Category Archives: Real Christianity

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…

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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 when 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 desserts 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.

Overcoming Clergy Dominion: BREAKING FREE (5)

         The following is an excerpt from Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church:

         Like the Wizard of Oz, the ruling class has established a powerful and sometimes fearsome image of itself. Its members have set themselves up as the sacred and the laity as the profane. The laity, if brave enough to seek personal needs, whether a heart, courage, or brains, often do so at the feet of the big boys, who have been enormously successful at promoting their big daddy image for centuries. Of course, the laity receives only religious tokens for the most part, if anything at all. The important thing is image. The great Christian controllers must believe that if the laity perceives them as merely human, and not ultrahuman, it would cause such disillusionment within Christendom that a complete breakdown would take place.

         But one man’s breakdown and loss of power is another man’s revolution and recovering of freedom. Ask George Washington. Ask Martin Luther. Ask the Lord Jesus Himself. It was the benefactors of the religious clergy spirit of His time who were so incensed by His radical teachings and so petrified over losing control because of His growing movement that they savagely murdered Him, revealing to all, for all time, their true motivation and character. [1]

         Make no mistake about it. When the Lord Jesus arrived on the scene he immediately engaged in spiritual war against powerful forces. The human appendages of such forces had discovered centuries before that great power over large populations could be gained in the realm of religion.

         Like the rest of the planet, the ancient nation of Israel also suffered from such demonic interlopers and we have the proof of this religious invasion in the historical accounts of the Old Testament scriptures. Israel had devolved from being the pure people of God to a nation of religious hybrids ruled over by bloodthirsty kings set on complete dominance and an overthrow of God’s rule.

         By the first century AD the political kings had long since morphed into religious “kings.” The aforementioned paganistic and syncretized religious practices of ancient Israel had by that time become largely congealed under the banner of Pharisaism which was dominated at the top by those whom the Lord referred to as children of the devil. They did not appreciate His terminology.

         “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.” [Matthew 23:15]

         Though these evildoers did exactly as the evil Israelite kings before them in taking dominion over the populace for their own benefit, the subjugated people felt powerless to overcome. There are two reasons for this:

(1) The people had accepted their lot with a defeatist attitude and simply surrendered to the dominant controlling clique and its rewriting of the Mosaic Code, as the nation of Israel had formerly fallen under the sway of evil civil leaders.

(2) The people had become enchanted by the ultra-human power of religion and got absolutely lost in deception and darkness, unable to see and absolutely unequipped to fight back.

         Then, as now, there was only one cure:

         “THE LAND OF ZEBULUN AND THE LAND OF NAPHTALI, BY THE WAY OF THE SEA, BEYOND THE JORDAN, GALILEE OF THE GENTILES—THE PEOPLE WHO WERE SITTING IN DARKNESS SAW A GREAT LIGHT, AND THOSE WHO WERE SITTING IN THE LAND AND SHADOW OF DEATH, UPON THEM A LIGHT DAWNED.”

         From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” [Matthew 4:15-17] [2]

         For those who repented, they were able to overthrow the Wizard of Oz that had them trapped, deceived, and bound by joining up with the Lord Jesus. They received “personal needs, whether a heart, courage, or brains.” His pure LIGHT gave them eyes to see. His great LOVE gave them the support and encouragement they lacked. His POWERFUL Holy Spirit gave them strength to fight. His TRUTH set them free.

         For our study, this is the difference between Unreal and Real Christianity.

UNREAL CHRISTIANITY:

(1) The people have accepted their lot with a defeatist attitude and have simply surrendered to the dominant controlling clique and its rewriting of the Gospel, as the nation of Israel had formerly fallen under the sway of evil religious leaders.

(2) The people have become enchanted by the ultra-human power of religion and have gotten absolutely lost in deception and darkness, unable to see and absolutely unequipped to fight back.

REAL CHRISTIANITY:

         For those who repented, they have been able to overthrow the Wizard of Oz that had them trapped, deceived, and bound by joining up with the Lord Jesus. They have received “personal needs, whether a heart, courage, or brains.” His pure LIGHT has given them eyes to see. His great LOVE has given them the support and encouragement they lacked. His POWERFUL Holy Spirit has given them strength to fight. His TRUTH has set them free.

         © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


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

[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.

OUTING THE CLERGY SPIRIT (4)

         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 22:25-26]

CAN YOU IDENTIFY THE WOMAN?

         But a certain woman threw an upper millstone on Abimelech’s head, crushing his skull. [Judges 9:53]

 ENMITY BETWEEN SEEDS

         “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.” [Genesis 3:15]

 THE WOMAN AND HER RIGHTFUL HUSBAND

         The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” [Genesis 2:22-23]

THE ATTACK OF THE DRAGON

         A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.

         Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child. [Revelation 12:1-4]

THE RIGHTFUL HUSBAND AND THE INTERLOPER

         And great fear came over the whole church, and over all who heard of these things.

         At the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s portico. But none of the rest dared to associate with them; however, the people held them in high esteem.

         And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number, to such an extent that they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on any one of them. Also the people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all being healed.

         But the high priest rose up, along with all his associates (that is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with jealousy. They laid hands on the apostles and put them in a public jail. [Acts 5:11-18] [1]

         © 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.

Defining “Fruit”: THE PARABLE OF THE TREES (3)

         Once the trees went forth to anoint a king over them, and they said to the olive tree, ‘Reign over us!’ But the olive tree said to them, ‘Shall I leave my fatness with which God and men are honored, and go to wave over the trees?’

         “Then the trees said to the fig tree, ‘You come, reign over us!’ But the fig tree said to them, ‘Shall I leave my sweetness and my good fruit, and go to wave over the trees?’

         “Then the trees said to the vine, ‘You come, reign over us!’ But the vine said to them, ‘Shall I leave my new wine, which cheers God and men, and go to wave over the trees?’

         Finally all the trees said to the bramble, ‘You come, reign over us!’ The bramble said to the trees, ‘If in truth you are anointing me as king over you, come and take refuge in my shade; but if not, may fire come out from the bramble and consume the cedars of Lebanon.’” [Judges 9:8-15]

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         The trees that produce good fruit never reign over other trees. Never. They refuse. It is not in their nature. It is not the will of God.

         The nature of good trees is to be what they are as God made them and produce good fruit. Good trees do not produce bad fruit. Good trees only produce good fruit.

         Only bad trees reign over other trees. Bad trees produce only bad fruit. Some of their bad fruit is the desire to reign over other trees. Only bad trees reign over other trees.

         In the above passage from the Book of Judges, three good trees are mentioned:

The Olive Tree

The Fig Tree

The Grape Vine

         One bad tree is mentioned: The Bramble

         The Bramble was a thorn bush. It produced no good fruit. It only produced bad fruit. It produced thorns.

         “For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit. For each tree is known by its own fruit.

         “For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush.” [Luke 6:43-44]

CHRISTIANS RULING OVER CHRISTIANS

         Good trees producing good fruit NEVER accept the reign over Christians. Only bad trees producing bad fruit reign over Christians.

         This is a very difficult concept to understand for Christians since the majority has always been ruled over by other Christians. It seems no matter how many times the Lord Jesus tells the story most Christians just don’t get it. They insist that they must be ruled over by one of their own.

ABIMELECH

         In the above passage from the Book of Judges, the people of Shechem chose Abimelech, The Bramble, as their king.

         The name Abimelech literally means, “father is king,” or “Melek (“king”) is father.”

         Abimelech was one of Gideon’s 70 sons. In his attempt to become the sole king and rightful heir of his father, he killed every single one of his brothers except one: Jotham escaped.

         It was Jotham, the lone survivor, who told the Parable of the Trees.

         Abimelech was eventually mortally wounded by a woman who dropped a big rock on his head, crushing it. Yet, so that it would not be said he was killed by a woman, he commanded his armor bearer to run him through with his sword.

CAN YOU IDENTIFY THE WOMAN?

         But a certain woman threw an upper millstone on Abimelech’s head, crushing his skull. [Judges 9:53]

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         “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.” [Genesis 3:15]

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         “Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ.

         “But the greatest among you shall be your servant.

         “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.

         “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 23:10-13] [1]

            © 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.

You Will Know Them By Their Fruits: WOLVES IN WOOL (2)

        Real Christianity was originally written twenty years ago. Everything I said then has come true or is in the process of coming true. However, the book remains as fresh as if it was published yesterday.

         The reason real Christians still continue to struggle two decades later is not because the enemy has not been identified. It has been. I revealed in the book exactly who the enemy is and who continues to powerfully resist the truth and the consequent spiritual freedom and power the Lord Jesus is bringing forth.

         The enemy is not far. In fact, exactly as the Lord Jesus taught, the bad guys are right next to the good guys. The enemy is intermingled among us exactly as all those invisible fallen angels the Lord Jesus saw and outed. He revealed them. They could not hide from Him as they did from everyone else. And as we continue on toward the Great Awakening, both the invisible fallen angels of our time and their “invisible” human counterparts will be increasingly exposed.

         You will know them by their fruits.

         “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 7:15-20] [1]

         The following is an excerpt from Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church:

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         Jesus has always maintained a remnant of true believers within the earth. His Qahal has never ceased to exist.

         Though only a small minority compared to the vast collection of Christian adherents in the world, its members continue to honor their Messiah as did the upper-roomers. However, since the Lord’s community has never been concerned with geopolitics, the forced subjugation of people groups, or the writing of very subjective chronicles, it has faded from historical view. Even if this knowledge cannot be satisfactorily documented for the skeptics among us, the fact of the matter is that the characteristics of the first Christian community, the prototype, remain extremely different from most of the churches and church organizations throughout history and modern times, both in practice and doctrine. Christians continue to be tied to structures promoting dual class division and institutional formats which have little to do with real Christianity. Christians have largely rejected the work of their most distant ancestors, and have lost due respect for the truths they taught, and the One who taught them.

         Will we continue to be so blind and arrogant that we place the blame for this fact on them, rather than ourselves? They are the ones who built the foundation. They are the ones who paid in blood to set the example which all successive generations were to follow. If their very immature spiritual juniors of the present continue in this vein of quiet mockery and religious complacency, the Unreal Church of the Conformed will grow even larger with greater determination against truth. In fact, the bloody persecution of real Christians will expand from the present hell-holes of this world and will soon go international. Every nation will take part. The greatest enemies of the present day community of called-out ones, however, are not modern Herods and Neros, but modern religionists intent on protecting their turf. And who are these chief persecutors? Who are the new Christian Pharisees? In what form do they exist today? Who are the ones influenced by the same spirit that gave Saul of Tarsus his commission to fight the Church? Such deceived ones are much closer to all of us than we think. Through their resolute and unwavering stand for their chosen form of Christianity, they have allowed themselves to become the very image of the unreal.

         Our greatest enemy wears virgin wool. [2]

         © 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.

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

Divide and Conquer: THE CLERGY-LAITY SPLIT (1)

         I have written extensively on the subject of the Clergy-Laity Division. My book, Real Christianity, delves deeply into the issue. Though the following excerpt from the book is relatively brief, it presents the historical and Biblical essence of the Clergy-Laity Division in Christianity and helps every believer to discover how it negatively affects his or her Christian experience and discipleship.

         Speaking of which, I highly recommend buying the book. It has received excellent reviews. [Please see the above *AUTHOR / BOOK* tab for more information.] Its pages are loaded with truth that reveals this Divide and Conquer tactic and so many other methods of the enemy that strive to limit and even stop the progress of the Lord’s real community.

         Thank you and be blessed. From Real ChristianityThe Nature of the Church:

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         By the Middle Ages, the Christian upper class as a whole had grown much more stealthy and clandestine, gained access to greater monetary sources, and amassed more political power than it had probably ever imagined. Eventually, these classes developed titles. You know them today as the clergy and the laity.

            One must note that this split did not take place within the Lord’s Qahal. [1] Jesus never created rank among His children. Class division began in the unreal assembly, and we can trace its origin all the way back to the times of the apostles. As a matter of fact, Paul referred to its propagators as false apostles:

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

         A few verses later, Paul wrote of their management practices, especially of the way they exalted themselves over their congregations:

         “For you tolerate it if anyone enslaves you, anyone devours you, anyone takes advantage of you, anyone exalts himself, anyone hits you in the face.” [2 Corinthians 11:20]

         Keeping in mind the fact that the real community of believers was woven together by love and that they comprised a body, those who submitted to the false apostles were obviously not loved by their leaders, nor were their congregations unified in the Spirit. The word “exalt” in the former verse is from the Greek word epairo (ep-ahee’-ro). It means “to lift up, raise up, or raise on high,” or in other words, to exalt oneself in pride. Jesus instructed His people that the greater leader must be the greater servant and must cloak himself in ever greater amounts of humility. These false apostles did just the opposite, being true to their actual nature.

