Monthly Archives: February 2017

SPIRITUAL FREEDOM and the Losing Legacy of Traditional Christianity

         Having squandered its influence within society, traditional Christianity no longer has much effect on the culture.

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         This is what happens when the great strength and power of Real Christianity is removed and virtually relegated to the sidelines. The Truth has been systematically retracted and replaced with false notions borne by dead religionists without a clue. The process then continues to replicate itself, having made the reality of that which the Lord Jesus brought forth in the beginning the object of ridicule and thus rejection.

         And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME. BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’ Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.” He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.” [Mark 7:6-9]

THIS IS WHY GREAT AWAKENINGS MUST HAPPEN

         The traditional religionists gain full control. They remove everything that has to do with real life. They set up systems in place which corral and control the people, turning them into mere automatons doing their bidding. Why does one rarely notice that the advantages of such a setup always rise to the top for the benefit of those in control?

         The Lord Jesus, as part of His real curriculum, demanded that His disciples be servants. This does not mean that we are only supposed to serve Him which we obviously must, but that we have a general sense of being a servant to all. Being a servant, then, must demand that we think of others and their condition of life. This must mostly be the case among the members of the Community. It does not mean that those outside the Community must not also be loved, but that those within the Community have already complied with the commands of the Lord and submitted to Him. These real members have given themselves to the Lord to be used as He decides. The benefits thereof must obviously then go to them, as this is what the Lord taught. How can He bless a person with salvation, for example, unless that person complies with the necessary commands toward salvation? In other words, there is no salvation without repentance.

         Whoever then has complied with everything the Lord has commanded to be a member of His Community is thus in a place and position in which the Lord can bless with the full benefits of His Kingdom.

HOW IS THE FOLLOWING SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN?

         Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.” [Mark 10:29-30] [1]

         Christians have been conditioned by pretenders to expect next to nothing from the Lord. They read their Bibles. They study the Gospel. They do in-depth research into the New Covenant epistles of Paul and the others. And they discover there are great benefits that go along with being a member of the Lord’s real Community. And they wonder where their benefits are and why such are often so hard to come by. These people, however, have never been in it for the benefits. That’s not why they signed up. They joined because they met the Lord and accepted His great love and returned that great love. They want to be with Him. They want to serve Him. They also want to be within a Community in which we all love one another and watch out for one another.

         This cannot happen in fake communities. Such groups simply do not have the goods. They do not possess the ability to gain the benefits. Why? Because they are not real. That’s why I call it Unreal Christianity. They are not connected to the Lord. They are not connected to the Lord’s great life and power. There is no spiritually regenerative power as that which was released in the very beginning.

         In short, the fake places have no Pentecost events. This is because they reject Pentecost events. The people there are not Spirit-filled and don’t want to be. They have created and set up faux communities in which the Lord is not present and thus has no power or control to significantly change things for the better. The controllers of these institutions prefer their man-made set-ups because the benefits go to them. They know they have little power to significantly help the members thereof as the Lord Jesus did in the beginning, but they refuse to change to allow the Lord control.

THE TAIL WAGGING THE DOG

         This is also why the culture has greater influence on these places than vice versa. The original Church from its very creation had greater power than any other entity on the planet. EVERY SINGLE MEMBER WAS GIVEN THIS GREAT POWER. It was never meant only for some ridiculous higher class. The Lord meant it for everybody. When one reads the historical record within the Book of Acts he sees the powerful coming forth of a people released from all shackles, from the shackles of sin and also from those of cultural arrangements that had always previously kept them down and out. Just as the Lord said, these people were now FREE:

         So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” [John 8:31-32]

         The word translated as free means to be released from the dominion of sin, to be set at liberty, and even to be released from liability. This is real freedom! Once a person gains this freedom it means all things are possible. When people gain this freedom they get really happy really fast! That’s what happened at Pentecost. An incredible release took place. People were set free from virtual prisons. Joy broke out all over. They gave themselves to their new Lord and Master and were no longer under the sway of masquerading imposters who promise everything and deliver nothing.

         Dead religious tradition had made a deal with the devil and kept them bound. The Lord Jesus set them free.

         © 2017 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.

NEED A MIRACLE?

         The Lord Jesus is available. He has never stopped being available. All things are possible with God.

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THE FAUX BROS

         The faux brethren are preaching a different Gospel. It brings no honor to the Lord. But it does bring them a living, and that is what they desire the most.

