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

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

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THE GOLDEN RULE

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

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

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

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

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

A COOL STORY (AND ANOTHER)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. [Romans 12:1-2]

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

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

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

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

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness,

‘Make ready the way of the Lord,

Make His paths straight.

‘Every ravine will be filled,

And every mountain and hill will be brought low;

The crooked will become straight,

And the rough roads smooth;

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

© 2022 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


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

NATIONAL REPENTANCE MUST BEGIN IMMEDIATELY

Though the following Psalm obviously applies to ancient Israel, there are many parallels within it which relate to our present. Seek the Lord.

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PSALM 106: Israel’s Rebelliousness and the Lord’s Deliverances

1

Praise the Lord!

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;

For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

2

Who can speak of the mighty deeds of the Lord,

Or can show forth all His praise?

3

How blessed are those who keep justice,

Who practice righteousness at all times!

4

Remember me, O Lord, in Your favor toward Your people;

Visit me with Your salvation,

5

That I may see the prosperity of Your chosen ones,

That I may rejoice in the gladness of Your nation,

That I may glory with Your inheritance.

6

We have sinned like our fathers,

We have committed iniquity, we have behaved wickedly.

7

Our fathers in Egypt did not understand Your wonders;

They did not remember Your abundant kindnesses,

But rebelled by the sea, at the Red Sea.

8

Nevertheless He saved them for the sake of His Name,

That He might make His power known.

9

Thus He rebuked the Red Sea and it dried up,

And He led them through the deeps, as through the wilderness.

10

So He saved them from the hand of the one who hated them,

And redeemed them from the hand of the enemy.

11

The waters covered their adversaries;

Not one of them was left.

12

Then they believed His words;

They sang His praise.

13

They quickly forgot His works;

They did not wait for His counsel,

14

But craved intensely in the wilderness,

And tempted God in the desert.

15

So He gave them their request,

But sent a wasting disease among them.

16

When they became envious of Moses in the camp,

And of Aaron, the holy one of the Lord,

17

The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan,

And engulfed the company of Abiram.

18

And a fire blazed up in their company;

The flame consumed the wicked.

19

They made a calf in Horeb

And worshiped a molten image.

20

Thus they exchanged their glory

For the image of an ox that eats grass.

21

They forgot God their Savior,

Who had done great things in Egypt,

22

Wonders in the land of Ham

And awesome things by the Red Sea.

23

Therefore He said that He would destroy them,

Had not Moses His chosen one stood in the breach before Him,

To turn away His wrath from destroying them.

24

Then they despised the pleasant land;

They did not believe in His word,

25

But grumbled in their tents;

They did not listen to the voice of the Lord.

26

Therefore He swore to them

That He would cast them down in the wilderness,

27

And that He would cast their seed among the nations

And scatter them in the lands.

28

They joined themselves also to Baal-peor,

And ate sacrifices offered to the dead.

29

Thus they provoked Him to anger with their deeds,

And the plague broke out among them.

30

Then Phinehas stood up and interposed,

And so the plague was stayed.

31

And it was reckoned to him for righteousness,

To all generations forever.

32

They also provoked Him to wrath at the waters of Meribah,

So that it went hard with Moses on their account;

33

Because they were rebellious against His Spirit,

He spoke rashly with his lips.

34

They did not destroy the peoples,

As the Lord commanded them,

35

But they mingled with the nations

And learned their practices,

36

And served their idols,

Which became a snare to them.

37

They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons,

38

And shed innocent blood,

The blood of their sons and their daughters,

Whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan;

And the land was polluted with the blood.

39

Thus they became unclean in their practices,

And played the harlot in their deeds.

40

Therefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against His people

And He abhorred His inheritance.

41

Then He gave them into the hand of the nations,

And those who hated them ruled over them.

42

Their enemies also oppressed them,

And they were subdued under their power.

43

Many times He would deliver them;

They, however, were rebellious in their counsel,

And so sank down in their iniquity.

44

Nevertheless He looked upon their distress

When He heard their cry;

45

And He remembered His covenant for their sake,

And relented according to the greatness of His lovingkindness.

46

He also made them objects of compassion

In the presence of all their captors.

47

Save us, O Lord our God,

And gather us from among the nations,

To give thanks to Your holy name

And glory in Your praise.

48

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,

From everlasting even to everlasting.

And let all the people say, “Amen.”

Praise the Lord! [1]


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

THE GREAT UNIFIER IS ALSO THE GREAT DIVIDER (Part 3)

        Desperation for money and spiritual faith don’t go together. People who do their Christianity for money are desperate. If they build their lives and ministries that way they only build away from God.