         After many centuries, the clergy-laity division became standard practice even among those church bodies which gained greater access to truth. The division has remained in most churches to date due only to carried-over tradition and an apparent lack of knowledge regarding the Lord’s proper format. [2]

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         The Divide and Conquer tactic employed by Unreal Christianity was brilliant. As avowed enemies of the Lord Jesus, it put the Christian Pharisees in complete control and regulated 99% of the congregation to wasting away in the pews as ineffectual clergy supporters rather than real disciples of the Lord Jesus:

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         When the splitting of community became official, it easily did more to thwart God’s plan for evangelizing the world than anything else man has devised. The reason why is simple—ninety-something percent of the membership was removed from the process. The “laity” [3] was deemed unqualified for officially ordained Christian service and, consequently, unworthy of receiving God’s call. Yet, there was a time when all believers heard the call of God, and each person heard it from Jesus Himself.

         At the present, due to the entrenched tradition of the clergy-laity division, many Christians never consider the possibility of devoting their lives to God because they have been made to think that God only chooses certain rare holy ones for His work. If this is true, the Lord is breaking His own commandment by judging a good many people as unqualified before they ever get a chance to prove themselves. [See Matthew 7:1]

         The only thing which actually disqualifies a person from ministry is the same thing which disqualifies him from membership in the Church, and that is simply a lack of full commitment to the absolute Lordship of Jesus. There is nothing inherent within any sincere believer which disqualifies him or her from the Lord’s service—somebody else’s service yes, but not the Lord’s. Every Christian needs to know that all legitimate calls to ministry come only from the Lord, and each should be encouraged to find his or her place of service. There are abundant ministry needs to address, very few who feel worthy to address them, and many who were discouraged from entering the Lord’s service by inept ministers who were more than likely never called themselves, at least, not by God.

         Ironically, many headstrong individuals or those with improper motives feel all too worthy. Their self-willed attitude would suggest that they usually never hear God’s call at all, but one much more personal. Such high-minded ones see golden opportunities to use religious structures, systems, and especially people to pad their own nest or at least find a niche… [4]

         Sound familiar?

         © 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.

[3] This word 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.

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

Acts of the Apostles [2:44-47]

         And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need.

         Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people.

         And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved. [1]

         [SEE COMMENTS]


[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.

PREACHER UNIONS AND “CHRISTIAN” TV: That which is Highly Esteemed among Men is Detestable in the Sight of God (1)

         They came to Capernaum; and when He was in the house, He began to question them, “What were you discussing on the way?”

         But they kept silent, for on the way they had discussed with one another which of them was the greatest.

         Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” [Mark 9:33-35]

.

         There is a time when spiritual bankruptcy sets in. In America, that time is far past. There is a reason America is in decline.

         Though the reason may seem odd, one can always trace guilt to the accountable party—the party that knows better but purposefully makes bad choices to further selfish interests.

         In other words, most people in general know right from wrong simply because they have a working conscience. When most people in a society make correct choices, the society in general is strong and moral. The only way to make such a moral society immoral is for an expanding percentage of that society’s individuals to go against their conscience, choose against what one knows to be right (for whatever reason—the reason doesn’t matter), and make bad choices.

         And again, bad choices are most often due to selfish purposes.

         Based on these facts, and the fact that America has a long history of strong Christianity and knowledge of God’s Word, if one seeks the party most responsible for the spiritual decline of America, forget the usual suspects. The reason for the decline is elsewhere.

         Look no further than the relative few in charge within Unreal Christianity, since they are the ones with the authority to make the most substantial choices that affect everyone else.

         There was a time in America when such people chose correctly. Most ministers honored God’s Word the best they could. They preached the real Gospel. They preached repentance. The preached against sin. Though many ministers still strayed from preaching the full Gospel, they preached enough of it to have a strong effect. Most ministers no longer have much effect on American society anymore. Most have become selfish with selfish motives.

         But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them.

         “It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” [Matthew 20:25-28] [1]

         If one seeks a particular party most responsible for spiritual decline, then one must look to those with authority in that realm. The reason why is simple: There is no authority without responsibility.

         Of the many responsible parties with great authority, influence, wealth, and esteem, consider Christian television.

         There are obvious frauds associated within such enterprises. Everybody knows it. Yet no one who is a part of the various networks, especially the largest one, says anything about them. In saying this I am not speaking of employees, since there have been inside whistleblowers over the years who have shed light on sinister inner workings, and especially recently, when a veritable feud broke out between family members of one particular network. This became a blood feud, as is often the case when extremely high stakes are involved.

         No, the ones who never speak out about the frauds in their midst are all the fellow ministers that make up the bulk of the Christian television clan. They, like everyone else, know there are obvious frauds associated with Christian TV in general. Everybody knows it. But no ministers within the networks ever say anything publicly about it.

         Their silence is in part due to the fact that the great many large and successful clergy groups in America, of which one comprises television ministers, have become effectively unionized. They have managed, by their unions, minister associations, and closed cliques, to grab the lion’s share of the influence and available money. They protect one another.

         However, by creating mutual admiration societies and bless-me clubs, and by putting themselves out of reach, they have also established a clear no-rebuke policy. They are only accountable to one another, which means they are not accountable at all. Because of this, they have become non-correctable.

         Yet, non-correction always leads to corruption. What they gain in wealth and influence they lose in spiritual strength and righteousness.

         Hence, DECLINE.

         Secondly, individual members also know if they speak out, even in a general sense without naming names, the spotlight will turn on them, and they would rather not have the scrutiny. Their top priority is often their personal reputations and status within their groups. They know there are other “Christians” who have the wherewithal to destroy them. Therefore, they have learned they must not only repent of personal sin (if they’re honest), as all real Christians must do, but to also never step on the toes of those who help make them successful, since most of them see ministry as a professional career.

         However, God doesn’t care so much about personal reputations. With proper repentance, He can fix personal failures. He did not come to condemn us but to save us. The heart of the Lord is about mercy and grace. Each of us is an ongoing work of God undergoing His correction. It is how we become strong and mature disciples. Though the Lord never sinned or did anything wrong, His own reputation suffered due to the outright lies and malicious gossip of religious people. This means personal reputations often hang by a hair, even among the innocent.

         However, for those who insist on the power of outer image—that “image is everything”—and that outer image is tied directly to ministerial financial success, and convince others that they are already polished and perfect, how can the Lord possibly correct them? It is thus impossible for such people to ever become honest, mature disciples.

         © 2015 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.

Acts of the Apostles [2:40-43]

         And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!”

         So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.

         They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

         Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. [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.

Jesus Free Zones

         According to that which transpires every Sunday morning, most Christians ascribe to a universal unspoken creed, believing the Christian thing to do in official church services—the highest protocol—is to honor a communal vow of silence. Along with this is the expectation to be “nice” at all times in the sense of always being careful to never give offense.

         The problem with this invertebrate approach, beside the point that one will never get anything done for God with such a bankrupt ideology, is that it plays right into the devil’s hands. In fact, it arises from obeying the devil instead of obeying the Lord Jesus and the evidence for this is all around us. Where is the proof of His mighty presence? Where is the dynamic of an interactive community?

         Real Christianity has the powerful backbone of its Founder. It is not wrong or immoral to possess this backbone and strength. It is actually highly immoral to reject it. It is not wrong to let this world feel one’s weight.

         Sinful flesh is always offended by any perceived slight. To make a religion of “not offending” is asinine. The Lord Jesus never sinned, loved everybody, and yet offended His way to a bloody execution.

         “Blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.” [Matthew 11:6]

         The Gospel, by its very nature, is offensive to unregenerate flesh. Every Christian voice should be preaching the Gospel in some way. One defeats the purpose of being a good witness if one believes being silent and “being nice” is the highest good. If one never speaks “at church,” the odds are high that one never witnesses outside the church.

         Hiding within a congregation means hiding everywhere. Silencing the voices of 99% of all Christians by clergyite controllers for the sake of some ridiculous, ill advised, religious decorum is the opposite of New Covenant community and proves the Lord Jesus has been taken completely out of the loop. I believe He will not let this go unmentioned at the Judgment.

THE SILENT-NICE CREED AND THE BILL OF RIGHTS

         If Christians are forever silent in their assemblies, in obedience to a false command that always traces its origin back to the devil, then they are not being heard. If one is not heard then one is not using the most powerful and instrumental weapon the Lord Jesus has given us. If one is not using that weapon—that incredible force—OUR VOICE—against the enemy and for the Lord, then one has done the exact equivalent of surrender.

         This obviously proves the devil’s influence.

         In the United States of America, in 1787, certain people with very powerful voices who demanded to be heard insisted that we have what later became known as the Bill of Rights. These men were in the minority. It was a minority view. It appeared to the elite that these men were trying to wreck the ratification process of the new constitution and were none too pleased. The authors of the Constitution saw no need for such a thing as a Bill of Rights, claiming all rights were inferred within the general provisions of the constitutional document.

         But the Bill of Rights advocates rejected such an idea and claimed that unless specific rights were written down and codified such rights would soon disappear. The only way to get the secretly written Constitution ratified, thus, would be through adding the Bill of Rights. The original Federalist authors had to back down and accept such written rights in amendment form or the Constitution would have been rejected.

         The minority view was thus heard. It was heard because the men speaking forth insisted on being heard regardless of what anyone thought or the aspersions cast upon their character.

         Do later generations appreciate their boldness? Are we glad they broke an improper protocol?

         Because of their boldness and insistence, we still have freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of the press in America. We can, as Americans, say what we want, believe what we want, and publish what we want, with no fear of breaking the law or being silenced (censored).

         In spite of all this, however, the devil has done an end run and managed to silence his critics anyway.

         The devil has silenced his Christian enemies in America, not through leftist liberalism, but primarily through organized “Christian” religion.

         The Lord Jesus taught that the entire Law of Moses hung on only two laws. Within the weird unholy realm of “official” Christianity, those two laws have been replaced. Instead of loving the Lord with all our heart and obeying the Golden Rule, we are taught to (1) Be silent, and (2) Be nice.

         “Being nice” is not the same thing as obeying the Golden Rule. The Lord Jesus never violated the Golden Rule, but regarding the false “be nice” ideology embraced by supposedly well intentioned Christians and church leaders, He certainly violated its terms:

         He was not so nice when He told off the idiot Pharisees. He was not so nice when He referred to a Samaritan woman as a dog. He was not so nice when He came down hard on His own disciples when they exhibited a pronounced lack of faith. He didn’t sound so nice when He said He did not come to bring peace to the planet but a sword. These were all bold and honest statements.

         In most churches, such boldness is long gone. Indeed, any appearance of boldness is seen as the evidence of borderline lunacy. Anyone who actually emulates the Lord Jesus, the apostles, the entire early community of believers, and the OT prophets by boldly using their voice to teach and preach truth as they did has no chance in any Christian church unless he or she occupies a pulpit. Without the wrapping of a pulpit and fake religious credentials, believers have no voice in such places unless they become sycophants.

         Also, the really weird thing is that once one has a pulpit all to himself he almost never allows it to be used by God, which means not only is the entire congregation silent but the preacher refuses to preach the real Gospel. Thus, no one is accountable to the Lord.

         And please don’t mistake the whiny railings of the Biblically illiterate and historically ignorant as spiritual boldness. Real spiritual boldness is evidenced by the miraculous, and it forces demonic entities to back off and obey. The rest is just a lot of hot air from flesh in charge.

JESUS FREE ZONES

         “Woe to the rebellious children,” declares the LORD, “Who execute a plan, but not Mine, and make an alliance, but not of My Spirit, in order to add sin to sin; Who proceed down to Egypt without consulting Me, to take refuge in the safety of Pharaoh and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt!” [Isaiah 30:1-2]

         The majority of churches in America are Jesus Free Zones. The Bill of Rights never applies. Even the leadership admits that. There is no freedom of religion other than for them, nor is there freedom of speech, nor of the press. There is only a rubber stamp based on the beliefs of those in charge. The entire congregation is otherwise SILENT. And because the falsely qualified speakers are the only speakers, there is no check on their ramblings. Everyone sits idly by, passively, quietly, never uttering a word, while the free speakers pontificate on and on ad nauseam.

