Monthly Archives: June 2011

Real Circumcision: Hearts Sewn Up With Blue (Part 1)

Brit Milah

Image via Wikipedia

         It is said that the greatest pain known to humanity is childbirth. Or breaking a femur. Yet, I must say for all the males among us that circumcision must rank right up there, though the majority of us partook of the round cut as tiny tots, and blessedly have no memory of the event. Based on this, a spiritual circumcision of the heart can’t be a walk in the park either, or the apostle Paul would not have used such a descriptive illustration.  

         Though there are many good things associated with physical circumcision, especially in the realm of health, God used it to distinguish the ancient Hebrews from heathen nations. It was a mark in flesh denoting the particular people of God. It signified the later New Covenant circumcision of the heart, in that all seed proceeding from a cleansed heart is pure and holy, and takes place by the Spirit of God. It was a viable part of the Mosaic code, and no man who would keep the Law was exempt. Becoming a real covenant man of God thus required serious commitment.

         God said further to Abraham, “Now as for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised. And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you. And every male among you who is eight days old shall be circumcised throughout your generations, a servant who is born in the house or who is bought with money from any foreigner, who is not of your descendants. A servant who is born in your house or who is bought with your money shall surely be circumcised; thus shall My covenant be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. But an uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.” [Genesis 17:9-14]

         Is there any doubt that Abraham wondered if he heard right? “Uh, you want me to do WHAT?” Here was a serious test. Though there were several reasons for God’s command in this area, the greatest was obedience. The next was the understanding that covenant with God would cost, would separate, would distinguish, and would weed out all pretenders. There is no way His people could adopt this practice without a full heart commitment.

         As opposed to most of our current sappy and wrongheaded Christianity, this was serious business. Yet, even circumcision became a mere rite over time. Like so many Christian things we presently do, many have become mere rituals with no heart involvement. It got so bad that the Lord had to make the following statements in the days of Moses:

         “So circumcise your heart, and stiffen your neck no longer.” [Deuteronomy 10:16]

         “Moreover the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live.” [Deuteronomy 30:6]

         Though the Lord established an outward sign in the flesh, He kept trying to make the point that it was meant to also be a sign of an inward change of one’s heart. In a passage that echoes of the future Parable of the Sower, Jeremiah touched on this very topic in his time, speaking to a very wayward Israel:

         “For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem, ‘Break up your fallow ground, and do not sow among thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the LORD and remove the foreskins of your heart, men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, or else My wrath will go forth like fire and burn with none to quench it, because of the evil of your deeds.’” [Jeremiah 4:3-4] [1]

         The keeping of external regulations is worthless if the heart remains unregenerate. Unreal Christians with uncircumcised hearts have mastered the process of acting out their chosen religious forms while turning a deaf ear to God. They violate and rip to shreds the commandment against idolatry. They create a God to suit themselves. With very stiff necks, they obey a false depiction of God and refuse to bend their knee, honor the Name, and give their hearts to the real Lord Jesus. [Part 1 of 2]

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Sacrificial Love: A Shining Witness

abortion crosses

Image by reallyboring via Flickr

         In light of the article I posted last Saturday concerning abortion, let’s look at the other side of the equation. Real Christians do not kill their children. But for those who do, isn’t that their right? It is perfectly legal in this country to kill unborn babies, so those who choose to do so have every right to do so. It is the politically correct thing to do, whether to kill said babies or support their killing.

         There is yet another politically correct move underway at present in trying to banish the use of all tobacco products by Major League baseball players. When I first saw this, I thought, “What? Someone is trying to ban the use of legal products because it sets a bad example?” I don’t use tobacco products of any kind, so I don’t really have a dog in this fight. But as an American, I do not appreciate someone telling another American he or she cannot do something there is no law against. If it’s a moral issue, so be it. But until tobacco use is made illegal through legislation, where to some people get off in attempting to restrict its use?

