It is the Father’s Good Pleasure to Give You the Kingdom

When we receive from God, either from our brethren or from the Spirit of God, it feels like robbery. We know that we do not deserve it. Sometimes we might feel ashamed, or maybe even a bit afraid when the Lord has given us more than we feel able to be faithful towards.

I don’t say this to boast, but to teach. One of my daily prayers for the past few weeks is that the Lord will “strengthen me to do your will.” Life is challenging, and I want to meet these challenges righteously. I also feel like God has been gracious to give things that I need to share, and if I don’t share, I’ll be like an old wine skin that will burst. Maybe that’s ridiculous.

None the less, I know that any good thing I have and any good thing I am able to do with that which I was given came from the Lord, and as Jesus teaches, “It is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.”

Though it is His good pleasure, experiencing this can be very difficult and trying. If I want strength, I might find that I am stretched and pushed beyond measure until I can bear a bit more than I could before. I know this has been the case with other things I have asked.

I truly believe that the gospel is more than forgiveness. It is having the Kingdom of God come to us in heart over the course of our lives. Sometimes we receive things in an instant, but most of what we receive comes from patiently continuing to seek, going through challenges, and overcoming by His working in us.

It is not that we work to receive salvation. We are forgiven by grace through faith in the blood of the Lamb of God. However, there is work in the Kingdom of Heaven. The more of that we want in this life, the more we must endure.

I will never be satisfied in this life concerning the Kingdom of Heaven, because these things are Jesus Christ and He is worthy to be loved and desired. I am greedy and jealous over Him, but I also know that because He is so good and gracious, it pleases Him to share what we get. How could we not? After receiving what we do not deserve, how can we just “hide it under a bushel?”

I know that many people would disagree with me, but I will not back down from this. I won’t back down because I know just enough of what that Kingdom looks like that I want more and more.

In the Kingdom of Heaven we don’t need any other light but Him. In the Kingdom of Heaven there is a stream of life. In the Kingdom of Heaven there is fruits of healing. In the Kingdom of Heaven there is peace; even the wolves lay down with the lambs and the suckling child can play on the snake’s den. Lions eat straw like an Ox. There is no destruction there. There is no violence there. The knowledge of the Lord is life and peace forever. No more pain. No more sorrow. So, if we must sorrow to get there, it is worth it.

Never give up. It is God’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom, and one day the Kingdom of Heaven will come to this dying world and the Wicked One will be destroyed with the brightness of the coming of the Son of God: Jesus Christ: the Only Name worthy of praise and the Only thing worth seeking with all your heart, soul, and mind.

I don’t want it to be said that I “labored and has not fainted.” I will not do the bare minimum. Again this is not to boast, but to teach. I have labored until I fainted, and I will do it again if that is what it takes to enter into a rest and peace that this world does not know. Lord willing. I say this to encourage you. Keep going. Don’t let people rob you of the Kingdom with half-truth gospels.

I believe that those who trust in the blood of the Lamb for forgiveness and hate sin will be forgiven and they will live forever. I know that I want that judgment, and that is true. Yet. We also know that Jesus said that He rewards those who seek diligently. There is more to gain. We can rob each other of what God gives us—it is our duty to do so because all things are of the Lord and for the body of Christ. But NEVER let anyone rob you of seeking more from Jesus and the Kingdom that comes “without observation” and lies “within you.”

Thankful for Small Ministries

I want to offer some encouragement for small ministries. Whether you have a blog, some other form of online ministry, or a church, I know that being small can be discouraging at times. Yet, it is good.

A lot can be accomplished from small ministry, and there are benefits for those who have them.

I benefitted from a small ministry. The work I benefitted from was not created for me, but for the wife of the one who did that work. Their dynamic is beautiful and I never want to rob them of that. They have their glory in that of the Lord. It is not my glory, but theirs. I have felt more like the “strange woman” who says, “stolen bread is sweet,” or more like David who ate the shew bread.

I don’t think they would say that of me. They have their glory, and their glory in Jesus, and I have my own in Jesus, and no one will be robbed of what He gave. Ultimately, because all glory is His, we are all robbers. Anything we receive and therewith build upon is His.  

So, all I can do is give back. I robbed and received freely, so I give freely. And because the ministry I robbed from was created for one, and because it had such a profound affect on me, I have learned to also be content with being small. If I can have the effect that was had on me for just one, then that is good. It is worth it.