         It is already that way, of course, in society in general. It is that way in the media. It is that way in government. It is that way pretty much everywhere in America nowadays. Unless a person is a one-in-a-million well-paid chosen one with proper credentials or a person of means one will never get any air time. No one appears in the major media without heavy vetting. There is much that can never be said and is never said because too many lies would be exposed. Truth is a victim. This proves there is no Bill of Rights in the mainstream media either.

         It is political correctness run amok. The silencers have taken over. But who cares about what a sinful fallen world does? What it does is not the problem. The problem, therefore, is not political correctness, IT IS RELIGIOUS CORRECTNESS.

         And the vast majority of “Christians” in America continue to sit idly by disregarding their voice and refusing to obey the Lord Jesus because they believe the tripe from their pulpits that the duty of Christians is to be silent and nice. For men in particular it means to become women.

         During His time among us, the Lord Jesus was not quiet. And He wasn’t “nice.”

         He was certainly loving. And love often demands that one be vocal and very bold. It is not loving to know the truth that sets people free but refuse to speak it for fear of hurting their feelings. How does that work?

         For example, you want to pray for someone. Someone has a serious problem. Though it might not apply, no one dare bring up the possibility of sin because that would not be nice. And if a person has unconfessed sin in their life and refuses to repent, well, you can pray all day long and nothing will happen. Nor will anything happen if there is no faith.

         Real prayer brings on conviction. Conviction reveals sin. The sin is often the problem. Sin causes problems. Sin causes disease and sickness. This fact is stated very clearly in the gospels. Demons also cause these things. There are many passages that prove this also. Therefore the first issue to be addressed must be the possibility of sin, which is addressed by repentance and through a contrite heart. It should certainly be done in love using the proper tact but never simply rejected out of hand.

         And if the person with the problem is oppressed by demons you can’t bring that up either because that certainly would not be nice, both because of the societal implications involved and that it might be offensive. And if one has never been filled with the Spirit of God one will never have any success telling demons where to go anyway. And being filled with the Spirit requires boldness and results in boldness and a very strong voice, and no one who is really filled with the Spirit of the Lord will be silent for long and will refuse religious correctness because it violates one’s entire reason for being a disciple of the Lord in the first place.

         Therefore, faux Christians go through mere motions swimming in a pool without water and acting out hushaby prayers and religious service with no power to achieve the required result because they insist on obeying the Silent-Nice Creed.

         Their prayers don’t work but that’s okay. Their preaching has no spiritual effect but that’s okay. What matters most is that they are silent regarding the real Gospel and are always so nice. This is a completely different gospel. There is one major media ever-smiling Christian mega star who has perfected this approach into a crowd pleasing science and pretty much everyone knows who it is. Where did he learn this stuff? Why do millions of people, both Christian and secular, believe he is for real?

         When someone goes around preaching that everyone is going to heaven, that adherents of false religions are going to heaven, that members of cults are going to heaven, and that unrepentant sinners are going to heaven, it makes a mockery of the real Gospel and the work of the Lord.

OBEY THE LORD JESUS!

         “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” [Acts 4:12]

         Peter and John were threatened by the Sanhedrin for saying this. The Lord had just healed a lame man through the power of His Name and by His Holy Spirit resident within these two apostles. The Sanhedrin was the Jewish Supreme Court of that time, comprising the rulers, elders, scribes, and the high priest and is a perfect type of present Christian authoritarian controlling elites in opposition to God. It had the power to censor, punish, and kill. Peter and John were commanded by this very high court to stop using the Name of Jesus. The members of the Sanhedrin were GREATLY OFFENDED. The apostles were commanded to be silent. They were commanded to adhere to the Silent-Nice Creed.

         Peter and John told them to go stick it in their left ear.

         And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.

         But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” [Acts 4:18-20] [1]

         Go and do likewise.

         © 2015 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.

Acts of the Apostles [2:36-39]

         “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.”

         Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?”

         Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

         “For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” [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.

Acts of the Apostles [2:1-4]

         When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.

         And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.

         And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.

         And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. [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.

Religion is a Mind Closer

         Nothing shuts people off from greater truth than religion. The religions most notorious for this diabolical practice are the various forms of Unreal Christianity.

         The devil started the practice of preaching disbelief in God and His Word in the very beginning, when he put doubt in the heart of Eve by questioning the legitimacy of God’s true intentions. Indeed, satan’s question to Eve, “Has God Said?” (Genesis 3:1) has been the devil’s mantra ever since.

         He flat out lied to a gullible Eve who had professed evil intentions in her heart. Though she knew exactly what God really said, what He taught, and what He commanded, her desire was to explore the limits of sin and visit the very place and the only place God commanded must never be visited. Her desire to explore evil was cleverly disguised as an attempt to become “spiritually aware,” to become authoritative and strong, and even to become like God Himself. She decided she must break out of what she perceived as limitations curtailing her freedom.

I AM WOMAN. HEAR ME ROAR.

         Though Eve incorrectly perceived herself to be boxed in, a box certainly existed. It was actually Pandora’s Box. And when she opened it, thinking she was opening some great Christmas present that would usher her into a wonderful world of spiritual knowledge and freedom, she discovered that God had never limited her at all, but was trying to protect her. The commandment to never partake of the evil tree was actually God’s protective shield of her soul and life. She had incorrectly believed that God was obstructing her from a higher, better place.

         People must be allowed to choose. It is why God never forces anyone’s will. And that is why this world has become an ever-growing, festering, gigantic trash dump and manure pile of sin.

         It all resulted from the incorrect actions of Eve, who, though greatly deceived by the devil, made it all possible through her own rebellious and manipulative desire to be like God, on her terms, through pride and because of pride, with no perception whatsoever of the real DOOR.

REAL REPENTANCE

         Religion is not that door. Unreal Christianity is not that door. The purveyors of false religions tell us to do anything and everything other than the only thing and the real thing that will allow us to meet the Lord, and they draw the line and bar the door at that one thing: Real Repentance.

         Why is real repentance so important? It is when the Blood of Jesus is applied to the cleansing of one’s soul.

         False Christian religions do not preach repentance. If they did, everyone who walked into a service on any given day would hear all about it, every service, in a clear and understanding manner. To hell with people getting saved, set free, and delivered from sin, they say. They refuse to be disciples of the Lord and do what it takes to be used in that way. All they really want is religious power, money, and converts. They want a religious social club. Most preachers/priests/reverends are far too concerned with the things that benefit themselves and their religious enterprises. They are anti-examples. 

         The example of John the Immerser, however, is a perfect example. The reason he preached far out in the wilderness is because God wanted him to have nothing to do with the established false religions of the Jews.

         The Sadducees did not even believe in spiritual practices or the resurrection. They were sold out to this world and were in bed with money, power, and the Roman government, and it benefitted them greatly. They were evil. There are many present examples of large bodies with false mindsets within overall Unreal Christianity who believe and practice exactly as did the Sadducees.

         And exactly like still more forms of present Unreal Christianity, the Pharisees thought they were perfect, and believed they were perfectly teaching the real Word of God. The Lord Jesus even implied that they were, except they never practiced it. They made up a plethora of their own unwritten rules and extra-Biblical beliefs, exactly as the many forms of false Christianity later did, and continue to do today. The Lord Jesus said the Pharisees were children of the devil. He would say the same thing about Unreal Christianity.

         John had to be set apart from all that diabolical religious nonsense. He had one message—REPENT. He commanded all who came to hear him to repent, to stop sinning, to get right with God, and to break free from corrupt religious practices that did the opposite of what they preached. God chose him as a perfect vessel for the process, “the greatest man ever born of a woman” (Matthew 11:11, Luke 7:28).

         John was a prophet. He was the last Old Testament prophet. He had the anointing of Elijah. He HAD to be out in the wilderness away from all the corruption of false religion or he would have never achieved his calling. And he did achieve it. He did exactly as the Lord commanded him and did an excellent job.

         Where are the John the Immersers of today?

         The Lord Jesus also preached the message of repentance, of course. Everywhere He went He commanded repentance as the door to THE DOOR. Eve rejected repentance and chose spiritual and personal pride, which amounted to religious pride. It was the exact thing the Pharisees did. The devil became Eve’s father that day, and Adam, like a complete idiot, not wanting to lose Eve, chose the devil as well.

         The apostles all preached repentance. “REPENT” WAS THE VERY FIRST WORD PETER USED WHEN GIVING THE ANSWER ON THE DAY OF PENTECOST.

         In the vast majority of “Christian” church services, one never hears the word repent. It’s just not a nice thing to say. People will get mad. It would create a hassle. Who needs that? Substitutes and counterfeits are put forth instead. Why do the purveyors of Unreal Christianity do this? Why do they deny to the people the one thing that will begin the process of eliminating their sin and bring them closer to God?

         It is for the same reason the Pharisees did what they did. They wanted people to honor them, not God. What a strange twist—John told it exactly right but was out in the middle of nowhere looking and acting and speaking like the complete opposite of a clergyite and got great results. His ministry turned around the heart of an entire nation!

         Where are the John the Immersers of today?

AN ALTERNATIVE AGENDA

         The majority of “Christian” adherents have closed their minds to God’s reality. Exactly like Eve and the Pharisees, they have desired the opposite of that which God commands. They do it for personal pride and advancement, and standing within this world’s culture. They even ascribe to and mix in as leaven the worldly cultural practices and beliefs of a fallen world in order to gain the benefits of the culture. Their desire is for wealth and power in this world through the practice of their religion, and will listen to nothing that hinders that desire and pursuit.

         The fruit of this garbage is all around us. For the most part, “Christianity” is indeed DEAD.

         Real Christianity, however, is advancing powerfully.

         By refusing to succumb to the devil’s lies and false diabolical doctrines, the disciples of real Christianity understand repentance for the door it is. Their minds are open to the things of God and they do not care about any personal inconvenience or rejection by others. As a result, they have entered THE DOOR and are filled with the Spirit of God, and they have the evidence to prove it, unlike the fakers who claim the same but are deficient of proof.

         The Lord is against dead religion that cuts people off from THE TRUTH, especially that of the “Christian” variety. It is up to each of us as individuals to choose correctly and break free from Unreal Christianity, all false doctrines, and fake preachers/priests/reverends, strangers all, who refuse the ministry of repentance from sin, notably religious sin—spiritual pride, the first sin—and obey and follow the Lord Jesus unto LIFE in Him:

         “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

         “When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.”

         This figure of speech Jesus spoke to them, but they did not understand what those things were which He had been saying to them.

         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.” [John 10:1-10][1]  

         © 2015 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.

I’M FREE (Messiah’s Pointed to the Door!)

BE FREE

         As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him. So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

         They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?”

         Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

PHARISEES ARE IDIOTS

         “I know that you are Abraham’s descendants; yet you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father.

         They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.”

         Jesus said to them, “If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham. But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do.

MURDEROUS, LYING, RELIGIOUS CHILDREN OF THE DEVIL

         You are doing the deeds of your father.”

         They said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father: God.”

         Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word.

         You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.”

THRUST AND PARRY

         The Jews answered and said to Him, “Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?”

         Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me. But I do not seek My glory; there is One who seeks and judges. Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death.”

         The Jews said to Him, “Now we know that You have a demon. Abraham died, and the prophets also; and You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word, he will never taste of death.’ Surely You are not greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets died too; whom do You make Yourself out to be?”

JUST WHO ARE YOU EXACTLY?

      Jesus answered, “If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God’; and you have not come to know Him, but I know Him; and if I say that I do not know Him, I will be a liar like you, but I do know Him and keep His word. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.”

      So the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?”

      Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM.”

      Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple. [John 8:30-59] [1]

.

LYRICS FOLLOW BELOW (TURN UP YOUR SPEAKERS):

 

I’m free

I’m free

And freedom tastes of reality

 

I’m free

I’m free

And I’m waiting for you to follow me

 

If I told you what it takes

To reach the highest high

You’d laugh and say, “Nothing’s that simple”

 

But you’ve been told many times before

Messiah’s pointed to the door

No one had the guts to leave the temple

 

I’m free

I’m free

And freedom tastes of reality

 

I’m free

I’m free

And I’m waiting for you to follow me

 

How can we follow?

How can we follow? [2]

 

          © 2015 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.

