Category Archives: Real Christianity

WAKING THE DEAD: THE DOOR

silhouette photo of person holding door knob

 

The Door is not a concept. It is not one more Christian ethereal unreality pontificated upon by dead men in the guise of the living. The Door is real. Until one actually enters it, he is asleep to spiritual reality.

CONSTANT TOTAL AMAZEMENT

“My father says that almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know, everybody you see, everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake and they live in a state of constant total amazement.” [1]

This is how Christians should be and would otherwise be if the Lord had His way, but most are asleep and spend their lives sleeping. They even sleep at church. Almost everybody there, in most churches, is asleep. Some are even literally asleep (drool alert).

This is an amazing thing. The greatest Man who ever lived. The greatest story ever told. Reams of historical records of His great exploits and accomplishments. No Man anywhere close to His greatness in the history of the world.

And yet they sleep.  

Now Peter and his companions had been overcome with sleep; but when they were fully awake, they saw His glory… [Luke 9:32]

And there it is.

DEAD CHRISTIANITY

It is the Lazarus Syndrome. Most of Christianity is dead. It is Lazarus all wrapped up in grave clothes, bound and sleeping in a cold dark tomb. The people who promote this are making a mockery of real Christianity. They are dead Lazarus supporters.

Martha then said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” [John 11:21]

“Lord, if You were here our church would not be dead.”

But what is the Lord to do when faithless disobedient dead Christians insist on barring the Door?

And someone said to Him, “Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?” And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open up to us!’ then He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from.’ Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets;’ and He will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you are from; DEPART FROM ME, ALL YOU EVILDOERS.’ [Luke 13:23-27]

The Christian willing dead are evildoers. Those who sponsor and insist upon dead Christianity violate everything the Lord is about. They transform Him into something He never was. This false form of the Lord they created is a perfect example of an absolute violation of the Second Commandment. They have created a god to suit themselves, one which will never convict them of their unashamed sins.

THE DOOR

So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me…” [John 10:7-14] [2]

It is impossible to be shown the Door, enter it, find pasture, gain abundant life, and also be spiritually dead. No one sleeps in His presence but will instead be as lively as the day is long and try to tell the whole world about his great fortune. Such people were rescued from a pointless existence in a graveyard. They found the secret of life.

Why then, do most Christians sleep?

© 2020 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] © 1990 Joe Versus the Volcano

[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.

PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (4-Part Series)

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. [2 Timothy 1:7 KJV]

 

March 12, 2020: PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (Part 1)

The Lord Jesus came to save His people. But many of His people had already sold out to their religious leaders. They did this in part because they were deathly afraid of them.

 

March 12, 2020: PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (Part 2)

Regarding the sinning priest problem, some argue that the Catholic Church is not actually as guilty as claimed, in that such episodes are only rare sporadic events. This is simply more window-washing to minimize the charges.

 

March 13, 2020: PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (Part 3)

It all started in Babylon during the Captivity in roughly 600 BC. It continued to develop over the next four centuries. It came to its full fruition with the emerging Pharisee Party two centuries before the Lord.

 

March 14, 2020: PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (Part 4)

What I have presented with this four-part series goes beyond surface truth. There is a parable at work here revealing destructive forces. For the few who have ventured thus far, you are ahead of the curve.

 

© 2020 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

 

PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (Part 4)

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What I have presented with this four-part series goes beyond surface truth. There is a parable at work here revealing destructive forces. For the few who have ventured thus far, you are ahead of the curve.

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“He who has ears, let him hear.”

And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.” [Matthew 13:9-13]   

GIVE HONOR TO WHOM HONOR IS DUE

One will notice several behavioral characteristics of high brow religionists. Perhaps the most noticeable is their demand for respect and honor. They tolerate no dissent. Violators are prosecuted. It is their absolute authority and the forced recognition thereof that holds their enterprise together and keeps them ruling over it. They refuse to express any real humility and only act out a role in that regard. As a final test, consider how they treat the Lord Jesus.

Pharisaical: Marked by hypocritical censorious self-righteousness. [1]

Now, we know how those idiots back then treated Him, which sealed their fate. But a likely majority of Christian ministers, priests, and reverends have treated Him exactly the same since then. You will know them by their fruits.

You will also know them by their absolute refusal to surrender all authority to the Lord Jesus.

It is not His ministry but theirs. It is not His church but theirs. If they were working for Him they would not be violating His teachings and refusing His directives. And American Christianity would not be in such sorry shape filled with Biblically illiterate Christians not knowing what to do, where to turn, or how to fix what is wrong. The predominant understanding such Christians have in common is to fearfully honor religious authority regardless of its behavior or track record. They meld into a status quo, low-denomination crowd of faceless ones, whose only actual apparent purpose is to support an enterprise they know very little about beyond the surface.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. [2Timothy 1:7 KJV]

Like traditional Catholicism, which traditionally withheld the Word of God or discouraged its members from reading it or acting upon it if by chance a few actually did, the majority of Christians are simply not aware of what the New Testament is, what it says, or what the Lord actually commands them to do. They have instead been indoctrinated to believe that their lives must consist primarily of obeying those in the rule over them with less regard for obeying the Lord Jesus. This is obviously true because if they honored Him they would never honor others in His place. Thus, their “discipleship” is something different from that which the Lord defined in the New Covenant model.

“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household! Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops.” [Matthew 10:24-27]   

There are likely millions of obscure “nobody” Christians who do obey the Lord. They strive to get it right. They do their best to do anything He asks. They give much effort toward being good disciples. Their lives are more difficult but also greatly fruitful. They are largely unrecognized. They do not attempt to revert to religious dress, manners, and shallow talking points to be noticed, but the opposite. They do exactly as the Lord and His original apostles instruct them to do, to the best of their ability. They read and study the Word of God to discover what is required of them. They honor ministers of the Gospel but never see them as substitutes for the Lord (vicars of Christ). It is the Lord Jesus who gave His life for them and no one will ever take His place. Therefore, they will not listen to or obey hirelings who do not teach what He taught. These real Christians are the ones to whom honor is due because they are the only ones actually trying and mostly succeeding in doing His will. Most of all, they honor the Lord Jesus as their Savior and recognize Him as God.

“Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 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 6:46-49][2]

The Lord taught that every “Christian” enterprise not founded upon the Rock will eventually fail. It will eventually come to ruin. It will eventually be destroyed. Each one will suffer what eventually happened to national Israel, the original Jerusalem, and the Temple in 70 AD. It is only a matter of time.

His Kingdom, on the other hand, will last forever. It is the only Christian Community that will. All the counterfeit ones are temporary and their termination waits.

When He dwelt among humanity, the Lord Jesus was humble and obscure. He didn’t “look the part.” He was not at all like the ostentatious Pharisees or later clergyites, which includes those at present who refuse to serve and honor Him. His was not an earthly kingdom but a spiritual one. His kingdom has none of the outer trappings or dependencies of temporary, worldly enterprises. He never strove for money, position, or the world’s respect but sought only to do the Father’s will.

His followers do the same. They seek not the approval of men but the approval of God.

© 2020 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.

PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (PART 1)

PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (PART 2)

PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (PART 3)

 

PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (Part 3)

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It all started in Babylon during the Captivity in roughly 600 BC. It continued to develop over the next four centuries. It came to its full fruition with the emerging Pharisee Party two centuries before the Lord.

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JUDAIC ROOTS OF UNREAL CHRISTIANITY

In the first century AD, the Lord Jesus called that last generation of Israelites the most wicked of all. Much of the wickedness, though, was being performed by, you guessed it, a few, those few not in the pew. Whether it was the vaunted Sadducees who controlled the temple and worked hand in glove politically with the otherwise hated Romans, or the ultra-casuistic Pharisees who created an entirely new “word of God,” the Oral Torah in which they themselves were the god and which was designed to suit themselves and gain and maintain power, the Jewish religious leaders lived to lord it over the people. The millions of Israelites at that time, whether at home in Judea or abroad, were under the absolute authority of such leaders, most especially the Pharisees, the Separated Ones. This was largely the genesis of rabbinical Judaism.

The people had no say so. They were told what to believe. They were held to extremely strict standards. Those who refused the authority of the Pharisees were utterly despised by them as mongrels and traitors to the commonwealth. What does that tell us? This is why the Pharisees had such disdain for Galileans and utter disgust for Samaritans.

They saw themselves as God’s highest and best. They were so “aware” and “in-tune” they legitimized an unwritten minutia-ridden oral law code that overstepped the Law of Moses and no one knew the finer abstract workings of this code than them.

They created it, taking upon themselves the guise of God, though God had nothing to do with it. And they then browbeat their constituents into compulsory acceptance under threat. This put everyone else on the defensive, both due to ignorance of the law and because one could never know for sure if they had violated it until confronted with the violation. It should be clear then, that Israelites lived on the edge and were often in a state of worry.

Yet the Lord indicated that the scribes and Pharisees inherited the seat of Moses, and He said one must do as they teach. The inference is that one must obey them as it regards the Mosaic Law. He also said, however, that one must not follow their example because they only talk the talk and do not walk the walk.

“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.” [Matthew 23:13][1]

Who else other than the Lord Jesus had the boldness to instruct disciples in this way? Who else dared to use his position of authority to tell Israelites that the Pharisees set a rotten example? We know that answer is next to no one because if one did he would have an ugly fight on his hands in seconds.

It is why the nation was so afraid of the religious leaders. Their entire lives were subjected to whether or not a person was in good standing in the synagogue and only the few at the top had absolute control of their fate. The people thus must make sure they crossed every yod and dotted every tittle or the man would come down on their head. The most successful obeyers developed the worst attitude and became sideways browbeaters in league with the top-down browbeaters. If you kept trying to succeed at this idiocy but couldn’t pull it off (because you were normal), you got it from everywhere. Those who hated the entire insufferable enterprise, however, knew they best keep their opinions and facial expressions to themselves or word would get out. You couldn’t trust anybody. They would out you. You could get ratted out by any number of Judases in a heartbeat.

Here we have another of those amazing traits regarding humanity. Why not rise up? Why not make the attempt to throw off the yoke? There were only a few who fit this category, for one thing. But those who actually did it and meant to make something of it eventually began banding together. Their effort was not necessarily against the religious leaders but for national Israel. They couldn’t see how playing church would oust the Romans. But they were not about to do it God’s way. These were the Zealots. They were otherwise known in the New Testament as robbers. A faction of these, known for hidden daggers in their cloaks to be used on a moment’s notice, was the Sicarii.

The Zealots grew more ruthless over time. They developed a few key leaders who held sway over thousands of Israelites. In the end they would bring forth the Great Revolt that brought down the nation.

Another major sect was the Essenes. These were for the most part monastics that had long before rejected the authority of the corrupt temple priests and created their own highly-controlled aesthetic order. This too, of course, was run by an elevated religious caste.

What was a first century Jew to do? There was little escape from the suffocating lack of personal liberty and freedom in the Lord. Much of everything God did in the very beginning in the times of Abraham and Moses to create a people for His Name eventually got twisted and subverted. It developed into heavy-handed domination by a ruling cabal of autocratic religious despots and political subversives given over to money and power.

Sound familiar?

© 2020 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.

PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (PART 1)

PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (PART 2)

PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (PART 4)

PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (Part 2)

Regarding the sinning priest problem, some argue that the Catholic Church is not actually as guilty as claimed, in that such episodes are only rare sporadic events. This is simply more window-washing to minimize the charges.

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It appears that way because it was hidden and much of it remained hidden. Much of it is still hidden. But it’s been going on forever. And for forever they were never caught. They were never caught because it was part of an inner culture. It was part of the deep inner workings separated from public view and oversight. Those who knew were afraid to say anything. Catholics and the general public were never the wiser until victims of abuse began talking. Other victims of abuse had undoubtedly talked in the past but their voices were suppressed. It was not until enough victims of abuse began coming forth that the issue was finally addressed officially. Many Catholics were absolutely shocked. Some spoke out quite forcibly. Most Catholics said very little and would rather the entire issue went away. It was embarrassing.

THE LORD JESUS IS ON RECORD OF KNOWING HOW TO CLEAN HOUSE

But the fact remains that some insiders always knew about it but did nothing about it. They simply covered it up. The cause was never addressed. The house was never cleaned. The corruption was too widespread. It would cause a disruption. They were afraid. When the news was revealed the process began to deal with it and corrective measures were applied. Whether they have worked or are working is a different issue, but the Catholic Church should be commended for the attempt to right a wrong.

Yet, Catholics were taken advantage of and their absolute support with no questions asked was taken for granted. The Catholic clergy knows full well that most Catholics will always remain Catholics no matter what happens. They know this in part because they are well aware of the excellent success rate of their Catholic indoctrination program, which they have been masters at for centuries, and which starts upon the impressionable minds of very young children. So making quick priest transfers to new venues where the people are none the wiser solved two problems at once: The bad guy is gone but still works for us elsewhere.

It is interesting that by comparison, however, you don’t hear as much about the same problem in mainline Protestantism. Could this be due to a possible lowering of standards?

Whatever the case, there is no doubt that everyone knows who wields the power. A minister’s job (and for many that is all it is) and his very life is dependent upon upper management, unless he or she is part of an organization in which church members vote for prospective preachers, in which case he or she is controlled by them instead, because if they can vote you in they can also vote you out. Either way, including in Catholicism, the minister’s salary comes from above and he or she had better play by the rules, which, in essence, means to do what they say. This upper handedness and subtle fear mongering is even extended to the congregation, but rather than career and salary being used to keep one in line, it is the church member’s credibility and reputation. No one wants to be perceived as a deviant or become a social pariah. This is in part why all church and ministry organizations have bylaws. Again, they must protect the enterprise and the enterprise depends on everyone fulfilling their duty.

They create the doctrinal statement they live by, which may extend to book length, and then force all members to toe the mark. If changes to the doctrinal statement happen along the way, including radical changes, it is up to the membership to get in line with the new rules. Some may not like the new rules, however, but are powerless to stop their acceptance. Their only choice is to vote with their feet, though most don’t. The rules and rule changes often descend from on high though some Christian organizations involve a limited vote.

Regarding the selection of church leaders, most churches remain in the dark ages and grant their congregations no voice. These are not democracies. For example, when it comes to selecting a new Catholic pope, the highest ecclesiastical office on the planet, the voting is extremely limited to a small group within the College of Cardinals, which, as of December 2019, consisted of only 223 members. The inner group allowed to vote comprises an even smaller number of cardinals and its members are called the cardinal electors. As of last October there were 128 cardinal electors though there have never been more than 120 during any previous conclave that selected a pope.

These electors are appointed by the pope.

The new pope is almost always a cardinal.

This means that as of October 2019 there are only 129 men in absolute rule over an organization of a billion members worldwide.

The Pope appoints the voters.

The voters choose the Pope.

This is the definition of a top-of-the-pyramid controlling clique.

So again, the hierarchies of Christian organizations, whether Catholic or Protestant or Pentecostal or whatever, know that most of their powerless members will always go along with whatever they pronounce. How is this different from a cult?

It is the very antithesis of the Lord’s real Community in which every single member is an equal, the only difference being spiritual maturity level.

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise. [Galatians 3:26-29][1]

© 2020 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.

PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (PART 1)

PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (PART 3)

PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (PART 4)

PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (Part 1)

The Lord Jesus came to save His people. But many of His people had already sold out to their religious leaders. They did this in part because they were deathly afraid of them.

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Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God. [John 12:42-43]

Christians more concerned about their church social credibility than serving the Lord Jesus express a faithless fearfulness. At the heart of their infidelity is a refusal to fully submit to the Lord and real discipleship. The origin of their fear is usually traced back to the people in charge. They are the ones who make the rules, one of which is submission to their authority. Yet they subject themselves to no effective accountability. The laity, on the other hand, has little or no authority in most churches and thus represents a lower class. The members thereof must submit to the leadership to be in good standing.

This is similar to a two-tiered justice system in which the elite are shielded from liability. If one is a member in good standing of the higher-ups club, one gets away with anything. If not, one is on one’s own and is vulnerable. And if such a one refuses to obey the Lord, one had better suck up to a substitute leadership group for his own protection and livelihood.

NON-PROPHET ORGANIZATIONS

In this regard, we often see the professional clergy, the upper class ruling over the lower class, projecting the same status. They create a ruling clique and defend it. They institute complex initiation inclusion protocols. They authorize unifying doctrinal statements. They stick together. They never deviate from the script. They go to bat for one another, which is one of the highly desired perks of the profession. This results in career advancement and security. They also protect one another from justice when that need is required. It doesn’t matter if it’s the Roman Catholic hierarchy protecting sinful priests, Protestant officials of most stripes doing the same for their respective ministers who stray into the same sins or others, or the bigwigs in Christian television who never reveal the underhanded goings on in that field of ministry. It’s a shame too, because many Catholic priests, Protestant ministers, and Christian television personalities do not engage in such secret sins.

But the sin just as big is refusing to reveal what would otherwise be the bigger sins. And those who engage in this practice do it for one reason only: Fear. They must protect themselves. They must protect the brand. They must protect the reputation of the enterprise. They must also protect the cash flow. I remember watching Christian television probably a couple decades back and there it was, once again, like so many times before. A Christian television personality caught in serious sin was right back on the air doing his thing. He had repented of his sin, you see. And he was way too valuable to leave off the air.

Remember, it is often the case that the most successful ministers are the greater money magnets. Rather than serve the living God and operate through the power of His Holy Spirit, they operate through the power of worldly wealth and unregenerate flesh, both of which attract demonic influence.

“No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”

Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and were scoffing at Him. And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.” [Luke 16:13-15][1]

© 2020 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.

PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (PART 2)

PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (PART 3)

PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (PART 4)

ENTERTAINING ANGELS UNAWARE

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I remember one time, in my first year or so as a new believer, a bunch of us went downtown early one night to do some street witnessing. These occasions were always fun. You never knew what might happen.

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We would break up in a few groups with a plan to get back together in a central area later on. I had done a lot of witnessing in those early days but downtown was always a special time. It was all cold turkey with no set plan, meeting people you never knew. The city was very large but thanks to a thriving tourist trade you didn’t have to watch your every step. It had a small town feel and the downtown area had a long and eventful history. People were generally friendly and laid back. The areas we frequented were well lit and maintained, and not all that crowded.

We walked the streets, handed out tracts, and talked to whoever may listen or wish to carry on a conversation, and attempted to tell them about the Lord. You always had to find the proper balance and recognize open doors. One time, a brother and I were walking up a street and noticed a couple of sailors in uniform stopped at a crosswalk waiting for the light to change. The guy on the right was smoking a cigarette. I approached him and, handing him a tract, said “God wants you to have this.” He looked right at me, got really angry, tossed his cigarette down, and replied, “You can keep your God…” I apparently struck a nerve. This often happens when sharing the Gospel in such a raw manner. One never knows what emotions may come to the surface when innocently touching a past experience or memory. God gets blamed for a lot for things He had nothing to do with.

Later on we all gathered back together at the preplanned meeting area on an active street. Someone might have brought a guitar. We used the term “edified” quite a lot back then. It was a spiritually edifying experience to hang out with your friends who had the Lord in common and enjoyed His work. Everyone was having a great time. We would share stories of the night’s events.

At one point I walked by myself a short ways to a busy corner bus stop. There was a bus parked on the side street with the engine running getting ready to load up. I thought I might try to talk to a few of the people milling around. After just arriving at the spot, I saw in my peripheral vision someone walking toward the bus in my direction. He seemed to appear out of nowhere. As he came into view I turned to face him, hoping to get a word in as he walked up. He was a relatively tall distinguished man dressed well in a light-colored tailored suit. His appearance was different somehow. There was a look about him. I approached, handed him a tract, and told him why I was there. He listened politely, his face never changing expression. Then, in answer to me, he kind of looked off into the distance and said, “Yeah, I’ve been wanting to look into that.” He turned and walked off, getting lost in the crowd. I never saw him again.

Right away, I was struck by what he said because it reminded me of the following verse:

It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look. [1Peter 1:12]

And this:

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. [Hebrews 13:2 KJV][1]

On those downtown streets years ago, in the midst of a curious occurrence, I believed I had just met my first angel.

© 2020 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.

CATCH A WAVE! The Rise of Righteousness in America

Dear Readers: I wrote the following post over six years ago. Many of you liked it and contributed excellent comments. I feel very strongly that I must share this post at this time.

I came across it while in the process of editing my site. I have about 550 articles here and it is not possible, of course, to remember them all. But when I found this one it resonated in such a way that I knew many of you would appreciate it and be able to draw comparisons to that time and now. Many changes have transpired. Many have moved on. But it is clear that what I wrote then was not only true and confirmed by many of you but has continued to be relevant in the present. I encourage you to read this post again and also read the comments. You will be edified.

It is you, real Christian bloggers for the most part, who have proven my thesis and the thesis of my book. Where many of the official ministers have dropped the ball you have picked it up. You work tirelessly and faithfully every day. You enable the Lord to do His work and reveal His love in a greater way. Keep it up! Thanks for reading. Blessings to you all.

© 2019 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

Real Christianity

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         But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound… [Romans 5:20]

        I’ve been telling whoever will listen for many years now that America will have a spiritual awakening. Most people have told me they don’t share my optimism.

         I wrote the following passage in the mid 1990’s:

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IS AMERICA A CHRISTIAN NATION?

         The price of compromise has been great. The United States of America is supposedly a Christian nation. Polls constantly show that at least ninety percent of the population refers to itself as “Christian” of some form or another. Yet, there is blood in the streets; there is an increasing number of kids who can’t learn; much of the population has discarded the idea of monogamy and have become so hedonistic in their relations they could learn morality from the example of numerous animal species; and diseases…

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GOD’S GIFT OF GRACE

Real Christianity

        Sometimes I wonder why the whole world isn’t lined up to receive the one thing that cures their eternal ills and reconciles them with God.

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      Though living a real Christian life is not easy, living in a cold, hard world is significantly more difficult and often impossible. We were designed to live for God and with God. We were created to be with Him, not apart from Him, and not lost on some weird avenue leading nowhere but down. Everything about the Lord is upward, and positive. He lifts spirits, He blesses with joy and peace, and He makes a place for the lonely and alone:

           A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, is God in His holy habitation. God makes a home for the lonely; He leads out the prisoners into prosperity…

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ONE FRUIT TWO FRUIT GOOD FRUIT BAD FRUIT

Real Christianity

         “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.

         “Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.” [Matthew 7:13-20]

         The gate to life is…

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THE PROMISE BY FAITH

Real Christianity

         But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.[Galatians 3:22]   

         The nature of God’s promise is that without faith there is effectively no promise at all. Not only that, but God will often make it difficult for His promises to be fulfilled in order to build our faith. Without faith it is impossible to please Him. Why else does the Lord sometimes wait until the brink of disaster before answering our prayers?

         The Exodus comes to mind. It is a story often cited in Scripture, and for good purpose. Everything was riding on that particular miracle taking place, and without it all was lost. You think you have problems? They were trying to kill the Lord long before He was ever born. Repeatedly, time after time, there arose continued…

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MARY HIGHLY FAVORED: “BLESSED ARE YOU AMONG WOMEN!” (Intro)

       

         Hello friends. I hope all is going well for you during this special time of year. I started a new article with the above title early in the week and it has expanded beyond one posting. I am giving you all this head’s up that I will be posting Part 1 soon.

