Saturday, April 29, 2017

THE UGLY GIFT. A PARABLE FOR MODERN CHRISTIANS.

THE UGLY GIFT OF GOD
A PARABLE FOR MODERN CHRISTIANS
A. Brother
©2010 Narrowgate Publishing
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

          “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on Him, but to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.”  --Phil. 1:29,30

            Scripture teaches us that every man, woman or child who follows Jesus receives many gifts.  These gifts are given freely.
          We often talk of the gifts of God, such as salvation, freedom from sin, and the gifts given by the Holy Spirit to build up the Body of Christ.  We think of these things as very positive.  We think of the gifts of God as things like birthday parties, or summer outings at the beach, or a day skiing.  The enjoyable things, the bright and happy things, the good day, the warm, cozy evening by the fire. 
            The gifts of God can be these things, if brought by Him to us, and if they bring us closer to Him and His Kingdom.

            But there are other, deeper gifts that come to those who wish to sit with Jesus closely, and to love Him more intimately, and to become like Him. 
            Those who wish to know Christ in all His fullness, as a dear Brother, a close Friend, a heart-bonded Companion on the journey to Heaven will receive from Him gifts that will make that deeper journey possible. 
            One of these precious gifts is the gift of suffering.
            This gift is granted freely, for all those who will accept it.

THE UGLY GIFT.
            Most of us who claim Christ resist this huge gift, with its ugly wrapping, its strange and forbidding shape, and the long, uneasy shadow it casts upon our desires for brightness and easy living.  We are like fair weather friends to Christ, and though He beckons us to travel further with Him on the quest to become like our Savior, we resist, standing unsure at the edge of the dark forest, with its hanging moss, its dank, smelly, unknown, murky depths. 
            We think this Jesus thing is fine as long as it means “our best life now”, teeming with parties and happy music, with sunlit days and comfortable nights of restful sleep.  But when Christ rolls out this gift and plops it in front of us, smiling at us, freely giving to us as He always does, bidding us go further and deeper and higher with Him, we balk and stand shuffling our feet in the grass, diverting our eyes.
            “Wait, Lord Jesus, I must go bury my dead father,” we say with some embarrassment. 
            “Follow Me and let the dead bury their own dead,” Jesus replies kindly and cheerfully.
            We try to fend Him off with assurances of our good intentions.
            “Teacher, I’ll follow you wherever you go,” we say to Him, with a sincere, heartfelt look in our eyes.
            Jesus looks at us with tender understanding, but firmly He says, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.”
            Glancing again toward the forest, where the path disappears into the undergrowth, we hear strange noises, and are afraid.
            Thinking fast now, we bring up our accomplishments. 
            “Lord, you know how I have so much responsibility.  I teach in the second graders in Sunday school, help clean the church, and give my tithe.  I’ve believed in You since I was a teenager.  I’ve been faithful in attendance, sincere in worship services, and I read my Bible every morning and pray.” 
            We look at Jesus now, hopefully, waiting for what we’re sure will be a commendation.
            Jesus looks at us fondly, then smiles, takes hold of our shoulders, and looks us right in the eye.
            “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.  Then come, follow Me.”
            At this point, we turn and look back at all we have in life.  We see our friends,   family, job, comfortable lifestyle, toys, projects, goals and ambitions--the busy and successful path we’ve been on. 
            The good life beckons, and we stand glued to this scene, thinking that if we just try hard enough, we can do both.  We can have all we want in the world, and we can still walk with Jesus.  We think about the great sermons we’ve heard, and the good church life we’ve enjoyed, and all the good gifts of being with Christ we have, and we can’t understand why He insists on spoiling it with this new wrinkle.  We begin to question whether we heard Him right, and turn to face Him, and this time we’ll really ask Him some harder questions, because we can’t just drop everything to follow Him.  He’ll have to understand.  We’ll make it plain to Him and He’ll be fine with everything once we’ve explained.
             We turn reluctantly toward Jesus, still thinking of clever answers to His simple call.  But what we see is His back, muscles rippling beneath His shirt, as He blends into the shadows of the forest’s fringe, His feet already treading the unknown, twisting, narrow path that cuts into the blackness.
            “Wait, Jesus!” we call.  He turns and lifts His hand to us, motioning us forward,  and yells in return, “Anyone who loves father and mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; anyone who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me.”
            This is not what we wanted to hear.  This is not good.  We stand sweating in the sunshine, barely able to discern Jesus under the boughs of the great trees.
            “But Lord, I wanted to talk with you about this.  I’ve got a life, and it needs living!  I’ve got plans and goals and dreams, and friends and family and a job and a good life now, and you can’t just mean that I’ve got to be willing to give it all up, and come into the unknown, and possibly suffer and die with You!  This isn’t the Christianity I learned!  What will everyone say?  They’ll laugh at me, or be angry with me, and things will not go well for me!” we shout into the forest, shading our eyes, trying to see Jesus.
            His voice is getting faint now, and we hear the sounds behind us of our life and our desires, and it seems they’re growing stronger and louder, and we can barely discern the voice of Christ.
            Yet His clear, calm, loving answer cuts through the din, and as we’re surrounded suddenly by the church activities, and our career objectives, and the bills and the business, and the vacation plans, and the things we want and have worked toward, and the house and the cars and the busy days, and the comfortable Christian walk we’ve led so far, we can barely hear Jesus as He disappears.
            “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it!” 
            The echoes fade away into the leafy wall, and we turn a little sadly back to the life we choose, looking forward to dinner and a movie, and getting back to work in the morning--anything to take our mind off the ugly, poorly wrapped present still sitting
in the tall grass at the edge of the known world—anything to ease the pain and sorrow that we felt so keenly for those last few insane moments.
            Within a short time the memory of the encounter has mercifully faded, and becomes something we dismiss as the result of an overzealous imagination, or dangerous fanaticism.  Or maybe just bad eggs for breakfast. 
            Once in a while, as we’re reading our quick daily devotional and praying for God to bless us, we hear the soft voice of Jesus as He faded into the forest, calling us, beckoning us with a dim hand, and we feel that deep tug of desire for the narrow path that disappears into the unknown.  But mercifully, our cell rings, or the clock reminds us we’re going to be late if we don’t get going, or one of the children interrupts us, and we’re off for the day. 
            After all, what does Jesus expect?  We’ve got a life to live!

