THOUGHTS & COMMENTS
There they are, every Sunday, down in the first row and a sight to behold. No one sings louder, or prays longer or better, or knows the Scriptures more fully.
When you think of church, you can't help but think of them, they have become such a fixture one wonders if a service could be held properly should they be unable to attend.
Yep, that's what Sunday go-to-meetin' is all about, and always has been. And they are what fledgling Christians aspire to be like.
Very often these humble people are found sitting quietly in the rear pews in church; their work is performed on the front lines of God's battle during the week, and on Sundays they rest with their brothers and sister in the Lord.
They do not come to church to be with the Lord, they are with Him every moment of every day.
Some of them, no doubt, are also doing their part of the Lord's battle. And some of these make sure everyone knows just what they have done come Sunday morning.
Storing up energy for their battle on Sunday morning no doubt.
Claiming comes easy. Any two year old can do it, and in fact does it all the time ("Mine!!). And if you don't know how to lay your claim, there are plenty of "name it and claim it; blab it and grab it" churches out there willing to teach you how to do it.
Unfortunately going to those churches is like going to a bar in search of a descent, God fearing wife or husband-to-be.
People are looking for contentment.
They just want to be self-satisfied.
What they are looking for is what the World offers; it's what the Cults offer; it's what the Religions offer.
And it is now what the church offers.
But that is precisely what is happening in the church today.
Jesus said that He is the Word of God. Jesus came down here to our level and sacrificed Himself so we could have that Word. He then sent out His best Ambassadors to spread that Word in order for us to hear it.
And we destroy that Word.
Oh, we don't scribble on it. We don't even necessarily change the Word.
We Nullify the Word;
The Pharisees nullified the Word by smearing it with Traditions.
And so do we.
We have the Word funneled into our ears, like school children in the World's school system, instead of being instructed by the True Teacher, the Holy Spirit.
And by doing so, we crucify Jesus afresh, and don't even know it.
There is no where else to go.
You are Heaven Bound, and there is nothing you can do about it.
They are told that they have already found Him.
And as I began to be instructed by the Spirit as to the Truth of the Bible, I became more angry at the preachers for not only hiding the Truth, but for covering them over with fables and lies.
My website began to display this anger, and I recognized that I was lambasting all preachers and churches, so I withdrew many of my stories until I could rewrite them and soften them a bit.
Now, though I can see I am not doing such a good job of it, I try not to include all preachers (but still include all denominations) in my lambasting.
They don't know the Truth.
I find it difficult to understand how anyone can think this way with all the theories there are floating around, and the ever increasing number materializing day-by day. And if they figure that it is only those theories that are hundreds of years old that count, they still have hundreds of contradictory theories to wade through; and they have to answer the obvious question; "Why did God wait hundreds of years before telling anyone the Truth they decided to accept?"
My suspicion is that Truth has always been there, but everyone has (and has had) their own agenda, so therefore they could not hear the Holy Ghost who was trying to instruct them.
Oh, many have heard a word or two of the Truth, then they combined it with their own doctrine or agenda, made a Doctrine of the whole mess, and created a Denomination or a cult to enclose and protect it.
A searcher of Truth, who has some understanding, finds a jewel of Truth, recognizes it as Truth, and therefore believes the holder of that truth (Doctrine) must have all Truth, and blindly accepts everything else that person says.
Thus is formed Denominations, Cults and Religions.
Another person will recognize a Truth set forth by some Theologian or Doctrine, but also sees a fallacy in his reasoning in one area or another, which is answered by another Theologian. He, unable to incorporate this Truth into his own church Doctrine and still remain in that church he belongs to, breaks off and forms his own Denomination, taking part of the congregation with him.
Do I have the Truth? I know it came from the Holy Ghost, and I know it is supported by the Holy Scriptures (not just bits and pieces here and there);
But if you take it (even if it is absolute Truth Itself) and believe you have the Truth - then you have nothing more than Traditions like all the others I have spoken of.
You may have the perfect medicine to heal a life-threatening illness right there in your hands - but if you don't know when to take it, and in what proportions, than it is nothing but poison.
Truth comes from the Holy Spirit. If you receive Truth from any other source, than you are just another Blind Follower of the Blind.
You have the TV preacher, and the Radio preacher. You even have preachers that only publish books or preach on the radio. (And you have preachers who preach over the web.)