It is funny to me when I have been accused of being a cult leader. You have to have a following to be a cult leader. Even so, I get it. When you have a slightly different take on things, people become fearful. The last thing I want to do is create yet another Christian denomination, or God forbid, a cult.

The last thing I want is to be a kind of idol myself, so I am thankful for being small. I also know that small can accomplish great things. One person can teach one, and that one teaches another, and so on. Things can grow in a way that we do not see, and not seeing keeps us safe from vanity.

If you have a small ministry, thank the Lord for it. We can look at the corruption of big ministries and be critical of that, but would we be any better if we had that kind of exposure and following? Such is the  state of man. We are blessed to be small. And if you have one that is larger, take care that you do not become an idol. Ultimately, all glory is God’s glory. We are robbers.

I want to end this writing today with something that I do not usually do publicly, and that is ask for prayer. On one hand, I feel bound and happy to do the work I do for the church. Yet, I am so tired. I know that though I sometimes feel like a church of one, I am not. I know that no single person can contain the fullness of the Spirit of God except Jesus. I think it would kill you. It would stretch you too much.

I pray that Jesus will send some help, not because I claim to have the fullness of God. Don’t think that, but I get why we are a body and not meant to be a church of one. It’s too much. I sincerely thought I would die from exhaustion yesterday, so I went to bed early. Though I am up early so that I can do all that I must do today, and through I am very tired, I trust in Jesus. He will strengthen. Yet, I do ask for prayer. Not sympathy, but faith. Jesus will make a way somehow.

So, small is good. Yet, small is tiring. We are a body that works together with Jesus at the head, and we should never forget that.

The Challenges of Being an Outlier Christian (Part 2)

There are reasons why many believers find it difficult, if not impossible, to find a home church. I have had difficulty also, and I don’t think I will ever find one. I know that it is true that many do not join a church because they do not want to live for the Lord. Going to church convicts them of their sinful lifestyle, so they’d rather not.

Because of this, many will accuse those who do not go to church as being insincere in their faith. However, having been in this position myself, and while being a very zealous Christian, I know that there are many other reasons why this happens.

My reasons have shifted somewhat over the years, but many have remained the same. For one, my doctrinal beliefs do not fit neatly into a single denomination, and I have found that to be problematic eventually no matter which church I go to.

Although I have decided in my heart to agree to disagree on secondary issues for the sake of fellowship and patience with my brethren, and I believe that is right, I do not get that same treatment. Once it comes time to “join” the church, I am made to affirm their doctrine. Since I can’t, I do not join because I am not allowed to. That is the case with every single denomination.

The reasons for this point to other issues within the church. There is error on the side of legalism. There is error on the side of liberty and excuse for sin. There is error in pride. There is error in putting man above God. There is error in smiting our fellow servants. There is error in misuse of the word of God. There is error in serving money and status.

There are many things, and it is worth expanding upon, not to condemn my brethren, but to be faithful to what I have received, to help those who are outcast, and to perhaps tug on the conscience of a few sincere pastors. So, to that end, I will write more about these things, Lord willing.

For now, the point is that I get it. I get that there are many reasons why sincere, Jesus loving Christians fail to find a home church. Because of this, they are drawn to Online ministries. These have their own set of problems.

I have had several Online mentors, but only two were profitable in a sense that is pleasing to God (other than His will that makes all things good for us in the end). Some are profitable in that they show us what we do not want to be. I don’t want to be profitable in that way, though I know that I have been at times. So, I try to be patient with most. Even so, there are many deceitful workers.

For the record, I enjoy many online blogs. They build me up too, though not in a mentoring way. We should get beyond the need for mentors eventually, because we do not aim for any man, but for Jesus Christ.

It is certainly true that the adversary is as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Whether dealing with traditional gatherings in church buildings or seeking fellowship and learning Online, the teachings and temptations my fellow brethren are exposed to are vast. Yet, these can be condensed into lessons that we can learn from. Lord willing, I will tackle this. There is a delicate walk to walk in doing so, so thank you for your patience. I will pray on it and consider the best way.

I apologize that this writing is not more concise. I get up in the morning and write what I write in that moment. Things don’t always come together so neatly.

So, to wrap this up for today, I want to say a few things.

