Repentance is the action of individuals. People are saved one person at a time. It is a highly personal decision. It has always been this way.
Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet when he said, “THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, ‘MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT!’” [Matthew 3:1-3]
DOWN TO THE CROSSROADS
When a person hears the real Gospel and becomes convicted in heart, standing guilty as charged before the Lord and knowing without any doubt that he is guilty, he must act. He has no choice. At this early stage, personal faith arises from within that had never arisen before. He sees himself as God sees him, as a sinner in need of salvation. But also, though shattered by the knowledge of his personal sin, he senses a concern and a brief glimpse or feeling of mercy directed toward him from some unidentifiable spiritual place beyond himself, and from that place a small hope arises. From this initial entry point one stands at a spiritual junction.
I went down to the crossroads, fell down on my knees
Down to the crossroads, fell down on my knees
Asked the Lord above for mercy, “Save me if you please”
I went down to the crossroads, tried to flag a ride
Down to the crossroads, tried to flag a ride
Nobody seemed to know me, everybody passed me by
Many years ago I had a friend who gave his heart to the Lord a couple of months before I met him. I had never known him before his salvation experience, one which had been quite dramatic. I remember him telling me that the night he decided on the Lord, it almost never happened in that he felt too weak to make the decision the way it must be made. He told me people had been earnestly praying for him, though seemingly unsuccessfully. He had received a very powerful witness. He wanted to get right. Spiritual war was going on for his soul but he knew little of that at the time. He did know, though, that he was in a new place he had never been in before and seemed to lack control to do anything about it. He had been prayed out of darkness temporarily and found himself down at the crossroads.
Essentially, he was in the process of being yanked out of his hell-bound status, with which there was otherwise no remedy, even by his own efforts. He had certainly made an effort, but had been so far away from God and so deep in sin it was all he could do to gain his present circumstance, powerfully aided by the prayers of others. Yet at that new and unidentifiable place, in which he could very easily fall right back in the pit from which he arose, he would have to be the final arbiter and make a choice. He told others afterward that he pictured the proverbial angel on one side and the devil on the other. He referred to the devil as a hell’s angel. They were both fighting for him. He felt himself slipping away. He saw the good angel fading out and growing farther into the blurry distance, far up above as he was sinking fast. Then, all of a sudden, the good angel reached way down and somehow grabbed him, all in an instant, and pulled him into life…
THE UNACKNOWLEDGED EFFECT OF REAL CHRISTIANITY
In reality, nations do not repent. Great Awakenings are not a “nation” awakening but a comparatively large group of individuals within and across that nation that is awakening. In this sense such occurrences are defined as national. They happen when a much larger percentage of the populace than usual turns to the Lord together in a relatively short period of time. They are not repenting and getting right with God to save their nation, however, but for God to save them, one another, and whosoever will.
All countries, nations, states, empires, etc, are temporary, as this world itself is temporary. It is only the Community of the Lord Jesus, or His kingdom, that lasts forever, and His kingdom is not and never has been an earthly kingdom.
When it happens that the majority of a country is composed of real Christians or if a minority of real Christians is very effective spiritually, that particular country becomes a comparatively better place because it means the Lord has more authority and control. It means a greater number of people show real love and obey the Golden Rule. It means there are fewer sinners. It means sin has less overall effect. It means there is greater conviction of sin. It means there is less demonic activity. When such countries begin backsliding away, it is because the real Christians are backsliding away.
But real Christians as large groups usually never devolve into blatant sin but merely get co-opted. They give in to watered-down gospels, false narratives, and throw their weight behind teachings the Lord never taught. It usually happens on the sly, over a gradual period of time. There is a sinister author but such Christians lose sight of the author. They make peace with the world. They compromise. Their lights grow dim and unless they make corrections their lights eventually go out.
Now when Jesus heard that John had been taken into custody, He withdrew into Galilee; and leaving Nazareth, He came and settled in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali. This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: “THE LAND OF ZEBULUN AND THE LAND OF NAPHTALI, BY THE WAY OF THE SEA, BEYOND THE JORDAN, GALILEE OF THE GENTILES—THE PEOPLE WHO WERE SITTING IN DARKNESS SAW A GREAT LIGHT, AND THOSE WHO WERE SITTING IN THE LAND AND SHADOW OF DEATH, UPON THEM A LIGHT DAWNED.” From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” [Matthew 4:12-17]
Of course, John had been preaching way out in the wilderness, unconnected to the ultra-legalistic religious entities that controlled the synagogues and temple complex. He preached until the Lord was baptized and began His forty day fast. According to the Gospel accounts, it was during those forty days or shortly thereafter when John was arrested and thrown in prison. When the Lord returned from the wilderness, He also was unconnected to the religious establishment, though He began preaching in the synagogues of Galilee “and was praised by all.”
THE GREAT DIVIDE
Then He went to His hometown. The people of Nazareth initially accepted Him warmly. He spoke in the local synagogue.
What happened next is what always happens when two distinct and very different kingdoms with different agendas abruptly share the same territory, as warm moist air from the south runs into cold dry air from the north. They will clash. Thunderstorms happen. Lightning flashes. Thunder rolls. One would think the people of Nazareth would embrace Him. They did at first, until He began preaching a message contrary to their message. This created a message tornado, a spiritual cognitive dissonance whirlwind which at first confused the synagogue members and stunned them into silence. They sat there with open mouths and unblinking eyes. Then they got it. Then they went absolutely nuts.
The following passage is an eye-opening illustration of what happens when the anointed Word of God goes to war against false teaching masquerading as truth:
And all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things; and they got up and drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff. [Luke 4:28-29]
For real Christians, this is all quite familiar. It is what happens when light shines on darkness. It’s what is supposed to happen. If it is not happening, it means truth is not being revealed. It means the real Gospel is not being preached. The devil continues to hide successfully, operate behind the scenes, and dumb-down the people he controls into dead, ineffectual religious compliance. In that darkness all manner of false doctrines germinate. The next thing you know, “Christians” act the same way those people did in that Nazareth synagogue.
This is why Great Awakenings are most often completely unconnected to compromised, establishment Christianity—that which has accepted spiritual chains in the guise of any number of replacements and the false doctrine foundations upon which they rest, most of which involve cultural conformity, coerced donations, and religious pride.
CONTENDERS AND PRETENDERS
Religious pride and personal repentance don’t get along. In fact, these two hate each other. Only one can win. The other gets destroyed. Most people choose pride. A comparative few find life, though it will cost them. The unrepentant religious pride people always attempt to throw the repentant life people off a cliff. Their pride, conviction of sin, and refusal to repent demands it. Thus, those who find life have a harder row to hoe and constitute the fewer. Not only must they dodge the cliff-throwers, they also take the time to pray for them. That’s rare. Also, staying on the path of life, due to the demands of real discipleship, sometimes causes their numbers to be reduced over time.
The Lord preached to tens of thousands during His ministry. Several thousand were following Him from place to place. He often had a hard time escaping the crowds. This even happened when He went to Jerusalem the week of His death. Many were praising Him and shouting Hosannas. Then, once the crowds found out what supporting Him would cost, they all abandoned Him. Many turned on Him. The signal was given, “Release the hounds!” You know the rest of the story. Except for one man and several women close by the place of execution, all of His friends vanished by the time they killed Him, including His own disciples.
