Monday, February 25, 2013

CALLED TO BE PROPHETS? OR FARMERS?


To order your downloadable ebook "Even the Devils Have Religion", the first published collection of the messages of A. Brother, please go to Amazon.com and purchase copies for yourself and your friends.  These messages are not for those who shrink back from truth, but for those who seek the Christ and His Kingdom.  
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PROPHETS OR FARMERS
A. Brother

“On that day every prophet
will be ashamed of his prophetic vision.
He will not put on a prophet’s garment of hair
in order to deceive.  He will say,
‘I am not a prophet.
I am a farmer; the land has been
my livelihood since my youth.’
If someone asks him,
‘What are these wounds on your body?’
he will answer, ‘The wounds I was given
at the house of my friends.’”
Zech. 13:4-6

I am not a prophet.  I am a farmer.  The Word of God is the seed, and I have been given the task of sowing it.  I am not responsible for the increase of it, only the sowing.  I am not responsible for the reaping of it, only the sowing.  The wounds on my body are the wounds of my Friend, Christ.  This is a simple revelation, but one we must listen to.

Too many of us are zealous to do the Lord’s work.  The Lord requires us to put off the natural man, and to “put on Christ”, who will do His work in us, and who will advance His work through us without our particular help.  The importance of this putting off of self, and putting on of Christ cannot be overemphasized.  So many of us strive and strive, we take up a “work for God” and do it in the natural man, we undertake tasks for God, we run off and do things for God.  Yet the important work, the making of each of us into a man or woman of God, we neglect and ignore. 

We have been raised in a wrong way of thinking.  Even in the churches we have stressed the doing of things.  We have stressed the building of things, the taking hold of things, the effort of things.  We talk of “walking with Christ” and “doing the Lord’s work” and we haven’t died at all, we have just taken up a work in our own strength and our own hands.

In the calling of Abraham, God did the impossible.  He took this old man, and his old wife, and he made them parents of an entire nation.  He did something, not out of the efforts of the old man, but out of His own power.  This resulted in glory for God alone, and not for Abraham.  Abraham’s only glory was that he “believed God and it was reckoned unto him as righteousness.” (see Romans 4:18-25)

This man is a picture of Christ in us.  It is God who calls, God who wills, God who works in us for His good pleasure.  It is none of our effort that benefits the Kingdom.  Our faith is our glory, because it brings glory to God alone.  Until we see this, we are still viewing Christ as someone outside ourselves, who we serve because we want to earn His favor, to be significant.  We are striving because of the emptiness inside us, which many of us know to be the truth from experience.  Even those of us who’ve claimed Christ as Lord for many years KNOW this emptiness, this striving after wind.

The wounds of Christ are His marks in us.  What does this mean?  It means we must die, and be marked with the death of Christ in us before we can experience His life in us. 

Too many of us claim to speak for Christ.  Yet we live without scars and wounds, and we have never gone up to the “Place of the Skull”, Golgotha, carrying our cross, dying to self, and having God turn His face away during our time of dying.  When Jesus was on the cross, He cried out in his natural man, “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?”  Yet the Father had to turn away in his grief, and not save His only Son, but let Him die for us.  At that moment, Jesus became man in the way that allows Him to know every suffering we will ever go through.  So the Father must turn away and let us die many times in this life on earth, because He knows, even in His grief over our pain, that we must go through the dying in order to have Life.

The small things are the significant things.  The things that go unnoticed by the world, and sadly, often by the people of God.  These are our Golgothas.  The places of dying.  These are necessary for Resurrection to take place in us.

Then, with Paul, we will understand, and say:

“Since you died with Christ…
Since then you’ve been raised with Christ…”
Col. 2:20;3:1

In this new place, this place of resurrection beyond the grave:

“Here there is no Greek or Jew,
circumcised or uncircumcised,
barbarian, Scythian, slave or free,
but Christ is all, and in all.”
Col. 3:11

Brethren, we must stop our striving to be someone in Christ.  We must stop working to be someone of significance.  We must stop working to do the Lord’s work.  It is Christ in us that does His work.  We must rest in Him, and let Him work.  His work in us will be enough.

