GETTING TO KNOW JESUS PERSONALLY
GETTING TO KNOW JESUS PERSONALLY(LEARNING DEPENDENCE UPON GOD)Copyright Š 2012 Robert B. Thompson. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
Man without God equals Destruction.
I believe the reason for the agony during the 6,000 years of man's history is due to man's neither knowing God nor depending on God for an understanding of how he should his life.
I am not talking about Christians or any other kind of religion. I am referring to man in general.
There are many factors that hinder people from knowing God and depending on Him to lead a satisfactory life. One of these factors is religion. Although the purpose of religion may be to bring man to God, religion appears in many instances to prevent people from knowing God and living according to His will. I realize this is a controversial statement but I believe it to be true.
I am combining two concepts in this brief essay because they are related: getting to know Jesus personally; and learning dependence upon God.
Knowing Jesus, and knowing the Christian religion, are two separate areas of knowledge. I hope some day members of the Muslim religion read what I am saying here. If you are a Muslim, or a Hindu, or a Buddhist, or some other religion, and you need help, ask Jesus for help. If you need healing, ask Jesus to heal you. He is alive, you know.
You may think I am trying to trick you into becoming a Christian. I assuredly am not. Jesus is the Son of God. He has made promises in the Bible to all people everywhere, not just to members of the Christian religion. If you don't believe me, ask Him for help. He is alive. See what happens.
I will be 87 years of age in two weeks, and presently am pastor of a Christian church. For more than 65 years I have been a fervent disciple of the Lord Jesus. Believe me, He is alive.
When the Lord died on the cross He made an atonement for all people, including you. If you confess to Him that you are a sinner and ask His forgiveness, He will forgive you.
If you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be protected from the Divine wrath that is to fall on mankind. Then you should be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
But you do not need to become a "Christian" or join a church. If you can find a Christian group to have fellowship with, that often is helpful. Sometimes fervent believers meet in homes. The advantage of this is the worshipers are not distracted with the trappings and needs of religion.
It means nothing to me if you do as I have said. I am writing this on behalf of my best friend, Jesus Christ. He wants to know you and you to know Him. That is what I want for you, not to join a church!
I am not against churches or the Christian religion, you understand, but they so often point to themselves and their activities instead of bringing people to know Jesus.
Three weeks ago our church had a youth camp. During the camp there were several chances for the young people to wait and hear what the Lord was saying to them at that time. They testified in church this morning---July 8, 2012. I never heard anything like it. They really heard from the Lord. I think many pastors would give anything to hear such testimonies from their young people.
You could have been there regardless of your religion, as long as you had a sincere heart and did not come to mock. I believe Jesus would have spoken to you.
I will show you the difference between religion and Jesus. Jesus went up on a mountain and brought Peter, James, and John with Him. Jesus began to glow with the Glory of the Kingdom of God. There appeared with Him, Moses and Elijah.
Now right here was the beginning of the Christian religion. Peter said: "Let's build three dwellings, one for Jesus, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."
The Bible says Peter did not know what he was saying. No truer words were ever written.
Would Peter put Jesus, Moses, and Elijah in boxes? For what purpose? So they would always be there so anyone could see them?
Such is the spirit of Christianity and of all religions. Let's get this thing standardized and predictable. Let's give it a name so no one else can have Jesus, Moses, and Elijah under their control. We will form a group and call it "The Churches of Christ, Moses, and Elijah."
Let's surround it with ecclesiastical raiments and special liturgies. Let's appoint Peter the head of the three houses. Let's make certain that if anyone is to know Jesus they have to come to us.
Such is the spirit of religion, and it is an abomination!
The romance of walking with Jesus leaves and the religion becomes a business. The product of the corporation is to persuade people to "accept Christ." Few attempts are made to follow up on that initial conversion, so the converts may or may not ever come to know the Lord. Those with abilities in business rise to positions of leadership. Is this what happened to the church in Ephesus?