         Mary is one of history’s most intriguing figures and it is especially that way for Christians worldwide. Even so, there is little historical material regarding her life. Perhaps this is why there is so much traditional information which actually has no backing in Scripture. However, within the extant Scriptural material we have there are many captivating clues about her life that lead to greater knowledge. This is what we will be sharing with one another for the next few posts.

         Thanks for reading. In the meantime, blessings to you and Merry Christmas!

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         © 2019 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


MARY HIGHLY FAVORED: “BLESSED ARE YOU AMONG WOMEN!” (1)

MARY HIGHLY FAVORED: “BLESSED ARE YOU AMONG WOMEN!” (2)

MARY HIGHLY FAVORED: “BLESSED ARE YOU AMONG WOMEN!” (3)

MARY HIGHLY FAVORED: “BLESSED ARE YOU AMONG WOMEN!” (4)

MARY HIGHLY FAVORED: “BLESSED ARE YOU AMONG WOMEN!” (5)

THEY HATED ME WITHOUT A CAUSE

      “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you.

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         “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. This I command you, that you love one another. If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.

        “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me.

         “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, ‘THEY HATED ME WITHOUT A CAUSE.’

         “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.” [John 15:13-27][1]


[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.

IF HE CALLS HIMSELF A CHRISTIAN AND ENDS UP IN HELL IT’S HIS OWN FAULT

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          He didn’t read the fine print.

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            The New Testament is the fine print. It includes anything and everything one must know in order to secure one’s heavenly eternity. It includes primarily the unabridged original teachings of the Lord Jesus. It also includes the first Christian history book explaining in full detail exactly what it means to be a real Christian by seeing Real Christianity in action. The New Testament includes as well several preserved letters of correspondence and teaching explaining in great detail the actual teachings of original first century Christianity, most of which were written by Paul the apostle, who was also the best teacher of the early Christian Community.

         The early believers paid close attention to the Lord’s teachings. In their mature state they followed them to the nth degree. But this did not make them legalistic like the later dogmatic DAs of Unreal Christianity who, like the Pharisees, loved legalism and forced indoctrination. They majored on the letter (though they didn’t follow it) but disdained and rejected the Spirit. Paul said this:

         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. [2Corinthians 3:5-6]

         Those who major on the letter refused to be filled with the Spirit as per the Lord’s command. They will not walk in the Spirit, teach the Spirit, or be empowered by the Spirit. Consequently they walk around like religious zombies in new suits while deluding the world into following the dead faux forms of Christianity which the world is deceived into believing are the real thing. They also work very hard at attempting to make the real thing appear illegitimate.

         Some people, however, can see right through religious camouflage. Apparently, most people cannot. Thus, most Christians in the world do not follow the Lord Jesus; they follow their own pastors, ministers, reverends, denominational hierarchies, and etc. The more of a following the substitutes get the more powerful they become and the more easy it becomes to spout their false Christian teachings.

SO WE ARE WHAT WE ARE WHY?

         There are a few people, and only a few, who manage to discover the roots of their particular denomination. If they remain loyal to their denomination that’s as far as they go. If one is a Protestant, that is, a religious descendant of those who fiercely protested against the Roman Catholics, his roots go back about five hundred years at the most. If one is Catholic, his roots go back to Constantine in the early fourth century. That’s about seventeen hundred years ago. Of course, the Lord Jesus walked the earth two thousand years ago. Wouldn’t it be smart to just keep going back until arriving at the source?

          “I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?” [John 5:43-44] [1]

         Of course, the vast majority of Protestants and Catholics have absolutely no idea of their actual denominational roots, nor do they care to put any effort into discovering them. Denominational lifers are what they are for various reasons, none of which has anything to do with actually following the Lord Jesus. Why? Because when one actually begins following the Lord Jesus one will intently read all of His teachings and then begin studying His teachings in-depth. When one does this he will find discrepancies between the Lord’s teachings and those of his church or denomination. He will then seek answers for why this is so. His innocent queries will inevitably lead to the leadership. The leadership will then downplay such questions and attempt to further circle the wagons around the straying sheep in an effort to get him back into the denominational corral. This often works. Those who succumb are doomed to being longtime members of a mere religious club who care more for social inclusiveness rather than the Lord’s truth.

         Though they start out great following the early truth trail they get cut off at the pass by the religious chucklehead posse.

        They then become denominational Christians in which their own denominational teachings always trump the pure teachings of the Lord. Whenever questions arise they never ask “What did Jesus teach?” Instead, they ask, “What does my church teach?” Or “What does the Pope teach? Or Martin Luther, or John Calvin, or John Wesley, or Fatboy, or Smiley. Or “What does my own pastor teach?”

          Of course, all of these people are mere men but judging by their fawners they are worshipped as deities. They are never questioned. Questioning one’s pastor is the new unforgiveable sin. It only works in that tiny location, however. When you walk away and shake the dust off your feet you get to be “saved again” and discover the Lord still loves you. You also rediscover cool things like eyesight and liberty and sunshine and places where seldom is heard a discouraging word.

         For a New Testament illustration regarding what happens to people who actually question the leadership or particular church doctrines, there is that which happened to the Lord and pretty much all of His early followers: If one was a member of a local synagogue and everyone there did everything they were told to do by the leadership and believed everything they were supposed to believe, then all parties, especially the leadership, were all smiles. It was a quasi-contented and quiet place though there was likely a massive cloud of fear just under the surface. All the good guys—the no power or influence members who desired truth and love—were scared spitless to speak or act or move in any such way which may be rendered religiously incorrect because they knew their entire lives were built on being members in good standing. And that meant following the controllers 100%. There was no independence of thought or seeking of truth. There was certainly no liberty in the Spirit. There was only a sad and spineless kowtowing to “the leadership.”

       When one stepped out of line, those beautiful contented costumed clergy boys were suddenly transformed into stark raving mad lunatics who wanted to abuse, maim, and kill. They always had rocks very handy at their disposal.

         Does this sound familiar? Because it also accurately describes roughly 90% of Christian “churches.” It used to be that they would disfellowship a person in a nano second but seeing the error of their ways and that it too easily revealed themselves as the Christian Pharisees they were, they reverted to the tried and true Silently Disparage, Gossip About, Reject From Fellowship and Communication, and Treat Indifferently Method. This works just as well and allows the good members thereof to practice world class Holier-Than-Thou smugness. You know, just like the Lord did.

SOMETIMES, TRUTH IS SO INCONVENIENT

         The reason so many of these kinds of Christians are so apathetic toward the Lord’s teachings is because it doesn’t matter anyway. They are all told what to believe. They can only legally believe what they are told. If they divert from that they bump up against the edges of their party boundaries. Many therefore refuse even an attempt to seek further Biblical truth because they may inconveniently discover greatly discomforting facts which depreciate the investment in their chosen religious culture. This could in turn cause a weakening of one’s personal foundation and social standing. What then?

            In the words of Luke Skywalker, “NO-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O…!”                       

            © 2019 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.

 

In the Beginning, Real Christians Didn’t “Go To Church” to “Have Church.” Real Christians ARE the Church.

         The following post is in answer to an excellent comment from one of my long time faithful readers found in the comment section here. I have always appreciated her support and insight. We have never met but have established a good rapport over the last several years. From my perspective, we are a good example of how two Christians might not believe everything the same but want to stay in fellowship anyway. This is what all believers should strive for.

 

         Thank you. Your comment brought many thoughts and memories to me as well. In my extensive church career I have been a member of the very big and very small. I have spent time in mega churches. I have spent time in many small house groups, some which were official “churches” and some not. I presided over my own group for several years. I learned early on that we will never be able to make disciples as the Lord commanded unless we change the focus to much smaller groups so each person has an excellent opportunity to develop. In my case it didn’t matter what size church I attended because I learned most of what I know through my own individual study and walk with the Lord, but I appreciate having a well-rounded perspective.

         No preacher should be “rich and famous.” Those who love the spotlight and insist on taking control are not demonstrating the humility of the Lord. They are not in it for the right reasons. Maybe some of them started out well but backslid into the usual false paradigm. The more the big shots claim their head honcho status the more the rest of the congregation must be relegated to irrelevance. They are not allowed to develop. The Lord ends up losing scads of potential ministers because the one guy claims it all for himself.

         In smaller groups this would not happen. People have a much greater opportunity to contribute and develop. Seeing the ridiculous seas of silent humanity in the vast majority of “churches” sitting back and doing nothing except honoring ad nauseam the lone dude in the pulpit or spotlight in no way represents real New Testament Christianity. The Lord and the early Church never did it that way. Each group of believers was relatively small and had several mature ministers who brought different gifts and abilities. Those were true communities of people in which everyone was contributing in a substantial way. They were no mere spectators, which now make up the vast majority of church-goers.

         People walk in the light they have. It appears that your parents struggled to keep it all together at times serving the Lord over many decades and greatly succeeded. They never looked back. How blessed they were! We play the hand we are dealt. We do the best we can. We work with the tools we have. We try to get better. This agrees with the New Testament example.

         But the fake preachers want none of this. They want power and control and money and prestige. They want exactly the same things the false prophets of old wanted and what the Pharisees demanded in the first century. That false set-up strives mightily against the Spirit of the Lord Jesus and exists as the greatest opposing force to doing things His way.

       “An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule on their own authority; and My people love it so! But what will you do at the end of it?” [Jeremiah 5:30-31]   

         Instead of these mega churches and large congregations we would be much better off with as many small groups as possible spread all over the countryside and urban areas to reach people where they are and allow every single believer to have a voice and a significant place in real ministry. This is actually happening and has been happening for decades but the big boys have also been very successful in keeping the movement from taking off. They fear their bottom line. They don’t want to lose their money, prestige, jobs, and market share.

         In reality, if most of these various congregations and mega churches, along with the few very influential rich and famous who run them, disappeared tomorrow, it would make little difference in the country. Most of them serve no real spiritual purpose. America has become a sin-filled empty spiritual shell compared to what it once was on their watch. And they don’t care.

         Real Christians must continue to fight for and stand up for the Lord Jesus. We must submit to Him, serve Him, and serve one another. We must preach the real Gospel. When we do, the very clear evidence of His presence and direction become obvious. The reason real revivals and spiritual awakenings are rare is because stubborn religious flesh wins most of the time. Real Christians are fought against and their efforts curtailed. Worldliness ensues. Unreal Christians subvert themselves to the sinful and rebellious culture. And they submit to the wrong people. Then the devil works through the vast presentation of religious and personal pride. He has a field day. These fake Christians leave the Lord Jesus in the lurch, that is, in a vulnerable and unsupported position.

         Whoever has enough money to build cathedrals and mega churches has far too much money. Such vast sums should instead be spent on people, and it is people who comprise the real Church. There are millions of the Lord’s real ministers who struggle every day due to a lack of funds and their ministries are more difficult as a result. But there are always available funds (billions) to build what are essentially extremely expensive and comfortable barns to house those who refuse the Lord’s full counsel. Most of the early cathedrals no longer exist or are mere ruins.

         History repeats itself.

        “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 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 6:46-49][1]

         © 2019 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.

REAL SPIRITUAL WARFARE: HOW TO KNOW IF YOU ARE AN EFFECTIVE CHRISTIAN

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        When a real believer obeys the Lord in presenting the real Gospel, the enemy strikes back and open spiritual warfare ensues.

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          Most Christians prefer non-spiritual warfare Christianity. Most Christians don’t even know what spiritual warfare is. Many have never even heard of the term. It is thus obvious that they are not at war.

        How is it that a great Man preaching love, forgiveness, mercy, compassion, and joy was treated as a despicable criminal? It is because the people treating Him this way are despicable criminals. Whoever hates and rejects the Lord Jesus tells the whole world they are the world’s biggest and vilest creature and is the farthest from God (one could not be any farther). Whoever loves the Lord Jesus and strives to honor Him is the one who is closest to God.

         Paul was sent on a mission. He was sent to preach the Gospel and rescue souls. What most people miss is that he was sent as a spiritual soldier into spiritual war. The Lord told him he would suffer for this. In watching one of the many D-Day memorials recently there was a clip I am sure many of you have seen. It shows General Eisenhower, the supreme commander of all allied forces, greeting paratroopers right before their mission. The video said that 40,000 paratroopers would parachute into northern France behind enemy lines. It also said that Eisenhower expected 80% casualties. In other words it was effectively a suicide mission. Yet here were all these soldiers geared up for battle in good spirits. They obviously had no idea what they were getting themselves into. Though many volunteered for the armed services, most were drafted and obeyed their government in good faith when forced into the service. The men on this particular mission would soon be decimated. I don’t know what the final figures were. Perhaps some of you reading this do. But it was a disaster.

         Also, about 2,000 men died in the initial D-Day invasion. Most were killed right away, as soon as they began. Their crafts were blown away on the open sea. Many were strafed by machine gun fire as soon as they lowered the ramps of their boats. They had little chance. They were lambs led to the slaughter. It is said that both of these groups had to be sacrificed for the greater good so the successive waves could succeed. But again, I don’t think most of these men had any idea what they were in for.

         This is what happens when you attack an enemy. The enemy will attack back. At that point you either quit or attack back again. The last man standing wins. It cost the lives of tens of thousands very early in this opening battle to bring eventual success. But it was the first group that suffered the highest casualties. Whoever is on the front lines gets hit the hardest.

         This is why right-thinking people understand what the Lord Jesus really did and why He should be highly honored and respected more than any man. He put His life on the line for all the others who came after. It is the same for His original apostles who were the first wave sent into an evil world with the Gospel. These men would be hit the hardest, and they were. The Lord prepared them perfectly. They learned it all from Him. They saw how He handled everything thrown His way. They experienced evil striking out at Him every day. They knew they must learn from Him and grow, and develop spiritually and be strong. They knew that when their time came they would have to be ready and attack with full force, and also have much and keep much in their reserve tanks for ongoing battle. Otherwise they would fail.

UNDERSTANDING SPIRITUAL WARFARE AND AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE

         After doing exactly what the Lord told them to do at Philippi, they were beaten bloody and thrown into a filthy prison. But instead of feeling bad about what happened they praised the Lord Jesus. This set the stage for even greater miracles:

      “Hey Silas, can you imagine how much we accomplished today? The devil threw everything he had at us!”

         “He certainly did, Paul.”

         “The Lord knew exactly where to send us and what to say. The enemy had a fit. Now we know the people in league with the devil who have sold out to the enemy, and who the people are we need to rescue. We know what is holding them back, what is constraining them. We know this is a little hell hole of the devil but with many people who want to be free.”

         “And will be free! And are being set free!”

         “Yes! Let’s sing to the Lord and praise Him!”

         The crowd rose up together against them, and the chief magistrates tore their robes off them and proceeded to order them to be beaten with rods. When they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely; and he, having received such a command, threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

         But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. When the jailer awoke and saw the prison doors opened, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!” And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house. And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household. And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household. [Acts 16:22-34][1]

         It was only after all of the above was accomplished that Paul and Silas were released and free to go in peace. It cost them with blood and suffering but they accomplished what the Lord sent them there to do. They showed themselves to be good and effective servants of the Lord by successfully attacking and defeating a powerful spiritual enemy and opening up doors of salvation.

         They won the spiritual battle.

         © 2019 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.

THERE COMES A TIME, WHEN YOU JUST KNOW, THE LORD HAS THIS…

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        Peter sat uneasily against the grimy wall of his darkened cell, chained to two hardened Roman soldiers. He thought about what just happened to his good friend and fellow apostle James.

 

        Agrippa was a bloodthirsty bastard. In his twisted mind he knew he could curry favor with the Jews by arresting followers of the man they called Yeshua of Nazareth. The Jews hated the Herods but made use of them. It was a symbiotic love hate relationship. The Herod family—Idumean Jewish pretenders—were not unlike the inbred Roman imperial family. Their genealogical chart went off in every direction including sideways and often doubled back upon itself. The members thereof were not only plagued by abnormal DNA and sick minds but immoral behavior that would gag a maggot.

         His grandfather was Herod the Great. Through Agrippa’s close ties to Roman royalty, including a close friendship with Caligula, he eventually became king of the restored environs of his grandfather’s vast domain, including Judea. A cold and tactless political warrior, he knew early on he would have to bring the Jews and Romans into closer proximity, which he did accomplish, but only at the expense of the Jewish followers of the Lord. He figured correctly that such people were expendable and would do nothing for his kingdom, and most likely surmised them to possess an opposing kingdom. He stood strongly for Jewish orthodoxy and this put the Jewish Christians at odds with Rome and furthered the gap with the religious Jews who saw the Community of the Lord as a heretical faction.

          Now about that time Herod the king laid hands on some who belonged to the church in order to mistreat them. And he had James the brother of John put to death with a sword. [Acts 12:1-2]

         This happened very fast. The Lord’s people were caught somewhat unprepared at the sudden vengeance directed toward them. James, possibly the oldest apostle, probably put himself in peril at the start by stepping out to take the brunt of the brutality against his people. He likely sacrificed himself to protect the others. It didn’t help that the unbelieving Jews hated him all the more due to his strong personality and manly stature. Some say this Son of Thunder had a fiery temper to match Peter’s. Before anyone could do much to stop Agrippa’s treachery James was quickly executed for all to see, likely going out the way of the Baptist.

          When he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. Now it was during the days of Unleavened Bread. When he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out before the people. [Acts 12:3-4]  

         Peter was quickly rounded up and arrested as Agrippa was told by the Jews that he was another ringleader. Something had to be done speedily because a blood bath was in the making. The unbelieving Jews reveled in the emerging murder spree and wanted to wipe them all out. Agrippa knew he would gain ever greater favor with every believer killed. In no time at all the leadership of the early Church would be no more. What to do?  

         As Peter pondered his fate He no doubt thought of his times with the Lord and his own early ministry. Had he misheard Him? Would he not actually live to a mature age as the Lord had implied? He wondered how it had so quickly come to this. He was chained to two Roman bikers and two more guarded the door. Three other sets of four replaced the previous ones every six hours. It looked like each new set was more gnarly than the others and undoubtedly threw their weight around. These were rough characters. Peter was no longer the bad dude he used to be. In his former life he could have taken any of them and made them pay dearly. James too, and probably John. The early apostles were very tough men. The Lord chose no pansies for apostle work. But Peter’s priorities had changed. Much fasting had sapped his physical strength in the intervening period of the early Community and the edge was taken off his spirit as he grew loving and kind, and in greater control of his notorious temper.  

         He was ready to go. There was nothing to be done. It may be a few days yet because Agrippa knew he’d better wait until after the eight day feast. James had likely been killed right before Passover, close to the very time his Lord had also been executed. In the interim Peter would make his peace and ready himself, but was greatly worried about his fellows. What would happen to them all?

          So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God. [Acts 12:5]  

         Of course, they were all thinking the same thing and decided that rather than accept mass death they would pray for no more death. It was a tall task, but they went for it. They would pray for Peter and for each other. They would put their faith to the test and find out if spiritual power really did work on such a scale. Outside observers would have called them utter fools for believing any such thing. The faithless knew there was no way this could ever end well.

         They decided to act anyway, against impossible odds, and before long a level of prayer had risen up majestically in Jerusalem that knocked the devil over on his ear. Mature Christians know the great power of prayer and one had also better know that the enemies of the Lord were backed up on their heels. They were feeling a great weakness coming over them and a curious fear. Agrippa himself no doubt became deeply concerned in his dark soul that something was happening he could not explain. He felt fragile and scared. Unseen demons knew the feeling. And they didn’t like it. It was enough that massive sinister spiritual forces began shifting around in an unsettled state, their former confidence and unity shattered. The great incessant prayers of the Jerusalem Community were having a profound and powerful effect.

         On the very night when Herod was about to bring him forward, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and guards in front of the door were watching over the prison. [Acts 12:6]      

         Peter stirred sleepily. He tried to understand what was happening. In his groggy state he thought he heard someone talking to him. The snoring unwashed soldiers beside him did not make things any easier. He had become accustomed to the jail, as least as well as one might, and had been blessed with an unearthly spiritual strength to handle the rough treatment, the dank smells, the darkness… What is more, he actually felt the prayers on his behalf. He was becalmed and strengthened by them. He should not feel this good under such circumstances. He was not only resigned to his fate but had an ongoing peace as he waited for the fast approaching time of his murder. But who was speaking? Was this a dream? There was a glowing form…  

         And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter’s side and woke him up, saying, “Get up quickly.” And his chains fell off his hands. And the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” And he went out and continued to follow, and he did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they had passed the first and second guard, they came to the iron gate that leads into the city, which opened for them by itself; and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel departed from him.

         When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I know for sure that the Lord has sent forth His angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.” [Acts 12:7-11][1]  

            © 2019 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.

POWER OF THE STEEPLE, BY THE STEEPLE, AND FOR THE STEEPLE

         The framers of the United States Constitution fully understood that absolute power corrupts absolutely. They had first-hand knowledge of the consequences that result from the abuse of power.

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         It is for this reason that they devised a form of government that greatly diluted authority. They installed checks and balances within the framework of the Constitution in order to arrest the corrupting ability of absolute power. The founding fathers were very aware from their knowledge of past governments and their present circumstances that great abuses resulted from a one-man show.

         Only Jesus is sovereign.[1] Everyone else is clearly inferior and subordinate to Him, whether they acknowledge it or not. The gap between Jesus, the Lord God of all Creation, and the entity most like Him is so vast it would be impossible to calculate. The only chance which humanity has to experience and continue in fellowship with Him is through applying the sacrifice of His sinless tabernacle to themselves, as a substitutionary death, which in turn gives life.

         The Lord stated that no one has greater love than the one who surrenders his own life for the lives of his friends.[2] A kernel of wheat must be planted in the soil (in death) in order to bring forth new life.[3] Accepting His life-giving death is the only way that mankind can be reconciled to Him. Once reconciled to God, a person can become “godlike,”[4] but only through the introduction of the Spirit of Jesus into his being.[5]

         Only Jesus is worthy of absolute power. Only Jesus can control it. Only Jesus cannot be adversely affected by it. When a human being is given power, he must be given checks and balances as well. In this way, he has a good chance of not being destroyed by power, or more importantly, not destroying others by it. This is why the concept of the “one-man show” church should be anathema to Christianity. This concept comes in many varieties. Other than a single individual, the “one man” could be a pastor with a sycophant board of elders, or even a worldwide hierarchy pledged to a single leader. In each of these varieties, individuals have no voice, no power, and simply do what they’re told.

         We should never forget, however, what absolute power does to people. It corrupts the holders thereof and their yes-men, and in time alienates those subordinates who are passionate for positive change, inevitably causing rebellion against the abuse of power and the neglect of those under that power. If able to unite, the neglected will rise up to rightfully extract power from corrupt leadership. This rising up or rebellion against reprobate authority serves as a check on the flagrant mishandling of authority. A successful rebellion of this kind is called a revolution. A successful Christian rebellion is called a reformation.

         The great Reformation of the sixteenth century was nothing more than a rebellion against corrupt, absolute power. The American Revolution of the late 1700s was exactly the same, though in a different arena. If the American Revolution had failed, George Washington would have been guilty of treason against the English throne and would likely have ended up with a rope around his neck. Many thousands were burned at the stake during the Reformation, not because they were heretics, but because they challenged corrupt leadership. Each of these celebrated, successful rebellions proved to be far-reaching, long-lasting remedies against the pox of nefarious authority that had come to be concentrated in the hands of one man.

