BAPTISM OF OPTIMISM: REJOICE!
He was born to die. He always knew it. He planned it. But even at the very darkest hour He knew there was a call for unbounded optimism: He would soon open the Way to Life.
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. [Hebrews 12:1-2]
COUNT IT ALL JOY
Mature Christians of the real variety are very well acquainted with giving a message most will reject. As the Lord Jesus engaged in the greatest ministry of all time with a perfect message expertly delivered and a perfect teaching curriculum second to none, no one was more aware of the inherent difficulty of the task at hand than Him, in that His perfect message would be wasted on the majority.
It would seem, during His time, that all impartial hearers and personal witnesses of His love, compassion, mercy, mighty works, and incessant miracles would immediately join up with Him in a veritable heartbeat if for no other reason than that nothing they experienced could be denied. Denial of His extraordinary presence and perfection was impossible. His ministry was that clear. It was absolutely astounding.
And yet, as a stark testimony to the sheer impossibility of errant and immoral human beings besought with a sinful human nature—obstinate and unyielding at its core to any and all reform—recalcitrant and unruly—not only did the majority of His own people reject His message, they also rejected Him and drove His Name into the dirt.
His “own people” constituted not only His fellow Israelites in general but also the political leaders of His nation, the religious leaders of His nation, the foreign leaders in positions of authority in His nation, an untold number of His relatives, and even members of His own immediate family. One can only wonder at the great mental, moral, and emotional disconnect existing in the heart of the willfully lost and the message that could set them free. The Lord had effectively given everything He had, even acting as a supernatural electrician running miles of spiritual romex connected to the power plant of Heaven directly to their hearts and all they had to do was flip a switch. BUT NO.
And He came home, and the crowd gathered again, to such an extent that they could not even eat a meal. When His own people heard of this, they went out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, “He has lost His senses.” The scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.” [Mark 3:2-22]
Rather than acknowledge the great Light that had arrived for their salvation and honoring Him and praising Him and being thankful for Him they instead said He had an illegitimate birth, that He was a drunk and a glutton, that He was crazy, and that He was demon possessed. If this does not reveal to an impartial observer the wickedness of humanity nothing ever will. These hell bound moral laggards, at that time the greatest DAs in the history of the world though perceived by the world as upstanding and trustworthy, were the epitome of deceived demon-influenced dunderheads which a sinful unseeing nation prostrated themselves before and trusted exclusively with no thought of thinking for themselves or even giving God a glance. The blind were truly leading the blind but only because the wimpy blind yielded to the authoritative blind because they were far too fearful to risk thinking for themselves.
And yet none of it took the Lord by surprise. No one was more aware of the utter depravity of humanity. He created humanity. He watched humanity fall. He saw humanity from the very beginning from the Garden up to His present and knew very well what He was dealing with. And He came to this earth anyway. He subjected Himself to the vast stupidity and hate anyway.
He knew most would reject Him. He knew most would find fault with Him. He knew most would count themselves better than Him. He knew most would trust their own inclinations or those of their betters. He knew most would not budge an inch from whatever their chosen belief system was. He knew the majority of the indoctrinated and brainwashed would willingly remain that way.
He knew, for most of the people He preached to, that facts would never matter. Nor would the truth matter. Most would not and could not appreciate the truth. For most there was simply no love for facts and truth if these in any way violated their chosen beliefs.
BLINDED BY SIN
And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, “We are not blind too, are we?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains. [John 9:39-41]
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. [2Corinthians 4:3-4]
“Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,’ and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.” [Revelation 3:17-18]
How spiritually blind must one be to indignantly and continuously reject the very Light that would heal their blindness and allow them to see spiritual reality? How dark are the hearts that refuse the Light which would otherwise brighten their being and deliver them from the eternal night?
THE JOY SET BEFORE HIM
Yet there were others, a decided and relative few, who took a completely different tack. They were personally bold enough to go against the grain of the fallen world and deceitful sinful culture. These were spiritual pioneers who would rather seek Light and salvation even it meant inviting the wrath of the wayward and cause ongoing personal suffering. They possessed a gravitas that strengthened them against all onslaughts from evil, both human and demonic, and allowed the Lord to greatly supplement their strength with a spiritual power none could resist.
These composed the Remnant. He would rescue these. He knew they would comply. He knew they would surrender to Him and obey. Why? Because they had already been communicating with Him through prayer and supplication for years, long before He ever arrived as one of us. They had been asking for His help. They knew He could help. They wanted Him. They longed for Him. They would do anything for Him. They knew He was and had always been the answer.