Have you ever been to a church that pointed you toward a personal relationship with Christ rather than to the church itself and its activities? Neither have I.
Ironically, one of the great cathedrals of the world is Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome. Saint Peter's Basilica has been termed "the greatest of all churches of Christendom." So Peter got his wish after all.
But you won't find Jesus, or Moses, or Elijah, or even Peter, in Saint Peters in Rome or in any other church building on the earth.
However, the Most High does not live in houses made by men. As the prophet says: "Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things?" (Acts 7:48-50)
When we die and pass into the spirit world we will find there is no religion or houses of worship there. There only is Jesus!
The Lord Jesus did not bring a religion with Him or start a religion. People started the religion. Then Christianity became one of the numerous religions of the world, with its own practices and buildings. This put it in competition with all the other religions.
But Jesus disappeared in the process, as the Christian religion sought to gain followers and recognition. Christ Himself no longer was lifted up.
We hold up the Bible and our Statement of Faith as being the uniqueness that holds us together. The problem is, the sons of God are led by the Spirit of God, not by the Bible or a Statement of Faith.
Let me explain. The Bible is a generalized guide of our behavior. But we must, each one of us, hear from Jesus continually so we know what to do each day.
God gave Moses a detailed Law to guide Israel. At the same time God gave the High Priest the Urim and Thummim so the priest could give the Israelites answers to questions not covered by the Law of Moses.
Under the new covenant God has given us the born-again experience, the Holy Spirit, and gifts such as the spirit of prophecy, to guide us. He also has given us the New Testament so we can profit from the wisdom and experiences of Christ's Apostles.
We are not limited to the words of the New Testament for the knowledge of what to do. We can go to Jesus directly and get directions from Him, as well as from the gifts mentioned in the preceding paragraph.
However, if we are not to get sidetracked, we should read the Bible every day. It is easy to fall into error if we do not read the Bible continually and have some sort of fellowship with like-minded believers.
There is no reason why each person cannot be in contact with Jesus every moment of every day and night, so he or she might know what to do.
Paul told us to pray without ceasing. This does not means we are to stay on our knees twenty-four hours a day. It means to live in the Presence of Jesuscontinually speaking to Him and listening to Him, looking to Him for direction in all that we do.
In short, we need to know Christ!
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:10,11)
When we get to Heaven and talk with Jesus, we will not automatically come to know Christ in the sense that Paul was speaking.
After we become used to seeing Jesus in Heaven, we still will not know Christ in the sense Paul was speaking.
To know Christ we have to do what Paul was doing to the end of His life. We have to keep on forgetting all our foolish mistakes, our former way of life, and press on! Press on! Press on! Forgetting the past and pressing forward. Line upon line we come to know the Lord.
A great deal of time and effort is required if we are to know Christ. Christ is greater than a mere man. He is the eternal Word through whom the Father created the spirit and physical worlds and all their inhabitants.
One wonders if at the end of a million years of our time we will really know Christ. But we can start today, laying aside our idols, and pressing into Christ.
Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth. (Hosea 6:3)
I believe we are heading toward the greatest of all revivals, but it will be in the midst of great trouble. It is time today to "press on to acknowledge Him."
If we will choose to acknowledge Christ in all our ways in the present hour, we will survive the chaos that is coming to our country and be able to help others. But we will have to keep acknowledging Him and not lean to our own understanding.
It is time now for us to enter the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish feast of the Blowing of Trumpets. Jesus has risen from His sitting position at the right hand of the Father and is standing on Mount Zion with those who are called, faithful, and chosen. It is the beginning of the final conflict between good and evil; between God and Satan; between Christ and Antichrist; between the Holy Spirit and the False Prophet.
We will come to know Christ personally during this period if we look to Him in every aspect of our life. The past is over. The old ways of "doing church" no longer are vital and relevant. Religion is the head of man on the Body of Christ. For those who will follow Christ and obey Him, He will become our Head.