         “Christianity” is very different behind the scenes. Once a Christian performer leaves the stage he or she can be seen for what they really are. I remember very well the early days when idealism gave way to reality. While the reality of the Lord was always the same the Lord showed me how the faux brethren change when away from the spotlight. I wondered then, just how a Christian performer is supposed to represent himself in public. There is obviously no way he can maintain the same persona and attitude as the one presented onstage.

        Again, these were the very early days of my new Christian experience. Everything was brand new, holy, and pure. I had no reason to doubt anything presented as spiritual reality. The preaching I became associated with was powerful and convicting. It was obviously inspired and anointed.

         But I began to realize that I never saw that kind of preaching outside a church venue, unless it was a larger church venue transported to a rented auditorium or something similar. Why did I never see that kind of incredible preaching out on the street in a non-official setting?

THOSE BRUTAL ROMANS

         This is how the early believers did it. They had no church buildings. There were in fact no church buildings for almost three centuries and yet those powerful early believers turned the Roman Empire on its ear. One must keep in mind that the Romans were brutal. That is probably the best one word description of their entire culture. They perfected crucifixion, for example. Gladiators fought to the death as entertainment. Massive crowds came to the many entertainment venues to see human beings suffer and die. Once the early believers became more numerous and were seen as a threat, they too were sentenced to die in entertainment venues, often ripped apart by wild beasts. Imagine being one of those early stalwarts of the faith.

         Despite all the persecution and barbaric brutality, the early believers actually brought the Roman Empire to its knees. They did it with love. They did it by making themselves vulnerable. They were never two-faced. What you saw was what you got whether they were behind closed doors, in small settings, or out in the public on the street. They learned all of this from the Lord Jesus. It is exactly the way He was and the way He did things. He was always the same and He is still the same.

STAGE PERFORMERS

         Official Christianity, however, has been transformed into a stage production. Preaching has become an art form. Yet, such is not close to being new. The Lord called the Pharisees and those like them hypocrites. Though the word has a different connotation now, hypocrites were stage performers. They were actors. The Lord called the Pharisees actors. They were merely acting out a part. Their outward performance was never how they really were. Off the stage and out of their religious costumes, they were the opposite. They were as fake as the day is long.

         It should be obvious that without church buildings and professional preachers most Christians would have no clue what to do. Yet again, the early Church never “went to church.” They had no “church” to go to. Today, most Christians go to church in order to have church. Back then, real Christians were the Church. They couldn’t hide once they were out of the spotlight because they didn’t want to hide and the “spotlight” was a 24 hour a day proposition.

REAL CHRISTIANS

         There are still Christians that are like this. They are always the same. They can do the will of God wherever they are. However, they are not professionals. They can’t be fake. It is simply not in them. Because of this they usually don’t have an easy time collecting donations. People are so used to having only one out a thousand presenting themselves as worthy “official” ministers that they are conditioned to support them, even though the great bulk of Christian work—99%—is being done by non-supported nobodies who must work closely with the Lord to gain a necessary living doing whatever they must. These are the real Christians. There are a few real Christians on stage and before cameras but are very, very few. You will know they are real because they do not perform. What they are in public is the same as what they would be in your living room or on the street.

         It is largely why most of the early Great Awakening is not visible—it is not happening in official venues in churches, on stage, or on television. The controllers of those venues do not want a Great Awakening. They oppose it. It is too threatening to their cushy status quo. Almost all of it is happening out there among the nobodies, the forgotten Christians, the rejected Christians—the ones who never have and never will make the grade to be prime-time players. They are all lousy actors. They can’t make a living that way. But they are real— just like the Lord.

OUR LOVING FATHER

         And the Lord Jesus is with them. He is always available. He takes care of them all because they have each presented themselves to Him as a living sacrifice to be used in whatever way He wants. These are true disciples. The one thing they have in common is their pure love and desire to help. Part of that involves believing the Lord for a miracle when a miracle is called for. They KNOW the Lord will always take care of them and one another and they have experienced the Lord’s miracles to that end. The Lord does miracles for them out of love and concern, however. He never does it as part of some twisted religious stage show. He blesses us in this way because He loves us and cares about us and because He can. He wants to meet our needs and if we let Him and obey Him and trust Him He can and He always will.

         And sometimes He blesses us with a miracle not because there is a dire need but simply because He just wants to bless our socks off. He’s in love with us. He sometimes just can’t help Himself.