            Brethren, it has been granted to us to suffer for Christ.  It is a gift that appears frightening, but in fact, is the Way of Jesus.  We receive this gift with fear, yet it becomes to us the fountain of life.  If we persevere with Jesus, and go through the darkness with Him, and the pain, and the difficulties, we receive greater and greater gifts of love, peace, joy, and all the fruits of the Holy Spirit. 
            The narrow Way, the path into the forest, is one Jesus offers to each of His disciples, and promises to keep them to the end of the journey.  He becomes light in darkness to us then, and songs in the night.  When we are afraid, He gives us His courage.  When we stumble and fall, and are hurt or wounded, His is the touch that heals us.  When we stray from the path, tempted by the world, and idols, and sins of various kinds, He forgives and delivers us from the power of that sin, because like Jesus did while in his earthly body, we learn obedience from the things that we suffer.  When we are near to death in ourselves, because of the intensity of our trials, and the depths of our despair, Jesus holds us, and, like He did for Lazarus, calls us out of the tomb of our anguish, and raises us with Him by His resurrection power. 
            In suffering, we become like our suffering Savior, and so begin to resemble Him in this life.  We take on His heart of love and compassion.  We become sincere, and free from the entanglements of the world.  We find peace, God’s peace, and receive His gifts which are not as the world gives.  We leave our own weakness behind, becoming strong in Christ Jesus.  We become warriors in the Spirit, able to do anything with Christ, and nothing apart from Him.  We learn to wear the armor of God comfortably, and wield the weapons of warfare with His strength in our arms and hands.  We take on Christ, and put off the old man, with his sinful, selfish, worldly ways.  We put on the new man, who is like Christ in every way, and triumph over the forces of darkness that would bind us and hold us captive. 
            If we take up Jesus’ call to follow Him, He is with us, empowering us, never leaving us, always helping us.  He prays for us, and stands with us in our darkest hour.  There is nothing that can separate us from His love, on earth or in the realms of spiritual power.  Christ can become all to us, as His Father is all to Him. 
            As we learn obedience from the things we suffer, so we become one with the Father, the Son, the Spirit, and one in heart and mind with others who’ve chosen this dangerous, narrow road.  We can know true fellowship with God, and with one another.
            Even if you’ve rejected this path in the past, the Lord Jesus always stands waiting for you to obey.  The call is always there.  He will gladly embrace you the moment you decide to follow Him in true discipleship.  The moment you decide you are willing to give up all to follow Jesus, then He is there, enabling you to do it, because He went there ahead of us.  He knows the path that we take.
            Like Job, in suffering our dross and worthless things are burned away, and we are changed.

