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DANCING WITH THE DEVIL

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      Engaging the enemy to advance one’s present cause will demand eventual future payment, and the latter will be much greater than the former.

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         Therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council, and were saying, “What are we doing? For this man is performing many signs. If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish.” Now he did not say this on his own initiative, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but in order that He might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. So from that day on they planned together to kill Him. [John 11:47-53]

         They knew they could never get the job done on their own. They were not powerful enough. They knew they must actually engage their avowed enemy in order to kill their greatest enemy. It was at the preceding meeting when a conspiracy of much greater comport was brought forth. They had conspired before on several occasions. They had gotten together in their secret, grungy little hideaways and poured over the possibilities of how they might do Him in but it always came to no avail. They failed on every previous occasion.

         But when they at last decided on the most diabolical trick of all, to engage the Roman Empire in their sad little conspiracy, they were on the road to success. In common parlance this is called “selling one’s soul to the devil.” We know this is done. There is certainly a devil and he will certainly work to advance the cause of those who want the same things he wants, and it doesn’t matter if they like him or worship him or not. He knows the very act of their willing engagement is enough to please and satisfy him, and gives him that much more of an opportunity to advance his own cause.

         The way this generally works is one decides to invoke a higher power to gain personal power and wealth, and the ability to satisfy one’s lusts to the nth degree. The devil is only too willing to comply. If one believes this process is not possible and is only a fanciful myth, one might want to know that even the Holy Scriptures state that the devil is the overall ruling power of this present world and that his power and authority is superseded only by the Lord Himself:

         Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 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 4:1-4]

         One may wonder how the devil has such power that he can make people oblivious to the Gospel which would otherwise set them free. How does he blind them? It is actually very simple: They must be unbelieving. If one chooses not to believe he subjects himself to spiritual blindness. If one has no love for the truth the truth will consequently be hidden to him. The Lord protects His Truth and His Gospel and does not throw His pearls before swine. Because they do not believe, they cut themselves off from any advancement or blessing from the Lord.

         This leaves them with only two choices. They can attempt to make it in this world only through their own power and strength which includes help from other unbelievers. Most, however, have no such access to higher human power or wealth and know that those who have it will probably never allow them in their exclusive clubs. Their lives, then, are destined to be humble.

         The second choice is to invoke the only other higher power available. Many unbelievers want no part of this, though. They are wise enough in their own eyes that such a route will cost them later and their personal desires are such that they would rather do without or with very little and thus maintain their own pride and limited freedom. Historically, these people usually comprise the lower classes. They are not tied into those with wealth, the higher classes, and refuse, possibly from fear, any close association with the devil. Their understanding is limited but at least they are not sell-outs.

         Regarding those who refuse to be denied, however, they simply do not care about any future payment. They have enough confidence in themselves that they feel they will find a way out of that when the time comes or simply continue to negotiate and make future deals. When the political/religious leaders of the Jews in the first century decided to make a deal with the Romans to get the Lord, it was not as if they were not already well aware of invoking high demonic powers. This had already been part of their modus operandi.

         The Lord Jesus had already revealed their hearts and motives on this and rebuked them for it. He told them and the entire nation what they were. They were exposed.

         They had no legal authority to kill Him but the Romans did. It was thus to the Romans they went but only in a very deceptive, conspiratorial way. They rigged things behind the scenes in such a way that they essentially grabbed Pontius Pilate by the, well, by the heart, we will say. He had no idea what was going on until the trap was sprung. When it was he suddenly saw his entire career and reputation going up in flames if he did not comply with their wishes. To say this was diabolical on their part is somewhat of an understatement, if that is possible, in that I think they must have greatly impressed the devil with their conniving.

         They were thinking only about the present. If they did think at all about the future they never expected what would eventually happen. They effectively not only sealed their own fate, they sealed the fate of their nation. That the Lord died for the nation is true, but only for the believing remnant. When full payment was eventually called for, the unbelievers were forced to pay in full. They lost it all. And in a strange karmic-déjà vu twist of Biblical proportions, it was those very Romans who brought forth both justice and judgment. The conspirators destroyed themselves with their own scheming brilliance.

         And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. “Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!” [Matthew 18:2-7] [1]

         © 2018 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


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

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THE ALARMING DECEPTION OF CONFIRMATION BIAS

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        Belief can become so powerful that truth no longer matters. A person with such deep-rooted though inaccurate beliefs will likely never be convinced to change his mind, not even by provable facts.