Friday, February 15, 2013

GOD SPEAKS TENDERLY. YOUR HARD SERVICE IS OVER.


To order your downloadable ebook "Even the Devils Have Religion", the first published collection of the messages of A. Brother, please go to Amazon.com and purchase copies for yourself and your friends.  These messages are not for those who shrink back from truth, but for those who seek the Christ and His Kingdom.  
You can order by going to the Home Page of this blog and clicking on the link for the new book announcement.  Or you can order by using this link: 
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HARD SERVICE
A. Brother

            “Comfort, comfort My people, says your God.  Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for…”                                                                                           --Isaiah 40:1,2

          The hardest service of all is trying to pay for our own sins.
            Some men think nothing of sin.  They go through life with a light mind—not worrying about their actions—or about the consequences of their disobedience to God.  They take God as some take pills--a precaution against hell and damnation--an insurance policy in case it all turns out to be true, this thing about God and His Word.
            Other men think continually on their sin.  They are the mourners—heavy minds weighed down worrying that they’ve sinned so much God can’t forgive them.  Their sins are “ever before them” and they know that His judgments are just.  They can’t seem to forgive themselves, and hope against hope that their sins will be covered by the grace and mercy of God.
            If you are among the former, then you must repent and get a new heart of flesh from God, to replace the heart of stone you’ve got.
            If you are among the latter, you need the comfort of this good Word from the Lord.  Those of you who mourn today over your own sins need to know that your hard service is done, and you need to hear tender words of love from the heart of God.
            In Jesus, God’s compassion paid for your sins, no matter how grievous.
            No more sorrow and grief for the past.
            Only the Shepherd can comfort us.  Take comfort, God’s people who grieve over sin.  Yours have been paid for, and now Jesus will carry you.

            “He tends His flock like a shepherd.  He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young.”  --Isa. 40:11

Monday, February 11, 2013

I DID NOT SEND THESE PROPHETS YET THEY HAVE RUN WITH THEIR MESSAGE.


To order your downloadable ebook "Even the Devils Have Religion", the first published collection of the messages of A. Brother, please go to Amazon.com and purchase copies for yourself and your friends.  These messages are not for those who shrink back from truth, but for those who seek the Christ and His Kingdom.  
You can order by going to the Home Page of this blog and clicking on the link for the new book announcement.  Or you can order by using this link: 
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06ZZ9TW5Z

I DID NOT SEND THESE PROPHETS
A. Brother

“I did not send these prophets,
yet they have run with their message.”
Jer. 23:21

“…if they had stood in My council,
they would have proclaimed My Words to My people
and would have turned them from their evil ways
and from their evil deeds.” 
Jer. 23:22

“Let the prophet who has a dream tell his dream,
but let the one who has My Word speak it faithfully. 
For what has straw to do with grain?” declares the Lord. 
Is not My Word like fire,” declares the Lord,
“and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” 
Jer. 23:28,29

            We have a critical situation in the affluent western churches today.  Many occupy pulpit and podium who are not called and chosen by God to prophecy to His people.  These men and women hold positions of authority, influence and power among God’s people, yet they have not been sent by the Lord.  Therefore, we are listening to people and their dreams, instead of hearing and being broken before the Lord about our sins, and learning what it means to follow Christ on the narrow road.

          Straw is made for small-minded creatures, like horses and cows.  It is food only for the witless--those who need to be led about by bit and bridle.  The dreams spoken of here are brought forward by the false prophets, who cry “Peace! Peace!” to the sheep, and they follow without thought.  Like dumb animals, these people who are occupying the pews listen to these false prophets, and are herded this way and that by these men who dream their dreams for them, and announce things God has not spoken.
         