            “But He knows the Way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”  --Job 23:10

          Like Jesus, we will become obedient servants, willing and able to do our Lord’s bidding, through the toughest circumstances.

            “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from what He suffered and, once made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him..”  --Heb. 5:8,9

          If you would be perfect today, kneel to Jesus, and obey Him.  Say yes to the road into the dark forest.  Into the unknown.  Let Jesus be your Guide and companion, and let the dead bury their own dead.  Let the world go its way, while you go Jesus’ Way.
            Hold out your hand and accept the gift offered you.  When you open it, you will find unexplainable joys, and feast from the best of God’s table.



            The gift is held out to all who come to Jesus.  Will you go with Christ, or stay?

Thursday, April 27, 2017

ORNAMENTAL RELIGION MAKES GOD A LAUGHINGSTOCK.


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.  

TO ORDER USE THIS DIRECT LINK: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06ZZ9TW5Z



The following message is included in the book.


ORNAMENTAL CHRISTIANITY RUNS WILD
A. Brother

"Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get out of control and so become a laughingstock to their enemies.  So he stood at the entrance to the camp and said, ‘Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.’  
--Ex. 32:25-29

“Then the Lord said to Moses…’Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey.  But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way.’  When the people heard these distressing words, they began to mourn and no one put on any ornaments….So the Israelites stripped off their ornaments at Mount Horeb.”                                                                                         --Ex. 33:1-6

          Just as in Moses’ day, so today.  The people of God are running wild.  Those who call themselves by Jesus’ Name are out of control, and have become a laughingstock to the world.   His people have risen up to play, consuming themselves with making ornaments to wear.  His chosen people, whom He delivered out of Egypt by His own hand, have grown weary of His simple Ways, and His truth, and carrying out His loving commands, and have cast gods of golden religion, before which they party and carry on like foolish children.
          God’s anger burns against us as it did in Moses’ day against His people.  He is threatening to destroy us, and to find a new people who will listen and obey.
          For the priests--those who are called to minister to God’s people--have become like Aaron, who enabled the sin of the people by offering to take their ornaments and melt them down into an acceptable gospel.  The leaders have become part of the problem.
          Instead of standing firm and teaching the simple Way of Christ, our leaders have taken the ornamental things and festooned the trees and the houses and the buildings with artistic sentiment—creating a golden calf of acceptable religion—and allow and condone the worship of this abomination. 
          Our modern affluent Christianity, whether called Protestant or Catholic, or named by any other name, is this abomination, and bears little or no resemblance to the Good News preached and practiced by the Apostles and the early followers of Jesus.  Our leaders and priests and teachers have become purveyors instead of proclaimers, seeking profit instead of God’s presence.
          What must we do?
          Every man in Christ must go to his knees, and take off the ornaments of this ghastly apostasy, this compromise with the world and its heathen nations, and return to the Lord with weeping.  The ornaments must be stripped away.  These trappings and decorations of modern Christianity actually hide the face of God, and are stumbling blocks to true Christ-like living.  The people of God must repent of their dependence on their worldly ways, their religious ways, and seek the face of God until He relents from sending the calamity He’s planned.
         