 

       And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. [Hebrews 11:6]

         One of you, my readers, had a recent post in which you quoted a famous preacher. I can’t remember the exact words. He had been a minister for decades and said something recently to the effect that he had really messed up a lot of people. I thought his sentiment, or apology, was in one sense a tad refreshing. Of course I also thought that it was about time he finally admitted what so many had always known. This guy was a first class idiot. The devil played him like a banjo. I used to wonder how such an obvious shyster managed to fool so many people.

          I don’t name names here. It’s not the way I work. If you know who I’m talking about and care to comment, don’t use his name. It could be that he might actually be repenting. It may be possible that he has headed down redemption road. But it could also be, and likely is, that he’s still the shyster he always was.

         And there are a lot just like him. The celebrity Christian world has gotten really dark recently. There was steady progress toward that goal. They may still look bright the way the devil looks bright with his fake lighting. They may be more rich and powerful than ever. They may command respect and have lesser “ministers” cowed and afraid to say a word. But the Lord knows the truth. He knows what they are. They took the wrong road long ago.

         Were they desperate? Well, if a man needs to make a buck and he’s really down on his luck he forces himself to do absolutely anything he can to survive. If he’s a good man he does honest work the right way. But there are men in this world who refuse to work like a man and instead seek an easy way out. “Ministry” has always been one of those easy ways. Once a man gets past that first plea for cash and gets a little offering money and sees how easy it was to do, his conscience doesn’t bother him as much. He then figures if a little money is okay why not more?

         I remember stories of this guy raking in so much cash he was paying ten thousand dollars for one night in a hotel. They could buy anything. While the people in congregations all across the country were trying their best to live right before God and were struggling to buy another used tire for their old car or more baling wire to hold it together and doing their best to feed their kids right, these fake idiot ministers had no money problems whatsoever. It would be different if they earned it. And it’s not wrong to give or receive help. But all these guys do is take up collections. There’s nothing hard about that.

         The Lord’s example means nothing to them. They don’t care. They reach a point early on when they can never go back. They are too dependent on the easy money. They had become masters at getting it. There was a guy in the gospels that did something similar but not as a preacher. He was just your common every day little runt rip off artist. And he found redemption:

         He entered Jericho and was passing through. And there was a man called by the name of Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector and he was rich. Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way. When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” And he hurried and came down and received Him gladly. When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” [Luke 19:1-10]

         Based on this story I would say there’s probably somewhere in the vicinity of several trillion dollars that needs to be restored to Christians who were ripped off by fake ministers. It would great if every one of these high-living low-life idiots would make restitution just as little Zaccheus did. But that idea is a pipe dream. There may be one or two here or there but most of the whole lot will keep being what they always were.

          And now they have a lot more power. They have also made good friends with the world and the line between both has gotten so blurred it no longer exists. Nothing will convince them to give it up. They believe their success is due to God’s blessing. Their big brotherhood gives them solid protection. And though they know all about the gross sin among them they strive to keep it hidden so the others won’t suffer.

        That’s in part why you never see one of these guys rat out another. They know if they do they will likely lose their place at the trough.

         The Lord will have to separate these goats out from His sheep.

MEANWHILE, ON THE OTHER SIDE OF TOWN

          When you do it right you have to struggle. I’m old enough to remember the tales of old-timers when I was new to the Spirit-filled life back in the 1970s. I heard about how, in their early days, they often barely had enough to eat. These were good Christian people and real ministers. I was told they had to depend on prayer and “pray things in” just to survive. Think about that.

         I also remember a young evangelist who preached at our church. He had a wife and small children. They would travel the country in their car. He was dependent on offerings. These people received very little. I remember how thin he was but also how much the Spirit of the Lord had shone forth in his face. He was so sincere. He told the following story as I remember it:

         “We spent what little money we had from our last offering. I had what I thought was just enough gas to take us a few hundred miles to our next destination. We were traveling at night. It turned out that gas starting running low and we still had many miles to go. We decided to pray. We had a small console in the front seat. We asked the Lord if he would please bless us with the money we needed so we wouldn’t be stranded. I kept driving on in the dark and at last found an open gas station still a ways from our destination. My wife and I prayed again because we had no money for gas. Being satisfied that the Lord honored our request we lifted up the console and there before us was a five dollar bill…”  

         I remember another story from that time. I had a friend who was married with two small children and money was tight. His wife knew how to pray. She had to go buy a few groceries one day but had very little money. She asked the Lord for help. While walking to the store she heard a little rustling behind her and saw what looked like a small bit of rolled-up paper. She continued walking and it kept following her! I remember her laughing when telling the story. She finally stopped to pick it up and it was two or three dollar bills. She was able to buy some milk for her kids.