If you feel like an outlier Christian, know that you might have some good reasons for this, and don’t let anyone accuse you. Paul the Apostle wrote that we should not let any man judge us concerning the sabbath days. “One man honors one day above the rest and one man honors every day alike. Let each be persuaded in his own mind.”

We should not “forsake the gathering together,” but it is possible that the gathering will forsake us—and not know it—all the while accusing us of forsaking them.

If you have experienced this, know that in the New Covenant, of which we are a member, the temple of God is not a building. It is you. It is me. It is the body of Christ—and those who love Jesus, keep His word, honor His sacrifice, and want to live for Him, who approach Him with humility and a sincere desire to know Him will find Him.

Jesus said that He does not despise a “broken and contrite spirit.” We need no intercessor between us and God. Jesus stands in that gap. You can approach Him anytime, anywhere. He can lead you. He can lead you to good instruction in His word and in fellowship. Trust in Him.

There are many like you, and unfortunately, there are many who would prey off of you. There are many wolves in sheep’s clothing, as Jesus calls them, both inside church buildings and outside of them.

If you can relate, I am happy to help you get your footing in Jesus. I believe that those who can help should, not to gain a following of our own, but to grow the Kingdom of Heaven and to be faithful to what we have received.

I believe that all believers should get to a point in which they are able to rely on Jesus alone, and not man. Although fellowship will always be needful, the quality of our gatherings in that regard is highly lacking.

So, I feel for you on all fronts, and I know that Jesus does too. He will make a way for all who seek Him. He will show mercy to our shortcomings within the church, yet we have things to answer for too and we will.

As Jesus said, “there will not be left one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down.” I believe this to be true for online and offline ministry. All the work I do too will die one day. My writings will die too.

The Word of Jesus will never die—and any good thing my work accomplishes that leads to everlasting life will not die. One day, all that is life will live, and all that is death will be burned up. That is an encouraging thought. A sobering thought too.

We are nothing, but Jesus is so merciful. Trust in Him. He is patient with us, and though our ministries lack, most are doing the best they can.

I also want to say that I have visited churches that have sound preaching. Errors, but sound in what seems to be a sincere love for Jesus and the brethren. Sound in edification. What lacks, I trust in the mercy of Jesus for them–though I still believe their buildings will come down so that the Kingdom of Heaven can be established.

Sorry again for the rambling. I will do my best to put together a series of articles that deal with all of these matters more concisely, and hopefully yield a good result that will not die.

Considering Proverbs 10:12

12 Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.

When we are full of hatred we will fight one another. Without a doubt. Is this not the curse of Man? “He wounded me so I killed him.” From the jealousy of Cain onward to now, the hatred and envy of man leads to murder. We increase in knowledge, increase in power, and increase in murderous actions until all is destroyed. We bring death and we die.

Jesus is the ultimate example of our eat or be eaten world. He did no violence, neither did He lie or manipulate; He brought the Truth of a Kingdom of Life. They killed Him. He could have called down legions of angels to save Him. He could have used the power of God to destroy them. He did not. He, who is LIFE remained true to Himself as the Son of God until the very end.

Because of His love, our sins—of which are many—are covered.

This means something. Having received so great a love, so great a mercy, and so great a salvation as this, how can we continue in the things of death?

Why do we continue to hate one another? Why do we continue in strife, division, backbiting, envying, and all manner of destruction—for which we were freed at so high a cost as the blood of the Son of God?

Those who take this sacrifice for granted—those who neglect so great a salvation as this—will receive chastisement at best. Many will “loose what they seemed to have.”

Let us who seek to be conformed to the image of Christ keep these things in mind as we push forward in the things of the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus promises that if we abide in Him, and He in us, then we will do the works that He does. We will bring forth fruits. We will bring forth LIVING things despite the death and destruction of this world.

However, Jesus also said that the world loves its own, but because we were chosen out of the world—because we received His grace—the world hates us. They are envious, they hate that which is good and testifies of their sin, they hate the ways of Jesus. They want to destroy Him and all who follow Him.

If we are counted worthy to suffer for His name, then we know this: We will live again because we have not made our agreement with death, but with Life!

Love covers a multitude of sin. Love brings life, not death. Love heals the curse of this world, and we need more of this. Even the commandments of Jesus says to love: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.”