Of the many lessons I have learned from the Lord, the most important may be that of depending totally on the Lord. Man was given a will. However, he did not receive a will and a brain in order to live his own life apart from God but to learn how to walk with God.
From the beginning man attempted to act independently. The result, after some 6,000 of history, is hatred and suspicion among nations and every sort of human misery imaginable. The only person who would disagree with this is the individual who has not had enough trouble to see clearly what an environ of Hell the earth is.
But wait until his beautiful daughter is being eaten away by flesh-eating bacteria, or his handsome son is arrested for scalding in boiling water the baby of the woman he has chosen to live with. What would he think about the world then?
It is true that God laid the groundwork for wars by introducing many languages at Babel. But had He not done so, the world soon would have been infinitely worse than it is today in terms of moral corruption.
Although many of us may be living in relative peace and tranquillity at this time, others living on our planet are experiencing terror and tragedy.
Perhaps we do not spend much time thinking about the conditions of some of the people in Africa, the starvation, the continual torment at the hand of Muslims as they attack Christians, the diseases. Such people, and those in Syria at this time, might not consider the term "cauldron of evil" too strong a term.
There are people living in India and North Korea who are suffering from starvation. Their environment and living conditions are a far cry from the Garden in Eden.
The Americas and other Western nations, are still experiencing relatively decent living conditions---not those in poverty in some South American countries, of course. Many of us might feel that the earth is not such a valley of the shadow of death, to use the expression of King David.
However, the Spirit of God seems to be warning us in America that very difficult times are ahead for us, including much shedding of blood. I have felt this forewarning of disaster numerous times in the last three years. There appear to be those with prophetic gifts who agree with my sense of the future.
Because of this I have been urging the members of our congregation, and others with whom I communicate by electronic means, to learn to live as closely as possible to the Lord Jesus, making His Life our life. We are going to need this security in the future, I believe.
For about thirty years the Lord Jesus has telling me, I believe, that there is going to be an unprecedented outpouring of God's Spirit on us that will direct us to confess our sins and turn away from them. But that this revival will occur in the midst of trouble.
Lately I have had the thought that this revival of spiritual warfare and cleansing of God's people will segue into the worldwide testimony of the two witnesses. The two witnesses, of the eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation, will be, according to my understanding, the Lord Jesus Christ in His victorious saints bearing witness of the soon coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.
It may be noted that the revival termed "the two witnesses" is clothed in sackcloth. Sackcloth symbolizes repentance and humility. So the days of the garish, self-aggrandizing ministry is coming to a close.
In any case, it always is a good idea to press into the Lord each day of our life, just as did the Apostle Paul. When we do this we are abiding in the shadow of the Almighty and we can claim the promises of the Ninety-first Psalm.
Since it is the God of Heaven who, through His Word whom we now know as Jesus Christ, created all personages and things, spiritual and natural, we would expect our world to be a most wonderful scene of love, peace, and joy. It was like that in the beginning.
What has happened to turn our world into one of war, rape, murder, stealing, and other crimes? Why are some children troubled with obesity while others are starving to death?
Why is this, when the Creator of all is kind, gentle, and has a child's heart? It is because people are attempting live their lives apart from God's Presence and direction.
To understand what is wrong with the world, why it has become a cauldron of evil and is becoming more of a horror each day, it may be helpful to consider the first man and woman and their environment.
There was a man and a woman. There was an idyllic environment. There was no need to be concerned about food. Their occupation was to take care of the garden.
We may picture Heaven as one of golden streets and glorious mansions. But this concept is manmade. God's idea of Heaven is the Garden in Eden.
Best of all, the Lord Himself was present with them.
We may picture what it will be like when we die and go to Heaven. Tell me the truth. Would you rather find yourself living in a mansion on a golden street? Or would you rather return to Eden? Think about that!
