Sunday, July 31, 2011

NO MORE SILENCE. YOU ARE CALLED TO DECLARE GOD'S WORD.

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

I'm impressed by the Spirit to write something to all of us.  Scripture is full of instances where evil triumphed because God's people were silent.  In this age, the noise of paganism is deafening.  The babble from religious apostates is everywhere.  The "traffic noise" on the Broadway of destruction is so loud that a man can hardly hear himself think.  The hum and clank of the world's kingdom machinery is bouncing off every wall.  The prince of darkness, the prince of the power of the air, is conducting a symphony of discord and wicked acts among his enslaved billions with a renewed energy that comes from his fear of God and our Christ.

Satan is reeling with the knowledge that a few determined disciples can turn the world upside down by the simple power of Christ within them, as they follow in the footsteps of their Lord, who came to destroy the works of the devil, and calls His few chosen to do the same.  Satan knows that a few men and women who obey Christ, and give out His Word, and cling to Him alone--though they have no earthly station or standing, and no worldly platform from which to speak--are his worst enemies, and can cause more damage to his plans than an army of religious warriors.

This Word to me today is like a massive bomb detonating in my soul.  How can I express all that God wants to say to us.  It's past my ability.

Speak out.  No longer are you to remain silent, brothers and sisters.  You are Christ's alone, and your life is in Him, and with Him, and His Kingdom suffers through your restraint.  You feel unworthy, your feel insignificant.  All around us are men and women fabricating their big ministries, their large organizations, their churches that have reached mammoth proportions.  Every day our souls are vexed with the lukewarm, easy gospel of "fleshianity" and "churchianity" we witness.  Every day we cry out to the Lord God to declare His Word to the world, and to the apostate churches.

Yet God calls us to speak.  No matter your ability, your language, your culture, your situation in life.  We are Christ's alone, and He is in us to the pulling down of mighty strongholds of the enemy.  It has nothing to do with our power, or the strength of our arms, or the speed of our legs.  It is all Him, and He will prevail, as His Word goes out from His own few chosen ones, as it did with 12 faithful men in the beginning.

Do you have a voice?  Did He not give you a mind, and a heart after Christ?  Does He require you to be perfect?  Just look through Hebrews 11 and try to find a perfect man or woman in there.  These are the examples He gives us.  So that we can be bold, and fearless, trusting only in Christ in this evil day.

You are part of His Body, no matter where you are, and what you are.  You are those He has chosen to be "the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way." (Eph. 1:23)

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."  (Eph. 2:10)

These good works include speaking out every day in Christ, being His mouth as well as His hands and feet.  Right now there is an epidemic of Christians who are trying to do the "religious things" by splattering their own creativity out there--wanting to be in the arts and music, to compose and record, or paint, or write poetry and lyrics, or design churches, or build big things for God.  Yet He calls us to the simple life, and to give up all our own passions for the Word of God and for Christ's work in this world.

We must speak out.  You must let God loosen your tongue, to speak only His Word, and to share His Word with others.  If you can write, then write, and if you can speak then speak.  Speak out and write out to the extent of your faith.  Pray for more faith, so that we may all experience the power of God's Word, going out among us to accomplish His purposes.

Many are babbling.  But few are speaking the simple truths of God's Word.  Many are writing, but few are writing only what the Word tells us.  Many are singing, but few sing only what is truth from the Word.

Let go of your own talent, let go of your own desires for accomplishment, and just give out the pure meat of the Word in any way you can.

Speak out, brothers and sisters.  God wills it.  God is commanding us.  Do not let the world and its charms, or the world and its dangers, nor the churches and their pressure to conform, stop you from hearing and speaking the pure Word of Christ.

Love in Christ to all who faithfully cling to His Word,
A. Brother

Saturday, July 30, 2011

EXCHANGING PASSION: THE WORLD, RELIGION, OR CHRIST?

BEFORE CHRIST, WE WERE PASSIONATE ABOUT MANY THINGS.  Passion is another way to say "devotion".  It means, we were focused-on, devoted to, spent our time and money and energy on.  One of my brothers in Christ brought up, in another blog, the fact that it's hard to know how to direct our passions after coming to Christ, because, like David, we will be ridiculed if we express our true love for Christ in front of others.  (Remember when David danced before the Lord in a worship procession?  He embarrassed his wife, and all his friends with his sincerely joyful expression of His love for God).

Here's what I wrote back to his interesting and important point.

"Amen, guys.  And let's face it about passion.  Before Christ, we have plenty of passion, for ourselves and our wicked ways, right?  Whatever we want, we go after.  It's ok in the world to be passionate to the point of idiocy over sports, sex, rock and roll, TV, drugs, booze, travel, books, education, business and anything else that gets you hooked.  But when we come to Christ, we're supposed to match the current definition of "spiritual" in our churches.  At least in most of our affluent, modern churches in America.

We just exchange one conforming devotion for another.  Example:  Before, you were devoted to some ear-burning band from the world.  Now, you are a Christian so you go for some acceptable ear-burning band in the acceptable "Christian music scene."  Example:   Before, you were passionate about your favorite R-rated (maybe X) movies.  Now you dig around to find some "Christian movies" with good values you can be talking about.  Example:  Before, you were devoted to hitting the bars, now you are devoted to hitting the church for the latest "video/music worship" thing.  We've tried in the churches to offer people alternatives to the latest, greatest, worldly stuff.  After all, don't we have to have these Christian-focused diversions to keep our people off the other stuff?