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       Some people call it manipulation. But it’s much more than that. We all have memories of some off-putting relentless salesman who almost convinces us to do something we don’t want to do. Such people have an incredible ability to make us think we need something we don’t need, want something we don’t want, and that we better do as they say or will miss out on a great opportunity and then feel stupid.

       I think this is part of the reason why people walking the streets in some major metropolis, let’s say, for example, New York City, since it has the best reputation for that, to never, ever make eye contact with anyone else, especially if someone is trying to get their attention. They’ve probably been hit up a million times on such streets and may even have been scammed a time or two. They have learned to keep moving, never say a word, and stay on their way or will end up late for wherever they’re going. They know they cannot trust themselves to not fall for some sales pitch or sob story or whatnot. And even if they believe they could stand their ground it would all be a waste of time and could probably even result in an argument which they obviously do not need. It is part of why many people, if not most, learn to keep their beliefs to themselves. Life is too short for such unnecessary philosophical interruptions.

DON’T CONFUSE ME WITH FACTS

         No one wants their beliefs to be challenged. After a certain age, we decide on what we will believe and stick to it. We build up a superstructure around our chosen beliefs called life, and our lives thus become diffused throughout with a set of convictions and principles that seem to work for us. In reality, though, such beliefs usually have never been challenged fully or even fully thought out. It would be much better if we submitted our beliefs to truth in order to verify their veracity. But that’s a scary proposition.

         It can be confusing. The world is filled with enough superfluous knowledge to keep one reading and learning for probably at least about a million years, give or take a few centuries. There are endless minutiae to be dealt with on a never-ending scale that can be so overwhelming it causes small flames and sparking in tender brains never meant to be subjected to such and may even cause a complete burnout or at least an all-day headache. These are not things most people desire.

         Hence, society sends out semi-caustic and wearified refrains such as, “Don’t mess with my head, man. It’s taken me years to reach this place of oblivion and I’m tired.”

         This is probably why those Krishna guys don’t bother people in airports anymore. It’s probably also why Christian witnessing is largely the work of new recruits. Seasoned followers of the Lord learn to be a tad more careful about who they witness to and how they witness as they gracefully age.

CONFIRMATION BIAS

         But let’s get back on track. When people only want information that supports their beliefs and want nothing to do with data that does not, they are doing the mental equivalent of painting themselves into a corner and then constructing a wall around it. A Big Beautiful Wall. They only want the stuff that confirms what they believe, or actually, what they have chosen to believe (but don’t tell them that. It’s too confusing). We all go through life doing the equivalent of tip-toeing through the proverbial tulips with a don’t bother me with facts attitude because I already have all the facts I need thank you very much now step aside please. And this protects our chosen belief system. And if we’re really good we store our little box of beliefs why up high and far in the back on a hidden cranial shelf where we haphazardly stuck the old duck decoys and other assorted junk we haven’t used in decades and arrange things in a way that no one will ever find them and the last thing we want is to be asked, “Where’s the box and what’s in it?”

         This is the human problem. We somehow semi-surreptitiously acquire beliefs as if by unconscious ongoing osmosis from somewhere or someone without checking on their validity and then guard them like a junkyard dog. Could it be because we can’t explain them? That they cannot stand up to scrutiny? As if we got the answer from the back of a suspect math book and cannot work out the problem properly on a whiteboard in front of the prying eyes of the entire classroom?

         Here’s a question: What Would Jesus Do?

         I think it would be cool to get about fifty Christian men and women of the cloth who are each experts in their own denominations and just start asking questions such as, “Why in the heck do all of you profess to be Christians and yet each of you believes something so different from one another that you can’t get along for long and insist on eternal separation in your ubiquitous little boxes spread out all over the countryside? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?”

         And this is why I insist on the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. And for those philosophy students out there, I always make my final and only appeal to authority to the Lord Jesus and His teachings, found only in their purest form in the New Covenant Scriptures.

LET THERE BE LIGHT

         And there it is. That’s what the Lord Jesus would do. He would teach us all His truth, because He is the Truth, if only we would let Him. I say enough with all these millions of different Christian classrooms with different math books and different answers teaching anything and everything but His pure teachings. The cure for hopeless and intractable Confirmation Bias is the Lord Jesus. We must subject all of our beliefs to Him. We must subject them to His light. Then we will see what kind of garbage fish are stuck in our nets and simply remove them and throw them back in the lake while keeping the good fish.