         © 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

Real Christianity Is Not Popular

         The closer one gets to the truth the more the world will hate you. This includes the religious world. And sadly, it includes Unreal Christianity.

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         During Paul’s travels he continually learned firsthand the terror arising from those opposed to the Lord Jesus. The worst offenders were those who claimed to know God. They were the ones far away from the reality of Truth who insisted they had it right. Paul did his best to convince them they were not right. He had the same fight the Lord had.

         If a Christian takes the time to think about all the opposition the Lord faced and why, he or she might begin to understand what this world is really all about. But again I must reiterate that the world itself, though fallen from God and unaware of the truth, and in opposition to Him as a result of its blindness, does not necessarily have an inborn hatred of Him.

A DIFFERENT GOSPEL

         This is only exhibited by those who are also fallen far from Him but insist they are not. How did these religious people gain control? We have major Christian denominations that continue to sink farther away from the Lord’s Truth though many were founded in great spiritual strength. How is it that such great numbers of “Christians” insist that the New Covenant is wrong and they are right? Why do they react adversely to New Covenant Truth while insisting their version is the correct one?

         But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully. [2 Corinthians 11:3-4] [1] 

         They can’t back it up. They are in opposition to the New Covenant. If Paul came traveling their way they would reject him as soon as he started teaching. His teachings, which he learned directly from the Lord, are not their teachings. We continue to have major figures rise in the Christian world in America and gain great followings while preaching a Christianity opposed to the Lord. Their teachings, their manner, their chosen man-made doctrines, and their non-New Covenant formats are all different from that which the Lord brought forth in the beginning. Indeed, the history of Christianity in general is a continual falling away from the Lord’s original. Though there has always been a Remnant in the world illustrating the full Light of the Lord, His Light for most grows less and less. For many it has gone out completely.

TEST AND SEE THAT THE LORD IS RIGHT

         One can test this. All one need do is check on how much of the New Covenant Scriptures are preached and taught in these fake assemblies. There is much of the Lord’s teachings they never touch. According to their standard much of the New Covenant writings including the teachings of the Lord in the Gospels is never heard. Such teachings are not conducive to their false agenda. They have another purpose in mind and it does not involve the full Truth. The great bulk is never mentioned. We never hear the Lord’s insightful teachings with regard to repentance and reform, for example, and the great battle we must each engage in to bring forth His Kingdom in all its fullness.

         The only thing this false preaching does is coddle sinful flesh. It tells people they are right when they are wrong. The agenda for most is thus not to reveal error and promote Truth, but to allow people to remain far away from God in a continually unborn again condition. This may work in the here and now but I really don’t know how these people can live with themselves.

         Here is the truth: Every Christian will have to stand before the Lord one day all alone and give an account of his or her life. Wouldn’t it be better to do it now and every day instead of waiting until that day?

         I want to thank all of you for your support. Many of you have been loyal for years. You are all a blessing. I have had many former loyal readers, however, who reached a point in which they felt they must reject this site. They never or rarely give any explanation. The truths I am offering here are rarely challenged and when they are we have good discussions. This must be our course. This is what the early believers did. There were so many things the Lord called on them to do that did not look right or feel right but in the end they rejected their own reservations and embraced the Lord. They obeyed Him. It was very difficult and it often cost them greatly but there was no higher reward.

         For those of you who like to pray or who may be intercessors I would appreciate your prayers at this time. Thank you.

         © 2017 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.

DEAD PEOPLE WALKING

         The angel returned with his report and presented it to the Lord: The churches are dead. They act like they have it all together but are spiritually dead. They are congregations of pretenders…

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         The Lord Jesus did all He could do in the first century to bring the false religious leaders to repentance. He failed. It was, of course, not His failure. It was theirs. They refused. It did not matter how well He revealed their many errors. They were dead set on maintaining their dead religious ways.

         There is a clear record in the Gospels of all their many failures and wrong actions. He tells them plainly that though they believed themselves to be right with God they did not know God.

I SEE DEAD PEOPLE

         It is no different today. Pick out any church on any street in America and the odds are huge that the leadership there will be out of fellowship with the Lord Jesus and are actually in opposition to Him. They look great. They have a great level of control and almost everyone there does what they are told. They are dead churches because the people are dead, the leadership is dead. There is a completely different standard of spirituality. Their standard is something otherworldly. It does not line up with Scripture. It is infused with false doctrines and teachings and this is borne out by its complete lack of spiritual effectiveness.

