Blog Archives

LOVING YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF: THE UNRECOGNIZED MILLIONS OF GOOD PEOPLE IN AMERICA

You don’t know they exist. Most don’t know you exist. They go about their lives quietly and unselfishly, determined to do their best and be kind to others. It has its own reward.

.

THE GOLDEN RULE

You shall not hate your fellow countryman in your heart; you may surely reprove your neighbor, but shall not incur sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord.” [Leviticus 19:17-18]

One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” [Matthew 22:35-40]

“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” [Matthew 7:12]

Whether they actually know it or not, or try to, the good people in America instinctively obey the Golden Rule. They just do it. They generally don’t let something else come into their life and interfere with their natural behavior. They reject false narratives and pejoratives that may cause them to become something they are not, or act inappropriately, or disparage people they don’t know personally, or give in to hate. They know the best they can do is simply be what they are in the sense of doing well for their fellow human beings. It is not a religious thing whatsoever. They do not think, “Oh, I must obey the Golden Rule today.” They might pray and ask for help in doing this to a better or to the best degree but when out among the community, they just act naturally.

And that’s the key. It is what I think the Lord Jesus appreciates most about these people. And please understand, I am not saying these people are perfect. Nobody is. We all prove our humanity from time to time even when we try our best not to. What I am saying here is that some people don’t need to be prompted to act right or do right but just do it at the time when life presents itself before them.

A COOL STORY (AND ANOTHER)

Several years ago I had to assist in taking care of my mother’s house after she passed away. We had to get it prepared for sale. Her belongings were either donated to charity or divided up among her children with each on board working together and behaving perfectly through the process, a rare thing among families. She had still lived in the city we grew up in. I had moved out of town in my twenties. I discovered that good people were still everywhere there at that time, simply going about their business, most not causing any trouble, like in many places. The city had changed quite a bit outwardly, becoming even larger. The demographics had also changed.

Early one morning I was going to a grocery store to get a few things. I knew no one in the neighborhood. I parked my car and was heading toward the main entry at the front of the store. As an aside, I have been drinking only purified water for over thirty years after discovering the poisons that lurk in tap water. This store had one of those water purifying vending machines just outside the main doors along with other vending machines. Along with an empty water jug, I was carrying with me a little component from my car, a small cup with a spring lid that fits in a round car tray behind a small door in the dash. I would keep my change in it.

So I’m walking. Right when I entered the main traffic area in front of the store which separates the parking lot from the store entrance, it happened. It was one of those things that makes a person feel a tad embarrassed but later proved to be a veritable godsend. Right there where all the cars drive by and many people cross, right in the middle of that high traffic area, I dropped my coin container. It hit the pavement, the lid opened up, and loose change went flying everywhere. There, all over the asphalt in a widening circle were my quarters and nickels and dimes making their acquaintance with the dirty street and coming to rest as either heads or tails though I briefly, for a split second, could not make heads or tails of the situation.

Then I immediately got down and went to work quickly gathering them up, not so concerned about my money but about getting it done as fast as I could so as not to further inconvenience anyone, especially the people in cars who would have to wait until the perpetrator of this miscue gathered up his coinage and made haste to clear the way. Then, while I was down there engaged in tunnel vision carrying on in my hurried solitary pursuit with the eyes of the world upon me from all sides on a stage not at all of my choosing, the most amazing thing happened. Other people who were also walking to and fro started helping me. They started picking up coins and putting them in the little coin cup or handing them to me, all without saying a word. One young mother with two or three kids in tow had stopped and was doing this. I distinctly remember one little girl, her daughter, of maybe four years of age. She immediately took a few steps to the side, picked up a stray coin a few feet away, and returned it to me. She looked at me with not so much of a smile but with a pleased look on her young face, as though she knew she was doing something good to help the poor man. As I think about it, and knowing how powerful memory-making can be when we’re young and impressionable, she may still remember this event.

Then a guy came walking in from the parking lot talking on his cell phone. He was in the midst of a kinda sorta animated phone conversation as he was walking and when he came into the area he simply bent over and started picking up a few coins and giving them to me while still carrying on his conversation. He never even looked at me or missed a beat. He just did this all in stride like he did it all the time. I’m sure the people waiting in their cars to drive through were also quite patient with the proceedings. Maybe they enjoyed what they saw. Maybe, as spectators, they were blessed by the proceedings. I was still scrambling to get it all done and was somewhat surprised that so many were helping and that they thought nothing of it. Not one single person tried to take anything. They all helped me until it was quickly done and I had all my coins back ready to feed a few into a machine for some water. Is there a parable here? I thanked them but I don’t remember anyone saying a word. There could have been a language barrier with some. They just acted. They had this goodness in them. Nobody told them what to do. They just did it. Without even acknowledging what they were doing or thinking about it each of these people had perfectly obeyed the Golden Rule.

