray every day. As you do the Holy Spirit will speak to you about one or two of the commandments. The Bible is like the Laver of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. You wash in it. The Bible is like a mirror. As you read it or hear it preached you will discover where the dirt is. Then the Lord will help you wash your robe in His blood and you can start off fresh.

What you have just read is the true God and eternal life. If anyone tells you that you can be a Christian and not keep Christ’s commandments because you are "saved by grace," he is deceived. Serve the Lord with a pure heart and God will help you in all your ways. If you suffer with Him you will rule with Him over the nations of the earth and bring righteousness, peace, and joy to them, for this is the Kingdom of God.

Do you expect to be caught up to Christ in your sin and self-will? You won't be! You must work with the Holy Spirit in the cleansing of your personality. Every man that has this hope in him purifies himself.

May 30th

THE SCRIPTURE VERSUS OUR TRADITIONS

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:29)

There are two major goals of the Christian salvation. One is to be in the image of Christ. The other is to be in union with God through Christ.

In any system it is important to know the goal. If you don’t understand the goal clearly everything else is confused back down the line. If you don’t know what your goal is how can you know when you get there or even if you are moving in the right direction?

Perhaps due to the influence of the philosophy of Gnosticism (which maintains that matter is evil and spirit is good) we have changed the Bible goals of image and union to eternal residence in Heaven, in the spirit Paradise. Because we are confused over the goal we have no way of knowing whether or not what we are doing is moving us in the right direction.

When you add to the goal of eternal residence in Heaven the viewing of Christ’s blood as our ticket to get there, and Divine grace as an alternative to righteous living, you have a witches brew calculated to destroy the Kingdom of God.

There surely is a Heaven where God and the angels are. But our goal is not to live there eternally but to be in the image of Christ and to be in untroubled union with the Father through Christ. Where do these goals lead us? To fellowship with God and participation in His kingdom purposes.

It is God’s plan to set up headquarters on the earth, and we wouldn’t want to be stuck in Heaven while God is on the earth!

The blood of Christ is not a ticket to Heaven, it is the payment of the mortgage Satan has on us so we can repent of our sins and begin to serve God in righteousness and obedience.

Divine grace is not an alternative to righteous behavior but freedom from the Law of Moses so we can look to the Lord Jesus and serve Him each day without the distraction of the requirements of the Law.

Any fundamental Bible scholar will tell you that what we have just written is true. But Christians hold all of these incompatible ideas in their head in compartments. They believe God has predestined us to be in the image of Jesus and yet they also believe our goal is to spend eternity in the spirit Paradise.

They believe the blood is the full payment of the mortgage so we can serve God in righteousness and yet they also believe the blood is our ticket to Heaven.

They believe that through grace we are free from the Law of Moses so we can be married to Christ and serve Him and yet they view grace as an alternative to righteous living.

They believe Christ will rule on the throne of David in Jerusalem and that we always will be with Him. They believe we will rule the nations as the royal priesthood of God. Then they suppose they are to spend eternity in Heaven in a mansion

One of these sets of ideas is scriptural. The other is pure tradition with no support in the Scriptures.

It is time now to cast off these traditional myths and go back to the Scriptures. Satan has accomplished his purpose. He has used the myths to keep the Christians from growing in moral character. The believers are silly, ignorant of God and His ways, waiting to be caught up in their carnality to meet the Consuming Fire of Israel.

We Christians absolutely must wake up and quit sinning. The sword of judgment hangs over America. Will you be a light to those around you when chaos stalks our nation? You will if you will use the present hour to come to know the Lord.

There is Divine grace that brings forgiveness and there is Divine grace that brings about the new creation of righteous behavior. Do you understand clearly the difference? Which does the New Testament emphasize?

May 31st

WHATSOEVER THINGS ARE LOVELY

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

Hard to believe the above words were written from jail!

One of the greatest of the problems facing Christians today is that of fretting over the immoral behavior they see in the world. While the believers themselves do things that are immoral, due in large part to the imbalance in the preaching of grace, they have enough sense of right and wrong to be grievously upset over the violence, perversity and moral filthiness increasing on every hand.

The fretting is of Satan. While he may not be able to persuade a believer to abort her child, or live in an unscriptural relationship with another person, or molest a child, Satan can ruin the spiritual life of the person by encouraging him or her to continually curse the darkness.

God has commanded us through the Apostle Paul to think about things that are honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, and praiseworthy. Thinking about good uplifting things while one is attempting to survive in a moral cesspool, such as America is becoming, is not just a nice thing to do. It is essential to spiritual survival.

The whole earth is filled with the glory of God, as the Scriptures tell us. It is true also that the actions of Satan fill the earth. In any given situation we make the choice. We either choose to see the glory of God or we choose to see the abominations of Satan.

How can one avoid thinking about the abominations of Satan when the newspapers and television harp on these continually. Easy! Quit reading the paper and watching the television.

You can get all the news you need by glancing at the front page of the paper and then driving from your mind whatever troubles you. And, in case you didn’t know it, the television news is subtly biased. You are not getting the whole story by any means. The reporters are human and they will color what they say in terms of their own values.

It is no easy matter in these days to think continually about lovely, joyous, peaceful things. We have to guard our mind continually and make ourselves concentrate on thoughts that lift us toward the Lord. As we do this we draw into the Presence of the Lord. This pleases Him and brings peace to us.

Perhaps there are believers whom the Lord has called to wrestle physically against the evil forces in our nations. The very few whom I have met do not seem to carry with them the Presence of the Lord. They scorn those who wait on the Lord as being lazy, cowardly, unwilling to stir themselves to try to stop the moral filth being practiced. It is not that we are lazy or cowardly, we are seeking to find the mind of the Lord.

When we do hear from the Lord it is never about attempting to use fleshly means to correct the wickedness in the world. Rather the Lord speaks to us either about cleaning up our own life or bringing the Word and Presence of God to other people.

This is not to say that God does not charge some people to go out and correct the social situation.

My fear is that those who are attempting to force the unsaved to behave righteously will not only fail but will bring persecution on the rest of us who are looking to the Lord for wisdom in what to do.

I think it is the Catholics who say it is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness. I agree. Let each of us be a candle by serving the Lord and keeping His commandments. Others will see our good works and glorify God.

Maybe in the present hour we are to be a witness rather than a commando!

Faith and fear cannot dwell in your heart at the same time.

June 1st

THE COMING OF THE THRONE

And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: (Revelation 22:3)

The significance of Revelation 22:3 cannot possibly be overestimated, for it tells of the coming of the Throne of God to the earth.

The concept of God being in Heaven, and of people praying to God in Heaven in order to receive relief on the earth, is one of the basic understandings of devout people.

But the Scriptures teach clearly that God’s intention is to transfer His throne from Heaven to earth. When that takes place, mankind no longer will look to God in Heaven but to God in the earth, to God in the new Jerusalem. The new Jerusalem is the Bride of the Lamb, the Body of Christ.

At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart. (Jeremiah 3:17)

"They shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord"!

If it were not that the Father, Christ, and the Bride are to be one in Spirit and Being, the concept of Jerusalem being the throne of God would be blasphemous. God never will give His glory to another. But God indeed shall give His glory to the new Jerusalem, the Bride of the Lamb, and place His throne in her, because she has been made one in Christ in God.

The concept of Jerusalem becoming the place of God’s throne is one of the major issues of the Scriptures. The creating of the house, the tabernacle, of God, is the goal of God’s efforts. God will find His rest in the temple He is creating.

The Kingdom of God, the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles of the Jews, is God abiding forever in Christ in the Bride of the Lamb. The very throne of the almighty God is to be located eternally in her.

The Father and the Son will make their abode in the faithful disciple, in fulfillment of the old covenant feast of Tabernacles. This is the supreme goal of the Christian redemption, the rest of God of which the Scriptures speak.

Even more marvelous is the fact that the transfer of the location of the Divine throne has begun and will increase in glory throughout the coming darkness. The spiritual experience portrayed by the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles is God’s answer to the incredible pressures of the closing days of the present age.

Adam and Eve did not pray to God in Heaven. God was on the earth. Then God withdrew to the spirit realm becoming invisible to us. God became invisible to mankind because of sin, not because God desires to remain invisible to His children.

The fact that God was on the earth in the beginning does not mean His throne was on the earth. Yet it was true that when Adam and Eve communicated with God, they did so to a Person who was living among them.

God returned to earth in the Presence of Jesus of Nazareth. But we know that the throne of God remained in Heaven (although it was also in the heart of the Lord Jesus) because Jesus prayed to God in Heaven.

God will return to earth again in Christ—Head and Body. This time He will remain forever. God intends to dwell on the earth in the midst of His children. He will do so by dwelling in the Church, the new Jerusalem, the Bride of the Lamb—in the people whom He has chosen for His eternal dwelling place. This is the Kingdom of God and the spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles.

Jesus Christ is not the way to Heaven but to the Father.

June 2nd

CHRIST IS ALL IN ALL

Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. (Revelation 3:12)

The name of the Father is written on the conqueror. The name of the holy city, Jerusalem, is written on the conqueror. Also, the new name of Christ is written on him.

What is the new name of Christ Jesus? We do not know. We do know, however, that as we grow in the Lord He becomes to us all we need and desire.

When we begin as a Christian our understanding of Christ is that He is the Son of God and also the unblemished Lamb who was offered for our sin and who rose again from the dead by the power of the Spirit of God.

As we move ahead on our journey we discover that Christ is our peace, our healing, our wisdom, our strength, our joy, our sanctification, and everything else of lasting value. Gradually He grows in our vision until He becomes larger than the galaxies of the universe. We see that the creation is upheld by the Word of His power.

Still Christ grows in our consciousness.

We are beginning to understand that the Church, the Body of Christ, is the universal expression of Christ Jesus; that the two thousand years of the Christian Era, during which Christ is being formed in the believers, have been for the purpose of magnifying the death and resurrection of the Christ in the members of His Body.

Finally we realize that Christ "filleth all in all." He has grown in us and our vision has been enlarged until He who at one time was seen by us as the gentle Teacher of Nazareth has become all that is worthwhile in the universe.

We know now that God intends for the whole creation to become a reflection of the image and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ and that we all shall live and move and have our being in His will and Life.