          Ornamental Christianity has no place in the Kingdom of God.
         
          What ornamentation did Christ wear?
          A crown of thorns. 
          What religious symbol did Jesus take upon Himself?
          A heavy, rough cross.
          What party did Jesus throw?
          A banquet feast for the poor, the lame, the blind, the sinful.
          What decoration did Jesus wear?
          The imprints of nails in His hands, and the spear wound in His side.
          What joy did Jesus find?
          The true joy in doing His Father’s will.
          What treasure did Jesus save up?
          Riches of love and sacrifice in Heaven.
          Who is our example?
          Jesus.

          God’s true leaders will take Moses’ example and go face to face with God for the people they serve.  Each will intercede for them, praying that God will spare His people in spite of their sin.  And then each must call the people to repentance, just as Moses did.
          God’s true leaders will be willing to take up the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, and speak the truth in love to His people.  To slay false teaching, and false religion, as Moses and his band of Levites killed throughout the camp.  God’s true leaders will be willing to destroy by His Word the ornamentation and sentimentality that has led God’s people into a false sense of security.  God’s true leaders will be willing to follow Jesus, though it may mean standing up against our own brothers and families, our own mothers and fathers, our own sons and daughters.
          God is deciding the future for us now.

“’Now take off your ornaments and I will decide what to do with you.”
--Exodus 33:5

            This sobering statement was given to Moses by the Lord.  We must not think that God has changed through the centuries.  He still expects obedience for His chosen ones, and we are responsible for obeying, no matter who we are.
         

         
         

Sunday, April 23, 2017

MASQUERADE. AN EXCERPT FROM "EVEN THE DEVILS HAVE RELIGION", THE NEW BOOK OF PROPHETIC MESSAGES FROM A. BROTHER.




MASQUERADE.

“…Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 
It is not surprising, then, if his servants
masquerade as servants of righteousness.” 
2 Cor. 11:14,15

          As Paul told the Corinthian ekklesia of God in the passage quoted above, they were already being led astray by smooth-talking professional preachers and teachers who were more interested in securing lucrative and steady employment than in serving Christ by taking up their cross of pain and suffering.  So today, we have a professional clergy that is dedicated to continuing the puny traditions of men, so that they can thrive in steady, salaried, comfortable positions of prominence.
          If Paul were preaching today, he’d be standing against this unholy system of paid prophets and secure shepherds, because he stood against it in his day.
          But today, as always, we have many who do not preach and teach the Jesus of the Bible.  They are fakers and deceivers, deceiving and being deceived, and take many with them down the path of disobedience and confusion.  Our churches in affluent America have gone down this path with alarming speed over the past decades, growing fat and complacent, leaving the elementary truths of God’s Word behind in their love affair with the world and its ways.  
          Our leaders, the so-called shepherds of the flock, have led the way in being deceived, and in accepting the wages of the world....(EXCERPT ONLY)


NOTE: this is one of the key messages in Even the Devils Have Religion, A. Brother's newly published book of prophetic words from Scripture.  Help spread the Word by purchasing a copy through Amazon.com. WE'VE KEPT THE PRICE VERY LOW SO MOST CAN AFFORD IT.

USE THIS DIRECT LINK: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06ZZ9TW5Z

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

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 several years.  The first book in the series is: EVEN THE DEVILS HAVE RELIGION.