[2] © 1969 Pete Townshend THE WHO

Dysfunctional Churches (and Non-Functional “Pastors”)

        It makes no sense. Unless one is really into religion.

        America remains saturated with dysfunctional churches and non-functioning “pastors,” and 90% of everyone in the pew is completely oblivious to the problem.

         The few “Christians” who actually read the Bible, and study it, and do it with an open mind, know that there is a huge ginormous incredible one-end-of-the-Universe-to-the-other disconnect between what the Word of God actually says and what most churches believe and practice.

         If one cannot see the devil in this then one is deceived.

         Why did the Lord Jesus receive such a hard time from religious people, especially religious leaders? And why do most Christians think the opposite would happen if He visited their own particular church? They really think He would find most of what transpires on refrigerator row perfectly fine and dandy and would respond with several “Good job’s” and handshakes all around. I’m not saying this would not or could not happen. I’m only saying the odds of it happening are astronomical.

         For the few Christians who study the Word, they know there was a weird dynamic always playing out in the Old Testament. The Lord would hear the cries and moans and incessant caterwauling of His people because they screwed up yet again, just like they did a million times before, and He would answer their prayers and send them relief in the form of prophets who at great personal risk and possessing an extremely uncomfortable lifestyle would tell the people exactly what they needed to do to fix things.

         The people would listen, change their sorry tune, get right with God, and lo and behold good things would start happening! Then they would begin descending into chaos again and the cycle would have to start all over. Oh, and they would, of course, usually kill the prophets. You know, par for the course.

         But how do the majority of American churches, ministries, “pastors,” “Christian” television personalities, and any other standard ministry set-up respond to even the slightest corrective voice sent by God as a blessing to fix things?

         They show him or her the door. They disfellowship in a heartbeat not because someone is lost in sin and disobedience but because THEY are lost in sin and disobedience. Anyone who is not on board with their unbiblical stuff is seen as an enemy.

         What happens as a result is that these “leaders” go that much further off the deep end precisely because they have successfully eliminated the corrective voice of God.

         Just in case someone doesn’t know the following, I must state it here for all of us to hopefully get the big idea: GOD WORKS THROUGH PEOPLE.

         And you know what else? THE PEOPLE GOD WORKS THROUGH ARE HUMBLE, SELF-EFFACING, AND NON-SPOTLIGHT-ORIENTED.

         Just like their Master.

         Even though most “Christians” think the Lord Jesus would love their spiritual enterprises if He ever visited, the reality is that most want no part of the Lord Jesus and would never allow Him full authority in their churches, and usually allow Him no authority.

         How do we know this? Again, because American “Christians” are largely Biblically illiterate. Why? Because they hire some guy to do all that stuff for them so they can assuage their conscience by going through an hour or two of rote and ritual on Sunday mornings. The problem here is that, since they have little or no spiritual experience or actual Biblical knowledge, they can never serve as a check against whoever they allow in the pulpit. How do they know the dude is right?

         (Other than that he explicitly obeys their denominational beliefs and does everything the same exact way the Episcobapterians and Universal churchites did it a million years ago because religious spirits must be appeased.)

         This is why the vast majority of churches would NEVER allow the Lord Jesus absolute full authority if He ever visited.

         News flash: The Lord Jesus is still here in the form of His Holy Spirit but has already long since been proven unwanted by most churches simply because what most “Christians” do looks nothing whatsoever like what He and His disciples did.

         And whenever someone brings this up he or she gets the cold shoulder, the gossip, the bad looks, and the silent treatment.

         Of course, most “Christians” think all that is deserved because the people in question are idiots and are deserving of disfellowship.

         They believe this because they simply cannot make the connection to the disfellowship the Lord Jesus suffered, and He suffered disfellowship more than any man in history, and still suffers disfellowship to this day.

         The same with His original disciples. And the early community of believers. And the underground church in China that is currently blowing the doors off to the tune of millions and millions even though they still suffer great persecution. Those people won’t stop until they fix the whole country! All this while America continues going downhill fast because higher-ups have made a deal with the devil and the majority looks the other way.

         Quick question: Have you ever noticed that Great Awakenings and great persecution always go together, and that if there is no persecution it is an obvious sign of dead Christianity?

         And have you noticed how it follows then that the one’s being persecuted in churches are being persecuted simply because they are pointing out this deadness and lack of familiarity with the Lord’s ministry and teachings?

         Hmmm…

         Kind of exactly like the Old Testament prophets.

         Well, the Lord Jesus was and remains the greatest of all prophets and He got the same thing they got and to a much greater degree.

         When’s the last time you saw an American “pastor” dragged out of His church and executed? No? Okay then, how about something less? No? Of course, real shepherds are victims of persecution but such guys are few and far between and you probably don’t hear much about them.

         Maybe because they are obscure and non-flashy and don’t particularly care for religious titles and clergyesque appearances and spiritual circlespeak.

         You know, kind of like the Lord?

         Most “pastors” call the cops and use lawyers to protect themselves and depend on their bodyguards and private surveillance personnel, and are willing to sue at the drop of a hat to protect their image and enterprise and as a result ARE ALSO PROTECTED FROM GOD.

         God cannot get to them in any loving and understanding way because these people bar the door against anyone or anything they see as potential enemies.

         As a result of their self-imposed and bought-with-good-money security shield they cut themselves off from God’s corrective voice and by their own doing build their own giant and slippery slide into the heart of hell. They have it great in the here and now but unless they repent will suffer in the long term.

         Worse than that, however, is all the people they will take with them. But their followers have no excuse because none of them speak any corrective to the gross dysfunction, partly because they know what happened to those who did.

         This is why the majority of American Christianity is hopelessly dysfunctional.

         It refuses correction.

         This is the opposite of repentance.

         IT IS NOTHING MORE THAN PURE UNADULTERATED SPIRITUAL PRIDE.

         Real Christians, however, know all about repentance. They’ve hit the deck more than a million lousy boxers. THEY KNOW THAT HUMILITY IS A DOOR INTO GREAT SPIRITUAL SUCCESS. They have taken the cue from their Master who taught them how bewitching religious pride is, the worst of all forms of pride, and they know they are merely a hop, skip, and jump from ending up deceived and requisitely hell bound.

         If one wants sin to take root and grow like muck in a swamp as ancient Israel did so many times, all one must do is murder God’s humble unpretentious messengers (murder comes in many forms). In this way, dysfunction as usual proceeds accordingly and those in power enjoying all the perks stay in power and also stay in power over their people as they continue to deceive them and take their money.

         One last thing: All of the Lord’s spiritual giants spent much, much time all alone with God, usually in a desert, and learned everything they knew directly from Him.

         Everyone is responsible for their own walk with God and whoever puts anyone between himself and the Lord Jesus will be deceived and suffer spiritually for it. Honor the message of those God has sent but never, ever honor them above the Lord or even yourself. Otherwise, you can never become a real spiritual giant but will forever remain under their thumb.

         We all must mature but we will never mature by submitting to middlemen and imposters.

         What follows is some scriptural food for thought on the subject, spoken by a former religion addict who formerly thought murdering those unlike himself was infinitely greater than loving them but got knocked on his butt by a loving God determined to correct the man’s extreme dysfunction.

         Once receiving correction, the man received great revelation, and became a spiritual giant. Think about it.

         For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

         For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it; and I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my countrymen, being more extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions.

         But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me;

         But I went away to Arabia… [Galatians 1:11-17] [1]

         © 2015 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.

Earning Money to Bless the Lord / Discerning Those Who Bless Themselves (3)

         It must be mentioned that the Lord certainly accepted donations. He denied that possibility to no one if their heart was right. He obviously knew the BEST ground was His ministry, and it still is. But He never put Himself in a place where He was dependent on the giving of others.

         Many “ministers” don’t know what it is to work, but they know a lot about taking up offerings. They all made straight A’s in that course in Bible school or seminary. Taking up offerings is Biblical, of course, but it must be in accordance with the way the Lord did it and by His direction, and for the proper purpose.

         But many preachers refuse to preach the real Gospel, are not Spirit-filled, and are thus not capable of engaging in the required spiritual work necessary for all real ministries.

         Thus, they have no choice but to be beggars since they have no other means and certainly no spiritual power, and many also refuse to work. They end up calling what they do their job so as to appear to work. Would that we could all have such a “job.” I don’t say this to belittle real ministers who work all the time at whatever is required, but toward those who will only work under their conditions.

         Wouldn’t it be great if all we had to do when we needed money was take up an offering? A mere handful of people are apparently afforded this pleasure but 99.99% of all Christians must get their money the hard way—they must earn it.

         And we all know when some preachers need their tithes and offerings they will let everyone know it post haste. They cannot make their enterprises work if the congregation does not work at earning what they need.

         Why does it appear as if the Lord Jesus blesses those few who don’t earn it and not the vast majority of His children who do? Why are those few so special? Why is it okay for them to operate in violation of the way He operated and yet be blessed anyway?

         The answer is simple. These people have done an end around and bypassed the required mandatory hard work and dispensed with doing their half, and convinced other people to do their half for them. Instead of earning money the way the Lord did they tax their congregations for it, and that’s what the tithe has become in most places—a TAX. It is a coerced tax with a different name. And it is taught (insisted upon) that if one does not PAY THE TAX the Lord will not bless them. They even scare the hell out of people by telling them God will get them, ruin their lives, and even destroy them if they don’t pay.

         “Just give us the money and no one gets hurt.”

         These guys have turned tithing into a racket, putting the squeeze on people and threatening to destroy them if they don’t fork over the protection money.

         “If youse don’t do what we say and pay us we’ll sick the Angel Vinnie on youse.”

         I understand the scriptural truth of the principle of tithing, and I have certainly been blessed. But the real blessing only comes if the tithe is GIVEN, not paid, because the tithe is not a tax, and it must be given to the Lord Jesus, meaning He must direct it. It IS His money, by the way.

         Many preachers cannot preach that, however, for fear of donations drying up and hence losing their jobs. Yet, all real ministry only works if gifts are given free of charge with a good heart expecting nothing in return, and that includes giving tithes and offerings, or any monetary gift.

         So, if you want to bless someone monetarily or materially, clear it with the Lord first and then bless that person, ministry, or organization. But if one has to be forced into forking over their cash there is no blessing whatsoever. (This explains in part why so many tithers never receive any increase.)

         But concerning the ones doing the forcing—those “legally” allowed to take up donations—they can apparently be blessed to their heart’s content. It only depends on how much they are willing to do to rip people off in the guise of legal “donations.”

         And if you’re wondering how particular people manage to do this with a straight face and with absolutely no reservations, it can be summed up in the following principle:

         Being pretentious and being dishonest ALWAYS go together. In other words, for the sake of this particular discussion, all religious posers are rip-off artists. Every single one. And the more a clergyite has to dress up to fake you out the more he will corrupt the correct giving process to rip you off.

         So I thought it necessary to urge the brethren that they would go on ahead to you and arrange beforehand your previously promised bountiful gift, so that the same would be ready as a bountiful gift and not affected by covetousness.

         Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

         And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; as it is written, “HE SCATTERED ABROAD, HE GAVE TO THE POOR, HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS ENDURES FOREVER.”

         Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God.

         Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all, while they also, by prayer on your behalf, yearn for you because of the surpassing grace of God in you.

         Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! [2Corinthians 9:5-15] [1]

         © 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. (Part 3 of 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.

Earning Money to Bless the Lord / Discerning Those Who Bless Themselves (2)

         The Lord Jesus did not get all the money He would need by asking other people for it. It started with gifts from the Magi when He was a child, which was obviously used properly. He likely never took up offerings before His ministry began. He did not use telethons. He did not strong arm good-hearted Christians to bless Him.

         Instead, He went out and worked quietly for many years with his own hands and His own strong back, sweating through the days doing hard labor building stuff.

          This is something ninety sum-odd percent of all pastors, priests, denominational higher-ups, religious hierarchy high hats, and ministers, especially the television variety, never do. They must all consider earning their money in such a way to be beneath them. One thing is for sure, however:

          There is a spiritual theorem in effect that essentially illustrates a clear connection between a certain type of person’s lack of desire to gain funding the Lord’s way with a great desire to shamelessly demand donations their way. These people have mastered the craft of manipulating others to give and thus, have no need of earning money like everyone else. And with so many Christians conditioned to give unconditionally, getting donations is a piece of cake if one possesses the “proper” credentials.