Well, how about, NO.  Our new passion is Christ.  Our new passion is His Word.  Our new passion is to know Him, His death, His resurrection, His will.  His life is in us, our life here is lost so we can find ourselves in Him.  We now have passion for the people of God, and building up the Body of Christ, and living only for the Kingdom of God and His Son Jesus Christ.  

Passion redirected should be redirected toward this seeking Christ.  We should be, like Paul, turning from status and wealth (Roman citizenship and standing and family money) to embracing this Christ-life of denial and self-sacrifice.  Like Paul, maybe we must abandon religion, even religious Christianity (like his Jewish zeal) and embrace this simple, non-religious life of faith and love in Christ.  No standing in the world, no wealth pursued, no religious traditions bought into.  All is Christ, and Christ in us.  WOW.

Brother, thanks for bringing up the passion thing.  It opened my eyes today.  Blessings in Christ to you guys."

Do any of you see this in your churches in other countries?  Do those of you who live in Africa, or Asia, or Europe, or Australasia, or South America, or elsewhere in Central America and North America see this
attempt to just replace worldly passions with "acceptable Christian passions"?

Please comment!

A. Brother

Thursday, July 28, 2011

LEAVING THE CULT OF SELF-FOCUS

THE CULT OF SELF
A. Brother

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us,
that we should be called the children of God!
And that is what we are!
The reason the world did not know us
is that it did not know Him.”
--1 John 3:1

          When we look around at our cultures and our churches, we see a self-focus that has become so pervasive it has twisted even many of the faithful into mere shadows of what God intends us to be.  This self-focus is a worldly focus, and turns our light into darkness, our good deeds into nothing. 

          Scripture teaches that our “self”—this unique, God-created person—is prone to sin, subject to decay, and that we must deny our “selves” in order to enter the Kingdom of God. (Mark 8:34)  Christ in us completes us.  When Christ inhabits us by His Spirit, He helps us let go of the old man, and behold, all things become new in Him. (2 Cor. 5:17)  This new man is not full of self, but full of Christ, and led and empowered by the Spirit of Christ within. (Col. 3:3)

          We are dead, and our lives are now with Christ, in Christ, and His life is in us, in this new man, created by God, reborn into freshness, and able to live the Christ-life by His power, and to His glory.  Living the successful Christ-life has everything to do with dying to self, and depends upon that death of self for its beginnings.

          However, many of us have been taught a self-focused gospel, which has come out of the churches in recent generations, especially in America.  This self-focus is really like a cult.  Its adherents are adamant about their personal rights to a good life, their political rights to freedom, their entitlements to receive the blessings of God because they claim the Name of Christ. 

          This gospel is not the true gospel of Christ, or it would teach what Jesus taught.

          Jesus taught self-denial.  Jesus taught us to be other-focused.  Jesus showed us how, with His life of self-sacrifice for our sakes.  So how could we have been led astray by this Cult of Self?  How could we follow teachings that fly in the face of all that our Lord Jesus exemplified?  I don’t have the answer to that question, but we’ve done it. 

          Think about Satan’s temptations of the Lord Jesus when He was out in the desert, practicing what He was soon going to preach by denying Himself food for forty days, and spending all His time with His Father preparing for ministry.  What did Satan tempt our Lord with?  Self-gratification, self-glorification, and self-focus.  (Matt. 4:1-11)  It was all about Jesus’ inner self, His manhood, His personhood, His pride, His need for attention, even His placement in the world.  Satan tests us in the same ways, and many of us are failing the test, because we have been unprepared.

          In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus left His disciples while He went to pray in agony about the death He was going to die the next day.  How did He admonish them in that moment?  “Watch and pray that you will not fall into temptation.  The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”  (Matt. 26:41)  Yes, it is our flesh that is weak, and we not only experience these temptations to self-focus that Jesus did, but because we have been taught this self-focused gospel, we have often fallen to them. 

          Brothers, I admonish us, and I pray for us, that we would give up our membership in this Cult of Self.  There are many of those who claim Christ whose entire life is centered around themselves, their families, their churches, their jobs, their possessions, their activities and hobbies, their time, their efforts.  It’s all about us.  It’s all about me.  It’s all about my fulfillment as a person.  Our entire society is geared to this self-focus, and we’ve bought into it.

          We even preach Christ as if He’s the self-help guru, ready to bring us to self-fulfillment by following Him! 

          What a lie!  He’s going to bring us to self-death, so that in our new, God-wrought personhood, Christ is all, and we are nothing except His Sons and His Daughters.  As John cries out in joy, we are children of God now, and what a privilege!  Though the world hates us, we are His and His alone, and find our fulfillment in that fact. 

          How dare we preach a gospel that is other than that handed down to us in Scripture!    When Christ comes back, will He find faith on earth? 

          Those who seek Him will find Him, and when He returns, they will find their lives as promised, for eternity.

“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but
whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”
--Matt. 16:25

Sunday, July 24, 2011

THE KEYS TO THE KINGDOM ARE HUNG ON PEGS IN DUSTY STORAGE ROOMS.