Jesus is our Lord and Savior, but is He our friend? If we do as our Lord says and show ourselves faithful to Him, we are more than servants. We are friends. We are brothers and sisters of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. This is a powerful position to be in—one that can conquer all ways of the enemy—by the Love of He who died and rose again!  

“Love the Lord your God will all your heart, all your mind, and all your strength, and love your neighbor like yourself.”

“Who is my neighbor?”

Is the political party you prefer your neighbor? Is your race or gender your neighbor? Is your favored Christian denomination your neighbor? Are those who love you and believe as you do your neighbor?

Jesus said, “If you salute your brethren what reward have you? If you love them which love you, what reward have you? Do not the publicans and sinners do the same? God sends rain on the just and the unjust. Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

Maybe one day this world will be so given to the curse of man—the curse of warring and death—that it is fitting to remove these basic graces of God. The scriptures say so. There will come a time to dry up the rain and turn the water to blood. For the world to be so wicked that doing this is an act of love is mind-blowing. Things are bad now, but they must get much worse.

Meanwhile, we are told to “occupy” until our Lord comes. Let us learn to occupy better by keeping true to the testimony of Jesus and the gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven as bringers of Life to a world of death.

Read 1 Peter 4 for more information on how love covers many sins.

From the Mouth of Babes: You Can’t Serve God and Money

I want to share something that one of my sons shared with me, because I do believe this to be from the Lord, Jesus. I’ll be the first to admit to feeling appalled when I see people putting their kids on display for their so-called religious encounters. Some seem—based on the content alone–to be highly questionable.

However, this is not the first time my sons have said biblical things. I am also in control of their Christian education so I know what they have been taught and what they have not. When they speak something that goes beyond a children’s bible story level of understanding, I listen.

God is amazing! He has said that “your sons and your daughters will prophesy.” They are not clouded by loyalties and cares of this world. I love the mind of young children!

We were sitting together in the dining room, not doing anything in particular when my son asked me, “Is Israel real?” I told him that it is.

He said, “Jesus is going to take us there. But, we can’t take the money. If we take the money, we will die. But, we will just wake up and have food. (He gestured to our kitchen table). We will wake up and the table will have all this food. Jesus will give us food to eat. We can’t take the money, mom.” Then he said that Jesus would make “trees with a lot of fruit.”

Here is my take on it:

As for Jesus taking us to Israel, I don’t know if that is literal or in spirit. We who worship Jesus in Spirit are grafted into Israel. I have wondered if the false prophet will set up his kingdom in Israel, and I know whatever he does, many will worship him. So, I am always cautious when it comes to ideas concerning a return to Israel.

As far as the choosing Jesus over “the money” I think this is something akin to not being able to “buy or sell” without forsaking Jesus as our Lord and Savior. If that time comes, we can trust in Jesus. He will take care of us–and in that time–many trees will be fruitful. I think that fruitfulness refers to Christians who are kept during that time, refined, and made fruitful in the Kingdom of Heaven.

My son also expressed concern about a family member who would choose the money, and he wondered what we would do. I know that many people we love will forsake Jesus, and this is going to be hard to deal with. Many we love might go so far as to betray us to death. However, it is better than to give in.

As hard as that seems, I trust that Jesus will strengthen us. Peter, who denied Jesus, was reported to have suffered a horrible death for the faith, as have many. Our own strength will deny Him. Never lean on that. Lean on Him. His strength will not waiver!

My son also told me once, when he was three years old, that the “bad Jesus king” wrapped up the “good Jesus king” and put him “in an oven.” He said that the “good Jesus king” stood up and said, “I am alive!” He then said that the “good Jesus king” would come back and tie up the “bad Jesus king” and he would not come back. Because of this, I take what he said now seriously.

These messages are the gospel, and I did not give these to my son. I believe that the Spirit of God did. How wonderful! If our young children can learn of the gospel from the Spirit of God then anyone can. He is in control of all things, and as one of my other sons once said, “God never stops talking.” HE IS, HE WAS and HE WILL RETURN.

However, make no mistake, that many false christs come too, and Death will have his day before Jesus comes back. Do not think that “the day of Christ can come at anytime.” First the “wicked one will be revealed.” There are scriptures teaching us this.