          They used to call these guys confidence men. They’re actually con men on steroids.

          This is one more clue toward differentiating between the real and the fake, especially in light of Paul’s statement in light of the Lord’s statement:

          “You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my own needs and to the men who were with me. In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” [Acts 20:34-35]

          Paul said the strong must financially support the weak. The Lord Jesus said we must give to the poor. Could it be we’re giving way too much money to the wrong people? Could it be that there are many honest and gifted ministers of the Gospel who must work full time jobs earning money because they are seen as non-ministers? While the fakes taking most of the money are seen as real?

          Some ministers do earn money, however, to support the ministries to which they are called. They have no choice. They will never quit on God. I have one particular friend who served for many years as a pastor and builder who did both. He worked a full time job in construction and also worked full time in ministry as a pastor. It can be done, and often must be done.

          The Lord Jesus set the right example, though what He did is not necessarily applied to all. Some people are called into ministry without much of anything, but only a few understand what a real calling entails. It does not mean one begins by subsisting on donations right off the bat.

          When the Lord calls His people into ministry, AND HE CALLS EVERY SINGLE ONE OF HIS CHILDREN TO SOME FORM OF MINISTRY, it is only the beginning. It took Him three and a half years to train His own men. There is the initial call, but there is also a preparation period that often lasts many years. Real Christian ministers know this. There is a price to be paid. He expects us to understand that we must do our part to provide for said ministry.

          In general terms this works out to a fifty-fifty proposition. He will not provide any more for us than what He already has until we first provide for Him. He began the process by giving His entire heart and life to us free of charge. It continues with each of us doing the same for Him. This giving of hearts is what makes for an actual blood covenant—the New Covenant.

          Christians who never do this are not real Christians. 

         Concerning earthly material needs, the Lord Jesus has already started the process for us by providing each of us with a human body within which we can be housed and from which we can operate. These bodies are given by God free of charge. Their creation is miraculous. People plant the seeds and carry the babies, and carrying a precious baby to term is not at all easy though extremely rewarding.

         Yet human beings cannot create human beings without the miraculous power and ability of God. We can only do our part, and both parts—God’s and ours—are required. God has His role and we have ours. And He will certainly help with parenting if we want His help and guidance.

         Regarding all the things we need in this life, God also blesses us with the initial seed to get started as well as the strength to gain more. He arranged things in such a way that His many gifts can be combined with our own to produce blessing.

         It is the same with ministry. We do our half, God does His half. God provides what we can never provide and we provide something God can never provide without us. He cannot do our work and He won’t try to do our work for us. It is OUR work. He gave it to us. It is a gift. Ministers who understand this understand that they must first give their half toward the process, without which God’s half—His gift (seed)—can never be effective.

         In the beginning, a new minister shows good faith and a good heart by thus not asking God to provide any more than He has already provided and by not asking others to provide, but by first providing for God and others his own gift (seed), just as the Lord did. By this one proves their heart for God.

         Giving is what starts the process just as planting a seed starts the process.

         And speaking of seed, the best seed to give with the highest yield is seed we have created ourselves with God’s help through the process of earning it doing our own labor with our own hands. If one plants this seed according the Lord’s direction, which obviously requires giving it to Him first, one will receive a high return. This process is achieved by utilizing God’s granted portion as well as our own, and by giving this seed with no strings attached.

         Though we cannot help but mentally acknowledge the fact that we will receive a good return, selfish raison d’être cannot be our motivation. If we plant good seed in good ground and nurture production, just as a farmer does when he plants a crop, we will see a good ministry result. But the proper motivation is to minister to others by giving freely and cheerfully. The Lord taught this.

         “Freely you received, freely give.” [Matthew 10:8]

         How do we give to God?

         “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.’” [Matthew 25:37-40] [1]

         One must remember that all of the above needs are not only practical needs but also spiritual needs. The Lords real community gives both.

         So, unlike the plague of prima donnas who think they’re better than everyone else and deserving of coerced money—those who have no problem at all putting the pressure on anyone but themselves for funding—the Lord Jesus never put pressure upon anyone to render His living, whether it was His close disciples or general followers.

         He began by putting pressure on Himself. This is also how all real ministers of the Gospel operate. They put the pressure on themselves to make it work, and once they have achieved something in God’s eyes, He will also give toward the goal doing His part.

         © 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. (Part 2 of 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.

Earning Money to Bless the Lord / Discerning Those Who Bless Themselves (1)

         In the Gospel accounts, the Lord Jesus often talks about giving money to the poor.

         Does He ever talk about giving money to ministers?

         Real ministers of the real Gospel never demand pay for the work they do. They never demand the attachment of a donation to the word they teach. They never associate preaching the Gospel as a means to making a living. They never coerce people into giving, manipulate hearts toward that goal, or summon the specter of guilt to fall upon the undecided in yet another effort to extract their money.

         Those who do will have hell to pay, because they have allowed themselves by their own lust for the funding of their enterprises to be deceived into believing they are more worthy than the people whose hard-earned money they covet.

         Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. [2Corinthians 9:7] [1]

         One will notice when reading the Gospels that the Lord Jesus knew how to stretch a denarius. He got a lot of bang for His buck. There was never anything wasted. There was no extravagance. There was, however, sleeping on the ground, traveling far from home, and being thankful for the good will of others whenever such good will was given. Whatever the case, however, whether the Lord had any money or not, nothing stopped Him from His purpose. He had a job to do, a duty to accomplish, and was, as some say, on a mission.

         He was and remains the greatest individual of all time with the greatest amount of willpower. Like anyone else, He learned it. He earned it. He is the only actual unstoppable Irresistible Force. He is also the only actual Immovable Object and spiritual Rock. By way of illustration, the entire Universe will surrender and cease to function and will admit defeat and give up while the Lord Jesus continues being resolute, determined, and on task.

         He is driven by love for us all. He fights for His people.

         This is the real King, the real God, the one real Christians follow. He is not for the soft, the easily intimidated or swayed, or those who refuse the rigors of real discipleship.

         He has an iron will.

         Thus, one will never find the Lord Jesus stopped or stymied for a mere lack of funding, or see Him stoop to demanding payment for spiritual services rendered as a means of funding. If anything, and if all money avenues are dried up and blocked and no one helps Him whatsoever, He’ll just go to work with His hands and earn His own dough. He calls His followers to do the same.

EARNING HIS OWN SUPPORT

         In fact, that’s exactly what He did His entire life before beginning His ministry. He worked very hard for many years with His own hands, quietly and unknown. He blended in with society to the point of complete obscurity, never giving any hint to the outside world of His future mission. Until He went public at age thirty, the Gospel accounts only speak of Him as a baby, a very small child, a twelve year-old, and then nothing more for eighteen years.

         And the outside world who knew Him as a nobody was pretty much everybody beyond Joseph and Mary. The parents of John the Immerser, Zacharias and Elizabeth, also knew in the relatively brief time they were still alive at and shortly after the birth of both John and the Lord. The latter couple were advanced in years and even more mystery surrounds the life of their son before his ministry. These were about the only people aware of whom the Son of Joseph and Mary really was and they knew there was no sense talking to anyone about it.

         Though traditionally, the Lord was thought to be a carpenter, a man who works primarily with wood, He was more accurately both a carpenter and a builder, in that He constructed things using a variety of materials. He provided not only for Himself, of course, but also for His mother and siblings, especially after the death of Joseph, since He was the first born. He did all this while also preparing for future ministry.

         But as importantly, He spent these years building up the necessary funding He would need for His earthly ministry. And unlike the modern day paid located minister who subsists from the wallets of his congregants, the Lord Jesus did the exact opposite. He did something most ministers see as impossible and completely uncalled for:

         He set the proper example by also providing for the needs of His twelve chosen ones and their families.

         One never hears this fact preached probably because it is far too convicting for those who demand money from those they preach to. There is no way the Lord would tell those twelve men to quit their livelihoods and the means to provide for their families and come follow Him, thus leaving their wives and children in the lurch, without also paying their way. Such a demand upon His disciples and their families would be 100% asinine, and the Lord never did it. But many “Christian ministers” would have no problem doing it, just as most ministers prefer congregants with money. And this gives us a direct clue into the main differences between real ministries and unreal ministries:

         Real ministries and spiritual communities are led by the Lord Jesus, are empowered by His Holy Spirit, and are unified by adherence to His teachings and love for Him and one another.

         Lacking the above, unreal ministries must be led by someone other than the Lord, must be empowered by something else, usually money, and must be unified by religious control and belief systems other than the pure Word of God.

         The twelve original apostles needed to be with the Lord Jesus 24 hours a day to learn all He must teach them. He was their Rabbi. Thus, they had to quit their jobs. Thus, they had no money coming in. Thus, the Lord had to provide for them.

         There is no other plausible method of financial support if one must build a foundational ministry team destined the change the world, especially one composed of hard-working blue collar tradesman and societal misfits without any savings. These men also greatly respected the Lord because they all knew He was a real Man like they were, but so much more, and could outwork any of them any day of the week.

         On the flip side, unreal Christianity has transformed the real Lord Jesus into the image of a sissy. Tell me, why would all those hard-working hard-living guys give up their lives to follow a sissy? Maybe the false sissy image of the Lord is actually a reflection of the unreal ministers who created it. The fakers obviously cannot handle the real Lord Jesus and thus want no part of Him. They could never stand up to the required discipleship and they thus reject Him outright. His missing presence perfectly explains dead churches.

         So imagine the Lord Jesus working with His hands all those years to build up enough funding to provide not only for Himself but also however much money it would take to provide for perhaps as many as sixty people for a period of three and a half years or so (counting an average of three children per apostle).

         Add to that the Lord also providing, after the death of Joseph, for His mother and probably as many as seven or eight younger brothers and sisters (we know He had at least four brothers). That’s about seventy people all together. That’s the same amount of people comprising Jacob’s extended family when they all moved to Egypt during the famine to live with Joseph. Coincidence?

         © 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. (Part 1 of 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.

On the Threshold of Heaven (5)

      The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen.

      To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.

      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.”

      So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”

      He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

      And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”

      Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away.

      When they had entered the city, they went up to the upper room where they were staying; that is, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. [Acts 1:1-14] [1]

         © 2015 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.

On the Threshold of Heaven (4)

         What is the evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit?

         What is the proof?

         Some people believe that being Spirit-filled is an apparent non-event in that they have no clear recollection of when it happened in their lives though they claim the experience.

         Some are taught that they are filled with the Spirit “by faith,” again, that there is no actual evidence, or that they are automatically filled somehow when “they become a Christian.”

         This is what I refer to as being Spirit-filled by osmosis, in that one is somehow filled through effortless, unconscious assimilation in which no actual choice was ever made, there is no recall of when the event happened, and the process cannot be classified as experiential.

         That’s kind of cool when you think about it, but it’s not New Covenant. It is not New Covenant whatsoever.

         The following is New Covenant:

         When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. [Acts 2:1-4]

         I remember hearing a statement by a very famous evangelist’s wife who made the claim that she had always been saved from the time of her earliest memories. Apparently, she never had the born again experience the Lord said is an absolute requirement for entering the kingdom:

         Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

         Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?”

         Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’” [John 3:3-7]

         Let’s do the math:

(1a) Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.

(1b) Unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

         In this passage, the Lord Jesus is making a very clear and what should be an obvious reference to two distinct births. This is why Nicodemus, somewhat confused, answered in the weird way he did. He clearly heard the Lord say that there must be a second birth, one that follows the natural birth from one’s mother. But the Lord said it in the context of entering the kingdom.

         Now, this begs the question:

         Is it possible to “be saved” without entering the kingdom of God?

         If the answer is no, then anyone who is not born again is not saved.

         If the answer is yes, then one can be saved without entering the kingdom.

         There is a problem with the latter possibility, however. Have you noticed all of the references in the Lord’s teachings and parables concerning the spiritual concept of either being inside or outside the kingdom? Or being sheep and not goats, or wheat and not tares?

         Here are some examples:

ONE:

         “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 5:20]

         From this, it is clear that the scribes and Pharisees were outside of the kingdom: NOT BORN AGAIN.

TWO:

         “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” [Matthew 6:33]

         In this passage, the Lord equates being righteous with being in the kingdom, which signifies righteousness outside the kingdom as not being possible. If one must seek the kingdom then one must be outside the kingdom while seeking it. If one must seek righteousness it must be that one is unrighteous before one gains it. If one is outside the kingdom and is unrighteous, then one is NOT BORN AGAIN.