Even after His resurrection the same dynamic played out. There were as many as five hundred who saw Him at one time. Yet, the majority of these drifted off. By the time it came to the full end which also signified a brand new beginning, only a hundred and twenty people made it to Pentecost. The tens of thousands had vanished. They all left Him except for a few. The majority could never bring itself to go all the way and put everything on the line. Heaven will thus be sparsely populated.
We are at yet another crossroads and things are taking a giant turn toward societal civil war. Those paying attention knew this would happen, could see it emerging quite a while ago, and are somewhat surprised that it took this long. I say that because the evil agenda has been in place for so long. The Great Awakening will subdue it somewhat. This emerging civil war is indeed a spiritual reaction to what the Lord is bringing forth. A great many will join up with the Lord. But until the people who have control, authority, and wealth start becoming real Christians, nothing substantial can possibly change long term because those guys have a completely different agenda and will never relinquish it.
They are helped in their pursuit by Christians who have aligned themselves with the aforesaid false gospels and cultural Christianity in which they mix two competing entities to make one powerless, low wattage entity. Christians such as this want nothing to do with the only thing that will ultimately save them and reject it because they have no frame of reference yet to how bad things may get. They therefore see real Christianity as something completely unnecessary and exaggerated, not worth the discipleship, not worth the upsetting of their lifestyles, and even overbearing within a construct of relatively good times. Their karma chickens will eventually come home to roost. They will then get a better frame of reference. Some will attempt to apply what they know that seemed to work in the past. It will have little effect. It will be too late.
Yet, for all the real Christians out there, the strong and the faithful, they know the Lord Jesus ALWAYS takes care of His own. But they also know there is a job to be done. The real Gospel must be heard. His light must shine. Darkness must be exposed. People must be set free.
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.
See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven. [Hebrews 12:22-25] 
© 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued.]
PART 1: ECONOMIC CRASH AND BURN
Every real Christian must make a difficult but rewarding decision. He or she must leave home and all that is familiar in order to enter the kingdom of the Lord.
This world is not my home I’m just a passing through
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue
The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore 
And she bare him a son, and he called his name Gershom: for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land. [Exodus 2:22 KJV]
Gershom was the firstborn son of Moses. Moses named his son after his current experience. He had arrived in a new land about a year before and was still trying to find his way. This was a man used to the high life and lofty standing of being the adopted grandson of the Egyptian Pharaoh. He went from prince to pauper in a fortnight and had to flee Egypt with his life on the line.
RUNNING ON EMPTY
Never having time to catch his breath, he headed east across the blistering sands of Sinai and kept traveling onward toward the rising sun in his own early version of the Texan’s runaway scrape. “What happened to me?” he thought. A fleeing fugitive, sottish with fear and disillusionment, on the run from Egyptian justice, he had killed a man in a fierce fury after seeing a Hebrew kinsman being beaten up without mercy.
One may wonder what God saw in an avenging man slayer but what He did see was a man who had great pride in his heritage. God saw him as a man who would go to bat for his people. But at that time, with sweat pouring and fright raging, Moses looked like anything but a hero.
THEN CAME MOSES
He came into the land of Midian. These were distant relatives of his ancestor Abraham. Abraham was the first stranger in a strange land:
“I am a stranger and a sojourner among you… [Genesis 23:4]
Girls were trying to water their flocks but the other shepherds kept running them off. In reading the historical text we find that this was an everyday occurrence. It always took these sisters much time to gain access to the well because of the others who were intent on hindering them. Sound familiar?
And suddenly Moses was fighting for justice again. This was a powerful man, a man who demanded respect. He saw to it that the girl’s flock got their water and one can picture the other shepherds looking on from a distance knowing that there was something about the new stranger, that one better not mess with him, that one could see by that look in his eye that he meant business.
The sisters went home and told their dad. Their dad jumped their case. “What is wrong with you! Go find him and bring him to dinner!” This began an entirely new chapter in the life of Moses. He married one of those sisters and when his son was born he still felt like a stranger in a strange land after a very strange turn of events. But regardless of the desert remoteness, his home a million miles away, and thoughts of palace living gone forever, the blessings kept flowing. The Lord had a plan.
Now it came about in the course of those many days that the king of Egypt died. And the sons of Israel sighed because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry for help because of their bondage rose up to God… [Exodus 2:23] 
© 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 This World Is Not My Home © 1952 by Albert E. Brumley, Acclaim Music
“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” [Acts 4:12]
Both of these men had sterling Hebrew credentials. The first, Moshe, was chosen by God as a prophet, deliverer of his people, and lawgiver. Without Moses there would be no Hebrew nation.
The second man, Peter, was chosen by the Lord Jesus as the man to whom He gave the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Peter’s name in Hebrew is Kefa, and his given Jewish name before the Lord changed it was Shim’on Bar-Yochanan. Peter used the kingdom keys on the first Day of Pentecost showing the way to salvation and as the central leader and spokesman of the early Jerusalem Church.
Regarding Hebrew credentials, no one has more sterling credentials than the Lord Jesus Himself: A member of the Tribe of Judah, He is a direct descendant of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, and David.
THE NAME ABOVE EVERY NAME
The New Covenant writers made it very clear that there is no salvation without Messiah Jesus (YeHoshua HaMashiach), as His very name means “YHWH-Salvation.” The apostle Paul (Sha’ul), a “Hebrew of Hebrews” in his own words, cites absolutely no distinction between Jews and Gentiles in his teachings regarding those in need of salvation:
For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.” [Romans 10:11-13]
The entire Community of the Lord for the first seven to ten years of its existence after Pentecost was composed entirely of Jews. There were no Gentiles until the inclusion of an Italian named Cornelius, whose salvation came through the ministry of Peter, the historical account of which is listed in Acts Chapter 10.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF JEWISH NATIONAL TITLES
The first man called a Hebrew in Scripture was Abram (Genesis 14:13). In general terms, the descendants of the Patriarchs were known as Hebrews until the Conquest of Canaan under Joshua, after which they were known as Israelites. The nation was divided into two kingdoms after Solomon’s death, and the ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom of Israel were dispersed into permanent exile in 721BC and were slowly assimilated by other nations.
The only remaining tribes of the original Israelite nation were Judah, Benjamin, and Levi, and these constituted the Southern Kingdom of Judah. The people of this Kingdom went into exile in Babylon during the Babylonian Captivity at the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish temple in 586BC. They were allowed to return to the land of Judah a half century later. Since the Southern Kingdom was known as Judah and because the three tribes composing it had somewhat maintained their distinct Israelite identity, the relatively small remainder of the original Hebrews/Israelites became known as Jews from that time forward.
MOSES PROPHESIES OF THE COMING KING
“The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him. This is according to all that you asked of the LORD your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, let me not see this great fire anymore, or I will die.’ The LORD said to me, ‘They have spoken well. I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him.’” [Deuteronomy 18:15-19]
This prophecy and commandment delivered by Moses was referenced by Peter during the first days of the early Church when he spoke to a gathered crowd of Jews in Jerusalem right after the miraculous healing of the lame man:
“Moses said, ‘THE LORD GOD WILL RAISE UP FOR YOU A PROPHET LIKE ME FROM YOUR BRETHREN; TO HIM YOU SHALL GIVE HEED to everything He says to you. And it will be that every soul that does not heed that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’” [Acts 3:22-23]
If someone polled Christians on whether or not they believed that the content of this Scriptural passage was true, many would say no. Of course, many would have never heard of it to begin with so it would appear foreign on two counts: On the first because a probable majority of Christians have never read the Book of Acts, and the second because they have been conditioned to believe that Jews can be saved without Jesus.