For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts… [Romans 2:14-15]

There was another time after this, several days later, when I was at that same location to buy a few groceries and also get some more water, when a similar event happened but had much more important ramifications. I was in the exact place walking through the parking lot close to the entry and stopped to get a shopping cart. There was a rack of them in the lot on the left before one crossed the main traffic area in front of the store, right where the former coin spillage had occurred. As I reached to get the first cart and separate it from the rest, right there on the tray-like depression at the top of the cart by the handle was a ladies beige leather wallet. I immediately thought of the unfortunate person who mistakenly left it there and how worried she must be. I took the wallet and went directly to the entry and found a store employee that happened to be there and told him about it. I asked him about a lost and found. He said yes, they had one. I told him the story. I gave the wallet to him and he went directly into the store right away and turned it in.  

Then, while filling up my jug with water just outside the store by the entry, a young woman came walking up from the parking lot. I must have been the only one there at the time. She came right over to me, a very concerned look on her face, and asked if I happened to know about a beige wallet she just lost. Can you imagine this? Can you imagine how the Lord does His best to put the right people in the right place every day everywhere all over the world so we can help each other out? I immediately told her that yes, I found it. I found your wallet. I told her I had just given it to a store employee who turned it in to the store lost and found. She thanked me and hurriedly went into the store, still bearing a very concerned look on her face. A few minutes later she came back out with her beige leather wallet in hand, much relieved, and thanked me heartily. She began reaching into her wallet, wanting to give me a reward. I politely refused and told her I was glad to help. Then she dropped a MOAB. She told me she had just cashed her paycheck before she lost her wallet and that her newly recovered beige leather wallet was filled with cash which she needed to pay bills that day.

Now, please understand, I am not relaying this story in an attempt to bring glory to myself. This is something you would have done exactly the same as I did. It is something any of the millions of good people in America would have done and do on a daily basis. I am certainly thankful for her that I was one of the ones who found it that would have turned it in. I am glad I was there for her. There are other people out there that would have ripped her off in a heartbeat and not thought twice about it or have any remorse afterwards.

Granted, this second story has much more impact than the first story about the goof who scatters his spare change all over the pavement in the most absolutely conspicuous of places. But on second thought, maybe God planned it that way. Maybe it wasn’t purely an accident. Maybe I wasn’t a goof at all but one who obeyed God. Maybe that container full of coins was supposed to fall down and empty its contents all over Creation like that. It sure did make for a great memory and also blessed others with an opportunity to display their natural goodness and unthinking adherence to the Golden Rule. It obviously blessed my socks right off. I will never forget those wonderful people.

Maybe the apparent miscue was actually an answer to prayer. I don’t know about you, but I do pray every morning, the very first thing, on my face, that the Lord would order my steps for the day, along with other short prayers. I’ve been doing this for a very long time. This is the prayer:

“Father, I ask that you would order my steps today and line everything up the way you want it to go. I ask for your great powerful anointing and strength and your great physical anointing and stamina that I can do your will. Thank you Father. Amen.”  

On some days it appears as though I never prayed this prayer, based on the not so great events of those particular days. Sometimes I wonder if the prayer does any good at all. We must remind ourselves, however, that the vast majority of days are not about conquering the world but about engaging in the greatness of what many good days strung together consistently will bring into one’s life over the long haul and the beneficial impact it will have on others.

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. [Romans 12:1-2]

Imagine a society in which everyone obeys the Golden Rule on a daily basis. Though we are all human and subject to being humans and doing human things, as we get better at obeying the Lord and becoming a better reflection of Him we will also get better for one another. When one is having a hard time another will pick him up. When one is blessed she will be able to bless another not as fortunate. Some people are so hurting it will take a while to get them well again. The better we get as people the more we will be able to help each other.

This is what the real Community of the Lord Jesus is like. It is about regular people who joined His Kingdom and pledged themselves to do His will and become better people with an eye for helping others so everyone can be blessed instead of just a few.

Remember, the more people there are doing the work of God the less the burden there is on each one.

And he came into all the district around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins; as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness,

‘Make ready the way of the Lord,

Make His paths straight.

‘Every ravine will be filled,

And every mountain and hill will be brought low;

The crooked will become straight,

And the rough roads smooth;

And all flesh will see the salvation of God.’” [Luke 3:3-6] [1]

© 2022 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.

