Jesus Christ Prison Ministry

October 2016 Newsletter

  • Matthew - Mission Impossible
  • Time With Jesus
  • Prison Mission Report
  • Testimony for God's People
  • Ministry News

Baby Jesus

Mission Impossible

 

My Dear Family in Christ,

In the military the focus is on “The Mission”. The man is not to be glorified because the mission is the object. Any military man will tell you that what they don’t want is a “showboat”. Usually, a “showboat” type person will put the mission in jeopardy. The men on the mission do not want their lives put in jeopardy by some fool who is trying to “make a name” for himself. It is “team work” that accomplishes the mission.

Yes, after the mission there may come a time when individuals will be honored for their sacrifice and commitment to the mission. But in preparation for the mission, men are chosen who are capable, trained and ready to lay down their lives to accomplish the mission.

MarinesDuring any war or conflict, each side is looking for “good men” to help in achieving the goal. They also want to make sure that the men who are going to execute the mission are loyal and come from a background of loyalty and commitment to the cause.

Truth and righteousness are in a war against falsehood and wickedness. Each side is looking for “men” who will carry the fight to the enemy and accomplish the mission that has been decided upon by the authority. In our study of the book of Matthew we will be referring to these concepts. Please keep them in mind.

Matthew 1:1 - Matthew 4:22

Jesus Christ came from the family of King David and also from the family of Abraham. And this is a list of his ancestors.

From Abraham to King David, his ancestors were: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah and his brothers (Judah’s sons were Perez and Zerah, and their mother was Tamar), Hezron; Ram, Amminadab, Nahshon, Salmon, Boaz (his mother was Rahab), Obed (his mother was Ruth), Jesse, and King David.

From David to the time of the exile in Babylonia, the ancestors of Jesus were: David, Solomon (his mother had been Uriah’s wife), Rehoboam, Abijah, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Jehoram; Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amon, Josiah, and Jehoiachin and his brothers.

From the exile to the birth of Jesus, his ancestors were: Jehoiachin, Shealtiel, Zerubbabel, Abiud, Eliakim, Azor, Zadok, Achim; Eliud, Eleazar, Matthan, Jacob, and Joseph, the husband of Mary, the mother of Jesus, who is called the Messiah.

There were fourteen generations from Abraham to David. There were also fourteen from David to the exile in Babylonia and fourteen more to the birth of the Messiah.

Why was this information important to Matthew? Maybe because he understood the concept of knowing “where your man comes from”. Jesus came from a line of descendants stretching all the way back to faithful Abraham. On Mary’s side, she came from the priestly line of the Levites. Moses and Aaron were her heritage. Her husband Joseph was from the tribe of Judah. King David, from the tribe of Judah, was a man who could be counted on to accomplish “The Mission”. Jesus came from a family line of rulers and priests who knew their duty. Yes, some in that line failed in their duty. But those born into those tribes were inculcated with the concepts of duty and responsibility to the Kingdom of Israel. David’s descendants were trained from birth with the understanding that they were responsible to fight the battles of Righteousness for the Kingdom that God had set up on earth.

It is possible that at the time Matthew wrote this, the majority of the people of Israel were still looking for “the Messiah”. Through a misunderstanding of prophecy the people of Israel, or those left after the return of the exile from Babylon, were looking for a deliverer who would ride in at the head of an army and liberate them from their political foes. The nation was looking for a “showboat”, one who would meet their pride and ego for national fame and glory.

The church of Christ’s day had rejected the meek and humble representation of the temple sacrifices and ordinances which pointed to the Messiah. They surrounded and hid those examples with pomp, show, riches, pride and arrogance. Their church became an extension of their own character. They were not ready for the humble “Messiah” that was prophesied through the prophets of God in the Old Testament. They had become a “Rogue Nation”. Matthew was attempting to bring the mind of the reader from the brainwashing of the church to the reality of the truth in the Old Testament. How could Jesus be “the Messiah”? Through genealogy, prophecy and spiritual accomplishments Matthew was attempting to show that Jesus met all the biblical requirements as “the Messiah” and accomplished “the Mission”.

This is how Jesus Christ was born. A young woman named Mary was engaged to Joseph from King David’s family. But before they were married, she learned that she was going to have a baby by God’s Holy Spirit. Joseph was a good man and did not want to embarrass Mary in front of everyone. So he decided to quietly call off the wedding.

To have a baby out of wedlock was considered a sin of such magnitude, by the pious church officials, that the punishment was death. Matthew is attempting to bring the minds of the church people from their previous prideful and arrogant thinking to the humble reality that God looks upon the heart and not the church. But he also wanted to make it very plain that Jesus came from the line of “King David’s family”. David was chosen to be king because of his humble upbringing and righteous character. David was a shepherd, not a wealthy ruler when God called him. In fact, he was the least of all his brothers. And remember, David’s great grandmother was a convert from paganism. In other words, the family line was not “pure” but was “tainted” by “uncleanness”. But that did not stop God from calling David to be leader of His people. Matthew was making sure they understood Jesus had the right to rule because He had the character of David, humble submission to God. Mistakes David made, but that is not the same as rebellion. As back then, so today, people were thinking, “He can’t be from God. God wouldn’t work outside of “His church” and “church rules”. But that is exactly what God did.

This history and these concepts were understood by the people of Matthew’s day. Unlike today, our churches have made us brain-dead to the truths and facts of Bible history and concepts.

While Joseph was thinking about this, an angel from the Lord came to him in a dream. The angel said, “Joseph, the baby that Mary will have is from the Holy Spirit. Go ahead and marry her.

Two very humble servants of God were chosen. They were far, far away from the “church” of their day. They were about 75 miles from Jerusalem. That would be about a three day’s journey back then. God had to search quite a distance from the center of His church to find people who would listen and obey Him. Getting to heaven has nothing to do with how much money you have, or what your lineage is, or what church you belong to, or your position in the church, or your status in society, but by your character of love and obedience. Mary obeyed even though it could have cost her life. Joseph obeyed even though it could ruin him by giving his character a bad name in the eyes of his family, neighbors and church. The only thing Joseph and Mary were concerned about was obedience to the “Word” of God. It is interesting to note that Mary and Joseph did not consult with the church, minister or families before making their decision. How unlike church members today, they read what the “Word of God” commands, then they go and ask their pastor or church if that is possible and if God really meant what He said. Mary and Joseph simply did as God commanded, they obeyed the “Word of God”.

Then after her baby is born, name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” So the Lord’s promise came true, just as the prophet had said, “A virgin will have a baby boy, and he will be called Immanuel,” which means “God is with us.”

Joseph, being a good member of his church, was also expecting “the Messiah” to come to save the church from the worldly influences that were surrounding and paganizing it. Through Mary’s cousins he had heard of the miraculous encounter Zechariah, a priest from the tribe of Levi, had with an angel giving him the prophecy with regard to John to prepare a people to meet “the Lord”. Luke 1:17. This prophecy had been given at least a year before Joseph and Mary were married. The church leaders rejected it. The influence of the church had clouded Joseph’s understanding. Therefore, it was important for God to prepare Him for the true “Mission” of the Messiah. He would not be coming at the head of armies to save the nation from its political enemies, but to “save His people from their sins”. How humbling for Joseph.

After Joseph woke up, he and Mary were soon married, just as the Lord’s angel had told him to do. But they did not sleep together before her baby was born. Then Joseph named him Jesus.