         When we get to heaven we will all believe the fullness of the same truth. We will have all knowledge. There will not be any bad beliefs or false doctrines or misunderstandings or confusion. We will not be unsure of what we believe or have to guard our beliefs from inspection. We will be open books of truth and light shining from proverbial hills filled with facts and the knowledge of the Lord. We will know the truth. But wait. Didn’t He say we could have all this before heaven? At least with regard to His pure teachings? I’m pretty sure He did. And He related it to the means of gaining freedom.

         So rather than insisting on refusing to subject our beliefs to the light of truth, perhaps we should simply vacate our respective mazes, end all the confusion, determine to gain ever more spiritual knowledge, clean out our mental closets, allow the light of the Lord to shine upon and within our hearts, minds, spirits, and bodies all the way to the DNA level, and begin the maturing process toward the wonderful and inevitable byproduct of breaking down the walls of separation and suspicion and achieve being on the same spiritual page with untold numbers of previously unknown spiritual brothers and sisters and thus experience the full joys of real fellowship. Amen?

         While He was still speaking to the crowds, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to Him. Someone said to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You.” But Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.” [Matthew 12:46-50] [1]

         © 2018 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


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

When Real Christians Die: Proving the Existence of the Unseen Spiritual World (2)

         For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. [1Peter 1:20-21]

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

         Non-believers often ask about proof. They must be reminded of living by faith. They don’t want to live by faith. They would rather live according to that tiny fraction of the light spectrum they can relate to with mere human senses.

         I remind them that the vast majority of all that exists cannot be perceived with the five senses. It is beyond what they see, hear, touch, taste, or smell. Scientists have proven this over and over. Yet, every time some new discovery is made the people thereof get all arrogant and full of themselves even though they must quickly admit they still have no clue about the majority that exists beyond the senses.

         They know it’s out there. Regarding the composition of the Universe, they know Dark Energy exists. They know Dark Matter exists. Dark Energy makes up 68% of the Universe. Dark Matter comprises 27% of the Universe.

         That leaves 5%. This 5% is what can be perceived with the five senses.

         “The rest—everything on Earth, everything ever observed with all of our instruments, all normal matter—adds up to less than 5% of the Universe. Come to think of it, maybe it shouldn’t be called “normal” matter at all, since it is such a small fraction of the Universe.” [1]

         THE GREATEST SCIENTISTS AND MENTAL GENIUSES ON THE PLANET STILL DO NOT HAVE A CLUE WHAT DARK ENERGY IS OR WHAT DARK MATTER IS, BUT ONLY THAT IT EXISTS. THEY DO NOT KNOW WHAT MAKES UP 95% OF THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE.

         They know it exists because of the way it affects what they know does exist.

         Yet, most of these people refuse to even speculate upon the possibility of the existence of the spiritual world.

PRAYER WORKS

         Millions of people know prayer works. They have personal proof. Many people have even kept records. I have seen the Lord Jesus answer my prayers so many times and sometimes in the most spectacular fashion. If any unbelieving egghead wants to challenge me on this he or she will get an earful.

         Yet, I understand that people living outside the kingdom of God have no clue. It is impossible for them to understand. They can either be smart about it and admit this or they can be not so smart about it and believe the only things that exist are those things picked up by the senses.

         At least the science boys and girls are intelligent enough to admit they know there is stuff out there even though they don’t know what it is.

         Much of this scientific knowledge is very recent. If you want to gain some understanding in this field you can go to NASA for a brief introduction here: Dark Energy, Dark Matter .

         The point of this article and the previous one is to reveal the fact that we all need salvation or will lose our souls. It is to illustrate that salvation is only possible through the Lord Jesus. It is to illustrate that a few, in the Lord’s own words, will actually accept the fact that they are sinners in need of salvation and will accept the Lord’s great sacrifice on their behalf and will in turn LIVE and then LIVE FOR ALL ETERNITY.

         These articles also reveal, however, that the vast majority of humanity will reject the only cure for the sin disease and lose their souls. Their existence will be limited to this earth and a short time after physical death while awaiting trial, and will thus fall short of eternal life. They will never gain eternal life because they decided to live only according to what they can see, hear, touch, taste, and smell. Anything beyond the five senses and the 5% they reject as that which does not exist.

         They will discover their error too late to do anything about it.

LIVING IN THE SPIRIT

         Those who believe in, follow, and obey the Lord Jesus—His real followers, not including all the fakers—are not left with purely blind faith and no proof. As I said, I have seen the Lord Jesus do incredible, amazing, miraculous things over the years. I know He is very real, and I know everything He said is true because it all works. There are things we cannot see, hear, touch, taste, or smell but we know for a certainty that they exist, just as we know Dark Energy and Dark Matter exist.