THREE:

         “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” [Matthew 7:21]

         Here we have the requirement of doing the will of the Father in order to enter the kingdom, meaning that those who fail to accomplish the will of God must be outside the kingdom (regardless of the apparent appearance of their miraculous works), and are thus NOT BORN AGAIN.

FOUR:

         “I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” [Matthew 8:11-12]

         Here is a very clear indication of either being in or out with no in between. In this case, the natural “sons of the kingdom,” that is, such natural descendants of Abraham, are not only not in the kingdom and will never be in the kingdom, but they will be cast into outer darkness and are obviously NOT BORN AGAIN.

         From the record in the Book of Acts, being Spirit-filled was an experience, an event. It was never some sort of mystical wishy-washy don’t-know-when-or-how-it-happened occasion. Such a thing was not possible.

         Remember, we are talking about the HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD entering and filling a person for the very first time. And the Lord said it was like a birth. And everyone pretty much knows when a baby is being born, especially, I would think, the mother and the baby. There is no way such an experience can happen without the recipient’s knowledge or even those in the vicinity of said recipient.

         The event of the original Day of Pentecost kept happening again in Acts at subsequent times with different people. By studying each and every recorded historical event when people were filled with the Holy Spirit, it should not be that hard to come to a conclusion regarding consistent evidence.

         Here is the key to that evidence:

         Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires.

         So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.

         For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race.

         But no one can tame the tongue… [James 3:3-8] [1]

         © 2015 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.

On the Threshold of Heaven (3)

         Everybody loves love. God is love.

         But God sure gets a bad rap for some reason.

         I think it’s because of all the fakers and pretenders and judgmental protectors of silliness who are much more interested in unlovingly invoking their version of proper doctrine, religious protocol, and denominational differences than in simply loving one another the way the Lord told us to.

         And as far as I can tell, there is no discrimination regarding who is qualified by God as a love recipient.

         The Lord Jesus is truly a lover. He is a lover of us all. He loves people. He loves being around and with people. He greatly enjoys our presence.

         How do I know all this? And what gives me the right to make such pronouncements? I think it’s because the written Word says these very things. I think it’s also because an in-depth study of the Lord’s actual teachings prove it.

         It can very easily be argued as well that the first community of the Lord was composed of people who knew how to love and did love. They loved one another just as the Lord commanded them to.

         Now, why would the Lord Jesus have to make such a commandment? Why must one be commanded to love? That sounds oxymoronic.

         But I think it may be because some people, in general terms, have a tendency to not love, or to not be consistent in loving, and to find ample reasons why they should not love, and to turn not-loving into an unstated practice of its own and buy into that practice.

         It could be because people learn at an early age to be defensive and protective of self, since so many people practice not-loving.

         This is most likely the reason why the Lord had to command us to love. The command is a necessary stimulus to overcome the affected proclivity to not love.

         “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” [John 13:34-35]

         Loving one another in the community of the Lord is proof of discipleship.

         It follows that a person who is filled with the Holy Spirit is also filled with love since God is the Holy Spirit and God is love. It also follows that unloving Christians are unreal Christians and do not have the Holy Spirit.

         Read the following very carefully and take notice of all the references to these things. I have included deduced statements but there are others. See how many you can find:

GOD WAS IN THE EARLY BELIEVERS

         You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.

KNOWING GOD ALLOWS ONE TO KNOW TRUTH FROM ERROR

         They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

THOSE WHO ARE BORN OF GOD LOVE GOD AND PRACTICE LOVING OTHERS

         Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.

         In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

THOSE WHO ARE BORN AGAIN HAVE THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD

         No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.

         We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

PERFECT LOVE RESULTS IN SALVATION

         By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.

         There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us.

IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO LOVE GOD AND HATE ONE ANOTHER

         If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also. [1John 4:4-21] [1]

         © 2015 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.

On the Threshold of Heaven (2)

         What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit? First of all, one must distinguish between the Old and New Covenants.

         We picture Old Covenant prophets becoming suddenly anointed of God. We see them grow strong and bold, and begin making powerful pronouncements regarding the will and desires of the Lord. Indeed, those men were God’s spokesmen. They were the Lord’s chosen, anointed, and discipled vessels who paid a tremendous price—a very high personal cost to engage in their calling.

         It was often them against the world, and just as often one man against the nation of Israel. It is a sad thing but an obvious historical fact that the prophets were usually hated, rejected, and thought to be complete morons and idiots who refused to just go along to get along. They made people feel uncomfortable.

         And that is exactly how the Lord wanted it.

         It was God who was speaking through them, and God often had a lot to say about the evil practices and very sinful nature adopted by His chosen people. He refused to let them go without letting them know how wrong they were. And because His people could not get back at Him personally they took it out on His prophets.

         We often relate John the Immerser, the one the Lord Jesus referred to as the greatest man ever born of a woman, to the New Covenant. But John was actually the last Old Covenant prophet. Further, he bridged the gap between covenants in a sense, being the Lord’s forerunner and preparer of the people’s hearts:

         As they were leaving, Yeshua began speaking about Yochanan to the crowds: “What did you go out to the desert to see? Reeds swaying in the breeze? No? Then what did you go out to see? Someone who was well dressed? Well-dressed people live in kings’ palaces.

         “Nu, so why did you go out? To see a prophet! Yes! And I tell you he’s much more than a prophet. This is the one about whom the Tanakh says, ‘See, I am sending out my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way before you.’

         “Yes! I tell you that among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than Yochanan the Immerser! Yet the one who is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he!” [Matthew 11:7-11] [1]

         Imagine that. Some may think that because they are a Christian they are somehow greater than John the Immerser, though such a thing obviously does not compute. John moved an entire nation!

         Therefore, there must be something more that nominal Christians do not partake of, since there is often absolutely no evidence of anything spiritually powerful in their lives that would indicate they are residents of the Lord’s Kingdom.

         Most Christians do well to occupy a place in a pew, and are made to do it by usually not well-meaning reverends who would rather have firm control and regimented order for their congregants than liberty and maturity in the Spirit, and the free-flowing ministry of the Lord Jesus in charge. And church-goers are forced to think this is the right thing to do.

         But most Christians have little or no power with God and look like nothing even close to John the Immerser. And it is never kosher to simply make a weak mental assent to a supposed but unexplainable “fact”—(“I, a Christian, am greater than John the Immerser”)—without some serious evidence to prove it.

         © 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Jewish New Testament. Copyright © 1989 by David H. Stern.

On the Threshold of Heaven (1)

         Currently, in such tough times for so many believers, we must all know that our Lord Jesus is still in charge.

         For those who are filled with His Spirit, there is a goodness and brightness in their being, though unacknowledged by many.

         The presence of the Lord within them which they experience at present is what the apostle Paul called the earnest of their inheritance.

         It is the witness, the pledge, the sign, the guarantee, and even what may be termed the first installment or down payment of His Holy Spirit.

         Just as our Lord was the First Fruits, so is His Holy Spirit within real Christians on this planet the first fruits for them of what is to come.

         The exact experience of Pentecost is currently available to all, and many millions all across this world have and are experiencing His presence, and it gives them strength and joy and hope until the full arrival of the purchased possession.

         For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. [Romans 8:22-23] [1]

         © 2015 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.

Judge Not: The Upshot of Carrying One’s Cross

         Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” [Matthew 16:24]

.

         Real Christians, like their Lord, always end up getting crucified. Let Him explain:

         “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

         Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.

         Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” [Matthew 5:10-12]

         According to these difficult teachings of the Lord, the following are the real credentials of real believers:

(1) Real Christians will be persecuted for the sake of righteousness.

(2) Real Christians, because they have committed to the Lord Jesus and follow Him, will be insulted.

(3) Real Christians, because they have committed to the Lord Jesus and follow Him, will be persecuted.

(4) Real Christians, because they have committed to the Lord Jesus and follow Him, will be falsely accused of all kinds of evil.

         The Lord then taught that real believers are not to strike back in kind, but take the shots that come their way.

         This means that when one is insulted, persecuted, and falsely accused for being a real Christian, one is to take the insults, persecution, and false accusations without returning insults, persecution, and false accusations in kind. One must not throw another log on the fire, thus escalating the war of words, but pour water on it instead.

         This is certainly a form of crucifixion.

         Keep in mind that the Lord was even being insulted, persecuted, and falsely accused while He hung on the cross:

THE MATTHEW ACCOUNT:

         And those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”

         In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking Him and saying, “He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him. HE TRUSTS IN GOD; LET GOD RESCUE Him now, IF HE DELIGHTS IN HIM; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”

         The robbers who had been crucified with Him were also insulting Him with the same words. [Matthew 27:39-44]

THE LUKE ACCOUNT:

         And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.”

         The soldiers also mocked Him, coming up to Him, offering Him sour wine, and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save yourself!”

         Now there was also an inscription above Him, “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

         One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!”

         But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” [Luke 23:35-41]

         And there’s the point.

         If the Lord took all of that abuse while hanging on a rough wooden cross with spike nails in His hands and feet and suffering excruciating pain most of us will never know and still managed to say, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34), then it is certainly possible to obey His teachings regarding insults and false accusations.

LIKE ONE FROM WHOM MEN HIDE THEIR FACE

         We must know that He was insulted repeatedly all the live long day throughout His entire life and especially during His ministry. He had ample reason to strike back in kind but never did, not even from the cross.

         Did He have the ability? Most certainly. Could He have climbed down off the cross? Without doubt. Could He have whipped any of those accusing pansies in a fist fight? I have no doubt He could have.

         But He didn’t. And it takes a MUCH bigger man to take abuse without returning it. He took it all and never struck back because He had a MUCH higher goal than simply winning stupid arguments or defending one’s “honor” or reputation:

         He wanted to ransom the souls of humanity.

         “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

         “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” [Matthew 5:44-48]

         The Lord Jesus not only taught this truth, He lived it. And He commanded all of His followers to do exactly the same.

ANTI-DISCIPLES

         Yet, “Christians” are some of the most easily offended people on the planet. It does not take much for certain “Christians” to become extremely angry. There are those who insist they are Christians but are as judgmental and condemning as the day is long. Some will betray another in a heartbeat.

         For many of these there is simply no impulse control whatsoever. The devil can play them like a drum whenever he feels like it. They are ready to fight in a split second. What is more, such people are proud of their desire and ability to insult and accuse in kind, not knowing or apparently caring that they are doing the devil’s work, especially if they engage in the inevitable maiming and murdering that results from being offended.

         Others may exhibit great impulse control and give forth the appearance of godliness. That is, until they feel slighted in some way and then all hell breaks loose. As long as they are never challenged there is no reaction, though many such perceived “challenges” are never personal and have no bad intent.

        They may think they are defending the truth, but they are actually egregiously violating the Lord’s commands, especially the love commandment.

         But for the real Christian, when one is insulted and falsely accused, often by other Christians of course, one does not strike back in kind though one may certainly want to, and though one may certainly do so very effectively.

         Instead, one must allow himself or herself to be crucified.

         It is the picture of a crazed little runt poking a giant hibernating grizzly bear with a stick and continuing to do so since he is getting away with it. In time he grows ever more bold. But the day will come when the bear will wake up. At that point the little man better have an exit plan.

JUDGMENT LOOMS

         All those who rejected and insulted and made fun of the Messiah when He came found out forty years later that crucifying Him actually meant they were destroying themselves, and the same thing eventually happens to all who persecute the Lord’s children. It’s what happens when the cure is rejected.

         Better to judge ourselves than judge others:

         Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test? [2 Corinthians 13:5]

         Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things.

         But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?

         But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.

         There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

         For there is no partiality with God. [Romans 2:1-11]

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         “If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.” [John 12:47] [1]

         © 2015 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.

If We Love Him We Will Obey Him

        For those faithful readers who have read the articles on this blog for a while, you know I must write about what is wrong in order to attempt to illustrate what is right. What the Lord Jesus did during His ministry was right. What His hand-picked men did after Him was right.

       The original apostles ushered in real Christianity at the very beginning and spread it throughout the then-known world in faithful adherence to the Founder’s vision.

         Some may want to call original Christianity a movement, and it certainly is in a sense. Others may see it as simply one more religion begun by a Man who saw a great need for helping people with a better life.