          Grain is the sustaining life-giving Word of God that feeds those “who hunger and thirst after righteousness”.  Matt. 5:6 So, as sheep, our responsibility is to hunger and thirst after God and His Word.

            God’s Word is like fire, that burns up “wood, hay or straw…because the Day…will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work”.  1 Cor. 3:12,13  So those who claim to speak the Word of God must undergo God’s quality tests, to make certain they are speaking truth.

            Men who are called by God, and speak God’s Word, in contrast to the false prophets whom God does not call, do it boldly, being willing to risk everything every day to deliver God’s true message of repentance and correction and instruction in righteousness to His people.
          They speak the Truth, bringing real nutrition to the ekklesia of God, and their messages are like fire, burning up the false and fake, allowing God to replace it with the gems of the Spirit.  These men speak the Word of the Lord, wielding God’s hammer, which breaks the rock of prison walls into pieces, so that God can deliver His people from their sin.
          When the Word of God is truly spoken, it brings pain and true godly sorrow, which in turn brings repentance and salvation.  The healing it brings is true healing, deep healing, with the peace of God that comes from righteous living.  The true Word of God counsels obedience to God, and never deceives.

          Today we hear much peace and comfort spoken from our pulpits.  We hear lengthy discourses on how God loves us, and God’s grace is all we need, and how we need not fear anything because God is with us.  Yet we are blind and poor and naked…“worldly—mere infants in Christ.”  1 Cor. 3:1
            The men who speak peace to those who should be repenting of their sins, and their lukewarmness, do not have the good of the people of God in mind.  Their interests are not those of Christ Jesus.  No matter how popular and influential they are, these men face the judgment of God for speaking on His behalf without His permission.  They are speaking falsely, and are to their sheep as shepherds who lead them astray.
          These men who jealously guard their positions and lifestyles speak on their own behalf.  They “fill you with false hopes…visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord…to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts they say, ‘No harm will come to you.’ “  Jer. 23:16,17
            These men “are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves.”  Jude 12
            These men who speak peace to troubled souls do not call the sinners to repentance as Jesus did, nor do they bring men into obedience to the Lord’s Word.  They don’t follow the Way of Christ, which is the Narrow Way of the Cross, but instead take Broadway, that wide, brightly-lit street of dreams and lead thousands to their destruction.
          Their teachings may be presented in small sanctuaries, with only a handful of sheep present, or they may be dynamically presented to large audiences, and go out with the latest technology.  Yet they lack any substance, or means of saving anyone.  The people of God perish in their comfort, while God is ignored.

“These are the men who divide you,
who follow mere natural instincts
and do not have the Spirit…
they boast about themselves
and flatter others for their own advantage.” 
Jude 19,16

            Don’t trust their flattering words, or their easy, comfortable gospel, which is no gospel at all.

          The true Word of God calls us to repent and follow Jesus.  Jesus says:

“If anyone would come after Me,
he must deny Himself and take up his cross and follow Me. 
For whoever wants to save his own life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for Me and for the gospel will save it….
If anyone is ashamed of Me and My Words
in this adulterous and sinful generation,
the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes
 in His Father’s glory with the holy angels.” 
Mark 8:34-38

            When Christ comes in glory to receive His own, He will say to many who’ve attended church and sat under these false prophets “…I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.”  Matt. 25:12

          And to these who prophesy smoothly as if God is speaking through them when He is not He says:  “The master of the servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of.  He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites…”  Matt. 24:50,51

          This message is for those who claim to speak the Word of God.  You must examine yourselves and truly put yourselves to the test.  If you are called, you will know this.  Your anointing will be from Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit will rest upon you with power and authority.  Your teachings will be full of the Truth, and you will call God’s people to Him without flattery, and with conviction.  You will adhere to the Word, and sit in God’s council, listening and heeding His voice only.  You will not twist and distort the Word of God for your own ends, nor for the purposes of other men or institutions set up by men, no matter if they pay your salaries.  You will declare the simple Truth, and call men to repentance and obedience to Christ as citizens of His Kingdom.  You will preach the Word, sharing it morning, noon and night with those whom God has put in your care.  You will love the brethren above all, and give God’s love to them at all times, making the most of every opportunity in these evil days.