         The Lord Jesus, however, has decided to speak in parabolic form in order to hide truth from non-believers who refuse to exercise any faith. Truth is a vibrant and very special commodity and must not be wasted on those who have no respect for it. As a result, one must work very hard to discover truth. One must do much research and study. One must receive revelation. ONE MUST PRAY A LOT AND SPEND MUCH TIME ALONE WITH THE LORD. The hidden things of God are hidden for a reason.

         The gaining of truth and salvation because of that truth does not come easy and never has. It is obvious then, that real salvation only comes to those who put everything on the line and dedicate their entire lives to the Lord Jesus and the pursuit of achieving real discipleship.

         The majority of people never do this. The majority of “Christians” never do this. They do work hard and some work very hard at other pursuits. They do seek to have good lives. The problem is that they dedicate themselves to merely temporary things that will never be translated into eternity. They dedicate themselves to believing false theories and narratives. In essence, they dedicate themselves to running with the crowd. Even if they believe there are things out there they do not understand they never try to gain any understanding. They plant their feet firmly in the here and now.

FOREKNOWN BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD

         Each of us has existed in the mind of God from before the foundation of the world. But the Lord has granted a free will. Most choose wrongly. The few who choose correctly enter into a secret kingdom that no one else knows about (or cares about). The Lord Jesus revealed this.

         It exists exactly as does Dark Energy and Dark Matter. It is real. Just because the majority rejects it does not mean it does not exist. It only means they are wrong to reject it. It means they have no faith or love for the truth.

THE RESURRECTION IS THE PROOF

         The Lord Jesus arose from the dead. For those not fully clear on the concept—those who cannot see spiritual things so well—it was God or God the Father who did the resurrecting. While this is certainly true and scriptural, it is also just as true and scriptural that the Lord Jesus resurrected Himself. He even said He would before He did. It was one of the main points brought up against Him at His trial. Those people were such spiritual idiots they didn’t understand He was not talking about Herod’s Temple. The ignorance of some people certainly boggles the mind.

         But these people were not ignorant so much as they were spiritually blind. They were great religionists and knew the Bible extremely well. But they had no clue whatsoever of spiritual things and thus judged everything by what they could see, hear, touch, taste, or smell.

         They did not know the Lord Jesus was YHWH. They did not know that the very God they professed had arrived among them as one of them. They murdered their own God, the only God, the ONE GOD.

         Of course, because there IS a secret kingdom and there IS a hidden spiritual world, they actually only murdered the human body of God—HIS TEMPLE. That is precisely why the Lord Jesus stated:

         “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

         The resurrection is the proof. It is also the proof for every individual real Christian when he or she is resurrected to new eternal life.

         But for every real Christian, there is also a pre-proof. The pre-proof is a real born again experience that comprises all the basic elements of the final resurrection. One’s born again experience prior to physical death is the proof that everything the Lord said is true.

         The Lord Jesus raised me from spiritual death several years ago. I have since discovered through much prayer, research, study, work, trials, tough times, VERY tough times, and many, many revelations that He is very, very real, that there is a secret kingdom, and that there is a whole lot of stuff going on beyond the five senses. That which one can see, hear, touch, taste, and smell is a mere fraction of what actually exists.

         Regarding the entire Universe, as stated previously, 95% of it is completely unknown. We know it’s there, however, but we don’t know what it is.

         It is the same regarding the spiritual world. It could very well be that 95% of our realm on Planet Earth is comprised of the spiritual and only 5% makes up the sensory. 

         Remember, the Lord could see the spiritual world as well as the sensory world. He revealed it through His life, teachings, and ministry.

          As proof, there are untold millions of examples of answered prayer, born again experiences, miracles, healings, and other proven works that prove it exists. Real Christians know this. They have accepted the atoning death of the Sacrifice Lamb on their behalf. They know that just as He raised Himself from the dead He will raise them from the dead, especially since He has already raised them from the dead spiritually.

         Millions of real Christians worldwide are proof by their own new birth that much exists beyond the surface. They exist in what is essentially seed form awaiting their new creation in eternity. The time will come when each will bloom forth, completing a great resurrection that began with a single seed brought forth by the Sacrifice Lamb.

            Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. [1Peter 1:22-23] [2]

        © 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] NASA: Dark Energy, Dark Matter. Last Updated: June 5, 2015 http://science.nasa.gov/astrophysics/focus-areas/what-is-dark-energy/

[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.

Be Encouraged (3)

         In order for the Lord Jesus to make a reset, a reset must first be made in the life of an individual who desires a reset by that individual and by no one else.

         The latter reset, the one by the individual, is a choice. That’s all it is. It is an appeal to the Lord for help. The individual has no power to actually make any changes in the spiritual world to overcome the effects of the material world since he or she is limited to making choices that create change only in the material world.

         Until repentance, one is in jail and often does not know it. And with no desire for real repentance one is free to exist without God.

         The material world is limited. It is finite. There is only so much a person can do. And when a person is beset with the result of past sins and slavery to sin one has the added bonus of an allegorical albatross around one’s neck and a ball and chain on one’s foot.

         Not good.

         Some people notice this though maybe only in a foggy sense. They know something is not right. Something doesn’t add up. They exist in the midst of an illusion and false construct and are made to do things that do not satisfy their hearts.

         So they search. These are the smart ones. The ones who are not smart decide to simply live for this world.

         The smart ones who search must want THE TRUTH whatever the truth happens to be. They are looking for the keys. One must desire the means of escape even if the means is uncomfortable, socially unacceptable, a destroyer of one’s pride, and sure to cause trouble.

         So, whoever refuses the above probabilities need go no further…

 

         Whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. [James 3:4]

         This is a very powerful statement. Let’s read it again:

         Whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. [James 3:4]

         Did you know this principle applies regardless of group size or official capacity? It applies to an individual just as it applies to governments and ruling institutions.

         Quick questions:

         Was the Roman Empire an enemy of God?

         Can a “church” be a friend of the world?

         For further insight and clarification, let’s look at the fourth chapter of James in context:

         What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.

         You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

         Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us?”

         But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.” Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.

         Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?

         Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil.

         Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin. [John 4:1-17]

         The last verse speaks of a violation of conscience. Everybody has a conscience. No one has an excuse. God judges the heart.

         But have you noticed a person has a much greater chance of surrendering to the Lord Jesus if he or she has not already surrendered to a group?

         Peer pressure is a killer. A government makes a bad law and everyone obeys it because they are afraid to stand up against it and invite the government’s wrath. Religions have codes that all within them must obey or they will be deemed a slacker and many obey codes and rules they do not agree with simply because they do not want to be characterized as a slacker and lose their standing in the group. People who belong to whatever culture must obey the expectations and ways of that culture or the culture will turn on them.

         So we can see very clearly that the Community of the Lord Jesus is obviously made up of people who did not fit elsewhere. It is made up of strong-minded and strong-willed people who love the truth and will stand up for it regardless of personal cost.

         And the greatest personal cost is always rejection from the prior group, the members of which are compromised by a lack of love for the truth, a heart with little or no courage, a desire to make it in this world at the expense of the next, a love of money, uncontrolled lust for things material, a desire for social prestige, and weak capitulation to any strongman who demands to rule them.

         America, for example, was once a nation of strong individuals. Individualism was the very thing that made this country great. Strong groups are made of strong individuals.

         Does anyone wonder how the Lord Jesus was able to stand up against virtually everyone and every group who all saw Him as a malcontent and deviant? Or how the early disciples faced so much persecution willingly without surrender, even to the point of death?

         These were strong people. Real Christians are the strongest people on the planet simply because they are the most persecuted. They are hated without a cause. They are seen as deviants. They are culturally unacceptable. They don’t fit anywhere but in the Kingdom of God. They will have no master of any kind whatsoever other than the Lord Jesus. They are sheep of His pasture and no one else’s.

         Be encouraged. The Lord is THE ROCK and His children are rocks.

         Rock on.

         “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.

         “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.

         “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” [Matthew 5:10-16] [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.

 

Be Encouraged (2)

         There are people in this world who have never done anything wrong other than be a human being prone to sin and yet have suffered terribly. Through no fault of their own or choice made on their own they exist in this world under very challenging circumstances. Some people have suffered horrendous wrongs and have never received even the slightest modicum of justice.

         Mature people learn early on that this world is not just. One can delude oneself all day long if that is one’s choice and insist in little kid fashion that all is fair and all is being taken care of and everything will be okay and all will work itself out and I am a good person and on and on.