Many think that a rapture will happen at any moment. Not so. The heavens will open up to welcome the false christ before they usher in the kingdom of our Lord, Jesus. It is a shame that we teach people this. I heard this taught today. People really expect to see the heavens open up and Jesus descend at any moment now. Not good. Even so, Jesus is in control and faithful despite our misunderstandings.

I believe that the rapture is a spin off and corruption of the resurrection and transfiguration. Take a look at a simple rebuttal of the rapture here. I have a more in-depth look at this teaching on my other website. I will look over it and republish it here.

The Spirit of God is Meekness…Not Weakness

Yesterday I wrote that Christians should not trust in “Egypt,” but in the Spirit of God. We should “wait on Him.” Waiting on the Lord, Jesus means that we serve Him. In order to serve Jesus, we need to know who He is. We need to have a relationship with Him. We need to be as His sheep who recognize His voice and not the voice of strangers. We need to trust in Him.

This is not something that can be developed overnight. So, in that, I understand why the parable of the wise and foolish virgins makes sense. Yet, I also believe that “a smoking flax he shall not quench.” I believe that those who can fill others should try to do so. The door is not shut yet. Yet, how do we fill smoldering Christians effectively and as quickly as possible?

This is something I want to think more about. For now, one thing stands out.

As Christians, we know that Jesus does not condone violence. God hates it. Jesus is meek. However, meekness is not weakness.

The Sprit of God is not weakness.

The Spirit of God provides us with meekness—or self-control—and the wisdom and strength to act in a manner that is effective at bringing about Kingdom of Heaven results in this world. Weakness is harsh, rash, foolish, cowardly, fearful, unbelieving, murderous, idolatrous, and all manner of wickedness.

Weakness is destroying our world.

Jumping to hasty conclusions without gathering the real facts is destroying our world. Emotional reactions rooted in fear, cowardice, lack of responsibility and accountability, and apathy are destroying our world. Violence of foolishness and unbelief are destroying our world. Trusting in men instead of God—which is idolatry and sorcery—is destroying our world. Trusting in the strength of “Egypt” is not strength. It is weakness.

Although I do not condone violence, because violence is incontinence and violence is weakness, I do not condone rolling over and doing nothing either. However, without the Spirit of God leading us, all we will get is more of the same. More weakness. More destruction.

The Spirit of God will strengthen us. He will give us mighty words to say and actions that resist the evils in this world in an effective manner that shows what the Kingdom of God is about. The kingdoms of this world are weak—and the One we serve has overcome them already.

Their strength is shameful. It is nothing and it will come to nothing. Do not trust in Egypt. Trust in Jesus. Learn of Him. Hear HIS voice. HE will show you what to do. To one He says stay where you are and serve me there. To another He says go here and perform a righteous action. To one He says learn of me and get your own house in order.

It all depends on what HE would have each person to do on an individual bases, so I cannot instruct you. However, I do want to do what I can to help you hear His voice and not the voice of strangers—and there are many loud, confused, and bloody voices out there. Weakness. “Learn meekness, and He will teach you terrible things.” Learn what that means, and you will be strong.

The world dies at the hands of weak men. In Christ, there is neither male nor female, and in Christ we are strong. We will overcome this. Even if our lives are given up and the Lord finds it fitting to give this world over to the hands of weak men, we will live again because He is MIGHTY in us. He is LIFE. And we who trust in Jesus alone will live. Nothing has power over us. Not even death!

Wear the Spirit of God as Your Protection…Not the Promises of “Egypt”

Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin:

2That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth; to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt!

Therefore shall the strength of Pharaoh be your shame, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt your confusion.

For his princes were at Zoan, and his ambassadors came to Hanes.

They were all ashamed of a people that could not profit them, nor be an help nor profit, but a shame, and also a reproach.

The burden of the beasts of the south: into the land of trouble and anguish, from whence come the young and old lion, the viper and fiery flying serpent, they will carry their riches upon the shoulders of young asses, and their treasures upon the bunches of camels, to a people that shall not profit them.

For the Egyptians shall help in vain, and to no purpose: therefore have I cried concerning this, Their strength is to sit still.

Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever:

That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord:

10 Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:

11 Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.

12 Wherefore thus saith the Holy One of Israel, Because ye despise this word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and stay thereon:

13 Therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant.

14 And he shall break it as the breaking of the potters’ vessel that is broken in pieces; he shall not spare: so that there shall not be found in the bursting of it a sherd to take fire from the hearth, or to take water withal out of the pit.