It is interesting to note the similarities throughout the Bible of the obedience to the commands of God by the people of “God’s church”. This concept of “obedience” runs throughout the Bible. In the first five books of the Bible this theme of obedience is prominent. The phrase, “just as the LORD commanded”, is used 76 times in the first five books of the Bible. In our lives, we also are to be obedient in everything “just as the LORD commanded”. “I was shown that those who are trying to obey God and purify their souls through obedience to the truth are God’s chosen people, His modern Israel.” {2T 109}

Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and the prophets of God did everything they were commanded. All of God’s people did everything they were commanded. Only the “church” refused to be obedient. Joseph and Mary did everything they were commanded. Jesus said, “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” John 15:10. How sad that the churches of today refuse to teach the correct concept of obeying “just as the Lord commanded”. Church going has taken the place of obedience.

(Nora came over for Bible studies one Sabbath. She had written an “essay” on obedience in 1996. When she saw the book, “Change Your Life Biblically” she was at first very excited. I gave it to her when we met at the Post Office. She read a few chapters and we got together to study. She was all for “obedience”, “stop sinning” and “keeping the commandments” until it came to the Sabbath. Then all that “obedience” went out the window. “What? God won’t keep me out of heaven over a day!” Everyone is a fan of “obedience” until it bumps up against their favorite sin or church. Then all of a sudden, we are “saved by grace” and don’t need to be obedient any more. Just go to church and/or “believe in Jesus”.)

When Jesus was born in the village of Bethlehem in Judea, Herod was king. During this time some wise men from the east came to Jerusalem and said, “Where is the child born to be king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”

It is interesting that God had to step outside of “His church” in order to bring information “to His church”. Since the church had rejected every avenue which God had prepared for them to receive their “Messiah”, He had to bring the information to them from pagans. God is no respecter of persons. He will use anyone who will submit and do as He commands. But our churches today have refused to humble themselves to God. Church today is no different from the church of Christ’s day. It is all about doing it the church way. Committees have taken the place of God. That is why He has had to step outside of “His church” today and raised up this little ministry to bring back the truth the church has buried under man-made fables.

The Magi, or “wise men from the east” probably belonged to the priestly caste of the Zoroastrian religion. They were very interested in the stars and had an international reputation as astrologers. The English term “magic” comes from their practices and use of astrology. Since they studied the heavens and the stars, God used that knowledge for His benefit. When they saw the “star” over the land of Israel, it was nothing they had seen before. In searching ancient records they came across the prophecy of Balaam who prophesied, “There shall come forth a star out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel”. Numbers 4:17. This prophecy clearly indicated that someone of royal birth would be born in Israel. They made plans to go see Him. By the way, the “star” the Magi saw were the angels who had visited the shepherds. After revealing themselves to the shepherds, they manifested themselves as a “star” formation to the Magi. Keep in mind, December 25th is a pagan festival and has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus. Jesus was born sometime between the months of September and October.

Two years before the Magi came visiting, the angels came visiting shepherds who were out watching their sheep. One of the angels told them, “Listen! I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people. Today your Savior, the Lord Messiah, was born in the city of David.” Luke 2:10, 11. And again, the angels had to prepare them for the sight of their “Messiah”. They were expecting their “Messiah” to come riding at the head of armies. Now they were told, “this will be a sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a feeding trough.” Luke 2:12.

Be assured, they did not keep this information to themselves. It would have spread all over Israel, just as the birth of John the Baptist had spread over the land six months before the birth of Christ. The birth of Jesus was no secret. But the leaders of the church refused to accept any interpretation about “their” Messiah other than what they wanted to believe in their pride and ego. For two years they knew of the birth of Jesus, their Messiah, but the church leaders would not have such a humble “Messiah”. No, their “Messiah” would reign and conquer the world. Slowly, imperceptibly, the leaders of the church had been growing in rebellion against Jesus. They were becoming a “Rogue Nation”. Finally God had to “hit them over the head” with it. If the church God raised up in the 1840’s does not wake up, God will hit them over the head as He did the Pharisees. Unfortunately, it will be too late.

When King Herod heard about this, he was worried, and so was everyone else in Jerusalem. Herod brought together the chief priests and the teachers of the Law of Moses and asked them, “Where will the Messiah be born?” They told him, “He will be born in Bethlehem, just as the prophet wrote, ‘Bethlehem in the land of Judea, you are very important among the towns of Judea. From your town will come a leader, who will be like a shepherd for my people Israel.’”

How humiliating having to acknowledge that their “Messiah” was not going to come miraculously, appearing out of thin air, at the head of armies, but was going to be “born”. They hated that. It was humiliating having to come before a secular king to explain that which they did not want to believe. Their reluctance to admit the truth of the Bible was what made Herod so angry. He thought they were planning a secret rebellion. He could not allow that. Because of the stubborn hearts of the church leaders, many hundreds of boys would be killed and eventually their nation would be destroyed.

The same is true today with the church that claims to be “His people”. They are running around with pride and arrogance talking about “the soon coming of Jesus”. But they refuse to accept that He can’t come until there are 144,000 individuals who are living the perfect, sinless and commandment keeping life. Then He will come. But the church is not doing its part in preparing people to humble themselves in order to live in perfect obedience to the Ten Commandments. They are expecting Jesus to just “burst from the sky” and take them to heaven because of their church membership or “belief”. How egotistical. How arrogant. How prideful. How like the Jews of Christ’s day. It will not happen that way. He cannot come until the message He has commanded us: to be perfect, stop sinning and to keep the Ten Commandments to get our eternal life (the 3 Angel’s Messages), is given to the whole world and obeyed by His people. How humbling!

Herod secretly called in the wise men and asked them when they had first seen the star. He told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, let me know. I want to go and worship him too.” The wise men listened to what the king said and then left. And the star they had seen in the east went on ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. They were thrilled and excited to see the star.

When the men went into the house and saw the child with Mary, his mother, they knelt down and worshiped him. They took out their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh and gave them to him. Later they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, and they went back home by another road.

While the church leaders refused to believe the truth, Herod accepted it, the Magi accepted it and the shepherds accepted it. Only church leaders and members refused to accept it. The proud leaders of the church refused to bow before their God. The pagan Magi had no problem bowing before the King of the Universe. Why is it, we today have no problem bowing before our prideful churches in obedience, while we refuse to bow before the truth as taught by the humble Messiah?

After the wise men had gone, an angel from the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up! Hurry and take the child and his mother to Egypt! Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is looking for the child and wants to kill him.” That night, Joseph got up and took his wife and the child to Egypt, where they stayed until Herod died. So the Lord’s promise came true, just as the prophet had said, “I called my son out of Egypt.”

How sad, God had to move His Son out of “church” territory. He could not trust His Son with the people who claimed to be “God’s special people”. So it is today. This ministry has had to work outside of “church” territory because the church hates the teachings of Jesus to be perfect, stop sinning and to keep the Ten Commandments to get your eternal life. It is far too humbling to admit that God had to use an inmate because He couldn’t find a “church person” willing to listen to Him.

In obedience, Joseph did as he was commanded. There was no “but” or complaint. He didn’t try to find an alternative route or place, he simply got up and did what he was told. It was probably very inconvenient to pick up his family with a two-year-old and leave the carpentry business he had built up over those two years in Bethlehem. But they were obedient no matter what the inconveniences. How very unlike the “Christians” of today.

Many wonder why God doesn’t “speak” to them today as He did in days of old. How can He? Church members are so comfortable and set they are not willing to rise up and go. I can hardly get church members to request cases of books that God has dictated and directed to this ministry to hand out. They are not interested in what God says, only what their church says.

On the other hand, this little ministry, when it was called by God, had to make four moves in six years. I simply obey Jesus. When He calls, this ministry obeys. There is nothing to keep it in any place. This world is not my home. Is it difficult to pick up and move all the equipment and find a new place? Yes, very! But if you are living for Jesus instead of your selfish, lazy church life, you will live in such a way that you can pick up and work for Jesus any time, any place, any where. That is the example of all God’s true children. Noah was willing to pick up his ax and build an ark and then just “float” away when God called. Abraham lived in such a way that he could pick up and leave when God called. Jacob left when called. Moses left when called. Are you truly living for Jesus, or settled in this world?

