Feeling Torn

As a Christian, I know that we should be “simplie concerning evil.” However, being “wise in well doing” does not always come so easy. I’m torn. It’s getting late in the day today–and maybe getting late in the day in another sense–in which time is running out–and I need to know what I should do.

Since it is getting late and I’m not finding rest because of my being torn, I thought it would be a good idea to do an impromptu writing about how I’m feeling and what I’m thinking. I like showing my humanity and frailty. I like reminding myself and others that Jesus is Lord, and as Christians we all have access to Him. Man can lead us astray, and so can I.

I believe that the things I have written lately are true. However, truth is often multi-layered, and as mentioned, being “wise in well doing” can be complex. It is for me anyway. I overthink everything–sometimes to my own detriment. Yet, I trust in Jesus and I know that He is teaching me, and as a faithful servant, I should share what I am given with others. We all have things to contend with, things to gain, and things to share. Sometimes that includes our weakness.

Here’s where I am at.

I have fought long against anger issues. I have fought long against fear and unbelief. I have fought long against despair. I have fought long against resentment, bitterness, and unforgiveness. And for the first time in my life that I can remember, I feel like I’m getting a grip on these things. I feel like Jesus is freeing me. I’m learning more self-control. I’m learning more patience. I’m learning to trust in Jesus and to love people more fully.

I don’t mean to boast. It is the work of the Lord. I know this all too well.

However, I cannot help but feel torn because of this. I don’t know if I can explain.

On one hand, I feel like I am finally free. And in this, I strongly believe some of the greatest temptations of our time involve things like wrath, resentment, unforgiveness, fear, and unbelief. I strongly believe that we should be patient with the wicked, be good examples of Jesus to an unbelieving world, and with love and humility do our best to lead people to Jesus. He will sort them out.

Yet…

Maybe I am at risk of going too extreme with this. Lord knows, I do that.

One of the things I have written is that those who can possess their vessels–meaning those who can control themselves when faced with temptations to behave unchristianly–should speak out against the evils of this time. Those who cannot maitain should get their own houses in order, otherwise, they are at risk of adding to the noise or otherwise making matters worse.

I think this is true.

So, having tasted more freedom and control, why don’t I want to speak out?

Am I still afraid? Not for myself. No, I don’t think so. There are people who have suffered much more than I have, but my life has had a continual stream of suffering. I’m kind of used to it, and part of me longs to see the Lord Jesus return.

It seems like so many people are overeager to see Jesus return, and they do not know what they are asking for. Before He comes, there is a time of great darkness–and things must happen to set that time off–and I’m not too eager for that either–not for my sake so much, but for the sake of those I love. What will happen to them? I need to trust yet even more.

Mostly, I am afraid of doing wrong. I am afraid of doing the will of Satan, all the while thinking that I am doing the will of God. It happens. We should not be so proud to think it could not happen to us. Yet, we should trust in Jesus too. Where is that balance?

Maybe Jesus gave some freedom so that I could do what needs to be done–and in a more effective way than I would have before. Will that lead to events that I’d rather not see come just yet? I don’t know. I do know that my life is in the hands of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and I know that He is compassionate.

We have many examples of how Jesus healed people He loved, or healed people who those He loved had loved because He did not want them to despair. How much more will He do for those who serve Him? He will care for those I love if I am faithful to do what He would have me to do. It’s still a very sorrowful thing. Suffering is unavoidable–not just for me, but for people I care a great deal about.

But, who knows? Maybe things will look up. Maybe if enough people do what is right, we can set things right and enjoy many more years of goodness and life in this world. But, if not, and I want to be prepared for that possibility, I know that we can trust in Jesus.

I’m not exactly sure what I am doing. I never really am. I’m always blinded to a degree in that regard, but I know what is at the end of my road. There is joy and victory. There is resurrection and there is Jesus Christ. There will be no more death, nor sorrow, nor pain. That is something to look forward to!

Confessions of a Fearful and Unbelieving Servant (Part 2)

“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murders, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Fear and unbelief might not seem like such a big deal, but it can be. We all have times when we feel afraid. We all have times of doubt. These things, in and of themselves, are not sin. However, if left unchecked, fear and unbelief can lead to all kinds of sin, and the end of sin is death.

I know that fear and unbelief has led to a lot of sin in my life.

When I am afraid, and I do not turn to Jesus and trust in Him, I do what all humans do: resort to our natural “fight or flight” mode of being—which again, is not in and of itself sin—but can lead to a variety of sins.

For example, when I feel trapped in a situation that threatens me, I can become tempted to fight my way out of it in an unrighteous way. I might become full of self-righteous indignation and feel justified in tearing someone down verbally. I might lose my temper in a general way or yell and stomp off.

If I were to turn to Jesus instead, know that He is in control of all things, face my pride, my need for self-preservation, and my fear, I would react in a different way. I might state the truth of the matter, speak up about an injustice, or look to my own actions so that I am an example of what I want to see in others. However, what I will not do is murder people—spiritually speaking—with my words or other actions of wrath.

When I feel trapped in a situation that is overwhelming, I can become tempted to run away from it, especially when feelings of hopelessness take hold. Sometimes I all but shut down. I become numb, and my heart becomes hardened. I can tell myself that “I don’t care,” and for a time that becomes true.