But the Lord Jesus made it a point to anoint Peter to preach this word early on in the Church’s history and make a clear authoritative reference to Moses so all the Jews there would hear the truth.
THE BOLDNESS OF PETER AND THE SALVATION OF JEWS IN ACTION:
“And likewise, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and his successors onward, also announced these days. It is you who are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘AND IN YOUR SEED ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH SHALL BE BLESSED.’ For you first, God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.” [Acts 3:24-26]
Many of those who had heard the message believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand. [Acts 4:4] 
After the awesome display of the Lord’s miraculous healing of the lame man, the bold preaching of Peter, the massive salvation of thousands of Abraham’s descendants, and the powerful display of God’s love, the Jewish religious leaders showed up and threw Peter and John in jail.
© 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
The majority lives in a fallen world. It is a world largely constructed by people separated from the Creator, most of whom have no desire to know Him, much less honor Him. This is especially true of many people who have managed to acquire great wealth and power.
This fact presents an always interesting conundrum for those who choose to acknowledge the paradox of wealthy holders of great power who refuse to honor the Creator while living in very mortal bodies which will one day cease to exist. Yes, they hold great power now. They are incredibly wealthy. The current world of man has been created according to their will and blueprint, and most inhabitants of the planet are so caught up in mere survival they have no time or ability to consider such knowledge.
We assume the world is what it is according to a much higher benevolent power. But this is simply not true. The world of mankind has the devil as its author, in association with sinful, fallen humans, much more than it has anything to do with the Creator.
Cognitive Dissonance is defined as “psychological conflict resulting from incongruous beliefs and attitudes held simultaneously.” 
In other words, truth and untruth are both believed as truth at the same time, which causes discord in one’s cognition or ability to understand until one can distinguish between the two. It means primarily that a person has accepted an untruth as a truth and had believed in something that is not true as though it were, and are thus conflicted when presented with actual truth. Since both untruth and truth can never comfortably exist together in a sound mind, one or the other must eventually be rejected. Indeed, accepted reality is reality until someone shines a light on darkness, and reveals accepted darkness and untruth for what it is.
Most will reject newly-presented actual truth since they have lived according to a false belief system or set of false beliefs their entire life and find it far too challenging and uncomfortable to walk away from them. The untruth has incorporated itself throughout their being and has long since been given life through willing and passive acceptance. For the most part it has never been properly challenged. Since no one has spiritual truth until they are presented with it at some point in their life, people unconsciously appropriate belief systems that are not true though they believe them to be. It is their belief in that which is false that makes it true to them. It is their acceptance of the unreal that makes it real to them.
Those hungry for spiritual truth do not have this problem. They had only accepted untruth because it had been foisted upon them somehow but know it fails to satisfy. Because they strive for total heart and soul satisfaction and a true answer to their hunger, they never cease their pursuit of truth until they come in contact with it. When they are presented with it they find it relatively easy to rid themselves of all untruth regardless of what it costs them personally. This is why the Lord is much more able to lead spiritually hungry people to His Truth and to Himself.
The Lord tells us the truth, and because the truth He tells is so shocking and so apart from mankind’s false world views it is usually instantly rejected by most. It is too uncomfortable. What He says seems too far-fetched and simply cannot be right. It flies in the face of one’s accepted reality. It goes against one’s culture. One does not want to become a deviant within his or her group.
For the world of man, this response is perceived as appropriate, because, again, the world of man is composed for the most part by lovers of it and those who reject the Creator who are openly rebellious toward Him. It makes no sense for them to accept the Lord Jesus or consider His teachings. They would have to make wholesale changes in every part of their falsely constructed lives to integrate His teachings and they find the whole idea completely asinine.
“But you will die one day, sooner than you think, and will have to account for your life.” This they soundly reject because it is the only intelligent and reasonable thing to do. They cannot fathom any wholesale changes in their life that might compromise or remove their great power and wealth.
“One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when he had heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. And Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!” [Luke 18:22-24] 
This young archon was certainly not one of the world’s richest and powerful men, though he possessed incredible worldly wealth. Let’s say someone tried to tell him, “Hey, your money is only so good for so long. It is currently losing value. It can never be translated into the next world. You trust in it way too much. This is actually destroying you. You are putting your faith in an adulterous mistress that will turn on you in a second. It is only a matter of time. You do not possess it. It possesses you.” Well, he would see that he had come suddenly to a very distinct fork in the road, because these are two competing, polar-opposite ideas. He would be forced to choose one or the other. And even though he cannot reject the obvious facts he was just presented with, the odds are almost 100% that he would make no change.
Why? Because the fake world he lives in is comfortable and though he knows it can never last forever he would rather have comfort now than risk it all on possible comfort in a possible next world. Many people never consider such opportunities at redemption and therefore stay deceived about the nature of reality and life. It is not until they die (that is, until the very temporary house of clay they currently live in wears out or is damaged sufficiently in some way) that they are confronted with the actual truth. Most are and will be shocked. And it will be too late.
So, the few great power brokers who have most of the wealth of this world never change a thing regarding their own eternity and continue to put their faith in the fairy tale that they will somehow live forever and/or get away with all their personal sin and the destruction and pain they caused so many in the gaining of their wealth and power. And there will be a special place in hell for them. It is their choice.
But for those who actually believe what the Creator teaches, and applies it wholesale, they discover everything He said is absolutely true and their formerly blind eyes are opened. They see what they had never seen before or could ever see. By trusting and obeying the Lord Jesus, they become aware of the deception they were formerly blinded by and are set free. They then see this fallen world of mankind for what it actually is. They exit the world at the inevitable fork in the road and enter the kingdom.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” [John 14:6]
If you feel confused, uninformed or not properly informed, or cognitively conflicted regarding truth, and are not sure what course to take to remedy the situation, I suggest you first begin growing closer to the Lord. His light will shine upon the areas that have need of it and in time He will fill the voids with His truth.
© 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 © Merriam Webster
As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him. So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?”
Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”
PHARISEES ARE IDIOTS
“I know that you are Abraham’s descendants; yet you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father.”
They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.”
Jesus said to them, “If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham. But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do.”
MURDEROUS, LYING, RELIGIOUS CHILDREN OF THE DEVIL
“You are doing the deeds of your father.”
They said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father: God.”
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word.
“You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.”
THRUST AND PARRY
The Jews answered and said to Him, “Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?”
Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me. But I do not seek My glory; there is One who seeks and judges. Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death.”
The Jews said to Him, “Now we know that You have a demon. Abraham died, and the prophets also; and You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word, he will never taste of death.’ Surely You are not greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets died too; whom do You make Yourself out to be?”
JUST WHO ARE YOU EXACTLY?
Jesus answered, “If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God’; and you have not come to know Him, but I know Him; and if I say that I do not know Him, I will be a liar like you, but I do know Him and keep His word. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.”
So the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?”
Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM.”
Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple. [John 8:30-59] 
LYRICS FOLLOW BELOW (TURN UP YOUR SPEAKERS):
And freedom tastes of reality
And I’m waiting for you to follow me
If I told you what it takes
To reach the highest high
You’d laugh and say, “Nothing’s that simple”
But you’ve been told many times before
Messiah’s pointed to the door
No one had the guts to leave the temple
And freedom tastes of reality
And I’m waiting for you to follow me
How can we follow?
How can we follow? 
© 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 © 1969 Pete Townshend THE WHO
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. [Romans 1:18-20] 
“Did you know that people who violate the Golden Rule go to hell?”