         The point with these stories is that the people involved had more desperation for the Lord instead of for mere money, and because their priorities were right they had greater faith. They knew when they prayed that the Lord would provide. They had no doubt. He didn’t dump gold bars on them but gave them what they needed at the time.

         “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” [Matthew 6:5-6] [1]

         Those who are monetarily successful in the ministry without using or needing faith and prayer are likely never receiving anything from the Lord. They are nothing more than carnal people using carnal means and are duded up to appear outwardly spiritual. When the time comes that they desperately need personal faith and prayer they’ll be up you know what creek without a paddle.

         But the Lord’s real sons and daughters will ALWAYS be provided for by Him. And I say Amen to that.

            © 2019 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued] 


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

THE GREAT UNIFIER IS ALSO THE GREAT DIVIDER (Part 1)

THE GREAT UNIFIER IS ALSO THE GREAT DIVIDER (Part 2)

PLEASE PRAY FOR MY FRIEND YVONNE

         I have just learned some heartbreaking news. My good friend Yvonne lost her husband in an accident almost two weeks ago. She told us all in a post on February 25 but I did not see it until today. I ask that all of you take the time to pray for Yvonne and help her during a most difficult time. Though I have never met her personally she is an exceptionally warm and loving person and loves the Lord with all her heart. She is His faithful servant and has always been a good friend to me and supporter of this site and so many others. I know many of you know her and some have already been praying. Please continue to lift her up.

         You can access her website here: New Heaven On Earth. Please visit and extend your condolences.

         Thank you, 

         RJ

HUMBLE YOURSELF BEFORE THE LORD

         The President-Elect, on his first official trip in that capacity to Washington DC, has taken a decidedly humble approach. He has been cordial, gracious, sincere, and low-key.

         There was talk in October, at the lowest point of his political campaign, when something really bad from his past erupted forth and was set to derail it all, that he was strongly advised to own up to his great wrong and apologize. He had a decision to make. Prophetic voices claiming to hear from God were told that if he took the humble approach he would get through it. He would otherwise be finished.

         He ended up owning up to what he did, faced it like a man, and apologized to the nation at the next debate.

         It was supposed to be his coup de grace, the death blow, that which would finally finish him off. It failed. It failed because he knew that if he was to continue the race he had only one chance to be successful. He had averted the trap so many, many times before. Any of those things would have destroyed another candidate or campaign but the things that destroyed others never came close to destroying him.

         The intelligent people knew why. This man had been much more thoroughly tested throughout his life and career than any of the other candidates. They all had to play the PC game for the sake of their careers and they knew it. They were largely all bought and paid for. But this man had no master. And even though he had made a move toward the Lord long before this, that move would have to be tested. Therefore, though what was sprung upon him in October certainly came through his enemies who no doubt had held it for the right time to administer a crushing blow, it was also the case that the Lord allowed it. It was a door he would have to walk through. The road to the Presidency had to go through that erupting scandal. And though he survived all the others he would never survive that one.

         Unless he took a humble approach and showed a contrite heart.

         He survived. The road continued.

         As a result, he emerged the winner.

         There have been reports of divine intervention during the election. Whatever the case, the vast majority of Americans know something entirely unprecedented and unexpected has occurred. Almost no one on the losing side saw it coming. Ninety-nine percent believed wholeheartedly that their victory was assured. Perhaps the same amount of people on the eventual winning side, on the other hand, were cautiously optimistic or hoping for the best, though there was an undercurrent of foreboding. Many millions had been praying. It was all going in one direction.

         On Tuesday night, among other sites, I was following in real time the New York Times election graphics on the internet as the national vote was coming in. According to that website, the President-Elect began the evening with only a 15-20% chance of victory. For reference, before you read further, you must see this link: False Forecast

         After the initial votes came in supporting the projected scenario of a huge loss for the eventual President-Elect, the totals began changing dramatically. The graphic was flipping. The candidate who started out at 80% began drifting down. The one who started at 20% began trending up. These two lines that started from the left side of the graphic very far apart continued coming toward each other, then actually met in the middle. The graphic was then projecting that each candidate had an equal chance.

         Then the lines crossed over each other and continued. The projected winner kept falling. The projected loser kept rising. He rose all the way to 95%. Long before he had actually garnered the needed electoral votes he was already projected as the winner. The graphic never changed. The one who expected to lose big by all the experts, the polls, and the losing side had actually won.