If I were to turn to Jesus instead, know that He is in control of all things and all things are working out for my good, I would trust in Him. Instead of running away or becoming emotionally callous, I would face the emotional pain and know that God sees it all. I would wait on Him and His timing, find peace in the teachings of Jesus and in His suffering, and know that even though this life means suffering, I am looking forward to the Kingdom of Heaven—and even now—my King reigns. If called to speak out about something, I would do so without fear or shame.

I think most of us can think of times when fear and unbelief took hold of us and caused us to sin. Maybe we lashed out at someone. Maybe we gave into despair. Maybe we ran away from something we should have faced instead. Maybe we denied something that we knew was right because it was easier to go along with the crowd.

When fear and unbelief take hold, what else might we do?

Will we trust in Jesus, or will we trust in man? Will we stand up for what is right, or will we pander to the ways of the wicked? Will we become full of self-righteous indignation and justify harming others, or will we stand up for what is good in an upright manner? Will we become so overwhelmed with grief that we roll over and allow evil to consume us and those we love?

Whatever we do, if we are doing it with a spirit of fear and unbelief—a spirit that leads to resentment, murder, pride, irresponsibility, and acceptance of evil due to fear of man over fear of God—then we are at risk of doing the work of the enemy and not of God.

We should stand up for what is good and true—especially the gospel of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. Doing so is violence to those who deny what is good and true. There is violence of God and there is violence of Satan. If we are not aware of the “spirit we are of” then we can do the work of the devil and not of God. Sometimes, we don’t even know it.

I know this from experience.

For example, if we stand up for something that is good, but we do so in a way that is demeaning, lacks understanding for those we oppose, and feels justified in harming other human beings rather than attempting to convert them, then we are doing no good. We are only hardening people further.

“Many will kill you thinking they do God’s service, and this they will do because they have not known the Father nor me,” says the Lord, Jesus.

This can happen because we don’t know what is good and true, so we push harmful ideas. However, this can also happen when we know what is good and true, but we either attempt to overcome evil with evil, or we deny the truth because we are afraid to speak out. All of these deeds are murderous in the eyes of God.

They all lead to being among the abominable, and murders, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars.

We can kill people with fight and with flight that results from fear and unbelief—and those who love death will have death—even the lake of fire which is the second death.

Even so, I am thankful to know that Jesus will deal with the fear and unbelief within those He loves. This might mean going through fearful and faith-trying things. I know that was the case for me, and I am still being worked on in these things.

Having been through some of this myself, I also know that though Jesus chastens those He loves, He also preserves them. He heals the deep issues in our heart that cause our fearful and unbelieving natures. He shows us what is good and true and gives us the strength to stand up for His ways by His Spirit and not the spirits of devils.

Many claim Jesus, but due to their fear and unbelief, just as I have done at times, they “cover with a covering, and not of the Spirit.”

There are many things we can turn to due to our fear and unbelief—things that are not of God.

However, Jesus is merciful. He will forgive us, and we can trust in Him. We can grow and get better at walking after the things of the Spirit, and as sons of God we will. He will cause us to. He is the “author and finisher of our faith.” Never turn away from that. His mercy is incredible. His wrath doesn’t burn forever. Respect Him. Trust in Him. Turn away from man and turn to Him in all things. See what wonderful things He will do!

In all things, keep moving forward and trust in Jesus. ❤

Considering Proverbs 10:9

He that walketh uprightly walketh surely: but he that perverteth his ways shall be known.

Another translation of this verse is, Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.

I think we can apply this to any person or group of people who live and promote injustice.

All things are known to God. There is nothing that man can do without His knowledge, and He will deal with all crooked things. He makes the ways of the wicked known to us, and He provides us with a “straight and narrow” path to walk that helps us avoid these crooked paths. One day, He will also make the deeds of the wicked and unjust known.

God can reveal the crooked paths in many ways.

He can reveal their deeds through Christians that speak up about the nature of the crooked paths, and in contrasting these crooked ways with the “straight and narrow” way of God, some might be converted.

He can reveal their crooked paths by allowing the “fruit of their doings,” or the consequences of their actions, come to a full. They might deceive many people into following their crooked path, but eventually all who do will see that this path only leads to death.

One day, those who make and walk in crooked paths will face the judgment of God—and there is no hiding what they have done from Him.

As Christians, we are thankful that Jesus forgave us of all the crooked things we have done, and we know that when we meet the Lord, it will be a joyful meeting—not one of dread and condemnation—and that is because we wear the blood of the Son of God who was crucified for our sins.

As Christians, we are thankful that we are not doomed to a continued life of confusion and sin. Through the Holy Spirit of God and by familiarity with the word of God and relationship with Jesus who is the Word of God, we can learn to avoid all crooked paths. If we go astray, we can have faith that the Lord will make our crooked ways known to us so that we can repent and get back on track.

Having our own crooked ways made straight should always be priority. Although we saw this happen to a large degree when we turned away from a life of sin and to Jesus, staying self-aware is important. The Christian journey is on-going, and because we still live in the flesh, we can find ourselves going astray if we are not continually seeking Jesus.

“Those who walk after the Spirit of God are the sons of God,” and there is always room to grow in our walk.