         Now, it has already been proven that secondary tobacco smoke can kill and cause disease just as it can with the primary user. I don’t want anyone blowing smoke in my face. Therefore, I personally think it’s a good idea to ban tobacco smoke in public places. But snuff and chaw is a different issue. Besides, baseball players are way out there on the field. It is not possible that their disease is catching.

         But kids look up to them! They’re role models! I say that’s a lot of garbage. I’ve been following Major League baseball since the sixties and I have never once dipped snuff or chewed tobacco. I did try my Dad’s unfiltered Pall Mall’s on for size way back then and was cured of smoking very quickly. Baseball never made me a tobacco user. If someone becomes a tobacco user, it is their own personal decision, and the vast majority of kids learn it from their parents. And again, it is legal.

         So what happens if parents want to kill their children? Isn’t that their choice as Americans? The reason the Pro-Life Movement can never gain real steam is because it keeps running into the sad little fact that abortion is legal. No matter what one does, it seems, the powers that be cannot be convinced that they must end the practice. The reason is because Americans in general don’t want to end the practice. Abortion could be made illegal again very quickly if the majority of Americans got on the bandwagon and got after it. But they don’t. The nation in general just doesn’t care.

         Why then, should Christians care? Americans (and many professed Christians) love abortion, fornication, adultery, drugs, pornography, greed, excessive alcohol use, foul language, lying, materialism, disrespect of their fellow man, blatant idolatry, and murder. And the great vast majority of all people murdered in this country are tiny, innocent babies. These are just facts. They can’t be denied. It may make some people very uncomfortable, but that’s just the way it is. It is what America has become. This is how Americans use their free will, and almost all of it is perfectly legal. You wanna sleep around? No one’s gonna stop you. Kill your unborn kid? Legal. Use tobacco and alcohol excessively? Legal. Just don’t drive under the influence. Tell lies to your heart’s content? Deceive like there’s no tomorrow? Legal. Treat others like garbage as long as you don’t break any laws? No problem.

         But what about:

         “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” [Matthew 22:36-40] [1]

         Well, these only apply to those real disciples who have committed their lives to the Lord Jesus. They don’t apply to anyone else. We still have about a billion laws in this country that are there for various reasons, but God’s laws only apply to those who have submitted to God. You can’t force people to obey God. The great thing about this country is that it is still a place of great personal freedom, though it is not anywhere close to being as free as it used to be. If people want to thumb their nose at God, He’s not going to drop everything and get ‘em. At the end of the day we each have the right to sin up a storm, do whatever the heck we want, and let the chips fall where they may.

         We also have the right to serve God. In this light, things would probably go better for us Christians if we would get our own lives together and quit trying to force non-disciples or faux Christians to toe the mark. One’s Christian witness, whether okay, kind of good, pretty good, or real good, is what others will see first. Though it is definitely a process, and there is always room for improvement, the love of the Lord is the answer as demonstrated through our lives. The Lord loved sacrificially. We must do the same.

         Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. [Ephesians 5:1-5]

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

National Injustice: The Ongoing Legal Murder of American Innocents

         From whence is the moral prerogative of a government that allows the killing of fifty million unborn babies? How can judgment be properly pronounced when such incredible injustice is allowed to occur? How can any judgment put forth by our courts even be considered just when the most innocent and helpless of our society are butchered on a daily basis? The fact is, American justice is no longer the beacon of justice it once was. No one has the right to make moral judgments if they agree with the killing of innocents. It is very interesting that some will fight furiously to protect the practicing of specific and causal sinful activity while also fighting for the practice of mass murder.

         Oh, right. It’s not mass murder. An unborn baby is just a gob of flesh and fluid. Yet many, many premature babies, some born months early, have survived into adulthood and are perfectly healthy. There is no need in this short article to delve into all the statistics that continually refute the arguments of the baby killer advocates. The point is, infants are being killed left and right with no remedy. There is no justice for them.

         Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi. Then what had been spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “A VOICE WAS HEARD IN RAMAH, WEEPING AND GREAT MOURNING, RACHEL WEEPING FOR HER CHILDREN; AND SHE REFUSED TO BE COMFORTED, BECAUSE THEY WERE NO MORE.” [Matthew 2:16-18]

         This terrible historical incident was perpetrated by an evil idiot intent on protecting his throne from a possible usurper, who just happened to be a baby. There is no complete data to give one a complete picture of the carnage, but suffice it to say that many hundreds and perhaps thousands of innocent youngsters were put to the sword by government decree.

         Baby killing has only been legal in this great country for less than forty years, and again, over fifty million have been killed. And it appears that no one cares. Presidents refuse to stand up for them. The Supreme Court has turned their back on them. The House of Representatives has done effectively nothing in their defense. Where should the innocents turn? Who will fight on their behalf? There are many organizations in the country advocating for their cause and against the right to murder the unborn, but so far, our government remains unconvinced. Our government continues to allow the practice. We the People keep sending representatives to Washington D.C. and nothing ever happens.

         The simple fact is not enough people care. The heart of this nation has grown cold to their plight.

         “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.” [Matthew 24:7-12]

         The national media has very successfully hidden the holocaust of babies. Laws have been passed to limit the advocating of life. Innocent advocates of the unborn have been robbed of their constitutional rights, penalized, fined, and even imprisoned. It has become ever more difficult to shine a light on the wicked practice. But a light is shining. The question before us remains, however—will we as a nation ever come out of our darkness? The blood of fifty million innocents cries out to God for justice. Their lives were shattered and ruined. They will never have the opportunity to live as we do.

         The LORD descended in the cloud and stood there with him as he called upon the name of the LORD. Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished… [Exodus 34:5-7] [1]

          There’s a slow train coming. Judgment is on the way. National repentance is the only cure.

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

The Apostles’ Foundation: The One Household of God

         It is impossible to serve the Lord without being a dedicated disciple. According to many, however, serving God is a relatively simple thing. Wimpy Christianity has largely become accepted practice in America, in which mere human virtue is put forth to carry the day. “Salvation” now often comes by works or simply by being a member of the correct denomination or church. Yet true Biblical salvation will cost everything. Grace is free, but the new birth demands total surrender and obedience to God.

         “Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great.” [Luke 6:47-49]

         The majority of Christians build on the wrong foundation. Real disciples build on the right one.

         So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. [Ephesians 2:19-22]

         The above passage, penned by the apostle Paul, presents an excellent illustration of the Body of Christ, or House of the Lord. Notice that there is only one foundation? One household? One building? One dwelling place of God? The prophets led the way. John the Immerser was the last of the OT prophets. He prepared the new way of the Lord. The Lord brought a new covenant. The apostles took the teachings of the prophets as part of the new foundation, they themselves were the other part, and the Lord Jesus was the Cornerstone that made the whole thing work.

         The apostles’ teaching, as put forth in the Book of Acts, was acquired from the Lord during His ministry. There was only one community then. There were no denominations. Everyone in that early community was filled with the Spirit of God, as mentioned by Paul in his letter to the Ephesians. All one must do to understand the apostles’ foundation is study their history. They were not working against one another. Each one of them was preaching the same message.

         It was not until later and throughout the Church Age that their foundational message was fractured, discarded, fought against, and emasculated—by “Christians.” Hence, we presently have Christianity in many different and often competing forms. Where then, is “The One Household of God?” Is every “Christian” on the planet a member of God’s household in some mysterious non-descript way?

         And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For this is contained in Scripture: “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER stone, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, “THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER stone,” and, “A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE”; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed. But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY. Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. [1 Peter 2:4-11] [1]

         The preceding passage in no way speaks of some form of wimpy Christianity or an easy way. Instead, it speaks of a single unified body made that way through the very strict discipleship of the Lord, that of the prophets and apostles, and that of every single chosen member.