[The preceding is an excerpt from Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church © 2001 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.]


[1] Matthew 28:18

[2] John 15:13

[3] John 12:24

[4] John 10:34-38, Psalm 82

[5] Romans 8:9-10

LINK: Exactly eight years ago, in late August of 2010, the Lord spoke to me very clearly: “WE ARE IN THE EARLY STAGES OF A NATIONAL GREAT AWAKENING.”

THE REAL BIRTHDAY OF JESUS: ENTERING THE SEASON OF OUR JOY

         I posted the following article one year ago at the beginning of the Feast of Tabernacles which is now upon us again. I believe today is the Lord’s real birthday. Please reflect on all the positive changes that have happened over this past year and enjoy the post. It is filled with spiritual implications. Happy Birthday Lord.

Real Christianity

         The forty days of repentance and preparation has passed. The Feast of Tabernacles is now upon us. It is the birthday of the Lord.

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         The seven day Feast of Tabernacles is otherwise known as Sukkot, or the Feast of Booths. After the nation of Israel had entered into and became established in the Promised Land, this feast became associated with the fall harvest and was known as the Festival of Ingathering.

         It was the end of the agricultural year. Since the three major feasts of the Hebrew nation aligned with the agricultural calendar, the year began with spring planting and seven weeks later came the grain harvest. These two events took place during the time of Passover and Pentecost respectively. It was at Passover when the Lord gave His life on the cross, planting Himself in death, and on the third day…

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NEW COVENANT REALITY VS. RELIGIOUS IDEOLOGY

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       Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. [2Corinthians 5:17]   

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         For the early believers, salvation included an experience. It constituted a complete change—an actual spiritual circumcision of the heart. Their lives were entirely transformed and the transformation was undeniable. Each individual had become a new creation. It happened through a prescribed course of action. It did not happen by osmosis. They had to make a conscious decision to leave the old and become the new:  

         …That, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. [Ephesians 4:22-24]  

      As the centuries passed, however, Christianity became ideological. It became philosophical. It became led by men who never had such an experience. Converts who had never fulfilled the New Covenant requirements of the new birth were accepted into the Christian fold. Indeed, many if not most of these conversions were coerced.    

         They created a counterfeit construct. Their agenda was diametrically opposed to the teachings of the Lord in this context, in that they rejected the call for spiritual transformation and instead created mass groupings of cultural Christians, or what may be termed Christians in Name Only. They manipulated their constituents, those unaware of the spurious nature of the dogmatic belief system thrust upon them, to follow it without question and instituted penalties for those who did not, and greater penalties for those who failed to honor their leaders properly.

         Consequently, those subjected to the fable generators obeyed them without hesitation, even against their own conscience and ethical beliefs, thinking their superiors were wise above measure and in possession of a higher truth they could personally never master or fully understand. Their surrender was such that they feared the repercussions of not honoring their respective religious ideologies more than they feared not standing up for the Lord Jesus, as if His judgment of their eternal status was inferior to their present societal status within their chosen religious cultures.

         As time passed, future generations of these people took cultural pride in their faux Christian constructs and the leaders thereof, not wishing to even consider the possibility of other alternatives, including the only correct one.

         For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. [2Timothy 4:3-4]

MOCKING THE NEW BIRTH

         But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. [John 1:12-13]

         The majority of those who call themselves Christians have never had a true born again experience. Though the experience is fully documented in the New Covenant writings, excuses ad infinitum have come forth over the years toward rejecting it and even mocking it. It is clear the people who do this are either unaware of Scripture or have been taught one of these excuses as a point of doctrine. It must be acknowledged that unregenerate flesh hates the idea of being spiritually crucified and it is therefore no wonder it will always fight for self preservation, even if said preservation destroys any chance of spiritual preservation.

         Most Christians understand the concept of sin but have also accepted varying definitions of it. There is, of course, from a New Covenant perspective, only one definition. From the Greek word hamartia, it is defined as “missing the mark,” “to err,” and even “to be without a share.” That is, whoever is in sin or is in possession of unconfessed sin misses God’s requirements for inclusion within His Community. If someone wants to create another community, however, and call it Christian, and does not acknowledge this definition or fails to require the only cure for sin, then its members are off the hook and will receive no conviction from peers or even from their own conscience, though the latter will take some time.

         Thus, justifying sin is in league with justifying the rejection of the new birth. Both of these protect resident sin and unregenerate flesh, and the acceptors of such a non-New Covenant belief system will receive no power over sin and one will thus be subjected to its ravages.

         The Lord Jesus went through great personal expense to buy our freedom and we, by comparison, even through a full born again experience, pay nowhere near the same price, but any price we pay is a bargain. To be rid of sin is the goal. To be filled with His Spirit is the further goal. Yet both are also Christianity 101 and prerequisite to anything further. The apostles began this way. Mary, the Lord’s mother, began this way. The 120 began this way. Prior to Acts 2 they were essentially no different than they had ever been on a spiritual level. The new birth awaited. The circumcision of their hearts had yet to take place. Such could never happen without the Spirit of the Lord.

         Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” [Acts 1:4-5] [1]

         So they waited. They went to the Upper Room and prepared themselves. They paid the price. Some likely dropped out and never made it to the day of the great event. By giving it their all the 120 made themselves worthy. They never substituted mere religious ideology for spiritual reality. They wanted the real thing and nothing would stop them from their goal.

         © 2018 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.

EXPOSING THE ANTICHRIST SPIRIT: THE HISTORICAL RECORD

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         The light of the real Gospel exposes all darkness. It shines upon all who lurk in the shadows of sin. It reveals every hidden enemy of the Lord Jesus to those with eyes to see.

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         We live in a time of veiled opposition. Most people are completely unaware of the spiritual warfare raging all around them. There are times when this warfare flashes into the open. It happens whenever the real Gospel is properly presented by the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit. This is when sinners are exposed. Their sin becomes known to them. Many blessedly surrender unto salvation. When this happens on a large scale, Great Awakenings break forth. The kingdom of the Lord expands and advances.

         Parallel to this, the unrepentant enemies of the Lord are also exposed, often by their own hateful and rapid reactionary response which they most often cannot manage. We call this triggering or getting triggered. It often takes place in people with low or no impulse control. A stimulus causes a reflex. Something sets them off.

          That something is the truth of the Gospel. More so, it is the truth of the real identity of the Lord Jesus. When His real identity is veiled, obscured, watered-down, or removed, there is little reaction. His enemies are pacified. But when the real Gospel is brought forth and His real identity, authority, and presence are fully noted, His enemies suddenly become extremely upset and angry. They are instantly inflated with antagonism and rapidly rise up to fight. The more resentful they are the more reactionary they become. The more antichrist they are, the more they agitate.

         It never changes. When the real Gospel is preached as it was in the beginning it happens. When the Lord Jesus is lifted up for who He really is it always occurs. His enemies cannot contain themselves. Their bitterness and hatred will not allow them to. They must fight back to defend their false paradigm and faulty construct to which they have dedicated their lives and in which they are fully invested.

THE EARLY CHURCH IN ACTS

          The real time demonstration of this dynamic is entirely clear as plainly illustrated by the following compelling events from the Book of Acts, captured brilliantly by Luke. Many Christians are not aware of these passages and many others rebuff them as irrelevant and even inappropriate. Others are embarrassed and discomfited, as the Scriptural record does not fit their religious and cultural narratives.

         Though listed here as highlighted sections in a chronological format, I encourage everyone to also read these passages in full context and thereby gain even greater insight into the genuine outworking of the original Gospel presentation, why it applies to the present, and how it exposes the antichrist spirit. We are blessed to have this historical documentation.

         For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. [Romans 1:16]

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THE HISTORICAL RECORD 

        But Saul kept increasing in strength and confounding the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving that this Jesus is the Christ. When many days had elapsed, the Jews plotted together to do away with him, but their plot became known to Saul. They were also watching the gates day and night so that they might put him to death; but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a large basket. [Acts 9:22-25]   

           And he was with them, moving about freely in Jerusalem, speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord. And he was talking and arguing with the Hellenistic Jews; but they were attempting to put him to death. [Acts 9:28-29]

         “You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross.” [Acts 10:38-39]   

           Now about that time Herod the king laid hands on some who belonged to the church in order to mistreat them. And he had James the brother of John put to death with a sword. When he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. Now it was during the days of Unleavened Bread. [Acts 12:1-3]

        When they reached Salamis, they began to proclaim the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews; and they also had John as their helper. When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they found a magician, a Jewish false prophet whose name was Bar-Jesus, who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence. This man summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. But Elymas the magician (for so his name is translated) was opposing them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. [Acts 13:5-8]   

          The next Sabbath nearly the whole city assembled to hear the word of the Lord. But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began contradicting the things spoken by Paul, and were blaspheming. Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first; since you repudiate it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us, ‘I HAVE PLACED YOU AS A LIGHT FOR THE GENTILES, THAT YOU MAY BRING SALVATION TO THE END OF THE EARTH.’” When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was being spread through the whole region. But the Jews incited the devout women of prominence and the leading men of the city, and instigated a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. But they shook off the dust of their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium. And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. [Acts 13:44-52]   

         In Iconium they entered the synagogue of the Jews together, and spoke in such a manner that a large number of people believed, both of Jews and of Greeks. But the Jews who disbelieved stirred up the minds of the Gentiles and embittered them against the brethren. Therefore they spent a long time there speaking boldly with reliance upon the Lord, who was testifying to the word of His grace, granting that signs and wonders be done by their hands. But the people of the city were divided; and some sided with the Jews, and some with the apostles. And when an attempt was made by both the Gentiles and the Jews with their rulers, to mistreat and to stone them, they became aware of it and fled to the cities of Lycaonia, Lystra and Derbe, and the surrounding region; and there they continued to preach the gospel. [Acts 14:1-7]

         But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having won over the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. But while the disciples stood around him, he got up and entered the city. The next day he went away with Barnabas to Derbe. [Acts 14:19-20]   

          But the Jews, becoming jealous and taking along some wicked men from the market place, formed a mob and set the city in an uproar; and attacking the house of Jason, they were seeking to bring them out to the people. When they did not find them, they began dragging Jason and some brethren before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have upset the world have come here also; and Jason has welcomed them, and they all act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.” They stirred up the crowd and the city authorities who heard these things. And when they had received a pledge from Jason and the others, they released them. [Acts 17:5-9]

        But when the Jews of Thessalonica found out that the word of God had been proclaimed by Paul in Berea also, they came there as well, agitating and stirring up the crowds. Then immediately the brethren sent Paul out to go as far as the sea; and Silas and Timothy remained there. [Acts 17:13-14]   

          And he was reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath and trying to persuade Jews and Greeks. But when Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul began devoting himself completely to the word, solemnly testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. But when they resisted and blasphemed, he shook out his garments and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” Then he left there and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshiper of God, whose house was next to the synagogue. [Acts 18:4-7]

          But while Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews with one accord rose up against Paul and brought him before the judgment seat, saying, “This man persuades men to worship God contrary to the law.” But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of wrong or of vicious crime, O Jews, it would be reasonable for me to put up with you; but if there are questions about words and names and your own law, look after it yourselves; I am unwilling to be a judge of these matters.” And he drove them away from the judgment seat. And they all took hold of Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue, and began beating him in front of the judgment seat. But Gallio was not concerned about any of these things. [Acts 18:12-17]   

          After the uproar had ceased, Paul sent for the disciples, and when he had exhorted them and taken his leave of them, he left to go to Macedonia. When he had gone through those districts and had given them much exhortation, he came to Greece. And there he spent three months, and when a plot was formed against him by the Jews as he was about to set sail for Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia. [Acts 20:1-3]

         From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called to him the elders of the church. And when they had come to him, he said to them, “You yourselves know, from the first day that I set foot in Asia, how I was with you the whole time, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials which came upon me through the plots of the Jews; how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and from house to house, solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. [Acts 20:17-21]

         As we were staying there for some days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, “This is what the Holy Spirit says: ‘In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’” When we had heard this, we as well as the local residents began begging him not to go up to Jerusalem. [Acts 21:10-12]  

         Then Paul took the men, and the next day, purifying himself along with them, went into the temple giving notice of the completion of the days of purification, until the sacrifice was offered for each one of them. When the seven days were almost over, the Jews from Asia, upon seeing him in the temple, began to stir up all the crowd and laid hands on him, crying out, “Men of Israel, come to our aid! This is the man who preaches to all men everywhere against our people and the Law and this place; and besides he has even brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.” For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with him, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple. Then all the city was provoked, and the people rushed together, and taking hold of Paul they dragged him out of the temple, and immediately the doors were shut. While they were seeking to kill him, a report came up to the commander of the Roman cohort that all Jerusalem was in confusion. [Acts 21:26-31]

         But on the next day, wishing to know for certain why he had been accused by the Jews, he released him and ordered the chief priests and all the Council to assemble, and brought Paul down and set him before them. Paul, looking intently at the Council, said, “Brethren, I have lived my life with a perfectly good conscience before God up to this day.” The high priest Ananias commanded those standing beside him to strike him on the mouth. Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! Do you sit to try me according to the Law, and in violation of the Law order me to be struck?” [Acts 22:30 – 23:3] 

         And as a great dissension was developing, the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them and ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force, and bring him into the barracks. But on the night immediately following, the Lord stood at his side and said, “Take courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so you must witness at Rome also.” When it was day, the Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves under an oath, saying that they would neither eat nor drink until they had killed Paul. There were more than forty who formed this plot. They came to the chief priests and the elders and said, “We have bound ourselves under a solemn oath to taste nothing until we have killed Paul. Now therefore, you and the Council notify the commander to bring him down to you, as though you were going to determine his case by a more thorough investigation; and we for our part are ready to slay him before he comes near the place.”

         But the son of Paul’s sister heard of their ambush, and he came and entered the barracks and told Paul. Paul called one of the centurions to him and said, “Lead this young man to the commander, for he has something to report to him.” So he took him and led him to the commander and said, “Paul the prisoner called me to him and asked me to lead this young man to you since he has something to tell you.” The commander took him by the hand and stepping aside, began to inquire of him privately, “What is it that you have to report to me?” And he said, “The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down tomorrow to the Council, as though they were going to inquire somewhat more thoroughly about him. So do not listen to them, for more than forty of them are lying in wait for him who have bound themselves under a curse not to eat or drink until they slay him; and now they are ready and waiting for the promise from you.” So the commander let the young man go, instructing him, “Tell no one that you have notified me of these things.” And he called to him two of the centurions and said, “Get two hundred soldiers ready by the third hour of the night to proceed to Caesarea, with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen.” They were also to provide mounts to put Paul on and bring him safely to Felix the governor. [Acts 23:10-13]   

         After five days the high priest Ananias came down with some elders, with an attorney named Tertullus, and they brought charges to the governor against Paul. After Paul had been summoned, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying to the governor, “Since we have through you attained much peace, and since by your providence reforms are being carried out for this nation, we acknowledge this in every way and everywhere, most excellent Felix, with all thankfulness. But, that I may not weary you any further, I beg you to grant us, by your kindness, a brief hearing. For we have found this man a real pest and a fellow who stirs up dissension among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. And he even tried to desecrate the temple; and then we arrested him. We wanted to judge him according to our own Law. But Lysias the commander came along, and with much violence took him out of our hands, ordering his accusers to come before you. By examining him yourself concerning all these matters you will be able to ascertain the things of which we accuse him.” The Jews also joined in the attack, asserting that these things were so. [Acts 24:1-9]

         Festus then, having arrived in the province, three days later went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea. And the chief priests and the leading men of the Jews brought charges against Paul, and they were urging him, requesting a concession against Paul, that he might have him brought to Jerusalem (at the same time, setting an ambush to kill him on the way). Festus then answered that Paul was being kept in custody at Caesarea and that he himself was about to leave shortly. [Acts 25:1-4]

         After he had spent not more than eight or ten days among them, he went down to Caesarea, and on the next day he took his seat on the tribunal and ordered Paul to be brought. After Paul arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many and serious charges against him which they could not prove, while Paul said in his own defense, “I have committed no offense either against the Law of the Jews or against the temple or against Caesar.” But Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, answered Paul and said, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial before me on these charges?” But Paul said, “I am standing before Caesar’s tribunal, where I ought to be tried. I have done no wrong to the Jews, as you also very well know. If, then, I am a wrongdoer and have committed anything worthy of death, I do not refuse to die; but if none of those things is true of which these men accuse me, no one can hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar.” Then when Festus had conferred with his council, he answered, “You have appealed to Caesar, to Caesar you shall go.” [Acts 25:6-12]   

         So, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision, but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance. For this reason some Jews seized me in the temple and tried to put me to death. So, having obtained help from God, I stand to this day testifying both to small and great, stating nothing but what the Prophets and Moses said was going to take place; that the Christ was to suffer, and that by reason of His resurrection from the dead He would be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.” [Acts 26:19-23]   

          When they had set a day for Paul, they came to him at his lodging in large numbers; and he was explaining to them by solemnly testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to persuade them concerning Jesus, from both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets, from morning until evening. Some were being persuaded by the things spoken, but others would not believe. And when they did not agree with one another, they began leaving after Paul had spoken one parting word, “The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers, saying, ‘GO TO THIS PEOPLE AND SAY, “YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; AND YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE; FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL, AND WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES; OTHERWISE THEY MIGHT SEE WITH THEIR EYES, AND HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.”’ Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen.” When he had spoken these words, the Jews departed, having a great dispute among themselves.

         And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered. [Acts 28:23-31] [1]

         © 2018 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.

WAKE FROM SLUMBER: EMBRACE THE REAL KINGDOM

         Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.” [John 18:36]  

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       The reality of the kingdom of the Lord is much more far-reaching than most Christians acknowledge. Many believers have made varying compromises toward this simple but extremely profound fact, that the Lord’s kingdom is thoroughly and unapologetically spiritual.

          It is something that cannot be replicated in the material world but that has never stopped Christians from trying. There have always been ongoing, incessant movements throughout the Church Age to demystify the nature of the Lord’s kingdom and thoroughly revamp it into materialistic modes and representations. There has always been the strange thought in many Christian circles that material representations and symbols are indispensable to a proper understanding of the kingdom, in that without such the reality of real spirituality is both unknowable and unapproachable.

        What this actually represents is complete ignorance of the Lord’s kingdom and an attempt to reformulate it into outward representations created to capture the mind and thus, the heart. But it doesn’t work. It only functions on a mundane level that many Christians are apparently satisfied with and only serves to cover up and cloud over the possibility of knowing the actual kingdom.

IMAGE IS EVERYTHING? NOT

         There is a reason the Lord God said from the very beginning to never make any kind of graven image or material representation of what is thought to be of the spiritual world or the things that comprise it. Invariably, if one is wont to create such, one will invariably create something sinister regardless of how benign it may appear outwardly. In the most obtuse sense, someone feels he must construct a small image to which he will direct his “spiritual” energy and thought, in that he may feel a strong need for such though completely ignorant of why or why it must be such. These efforts grow in time to full-fledged statuary of perfect human forms, something the ancient Greeks perfected centuries before the Lord’s time.

       We still have a great many examples of this ancient “art” and many more representations, of course, that have been created since. It gets seriously goofy when one lays eyes on the ridiculous stone figures of such people as George Washington and other founding fathers of America. This entire thing could not be more of a joke. I think Washington himself would be greatly embarrassed and would probably lead the charge in getting rid of them. One of the even more goofy efforts in this vein is the trend that began a few decades ago in constructing statues of baseball players outside major league baseball parks. Baseball players? Seriously? I like baseball but whoever signs off on this stuff needs to have their head examined.

         The Lord has always warned against any of this stuff because people can be so easily deceived and begin seeing these things as reality. But they are mere idols. Other than the Lord Jesus, every human being who ever lived is flawed and sinful regardless of what they or others may think. No human being is worthy of a statue nor is the human being in general worthy of such, nor is such a proper representation anyway. Everything about unregenerate humanity is actually antithetical to spirituality, the antithesis of honor, and screams out the need for humility.

THE DEFAULT MUST BE RADICALLY ADJUSTED

         Human beings are all going to hell without the Lord’s salvation. Regardless of all the good we know about everyone, there is also all the bad which must be acknowledged. Something must be done about it. Human beings can get so caught up in their own good looks or accomplishments, or the many material items they may have been able to acquire, and believe that all of that is somehow indicative of spiritual worth and self worth. It is not.

         Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” [Luke 12:15]

         The default eternal destination of every human being is hell. If something is not done to correct that then that is where one will end up. If one does nothing to change and attempt to get right with God one has no chance. But one must not only begin the process, one must see it through, no matter what it takes or how long it takes. Eternity is riding on it. The Lord stood before Pilate at His ongoing trial and stated this very clearly. Here was God Himself making it very clear that His kingdom was not of this earth. Pilate was an intelligent man but completely failed to grasp this truth.

         Therefore Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?” Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done?”

         Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”

      Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews and said to them, “I find no guilt in Him.” [John 18:33-38]

         Here was God. YHWH. The Great I AM. Standing before a mere human potentate. His rabid enemies right outside wanting to kill Him. This pretty much tells you all you need to know about the real nature of this world and of humanity. Why such a great divide? How did this happen?

         It is obvious that the real Gospel calls for radical change and transformation, something the majority of Christians have never engaged in and often shun. Many of these have substituted material representations and large material structures costing great amounts of money to build and maintain. Many have substituted counterfeit doctrines and teachings resulting in spiritual ignorance. What would the Lord say?

         Keep in mind that the Lord never wanted to be replaced by human leaders but allowed it only because people insisted. We also know He doesn’t dwell in houses made with human hands.

         Why then the temple? Again, the entire paradigm changed forever after the Babylonian Captivity. A second temple was built but it never had anything in the Holy of Holies. The Ark of the Covenant was gone and has been missing ever since then. The third temple built by Herod, that which authorities insist was actually still the second temple, was also empty where it mattered. Was this a sign?

DOING WHAT COMES NATURALLY

         And then the Lord came and they killed Him. They wanted the material. They wanted the money. They wanted the prestige. They wanted the honor. But the Lord said all of that was a complete joke and what one really needs is to get one’s spiritual eyes fixed. He stood before His inquisitors with nothing. This Man who made the universe, who created the planet, who set off Creation. This Man stood before them with nothing that they could see. And yet He was rich beyond measure. He would go through the process. He would allow them to kill Him. But He also warned them of what was coming and the judgment they would face. They paid no attention, just as most people pay no attention to what is required of them to gain eternal life.

         It would be good if all Christians would get spiritual. It would be good if we would all pay attention to actual spiritual reality. If we did the things the Lord actually told us to do it would make more sense. The things the apostle Paul taught regarding spiritual gifts would make more sense. All Christians would flock to spiritual truth and do all that was required.

         More Christians would wake from their slumber.

       While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him a message, saying, “Have nothing to do with that righteous Man; for last night I suffered greatly in a dream because of Him.” [Matthew 27:19] [1]   

         © 2018 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.

GOD REFUTES THE TRINITY DOCTRINE

         Whatever one believes about the nature of God, one must know that the traditional Christian doctrine explaining Him never emerged until a full three centuries after the ministry of the Lord Jesus.

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         For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited), “I am the LORD, and there is none else. I have not spoken in secret, in some dark land; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, ‘Seek Me in a waste place;’ I, the LORD, speak righteousness, declaring things that are upright.