There are many crooked paths out there, and there are many who create these paths and call them good. There are many who want to destroy those who refuse to walk on these crooked paths and those who want to do the work of God and make these crooked ways known.

Have faith in Jesus. He will reveal all things, and all crooked paths will be “destroyed with the brightness of his coming.”

So, as Christians who expect the Light of the world to come and reveal all dark and crooked things, let us walk in His Light now, brighter and brighter until the Day of the Lord comes—which will be darkness and not light.

However, as servants of Light, we will shine anyway—and it will be clear who is of Jesus and who is not. Darkness will have darkness. Light will have Light. And though the darkness will try to destroy us, He who is Light and Life will come and reveal it all—and when Life, Light, and Truth comes to a world of death, darkness, and lies—that world will become nothing but stubble.

So, let us continue to seek Jesus. Find out the crooked paths. Find out the straight and narrow path. Live truth and righteousness and speak truth and righteousness. In so doing, your enemies are made stubble—metaphorically—as they rave and fight against the ways of our God, thereby revealing their true nature to themselves, the world, and to God—and He will avenge.

Do not be overcome with evil but overcome evil with good. Be sure that you are in fact walking in His paths according to His Spirit, because many are of their father the devil who claim to be of Jesus—and we can also do the will of the devil at times if we are not careful.

Learn about the matters you are concerned about. Find them out. See where they come from and where they lead. Self-assess and look to Jesus. Try to convert the lost. Hold hope for all. Walk in humility and mercy, and trust in Jesus. With “eyes before and behind and within” we will see and we will be good stewards—and to God be glory and dominion forever and ever!

To the Christians of the United States

I’ve wrestled with many ideas over the years, and this is what I believe is right. I hear no booming voice from the heavens, but the Spirit of the Lord speaks, and we can learn to listen. Am I hearing Him or is my own heart speaking? If Jesus is the King of my heart, and I believe Him to be, then these words should be true. However, many are deceived, and I am in no wise worthy that I should not be one of them. I also know that I have room to grow, and there are many things I cannot see clearly.

So, I say this for the sake of transparency and so you can judge for yourself, lest anyone be deceived by me. I trust that, if I am a fool, Jesus will not allow those He loves to be pulled astray by me. Do not put your trust in man, and certainly not in me, but in Jesus. However, because I want to be a faithful servant and that means freely giving anything I have received to my brethren, I am going to share these thoughts:

This is to the Christian people of the United States of America.

Having our liberties stripped away is wrong, and since we live in a democracy, we the people of this nation are responsible for the direction our nation is going. Therefore, speaking up about these wrongs is an upright thing to do. This is our nation, and many Christians want to fight to take our nation back.

On one hand, we should do what we can with faith in God who can deliver us. However, there is another Kingdom that we as Christians are to seek—and what if the kingdom of our nation is in opposition to Christians receiving the most precious Kingdom: The Kingdom of Heaven?

It is true that the United States is one of the greatest nations to ever exist—yet for all her greatness, she went astray—and so did the Christians within her because she was purported to be a Christian nation of self-governing people. However, the people gave into much wickedness, and many of the establishments within Christianity have also.

What if, it is the mercy of God to give this nation over to the hand of the enemies of His people so that we can return to a love of righteousness, a love of the brethren, and a love of Jesus above the comforts of this world and the pleasures of sin?

What if God gives our Christian establishments and structures into the hands of the enemy, not to destroy us, but so that we can lay aside the petty disputing among us, stop looking to men as our leaders, and start looking to Jesus?

What if our “gatherings together” are unpleasing to God because they bear so little fruit, and though many honor Jesus with their lips, their hearts are far from Him?

All things that happen are ordained of God. There is no cosmic battle between good and evil that the Lord does not have total control over—and as for those who trust in Him—all things are for our good. We can trust in Him.

However, by and large, there is some repenting that needs to be done—not because we can be taken from Jesus or cast off—but because He chastens those He loves.

I do not expect Christians to “take the country back” as many within the evangelical realm claim they will, because I believe we are preparing to receive a new kingdom, and the kingdoms of this world are preparing to receive their own. Those that love death will have him, and they will love him. Those that love Jesus will have Him—and He will keep us.

Though many might die, we will live in the resurrection—both in heart and bodily. Though the world is confused and devoured by death, Jesus will reign in our hearts and the Kingdom will come to us, strengthening us, preserving us, and setting much right that has gone wrong within the Christian faith—not structurally or systemically, but in spirit as we learn to walk after the Spirit and not the letter. In order to do so, death must reign for a time. It is for our good, though it will not be easy.

I don’t know if the end times in the final sense is approaching, but I believe that a type of end times is coming. It could be a kind of precursor, or a kind of false end times. In any case, do not expect to take our nation back without returning to Jesus, because by and large we are no better than the unbelievers. There are many ways in which Christians need to return to Jesus, but placing Him first by learning to keep His commandments of love for God and our neighbor is a summation of it all.

All that we have exalted above Him are brought down—all things that we murder each other over, all things that we use to justify living in sin, all things that we use to misuse the word of God and abuse the blood of the Word of God. All things that are keeping us from the Kingdom that really matters will be removed—and many “candlesticks” will follow suit.