EAGER TO DO WHAT IS GOOD
A. Brother

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.
It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions,
and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives
in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—
the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ—
who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness
and to purify for Himself a People that are His very own,
eager to do what is good.
These, then, are the things you should teach.
Encourage and rebuke with all authority.
Do not let anyone despise (ignore) you.
Titus 2:11-15

It’s probably unnecessary for me to point out how far our modern, affluent churches are from teaching, encouraging and rebuking on the issues of self-control, righteousness, and godly living. 

This little book is God’s sledgehammer, largely ignored in our day and age.

What does Paul say to Titus over and over in this short letter?  He says that true faith and knowledge of Christ will lead to godliness.  This godliness will show itself in goodness, and such traits as self control, righteousness, holiness and discipline.  That true faith and knowledge of Christ will result in us being “eager to do what is good.”  That true faith and knowledge of Christ will result in His having a People who have forsaken wickedness and purified themselves to live lives of good works.

These keys to the Kingdom of God are lost among us.  They are shuffled to back rooms for quiet Bible studies led by the overzealous.  These old keys are hung on pegs in hidden storage rooms, dust-filled lockers, and attics that smell musty.  

After all, we’re modern, affluent Christians, who have so many important things going on.  We’re too busy building our own version of church, our own version of religious Christianity, our own marketing plan for God’s Kingdom, to pay attention to the original document He wrote that laid out the “forever branding plan and positioning statement” for His People.

Make no mistake, my brothers and sisters, it is this document that will judge us.  It is the Rock, Christ Himself, upon which we will be smashed, if we don’t run to the back rooms, the dusty, musty, hidden places, and grab these keys to God’s Kingdom.

The churches are asleep.  They are sleepwalking into deathtraps.  These traps have been set by Satan in every generation, and the blind lead the blind down wide roads, tapping their canes together on the pavement, until they both fall into the ditch prepared by the enemy.

The churches let us snooze because they know that if they began preaching and teaching these “old fashioned virtues”, and requiring them to continue on with Christ’s Body and be part of it, that their membership would en-masse immediately move down the road to that other church that isn’t requiring it.  That if you started talking about self-control, you’d lose nearly everyone under forty, and most of those who are older, too. 

Right now you’re saying to yourself: “Self-control in an age of evil self-indulgence and self-focus?  You’ve got to be kidding.  Upright and godly living in an age of complete hedonism and narcissism?  You’re crazy.  We need to be careful how we share these things with our people, because they’re pretty sensitive to guilt and the law.  They’ll push back on this.  They’ll not understand it.  We need to let them slowly get used to the fact that God requires holiness in Christ, and God in Christ has called us to live this Way.”

Pastors, teachers, priests, reverends, ministers, leaders, elders, deacons, and all others who are in positions of authority in the churches must listen to this.

You are responsible, as Titus was, to focus God’s People on these matters.  We live in an age of wickedness that pervades the churches and fills our sanctuaries up to the pulpits and beyond.  We are drowning in sin, and excusing it, ignoring it, and letting it take God’s beloved ones to their deaths in the ditches. 

Where is the flaming Sword of the Holy Spirit that is wielded with authority and power to take down the strongholds of Satan in your churches?  Where is the Truth of the Word, spoken with the authority of Christ, and in the power of His might?  Where is the sledgehammer, which breaks down Satan’s work, which frees the captives, and breaks the chains from the slaves to sin that are held in your care?

And, brothers and sisters, for those of us who don’t hold “recognized positions” in the churches, we, too, are responsible for holding fast to the Word of God, and sharing His full mind with those we know.  How about our children?  How about our spouses?  How about ourselves first?  Are we focusing on living godly, upright, holy lives?  Or are we just getting by, hoping that Christ is a pretty forgiving guy?

Hopefully, we will not be lumped in with the Cretans, whom Paul described this way:

“They claim to know God,
but by their actions they deny Him.
They are detestable, disobedient, and
unfit for doing anything good.”
Titus 1:16

Particularly, this Word in Titus is given to those who have responsibility to lead the People.  And so, I command you in the Name of Jesus Christ to lead us into holiness, and self-control, upright living and purity.  Lead the Way by showing us how it’s done, or get out of the pulpit until you know, and can live this Way yourself.  This is God’s command for those in authority within His House.  No compromises. 

Leader, do you have the courage to search in the old attic for the keys to the Kingdom of God, dust them off, and preach and teach them to yourself, your family, your group of the People of God whom He has assigned you?  Like Titus, will you faithfully “straighten out what was left unfinished” (1:5) and powerfully call His own to repentance and a faith that leads to holiness and purity?  Indeed, will you forsake your own sins, carefully hidden, to follow this call He gave you?

Brothers without position, will you hold your leaders accountable today to live, preach and teach the Way as laid out in the Word?  If we don’t, who will? 



Saturday, July 23, 2011

MONEYCHANGERS IN THE TEMPLE. PASTORS, TEACHERS, PRIESTS AND PROPHETS.