Any of these will preach their little heart out at you. And if you want, they will even pray for you. And the more money you send, the more they will pray for you.
But do any of them even know the God to whom they say they are praying?
It isn't far different with many of the local churches.
You go to church every Sunday for years and listen to the sermons. Chances are he's a fine preacher, if you are still attending that church.
But is he a Pastor?
"Pastor" comes from the fact that the Pastor is in charge of a flock of sheep. He does not own the sheep, but he is to care for the sheep, feed them, tend to their wounds, and protect them.
And something more, that I think few Pastors realize - they will be held responsible by the Owner of the sheep if anything happens to the sheep in his care (Heb 13:17).
A Pastor who does not care for his sheep is no more than a preacher. And if he has been given, or accepted, the position of shepherd, but is not caring for the sheep, then the sheep are in grave danger.
Talking to the flock is not caring for the flock.
Some flocks have become so large that a Pastor does not know but a very few of his sheep; nor do many of the sheep even know the name of their Pastor.
This is not a picture of a flock of sheep; but of a herd of lemmings headed for the sea.
As an example, I know of one wherein a man's father, mother and brother all died within a very short period - and there was never even a word of recognition by the Pastor or his staff.
Another situation I witnessed was of a Pastor who when told by one of the congregation that she was feeling suicidal said; "Let's pray for you," offering nothing more.
There are a lot of Preachers out there. It's a good, relatively safe and prestigious position to seek. But few are Pastors.
And, I'm afraid, many who are Pastors have fallen short of their responsibilities.
But, as anyone who has read very much of what I have written knows, I disagree with a great deal, if not just about everything any of the churches teach (Traditions).
A story: you are on the fifth floor of a building consumed with fire. You are standing on a window ledge with no hope of surviving except to jump into a net that a group of men are holding just below you.
Do you jump?
Let's say you choose not to jump.
"Jump!" they all yell, "Jump!"
You just stand there looking down at the net shaking your head.
"Don't you believe the net will hold you?" they ask.
You nod that you indeed believe the net will hold you.
"Don't you believe there's a fire that will destroy you?" the men ask.
Again you nod that you fully believe in the fire raging behind and below you.
"Don't you believe we are really firemen and can handle this net?"
Yes, you affirm, you are absolutely convinced that the men below are really firemen and can handle the net.
Then, why don't you jump?
Perhaps you are afraid of missing the net. Perhaps you have a fear of heights. It may even be that you do not feel worthy of being rescued.
Or maybe it is one of a dozen other reasons, or even no reason at all.
But whatever the reason, you do not jump.
Faith does not save you. All the faith in the world is not going to prevent you from being burned to death in that building on which you stand.
Then, if Belief, or Faith will not save you, what will save you?
And why am I so persistent in my condemnation of Fables?
Bypassing the first questions, I will ask those who wonder why I believe knowing the Truth is important: Why did Jesus? Why did the Apostles? Why did Jesus make such an effort to tear down the doctrines of the Pharisees since all they were doing was calling for people to be extra clean and extra careful not to break the Sabbath?
Why was Paul so adamant that the Churches of his day avoid Fables and Old Wive's Tales if simple things like that were not important?
Fables cover up and misdirect the Truth. When we look at Fairy Tales, we miss the importance of the True Message, and may very likely miss the Message altogether.
Say I was to tell you to wait on such-and-such a corner at such-and-such a time and I would be by to pick you up in a red Ford coming from the East heading West and take you to your appointed heart surgery.
At the appointed time you wait on the specified corner and watch Eastward for a red Ford. You wait an hour for the red Ford, but it never comes. However there is a green Chevy that has been circling the block heading East for the past hour.
You miss your ride, and maybe even lose your life. Why? Because you had been misinformed. The lack of correct information was a small thing - just a matter of color, car model and direction. What difference could a little thing like that make?
Jesus told the Pharisees, and His disciples, to forget about washing cups and hands, which they believed would keep them in good stead with God, and to wash their hearts and their mouths instead.
The Jews were so busy watching pots, that they missed their appointment with God and their hearts.
Now, I know that you firmly believe what you preach, or that you hear preached. You are not just choosing to believe a Fable any more than were the Pharisees.
And maybe you are precisely right, and I am way off base. If you believe that, you will be agreeing with the experts, and be part of the huge majority.