         The Lord tries to get their attention but they refuse. They are smug. They are arrogant. They go about in their quiet manner looking and acting exactly like the world because that’s what they are—they are a picture of the unregenerate sinful world wrapped up in dead religious grave clothes. They are all prepared for a funeral.

         “For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” [Matthew 23:27-28] [1]

REFUSING THE PROPER COMPARISON   

         The Lord failed to convince the Pharisees and Sadducees to repent. He has so far failed to get this particular church to repent. A church like this is representative of many churches in America. Each one proves everyday that the Lord Jesus is not in charge. Their ministry looks nothing like His. They are dead. And they force everyone who becomes part of the congregation to be dead like them.

         As long as no one makes the proper comparison to the clear New Testament record of what a group of believers is supposed to look like no one is ever the wiser. All of these people want a church in which they can continue to be sinners and remain distant from the Lord and never be made to get right with Him.

         They absolutely hate being convicted. They refuse to surrender to the Lord and thus force themselves to surrender to the church status quo.

         They are filled with sin and corruption but no one there knows it because they refuse the Lord’s light and correction that would expose them for what they are. They want compromised Christianity, a place where they can be as worldly as the day is long so they can maintain their love of this world and their focus on worldly success.

         At best they want a halfway house. They want to be in that strangely mythical place, somewhere between heaven and hell. They loathe the full expression of the Kingdom of Heaven.

         The Lord’s truth does not interest them. They reject Him. They are not for real.  

         © 2017 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.

THAT’S HYSTERICAL

         HYSTERIA: 1. A psychoneurosis marked by emotional excitability and disturbances of the psychic, sensory, vasomotor, and visceral functions. 2. Behavior exhibiting overwhelming or unmanageable fear or emotional excess. [1]

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THE RESPONSIBLE PARTY

         …The chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to put Jesus to death. But the governor said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.” Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?”

         They all said, “CRUCIFY HIM!”

         And he said, “Why, what evil has He done?”

         But they kept shouting all the more, saying, “CRUCIFY HIM!”

         When Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this Man’s blood; see to that yourselves.”

         And all the people said, “His blood shall be on us and on our children!” [Matthew 27:20-25]

THE DEMON WHISPERERS

         The hysterical people intent on killing an innocent Man refused to listen to reason. They were egged on by demonic religious leaders who had such powerful control of their minds they could make them do anything. The religionists knew exactly what words to use, exactly what stories to spin, and exactly how to gain the greatest reaction. They were unchallenged masters of the medium.

         The hysterical people had been programmed over several decades to do the bidding of their masters. One can always tell a CULT by the way the cult leaders are treated:

         The mind-numbed crowd will never turn on its masters regardless of their purely evil nature and powerfully sinister actions.

         Instead, they will always place full blame on their innocent victims.

         Cult leaders can turn their pit bull masses on anyone or anything at any time whenever they apply the proper triggers. In this case they triggered the final inner mechanism in their wicked arsenal by arousing, at the perfect time, the maximum level of cultural inner hatred, and once it was fully armed, they released it full bore upon their greatest enemy for maximum impact.

THE POWER OF RELIGION

         There is a reason religion has the power it does. There is a reason religious shysters use religion to gain control of people and coerce their money. It is lucrative. It answers the two basic and fundamental needs of narcissistic authoritarians, many of whom are cleverly concealed charlatans: (1) Authority, and (2) Money. These religionists take power and money as their right.

         Here is one way to differentiate some of the real from the unreal when it comes to Christian ministers: The real ones will do the job the Lord called them to do whether they get paid or not (unreal ministers never work without getting paid); whether they are appreciated or not (unreal ministers will never work without ongoing full respect); and whether they are overly protected or not (unreal ministers will never subject themselves to real persecution).

         The real ministers of the Gospel will never quit no matter how everyone else may quit on them. They will always continue on though their good names and characters are falsely and wrongly trashed.

         The following ALWAYS applies to the real guys:

         “Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man.” [Luke 6:22] [2]

REVIVING THE DEATH CULT?

         The Lord Jesus—GOD HIMSELF—GOD WITH US—THE LONG-AWAITED MESSIAH—had arrived just as prophesied at the perfect time and He threatened the Death Cult and everything it stood for. He made war against it and would soon end it. He not only prophesied against its complete destruction but led the charge against its destruction.