When Herod found out that the wise men from the east had tricked him, he was very angry. He gave orders for his men to kill all the boys who lived in or near Bethlehem and were two years old and younger. This was based on what he had learned from the wise men. So the Lord’s promise came true, just as the prophet Jeremiah had said, “In Ramah a voice was heard crying and weeping loudly. Rachel was mourning for her children, and she refused to be comforted, because they were dead.”

If the leaders of the church had been faithful to God, being obedient to His plan and humbly acknowledging Him, God would have intervened and saved the children. I have seen this time and time again in those who are obedient to the teachings of this ministry. When faithful, God works miracles. Troubled waters come to the disobedient.

After King Herod died, an angel from the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph while he was still in Egypt. The angel said, “Get up and take the child and his mother back to Israel. The people who wanted to kill him are now dead.” Joseph got up and left with them for Israel. But when he heard that Herod’s son Archelaus was now ruler of Judea, he was afraid to go there. Then in a dream he was told to go to Galilee, and they went to live there in the town of Nazareth. So the Lord’s promise came true, just as the prophet had said, “He will be called a Nazarene.”

How easy it would have been for Joseph to get his pride and ego up and decide to settle in the city of his ancestors. How easy to think, “This is God’s child, God will take care of Him no matter what I do.” How like our churches. However, Joseph did not tempt the Lord but did everything in his power to protect the child Jesus. Again, he did not consult the church in this matter. He was willing to move back to Nazareth and continue his humble work as a carpenter. How unlike our prideful churches. Can you imagine what would happen today? The parents and the church would be out selling tickets to see their “son of God” the “Messiah”. They would be using Him for their own profit and fortune. And that is what is happening in our churches today. They are using “The Messiah” to sell tickets, put on programs and make a profit and fortune. How pagan. God hates our churches. He will destroy them and all who remain in them.

It is so sad that again, they were not able to settle in among “church members”. Mary and Joseph had to go to Galilee which had a very mixed population of a few Jews but mostly pagans from all over the Roman Empire. It was among the “pagans” that the Son of God would be “safe” from “God’s church”.

In prison I found that concept to be very true. I was protected by the “pagans” when the “Christians” wanted to hurt me because of my obedience to the Ten Commandments. Actually, it is the church people who give this ministry the greatest amount of persecution and trouble. The “pagans”, like the Magi, are learning to accept the teachings of Jesus and obey them while the church members refuse.

Years later, John the Baptist started preaching in the desert of Judea. He said, “Turn back to God! The kingdom of heaven will soon be here.” John was the one the prophet Isaiah was talking about, when he said, “In the desert someone is shouting, ‘Get the road ready for the Lord! Make a straight path for him.’ “ John wore clothes made of camel’s hair. He had a leather strap around his waist and ate grasshoppers and wild honey.

As God called John the Baptist to be His voice from the desert, so God called this ministry to be His voice from the desert to “shout”,“Turn back to God! The kingdom of heaven will soon be here.” Unlike the churches of today who simply claim that “Jesus is coming”, they have forgotten to add the “turn back to God” part. That is not popular. We don’t want to stop sinning, no we want to be saved in our sins. Now, instead of “turn back to God”, it is all about “turn to church”.

For 30 years the leaders of the church knew of Jesus and had actually been keeping an “eye” on him. But they refused to accept Him as their Messiah. As long as He did not “rock the boat” of their church, they were satisfied to let Him be. They had an agenda, and as long as Jesus refused to bow to the leaders of the church, He was not to have a part in it.

From Jerusalem and all Judea and from the Jordan River Valley crowds of people went to John. They told how sorry they were for their sins, and he baptized them in the river. Many Pharisees and Sadducees also came to be baptized.

Unlike our churches today who use baptism for their profit, John did not baptize anyone until “they told how sorry they were for their sins”. First came repentance. They had to be instructed in righteousness. Today, the “instruction” is in “church membership”. Then the candidate is baptized into a “church”. John baptized people who were repenting of their sins and turning away from them. He did not baptize them into a church or an organization. He baptized them into obedience to the Ten Commandments, the “Church of God”.

The crowds who went to John were not just from “the church”, but pagans and those considered by the church as “sinners” and outcasts. This made the Pharisees and Sadducees very angry. The church leaders were not coming to be baptized because they felt the need to change their hearts. No, they came because “it was popular” and of course they had to be on top of the “popular movement” of the day. They believed they really didn’t need to be baptized or to “confess” their sins. After all, they were born and bred church people. They had a legacy of generations in the church. How could God not accept them?

But John said to them: You bunch of snakes! Who warned you to run from the coming judgment? Do something to show that you have really given up your sins. And don’t start telling yourselves that you belong to Abraham’s family. I tell you that God can turn these stones into children for Abraham. An ax is ready to cut the trees down at their roots. Any tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into a fire.

And so it is today. Those who claim to belong to a church or from generations of Baptists, Mormons, Lutherans, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventists, Catholics and others are all a “bunch of snakes”. Church has become their god. They are not interested in obedience to the teachings of Jesus. They are so involved in their church politics that they are not able to hear the “still small voice” of the Spirit of God who is trying to point them in “the Way”. How un-PC of John. There was definitely no “saved by grace” in John’s message. Lives were at stake, how could he teach a smooth, peace message to a people who were about to be “chopped down and thrown into a fire”. No, they had to hear the truth and make way by stop sinning and become perfect in order to prepare for the coming Kingdom of God in their hearts.

I baptize you with water so that you will give up your sins. But someone more powerful is going to come, and I am not good enough even to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His threshing fork is in his hand, and he is ready to separate the wheat from the husks. He will store the wheat in a barn and burn the husks in fire you cannot put out.

I do not understand how we can read and not hear. I do not understand how we can read and instead of taking to heart what we read, we seem to point the finger at others and assume that what is spoken is for “them” but not for “me”. The Spirit is in the process of separating the wheat from the husks. The method He is using is His Word. Those who live in obedience to His Word to be perfect, stop sinning and to keep the Ten Commandments to get their eternal life, will be sifted out of the churches and into the barn of God’s protective cover. Those who refuse to obey will be burned in the fire. John the Baptist and Jesus had no message of “saved by grace” or “unconditional love” or “go to church”. The only message they had for the “rogue nation” was, obey and live or disobey and die.

Jesus left Galilee and went to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. But John kept objecting and said, “I ought to be baptized by you. Why have you come to me?” Jesus answered, “For now this is how it should be, because we must do all that God wants us to do.” Then John agreed. So Jesus was baptized. And as soon as he came out of the water, the sky opened, and he saw the Spirit of God coming down on him like a dove. Then a voice from heaven said, “This is my own dear Son, and I am pleased with him.”

Jesus is our example in all things. For 30 years He lived in obedience to His father and mother. He fulfilled His duties in the family order of things. He didn’t go to a “Christian” school, He was home-schooled. He didn’t go to “church”. In His spare time He was sitting out in nature reading, studying, learning from His “Bible” and listening to the voice of God. He wasn’t “running the streets” or hanging out with “homeboys”. He simply was obedient to God’s plan for His life in His family and society. All the forms, rituals and institutions that the church put up were only smoke screens that had nothing to do with eternal life. Jesus simply lived the obedient life. He never took a vacation, never took a holiday, never got involved in sports, entertainment and other worldly activities that church members today are all involved in. His eyes were on the mission. He did His duty and waited for His Father’s call. How far our churches have fallen.