 HIRED HANDS
A. Brother

“Her leaders judge for a bribe,
her priests teach for a price,
and her prophets tell fortunes for money. 
Yet they lean upon the Lord
and say, ‘Is not the Lord among us? 
No disaster will come upon us.’” 
Micah 3:11

            There has come upon us a sin and crime so heinous that it brings its stench to the nostrils of God, and He cannot and will not ignore it any longer.
          Those who call themselves leaders, pastors, teachers, priests and prophets among the people of God have sold themselves for money.  They have become the moneychangers that Jesus threw out of the temple early in His ministry.  They have become distorted mouthpieces of peace, when there is such pervasive sin among those who call themselves Christians that the wrath of God is about to be revealed.
          For salaries and bonuses and the provision of nice homes, cars, utilities and expense accounts, these so-called men of God who preside over the churches and organizations that claim Christ administer pleasing and comforting balms to the people.  These purveyors of quick cures, these snake-oil salesmen, have brought the sheep into wrong pastures, promising them what God doesn’t promise.  They speak not with the voice of God, but with the banker’s voice, the investor’s voice, the voice of the public relations expert.
          Like corporate executives, these men treat the Body of Christ as if it is a man-made organization, subject to the basic rules and regulations of business.  These charlatans pretend to rely upon God, to lean upon Him, yet don’t rely for one minute upon the Spirit’s power, nor upon the true Word of God.  Instead, they craft sermons for money, and devotionals for gifts.
          They call the tithes into the storehouse to spend them on their own pleasures, and the pleasures of the people they claim to serve.  These tithes are then turned into excuses to ignore the needy, to cast away the hard things in the Word of God that don’t fit this concept of entitlement which the people of God have bought into.
          These leaders publish for profit, and preach for gain.  They cater to the rich and powerful, who pay the most into the coffers, and therefore sit on Boards, and are Deacons, Trustees and Elders.

“As for the prophets who lead my people astray,
if one feeds them, they proclaim ‘peace’;
if he does not they prepare to wage war against him.” 
Micah 3:5

            These leaders listen to the successful, pander to the payers, and proclaim peace when there is no peace.  They endorse the sinner, and attack and wage war against those who refuse to feed them.  They ignore the sick and the weak, the helpless and the poverty-stricken, the lonely and afflicted.  They call the fat flock around them, administering food that makes them fatter and more complacent.  Their sheep have itching ears, and the paid leaders scratch and scratch and scratch comfortingly, bringing desired relief to these diseased sheep. 
          The itching among the flock is a sign of terrible sin, and the cure is the uncompromised Word of God, yet the leaders and teachers today avoid talking of repentance and the wages of this sin so that the fat sheep will continue to eat in their pastures and buy their books, and attend their seminars.  Each devises new and clever packaging for their delicate insights into the truth, which in turn have the sheep running to eat these fattening desserts that have no nutritional value, while ignoring the rich grass of the Word of God that is laid out at their feet and is available to them without cost.  The paid publishers and editors find better ways to present these culinary feasts, while the sheep become fatter and fatter, barely able to waddle across the pasture, and the wolves sharpen their teeth for the coming day of slaughter.
          These ravenous wolves wait just beyond the wall, laughing.  They watch the pitiful display knowing that the flock is ripe for the kill.  They wait the day of misery, the floods, the tornado, the hurricane, the earthquake, the fire.  For these fat sheep will be scattered before the coming trials and tribulations, their leaders will disappear as the money to pay them dries up, and the flock will be helpless before the enemy, without paid leadership to hand-feed them their food.
          Then the wolves will strike in a rush over the puny, man-built barricades, and tear the flesh from the sheep, who will scatter and run in panic, seeking in vain for the hired men.
         
          Listen to Jesus as He proclaims this coming day:

“The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. 
So when he sees the wolf coming,
he abandons the sheep and runs away. 
Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 
The man runs away because he is a hired hand
and cares nothing for the sheep.” 
John 10:12,13

            The One Flock, who know the voice of their One Shepherd, will not be scattered on that day and lost.  They will find their place, because their Shepherd, Jesus, will never let them be snatched out of His hand.  He lays down His life for the sheep, and does not run away in affliction, or in the times of trouble.  He is the One who appoints the true leaders of His flock, those who do not speak the Word of God for personal profit or prestige or position.   His under-shepherds lead out of love for the flock, laying down their lives as the Chief Shepherd does, feeding them the riches of the Word, building them up into a flock that is ready for anything because they have been trained and toughened, warrior-sheep that have on the full armor of God.
          These sheep have not been fattened for slaughter, but are lean, and strong in the faith, and know that many hardships await those who would enter the Kingdom of God.
          Like Paul and Barnabas, the shepherds who lead the true flock teach the good news that Christ has come to bring us into a life of difficult, strenuous, arduous, cross-carrying discipleship.  They teach that following Jesus through the Narrow Gate on the Narrow Road is demanding, full of earthly sorrows and heavenly joys:

“Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch,
strengthening the disciples and encouraging them
to remain true to the faith. 
‘We must go through many hardships
to enter the Kingdom of God,’ they said.” 
Acts 14:21,22

          The hired hands speak peace when the flock is in turmoil.  They soothe the wounds of the people with poultices and pills, instead of prescribing the deep surgery of repentance and cleansing from the sins that are causing these injuries.  They administer quick cures, instead of a gospel that requires you give up your own life, to become members of one another in the Body of Christ, and to the pursuit of holiness in Christ without which not even one of us will see the Kingdom of Heaven. 
          Hired hands pander to the prosperous, ignore the sick and lame sheep, do not seek the lost who have wandered into the wilderness, and eat at their feasts and banquets without conscience or qualm for their wickedness, or their flock’s sad condition.  The diseases of sin rage through their flocks, yet they don’t lift a finger to help them. 
          These men who claim leadership do so with diplomas and documents, licenses and resumes, endorsements of men and institutions, yet are sorely lacking in the power of the Spirit of God, and have only the fruits of worldly ambition to show for their efforts.  They are not called, but they have built careers.  They are not empowered and gifted in the Body, but are talented speakers and skilled craftsmen, leaning on their own abilities.
         