Let Every Day Be Christmas 2017

       This really is a great time of year, of course. Regardless of whether one is a practicing Christian or not, people in general have a greater tendency to appropriate the spirit of Christmas during the holiday season. Most are nicer to one another and more accommodating. Many live out the Golden Rule by visiting friends and relatives, engaging in quality fellowship and family time, smiling a little brighter, giving gifts, helping others, and loving one another.

         In other words, we all generally do as the Lord Jesus taught us to do. Though it is not really His birthday, we celebrate it at this time and it makes all the difference.

         After the holidays, however, most people go back to their regular lives of disobedience and indifference toward God. There is a quick return to doing things our way, living our way, sinning our way, demanding our way, hating our way, and forgetting all about the wonder of Christmas.

      This means Christmas is merely a time to briefly touch upon the reality of human existence and the answers and gifts each of us has for each other. It is a faux construct revealing the truth of how most of us wish it could be but will never be. It is a time to celebrate the mere idea of the Christmas message. It is a time when people doing good things is culturally legal, where one’s good heart blends with everyone’s and brings no personal disdain as a do-gooder or clueless nice guy. People set aside their prejudices and hatred because the pressure’s off. We get a lift from giving. Joy is allowed a place in our hearts. Those who rarely smile grin a little.

      But it is all only temporary. The New Year will bring a return to the rat race and justifiable lying, cheating, and slander. Bad attitudes are only placed on hold during the Christmas season. People do not actually repent. People do not actually embrace the Lord and obey His teachings. As wonderful as it all is, Christmastime is an aberration.

         Why can’t we live out the spirit of Christmas all year long? Some of the reasons are as follows:

(1) It would no longer be a special once-a-year season.

(2) Too much work! (Decorating, shopping, entertaining, family—Yikes!)

(3) People cannot fake love for that long.

         The real reason?

       Most people refuse to make the giant leap toward real repentance and living a spiritually-disciplined lifestyle. Most people cannot conceive of possessing an inner joy all year long. Most people do not know the Lord Jesus and do not want to know Him. And this includes most “Christians.”

         It is far easier to obey one’s will than His will.

         It is far easier to be deceived than know the truth.

        I recently stated in the comments section of this blog that most churches would never allow the Lord Jesus to be in charge of their operations. This also holds true for most of us who say we are Christians. But for those fellowship groups who would agree to let the Lord be the boss, let 2018 be the year we accomplish this at a higher and faster rate, and to a greater degree. Let real Christians do the same. Let us truly love one another, help each other, and see about one another. And let it last all year long.

         My hope this Christmas is that it will continue being Christmas. Keep buying gifts and giving gifts. Keep entertaining and blessing others. Keep the wonder and the happiness and the love. Make your heavenly Father proud. Indeed, make Him cry tears of joy. Move His heart with your attention to His curriculum and course of personal conduct. Make Him pleased with your discipleship. Honor Him as your Lord and Savior who stopped at nothing to bring you abundant life. Love Him with all your heart and love one another as you love yourself.

      Be blessed this Christmas. Be very, very blessed. Remember the One who made it possible. Thanks to all of you who have read my articles, commented on them, and passed them on to others. I especially want to thank those of you who have subscribed and allowed me to send out my email updates. You have all been a great blessing!

        It is my belief that 2018 will be a pivotal year in many respects, but mostly as a year when an even greater number of real believers will be born into the kingdom, when many Christians will rededicate their lives, when many more solid groups, spiritual communities, and fellowships will be formed, and when the Lord’s people become even greater salt and light for such a time as this.

         It is impossible to lose when on the Lord’s side. Allow the wonder of Christmas to stay in your heart all year long. May we all be real and may we all keep loving.

         And may we all have a Merry Christmas.

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

AMID CHRISTIAN DIVISION AND LEFT-RIGHT HATE FEUDS, REAL COMMUNICATION HONORS THE GOLDEN RULE

         Much of what passes for open dialogue remains agenda-based, market-driven, and brand-centered. It majors on division and ignorance rather than love and an honest search for truth.

.

THE NEED FOR NEW WINESKINS

         Concerned Christian people continue to discuss the fact that with each succeeding generation here in America, more members of the younger generation are opting out of church membership and decline attendance at churches. The claim is made that as many as two-thirds of young people are “walking away from the church” by the time they reach college age. I hear what should otherwise be quite learned and mature ministers speak about the American culture diverging from the traditional church to the point that a great divide has transpired and something within the American culture must change quickly in order to stop this process or all will be lost.

