Monthly Archives: September 2011

Happy Rosh Hashanah 2011

A shofar made from a ram's horn is traditional...

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         This is a great time of year. The Jewish New Year starts tonight at sunset. This is known as Rosh Hashanah, the “Head of the Year.” It is a traditional time for a new beginning, and those who take it seriously know that God still uses His calendar.

        For example, biblical scholars know that the spring feasts have already been fulfilled. The Lord Jesus was the spotless Passover Lamb and then rose again from death on First fruits. He was the first perfect offering ever made, in that He had no sin, but became sin on our behalf:

         He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. [2 Corinthians 5:21]

         The Feast of Pentecost was also fulfilled fifty days later. It originally marked the day the Torah was given through Moses on Mount Sinai, But instead of Law, Pentecost established a day of Love and reconciliation for the simple fact that a long list of do’s and don’t’s without faith merely reveal the perfect standard by which we must live. The infilling of the Spirit of God grants us the power and the ability to live:

         You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory? [2 Corinthians 3:2-8]

         Many Jewish rabbis teach that the Old Testament actually speaks of two Messiahs. One Messiah was known as the “Son of Joseph” and would come to earth in the person of a suffering servant. The second Messiah was known as the “Son of David” and would burst onto the scene as a powerful conquering king. Some did not perceive that these two were actually the same Messiah, and many Jews in the first century misidentified the Lord as an imposter because He was not the conquering king they were looking for. Yet, the Scriptures are filled with the idea of going downward to go upward. Humility must precede exaltation. If one cannot handle the former, there will be no latter. The Lord Jesus fulfilled this perfectly. He arrived as the Sacrifice Lamb to pay for sin 2,000 years ago as a suffering servant and will soon return again as the great King of Kings.

         And it will be in the autumn of the year.

        Pay attention to Rosh Hashanah, which runs from sunset on Wednesday night, September 28, to sunset on Thursday night. Ten days later is the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). It begins at sunset on October 7. These are the ten “Days of Awe” when real believers should take a serious and renewed look at our walk with God, engage in spiritual introspection, repent of sin, and do our best to present a pure sacrifice on Yom Kippur. What follows is the Feast of Tabernacles (Booths), or Sukkot. It is a seven-day feast commemorating the time the Hebrews lived in temporary shelters in the Sinai desert.

         This time in autumn was in all likelihood the actual time of our Lord’s birth and will also mark the season of His return! Sukkot has not yet been fulfilled. We get a tantalizing clue regarding the Lord’s physical birth in the following:

         And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. [John 1:14]

         The usage of the word “dwelt” in the above passage indicates the fact that the Lord tabernacled among us, in a temporary shelter, spreading His tent, so to speak. He also spent forty days here after His resurrection in His glorified state, and ascended to heaven bodily ten days before Pentecost.

         The Scriptures indicate that He will most likely return during a future Feast of Tabernacles, and will then set up a permanent dwelling for all:

        “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” [John 14:2-3] [1]

         The Lord Jesus will return very soon. May we all prepare our hearts this Rosh Hashanah.

         © 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.

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The Cleansing Blood of God (Part 2)

         It was through the sacrificial death of the spotless Lamb that God’s cleansing blood was shed to atone for all the sins of humanity. The author of Hebrews goes to great lengths to establish the fact that the blood of sacrificial animals could never atone for sin, but that these things were mere types of the only real blood sacrifice offered once by Messiah.

         But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

         For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. [Hebrews 9:11-16]

         For the Jews who did not believe that the Lord Jesus was the Messiah, their “salvation” could only come through the perfect keeping of the Mosaic Code, an actual impossibility. The Torah is perfect, of course, but impossible to keep properly without faith and the introduction of God’s Spirit. Besides, the Jerusalem Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. and the requisite animal sacrifices have not been administered since, going on 2,000 years. How then can one be cleansed without the Lamb of God? Within forty years of the Blood Covenant, those who rejected the Sacrifice Lamb lost everything as a result. Everything. Those who believed and signed on gained everything (See Mark 10:29-30). 

         Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. [Hebrews 10:19-22]

         The apostle Peter had been instructed of all this by the Lord Jesus, and it is why he delivered a message on the Day of Pentecost featuring these very ideas:

1. Faith in God

2. Repentance (Death)

3. Water Baptism (Burial)

4. The infilling of the Holy Spirit (Resurrection)

         “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.” Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” [Acts 2:36-39]

         The Jews hearing this message knew exactly what Peter was saying. God had been manifest in flesh. He had dwelt among them. YHWH showed up on the scene as per all the many prophecies of their ancient scrolls, and in their ignorance they killed Him. Why do so many Christians continue to do the same by not recognizing who the Lord Jesus really is? He is not merely a “second” Person of a Roman Triad, but our great God and Savior who willingly shed His blood for our salvation. He has fulfilled perfectly His half of the New Covenant, and awaits all those who would fulfill their half by accepting and honoring Him for who He really is, by submitting to heart circumcision, and by obeying Him unto life.

         “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying. “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” [Revelation 22:12-16] [1]

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 2 of 2]


[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 POSTS:

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

Real Circumcision: Hearts Sewn Up With Blue (Part 2)

The Cleansing Blood of God (Part 1)

Jesus

The NAME Above Every Name

         Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. [Acts 20:28]   

         In his message at Miletus, while on his fateful way to Jerusalem, the apostle Paul clearly states that the Lord Jesus is YHWH, the God of the Old Testament. It is a hard concept to grasp. The apostle John also explained this very well in his Gospel. Being monotheistic Jews, as were (1) All the apostles, (2) All the 120 gathered on Pentecost, and (3) The entire community of saints for about the first seven to ten years of its existence, both Paul and John clearly revealed the fact that God became a Man.

         There was absolutely no thought or concept among Jews that God was a multiplicity of divine persons, and the very idea was heresy. This was one of the main reasons why so many Jews had such a hard time believing in the Lord Jesus as their Messiah. As the world’s only monotheists, they knew there was only one God. Therefore, they knew the apostles were claiming their one God YHWH had become one of them—a very hard concept to grasp, though the Old Testament Scriptures were filled with such prophetic fact, most notably perhaps, in the scroll of Isaiah:

         For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. [Isaiah 9:6]  

         A great, great number of Jews did believe that Jesus was the One mentioned above, however, because their hearts were right, and because they were not looking upon their God through the philosophical prism of Greco-Roman mindbenders.

         Acts 20:28 clearly states that it is God’s very blood that He used to purchase His community. God takes possession of each and every real believer through His blood. This is why the New Covenant is the ultimate blood covenant. Not only does God’s pure and perfect blood cleanse us from all sin, it is essentially the currency He uses to rightfully and legally obtain us.

         Paul referred to the Lord Jesus as YHWH many times, as seen in the following verses. Though he states a clear distinction between Father and Son, he distinguishes neither from the God of the Old Testament Himself. This is not simply a matter of semantics, and our Lord Jesus is not merely a mythical, theological “eternal Son.”

         He is God:

         For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen. [Romans 9:3-5]

         He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s [1] good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. [Colossians 1:15-20]

         Regarding theological concepts of the Person of God, Paul knew well that intellectuals and purveyors of cold rationality would attempt to form a god of their own understanding rendered through pure mental reasoning and head knowledge, and bypassing the heart:     

         See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. [Colossians 2:8-12]

         Speaking of water baptism, there was no such thing as “title” baptism (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) in the original community of saints throughout the entire Book of Acts and New Testament epistles. All baptism was by full immersion in the Name above all names—the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul reflected this fact in the passage above after claiming that YHWH came to earth and dwelt among us in human form, that our Lord Jesus is the supreme head over all authority and rule, that all real believers undergo the circumcision of Christ, and that all Scriptural water baptism is done in His Name. He also said God resurrected His own dead human body, which is exactly what the Lord Jesus said He would do:

         “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” [John 2:19] [2]

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 1 of 2]


[1] Italicized words in the NASV95 New Testament are not in the original Greek text. Hence the word “Father” does not appear at this place in this passage.

[2] 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 Singing Nun

         She became internationally famous in 1963 with her smash hit Dominique, and appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in early January of the next year. I happened to be attending a Catholic grade school at the time and still remember “The Singing Nun.”