15 For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel;

In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.

16 But ye said, No; for we will flee upon horses; therefore shall ye flee: and, We will ride upon the swift; therefore shall they that pursue you be swift.

17 One thousand shall flee at the rebuke of one; at the rebuke of five shall ye flee: till ye be left as a beacon upon the top of a mountain, and as an ensign on an hill.

18 And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the Lord is a God of judgment:

blessed are all they that wait for him.

— Passage from Isaiah 30

Waiting on Jesus does not mean that we do nothing. It means we wait on Him, like a servant waits on his master. How can we wait on Him who we do not know or trust in? More on this tomorrow, Lord willing. For now, consider this passage and feel free to share any thoughts questions or comments in general below.

The Desolation of the UK

The title is meant to provoke thought. I can’t make any certain claim, but things seem to be going in a very “desolate” direction. A few days ago, we rung in the new year, and it was sad to see empty streets. Lifeless. Desolate.

I just heard about extreme lockdown measures that are being imposed by the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, due to this “COVID-19 Variant.” I’m not an expert in these things, but I don’t have to be an expert to recognize desolation when I see it, and neither do you. This is not right, and we should not be surprised to see the same thing happen here in the United States.

I wonder what will happen next? First it was a two-week lockdown to slow the spread, and now, the UK will be shut down for “at least six weeks.” At least. What does that really mean? This isolation is not good for anyone, no matter what the so-called experts say. Even among those who trust in science, many will tell you that the numbers just don’t add up. This does not makes sense. Something else is at work, but what? Why are all things being made “desolate?”

There are many sins of this world, and I do believe that anything that happens is ultimately God’s will–and that also means that ultimately, all things are working together for the good of those who trust in Him. So, I really want to drive this thought home: “all who trust in Jesus will not be made desolate.” There are also scriptures warning us not to rejoice over the desolation of the wicked, lest we find the wrath of God turned onto us.

This is a sad time, but we can find some measure of hope in knowing that God is in control. When things seem dark, God is at work. We can trust in Him. We can trust in the Son. He will keep us.

The governments can try to take it all away, but in Jesus we have something they can never take away. We have faith in a Kingdom in which righteousness dwells. There is no darkness there. There is no desolation, but life everlasting.

I can’t help but wonder what will follow. What will we be required to do in order to go back to life as “normal?” Or, is this “new normal” going to take over? I don’t know what is going to happen, but I do know that any power that rises with a solution will not be Christ, and we should not trust in it. It would be better to lay our life down and live than to trust in desolation. Desolation means empty, void, isolated. Dead.

Jesus makes us full. He brings us life. He makes us connected with those who love Him and trust in Him–and no matter how isolated this world gets, we are united in Spirit.

Never let those who make void rob you of your joy and peace. Never let those who make void steal your faith and cause you to fear. Never let those who make void cause you to bow to anyone other than the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Bruised Reeds and Smoking Flax

The mercy of the Lord, Jesus is an incredible thing. His patience. His compassion. His wisdom. He knows how to deal with the vulnerable. As it is written of Him, “a bruised reed shall he not break, and a smoking flax shall he not quench.” When we are barely hanging on to the faith, He does not break us. He does not put our lights out.

It’s interesting to me. On one hand, there is the parable of the wise and foolish virgins. The foolish, who had no oil in their lamp, were not ready when the bridegroom returned. On one hand, there are rebukes given to the churches in Revelation. 5 of the 7 were threatened with having their “candlestick removed out of its place.” It seems that only two are left in Revelation 11, so the others must have been “removed.”

On the other hand, “a smoking flax shall he not quench.”

I’ve seen a lot of faith-breaking and Spirit-quenching ministry. It is a shame though. In this time, when Christians need to ban together, fill one another, and build each other up, there are many who would rather break and snuff out.

I guess that’s what it means to be a prophet (I speak sarcastically). Some seem to think so. They seem to think that sniffing out the weak within the flock then devouring them makes them messengers of God. They call it rebuke and exhortation. I don’t think Jesus would agree. I think He would say they are drunken with a false sense of righteousness, power, and the notion that they are something great in the kingdom. I think He would say that they are smithing their fellow servants. I think He would say “depart from me you who work iniquity, I never knew you.”