          You will call the Body of Christ to live like His Body, set apart, holy, and infused with the Holy Spirit’s power for righteous living.  You will teach the flock how to live with one another in love, and how to take care of one another in practical ways.
         
“For the time will come when men
will not put up with sound doctrine. 
Instead, to suit their own desires,
 they will gather around them a great number of teachers
to say what their itching ears want to hear. 
They will turn their ears away from the truth
and turn aside to myths.” 
2 Tim. 4:3,4

            This message is also for those who sit like dumb animals under the teaching of those who claim to represent the Lord.  You are responsible for your own lives, minds, and actions.  You can think, study and pray for yourself.  God will teach you His Ways if you truly want anything more than easy deception and comfortable living.  Would it not be tragic if you were to lose your own soul because you were too lazy or fearful to follow the Truth instead of smooth, flattering men who make you feel good?

          Don’t you want the Lord Himself, and His love, and His companionship, instead of false hopes?

“This is what the Lord Almighty says,
‘Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you;
they fill  you with false hopes. 
They speak visions from their own minds,
not from the mouth of the Lord…
In days to come you will understand it clearly.” 
Jer. 23:16,20

          Escape the trap Satan has devised for you.  Don’t follow anyone who preaches a gospel other than the one which was given you in Scripture.  Be willing to follow Jesus Christ, even if it means going upstream to the religious river that flows around you.  Better yet, get out of that river altogether, leaving the false prophets, and find those who truly teach and preach the Good News of God’s Word.
          I pray that we will come to understand this clearly, not when Christ comes back, and we realize in a rush of regret and fear that we have listened to the wrong gospel, but now, in grateful repentance and the experience of the grace of God in our changed lives, through His Son Jesus Christ.
           

Monday, February 4, 2013

WHERE HAS CHRIST'S POWER AND AUTHORITY GONE?


To order your downloadable ebook "Even the Devils Have Religion", the first published collection of the messages of A. Brother, please go to Amazon.com and purchase copies for yourself and your friends.  These messages are not for those who shrink back from truth, but for those who seek the Christ and His Kingdom.  
You can order by going to the Home Page of this blog and clicking on the link for the new book announcement.  Or you can order by using this link: 
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06ZZ9TW5Z

JESUS’ POWER AND AUTHORITY IN US.
A. Brother

“They were amazed at His teaching,
because His message had authority.”
--Luke 4:32

“When they saw the courage of Peter and John…
they were astonished and they took note
that these men had been with Jesus.”   
--Acts 4:13

“I have given you authority…
to overcome all the power of the enemy;
nothing will harm you.” 
--Luke 10:19

These passages tell us of Jesus’ power, authority, courage and boldness being handed down to His disciples.

Where have these qualities gone today?

Is God’s arm too short?  Has He lost His power?  His authority?  Where are His courage and His boldness?  Did Jesus abdicate the throne?  Does He no longer possess these attributes?

Or is something wrong in us; in those who claim to belong to Christ?  Is there something missing in those of us who call ourselves believers in Christ?  Something that prevents us from seeing the power, authority, courage and boldness of Jesus from being fulfilled as He promised?

Perhaps we have become as the teachers of the law were in Jesus’ day.  Living by creeds, curriculums, plans, programs, systems, principles, and precepts, instead of by the power of the Spirit of God changing us into the strong, courageous, bold character of Jesus Christ, Lord of all.      

Today many of our pastors, leaders and teachers are “reeds swayed by the wind”…men “dressed in fine clothes”…not prophets and power-filled messengers of God’s Word.  --Luke 7:24-26.  And those of us who inhabit the pews, well, we are worse.  We sit and soak, and savor the aroma of the Word of God without tasting the meat, and without standing to speak in boldness of what Christ shows us.