         She was known in her native Belgium as Soeur Sourire, “Sister Smile.” Wearing her full flowing nun’s habit strumming her acoustic guitar, she represented well the innocent early sixties. Little did any of us know when the song came out that those days would soon end forever. Until then, we were idealistic and sheltered, and the Singing Nun added to that mystique in the short time she was famous. She was certainly a hit with Catholics, and at my school in particular.

         It was a good song, I guess, though we had no idea what she was singing about. The foreign flavor of her accent was not necessarily a new thing to us Catholic kids, since we were taught by heavily-accented Irish nuns who still used words like “Ye.” (I remember one kid asking, “Who’s Ye?”) I had forgotten about the song until something reminded me a few weeks ago, and the catchy tune came back to me very clearly, almost fifty years later. Today, on a whim, I decided to see if there was a video of the song retrievable on the net and was surprised at what I found. I listened once again and did a little research into her life.

         Her real name was Jeanine Deckers. I discovered that the profits of the song she wrote were divvied up between her convent and the record producer, who retained the rights. She was an international star but received nothing since her life was dedicated to her order. A movie was made starring Debbie Reynolds, which Jeanine claimed was pure fiction. She eventually left her order and the Catholic Church entirely. Her worldview changed. She tried hard to make it as a singer but was forever a one-hit wonder. Though she had a very promising start and continued in charitable causes, life later dealt her a very bad hand.

         There is no doubt that she had grown very disillusioned early on. The song was rightfully hers and maintaining at least some of the control and profits could have substantially changed her life. In 1982, in an effort to pay off substantial debts, the former Singing Nun created a video using a heavily synthesized version of the song. I laughed out loud when I heard it, but that was before I knew the circumstances. I then realized the setting was eerily fitting.

         Three years later, at 51 years of age, she committed suicide.

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

Ten Years After: Remembering 9/11

Manhattan smoke plume on September 11, 2001 from the International Space Station

        

         We talk about the brave firemen who climbed the stairs up to their deaths. They did not know they would die. There was no thought that the towers would come down. They were courageously doing their jobs to rescue people.

         We talk about how our government protected us, but nobody did anything about three of the four planes. It was as if we had no defense against them. Jet fighters were scrambled too late. Despite a massive defensive infrastructure against such a possible attack, there was effectively no air defense at all. Most never thought Washington D.C. could ever be attacked by air, especially not the Pentagon. Surely, whoever or whatever came close would be intercepted or blown out of the sky.

         But nothing happened. A plane flew directly into the north face of the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 AM. There was nothing to stop it. Nothing. There was a complete breakdown and failure to protect thousands of innocent people. Depending on the source, the initial two F-15 interceptors took off at the time the first strike occurred or minutes later. Then, incredulously, unbelievably, a second commercial airliner flew directly into the south face of the South Tower on live TV at 9:03 AM. Not only was the first plane not stopped, but the second plane also completed its mission completely unhindered seventeen minutes later.

         One may think the first plane somehow got through in a surprise attack, because such had never happened before and no one expected it. But the second plane? On television? With everybody watching? By that time much of the country was aware of the incident and was monitoring the situation closely, watching a multitude of channels, listening to probably many more by radio, and communicating by telephone.

         That’s how I found out. A friend called me on the phone. The first thing I thought was… How is this possible? It seemed otherworldly. The television commentators were somewhat subdued, speaking in low, even tones for the most part. I watched the towers burning, not sure how it was possible that this happened. Was there no effort to stop it?

         Then I remembered a 60 minutes story I had seen sometime prior to 9/11 about the lax security at our airports. A man had repeatedly tested the system and discovered he could get almost anything through the checkpoints. It was simple for him. To bring any kind of contraband or worse on board a plane was relatively easy. It was so easy he was alarmed. He repeatedly told authorities what he had done on several occasions in a failed attempt to beef up security.

