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Archive for December, 2001

Bess S wrote:

Pastor John:

There’s a verse in Psalms that says, “My heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD.” I always read it that my heart was set on the LORD, but after Tues & last night’s blessings from God, I can see there’s another way to see that verse! Our hearts are fixed . . . healed & made whole . . . by trusting in the LORD! I like it when Jesus adds depth to the way we’ve always understood a verse of scripture! He adds understanding. Now this verse is fuller for me.

Bess S

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Bess:

The way you originally read that verse is the original way it was intended. But I guess we could say that when Jesus fixes our hearts, then our hearts are fixed on him, right?

jdc

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Note from editor: The following is an email sent from John Clark to the saints who meet at his house (followed by several responses to that email) concerning whether or not they should be claiming an income tax deduction for tithes and offerings given to Pastor John.

An Answer At Last!

It has taken some time and several discussions with different ones over some years now, but some things seem to be a little clearer to me concerning filing your tithes and offerings as tax-deductible contributions on your income tax returns. I feel that this will give us, at last, a definitive answer from the Lord about this.

Jesus said, “Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them; otherwise ye have no reward of your Father who is in heaven. . . . But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth, that thine alms may be in secret. And thy heavenly Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly” (Mt. 6:1, 3-4).

On the other hand, earlier in the same sermon, Jesus had said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Mt. 5:16).

How are we to do this? How can we be so secretive about our giving that our left hand does not even know what our right hand is doing, and yet at the same time keep the commandments of God so that men may “see our good works” and glorify God?

The answer is simple. First of all, tithes and offerings do not qualify as “alms”. Tithes and offerings are the “tax” of the kingdom of God, used to support the government of the body of Christ that God has ordained. “Alms”, however, is a word that refers specifically to helping the poor, and can only be done acceptably after you have brought your tithes and offerings to the Lord. This is aiding a needy person out of a spirit of compassion for him, especially a brother or a sister in the Lord; and, in order to receive a reward from God for doing this, it must be done both in faith and in secret.

Bringing your tithes and offerings to the Lord is simply a part of obeying God’s commandments, and men need to know there still are people who have the faith to obey God’s commandments, especially in money matters because this is a money-loving world. It is a good testimony to all men for you to record in your tax statements that you obey God’s commandments to bring your tithes and offerings to His servant. That is a shining light to lost men. When they see one of God’s children doing that, they will feel something toward God that they cannot feel without seeing someone obey God, even if they won’t admit they feel those things. Jesus said they would feel it, and they do.

Aunt Leatha’s brother-in-law mocked her in the late 1940s for obeying God in tithes and offerings. He was a Christian and a gambler. She was very poor, but happy.

The huge man, arrogant to the bone, told her, “You’re going to go broke, giving all your money to that preacher (it was my father).”

Feisty little Leatha May snapped back at him, “When your toes turn up, I’ll still be paying my tithes to Jesus.”

In the 1980s, when his toes “turned up” and his body lay in his coffin, she was still happy and obeying God in bringing her tithes to Jesus. He died a poor man; he had bet on too many slow horses. She died in 1996, rich in faith, and all along her journey here on earth God had supplied her every need and more. She lived an abundant life, enjoying it to the full. That man was Aunt Mary Murray’s husband, for whom as a young woman Mary forsook the God of her youth to marry. He is in hell today. And were I a betting man as he was, I would bet he cannot stop hearing Aunt Leatha’s words from long ago ringing loudly in his burning ears.

As for your “alms”, I will no longer play the old Christian trick of having you give to the Pioneer Tract Society or to me what you should be in secret giving to the poor so that you can also claim that gift on your tax forms. Bring me nothing but tithes and offerings that belong to God. I am not ordained to receive your alms, just what belongs to God as his servant. And, from this time on, do in secret the good deeds you do for others. If we do it right, I am confident that God will richly bless all of us with great spiritual blessings. I feel that this truth is perfect, that this is the right way to handle these issues concerning money.