Jesus tells us that those who truly follow Him will do what He is doing, and more.  That the Spirit will dwell in them with power.  That they will boldly proclaim the Truth, even if it means shaking the foundations of religious institutions and worldly traditions.  That they will be empowered to do the things Jesus did, including showing His love to all those around us.

Brethren, Jesus waits on us.  Are we waiting on Him?  Are we in constant prayer as the early Church was—praying to receive the power of the Spirit that we may do God’s work in His Way?

The promises have never changed.
         
“Jesus Christ is the same—yesterday and today and forever.”  --Heb. 13:8

What in our churches today requires or waits upon the power of God?  What in our daily lives today as Christians requires or waits upon the power of God?  Our church, business and personal lives almost completely rely on our own power and our own authority.

God knows we live and move and do all things in our own power and authority.  We’re not fooling Him.

The world knows we live and move and do all things in our own power and authority.  They see our weakness and dependence on worldly things.  We’re not fooling them.
         
Brethren, I say with sadness, and knowledge of my own failings, that we often live as the pagans do.  There is very little difference.  The proof is this: we depend upon, worry about, and act upon all things around us in the same manner and order in which the pagans depend on them, worry about them, and act upon them.   We worry about jobs, money, homes, cars, possessions, getting ahead, having the good things, fitting in, being respected, being popular, having toys, building bigger and better churches, political issues, sports, music, the latest technology, everything.

Often nothing in our lives as “Christians” differs from the world except the fact that we say we believe in Jesus, and participate in our church activities!

We are religious.  But we don’t shake the world by the power of God’s Spirit.

As Jesus went about His Father’s business, He shook things up.  He caused problems.  Things were never status quo with Jesus around.  He shook up the pagan world, and He shook up the religious world.  Jesus made people uncomfortable.  He spoke Truth where falsehood abounded.  He called out sin when He saw it.  He reached out to help everyone hurting or hungry or thirsty, and spent His time with those in need.
To the religious leaders of His day Jesus said, “Are you not in error because you do no know the Scriptures or the power of God?”  --Mark 12:24 

He so troubled the waters of the conventional seas that the religious leaders hated Him.  They challenged His authority continually.
         
“By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked.   ”And who gave you authority to do this?”  --Mark 11:28
           
Who challenges our authority today?  Whom do we threaten?  Whose pagan or religious ways do we shake up?  Whose waters do we trouble?  Where is the mighty Kingdom of God today that challenges the power and authority of Satan’s hold upon people and the world?

To all of us in the ekklesia of God—the Body of Christ—I say:  We must seek the Lord God and the power of His Spirit.

We must wait upon Him, hear His Word and obey it, leaving modern worldly or ‘Christian’ convention behind and being willing to live as the Church should live, empowered to speak and act boldly on Jesus’ Truth.

Brethren, we must obey God rather than men!
         
Do we doubt that Jesus is the ultimate “mover and shaker” of all things?  Do we doubt that Jesus is the enemy of religious convention, and comfortable apostasy?
Or do we really down deep, just doubt God completely, and doubt that Jesus will have His Way?

“As He was leaving the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, ‘Look, Teacher!  What massive stones!  What magnificent buildings!’  ‘Do you see all these great buildings?’ replied Jesus.   ‘Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.’ “   --Mark 13:1,2

The power and authority of Jesus will throw down every monument we build to religion, and every false god we serve.  He is Lord of all, and is over all, and though the world and the religious don’t recognize it, His Kingdom and His Lordship have already begun.  Either we are members of that world-shaking Kingdom, or we are not.  This is what Scripture teaches.  If we are, then we have His authority and His power within us, and we will live humbly as His servants in love, overcoming all the difficulties and trials in His Name together!  And when He comes for us, we will be ready to receive Him, our lamps lit, dressed, and already rejoicing.
                                                                            

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