Posts Tagged ‘Apostasy’

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Checking in: July 6, 2015

July 7, 2015

Greetings in Jesus name.  It has been a few weeks since updating the blog; leaving the planned series of posts in limbo for the moment.  A myriad of obligations have attributed to this absence, of which the primary has been the preparing of the house to which we are moving into at the end of the month.  My mother-in-law passed away last year, leaving us with a house that is completely clear of debt, but in need of a lot of work.  The remainder of the work has to be done by August 1 and, subsequently, most of my spare time has been spent moving toward this goal.  Lord willing, after August 1, I can be more consistent here.

It’s kind of a paradox; spending a great deal of time and resource on something that is so very temporal, while monitoring what appears to be the end of a nation and the speedy fulfilling of end time prophecy.  Adding further complication to this, is a situation which all who are atuned wrestle with as well.  Very few (if any) of our contemporaries see what’s coming an even fewer are concerned enough to prepare spiritually.  The majority of professing Christians desire smooth messages mingled with promises of prosperity in this world, a continuance of things as they have always known them, and reassurance that they will be raptured out long before events become astonishing beyond measure.

We know from scripture that the time of the end will be one of incredible spiritual darkness; a condition that is well underway.  The apostasy has reached levels that would have been unthinkable a mere decade ago and continues to grow.  With iniquity abounding, the love of many is, not only waxing cold, it’s transforming into an intense hatred of anyone who maintains, and promotes a biblical world view.  Here’s a primary example of this.  Since the recent supreme court decision that favors gay marriage, people who beforetime, seemed to have no deeper concern than paying their bills, and keeping tabs on their favorite sports team, have suddenly become adamant defenders of something that God calls an abomination.

The shift that transpired on June 26 seems to have set the stage that will unite those who know not the Lord Jesus into a downward spiral from which few will escape.  Those who love the Lord Jesus must abide close to him and be prepared to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit without hesitation.  And while the season ahead looks to be darker than any of us can fathom, it is also a season where those who do know their God shall be strong and do exploits.  With all of our ties to this world dissolved, we will have our entire focus upon the things which are eternal.  (which is why updating a 117 year old house seems so pointless)  

Well I must go for now.  Lord willing, I want to become more consistent in updating this site as the hecticity subsides.  Blessings in Jesus name.

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“Stair”way to Their Way

January 18, 2015

Initially, this post was going to address the dangers of following men to the point that one begins to ignore the gentle warnings of the Hold Spirit and brush aside anomalies that do not seem to add up, instead of searching the scriptures their own and sincerely taking the matter to the Lord Jesus in prayer. But after embarking on this, I began to recall the details of an instance where, for a season, I was lured into following a way that, had it come to complete fruition, the fallout would have been devastating.  In 2004, I seriously contemplated a move, unknown to me at the time, would have placed my family directly into an environment of spiritual abuse. I’m sharing this, because, I was blindsided by the deception and it serves as a reminder that we cannot follow men to the point that we neglect to “prove all things.”

I Thessalonians 5:21 “Prove all things; hold fast to that which is good.”

Ephesians 4:14-15 “That we henceforth no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:”

In the spring of 2004, something miraculous happened. After nearly fourteen years of being backslidden, The Lord Jesus miraculously brought me to a place of repentance and turning away from that desolate state. The peace of God returned, I began getting back into the word, and my prayer life was restored. My wife, who had only known me in a backslidden state, was completely perplexed by this. (She has since grown phenomenally as the Lord is doing a good work.) The only scriptural comparison that I can find in regards to the season of rebellion is the time when King Nebudchadnezzar was driven from power and lived like a wild animal…..until his understanding returned unto him and he was restored to power. My restoration transpired on Millers Mill road as I was driving to work. I believe that I had been near a point of no return…..however, the Lord Jesus reached down and restored me.

Along with prayer and a return to searching the scriptures, I began listening to a few preachers through their respective radio broadcasts. I found some good ones who preached solid messages. One particular preacher, however, became a favorite…..and this is where the trouble began. His name was R.G. Stair and he lived in South Carolina. He talked a lot about the end times, used a KJV bible, preached separation from the world, and believed in a post-tribulation rapture.  He seemed to touch on everything that was of interest to me. One time, he even dedicated airtime to a thorough, (and accurate) discussion of I Corinthians chapter 14; maintaining the position that the baptism of the Holy Spirit and prophecy are for every generation, however, everything must be done within the confines of scripture. This is important, because there is much going on these days that’s not within the confines of scripture.