When Jesus heard the message of John the Baptist, He recognized the voice of His Father and realized that it was time to leave home and begin “the Mission” His Father had planned for Him. He went to John, not because the actual act of being baptized was important for salvation, but because the people listening to John were from all over the country. John would announce Him as the Messiah and the message would go around the world. Not only would John announce Him, but the Father would confirm Him as His Son before all the universe.

Too often we get hung up on the “act” and forget to see the moving of God. Baptism has nothing to do with salvation. It was simply a symbol of what was to have already taken place in the heart, a desire to die to the world and be raised up a new creature in God. A little background might help you understand why John chose “baptism”. The Jews used water to cleans everything. They had “buckets” of water at every door. Before entering, you washed your hands and feet. Before eating, you washed your hands and feet. What started out to be a “health” act eventually took on religious connotations. The act of “washing” became a symbol synonymous with purity, sanctification and salvation. But it was only feet and hands that were “cleansed”. John saw that the whole body, heart and mind needed cleansing so he used the ritual of baptism, immersing the whole body into the water, to illustrate the fullness of salvation in our lives. Everything in our lives needs to be cleansed, purified and sanctified for God, not just “compartments” in our lives.

When the New Testament talks about being baptized, a close study will reveal the fact that their main target of audience were Jews, not gentiles. Why? Because Jews needed to understand that their “Messiah” had already come. They needed to come out from the rituals of their church and accept a new life. Baptism simply provided a public, symbolic expression for them to understand that they were to break away from the old church life and accept Jesus, the “Messiah”, as their saviour and not a lamb as they were used to. Gentiles did not have that mental set. They did not have to break away from the Jewish rituals. But because it was Jews who started it, they simply continued the ritual for all new believers. This public display help to strengthen the “backbone” of the new converts for the coming trials and persecutions soon to fall upon them. God cannot change His salvation methods. If baptism was necessary for eternal life, Moses and every single person before John the Baptist would have had no eternal life. Baptism is simply a symbol to express what our lives should be: dead to the world and raised up to the perfect, sinless and commandments keeping life of Jesus. But churches and fanatics like to make the “symbol”, or ritual, all important while the heart is void of the substance. Throughout history God has used objects and symbols to represent His plan of salvation to the people for that specific time and place. This is very important to understand. But when the object or symbol for that specific time and place is no longer needed, it is not to be used again.

To illustrate this concept, we start in Genesis with the object and symbol of sacrificing a lamb to represent “the Lamb of God” who would sacrifice Himself for our penalty of death. But with the death of Christ, we no longer need to sacrifice a lamb. When Noah was told to build an Ark, it was for a very specific time and place. But we are not to build any more Arks. God commanded Abraham to begin the ritual of circumcision, the act of “cutting off” the foreskin, which represented cutting off the world from their lives. Oh how it hurts! It is not needed today. The Israelites were commanded to build a tabernacle for God to dwell in. But we are not to do that today. When the Israelites were being bitten by snakes in the desert, God commanded Moses to make a bronze snake on a pole and lift it up for all to see. It represented Christ being “lifted up” on the cross for our healing. Those who looked to it in faith were healed. But today, we are not to be lifting up a bronze snake on poles. In fact, the church was using that bronze snake in idol worship and King Hezekiah had it destroyed. We today need to do a lot of “house cleaning” in our churches to clean out a lot of rituals and services that have become idol worship. We need to get back to basics, the keeping of the Ten Commandments. However, it is much easier to preform a ritual than it is to cleans the heart and live perfect, sinless and commandment keeping lives. How Catholic.

The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert, so that the devil could test him. After Jesus had gone without eating for forty days and nights, he was very hungry.

It is interesting to note that after His baptism, Jesus did not go to “church” and sing “Kumbaya” . He let the Spirit of God lead Him. The Spirit did not lead Him to church, but to the wilderness. There is no time for church sitting, we need to be like Jesus and get to work changing and fortifying our lives for a real world of work.

Many today think it is very important to “be like Jesus” and attempt to go “forty days and nights” without eating. What they are not getting is, Jesus simply was being obedient to His Father. It was the “Holy Spirit” that “led Jesus into the desert”. Jesus did not do it on His own. He wasn’t a “showboat” and trying to prove anything. He simply was obedient to His Father. Those today who are “showboating” and trying to prove themselves refuse to be obedient when Jesus tells them to stop sinning, be perfect and to keep the Ten Commandments to get eternal life as He did. No, it is more satisfying to put on a show and go to church, be baptized, fast and eat vegan for all to see.

Then the devil came to him and said, “If you are God’s Son, tell these stones to turn into bread.” Jesus answered, “The Scriptures say: ‘No one can live only on food. People need every word that God has spoken.’

Jesus cast Lucifer out of Heaven when he rebelled. Now, Lucifer comes as an angel of light insinuating that Jesus is the one who has been cast out and rejected by God. Jesus is friendless, alone, hungry, thirsty, tired and to all appearances, rejected by God. Lucifer wants Jesus to “prove” who He is. If Jesus had done that, by turning the stones into bread for His own selfish benefit, He would have sinned. Christians are never to do anything for selfish reasons. Oops, there goes church. Christianity is never about “me” but what I can do for you. It is teamwork. All Heaven is serving others. Also, God had already given His testimony that Jesus was His Son. Jesus would not prove or doubt that word. He would live or die by it. Since God said He was His Son, that was good enough for Jesus. Jesus would wait on His Father to provide for Him. He trusted His Father unto death. Interesting to note, when talking to Lucifer, Jesus did not say, “the church says”. Everything Jesus did was by Scripture. We need to follow the example of Jesus.

Jesus was a legalist and lived by “every word that God has spoken”. We need to follow His example. To doubt that word is sin and no sin can go to Heaven. Only those who refuse to doubt God’s Word will be in Heaven. When Jesus says that we must be perfect, stop sinning and keep the Ten Commandments for our eternal life, then our only duty is to obey no matter what the consequences. We are not to add our church opinions or our own personal beliefs and feelings. We simply obey even if we die. Life in God is eternal even if we die physically here. But how few are willing to live or die by the Word of God. Today it is all about church, my minister, my denomination, my feelings, my opinions and what I want. How Catholic and “anti” Christ.

“Next, the devil took Jesus to the holy city and had him stand on the highest part of the temple. The devil said, “If you are God’s Son, jump off. The Scriptures say: ‘God will give his angels orders about you. They will catch you in their arms, and you won’t hurt your feet on the stones.’ “ Jesus answered, “The Scriptures also say, ‘Don’t try to test the Lord your God!’

Since Jesus used Scripture, the devil used it. The same is happening in our churches. Since all the churches have fallen, the devil is in charge of them. Therefore, he is very happy when people go to church to hear him twist scripture to their destruction. (2 Peter 3:16). That is what the devil did with Jesus. First, he took Jesus to a “church” to make the “sin” look “OK”. Then, he took a portion of a text and took it out of context to get Jesus to sin. That is exactly what the devil is doing today. He is taking people to church in order to make them think that their sin is “OK”. People, get out of your churches.

Jesus did not have to put God to the test. It wasn’t necessary. God had given His word to bless, protect, feed, clothe and keep Jesus healthy. However, those promises and assurances come with a condition. The text the devil abused is from Psalm 91:11, 12. What Lucifer left out were the rest of the texts which state the conditions for God’s protection, “The LORD Most High is your fortress. Run to Him for safety”. Psalm 91:9

Instead of testing the Lord by running to church, jumping off buildings, running out into traffic, handling poisonous snakes, or doing any other foolish act to deliberately place ourselves in harms way, we are to run to God for safety. If we are living the perfect, sinless and commandment keeping life, there is no harm that can come to you. Even in death, it can’t harm you because God will raise you up at the last day and give you eternal life. When trouble comes, all you have to do is run to God and cling to His Word and be obedient. If the devil had pushed Jesus off the temple, the angels of God would have kept God’s promises and caught Jesus. But if Jesus deliberately jumped, tempting God, that would have been a sin and no help would have been given. This is what the devil is doing in our churches. The devil gives you “grace” texts out of context in order to get you thinking you are saved in your sins. Therefore, you go to church and continue to jump into sin thinking you are “saved by grace”.