“But as for me, I am filled with power,
with the Spirit of the Lord,
and with justice and might,
to declare to Jacob his transgression,
to Israel his sin.
Hear this, you leaders of the house of Jacob,
you rulers of the house of Israel,
who despise justice and distort all that is right.” 
Micah 3:8,9

            Flock of God, your true leaders are giving you the meat and bone of the Word of God, not just dessert.  They call all of us to necessary repentance, and the forsaking of our sins.  They love the flock, and lay down their lives for it daily.  They are servants, not exalted potentates.  They do not take lofty titles, or flaunt their positions and wisdom. 
          Your true leaders are filled with the power of the Spirit of God, and declare His Word with authority, yet in gentleness and love.  They are like Jesus, who, though the Son of God, gave up all He had to become the Gate of the Sheepfold.  His true under-shepherds will mimic His life, His love, and His humility.
          Leave the worthless prophets and teachers who lead you astray, and pray for the One Shepherd to teach you and guide you into His pastures, among His own flock.  Gather with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart, and who do not ask that their ears be itched, their sins swept under the rug, and that they be served delicacies that never upset them.

Hear this, you Hired Hands!

“Therefore night will come over you,
without visions, and darkness, without divination. 
The sun will set for the prophets,
and the day will go dark for them.
The seers will be ashamed and the diviners disgraced. 
They will all cover their faces
because there is no answer from God.” 
Micah 3:6,7

            Repentance is available now, so you must respond to the Lord God and His rebuke and correction before His judgment sweeps you away in the tide of trial and suffering coming.  Respond to His Spirit and His gentle reproof before the rod of His wrath descends upon your privileged and prosperous life.

           

             
          

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

CURRENT APOSTASY: eBible Fellowship and Six Leaders

Woe to the man who causes My People to sin.  Woe to the ones who lead My People astray.  Today I call out six men who continue in their apostasy in direct opposition to My Word.  These men lead many astray, and have caused some to die without Me.  They have made a mockery of Me, and caused the world to think of Me as a feeble God who doesn't keep His Word.  They have taken it upon themselves to do what I forbade My own Son to do, which is to fix a time and a season for His return in glory.  They have arrogantly ignored My warnings, and continue to broadcast and print throughout the world the lie that I have fixed a time for My Son's coming.  Their former leader is with his father, the devil.  He would not listen, though I spoke to him time and time again, and called out to him in mercy and love.  He would not repent of his foolishness, but his own pride and religious drive caused him to fall.

I have clearly told them that no man will know the time of My Son's return.  Yet they persist in this error, and lead others into this error.

TODAY I CALL OUT CHRIS McCANN, GUY BERRY, ROBERT DANIELS, OLIVER JAMES,  JOHN McOWEN, AND GREG SEIFERT.

These men follow their father, Satan, who would have you ignore My Word.  They say that your Christ will return on October 21st of this year.  They are lying.  They continue to put their own word above Mine.  You must not be deceived by their apostasy, no matter how they sound or look, or how much they seem to know about the Scripture.  Like Satan himself tempted my One and Only beloved Son using Scripture, so these men hold out My Word and tempt men and women to hurtle themselves over the edge of the abyss into Satan's arms.

There is judgement coming, but it will be on these men, who hold sway over the weak and the ignorant, and cause them to sin.

Hear me, My People.  No man knows the time I have fixed for My Son's coming.  No man will ever know until it comes upon the earth like a flash of lightning.  Ignore these apostates, and love Me, hold to Me, follow My Son.  We will never leave you or forsake you.  Stand up and speak out against these men who mock Me and hold Me up to the ridicule of the world because they want to be prophets, yet are not My prophets.

SPEAK  OUT, MY PEOPLE, AGAINST ALL FORMS OF APOSTASY, NO MATTER HOW RELIGIOUS IT MAY SEEM.  YOU MUST OBEY ME, RATHER THAN MEN.

Monday, July 18, 2011

EXPECT TO BE ABANDONED IN HARD TIMES

ON THE DAY YOU STOOD ALOOF
A. Brother

“On the day you stood aloof
while strangers carried off his wealth
and foreigners entered his gates
and cast lots for Jerusalem,
you were like one of them.
You should not look down on your brother
in the day of his misfortune…”
--Obadiah 1:11,12
         