“You mean if they violate it willingly and habitually.”
“Yes. In the sense that violating it is part of the code they live by, in that keeping the Golden Rule disallows the possibility of their success in this world by their estimation, and hence keeping such a “mythical” rule is senseless.”
“But that’s the argument of a selfish person.”
“Yes it is, but they don’t acknowledge that, because they see what others call selfishness as one’s required pathway to survival and success.”
“Meaning that looking out for number one is a self-preservation requirement that all intelligent people recognize as a must and as perfectly honorable.”
“Right again, except, again, they are blind to their own selfishness and have written their own rules to benefit themselves, and then codified it as something all right-thinking people should accept.”
“Which is why the Lord Jesus has always had a hard time in first convincing His disciples-to-be to see things the right way, and that selfishness is anathema to brotherly love.”
“Right. Meaning that selfishness and violating the Golden Rule is exactly why Cain killed Abel. Abel was a keeper of the Golden Rule.”
“What does any of this have to do with suppression?”
“The work of the Lord Jesus was suppressed. But guess by whom?”
“By the Pharisees and other religious leaders, primarily.”
“Because they were threatened by Him.”
“But the Lord had no evil intent toward them whatsoever and never violated the Golden Rule regarding them.”
“They were threatened by Him because he exposed their evil hearts.”
“And yet the people in general had always seen those religious leaders as God-sponsored and upright, and for the most part believed in their false religious garbage.”
“And that was because the religious leaders had cornered the market on religion and religious expression, and had created harsh punishments for those who rebelled against them.”
“So people were intimidated.”
“Of course. It’s the way of this fallen sinful world. People set off in life to climb the pyramid of success and invariably come upon junctures in which they must violate their conscience in order to proceed. They compromise. Then they no longer listen to their conscience once success arrives. They build their future on a foundation of moral compromise and violation of God’s commands, and as long as the money keeps rolling in they keep doing what they feel they must in order to maintain their success and achieve greater success.”
“But why don’t they ever think about what comes after this life is over?”
“In too deep. Too late to change. And, of course, they have convinced themselves to believe their own lies. They also find that it is very helpful to hang around people like themselves to keep any possible conviction of their conscience far, far away.”
“But isn’t conviction actually their friend, in that it leads to repentance?”
“One would think so. But once violaters of the Golden Rule taste success and get away with it they no longer perceive the possibility that pay day is coming. Some actually come to believe a reward is coming.”
“All fake religious leaders. It is why all the false religions of mankind, including the many false forms of Christianity, always end up with the two goals shared by the great evil elites in league with the devil—power and money.”
“So if false religious leaders, including all the ones who appear benign and harmless, and perfectly acceptable, perceive their religious enterprises as threatened, they will fight back against those they perceive as enemies.”
“Yes. They will indeed fight back. And they will demonize all who do not believe as they do. And they will suppress their work. Why else did the Pharisees try to kill the Lord Jesus in the very beginning of His ministry? Why did Roman Catholics over many, many centuries murder perhaps millions of those who they called heretics? Why did so many Protestants kill so many non-Catholic dissenters, engaging in the exact dynamic as the Catholic inquisitors? These were obvious gross violations of the Golden Rule, God’s command.”
“And why don’t the Catholics and Protestants of the present condemn those of their own religions who did this in the past?”
“Because to do that would be admitting guilt. And regardless of fake overtures that appear as apologetic, they can never condemn the past guilty ones properly and correctly without condemning themselves.”
“So they suppress.”
“Yes. They suppress. They treat real Christians with indifference. They hate with a smile. THIS is what you are going to have to see and fight through. Once religious leaders are compromised by money and power, they will fight the very Lord Jesus they claim to serve and suppress the work of His people at all times in order to protect themselves and their faux religious enterprises. In this they have compromised themselves with a false gospel and violate the Golden Rule for the sake of power and money in this world.”
“And condemn themselves to hell.”
“Yes. Though they are blind to it. They have discovered it is very easy to suppress and hopefully eliminate the Lord and His people if they merely violate the Lord’s commandments in the process. They justify their sin as a means of protecting themselves and all they have gained.”
“When they should be hitting the deck in repentance.”
“But people don’t repent when enraged by hate. And they don’t repent for sins they don’t think they have…”
© 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
“I don’t know. I just can’t figure it out.”
“Figure what out?”
“All the effort…”
“What are you talking about?”
“I’m talking about all of the effort we put forth. All the work…”
He paused, as if trying to find the energy to go on with a line of thought he had traced out so many times before, that always ended in the same place, a place where nothing made much sense at all.
“We work so hard and it seems we rarely get much done. I’m working twice as hard, three times… But it’s like pulling teeth. There is so much resistance, apparently. There is always such a backlash. It is so hard to figure. Why is there such a fight against our work? The level of vitriol just doesn’t fit.”
His older friend said nothing. He turned from looking at him and stared at the ground, knowing the usual words of counsel would have little effect. After many seconds of silence, a thick silence filled with the proverbial Why’s and Woe’s of his friend and the desire to receive and provide a fitting answer, a word came.
“Your work is being suppressed.”
The younger man wondered at the idea. Why would anyone want to suppress his work? It wasn’t sinister, or…
“The devil doesn’t like what you’re doing.”
“I know that. That’s no secret. It’s all…”
“You don’t quite understand. The devil has these people…”
The older man was not really all that much older, only about five years, and had taken on the role of older brother to the younger man. He was much wiser and much more knowledgeable of spiritual things, though. He was perhaps thirty years older in that sense and it gave him the aura of being almost a father figure.
“The devil has these people. They are bound to serve him. There are bound to stop you.”
He wondered if he had said too much but quickly discounted that notion, knowing his younger friend had reached a point when he needed a clear answer and strong counsel regarding the fight at hand.
“Evil was here first. It had already staked a claim. We’re contesting that claim. They don’t like that. They see us as attacking them, that we have no right to do what we’re doing. They hate losing…”
“Seems to me they’re winning. They’ve got the whole blasted planet.”
The last words trailed off as the weariness in the young man began to bleed through.
“Why doesn’t God help us more? Why does the fight have to be so strong? I just don’t get it.”
“You don’t get it because you see yourself as playing by the normal rules, that life is fair or should be, and that goodness should win out rather easily, and that evil just can’t be that evil.”
He paused again. Both men stared ahead at something that wasn’t there, the younger man settling into a rare disillusionment, the older waiting for his words to sink in. He stared at the ground, strong, a slightly contorted look on his face, very slight, but showing the gravity of the moment. Many men never get past this moment. They give up though they continue on, no longer believing that the victory they seek will ever really happen to the degree they hope for. They are all in when young and fresh and excited about the future but become slowly bedraggled in their spirit for want of achievement that just won’t come.
“You have to fight through it. You knew it would be hard, but you didn’t realize how hard. And even after trying harder it still didn’t work to your satisfaction. You know that in other pursuits you would have achieved so much more by this time and it bothers you that the work you are attempting appears next to impossible. Especially after you feel you have given it everything you have.”
“Suppression?” The young man thought long and hard and said it again. “Suppression?” My work is being suppressed?”
“Wait. I know that. But not to this degree. I am… I’m just one man. Why is the devil so concerned about what I am doing? I’m nobody special.”
“Well, actually you are, and it actually isn’t about you or your desires. You have signed up with the King of kings and the devil hates the King of kings with a passion no human being knows, and is also deathly afraid of Him, and knows his vast evil kingdom is always hanging on a mere thread regardless of outward appearances.”