         I say ministers such as these have got it all backwards. They are making excuses for their own irrelevance and inability or unwillingness to reach out effectively. They continue to insist on old wineskins and the rejection of new wine. Of course, many ministers and churches have long since watered down their programs to virtual nothingness in their efforts to be seeker friendly. They offer almost zero conviction for sinners looking to be saved. Their programs are essentially spiritually worthless though they may appear to be successful outwardly. Some of these have even managed to grow into mega churches using this approach. Instead of being salt and light, they have lowered themselves to the culture, which has absolutely no salt and no light.

THE REAL AND CORRECT APPROACH

         This is the opposite approach that should be taken. The Lord Jesus never took this approach. He told the truth regardless of what it cost Him. Though He would go anywhere and talk to anyone regardless of their condition or station in life, He never lowered Himself to become like the culture but commanded that we must become like Him. That’s bold.

         It’s the picture of an otherwise impossible, incredible personal strength bringing forth reactions in others of utter shock and soul-shattering conviction while wrapped in pure humility and grace.

         This was the great love of God within a Man doing all to reach us, but with a heavenly respect we do not deserve and completely devoid of compromise. In other words, God is expressing His greatness and devotion by never changing or reducing His greatness but also relaying that He will pay any price for us even unto dying for us. Quick question: How many great and powerful people do you have in your life willing to die for you?

         The reaction to the powerful presence of the Lord Jesus by the unrepentant evil forces was, as in accordance with natural law, opposite and equal. No one continually attacks a righteous man, for example, and eventually kills him in a rage if that man represents no threat to an evil kingdom and is the epitome of Mr. Nice Guy. Though warm and accommodating, the Lord is also the epitome of salt and light—spiritual salt with its powers of preservation and accentuation, and a shining light that both reveals the path ahead and exposes all the evil minions and their disguised and disgusting operations and enterprises.

         When the Lord Jesus walked among them His commanding presence was greatly felt and duly noted. Sinners were scared. Demons were petrified. Strong men were taken aback. He was the opposite of the wimpy pastors of then and now.

         They were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. [Mark 1:22]

         “Never has a man spoken the way this man speaks.” [John 7:46]  

CULTURE SWING?

         Is the American culture growing farther away from God in a general sense? That argument can certainly be made although one must recognize the fact that there are millions of righteous people here existing in relative obscurity off the social media radar. They get little or no press. Their presence must be factored in instead of us going only by the great sins of the headlines and major media. Therefore, rather than the entire country about to fall off a cliff with no hope of a turnaround, what is actually happening is that there is a large contingent of unacknowledged Americans living their lives in such a way that better defines them as mountain climbers rather than cliff fallers.

         This means the entire construct of a divided America being the difference between good wholesome conservative church-goers on the right who have been correct all along and should not even think about changing, and another group of largely young leftist liberal activists intent on replacing whatever remains of American traditional righteousness and morality is not only pure nonsense and completely wrong, it is not conducive whatsoever to bringing real spiritual solutions and honest communication. In addition, if one were to total up the membership lists of these two groups one would discover that they don’t come close to comprising all of America. One would actually discover that about half the country is missing and largely unaccounted for. Where are they?

         Many are not attending church or marching in the streets. They simply don’t buy into the Divide and Conquer strategy put forth a few decades ago designed to drive major media ratings and earn corporate profits. This unrecognized population group also sees that untold billions of dollars are being wasted not only by bloated government programs but also by what may be termed ineffective traditional Christianity doing what it has always done, and it does not want to be a part of that scenario either. It may be that the bulk of these Americans are not avowed Christians but they have a level of righteousness that often exceeds that of the other two groups.

         Many social justice warriors on the left thoroughly believe they have joined a righteous cause and some of their arguments are solid. Many conservative traditional Christians on the right have also proven to have solid arguments as well. The big unknown and largely undefined group of Americans that do not fit either category also have solid reasons for living the lives they live and believing as they do. The odds are that these three groups will remain separate and continue to believe their respective ways are the best, although I must note that the third is not actually a group by definition, but simply a collection of all those who are not in the other two. The first two groups, in a general sense, wrap their entire identities within their group’s practices and mores and are most likely to be more strident and less likely to change. They are forever stridently defending their positions against one another as if doomsday will quickly descend without their contribution and that the earth will blow up or Christianity will be destroyed. Thus, both reject any attempt at dialogue toward finding common ground.

COMMUNICATING WITH LOVE AND RESPECT

         The third group? Not so much, which makes it unique in that it is often more open minded and willing to listen. It has not bought into the left-right paradigm and consequently remains free. And this is the key. Once one has jettisoned communication and refuses to promote dialogue and discussion with sincerity and humility, then one has eliminated the only means of bridging the gap. Remember, the reason someone came up with the concept of the political right and left is because the people on these sides have usually gone beyond the point of no return regarding the middle, which is supposedly inhabited by everyone else. (But I don’t mean the muddled middle, the dwelling place of apathy and a disregard for staying somewhat informed.) I am instead referring to the location which has no left, right, or middle compass bearings. This is the place where people can communicate with both sides and promote such communication. Though many reject the idea, it is actually possible to communicate with people in which one has no discernible agreement.