Do not be overly discouraged when all that we love and trust in comes down. Do not think that God has forsaken His people. Many will accuse you of this. Many will say that God has cast off His people because of their sin. Many will make you question your faith and they will pressure you to deny Jesus. Let no man accuse you. Yes. Christians have gone astray, but Christians also wear the blood of the lamb of God who is faithful and true. He will not leave us and no man can take us out of His hand.

Even so, many will lose what they “seemed to have” and this is shown through their lack of trust in Him, causing them to fear man more than God, and it is man they will worship—though they may still claim to be Christian. “In works they deny Him,” meaning they do the will of their father, the devil, even if Jesus is on their lips. It sounds confusing, but it will be seen clearly by those who trust in Jesus and look to their own hearts instead of accusing those around them.

Seek Jesus and know that no matter what happens, even if it does not appear to go well for Christians, He is in control and all things are working together for our good. He will redeem us. He will avenge us.

We need to remember His ways and turn to Him. Fear God more than man and He will keep you. He will teach you. He will lead you. He will take care of you. So, stand up for what is right, but do not be deceived when things do not go the way you want them to go—and the way many within evangelical Christianity say they will go—because they do not know the will of God for us.

And this is very important: in standing up for what is right, take great care that you do not give into the ways of the enemy: lust, love of sin, flattery, lying, envy, greed, theft, resentment, pride, accusation, holier-than-thou self-righteous indignation, murder, fear, and unbelief. That is the great trial of our time. It does not matter if you stand up for what is right if you do so in the wrong way.

If you cannot keep yourself in this, then it is best that you focus on getting your own house in order because the violent will die by violence. It is only by trusting in Jesus that we can escape so great a temptation. The world is ready to destroy itself, and we should not participate in this—but we should know that all things are working according to the perfect will of God.

Those who are strong enough in the faith and know how to keep their vessels should speak out. They should fight for this nation, but do not be surprised if all your fighting is in vain. Those who know what is wrong within the Christian nation and who can keep their vessels should speak out, but do not be surprised if all your fighting is in vain. Though it seems in vain, it is not..

It is good for those who can speak to speak, because failing to do so is another kind of temptation. We should be faithful to what we are given. Each Christian has their own priorities to consider and their own walk in Jesus to find—but Jesus is the way and He is in control.

Find out what He would have you to do, then go do it. Do it mightily in the Spirit what is Holy and True, and through prayer, self-reflection, and repentance keep yourself from the accusations and temptations of the enemy.

Jesus will avenge. He will make our enemies plain as the times sift the wicked from the just, but as the just, we know that if it were not for Jesus we would be among the wicked too. If it were not for the grace of God, we would be no better. Be thankful, praise God, and in humility, patience, faith in Jesus, and love for our enemies we will overcome. We will have peace and clarity despite all the confusion and fear in this world because we know that our Lord reigns and He will reign. Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. He will redeem and the work He will do is mighty within us. This is a blessed time!

Yet, do not be deceived. A false Christ will come to restore all things, but if we know the ways of our Lord, Jesus, and the ways of the enemy, Satan, we will not fall for it. We can see the ways of both at work now—so choose wisely. Jesus will cause all who He loves to hear His voice. Those who follow Him will follow Him, and those who follow Satan will follow Satan. We will walk in the way our God and our Father and they will walk in the way of their god and their father.

Do not give into death that can only bring death. We have Life on our side. Though many Christians will die, this is the will of God for them. It is protection from temptations they could not bear. So, be at peace. Trust in the Lord. He will overcome—and indeed He already did—and so will we.

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus

Philippians 2

If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,

Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:

15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;

16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.

17 Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.

18 For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.

Isaiah 53

Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?

For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.

11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.

There is Always More to Gain: Returning to Our First Love

When I write about how Jesus has given me “so much” or how I have learned “so much,” this is coming from a place of appreciation for the things of God. I know that I am in no way worthy of any of it, and because I appreciate His grace and mercy, all things feel like much, even the smallest of things.

However, the more I learn, the more I see my lack. In that way, I know that though I have received much, in the sense of placing value on the things of the Kingdom of Heaven, I also know that there is more. There will always be more, because as Christians, we should be aiming for Jesus Christ.

Although we will never be good like He is good, and we will never be sons of God like Jesus is the Son of God, we are supposed to “put on Christ.” Thankfully, as with all things pertaining to our salvation, this is given to us by Jesus. He will do the work in us, transforming us from the inside out, and while we are yet sinners, we are covered by His righteousness so that we can approach God—and in so doing, how can we see anything but how much we lack?

It does not matter how far we think we have come, there is more. If there was no more to gain, then we would be complete and there would be no more need for this life. I know I want much more of this life to live, and while I live, I never want to assume that I have it all together.

I have seen what that mindset creates. There is a lot of stagnancy among Christianity. There is a lot of reliance on the knowledge of our denominations, but from where I stand, there is no single denomination that has it all right—and I have yet to hear preaching from a pastor that did not assume that their denomination was right—all the while accusing other denominations. I’m certain there must be some pastors with more humility and more loyalty to Jesus than to their denomination, but there is a general problem here.

Our denominations are not God. Jesus is.

It is a shame because in our ridged allegiance to our denominations, we are missing out on the insight that our brothers and sisters of other Christian sects have to offer. From where I stand, we agree on most of the important points of the faith, and the things we disagree on are disagreeable for a reason—and the reason is that there are things that have not been fully revealed to us.