In Christ Jesus dwells all the fullness of the Godhead in bodily form. He is the visible Revelation of the invisible God and—wonder of wonders—we are being created in Him as part of that revelation!

We are being created a part of His appearing, His forthshining. Christ will return not only with us but also in us. In that Day we shall resemble Christ Jesus, and yet be ourselves. Our personality will be in union with His in such a manner that we will appear as Him and as ourselves—neither personality being confused as to identity.

To be married to the Lamb requires that we lose the right to be ourselves. Our uniqueness is enhanced, but we always and forever will be an integral part of Christ.

He is willing to give up His right to be an individual so you may become part of Him. Are you willing to give up your right to be an individual so He may become part of you?

You are getting the better part of the deal!

Salvation does not bring us from Hell to Heaven but from Satan to Christ; from death to life.

June 3rd

A BADGE OR COMPETENCE?

Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. (Joshua 1:9)

The Christian fulfillment of Canaan of the Old Testament land of promise is "all things," especially the entire material creation. The Kingdom of God is the rule of God in Christ in the saints over all the works of God’s hands.

Before God permitted Joshua to go across Jordan, God spoke to him concerning the need for courage and for adhering strictly to the written Word of God. Joshua had served under Moses for many years. Unlike Saul at a later date, Joshua was not plucked suddenly from the ranks of Israel and placed over the Lord’s people. He had served his apprenticeship. The Lord was satisfied that Joshua was ready to lead Israel.

The Lord needs people who are prepared to take the Kingdom. The creation of God is in terrible bondage today. Only the Church, the Body of Christ, has the authority to release the creation. Christ remains seated at the right hand of God while His possession, the nations and the farthest reaches of the earth, agonizes in spiritual chains.

The blood of Jesus has purchased redemption for every human being who is willing to accept it. Satan and his demons have no authority over any individual who chooses to call on the name of Jesus. The full price of redemption has been paid for two thousand years. Yet the earth gropes in spiritual blindness. What, then, is delaying the release of the material creation?

The reason the earth remains in darkness is that the members of the Body of Christ are immature in the things of God. They have not had created in them the conquering personality. They speak of going to their eternal home in Heaven, not realizing God has given the world to them. They are not soldiers, they are sheep. We are living in an hour when Christ will convert His sheep into soldiers.

To be a member of the Lord’s army, of the Body of Christ, requires more than a uniform. To be a coheir of Christ Jesus requires more than a title. A license to practice medicine is much more than a uniform or a title. It is a testimony to the fact that the doctor has spent many years in rigorous training and now is able, through education and experience, to prescribe and treat various sicknesses and disorders.

When God testifies we are a coheir of Christ Jesus He is not giving to us "by grace" a uniform or a title. He is declaring that we shall be prepared by Himself, through education, experience, and the transformation of what we are, to rule the nations of the earth.

Many Christian people are saints in name only—by "uniform" and "title" only. The conquering personality has not been formed in them as yet. Christ Jesus will not lead an army of believers who are warriors by title only. He will come against the rulers of the world at the head of an army of saints in whom the conquering personality has been formed. No human being can become a warrior, a saint, a "mighty man of valor," by imputation (ascribed mightiness).

If going to Heaven to live forever were our goal it might be enough for us to make our statement of belief in Jesus. Because our goal is to be in union with God through the Lord Jesus, to be in union with one another, to fill the universe with the image of Jesus, and to rule all the works of God’s hands, it is not sufficient that we make our statement of belief in Christ Jesus. We also must follow the Holy Spirit every day of our life as He creates in us the conquering personality.

Do you want the real thing so you can help establish Christian doctrine on scriptural ground?

Spiritual muscles are built by pushing against resistance. Are you floating downstream or swimming upstream?

June 4th

THE IMAGE OF GOD

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:29)

In the beginning God made four great declarations concerning man.

That man would be in God’s image.

That man would be male and female.

That man would be fruitful.

That man would have dominion.

These four declarations have an initial meaning and a transcendent meaning. The Word of God will not stop working until all that God has declared concerning man has been accomplished to perfection.

Adam was in God’s image but in a very limited way—just a faint outline. The Lord Jesus Christ is what God means by man being in God’s image.

The Book of Ezekiel reveals the outer image of God and the inner image of God.

The first chapter of Ezekiel tells of the image of the Glory of the Lord. There is the whirlwind, the cloud, the fire, the four living creatures in the likeness of a man, the face of the lion, the ox, the eagle, the guidance of the Spirit, the wheel in the middle of a wheel, the throne surrounded by the rainbow, and the Man of Fire on the throne.

This is Christ, the Son of God.

We see Christ also in the first chapter of the Book of Revelation as the High Priest of God with eyes of fire and feet of glowing bronze.

We are called to this external image. We are called to sit in the throne of Christ, the highest throne of the universe, having authority over all the works of God’s hands.

Then in Ezekiel, Chapter Forty onward we find a symbolic description of the inner character of Christ and consequently of His brothers. The description begins with the very high mountain, the city, the bronze of judgment, the wall, the stairs, the gate, the guardrooms. Each of these says something about what God is developing in our personality.

There are the stone tables of sacrifice. God has to build an altar in each one of us. Our body must be presented a living sacrifice continually.

Finally we come to the water of the Spirit.

The conclusion is, "the name of the city from that day shall be, the Lord is there."

This is the new Jerusalem, the holy city, the glorified Church, the place of the throne of God and of the Lamb.

We understand from this description of the outer and inner profiles of the sons of God that being saved and filled with God’s Spirit is the merest beginning of what God has in mind. After we are saved through the blood of the cross and filled with the Spirit we have ages upon ages to come to know the Lord and to be conformed to His image.

Although the gap between what we are now and the description in Ezekiel is so great as to be incredible, don’t stumble at it. Be strong in faith like Abraham. When he was without a single child God promised Him His Seed would be as the stars of heaven for number and majesty. Since Abraham’s Seed is Christ we know the promise will be fulfilled literally, for of the increase of His government there shall be no end.

God is greater than we can understand. Let’s not limit Him by confining His work in us by what we have seen to the present hour.

There’s no hurry. We have all eternity.

Our goal is to become the chariot of God.

June 5th

MALE AND FEMALE

But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. (I Corinthians 11:3)

When Satan puts as much time and effort into something as he has into destroying the concept of male and female you know there is something here that is destructive of his kingdom.

God made man in half, either male or female. It is doubtful any other of God’s creatures, the angels, cherubim, or whatever, were made in half.

There are chambers within the human being that are to be filled with God and people. It is only as these chambers are occupied that man begins to realize his destiny.

The initial fulfillment of the Divine fiat is the family. The importance of the family can hardly be overemphasized. There is the father with his role, the mother with her role, and the children with their role. This is the design for the time being. How it will be carried forth in a transcendent state we are not sure. But we do know from the Scripture that when an individual dies he is "gathered to his people."

Satan is exerting much effort in our day to destroy the family. There may be two reasons for this. The first is that by destroying the family the moral strength of people is damaged and they are more open to the demons who find fulfillment in them.

The second is that the Spirit is informing us it is the children of today who will take the Church into the fullness of the promises of God. Whenever leaders are to be born, as in the case of Moses and Jesus, Satan seeks to destroy the children.

The current unrest focuses on the woman. God has ordained that only through the woman can God’s eternal servants be brought into being. Think of it! The woman is the gatekeeper to the Kingdom of God!

This is why Satan exerts so much effort to convince the woman that being a mother is somehow less important than being a banker or a doctor. Can you see the lie and perversity here?

It is the man’s responsibility to be the priest of the home and to be a shelter for his wife. It is the woman’s responsibility to guide the home and be a suitable help for her husband.

The children are not to become idols, as in the middle-class American family, but future eternal servants of God who are to be raised and trained by a father and mother. It is the parents who form character in the child.

What an incredible mess we are in today as men are seeking to fulfill the role of women and women are seeking to fulfill the role of men. The psychologists and sociologists can offer their opinions from now to kingdom come but social anarchy will prevail wherever the family is not established in God’s order.

If you are a man, love your wife. Accept her shortcomings and stick with her until the marriage works. It is up to you to sacrifice yourself to hold things together.

If you are a woman, accept your husband’s shortcomings, honor him as well as you can, and give of yourself to your children. Quit trying to be a man. You don’t have to prove anything. The man is not superior to you!

If you are a child, honor and obey your parents.

You will never be able to relate correctly to Christ and God until you relate correctly to people. Do the best you can under your circumstances and God will help you.

The husband rules his wife by giving himself for her.

June 6th

FRUITFULNESS

Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. (John 15:16)

Fruitfulness is the third of the three great Divine fiats.

In its primary form fruitfulness has to do with the reproduction of human beings. Eve is the mother of all living. It will be interesting to meet Eve some day, the grandmother of all people. What a bunch of grandchildren she has!

In its transcendent form fruitfulness has to do with the reproduction of the image of Christ. God wants every saved human being to show in himself the character of Jesus Christ, including love, joy, peace, courage, patience, the love of righteousness and holiness, stern obedience to God, and all else found in Christ’s personality.

In some passages the Apostles spoke of being punished with everlasting destruction or drawing back to destruction. Maybe this means the wicked will not be permitted to grow into the character of Christ, in addition to whatever else happens to them.

Except a grain of wheat falls into the ground and die it remains alone, but if it dies it bears much fruit. God wants us to bear fruit and that our fruit remain.

As long as we choose to live in our own religious manner, even ministering according to our understanding of what we should be doing, no eternal fruit will be born. We may convert many to our way of thinking so they make a profession of faith in Christ. But this is not true fruitfulness.

True fruitfulness occurs only as we struggle with God in the death of our adamic nature. As God chastens and buffets us our old nature is brought down to death and in its place rises the Life of Christ. The Life of Christ is life-giving. It causes fruit to be born and grow.

As we patiently carry our cross, following the Lord each day, a part of our old nature dies and Christ takes its place. There is a spillover of resurrection life that occurs. The surplus of resurrection life touches those around us and the character of Christ is born in them. This is the transcendent fulfillment of the third Divine fiat.

Every believer who is willing to die in the Lord, to be pruned by the Lord, bears eternal fruit—the image and likeness of Christ in those around him or her. If we seek to save our life we will lose it. If we are willing to lose our life in God we will save it and an untold number of other people will be touched by the Life of Jesus.