         “Gather yourselves and come; draw near together, you fugitives of the nations; they have no knowledge, who carry about their wooden idol and pray to a god who cannot save. Declare and set forth your case; indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the LORD?

         “And there is no other God besides Me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none except Me. Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself, the word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness and will not turn back, that to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance. They will say of Me, ‘Only in the LORD are righteousness and strength.’ Men will come to Him, and all who were angry at Him will be put to shame.” [Isaiah 45:18-24] [1] 

THE MISSING TRINITY DOCTRINE

         The Lord never spoke of any Trinity Doctrine. There is no mention of a Trinity Doctrine throughout the entirety of Old Testament Scripture or even within the many OT apocryphal works. There is no mention of a Trinity Doctrine in the New Testament either, or in any NT apocryphal works, such as the Book of Enoch, for example, which was quoted by New Covenant writers and which appears at least a tad New Agey. There is no mention of a Trinity Doctrine within the vast library of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which date to the first century BC and first century AD. The many Jewish sects of that time period, including the Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians, Scribes, Essenes, and Zealots never mentioned a Trinity Doctrine. There is not even any mention of a Trinity Doctrine within the Jewish oral law in general—the Mishna, Talmud, etc. Monotheistic Muslims and Jews think the entire idea of God being composed of three persons is preposterous.

        But let’s put all that aside for now. Let’s say that when some second century AD Christian philosophers, theorists, and other interpreters began straying from the pure New Covenant writings and the powerful witness of the original believers and began attributing Roman, Greek, and Egyptian triad formulas to the Christian God that they were on the right track. Let’s say they thought they were acting in good faith in order to gain greater cerebral and intellectual understanding of the Christian God and that they attempted to make the New Covenant writings less confusing and more rational.

         Let’s also say that as the third century progressed and this idea was latched onto by a greater number of “church fathers” that they were really onto something deep and profound, and that they began finalizing a previously unknown great revelation, a revelation that was even unknown to such OT stalwarts as Adam, Abel, Seth, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, and David. And which also, incredibly, somehow remained unknown to all the powerfully anointed-by-the-Spirit-of-God OT prophets put together, including Elijah, Elisha, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and especially Isaiah, as quoted above. This proposed, seemingly previous great unknown revelation had also escaped the notice of the Lord’s close associate and forerunner, the powerfully anointed John the Immerser, who never mentioned it or even alluded to it.

         And let’s say these early “church fathers” of the second through fourth centuries AD were incredibly brilliant spiritually, so brilliant and receptive that they discovered and formulated something brand new (but was somehow there all along), though no one else had ever had the understanding or the “eyes to see” to see it. Such spiritually blind people who never saw it also included all the apostles, who were never aware of a Trinity Doctrine and never taught it. These included even the apostles Peter and Paul, the latter of whom wrote most of the New Covenant epistles by the inspiration of God and learned the Gospel through direct communication with God all alone out in the desert. He must have somehow missed that particular class. And let’s say when the final rendition of what we know at present as the classic Trinity Doctrine was authorized and finalized at the Council of Constantinople in AD 381 that they had come up with something that the Lord Jesus Himself either did not know about or never taught if He did know about it.

      It appears as though their great brilliance and spiritual knowledge had even superseded His. Wow. No wonder they also officially removed His Name from water baptism.

         © 2018 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.

REVEALING THE ILLUSION: SIMULATED IMITATIONS OF ORIGINAL CHRISTIANITY

The religious worlds that many Christians happen to exist within are likely mere illusions…

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There is only one original Christianity.

There are many imitations of original Christianity.

Most Christians exist in one of the many imitations.

The imitations are not spiritual reality but only possess some aspects of spiritual reality.

There is not enough truth or reality in these imitations to make any substantial difference in the spiritual world.

The majority of members in the imitations feel just fine within their imitations and both give and gain continuous support and affirmation from one another that they are in the right place.

The Lord had total control and authority in the spiritual world. We see this in His ministry. We do not see this in many of the imitations though some imitations are closer than others.

Consider this on a percentage scale: The Lord’s real curriculum, the one He taught, is 100% correct. All imitations of His teachings have eliminated some percentage of His teachings and replaced them with other teachings, understandings, or incorrect interpretations. This waters down His overall curriculum and reduces its effectiveness. So let’s say one imitation (denomination or whatever) is 90%, another is 60%, and another is only 30%. These imitations are lacking the fullness of His curriculum and can therefore not manifest the results He achieved. Even lacking 10% is making what remains for the most part ineffective and allows a path for the enemy to invade.

The existence of imitations is almost always due to (1) Someone or someones wanting to gain and maintain control instead of surrendering to His full control, and (2) Introducing a teaching, a doctrine, a way of thinking, a precept, etc, that He never taught.

Again, the only way to get it right and have the exact results He had is to believe everything He taught, surrender to Him completely, obey Him completely, and teach exactly that which He taught. How else can one be His disciple, or follower, if one doesn’t do everything He said to do? Obeying the Lord partially simply doesn’t work. It causes a relationship problem.

This is why most Christians end up by their own choices in man-made Christian imitations, some of which are possibly also influenced by the invisible bad guys. The results that the Lord had are simply not there. The people involved are deceived. They believe they are in the real world of the Lord but are actually in a simulated world. The simulated worlds cannot produce the fruit He produced or the fruit of those who followed Him in the beginning produced. That they did it proves it can be done. They achieved it. We must follow their example as they followed His.

The simulated, illusory Christian imitation worlds are thus usually completely unproductive on a spiritual level and in the spiritual world. Because total surrender to the Lord does not exist in these places, (because the people there have never completely surrendered), sin is present, primarily disobedience and unbelief. These are often well-hidden and are based on ignorance due to trusting the wrong people. These sins are further compounded by an insistence that the members are right regardless of the actual facts or obvious lack of fruit.

Alternative fruit is put forth. False reasons for authenticity and legitimacy are put forth. A stubborn attitude ensues. People become so persuaded and conditioned by their incomplete Christian belief systems that they insist they are right when, according to the real teachings of the Lord, which can be relatively easily verified by New Covenant Scripture, they are clearly wrong. But they can’t see it from where they are at since they exist in the midst of an illusion. They have not only rejected further truth but reject searching for it.

The only solution is for one to go back to the beginning and adopt the full curriculum of the Lord. To facilitate that process, one must develop a complete love for the truth. One must be willing to let go of untruth. One must receive the Holy Spirit. In time the blinders will come off. One will gain eyes to see and ears to hear.

“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” [John 16:13]

The problem with buying into a Christian imitation is that one buys into an illusion. One invests in something that is not real on a spiritual level. And because one’s interests become so powerfully vested and interwoven socially and possibly economically, one prefers the simulation to reality, and will even reject leaving if they ever figure it out, preferring the mere promise of fruit that is never actually produced to the real spiritual fruit of the real kingdom of the Lord which is always being produced. It is often the case that people refuse to leave the illusion due to conditioned fear. After a while, the subservient believers in the false illusion grow tired from never seeing the reality they desire and become mentally sluggish though strident in their religious repetitions, as if sticking to an empty game plan will eventually work (it never will). This is why the following prophecy of Isaiah appears often in the New Covenant Scriptures:

“‘YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE; FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL, WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES, OTHERWISE THEY WOULD SEE WITH THEIR EYES, HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.’” [Matthew 13:14-15]

The Pharisee religious leaders, a very small group that ruled over the mass laity under their control, created a religious simulation in which they were the chief beneficiaries, in that they possessed not only religious control but also, because they were lovers of money, great financial benefits and economic control, especially by being in league with the Sadducees. The Sadducees controlled the temple complex and were also in bed with the Roman government. This means they benefited from having governmental and economic control over the then current nation of the Jews/Israel.

The Pharisees and Sadducees differed in that the Sadducees only followed the written Torah (superficially) and eschewed any belief in an unseen spiritual world or resurrection. They did not agree with the Pharasiac man-made Oral Law, which in its purest essence, was the teaching fabric of the religious illusion they created.

These facts should sound familiar because all Christian imitations have their own version of an oral law put forth by the leaders thereof that serves to amalgamate the membership. It trumps pure Scripture and thus overrides the original teachings of the Lord Jesus and the clear example of His original followers whether the imitation members realize it or not. Most do not.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”

When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes. [Matthew 7:24-29] [1]

© 2018 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.

LORDING IT OVER THE PAWNS

     Christians have been taught by those who rule over them to never question religious authority. Thus, those in control equate themselves with infallibility and inerrancy.

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       And there arose also a dispute among them as to which one of them was regarded to be greatest. And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called ‘Benefactors.’ But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant.” [Luke 22:24-26]

      This is obviously not the case among the majority of churches and denominational hierarchies. These always feature top-down leadership in which the congregants have very little say. Everyone is expected to merely obey what comes down from on high and respect their leaders with a respect deserved only for the Lord.         

         We could fix this and all the damage it causes by simply:

(1) Allowing the Lord Jesus to have full control, and

(2) Adopting the leadership method He taught and advocated for

         We see His method very clearly in the New Covenant writings. One of the first things we notice was that there was never any “one man show.” There were always at least two men going out to minister together in evangelism and several men appointed as elders of groups. These were older men, hence “elders.” There was no central elder. The elders worked together.

         This correct method eventually devolved over time into the incorrect method of rule by one man and this ruler became known as a “pastor” although there is no New Covenant authority for such “leadership.” Churches then devolved into clergy-laity set-ups in which the laity had no voice and were merely dictated to and told what to believe.

         Whoever decided to invoke their God-given freedom to do individual research and study to become a better disciple was eventually falsely disparaged because his discovered truth always threatened those in charge.

         Consider the following words of Paul written to Timothy, and remember such universal New Covenant discipleship terms applied to all Christians such as “servant” and “workman:”

         Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some. Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.” [2Timothy 2:15-19] [1]

      The Greek word translated as wickedness in this verse is defined as “injustice, unrighteousness, doing wrong, evildoers, iniquities, iniquity, injustice, unrighteous, unrighteousness, wickedness, wrong.” What could be more wicked than a Christian leader teaching anything opposed to the Lord’s teachings or refusing to teach the fullness of the Lord’s teachings?

         CHRISTIANS ACCEPT THE REALITY OF THE WORLD WITH WHICH THEY ARE PRESENTED

         At that time, the two guys mentioned by Paul had adopted a wrong belief and began telling others. It was up to Timothy, as advised by Paul, to avoid this type of “worldly and empty chatter” that leads to such “gangrene.” We know what gangrene is, and it is not pleasant. It begins with a small infection. The offhanded beliefs of the two men with no Scriptural backing were as an infection that invaded the community. The infection was teaching something as true that is not true.

         Hence we understand the great need, especially in these latter days, to stand strong for the original teachings of the Lord Jesus and oppose strongly all the false teachings adopted by so many “Christians” since, who like those two men, have infected overall Christianity with various gangrene-like spiritual diseases which have spread far and wide.

        It appears that in the majority of congregations, Hymenaeus and Philetus have taken over, and without much of a fight.

          You will know them by their fruits.

         © 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.

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THE HIDDEN ENEMY AMONG US

         The adversary is a master of propaganda. He revels in misinformation. He lives to deceive. If he can’t stop you he will try to send you in the wrong direction. He does everything in his power to conceal the truth.

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         And it should be evident that what is referred to in an overall general sense by an unsuspecting world as “Christianity” is actually a vast collection of unrelated, incongruent, disparate, and often contradictory elements, from merely human but also otherworldly sources, with no connection whatsoever to the original. Unreal Christianity is thus rife with untruths, half-truths, fruitless rituals, syncretic misapplications, and even what Paul referred to as teachings of demons.

         The million or so separate Christian camps each have their own primary ideology and religious slant, and each, for the most part, declines close fellowship with the others for fear that its individual identity and brand will be diluted and weakened, and thus compromised toward funding and support. Many of these factions, some quite large, got started because some DA believed the whispered fabrications of the enemy or the weird ramblings of his own wayward mind and ran with them, taking many clueless hangers-on along for the ride.

         Once such groups effectively progress from single dominator and analogous cultic origins to gain the desired reputable respectability and requisite numbers, a strange but perfectly understandable phenomenon occurs: The recognition, reception, and incorporation of greater truth, light, and correction is absolutely refused so as not to interfere with established success and acceptance. This only facilitates even more splintering off, the creation of new sects, and greater division. Thus, the multitudinous Christian factions of the last two millennia have more in common with the devil’s obfuscations and religious confusion than the Lord’s original teachings.  

         Therefore, if one wants to figure out what is what and which is which, one must be willing to do comprehensive, long-term, in-depth study of the Word of God and particularly the pure teachings of the Lord Jesus. One must investigate actual Christian history (not the fake constructs) in as much detail as possible. One must also do much wide-ranging research (much), with no vested interest or personal religious apologia, and wade through the ubiquitous, muddy, debris-laden waters of deception and misinformation to sort it all out.

         In that process, as a byproduct of the search for truth, one will discover the frauds and the deceived. Their deceptive cloaking devices will fall away. They will no longer be concealed and they become completely exposed. This is exactly what happened with the Lord regarding the fake religionists of His time. He could see right through them. He could also apparently see demons, which, when you think about it, is really cool, since the devious imps were used to being invisible and getting away with all their lying shenanigans but could no longer hide—Anywhere. Whenever they attempted their magic disappearing act around the Lord it no longer worked.

         Here’s just one example:

         In the synagogue there was a man possessed by the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, “Let us alone! What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him down in the midst of the people, he came out of him without doing him any harm. And amazement came upon them all, and they began talking with one another saying, “What is this message? For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits and they come out.” [Luke 4:33-36]

         Think about this the next time you go to church. 

FRUITLESS FRAUDS

       It was therefore impossible to deceive Him. This is the way it must be for His real disciples. This is why the vast majority of those who claim to be NT Christians are not seeing Christians—they still have their blinders on. They can’t see the enemy. They remain deceived.

         As a starting point in one’s search for truth and dividing truth from error, consider what the Lord told the frauds and deceived people of His time:

          “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it.” [Matthew 21:43] [1]

         © 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.

THE EFFECTUAL WORKING OF MIRACLES

           I once had a pastor who didn’t care for doing any counseling. He stated this from the pulpit. He didn’t like sitting down with people from his church and going over the usual problems. He once stated that the devil “can only get you in so many ways,” meaning, of course, that the devil had a limited repertoire of mayhem-causing temptations. In this regard, we often hear preachers list the same relatively few things we, as Christians, must deal with, and they, as pastors, must attend to with counsel, and they say this because it’s pretty much all they ever hear. The short tabulation usually involves the following:

(1) Money problems

(2) Relationship problems

(3) Health problems

         I don’t fault that former pastor. I am pretty sure one of the reasons he cared little for counseling is because many people do not respond to it in a positive way. There are often solutions to the above three legitimate and often overwhelming difficulties put forth in Scripture that are rarely applied and this can frustrate a counselor, in that they give good advice designed to assist but the advice is not taken. It is not respected. Counselors know that much of the time people only want to talk. They need someone to talk to. That’s what they really want. They don’t necessarily want to do the work to eliminate the problem.

         The Lord is the greatest of counselors. Isaiah called Him a Wonderful Counselor. But even the Lord probably gets somewhat tired of hearing prayers when He knows we will not apply the solutions. So, in that light, I am going to dedicate the rest of this post to those of you who want to do whatever it takes to fix whatever the problem is.

A MIRACLE WAITING TO HAPPEN

         I stated at the end of my last post the very words of the Lord Jesus when He said that with God, all things are possible. This is obviously a true statement. The truth of the matter, however, is that there is a whole lot of stuff between the problem and His relatively straightforward solution. It should not be this way. I think we often make it far too complicated, which messes up the process.

         For example, in the case of Scriptural miracles, our eyes may glaze over as soon as someone brings them up, because we have heard them countless times and they do not appear applicable whatsoever to what we may be dealing with at the moment. But at that time the solution was clear-cut:

        There was Peter and John seeing a lame man who had been there for decades. Thousands and thousands had seen this man there over his lifetime. He always asked for money. Some would give him money. Most probably ignored him. He had a great problem and had it since birth and people were tired of seeing him. What could they do about it anyway?

          Well, in the case of Peter and John, they had just been gloriously filled with the Holy Spirit. They were charged up with the power and authority of the Lord. With their new status came a ton of spiritual boldness. So the next time they saw that man Peter had a completely different attitude. He suddenly had a solution to the lame man’s problem. He didn’t simply look at the man as usual and think, “Sorry. I feel bad for you but have no answer. Later.” Instead, this is the way it went down:

         Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer. And a man who had been lame from his mother’s womb was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms.

         But Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze on him and said, “Look at us!” And he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them.

         But Peter said, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk!”

         And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened. With a leap he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. [Acts 3:1-8]

HOW IT WAS DONE

First of all, Peter would be the first to say he was nobody special and that the Lord did the work. In fact, he did say that. But let us not forget that Peter experienced Pentecost. He was one of the 120 gloriously filled with the Spirit of the Lord. So that is the main condition here. But the infilling was not limited to the apostles or the 120. It was limited to no one. It is still not limited to anyone, provided one fulfills the conditions of Acts 2.

Second, Peter demanded the man look at him. He demanded the man’s full attention. 

Third, Peter used the powerful Name of Jesus, the Name above every name, and the Name with full authority over all things, including an otherwise impossible-to-cure medical condition. 

Fourth, Peter reached down, physically grabbed the man’s hand, and pulled the man up! Peter was fully confident in everything he did because he had plenty of faith and confidence in the Lord, His Name, and His spiritual power.

         But what about the lame man? He also had conditions to fulfill. He had to respond to counseling correctly. He had to obey Peter’s counseling or the miracle would never have happened.

First, when Peter demanded his full attention the lame man looked directly at him and shut everything else out.

Second, the lame man did not object to the use of the Lord’s Name.

Third, when Peter took hold of his hand and began pulling him up, the lame man never fought against him, but allowed Peter to do all he did with no opposition of any kind.

         From this we know that miracles are always the result of a collaborative effort.

         The Lord does His part, which He is always faithful to do, and the recipient does his or her part. This is why a person acting properly on faith and correctly obeying the Lord’s counseling completes the circuit.

ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE

         The Lord put the healing of the lame man miracle right there in the very beginning so anyone and everyone all through the centuries could look back at it and see that all things truly ARE possible with the Lord. It was also a great miracle at the time for the members of the early Church to look back on to build their faith and act on their faith. They saw that the Lord’s miracles could be worked through them and not only by the Lord exclusively, as in the gospels, or through a chosen few, such as the apostles. This is extremely important. As a result, greater numbers of people had their prayers answered and more life-changing miracles were performed by the Lord working through countless Spirit-filled believers the world over. This expanding dynamic continued as well by involving onlookers as witnesses, which further spread the news of the miracles and produced faith in the Lord, salvation, and more disciples.

         And all the people saw him walking and praising God; and they were taking note of him as being the one who used to sit at the Beautiful Gate of the temple to beg alms, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. [Acts 3:9-10] [1] 

          © 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.

THERE IS POWER IN THE NAME OF JESUS!

       There is absolute power and authority in His Name. And He has given real Christians the use of His Name to activate His authority!

 

      “And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all.” [Acts 3:16]

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         If you are looking for a miracle the first thing you need to do is believe in the Lord Jesus. You must know that He loves you. You must also know that He is the one who brought the whole thing up to begin with, in that miracles are His idea. We learned this from Him. We didn’t make it up.

         Why then do we sometimes think He would rather not be involved in the very process He created? We never need to convince Him. It has always been His idea. He performed miracles. He taught His disciples how to perform miracles. They taught others how to perform miracles. Miracles have never ceased and continue today.

         Well, actually, let me rephrase that. Miracles always cease or become impossible when there is no faith involved. There must be faith. Faith is very powerful. A person must possess it. It may exist within a person in latent form. If so it must be activated.

         If a person believes miracles are no longer possible or that they ceased to exist at some point then for that person there can be no miracles, simply because that person believes in the opposite of what the Lord told us to believe.

         This is a very interesting point of doctrine because one cannot be saved without faith. Salvation requires faith. Why would one believe the Lord for the greatest miracle—salvation and eternal life—but not for anything else? The Lord taught no distinction in faith, in that one may have one kind of faith for salvation but not for anything else. Faith is faith. It is all-embracing. It can be used for anything the Lord used it for.

         But remember, what we are talking about here is faith in Him. Is He shooting straight with us? Is He telling us the truth? Can we really trust Him? Is He for real? Can I really trust my life with Him? When He says He has paid for my sins and can wash them all away, and that He can deliver me from sin and its effects, is He really telling me the truth? Can I really trust Him? If He can take my sin away and actually bless me with eternal life and save my soul, and keep me from eternal destruction, is He telling the truth? Can He really do all that?

         It appears that most Christians believe He can. The only way they can believe that is if they have a measure of faith in Him. It is impossible otherwise. Since we have faith for salvation, all we must do from that point is simply believe in other miraculous works beyond salvation.

A MEASURE OF FAITH AND FIRST THINGS FIRST

         Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. [Romans 12:1-3] [1]

           Regarding the use of our faith, there are conditions. Before one can use their faith for anything else, they must first use it for salvation. They must first believe that the Lord can save them from sin. Whether or not one possesses a latent measure of faith or not, faith must arise at some point or salvation is impossible. I don’t know about you, but I thought I was a good guy before my salvation experience, until I heard the Word of God from an anointed minister of the Gospel. I got convicted. I found out I was a sinner.

         Of course, I knew that. But because there had never been any solution to it, I, like most people, simply learned to live with it. It may be our conscience telling us we did wrong. Whatever. All honest people of a sound mind know they do wrong. The Word of God calls it sin. The worst sin is sin against the Lord. But when people go about their daily lives sinning on occasion they just continue on. They don’t know what else to do. They try to do right but do not always succeed. Some just give up. Their sin can become a heavy burden. They try to deal with it.

         But again, when we are told by the Lord through one His ministers we have sinned, and when our conscience bears witness to that fact, the first reaction is to fix it, and for the first time it looks like there may actually be a solution that really works. That’s why a real minister will not only tell people about their sin, he will also tell them how to be rid of it.

ACTIVATING YOUR FAITH

          Somewhere in that process a person believes what the Word of God says and believes he can be set free. That is faith. Whether the faith was always there or not does not matter, because it is there at that moment. A person believes at that moment. He activates his faith.

         He is then told he must repent, which means to turn away from sin and quit sinning. Once a person does this properly, according to the Biblical model, the Lord Jesus is then able to forgive and wash away all prior sins committed by that person. The Lord also gives a person power over sin so he can stop sinning. More on that later.

         Water baptism is part of this process and that is why it is always closely connected in Scripture with initial faith and repentance. Water baptism is also conducted unto the Lord Jesus and His Name must be invoked as it was all throughout Scripture. Again, there is great absolute power in the Name of Jesus. Many people get delivered at baptism. All former connections to bad spirits and whatever else are severed. A person becomes totally delivered and set free and actually feels a release! Something very profound happens! It can be a very emotional experience and should be.

         Salvation is the best thing that can ever happen to anyone. Imagine being taken from certain death on the road to hell to new life on the road to heaven! This is what the Lord made possible through everything He did for us, including giving His very life on the cross. It is why His Name is above every name and carries absolute authority.