         For Christians, isn’t this exactly what we are supposed to do? Did not the Lord command us to go out and witness and share the Gospel? And are not the odds fairly high that we will find disagreement in the process?

         Real Christians understand that it is often the case that a person must be compelled to leave a burning, sinking ship only because he or she does not perceive that the ship is burning and sinking.

         Real Christians are sent out on rescue missions knowing full well they may be blasted by the very people they are trying to help. It is that way in sharing the Gospel with non-Christians. Sadly, it is also that way in attempting to share truth with Christians. Both have their fallout. Elements of both will reject you. But opening lines of communication with both can also be richly rewarding.

         I am glad someone was persistent with me when it came time to share the Gospel. I may never have met the Lord otherwise. And I am also glad that once I became a Christian other believers were willing to share more truth with me. Much of the latter, however, eventually did not come through personal discussion but by literature. This is why written works and books are so greatly beneficial. The authors thereof do much research, capture facts and truths of the ages, and preserve them on the written page which lives on after their passing. Books have an extremely long shelf life, pardon the pun, and exist as an excellent form of learning and communication though it is obviously not direct. Also, we live in a time when almost all preserved books and publications of the past, even the ancient past, can be accessed. This is proving excellent in the discovery of greater truth, especially when it comes to Biblical truth and the Lord’s teachings.

         Up until the last few years we were all subjected for the most part to direct censorship and a complete lack of access to other points of view and the truths inherent within such truths. Now the only thing stopping a searcher of truth is laziness, a lack of spiritual hunger, or a stubborn attitude in insisting one already knows it all and has it right. The latter attitude is what has always caused evil people to gain control and authority over others and imprison them within the confines of fake knowledge, false interpretations and narratives, and downright propaganda. Indeed, using this particular means is how the devil is often most successful. Rather than communicate such people greatly prefer to repress truth and indoctrinate.

         “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” [Matthew 7:1-2]

         There is a right way and a wrong way to communicate. It must never be for purely selfish reasons. It must be because of a desire to help others. It must be because one is compelled to share truth and answers with those who are searching for it and need it. Communication must model the Lord’s method. He obviously knew His teachings would last two thousand years and taught in such a way to reflect that, and in a manner that translates into all times and cultures. We should all know that there is no law against godly love and most people will see no need to defend against it. This is why our communication will be incredibly more effective if we show forth the love of God and make the person we are talking to the object of respect and honor rather than simply wanting to win an argument.

         The Golden Rule of Real Communication is that is must be based on the Golden Rule.

         “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” [Matthew 7:12] [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.

Let Every Day Be Christmas 2015

         This really is a great time of year, of course. Regardless of whether one is a practicing Christian or not, people in general have a greater tendency to appropriate the spirit of Christmas during the holiday season. Most are nicer to one another and more accommodating. Many live out the Golden Rule by visiting friends and relatives, engaging in quality fellowship and family time, smiling a little brighter, giving gifts, helping others, and loving one another.

         In other words, we all generally do as the Lord Jesus taught us to do. Though it is not really His birthday, we celebrate it at this time and it makes all the difference.

         After the holidays, however, most people go back to their regular lives of disobedience and indifference toward God. There is a quick return to doing things our way, living our way, sinning our way, demanding our way, hating our way, and forgetting all about the wonder of Christmas.

         This means Christmas is merely a time to briefly touch upon the reality of human existence and the answers and gifts each of us has for each other. It is a faux construct revealing the truth of how most of us wish it could be but will never be. It is a time to celebrate the mere idea of the Christmas message. It is a time when people doing good things is culturally legal, where one’s good heart blends with everyone’s and brings no personal disdain as a do-gooder or clueless nice guy. People set aside their prejudices and hatred because the pressure’s off. We get a lift from giving. Joy is allowed a place in our hearts. Those who rarely smile grin a little.

         But it is all only temporary. The New Year will bring a return to the rat race and justifiable lying, cheating, and slander. Bad attitudes are only placed on hold during the Christmas season. People do not actually repent. People do not actually embrace the Lord and obey His teachings. As wonderful as it all is, Christmastime is an aberration.

         Why can’t we live out the spirit of Christmas all year long? Some of the reasons are as follows:

(1) It would no longer be a special once-a-year season.

(2) Too much work! (Decorating, shopping, entertaining, family—Yikes!)

(3) People cannot fake love for that long.