You were meant to be fruitful. If you are a saint, a holy one of God, your first role is that of bearing the fruit of the image of the Lord. Christ has chosen you for this purpose.

Refuse to occupy yourself with lesser things. Press into the Lord that there may be an abundance of fruit for His table.

Every true witness of God testifies forever.

June 7th

DOMINION

Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. (Hebrews 2:8)

Image, union, fruitfulness, and dominion. These are the four Divine pronouncements concerning man. They are what man is. The four had a primary fulfillment in Adam and Eve and their descendants. They will have a transcendent fulfillment that will endure forever.

Man has been created to be the throne of God. Man is God’s answer to the rebellion of His angelic creatures. Man is destined to judge the world and the angels as well. To man has been given all authority in Heaven and upon the earth.

We do not as yet see such mighty authority and power. Man has been made like an animal, bound by gravity to the mud, a relatively insignificant creature compared with the titans who rule in the heavenlies.

Because man has been created to govern and judge the works of God’s hands he has had to be brought very low indeed, and then tested endlessly in every minute aspect of his personality, particularly in the areas of righteousness, holiness, and stern obedience to the Father.

He who overcomes in this struggle will inherit all things and God will be his God and he will be God’s son.

We do not as yet see man elevated to the throne. But we see Jesus. The Lord Jesus was brought very low and tested thoroughly, especially in the area of stern obedience to the Father. Now Jesus has been elevated to the right hand of God. Jesus has received all authority in Heaven and upon the earth, not because He is the Son of God, which indeed He is, but because He is the Son of man. For the Scriptures have assigned all authority to man and the Scriptures cannot be changed in any manner. They shall stand forever precisely as written.

When we observe the condition of most of us Christians today what I have just written appears fantastic. We are smart animals, we have eternal life, and when we die we will go to live forever in our mansion in Heaven. Why not leave it at that since everyone appears to believe this?

The problem is, we who preach and teach have to communicate what the Bible says, not what we think is reasonable or possible. The Bible invites man to be the dwelling place of God. The new Jerusalem is the Bride of the Lamb and the throne of God and of the Lamb are in it!

The Lord Jesus has invited us to sit with Him in His throne, which is our own heart. Before this is possible however we first must move off the throne so He can rule. After we have made Him supreme ruler in the throne room of our personality He invites us to return and sit with Him in the throne we had abdicated. We now are the chariot of God. The Father, the Son, and we, all through the fullness of the Holy Spirit, are dwelling in our own heart. This is the destiny of the sons of God.

This is the fullness of God of which Paul speaks in Ephesians.

Being the chariot of God is an improvement over living in a mansion any way you look at it. If you would prefer to live in a fancy house and read the paper on Sunday morning, if this is the limit of your vision of salvation, go ahead with it.

But I want what God said in the Bible!

Death to the world, death to sin, death to self-will, this is the only path to eternal fruitfulness and dominion.

June 8th

OVERCOMING

Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21)

To overcome is not to attain some marvelous spiritual stature to which only the most extraordinary individuals could aspire. Overcoming is a simple, direct, day-to-day process. It is the normal Christian experience. We either are a winner or a loser.

The Lord Jesus advised us we should deal with the evil presented to us each day, that the next day would take thought for the things of itself. Each day, each disciple of the Lord is given a daily portion of evil to overcome. The evil is a challenge to our peace, our rest in the Lord. The challenge may be something new or surprising or it may be a constant irritation we have dealt with for many years. It may be a severe temptation or a blazing dart of accusation from a close friend or church member. In this case, if we do not go immediately to the Lord our whole personality may be set on fire with the spirit of Hell.

God permits the evil to come against us so we may learn obedience and be transformed into the image of the Christ and pressed into union with Him. If we would obtain the good that God has in mind for us we must take every such burden immediately to God in prayer, asking Him to remove it or else give us wisdom in dealing with it.

As we attempt to give to the Lord Jesus the irritation, pain, or lust of our challenges, the adamic nature desires instead to grumble and fight or to act in some other sinful manner. When we do not yield to our animal nature and instead begin to seek the Lord’s peace, His grace enters us and we are transformed into His image and pressed into union with Him. Thus a part of us is crucified and in its place is created the resurrection Life of the Lord.

Our adamic nature much prefers to yield to unlawful desire, or to blame people, or circumstances, or even God for our discomfiture, our pain, our frustration. But when we yield to such enticement we bring the darkness of evil into our personality. When we force our way out of the prison God puts us in we destroy what God is accomplishing in us. When we indulge in the luxury of blaming people, our husband or wife for example, or our circumstances, we do not grow in the Lord; instead we grow in bitterness and anger. We criticize others or seek revenge.

The same lust that destroys the defeated believer produces Christ in the conqueror as he overcomes the lust through Christ. The same fear and worry that drive joy from the double-minded church member create faith and power in the victorious saint. The same pain that causes the overcomer to grow in Christ results in bitterness, resentment, and hardness of heart in the nonovercomer, the defeated Christian.

God expects every Christian to be an overcomer. The rewards we normally associate with the Christian life are given to the overcomer, not to the defeated church member. There is no authority or power in Heaven above, or on the earth, or in the dark regions beneath the surface of the earth, that can prevent the Christian from leading the victorious life each day of his pilgrimage on the earth. We can be perfect each day although we have not as yet been perfected.

The only forces that can prevent the life of victory are our own unbelief, disobedience, and stubbornness. God has made every provision. Christ is making intercession. But we are the ones who decide each day to overcome the evil or else to give in to evil and to blame and manipulate others, seeking to force our will in order to regain our happiness.

You can accomplish nothing in the eternal Kingdom of God with your own wisdom, talents, strength, or money. Only the blood of the Lamb, the word of your testimony, and a willingness to lay down your life for the Gospel can conquer the enemy.

June 9th

SAVED AS BY FIRE

If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. (I Corinthians 3:15)

Noah is an example of the conqueror who is raised from the dead, to speak symbolically, and charged with the responsibility of restoring the earth (Isaiah 61:4).

Lot is an example of the nonovercomer who is saved through the prayers of godly relatives. Lot was saved from wrath, barely escaping with his life. A part of Lot, his wife, was destroyed by the fire of God’s wrath. Lot was saved from destruction but was without fruitfulness, and without the dominion that is the result of fruitfulness, because of the loss of his wife.

Saved as by fire! All fruitfulness, dominion, reward burned away from us. Only our spirit is saved. The Divine fire has consumed all of our personality and actions that God will not accept. Being saved as by fire may prove to be an exceedingly painful and prolonged operation consisting of "many stripes".

The overcomer, the conqueror, the victorious saint, is not saved as by fire. He hears the praise of His Lord: "Well done, good and faithful servant."

In the Day of the Lord the conqueror will be surrounded by those who have been able to possess the Kingdom of God because of his testimony and ministry. He has many friends and has gained an abundant entrance into the Kingdom of God.

The overcomer helps the nonovercomer avoid having his spirit cut off from God in the Day of Christ:

To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. (I Corinthians 5:5)

The Christian believer who is spoken of in the preceding passage was not an overcomer, a conqueror, a victorious saint. Instead he was living in gross immorality.

Many of the teachers and preachers of our day would state that the incestuous Corinthian had nothing to worry about because we are "saved by grace and not by works."

The Apostle Paul, who knew more than today’s preachers of "grace," advised the church elders of Corinth to turn the sinning Christian over to Satan so his spirit might be saved in "the day of the Lord Jesus."

Jude speaks of the nonovercomer, the individual who is saved, as was Lot, by the efforts of the godly:

And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. (Jude 1:23)

We see, then, there is a difference in fruit-bearing among Christian people. There are rewards that have been assigned to each individual who "overcomes," that is, who rises up in faith and grasps the victory available to every person through Christ Jesus.

Every believer can be a conqueror. Being a conqueror requires a life of cross-carrying obedience to Christ. Christ Jesus is The Conqueror. If we will allow Him to do so, Christ will accomplish victory in our life. We will not be overcome if we abide in Christ. Rather we will overcome our circumstances through means of His resurrection life working in us.

Noah and Lot portray by their lives the differences between the person who is saved to fruitfulness and the person who is saved by fire.

Would you rather have the inheritance of Abraham or Lot?

It is easy and "natural" to walk in the flesh. Diligence in prayer, Bible reading, and obedience to the Lord are necessary in order to walk in the Spirit.

June 10th

THE VICTORIOUS SAINT

But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (I Corinthians 15:57)

The saint cannot fulfill his role apart from the endowments of Divine Life and Personality set forth in the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation. As we ponder what is declared in these two chapters the difference between the victorious saint and the blemished believer is emphasized immediately. There are the seven "spotted and wrinkled" churches of Asia, and then there are the victorious saints, the conquerors.

The churches are addressed as groups. The conqueror always is addressed as an individual.

A church never can be a conqueror. No matter how godly and fervent an assembling of Christians may become, it never can be a conqueror. Each of the conquerors is addressed as an individual. The conquerors taken together constitute a firstfruits of the Church, the Wife of the Lamb, the Body of Christ, the new Jerusalem, the holy city.

To become a conqueror the believer must press on past all persons, voices, and things other than the Person of Christ. The saint must give his all to Christ. There can be nothing between his or her soul and the Savior. He must be free from all people and yet be the servant of all.

The Lord Jesus will present to Himself a firstfruits of His Church—a remnant without spot, wrinkle, blemish, or stain of any kind whatever.

Christ never speaks to two people about overcoming as a team. The victorious saint presses alone into the bosom of God. His Creator receives him as an individual, a separate, unique creation. The Church is the "mother." From the ministry and travail of the Church is born the saint, the overcomer, the conqueror. The spirit of the conqueror finds rest only in the Spirit of God. He is restless until he finds rest in the center of God’s will.

The above paragraph is not to be interpreted to mean the Christian churches composes one group of people and the conquerors are another group of people born of the Church. This may be a logical conclusion but it is not the true spiritual reality. The people who are conquerors are of the Church to begin with and are for now the true expression of the Church. These same people follow the Holy Spirit in using their gifts and ministries, and through their gifts and ministries build up themselves and their hearers into the fullness of the stature of Christ.