Continuing, he said, “Every young buck who wants to change the world and set the world on fire with the Gospel reaches this point where you are presently at, and realizes, shockingly, that it is going to be a lot harder than he ever imagined. It will even come down to fighting for survival. You don’t know what I have suffered to get to where I am, and I spent years trying to figure out why it all had to be so hard, and why it seemed as though God called me to do a job and then disappeared.”
“Yeah…” The younger man’s words trailed off…
[To Be Continued.]
© 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
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.
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.
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.
“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] 
© 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
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] 
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.
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] 
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.
© 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen.
To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.
Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”
He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”
Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away.
When they had entered the city, they went up to the upper room where they were staying; that is, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. [Acts 1:1-14] 
© 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
What is the evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit?
What is the proof?
Some people believe that being Spirit-filled is an apparent non-event in that they have no clear recollection of when it happened in their lives though they claim the experience.
Some are taught that they are filled with the Spirit “by faith,” again, that there is no actual evidence, or that they are automatically filled somehow when “they become a Christian.”
This is what I refer to as being Spirit-filled by osmosis, in that one is somehow filled through effortless, unconscious assimilation in which no actual choice was ever made, there is no recall of when the event happened, and the process cannot be classified as experiential.
That’s kind of cool when you think about it, but it’s not New Covenant. It is not New Covenant whatsoever.
The following is New Covenant:
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. [Acts 2:1-4]
I remember hearing a statement by a very famous evangelist’s wife who made the claim that she had always been saved from the time of her earliest memories. Apparently, she never had the born again experience the Lord said is an absolute requirement for entering the kingdom:
Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?”
Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’” [John 3:3-7]
Let’s do the math:
(1a) Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.
(1b) Unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
In this passage, the Lord Jesus is making a very clear and what should be an obvious reference to two distinct births. This is why Nicodemus, somewhat confused, answered in the weird way he did. He clearly heard the Lord say that there must be a second birth, one that follows the natural birth from one’s mother. But the Lord said it in the context of entering the kingdom.
Now, this begs the question:
Is it possible to “be saved” without entering the kingdom of God?
If the answer is no, then anyone who is not born again is not saved.
If the answer is yes, then one can be saved without entering the kingdom.
There is a problem with the latter possibility, however. Have you noticed all of the references in the Lord’s teachings and parables concerning the spiritual concept of either being inside or outside the kingdom? Or being sheep and not goats, or wheat and not tares?
Here are some examples:
“For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 5:20]
From this, it is clear that the scribes and Pharisees were outside of the kingdom: NOT BORN AGAIN.
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” [Matthew 6:33]
In this passage, the Lord equates being righteous with being in the kingdom, which signifies righteousness outside the kingdom as not being possible. If one must seek the kingdom then one must be outside the kingdom while seeking it. If one must seek righteousness it must be that one is unrighteous before one gains it. If one is outside the kingdom and is unrighteous, then one is NOT BORN AGAIN.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” [Matthew 7:21]
Here we have the requirement of doing the will of the Father in order to enter the kingdom, meaning that those who fail to accomplish the will of God must be outside the kingdom (regardless of the apparent appearance of their miraculous works), and are thus NOT BORN AGAIN.
“I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” [Matthew 8:11-12]
Here is a very clear indication of either being in or out with no in between. In this case, the natural “sons of the kingdom,” that is, such natural descendants of Abraham, are not only not in the kingdom and will never be in the kingdom, but they will be cast into outer darkness and are obviously NOT BORN AGAIN.
From the record in the Book of Acts, being Spirit-filled was an experience, an event. It was never some sort of mystical wishy-washy don’t-know-when-or-how-it-happened occasion. Such a thing was not possible.
Remember, we are talking about the HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD entering and filling a person for the very first time. And the Lord said it was like a birth. And everyone pretty much knows when a baby is being born, especially, I would think, the mother and the baby. There is no way such an experience can happen without the recipient’s knowledge or even those in the vicinity of said recipient.
The event of the original Day of Pentecost kept happening again in Acts at subsequent times with different people. By studying each and every recorded historical event when people were filled with the Holy Spirit, it should not be that hard to come to a conclusion regarding consistent evidence.
Here is the key to that evidence:
Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires.
So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.
For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race.
But no one can tame the tongue… [James 3:3-8] 
© 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
Everybody loves love. God is love.
But God sure gets a bad rap for some reason.
I think it’s because of all the fakers and pretenders and judgmental protectors of silliness who are much more interested in unlovingly invoking their version of proper doctrine, religious protocol, and denominational differences than in simply loving one another the way the Lord told us to.
And as far as I can tell, there is no discrimination regarding who is qualified by God as a love recipient.
The Lord Jesus is truly a lover. He is a lover of us all. He loves people. He loves being around and with people. He greatly enjoys our presence.
How do I know all this? And what gives me the right to make such pronouncements? I think it’s because the written Word says these very things. I think it’s also because an in-depth study of the Lord’s actual teachings prove it.
It can very easily be argued as well that the first community of the Lord was composed of people who knew how to love and did love. They loved one another just as the Lord commanded them to.
Now, why would the Lord Jesus have to make such a commandment? Why must one be commanded to love? That sounds oxymoronic.
But I think it may be because some people, in general terms, have a tendency to not love, or to not be consistent in loving, and to find ample reasons why they should not love, and to turn not-loving into an unstated practice of its own and buy into that practice.
It could be because people learn at an early age to be defensive and protective of self, since so many people practice not-loving.
This is most likely the reason why the Lord had to command us to love. The command is a necessary stimulus to overcome the affected proclivity to not love.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” [John 13:34-35]
Loving one another in the community of the Lord is proof of discipleship.
It follows that a person who is filled with the Holy Spirit is also filled with love since God is the Holy Spirit and God is love. It also follows that unloving Christians are unreal Christians and do not have the Holy Spirit.
Read the following very carefully and take notice of all the references to these things. I have included deduced statements but there are others. See how many you can find:
GOD WAS IN THE EARLY BELIEVERS
You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.
KNOWING GOD ALLOWS ONE TO KNOW TRUTH FROM ERROR
They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
THOSE WHO ARE BORN OF GOD LOVE GOD AND PRACTICE LOVING OTHERS
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
THOSE WHO ARE BORN AGAIN HAVE THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD
No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.
We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
PERFECT LOVE RESULTS IN SALVATION
By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us.
IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO LOVE GOD AND HATE ONE ANOTHER
If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also. [1John 4:4-21] 
© 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit? First of all, one must distinguish between the Old and New Covenants.
We picture Old Covenant prophets becoming suddenly anointed of God. We see them grow strong and bold, and begin making powerful pronouncements regarding the will and desires of the Lord. Indeed, those men were God’s spokesmen. They were the Lord’s chosen, anointed, and discipled vessels who paid a tremendous price—a very high personal cost to engage in their calling.
It was often them against the world, and just as often one man against the nation of Israel. It is a sad thing but an obvious historical fact that the prophets were usually hated, rejected, and thought to be complete morons and idiots who refused to just go along to get along. They made people feel uncomfortable.
And that is exactly how the Lord wanted it.
It was God who was speaking through them, and God often had a lot to say about the evil practices and very sinful nature adopted by His chosen people. He refused to let them go without letting them know how wrong they were. And because His people could not get back at Him personally they took it out on His prophets.