The situation in Eden was worthy of our God. Everything that a person would want was there, if he or she were mentally, physically, and emotionally healthy.
In the midst of the garden were the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Eating from the Tree of Life produces bodily immortality as well as eternal life in the inner personality. That tree was and still is the Jesus Christ. It still is in the midst of Paradise. It still produces eternal life in the inner personality, and immortality in the Day of Resurrection for whoever learns to live by the body and blood of Christ.
God never changes what He sets out to do. His plan may be delayed for a bit while He works out some of the details.
The other tree, The Knowledge of Good and Evil, also is Jesus Christ. Eating from it causes one to increase in the knowledge of the eternal moral law of God, of which the Ten Commandments are a forerunner. We eat of that Tree today when we eat the flesh of Christ and drink His blood.
Moral direction must, in its most effective form, come from within us. So it does as Christ is formed in us. This is the new covenantthe writing of the eternal moral law of God in our mind and heart.
The situation in Eden was marvelous beyond words. It was what one would expect from the hand of God. The man and woman had no sin nature; for the sin nature is not the product of flesh and blood but of rebellious spirits who envied what they saw in Eden.
It is true that God created the two people in a shameful conditionnakedness. But they were ignorant of the fact that they were in a shameful state. Therefore they were ignorant of the shame and had no condemnation.
God warned them not to eat from The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and evil, because at this time God had not made clothing for them. There was no animal sacrifice to make atonement. There were no garments of righteous conduct to cover their nakedness, such as we of today have through Christ.
God understood that if they recognized their nakedness they would flee from Himwhich they promptly did. Separation from God is spiritual death, and so they died in accordance with the Word of God.
Isn't it tragic that when God was with them in the garden they did not ask Him about the serpent's suggestion? So it has been throughout history. People simply will not ask God for His wisdom before they do something.
One time when I was driving home after a preaching session in Lemon Grove, California, I was crossing a bridge. I remembered how a meteorologist had mentioned that the heavily developed land under the bridge I was crossing was a natural runway for the dammed-up water on the east to the Pacific Ocean on the west.
The meteorologist warned that should the dam break, because of an earthquake or some other disaster, all the stores, motels, and homes that had been built in the valley would be destroyed as the water rushed by on its way to the ocean.
As I was pondering this, the Lord Jesus spoke to me. Being a writer, I had been picturing the manuscripts and other important papers being tossed about in the flood of water. The Lord said: "I take no pleasure in destroying the work of people. If the builders had asked Me, I would have shown them how to prevent this inevitable catastrophe."
Such is the story of mankind. If people, beginning with Adam and Eve, had made a practice of asking God His opinion of their decisions, can you imagine what a world this would be? Asking God about everything that one thinks, says, and does will be a universal practice in the new world of righteousness that is coming.
I become disturbed when I see the various problems in the world of today. The political leaders do not call on the Lord for help, unless they are doing this in secret. Instead they tell us we all should pull together and somehow the noble spirit of man will overcome all these evils. This disgusts me, because I know their main concern is staying in office and they are trying to appease us.
How utterly foolish they are not to call on God themselves and urge the people for whom they are responsible to call on God. Even the ignorant people of Nineveh had sense enough to do that!
The Lord Jesus tells me that while the leaders fight it out, my loved ones and I will be taken care of throughout the coming world chaos because I am obeying Christ.
Adam and Eve had no experience in the paths of righteousness. They did not know right from wrong. Therefore it was impossible that the two children could maintain Paradise.
The purpose of the history of mankind, as sordid as it has been and still is, is to train members of a Royal Priesthood who can maintain Paradise once it has been given to us again.
It seems to be a principle of the Kingdom of God that we cannot accept what is freely given to us. We have to lose it, and then gain it back an inch at a time. Such is the story of mankind, of Adam and Eve, of Samson, and of all the rest of us.