I began to listen to R.G, Stair with “sitting-on-the-edge-of-my-seat” enthusiasm. He would talk about the course of events in the geo-political realm and how they related to bible prophecy. He talked much about “the farm” in Walterboro, South Carolina and the many remnant saints who had gathered there. As spring turned to summer, I began to seriously contemplate…..moving to the farm and began praying about how to get my wife on board……unless the unbelieving should depart. This is worth noting. Ever since the restoration, the enemy has sought to dissolve this family and I haven’t always been aware of his tactics. Praise God that, not only are we still together, our marriage is stronger than ever. Back in 2004, however, I was wanting to abandon everything here, and move to the farm……even if it meant going alone. Going alone would have been very hurtful and irresponsible. Taking my wife, my two daughters (then ages 13 and 10) our autistic son (then age 9) and our youngest son (then age 6) into that environment would have been equally irresponsible.

I Timothy 5:8 “”But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”

It goes without saying that I was not thinking clearly during that time, nor was I seriously inquiring of the Lord about this manner. Once we begin following a man, our discernment becomes the first casualty. Following Mr Stair nearly wrecked my life, along with those of my household……right after the Lord Jesus had done a complete restoration. Writing about this is nearly overwhelming. The Lord Jesus prevented a calamity that would have destroyed many lives. He truly saves to the uttermost. 

We had the financial resources to easily make such a move. But as I was praying….and seeking……and wanting to be with like-minded saints……certain things began to trouble me; even as I was solidifying the bond with these folks. I began communicating; both by e-mail and snail-mail, with Mr Stair. A few times, he read my letters on the air. I began to make financial donations to the ministry.  But then, I began to notice the red flags. First, Mr Stair referred to himself as “the last day prophet of God.” I overlooked it at first as I wanted to hear the message and was not about to be troubled by a seemingly insignificant thing. (It was not insignificant, as will become apparent shortly) Then there were reports about inappropriate sexual behavior, families being torn apart while living on the farm…..and the death of an infant on the farm. still, I was so entranced by the preaching that, instead of investigating on my own, I simply categorized these reports as “unfounded rumors from those who are in opposition to the work.”

But the insistence on being identified as “the lat day prophet of God” continued to trouble me. At one point I actually began to fall for this. An internal battle was raging…..and then……I turned on the broadcast. Mr Stair was again discussing this “last day prophet of God” title. Suddenly, he stated words to the effect of “a lot of people wrestle deeply with this title. This is a natural part of the process; don’t be troubled by it.” Well that didn’t really help as something still bothered me. By this time, it was October.  Finally, out of curiosity, I then began visiting websites where some of the allegations against the ministry were detailed. I read them, but didn’t consider them to be credible. There was, however, one incident that, not only caused me to abandon any plans of moving to the farm, it caused me to stop listening to the broadcast long enough for discernment to return…..and then stop listening completely. 

I cannot remember the exact nature of the inquiry, however, I sent a letter containing in great detail, some particular aspect of the end time scenario, and was eagerly awaiting Mr. Stairs commentary on the issue. When a response came, there was absolutely no mention of the inquiry. Instead, the letter contained words to the effect of “do you fully recognize the last day prophet of God? Your eternal salvation hinges on this.” In that moment, my eyes were thrust open. “This isn’t about the Lord Jesus or the time of the end…..this is about total control……and I had been wanting to move my family there.” Many families have been completely destroyed on that farm. Strong, long term marriages have often unraveled shortly after the couple moved there out of a sincere desire to fellowship with other remnant saints. The farm is a totalitarian system where what the prophet says……and now, what Pastor Dowell says…..is to be accepted without question. A strong marriage threatens their power and, therefore must be dissolved. 

They intentionally break apart families……Oh…..and if a person decides to leave the farm, their salvation stays behind.

After this ordeal concluded, I made contact with a man who had lived there with his wife and we eventually talked over the phone a few times. (Their marriage survived) He told about an atmosphere of fear and total control by the prophet. Any discretion was exposed to the whole community. He told about sexual misconduct and, when learning that I had considered moving my family there, he was horrified. The marriage would have most likely been torn apart…..and my daughters……well……PRAISE GOD FOR NOT ALLOWING SUCH A THING! I began to learn about the plight of others who completely fell for the deception and had been subjected to the abuses of those in control.