         The Death Cult would be completely incompatible with everything He planned to do in the future. It was a purely opposing force, rebellious to the core. It must therefore be eliminated.

         Due to its refusal to admit fault and surrender, outright war to destroy it forever was the only alternative. This was the core construct of the spiritual war of the first century. It is why 70AD Jerusalem had to happen. It is also why God would never support its resurrection.

         © 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] © Merriam-Webster

[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.

WITNESSING FOR THE LORD: Meet Charlie, the Strongest Man I Ever Met (2)

         I can never forget the testimony of a man who was a very good friend. Long ago, someone took the time to witness to Him, casting personal risk aside.

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         He was probably in his mid-to-late thirties and about a decade and a half older than me. He had a loving wife and a bunch of kids. I had never known him before he was born again but he had been a rough character, a man no one would mess with. He was a solid family man and he worked hard. He was a construction worker, a foreman, and lived in the country some distance away. He had a hard row to hoe to pack up a large family with several little kids and head off to church four times a week, but he was always there. His smile lit up the whole place. He was a great example of how the Lord could melt even the most powerful heart.

         When Charlie met the Lord Jesus, he finally met his match, and then some. Charlie found out that the Lord was a lot stronger than he was, that He was a bigger and better Man, and that He was the greatest man’s Man who ever lived. Charlie surrendered to his Maker.

         I don’t know who witnessed to him but that family’s salvation was one of the great boons to our group. I have worked in construction for many years. I worked in the oil industry a long time as well. I have met hundreds of strong men. There is a culture in these blue collar fields that one had better respect. I am ever thankful to my Dad for teaching me early on how to thrive in the world of real men who do their job, who won’t be denied, and who know there is a job to be done, that must be done, and will get done.

         But among all these guys I have still never met a man who was as physically strong as Charlie. My Dad always taught me when I was a kid to give a strong handshake, and I did. But this man had the strongest handshake I ever felt, and that was decades ago. I know he had to torque it down when he shook hands with other men because, if he wanted to, he could mash your hand to a pulp. I am serious. He could break your hand. The best defense is to squeeze the other guy’s hand harder than he is squeezing yours, or just as hard. But it wouldn’t work with him. He was strong as an ox. Two oxes. There were times when I had him in a good grip and looked him in the eye and told him to go a little more and he would smile and clamped down just about an extra ounce and I knew my hand would be withered in a heartbeat and quickly told him to back off. This has never happened with anyone else. Ever.

         So now I think I know what happened to that guy with the withered hand in the Bible. He met Charlie before Charlie got saved.

         It’s hard to explain to people who have never been filled with the Holy Spirit about the transformation that takes place. Charlie was undoubtedly a very rough character but after he was filled with the Lord’s Spirit his face glowed like an angel. He was God’s middle linebacker, still tough as nails and solid as a rock but with a loving, tender heart. He was always smiling and trying to hold back from laughing in that shy way he had. He could not contain all the joy the Lord filled him with though he tried. Every service he was back there in the back row. He did that because he had so many young kids, about half a dozen, and did not want to disrupt the service. He and his lovely wife, also filled gloriously with the Holy Ghost, were all lined up back there. The kids always stayed in line but were still kids and were also smiling all the time. They made it work. It is not natural to make little kids do that but they managed it very well. They were such happy people. I think Charlie knew even more than I did that he had been hell bound and got rescued. He would be forever grateful and showed it always.

         He told me that before the Lord rescued him he drank a half bottle of hard liquor every day. He smoked two or three packs of cigarettes every day. And he worked very hard every day. This man was tough as nails. Then somebody witnessed to him. Some real Christian answered the call and witnessed to Charlie. Charlie could have done some serious damage.

         We all know how some will go off half-cocked when they get witnessed to. There is sometimes a lot of hate and one must have enough love to overcome it. Only the Lord has that kind of love but He must work through people to show it. This is a hard, tough world, and many people are filled with a lot of pain. They’ve been treated bad and they’re angry. And they don’t like it when told it is somehow their fault. They need our help and understanding.

         When the Lord reached out from heaven through a brave witness, instead of getting angry, Charlie listened. Maybe he knew he was a mess and really wanted to change but wasn’t going to be forced into becoming some fake girly man and succumb to religion. The Lord knew that. So he sent Charlie a real witness to witness about the real thing. The Lord was not going to force Charlie to surrender his manhood but just the opposite. He wanted him to be the real man he wanted to be but with a godly heart.