         In reality, however, some people know that evil—great evil—tremendous evil—exists in this world and that they have become its victims to various degrees. Tell an aborted child who just made the trip to heaven that there is no evil or that everything works out in the end. Tell him or her that the choices made by people to tear his or her tiny perfect body apart and end his or her one and only chance at life that justice always prevails.

         Tell victims of unjust wars—and 99% of all wars in human history are without doubt unjust and happened only to satisfy powerful people and gain them more wealth and power—that unjust wars do not exist and it’s just your tough luck to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Tell victims of murder, rape, robbery, and the unjust confiscation of their lands, property, money, health, and desire to live after such wanton destruction by people with absolute power and absolutely no heart have destroyed everything they have that justice always prevails.

         The fact of the matter is that justice in this world is not blind, is applied selectively, and most people are not selected. The rich and powerful, however, are always selected.

         Then remember the very clear teachings of the Lord Jesus:

         “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” [John 16:33]

         “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name.” [Matthew 24:9]

         “For those days will be a time of tribulation such as has not occurred since the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never will.” [Mark 13:19] [1]

         The Lord spoke of a tribulation birthing process in which birth pangs will begin and increase exponentially. In other words, the evil present in this world will grow even greater, and even to the point in which it appears nothing, including His own people, will survive.

         But lest one believe that tribulation has not always been here, consider what happened to the Lord Jesus—a perfect Man who never did anything wrong. Or consider what happened to His selected apostles and so many of His disciples. They did exactly what He told them to do and suffered as a result. It tells one that evil certainly exists and if one dares to challenge it one will pay. But if one never challenges evil then evil wins without a fight. It has been the victory of evil to merely intimidate and threaten without ever having to carry out such threats in most cases since most people have no courage.

         But the Lord told us to be courageous, to receive His courage, and to be encouraged. Despite all the evil present way back then the Lord Jesus won anyway. The early believers won anyway. And we in the present can and will win anyway.

         There is nothing the Lord Jesus cannot do but we must always remember that this world in not heaven and it is unjust. The Kingdom of Heaven resides in this world and it is certainly just. It is just because it is run by a just King. It should therefore be obvious that in places where justice does not prevail, the Lord Jesus is not King.

         To the extent that the Lord can, since He is limited by our faith and obedience, He can certainly fix things. Here’s how:

         (1) Repent of all sin, evil deeds, disobedience, and hate.

         (2) Forgive everybody for anything they have ever done no matter how evil.

         (3) Love everybody, even your enemies.

         (4) Surrender your entire life and everything you possess to the only just King, and pledge yourself to full obedience to Him. His justice will then prevail in your life. Part of this process (though many will reject it), involves a proper water immersion response. And if someone thinks this is not necessary or superfluous I must remind one that the Lord created it, it is all over the Book of Acts, and both the Lord and the early believers thought it was very important. If one can somehow look beyond the surface one will see why.

         (5) Allow the Lord Jesus to fill you with His powerful and loving Holy Spirit so you can have power and strength and might to both fight the good fight of faith to the greatest extent using a power not your own but also to be empowered to minister in powerful ways for the benefit of others who have been victims of evil and to be enabled to overcome all things.

         The mark of a real Christian is being a selfless agent of God being used to overcome the evil and injustice of this world using any and all means possible and to properly arm oneself with all that may be required in order to set people free.

         © 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.

Be Encouraged (1)

         The Lord Jesus will return again soon. He will set everything aright.

         He brings everything to pass precisely at its time; He also puts eternity in their mind, but without man ever guessing, from first to last, all the things that God brings to pass. [Ecclesiastes 3:11 JPST]

         We sometimes find ourselves in the middle of an impossible challenge. Yet, many of us also know that, with God, all things are possible.

         Here is the test of our faith:

         The Lord God is righteous. He created everything. Mankind has rebelled against God and sinned. Mankind has brought gross corruption to this planet. The corruption continues to grow exponentially. God has never left the planet, but has been outvoted. It does not mean that He does not remain all-powerful or that He cannot act. It merely means that one must choose. One must develop eyes to see. One must know that God cares and has solutions.

         But one must also know that because of the extreme interconnectivity of everything on the planet, anything done affects other things unseen, and as is often the case, the “solutions” of sinful rebellious humanity only make things worse.

         The people ruling this planet making the biggest decisions affecting the most people are not righteous whatsoever, and are indeed the opposite of righteous. They are in league with the devil. They have agreed with a diabolical covenant that has as its foundation two basic tenets:

         (1) The devil is the god of this world and everyone had better recognize it and obey him, and

         (2) Those who surrender to him and honor him the most receive the greater benefits.