Of course, due to their excellent attitude and desire for actual spiritual reality they did not fare too well with other members of society who were impossible to communicate with on a spiritual level. These had a different mindset. They had very little in common with the unrepentant. The Remnant, with reference to this world, knew something was off. They refused to make peace with sin or accept the sinful ways of the world, though they also knew it would make life more difficult.
They knew the way of the Lord Jesus was the highest way, the most pure and righteous way, and they would do their best to follow it. Thus, they rejected the social relativism of the sinful culture which always sought an extremely low common denominator. Such relativism is, of course, the administered agenda of the controllers since dumbed-down masses all on the same drivel-inspired page of monotony are much easier to control and use to do their bidding. And the exact dynamic is present in Unreal Christianity.
OUR GLORIOUS PRESENT
People are waking up. People are gaining their sight. By allowing evil the upper hand and freedom to show itself in all its wickedness, that which had previously been hidden behind dark shadows has emerged into the open. They think the coast is clear. They think they are free to sin to their heart’s content with no ramifications or accountability. They have revealed themselves for what they are. And people are noticing. Those who desire righteousness are raising up a standard, first, in their own lives and then against the wicked. Many are coming to an understanding of repentance, what it is and why it is necessary.
Real Christians have always known from the time of their born again experience that a spiritual Rubicon must be crossed and that one can never go back. They know that when a person makes a commitment to the Lord Jesus it is an irrevocable commitment. There is no looking back or turning back or desire to do so. They know they have crossed a line of separation. The terms of the New Covenant demand it. Those who have recently been awakened know they can never unsee what they have already seen. They know too much.
They know the only remaining direction is forward.
The world of fakery, much of it media-inspired, whether cultural or religious, must be left behind.
BAPTISM OF OPTIMISM
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. [Psalm 23:1-3]
But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the lovingkindness of God forever and ever. I will give You thanks forever, because You have done it, and I will wait on Your name, for it is good, in the presence of Your godly ones. [Psalm 52:8-9]
The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree, He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still yield fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap and very green, to declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him. [Psalm 92:12-15]
He who trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like the green leaf. [Psalms 11:28]
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.” [Jeremiah 17:7-8]
Do not fear, O land, rejoice and be glad, for the Lord has done great things. Do not fear, beasts of the field, for the pastures of the wilderness have turned green, for the tree has borne its fruit, the fig tree and the vine have yielded in full. So rejoice, O sons of Zion, and be glad in the Lord your God; for He has given you the early rain for your vindication. And He has poured down for you the rain, the early and latter rain as before. The threshing floors will be full of grain, and the vats will overflow with the new wine and oil. [Joel 2:21-24]
“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” [John 10:10b]
© 2022 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 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.
STAND With Jesus: Shine Your Light
The number of unreal Christians in the world dwarfs the number of real Christians.
There are only a few who, like the original apostles, leave everything to follow and obey the Lord.
Peter began to say to Him, “Behold, we have left everything and followed You.” [Mark 10:28]
These men truly did leave everything. They began an entirely new life based on the teachings of their new Rabbi, whom they were just getting to know. It is exactly the same as that which Abraham did, in that he left everything behind, literally, putting Haran in his rearview mirror forever.
Most people who refer to themselves as Christians never do this. Never. There are honest people among us who don’t follow the Lord at all, but certainly keep their options open rather than claim to follow Him but do not.
“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.” [Matthew 21:28-31]
There was once a city. It was inhabited and taken care of by people of honesty and integrity. No one knew exactly how it began or necessarily when, but the gleam began to lose its shine and some tarnish emerged. Somehow or another, someone and probably a few other someones began to compromise ever so slightly and got away with it. Nobody spoke out or stood against the breach of total honesty. Some appreciated the idea that the heat was off a little so they could relax and maybe engage in some very minor not so good behavior.
The drift continued until one man finally stood against the detour into little white lies and less than the best conduct. No one came to his defense, though some certainly agreed that he was right. Not wanting to leave his home he settled into a lonely existence. Some turned against him for his stand. Some sympathized with him and the stand he made but were too fearful or possessed too little integrity to stand with him. He eventually became ineffective because he raised his voice no more.
After some time had passed another man stood up. He did the same as the first. He noticed that things were going south and longed for the days when things were honest and better. This man was treated the same as the first but worse. Instead of shrinking back, this man stood all the more. He refused to stop speaking against the lies and hypocrisy that had begun to take hold.
He was told to leave. He refused. His family was shunned. His wife and kids were talked about behind their backs in the most evil of ways. Everything began to cave in on this man and he found no respite from the ongoing cold shoulder and personal attack.