But try, if you are able, to set aside your beliefs and see if what I am saying makes any sense to you.
I am going to look briefly at just one popular doctrine; the Rapture of the Church.
There are three popular views of the rapture (none that I agree with, by the way) held by the Fundamental churches. The least popular is the view that Jesus will return at the end of the Tribulation and take the Saints to Heaven. Not too many people believe in this version because it forces the Church to be here on earth during the Tribulation; and who would want to be here for that?
The second most popular is the "Mid-Trib" doctrine that states that the Church will be taken away from earth just before the Beast starts causing trouble here on earth. This view, too, is not very popular because it doesn't allow for the "surprise" of the rapture that Jesus spoke of.
By far the most popular of the doctrines is the "Pre-Trib" rapture that says Jesus will come and take His Saints to Heaven on a cloud, secretly and unbeknownst to the rest of the world.
It is not my purpose to try and prove my point of view at this time, I have done that elsewhere. I just wish to point out potential dangers of having such a view, if, perchance, this view proves to be wrong.
Thirty some-odd years ago (and certainly even now in many countries) the Christians were told not to worry because before persecution began they would be "taken" into Heaven.
They were (and are) "taken" ok - taken to jail and to their deaths.
We hear almost daily of Christians being "taken." Last week we read of (in the Christian news, not the media of the world) 200 missionaries being "taken."
Here is the first of my questions: Why are these faithful-to-death Christians so much more inferior in the eyes of the Lord than those of "Civilized" counties like America who are doing nothing but sitting on couches, watching TV while eating pizza, and waiting to be raptured off to Heaven?
But this aside, let me paint yet another picture.
Let's say something happened and you find yourself in a situation that looks an awful lot like how the Tribulation is described. Lets say you find world-wide famine and plages going on all around you. People are dying by the millions. But you know that it can't be the Tribulation - because you are still here.
You ask your Pastor about the distress you see. He tells you not to worry because Jesus will be here soon to rapture you and the rest of your "worthy" church members before the real trouble starts.
And what else could he say? Even though you can easily see that he is just as worried as you are.
Now you are finding yourself in the midst of wars, and earthquakes, and you are finding it harder to get a decent drink of water because most of it is bitter or poison.
And you hear on the news that a new system is being implemented whereby everyone must take a mark or else they cannot buy or sell.
You again ask your Pastor about this; and again he assures you that it can't be the "mark of the Beast" because you haven't been raptured yet.
Meanwhile, the church down the block from you seems to be weathering the storm quite well. They don't seem to have as many problems as the rest of the churches. You ask one of them why that is.
You are informed that her Pastor had not been preaching a "fly-away" rapture, but rather he had been teaching them Paul's admonition to put on the Armor of God, and to "stand" in the Day of Trouble. He had been telling them that the True Church would undergo great persecution and that many of them would die for their Faith; but because of this they would be greatly rewarded by God in Heaven.
This person also tells you that they had been told that the Church would be "protected" from the Tribulation with the "seal" of the Holy Spirit, just as were the Hebrews when the Death Angel passed over Egypt. That like them, all who had partaken of the Lamb, and had spread the Blood on their doorpost (of their mind and heart) would be spared.
Then you learn that from this "prepared" Church there is a group coming forth that will be spreading the Gospel to the world. You hear that there is something like 144,000 of them, gathering themselves together, and all issuing forth from Churches like the one down the block from yours.
Again you ask your Pastor to explain your situation.
Again he struggles to assure you that you must be patient, that the Bible doesn't lie, and that Jesus will be here soon to take you away.
Meanwhile, you hear a knock at the door - and it is the police, who have come to "take you away."
The first group I took on tour there were only seven who took me seriously. These seven learned to completely take their bicycle apart and repair it, to make their own saddlebags, to cook, and to take care of themselves and each other.
For months they took ever-expanding trips to condition themselves and to get used to traveling in all types of weather. They rode in the snow, the heat, and the rain.
By the set time for the tour, they were ready.
And there were many more now who wanted very much to go.
But they were unprepared, and were flatly refused.
One group firmly believed in my intention and ability to lead them on such a tour.
And the other group believed just as strongly that I had no full intention of taking any of them. They had heard people promise similar things before, so they were unprepared to believe the "truth" when it came their way.