         And nobody cared. No one listened. He was on 60 minutes talking about a major security breach at our national airports and couldn’t get to first base in his attempt to get anyone to do anything about it. Part of the reason was that it was the 1990’s. Our national mindset was on making money. The economy was cooking. We wanted nothing in the way to slow our efforts or stop the party. Lax security at our airports was one of the major symptoms that led to 9/11, but few ever talk about it…

         Our air defense on that morning obviously failed, yet there are many conflicting reports that remain unanswered that have consequently spawned alternative theories. Did they get the call too late? Were hands tied because of innocents onboard? Did authorities hesitate? Look at the evidence. Even after the twin towers were attacked, one would think someone somewhere would have gotten the big idea.

         Then, at 9:37 AM, the Pentagon was hit. Hello! Anyone there? Weren’t we supposed to have people whose job it was to protect us from such events? Or do we insist on saying there was absolutely no defense against it? (I’m sorry. There is nothing we can do. We have no defense against this. Terrorists managed to somehow find the one tiny little miniscule place through which they could get through our defenses and attack us. There is nothing we can do but hide under our desks and run to bunkers. They got the jump on us. There is nothing we can do…)

         Really? Maybe one plane. But two? Three? Over a period of 51 minutes? Then the fourth plane crashed in Pennsylvania at 10:03 AM (according to the 9/11 Commission), and the official story is that the terrorists on board were attacked by courageous passengers. This means there was still no effective response against even that plane an hour and seventeen minutes after the North Tower was struck.

         Ask yourself a question: If I was on one of the doomed planes being held hostage by little men with box cutters, would I simply remain in my seat as I flew toward my certain death with no resistance whatsoever?

         The terrorists were greatly outnumbered on each plane. Officially, all they had were box cutters for weapons. In reality, according to passenger reports and radio transmissions, they had knives and bombs. Did the passengers think they were merely being hijacked, would eventually land somewhere, and didn’t think their lives were in danger? Is that the explanation for their trusting and placid behavior? Just do what we say and nobody gets hurt?

         Of course, the pilots must have resisted. There is no way they would give up their ships against little men with tiny knives. Did the passengers sit quietly because the pilots were already dead and no one else knew how to fly the plane? What if the pilots had been properly armed? If so, there was a great chance the attacks could have been prevented and thousands of lives could have been saved. But armed pilots were banned two months before 9/11.

         Why was there no defense from any front inside or outside against the attack? Why were airline passengers left to fend for themselves? And why are there no voices against the extreme negligence of those who should have protected the country from irreparable harm on that day? Firemen ventured far up into doomed buildings to rescue people. Many others put their lives on the line. There are tales of great heroes who saved lives that morning. Did these not live out the great love spoken of by the Lord?

         “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” [John 15:13] [1]  

         Someone should have been fired. Many should have been fired. Whole departments should have been fired. Our government was completely unprepared. It offered no resistance whatsoever to a determined enemy. America was caught sleeping. Within days, there was mention of the dreaded word conspiracy. Since then, millions of people have questioned the official story, including very influential and highly credible people

         Despite remaining questions, today is a day to honor heroes. It marks a time of somber reflection on the unprecedented events of September 11, 2001. It is a day of remembering the many courageous and innocent people that were lost. But it is also a day of continuing to wonder how and why 9/11 ever happened in the first place, and why a far worse attack began shortly thereafter—the war against our American liberties and especially the dissolution of Fourth Amendment rights through ultra-surveillance and, ironically, such things as intrusive airport body scans and enhanced pat downs. What would George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson think of such developments?

         Was the aftermath of 9/11 a gross overreaction against sinister outside forces and governmental incompetence, or is there another explanation? One thing is certain. Ten years after, for some who’d love to change the world, certain people knew exactly what to do.

         © 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.

Cruel To Be Kind: Destroy Your Life to Save It

         God is not so interested in how a sinful world perceives His children. It seems as though He is not so interested in our credibility. He will probably not bless our attempt to become a successful and respectable member of society. If one is already a solid secular citizen within one’s chosen social and business circle, as opposed to being a member in good standing within His kingdom, it was most likely achieved without His help.