“Finally, the devil took Jesus up on a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms on earth and their power. The devil said to him, “I will give all this to you, if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus answered, “Go away Satan! The Scriptures say: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’ “ Then the devil left Jesus, and angels came to help him.

This is where the devil gets most of us. How we want the world and the things of the world. Our greed, selfishness, pride, ego and arrogance want this world and all it has to offer. Each day we are climbing that “high mountain” thinking we are reaching success. Then we bow down to Lucifer in our headlong rush to get what he offers. Jesus did not fall into that trap. There was nothing of this world that Jesus wanted. All Jesus wants is the salvation of man. And that could only happen if He was faithful to His Mission. That “Mission” was a life of sacrifice, pain, sorrow, hunger and death. We also must be faithful to “The Mission” that God has given us in order to earn our eternal life. Any deviation from that “Mission” in our lives of obedience to God’s Word, and we lose our eternal life. We are to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Nothing of this world is to influence us away from following the meek and humble Jesus in the salvation of souls.

When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he went to Galilee. But instead of staying in Nazareth, Jesus moved to Capernaum. This town was beside Lake Galilee in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali. So God’s promise came true, just as the prophet Isaiah had said, “Listen, lands of Zebulun and Naphtali, lands along the road to the sea and east of the Jordan! Listen Galilee, land of the Gentiles! Although your people live in darkness, they will see a bright light. Although they live in the shadow of death, a light will shine on them.” Then Jesus started preaching, “Turn back to God! The kingdom of heaven will soon be here.”

Oh, if only those who claim to be “God’s special people” would move away from their cozy, comfy churches and find lands “of the Gentiles” to work for God. Sitting in church is not working for God. We are to follow the example of Jesus and start preaching to those around us to “turn back to God”. He did not tell them to “turn back to church”. That is why God dictated and directed the book, “Change Your Life Biblically”. It is for you to use in your preaching, teaching, instructing and missionary work. If you will take it, read it, learn it and obey it, you will know how to present the Gospel and bring many souls to Jesus.

Many claim that Jesus came only for the Jews and not for the world of the Gentiles. But Matthew is very plain that Jesus deliberately went among the Gentiles, those who were living in darkness and in the shadow of death. Jesus came to shine on them the Light of Life. He came to deliver the whole world from the bondage of darkness and death. The Jews shut themselves up in their churches, therefore, Jesus had to shine the Light into the dark.

While Jesus was walking along the shore of Lake Galilee, he saw two brothers. One was Simon, also known as Peter, and the other was Andrew. They were fishermen, and they were casting their net into the lake. Jesus said to them, “Come with me! I will teach you how to bring in people instead of fish.” Right then the two brothers dropped their nets and went with him. Jesus walked on until he saw James and John, the sons of Zebedee. They were in a boat with their father, mending their nets. Jesus asked them to come with him too. Right away they left the boat and their father and went with Jesus.

An interesting point, Peter and Andrew, James and John, did not discuss this with their pastor, church or family. When God calls, we have an individual responsibility to answer that call. God will take care of family if we obey Him. That is what He is doing in my life. As I obey Jesus He is taking care of my family. Even though I have not seen nor heard from my children in over 25 years, I will leave them in God’s hands. I must fulfil the calling God has called me to. A fishing I must go. This ministry is waiting for a young man to rise up, accept the call and come, making this ministry his life to help me as Timothy helped Saul and Elisha helped Elijah.

Have you gone fishing lately? Who have you brought to Jesus? Unless you are bringing people to Jesus, you have no eternal life. We are not to bring people to church. We are not to bring people to our pastor. We are not to bring people to a denomination. We are to bring people to Jesus. We are to invite them to “come with me” and follow Jesus. But if you are not following Jesus and living as He lived, the perfect, sinless and commandment keeping life, how can you invite others to follow?

“In concluding this narrative, I would say that we are living in a most solemn time. In the last vision given me, I was shown the startling fact that but a small portion of those who now profess the truth will be sanctified by it and be saved. Many will get above the simplicity of the work. They will conform to the world, cherish idols, and become spiritually dead. The humble, self-sacrificing followers of Jesus will pass on to perfection, leaving behind the indifferent and lovers of the world.

“I was pointed back to ancient Israel. But two of the adults of the vast army that left Egypt entered the land of Canaan. Their dead bodies were strewn in the wilderness because of their transgressions. Modern Israel are in greater danger of forgetting God and being led into idolatry than were His ancient people. Many idols are worshiped, even by professed Sabbathkeepers. God especially charged His ancient people to guard against idolatry, for if they should be led away from serving the living God, His curse would rest upon them, while if they would love Him with all their heart, with all their soul, and with all their might, He would abundantly bless them in basket and in store, and would remove sickness from the midst of them.

“A blessing or a curse is now before the people of God—a blessing if they come out from the world and are separate, and walk in the path of humble obedience; and a curse if they unite with the idolatrous, who trample upon the high claims of heaven. The sins and iniquities of rebellious Israel are recorded and the picture presented before us as a warning that if we imitate their example of transgression and depart from God we shall fall as surely as did they. ‘Now all these things happened unto them for (examples): and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.’” {1T 608-609}

Church has become our biggest idol. We worship it. We obey it. We have made it our life. But it has nothing to do with God or eternal life. Get rid of it.

 

TIME WITH JESUS

Proper Education of Children

Children are in great need of proper education, in order that their lives should be of use in the world. But any effort that exalts intellectual culture above moral training is misdirected. Instructing, cultivating, polishing, and refining youth and children should be the main burden with both parents and teachers. Close reasoners and logical thinkers are few, for the reason that false influences have checked the development of the intellect. The supposition of parents and teachers that continual study would strengthen the intellect has proved erroneous; for it has had in many cases the opposite effect.

In the early education of children, many parents and teachers fail to understand that the greatest attention needs to be given to the physical constitution, that a healthy condition of body and brain may be secured. It has been the custom to encourage children to attend school when they are mere babies, needing a mother’s care. Children of a delicate age are frequently crowded into ill-ventilated school-rooms, to sit upon poorly-constructed benches; and the young and tender frames have, through sitting in wrong positions, become deformed.

The disposition and habits of youth will be very likely to be manifested in the matured man. You may bend a young tree to almost any form that you may choose, and if you let it remain and grow as you have bent it, it will be a deformed tree, and will ever tell of the injury and abuse received at your hand. You may, after years of growth, try to straighten the tree, but all your efforts will prove unavailing. It will ever be a crooked tree. This is the case with the minds of youth. They should be carefully and tenderly trained in childhood. They may be trained in the right direction or the wrong, and they will in their future life pursue the course in which they were directed in youth. The habits formed in youth will grow with their growth and strengthen with their strength; and they will generally be the same in after life, only continuing to grow stronger.