         We have drifted. We have gone soft. That’s in part why there are so many idiots with false gospels in the world. The Book of Acts brings us back on course. The foundation of the apostles and prophets distinguishes the real household of faith from all imposters. The symbology is clear—there is only one Precious Cornerstone. He exists as both the chief Rock of the foundation and the prototypical example and blueprint from which the house is being built. As the Alpha and Omega—the First and the Last—the Beginning and the End, He both anchors and caps off The One Household of God.

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Beware the Tare: False Messiahs, False Apostles, False Prophets, and False Teachers

         Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.”’” [Matthew 13:24-30]

         Tares are otherwise known as darnel, or wild wheat. It is indistinguishable from real wheat in its early stages. By the time one notices its presence it is too late to uproot, since uprooting the darnel will essentially destroy the wheat crop. This bearded darnel was common in the land at that time and resembled wheat, except the grains were dark. The farmer knew the difference. The wheat knew the difference. Close observers would notice the difference. Most others would see no difference at all. This is why the farther one gets from the Lord, the more likely one will be deceived. 

         The fake wheat was planted while the men were sleeping…  

         “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you in advance.” [Matthew 24:24-25]

         While the Lord certainly does miracles, the devil is no slouch at it. His are merely deceptive works made to look like the real thing, and gullible people fall for his tricks time and again. It is sad that many Christians are so starved of a real move of the Lord’s Spirit that they desperately cling to lying wonders and wonder-working shysters. It is relatively simple to be a false Christian or false Christian minister nowadays, since so many Christians are so easily deceived and manipulated. Yet, the Lord did not leave us without a very clear warning.

         At present, there’s a truckload of false ministers and ministry organizations. These people profess to be serving God but are actually serving themselves, in large part. Their ministry models, ultra-organizations, and blatant hierarchies look nothing like the first century model of the Lord Jesus, His apostles, and the early believers. These people have a different agenda, and many of them are completely deceived. As in the old dictum, though they may be sincere, they are sincerely wrong.  

         For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds. [2 Corinthians 11:13-15]

         There is only one Lord, Messiah, and King. There is only one community of saints. There is only one Gospel. It is all spelled out in Scripture. It is there for anyone to seek and discover. The Lord has always blessed with real apostles, prophets, and teachers, but has made allowances for counterfeits.    

         But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. [2 Peter 2:1-3] [1]

         We exist in days of very strong deception. Wild wheat is everywhere. Anyone can be deceived at any time. Beware of counterfeits. Beware the tare.

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Related article:

Unbelieving Disciples (Mass Majority)

         “But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.” As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. [John 6:64-66]

         The Lord was constantly weeding out unbelievers. These were people with apparently sincere hearts who disagreed with Him, but such disagreements never came up until He taught on a certain subject. Until then, they liked Him. Afterwards, they left Him.

         As in the case of Gideon’s 32,000 being whittled down to 300, most disciples never make the cut.

         Some may think the Lord was severely hurting His own cause by being such a stickler for correct teaching. Here was a Man who put the detail in detail-oriented. Why didn’t He just leave well enough alone and give certain followers the benefit of the doubt?

         Churches are formed around certain beliefs. Various Christian churches and groups have various beliefs. Over many decades, distinct denominations have been formed that hold strictly to their bylaws. Each thinks it is correct. Each thinks other Christian bodies are wrong in some respect, or at the very least, that they are different. The Lord did not create denominations. He created ONE body of believers.

         “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” [Luke 6:46]

         It is good when we as Christians can relate to other Christians, though our points of commonality are often few. Yet, the Lord Jesus did not care about merely reaching some mere modicum of agreement. Instead, He was only concerned with getting everyone on the same page, the same single page—His Page. Going down His list of requirements, believers and churches okay certain bullet points but invariably reject others. If enough rebellious people can gather as a group, however, they collectively find comfort in their rebellion. “This is the way we believe,” they may say.