In one role we are the mother and in another role we are the conqueror. To put it even more simply, we build up ourselves and those around us in the most holy faith.

Christ Jesus is the Conqueror. As the ministries of the Church "groan in travail," the Conqueror is formed in the saints (Galatians 4:19, Revelation 12:5). The moment Christ is formed in us He ascends to the right hand of His Father. Each of God’s conquerors dwells in the secret place of the most High—at the right hand of the Father.

A large part of our Christian discipleship consists of the struggle to bring forth Christ in us so our reborn spiritual nature may abide at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. There are many pressures seeking to force us down to the lusts and covetousness of the world while our new inner nature is seeking victory at the right hand of God.

If you sincerely desire to become a conqueror you can. You must give yourself wholly to Christ Jesus. He must become not only your personal Savior but your absolute Lord as well. Apart from stern obedience to Him you cannot be a victorious saint.

Whatever He says to you, do it!

June 11th

THE GRACE OF GROWTH

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: (Ephesians 4:13)

There are several verses in the New Testament that speak of our growing in the Lord. Most Christians understand we are to grow in the Lord.

But what does it mean to grow in the Lord? And how important is it?

If any person be in Christ there is a new creation in which the old nature has passed away and every part of the new personality is of God.

Obviously scriptural! But what does this have to do with the grace of salvation. Aren’t we "saved by grace"?

God’s purpose in providing a new covenant is to create people who are new creatures, meaning creatures who keep His commandments. God has given us grace with the idea that the sins we have committed will be put behind God’s back and we can start off fresh. We don’t have to worry about the Law of Moses. And we have God’s Spirit and the body and blood of Jesus to help us keep God’s commandments.

But we have perverted the program of redemption. We have introduced the thought of a "dispensation of grace," the idea being we no longer have to keep God’s commandments.

There is no such thing as a "dispensation of grace." There is a new covenant but there is no dispensation of grace meaning we don’t have to keep God’s commandments. This whole business of a special Gentile dispensation of grace that forgives us so we can "go to Heaven" without becoming a new creation is a huge, huge, huge deception. The concept of a dispensation of grace has perverted God’s intention under the new covenant.

There is a grace of forgiveness apart from keeping the Law of Moses. And then there is grace for growth—growth into the moral image of the Lord.

To grow in Christ means to grow in the ability to distinguish between good and evil and to have the desire and ability to choose the good and reject the evil. This is a major part of the image of Christ.

Until we make progress in the ability to reject the evil and choose the good we are babies. God loves His babies but they are about as useful in the Kingdom as a monkey in a machine shop.

The grace of God under the new covenant includes forgiveness but especially the Divine Virtue that enables us to grow in Christ each day.

To view grace as a special "dispensation" in which God forgives people and brings them to Paradise in a unchanged state is to completely misunderstand what Christianity and salvation are all about.

The primary meaning of being saved is being kept from destruction in the Day of the Lord. It signifies you will have an opportunity to continue in the program of re-creating man in the image of God. After you are saved, whether it is today or in the Day of the Lord, you are to begin the program of transformation. If you do not, if you do not begin to bear the fruit of the likeness of the Lord, you will be cut out of the Vine.

Is all of this actually true and scriptural?

Unfortunately yes!

The blood and the Spirit are the authority and the power for a work yet to be accomplished in us.

June 12th

THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS A DISPENSATION OF GRACE!

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8,9)

I was brought to Christ in the Marine Corps on Oahu when I was nineteen, during World War II. Experienced Christians pressed on me Ephesians 2:8,9. But they didn’t add verse ten. They were good men, active in personal work when the marines were preparing for major invasions. But by not adding verse ten they gave me a warped view of salvation.

I was handed a Scofield Bible, a Stamps-Baxter songbook, and was told about the nightly meetings in the Quonset hut. At that time I had a real experience of being born again. It wasn’t until nearly thirty years later when I was writing on the Tabernacle of the Congregation that it dawned on me something was wrong with Christian teaching.

I read through the New Testament to see if there were any verses that said we had to behave righteously as part of the program of salvation. Try that sometime! I could hardly believe what I was reading. I gave up trying to make a list because there were too many verses to cope with. The verses that stressed grace apart from behavior were indeed few in number; and even those were speaking of freedom from the Law of Moses, not freedom from righteous behavior. The verses that spoke of righteous behavior were far and away the majority of the text.

Over the years I have listened to Christian preaching and read Christian writings. I have come to the conclusion that in the area of Divine grace we are mistaken. A "dispensation of grace" has been invented that simply is not found in the Scriptures.

Ephesians 2:8,9 could be interpreted to mean we do not have to behave righteously. But the next verse prevents such an interpretation.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)

We have been created in Christ Jesus to do good works. Check any translation. They all say the same thing. If we have been created in Christ Jesus for the purpose of doing good works, then the current teaching of a dispensation of grace is out balance with the New Testament emphasis on godly living. We have misunderstood God! It is obvious that if we are not living in a righteous manner the grace of God has failed of its purpose.

God has provided a new covenant to enable us to live righteously. By being born again in Christ and having God’s Holy Spirit we now are able to begin to keep God’s commandments. The whole purpose of grace is to enable us to keep God’s commandments. God would never, never, never change His dealing with man such that man can live an unrighteous, unholy, disobedient life and still please God.

The concept that God has given us grace because we cannot keep His commandments is a farce. Of course we can keep God’s commandments with the help Christ gives. Is our Father in Heaven some kind of monster that He would command us to do something and then not enable us to do it?

The reasoning that God has given us hundreds of commandments, not because we can keep them but to show us our need of His forgiveness, is perverse. By this kind of twisted thinking we have made the exhortations of the Apostles irrelevant. What father would command his child to do something impossible, not help him do it, and then tell him he never expected to be obeyed but wanted his child to seek his forgiveness and mercy?

Christ came to change what we reap by changing what we sow.

June 13th

WHERE GRACE FITS

Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; (Romans 3:25)

"For the remission of sins that are past."

I remember when I was a boy that Sheriff Slavin of New Haven, Connecticut had what was called, I believe, a "First Offender" program. The idea was to give a boy or girl who had been arrested, but had never broken the law before, a fresh start.

This is how Divine grace actually works.

Let us say there is a compassionate judge. An individual has been brought before him for stealing a car.

The judge looks at the defendant and thinks this person could make something of himself if he had a fresh start.

Even though stealing a car is a serious offense the judge fines him twenty-five dollars and puts him on probation. What is the judge’s purpose? It is to give this person a chance to become a law-abiding citizen.

But what if the individual shows up in court next week for stealing another car? The judge is liable to give him a heavy sentence. The person did not understand that the judge, by letting him off lightly the first time, was seeking to give him a fresh start.

God’s purpose in putting our sins behind His back is to give us a fresh start. We can now begin to pray, seek Christ, fellowship with Christians, read the Bible, and live a righteous life. We do not have to worry about the Law of Moses because we are married to Christ.

The purpose of grace is to give us a fresh start so we can serve God.

But we have made grace a "new dispensation."

Our present teaching of grace is as if the car thief comes before the judge. The judge says, the old laws do not apply any longer. Just confess you are unable to keep from stealing and fall on the mercy of the court. Once you do this we encourage you to stop stealing cars. But if you do not you still do not need to worry. The law against car-stealing no longer applies to you.

You are not under the penal code any longer. You have been set free such that if you steal cars, or even kill someone, the laws no longer apply to you. You are free from the law and are sheltered by the grace provided by the criminal court.

This seems to be a pretty good picture of the "dispensation of grace" we have invented.

If the criminal court system threw out the penal code and brought in a system of grace, as we have outlined above, what do you think would become true of our society?

Well, this is what has taken place in the Christian churches. The people often are lawless because they have been taught an unscriptural view of Divine grace.

Don’t you think its about time we got back to the Bible? The Christian churches have been wrecked by a false teaching of grace.

Our own good works cannot produce salvation but true salvation always produces good works.

June 14th

RIGHTEOUSNESS, HOLINESS, AND OBEDIENCE TO GOD

And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (I Thessalonians 5:23)

The purpose of the new covenant is to produce righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God in people.

The first thing God does, when we come to Jesus, is to forgive our sins. Now God can begin the program that will result in our total sanctification.

Let’s think about the differences among righteousness, holiness, and obedience, for although they are interrelated they are not exactly the same.

Righteousness has to do with our conduct toward other people. Righteousness, includes honesty, fair dealing, truthfulness, loyalty, honorable actions, dependability, generosity, kindness, compassion toward the poor, and similar behavior. To treat others as we would have them treat us is to behave righteously.

Holiness has to do with our relationship with God and with the purity of our spirit. God wants His elect to belong to Him and to live before Him in all things. All unclean spirits must be driven from us. That which belongs to God must be holy.

This is where righteousness and holiness overlap. To tell a lie is unrighteous. The spirit of lying is an unholy, unclean spirit. To hurt another person is an unrighteous act. The spirits of violence, murder, gossip, slander, are unholy spirits and cannot dwell in the Presence of God.

Obedience has to do with our response to God’s will. There is only one lawful will in the universe. Every son of God must obey his Father without any question or compromise. God has a good and loving purpose in all He commands and to not obey Him instantly and totally is unthinkable!

The Bible stresses righteousness—perhaps above all other virtues. Both the Old Testament and the New, from Genesis to Revelation, contain many commandments involving righteous behavior. The current viewpoint of Divine grace, that it is an acceptable alternative to righteous behavior, is just about as destructive an error as can be imagined.

Holiness is required of Israel, the royal priesthood. Those who have been called of God to serve Him, to represent Him to His creation, must be holy. No unclean spirit can survive the fire of God.

Every Christian must be morally clean in thought, speech, and behavior. Every Christian is called to be a member of the royal priesthood. The Holy Spirit has been given to guide us into complete sanctification. The Christians who loves God but is bound by some filthy spirit will be scrubbed with lye soap—not a dainty perfumed soap but old-fashioned laundry soap. We are to be holy as God is holy!

And as for obedience, every saint will suffer until he or she is totally obedient to God. Adam was disobedient. Abraham and Christ were obedient in their hour of testing. You and I are to be totally, sternly obedient to the will of God!

Righteousness, holiness, and obedience. All three are necessary if we are to stand in the Presence of God and serve Him as His sons and daughters.