One may wonder how someone could fall for something like this. For me, the answer is simple. They were playing my song. This cult will not appeal to a lukewarm, your-best-life-now, name-it-and-claim-it, touchy-feely type of professing Christian. This kind of group will appeal to those who are awake and understand the times in which we live. It appeals to those who desperately want to be in fellowship with serious-minded saints, but cannot find any where they live. It appeals to those who are looking unto Jesus and love not their lives in this world. It appeals to those who are preparing spiritually for the moment when the testimony of Jesus will be a death sentence in this world. Many of these folks have searched frantically for a new testament church that is not conformed to this worlds system, to no avail. They are hungry for fellowship, because when we love Jesus, our hearts are in heavenly places and we love to fellowship with folks whose hearts are likewise in heavenly places. This search can cause us to (at least in my case) not thoroughly, and prayerfully examine a situation that appears to provide everything that we’re looking for.

I Corinthians 4:6 I Thessalonians 2:11-12 “And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.

The R.G. Stair season was confusing and this is the first time that I’ve written about it.  Had it not been for the added logistical complications involved with moving a family (in other words, if I had been single) I probably would have moved to the farm; thinking it was the will of God and even believing myself to have properly “prayed about it.” Well, it’s time to be going. I don’t know if this is profitable to anyone, however, revisiting this season reminded me of how close I came to entering a dangerous situation and how imperative it is to ensure that we do not allow the words of men to entice us into something contrary to the will of God.

John 10:10 “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life , and that they might have it more abundantly.”  

Blessings in Jesus name.

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The Fallen Entity Resistance Society

January 14, 2015

Of all the passages in scripture that address the issue of spiritual warfare, these are two of the most well known:

II Corinthians 2:11 “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.”

I Peter 5:8-9 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.
9 Whom ye resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”

The issues touched on in these passages are paramount. Satan utilizes a lack of understanding and discernment to his advantage. Like a particular public figure who once stated “let no crisis go to waste,” Satan utilizes opportunities that would not exist in the life of one who was knowledgeable in how he functions.  Once a beachhead has been established, he launches out in all directions; working to neutralize, and eventually destroy the one who unwittingly opened a door. Sometimes the assault will result in endless turmoil and drama. Other times, it may be a lulling to sleep of the victim by keeping the agents of chaos away from them. Each case is catered to the primary leanings of the individuals old nature, but the endgame is the same. It carries the person away from the Lord Jesus by causing them to focus their attention toward things that do not carry over into the realm of the everlasting.

The list of ways that people open themselves up to such assaults from the enemy includes, but is not limited to, the following: 

1. Focusing on carnal issues: prophetic – There seems to be a lot of saints who are consumed by things coming upon the earth, to the point that the eternal perspective becomes…….almost an afterthought. This camp consists of patriots, survivalists, news junkies, those looking for a political solution, and the like. (survival skills are a good asset to have and being informed is important, however, they should not be allowed to eclipse eternal matters.) The trend of their dialogue, the links that they share on social media, and what have you, all focus on earthly events. And while many of these reports are prophetically significant, neglecting to place them into a proper perspective, can cause folks to become overwhelmed. When people are overwhelmed, they make bad decisions…….and this plays into the hands of an enemy who knows how to make the most of everything that we give him. (Matthew 14:30 comes to mind…..look to Jesus)  

2. Focusing on carnal issues: worldly – The list stretches beyond the horizon. Careers, sports, endless remodeling projects, material acquisition, continual studying things which have neither eternal significance or practical application, endless pursuit of the next big thrill, runaway foolishness (note to self) slothfulness-just “hanging out” while ones moment of departure draws increasingly closer, diverse idolatries……Satan literally has “something for everyone” as he skillfully employs the three lusts to keep his captives from considering eternal matters…..and what their current situation truly is. Those who know not the Lord Jesus are consumed by these things, just as we all were, prior to having a supernatural encounter with Jesus. But when a professing Christian is overcome by these, it is a shipwreck in the making. (Matthew 13:22 comes to mind. When a person is in a patch of thorns, they become paralyzed. All of their energy is consumed by trying to navigate through the contrary vegetation.

3. Not recognizing the perimeters of the battle – A few days ago, I became aware of a cult that calls itself a christian church, however, the leaders are subjecting those beneath them to classic mind control methods to keep them in line. This group is headed up by three guys who refer to themselves as “elders” and have control over every aspect of life within the sect. The more that I learned, the more maddening it became…..until once again, the Lord had to remind me of where the real battle lies. These elders are not the enemy, but the enemy was using them to gain bonus miles….by getting into my spiritual backfield and drawing my attention away from where it should be. Without a doubt, they are engaging in wickedness, however, the real enemy is Satan, who is seeking to destroy all who are in this group. The focus must be on the souls who are in peril.