          Therefore, one’s faith in the Lord Jesus manifested powerfully for salvation can also be used for other things. Keep that in mind as you seek the Lord’s help for your present need, no matter how great it may be. Be blessed!

         “All things are possible to him who believes.” [Mark 9:23]

         © 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.

CHRISTIANITY HELD HOSTAGE

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      Unreal Christianity is a deceptive reflection of the authoritative, controlling, mammon-serving world of sinful man in opposition to the Lord Jesus.

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THE SPIRIT OF ANTICHRIST

         The facts are what they are. The real teachings of the Lord Jesus as recorded in the New Covenant writings expose a wicked system of human management by sinful leaders located in every society, country, and empire outside the Kingdom of God and that the devil rules over all. This wicked system had even invaded and taken control among the Lord’s own people.

         Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” [Matthew 4:8-9]   

         And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. [Romans 12:2]   

         And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. [2Corinthians 4:3-4]   

         Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. [1Timothy 6:17]   

         By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. [1John 4:2-3]   

         It is still somewhat amazing that many Christians can read the gospels and not see this. Why can they not see the clear fact that God Himself showed up as one of us in part to reveal and expose the devil and his evil machinations in ruling over and abusing humanity and that the devil still rules over and abuses unregenerate humanity to this day?

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UNSALTY UNSEEING MAMMON-BASED CHRISTIANITY

         “Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned? It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” [Luke 14:34-35]

         And He also spoke a parable to them: A blind man cannot guide a blind man, can he? Will they not both fall into a pit? A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.” [Luke 6:39-40]

         “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” [Matthew 6:24] [1]

         There was a time when the evil one was exposed and preached against in Christian circles but I challenge anyone to find this today. It is rare. Especially on TV. The vast majority of Christian enterprises refuse to mention him or speak of all the things the Lord did regarding him. It is readily apparent therefore, that what the Lord said regarding money and the pursuit of wealth must be in large part the reason why.

         Money-first ministries in general never mention the truth in this regard. Could it be because just as the devil controls the world outside the Lord’s Kingdom he also controls most financial resources?

         It is clear, then, that money-first Christian ministries do not dare bite the hand that feeds or do anything which might disrupt or jeopardize their money supply. They have also been conditioned over many years to arrange for and base success on the ability to gain and maintain monetary resources.

         The bigger the ministry the more dependent it is on money. The more it is dependent on money the more likely it will be compromised. The more it is compromised the less likely it will ever preach and teach the truth as the Lord did. Such ministries are not Kingdom-oriented because they are not in the Kingdom. They have created their own kingdoms in which the Lord Jesus is not in charge—they are. And as such they deceive their people and hold them hostage against the truth.

         © 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.

RACE TO THE EGG

        

         Every one of you reading this is the result of a single WINNING race contestant who let nothing stop him from achieving his one and only goal: Being first to reach the egg!

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         Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. [1Corinthians 9:24]

         In traditional churches this is represented as winning the contest to become the one who controls everything at the very top—becoming the one who commands the bridge and inhabits the one and only pulpit, while everyone else sits back in silence giving full credit and obedience to the worthy one who won the summit.

         This, of course, is a complete reversal of that which the Lord Jesus created. Rather than all the spoils going to a single man at the top of the mountain, whether it is a small mountain with a dozen or a massive Everest with tens of thousands over which the single winning contestant rules, the Lord has instead created a process in which every single one of His children can succeed and reach their full potential as a fully developed disciple instead of a mere silent spectator.

         We can call these spectator churches. Only one person is allowed to speak. However, I would like to bring your attention to a much different paradigm straight out the Gospels:

         Have you ever noticed just how many regular everyday people actually spoke to the Lord? It can easily be argued that the Lord allowed such freedom of speech and the right to question only for the reason of creating a spiritual opportunity for growth and teaching. Really. Go read the gospels and see if this is not true. There was always someone somewhere coming up to Him and asking for His help or asking a question, even His enemies. He never denied them. He always allowed them to approach Him and speak up.

         NEWS FLASH: THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN IN MOST CHURCHES.

         You are a non-entity. Your presence rarely matters. The service would be the same whether you were there or not. You will be the same whether being there or not. You spend your time tucked away on a bench and are refused any participation except for group-oriented pre-planned participation. Your heart remains the same. It has no outlet.

         During the Lord’s ministry, though, you could actually go talk to Him. Your freedom of speech would be restored. He would treat you with respect and honor your input. And from that YOU WOULD GROW AND DEVELOP.

         This is His intention. There is no possible way you would ever make it to the egg otherwise and the egg would remain unfertilized and all the greatness the Lord put within you would be wasted and come to nothing simply because you were never allowed to speak up and be who the Lord created you to be.

         This is why so many churches are so boring. Ninety-nine percent of all God’s resources (YOU!) are not being utilized. God has created a great world of incredible diversity and action but the faux lords of Christianity are determined to tamp everything down, organize creativity out of existence, and form a strictly controlled unit of virtual automatons who merely parrot what they are told and exist zombie-like in a vast sea of silence occupying mere pews or folding chairs. This is NOT the picture of lively anointed believers dedicated to excellence. This misuse and non-use of God’s greatest resources must stop.

         Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.

            For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. [Romans 12:1-8] [1]

         We must each continue to strive to achieve our ministry callings. There is an egg somewhere depending on you to get there.

         © 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.

PRESSING ON. TOWARD RESURRECTION.

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        The following posts are dedicated to all real Christians on this Resurrection Day of 2017. They contain the answers some of you are seeking. Be encouraged!

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Pressing On. Toward Resurrection. (1)

 

Pressing On. Toward Resurrection. (2)

 

Pressing On. Toward Resurrection. (3)

THE VITAL PREREQUISITES OF CHRISTIANITY 101

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         When I was in college many moons ago I learned about prerequisite courses. I could not take a specific class, for example, if I did not take another class first.

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IN THE BEGINNING

         The prerequisite courses were generally introductory 101s and oftentimes a repetition of basic high school courses. Much of the first two years of college contains classes like this. On the surface it appears to be a good idea in order to fill in any education gaps using a college level standardized form and facilitate a greater understanding of the foundational stuff required for the higher learning of junior and senior years.

         On the other hand it is an opportunity to force students to extend their university years and bring more income into the institution. One might reject that notion, but colleges and universities exist to make money. Even public colleges supported by government subsidies are in it for a buck. Someone is making money somewhere, and a lot of it, or such institutions would largely not exist. If anyone thinks otherwise, one needs to check their naiveté filter.

         Idealism runs high in the college level age group and can easily be taken advantage of. Parents face tremendous societal pressure to enroll their children in so-called institutions of higher learning even though many know such places are highly compromised with alternative education agendas and often deliver much less than advertised and much more that is never advertised.

         This brings me to two points:

(1) Christians are generally uninformed and unaware of the real teachings of the Lord Jesus and the actual New Covenant writings.

(2) Christians face tremendous societal pressure to become members of “churches.”

         These two are symbiotically connected. It brings me to two further points which explain the preceding points:

(1) Many “churches” generally keep people uninformed and unaware of the real teachings of the Lord Jesus and the actual New Covenant writings through alternative education agendas.

(2) Most “churches” strongly pressure people to attend all services and buy into everything being taught in order to be a member in good standing.

CIRCULAR REASONING

         This process creates a low-denominational heavy traffic roundabout difficult to disengage from and pretty much explains perfectly why so many Christians continue to: (1) Work very hard doing what they’re told by religious authorities, because they want to do the right thing, and (2) No matter how hard they work at attending “church” and go through all the prescribed motions, they get out on the other side one day in the distant future still generally uninformed and unaware of the real teachings of the Lord Jesus and the actual New Covenant writings. What did they actually achieve?

         It is the same reason why so many hundreds of thousands of college graduates are educated in specific areas but generally brain dead regarding subjects they should be extremely proficient at, and why their overall knowledge base is severely lacking on even the most rudimentary levels. When such young, bright idealistic though naïve students finish an extensive college academic program only to be dumb and dumber in much of the knowledge that matters most but highly skilled in subjective social indoctrination that is most often anti-Christian, anti-freedom and liberty, and pro-status quo in nature, it portends that a deceptive alternative agenda is in the works.

THE “BUSY CYCLE” ENFORCED BY SOCIETAL PRESSURE

         Why do millions of people continue to support such an academic system?

         Why do millions of Christians continue to support such systematic “churches?”

         The answer to both questions are the same: Societal Pressure.

         The only way to gain the necessary knowledge to exit the busy cycle is to leave the traffic circle. Why? Because the busy cycle keeps people from gaining the necessary information to escape it. Therefore, people have been conned to support the very thing that is keeping them from gaining the answer to get off the merry-go-round.

THE LORD’S PREFERRED DISCIPLES

         This is why the Lord Jesus did not choose religious academics to begin His movement. He chose no clergymen or priests or reverends or rabbis or scribes or tenured professors or administrators or sold-out money-loving status quo addicts or the socially ascendant. Really. He never chose any of those kinds of people. He obviously knew such people were agenda-driven, that their agendas would clash with His purpose, that they possessed highly inflated self worth, that they would insist on attempting to build their own kingdoms within His, based on their limited and subjective knowledge, and that they would fight Him at some point or every point along the way. What He prefers are raw recruits willing to leave all and start over with total trust in Him as their only Shepherd and Teacher.

         His discipleship course requires that everyone start at the beginning. He demands that His prerequisites be honored. He commands a born again experience.

         The apostle Paul said this:

         For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.” [1Corinthians 1:26-31]

         Thus, the Lord—a hard working manly Carpenter with a powerful though gracious bearing—preferred choosing regular down-to-earth people like Himself. He chose fishermen and blue collar workers. He chose those with searching, honest hearts who never fully engaged in what they deemed compromised programs. He also chose those often despised by society such as tax collectors. He even associated with great sinners. Any of these would have been the kiss of death for any “acceptable” ministry, and it proves that His ministry was the opposite of those who always respond to societal pressure and keep the wheel to nowhere turning.

         He usually went outside the usual and found His disciples down by the seaside and along the roads in the small out-of-the-way places and among the societal rejects and so-called misfits. He never judged by the outer appearance but looked on a person’s heart.

DEFINING A NEW COVENANT CONGREGATION

         As far as “church” is concerned, real disciples could congregate anywhere, with a building or not with a building, under a tree or in a boat, or even by the thousands on a gently sloping hillside. Finding a place to meet was never a problem.

         Also, regarding how many people must be gathered to constitute an actual “church,” the Lord made this most profound statement:

         “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” [Matthew 18:20]   

         This means that an authentic, genuine Christian meeting can be held virtually anywhere on the planet with as few as two people, and if the two are gathered together in His name He will support it. Not only that, He will attend it!

         I know this may be a very hard concept to grasp due to so much anti-New Covenant Christian indoctrination, but real Christianity is actually quite simple and open in its approach and allows for a tremendous amount of learning and knowledge in both the natural and spiritual fields.

DISCIPLESHIP PREREQUISITES

        There are certainly vital prerequisites, however, though these prerequisites commanded by the Lord Jesus have been rejected for one illegitimate reason or another, usually pride, by many Christians. They are designed to assist us in defeating the oppressive power of sin, break the spell of societal pressure, provide an exit from a fruitless, circular religious lifestyle, gain the powerful anointing and strength needed for our work, and open a giant secret spiritual entrance door into His kingdom:

         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 2:38-39] [1] 

         © 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.

JUDGMENTAL CHRISTIANS: Breaking Fellowship Over Non-Salvation Issues

         About a decade and a half ago there was a Christian conference relatively close by and would take place in just a few days. It featured a man I’d seen on television countless times. I made it a point to be there.

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         His name is Hugh Ross. In 1986 he started a ministry called Reasons To Believe, “Where Science and Faith Converge.” I encourage you to visit this website and look around.

         As a young man he began looking for spiritual truth and, like so many of us with a hunger for God, began searching world religions. When he began his research into Christianity he was immediately struck by what he found in the first chapter of Genesis—it made perfect sense from a scientific point of view. He was amazed by the accuracy. He soon became a Christian. He also eventually became an astrophysicist.

THE CONFERENCE   

         I planned on getting there early with hopes of meeting Mr. Ross. I walked into a relatively mid-sized conference facility about the size of a very large classroom. There were many people milling about as new arrivals wandered in. I took a seat on the front row. At some point Hugh Ross walked in and went up to the front. He gave an informal talk and said we would wait a little longer until everybody arrived, and then sat down a couple of seats from me.

         People who know me very well know I pray about everything, and I pray about everything in the context of God’s will, knowing for a fact that God’s will is always the best. A person can never do better than the will of God. Well, on the way over I had asked the Lord if it would be okay if I could talk to this man. Then when I got there the man sits down two seats over. No one approached him. I didn’t waste any time introducing myself and we began a brief discussion.

         Hugh Ross is not a young earth creationist. For this reason alone many Christians don’t like him. Some see him as a heretic. It does not matter how well he explains everything from both a purely Biblical perspective and from pure science, many Christians judge him right off the bat as soon as they find out he doesn’t believe the Universe was created about 4000BC.

         We had a great talk. I was trying to shed light on the nature of God and how the Bible clearly states that the Lord Jesus is the Creator though so many Christians recoil at that fact. He agreed. We spent most of the conversation, however, discussing young earth versus old earth creationism.

         Hugh Ross is a solid Christian. He believes the Bible is the absolute Word of God. He makes an excellent case both Biblically and scientifically why young earth creationism is lacking. He is a very gracious man but has certainly seen his share of Christian persecution (that is, persecution from Christians). Then he said something very profound. Remember, this is a very brilliant man who loves the Lord Jesus with all his heart. He lives to serve Him. He is low key, humble, relaxed, and the very opposite of professorial.

         We were discussing why so many Christians can’t see eye to eye on the creation issue. I have also faced many fights in this area even though most of the time I really don’t have a dog in that fight. Why can’t the young-earthers, who have traditionally composed the much greater percentage of creationists, find it in their heart to fellowship with those with a different perspective? Why can’t they honor the beliefs of others? Hugh answered my question perfectly:

         “Because they see it as a salvation issue.”

         I was somewhat taken aback and went silent for a few seconds. I was thinking. “Of course. I knew this, or I should have, and I have certainly applied this to other Christian doctrines and beliefs.” But still, in that moment, it hit me like a ton of bricks. It is why so many Christians favor separation over unity. It is why there are approximately four billion Christian denominations. The separatist Christians believe EVERYTHING is a salvation issue.

         Though I always spend much more time in study and research than the average Christian, I am almost always forced to prove everything. This is impossible, of course. When Christians believe they have all the light and truth on an issue, they become not only dogmatic but very judgmental. They close their eyes and ears. Those who do the larger work and pay the greater price know the truth, however. They work very hard to see an issue from as many perspectives as possible. Those who rarely or never do the work usually only believe something because that is what they have been told. They can only see it one way.

         What if a Christian is walking in all the light he has? What if he loves the Lord? Must he also be absolutely perfectly right in every doctrine taught by a particular denomination or pastor or single believer in order to be saved? Are Catholics saved? Are Protestants? Are Pentecostals? In all actuality we have millions of distinct beliefs within Christianity in general and there is no possible way anyone can believe it all. Much of it is contradictory. Much of it comes forth from people who insist they are right and never budge. What is being preached on one side of town is often the very opposite of that which is preached on the other. There is no way both can be right. But both can be wrong.

REAL CHRISTIANITY

         This is why I always make my final and only appeal to authority to the Lord Jesus. It is only His curriculum that is perfect and it must be His entire curriculum that we learn and live by. Not everything in His teachings, however, is a salvation issue. We should never, ever be divided as a result of such. If two Christians believe the Lord Jesus CREATED the universe but differ on how He did it or how long it took, that’s okay. Both of these Christians can still be saved. Besides, we were not there. We don’t know exactly how He did it.

         The Lord came across this problem often and just as often He had to do some rebuking. His greatest rebukes were always for the hard core religionists who refused to see anything other than the way they saw it and would disfellowship a person in a heartbeat for not seeing it their way. What we should be doing is working harder and studying more and praying more and fasting more instead of thinking we’ve cornered the market on truth.

         I found out later that evening that Hugh Ross and I did not believe everything the same way. But it didn’t matter. Wherever we differed on beliefs, they were not salvation issues. I’ll never forget that brief though deep discussion we had. He was humble enough and approachable enough to give me a few minutes of his time right before he was to give a major talk to so many of his ministry’s supporters.

         Please readers, keep up all the great work. Keep doing your study and research. Keep reading the Word. But most of all, knowing we are all at different spiritual places based on our discipleship and knowledge level, let us not make everything a salvation issue and thus a disfellowship issue. The Lord only has ONE community. At the end of the day, the only opinion that matters with regard to who is in it and who isn’t is His. Let us all try to keep the salvation issues among the salvation issues, such as the simple teaching that decides salvation as quoted here:

         For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

         For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands—remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

         But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.

         AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY, AND PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR; for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. 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 2:8-22] [1] 

         © 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.

RECOMMENDED READING FROM MY FRIEND LISA:

You are saved by grace? or works? or faith? or fruit? Can Grace save you?

IDENTIFYING THE SHEEP AND GOATS: Differentiating Real Disciples from the Bogus Boys

         There are two Christianities. One is real. One is fake. The following will help you tell them apart:

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       The reason Unreal Christianity is a big bulky non-innovative high-dollar extremely low bang-for-your-buck non-New Testament intractable overly bureaucratic religious sluggish slow-moving massive blob dictated to by institutional seminary-trained boshheads, cold-minded clerics, and charged-up dense denominators endlessly parroting the centuries-dead Ichabod gloryless company line is because, principally, the Lord Jesus is not in charge.

         That is a problem.

        When one reads the New Covenant writings with a clear head and pure heart without all the mind-numbed artery-clogging casuistic falsely-interpretive nonsense nomenclature and grossly obese religiosity and churchianity content, one discovers an incredible streamlined living and loving Community of Called-Out Ones exhibiting cleanliness, quickness, Spirit of God-fueled power needing next to zero overhead and fitting into any and all cultures with a life-giving new-life Gospel message for anyone anywhere on the planet.

         It is fast. It is mobile. It is loving. It is caring. It is merciful. It is self-effacing. It is filled with joy. It is creative, fruitful, and productive. It is easily financed. It never requires large money outlays to be powerfully effective. The members love each other, always support each other, and always develop quickly into strong mature and secure disciples. Rather than pour everything into a building with one guy preaching there is often no building and a hundred guys preaching. They go anywhere demanded, do anything commanded, suffer any hardship, overcome evil with good, and battle raging hate with pure love.

         And it can’t be stopped. Kill one member and ten more pop up. Try to eliminate it and it only grows larger. Try to destroy it and Great Awakenings break forth. Persecution only makes it more powerful. When the devil jabs he gets knocked over the ropes with a ferocious left hook. When he fights dirty he gets pounded into the ground. When he uses lies and gossip he and his entire operation is revealed for all the world to see. When he tries to hide he gets outed. When he brings darkness he is exposed with a million mega watt game spotter.

         There is thus no comparison between real Christians and the fake pretentious pretenders. One is led by the Lord Jesus and the other is not. One is filled with His Spirit and the other is not. One can move mountains and the other cannot. One can raise the dead and the other is the dead. One believes and the other disbelieves. One obeys and the other rebels. One is faithful and the other is a cynical denier of spiritual reality. One will inherit the Kingdom and gain eternal life and the other will …not.

SHEEP AND GOATS

         “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.

         “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. ‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’

         “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

         “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’

         “Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” [Matthew 25:31-46] [1]

         © 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.

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.

WAIT. WHAT? Foiled By a Loose Cannon

         Many years ago I was working as the lead carpenter on a residential job in a relatively upscale section of a large city. The homeowners were a respected middle-aged couple. He was a professor at a local university. She was from England. The state governor lived nearby.

         The professor was a good guy, relatively happy, and bookish. Because of his job he was rarely home and I never talked to him much. She had a strong English accent, a proper manner, and was well educated. It was one of the reasons we had good conversations. I was relatively well-read and knowledgeable of the classics.

         Due to the way I was motivated as a witness for the Lord, I had slowly begun to talk to her during breaks about spiritual things and we eventually had some limited conversations about Christianity. They were Christians, of the Protestant variety. I had an idea to invite them to church like I did with so many people I witnessed to, but I figured it would be a difficult thing to accomplish in their case.

         I was going to a large Spirit-filled church at that time. It was known by one visiting teacher who spoke there on occasion as “The Church of What’s Happening Now.” It had gone through a big growth phase a few years earlier and had been transformed from a small old-school Pentecostal church to an innovative and wonderful place due to a large influx of newly born again university students and younger people. Many of these were set free to use their youthful expertise to make some powerful positive changes. It was a great place to be.

         The day came when I suggested we get to know each other’s Christian traditions better by actually attending each other’s churches. She was open to the idea. It took a long time to get to this point. I was always one to move slowly because I knew how the enemy could disrupt a good plan at a moment’s notice. She asked her husband about it. And what a joy it was when she told me they were agreeable. I was just a young carpenter on a job site and they were up there in the social ranks. I could not help but see the hand of God.

         We agreed to go to their church first. My wife and I met them there. I cannot remember the denomination, but it was one of those upscale places where everything was relatively quiet and low key amidst high-end adornment and a very traditional setting. The place was very tastefully decorated.

         The service was somewhat monotonous compared to what I preferred and was used to. There was certainly no moving of the Spirit of God. It was intellectually-based. But my wife and I were thoroughly polite. The older couple liked us. Afterwards, as I recall, we shared a small meal on site and got to know each other a little better. There were smiles all around. I appreciated their wonderful attitude and the way they embraced a young couple interested in finding common Christian ground.

         It might have been the next week when they were to reciprocate and visit our church. My wife was in the choir so it would be just me in the pew. It turned out her husband the professor couldn’t make it. Maybe he didn’t want to. This was, as everyone knew, a large Spirit-filled Pentecostal church pretty much on the very opposite end of the spectrum from their much more traditional format. I’m sure it must have invoked some difficulty for them.

         I met her out in the vestibule and she was polite and smiling, and somewhat upbeat. I believe she really was interested even though the place was never something she would choose on her own. Again, she was from England, was used to a high church format, and moved in some high circles. It was so cool that this was actually happening.

         Though I greatly appreciated Spirit-filled gatherings, I confess that I had also developed an embarrassment of Pentecostal excess. This was the early 1980s. I was still connected to some very old school Pentecostal people and traditions, some of which were really silly, and some even a tad dark. There was a thread of redneckism to be dealt with. There was also an anti-intellectual element. It is certainly true that many Pentecostals came from the other side of the tracks and were not necessarily very well educated. But I can also honestly say that I had never met more warm, fun, and engaging people. Most were open to the Lord and were willing to do whatever He required, reputations be damned.

         So there we were, standing in the pews while the choir sang. It was a tremendous choir. So much about this place was so far ahead of the curve. It set the tone for many churches across the country. Long before the word “progressive” was appropriated and used for other purposes, I used to refer to this place as “Progressive Pentecost.” Many great things happened there. There was an openness to many fields of study. It was composed of all ages and races, a truly open and colorblind church.