We are living in an age when almost everything is superficial. There is but little stability and firmness of character, because the training and education of children from their cradle is superficial. Their characters are built upon sliding sand. Self-denial and self-control have not been moulded into their characters. They have been petted and indulged until they are spoiled for practical life. The love of pleasure controls minds, and children are flattered and indulged to their ruin. Children should be trained and educated so that they may expect to meet with difficulties, as well as with temptations and dangers. They should be taught to have control over themselves, and to overcome difficulties nobly; and if they do not willfully rush into danger, and needlessly place themselves in the way of temptation; if they shun evil influences and vicious society, and then are unavoidably compelled to be in dangerous company, they will have strength of character to stand for the right and preserve principle, and will come forth in the strength of God with their morals untainted. The moral powers of youth who have been properly educated, if they make God their trust, will be equal to stand the most powerful test.

If parents would feel it a solemn duty that God enjoins upon them to educate their children for usefulness in this life, if they would adorn the inner temple of the souls of their sons and daughters for the immortal life, we should see a great change in society for the better. And then there would not be manifest so great indifference to practical godliness, and it would not be as difficult to arouse the moral sensibilities of children to understand the claims that God has upon them. But parents become more and more careless in the education of their children in the useful branches. Many parents allow their children to form wrong habits, and to follow their inclination rather than to impress upon their minds the danger of their doing this, and the necessity of their being controlled by principle.

Children frequently engage in a piece of work, and become perplexed or weary of it, and wish to change and take hold of something new, although they entered upon the work with enthusiasm. Thus they may take hold of several things, meet with a little discouragement, and give them up; and thus pass from one thing to another, perfecting nothing. Parents should not be so much engaged with other things that they have not time patiently to discipline those developing minds. They should not allow the love of change to control their children. A few words of encouragement or a little help at the right time may carry them over their trouble and discouragement, and the satisfaction they will have in seeing completed the task they undertook will stimulate them to greater exertion.

Many children, for want of words of encouragement, and a little assistance in their efforts in childhood and youth, become disheartened, and change from one thing to another. And they carry this sad defect with them in mature life. They cannot make a success of anything they engage in; for they have not been taught to persevere under discouraging circumstances. Thus the entire lifetime of many proves a failure because they did not have correct discipline. The education in childhood and youth not only affects their entire business career in mature life, but the religious experience bears a corresponding stamp.

Young ladies frequently give themselves up to study, and to the neglect of other branches of education even more essential for practical life than the study of books. After they have obtained their education, they are frequently invalids for life. They neglected their health by remaining too much in-doors, deprived of the pure air of heaven, and the God-given sunlight.
These young ladies might have come from their schools in health, if they had combined with their studies household labor and exercise in the open air.

Health is a great treasure. It is the richest possession mortals can have. Wealth, honor, or learning is dearly purchased, if it be at the loss of the vigor of health. None of these attainments can secure happiness if health is wanting. It is a terrible sin to abuse the health God has given us. Every abuse of health enfeebles for life, and makes us losers, even if we gain any amount of education.

Poverty, in many cases, is a blessing; for it prevents youth and children from being ruined by inaction. The physical as well as the mental should be cultivated and properly developed. The first and constant care of parents should be that their children may have firm constitutions, that they may be sound men and women. It is impossible to attain this object without physical exercise. Children, for their own physical health and moral good, should be taught to work, even if there is no necessity as far as want is concerned. If they would have virtuous characters, they must have the discipline of well-regulated labor, which will bring into exercise all the muscles. The satisfaction children will have in being useful, in denying themselves to help others, will be the most healthful pleasure they ever enjoyed. Why should the wealthy rob themselves and their dear children of this great blessing?

Parents, inaction is the greatest curse that ever came upon youth. Your daughters should not be allowed to lie late in bed in the morning, sleeping away the precious hours lent them of God to be used for the best purpose, and for which they will have to give an account to God. The mother is doing her daughters great injury in bearing the burdens the daughters should share with her for their own present good and future benefit. The course many parents pursue in allowing their children to be indolent and to gratify a desire for reading romance, is unfitting them for real life. Novel and story-book reading is the greatest evil that youth can indulge in. Novel and love-story readers always fail to make good practical mothers. They live in an unreal world. They are air-castle builders, living in an imaginary world. They become sentimental, and have sick fancies. Their artificial life spoils them for anything useful. They are dwarfed in intellect, although they flatter themselves that they are superior in mind and manners. Exercise in household labor will be of the greatest advantage to young girls.

Physical labor will not prevent the cultivation of the intellect. Far from this. The advantages gained by physical labor will so balance the mind that it shall not be overworked. The toil will then come upon the muscles, and relieve the wearied brain. There are many listless, useless girls who consider it unladylike-like to engage in active labor. But their characters are too transparent to deceive sensible persons in regard to their real worthlessness. They will simper and giggle, and are all affectation. They appear as though they could not speak fairly and squarely, but torture all they say with lisping and simpering. Are these ladies? They are not born fools, but were educated such. It does not require a frail, helpless, over-dressed, simpering thing to make a lady. A sound body is required for a sound intellect. Physical soundness, and a practical knowledge in all the necessary household duties, is never a hindrance to a well-developed intellect, but is highly important for a lady. {CE 12-17}

 

PRISON MISSION REPORT

Ron,
Hi. Thank you for the book you sent, “Change Your Life Biblically”. The Lord is clarifying so much to me along with the Bible. I just finished the chapter “perseverance”. Wow! I’m in tears over Jesus’ love for me. The Lord is doing a great work in me. I pray daily that I can share with others and recognize opportunities. Yesterday, someone a few doors down was sharing her biblical perspectives with me as she is reading through the Bible. I was sitting here praying and thought of asking you to send her your introduction and also one to my husband who is incarcerated. I know it would be a blessing. There is just so much I cannot explain. Thank you again for your ministry.
Cindy, CA

Dear Ron,
As I was growing up in Kansas, my mom had us going to church at a Southern Baptist Church. Some of what they taught I have come to find out was wrong. It hurts me to know that so many people are being led astray, not being taught the truth of the Everlasting Gospel. One thing that I was taught correctly is the trinity of God. One thing I didn’t realize and I don’t know if it wasn’t taught or I just didn’t grasp it at the time, was that Jesus was there in the Old Testament. When it was pointed out the “Us” and “Our” in Genesis, I was shocked. Also, it was Jesus on the mountain and in the bush with Moses. This truly helped me understand the Old Testament better. It seems to me that no matter what chapter I studied in “Change Your Life Biblically” I was always going back to the Old Testament and in all my times of trying to study the Bible I would always just go to the New Testament. So the biggest change, or the way these chapters impacted me the most, was the way I study. Everything is so much more clear.

Ever since I was young, I was taught “saved by grace”. All I had to do was admit that I was a sinner and except Jesus into my life and I was saved forever. No matter what I did after that, God’s grace would over look it. It wasn’t until later on in life, or I should say recently, that inside I knew there had to be more to it. I knew I was missing something. With grace it is so simple. All we had to do is look up the definition and you would know “saved by grace” is not correct in the way it is being taught. Grace is unmerited favor. Once I started really reading and studying the Old Testament did I realize as you pointed out, that God has extended His grace from the beginning. By learning about grace and putting it in the proper place, now I know that there is more to being saved eternally. Grace keeps us alive after we sin because God is wanting all of His children to come back into fellowship with Him. In my own thoughts, I feel like it is also very gracious of God to even offer a salvation that we can obtain knowing that we are sinners. I think this topic impacted me, or helped me, the way I think more than most of the other chapters. It helped me put in perspective how grace and faith work together saving me in different ways. Now when I study my Bible, when I come across the word grace, I think of it in the way this chapter taught me and it really makes more sense. My life is much different after not only studying this chapter of Grace, but the whole book has been a blessing to me. I try to share what I have learned with people I talk to here and my family.