For the sake of his wife and children, he left.
Three more people stood against this blatant injustice and one of them was killed. The other two quickly disappeared.
Every time someone stood against the sin of the formerly honest and upright community they were forced to leave. Some just left anyway. Eventually, all the good people who stood up for what was right were gone, which left only the people who had compromised and accepted lives of sin in various degrees. The former high moral code was transformed into a far different code which raised freedom to sin to the top tier. But those living there certainly did not see it that way. They thought their new code was much better and fair.
As the city grew worse, those who had to make a choice whether to grow worse with it or leave made their choices, and most stayed. Of those who stayed, the majority continued to stay even as the code grew worse. Many others, who would never have wanted to live in the city when it was good and honest, moved to the city and felt comfortable there.
Evil was winning.
Every now and then someone stood up against the sin and was either forced out or killed under mysterious circumstances. The remaining populace loved the freedom to sin with no consequence or hindering from those in control.
What was once a righteous city became unrighteous, simply because all the righteous people left or were disposed of, and all those who refused to walk in righteousness 100% were compromised and grew less righteous by the day.
Then the day came when the most evil people of the evil city were chosen as leaders. This made the city grow much more evil that much faster. There was then no control anymore on righting the ship. The city had reached the point of no return.
The inhabitants, however, laughed it up and enjoyed all the fun they were having. The city was riddled with all manner of disease, most notably that of the soul, but was wrapped in the outer adornment of beauty, and looked to the naked eye as a great and wonderful place. A great living could be earned there. The place was popular and prosperous.
Then the inevitable happened. The evil the inhabitants embraced was no longer enough to satisfy in the forms they had engaged in up to that point. They needed something more. They needed greater forms of evil to satisfy their lusts. Because there was no righteous check on behavior, many worse forms of sin were engaged in.
In not too long a time, the outward result of all the sin became evident. The city had created a sinkhole of human depravity. The evil people there who had long since passed the point of reform turned on one another. The population declined. The city became a haunt of dark shadows and foul spirits. There were other evil cities that suffered the exact fate.
Later, when someone did an accounting of all the inhabitants of the original city, from the time it was first formed as a righteous place of light until its final end, he found a stunning statistic. The people who had left the city over the years had brought forth generations of righteous people who lived blessed lives, and these people eventually outnumbered the residents who stayed.
They began as small groups and lone stalwarts, were hated, and run off, but because of their stand for righteousness, God blessed them in new locations. They created many more cities with righteous foundations that remained. Most of this was done in faraway places. The evil people never noticed the small righteous cities in faraway places.
But the righteous people began to notice one another. Though their cities were not only far away but far away from one another, they had no communication for many years, but that began to change. After a while, the people of these small cities discovered that there were many, many righteous people all over the faraway places! They began to engage in true fellowship with one another. Their love for one another progressed to love for everyone in these faraway righteous places.
The curious thing about all of that, though, was even as they began coming together they did it in such a way that it was never really noticed by all the evil people in the evil cities. These righteous cities had grown in secret.
It was then understood that the descendants of the original good guys who stood against evil had grown and spread far and wide because the original righteous seed continued being fruitful. Though those first great righteous ones who took their stand against evil were cast out, their uncompromising righteousness brought forth generations of righteous people. And though the righteous never outnumbered the evil people overall, they possessed much more power to stand against and overcome evil through their love and community.
And all those who had compromised so long ago, even to very small degrees in the beginning, only produced generations of people who compromised further with eventually no hope for redemption.
The moral of the story? Take your stand with the Lord Jesus. You will take some hits. You will be persecuted. Many will think you’re a complete idiot. They will think you joined a cult. They will try to do you physical harm. You will be innocent of charges but thrown in jail. Some of you will even give your lives.
All of these things are mentioned in Scripture. The Lord taught these very truths. He said all these things would happen. He explained it all a long time ago. But He also said that those who take their stand with Him will be the eventual winners. He said, with regard to His people, that the last will be first.
In time, as long as we continue to stand with him in integrity and righteousness, the community of the Lord will grow. Though it will grow off the radar at first, it will eventually be seen by all, and all will wonder at its great numbers and righteous influence, and how it even came to exist.
The Light of His community will outshine the false light of this world, and shine ever brighter forever and ever.
The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them. [Isaiah 9:2]
Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. For behold, darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; but the LORD will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. [Isaiah 60:1-3]
“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 5:14-16]
“What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops.” [Matthew 10:27]
“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] 
© 2014 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 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.