         I can’t remember exactly what happened next. It seems it was still in the early part of the service. We were all standing. I remember I had worked so hard to get this lady to visit. She trusted me. I had always shown her the grace of God. I was certainly concerned that some excessive thing might happen that would turn her off but was never prepared for what did happen. I was trying so hard to be low-key and normal, maybe a hard thing to do in a full blown Pentecostal service among many hundreds of people. To affect this attitude in my attempt to be cool and not a religious redneck, I happened to have my hands in my slacks pockets as I stood there. I was really hoping that she would be touched by the Spirit of God and had been silently praying.

         In the midst of a little commotion on the platform the preacher suddenly grabbed a microphone and started speaking to the crowd. There was a move of the Spirit and I think he was trying to get everyone’s mind on God and to pay attention. Of course, I would think everyone WAS paying attention. We could all feel the Spirit of God. Everyone was respectful and obeying protocol. But rather than let the Lord wash over us and bless us with some peace and His presence, the preacher, as he was wont to do, had to take over.

         Completely messing up a good thing, he actually started to berate people. He’s walking quickly across the platform and pointing out individuals and then back to the other side, his eyes going from those closest to those toward the back. Everyone was on eggshells. This happened way too much but because of our respect for the proceedings we all thought it was God, that God was anointing him to go off like that. I learned later that was not the case. I got older. I grew spiritually. I eventually figured out that this anointed man of God who did so many wonderful things had a tendency to turn into a complete nutcase on occasion.

         Now, most of us do this. Sometimes we are very tired. We do not get enough sleep. The pressures of life can be very strong. We lose our tempers. We prove our humanity. But in the course of a church service when people really need the Lord, it should never happen or should at least be rare.

         As he was raising his voice and pointing people out I began to get seriously embarrassed for my visitor. I was afraid this would happen. But I never expected what did happen. Why? –Because I had obeyed the Lord and was guided by Him to bring this classy friend of mine to church in hopes of her growing in the Lord, being introduced to something new and great, and possibly getting filled with the Holy Spirit!

         The preacher’s crazy eyes fell on me. He pounced. I couldn’t believe it. “Get your hands out of your pockets!” Wait. What? He had no clue whatsoever what the Lord was up to with my visitor or what I was attempting to accomplish.

         Right away she told me she had to leave. She saw him looking at her also and was shaken. She wasn’t waiting around. She had to get out of there. Still smiling, she began to exit the pew. I followed her out. We talked briefly at the doors but it did no good. She was leaving.

         The entire witness was ruined. All the prayer, effort, and work was wasted. A wonderful opportunity went right down the drain. Right at the finish line.

         There are so many stories like this. The lack of accountability among the preacher ranks has always been the chief reason why such things happen. It is why the Lord always appointed several elders in the early churches and NEVER a single “pastor.” And such sordid behavior is certainly not contained to Pentecostal churches. It happens everywhere, in all denominations, and is continually reinforced and rarely challenged. There are far too many blowhards who do and say whatever they feel like and next to no one in the churches has the guts to speak correctively. Everyone knows what will happen if they do.

         Perhaps we are now in a time when that can change.

         © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

REAL RELATIONSHIP: The Revolution (3)

         “We can follow orders, we can send directives through the chain of command, we can organize massive shows of religious pomp and promote great Broadway hits, such as Charismania!, but this only means we are unified in purpose.”

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         In Part 1, we discussed the Revelation of Real Relationship. In Part 2, we discussed the ongoing Restoration. In Part 3, we continue the narrative from my book Real Christianity by discussing the Revolution in American Christianity presently coming forth in these early days of the Great Awakening:

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REAL RELATIONSHIP

         The partitioning of Christianity into clergy and laity began with the introduction of the professional minister. The distinction must be drawn between those who minister because it is a job and those who do it because they have a passion to walk in their calling.

         Professionalism promotes rank, and rank promotes division. Yet the present members of the institutional clergy, like their forefathers, continue to insist that rank can coexist with unity. What they call unity is nothing more than communication between ranks brought on by forced submission to a dominant hierarchy.

         However, communication between ranks will never result in spiritual unity among ranks. We can follow orders, we can send directives through the chain of command, we can organize massive shows of religious pomp and promote great Broadway hits, such as Charismania!, but this only means we are unified in purpose. It does not mean our spirits are knit together in real relationship and true Christian love.

         It used to be that traveling shows had to keep traveling in order to escape from those they duped. But the level of deception has now become so great that many of these road shows have settled down in our cities and towns and are perceived as being quite respectable. The reason most of the duped remain duped stems from the fact that the standard which early Christianity once represented has been suctioned out and cut on until it is no longer recognizable and in too many instances, rejected outright. Instead of walking tall as the body of Christ, we are all too often mere church mice, thoroughly intimidated by a system and structure that has no real community or love between members.

         What causes such intimidation? Why are there no opposing viewpoints? Is dissension evil even when those in power are wrong? There is no doubt that centralized authority is to be blamed in part since it causes individuals to feel insignificant and irrelevant in relation to the whole and powerless to change anything. Such power-over-the-people dogma flies in the face of that which Christianity is supposed to be.

         Yet God doesn’t leave us without the possibility of deliverance. Some of the blame, therefore, must fall squarely on the backs of those latent ministers who could make a difference but disregard their calling, opting instead to weakly blend into a directionless, homogenized mass.

         When the people of God take their ease instead of taking up their cross, they become subject to something or someone other than the Lord. This causes a false servitude to an improper party, and thus, a fear of breaking ranks with said party. The spirit behind the cause of such behavior has no respect or honor for individuals.

         Yes, we are supposed to be a body. Yes, we are supposed to be a team. Yes, we are supposed to be a family. But these entities are strong not only because of their unity but also because of the strength of their individual members. If the individual members are spiritually weak but the unifying force is strong, the whole can only be strong temporarily, if at all, and absolutely spiritually impotent for the long term, though it remain unified through coercion, fear, or cultural tradition.

         There are reams of historical data reaching back throughout the history of Christianity to support this fact. Centralized authority is only supposed to be a temporary fix designed to bring an entity back on course. When it is institutionalized, it feeds on those it rules over, instead of assisting and serving the common good.

         When such authority gains control, it will not only feed on its subject class, it will also confiscate the children’s bread. This stunts the children’s growth and keeps them in a perpetually immature state. As an example, look at the sea of “lay” people which make up most of our congregations. Far too many are clueless concerning their role in the Lord’s body. Almost all are underdeveloped and dependent upon the clergy. Many are in fear, and the great majority are thoroughly overwhelmed by the centralized power which keeps them from developing into what God wants and needs them to be.

         Why? Because to buck central authority is to invite its wrath. Centralized authority is heavily control-oriented and dictatorial. For a lone individual or small group to stand against it takes much strength. In the Church, it takes obedience to the Lord and much anointing. Indeed, the very history of the Lord’s Qahal is constructed with the building blocks of dissent against the raw power of inhumane religious impostors bent on maintaining their stolen authority. In the early days of the Church, her religious enemies were thoroughly pagan. But they eventually became “Christianized.” [1]

        © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church © 2001 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

REAL RELATIONSHIP: The Restoration (2)

         “In the beginning, spiritual relationship came naturally. Nobody had to come up with a program to promote relationship between members…”

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         In Part 1, we discussed the Revelation of Real Relationship. In Part 2, we continue the narrative from my book Real Christianity by discussing the Restoration:

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REAL RELATIONSHIP

         In the beginning, spiritual relationship came naturally. Nobody had to come up with a program to promote relationship between members. The early believers understood that the relational purity they each came to possess upon their new-birth experience was instantaneous. For example, when a baby is born, that child becomes an immediate member of its family. The baby’s family relationships result from the birth, not from trying to create them at a future date. It is the same in the Church. Relationship is a byproduct of joining the community.

         It doesn’t exist properly in many churches that have attempted to establish it, however, and this denotes a problem. It could be a problem of immaturity and lack of proper spiritual insight, or it could indicate a problem of resistance against God. Real Christianity has real relationship. Unreal Christianity has little bona fide spiritual relationship between members but only a substitute or inferior form thereof. Such unreal relationship creates no unity or intimacy among members. Thus, the quiet discord that exists beneath the surface in most churches is due to neglect or rejection of that which brings unity. When individual members of the same church never establish relationship, spiritual unity is victimized, and true fellowship is not possible.

         It’s jarring to think that what the early church once was is what we in the present are trying to become. Sadly, there was a point in history when the early community of saints which brought light to millions began to have less effect on a dark world. They were faced with mass conversions to a state religion which was Christian in name only and, thus, were increasingly perceived as heretics by the unreal brethren and as world aliens to everyone else. The real believers had become the spat upon and rejected scum of the earth. Wherever they went, they were truly strangers in a strange land.

         The Qahal [1] of the latter portion of the church age met a parallel historical point, though in reverse, a few centuries ago. By the early 1900s, restoration reached a new level and has been steadily increasing since. We are now at another fork in the road. One way leads toward our destiny; the other way embarks on yet another endless circle. This juncture marks the point of no return for those who decline to follow the Lord into the next and possibly final transition. The very narrow way which the Church is pressing through at this writing is forcing her to abandon excess weight and baggage, as well as those elements which might have assisted her in the past but are now only slowing her down. One of these elements is class division. It must be left on the entry side of the eye of this present needle. [2]

         © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Qahal is the Hebrew equivalent for “Church,” and is the word most likely used by Jesus.

[2] Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church © 2001 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

REAL RELATIONSHIP: The Revelation (1)

         “There is a reason people have problems in their attempt to minister together. The chief obstacle which has been in the way for the greater portion of the church age is still in the way…”

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         I have written extensively on this subject. My book, Real Christianity, delves deeply into the issue. I have taught many Bible Studies on the topic.

         Though the following excerpt from the book is relatively brief, it presents the historical and Biblical essence of Real Relationship and helps every believer to discover how it positively affects his or her Christian experience and discipleship.

         Speaking of which, I highly recommend buying my book. It has received excellent reviews. Its pages are loaded with truth that reveals this application of the Lord’s teachings, the Divide and Conquer tactic against it, and so many other methods of the enemy that strive to limit and even stop the progress of the Lord’s real Community by eliminating real spiritual relationship, both with the Lord and with one another.

         Thank you and be blessed:

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REAL RELATIONSHIP

         There is a reason people have problems in their attempt to minister together. The chief obstacle which has been in the way for the greater portion of the church age is still in the way. We exist in the midst of a major revelation, which Christendom has repeatedly failed to apply properly. This attests to its freshness. That it had to come by revelation shows the depths of our collective naiveté. Of course, many in the pew saw the need for it long before the pulpiteers, but were powerless, in their estimation, to do anything significant about establishing it since it seemed to be in opposition to the status quo. Indeed, the ruling clergy is threatened by it and has therefore tried to water it down or channel it in a “safe” direction. But such puny attempts by even punier autocrats will never succeed against the will of God.

         What is this major revelation? Put simply, it is real relationship. Its fundamental hindrance is the clergy-laity division which was firmly established by the fourth century A.D. Remember, the Church, or Qahal, [1] which Jesus initiated was a community—the community of called-out ones. In the early days, there were no class distinctions or divisions—everyone participated in a meaningful, fulfilling way. At present, though we might try, we will never arrive at real relationship church-wide, until we do away with the clergy-laity split. [2]

         Many churches have attempted to incorporate spiritual relationship between members into their objectives, and most of them think they have succeeded. This reveals at least a small amount of religious pride which must be eliminated as well. The clergy can attach any label it desires to a thing, but labeling is often as far as it gets. Those who have made great starts in the heat of great opposition, on the other hand, should be commended for their stand and supported for stepping out. In takes more time than we think, however, before real relationship is established within a group, and those who have begun the process must press on. When we at last lay to rest the evil root which causes division in the Church, we will have:

1. True recognition of each and every one of God’s people

2. A revelation of the inestimable worth of each member of the congregation

3. The utilization of this worth toward the building of real community

4. The functioning of every person in the Church according to his God-ordained purpose within his destined ministerial calling

5. The maturing of the Church into an organic ministering fellowship (the body of Messiah) with any number of horizontal relationships between members, yet only one direct vertical relationship—that between each member and the Lord Jesus [3]

         © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Qahal is the Hebrew equivalent for “Church,” and is the word most likely used by Jesus.

[2] The word “Laity” originates from the New Testament Greek word laos (lah-’os). It is defined as a people group, whether socio-political, socio-religious, or cultural-ethnic. It generally refers to the “common people,” as a crowd, a populace, or a nation. It is also used as the people of God. When used in the latter sense, it means all of the people collectively. It is easy to see how the meaning of this word was corrupted when class division entered Christianity.

[3] Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church © 2001 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

THE PEOPLE vs. THE ESTABLISHMENT: Defining the 2016 Presidential Election

Good Morning Everyone,

I wrote the following post back in June, 140 days ago. I posted it a day before the Brexit vote in the UK. At that time, all indications were that the Brexit vote would fail and that the UK would remain in the European Union. In a shocking upset, Brexit won. The polls were wrong. The victory sent shock waves across the world.

Last night a much greater shock transpired in America. Its reverberations are still being felt all across the nation and the planet. Again, the polls were wrong. Very wrong. Donald Trump has been elected President of the United States. I congratulate him on a hard-won victory. This is an unprecedented historical moment.

The PEOPLE have spoken.

RJ

Real Christianity

ARISE, SHINE        

         The world is changing before our eyes but the majority still sleeps. There comes a point when one must acknowledge that sleepers continue sleeping not because they need any more rest but because they have thrown the alarm clock out the window.

         Truth is the alarm clock. Establishment purveyors have barred it from the premises. They have chosen their respective versions of shallow, sleepy time reality for all under their care and are thus causing many to miss the boat. Noah’s Ark is floating off. You know the rest. (“Hey Noah! Wait up!”)

         Keep in mind that many who end up very hot and bothered will end up that way for the same reason so many Pharisees did.

WHITEWASHED TOMBS

         “So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” [Matthew 23:28]

         What the Lord…

View original post 1,543 more words

COGNITIVE DISSONANCE (and the Inevitable Fork in the Road)

         The majority lives in a fallen world. It is a world largely constructed by people separated from the Creator, most of whom have no desire to know Him, much less honor Him. This is especially true of many people who have managed to acquire great wealth and power.

         This fact presents an always interesting conundrum for those who choose to acknowledge the paradox of wealthy holders of great power who refuse to honor the Creator while living in very mortal bodies which will one day cease to exist. Yes, they hold great power now. They are incredibly wealthy. The current world of man has been created according to their will and blueprint, and most inhabitants of the planet are so caught up in mere survival they have no time or ability to consider such knowledge.

         We assume the world is what it is according to a much higher benevolent power. But this is simply not true. The world of mankind has the devil as its author, in association with sinful, fallen humans, much more than it has anything to do with the Creator.

COGNITIVE DISSONANCE

         Cognitive Dissonance is defined as “psychological conflict resulting from incongruous beliefs and attitudes held simultaneously.” [1]

         In other words, truth and untruth are both believed as truth at the same time, which causes discord in one’s cognition or ability to understand until one can distinguish between the two. It means primarily that a person has accepted an untruth as a truth and had believed in something that is not true as though it were, and are thus conflicted when presented with actual truth. Since both untruth and truth can never comfortably exist together in a sound mind, one or the other must eventually be rejected. Indeed, accepted reality is reality until someone shines a light on darkness, and reveals accepted darkness and untruth for what it is.

         Most will reject newly-presented actual truth since they have lived according to a false belief system or set of false beliefs their entire life and find it far too challenging and uncomfortable to walk away from them. The untruth has incorporated itself throughout their being and has long since been given life through willing and passive acceptance. For the most part it has never been properly challenged. Since no one has spiritual truth until they are presented with it at some point in their life, people unconsciously appropriate belief systems that are not true though they believe them to be. It is their belief in that which is false that makes it true to them. It is their acceptance of the unreal that makes it real to them.

         Those hungry for spiritual truth do not have this problem. They had only accepted untruth because it had been foisted upon them somehow but know it fails to satisfy. Because they strive for total heart and soul satisfaction and a true answer to their hunger, they never cease their pursuit of truth until they come in contact with it. When they are presented with it they find it relatively easy to rid themselves of all untruth regardless of what it costs them personally. This is why the Lord is much more able to lead spiritually hungry people to His Truth and to Himself.

SAY WHAT?

         The Lord tells us the truth, and because the truth He tells is so shocking and so apart from mankind’s false world views it is usually instantly rejected by most. It is too uncomfortable. What He says seems too far-fetched and simply cannot be right. It flies in the face of one’s accepted reality. It goes against one’s culture. One does not want to become a deviant within his or her group.

         For the world of man, this response is perceived as appropriate, because, again, the world of man is composed for the most part by lovers of it and those who reject the Creator who are openly rebellious toward Him. It makes no sense for them to accept the Lord Jesus or consider His teachings. They would have to make wholesale changes in every part of their falsely constructed lives to integrate His teachings and they find the whole idea completely asinine.

         “But you will die one day, sooner than you think, and will have to account for your life.” This they soundly reject because it is the only intelligent and reasonable thing to do. They cannot fathom any wholesale changes in their life that might compromise or remove their great power and wealth.

         “One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when he had heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. And Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!” [Luke 18:22-24] [2]

         This young archon was certainly not one of the world’s richest and powerful men, though he possessed incredible worldly wealth. Let’s say someone tried to tell him, “Hey, your money is only so good for so long. It is currently losing value. It can never be translated into the next world. You trust in it way too much. This is actually destroying you. You are putting your faith in an adulterous mistress that will turn on you in a second. It is only a matter of time. You do not possess it. It possesses you.” Well, he would see that he had come suddenly to a very distinct fork in the road, because these are two competing, polar-opposite ideas. He would be forced to choose one or the other. And even though he cannot reject the obvious facts he was just presented with, the odds are almost 100% that he would make no change.

         Why? Because the fake world he lives in is comfortable and though he knows it can never last forever he would rather have comfort now than risk it all on possible comfort in a possible next world. Many people never consider such opportunities at redemption and therefore stay deceived about the nature of reality and life. It is not until they die (that is, until the very temporary house of clay they currently live in wears out or is damaged sufficiently in some way) that they are confronted with the actual truth. Most are and will be shocked. And it will be too late.

         So, the few great power brokers who have most of the wealth of this world never change a thing regarding their own eternity and continue to put their faith in the fairy tale that they will somehow live forever and/or get away with all their personal sin and the destruction and pain they caused so many in the gaining of their wealth and power. And there will be a special place in hell for them. It is their choice.

         But for those who actually believe what the Creator teaches, and applies it wholesale, they discover everything He said is absolutely true and their formerly blind eyes are opened. They see what they had never seen before or could ever see. By trusting and obeying the Lord Jesus, they become aware of the deception they were formerly blinded by and are set free. They then see this fallen world of mankind for what it actually is. They exit the world at the inevitable fork in the road and enter the kingdom.

         Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” [John 14:6]

         If you feel confused, uninformed or not properly informed, or cognitively conflicted regarding truth, and are not sure what course to take to remedy the situation, I suggest you first begin growing closer to the Lord. His light will shine upon the areas that have need of it and in time He will fill the voids with His truth.

         Onward.

         © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

          Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church


[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.

LIFE IS BASEBALL, Not Tennis

tonyconigliaro - Copy         “There’s a few guys whose sparkling baseball careers were curtailed early. Tony Conigliaro, a young star for the Boston Red Sox in August of 1967, took a fastball to the face and was never the same. He said he heard the ball—a hiss—but didn’t see it.”

.          .          .

         I played many seasons of men’s softball over several years. Had a lot of fun. I built teams and coached. I also ran youth baseball leagues and coached teams for a few seasons and often took my teams to batting cages. Sometimes, after being egged on, I stepped into a cage and took some hacks. The other coaches there were impressed. I was a good hitter. But I was never within a million miles of real baseball.

         I remember I once put my young son in an 80 mile-an-hour cage and he was doing well. 80 miles an hour is pretty fast for a kid. He was a good ballplayer, and tough. Then the silly machine threw one inside. My son didn’t flinch. Couldn’t get out of the way in time. Nobody expects a consistent machine to suddenly go that wild. The ball smashed off his hand and did a pretty good number on one of his fingers, drawing blood. He stood his ground. I knew it must of hurt pretty bad but he took it like a man.

         On another occasion at an indoor facility, I had my players at a batting cage taking their turns. These were thirteen and fourteen year-old kids who, in real games, were facing about 70 mile-an-hour pitches on average at best, so I probably had them in a cage at about that speed. While there, I noticed another cage set up with a much better machine. No one was using it. I asked around. There was a guy there who I think had played some minor league ball. I asked him how fast the machine was slinging it. We were about to find out. While standing outside the net to the side, close by the plate, someone put a ball in and the other guy, standing right beside me, put a gun on it. The ball was hard to see. Just a blur. Slam. It thudded loudly against the tarp backdrop. The guy squinted a little looking at the radar gun readout and said, “94.” Hmm, I thought. It looked a lot faster. “Would it be okay if I stepped in?”

         It had been a long time since I saw anything that fast. I was older and wanted to see what would happen. I got a helmet and a bat and planned to let the first pitch go by to see what it looked like. I’m standing there in the box in my stance ready for some serious heat, watching the machine, the ball, the release… Slam!

         I didn’t see it. That’s what I told someone later. Actually though, maybe I kinda did. Just barely, maybe. Maybe it was sort of a blurry elongated whooshing white bullet. Or a fuzzy aspirin tablet. Or maybe I was imagining things. It only takes four tenths of a second for a good fastball to reach the plate, but reaction time is only a little over a tenth of a second. It was more like seeing the release of the ball and then immediately hearing it slam into the tarp. I thought, as I’m standing there just getting buzzed, “There’s no way that’s only 94.” It was pretty quick. Maybe if I took a few more pitches and adjusted to the speed, and… I stepped up again, even more ready this time with a heightened sense of awareness. Machine… ball… Slam! Tarp.

         No chance. I walked out. That was that.

MAJOR LEAGUE SPEED

         At that time, an average major league fastball was probably just barely 90 miles-an-hour. By 2008 it was 91. Three years ago it was 92. That’s really fast for normal humans. Speed continues increasing. Fastball speed denotes limited effectiveness for hitters.

NolanRyan - Copy         Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan was the first guy clocked at 100 miles-an-hour forty-two years ago. Using sophisticated radar equipment set up by Rockwell International during a game, he actually hit 100.8 on that occasion but many have said he threw harder in his career, at least 103. Very few can throw that hard. He kept throwing in the high 90s even in his forties. There’s a guy playing now that can throw 105, but he’s only a reliever and he averages much less. Randy Johnson, also a first ballot Hall of Famer, could throw 100. A 6’10” southpaw, Johnson could scare the heck out of you. So could Nolan Ryan. Nolan Ryan was throwing so hard in high school he once broke a kid’s arm. There were kids who were scared to death to step up to the plate. When major leaguers, as good as they are, have the same apprehensions, it speaks loud and clear about the ramifications of blazing baseballs and what they can do to a man.

         There have always been a lot of guys who could throw really, really hard. But most were wild. One thing about the major leagues that a lot of people don’t know about is that pitchers are expected to have relatively good control. Everyone uncorks one from time to time or misses badly. But rookies who are somewhat consistently wild in a clueless sort of way, in that there does not appear to be any rhyme or reason to their wildness, make veteran ball players angry. I mean, they get pretty upset. They can tell the difference right off. Major league pitchers are expected to stay in the zone. It’s hard enough for a batter to hit 100 mph pitches as it is without having to worry about one hitting you in the head. You have to trust the pitchers to keep their pitches in a relatively tight zone around the plate if they throw that hard because there is often no way to get out of the way if a ball comes at you. Getting hit always hurts but getting hit by a pitch that fast can do serious damage.