         The real reason?

         Most people refuse to make the giant leap toward real repentance and living a spiritually-disciplined lifestyle. Most people cannot conceive of possessing an inner joy all year long. Most people do not know the Lord Jesus and do not want to know Him. And this includes most “Christians.”

         It is far easier to obey one’s will than His will.

         It is far easier to be deceived than know the truth.

         I recently stated in the comments section of this blog that most churches would never allow the Lord Jesus to be in charge of their operations. This also holds true for most of us who say we are Christians. But for those fellowship groups who would agree to let the Lord be the boss, let 2016 be the year we accomplish this at a higher and faster rate, and to a greater degree. Let real Christians do the same. Let us truly love one another, help each other, and see about one another. And let it last all year long.

         My hope this Christmas is that it will continue being Christmas. Keep buying gifts and giving gifts. Keep entertaining and blessing others. Keep the wonder and the happiness and the love. Make your heavenly Father proud. Indeed, make Him cry tears of joy. Move His heart with your attention to His curriculum and course of personal conduct. Make Him pleased with your discipleship. Honor Him as your Lord and Savior who stopped at nothing to bring you abundant life. Love Him with all your heart and love one another as you love yourself.

         Be blessed this Christmas. Be very, very blessed. Remember the One who made it possible. Thanks to all of you who have read my articles, commented on them, and passed them on to others. I especially want to thank those of you who have subscribed and allowed me to send out my email updates. You have all been a great blessing!

         It is my belief that 2016 will be a pivotal year in many respects, but mostly as a year when an even greater number of real believers will be born into the kingdom, when many Christians will rededicate their lives, when many more solid groups, spiritually communities, and fellowships will be formed, and when the Lord’s people become even greater salt and light for such a time as this.

         It is impossible to lose when on the Lord’s side. Allow the wonder of Christmas to stay in your heart all year long. May we all be real and may we all keep loving.

         And may we all have a Merry Christmas.

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.   

 

The Worst Violators of the Golden Rule

         God is LOVE, and love is what makes the whole thing work. His entire kingdom is based on love and on His people loving one another.

         Love must be expressed. It must be shown. The Lord Jesus commanded us to love.

         Yet, there remains a giant disconnect regarding this clear command and it stems from the false teachings of those who falsely represent the Lord.

         John said it this way:

         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 4:20-21]

         We know, though, that God showed up among us, and did His best to teach us all to love, and did love. But this world exposed itself for what it really is by what it did to Him. He was murdered, as was Abel, by His own.

         By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another; not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous. [1John 3:10-12]

         There are thus two different types of people in this world: Those who love and those who hate—those whose deeds are righteous and those whose deeds are evil. And much of the evil perpetrated upon the righteous is done in a backhanded manner by any number of duplicitous Cains and Judases, exactly as it happened to Abel and the Lord.

         Thus, if one cannot handle multiple knives in the back traveling the Christian way, one will never make it to heaven.

         Though the expression “backstabbing” originates much later in history, the proverbial illustration of betrayal by “loved ones” might presently be seen as certainly one of the wounds suffered by the Lord, as those suffered during His crucifixion. The Lord Jesus was not only betrayed by His people in general, but specifically by one of His own men—a disciple He selected—and it is not necessarily true that Judas was personally destined to betray Him.

         Someone would, of course. Such was prophesied in holy writ long before. And Judas Iscariot became that man. And the Lord warned us that such vile two-faced betrayal would also happen to His disciples.

         The apostle Paul was betrayed. And though it is not necessarily recorded, all of the original eleven were undoubtedly betrayed in some way by other “Christians.”

         Indeed, “Christianity” in general has certainly betrayed the Lord Jesus. His pure and complete teachings are most often picked over and particular parts here and there are selected as appropriate while much of his curriculum is rejected as unpleasant and non-applicable.

         Denominations make their own distinct choices and build up unique “statements of belief” to make sure everyone knows just what it is they choose and what they reject. In other words, instead of simply stating that “We believe the full teachings of the Lord Jesus, support them, and apply them to the best of our ability,” they actually only support what they deem supportable.

         Excuses are made for all they reject, citing various explanations and flawed reasoning, and when such is done over a few centuries, their man-made doctrines become etched in stone. And when the inevitable revisions come, they always remove more of the Lord’s pure teachings and adopt more man-made teachings.

         And incredibly, most Christians not only end up believing and supporting false doctrines, they effectively insist that it is not they who are wrong, but the Lord Jesus. Or the Bible. Or people who do not believe as they do.

         This is the mark of closed-minded religious exclusivism. Such belief systems create hardened, hateful hearts regardless of outward expression. And such hearts routinely violate the Golden Rule.