         And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? For what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” [Mark 8:34-38]

         The word “lose” in the above passage is from a Greek word that means to utterly destroy. In other words, to save one’s life one must destroy one’s life. One must destroy the old before the new can come forth. Demolition precedes construction. Winter precedes spring. Night precedes the dawn. One must die before one can be born again. Real repentance is as death. The second birth is a resurrection. Without a new birth, one will die in their sins and both body and soul will be destroyed in hell. [1]  

         The glorification of sinful flesh is not one of the Lord’s priorities. There are people who become very successful in this life without any of God’s help. They strive and achieve only to leave it all behind at death. Imagine the people who lost their homes and livelihoods recently in the northeastern floods and Texas fires. These are terrible tragedies. But death is often like that, in that everything a person has ever built, accumulated, and worked for remains behind within the tiny closed parameters of this physical world.

         You cannot take it with you. Wealthy people don’t have a Brink’s truck following their hearse to their gravesite. And while we are in this material realm, anything we may possess is subject to loss.

         The best way to protect your stuff is to give it to God. Let Him have control. Subject it to His authority. He may tell you to get rid of some stuff. He may tell you to keep this and that. He may instruct you to give stuff away. But one thing is certain: Whatever He may want you to keep, you will keep; at least until it is time to let it go.

         Isn’t this a better way to live? Isn’t this exactly how the Lord Jesus taught us we must live? If we can’t take it with us, why do we insist on clutching onto all our stuff and our own authority in the present?

         It is the same with our reputations. We often spend years building up reputations that later come apart in an instant, sometimes through no fault of our own. If our reputation is based on being an honest person, not much of it will be lost. But honest people tell the truth, and that means they even tell the truth about themselves. They don’t hide their faults and shortcomings. They are humble. They know they often come up short against standing societal mores and spiritual directives, but are more interested in being honest and trying to get better than securing a fake resume inflated like a hot air balloon.

         It is such false biographies and fake reputations that eventually blow up and come crashing down. All things phony bite the dust. Only the real survives. And only the real, based on God’s definition of the term, makes a successful trip into eternity. As our foundational example, consider the life of the greatest Man who ever lived:

         Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

         Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. [Philippians 2:1-8] [2]

         For the real Christian, he or she belongs to God. And that includes all our stuff. It also includes our credibility. It includes anything we may be and anything He wants us to be. In this light, it makes little spiritual sense to hoard up a bunch of stuff, whether material or not, that might in all probability be weighing us down and grounding us to this world.

         The Bible clearly states that real Christians are not of this world. The Lord Jesus is not of this world. We are supposed to be born again OUT of this world and INTO His kingdom. So who cares what anybody else may think? The Lord certainly didn’t care what others thought about Him. He was on a mission, He would not be stopped, and the world was only doing what came naturally when trying to destroy Him in any way it could. He caught it from everyone, including His own nation, friends, and family. Rather than recognizing Him as God, this is how almost everyone actually perceived Him:

         Because He drank wine, He was thought to be a common drunk. [Matthew 11:19, Luke 7:34]

         Because He ate the same food as everyone else, He was thought to be a glutton. [Matthew 11:19, Luke 7:34]

         Because He reached out to the lost, He was thought to be an associate of sinners. [Matthew 11:19, Luke 7:34]

         Because there were serious questions about His birth, He was thought to be illegitimate. [John 8:41]

          Because everyone else was stupid and dense, He was thought to be insane. [Mark 3:21]

         Because He had spiritual abilities no one else had, He was thought to be demon-possessed. [Mark 3:22, 30]

         Because He humbly downplayed who He really was, He was thought to be a nobody. [Matthew 13:54-56]

         Clearly, the Lord Jesus did not care about a worldly reputation. His focus was on doing the will of the Father and accomplishing His purpose. This should be our focus as well. When we drift from this, should we wonder why the Lord does not seem to care about the things we hold most dear? If one decides to live for God, one will be persecuted. People will think you’ve gone off the deep end. They will hate you, think you’re crazy, call you every name in the book, and run your name into the ground.

         If you consider yourself to be a real Christian and these things are not happening in your life, you better check your oil. The more a believer attacks the gates of hell to rescue the lost and reveal truth, the more the enemy will fight. If one is not in the fight, one is not with the Lord and the Lord is not with him. If one is more concerned with one’s worldly reputation or comfort level than serving the Lord, one has little spiritual reputation and is no threat to the devil.

         And though the unbelieving world hates real Christians, the adversary is well aware of his enemies. They are known in hell: The evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” [3]

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Matthew 10:28

[2] 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.