The inevitable took place. The master of deception appeared in the garden and promised Eve she would be wise like God, knowing good from evil, if she would disobey the express command of God and partake of the tree.
Instead of asking God if they should do this, the two people obeyed Satan's suggestion. The result was the removal of the visible Presence of God and Paradise from the earth; several hundred years of backbreaking toil for Adam and Eve; and 6,000 years of agony for the inhabitants of the earth.
All of this because a man and a woman chose to act independently of God. Most people in the world throughout history have attempted to live independently of God. Most people today, including Christian people, still try to live independently of God. Perhaps we have inherited this tendency from Adam and Eve. It may be in our genes.
Unless I am mistaken, most Christian denominations go about their business independently of God. They pray and ask God to help them, sometimes. But they do not wait until they are certain they are doing what God wants. At least they do not say they are hearing from God!
It often is said that God helps those who help themselves. The truth is, God helps those who look to Him constantly and do what He says.
It may be true that most people do not know how to be led by the Spirit of God. This includes Christians. The Bible is our infallible guide; but it does not tell us God's will for the numerous decisions we make each day, other than to warn us concerning sinful behavior.
Should I buy a house? Should I sell my house? Should I take this job? Should I go to school? Should I get married? Should I remain single? What church should I go to? Should I trust this person? Should I go for a walk or stay home?
Most individuals in America are faced from time to time with these sorts of decisions.
Looking to the Lord Jesus for all we think, say, and so, might not seem to you as an agreeable way of living. But just think! Your mind is filled with thoughts of some kind. Why not direct them toward the Lord Jesus? There is profit in doing this. What profit is there in permitting your mind to ramble here and there, reviewing all your hopes and fears, when you could be communing with Christ?
In actuality the really important decision is, should I ask God to help me with this decision or should I try to work it out myself? Unless I am mistaken, few people look to God for their decisions.
But God wants us to go beyond this. He wants us to bring Christ into our life to where every thought, word, and action is being governed by the Lord Jesus. This must be the way Enoch walked with God. It is supposed to be the way every human being walks with God.
Every thought, word, and action is to be brought into subjection to Christ.
I realize such a life lived in Christ may be a new concept to many of us. To live by the Life of Christ is an art and it must be practiced at all times. Like any other discipline, practice makes perfect. We are not going to immediately make a success of living like this, but we can begin to work at it each day.
Obviously, one major question is, "How do I learn to hear from God so I know what He wants me to do?"
Right at this point a chance for error occurs. We cannot just say I will be an empty vessel, and wait for God to move me. He won't. This is passivity, and a classic deception.
Another point of caution is that of desiring someone or something fervently. This is why we are told to place our treasures in Heaven; to deny ourselves, take up our cross of deferred desire, and follow the Lord Jesus.
As long as there is someone or something we desire passionately, we cannot hear accurately from God. Neither can we prophesy accurately, if we are active in Pentecostal circles. We do not realize it, but the human personality is unbelievably complicated.
Sexual lust is a major player in this arena. When sexual lust is strong in us, it will lead us into all kinds of romantic fantasies that we have no idea are related to our lust. We will not hear the Lord accurately while we have passionate, fervent desires. We have to get rid of these by asking Jesus to remove them.
When we have overcome our idols, and that is what passionate, fervent desires are, we then are prepared to turn over our life to Christ.
The Bible advises us to acknowledge the Lord in all our ways and He will direct our paths, making them straight before us. This does not mean He necessarily will speak to us, although sometimes He does. Rather He guides our paths.
God guides our paths in different ways, according to our personality, I suppose. To some people God speaks words. Other believers have cues they go by. Some have to continue in blind faith, believing that God is guiding them. And He will guide them, as long as they acknowledge Him, because the written Word of God cannot be broken.
The main consideration is to acknowledge God in all our ways. In all our ways!