         This is all new territory. No one has ever done this before.

         Is it possible that it happened without the Lord’s involvement?

         “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” [Matthew 23:12]

         “So the last shall be first, and the first last.” [Matthew 20:16] [1]

         © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

         Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church


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

A Lesser Hurricane Irene: The Evidence of Prayer?

        Though many people were killed, almost five million lost power, huge regions were flooded and flooding is ongoing, and billions of dollars in damage took place, some curiously bitter people continue to insist that Hurricane Irene was a hyped event. Some are very thankful that the huge storm was not as bad as originally predicted. Some are arrogantly putting forth their opinion that the storm was nothing that couldn’t be handled, and that they handled it quite well.

        Did something intervene?

        Maybe there was collusion between all the weather boys and girls up and down the coast and the scientific computer geniuses that postulated a storm of nearly Biblical proportions. Maybe they all made a deal with the news media to play it up and make Irene appear as the almost second coming of Rita or Andrew or Isabel grafted onto the upper east coast, New York City, and New England.

         Or maybe there are many more powerful Christians in this nation than otherwise thought praying powerful prayers that a very powerful God answered.

         Hurricanes are a natural phenomenon like any other natural process such as rain or lightning. They happened eons before any human set foot on the land. They will not stop just because we are here. I will personally, however, believe that the Lord God of all creation can do whatever He wants whenever He wants, and that if He uses natural means to judge humanity it’s His prerogative.

         I will also believe that real believers have power over the elements.

         And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep. And they came to Him and woke Him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing!” He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. The men were amazed, and said, “What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” [Matthew 8:24-27]

         The Greek word for “storm” in the above verse is seismos. It means, “A commotion, a shaking, AN EARTHQUAKE.”[1] In fact, this Greek word appears 14 times in the New Testament and every other time it is translated as “earthquake.” Along with the earthquake was a great wind. Mark and Luke called it “a fierce gale of wind,” which Strong labeled “a hurricane.” In other words, the storm on the Sea of Galilee was not a rain event or a thunderstorm. It was the result of an earthquake and wind. Great roiling waves had resulted which were swamping the boat. The apostles rightly feared for their lives. This was no mere storm but something much more out of the ordinary.

         What did the Lord do? He did two things:

         First, He jumped their case for being cowards, and for having so little faith.

         Second, He rebuked the winds and the sea.

         Now, the Sea of Galilee was notorious for having freak wind events. The rushing winds would often form great waves. But on this particular occasion an earthquake was apparently also involved. Did the Lord allow this as a test? Was it a surprise to Him? It was certainly a great surprise to them and if He had not acted to rebuke the wind and waves the apostles would have all ended up at the bottom of that crazy, violent sea. It was a life and death situation and they had no means whatsoever to save themselves because they—

         (1) Were a bunch of chickens, and

         (2) Had far too little faith to affect any change.

         From watching the Lord perform the miracle, the apostles learned that even the winds and the sea obey Him! Who is this guy?!

         And they eventually received the power to do the same thing.

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

         Thus, real Christians have power with God through prayer to rebuke the wind and sea. Thus, it is quite possible that all the experts were right but that some other force acted upon Hurricane Irene, which just happened to follow on the heels of a very rare 5.8 Virginia earthquake.

         And this means this country is not populated with a single Elijah holding the fort but millions of dedicated followers of the Lord Jesus that are increasingly making their presence felt.

         Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? “Lord, THEY HAVE KILLED YOUR PROPHETS, THEY HAVE TORN DOWN YOUR ALTARS, AND I ALONE AM LEFT, AND THEY ARE SEEKING MY LIFE.” But what is the divine response to him? “I HAVE KEPT for Myself SEVEN THOUSAND MEN WHO HAVE NOT BOWED THE KNEE TO BAAL.” [Romans 11:2-4]

         Besides, the Lord’s people are salt and light—the preservers of humanity and those who show the way. Many will say that Irene was a bust without ever thinking that they possibly dodged a howitzer through the prayers of God’s people.

         The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit. [James 5:16-18] [2]

         Lieutenant Dan eventually made his peace with God. For all those who did not during the opportunity that was Hurricane Irene, there will be another showdown in the not too distant future, except for those who die and go to hell in the meantime. Mock God all you want, unbelievers. Mock His people. But it is highly likely the ones you mock just saved your keisters.

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible © 1890

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

August 29: http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2011/August/Virginia-Residents-God-Intervened-in-Irene-/