Lord willing, there may be more about the aforementioned group in an upcoming post. They provide a textbook example of a cult that can appeal to “the elect.” Many of their members are younger adults who came out of bible believing families. 

4. Compromising truth in exchange for anything that one would think themselves to be accomplishing by doing so – This takes on a myriad of forms, from the faulty notion of “being like the world in order to win the world” to condoning an ever-widening circle of unscriptural beliefs that are being embraced in order to “just get along.” Compromising the primary doctrines of biblical Christianity is the primary identifier of the great falling away. Whenever a person embraces a redefinition of truth that’s contrary to scripture, they are embracing a lie that was birthed in hell. Embracing a lie always leads to promoting a lie, and such a one will seek to draw others into agreement with the lie. Embracing error, will carry a person away from God on a rail. If not identified and repented of, it will eventually compel a person to disregard the authority of scripture, as they work frantically to support the lie. Most of the souls who become partakers of the great falling away, began down that direction with the noblest of intentions.

Hmm. Noblest of intentions……like Perry “Noble?”…….I’m sorry……I should delete this……and yet, he is attempting to redefine scripture……he has a huge following of people with itching ears…….so I’ll leave it.

Acts 17:11 “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

5. Lack of a love for the truth. This is the gateway to the problems outlined in number 4.  When a person begins to slip and waver in their faith; whether it be the result of other priorities taking the lead position in their lives, a falling for the clever words of one who believes a lie and makes it look desirable, or simply vintage laziness, when one begins to no longer hold truth in high esteem, they are embarking on a slippery slope toward the pit. It should be noted, that, once a person reaches the point of fully embracing a lie, they may become twofold more the child of hell than the one who led them into the lie. The pride associated with this “new revelation that few are privy to” oftentimes solidifies the deal as such a one can no longer discern between truth and error, or make serious independent inquiry as to whether or not these things are true.

Matthew 23:15 “Woe unto you scribes and Pharissees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.”

I Timothy 4:1-2 “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;” 

6. Peer pressure – not wanting to go against the flow – This has been, and will be in the future, the downfall of multitudes. It begins with a quiet neglect to speak truth when the current company is condoning a lie. It concludes when those embracing a lie will not longer be content with one simply sitting out the conversation, but will demand an embracing of their evil. We see this in the purest form of Islam, where a non-muslim must either embrace their religion or die. We see it in the sodomite community where, it’s not enough for us to “let them be.” They must parade their evil in public, demand that the church embrace it, and seek to have laws enacted that prohibit any action or speech that supports the biblical view on the issue. Like all such groups, they preach tolerance and “just getting along,” however, they are the most intolerant of people when someone disagrees with their situation.

I recently saw a quote that read “speak the truth; even if your voice shakes.” In other words, make sure that every syllable coming out of our mouth is truth…..even if our speech is not eloquent…..even if we struggle…..even if our discomfort in doing so is obvious. Speak truth. The enemy will attempt to chip away at our resolve; not with big things, but with little diversions from truth. Diversions that we may even be lured into believing are necessary in order to make progress. (such as “being like the world in order to win the world”…… it’s blatantly erroneous!)

7. Opening doors to the occult – A loss of a love for truth may eventually cause a person to engage in activity which is strictly forbidden in scripture. King Saul is a textbook example of this. He started out well and even prophesied among the prophets. God made him king over Israel, but trouble soon developed. He began doing things his way instead of following the exact instructions from the LORD. Self-will (rebellion as the sin of witchcraft) envy of David, and other associated problems of the heart, carried Saul far away from “what could have been.” He ended up consulting with the witch of Endor for direction, who, after fulfilling Saul’s request prepared his final meal. She provided comfort for Saul and his company, before they headed into the night.

When a person gives space to seducing spirits, their actions will become increasingly contrary to scripture; even to the point that they begin practicing what is strictly forbidden in scripture. There are churches today….huge churches…..that engage in occultic practices unaware. Emptying ones mind, channeling, seeking experience without trying the spirits, engaging in pagan practices such as yoga; many today have opened themselves up to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. The fruit will always be carnal. I came across the testimony of a man who had been present at the “Toronto blessing” event. He talked about how wonderful it was and the warm fuzzy feelings that came with soaking prayer. After a few weeks, however, he began to notice something. The attitude of everyone around him was…….very carnal – very fleshy and unspiritual. A corrupt tree cannot produce good fruit; no matter how many lofty speeches, upbeat songs, and strobe lights one tosses into the mixture. 