         The Lord filled Him with His Spirit. He delivered him from his cigarette habit. He took away his desire for alcohol. Charlie stopped cussing and fighting and began smiling and loving. He could still break you in two, though, and you had to be careful—you had to watch out for exuberant hugs. He became a solid witness for His Lord and Savior and though he didn’t talk much he was the very picture of Christian strength.

         I want to close with a funny incident that will give you a tad more insight into the joy we all felt in Charlie’s presence. Before I go on, there was one thing I touched on previously about Charlie but didn’t tell the whole story.

         Charlie was so full of spiritual joy he continued smiling and doing these little laughs even after we all settled into our seats and church got going. It was just part of his good nature that the Lord accentuated with His own. This was an active Spirit-filled congregation of lively people so it was not always possible to contain one’s self. Charlie would often continue expressing his happiness and gratitude throughout the service. He was way in the back but everyone always knew it was just Charlie being Charlie. Some of us may say “Amen!” but he would do a chuckle. It added greatly to a joyful atmosphere.

         One night, a traveling minister came to the church. He was a big guy in a black suit with a commanding presence. He was also blind. He’s up there preaching and we’re down there in the pews, being properly respectful if not more so, and not quite sure what was transpiring before us. It was pretty hushed.

         Well, the preacher must have said something Charlie really liked. Showing his unbound appreciation, Charlie did one of his customary good-natured manly chuckles that just happened to project quite well. The preaching stopped. The combination of church quiet and back bench acoustics made the preacher think he was being laughed at! It was one of the funniest things I had ever seen in church and I could write a book on the subject. The blind preacher rebuked Charlie from the pulpit! He hollered, “You may think this is funny! But I’m preaching up here!”

         We all started stifling laughter at the initial shock and some of us turned around and looked back at poor Charlie who obviously meant no harm and was real embarrassed. He was red as a beet and had a weird grin on his face coming down from a joy high and was not quite sure what to do. But just like his Lord, Charlie took it like a man. And he understood. 

         © 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

WITNESSING FOR THE LORD: Shining a Light on the Path of Salvation (1)

         The world is filled with hungry people searching for life and truth. They know there must be something more than this temporary surface existence. We must reach out to them.

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CAN I GET A WITNESS?

         I remember well my early experience as a rookie Christian. The church building was relatively new but somewhat sparse. There were many empty pews. It needed filling up. The preacher was always preaching about witnessing. I certainly complied. I was always witnessing—at work, on the street, wherever I was, whatever I was doing—I was always witnessing.

         Why? Because people were going to hell. They needed to be saved. I had dodged hell and so must they. The Lord turned me on to His incredible life and love and I wanted the whole world to have what I had. Before being shown the path of salvation, I didn’t know I was on the wrong road. I was a sinner but didn’t know it before I met the Lord.

         For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will. [Hebrews 2:1-4] [1]

THE FIRST WITNESS

         I rejected them the first time they came. These were close friends. A young married couple. I was a tad younger. I had known them a few years. We hung out together. I hadn’t seen them in a while. The news was they got religion and I could not understand how they could be so dumb. They used to be so cool. What the heck happened to them? If they had joined a cult it would have been different. Weird but different. But they joined a church! What a joke! The great respect I had for them was no more.

         They came over to tell me all about it. They said I needed to do what they had done. I was very friendly and open. I listened to their story. But they were brand new Christians and were not so good at what they were trying to do. They certainly had the heart and desire but they came on pretty strong. I was too mature for that. I knew too much. I could see through them. I was nice to them and tried hard to understand. We had a relatively good discussion at first. I told them I was happy for them but I could not go in that direction. I wanted no part of their church stuff. I didn’t want what they were selling. They persisted. I told them if they didn’t stop they needed to leave. I stayed strong. I never lost my cool. They got bummed out and left. They had done their best. I knew they cared. But they failed in their mission and were sad. That was that.  

THE SECOND WITNESS

         Then one day, after three months of no contact with them, I received a second witness. They never gave up. Instead, they went into prayer with other unknown people who shared their concern. This is a very important point because the Lord often has to do things in the Spirit that we are not aware of to have ultimate success. We usually never know about all the in-between things that must happen in spiritual warfare and prayer battles. In this case, He had to prepare me for another opportunity which would in all probability be the last. There might not ever be another chance in my life like this one. It was imperative that I receive this Word. Sometimes, people build up a hardness of heart that can never be overcome.