         In reality, however, God had an overall plan from the beginning of Creation and part of that plan involved bringing forth truth and reality. Why? Because the enemy of our souls brought in lies, deception, temptation, and sin. And the very heart of the Lord’s teachings is to set us free from the effects of those evil lies, deception, and sin and bless us with His Truth, Life, and spiritual freedom.

         Therefore, it must be the goal of every real Christian to do exactly the same. In this regard, the Lord Jesus made the concept very clear when He stated:

         “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. 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.

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

         In this passage, the Lord mentions the Father, the Son, and the Spirit of Truth, or the Holy Spirit. He then identifies Himself as the Holy Spirit. He also repeats the very message of YHWH in the Old Testament, as when God stated the following at the giving of the Ten Commandments:

         Then God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.” [Exodus 20:1-7]

         A big part of the Lord’s teaching was properly identifying God and God’s real teachings. Why? Because the Pharisees, predominantly, had so muddied the waters with their own false teachings interspersed somewhat with God’s real teachings.

         But the one prevailing evidential component the Lord Jesus used to identify Himself as God and confirm that His teachings were correct as opposed to the false religion of the Pharisees or any other was His operative use of miracles both to help others and confirm that His Word was God’s Word.

         In other words, if the miracles, healings, release from demon possession, and other great spiritual works were not there, then neither was He or His real Word.

         Now, contrast everything you just read with a typical Sunday morning at your church and tell me both are the same. For most of you, you simply cannot do it. And this reveals that the majority of Christianity in this world, regardless of perceived good hearts and good intentions, is either incorrect or greatly lacking.

         And further, if you want to know the central reason for this, it is a matter of authority, in that someone or something else is in charge instead of the Lord Jesus. Again, He stated very clearly the following:

         “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. [John 14:15]

         (If you don’t love Me you will not.)

         “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.” [John 14:11]

         (Even if you cannot perceive that Jesus is God, believe Him because of the miracles.)

         Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”

         Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’”? [John 14:8-9]

         This statement, of course, takes us right back to the Exodus passage. The Lord Jesus would never and did never teach anything against the Father (God/YHWH) or anything in addition to the Father.

         “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. [Matthew 5:17]

         What He did was teach the same curriculum but as a human being among human beings as not only an instructor but as our example.

         This is why He said His real disciples would perform just as He did. Anyone who does not is either not a real disciple, a very young or immature disciple, or possibly unclear on the concept. But once “no miracles” Christianity was established and institutionalized it became conventional and real Christianity thus became unconventional, and thus ostracized and maligned, just as first-century Phariseeism maligned the Lord and His teachings.

         In other words, if Major League Baseball (the highest league on the planet) was easy, anyone could play it. The fact, however, is that it is very, very difficult and only a fraction of exceptional ballplayers ever get there or play well for an extended time at that level.

         Most of that which passes itself off as Christianity is mere T-Ball at best and thus has very little or no impact on this fallen world of sin, which is a terrible thing once one considers the extreme price the Founder paid and the price paid by all real believers throughout history who often gave their lives.

         2015 will be a pivotal year. The Great Awakening in America will advance. But already, many who would have otherwise participated cut themselves off due to their disobedience, lack of faith, lack of love, and preference for a different gospel. This had to happen for the purpose of clearing the ranks just as was done in the story of Gideon’s army which was reduced by removing 99%.

         Just as the Lord Jesus had tens of thousands of followers during His ministry but only managed to gather 120 for the Upper Room Experience at Pentecost, He does not necessarily need great numbers. He wants great numbers in the sense that He loves and wants everybody. But He can certainly make do with a small team of dedicated members willing to obey all of His commandments. His final team will be just that because He said only a comparative few would find the real Door and complete the real path.

         To be a real disciple of the Lord, one must be worthy and willing to accept the challenge. Our Lord paid the greatest price for this very reason. He needs our help. A fallen world is crying out for reality, truth, and salvation.

         “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.” [Matthew 10:37-38] [1]

         As His disciples, let us all make a greater effort to exalt the Lord Jesus, put His real Truth on the map through our ministry to others and one another, and illustrate by our spiritual example a pure reflection of His example.

         Thank you for reading. Be blessed and Merry Christmas!

         © 2014 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.

Rejecting Truth That Demands Repentance

         A common, timeless, under-the-radar, and for the most part unspoken catch phrase often threatens emergence from larynx’s everywhere in response to a single catalyst—rising up and forming as a thin film on the edges of tongues and lips and threatening to bubble and babble forth at any given time.

         It reveals clearly and unmistakably the thinking and makeup of those confronted with and easily irked and tested by Truth:

         “Don’t confuse me with facts!”

         The majority of those who refer to themselves as Christians of one form or another are particularly notorious for this expression and the misguided thought behind it, as are they guilty of grossly and adamantly violating the Golden Rule whenever their beliefs are revealed as false or incomplete.

         This denotes two things: (1) It denotes religious pride that should not be there because religious pride cannot survive the crucifying of the flesh; and (2) It denotes a lack of love for the Truth which all real Christians readily embrace regardless of what it costs them personally.

         Unreal Christians are also notorious for passing personal conviction off onto others (“You talkin’ to me!?”). Anger begins to boil slowly and can become a seething cauldron if not held in check for fear of confrontation, though sometimes ironically because they wish to obey the Golden Rule. Go figure.

         It must be remembered, though, that innocent real Christians throughout the last 2000 years have had no desire to elicit such anger, and this includes the Founder Himself. He never tried to anger people on purpose, as far as I can tell, simply for the sake of making them angry. Yet, His preaching drew huge amounts of anger and vitriol, meaning of course, that the problem was without question in the ears and minds of the listeners.

         Now, it is certainly true that many so-called Christians have no problem provoking others for all the wrong reasons. It is not that difficult to get people into a thick lather regarding their beliefs if that is the goal.

         But that was not the Lord’s goal. Nor was it the goal of the early believers who turned the world upside down.

         Their goal was to preach the Truth that sets people free from the power of sin, and break them free from the clutches of evil and the evil one, that they might possess and live in the abundant life and freedom of the Lord.

         But that which became one person’s freedom became another’s reason to fight. Why? Because the Lord and His disciples preached the Truth. And the Truth often hurts. Especially when it reveals false beliefs.

         Nevertheless, then and now, the majority would apparently rather stick to their false beliefs, though such may be couched in warm, traditional, family-oriented, culturally-derived, and religiously-dependent benchmarks, including, and somewhat especially, those of the Unreal Christianity variety.

         Rest assured, if the Lord arrived for the first time among Christian adherents as He did among His own, it would certainly be Christian adherents who would reject Him and crucify Him. And there is an entire plethora of such “Christian” adherents willing to stand up and do the dirty deed. We know this because it is exactly what such are doing at the moment (and have been for centuries) to real Christians worldwide.

         Though most Christians insist on church attendance as a mandatory practice, and while some houses of worship are generally good places with good people, churches in general contain some really bad people. Actually, some really vile people. Actually, as did some of the synagogues of the Lord’s time as told in the Gospel accounts, some churches contain demon-possessed people and some of these devil-hosters run the show.

         Of course, this always refers only to other churches and never one’s own.

         The point here is that if church attendance is mandatory then it is also mandatory that one had better watch one’s backside while in attendance. Many a church member has exited with long-term knife-in-back syndrome that often never heals because they (first) never prepared for such a possibility, (second) still get no sympathy from said members who always blame the victim, and (three) usually never find a way to extract said knife and often are not aware of the cause of their pain.

         It is simply a very sad fact that many forms of Christianity had begun or morphed into hateful culture clubs against the full Truth of the Lord, even to the point of making the early Pharisees look like sashaying sissies in sundresses. History books are filled with such tales.

         But if one is willing to peel back and lift a corner of the this world’s present false overlay and take a peek at spiritual reality, one would see it happening right now as well, and in many cases just as bad if not worse than ever.

         Christian persecution is rising because it always rises as Light grows brighter and God’s people become bolder in preaching the Truth. And it is not God’s fault that a person must often become a slobbering mess of repentance to gain salvation (something prideful people abhor), in order to make a strong and clean break from sin and deception.

         Let us always remember that illicit agendas are universal and that such agendas exist only at the expense of Truth, which allows one to see and understand why concealing evidence that conflicts with Truth is tantamount to the devil’s and this faux world’s survival.

         Rejecting facts that challenge beliefs thus becomes a life and death issue for those who built and invested their lives on shifting-sand foundations and the bare ground of dartboard-derived locations. Though their house is destined to fall they never see such nor acknowledge such and fight anyone who thinks or says otherwise.

         Pre-conceived notions and belief in false premises and data thus drive a man to protect said data, and many will stop at nothing to rewrite entire books of truth in order to alleviate it and prop up their own false version of events.

         Deception is the name of the enemy’s game—that is, the enemies of the Lord Jesus and real believers—and every effort must be made to get out of it if one is in it, and resist it once one is free. Otherwise, the Truth is impossible to behold and hold and one will end up crucifying the very thing and the very One who can set them loose.

         So, rather than professing and embracing in one’s heart such inane statements as, “Don’t confuse me with facts!”, let us all take a good hard look at our particular beliefs and see just how closely they line up with the Lord’s teachings. Test everything you believe against the Lord’s curriculum and commandments. An excellent starting point is the Golden Rule. He commanded us to love one another as ourselves and to treat others they way we want to be treated.

         Better to resolve the issue now before it’s too late. Better to become a slobbering mess of repentance in the here and now rather than a slobbering mess of regret at the Judgment, when the eternal fate of our souls is decided upon based upon our own obedience or disobedience toward God and actions toward our fellow man during our sojourn breathing air.

         After physical death, the blood of Jesus can no longer be applied and cannot cleanse. One’s eternal fate has been sealed.

         “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]

         © 2014 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 Cost of Grace

         So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. [Philippians 2:12-13]

.

         Grace is free. Salvation will cost you everything.

         There remains much confusion among Christians about what exactly happened when the Lord Jesus went to the cross.

         Most Christians have never gone to the cross, would never go to the cross, do not see the need for going to the cross, and sadly, will never relate to the experience.

         There is this ill-begotten attitude that the Lord did it all to the point that they must do nothing. There is this completely false idea that a Christian can simply skate through life absolutely, completely, wholeheartedly, and fully assured that he is saved regardless of anything he may do or not do, as if salvation is simply a matter of a one-time mental assent or clueless “Yeah, put me down for that,” while they go about their already unrepentant lives thoroughly grounded in this world.

         Some denominations and Christian faux gospels are worse offenders than others. Some denominations do not even pretend to follow the Lord’s teachings on the matter but make salvation contingent upon belonging to the proper club—their club—and strictly adhering to their own church teachings which clash with the Lord’s, and compete with the Lord’s, and end up sending people to hell for believing what is false and doing things that have zero spiritual value.

         One would think, that among all Christian things they may want to get right, it would be salvation.

         But the majority of “Christians” insist on dissing the Lord, refuse to follow His example and teachings, and would never crucify their own flesh and/or leave their fake groups and denounce their false gospels even if their eternal salvation depended on it.

         And it does.

         The Lord thought this entire attitude was beyond curious. One would one rather save face than get saved? Why do so many Christians desire remaining cold, unenlightened, and uncrucified rather than obey the Lord’s commands?

         How can the resultant suffering and rejection real Christians face in this world compare to losing one’s soul for all eternity?

         Makes no sense.

         But then again, it does, if one has accepted a false prophet or a false teaching, and such things abound.

         There are obviously many more false gospels today than there were in the early days of that first Christian community, though false gospels began from the beginning.

         Paul did not pull any punches regarding these evil teachings and made his thoughts quite clear:

         I wish that you would bear with me in a little foolishness; but indeed you are bearing with me. For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.

         But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.

         For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully. [2Corinthians 11:1-4]

         Could it be that bearing a false gospel or a false prophet or the false beliefs of a false denomination is easier than bearing one’s cross? And could it be that it always boils down to this same issue—the offense of the cross?

         In Galatians 5:11 Paul refers to this “offence of the cross” (KJV), though it is translated differently in different versions. The following are a few examples:

1) Shame of the cross (Bible is Basic English)

2) Scandal of the cross (Darby Bible)

3) Stumbling block of the cross (New American Standard Bible)

4) Obstacle of the cross (New Jerusalem Bible)

         It is obvious that there is something revolting about the cross, especially when an individual Christian must apply it to himself. It follows that Christians will do anything and everything to avoid the cross, which makes them easy fodder for false gospels.

         Why do we think it was okay for the Lord to get crucified but not at all okay for us to do likewise?