         The Lord never gave anyone the option of creating his or her own group apart from His full requirements. It was always, and remains always, His way or the highway. As followers of the Lord Jesus, we will either do everything He says and obey all his teachings, or we will only obey a portion.

         Partial obedience is okay if done in ignorance, though one must rest assured that the Lord will go to war against such ignorance and bring a full revelation of truth if the disciple is willing. Christians are comforted by thinking the Lord will cut corners in their case, or in the case of loved ones. No one knows a human heart but the Lord. Yet, the evidence of what is in one’s heart cannot be hidden when the Lord shows up. The more His presence is manifested, the greater His light will shine on error and disobedience.

         “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” [John 3:19-21]

         The light of God shines on all darkness, regardless of type. It is interesting that the Christian proponents of greater spiritual light often fight the greatest battles against those who would rather protect and defend the darkness they’ve chosen for themselves. At the end of the age, as now, unreal Christians will greatly outnumber real Christians.

         So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” [John 6:67] [1]

         The Lord’s curriculum is much more difficult and demanding than we have been led to believe. It costs us everything. It is only for the fully committed and dedicated. For the comparative few who decide to enter the narrow gate (The Door), and proceed down the difficult narrow road (The Way), their hardship and suffering will always be accompanied by spiritual victories and the presence of the Lord Himself. They will abide in His love, their joy will be full, and they will persevere to the end.

         All others are religious pretenders and unbelieving disciples, and will eventually flake off.

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

The Spirit and Power of John and Elijah

         People desire that which is real. We’ve been faking our Christianity for a very long time in this country, and it has taken a severe toll. Congregants pine away on pews, though with a stiff upper lip and feigned smile. Most know their hearts are not being touched nor their souls fulfilled but carry on as if their duty is to expect far less than what the Lord promised.

         I came that they may have life…

         After so many years of going through mere motions and never seeing their heart’s desire, Christians get old and weary in their soul. It’s as if a promise was made in the distant past that never came true and never will, but many still long for it anyway, defeated within but ever-dutiful without.

         Do we ever expect another Pentecost? A Great Awakening? A powerful revival that rocks the core of society and thousands upon thousands come to the Lord? Why did such things happen in the past but not now? What did those guys do that was all that different? What are we not doing?

         Well, let’s see. They obeyed. They wanted the will of God more than anything else. They had an incredible burden for souls. They travailed and interceded like there was no tomorrow. They were dead serious. They would not be denied.

         They hit the devil right between the eyes.

         “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ palaces! But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and one who is more than a prophet.” [Matthew 11:7-9]

         John the Immerser set the spiritual tone for the Lord’s ministry. He turned Israel on its ear. Even the hoity-toity evil-hearted religionists were coming out to get baptized. They were scared on the inside but remained jerks on the outside. They knew full well that John’s ministry was of God. Yet John refused to have anything to do with them. He never went to their synagogues. He never hung out in their cities. He would remain in the wilderness and not be affected by all their hypocritical garbage. His job was to prepare the way and it was the most difficult of tasks. Therefore, he stayed clean and pure and powerfully anointed. He had absolutely no fear.

         Those who would repent made the trek out of societal and religious nonsense. They put forth all the required effort to go out to the wilderness. They heard his great preaching and appreciated his no-nonsense manner. Their spirit rose within them: This is what we need!

         “It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” [Luke 1:17] [1]

         This is what we need. It is what the Lord always supplies if it be the cry of our heart. John was not Elijah, but he had the same incredible prophetic anointing. Such a great anointing always precedes great movements of the Spirit of the Lord.