He will accomplish these in you if you will cooperate with Him!

People desire Paradise but God desires obedient, righteous people.

June 15th

FROM VICTORY UNTO VICTORY

. . .To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God. (Revelation 2:7)

One would suppose that every member of the church in Ephesus already had partaken of the Tree of Life. It is believed commonly that once we accept Christ as our Savior we possess eternal life and that no more is required of us concerning gaining eternal life.

It is true that we are touched with eternal life the moment we truly receive Christ Jesus, placing our faith in Him. But the Scripture teaches plainly that we are to be seeking eternal life after we are saved. The pursuit of life, of the victorious resurrection from the dead, is a lifelong quest. Every day eternal death and eternal life struggle for dominion over us. The conqueror is the one who chooses life as he makes his decisions throughout each day of his discipleship.

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. (I Timothy 6:12)

We understand that the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to resurrection life and few people actually find life. Christ Jesus is the Way. As we follow Him He leads us into all Truth, which is Christ Himself. As we obey the truth we partake of and grow in eternal Life, which again is Christ Himself.

The moment we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior we pass from death to life. We are forgiven our sins, through the blood of the Lamb, and we come at that moment into right standing with God. At the time of our receiving of Christ, who Himself is eternal Life and the resurrection from the dead, eternal life is born in us.

When we receive Christ we receive the authority to escape the wrath of God and to become a child of God. However, eternal life is more than escape from Divine wrath. Eternal life is Divine Substance. We receive Divine Virtue and Substance when we first accept Christ. From then on we are to be living in, acting in, speaking in, thinking in, and in every manner cultivating the eternal life that is in us.

Our fleshly nature always is competing for first place in our affections. Our sinful, self-centered nature resists being removed from the throne of our life. We conquer the world, Satan, and our sinful, self-centered nature by continuing to partake daily of the "tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God." This tree is the Lord Jesus Himself. As we conquer we are brought to the Tree of Life. As we partake of the Tree of Life we are enabled to conquer yet further. As we keep the Word of God the Word of God begins to keep us. We ascend into the fullness of the power of Christ’s resurrection.

Paul was seeking to know and experience the power of Christ’s resurrection. We are to do the same. Each day of our Christian discipleship we are to be living and acting in the Spirit of life. If we choose to live and act in the lusts of our flesh, in spiritual death, the Divine Life that is in us will be shoved aside. The Divine Life eventually will leave and the new creation that has been begun in us will die because of the loss of life.

The conqueror overcomes, through Christ, all opposition from the world, from his fleshly nature, and from Satan in his pursuit of eternal life. In so doing he attains a victorious resurrection. The Divine Life of Jesus, who Himself Is the Resurrection and the Life, is formed in him. If we become filled with Christ, when He appears we will shine as part of the brightness of His appearing. If we choose to live in the flesh we will reap corruption. We will succeed in preventing our resurrection to glory. Let us be found among those who lay hold on eternal life.

Are you forgetting the things that are behind and seeking to grasp that for which you have been grasped? If not you are not attaining the resurrection from the dead.

June 16th

BALAAMISM

Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD. (Numbers 31:16)

Balaam, a seer, was unable to earn his money by cursing Israel because the power and blessing of the Lord was on that nation. Therefore Balaam counseled Balak, the king of the Moabites, to provoke God’s anger against Israel by sending out the Moabite girls to lure the Israelite warriors into fornication and into the worship of the demons that the Moabites worshiped.

Balaam understood that if he could persuade Israel to sin the wrath of God would fall on the people. Balaam then could rise up and curse the Jews in his spirit of prophecy. King Balak could overcome the Israelite army and Balaam would collect his pay.

This is true of the Christian army. It is impossible for the devil to overcome the soldiers of Christ while the power and blessing of Christ is on them. If Satan can lure the Lord’s soldiers into sexual lust and into other forms of demonic activity and worship, then the judgment of God will fall on the sinners.

The wrath of God always is on lust and on all other forms of demonic activity whether committed by Jews, Christians, or any other religion or race of people.

Sometimes the Holy Spirit wields the Divine sword, the Word of God, through a sinning Christian. The Christian who ministers the Word of God while he himself is sinning will be judged by the sword he is wielding. He is not a conqueror even though the Holy Spirit is employing him in Kingdom tasks.

Notice that Balaam, a seer of God, was brought under the curse of God by the love of money just as were Gehazi, Judas, and Ananias and Sapphira. The love of money blinded the eye of the seer, and in his blindness he brought himself under the judgment of God. Later, Balaam was slain by the Israelite army.

One of the temptations that face the Christian churches is that of the love of money. It is easy to fall into the snare of mixing religion and money in such a manner that monetary profit occurs.

The conqueror is to flee, flee, flee from the temptation to use the glory of Christ as a means of acquiring material gain!

If God calls us into His way we are assured He will supply our needs. He who gave us His Son certainly will furnish us with the necessities of earthly existence.

God warned Balaam, a true seer, to refrain from doing the bidding of Balak in the cursing of Israel. When gold was held up before Balaam’s eyes he felt there must be some way of serving both God and money. At that moment Balaam fell into deception and a snare. The moment we believe we can serve both God and money we will fall into deception and a snare.

He who would be a conqueror must decide once and for all he cannot serve God and money. God will be served or money will be served. No person can serve both. Let us cast aside the unclean money, the god of riches, and serve the Lord Jesus Christ with singleness of heart.

God does not "see us through Jesus," but He does hear us when we cry for deliverance from sin.

June 17th

WHAT IS BEING BIRTHED IN OUR CHURCH

Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty: (Deuteronomy 16:16)

Our assembly has been in a travail of sorts for over twenty years. The people of the church have spoken of it. Visiting ministers have referred to it. It is something you sense but it is hard to put your finger on it.

What is being birthed is becoming clearer now.

Notice in the passage above that there were three feasts of the Lord: Unleavened Bread, Pentecost (the feast of Weeks), and Tabernacles. The three Jewish feasts typify the three great platforms of our salvation.

Unleavened Bread we know. It includes repentance, water baptism, the blood atonement, and the born-again experience. We have discussed the details of the typology in several books and pamphlets.

Pentecost we know. The spiritual fulfillment of Pentecost has been with us since the turn of the century. The "Charismatic" movement is basically Pentecost by a different name. It has to do with our learning to move in the things of the Spirit of God.

The third feast, Tabernacles, is being birthed in the present hour. The third feast includes war against the enemies of God, beginning with His enemies in the Church, with reconciliation to God in all areas of our personality, and finally with the coming of the fullness of the Father and the fullness of the Son through the fullness of the Holy Spirit to dwell in us for eternity.

We have not come to a different kind of Christian experience, to another Christ, but to the climax and fullness of what was begun in salvation and the baptism with the Spirit.

You are a Christian. You have been baptized in water and have been born again. You have been filled with the Spirit, have spoken in tongues, and perhaps have prophesied or manifested some other aspect of the Holy Spirit.

What is next?

According to the types, what is next is judgment on the worldliness, lust, and self-will of your personality. It is time to remove the tares from the members of the Kingdom of God.

You are going to experience God as you never have before. You are going to enter waters to the hips and finally waters to swim in. But before you do the "man with the line in his hand" is going to confront you with the aspects of your personality that do not measure up to the unity of the faith, that come short of the standard of maturity that is the fullness of Christ.

It is this third experience of war and judgment, of the reconciliation of each aspect of our personality to the Lord, of preparation for receiving the fullness of God, that is being birthed in our assembly. We believe that this is the hour to press into the fullness. Let's all enter the marvelous things that God has for us.

By inventing a gospel of forgiveness that brings us to Heaven we have managed to avoid a radical change in our personality, a radical change that is necessary if we are to be able to hold Paradise once we gain it.

June 18th

ABIDING IN CHRIST

Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. (John 15:2)

To be a Christian is not merely to take a mental attitude toward the facts of theology. If we can get someone to come around to our point of view concerning the Lord Jesus Christ we feel the individual has become a Christian; that he or she has been born again and therefore will go to Heaven when he or she dies.

We indeed have made a proselyte. Whether or not the individual ever becomes a true Christian has not been decided as yet.

The Christian salvation is not in theology. The Christian salvation is in abiding in Christ.

To abide in Christ is to meet Him every morning and to look to Him in every decision during the day. Christ must become all in all to us. He will if we do not cease to cultivate His Presence, His will, His peace, His victory in every circumstance!

Going to church, reading the Bible, praying, giving, serving, are all necessary. But keep in mind they are scaffolding. They are means to an end. The end is Christ being formed in us.

When we keep abiding in Christ we begin to bear fruit. This means we have a change of character. The fruit of righteous behavior, of holiness of thought, speech, and word, of obedience to God, begins to be practiced throughout our personality.

The fruit is the image of the character of Christ. When we bear that fruit other people are affected. Christ is born in them. Their personality begins to be transformed. As we are willing to die in the Lord much fruit comes forth in us and in other people. Then we are bearing the fruit God is looking for.

As we bear fruit God, after deriving benefit for a while, prunes away much of it just as in any orchard. This is a perplexing experience for us but is necessary if we are to increase in the image of Christ.

This does not mean God prunes away the image of Christ in us but parts of our personality and actions that heretofore had been acceptable. An outstanding minister in Europe recently went through a devastating personal experience and has come back stronger and more insightful than ever. He wrote a book about his experience called "God Can Do It Without Me," or something to this effect.

The only limit to what we can become in Christ is how much pruning we will accept. If we don’t get turn away from the dealings of the Lord the result can be awesome!

If after having "accepted" Christ we do not begin to be transformed we are in clear, scriptural danger of being removed from the Vine.

Who is the Vine? Christ. What does it mean to be cut out of the Vine? It means we do not share in the Life of Christ.

Will I go to Heaven if I am cut out of the Vine? I don’t know. Do you want to go to Heaven to be with the angels and have no part in Christ?

The point is, the issue is not Heaven it is sharing the Life of Christ.

If you accept Christ and then do not become a new righteous creature as measured by your personality and behavior you will be cut out of the Vine.

Are you saying we are saved by works? I am saying that good works are the only reliable evidence of salvation and the purpose of salvation and indeed are salvation.

We are saved from sin not from Hell.

Ask yourself: Do I want to be where there is no sin or where there is no fire?