          Even our brothers in Christ will abandon us when we hit hard times.  When the wolf is at the door, and there are those who wait to take us down, and money is low, and our circumstances are dire; when sickness and weakness are our companions, and sadness grips us, and our lives are failing; when our enemies prowl around us, circling for the kill; when those we counted on are busy doing their own lives, not wishing to be associated with failure; when family backs away and talks against us, and trusted friends doubt us; when our own spiritual leaders quietly fade away, choosing to distance themselves; these are the times we begin to learn that men are ‘sharp sticks’ and we must not lean on them unless they are proven in the sufferings of life themselves.
          Rarely will a man die for another man, Jesus said.  Even a close friend.  He knew first-hand the fickleness and selfishness and shallowness of men.  The Savior of mankind would be abandoned by everyone, even His closest companions, and all would distance themselves, while the wolves tore Him and hung Him up to die.
          Jesus didn’t trust Himself to men, which is evidenced in many places in the gospels.  He hid Himself, He slipped away.  He wouldn’t submit to their whims, whether the whim was to kill Him, or the whim was to crown Him.  He was in charge, and He determined the timing of His life and ministry.
          We are to live as Jesus did, walk as He walked.  Know this, my brother who chooses to follow close to Christ, that you will experience the same suffering He did, and that includes opposition, abandonment, and aloofness on the part of those you lean on and trust.  It will happen.  And you must expect it.  Many of our problems and doubts in our discipleship walk with Jesus come from our wrong expectations.  If we go through the Narrow Gate, and walk the Narrow Road, we must expect that it will be difficult.  The first apostles and early disciples taught this, because they were taught this by the Lord Jesus Himself.
          What were you taught?
          If you’ve grown up as I did, in modern America, you were taught an easy discipleship, which we don’t even term ‘discipleship’ anymore.  You were taught to expect a normal life, such as the world lives, with the only difference being we trust in ‘Christ as our personal Savior’ and we are now centering our lives around church, instead of the local bar.  And we were expecting to live happy, normal, productive lives, with God taking care of our needs, and the church providing activities and fellowship.  All we need do is ‘keep in touch with God’ by having ‘devotions’ and making sure we pray a few minutes a day at least.  The especially zealous (a small minority) showed their intensity by attending a regular Bible study in addition to church services, and studying for their weekly session.
          We were told to listen for the highest calling, which was to go into ‘full-time ministry’, and that would involve going to Bible College, or getting an advanced degree in some ministry discipline.  This would prepare us for a life-long vocation within the churches.  Otherwise, we were ‘lay people’, rank-and-file members of the local church, who attended, tithed, and participated to the extent we wished in the ‘programs’ instituted by the leaders.
          The church I grew up in taught us that earnestness in worship, with raised hands and loud voices, and suitably deep emotions, was very acceptable and pleasing to God.  This made up for many shortcomings in our lives.
          The church you grew up in may have emphasized service, which meant giving a little time to help organize church functions, or to teach Sunday School, or volunteering with this and that charity, or visiting old people in a rest home once a month.  Your church might have had evangelistic outreaches, where your youth were taught how to knock on a door, and canvas neighborhoods, asking them to come out to special meetings.
          No matter the specifics.
          All of it is outside the Biblical model.
          There is nothing but Christ.  We are the branches, and He is the Vine, and apart from Him we can do nothing.  We are His, and everything we do matters.  Every moment, every hour, every day.  We are either remaining in Christ, and bearing His fruit, or we are not.  This has nothing to do with all the above churchy things which men have invented to make the ‘Christian life’ easier and more palatable to the masses.
          When Jesus taught, He winnowed out His disciples, getting rid of those He knew were following Him for the wrong reasons.  He was tough, giving the hard Word, explaining that to follow Him meant giving up one’s own life, laying down one’s own desires and dreams and goals, and doing only what Jesus did, and the Father instructed.  When He informed the crowds they would have to die as He died, and live only on His flesh and blood as their sustenance, they went home in droves.
When He turned away the rich young man because He wouldn’t give away His wealth to follow Jesus, even His own disciples were dismayed, figuring they could never meet His high standards for discipleship.  Jesus asked even the twelve at one point if they, too, were going to abandon Him as the crowds had.
          We give out an easy Christianity, which is not Christ.
          Therefore, when the hard times come, we are shocked.  We think all is wrong, but actually, God disciplines those He loves as sons, and they are the ones going through the tough times.  So not only do many fall away, but many living the good religious life, the easy churchy life, look down on their brothers who suffer.  They think, like Job’s ‘comforters’ did, that it is a sign of sin in their brother, and their own prosperity is a sign of their own obedience to God.  The opposite is usually true.
          Obadiah’s warning extends to these complacent men who occupy the preferred pews and the places of honor in the churches.

“The pride of your heart has deceived you,
you who live in the clefts of the rocks
and make your home on the heights,
you who say to yourself,
‘Who can bring me down to the ground?’
Though you soar like the eagle
and make your nest among the stars,
from there I will bring you down,’ declares the Lord.”
--Obadiah 1:3,4

          You can show your true devotion to Jesus by not standing aloof at the plight of those brothers around you who suffer.  Lay down your life for them.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

LIVING LIKE THE TIME IS SHORT.

LIVING LIKE THE TIME IS SHORT
A. Brother

“What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short.
From now on, those who have wives
Should live as if they had none;
those who mourn, as if they did not;
those who are happy as if they were not;
those who buy something as if it were not theirs to keep;
those who use the things of the world,
as if not engrossed in them.
For this world in its present form is passing away.
I would like you to be free from concern.”
1 Corinthians 7:29-32

What an important and overlooked instruction for all of us today.

The time is short.  It was short for our brothers in the 1st century, and it is short for you and me in the 21st century.  We have a very brief time in which to do the work of Christ on the earth, and then we pass into eternity with Him.