         To remedy that, the Lord had managed to break me down over that time. I went from being strong and confident to somewhat insecure. I had no idea what was happening but the Lord had been preparing me for a second witness. He was plowing a field and I was the field. He knew I had been searching for Him for roughly four years but I didn’t know that. I was searching for TRUTH. That’s what I was after. I had determined right out of high school that I would find out what was really going on behind the scenes in this world. I had been doing an exhaustive search of various belief systems the world over. I knew there was something more and was determined to find it. I would never stop. By that time in my young life I had already rejected organized Christianity because the version I knew (and knew very well) offered nothing on a deep spiritual level.

       Keep in mind, however, that though I was completely fed up with “Christianity,” I never ever rejected the Lord Jesus. I always thought He was the coolest Guy. How could anyone in their right mind be against Him?

         For the second witness only she came over. She had given her life to the Lord before her husband and was instrumental in getting him saved. Both had strong born again experiences but her gifting made her more persistent. Both had matured spiritually and she did a better job this time. There was less pressure and more joy.

         At one point when we were talking she suddenly said, “Wow! I feel the presence of God in this room!” I didn’t know what she was talking about but I felt it too. This was not the same kind of witness as before. She didn’t come alone after all.

         Thanks to the Lord Jesus who never gave up, and to the loving witness He sent who never gave up either who went out of her way to find me and tell me all about the Lord and spiritual reality, the scales on my eyes fell off. It was the Lord’s presence on that occasion that made the difference. I suddenly realized it all made sense. This was it! I had been searching for truth for so long and had found it. The truth was Him. I surrendered to the Lord that night. It was easy and the best decision I ever made.

NOW COMES THE HARD PART

         I also had to submit to the Lord’s next directive. This is the way it works. The Man gave His life for us. We give our lives to Him. And that makes Him the One in charge. We must do what He says. We must trust Him.

         He wanted me to go somewhere. When I found out where, it was the last place I ever thought I would find truth. He wanted me to attend their dreaded church. Oh no! It would be like going to the blasted dentist. But worse. I had been forced to go to church about a million times growing up and had learned to want no part of it. There was nothing there anyway. All that had long since become way back in my rear view mirror. This church thing was going to be a hard sell. It took more convincing and more “preparing.” Long story short, the Lord won the argument. I was in no position to fight Him. I went.

         I found out churches are different! This one was nothing like the one I grew up in. The people were lively and happy. I was very well received. There was an excitement in the air. This was a place with the presence of the Lord. Later on I heard the Word of God from a very good preacher. I had never seen or heard preaching like this. The Word of God came alive. I was almost instantly convicted. The Lord planted the Gospel seed in my plowed up heart. I gave Him my life, hook, line, and sinker, and never looked back. A few weeks later I was filled with His Spirit!

SPIRITUAL STEROIDS

         After my born again experience I set my mind on telling everyone I knew about the Lord Jesus—the One who saved me, the One who went to the cross in my place. I wanted everyone to have the salvation I had. Sin no longer had any power over me. I was set free. I wanted everyone else to be set free also. Combining my strong spiritual hunger with a powerful born again experience set me loose as a witnessing juggernaut.

         In time I found out that people in general didn’t share the same passion I had. I often had the same experience of the two who first witnessed to me when I rejected them. It can be discouraging. It is hard to understand why a person does not want all the Lord has for them and had to die to make it available. I learned that many people are simply not so spiritually hungry. They are happy with life as it is. They would rather stay on the surface. I had to learn to follow the leading of the Lord more closely.

         Witnessing is therefore not so easy but is obviously vital. There is no other way to be saved. We are commanded to tell the Gospel story. People must know the truth—the TRUTH. We must turn people on to the Lord. Whatever He has put on your heart and called you to do, be encouraged. There is an inexhaustible supply of every spiritual means available that can be applied. It truly is the case that all things are possible with God.

         Many people were doing their share of witnessing in that relatively small congregation I was blessed to be a part of long ago. We had success to a degree but it never resulted in the level of success we wanted until much further down the road. Many would visit. Few would stay. But some of those who did stay were solid and strong. In time, several years later, the floodgates opened.

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         In my next post I will introduce you to one of the people there in those early days. His name was Charlie. He was a bad dude brought into the love of the Lord because someone made a bold move and the serious risk to witness to him.

         © 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued.]


[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.