How can we have these things revealed to us when we are blinded by loyalty to our denominations? How can we have these things revealed to us without having that knowledge immediately snatched away when we are afraid to challenge our beloved pastors? How can we have these things revealed to us if we do not put Jesus first? He is our first love, right? Or, is our denomination our first love?

From where I stand—and I know that I lack much—most things we disagree on are a matter of perspective. When I weigh it all and seek Jesus above men, I have noticed that there is an element of truth in most ideas. It’s just a matter of sorting what is true from what is not or what is incomplete. So much of our contention could be removed if we had the humility to see this—and most importantly—the loyalty to Jesus above all else to see this.

If nothing else, we should recognize that there are many things we simply do not understand, and we all have biases. There is a reason why Christians can read the same bible and see things differently, and there is wisdom of God in Christians being somewhat scattered. This is a protection for us. So, I don’t worry overmuch about it like I once did.

However, I do want all of us to consider that many of the things we hold onto are partial truths—and because of our disagreements and pride, thinking that we know it all while others do not, we will accuse our fellow servants—and that is problematic.

This makes me think of the Church of Ephesus in the book of Revelation.

“I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.

Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”

This reminds me of myself during the earliest parts of my own ministry (I refer to my former website and writings). I worked hard and studied hard, and I was very concerned about who was a “real” Christian. I was also very accusatory at times. In my presuming to know “so much” without seeing my lack, I was proud and I was at risk of leaving my first love—a love for what is true and hungering after the things of the Kingdom of Heaven.

We can easily become full of knowledge that puffs up, and when we do not know that we are starving, we will devour others—and we think we are doing righteously. This is not good.

I get it. I understand that we love Jesus and that is why we do things like go to church and study under our preferred denominations. I understand that we do not trust ourselves, so we think that any disagreement we have with established traditions comes from our own lack of understanding, so we trust in the educated Christian leaders and the ideas passed down through generations within Western Christianity.

I understand that many sincere pastors are caught up in a system, and they love the Lord and the brethren. They are doing their best. Yet…there is that threat of having their “candlestick removed out of its place.”

I do tend to see this removal in terms of “principalities and powers,” meaning the system of our denominations and physical church structures. However, many people will follow suit–and that is because of blind loyalty to a system above Jesus. So, it is something to consider.

At the very least, be on guard against accusing other Christians. Be on guard against thinking that you know it all already. Seek Jesus first—above all other loyalties—and let Him teach you. There is more for us to gain. There always will be. There is more to gain in understanding Christian doctrine. There is more to gain in righteousness. There is more to gain in service. There is more of Jesus to be seen revealed in us—and this process is hindered by the blindness of pride that thinks it has it all already.

Confessions of a Fearful and Unbelieving Servant

Last Tuesday I wrote about my experience with receiving the Holy Spirit. A few regular readers dropped off after that, and I expect as much. I understand how it feels to be confronted with Christian ideas that are outside of our comfort zone. It is frightening and sometimes shakes our faith to the core. I try to be aware of this. I think Jesus was aware of this. He once said, “I have many things yet to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now.”

I don’t want to overwhelm anyone, but I do want to encourage us to consider some ideas that are slightly outside of our comfort zone, because this makes our faith stronger.

I know what it is like to be a fearful and unbelieving servant, and that is not something we want to be found to be when the Day of the Lord is upon us, because we will certainly fall unless Jesus intervenes in a powerful way.

The thing is, I know that He can, and I know that He will do whatever He must do to save those who belong to Him. I know because I have experienced these things for myself.

I am, by nature, very fearful. I used to be, by nature, very gullible until life fell me flat on my face. Then, instead of gullible, I became very cynical and unbelieving.

The two—fear and unbelief—are not conducive to a strong faith and walk with Jesus. I was on the verge of giving up the faith—even taking my own life—when Jesus intervened. My earlier testimony articles address this if you are interested.

Receiving the Holy Spirit in a powerful way was the beginning of a painful journey out of fear and unbelief.

I hesitate to write about these things, because it feels like I am taking the focus off Jesus and placing focus onto myself, and I don’t like to do that. However, I know that as small as my reach might be, all things happened for a reason.

Remember, I am a fearful and unbelieving servant who was on the verge of death. Drastic measures were called for.

I think for many Christians, drastic measures are called for, and it is because of our fear and unbelief. However, having been through it myself, I know that Jesus will keep you.

This is a long introduction. Maybe overwhelming. I do try to stick with the most important points.

After I received the Holy Spirit, I found some freedom from sin, as mentioned in the last testimony article. I also began a journey towards receiving something I asked of the Lord, Jesus, and that is understanding of His will for Christians in this time.

However, the process of receiving that understanding meant dealing with my own fear and unbelief, and this was not a process that happened in a single day—but many days. I received the Holy Spirit in 2016. It is now 2020, and I am still learning what it is all about.

Once I received the Holy Spirit, I thought I would understand it all. I did not. I had previously received understanding about Christian doctrine from a fellow servant, and I thought that was what mattered. I thought that if Christians heard these teachings, they would have the same conversion to these ideas as I did, and if they did not, then they must not be real Christians.