We often relate John the Immerser, the one the Lord Jesus referred to as the greatest man ever born of a woman, to the New Covenant. But John was actually the last Old Covenant prophet. Further, he bridged the gap between covenants in a sense, being the Lord’s forerunner and preparer of the people’s hearts:
As they were leaving, Yeshua began speaking about Yochanan to the crowds: “What did you go out to the desert to see? Reeds swaying in the breeze? No? Then what did you go out to see? Someone who was well dressed? Well-dressed people live in kings’ palaces.
“Nu, so why did you go out? To see a prophet! Yes! And I tell you he’s much more than a prophet. This is the one about whom the Tanakh says, ‘See, I am sending out my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way before you.’
“Yes! I tell you that among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than Yochanan the Immerser! Yet the one who is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he!” [Matthew 11:7-11] 
Imagine that. Some may think that because they are a Christian they are somehow greater than John the Immerser, though such a thing obviously does not compute. John moved an entire nation!
Therefore, there must be something more that nominal Christians do not partake of, since there is often absolutely no evidence of anything spiritually powerful in their lives that would indicate they are residents of the Lord’s Kingdom.
Most Christians do well to occupy a place in a pew, and are made to do it by usually not well-meaning reverends who would rather have firm control and regimented order for their congregants than liberty and maturity in the Spirit, and the free-flowing ministry of the Lord Jesus in charge. And church-goers are forced to think this is the right thing to do.
But most Christians have little or no power with God and look like nothing even close to John the Immerser. And it is never kosher to simply make a weak mental assent to a supposed but unexplainable “fact”—(“I, a Christian, am greater than John the Immerser”)—without some serious evidence to prove it.
© 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Jewish New Testament. Copyright © 1989 by David H. Stern.
Currently, in such tough times for so many believers, we must all know that our Lord Jesus is still in charge.
For those who are filled with His Spirit, there is a goodness and brightness in their being, though unacknowledged by many.
The presence of the Lord within them which they experience at present is what the apostle Paul called the earnest of their inheritance.
It is the witness, the pledge, the sign, the guarantee, and even what may be termed the first installment or down payment of His Holy Spirit.
Just as our Lord was the First Fruits, so is His Holy Spirit within real Christians on this planet the first fruits for them of what is to come.
The exact experience of Pentecost is currently available to all, and many millions all across this world have and are experiencing His presence, and it gives them strength and joy and hope until the full arrival of the purchased possession.
For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. [Romans 8:22-23] 
© 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
“And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut.” [Matthew 25:10]
Regarding the Door being opened and then suddenly shut, the Parable of the Ten Virgins explains exactly what happens for the outsiders when spiritual laziness enters the picture.
There is no doubt that the Word of God is designed in part to greatly convict us, make us uncomfortable with a dead or barely breathing status quo, and attempt to keep us from falling asleep and even revive us.
The five foolish virgins let their lamps go out. They simply did not care enough to stay spiritually alive. There is a heretical doctrine which would state that these five foolish virgins were never saved anyway, were never meant to get in to see the Bridegroom anyway, and were destined to go to hell anyway.
This is obviously a lie straight from the father of lies, because the foolish virgins were warned repeatedly that the very thing God did not want to happen to them was about to happen to them if they did not wake up.
I wrote a post almost three years ago on this topic entitled Keep Your Lamp Filled With Oil. You can find it here. I encourage you to read it in the event you may need a spiritual boost at this time.
I also wrote a series of posts back in January of this year that delves deeply into this topic and actually contains a spiritual anointing for those who read it in faith and sincerity. The spiritual anointing upon those posts will see you through into a miracle realm as long as you obey and follow the Lord Jesus. You can access these posts as follows:
Most “Christians,” however, simply do not have such faith and sincerity and will not disciple themselves to gain it. Most “Christians” are also bogged down with unbelief and untruth that the Lord tries very hard to free them from through chosen ministers that are most often rejected and cast aside. Such facts are written all over the Bible but are routinely not acknowledged, as the Lord Himself was rejected and cast aside.
If one wants a sports analogy, consider a very good player who decides he or she no longer needs to practice or work as hard. I have been engaged in sports for decades and have seen this repeatedly. I approach sports not as being some wimpy “participant” but as someone who will never step on a field without the desire to give my all. When a whole team has such a desire that team will eventually win.
The Lord’s team will eventually win, but it will be composed of only a few. The vast majority will never make the cut. The door will close and it will be over for them.
It was over forever for the five foolish virgins. The DOOR never opened for them again. In our wimpy Christianity the door never closes and everyone makes the cut no matter what they do, what they believe, how hard they work at the wrong thing or don’t work, or even if they actually follow the Lord.
For someone to not see that this is the work of the devil proves how serious spiritual blindness is and how pervasive it is. Most “Christians” love idolatry—the worst and most all-encompassing of sins perpetrated by professed believers—more than they love the Lord Jesus.
This was the exact problem of the ancient Hebrews who eventually turned their backs on God. It is also why the first three of the Ten Commandments have to do with the probable gross sin of idolatry and why the Lord so strongly commanded and cautioned against it.
Today, the most fully evolved idols are living human beings and many of these are in pulpits. “Christian” ministers who are so image conscious and money-oriented have sold themselves to the devil for power and wealth. They do the opposite of the Lord Jesus yet justify it every day and still manage to gain thousands and sometimes millions of followers. They are complete sell-outs and frauds but appear to most as perfectly legitimate.
And here’s what makes their false kingdoms work: They depend on foolish virgins. They must have disciples that are not actually disciples of the Lord. They must have those who would rather believe a false gospel than the real one. They must have their own disciples and in fact they do.
And barring repentance, both will eventually land in hell no matter how good or how right they appear in this present world of fallen mankind.
Such people love this world more than God’s real world.
As a perfect example, here’s an actual foolish virgin as contained in Paul’s letters: (Be warned!)
Luke, the beloved physician, sends you his greetings, and also Demas. [Colossians 4:14]
Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow workers. [Philemon 1:23-24]
Make every effort to come to me soon; for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica… [2Timothy 9:10]
This person is never mentioned again. And guess what? The Lord makes it even more clear for those who study His Word by telling us what the name “Demas” means: Popular.
So the next time you see or hear some “popular” preacher or believer who doesn’t care so much for the actual Word of God and insists that pretty much everyone is okay with God no matter their lifestyle or false beliefs, remember little Demas.
If the Lord decided to suddenly reveal all the false prophets among us it would blow the minds of most “Christians,” and if He disallowed all these false prophets from ever preaching again many churches and ministries would go out of business overnight, including a particular “Christian” broadcasting network.
For many, the door is now shut. The opportunity to get right with God has been lost. For such people there will no longer be a spiritual portal. As the nation of Israel in the Sinai, they blew their one opportunity to enter the land of promise and that entire generation left their bleached bones in the desert.
The rest of the nation moved on. It was the young and the young at heart who were then used of God. We are in the early stages of a national Great Awakening but those who have rejected it—all the foolish virgins among us at this time—have been locked out.
And He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.” But He said to him, “Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God.”
Another also said, “I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” [Luke 9:59-62]
“Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’” [Matthew 25:11-12] 
© 2014 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Final]
For those who have read the full series thus far, you may have noticed the roundabout nature of the subject matter, in that what started out in Part 1 as an urging to step forth through a portal of spiritual growth has gone full circle regarding what happened to our first parents.
The devil fooled ‘em. No doubt about that. And for those who desire a real walk with God, the enemy will attempt to fool them too.