This 100 message compilation of God's Word to His people in our modern world is available on Amazon.com via the link at the top right of this page.  Its more than 400 pages are full of both God's lovingkindness and his discipline and warning.  It is thoroughly Biblical, and has not been edited, and is taken straight from blog post to book.

There are thousands of people in dozens of countries around the world who faithfully have reached out and read, downloaded and shared these messages over the past 8 years.  These messages have gone out not only to the US and the UK, but also Russia, South Africa, France, Italy, Japan, China, Indonesia, Australia, Canada, Germany, Singapore, Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt, and many other countries.

The cost has been kept very low to help everyone afford these books.  Please order multiple copies for your friends if you can afford it.  If not, then share your copy with others without worrying about copyright.  I would like to remain anonymous, yet am getting to an advanced age, and must provide for my wife and myself, and would appreciate those who can afford it buying the book through available booksellers.

May God's will be done through His Word in your life. 

In Christ, and may His Kingdom come,
A. Brother

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

RENOUNCE RELIGION. EVEN THE DEVILS HAVE IT.

EVEN THE DEVILS HAVE RELIGION
A. Brother

“Then they asked Him,
‘What must we do to do the works God requires?’ 
Jesus answered,
‘The work of God is this:
to believe in the One He has sent.’”
John 6:28

            The religious want religious answers.  This answer from the lips of the Son of God did not satisfy the religious then, and it will not satisfy you if you want religion now.

          Religion seeks but never finds, because religion rejoices in its own activities, and in the search itself.  Religion wants prescriptions, and lists, and tasks.  Religion wants a clear outline of “minimum standards”. 
          Religion desires a physical house of worship and a creed and an organization.  Religion desires structure and rules. 
          Religion is never the answer, because religion exists to create more structure, and more requirements, and sustains itself through order and repetition. 
          The religious want to do things religiously, which simply means to do something over and over to earn a feeling of absolution or worthiness. 
          The religions of the world exist by teaching that without their religious structure and adherence to their many requirements, no man can know God.
          Religion is what people get when they get what they want. 
          Jesus didn’t come to give what people want, but rather what they need, and what they must have if they would inherit eternal life with God the Father.

          Religion kills.  Religion imprisons.  Religion deceives.  Religion takes people to hell by the trainload.  All man-made religious structures stand worthless and condemned since Christ.          
          The ekklesia of God, the Holy Nation, the Household of God, the Family of God, His Treasured Possession, is made up, not of those who seek religion or religious experience, but those who believe in Jesus with a saving belief, an empowered belief that comes when God the Father draws a person to Jesus.  Nobody can be part of this true Body of Christ on earth except he or she be drawn by the Father.  These called and chosen know Jesus’ voice, and will not follow religion, or any other shepherd.  His sheep know Him, and follow Him only, doing the things He does, having His mind, being led and empowered by His Spirit.
          Does any of this sound like your religion?  If you list your religion as Christianity, and say you are a believer in Jesus because you go to a Christian church building and participate in the activities and services, and because you sometimes read your Bible and even pray, and that makes it so, then you may be entirely deceived, as the religious Jews were in their day.  If you think you are saved because you believe in the “basic principles and precepts” of the Bible, and believe that Jesus is the Christ, please listen. 
          Perhaps your deep discontent, which you express to nobody but your own inner self, is because you know you are not truly experiencing the Christ-life, and abiding in Christ, but are just being a religious ‘Christian’!
          Many of us have been raised in this religion.  Many of us were caught in this religious trap.  Many of us are hearing the voice of Christ, the Word of Christ, for the first time, calling us out from this empty life of observance and spectatorship. 
          Come with us on the only adventure worth having in this life, the Life of Christ lived in us, the fullness of Christ growing in us, the Way, the Truth, and the Life lived out through us.
          If you truly believe, your life will be Christ’s, and He will live in you, and His Spirit will empower you to live a life of love and sacrifice for others as Jesus did.    Remember, even the devils have religion!





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 ...