I was, for a time, very caught up on who was a real Christian. I was very caught up on doctrine, and I thought that we had to come to a central understanding on all things, and I thought that was what my ministry was to push.

However, because of my fear of Christians who believed differently, and because of my lack of faith in the will of God and purposes of God, I became very accusatory towards fellow Christians who believed differently than I did—and that was most of them to one degree or another, so I also felt very isolated.

So, I started looking for Christians who believed like I did.

The only place I knew to look as Online. Yet, part of me knew better. I had asked Jesus to teach me, and I was supposed to lay aside learning from most people; there was only one who Jesus had led me to who I was to learn from, but because of my fear and unbelief, I found ways to reason against that.

The world of Online teachers and prophets so-called is dark indeed, and if it were not for the mercy of the Lord and the understanding His Spirit gave me, I would have fallen for some terrible ideas. There are a lot of bad teachings out there Online—very, very, proud and accusatory teachings, blasphemous teachings, and some of them are extremely seductive for those who are weak in the faith or feel cast off by traditional Christianity.

I endured a variety of temptations from listening to these Online ministers, but Jesus was faithful even though I was not. He pulled me out, and through the experience, I learned quite a bit. I learned some markers of a false prophet, and I also began to see things in myself that I did not like, like my own accusatory nature.

I fought that nature for years, and it was a back-and-forth struggle that would take me at times, then I would prevail at times. I wrote about this, in a not-so-obvious ways, within the articles on my last website. This was an “on-going struggle” that seemed obvious to me, because it was very painful and felt like a drastic shifting between two natures, so I thought it was obvious to everyone. I later learned that it was not so obvious, and I guess that is because the Lord was good. There is good work there to read, and I intend to repost a lot of it here.

It is hard to put this struggle into words properly. Maybe as I think about this more, I will have more to say about it. The best way I know to describe it is that I “did not know what spirit I was of.” Though I had the Holy Spirit, my own nature is not holy. My own nature is fearful and unbelieving, and my own nature is weak to the ways of the enemy.

So, in a way, I have spent the last few years learning somewhat of the ways of the enemy, and it was the Spirt of the Lord that kept me—and it was the Spirit of the Lord that led me into this also because this was the understanding I was meant to gain. It was not the understanding I expected, but it was the will of God.

Late last year, and early this year, I came face to face with this enemy in a very frightening way. I saw the darkest parts of myself, and I left my old website. I was afraid that I would corrupt everything because I did not have the right sort of character to continue.

I also had life circumstances that caused me to attempt to abandon ministry all together. I just wanted to live my life and do my best to achieve the “American Dream” for my family. That brought a slew of other problems I had to face, and I lost a lot as a result.

So, I went back to ministry by starting a new website, because I learned that this is not something I can run from; when I try to run away things to not go well. Jesus was merciful, yet again, and He showed me what I had been through over the past few years, reminded me of what I had asked of Him, and He showed me how all the chaos I went through was His will all along. I had asked to understand His will for Christians in this time, and the only way to really get it was to live it.

The articles within this current website are written with that understanding in mind—and as of now, one of the main things I keep going back to is that we do not want to be found “drunken and smiting our fellow servants.” If we are found in such a manner, we are considered among the “fearful and unbelieving.”

I know how easy it is. I know that our nature is such that we are going to be deceived into doing the will of Satan, all the while thinking that we are doing the will of God—and we can call ourselves Christian while we do so.

I know that is not something people want to hear. That takes us out of our comfort zone. I also realize that I am not doing so great a job at conveying my experiences, but I trust the Lord to bring things out more fully in His own time.

Though some of this is hard to hear, rest assured in this: Jesus does not lose anyone who belongs to Him. Not one.

He will do whatever is necessary, and as I wrote and as I strongly believe, drastic measures are called for due to the fear and unbelief of many who carry the name of Jesus. However, though we do not naturally possess the strength to endure such measures, Jesus will strengthen all who belong to Him so that we can endure it.

The faith of many will be shaken to the core, and there are many reasons for this. I will write about my experiences with that in the next testimony article, if the Lord wills it.

And for the record, I am still afraid and my faith could be much stronger. Indeed it will have to be made stronger because what I have endured pales in comparison to what is to come. It is not sin to feel afraid. It is not sin to have times of doubt.

Remember Jesus. He was very afraid when faced with the cross, and while dying He said, “My God, My God! Why have your forsaken me?” He understands our human emotions. That is not sin, and He will not leave us nor forsake us.

Considering Proverbs 10:8

The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a prating fool shall fall.

As a Christian, the commandments we receive are different than the commandments of the Old Testament law—though, they are no different than what God always wanted from His people—and that is a heart that seeks to know God and obey Him out of love and sincerity.

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

As a Christian, I am thankful that even though we are babbling (prating) fools by nature, God sent His Son to die so that we could learn His ways—so that people of all nations could worship the One true God—and in so doing we are made free from the kingdoms of this world and the prince of it.

As a Christian, I am thankful that through the Holy Spirit, I can have the commandments of God written on my heart, changing me so that I am less foolish over time and more aligned with the wisdom of God—a wisdom that teaches us how to keep the commandments of God—which are more difficult than we might think.

It is not in our nature to love God and love others as we should. It is in our nature to destroy ourselves, to destroy others, and to rebel against God. It is in our nature to love death, and “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.”