         Look around. Is there a genuine non-counterfeit prophetic anointing indicative of John the Immerser or Elijah the prophet “out in the wilderness” somewhere near you? If so, the Lord will be coming to your place, and maybe soon. It’s a matter of proper preparation and His perfect timing. He always goes where He is welcome, though it seems such welcomes are in short supply… 

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Here Comes the Ark (Part 4)

         Proper sacrifice was the answer. Repentance is the first part of the equation. The circumcision of the heart is at the heart of the New Testament. The preaching of the cross is core, foundational, at the nucleus thereof, and points directly to what salvation entails. Without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. [Hebrews 9:22]

         One does not often hear about the cleansing blood of the Lord Jesus so much anymore. It is not so seeker-friendly. People are put off by it, pretty much the same way most people would rather never be reminded of over fifty million unborn American babies ripped from the womb and literally thrown in the trash.

         The crucifixion of the Lord is not pretty, but His perfect sacrifice remains the most beautiful thing anyone has ever done or will ever do. It was the greatest and best offering ever made. His death brings our life, if we so choose. In Part 3, David discovered the secret of repentance. He discovered the proper protocol. He understood that sacrifice must precede the presence of God. No one is saved without real repentance. It is impossible.

         There is no new birth without a surrendering of the life that resulted from the first birth.

         You must be born again [John 3:7]. All great movements of God over the last twenty centuries have been preceded by heart-changing individual repentance, including the Great Awakenings in America.

         In the initial event of the Church Age, the 120 real believers who gathered together at Pentecost were exactly on time and properly prepared. It had been ten days since the Lord Jesus had ascended to heaven. Ten is the Biblical number of ordinal perfection or testing. It is readily apparent that not everyone gathered at the beginning remained until the big day. For those who did, they had fully repented and prepared themselves. Such individuals had bowed the knee to the Lord and confessed His glorious Name, and this resulted in the beginning of an incredible worldwide movement that continues to the present.

         According to the Hebrew calendar, today is Erev Shavuot. Wednesday morning, June 8, is the morning of Pentecost, the official anniversary of that bright dawn when the community of the Lord Jesus burst forth on the scene in unity and power 2000 years ago. The apostle Peter then preached a message containing the very truth the 120 had obeyed and what would be required for the movement to continue. He spoke of the death and resurrection of the Messiah. Under great conviction, voices from the crowd asked, “Brethren, what shall we do?” The first thing Peter said was, “Repent.”

         There has always been much theological discussion about when the blood of the Lord Jesus is applied, but there should not be. The cleansing blood of the Lord is applied at real repentance. When David sacrificed the ox and fatling at the rebirth of the procession, he understood this. A Christianity without repentance is a faux Christianity. A Christianity without the preaching and teaching of the shed blood of our Savior is worthless and dead, regardless of any other factor. It is impossible to properly recognize, worship, and glorify God without mentioning His cleansing blood on our behalf. Those Christian bodies and groups who understand this and act accordingly are blessed with His presence, just as the city of Jerusalem was 3000 years ago. Those who don’t, aren’t.

         Then it happened as the ark of the LORD came into the city of David that Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart. [2 Samuel 6:16]

         Uh oh.

         As always, the previous generation resists a new move of God. Saul had grown to hate and despise David, and had acquired bad spirits as a result of his hatred and resistance. Every time the Lord does something “new” it is resisted by the previous generation of His own people. Why would Michal suddenly turn against David? She was one of his wives, and had previously promoted him. There are several possible reasons:

(1) She did not think it proper for a king to behave in such an undignified manner.

(2) She thought he was unduly grabbing the spotlight.

(3) She still resented him for his rise to power at the expense of her father.

(4) She thought dancing was only for dancehalls and weird churches.

         The predominant reason, of course, is that she despised God because she had an irreverent unrepentant heart. She opposed a life-giving move of God and was greatly offended at the actions of her husband, who seemed to violate all the laws of man’s protocol, both civil and religious. She preferred a controlled religion of decorum, dogma, and duty. The tares fight against the wheat. The goats fight against the sheep. The unreal fight against the real. Religious people killed the Lord. They killed Stephen. Millions of real believers have been killed since. Why?