Your answer will reveal the reality of your salvation.

The whole purpose of our life on earth is to teach us to know the Lord.

June 19th

HOOKED UP TO POWER

I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. (John 15:1)

There are a lot of false vines but Jesus is the one true Vine.

Human beings are little more than dust when compared with the spiritual titans that live, move, and have their being in the spirit realm. Some of these majesties are righteous, serving God and Christ. Some of them are wicked and are governed by the fallen cherub, Satan.

We are in a religious revival in America. Past emphases on philosophy and psychology are drying up. People no longer are fired up about operant conditioning. The in thing is contact with the spirit realm. It isn’t that people want to go back to the traditional churches, although some do. They are looking for excitement, for power, for relief from the boredom and oppression of life in the flesh.

The human race, particularly in the affluent nations where most people are not busily groping for survival on the land, crave the mystical, the supernatural, and they are using drugs as well as westernized versions of Hinduism to get it. The "prosperity" and "faith" messages found in the Christian churches are too close to Hinduism to be comfortable.

The spirit realm is real, make no mistake about this. If you are still blind to the fact that there are angels, spirits, demons, and who knows what else in a very real spirit realm you are behind the times. How will you ever understand your environment apart from a realization of the sources of power and wisdom?

The New Agers are ready to teach you about the spirit realm when the physical realm trashes your soul. Now let me warn you of something. Because a personage exists in the spirit realm does not mean it is kind and good. Every destructive scourge that will eventually turn what was once paradise on earth into a darkening Hell’s twilight of grotesque, cancer-disfigured monsters, torturing each other and shaking their fist at God and His Christ, being forced to drink blood in a superheated environment, came to earth because of the self-will of these lovely shafts of light in the spirit realm. These goblin creatures disguise themselves as beautiful spirits who want to improve the quality of your life. They need you because life in the spirit realm apart from the Presence of God is dry indeed. Once they get their talons into you they can torture you until you are more than ready to jump off the bridge.

If this has happened to you, or if you are being persuaded to adopt a spirit guide, a familiar spirit, run like Satan is after you. He is! Never mind his blandishments or threats. Flee! Flee! Flee! Do you want to go insane? Right now come to the One who has the power. His name is Jesus. He also is in the spirit realm, in the Paradise that spirit guides promise but can’t deliver. When He speaks the angels and demons shut up. "Shut up and come out of him," the Lord says, and you are free.

You are only dust. You are going to have to get hooked up to power if you are to stand during this year and the coming years. The greatest power by far is Jesus. Call on His name and your psychedelic visions and astral projections will wither. Maybe God will let you see the bottomless pit you are falling into. I’m not kidding! It’s this bad and worse!

If you want to escape from the delusions of our day tell God about it now. Get hooked up to the righteous Power, the true Vine. If you don’t you are going to default to the wrong vine and that fun isn’t going to last!

There is more wickedness operating at this time in the American culture, including the churches, than most of us realize. But Christ is greater than all and ultimately will prevail. Stay close to Jesus.

June 20th

SALVATION COMES AT THE END

But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. (Hebrews 3:6)

In our day we are placing an unscriptural emphasis on the beginning aspect of salvation to the neglect of the process and the goal. The product of this overemphasis is people who "make a decision for Christ" and then fall away; make another decision for Christ and then fall away; make another decision for Christ and then fall away. There are many such individuals in jail at the present time where they go to a Bible study and make another "decision for Christ." They make a decision for Christ because they want to please God, they want to be righteous. But what they are being taught is a philosophy, a system of belief, not the Divine salvation.

It absolutely is necessary that salvation begin in our life with a decisive, clear-cut action. We must turn away from our own attempts to save ourselves. We must put our faith in the blood atonement made by the Lord Jesus. We must repent of our sinful behavior and renounce the things we are doing we know to be sinful.

We must be baptized in water, declaring we have died to the world and now are raised with Christ that we might enter the Kingdom of God. These actions must be performed clearly and decisively.

But this is just the beginning. After this there is a life to be lived in which we work out our own salvation with fear and trembling—not as today with gleeful overconfidence but with fear and trembling that we might be faithful in pleasing God.

We have been given the piano, now we need to learn how to play it. Otherwise the Christian Gospel is to us a religious philosophy, not the power of God to salvation.

Then there is the Day of Salvation that is coming in which Christ will remove the presence of sin from us and clothe us with a robe of righteousness. The robe of righteousness is fashioned as we keep putting to death, through the Spirit of God, the sinful deeds of our body. In the Day of the Lord we shall be clothed with a body from Heaven that has been formed as we have put to death the deeds of our body on the earth. We are going to reap exactly what we have sown.

Salvation has a specific beginning, a specific program, a specific conclusion. Remember, salvation is defined as complete deliverance from the guilt, power, and presence of sin. Each of us has been given a mark toward which to press. There is a conclusion of the work of salvation, not a conclusion of growing in the Lord but a conclusion of the work of delivering us from the guilt, power, and presence of sin, of redemption. Such deliverance is not completed at the beginning of our salvation but at the end.

It is not the beginning that saves us but the end. He who endures to the end is the person who is saved. We can go through the program successfully as long as we keep our eyes on the Lord. But if we grow cold and neglectful we are heading back toward the fire that will consume the adversaries of God. This is what the Book of Hebrews teaches us.

God is granting revivals of repentance in the United States in the present hour. This may prove to be our last opportunity to seek the Lord. Let us make sure we do not, after repenting, grow cold again. (There may not be another opportunity to repent!) Let us rather press forward to the finish line so we may be saved (delivered from the presence of sin) in the Day of the Lord. We will be made a partaker of Christ if we hold fast our confidence steadfastly to the end.

When the Lord assigns righteousness to an individual it is for the purpose of bringing him or her into righteous behavior. If righteous behavior, the fruit for which God is looking, does not begin to grow, then the believer has received the grace of God in vain.

June 21st

THE TEMPLE OF GOD

Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? (Acts 7:49)

The Bible is so large and complicated it is hard to tell the forest from the trees. But there are a few themes that are central to the Divine purpose. One of the most important of these is the construction of the living temple of God.

God has a temple in Heaven, we know from the sixth chapter of the Book of Isaiah. But the temple in Heaven is not to be the future home of God or the place of His throne. God is in the process of constructing a house for Himself, a house built of living stones. The Lord Jesus Christ is the chief Cornerstone of the eternal tabernacle of God. The believers are the remainder of the building.

When God created the heavens and the earth, the world of molecules, He made an environment superior to the spirit realm (as the fallen angels and demons understand very well—that’s why they spend their time here and seek to express themselves in people).

God was on earth in the beginning but He had to withdraw into the spirit realm because we chose to obey the fallen cherub.

But there’s this about God. He doesn’t change His mind. What He starts He finishes!

God has allowed six thousand years for all of us, angels included, to understand that Satan is going to lose everything. God is permitting Satan (like He does us sometimes) to express himself. God is giving him lots of rope. You know what Satan is going to do with the rope? You’ve got it. He is going to hang himself. He always does!

When God is satisfied the lesson is over He is going to return to the earth in Jesus Christ and the saints. All sin and unrighteousness will be driven from the material creation.

After a thousand-year orientation program God in Christ in His Church will descend graciously through the new sky to the new earth (the old went into the hamper). God loves dramatic entrances.

Here comes God in His new house to dwell among His children, the saved nations of the earth. Now they will pray sideways. Instead of looking up to Heaven for God they will go to the new Jerusalem. There the saints will bless, teach, and heal them.

All these people are the inheritance of Christ and His saints. But our best inheritance is the Father. We shall be able to see His face! There’s no church in the new Jerusalem because God is here with us forever in unconcealed splendor—just like in Eden.

The name of that city shall be, "The Lord is there."

"O come, O come, Emmanuel."

Christ, not Heaven, is the goal of our salvation.

June 22nd

WHY THE BODY OF CHRIST MUST BE PERFECTED

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: (Ephesians 4:13)

It can be seen from the above verse that God has a very high standard for each member of the Body of Christ.

The unity of the faith does not mean doctrinal agreement, as I understand it, but the faith that comes as Christ is formed in us—the faith that is Christ's own knowledge of God and faith and trust in God. True saints have a marvelous unity and fellowship that has little to do with points of doctrine. Have you found this to be the case?

"Unto a perfect man." A careful study of the verse appears to indicate that each believer is to attain maturity, it is not a case of Jesus Christ Himself being the perfect Man.

The standard of maturity to which we have been called is the fullness of Christ. We have been predestined to be in His image. A son can be in the perfect image of his father without having the experience, position, or character development of his father. We don't wish to exalt ourselves at this point. Neither do we desire to water down what God has plainly stated.

Why must we come to such a state of spiritual maturity? Because of the role to which we have been called. Each true disciple is a member of Christ's Body. When Jesus Christ appears the members of His Body will appear with Him.

Why will the members of His Body appear with Him? Because there is a tremendous work to be performed in the earth. If the Lord Jesus Christ intended to do the work by Himself He would have begun two thousand years ago. But the two thousand years of Church history have been for the purpose of developing mature saints who can work alongside Christ at His appearing.

When the Lord builds up Zion, then He shall appear in His glory.

Christ, Head and Body, is the Servant of the Lord described by Isaiah the Prophet. When Christ (Messiah) comes He will bring justice to the nations.

Are you repulsed by the frantic turmoil of today's society, a society enslaved by demons, drowning in the lusts of the flesh? I am! Do you hope for an end to this insanity? I do. I long for peace, quietness, love, joy, freedom from pain and dread.

God has in mind to bring every blessing to the earth until it once more is as it was in the beginning. Such deliverance and healing will come through the Lord Jesus and His saints.

This is why each one of us has been called to unity with God and other believers, to maturity as measured by the full stature of Christ.

Christ wants us to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

The main purpose of the Gospel is to have Christ formed in us.

June 23rd

KEPT FROM THE HOUR OF TEMPTATION

Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. (Revelation 3:10)

I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. (John 17:15)

What Jesus means in Revelation 3:10 He explains in John 17:15. In both instances the Apostle John recorded the message. It is not the will of Christ that we be lifted out of the world but rather that we be kept, or guarded, from the evil (one). In Revelation 3:10, we are kept from the evil of the "hour of temptation." The word for "temptation" is used in the Lord’s prayer, "Lead us not into temptation."