As a result, for many, a wholesome healthy fear of getting it wrong has resulted in an unwholesome unhealthy paralysis brought on by fear that one will get it wrong. And rather than possibly mess up one’s life by seeking to climb a spiritual mountain by the Lord’s direction and fail, one will almost always obey the tendency to leave well enough alone and be satisfied with much less or dead religion.
In that light, we must always remember that the Lord is trying to get us back to the Garden.
This process, dubbed by the Lord as the narrow road with a small narrow entry, is mandatory for the real Christian, of course, but substitutes are much more comfortable. The majority of that which is called Christianity, which I call Unreal Christianity, has institutionalized the comfortable way, as a third way, of which none actually exists.
The Lord called this comfortable way the broad way. It is the way of the world, the way so easy anyone can walk it, and the way leading in the direct opposite direction of the Garden. Due to such overpowering religious indoctrination and conditioning, most “Christians” fear the real road and thus see the real gate as the wrong gate.
Here is the Lord’s instruction:
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” [Matthew 7:13-14]
Sadly, Christians who drive down Broadway end up at the same place as unrepentant sinners. Imagine all the wasted effort that went into a Christian life that never included full obedience to the Lord, as if some could invent their own more suitable path, and one will understand better what Adam and Eve wasted. They had it all and then they blew it. Believe it or not, they got religious. The forbidden fruit was said to make them wise and be like God and the angels, but it did just the opposite.
Faux Christians have a very hard time seeing this, but it was the exact problem embraced by the Pharisees. They ate the forbidden fruit. They continued to eat it. They turned eating it into religious practice. As a result they became children of the devil.
This is why the Lord made the following curious statement to the religious hierarchy—the chief priests and elders:
“But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go work today in the vineyard.’ And he answered, ‘I will not’; but afterward he regretted it and went.
“The man came to the second and said the same thing; and he answered, ‘I will, sir’; but he did not go.
“Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.”
Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you.
“For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him; but the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him; and you, seeing this, did not even feel remorse afterward so as to believe him.” [Matthew 21:28-32] 
These religious people were so bound up in religion they repeatedly rejected the kingdom, exactly the same way so many “Christians” reject the kingdom and the real portal to it.
And remember, the Lord Jesus called Himself the Door, so He is the Real Portal.
This rejection of the real road for the sake of honoring one’s religious tradition is the height of spiritual blindness, something the Lord talked about often.
Adam and Eve saw everything from the opposite perspective of us and still got it wrong. They already had Paradise and went through a portal they thought would lead to greater paradise, which of course did not exist. Most Christians see the kingdom of heaven the Lord Jesus brought to this world as whatever they might currently possess even though the kingdom they claim to be within has none of the evidence the real kingdom possesses.
Unreal Christianity is a faux spiritual kingdom and its leaders warn their subjects to never venture outside it, just as the Lord teaches we must do the opposite. Hence, such unreal Christians are afraid to enter the Real Portal and travel the straight and narrow road as commanded by the Lord. They routinely violate His commands, and have been taught to refuse the full instruction of the Lord and the original apostles, just as the Pharisees did.
But the disparaged tax collectors and prostitutes were not burdened with any religious yokes and were thus able to enter the kingdom relatively quickly compared to the religionists, who for all practical purposes in this day and age are predominantly “Christian,” since such people claim to already have the full Gospel when they don’t, and religious pride keeps them bound up in grave clothes even though the Lord continually tries to call them forth from their respective tombs.
© 2014 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued.]
If one’s enemies are not the enemies of the Lord Jesus, then one is by default an enemy of the Lord Jesus.
The enemies of the Lord are narcissists at heart. They love themselves more than the Lord. They love the idea of taking life by the horns, and by engaging in their own pursuits. Because they have never surrendered their lives to God, their hearts remain uncircumcised and thus incapable of doing the good the Lord requires. And because of that little problem, they find it no problem to break God’s laws whenever they must to advance their own program.
Many of the most popular and successful people in the world are thus hellbound. They will have their success in the here and now come hell or high water. They will not be stopped. They will lie, cheat, and steal if need be, and give the appearance of forthrightness. These surfacely successful people are the most contemptuous people on the planet and will get their due when the life and health they take for granted fails.
At that point they’ll join that rich guy that treated Lazarus so bad. They will have traded the possibility of eternal life for the eventual fires of hell. Perhaps if they had been taught this at whatever school or church they attended things could have been different. But in the end they will know. They will know without question that they fouled up big time but simply refused to repent.
One wonders why the drive for success in this world is so bewitching. One wonders why some people drive themselves toward success to the point of damning their soul forever. What is it that is so great about the pleasures of this life? Why can’t people see that life is short? Why can’t they see that pursuing the pleasures of this world improperly—the desires of the eyes, the desires of human appetites, and most of all, the desire to make a name for oneself and live by personal pride—results in merely temporary happiness?
For example, consider the great politicians of this country who make it to places of great power. And consider how they had to either cheat to get there or must cheat to remain there. Everyone knows that successful politicians are successful liars, except for very rare exceptions. To politick is to lie. Politics is such that battle is constant, a war of words is always brewing, and people at the top fight like rabid dogs to get their piece of bone. They do it all with a smile and flair, however. It is one of the great wonders of the world.
But perhaps the greatest wonder is how they continue to do it and get away with it year after decade after century, and the public remains seemingly as stupid and gullible as ever.
The strange phenomenon makes perfect sense, though, when one discovers that the voters have their own ulterior motives and agendas. Some refuse to vote their conscience because they don’t want to be thought a fool. This is the biggest kind of fool. Some vote for idiots simply because they themselves are idiots. And some know exactly what they’re doing. The evil people with big smiles they vote into office are exactly like themselves. They are both evil, according to the Lord’s definition of the word, because both have an evil agenda.
Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. [Philippians 3:17-21]
For the unseeing unbelievers, passages of Scripture like the preceding are the stupidest thing they ever heard. In their minds, the obvious crazies are those who risk everything on some invisible pie-in-the-sky nonsense that has no bearing whatsoever on reality. And as long as they remain on an upward track of gaining more, whether it be money or power or fame, they will inevitably remain on that track chasing what appears obvious as a visible, tangible carrot that has yet to fail them thus far.
Like a gambler on a winning streak with no sense to stop, who knows it can’t last, such people continue on in their sold-out state anyway, regardless of warnings, essentially because they are fully invested in their chosen path. The bewitching nature of success presents itself by the lack of any meaningful failures. In other words, probably the best cure for gambling is very early repeated failure.
Which brings up a strange idea. Because the kingdom of God appears upside down and backward, the reality is that this world and its way of conduct is upside down and backward. Which means great success in this life most often means eternity in hell. Which means one is blessed by not having success until one is safely in the kingdom of God, and one’s success is orchestrated by Him.
I mean, the Lord was always talking about some unseen treasure that did not involve the usual counterfeits most people fall for. If one were to follow this extrapolation trail, one would then understand why the Lord lived the kind of life He lived, and taught the kind of discipleship He taught.
But one obviously cannot build big church buildings and great denominations on such discipleship, which means the real gamblers of this world are not the blatant sinners, but pseudo Christians.
The following passage contains more evidence of lying unreal Christians than most can fathom, but it’s all right there. It can all be applied to what I term unreal Christianity, which continually pokes its skinny finger in God’s eye and continues in ongoing, perverse disobedience, regardless of warning. Such passages are disavowed, put aside, neglected, and rejected, and whoever brings them up gets some form of what the Lord got for bringing them up:
“The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them.