RayChapman - Copy         Baseball careers have been ruined by hitters getting hit by pitched balls. One player back in 1920, in a game between the Yankees and Cleveland at the old Polo Grounds in New York, got hit in the head by a fastball. A shortstop for the Indians, his name was Ray Chapman. They rushed him to a hospital and did all they could but he died the next day. He is the only player in major league history to lose his life playing the game. Two years ago, Giancarlo Stanton, a star player for Miami, got hit directly in the face. He couldn’t get out of the way in time. The ball smashed flush into his face causing multiple fractures. Regarding speed, the ball was “only” 88 mph.

         There’s a few guys whose sparkling baseball careers were curtailed early. Tony Conigliaro, a young star for the Boston Red Sox in August of 1967, took a fastball to the face and was never the same. He said he heard the ball—a hiss—but didn’t see it. He was out the rest of the year and the entire 1968 season. He made it back in 1969, winning Comeback Player of the Year honors, and also had a great 1970 season when he had many career highs. He was done, though, after half a season in ’71 and a brief return attempt in 1975, his eyesight being permanently damaged.

Dickie Thon - Copy         Back in the early 1980s the Astros had a very good young player destined for stardom named Dickie Thon. Then one day he got hit in the face, the ball breaking the orbital bone of his left eye and damaging his eyesight. After a long recovery and ongoing vision problems, he played several more years but was never again the same player. He was, however, a major leaguer, and that says a lot. These baseball players have to be commended for getting back on the horse, especially after such gruesome injuries. Facing barely visible baseballs that can potentially kill you is a gutty thing, but even more so when perfect health and eyesight is long gone.

BASEBALL AND LIFE

         Like these guys, many people have been almost destroyed by life, coming about as close to total disaster as possible, but somehow saving themselves on the brink. They fight. They overcome. Many very courageous people come into this life seriously behind the eight ball and yet still manage to make life work. Life is hard enough as it is, but to have to face it with disabilities, or poverty, or some other almost impossible circumstance makes life almost not worth living. It is hard to even try. But humans have a secret weapon: We are made in God’s image. And the Lord is not a quitter. We all have the ability to win regardless of circumstances or setbacks.

         No one understands more than the Lord Jesus how hard life can be. He never did anything wrong but was attacked often. There were multiple death threats. So many people hated Him and still do. This proves another thing about humans: Humans can hate, often for no legitimate reason. Haters can destroy people. So, as I said, living life is hard enough as it is but when good people sometimes have to wade through dirty floodwaters in the process, it makes for a challenge. But it can still be accomplished. One can get up each morning and make up one’s mind to be victorious and get the job done.

         Understand, though, that I am not referring to the routine. I am not talking about excellent ball players who work less than their teammates and still do well because they are so loaded with talent and have always been supported. I’m talking about guys who have to fight with everything they have for many years when no one gives them the time of day or any chance, and they know if they stop it’s all over. There are men who played long careers in major league baseball when pretty much no one thought they were worth the effort in their youth. What they lacked in exceptional natural ability and pure talent, and often greatly lacked, they made up for with very hard work and hard training and by never giving up.

         Other players with incredible talent were initially barred from the major leagues simply because of their skin color. But because of their work ethic, perseverance, and love and respect for the game, many became solid major leaguers, some became Hall of Famers, and a few became the greatest of all time.  They HAD to believe in themselves early on because next to no one else did. It is the same with perhaps millions of Christians with no outlet or support for their callings, though churches are ubiquitous.

Willie Mays Hank Aaron Roberto Clemente - Copy

Future Hall of Famers Roberto Clemente, Willie Mays, and Hank Aaron in 1961

         Some players quit too soon. They believe the naysayers and never make it. They walk away before giving it their all. This brings me to something so many Christians just don’t get. Multiple congregations have been taught incorrectly by quack ministers that making it to heaven is a cinch. They really believe that. For them, everything is rainbows and butterflies. Christians are getting killed for their faith and they’re out there like Julie Andrews singing and traipsing their way through mountain meadows—spiritual flower children living in a daydream world. Living for the Lord is NOT easy. Heaven is NOT guaranteed. Membership in the Lord’s community is NOT a right. Salvation is NOT to be taken for granted. It never has been. It’s not supposed to be. If it is than I can assure you it isn’t, if you get my drift.

         “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?” [1Peter 4:18 NKJV]

         Living for God can be done, of course, and must be done, but it can be the hardest thing one can ever do. To understand this is to consider the opposition. Why is there so much opposition? If there was no wolf hounding a believer’s every step and no devil tempting us and lying his fool head off and no hater humans trashing Christians at every opportunity and no sinful flesh always reminding us of our weakness then, yeah, maybe living for the Lord wouldn’t be so tough. But that’s not reality.

         Maybe this is why I love baseball so much. The sport is basically impossible, and it’s certainly impossible to master. If it was easy anyone could play it. Those with any sports brains at all knows there is nothing harder to do in all sports—baseball, football, wingsuit flying, noodling giant catfish, whatever—than successfully hitting baseballs. There is no greater skill required for anything else. It is in part why so many millions of good baseball players never come within a million miles of making a career in the major leagues.

         It is even hard for the very best. The masters can’t master it. Even the very best of the best can be humiliated right out there in front of everybody and often are. A player can step up to the plate one day doing nothing discernibly different and suddenly see the ridiculous-to-hit blazing aspirin tablet transformed into a big old bouncy beach ball and start smacking it all over the field like it’s the easiest thing he’s ever done. Then suddenly that same player can’t buy a hit. His ability vanishes. He becomes a total baseball moron. His teammates quit talking to him. They figure he’s jinxed enough and they don’t want to be jinxed. Coaches keep trying to help him, looking for flaws. Sometimes players figure it out and make adjustments. But a lot of the time they just suddenly start playing well again. They move out of the slump as if it never existed. Out of the blue. “I’m back…” Teammates lighten up. All is well.

         If you’re a real Christian struggling right now, this is what you HAVE to remember: It’s temporary. Unless you quit. Don’t quit. Don’t ever, ever quit. There is always hope. Things will turn around. Things will definitely get better. Though we may get hit with a hundred mile-an-hour fastball right in the noggin we can get back up and play again. Baseball careers can be ruined by injury but there is no injury or disability that can stop a real Christian from completing the course. Again, all people, Christian or not, are made in the image of God. That image is sometimes hard to see but the Lord knows how to clean us up and get us right and anoint us and help us. He wants us to know that whatever happens is not the end until it is the end, and until then all things remain possible.

IT HAPPENS TO THE BEST

TedWilliams - Copy         I want to tell just one more baseball story. Ted Williams was among the three best baseball players in the history of the game. He had a goal early in his career to become the greatest hitter who ever lived. I believe he achieved it. Umpires would sometimes call a pitch a ball only because Williams didn’t swing at it. They knew he had much better vision than they did. It is said that Ted Williams probably had the best eyes in major league baseball history. To be the greatest you have to have great eyes. You also have to be intelligent. You have to know what’s coming at you as soon as possible and make split-second adjustments.

         In the late 1950s before a spring training game, there was a minor league kid phenom in the Baltimore Orioles organization with a legendary reputation pitching to his team in batting practice. His name was Steve Dalkowski. Ted Williams was watching him from behind the batting cage. The kid was known to be incredibly fast. I mean really, really fast. But he was also wild, as most kids that fast are. It’s very difficult to control a baseball thrown that hard. In later years, many people thought this kid threw harder than anyone ever had. Cal Ripkin Sr., a well-respected longtime player and coach, caught Dalkowski in the minors and reportedly said his pitches would easily clock out at 110. This was before radar guns. Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver said the kid threw harder than Nolan Ryan or Sandy Koufax or anyone he had ever seen. Umpires said the same.

         Ted Williams was intrigued. He had heard of the guy but never saw him before. He decided to step in and face the kid. See what he had. So the greatest hitter who ever lived stepped up to the plate. Several baseball writers standing around the cage suddenly grew quiet and gathered around, knowing something really cool was about to happen. In proverbial hushed tones, hard to do at batting practice, the reporters and other players watched as Williams took a few practice swings and indicated to the kid pitcher steve-dalkowski - Copyto bring it. Dalkowski, solemn and serious in this special one-time historical moment, moved slowly through his weird windup and uncorked a laser, a sonic fastball. It came in high and tight and disappeared into the catcher’s mitt after passing inches from Ted’s face. He never flinched. Whoa. What was that? As you’re watching the long ago scene play out in your mind—the ball in the catcher’s mitt, Ted Williams standing there, frozen—we’ll take up the story from Pat Jordan in The Suitors of Spring:

         “The catcher holds the ball for a few seconds. It is just a few inches under Williams’ chin. Williams looks back at the ball, then out at Dalkowski, who is squinting at him. Then he drops the bat and steps out of the cage. The writers immediately ask Williams how fast Steve Dalkowski really is. Williams, whose eyes were said to be so sharp that he could count the stitches on a baseball as it rotated toward the plate, says that he did not see the pitch, and that Steve Dalkowski is the fastest pitcher he ever faced and probably who ever lived, and that he would be damned if he would ever face him again if he could help it.” [1]

         He made the right choice. Ted Williams, the man with the greatest baseball eyes of all, didn’t even see the ball.

         He was lucky. Whizzing baseballs close to the head happen all the time but players usually see them and can react. Dalkowski’s pitch was so fast that Ted Williams was completely defenseless. He could have easily gotten beaned and suffered a major, career-ending injury. He could even have lost his life. It is said that Dave Chapman, back in 1920, got his cleats caught in the dirt and this contributed somewhat to why he couldn’t get out of the way in time before that baseball busted his skull and did end his life. It didn’t help that the pitcher who hit him had a reputation for being a headhunter. Steve Dalkowski wasn’t a headhunter. He was just hopelessly wild. He was a good guy who was always concerned about hitting people. He was too dangerous. As a result, the man with the fastest pitch in history never made it to the majors.

         Tony Conigliaro didn’t see the ball either in the end, and thus never saw it change course toward his head. Same thing happened to Dickie Thon, except he saw it but with not enough time to react. The ball sailed in and unexpectedly kept sailing in. It happens sometimes. These baseballs did what experienced players didn’t think they would do. The pitches acted out of character according to the players’ experience. The baseballs escaped the customary zone. While cognizant of the risks and fully alert, these players really had no chance, but unlike Williams and Conigliaro, Thon, Stanton, and Chapman at least saw the ball at some point.

FROM OUT OF NOWHERE

Herb Score - Copy         The worst thing life can throw at you is what you never expect or see coming. There is absolutely no defense against it. But know this: Even though the world is somewhat random, God is not the author of chaos. Human beings can learn through proper teaching and experience what to guard against, be careful of, and when or when not to take calculated risks. There is an unknown element we must deal with, however. It is the only element that certainly is completely random. You can’t really plan for it. You can only defend against it in part, and then only generally. It can act as a 100 mile-an-hour baseball coming right at your head like a heat-seeking missile reacting to your reaction and chasing you down until it pounds you. If you can see it you have a slight chance. Otherwise, forget it.

         What is the one unknown element? The element is human choice. If human choice is in the power of evil it can get you. Knowing one’s enemy, then, is one’s only defense. Therefore, you better identify the evil as evil or you will have no chance. You will be blind to the threat. Evil works best when it disguises itself as being harmless or good. This is why two-faced people are the bane of society. They pretend to be something they are not to improperly gain something they want. In short, they cheat. They lie, they deceive, they manipulate, and they connive—with a false front and a smile. They are masters of the Judas kiss.

         Many Christians decide, therefore, as a way to protect themselves, to simply reject their spiritual responsibilities. They abscond from their duty. They refuse to go to war. They know there is an enemy and that the spiritual fight will cost them. They don’t want to be a target. So they decide to never get in the game. They would rather watch the game at a distance, safely tucked away in the stands. They decline to engage.

         What’s worse, they believe they will go to heaven anyway. This is why some baseball fans make huge emotional investments in their chosen teams. They want to be part of the game and a member of the team but the only way to achieve it is to merely identify with the players and watch from afar. The actual players are working. They’re having fun. They’re getting paid. If they win a World Series they have even more fun and get paid more. Super fans don’t get paid. They don’t even play. They only convince themselves they are part of the team though they make no contribution whatsoever except going to the game and finding their place in the crowd, or following religiously on television. Sound familiar? 

         Real believers, unlike the unreal variety, don’t do this. They obey their Lord and engage the enemy. Attending to their callings make them subject to attack. As a result, many have taken a sock to the head. Or got a broken arm (this just happened again in a major league game a few weeks ago). Tony Conigliaro suffered a broken arm from another errant pitch earlier in his career. It happens more often than you think. What else explains so many real Christians suffering so many attacks and injuries? Why do so many real Christians get killed? Why do many have their lives destroyed or almost destroyed? It is not because they deserve it. It is not necessarily because they were not prepared, though it could be they trusted the wrong people. It mainly happens because they answer the call to war.

         “But you will be betrayed even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death, and you will be hated by all because of My name.” [Luke 21:16-17] [2]

THAT’S GONNA LEAVE A MARK

         If you’re gonna play baseball you’re gonna get hit. Even on defense. A ball can make a bad hop and hit you right in the mouth. I got smashed below the knee on a bullet from left field while sliding into second one time. Had that injury for a while. Blew up like a balloon. While pitching one time a guy hit a rocket line drive right back at me that was hit so hard I couldn’t dodge it and took it right in the thigh. Lucky for me. Even the umpire winced, stopped the game, and asked me if I wanted to come out. I said hell no and kept pitching. That injury to my quad was pretty bad and lasted months. I got hit in the back a few times going in to third base. One time I did it on purpose, moving over with my back to the ball (I didn’t see it but knew it was coming) so I wouldn’t get thrown out. That didn’t feel so good. But I was safe.

         I saw a runner coming into second on a double play once who didn’t get down in time and took a rifle shot from the shortstop directly to his forehead. It was pretty loud. He went down in a heap. I saw a pitcher get hit in the head on a line drive and the ball shot straight up into the air after beaning him. That was reallyAP SCHILLING BLOODY SOCK BASEBALL S FILE BBO USA MA loud. I saw a man right in front of me severely break his ankle sliding into third. Heard the crunch. Not good. Then there’s all the many destroyed knees, pulled and torn muscles, infinite hand injuries, broken fingers, and etc that players suffer every day playing the game they love. Anyone who has ever played for a while has seen these things. Injuries are simply part of the game. The only way to avoid them is to stay off the field.

         For those followers of the Lord reading this who have suffered some bad stuff due to the evil choices of others, remember first that the Lord warned us. He said it would happen. The devil and his people are wicked. There’s your explanation. The Lord suffered a little bit too. They even killed Him but He got back at them by not staying dead. So remember, with the Lord, the impossible is always possible. Putting our trust in the real Man, the best of all time, allows Him to work wonders in our lives. Whatever the challenge, whatever the struggle, whatever the impossibility, whatever you’ve been through, whatever you’re going through, whatever your goals are and the mountains you face, the Lord can open your eyes to answers. There are always incredible promised lands awaiting us all, sometimes just around the corner.

         So here’s my advice: The Lord Jesus will always do His part in your life if you let Him, and because He doesn’t want to mess up your objective by getting in the way, or treating you like a kid, or doing everything for you, or disallowing you from achieving great things according to His will on your own, or ruining the sheer fun of playing the game—

         Step up to the plate and dig in.

         Life is baseball, not tennis.

         © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

         Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church


[1] The Suitors of Spring © 1970 by Pat Jordan

[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.

OUR WORLD: A Simulation of Reality

         Those who have bought into this world will possess it only as long as they draw breath. When their physical bodies die they will be shocked to discover that this world is a mere temporary illusion. It does not, cannot, and will not translate into eternity.

         “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” [Matthew 16:26]

         We live in an era of great knowledge, relatively recent, and one with incredible new discoveries made every day. Our known technology is far advanced, but one must know that even higher forms of three-dimensional technology also exist but remain hidden. This has little effect on the majority of people since most are not even aware of revealed technology.

         It works the same way with knowledge. There are a few who know very much though most people know little. The less one knows the more likely one will be deceived by the temporary illusion this world offers. It is a world based strictly on the five senses and on the knowledge gained through mere sensory data. This world is thus incredibly limited. It is why we long for something more.

         As stated on this site a few times, the facts regarding the extreme limitability of this world of mankind can be illustrated by the universe and what we know about it. We know much, of course, and the majority of our knowledge regarding it has only been discovered over the last century or so. There is a misconception in this area, however, in that most of us are so overloaded with all the new scientific knowledge of outer space, our solar system, the sun, the moon, our own atmosphere, and orbital geography, that it appears as though we know much more than we actually do.

         In fact, with all the knowledge we possess and the great scientific discoveries we have made, we still don’t know very much at all about our own universe. In further fact, we would fail every test regarding our knowledge of its nature. We give off a vibe that we know it all, but we actually know far, far less than advertised.

         To put a number on it, 95% of the universe is UNKNOWN. We only know 5% which is clearly a failing grade. Imagine having a test at school and getting only one correct answer out of twenty. That’s the classification of a dunderhead.

         Most of the universe is composed of what scientists call Dark Energy and Dark Matter. They know it is there by the effect it has on what we do know about, but the most brilliant among us have no clue what these things are. Also, an unwanted side effect in gaining new knowledge keeps rearing forth its ugly head, in that the more we discover, the more we discover what we don’t know. This should make us all the more humble but instead has the opposite effect.

         Because we do not grade as we should, we skewer the results to make us look brilliant. We are not brilliant. Human beings are generally complete morons. Anyone who does even a cursory study of human history should know this. Some argue that we as a race are getting better, that we have long since grown out of our archaic, cave man, doofus, primitive past and are presently highly enlightened.

         But I must remind one and all that in the last century, the great 20th century of human history when knowledge and technology exploded and brought forth such huge advances, that it also brought forth the worst behavior and human-caused events in the planet’s history. For example, roughly 200 million human beings were murdered in the 20th century, most by official governments and official government leaders through duly approved means (not including abortion), and with the approval of a good percentage of the people who managed to stay alive.

         Therefore, how is it that human beings are so enlightened? This too is an illusion. It is created by denying and playing down the obvious evils in human nature and human events and overly promoting the good, though the good only amounts to about 5%.

         “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” [Matthew 7:14] [1]

         © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

          Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church


[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.

Fight the Good Fight of Faith

READER COMMENTS:

         “WOW! This is a POWERFUL post RJ! I find it stirring… to be bold, strong, and courageous for the Lord! And, to not shrink back, or look to the right or left, or “God help us” if we should look down or beneath us.”

         “I thought I would start here, because it looked like the beginning. The fresh air that I smell is the blowing of the Holy Spirit in this post. Looks like I have some reading to do in order to catch up! Looking forward to it. I have gotten to the point in my life where I can no longer tolerate the stale or the fake. I want the REAL. Looks like I have found some. Thank you.”

LINK TO ARTICLE:

Fight the Good Fight of Faith

LIVING IN THE MIRACLE REALM: Connected to the Vine (3)

         Miraculous works were not only a sign proving the legitimacy and authority of the Lord Jesus and His ministry, they were vital to carrying it out. His overall ministry has never ceased but continued with His original disciples and continues at present. In order to achieve what the Lord has called us to achieve we must use every ministry tool and weapon that He used. We must live in the Miracle Realm.

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WE MUST BE CONNECTED TO THE VINE AT ALL TIMES

         To achieve miraculous works, the following conditions must be applied:

         “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.

         I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

         If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.

         If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” [John 15:4-7]

         The word “abide” comes from the Greek word meno: “To stay or remain.” In order to produce spiritual fruit, it means one must maintain the vital spiritual relational connection to the Lord Jesus at all times.

         But again, most of those who call themselves Christians have never been connected to the Lord in the first place, and they remain that way because they have never had a real born again experience. Thus, they are unconnected.

         It is impossible to become a fruit-producing branch of the main Vine without a starting point.

         One must become disconnected from the fallen world of sin and one’s place in it. One must leave the old and join the new. This can only be done through a personal decision at some point in one’s life. And the only way to prove such a decision is correct is by the later production of the same spiritual fruit the Lord Jesus produced. Cultural Christians may be doing all sorts of humanitarian works on the surface and appear as real believers, but until they actually fulfill the conditions set forth by the Lord, they are incapable of spiritual works, and they will never perform the works of the Lord.

THE POWERFUL NAME OF JESUS

         Again, His teachings are very clear. They are not confusing:

         “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” [John 14:13-14]

         What I am going to say now will be strongly opposed, not by the enemy, but by the majority of Christians. The Lord said to ask anything IN HIS NAME. But the vast majority of “Christians” fail at the very beginning of their supposed conversion because they not only have never been born again as the Lord said we must be, but have never been baptized in the Lord’s Name. In fact, many have never been baptized at all.

          This is a much bigger problem than people think it is. (Please refer to my writings on baptism.) The Lord and the early believers knew that water baptism was vitally important. If one refuses water baptism in the Lord’s Name how can one be right with the Lord?

LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, SOUL, MIND, AND STRENGTH

         Regarding the lack of miracles, here’s another clue. The Lord Jesus said:

         “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”

         Most Christians refuse to keep all the Lord’s commandments. It is not possible, therefore, that they really love Him. They simply see Him as someone other than God and the fullness of their devotion is not directed toward Him. Thus, they will never perform the works of the Lord.

JESUS IS GOD

         And here is even more:

         “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” [John 14:12-18] [1]

         The Lord Jesus, THE TRUTH, is obviously also the Spirit of Truth. He just said it in the preceding passage. He is the Helper. He is the Comforter. He said He will not leave us as orphans, which clearly means, if we so chose, that He will be our parent, which means, HE IS THE FATHER. This entire passage in John 14, remember, is about identifying the Father.

         But also, as the Spirit of Truth, HE IS THE SPIRIT. He said He was presently with them, but would soon be IN them. “I will come to you.” That happened at Pentecost.

         There’s another giant clue: Most Christians refuse Pentecost.

         So there you have it. We have all the reasons we need concerning why some Christians cannot do the miraculous works the Lord Jesus did. Most Christians don’t come anywhere close to doing the same things He did, and sadly, most Christians are perfectly fine and content with this.

MIRACULOUS WORKS ARE A SIGN OF THE LORD’S PRESENCE

         You will find as you study the Gospel accounts in-depth that something very otherworldly was going on in the ministry of the Lord. Of course, most Christians know this and support it. But the otherworldly supernatural character of the Lord’s ministry continued after He ascended. It continued in the ministries of His real disciples afterwards, it continued after them, and it continues today.

         But don’t be fooled. There are obviously many charlatans and deceivers who claim miracles, signs, and wonders but the only sign many of them are concerned about is the dollar sign and the only wonder is how they continue to get away with it.

         Christians must never be content with surface-oriented Christianity or being mere cultural Christians. We must all be born again. We must all receive the spiritual power of the Lord. We must all enter the Miracle Realm and live within it, as did the Lord Jesus and all real disciples since His time.

         He is depending on us to be full-fledged mature disciples so He can work miracles through us and thereby fulfill all the abundant life promises of His Word for a fallen world.

         © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

         Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church

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MUST READS:

         ENTERING THE MIRACLE REALM (Part 1)

         ENTERING THE MIRACLE REALM (Part 2)

         ENTERING THE MIRACLE REALM (Part 3)


[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.

LIVING IN THE MIRACLE REALM: Spiritual War (2)

         Miraculous works were not only a sign proving the legitimacy and authority of the Lord Jesus and His ministry, they were vital to carrying it out. His overall ministry has never ceased but continued with His original disciples and continues at present. In order to achieve what the Lord has called us to achieve we must use every ministry tool and weapon that He used. We must live in the Miracle Realm.

.

SPIRITUAL WAR

         We are in a war. It is the greatest war of all time. It has been going on continuously since the spiritual fall in the Garden when sin entered the world. The enemy knows all he has to do is apply enough temptation to get a person to sin and then everything spiritual in that person’s life will be cut off. Such a person will become spiritually blind and completely ineffective.

         Therefore, the first reason that most Christians cannot perform miracles as the Lord did is because they have sin in their lives. Of course, human pride is greatly offended at this and will oppose the solution all the more. Most Christians have never had a real born again experience and thus they have never truly repented, and thus, the blood of Jesus has never been applied. They remain in their sins though they may otherwise look and act like a Christian. They have never fully repented.

         Of course, such is Christianity 101. It is not that most Christians have failed the course but that they refuse to take the course.

         Many Christians go through their Christian routine knowing full well there is a weight upon them and a problem, but having no clue what it is or what to do about it, since they have rejected the otherwise obvious answer (sin), they cease trying to figure it out and simply learn to live with it. They accept a powerless Christianity and simply go through religious motions completely outside the Miracle Realm.

WHAT ABOUT REAL CHRISTIANS?

         For sincere believers—THOSE WHO ARE WILLING TO DO ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING THE LORD JESUS REQUIRES WHATEVER THE PERSONAL COST—there are also reasons why they are having a hard time manifesting the works of God.

         Again, we are in a war. Science tells us that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. It is the same in the spirit: EVERYTHING A REAL BELIEVER ATTEMPTS TO DO FOR GOD WILL BE OPPOSED—EVERYTHING.

         Therefore, if you really want to get it done you must understand that one attempt will usually fail. It is often the case that ten attempts will fail. If one is easily discouraged then forget it. It is not that the Lord is not involved, however, it is that the enemy is resisting. He is fighting you. You must overcome him. The Lord showed us how.

         Remember, Daniel prayed for three weeks without hearing anything at all. Then an angel showed up. The angel said the Lord heard Daniel’s prayer at the very beginning. But the angel, the messenger the Lord sent right away, had to engage in warfare with a powerful demon to get the answer to Daniel. That’s why it took 21 days. Daniel did his part by continuously praying and believing, and staying in faith for as long as it took for the answer to arrive.

OUR POWERFUL WEAPON OF FASTING

         The Lord Jesus was fasting all the time. He began His ministry with a 40 day fast. If one refuses to fast then forget it—one will never do the miraculous works of God.

OUR POWERFUL WEAPON OF PRAYER

         He was also praying all the time, sometimes spending hours every night in prayer, and there were times when He prayed all night long. If one refuses to pray the right way, or pray unceasingly, or pray IN FAITH, or pray as if all depended on one’s prayers, then forget it—one will never do the miraculous works of God.

OUR POWERFUL WEAPON OF GOD’S WORD

         The Lord was also always quoting the Word. THERE IS GREAT POWER AND ANOINTING IN THE WORD OF GOD! He used it as yet another weapon. If one refuses to use the real Word of God then forget it—one will never do the miraculous works of God.

         Indeed, all three of these are very powerful spiritual weapons. They each must be utilized to achieve the will of God.

         © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

         Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church

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         MUST READS:

         ENTERING THE MIRACLE REALM (Part 1)

         ENTERING THE MIRACLE REALM (Part 2)

         ENTERING THE MIRACLE REALM (Part 3)

LIVING IN THE MIRACLE REALM: Miracles Are Real (1)

         Miraculous works were not only a sign proving the legitimacy and authority of the Lord Jesus and His ministry, they were vital to carrying it out. His overall ministry has never ceased but continued with His original disciples and continues at present. In order to achieve what the Lord has called us to achieve we must use every ministry tool and weapon that He used. We must live in the Miracle Realm.

.

THE MIRACLE REALM

         All of us wonder sometimes why our prayers are not answered. We wonder why we feel so out of touch spiritually and why the Lord seems to be a million miles away. While such things happen from time to time for dedicated disciples, for most Christians, they happen all the time.

         This is one reason: The majority of Christians in the world have never entered the Miracle Realm.

         Let me explain.

         The Lord Jesus said His real disciples would do the same things He did. Before we go further, please focus on His words in the following passage:

         “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.” [John 14:12] [1]

         Now, consider that. The Lord spoke these words very sincerely. He left no doubt as to their meaning. The words apply to every real believer from that time until the present. He said that every REAL believer will do the same works that He did during His ministry and would also do even greater works.

         Now consider the following phenomena:

         The Lord Jesus could actually SEE otherwise invisible demons.

         The Lord was also well-acquainted with angels, as were the members of His early Community. You remember that Peter was busted out of jail by a walking talking angel the night before he was to be executed. Joseph, the Lord’s human father, had one dream after another featuring an actual angel appearing to him in dreams and giving him specific commands.

         The Lord Jesus Himself appeared to Paul on more than one occasion.

         All of these things happened as a matter of course in early Christian history. For most Christians since and for most Christians at present these kinds of things NEVER happen. Most Christian leaders are so out of touch spiritually they have joined the devil in claiming such things no longer happen, can’t happen, and haven’t happened since the first century. And because of this, most Christians have been taught to NOT believe.

         In other words, if it doesn’t happen to me or at my church then it simply can’t be real.

         This is what I term Surface-Oriented Christianity. It’s not spiritually real. It has no power. Whatever the denomination, it is as unreal as the day is long. I am not judging the hearts of individuals, but merely agreeing with the actual teachings and ministry of the Lord Jesus and standing on His Words instead of the words of any other.

         Let me explain something even further. As a follower of the Lord, I have been around a long time. I am very familiar with Catholic churches, Protestant churches of almost every form, Non-denominational churches, and many Pentecostal and Charismatic churches. I am very familiar with mega churches and many forms of small home groups. I could go on. I have been to roughly a million Christian services and meetings and conferences of pretty much any and every form.

         But very rarely, relatively speaking, have I seen or experienced the works the Lord did during His ministry.

         BUT I HAVE SEEN THEM. THEY DO EXIST.

         It is just that, again, relatively speaking regarding all Christian experience and considering all denominations, the Lord’s miraculous works are very rare. Everyone knows this. Some Christians even think they don’t happen at all and never could.

         There are reasons for this. I can tell you exactly what those reasons are, but I also know that most Christians are simply not interested. For the few who are interested and really want to break through and be used of God in a mighty way, stayed tuned…

         In the meantime I suggest the following articles:

         ENTERING THE MIRACLE REALM (Part 1)

         ENTERING THE MIRACLE REALM (Part 2)

         ENTERING THE MIRACLE REALM (Part 3)

         © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

         Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church


[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.

Happy Fifth Birthday, Real Christianity!

         I created this site five years ago in anticipation of the Great Awakening in America. The Lord Jesus revealed to me a few decades ago what the future of America would be, but much more than that, what the future of American Christianity would be.

         Although there have been many people who received similar reports, there have been relatively few who have received reports from the Lord concerning the changing nature of Christianity in America, how it happened, how it would continue to happen, what to prepare for, and how to get back to the original—Real Christianity.

         There was so much information coming in. I had been telling people for years just exactly what I was seeing but most paid little attention. I had always been curious, since my incredible born-again experience, why so few Christians cared so little about spiritual reality and actual New Testament truth. I saw that most Christians were on a closed-minded routine track and were well-conditioned to reject anything that didn’t line up with their chosen beliefs and church practices.

         It was no different in the first century.

         I reached a point in which I had to start recording all that the Lord was showing me. I am not claiming to be anything more than what I am, but I discovered long ago that the Lord blessed me with the ability to see things. Right after I was born again I had an insatiable desire to read the Word of God and could not read fast enough. I even spent my lunch hours at work reading the Word. I worked very hard, but for little pay, and couldn’t afford much. I lived in small apartments. I had no television. There was no internet.

         I was given a small paperback Bible by a friend who had also been gloriously saved a few months before. Later, with my hard-earned cash, I bought a new Thompson Chain Reference Bible and a Strong’s exhaustive concordance. A friend gave me a large paperback, the complete works of Josephus, for Christmas. I was on my way.

         As the years passed I began spending all my free time reading and doing in-depth research. I had my job in which I earned money, but I also had my real job, my vocation, that which drove me and motivated me. It was what the Lord called me to do.

         It was my desire to be a preacher, as that was the only possible ministry choice back then. I preached some, taught Bible studies, and did a ton of witnessing. I had yet to understand that the great majority of the Lord’s ministers are not the one’s in pulpits, however. I didn’t realize that my desire to be a minister had already been achieved, but because I was not an official minister, I was not respected as one, even among my own friends. That was a hard lesson to learn.

         I never stopped. I have been loyal to the Lord all these years.

         As I said, the time came when I was receiving so much information from the Lord Jesus, including by revelation, which can only be received directly and not through reading or study, and had gained so much knowledge, that I had to do something with it.

         I told a very good friend one day, “Someday I’m going to write a book and call it Real Christianity.” Well, for those of you who have not written a book, I can tell you that it is very hard work, especially the kind of book I would write. Everything had to be footnoted and supported with facts. Everything had to line up with the Word of God. It was, however, a true labor of love.

         I eventually achieved the dream. The book was no small read and contained about 330 pages. It was extremely well-written and documented. I expected big things, that I would get the word out. But to my great disillusionment, my book was not received. In fact, it was largely rejected.

         Now, I knew this was only because of one reason. It was the same reason that so much of what I had shared in the past was not received. People just could not see what I could see. I was almost always ahead of the curve and most of the time WAY ahead of the curve. I spent so much time and effort working toward the gaining of truth, at my own expense, that I left most people behind. I did have some friends, of course, who also saw some of what I saw, and we were accountable to one another. I knew what I had was real. Nevertheless, I continued to attempt to gain official legitimacy for my work. I was never afraid of anyone on the planet challenging me on what I learned. That was not the problem.

         The problem was trying to get other Christians to get it, to see it, to want it, to get engaged, to wake up, to break out of dead traditional molds, and to have a real love for the real truth.

         When I completed the book, before it was printed, I made a very handsome copy and presented it to my church. I had been a faithful, tithe-giving, official member of this church for almost six years. I had a great reputation. I got along great with the pastor and elders. One of the elders was assigned to look over the book and get back to me. I had been believing all along that this would help birth me into ministry, at long last. I had proven to be a faithful servant on all accounts. We were giving large amounts of money to the Lord through the church. And I was doing so much work regarding writing and research in addition to my job…

         They rejected it. The elder assigned to read it suddenly turned on me. The news spread fast. In a short time, after all my faith, hope, and very hard work, I was suddenly trashed and rejected. This man destroyed the Golden Rule. I found out yet again, even in doing things so well and in establishing an extremely good record over many years that Christians will turn on you in a heartbeat. This man, an otherwise very good guy, was no Berean. It is the same with many Christians. In case you’re wondering, the spiritual dynamic of which I speak works this way:

         The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews.

         Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men.

         But when the Jews of Thessalonica found out that the word of God had been proclaimed by Paul in Berea also, they came there as well, agitating and stirring up the crowds. [Acts 17:10-13] [1]

         The Lord had me stay in that church for almost another year. I remained a good guy. But it was obvious that the leadership had changed their tone toward me. I kept tithing (large amounts). I stayed faithful. They grew more and more distant. I kept thinking, “If only you would read this book with an open heart toward God with a good attitude. If only you would be noble-minded and eager for truth…”

         But they refused. The time came, after the Lord gave them much time and opportunity, again, almost a year, that the Lord told me it was time to leave. I heard this very clearly. I left on the best terms possible but because I had become relatively invisible due to their rejection and cold-heartedness, it was a quiet exit.

         That was many years ago, of course. Since I started this site I have discovered that many of you have had similar experiences if not the exact one. I have received an absolute ton of support here, but lately, that support is waning. This is why:

         I keep putting more and more very deep and solid Biblical truths on this site and it causes a falling away simply because of the same dynamic above. Yet, this is what the Lord called me to do. Because I have worked so hard over the years, have done so much research, have prayed, fasted, attended a million church services, and have written extensively, I have gained the fruit of my labors. I have received much insight, revelation, and knowledge. I have put it all to the test, and have also been thoroughly tested. I have seen the future.

         But when I show the future, it looks very different from the present and is usually rejected. There have been umpteen times when what I present is rejected, but when someone else presents exactly the same thing it is accepted. Many people finally see what I see years later, and accept it, but they curiously continue to give me no credit. (This is a completely different spiritual dynamic!) The main thing, of course, is that the Lord Jesus gets ALL the credit. Suffice it to say that all real Christians, however, will be able to relate to His sufferings. Just give it time.

         For those of you who are still with me and support me, I have a request. I could use your help. I have made my book extremely easy to buy. It is available in E-Book format for about $10. The print book is available for a little more. Just click the icons on this site. It is how you can help me financially.

         I never ask for money. I do not take donations. I never have, except on extremely rare occasions. I work for a living. The oil field, in which I had been working, is pretty much dried up. Many people are hurting and are without jobs. I have returned to construction, but a past injury has recently flared up and makes it a tad bit of a challenge, although I have been working through it and will continue. I also mow yards.

         If this causes you to lose respect for me there is nothing I can do about that. I remain a genuine minister of the Gospel. It is my calling and is why I’m on the planet. Most genuine ministers operate the same way. I continue to write and post as I am able. The Lord is GOOD and He sustains me. I am blessed.

         The time will come when all real Christians will be in heaven but for right now there is much work to be done! I work to earn money not just for survival but primarily to support the ministry the Lord has called me to do. I am the only one supporting it financially. Thanks to all of you who read and who have bought the book. I appreciate it. I request your prayers. If anyone may have a clue regarding how I can do a better job of getting the word out and honoring the Lord Jesus, please let me know. All of us have our own individual challenges but I know the Lord will see us through.

         May each of you, my dear readers, be blessed super abundantly and grow ever-closer to the Lord Jesus. He did it all for you. Thank you for the last five years.

         Onward.

         © 2016 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.


PLEASE NOTE:

          You can locate every article prior to this year through the above Article Archives tab, organized both by category and calendar year.

          There is also the Reader Favorites tab right next to it listing links to the 30 most popular articles.

          On the top left is the Author/Book tab which gives a brief description of the book this blog is named after, as well as many comments.

          All 2016 posts are in the Latest Articles—Feed Your Spirit column to the left (scroll up/down).

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          If you’re interested in gaining some perspective regarding the last five years, I’ve included links to each prior anniversary, as follows:

Happy First Birthday, Real Christianity (5/10/12)

Happy Second Birthday, Real Christianity (5/10/13)

Real Christianity: Three and Free (5/10/14)

Happy Fourth Birthday, Real Christianity! (5/10/15)

“CHURCHIANITY? WE HAVE A PROBLEM” Supporting Old Wineskins Means Rejecting New Wine

         You don’t find it in traditional “church.” You don’t find it in pretty much any form of ultra-organized Christianity, that is, that which is organized by man.

         If people are the central planners, central organizers, central leaders, and central motivators, then the Lord Jesus is not.

         And that’s the PROBLEM. It’s why you never see real, lasting revival in such places.

         It’s why those in some places, in the effort to at least appear spiritual, have given themselves over to pure emotionalism because they simply do not have the real thing. They’ve substituted mere human virtue, emotional good feeling, and shallow spirituality, and have made these the priority. They want everyone to be comfortable, which means they also, by forced option, want people to be comfortable in their sin. No one in these places wants to say anything against their “church” because they cherish it as their support group, strengthening gym, and bless-me club. How then can it ever improve spiritually?

         No one wants to say anything or even feel anything against the leaders thereof because it makes them feel uncomfortable. If there was some sort of legitimate process toward solutions, like in the early church, people would have a viable outlet, but as it is, the most anyone can ever do is keep to themselves anything that doesn’t agree with the status quo.

         NO ONE WHO HAS SOLD OUT TO ANY OF THESE ORGANIZATIONS WANTS TO BE THOUGHT OF AS A DEVIANT OR SOCIAL PARIAH, AND THUS THEY ALL FOCUS ON FITTING IN RATHER THAN SPEAKING OUT FOR THE LORD, WHEN SPEAKING OUT IS CALLED FOR. THE SILENCE INFLICTED UPON THEM INDICATES THAT THOSE IN CHARGE ARE PERFECTLY FINE WITH THE SET UP.

         Of course, it takes the real anointing of the Holy Spirit to speak out. To stand up. To see what the problem is. To bring into the light what the problem is. And to actually give real solutions to fix the problem.

         But very few in these places really want to fix the problem regardless of what they say or do because it will involve what I just wrote of above, and no one wants to be that guy.

         Well, here’s a news flash: Over the last thirty years or so the Lord Jesus has been pouring out His Spirit and His anointing and His Truth and many, many individuals have been strengthened and anointed and encouraged to OBEY the Lord Jesus in order to do His will, and not the will of others who have decided to take His place.

         These anointed individuals are loving and kind and wonderful people, yet each and every one of them eventually found walls and closed doors and closed minds and hard attitudes and were forced out.

         THE EXACT SAME THING HAPPENED TO THE LORD JESUS.

         But why? —Because He did the same thing that all these other anointed real believers have been doing. He refused to go along with the false religion the religious controllers of His time were pushing. He was sent to preach the one real Gospel. He would teach nothing else.

         Of course, all the people who could no longer stay in a place in which the Lord Jesus was not in full control were either silenced or forced to leave, and it caused the light in such places to dim and many lights have eventually gone out completely. The same thing happened when the Lord left the synagogues.

         When He walked in He was a BRIGHT LIGHT that exposed all corruption and everything false. When He walked out the place returned to its state of darkness. THE LIGHT WAS REJECTED. DARKNESS WAS ACCEPTED. They felt more comfortable in darkness. They didn’t appreciate the Lord exposing them for what they really were. They hated feeling convicted and rather than repent and get rid of their sin they got rid of Him.

         And it was all in the effort to maintain a compromised or dead status quo and keep the people in charge who were in charge, exactly as it is today.

         The believers who have traditionally been forced out did not want to be “in charge.” They wanted the Lord Jesus to be in charge! And they all knew that if He was in charge the same things that happened in His historical ministry would happen there. But the powers that be almost always nix this because they simply do not understand the truth nor do they want it. Most really believe in what they are doing and think their places are just fine and even great exactly as they are. Many are deceived.

         Here’s another news flash: The compromising of American churches didn’t just happen because the members grew cold, it happened due to a secret organized agenda that most members know nothing about. The general members didn’t cause it, but they have agreed with it.

NEW WINE AND NEW WINESKINS

         But what goes on in the vast majority of these places, again, looks nothing like the Book of Acts. Even though there are a few people who remain “loyal” to their establishments while also seeking a great outpouring from the Lord, they don’t understand that they keep trying to force the Lord’s NEW WINE into old wineskins!

         When push comes to shove they refuse to allow for the Lord’s NEW WINESKINS and continue to honor, support, and remain loyal to the OLD. Such old wineskins can never allow for the very thing they seek, but again, getting rid of the same old same old is anathema to these people. They have therefore chosen the old wine over the NEW WINE.

         “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. And no one, after drinking old wine wishes for new; for he says, ‘The old is good enough.’” [Luke 5:37-39]

         How do we know someone else is standing in the Lord’s place? How do we know that someone else is in charge? How do we know that someone else is deciding on policy, on what will be taught, on what doctrines will be allowed, what people must believe, and on which “ministers” can speak?

         Simple: Next to nothing in these places actually looks like the ministry of the Lord Jesus or that which happened in the early church. Some give forth the appearance. Most do not. And the members thereof have grown satisfied in dry deserts and dusty creek beds and empty lakes and waterless oceans. There’s no water in their swimming pools and yet everyone is acting like there is. That’s weird. But not so much if everyone there is doing it.

         So there’s your PROBLEM. It was the same problem the Old Testament prophets faced. It was the same problem John the Immerser faced. It was the same problem the Lord Jesus faced. And it was the same problem the original apostles of the Lord faced. You either joined ‘em or you fought ‘em. Most fought ‘em.

         IT’S WHY THEY WERE ALL MARTYRS.

         Today, church members in general don’t want to be martyrs. They don’t want to be anything close to a martyr. They are satisfied that the Lord Jesus is not in charge, that His Holy Spirit is not welcome, that they have no powerful outpourings, and that they are bound by teachings and doctrines that are not His.

         But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron… [1Timothy 4:1-2] [1]

THERE IS A SOLUTION

         It doesn’t have to be this way. But anyone who knows and has done the research and has studied revivals in detail KNOWS why they happen and why they end. They happen because enough people greatly desire as top priority the Lord’s Truth, the Lord’s control, and the Lord’s spiritual outpouring, exactly as that which happened in Acts 2. These saints of God make great demands upon themselves to achieve this end. They have to fight through so many other Christians thinking they are idiots and malcontents. They must have great courage and must persevere against great odds. THIS is how revivals happen. And when enough of these people are successful and are able to fight off all enemies, most especially religious enemies, GREAT AWAKENINGS happen. Amen!

         But revivals end when the human religious controllers manage to fight back and take control once again. When they wrest control back from the Lord, the same old spiritual deadness ensues. They destroy the NEW WINESKINS and rebuild the old.

REVIVAL ANYONE?

         Here is the Lord’s guarantee for all of who really want the best: The 120 people in the Upper Room were all in one accord. Each and everyone knew the Lord Jesus must be in charge, must be honored 100%, and must be allowed to do whatever He wanted to do. They were all surrendered to Him and His Truth and His entire curriculum. They LOVED Him with all their hearts. And though tens of thousands followed the Lord in His ministry, only 120 were willing to go all the way to the Lord’s fullness and toward complete obedience.

         As a result it was the 120 who were blessed with Pentecost!

         If any group of people, or church congregation, or members of a ministry do exactly as the 120 did, the guarantee is that the same outpouring will happen for them.

         All of this means it is our choice. The Lord forces no one. That’s in part why most churches are dead and compromised and filled with false doctrines. These places are the antithesis of spiritual health. Though they may look great on the outside, to the eye, and though that is exactly what many of them strive for, all it does is serve as a deceptive shiny wrapper on the far less than optimum spirituality within.    

         So again, any group anywhere can change their tune and get right with God, but this will never happen until they finally acknowledge that they have a problem.

SUCCESS!

         Some churches and groups have done this! They have proven it. Some are proving it right now. But we are still in the early stages.

         Always keep in mind that the real Christians of the early community of the Lord actually defeated the Roman Empire in its evil battle against them. If that doesn’t prove the Lord’s power and ability, what does? Rome was the greatest empire the world had ever known until the present empire being built up all around us. The same kind of war is beginning to come forth.

         However, our early forebears fought a spiritual war against demonic entities. They fought the devil but loved the people.

         And the kind of love they showed, and it’s best characteristic, and its greatest example was illustrated perfectly by the Lord’s suffering and death on the cross.

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

         This is our challenge.

         © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

         Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church


[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.