         Hence, if a person is sold on this world instead of the Kingdom of God, if one loves mammon, if one loves imbibing the lusts of sinful flesh, and if one cares little or nothing for a God-given conscience that warns one of illicit behavior and the certain eventual results thereof, then one will end up falling directly into the devil’s trap.

         However, because of the nature of the devil’s sly and deceptive game, a person on the wrong path never knows the full extent of a trap being set or that he or she is heading directly for it. It is only afterwards, after one has been trapped and is beset with the terrible effects of the imprisonment thereof, that one recognizes one has been deceived.

         It should be obvious, therefore, that the best, most influential, and most successful human agents of the devil are those which appear as the very opposite and are in positions of well-accepted authority. Looking up to them, listening to them, obeying them, and even following them leads one to the very trap we have thus discussed.

         You will know these people because they never acknowledge the absolute authority of the Lord Jesus. Never. Not even the so-called Christian religious authorities.

         This should open a few eyes but such is a rare event. If the Lord had to actually appear in all His powerful radiance to the murderous, hateful, ultra-religious Phariaical Saul to get his attention, even to the point of knocking the little weasel off his horse and on his backside, what makes everyone else so special? The fact is that the Lord most often has to do the same thing to every one of us to gain our attention and eventual salvation.

         Of course, there is no possibility of being deceived by the fake shining agents of the devil if one follows the Lord Jesus, who is God and has revealed Himself as God. Yet, strangely enough, He is not perceived as God, as the one supreme leader of the Universe, even by most Christians, because of the devil’s deceiving influence, and this is why most people never really submit to and exclusively follow the Lord.

         It is the rejection of the Lord Jesus that causes the acceptance of false leaders and their false agendas. It is the acceptance of the Lord Jesus as the Master and sole authority of one’s life that causes complete rejection of anyone and everyone else who would stand in His place, especially those within the religious realm, and especially those within the “Christian” religious realm.

         Most Christians fail and their lives never come to full fruition simply because they have accepted other leaders as the sole authorities in their lives rather than the Lord.

         Those who never fully accept the Lord Jesus do so at their own peril. Until the trap is sprung they never see it coming.

         As the apostle Paul recounted his first meeting with the Lord to King Agrippa, he included some incredible words of the Lord Jesus which explain perfectly our world situation and why so many are in absolute darkness, including himself prior to that eventful first meeting:

         “While so engaged as I was journeying to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests, at midday, O King, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining all around me and those who were journeying with me.

         “And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew dialect, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’

         “And I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.

         ‘But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you,

         ‘To open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’” [Acts 26:12-18] [1]

         If a person has never experienced a great trap-freeing experience as the apostle Paul did—if one has never been born again spiritually—then one remains in the trap, otherwise known as the dominion of Satan.

         And one remains deceived by some very influential people who have actually embraced the dominion of Satan because of the earthly benefits they have been granted. For most people, of course, there are few benefits or none at all.

         And this explains everything.

         In Part 2 we will look further into how the Lord Jesus can fix things, rearrange things, and set things aright in order to bring blessing to His children.

         Be encouraged.

         © 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.

Spiritual Pioneers: The Faithful Remnant

         Today is Rosh Hashanah.

         Happy New Year!

         And what a new year it is. Much spiritual progress has been made over the preceding years, and the time has now arrived when fruit is forming on the trees and gardens are bringing forth produce. A ton of work was done to get us to this point, and in the early going it was hit and miss.

         There was much suffering. It is always this way for those who attempt the impossible, for those stalwart pioneers who envision a much better future than their less than ideal present, and are willing to go to any lengths to achieve the desired result.

         Our Lord Jesus was such a pioneer. He entered into this world during a very trying time for His own people as a Savior and Mentor, and as One who would get the nation back on track. But for the nation of Israel proper, or actually what was left of Israel, He failed to remedy the situation.

         Perhaps it was because He was dealing with the worst generation in the nation’s history:

         “But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places, who call out to the other children, and say, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon!’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.” [Matthew 11:16-19]

         Or in their case, stupid is as stupid does.

         The nation rejected God. And forty years later it ceased to exist.

         But within this nation at that time was a faithful remnant. There was always a remnant. And it was the remnant that kept the nation alive. It was the faith of the remnant that kept God involved because He had signed an everlasting covenant, and as long as there were some, though few, who abided in the covenant as He did, the covenant would stay in effect.