         How ironic is it then, that the worst violators of the Golden Rule on the planet are “Christians?” And how strange is it that the most likely individual to engage in backstabbing a Christian is another Christian?

         Now, for all those who have never been betrayed, you might want to recheck your beliefs, because the Word of God says that two things will certainly follow real believers: The first is signs, wonders, and miraculous evidence of the real Gospel when properly presented and lived out, and the second is persecution, highlighted by the enemy’s favorite method employed well by Judas.

         Concerning the evidential conduct of real Christians, the Lord said:

         “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]

         The above was an addendum to the following:

         “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”

         And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’

         “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” [Matthew 22:36-40]

         And to make sure everyone fully understands the concept and that a Christian’s love for others must be universal, He taught:

         “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ 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 5:43-48] [1]

         In all of this, we see that there is absolutely no excuse whatsoever for disobeying the Golden Rule, and that it must be extended even to one’s enemies who engage in persecution, especially if the persecutor is a former trusted one who took advantage of a lack of defense by the one who loved and shot his or her friend in the back.

         And to show how incredibly vile this practice is—this violation of the love commandment—and that it is most often found in the realm of religion, “Christians” who make personal attacks (anti-love) on fellow believers, acting as if they have somehow garnered the spiritual high ground and that those they attack and condemn are worthy of such, often have no remorse whatsoever for their actions and never repent.

         Indeed, they believe they are fully justified to lash out at whoever does not believe according to their “different gospel.” In this, they are more evil than Judas Iscariot.

         At least he went out and hung himself.

         © 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.

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.

Let Every Day Be Christmas 2013

         This really is a great time of year, of course. Regardless of whether one is a practicing Christian or not, people in general have a greater tendency to appropriate the spirit of Christmas during the holiday season. Most are nicer to one another and more accommodating. Many live out the Golden Rule by visiting friends and relatives, engaging in quality fellowship and family time, smiling a little brighter, giving gifts, helping others, and loving one another.

         In other words, we all generally do as the Lord Jesus taught us to do. Though it is not really His birthday, we celebrate it at this time and it makes all the difference.

         After the holidays, however, most people go back to their regular lives of disobedience and indifference toward God. There is a quick return to doing things their way, living their way, sinning their way, demanding their way, hating their way, and forgetting all about the wonder of Christmas.

         For most, this means Christmas is merely a time to briefly touch upon the reality of human existence and the answers and gifts each of us has for each other. It is a faux construct revealing the truth of how most of us wish it could be but will rarely be. It is a time to celebrate the mere idea of the Christmas message. It is a time when people doing good things is culturally legal, where one’s good heart blends with everyone’s and brings no personal disdain as a do-gooder or clueless nice guy. People set aside their prejudices and hatred because the pressure’s off. We get a lift from giving. Joy is allowed a place in our hearts. Those who rarely smile grin a little.

         But it is all only temporary. The New Year will bring a return to the rat race and justifiable lying, cheating, and slander. Bad attitudes are only placed on hold during the Christmas season. Most people do not actually repent. Most people do not actually embrace the Lord and obey His teachings. As wonderful as it all is, Christmastime is often an aberration.

         Why can’t we live out the spirit of Christmas all year long? Some of the reasons are as follows:

(1) It would no longer be a special once-a-year season.

(2) Too much work! (Decorating, shopping, entertaining, family—Yikes!)

(3) People cannot fake love for that long.

         The real reason?

         Most people refuse to make the giant leap toward real repentance and living a spiritually-disciplined lifestyle. Most people cannot conceive of possessing an inner joy all year long. Most people do not know the Lord Jesus and do not want to know Him. And this includes most “Christians.”

         It is far easier to obey one’s will than His will.

         It is far easier to be deceived than know the truth.

         I recently stated on this site that most churches would never allow the Lord Jesus to be in charge of their operations. This also holds true for most of us who say we are Christians. But for those fellowship groups who would agree to let the Lord be the boss, let 2014 be the year we accomplish this at a higher and faster rate, and to a greater degree. Let real Christians do the same. Let us truly love one another, help each other, and see about one another. And let it last all year long.

         My hope this Christmas is that it will continue being Christmas. Keep buying gifts and giving gifts. Keep entertaining and blessing others. Keep the wonder and the happiness and the love. Make your heavenly Father proud. Indeed, make Him cry tears of joy. Move His heart with your attention to His curriculum and course of personal conduct. Make Him pleased with your discipleship. Honor Him as your Lord and Savior who stopped at nothing to bring you abundant life. Love Him with all your heart and love one another as you love yourself.