         Why do we think our own personal crucifixion is somehow not necessary though the Lord’s was?

         Why do we think we can simply reject all those things the Lord taught about crucifying our flesh, and taking up our cross, and denying ourselves for His sake and the gospel?

         Is it not the height of selfishness and pride that the majority of “Christians” applaud the Lord’s trip to Calvary but would never go there themselves?

         And then believe they don’t need to?

         Why can’t such unreal Christians see that such teaching arose from the devil himself?

         Yes, of course, grace is free. It cost the Lord Jesus everything, but for us it’s all free. We can do nothing to add to it by anything we could ever do.

         What a crock.

         Have any of the proponents of this stuff ever heard of the concept of application? How about being yoked together with the Lord? How about the disciples not being above their Master, and partaking of the same offense, shame, scandal, stumbling block, and obstacle the Lord did on our behalf? Should not all real Christians do the same on His behalf?

         And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

         And He was stating the matter plainly. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him.

         But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”

         And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

         “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” [Mark 8:31-38] [1]

         The fact of the matter is that the real disciples of that time suffered the same things the Lord suffered. They were in fact called to share in His sufferings. They were called to stand up for and preach the ONE AND ONLY REAL GOSPEL. They knew it would cost them but did it anyway. Rather than shun it like so many Christians choose to do, they embraced the cross.

         And though grace is certainly free, it cost them everything.

         © 2014 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.

Why the Lord Used Parables (And Why So Many Christians Still Don’t Get It). Part 3

         And He said, “How shall we picture the kingdom of God, or by what parable shall we present it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the soil, though it is smaller than all the seeds that are upon the soil, yet when it is sown, it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and forms large branches; so that THE BIRDS OF THE AIR can NEST UNDER ITS SHADE.”

         With many such parables He was speaking the word to them, so far as they were able to hear it; and He did not speak to them without a parable; but He was explaining everything privately to His own disciples. [Mark 4:30-34]

         Here we have the mysterious but distinct contrast to the real teaching method used by the Lord Jesus and that of imposters.

         As mentioned in Part 2, religious indoctrination must be used when no relationship with God is present.

         There is no doubt this is a “hard saying,” and certainly causes the inevitable stumbling when related to one’s Christian experience. But try to see it this way: Fathers do not put their small children in a school desk or pew in the living room and attempt to ram home all the teaching they must impart through a contrived institutional format.

         Instead, they spend as much time as possible with their small children and allow them to ask questions. They are gentle and open, and allow each child to feel secure while also putting forth a mature stature which the child naturally respects.

         The father spends time with his children, engages in activities with them, attempts to bless them with opportunities, and teaches by example. Love comes first, and as life’s opportunities for learning present themselves, fathers are ready with the same kind of instruction used by the Lord.

         I don’t know why this is so hard to see, but it certainly is. Traditional, institutional Christianity has robbed the children of God from having that particular close learning relationship with the Lord He so wants to share with them. He loves His many children and He must feel very bad at being shut out by those who insist on regimenting and overly structuring Christian teaching, and turning spiritual revelation into classroom indoctrination.

         Why can’t we see that the Lord Jesus never did this? Why do we justify it? Why do so few “Christian” men lack the spiritual backbone, intestinal fortitude, and outright nuticles to do something about it?

         Though God, the Lord Jesus is also the greatest MAN who ever lived. He is manly to the core. When He walked this earth He presented the manliness and strength of God in a way that had never been done before. The real seekers of truth noted this, honored and respected it, and listened to the Man to the point of receiving His truth, His Spirit, and all that entailed.

         Some of them wanted to seize Him, but no one laid hands on Him. The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, and they said to them, “Why did you not bring Him?”

         The officers answered, “Never has a man spoken the way this man speaks.” [John 7:44-46]

         Rather than respect Him and the gospel, His detractors and enemies took the opposite path. Whether intimidated or angered by Him, they simply could not possibly coexist with Him. They were the ones who insisted on cold, unfeeling, formalized religion that never touched the deep heart of people in great need.

         The Lord, though, never used their false methods. He got down on the level of His disciples and taught with love and sincerity.

         He had no church building.

         He had no pulpit.

         He had no narcissistic clergy distinctions whatsoever.

         He did not need to prop Himself up or surround himself with or within some grand faux religious apparatus to appear genuine.

         He was genuine by His love and manner. His disciples felt His love. They knew they were loved, the same way a little boy or little girl knows he or she is loved when daddy takes them fishing, or to the park, or plays a game with them, or shows them how to do stuff.

         Is not this the very essence of mature servanthood and of the strong taking care of the weak? Instead of the strong becoming more strong and more enchriched and ruling over the weak?

         For we rejoice when we ourselves are weak but you are strong; this we also pray for, that you be made complete. [2Corinthians 13:9]

         This is the heart of God. At best, some of the overly formalized regimented methods of clergyites might lead to a better understanding of God on possibly an elementary level, but can in no way reveal the Lord for who He really is. This is why all the patriarchs spent so much time alone with God out in the desert. It is why the apostle Paul did the same. They learned from God directly, and they brought home teachings and understandings no one else possessed.

         Please consider the following:

         For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. [Galatians 1:11-12]

         Paul had no New Testament. He had no formalized church to attend. How did he learn so much? Though he had no New Testament, he ending up writing much of it! How?

         He says he did not receive the gospel from man.

         He says the gospel he taught was not according to man.

         He says He received the gospel he taught through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

         Think about it. No church. No Bible school. No seminary. No New Testament to memorize and learn from. No brothers or sisters around him all the time instructing him.

         Paul received the gospel he preached through a direct revelation from God while he was out in the desert alone with God.

         How do we know he got it right? And how do we know most “Christian” ministers get it wrong? Here’s how:

         And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.

         I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom,

         BUT IN DEMONSTRATION OF THE SPIRIT AND OF POWER,

         so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.

         Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God’s wisdom

         IN A MYSTERY, THE HIDDEN WISDOM WHICH GOD PREDESTINED BEFORE THE AGES TO OUR GLORY;

         the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but just as it is written,

         “THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.”

         For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.

         For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him?

         Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.

         [1 Corinthians 2:1-11] [1]

         © 2014 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.

Why the Lord Used Parables (And Why So Many Christians Still Don’t Get It). Part Deux

         Real Christians must always guard against religious indoctrination. The human mind in its fallen state is such that it has no reference to truth, no infrastructure toward a standard basis of spiritual knowledge and fact, and no ability to properly comprehend that which can only be spiritually discerned.

         We do have a conscience, of course. A healthy though natural mind does have the ability to differentiate between good and evil to an extent, but because human beings are also willful creatures and, short of a born-again experience, rebellious toward God and the things of God, it also possesses the ability to veto one’s moral conscience.

         In general terms, people always know in advance when they’re about to engage in wrong behavior if they follow a certain course their conscience is warning them against. Once doing the bad thing, one’s conscience confirms its earlier warning with an “I told you so” to further convict one, reinforce the fact that a wrong course was chosen, and warn further against the illicit action in the future.

         And if that’s not enough, there is always the fruit of evil behavior that sprouts up in one’s life to give an individual further proof that the activity was bad.

         Therefore, as the Word of God clearly states, even though unregenerate humanity is blinded by sin, human beings still have no excuses whatsoever for evil behavior and rebellion against God:

         For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

         Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.

         For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. [Romans 1:20-25]

         In this passage the apostle adds to the fact that we all possess a conscience with the further fact that the natural world all around us also reveals God and the difference between good and evil. One must remember that Paul wrote this long before what is now presented as fully accepted fact and believed wholeheartedly by most, including most “Christians”—the lie of human evolution—and that even then humanity had descended into a gross depravity regarding morality, truth, and mankind’s origins.

         Because the nature of such depravity goes unregistered in a sinful mind, one fails to see the nature of the advancing disease as one cannot see the forest for the trees. Because of such gross distortion and moral compasses out of whack, and because of the rapid nature of the sin disease metastasizing throughout the human family, the majority are lost within the matrix and deceived about reality.

         A faux reality has thus been constructed to deal with humanity’s distance from God which includes distance from God’s light, truth, and love. This very dark world is then made peace with, so to speak, and accepted as standard reality from which actual morality appears unreachable and impossible. The idea of evil remains, however, but evil is relegated to the realm of the grossly evil. Hence, regular human beings doing regular things according to this low denominational moral understanding are perceived as good and moral, though it is no such thing.

         In other words, God’s righteous standard, if we all obeyed and practiced it, would result in a truly wonderful and loving world, while mankind’s faux moral construct is equivalent to an extremely low moral common denominator in which almost everyone can feel good about themselves regardless of pesky moral consciences that are most often shunned and put aside.

         Picture a scale of ten in which the Lord’s holy life for all is seen as a 10 and mankind’s false moral standard as a 1. A 1 is relatively simple to achieve since it almost always involves no necessary attempt at achievement whatsoever, and one in which 95% are good people exhibiting moral behavior, as in, “Gimme a break. I’ve never killed anyone, dude. Back off,” meaning that murder and such sins cross the line but almost everything else is fine and dandy.

         This all came about for the same reason that all the little five year old soccer players started getting little individual trophies several years ago. First of all, little kids’ soccer is a faux sport in which all the little ones run around trying to kick a fat ball. Real hard. Then they all get a trophy for participating as if they achieved something when they actually achieved nothing.

         In contrast, the early days of Little League Baseball showcased the clear differential between those boys good enough to excel at the sport, often through very hard work, dedication, practice, and much playing time among themselves with no adults ever present, and those geeky ones who were quickly seen as possessing little or no talent and no passion for the game. Teams were formed, leagues were formed, and ONE team from each league received ONE team trophy, if anyone ever received a trophy at all. Most of the time there was no such thing. And there were certainly never any individual trophies.

         The point here is that winning a championship meant something and that only the winners achieved anything. Even those in second place were seen as losers. This resulted in a very high standard and something one must work very hard at to become a winner.

         Do we not see this almost exact dynamic in international Olympic sports? Only one person in each event wins the gold, and often by milliseconds. Imagine missing out on the gold by .001 of a second. You’re still a loser regardless of losing margin. Why even bother with silvers and bronzes? They didn’t win. There is no winning in placing second or third.

         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.

         Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified. [1Corinthians 9:24-27]

         To sum up, the world’s standard of morality is actually no standard at all. Almost everyone considers himself or herself righteous. Pretty much everyone believes himself or herself to be a good, basically decent person whom God has no real problem with, if indeed there is a God. Everyone wins a trophy, whether they run around in circles doing nothing, sit on the field as a spectator watching the untoward activity around them, become distracted by butterflies, knowing or unknowingly join the other team, never touch the ball, whine and cry, or refuse to leave the sidelines. Everyone gets a juice box and a snack and a trophy and good wishes from doting parents though the majority never achieve squat.

         The above is this world in a nutshell. Most people are oblivious of the spiritual world all around them. They are spiritually blind and deaf.

         But some, a few, actually have spiritual ears and eyes that work, and they receive little radio signals they know must mean something but can’t quite figure out. They remain intrigued, wondering why they see things a tad differently, and is why the blindfolded majority perceive them as a tad off, or strange.

         These are the ones who can be reached by a parable.

         They do not respond to religious dogma or forced compliance to some hackneyed, subjective, incomplete, false, or fractured moral code. Though they don’t know what they’re looking for, they know what it is not. They reject faux substitutes. They travel on in search of the lost chord—the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow—that unseen something they will know when they find it.

         This is why they reject religious indoctrination. They know that within their weakened state of being prior to discovering truth that they possess the potential to be force fed faux drivel and indoctrinated against the very truth they seek, and they intrinsically know they must shun such brainwashing efforts by the great faker controllers.

         Indeed, such religious controllers, especially those of the Unreal Christianity variety, are as much a part of the world’s faux moral low denominational construct as all other members, and are actually the most sinister of all in that they represent the devil’s last chance at stopping the searcher of truth on his or her path toward life.

         It’s like getting detoured a few yards short of the finish line on a winning run. Real Christians, both before and after their born again experience, can never allow themselves to be cut off at the pass by the religious chucklehead posse.

         They must press on toward truth and life. They must listen to their conscience, and respect their hearing ears and seeing eyes though the volume be low and the vision initially blurry.

         These are the ones who can be reached by a parable.

         “For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed; nor has anything been secret, but that it would come to light.

         “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” [Mark 4:22-23] [1]

         © 2014 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.