"You're too late" is what they heard when they were willing and anxious to go.
And He condemned the Pharisees, and the Scribes, and the Sadducees, who were the Theologians of Jesus' day, for not being prepared for Him even though He had sent many prophets, and had written them Books (the Old Testament) warning them of His coming.
They misinterpreted the warnings of His first coming.
But, somehow, we consider ourselves too smart to misinterpret the Word today.
If that is so; then why are there thousands of interpretations of the same Bible?
And finally, one more question.
There, obviously, is no Protestant church that goes back further than the fifteenth century. But there are those churches that do. The Catholic church, of course, being one, and the Orthodox church being another. And let us not forget the Lutheran church which was the first Rebellious....I mean Protestant Denomination.
Why is it that, since the Rapture Doctrine is so sound, it is not believed by the Catholic church? Or for that matter, the cults who aren't even convinced of the Divine Inspiration of the Gospels? In fact, even the Islamic Faiths, and the Buddhists teach they will have to go through the Tribulation in one form or another.
Many influential and knowledgeable people firmly believed in the unsinkability of the Titanic.
Einstein explaining his theory of relativity to a class of grade school kids as they sit nodding their heads in agreement, indicating that they understand just what he is talking about, and giving their approval to his presentation.
I suspect that maybe one out of a thousand people who read what I have to say will understand it. If there are that many who understand, I know it will not be because I have expressed my view well, or that my literary expertise was evident. Nor will it be because I have such a deep understanding of the subject that it just bubbled to the top of my writing.
As I have stated, I know I have very little skill as a writer. My understanding of much of what I write is given to me piecemeal and incompletely, which is the way I present it.
Whatever is grasped or understood from my writing can only be attributed to two things.
The first is the ability of the reader to wade through my poor writings. That is a skill all of its own. I know because I proof read my work several times before I publish it, and every time I find areas I stumble over, lose interest in, and at times can't figure out what I was talking about at the time of writing.
The second thing (if it is a Spiritual matter, which most of my writings are in this section), that can cause understanding of what I have written is that the reader of the study already knows what I am talking about, therefore has no real need to have read it in the first place. My hope is that these readers find a glimmer or two of insight they hadn't considered, or that helps connect pieces of information they already had, but was unclear about.
Those readers who have such information, no doubt received it from the same source I did, and that is the Holy Spirit. If this is the case, then they, too, doubtless feel no pride for having attained the knowledge because it came from a Source outside them self.
In fact, from my experience, if a person hasn't had their Ego beat out of them, the Holy Spirit can not (or will not) provide understanding of the Scriptures.
The above is to say, whether you like what I say, or hate it. Whether you agree, or think it is all bunk; it does not matter to me. That is not to say that I wouldn't very much enjoy knowing that what I say is well received, or at least enjoyed; but agreement is not what I expect at all.
And agreement is what I receive little of, and those who do express a bit of agreement in some area, do not see the need to apply what I have said to their own lives.
In this same way, I believe, God does not look for verbal consent or agreement. He wants full control and obedience from His people. If He does not receive this, then His rewards are withheld.
And it will not be God who is the loser.
What I am essentially saying is that I hope everyone grasps the importance of what I have to say. I would love it if the whole world dropped their ego and followed the Lord. If this was to occur because of my website, I would be delighted - and I doubtless would receive crowns for my effort.
But I doubt any of this will happen through any of my doing. But the result is not for me to concern myself with; only to do the job presented to me to the best of my ability.
In the construction of a great building there are three people who get acclaim and recognition, though thousands may work, even risk their lives for it: The one who Designs the building, the one who turns the first spade of dirt for the cornerstone, and the one who paints the sign acknowledging its completion.
[ The Alpha and the Omega; the Author and the Finisher of our Faith.]
I am a laborer. I suspect there are thousands of others out there given the same information I have, and perhaps more than has been given to me. And I suspect there are many who have huge chunks of the Puzzle (Mystery) that I don't have that will help complete Knowledge.
And I suspect out there somewhere there is someone (or many people) who are intended to receive all this information whose job it will be to put it all together, and further, put it into practice.
In the meantime, we will have to be content to receive Truth: Here a little, there a little, line upon line - and hope we do not fall over backwards and be "taken" in by the traditions that are now being used to fill in all the blank spots.
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