The problem of Antichrist’s reign, as far as the saints are concerned, is not as much in the realm of suffering as it is in the area of temptation to sin. In many instances Satan can overcome a believer more easily through sin than through suffering. The trap and delusion of the last days is lawlessness and materialism. Already numerous Christians have had their spiritual vitality destroyed because of their participation in the lawless, wealthy cultures of our day. The believers are being overcome by sin, by physical luxuries, by fornication, by covetousness, by neglect of their salvation because of eating, drinking, buying, selling, marrying, giving in marriage—by the normal business of civilization.

The world of Noah and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were caught off guard by the Divine judgment because of lawlessness and materialism. In the majority of instances God does not deliver us from temptation by taking us to Heaven, although sometimes we could wish He would do so. Rather, God makes a way of escape for us so we may be able to triumph throughout the particular trial. God keeps us in the midst of temptation.

When we think of Israel in Goshen, Jeremiah in the dungeon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the furnace, Daniel in the lions’ den, we realize that God can and shall deliver us out of every trial if we stand fast in trust and hope in Jesus. God provides a way of escape. Some of the older saints will testify that God’s way is to enable us to overcome every difficulty through Him. Sometimes the Lord allows us to remain in trying circumstances until we achieve victory through His faithfulness and glory. When we have achieved victory He removes us from the conflict or the conflict from us, as His plan indicates. Have you found this to be the way of the Lord?

It is the promise and the Glory of God to bring a saint through deep waters and fiery trials and to keep him or her free from every spiritual harm (and sometimes from every physical harm as well). This is God’s way. We achieve victory in the place where we are.

It is our belief that the hour of temptation, of lawlessness, already is upon us in its early stages. Every saint who follows Christ with an undivided heart will be kept in spiritual safety, and often in physical safety as were Elijah and Elisha, no matter what comes to pass on the earth.

We must guard the Word of Christ’s patience. It is in the realm of patience that some of our greatest trials take place, some of the fiercest battles rage, and some of the most glorious victories are won. If we continue to watch soberly and vigilantly in prayer, standing steadfast in Christ throughout every temptation and peril that approaches us, the Lord Jesus will provide a means of deliverance for us and we shall escape all these things that will come to pass on the earth. We shall survive and finally stand in absolute triumph in the Presence of the Son of Man (Luke 21:36).

There are not three wills of God, the good, the acceptable, and the perfect. There is but one will of God for you and it is good, acceptable, and perfect.

June 24th

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; (Titus 2:11,12)

The grace that is preached today does not teach us to deny ungodliness, to deny worldly lusts, to live soberly, righteously, and in a godly manner in the present world. It simply does not teach this!

The grace preached today teaches that God saves us by an unconditional amnesty unrelated to our denial of ungodliness, unrelated to our denial of worldly lusts, unrelated to any attempt to live soberly, righteously, and in a godly manner in the present world. The grace preached today is not the grace of God in Jesus Christ, it is a very sophisticated weapon of the enemy to destroy the building of the Kingdom of God.

The sword of judgment is hanging over the United States. If I am hearing the Lord correctly we have one more opportunity of repentance left. If we Christians do not at once turn away from our sinning and begin to keep God’s commandments there will be disastrous consequences for our nation.

God stands ready to assist every believer in Christ as he or she, young or old, turns from the worldly lusts, profanity, and violence that fill the media and the entertainment world and begins to seek help from above. God’s grace in Christ is wiser and more powerful than anything Satan can present and will help us overcome every deception and temptation. We must keep God’s commandments found in the New Testament—every one of them. God will help us do just that if we will pray, read the Bible, attend the meetings of fervent believers, give, serve, and do all else the Bible commands.

Listen to me! There will be no rapture (as currently conceived) to deliver you from trouble. It isn’t going to happen. Go back to the Bible. Put on the whole armor of God. Prepare yourself to stand in the evil day that is upon us, the age of moral horrors. We have been grievously deceived, but the Lord Jesus will help us to turn from our wicked ways if we will make the attempt.

Perhaps the greatest misunderstanding ever to affect Christian thinking is the defining of Divine grace as magic spectacles God wears so our continued unrighteousness is seen as Christ’s uprightness; our moral filthiness appears as Christ’s purity; and our stubbornness is transformed into Christ’s meekness and obedience.

While a certain element of the above is true when the sinner comes to Christ, to prolong this concept past the time the sinner gets on board, such that we are dealing with an unscriptural, mystical dispensation of grace, is to wreck all God has set out to accomplish under the new covenant.

There was a believer in Corinth who was behaving immorally with his Father’s wife. According to current teaching Paul should have said, "There’s no problem here. All God is seeing in our brother is the moral purity of Christ. He is saved by grace, not by works of righteousness he has done."

People, we have been deceived profoundly. The enemy is proving to be a personage of considerable skill in the war of righteousness.

Pretty strong statements! But how do they square up with Paul’s teaching in the early part of the Book of Romans? Paul, reacting against the Jews who were attempting to make the blood atonement of Christ a part of the Law of Moses, spoke eloquently of God’s willingness to ascribe righteousness to us when we have no righteousness of our own to bring before Him. We Gentiles make much of this assigning of righteousness to us—righteousness given through Christ while we yet are sinners.

If the new Jerusalem were full of sinning people whom God saw through Christ then the holy city would be no different from the churches of today. Is this what you truly desire? Do you look forward to going to such a place?

June 25th

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT, continued

Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. (Titus 2:14)

"A peculiar people, zealous of good works." "Good works"! Do good works have anything to do with the Christian salvation?

Are we saved to do good works? Does the New Testament teach this? Yes it does, unless the Book of Ephesians has been removed from the Scriptures.

"Oh, Brother Thompson, even if I never do good works God loves me and has saved me by grace!" I don’t think the Bible agrees with you.

If we will look closely at Romans, Chapters Three through Five, we will see that Paul was not showing us a way to go to Heaven without trying to do good, as one contemporary "translation" has it, but was seeking to convince the Jews they could receive righteousness by putting their faith in Jesus Christ apart from an observance of the Law of Moses.

But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: (Romans 3:21,22)

"The righteousness of God without the law," not the righteousness of God without righteous behavior! The Jews, having been instructed in moral behavior from infancy, would understand that receiving Christ did not signify they no longer would have to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. This would be inconceivable to anyone who had any knowledge of the Lord.

The issue was circumcision, the feast days, and even the Ten Commandments provided it was understood the Ten Commandments would be obeyed to a far more comprehensive extent under the new covenant than was possible under the old. We Gentiles, not approaching the new covenant from the Jewish perspective, have missed the point!

Releasing the Jew from the obligations of the Law of Moses is a far cry from the idea that once we accept Christ we no longer are required to live righteously. This would contradict much of what Paul wrote in the Epistles. Also it would defeat the purpose of God under the new covenant.

The reason God is so willing to receive us is that Christ Jesus, who kept the Law of Moses perfectly, died on our behalf, purchasing us with His own blood. The blood of God’s Lamb has made an atonement for us. We have been accepted in the Beloved.

God’s purpose in washing us in the blood of Christ and permitting us to enter the Holy of Holies in prayer is that we might now, having a heart and conscience free from all condemnation, receive the ability to live righteously. God has given us eternal life, the Holy Spirit, the body and blood of Jesus, perfect forgiveness, that we might learn to live righteously! It appears we Christians have misunderstood God almost completely. We have postulated a dispensation of grace (an unscriptural and destructive concept and term) to mean God no longer demands righteous, holy, obedient behavior. We are accepted of God (we say) on the basis of an unconditional amnesty, a legal state unrelated to our behavior. When we sin God sees only the righteousness of Christ. It appears it is not possible a more cunning device could have been invented by the enemy to destroy the purpose of God under the new covenant.

Does being saved by grace mean God is not really concerned about my behavior? When did God change His mind about creating man in His image?

June 26th

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT, continued

But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. (I Timothy 6:11,12)

It absolutely is true that as we set out on our discipleship the Holy Spirit does not deal with all of our sinful nature. Most of our worldliness, lust, and self-will is covered from God’s sight, else we would be under condemnation all the time.

But there always is a growing edge of righteousness the Spirit is dealing with concerning each individual. God always judges us at this point. Either we are abiding in Christ in the challenge under consideration, and bearing the fruit of righteousness, or we are not abiding in Christ, are not obeying the Spirit, are not growing in righteousness. When this is true we come under Divine judgment. We are beginning to draw back to destruction.

Think of your own life. Isn’t it true that God is dealing with you at the present time concerning some area of worldliness, bodily passion, or self-will? If He is not, may we be so bold as to say you are not a disciple?—you are not growing in Christ? You may have a head knowledge of salvation (so do the demons) but you are not experiencing it.

We are free from condemnation only as long as we are abiding in Christ, faithfully following the Spirit of God, gaining the victory through Christ over every sin the Spirit points out to us.

One can see from this what a grievous error the concept of a dispensation of grace actually is. The concept of the dispensation of grace presents a new kind of Divine dealing with man such that he relates to God on a theoretical plane having little reference to the reality of his personality. God views him in Christ apart from what he is. This is terribly, terribly incorrect!

There is no such thing as a dispensation of grace!

There indeed is a new covenant. The new covenant creates in a human being much, much greater righteousness, holiness, and obedience of personality than ever could be true of the Law of Moses. Under the new covenant God writes His laws in the heart and mind. Forgiveness serves to keep the believer without condemnation while the Divine commandments are being written in the heart and mind. To conceive of the grace of forgiveness as an alternative to the program of moral transformation into Christ’s image, a legal, mystical state existing only in the mind of God, rather than what it truly is, an actual, substantial re-creation of the personality, is the negating of all God has planned and hoped for in Christ.

The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. The Kingdom is not ascribed righteousness, ascribed peace, or ascribed joy, but actual righteousness, peace, and joy of the born-again human personality.

This is why Paul repeated that those who live according to their fleshly impulses cannot possibly inherit the Kingdom of God. Why not? Because there is no sin in the Kingdom of God. To enter the Kingdom of God is to cease from sin by the power of Christ. To enter eternal life is to cease from sin by the power of Christ. To be saved is to cease from sin by the power of Christ.