Speaking words of death makes us babbling fools.

How much of what we speak is babble?

Do we speak things that are true or do we speak lies? Do we speak words that bring understanding, peace, and comfort, or do we speak words that bring confusion, fear, violence, and grief?

There is a lot of confusion, fear, violence, and grief in this world, and we are blessed to have it so. Think about it. Look at what is happening in this world and in our country. People eat up violence. Does it make you stop and think about your own violent and death-brining tendencies? Does the confusion of this world strengthen your appreciation for Jesus and for fellow Christians? It should. God has ordained that it would. All things are for our good.

 As Christians, we can seek to know Jesus better so that we are not adding to the noise.

As Christians, we are not to participate in Babble—and with the change of heart that the gospel brings, we will not.

“This is the new covenant I will make with my people on that day, says the LORD: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” 

I know we are still waiting for a Kingdom, but there is also a Kingdom of Heaven that is “not with observation” and “within you.”

We can seek that Kingdom, and in that Kingdom, we have rest in Jesus Christ. We have peace and life in a world of confusion and death. In the flesh, we will go astray from this Kingdom at times, but with the Holy Spirit within us we are convicted of sin, chastised if necessary, and brought back.

Let us keep pushing forward in the Kingdom of Heaven—though we live in Babble—and learn to keep the commandments of God, even in this world and in this time.

“Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”

It is not easy to stand fast in the ways of God in a world of iniquity and hate. We need supernatural power, and that is what we are promised as adopted sons of God.

“Those who walk after the Spirit of God are the sons of God.”

Jesus will return and establish His Kingdom—and no babbling fool will enter into it. By the grace and mercy of God towards us who love Jesus Christ, we are forgiven of our foolishness and transformed by His Spirit—and even now, in this present world, we can grow in the things of the Kingdom of God as the commandments of God are written in our hearts—and we will not be babbling, death-loving fools.

However, those who love death will not love us, and when Death comes to control this world in a very present way, they will love him and destroy us.

They hated Jesus first, and He knows exactly what we are dealing with and He will give us strength to overcome. We do so by continuing to seek Him. Though we fail and behave foolishly, He forgives us. Keep the faith and keep seeking Jesus. He will continue to work in your heart if you put Him first.

We all have room to grow in the Kingdom of Heaven—and in so doing, the kingdom of death has no more power over us, using us to bring death to others. In Jesus, we bring life and light to a world of confusion and babble—even a world of Babylon—and we though many of us might die, we have the resurrection. We have life. Let death have death.

Going Gray Rock from a Christian Perspective

Going “gray rock” is a method of dealing with attention-seeking, manipulative, or otherwise narcissistic and abusive behaviors.  When a person gray rocks, the goal is to simply not respond—like a rock—to any attempts by an attacker at eliciting a negative emotional response from you.

For example, if someone rages at you, instead of responding with hostility or catering to their anger by giving into their demands or soothing them, you simply do not respond at all.

If someone creates a scenario that is meant to hurt you in a passive-aggressive manner, instead of calling the person out or getting your feelings hurt, you do not respond at all.

If a person is creating drama between other people and attempts to pull you into it, either by putting on the role of victim or hero (and you suspect that they are not as they seem), then you do not allow yourself to become pons in their game. You do not respond.

If a person is flattering you with praise that you know you do not deserve, or you know is insincere or otherwise meant to manipulate you, do not respond.

The ways you “gray rock” can vary. It can be complete silence. You can walk away. You can deflect by changing the subject of the conversation.

This none-response might seem cruel, but in some instances, it is the only thing you can do to avoid giving the harmful person fuel for their fire. It is the only way to protect yourself, and it is a kindness to them also because you do not pander to their weaker traits, thereby enabling them and helping them to sin further.

If you continue to use this method, the person who is attacking you or attempting to manipulate you will eventually lose interest, or that’s the hope.

Sometimes they ramp things up to an extreme because they cannot stand that they did not get the response from you that they wanted. In some of these cases, extreme violence, slander, and other cruelties can result. So, the only thing you can do is remove yourself completely—and in very extreme cases—involve law enforcement for your own protection.

Going “gray rock” is not easy when dealing with people who know how to push your buttons, and they do so on purpose because they enjoy seeing you upset or because in their mind it restores a sense of superiority, power, and control over you.

It helps if we think about the mind of the person who is attempting to harm us.

In many cases, we are dealing with people who are very emotionally immature—and this immaturity most likely stems from a history of trauma, abuse, and neglect. In some ways, they are stunted. The responses you see are like that of a toddler throwing a tantrum or a young child manipulating people for their own gain.

So, try to find some compassion for them, but do not give in. In some instances, if the adult tantrums are small or if they are self-aware, they will want to overcome this and you can help them by remaining calm then showing forgiveness after the fact when they acknowledge what they have done.

If they are not self-aware but only blame-shift, gaslight, and triangulate you, then there is not much you can do except pray for them and do whatever you can to avoid getting sucked in.

When to Use the Gray Rock Method

Anytime a person or group is behaving in a manner that tempts you to sin, you can use this gray rock method to help restrain yourself.