[3] Acts 19:15 NKJV

September 3, America’s Other Birthday

         As I mentioned a week and a half ago in my post, Twin Earthquakes in Virginia: An Interesting Coincidence, today is the anniversary of the 1783 Treaty of Paris in which Great Britain formally recognized the independence of the American Colonies and the establishment of the United States of America. It also marked the formal end of the American Revolutionary War, though official fighting ended two years before at Yorktown with the surrender of British forces.   

         The American patriots had won.

         And they showed the world a thing or two about rising up against elitist oppressors. The thought of challenging the vastly superior British Empire was considered folly by most and sheer suicide by many. But those with a dream of freedom had decided to risk it all, thinking it better to die fighting for liberty than to live without it.

         Real Americans are faced with a similar circumstance today, but the enemy has risen from within. “King George III” has long since reacquired the nation through deceit and sits enthroned as an evil spectre of the past in our nation’s capital. Whoever likes the way things have been going for the last several years want no change, which proves they are either seriously out of the loop or benefitting from the decline of the country.

         This day should be celebrated.

         We can start by praising God for His mercy. We can continue by repenting of our many sins. Those who count themselves as real disciples of the Lord must continue seeking His assistance and discover whatever role they may have in the immediate future. Far too many Americans have gone to sleep and do not care, like those during the Revolution who had no spine to fight for liberty. Of course, if one does not fight the devil, then one has effectively joined his side.

         In my opinion, it is too late. Too much has transpired. Too many Americans have aligned themselves with the enemy in one way or the other and are compromised.

         It is too late for the enemy to win.

         While mulling this over, think of the five loyal American patriots in the painting above. Think about what a momentous occasion it was when the Treaty of Paris was signed on this day 228 years ago. You know why the painting went unfinished? It was because the British delegation refused to pose. Ironically, the posers currently in power love to pose. They refuse to reveal themselves as they really are, choosing instead to hide behind a false image and lying rhetoric.

         Stupid is as stupid does. The Brits lost the American Colonies because they arrogantly treated their far superior citizens on this continent as mere chattel. Their actions awakened a sleeping giant. The American giant is once again stirring and is seriously hacked off.

         America must not be deceived any longer. There is a very strong and deceptive power at work. To be uninformed in these times is to be a victim of deception. How much worse should it get before we actually act on the familiar words of Edmund Burke?

         “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

         “No one could make a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.”

         “Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains on their own appetites.”

         “No passion so effectively robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.”

         No one can live in accordance with the preceding quotes without the help of the Lord Jesus. There is no such thing as a free moral agent. Only God is good. People are sinful. People can only become “good” and receive the power to control their sinful appetites through repentance and commitment to the Lord. Mere human virtue is worthless in this regard, and portends a mere image of virtuousness. Millions of people are counting on real believers to act in accordance with the Lord’s teachings, whether they know it or not. The devil knows that the death of real Christianity means the death of America. As both salt and light, the Lord’s community is coming forth at the present time through far too many venues to be stopped. Consider the following as an analogy:

         And one of the crowd answered Him, “Teacher, I brought You my son, possessed with a spirit which makes him mute; and whenever it seizes him, it slams him to the ground and he foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth and stiffens out. I told Your disciples to cast it out, and they could not do it.” And He answered them and said, “O unbelieving generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him to Me!” They brought the boy to Him. When he saw Him, immediately the spirit threw him into a convulsion, and falling to the ground, he began rolling around and foaming at the mouth. And He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. It has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!”

         And Jesus said to him, “‘IF You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.”

         Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.” When Jesus saw that a crowd was rapidly gathering, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You deaf and mute spirit, I command you, come out of him and do not enter him again.” After crying out and throwing him into terrible convulsions, it came out; and the boy became so much like a corpse that most of them said, “He is dead!”

         But Jesus took him by the hand and raised him; and he got up. [Mark 9:17-27] [1]

         Unbelief is the roommate of pessimism, just as optimism goes hand in hand with faith in the Lord. In fact, it is impossible to have real faith in God and be a pessimist. We must be optimistic, believe, and give the Lord something to work with! We are in the early stages of a national Great Awakening.

         © 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.