We begin the program of salvation with de jure (legal) righteousness but the Kingdom of God is in de facto (actual) righteousness.

June 27th

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT, continued

Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame. (I Corinthians 15:34)

We are not saved from sin by the power of Christ so we can go to Heaven but that we might have fellowship with the Father. Christ did not present Himself as the way to Heaven but as the way to the Father. Today we need to think more about going to the Father. The Christian salvation is being viewed as a means of man getting what man wants—now, and later in the spirit realm.

But the Bible is a record of how God is going to get what God wants, that is, children who obey Him, fear Him, love Him, obey Him strictly, and enjoy His holy Presence forever.

How does all of this sound to you?

When we begin to talk about the fact that our salvation is validated only by our becoming a new creation of righteousness you ought to hear the arguments thrown at us:

"We have to sin while we are in this world."

This must be in the Book of Hezekiah. It isn’t in the Bible. In fact the Bible says that sin shall not have dominion over us. Again, we are debtors not to the flesh to live after the flesh.

"Christ did it all so there is nothing we have to do."

If this is true, why are there hundreds of commandments to righteousness in the pages of the New Testament?

There are numerous commandments we are to obey, such as to let no corrupt communication proceed out of our mouth. If Christ did it all and there is nothing we are to do, why does the Bible command us to let no corrupt communication proceed out of our mouth but only that which builds up the hearers? Why does it command us to prefer one another? Why does it command us to work quietly with our own hands? Why does it command us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling? Why does it command us to present our body a living sacrifice?

Why are these hundreds of commandments in the Scriptures if we are not supposed to obey them? The Book of First John tells us if we are not keeping God’s commandments, and yet profess to know Him, we are a liar and the truth is not in us.

And then we hear:

"We don’t have to strive. He will do it in us."

Try flopping around like a jellyfish and see how far you get in the Kingdom!

It indeed is true that as Christ is formed in us we begin to show forth His Nature in our personality. But Christ will never be formed in us until we deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him. If we don’t do what we have been commanded, if we don’t awake to righteousness and quit sinning as Paul exhorts, Christ will never be formed in us.

I have seen some of the people who have been advised that Christ has done it all; or, they do not have to fight the good fight of faith because Christ will do it all in them. From all appearances it isn’t working!

"We are Pharisees and legalists if we attempt to keep the commandments of Christ and His Apostles."

I have heard this tactic employed by believers who want to go to the movies where there are films including scenes of moral filthiness, violence, and profanity. When we protest we should not do such things the reaction is "you are a legalist."

What is a legalist—someone trying to obey Christ and live a holy life? If this is the case you can call me a legalist all you want.

"But you aren’t perfect!" Tell me about it. But I’m keeping short accounts with God and I’m pressing on. Hallelujah!

To claim that Christ does it all for us is to depart from the explicit statements of the New Testament. There are numerous commandments and exhortations we are commanded to observe.

June 28th

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT, continued

He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (I John 2:4)

"You are trying to earn your way to Heaven."

First of all, we Christians need to go back to the Bible and discover that going to Heaven is not the goal of redemption. Heaven is the place of Paradise in the spirit realm, the location of God, Christ, and the saints and holy angels. If we are saved we will go there when we die.

But to go to Heaven is not the goal. The goal is the reward we receive in the day of resurrection. The Kingdom of God is coming to the earth when the Lord appears. Our place in the Kingdom will not be determined by grace or mercy but only by what we have sown during our lifetime on the earth.

If we have suffered with Christ, obeying Him faithfully, we will rule with Him.

If we have been careless we will suffer an incredible loss of inheritance. Listen to me! We will suffer an incredible loss of inheritance in that day and mercy and grace will have nothing to do with it. You ignore this warning at your peril!

Heaven has little to do with our goal. Heaven is a staging area for the army of the Lord that is to return with Jesus and drive sin from the creation.

Where will you be in that day?

It is ironic that the New Age-Hindu religions and philosophies have as a main goal the removal of the idea of sin and guilt. You can do whatever you like. You make the decision whether it is good or evil. The concept of "sin" is archaic and must be removed if man is to find fulfillment.

Isn’t it amazing that we Christians have come up with the same conclusion although arrived at in a different manner. It no longer matters whether we sin!

Whether determined from New Age beliefs or Christianity, the result is the same. People are relieved from fighting the good fight of faith, the true Christian fight, the determination to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

The eternal truth is, God will never receive anyone who is walking in darkness, except initially to forgive him and lift him back on the path so he can fight his way forward in God.

Today’s pastors and teachers are presenting a faith that has little connection with reality. They are saying we gain righteousness by believing certain things and making certain statements. They teach that if a person believes what the Bible says is true, righteousness will flow from the Divine Throne whether or not the person is living a godly life.

Added to this is the theory that belief in the lordship of Jesus brings to the worshiper a state of righteousness that produces all necessary moral and character transformation apart from any effort on the part of the believer. Jesus has overcome all enemies, and by placing our faith in Him we also have overcome all enemies. Our part is to rest in the finished work of Christ. No struggle, no effort on our part is required. Jesus has done it all. Anything we are to do the Lord will perform in us and through us.

(It must drive Jesus and the Apostle Paul crazy to hear the things being taught in their name!)

Salvation is not a change of location, it is a change of the individual. By viewing the Christian salvation as a change of location from earth to Heaven we are destroying the work of God in the earth. We are perverting the Divine plan of redemption.

June 29th

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT, continued

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)

It is a sovereign grace (they are saying), an unconditional salvation untouched by human effort. Many proceed further to claim that once this sovereign grace has been accepted it never can be changed or lost. It is from God alone and man’s actions can neither add to nor subtract from it. This concept does away with the "good fight" of faith. It is a demonic delusion designed by Satan to destroy the moral strength of the Church.

As we follow the Lord in the Christian warfare we learn how to lean on the Lord. We cannot gain victory by our own efforts to overcome sin. We soon will give up in despair if we do. It is "the sword of the Lord and of Gideon." We have to do the fighting but it is always the Lord Jesus who gives the necessary strength and wisdom. We learn to move with the Lord and rest with the Lord. He is the Overcomer with a capital "O." We are the overcomer with a small "o." We cannot fight the good fight of faith by ourselves and the Lord Jesus will not fight it for us.

To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Revelation 3:21)

"Him that overcometh . . . even as I also overcame."

The path to victory includes knowing how to rest in Jesus while we are gaining victory over Satan, over the spirit of the world, over our fleshly lusts, and over our own self-will and self-seeking. We gain total victory over these adversaries by the Spirit’s guidance and strength, as we pray, read, hope in, and trust in the Scriptures, as we confess our sins, as we resist the devil, as we gather together with fervent saints, as we minister to and are ministered to by the other members of the Body of Christ and by all the other means God has provided.

To employ trusting in Jesus as the only aspect of the victorious Christian life, not following the Spirit’s guidance in using the means God has provided for gaining release from the world, for conquering our fleshly lusts, for overcoming our self-centeredness, will lead to confusion, passivity, despair, and finally, spiritual destruction—a complete loss of inheritance.

The current teaching that Jesus did all the overcoming for us is a lie. This lie was designed to destroy the moral character of the Church. Satan knows that God cannot use an unrighteous Church to bring the Kingdom of God to the earth. Neither the Old Testament nor the New Testament Scriptures advocates a trust in God apart from the daily, active, diligent, intense, single-minded seeking of God’s will in every area of personality and behavior.

Ordinarily God does not move us to read the Scriptures. He helps us, and then speaks to us when we make the effort on a consistent basis. Ordinarily God does not move us to pray. He helps us and speaks to us when we make the effort on a consistent basis.

Ordinarily God does not move us to present our body a living sacrifice. He helps us when we make the effort day by day. Ordinarily God does not move us to give an offering. God blesses us when we give of our means on a consistent basis.

Ordinarily God does not move us to resist the devil. We resist the devil, according to the commandment in the Word, and then God strengthens us. Ordinarily God does not move us so we choose Him in times of trial. We make the choice and then God blesses us. God provides a way of escape for us so we may emerge unharmed.

We do not earn our salvation by works of righteousness. But we work out our salvation by keeping the commandments of Christ and His Apostles.

June 30th

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT, continued

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)

Christians who walk in the passions of the flesh shall not inherit the Kingdom of God. There is a multitude of commandments to righteous, holy living found in the New Testament writings along with many stern warnings concerning the consequences of not turning from our sinful ways. If we respond obediently to the exhortations and warnings God will deliver us from sin and rebellion and we will enter eternal life.

But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. (Romans 6:17,18)

"Obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you." The key is obedience.

But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. (Romans 6:22)

Everlasting life is the result of holiness. We become holy as we obey the teaching of the Apostles. It is of God that we address Jesus as Lord. It also is of God that we do what Jesus says. It is vain to call Jesus, Lord and then not do what He says.

Jesus will not obey the commandments for us, although He certainly stands ready to assist us as we come to Him for help. We must obey God in all that the Apostles have stated. When we obey the Word, God sets us free from sin. When we do not obey the Word we are not set free from sin. The result of slavery to sin is spiritual death. This is the meaning of the famous Romans 6:23, which is not addressed primarily to the unsaved!

The reason so many Christian believers have been deceived by the current errors is they no longer are "people of the Book." God’s people have turned away from reliance on the written Word and are following the various traditions and errors in the Christian churches of today. The worst of these errors is that we are saved unconditionally and shall go to Heaven no matter how we behave.

Some pastors have become psychologists in the attempt to relieve the pressures on people. There is a place for psychologists in the world as there is also for medical doctors. But it is the anointing of the Holy Spirit of God that finally breaks the chains of sin.

Perhaps the reader is weighing the two alternatives. Should I rest in Jesus and wait for Him to live the Christian life in me, or should I obey the numerous commandments in the Gospels and the Epistles, praying always to God to help me overcome the love of the world, the love of sin, and the love of my self-will?

Must I overcome or did Jesus do all the overcoming for me?

If you are making this choice now we suggest that you turn away from the soft, people-centered, ear-tickling "gospel" we are hearing in our day. Reread the New Testament and discover for yourself whether it teaches that Jesus will do it all for you and in you, or whether you must meditate continually in the written Word, being careful to do all that it commands.

True Christians are not only forgiven, they are being made perfect.