         It is simple: Those who refuse to die to themselves and bring a proper sacrifice end up killing their brother instead.

         So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground. Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” And he said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” [Genesis 4:3-9] [1]

         When the Ark was coming into Jerusalem, however, the circumstances were such that Michal was greatly outvoted. In fact, she knew this and therefore despised David somewhat secretly in her heart, at least for the moment, though she may have been staring darts. The city as a whole was celebrating. Jerusalem had properly prepared itself. David corrected his mistakes. He discovered God’s proper protocol. He no longer resisted the move of God or tried to control it. Instead, he jumped into it joyfully with both feet—literally! So must it be for us also, if we really want the actual loving and powerful presence of God in our lives, both individually and in collective unity on this eve of Pentecost. [Part 4 of 4]

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Here Comes the Ark (Part 3)

David Dances as the Ark Enters Jerusalem

         In Part 2 we learned that Jerusalem was not prepared for the manifest presence of God, any more than many Christian congregations and groups in America are ready. David’s original plan was well-intentioned but not even close to the Lord’s protocol. It seems that in our many and varied attempts to do something for God, we fail to inquire of God, either whether we should do a particular thing, or regarding the method we employ in doing it.

         It was fortunate for David and the nation of Israel that Uzzah was the only one killed. It was also fortunate that a Philistine convert named Obed-edom had a proper heart for the Lord. As a result, the Ark of the Covenant stayed at his house for a full three months while the heart of Jerusalem was prepared. The day came at last to continue the glorious procession.

         David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom into the city of David with gladness. And so it was, that when the bearers of the ark of the LORD had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling. [2 Samuel 6:12-13]     

         They had only gone a mere six paces before a fitting sacrifice was made. It was obvious someone had done their homework. Uzzah lost his life on account of his irreverence toward God. The episode reflected on David, though he had orchestrated a parade of worship and praise from the beginning. What he had not done at the beginning was make any kind of sacrifice to God.

         Our churches are often filled with wonderful praise music and worshipful hearts every Sunday morning. But what about sacrifice? Sacrifice is representative of repentance. Though all looks fairly good on the surface, our congregations are often filled with uncircumcised hearts and unrepentant attitudes. The presence of sin, disobedience, and a lack of reverence for the Lord Jesus often causes a muted meeting comprised of going through religious motions and largely leaving the way we came.

         David got the big idea. Six paces is not a very long stretch. Six is the Biblical number of man. It was at that point that an ox and a fatling were sacrificed. One wonders if it was one of the oxen originally pulling the cart upon which the Ark rested. The point, however, that the Biblical account portends, is that there will be no actual presence of God without repentance. We may receive an emotional lift or some other such thing in our meetings that may feel right, but without proper repentance it is a mere counterfeit traded for the real presence of God.

         Once the sacrifice was made, the procession resumed.

         And David was dancing before the LORD with all his might, and David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel were bringing up the ark of the LORD with shouting and the sound of the trumpet. [2 Samuel 6:14-15] [1]

         The Ark of the Covenant had never been to Jerusalem. It was a triumphant entry. David had prepared not only a proper dwelling place for the Ark according to the Mosaic law, a tent, but also prepared his own heart and the heart of the people. Though David was the king, he was not parading through the streets of the city as some ego-driven potentate, along the lines of most political and Christian leaders, but as a man demonstrating his correct heart condition and position. He knew his place. He was no better than anyone else.

         It was the Lord God who was King! And the Lord would be honored and reverenced properly and completely. David’s act of dancing with all his might with no pompous clothing or attitude was in perfect keeping with what we must give the Lord. God is worthy of our praise, but our praise is worthless without our entire heart and without full repentance. Imagine the incredible and far-reaching moves of God we can have in the present only by learning and practicing these simple truths. The good news is we are on the way, but there still remains opposition. For we have met the enemy, and it is us. [Part 3 of 4]

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.