I wanted to get into the more direct elements of spiritual warfare, but it will have to be in a later post down the road. Nonetheless, each of us have a bible, and a person who is born again has the Holy Spirit abiding within. Scott Johnson recently passed along a question that he was asked when he was new in the faith and was being drawn to an erroneous teaching. A pastor asked him words to the effect of “If you were alone, and had nothing but a bible, would you have reached this conclusion?” Scott told how this question caused him to really begin investigating issues based on scripture and not based on somebody’s book…..or a particular groups doctrine. And likewise must we do…….search the scriptures and allow the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth. 

Romans 13:14 “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”

James 4:7 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

Blessings in Jesus name.

 

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Transition from Tradition

January 4, 2015

 Ecclesiastes 1:18 “For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.”

True wisdom comes from above, according to James 1:5 and James 3:17.  Unfiltered by the teachings and opinions of our contemporaries, is a priceless thing; “first pure, then peaceable, and easy to be entreated.” But oftentimes, this wisdom contains an element of sadness, because we then survey the landscape with greater clarity and realize that it’s actually much darker than we had previously thought. We see the souls around us who are bound by the same things that we were once bound by, until the Lord Jesus delivered us. And just as we were in that un-regenerated state, those around us do not realize that they are walking in darkness. They hold in high esteem, the chains of their captivity; even calling them fun and equating them to “really living.” All the while, they view those who have been delivered from such vanities as being weird, legalistic, haters, and, as I was recently called by someone very close to me, “a real killjoy.”

Satan has a vast array of tactics which he utilizes in keeping his captives in a state of blindness.  Some are physically destructive, such as alcohol/drug abuse, promiscuity, homosexuality, uncontrollable anger, and what have you. Others have a seemingly benign nature; unless one considers that they cause one to not prepare for their moment of departing.  This category includes the pursuit of endless acquisition, being consumed by a career to the point that it becomes ones god, a relentless seeking of entertainment or pastime, or any interest that an average person employs to occupy their proverbial spare time instead of considering issues of eternal significance. I know of people who are so consumed by the following of sports that it seems to dictate every facet of their lives.

Still others become deeply involved in divers causes, organized dead religion, cults-including those with a Christian veneer, or something which appears to have aspirations beyond this temporal world but does not lead one to real faith in Jesus. These are oftentimes the most dedicated kinds of people that one will find; especially since many of them operate from the idea of “working their way to heaven” or a perceived better situation after they leave this world. Jehovahs Witnesses will pound the pavement relentlessly; seeking to lure the non-discerning into following another Jesus because they are working for a place on the new earth. Many people who fall into these sects joined them after becoming adults. Others were born into a religious system which is void of life. These souls who are born into a false system are, not only following a lie, but are cemented into that system because of tradition.

And this brings us to the topic at hand – traditions. They come in a variety of flavors, however, they all have a single commonality. It keeps a person captive to a format that demands specific actions to be carried out at certain times. For one who knows not the Lord Jesus, traditions often stand in the way whenever they are presented with truth. For example, one who has been brought up in Roman Catholicism will equate the traditions that they have always known with godliness. Even if they cannot reference a single passage of scripture, they will oftentimes cling to what they have always known, as opposed to listening to the words of a stranger who lovingly tells them that “ye must be born again.” This is further complicated when they are “very nice people;” displaying all of the natural affections and courtesies that are standard amongst most of our contemporaries. (Matthew 7:11) 

Colossians 2:8-9 “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

This passage reveals three important points. First, traditions are earthly in their origin. They are implemented by men and not God. They are flesh-based at best, and demonically inspired at their worst, as the enemy continuously seeks to lead people away from Jesus. Second, they will spoil a person who allows themselves to be governed by them. Whether a person practices them out of a sense of religious obligation, cultural expectation, or they simply serve as a nostalgic reference point, (this takes me back to when I was a child…and I would visit my Grandma…..and she would do such and such….) they keep a person beholden to a continuous loop of unprofitable motions. And thirdly, they deviate away from the Lordship of the Lord Jesus. Even when they are believed to be done in honor of the Lord Jesus, they will keep one from “following him wheresoever he leadeth” because such a one is being governed, not by the gentle promptings of the Holy Spirit (if they are saved) but by the earthly system that everyone else is doing to honor Jesus. Thus the tradition is in control and not the Lord Jesus.