“They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger. But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments. They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men.
“But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. But the greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.
“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.” [Matthew 23:2-13]
Now, surely we do not think the Lord was limiting His teaching here to just the Pharisees of the first century, do we? The shoe fits just as much if not much more on the big foot of fake Christianity, because the very things He said not to do is being done by the majority every Sunday morning. If you don’t believe me, read it again. And again. And keep reading until the deception starts to fall away. It’s all there. And He taught it all for a reason, and it’s a reason we better pay attention to.
Otherwise, we will go into eternity having been convinced we are God’s friends when the opposite is true. Consider the possibility.
By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen. [Hebrews 11:23-27]
Had Moses embraced Egypt he would have become God’s enemy. But he made the decision, like Abraham before him, to leave all and be a friend of God.
“You are My friends if you do what I command you.
“No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.” [John 15:14-15] 
This is truly an astounding statement!
The Lord defines His friends as those who
(1) Do everything He commands, and
(2) Know everything He knows.
Wow. This explains a few things.
© 2014 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
At the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s portico. But none of the rest dared to associate with them; however, the people held them in high esteem.
And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number, to such an extent that they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on any one of them. Also the people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all being healed.
But the high priest rose up, along with all his associates (that is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with jealousy. They laid hands on the apostles and put them in a public jail. [Acts 5:12-18]
And this is how it always happens. The clergyites in control will always fight against the Spirit of God until they get off their high horses and get on their faces before Him.
Why have we not seen revival? Why are most church services so dead they might as well be funerals? Most churches are so cold you could ice skate down the main aisle.
The Sudducees in the above verses had their own version of “The First Church of the Refrigerator” and were so incensed on losing control to the Spirit of God they threw His guys in jail. Modern religionists in America don’t do this anymore. They just treat believers with supreme indifference, keep them out of their “private clubs,” and never allow them to come close to expressing their hearts and revealing truth. These are religious control freaks one and all, and the majority of churches in America remain under the control of such fleshly fruitcakes who fight revival and the manifestation of God’s Spirit.
And that’s the main reason we as believers find ourselves in such a predicament. There always has to be certain people who are so in love with themselves and their power they will always stifle any possible move of God.
When there are no Book of Acts manifestations you can be sure humanity is in control.
I mentioned in a previous post that if a poll was conducted among church leaders to sign a pledge allowing the Lord Jesus to have absolute total control in their churches that very, very few would ever sign it.
And the reason why is simple—they would lose control. Life would become a challenge. They would likely lose their perks, and most of all, they would lose their high horse reputations. God would fix it so no one would henceforth want to kiss their “hand” and bow down to them anymore. As it is, most believers worship their preachers and reverends and priests and church buildings and non-Biblical doctrines and all the other stuff the Pharisees and Sadducees were guilty of, instead of worshipping the Lord Jesus in Spirit and truth.
Prayer is the answer—long, hard times of prayer—intense prayer, intercessory prayer, and prayer of no pretense that rightfully moves the heart of God.
Repentance is the answer—solid, heart-rending, sobbing, snot-dripping repentance that proves one is seeing straight, knows one is nothing without God, and desires to do anything to have all of God and His direction.
The Lord, however, is truly a Gentleman and will never force His way upon us. That’s why He waits for us to get down to spiritual business. There are so many saints of God with pure hearts who remain under the control of some fleshly, proud, I’m-better-than-you-and-deserve-my-place-in-the-spotlight pinhead who will fight the Lord all day long in the guise of serving Him. Until someone challenges these people they will always remain in control.
This is what the Lord said about these future Christian pretenders:
“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.” [Matthew 23:13]
“Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you yourselves did not enter, and you hindered those who were entering.” [Luke 11:52]
In other words, if your fearless leader refuses the full Spirit-filled kingdom of heaven and key of knowledge attained by the apostles and first century believers, then so too will you, who have bowed the knee not to God but to a fellow human being in the form of God. The apostles were very humble men and suffered greatly for their faith. But they were also great stalwarts in that they learned to live in hardship and carry the banner of the Lord courageously despite their loss of social standing, monetary gain, and religious position.
Unlike the highly vaunted religious leaders they suffered the loss of all things but WALKED WITH GOD AND POSSESSED THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. They shook the devil’s kingdom to the core instead of joining it like so many unreal Christians and Christian leaders do so today.
Instead of living as the apostles did, however, we treat them like disconnected museum pieces to admire from afar but never think or desire to have what they had.
There are actually millions of such real Christians on the planet today who have learned to live for God and will always live for God regardless of powerful persecution and indifference toward them. They will fight any God-directed battle for the spiritual freedom of humanity regardless of dire circumstances, and reject anything that compromises their walk.
You will know the Lord Jesus is in charge when you see everyone in the vicinity taking a backseat and hitting the deck, especially the high and holy ones who previously thought it would all fall apart if they did not keep their grip on control. Anything not of God will be burned up, of course, and good riddance. But real leaders understand fully that they are nothing and that the Lord Jesus is everything, and every part of the spotlight belongs to Him and Him only.
Let the Spirit of the Lord be in charge!
Let Him do what He wants!
Get the heck out of the way!
Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed,
Shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God;
And not for sordid gain, but with eagerness;
Nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.
And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.
To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen. [1 Peter 5:1-11] 
© 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Greek—Nomikos: Relating to law, learned in the law, experts in the Mosaic Law. Torah teachers. Those consumed with the letter of the Law but completely missing and neglecting the Spirit of the Law.
Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.”’” [Matthew 13:24-30]
Tares are otherwise known as darnel, or wild wheat. It is indistinguishable from real wheat in its early stages. By the time one notices its presence it is too late to uproot, since uprooting the darnel will essentially destroy the wheat crop. This bearded darnel was common in the land at that time and resembled wheat, except the grains were dark. The farmer knew the difference. The wheat knew the difference. Close observers would notice the difference. Most others would see no difference at all. This is why the farther one gets from the Lord, the more likely one will be deceived.
The fake wheat was planted while the men were sleeping…
“For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you in advance.” [Matthew 24:24-25]
While the Lord certainly does miracles, the devil is no slouch at it. His are merely deceptive works made to look like the real thing, and gullible people fall for his tricks time and again. It is sad that many Christians are so starved of a real move of the Lord’s Spirit that they desperately cling to lying wonders and wonder-working shysters. It is relatively simple to be a false Christian or false Christian minister nowadays, since so many Christians are so easily deceived and manipulated. Yet, the Lord did not leave us without a very clear warning.
At present, there’s a truckload of false ministers and ministry organizations. These people profess to be serving God but are actually serving themselves, in large part. Their ministry models, ultra-organizations, and blatant hierarchies look nothing like the first century model of the Lord Jesus, His apostles, and the early believers. These people have a different agenda, and many of them are completely deceived. As in the old dictum, though they may be sincere, they are sincerely wrong.
For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds. [2 Corinthians 11:13-15]
There is only one Lord, Messiah, and King. There is only one community of saints. There is only one Gospel. It is all spelled out in Scripture. It is there for anyone to seek and discover. The Lord has always blessed with real apostles, prophets, and teachers, but has made allowances for counterfeits.
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. [2 Peter 2:1-3] 
We exist in days of very strong deception. Wild wheat is everywhere. Anyone can be deceived at any time. Beware of counterfeits. Beware the tare.
© 2011 by RJ Dawson. All rights Reserved.
- The Apostles’ Foundation, The One Household of God (getrealchristianity.wordpress.com)