Where does our passion lie?  Is it with the “dailies”?  Those myriad of concerns we busy ourselves with?  Our husbands, wives, children, our jobs and careers, our health, our jobs and careers, the things we buy or sell, the things that will crumble into dust or become someone else’s property as soon as you and I depart this temporary shell of a body?

Where does our treasure lie?  Is it in the paycheck we receive each week, every two weeks, each month?  The government check that covers the bills?  The investments we’ve carefully planned?  The house we’ve bought and spent so many loving hours caring for and keeping clean?  The cars we’ve got in the driveway?  The schools our children attend? 

Where does our heart reside?  In this world that is passing away?  With our friends and biological families, our neighborhood, community, even our earthly nation? 

Many of us, probably all of us, can answer yes to these pointed questions, squirming uncomfortably in our chairs, and reluctantly admitting to having affairs of the heart to some extent with this world.

Paul was giving us a powerful lesson in a few short sentences here. 

If we want to be free from concern, and to live without fear, then we must live with less, and learn to hold loosely onto what we do have.

The man or woman of God is married to Christ first, and so Christ must have our primary attention and allegiance, not our spouse.  We belong to Christ, bought and paid for, and our bondservant’s heart must cling to Him first.  We must always obey Him above all others.  We must always cling to Him before earthly love, money, possessions, family, and even national heritage.

Too many of us get up in the morning and set about a busy schedule fulfilling the expectations of a dying world.

We’ve been taught that we are to please our earthly “masters”, such as job, or education, or money, or family, or taking care of our possessions, or….whatever controls your actions is your master.  You are a slave to whatever determines your decisions.

Christ would have us take back the ownership issue and put it in His hands.  As I brought out in another recent teaching, Christ came to bring fire and division on earth, not peace, according to His stated Word.  This means, in reality, that many today who are living to please others would experience instant heat and displeasure from the world if they were to start living as if Christ were Lord, not only of them, but of this world.

I see this as my challenge.  To live wholly in Christ, to let Christ live wholly in me, and to let go of my “clinging” nature that wants to have a smooth, peaceful, earthly existence.  To let the dynamic and fearless Spirit of God fill me, and to become that strong rock, that shadow in a weary land, that powerful warrior in Christ He wants me to be.

Witness Christ, and His earthly family.  He had to ignore their opinions regularly, because they didn’t believe in Him.  He still took care of them, and loved them, but didn’t let them come between Him and work the Father had for Him to do.  So we must love and take care of our families and be a positive influence and friend to our co-workers, our neighbors, and all those God brings to us.  Yet in the end, some will hate us, as they hated and turned on the Lord Jesus, and try to throw us off cliffs, or get us crucified.

We belong to Christ, and His work, the work the Father gives Him, is our work.  He will order our days, and He will be Lord of the details for us.  We must obey Him first, and stop trying to please men, or women, or children, first.  Christ is first, and then all others. 

Because if we don’t show them Christ, and His love, and His priorities in this life, then we have led them by example down the wrong path, and instead have become their enemies, though they will love us in this life for that bad decision.

Remember, the time is short.  Live lightly on this earth, and you will be like a deer on the mountains, walking and leaping and praising God, having concern for only His Kingdom, as He takes care of you and yours, and gives you the strength to work and love in this world.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

SET THE WORLD ON FIRE!

Brothers and Sisters:  Why do we persist in our modern beliefs that peace on earth is the ultimate goal of God?  This is the desire of the weak human heart.  We mean by 'peace' that we just want everyone to sit down, shut up and get along!  Yet there is nothing in God's character, nor should there be in ours, that allows us to live peaceably with the evil of sin and the destructive plans of Satan upon the earth.  When you read this wonderful short teaching, remember--you and I are to be Christ on the earth.  He lives His life in us.  So--we must make the same statement today:
"I have come to set the world on fire!"

I HAVE COME TO SET THE WORLD ON FIRE
T. Austin-Sparks

"I have come to set the world on fire, and I wish it were already burning!
Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth?
No, I have come to divide people against each other!"
Luke 12:49,51 NLT

If you and I are going to be men and women of the Spirit, we are not going to have an easy time. Hell will see to that. At once the clash arises and it is true that the more the Holy Spirit is able to have His way in us and to lead us into all the will of God, the more we find this opposition, this antagonism. And it not only comes between us and the world, it sometimes comes in the circle of the Lord's own people. It is inevitable provocation.

You wonder why, sometimes. As you read the New Testament you wonder, "What is the matter with these people? Why should they be so upset and so annoyed? And why should it be so spontaneous, this thing? And persistent; so unreasonable?" but there it is. There is the fact. It is inevitable.

You see, this thing that the Lord came to do and is doing, will not allow for any neutrality. It is going to be one thing or the other. It is going to be for or against. The eyes of flame (here the fire comes in again) the eyes of flame will not allow lukewarmness or anything that is of the Laodicean character. The fire is a positive element always, and it will create positive situations.

If everything is all just nice and quiet, no disturbance, no trouble and no antagonism and opposition, you have reason to question whether the Holy Spirit is doing much, because He does aim at such a positiveness, which is a very, very costly thing.

It is either with the Lord, or not with the Lord, and there is nothing between.

It is going to come out sooner or later and be precipitated. Now, the Lord says that is what He came to do. This is not an accident, a chance or things having gone wrong or miscarried.