This will stir up some controversy, so it’s important to state that I am neither for, nor against a person partaking in the festivities associated with Christmas. I refer to Romans 14:5 and Colossians 2:16 in regards to this issue. (although I am an every day the samer) Around that time of year, people spend incredible amounts of time on financial reserves on observing the day. Decor, presents, consumable items, and what have you. If asked “why are you doing this?” the standard answer is “we’re celebrating Jesus coming into the world.” Well, if we really want to honor Jesus coming into the world, we should do what he would have us to do with these resources. (there are some who do this) Instead of spending all of this time and money on ourselves and those closest to us, take that same amount and allocate it to a homeless shelter; where souls are at their wits end and in danger of perishing before the sun comes up tomorrow.

And if it’s good to do such around the 25th of December, it’s good to do it all year long…..and thereby truly honoring Jesus with what we have been blessed with. I know that the debate over Christmas is provocative (just look at the facebook debates) however, Christmas is a textbook case of tradition having power over a persons life. When asked about my thoughts in regards to the issue, I have a compound response. First – my family is unsaved and does not understand my position on this. They need to be saved first before getting into the particulars of this issue. Second, I don’t hold holidays in high esteem simply because they are earthly in nature. Decorating and gift exchanges take my eyes off the eternal – not the other way around. They focus on the “down here” and not the eternal. As we draw closer to Jesus, our appetite for anything that focuses on the “here” will diminish. Every December is a struggle to keep my focus on issues of eternal significance, while everyone around me wants to watch Christmas movies and drink hot chocolate……”because its what we have always done; it reminds us of when we were kids.”

This is the power that tradition holds over a person. I know that some do indeed, utilize this day to focus on Jesus…..however, much of what is done has nothing to do with the Lord Jesus. This is further demonstrated by the way that so many of our contemporaries are stressed out because of holiday obligations. Stress is not a fruit of the spirit and when it is the result of our need to fulfill obligations that have no eternal significance, something is amiss. The folks around me, whom I love dearly…..from about the third week of November, until the beginning of January, they are in a continuous state of stress. The peaceful moments that line up with the currier and ives imagery, are paper thin and the smallest snafu brings them crashing down……because the program has been interrupted.

This post is once again getting long, however, two more aspects are in need of bringing up a they specifically affect one who is born of the Spirit.

Matthew 9:62 “And Jesus said unto him No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

I miss the ability to use more than one color in a sentence…..unless I’m doing something wrong….it used to work.

Traditions make us look back and rehearse what has been. We are called to be looking forward – looking toward an eternity where all of this worlds concerns are no longer a factor – where all that we have done in the name of the Lord Jesus will be memorialized in the form of reward. Holding to the traditions of this world, the agendas that most of our contemporaries are consumed by, a religious form of godliness, and what have you, keep us from fulfilling the work which the Lord has called us to. One of the most fascinating aspects of walking with Jesus, is the changing of seasons. This is when the Lord carries us out of a situation that we have become comfortable with, and into a new situation where we have no idea what to expect. It can be scary, if we try to figure it out. But when we just trust the Lord and know that he has gone before us, it’s like an adventure. One more (troubling) passage, and I’ll wrap this up.

Luke 9:59-60 “And he said to another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.”

This is astonishing and runs contrary to how we operate in the flesh. I was present at the funerals of both of my parents and, most of us will do likewise whenever such a time arrives. And yet Jesus was revealing the importance of eternal issues as opposed to temporal issues….even those temporal issues done out of honor and respect for one who was very important to us. “Let the dead bury their dead.” Saved or lost; the eternal situation of that man’s earthly father was now determined. It was imperative for this man to look toward the future, where souls were still hanging in the balance, as opposed to holding on to what everyone expected, and what he really wanted to do. There may well be souls in heaven at this very moment, who would have never come to faith in Jesus; had this man gone back to bury his father and delayed setting out on the path that the Lord Jesus had assigned to him.

Well, it’s about time to go. I was not expecting this post to touch on certain areas of controversy, however, it is imperative that our focus is on the eternal and not on the temporary. There is a profound liberty to separating from this worlds agenda, and setting aside our own wants, as we seek to be about our Fathers business. We must be ready to let go of anything that the Lord tells us to let go of, and be willing to go wherever he would have us go – when he would have us go. Even if it seems totally impossible in the flesh and even if all of our contemporaries tell us “that’s a stupid thing to do.” If he says “go here, and when  you arrive, I will tell you what to do next” we must go; knowing that he has promised to be with us always. With this, I will close with a well known scripture:

II Timothy 2:4 “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”

Blessings in Jesus name.