We must keep on looking to Jesus, talking to Jesus, asking Jesus for help, thanking Jesus when we receive help. If this is new to you, begin to practice talking to the Lord. Pretty soon it will become second nature. You will be bringing Jesus into every single aspect of your life. This is how God desires that every person live.
Today it may be that only the members of the Royal Priesthood will make the effort to pray in this manner without ceasing. In the new world of righteousness, every person, young and old, will be looking to Jesus for all things. "In all thy ways acknowledge Him!"
Such a manner of living may seem abnormal. It is not, it is normal. A life lived without the immediate Presence of Jesus is subnormal and filled with many unnecessary pains and problems because we did not bring "everything to God in prayer."
The Apostle Paul urges us to present our body as a living sacrifice that we might prove God's will for ourselves. In context, Paul was speaking of our using the gifts and ministries that God has given us. But in any case our proper orientation to life is that of reckoning our first personality dead on the cross with the Lord Jesus, and our new developing personality alive with the resurrected Jesus.
When we stop and think about it, the Bible is a book about God speaking to people. This is true both of the Old Testament and the New Testament. From the time of Adam and Eve, the Bible does not primarily describe people who obeyed the Law of Moses or the New Testament, but people who heard from God.
I believe in the full inspiration of the Received Text. I have become persuaded that every word of the Bible is of God. Because of my belief in the Bible, I have come to the conclusion that we need to interact with Christ, not with religious practices and Statements of Faith.
Religion can be helpful if it brings us to Jesus Christ. However, if religion points toward itself and its liturgies and activities, it can lead people away from a personal interaction with the Lord Jesus.
The Lord spoke to Noah, complimented Noah on being righteous, and then directed him to build a ship.
God spoke to Abraham on several instances. On one occasion, Abraham acted independently of God. Apparently Abraham did not ask the Lord about taking Hagar as his wife. The result was Ishmael, the wild man.
Lot's two daughters did not ask the Lord about having children by their father. The result was Moab and Ammon, who were thorns in the sides of God's people.
The Lord spoke to Rebekah concerning the birth of Esau and Jacob.
Isaac did not ask the Lord when Jacob came to him pretending to be Esau, and thus Isaac was deceived. Although Isaac was able to bless Jacob in the spirit of prophecy, Isaac did not look to the Lord and so he was tricked.
God spoke clearly to Moses and directed him as he led the tribes of Israel. On one occasion Moses acted independently of God. This cost Moses the opportunity to set foot in Canaan.
God gave the Israelites the Urim and the Thummim, even though they had the Law, so they would know what to do in specific instances.
Sometime people are heard to say, "We have the Bible, so we do not have to hear from God personally." It appears at times that religion is determined that people should pay attention to the ordinances and practices of the religion and not attempt to go to God directly.
When the Law of Moses was given, God gave also the Urim and Thummim. This was a device set in the breastplate of the High Priest. How it worked I do not know, or what it looked like. The High Priest could use it to give people answers to specific problems.
He placed the breastpiece on him and put the Urim and Thummim in the breastpiece. (Leviticus 8:8)
He is to stand before Eleazar the priest, who will obtain decisions for him by inquiring of the Urim before the Lord. At his command he and the entire community of the Israelites will go out, and at his command they will come in. (Numbers 27:21)
So we see that God provided the written ordinances for guidance. But these are not enough. There were times when the Israelites needed specific answer from the Lord.
It is the same today. We have general guidance in the Bible. But there are times when we have to hear directly from the Lord Jesus about specific issues.
God spoke clearly to David. Yet David acted independently of God in the matter of Bathsheba.
David obeyed God's word to him in waiting for the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees. Later he was saved from discouragement by asking God about the Amalekites.
Absalom acted independently of God and was left hanging between heaven and earth.
We remember the leprosy that came upon King Uzziah when, independently of God, he offered incensethe role given only to God's priests.
King Josiah, although he performed many righteous works, did not ask God about attacking Pharaoh Neco. He was killed because of his presumption.