This is exactly what He came to do - to scatter fire on the earth and these are the inevitable effects of the fire. They are going to work out.

By T. Austin-Sparks from: The Cross and the Way of Life - Chapter 1

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

NOTHING WE BUILD CAN HOUSE THE PRESENCE OF GOD.

BE CAREFUL, THEN, HOW YOU BUILD
A. Brother

“However, the Most High does not
live in houses made by men.”
Acts 7:48

“Let us, then, go to Him outside the camp,
bearing the disgrace He bore.  For here
we do not have an enduring city, but we
are looking for the City that is to come.”
Heb. 13:13,14

When God calls us out and away from the “camp”, in other words, the traditions of men, the cities built by men, the works and monuments to man’s energies and efforts to do things for God, we must go to Him.

When God reminds us, through Stephen, that God doesn’t dwell in any man-made thing, then we must either follow Christ, dying like Stephen did, or follow men, who are represented by the religious establishment, and who actually stoned Stephen and murdered him there in Jerusalem.

There is nothing we touch that we don’t try to alter.  Instead of laying all on the altar, we alter all God gives us.  In this play on words, we see the truth God has spent all history trying to give us.  We can’t do anything, or build anything, that will hold the presence of God.  Everything we create, including any efforts to build systems, procedures, programs, curriculums, creeds, dogmas, or houses to house the Kingdom of God will automatically head in the wrong direction. 

In the 1960’s a brilliant thinker, Marshall Macluhan, made a statement after examining the nature of communications; especially modern media.  He said, “The medium is the message.”  And, though a worldly man, and without Christ, Mr. Macluhan had it right.  He basically meant that whatever we use to communicate a message changes that message in some way.  Whatever we use to contain and relate something we’ve heard or seen is automatically tainted by the means we use. 

Witness television news.  Just being picked to be on the news is a form of editing: each day over 400 potential prime time stories are reviewed, but only 20 or so can be featured on the television news program you watch.  Just picking the stories is a form of changing what is really going on in the world, and the medium, television, has changed the message in huge ways.  That’s why every medium we use, including print, audio, video, or other forms of electronic communications, actually alters what we are trying to say.

Superimpose this truth upon our modern churches.  By building our own huge buildings, and deciding that we must appear modern, in-tune with society, and have a relevant message, we have changed the gospel.  Automatically.  By choosing to concentrate on putting the gospel out to the masses, instead of keeping it a close-up, person-to-person message, we have automatically changed the nature of the gospel we preach.  By choosing to print our ideas and thoughts on the gospel, we change how people perceive it. 

Does this mean we don’t print the gospel truth, or that we don’t blog, make books, create websites, or twitter the truth?  No, but it means that we must keep it simple.  It means we must be absolutely careful not to alter what God has said in His Word.  It means we must choose the medium carefully, and use it wisely.  It means not many of us should become teachers, brethren, as James says, because we will be judged by a higher standard.  It means we must use media, use technology, and make sure it doesn’t use us.  Like handling fire, we must be aware it can burn as easily as it can warm us on a cold night.

Like Stephen, we must declare the truth simply, and straightforwardly.  He was killed by the men who operated within the system, within the gates of the city; the city made by human hands.  He was killed, as was His Lord Jesus, by the men who maintained the temple built by human hands, which sat inside that city, and was revered by all as the place the presence of God dwelt.

But we are called, like Stephen, to go outside the camp.  Actually, the “men of God” who murdered him took him outside the camp to kill him.  There were places for stoning, and these were outside the gates of the city.  There were places for crucifixion, and these were outside the city. 

Today, God is calling us to abandon the works of our hands.  To sell what we have built, and to sell what we possess to make us comfortable.  God is calling us to stop “managing the gospel” and start trusting the Spirit of God, along with Christ, the Lord of the church, to build His temple, the house not made with hands, His Body on the earth, without our meager and pitiful attempts to help.  What we don’t need are men who gather together and begin new and exciting ways and means to create for God, and who seek to organize, program and structure their own ways of doing church.

When will we let go of these idolatrous things?  It is a struggle, and one Peter went through with great visibility.  He was the apostle who suggested to Jesus, after three of them had gone to the mountain with Jesus and saw Him transfigured, that they build monuments there to commemorate the event.  God’s displeasure was evident in His thundering answer.  Peter was a Jew, used to thinking about God as a dweller in houses made by human hands.
Later in his life, Peter, by listening and growing in Christ, had become a man who would accept Gentiles into the church, and who died defending the God who doesn’t dwell in houses made by human hands.

These are hard things for us to learn.  But in Christ, who demands our all, we must lay all on the altar, willing to give up our ideas and plans, and in fact, avoid them.  It is Christ’s “ekklesia” (the people of God who are called to gather together) and He will not tolerate our meddling, trying to build monuments to our own perception of reality.

The medium is the message.  Meaning, we, the carriers of this “Christ-virus”, must just be Christ to those around us.  That is the purest Way.  Christ in you is the only hope of glory.
Our big churches and full calendars only taint the gospel, fashioning it in our own image.  

LATEST NEWS

A. BROTHER'S FIRST BOOK RELEASED. "EVEN THE DEVILS HAVE RELIGION". 100 Collected Prophetic Words from A. Brother.

For the first time, A. Brother's messages are being compiled in a series of books.  These will be released periodically over the coming ...