I have struggled with this too. I know that temptation and the blindness that can take hold of you. This is not the way, and it make me sad when I see it. There is a lot of this Online. There are good ministries Online too, but there are many who are looking for those lost sheep so they can devour them. Of course, they don’t think that is what they do. The think they are doing God’s service.

There are problems with our churches. We can learn from Revelation and from the lessons of our history so that our gatherings are made better. If they must come down, and I do believe that they will of a necessity so that the Kingdom of God can be established; the old must die to make way for the new, which is blessing in the end. However, the church—which is in spirit and not contained by our buildings—and the temple of God—which are all believers and their individual relationship with Jesus in Spirit—will never fall.

Instead of worrying overmuch about the failings of the things that will die, why not consider how we can make that which will live better?

Some Christians see the failings of our churches, and they fear. They fear that Christians will not make it. Instead, we should trust in the One who is “meek and lowly in heart.” His grace is what we lean on. Not our abilities or our failings.

Some see the failings of our churches, and they become wrathful. They feel a sense of indignation against them, and they feel just in tearing them down. Instead, we should know that God is in control. He is dealing patiently with all of us, and all things work according to His timing.

If things need to be torn down, He will send and enemy to do so—and again, this is for our good ultimately.

Christians should not tear down other Christians. Period.

We should build up. We should rebuke sin—in the spirit of meekness—lest we be tempted to be as the fearful, unbelieving, and murderous. Lest we align ourselves with those who set themselves up as an idol, looking to gather to themselves disciples for their kingdom. Lest we judge things before their time and find ourselves judged instead.

Let those who destroy do their work. It is necessary, but not for us. Those who destroy will be destroyed. Let those who build do their work. It is necessary, and to those there is everlasting life.

We can fight against the enemy in the realm of false teachings, sin, and all manner of destruction. This includes the ministers of destruction—and there are many. It’s easy to spot when you were once one of them.

That’s why the focus right now is that we should be careful of “the spirit we are of.” That’s why the focus right now is that “those who walk after the Spirit of God are the sons of God.” That’s why the focus right now is that we do not want to be found “drunk and smiting our fellow servants.”

This is a serious matter—but as with all things—trust is greater than fear. Even these can be shown a better way. The Lord understands that “because iniquity will abound, the love of many will grow cold.” He can soften our hearts. He can open our blind eyes. He can make a way for us to escape—and He will.

Considering Proverbs 10:11

The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.

This is similar to Proverbs 10:6Blessings are upon the head of the just: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.

As Christians who seek to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, we are truly blessed. We are told that those who love the Son and seek to keep His commandments will receive the Holy Spirit, and that God will reveal Himself to us. We are told that we will receive a fountain of living water that will spring up out of us into everlasting life.

The words that we speak should be of this well of life; they should be righteous. The more we learn to trust in Jesus and not Man, the more we learn of the ways of Jesus, the more we love His ways, the more we are conformed to His image, the more this well of life should be coming out of us.

Conversely, we know that violence covers the mouth of the wicked.

I think this means that their mouth is one that is covered in violence, like a filter of filth that all their words come through and are therewith contaminated. I cannot help but think about the mask mandates these days. It is fitting.

I think this also means that their mouth, which is so accustomed to violence and so loves it, will be stopped with violence. As Jesus says, “he that leads into captivity must go into captivity. He that kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and faith of the saints.”

As Christians, the only covering we need is the covering of the Spirit of God—and the more we trust in Him, the more we will speak His words—and these are words of life to those who are of life. As it is written, “to some it is the savor of life unto life, to others the savor of death unto death.” Those who love death hate the words of life. To them, it is violence, and therewith they will be stopped.

 “This is my covenant with them, saith the Lord: My Spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and forever.”

Jesus alone is our redeemer. Not governments. Not our church buildings and exalted men and women of God. Not our houses. Not our jobs. Not our families. Jesus alone. He must come first, and He will come first. All things that are exalted in our life above Him will be thrown down, and this is a blessing for many who do not realize just how much they have aligned themselves with man.

When that great image of Man is made, many will see and know suddenly, and they will turn to Jesus more fully. However, if our lamps are too empty, we will not see. So, let’s continue to fill our lamps while we have time to do so. “Love the Lord thy God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and with all your mind; and love your neighbor like yourself.”