God spoke to all the Prophets, while Israel kept on sinning and repenting until they finally were carried away captive and their temple destroyed.
God spoke to the mother and father of John the Baptist concerning the ministry their son would have.
God spoke to Mary concerning Christ.
There are accounts in the Book of Acts of God personally directing the Apostles.
God, through the Person of Christ, taught the people of Israel.
On several instances, Jesus proclaimed that it was not He who was teaching and doing the works but the Father who lives in Him.
The Lord Jesus is our example in this. Jesus thought, spoke, and did what the Father was thinking, speaking, and doing. This is the way we are to live. We are to think, speak, and do only what Christ is doing.
Remember my warning: We are not to attempt to be an "empty vessel." Such an attitude will lead to demonic delusion. The Bible says, "In all your ways." We walk in our ways but at the same time we to acknowledge God in all our ways.
It might be pleasant to think of Christ doing everything. He does not and will not do everything by Himself. It is "the sword of the Lord and of Gideon." If Gideon does not fight, the Lord will not fight. It is as simple as that.
As I said, learning to live by the Life of Jesus is an art; and it takes a lot of practice before we are skillful at it. There is much room for error. Keep in mind that Satan can counterfeit the voice of the Spirit of God so that it is difficult to tell the difference. When we hear something new and exciting we have to pray and wait; pray and wait; pray and wait before we make a decision about it.
On occasion we are forced to make a decision because of circumstances. Then we are to pray and take a small step in the direction we think God may be leading. Then we watch to see the fruit.
Then, if the fruit is peaceable, we take another small step in the way we think God is leading and watch the fruit. It also is advisable to pray earnestly that God will close and open doors to help us make the right decision.
Sometimes all the camels are watered, so to speak. But the last camel proves difficult. On occasion that is the Lord closing a door. We have to watch for that.
It is possible to become so cautious that we find ourselves wavering between two or more directions. Then we may want to take a small step and watch the fruit, meanwhile looking to the Lord to close and open doors.
However, if we are afraid to do anything, we may become passive or double-minded. The Lord cannot work with us if we are double-minded.
We may start out to sail east. But as we pray we may discover that the Lord wants us to go west. But if we do not sail at all, how can God steer us?
As I said, learning to follow the Lord is an art, and there are many pitfalls. But if we are strong, courageous, and prayerful, and not deluded by some passionate desire, we will make a success of being led by the Spirit of God.
What I have been teaching to this point is the "rest of God," mentioned in the fourth chapter of the Book of Hebrews. From the beginning of the world, God determined what our role and tasks in the Kingdom are to be. Then He rested. Our responsibility is to live so that we always are in the center of God's Person and will. Then we will grasp the role and tasks for which God has grasped us from the beginning.
The difference between the Law of Moses and the new covenant is that the new covenant is written in our mind and heart rather than on granite slabs.
In practice this means that rather than only trying to follow what is written, we look to Jesus at all times. Meanwhile the Bible warns us what behavior is sin, and that if we persist in yielding to our sinful nature we will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
So the Bible is our infallible guide when it comes to what is righteous behavior and what is unrighteous behavior.
Our goal is to learn to interact with the living Jesus and to live by His Life.
I have a hunger to be closer to the Lord. The various Christian denominations engage in activities whose objective is to get more people "saved." But there does not seem to be an equal emphasis on getting the newly saved person to come to know Christ and depend on Christ for all of life's activities.
I wonder what we mean by "getting people saved!" Do we mean bringing more spiritual babies into our churches?
What if being "saved" means to be delivered from yielding to our sinful nature and our self-will? What if being saved means to walk with God as did Enoch? If it doesn't why is Enoch held up to us as an example of faith?
What if being saved means to act like all those held up to us in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews as examples of what "the righteous shall live by faith" actually means?
If that is the case, then perhaps more emphasis should be placed in our missionary efforts on learning to live in daily dependence on God. Do you think that could be the case?