         Be blessed this Christmas. Be very, very blessed. Remember the One who made it possible. Thanks to all of you who have read my articles, commented on them, and passed them on to others. I especially want to thank those of you who have subscribed and allowed me to send out my “bothersome email updates.” You have all been a great blessing!

         It is my belief that 2014 will be a pivotal year in many respects, but mostly as a year when an even greater number of real believers will be born into the kingdom, when many Christians will rededicate their lives, when many more solid groups, spiritual communities, and fellowships will be formed, and when the Lord’s people become even greater salt and light for such a time as this.

         We are in the early stages of a national Great Awakening, a time when the people of God will prove the love and power of God, when the Book of Acts comes to life, when real miracles will become more common and more known, and when real fellowship among all real believers takes place in a way it never has before.

         It is impossible to lose when on the Lord’s side. Allow the wonder of Christmas to stay in your heart all year long. May we all be real and may we all keep loving.

         And may we all have a very Merry Christmas.

         © 2013 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

Let Every Day Be Christmas 2011

         This really is a great time of year, of course. Regardless of whether one is a practicing Christian or not, people in general have a greater tendency to appropriate the spirit of Christmas during the holiday season. Most are nicer to one another and more accommodating. Many live out the Golden Rule by visiting friends and relatives, engaging in quality fellowship and family time, smiling a little brighter, giving gifts, helping others, and loving one another.

         In other words, we all generally do as the Lord Jesus taught us to do. Though it is not really His birthday, we celebrate it at this time and it makes all the difference.

         After the holidays, however, most people go back to their regular lives of disobedience and indifference toward God. There is a quick return to doing things our way, living our way, sinning our way, demanding our way, hating our way, and forgetting all about the wonder of Christmas.

         This means Christmas is merely a time to briefly touch upon the reality of human existence and the answers and gifts each of us has for each other. It is a faux construct revealing the truth of how most of us wish it could be but will never be. It is a time to celebrate the mere idea of the Christmas message. It is a time when people doing good things is culturally legal, where one’s good heart blends with everyone’s and brings no personal disdain as a do-gooder or clueless nice guy. People set aside their prejudices and hatred because the pressure’s off. We get a lift from giving. Joy is allowed a place in our hearts. Those who rarely smile grin a little.

         But it is all only temporary. The New Year will bring a return to the rat race and justifiable lying, cheating, and slander. Bad attitudes are only placed on hold during the Christmas season. People do not actually repent. People do not actually embrace the Lord and obey His teachings. As wonderful as it all is, Christmastime is an aberration.

         Why can’t we live out the spirit of Christmas all year long? Some of the reasons are as follows:

(1) It would no longer be a special once-a-year season.

(2) Too much work! (Decorating, shopping, entertaining, family—Yikes!)

(3) People cannot fake love for that long.

         The real reason?

         Most people refuse to make the giant leap toward real repentance and living a spiritually-disciplined lifestyle. Most people cannot conceive of possessing an inner joy all year long. Most people do not know the Lord Jesus and do not want to know Him. And this includes most “Christians.”

         It is far easier to obey one’s will than His will.

         It is far easier to be deceived than know the truth.

         I recently stated in the comments section of this blog that most churches would never allow the Lord Jesus to be in charge of their operations. This also holds true for most of us who say we are Christians. But for those fellowship groups who would agree to let the Lord be the boss, let 2012 be the year we accomplish this at a higher and faster rate, and to a greater degree. Let real Christians do the same. Let us truly love one another, help each other, and see about one another. And let it last all year long.

         My hope this Christmas is that it will continue being Christmas. Keep buying gifts and giving gifts. Keep entertaining and blessing others. Keep the wonder and the happiness and the love. Make your heavenly Father proud. Indeed, make Him cry tears of joy. Move His heart with your attention to His curriculum and course of personal conduct. Make Him pleased with your discipleship. Honor Him as your Lord and Savior who stopped at nothing to bring you abundant life. Love Him with all your heart and love one another as you love yourself.

         Be blessed this Christmas. Be very, very blessed. Remember the One who made it possible. Thanks to all of you who have read my articles, commented on them, and passed them on to others. I especially want to thank those of you who have subscribed and allowed me to send out my “bothersome email updates.” You have all been a great blessing!

         It is my belief that 2012 will be a pivotal year in many respects, but mostly as a year when an even greater number of real believers will be born into the kingdom, when many Christians will rededicate their lives, when many more solid groups, spiritual communities, and fellowships will be formed, and when the Lord’s people become even greater salt and light for such a time as this.

         It is impossible to lose when on the Lord’s side. Allow the wonder of Christmas to stay in your heart all year long. May we all be real and may we all keep loving.

         And may we all have a Merry Christmas.

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.