This can be used when dealing with an abusive individual, and this can also be done when dealing with larger matters socially and politically. In general, you can go “gray rock” when a situations arises that tempts you to respond in anger, when you feel tempted to lie or flatter someone, when you feel tempted to gossip, or when you feel tempted to judge something or someone without having the full information.

Although there is a time for standing up for what is right, there is also a time to be silent. If we seek Jesus in all things, His Spirit will let us know what to do.

Going Gray Rock from a Christian Perspective

Did Jesus go “gray rock” when dealing with the authorities in His day? I think about when the Pharisees brought Jesus the woman who was caught in adultery, and instead of responding, Jesus stooped down and started writing in the sand (John 8).

He knew that they were tempting Him, and they were attacking this woman in the process. As they continued to push the matter, Jesus responded with one of His famous lines, “let he who is without sin cast the first stone,” then He resumed drawing in the sand.

His nonchalant attitude deflected the drama—along with His wise words—which is an incredible thing and this does seem to be a kind of “gray rock” thing to do.

There were many times when the Scribes and Pharisees tried to get at Jesus. They wanted to trip Him up or cause Him to sin so that they could have a reason to accuse Him.

The same is often true when dealing with people who have narcissistic personality traits. They do things to provoke you, then if you respond in a negative way, they use your response to shift the focus off of their behavior and onto you—and before you know it, you are the one apologizing to them or pandering to their demands in some other way.

Going “gray rock” takes practice, but it helps if we do not take ourselves so seriously. When we know that someone is trying to hurt us or manipulate us, if we can separate ourselves from the situation and not take it personally, then we can just let the person be. They will be who they are, and we can be who we are. Jesus sees it all, and He will deal with it. Getting upset does no one any good. Seek Jesus and He will protect your peace of mind, because He dealt with the same things.

I’m not a mental health professional. I write these articles based on my life experience. This life can teach us a lot about trauma, but Jesus can teach us a lot about recovery and His ways are so much better than anything we find in this world. If you have endured narcissistic abuse, turn to Jesus because He knows exactly what you are dealing with—and He has the answers that will heal.

Stand up for What is Right—But in the Right Way

I love it when I see someone standing up for the right things. I appreciate the love of goodness in the world and the bravery it takes to speak out and to resist strong opposition.

As Christians, we are supposed to defend goodness and truth, especially the Gospel of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ—a kingdom in which righteousness dwells.

As the Kingdom of Heaven grows within our hearts, we cannot help but stand up for what is good. We will also learn to prioritize according to our individual calling in Christ, because there are many evils in this world.

One thing I strongly believe that we should make priority is meekness—or gentleness—and self-control. We should prioritize patience with our fellow man, seek understanding of where they are coming from, and try to persuade others rather than tear them down.

We should prioritize faith in God, knowing that all things are part of His plan—including things that are not aligned with His perfect and pleasing will—and these things have no place in the Kingdom of Heaven; He will deal with it in His time.

The theme I keep going back to is this: When Jesus returns, we do not want to be found “drunk with the drunken and beating our fellow servants.”

So, we should stand up for what is right—but we should do so in the right way—or else the right we think we are doing is wickedness, and a wickedness of the most deceitful kind because we feel completely justified in what we are doing. I know because I’ve been there. I’ve been there a lot.

In whatever calling we have, whether we are standing up for what is right in our families, in our communities, in our churches, in the realms of societal ideations, politics, and so forth, we should do our best to be mindful of “what spirit we are of.”

The Holy Spirit will show us what is good and true, and the Spirit will also help us grow in wisdom so that we can apply that truth more precisely and effectively.

There are times for sharp words. Jesus spoke sharp words. Paul the apostle spoke sharp words. Steven, when he was being stoned, spoke sharp words. The Spirit is not always soft-spoken, and we do not want to be like the “women who sew pillows on the arms of God.”

However, being sharp should not be our go-to position because when it is, we are often dealing in a “spirit” that is not of God—but of Satan. We are accusing, slandering, and murdering. We are proud, vain, and self-serving. We are fearful and unbelieving.

None of us are immune to the devices of our enemy, but we should not be ignorant of them either.

We do not want to be among those who would “kill thinking they do God’s service.”

So, stand up for what is right, but do so in the right way by seeking Jesus often in prayer and through regular self-assessment of your own sin and the spirit you are doing things in.  

The more we are exercised in this, the stronger we will get. We will get bolder, wiser, and more effective for the Kingdom of Heaven. We will also learn when to speak and in what manner, and when to be silent and watch the Lord work in a different way. We will make mistakes, but we will grow in the right direction.

Also, when making a stand for what is good and true, we don’t have to do some big thing. The most important stand we take is with ourselves.

We should not stand for any sin in our lives. We do not want to claim to be sinless and we want to be honest with our sin. However, sin is still severe and we should not grow complacent in our fight against sin with faith in the power of Jesus to help us overcome.

The more sin we have in our life, the more clouded our judgment is and the more damage we are able to do without realizing it because we do not know our God as we aught to.

“Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God, but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.”

We can all grow in our knowledge of God, especially through the person of Jesus as we form a better relationship with Him and learn to walk in the Spirit.

In all the fighting against evil that we do, standing on-guard against the corruptions of our own heart is what matters most, and this is an on-going focus we should carry until the end of our life or the coming of our Lord, Jesus.

In all things, keep moving forward and trust in Jesus. ❤