I have always believed the Bible. I was always taught from the New Testament and a little from Genesis. I never really thought about when the New Testament authors talked about Scripture they had to be talking about the Old Testament. Your book, “Change Your Life Biblically” really opened up a lot of new thoughts for me. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the prophecies in Daniel. How can anyone not believe the Bible once they read the books of the prophets? God has told us what was going to happen 100’s of years before it happened. On the prophecy side of the Bible I think what changed my thinking the most is about the Catholic Church and this man which they call “the Pope”. I have always thought something was not right about that religion. But now it amazes me that so many people follow this person and worship him. You see it every day. It opened up a whole new subject that I want to learn more about so I can teach other people, if given the chance. I know now through “Proof of the Bible” that we are close to the end of time. Now I want and have the desire to learn and study my Bible so I can try and bring more people into fellowship with our living God. It has been a big impact on my life.

The scientific part of “Proof of the Bible” was a joy to read. I am a big fan of math and science so I enjoyed this section. So many things prove the Bible is true and real. But so many people want to keep their blinders on, sticking to their theory which will hold no truth. Then, the “Historical” part of “Proof of the Bible”, I could see the Ark, the Red Sea Crossing and the burnt mountain which is all in the Old Testament. The way this section has impacted me most is now when I teach others, I have to be able to prove that the Bible is real before I can teach out of the Bible. You have made this easier for me.
Sean, CA

Dear Brother Ron,
I would like to thank you for the Introductory Issue you sent me, and the “8 Steps of Peter”. I just finished it and enjoyed it very much. Once I started reading I couldn’t stop till I finished it. I’m really just so much more positive about everything and becoming even closer than I am now with God. I’m so ready to serve the Lord and do His will. I learned a lot from the “8 Steps” and really can’t wait to learn so much more. May I please receive the “Change Your Life Biblically” workbook. I really can’t wait and am very excited to be a part of all this. It’s also making my time here in the county jail actually feel like I’m doing something great. I also am very moved about what you have done with all this and admire you very much. Also, if possible may I also receive a study Bible. I had one but I gave it to my old cellmate because I felt that the Lord wanted me to do so. I really can’t wait to receive the “Change Your Life Biblically”. Can’t wait to get started.
Allen, CA

Dear Sir,
I am very interested in completing the Bible studies offered by this ministry.
Reginald, NC

Dear Ministry,
I’m serving an 8 year prison term and have recently just found God. I’ve turned to reading the Bible and only Christian literature to help me in finding salvation. So please send me all the Christian information you can to help me strengthen my faith in God. Please send me a copy of “Change Your Life Biblically”.
Douglas, CA

 

TESTIMONY FOR GOD'S PEOPLE

Dear Brethren and Sisters,

God designed that the light of the church should increase and grow brighter and brighter unto the perfect day. Precious promises are made to God’s people upon condition of obedience. If, like Caleb and Joshua, you had wholly followed the Lord, He would have magnified His power in your midst. Sinners would have been converted, and backsliders reclaimed, by your influence; and even the enemies of our faith, although they might oppose and speak against the truth, could but admit that God was with you.

Many of the professed, peculiar people of God are so conformed to the world that their peculiar character is not discerned, and it is difficult to distinguish “between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not.” God would do great things for His people if they would come out from the world and be separate. If they would submit to be led by Him, He would make them a praise in all the earth. Says the True Witness: “I know thy works.” Angels of God who minister unto those who shall be heirs of salvation are acquainted with the condition of all and understand just the measure of faith possessed by each individual. The unbelief, pride, covetousness, and love of the world, which have existed in the hearts of God’s professed people, have grieved the sinless angels. As they have seen that grievous and presumptuous sins exist in the hearts of many professed followers of Christ, and that God has been dishonored by their inconsistent, crooked course, they have been caused to weep. And yet those most at fault, those who cause the greatest feebleness in the church and bring a stain upon their holy profession, do not seem to be alarmed or convicted, but seem to feel that they are flourishing in the Lord.

Many believe that they are on the right foundation, that they have the truth; they rejoice in its clearness and boast of the powerful arguments in proof of the correctness of our position. Such reckon themselves among the chosen, peculiar people of God, yet they experience not His presence and power to save them from yielding to temptation and folly. These profess to know God, yet in works deny Him. How great is their darkness! The love of the world with many, the deceitfulness of riches with others, have choked the word, and they have become unfruitful.

I was shown that the church (has) partaken of the spirit of the world and become lukewarm to an alarming extent. When efforts are made to set things in order in the church and bring the people up to the position God would have them occupy, a class will be affected by the labor, and will make earnest efforts to press through the darkness to the light. But many do not persevere in their efforts long enough to realize the sanctifying influence of the truth upon their hearts and lives. The cares of the world engross the mind to that degree that self-examination and secret prayer are neglected. The armor is laid off and Satan has free access to them, benumbing their sensibilities and causing them to be unsuspicious of his wiles.

Some do not manifest a desire to know their true state and escape from Satan’s snares. They are sickly and dying. They are occasionally warmed by the fire of others, yet are so nearly chilled by formality, pride, and the influence of the world that they have no sense of their need of help.

There are many who are deficient in spirituality and the Christian graces. A weight of solemn responsibility should daily rest upon them as they view the perilous times in which we live and the corrupting influences which are teeming around us. Their only hope of being partakers of the divine nature is to escape the corruption that is in the world. These brethren need a deep and thorough experience in the things of God, and this can only be obtained by an effort on their part. Their position requires them to possess earnestness and unabated diligence, so as not to be found sleeping at their post. Satan and his angels sleep not.

Christ’s followers should be instruments of righteousness, workmen, living stones, emitting light, that they may encourage the presence of heavenly angels. They are required to be channels, as it were, through which the spirit of truth and righteousness shall flow. Many have partaken so largely of the spirit and influence of the world that they act like the world. They have their likes and dislikes, and discern not excellence of character. Their conduct is not governed by the pure principles of Christianity; therefore they think only of themselves, their pleasure and enjoyment, to the disregard of others. They are not sanctified through the truth, therefore realize not the oneness of Christ’s followers the world over. Those who are most loved of God are those who possess the least self-confidence and are adorned with a meek and quiet spirit; whose lives are pure and unselfish, and whose hearts are inclined, through the abundant measure of the spirit of Christ, to obedience, justice, purity, and true holiness.

If all were devoted to God, a precious light would shine forth from them, which would have a direct influence upon all who are brought in contact with them. But all need a work done for them. Some are far from God, variable and unstable as water; they have no idea of sacrifice. When they desire any special indulgence or pleasure, or any article of dress, they do not consider whether or not they can do without the article, or deny themselves the pleasure, and make a freewill offering to God. How many have considered that they were required to make some sacrifice? Although it may be of less value than that of the wealthy man who possesses his thousands, yet that which really costs self-denial would be a precious sacrifice, an offering to God. It would be a sweet-smelling savor, and come up from his altar like sweet incense.

The youth are not authorized to do just as they please with their means, regardless of the requirements of God. With David they should say: “Neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing.” Quite an amount of means has been expended to multiply copies of their pictures. Could all enumerate the amount given to the artist (photographs, videos, cell phones, Ipads, vehicles, jet skies, sports and entertainment, church-going, etc.) for this purpose, it would swell to quite a large sum. And this is merely one way in which means is squandered, invested for self-gratification, from which no profit is received. By this outlay, they are not clothed or fed, the widow and the fatherless are not relieved, the hungry are not fed, the naked are not clothed.

While money is spent lavishly in self-gratification, stinted offerings are brought to God almost unwillingly. How much of the wages earned by the young finds its way into the treasury of God to aid in the advancement of the work of saving souls? They give a mite each week and feel that they do much. But they have no sense that they are just as much stewards of God over their little as are the wealthy over their larger possessions. God has been robbed and themselves indulged, their pleasure consulted, their taste gratified, without a thought that He would make close investigation of how they have used His goods. While such unhesitatingly gratify their supposed wants and withhold from God the offering they ought to make, He will no more accept the little pittance they hand into the treasury than He accepted the offering of Ananias and his wife Sapphira, who purposed to rob Him in their offerings.