What if the whole duty of man is to learn to lean utterly on the Lord Jesus, to come out of the wilderness of the world leaning on our beloved? To do this we have to kind of lose our own life. Isn't that so?
Is God's plan for us that we be happy and prosperous, or is it to know God to the extent that at every moment we are aware of His will for us and His Presence with us?
The Israelites did not die when they received, through Moses, the knowledge of good and evil. God had provided sacrifices that atoned for their sins so they could continue their fellowship with God.
We Christians do not die when the Spirit of God shows us our sins, because of the blood atonement made on the cross of Calvary. Rather we confess and renounce our sins and press forward in Christ.
I am of the opinion that every person who is saved to the new world of righteousness, the new sky and earth reign of the Lord Jesus, will be able to drink of the water of eternal life and thus have the Holy Spirit in him. I think it will be natural for him to be aware of the will of God and the Presence of God at all times.
The members of the Royal Priesthood, that is, the people who make up the new Jerusalem, will help the citizens of the new earth to walk successfully with God. At that time no disobedience to God will be permitted on the earth. God's saints will make certain of that.
To say, and mean, in every circumstance, not my will but Yours be done, indicates we are entering the rest of God; we are learning to never act independently of God.
You know, those who are called of God were created to be the dwelling place, the throne, of God and the Lamb. As such it absolutely is unthinkable that we ever should act independently of God.
We know what happened to the two sons of Aaron when they drank wine and presumptuously offered unauthorized fire before the Lord. They died, even though they had been among the elders who were called up to the mountain to see the God of Israel.
No matter how greatly we are used of God, we never are to act arrogantly as did Moses, and Nadab and Abihu. We are not to become "familiar" with Christ, except as He invites us. He is a great King, and we never are to act independently of Him no matter what role we may be called upon to play in the Kingdom of God.
Think about this: Every book of the Bible came from the Spirit of God. No part of the Bible is the product of human wisdom and intelligence.
Remember, God will communicate with each one of us if we will cease from our self-will and self love.
In our time, people are attempting to be independent of God by accumulating money. They suppose that if they can grasp enough money they will be protected from every misfortune. The truth is, unless God protects them, the population of demons that surround us today will make certain they have trouble enough. The demons delight in afflicting people.
If I am not mistaken, most people in the world, including Christians, act independently of God. It is appalling to see our government leaders, state and national, make decisions without prayer, or so it seems.
This has not always been the case in our country. Whether or not they were sincere, the leaders have exhorted us to pray about important issues.
I do not write much or care much about Antichrist. The Lord Jesus is the one I worship, not Antichrist.
However, I really am dismayed at the course our country is pursuing. It seems that people in positions of responsibility are striving to insure that no one, at least publicly, mentions God, Jesus, or the Bible. Perhaps this means that the antichrist spirit is increasing in America. Antichrist is characterized by a love of money and a hatred of the Lord Jesus.
America and Europe are having financial difficulties. Both England and America are being overrun with a religion that is foreign to us. When people are called on to pray in a public place, they are cautioned not to use the name of Jesus lest they offend someone. Can you imagine this taking place in America?
I am not going to fret about it. But God has enabled me to see, I think, that the world is attempting to better itself without the advice of God. It is not just our country that has a problem, it is the whole world.
I know after many years of experience that there is only one God, and the Lord Jesus is His Son and Representative. Those who wish to survive the dark moral swamp of nakedness and sexual perversions in which we are entering, if they are wise will call on Jesus for help. He will help anyone of any religion whatever. But apart from Jesus, there can be no help. God has made Jesus our Lord and Savior, and there is none other.
This I have learned in my lifetime. As one of God's watchmen on the wall, I am declaring that the enemy is approaching us. If we would save ourselves and our loved ones, we need to call on the Lord Jesus for help before the swamp of sexual lust goes over our head.
Money will not save us in the day that is approaching us in America.