         Nevertheless, for the nation proper, it was doomed. It was doomed for the same reasons it suffered judgment on far too many occasions in its history to recount. The people actually doomed themselves due to their love of sin and rebellion, disobedience and stubbornness, pride and trust in themselves, and an overwhelming desire to be like all the rebellious nations around them instead of being the nation of God.

         Mostly, though, it was because of their unbelief.

         But again, there was always a faithful remnant, and at times the faithful remnant had gained such a foothold it brought the entire nation back on course and in right standing with God.

         Yet in the first century A.D. the opposite happened—the bad guys had wrested control. And their control was so great and far-reaching they would never lose control, and thus, they doomed themselves since they rejected God’s authority. They failed to discern the times. They did not understand that no matter how hard they clutched control their grip would be broken. 

          And unseen by many, in the midst of all this spiritual warfare and transition, regardless of all the political machinations and skullduggery, something else very significant was taking place at that time that had never happened before—a new nation was forming.

         The birth of the new coincided with the death of the old.

         There is solid research that makes what most have been taught to believe to be a specious claim—that by the end of the first century, more descendants of Abraham accepted their Messiah than rejected Him.

         How can this be?

         It is the same dynamic taking place in America at present. Polls consistently show that the American people in general generally disagree with the actions and beliefs of their government, regardless of the party in power, yet they keep returning the same people and kinds of people to leadership within their government.

         How can this be?

         Do we not recall Scriptures such as the following?

         His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone confessed Him to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue. [John 9:22]

         Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God. [John 12:42-43] [1]

         This exact dynamic happens within many American churches. The majority is such that it never makes waves, never rocks the boat, never questions authority, and thus is more or less a blob of nothingness that looks great but is less filling, because they are not filled with the Spirit of God, and because they love the approval of men rather than God. And everyone knows it is far better to be a good little boy or girl and always go along to get along.

         That’s how America was founded.

         NOT.

         And it’s not how the community of the Lord was founded!

         The Lord’s new nation was formed by those who stood up for God and His Truth regardless of what it cost them personally. Thus, one can see that there were many, many people flying under the radar at that time within the nation of Israel proper for fear of those in control. That’s why the Lord Jesus was subjected to a kangaroo court and their idiotic decision, and why no one came to His defense. Most were scared to death and had been conditioned by those in power, though only a relative few, to never buck illicit authority.

         But after the nation was dissolved many descendants of Abraham saw the light that much more. The Lord predicted exactly what would happen, and He warned those to escape the judgment when it arrived, and these were even told where to go to be safe.

         But for those in control who refused to listen, the ones who ran their nation into the ground, there was no escape. There was nothing but judgment.

         Keep this in mind at this time. A new year has dawned and with it a new time for the people of God. It would be good for every single person who claims to be a real Christian to stand up for the Lord Jesus and be counted, though also understanding well that it will cost.

         So, what? It has always cost. Pioneers must take it on the chin for those coming after. They must fight and persevere so the squeamish will have someone to look upon to cure them of their squeamishness. Our Lord paid the greatest price of all and gave the greatest gift of all. The original apostles followed in His footsteps. Their walk with God and work for God cost them everything.

         But as a result, look what we have two thousand years later. And look at what is coming forth just now. The Lord’s people are gaining in strength and unity, and are maturing en masse. What is the devil to do?

         How about the same thing he’s always done? Convince people to fear him rather than God. Convince people to go along with a dead set-up instead of mustering the courage to journey into life. Tell people to always seek the approval of men, even if they be a member of the religious ruling class. The devil destroyed Israel in this way. And he is trying very hard to destroy the community of the Lord the same way.

         This is how he does it (Pay attention):

         He puts in power those who are in it for themselves. And those he puts in power kick out all the stalwarts who stand for God. This is exactly how Israel became a non-prophet nation and is how most churches and ministry organizations become non-prophet organizations.

         Prophets and those like them stand up for the Lord whatever it may cost. They die with their boots on. They die with their integrity intact. They stand up to the purveyors of false doctrine. They rail against religious and/or political idiots who stand in the place of authority but against the God of all authority. How many of the Lord’s rebukathons must we read before we see this?

         They got Him because He revealed them, and He wasn’t afraid of what they would do to Him.

         Yet many people are presently afraid. They are very afraid. They are consumed by fear. Hence, sluggish, dead churches and a country on the brink.

         But also, a new nation forming.

         And a Great Awakening in the making…

         But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you.

         You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either.

         Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.

         And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree? [Romans 11:17-24]   

         © 2013 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.