As a general thing, the young among us are allied to the world. But few maintain a special warfare against the internal foe, few have an earnest, anxious desire to know and do the will of God. But few hunger and thirst after righteousness, and few know anything of the Spirit of God as a reprover or comforter. Where are the missionaries? Where are the self-denying, self-sacrificing ones? Where are the cross bearers? Self and self-interest have swallowed up high and noble principles. Things of eternal moment bear with no special weight upon the mind. God requires them individually to come up to the point to make an entire surrender. “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” You cannot serve self and at the same time be servants of Christ. You must die to self, die to your love of pleasure, and learn to inquire: Will God be pleased with the objects for which I purpose to spend this means? Shall I glorify Him?

We are commanded, whether we eat, or drink, or whatsoever we do, to do all to the glory of God. How many have conscientiously moved from principle rather than from impulse, and obeyed this command to the letter? How many of the youthful disciples in (the church) have made God their trust and portion, and have earnestly sought to know and do His will? There are many who are servants of Christ in name, but who are not so in deed. Where religious principle governs, the danger of committing great errors is small; for selfishness, which always blinds and deceives, is subordinate. The sincere desire to do others good so predominates that self is forgotten. To have firm religious principles is an inestimable treasure. It is the purest, highest, and most elevated influence mortals can possess. Such have an anchor. Every act is well considered, lest its effect be injurious to another and lead away from Christ. The constant inquiry of the mind is: Lord, how shall I best serve Thee, and glorify Thy name in the earth? How shall I conduct my life to make Thy name a praise in the earth, and lead others to love, serve, and honor Thee? Let me only desire and choose Thy will. Let the words and example of my Redeemer be the light and strength of my heart. While I follow and trust in Him, He will not leave me to perish. He will be my crown of rejoicing.

If we mistake the wisdom of man for the wisdom of God we are led astray by the foolishness of man’s wisdom. Here is the great danger of many in (church). They have not an experience for themselves. They have not been in the habit of prayerfully considering for themselves, with unprejudiced, unbiased judgment, questions and subjects that are new and that are ever liable to arise. They wait to see what others will think. If these dissent, that is all that is needed to convince them that the subject under consideration is of no account whatever. Although this class is large, it does not change the fact that they are inexperienced and weak-minded through long yielding to the enemy, and will always be as sickly as babes, walking by others’ light, living on others’ experience, feeling as others feel, and acting as others act. They act as though they had not an individuality. Their identity is submerged in . . . (church); they are merely shadows of those whom they think about right. Unless these become sensible of their wavering character and correct it, they will all fail of everlasting life; they will be unable to cope with the perils of the last days. They will possess no stamina to resist the devil, for they do not know that it is he. Someone must be at their side to inform them whether a foe or a friend is approaching. They are not spiritual, therefore spiritual things are not discerned. They are not wise in those things which relate to the kingdom of God. Neither young nor old are excusable in trusting to . . . (church) to have an experience for them. Said the angel: “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man (church), and maketh flesh his arm.” A noble self-reliance is needed in the Christian experience and warfare.

Men, women, and youth, God requires you to possess moral courage, steadiness of purpose, fortitude and perseverance, minds that cannot take the assertions of . . .(church), but which will investigate for themselves before receiving or rejecting, that will study and weigh evidence, and take it to the Lord in prayer. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” Now the condition: “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord.” This petition for wisdom is not to be a meaningless prayer, out of mind as soon as finished. It is a prayer that expresses the strong, earnest desire of the heart, arising from a conscious lack of wisdom to determine the will of God.

After the prayer is made, if the answer is not realized immediately, do not weary of waiting and become unstable. Waver not. Cling to the promise, “Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it.” Like the importunate widow, urge your case, being firm in your purpose. Is the object important and of great consequence to you? It certainly is. Then waver not, for your faith may be tried. If the thing you desire is valuable, it is worthy of a strong, earnest effort. You have the promise; watch and pray. Be steadfast and the prayer will be answered; for is it not God who has promised? If it costs you something to obtain it you will prize it the more when obtained. You are plainly told that if you waver you need not think that you shall receive anything of the Lord. A caution is here given not to become weary, but to rest firmly upon the promise. If you ask, He will give you liberally and upbraid not.

Here is where many make a mistake. They waver from their purpose, and their faith fails. This is the reason they receive nothing of the Lord, who is our Source of strength. None need go in darkness, stumbling along like a blind man; for the Lord has provided light if they will accept it in His appointed way, and not choose their own (church) way. He requires of all a diligent performance of everyday duties. Especially is this required of all who are engaged in the solemn, important work in the (church institutions), both of those upon whom rest the more weighty responsibilities of the work, and of those who bear the least responsibilities. This can be done only by looking to God for ability to enable them faithfully to perform what is right in the sight of Heaven (not church), doing all things as though governed by unselfish motives, as if the eye of God were visible to all, looking upon all, and investigating the acts of all.

The sin which is indulged to the greatest extent, and which separates us from God and produces so many contagious spiritual disorders, is selfishness. There can be no returning to the Lord except by self-denial. Of ourselves we can do nothing; but, through God strengthening us, we can live to do good to others, and in this way shun the evil of selfishness. We need not go to heathen lands to manifest our desire to devote all to God in a useful, unselfish life. We should do this in the home circle, in the church, among those with whom we associate and with whom we do business. Right in the common walks of life is where self is to be denied and kept in subordination. Paul could say: “I die daily.” It is the daily dying to self in the little transactions of life that makes us overcomers. We should forget self in the desire to do good to others. With many there is a decided lack of love for others. Instead of faithfully performing their duty, they seek rather their own pleasure.

God positively enjoins upon all His followers a duty to bless others with their influence and means, and to seek that wisdom of Him which will enable them to do all in their power to elevate the thoughts and affections of those who come within their influence. In doing for others, a sweet satisfaction will be experienced, an inward peace which will be a sufficient reward. When actuated by a high and noble desire to do others good, they will find true happiness in a faithful discharge of life’s manifold duties. This will bring more than an earthly reward; for every faithful, unselfish performance of duty is noticed by the angels and shines in the life record. In heaven none will think of self, nor seek their own pleasure; but all, from pure, genuine love, will seek the happiness of the heavenly beings around them. If we wish to enjoy heavenly society in the earth made new, we must be governed by heavenly principles here.

Every act of our lives affects others for good or evil. Our influence is tending upward or downward; it is felt, acted upon, and to a greater or less degree reproduced by others. If by our example we aid others in the development of good principles, we give them power to do good. In their turn they exert the same beneficial influence upon others, and thus hundreds and thousands are affected by our unconscious influence. If we by acts strengthen or force into activity the evil powers possessed by those around us, we share their sin, and will have to render an account for the good we might have done them and did not do, because we made not God our strength, our guide, our counselor. {2T 124-133}

 

MINISTRY NEWS

“In doing for others, a sweet satisfaction will be experienced, an inward peace which will be a sufficient reward.” Here is your opportunity to find that “sweet satisfaction” by helping us send “Change Your Life Biblically” to inmates. Lives are waiting to be changed. The Spirit of God is waiting to bless your means of influence to change hearts. This little ministry, called by God, is in need. We are receiving so many requests. This year already we have sent over 1,500 books and material to inmates. To continue, we need an infusion of $2,500. I have spent over $700 in postage just in September. God needs your help. Thank you folks for your love and support.

Love in Christ,

Ron