Probably, I will sometimes still let you know there is someone who is in need, at least until God shows me not to do so. If anyone takes advantage of such an opportunity to do good and supplies that poor person’s need, I want it to be discreetly done and recorded nowhere but in heaven. And if an occasion arises in which I feel that the Lord wants us to all participate in the purchase of a particular piece of equipment, I will also let that be known. But that may never happen. I will learn as we go along what is right. Pray for me in all these things, that I will always escape the hidden snare of covetousness.

This is the right way to handle tithes and offerings and the other alms we give. We really are pioneers. We have no precedent for learning to walk in the Spirit outside Christianity. But we are providing some precedents for those many who will certainly follow. We really are “working the road”, and if we do our task well, we will indeed “make it easy for those behind.” Pastor John
December 27, 2001

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Response #1:

John, that is a VERY good answer. Very good. I looked up every instance of alms or it’s derivatives, and you are absolutely correct. If anyone wants to read them they can be found at:

Mat. 6:1-4
Luk 11:41
Luk 12:33
Acts 3:2-3
Acts 3:10
Acts 9:36
Acts 10:2-4
Acts 10:31
Acts 24:17

Alms are for the poor, and God openly rewarded those who did it graciously, generously, and it appears, most of all, secretly.

Tithes and offerings were public, and Jesus actually watched people depositing them.

I love it. Thanks for digging that out for us.

Gary

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Response #2

“Pioneer” John,

What a wonderful email! It’s not because I can claim tithes and offerings on my tax return, because that’s not important to me anymore. It’s wonderful because God has given you a new truth to pass on to us!

I loved it all, but I really enjoyed the last paragraph….

“We have no precedent for learning to walk in the Spirit outside Christianity. But we are providing some precedents for those many who will certainly follow. We really are “working the road”, and if we do our task well, we will indeed “make it easy for those behind.””

It’s just exciting to me. We don’t know how to do this on our own. We need God’s Spirit to guide us. We need Jesus. It’s good when I don’t know what to do without God. It causes me to look to Him for guidance and support in this life.

I’ve heard worldly people say that “Jesus is just a crutch for weak people”. AAAAAMEN! That’s exactly what I need, someone to lean on! I am weak without God, and I don’t care who knows.

It might not seem like a very big deal to some, but I’m very excited as I’m typing this. It’s more truth from God, and it’s a wonderful way to start my day, and a wonderful way to start anyone’s day who truly loves God.

I love who I am in God, and I love who you are in God too, John. I’m very glad that God has found me and brought me to you. I’m thankful that God has put you over me as my Pastor. I’m looking forward more and more each day to when I can be there permanently and be closer to my family. This life is very good. God is good!

Your Brother (and fellow pioneer),

Darren

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Response #3

Brother John:

Thank you for all you do in the Lord to continually bless my life. As I read this email, I just felt so blessed, not so much by the “business” of this letter to us, but by the Love of God that I always feel when your path is directed by an Answer from God. When I read the part about Aunt Leatha, my heart wept with love for her for having the privilege to have known her and for God blessing me so by her tenderness and hospitality towards me. She was a true “mother” to me! I feel so blessed to have known every old saint that God put around me.

I love how God teaches us – with the Anointing that is on you – and through our own real touches from Him. I am learning everyday of His Goodness and Mercy. I am learning of His Tenderness and Love. And I am learning that even when we “slip”, He surrounds us with the “answers” we need to correct our path. I am learning when it is time to speak and when it is time to be quiet and still. I am learning to heed the Voice that will save me. I am still learning.

He showed me this week that HE is our ONLY Hero. Giving that recognition to anyone else will leave you a victim and helplessly weak and dependent on that person. Jesus is the ONLY One worthy of that title. He is the ONLY one that can make you strong when you are weak for He is that Strength. It reminded me of an old saying:

“Give a man a fish and he can eat for a day.””Teach him to fish and he can eat for a lifetime.”

Jesus gives to us His Blessings everyday. And He also teaches us how to live abundantly with His Spirit of Life!

your sister, Sandy 🙂

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Response #4

Yes, yes, yes! This feels exactly right! Makes my heart jump for joy!

Sheila

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Response #5

John:

Praise God what a relief. I can now clearly present this information to my accountant with full confidence it is acceptable and pleasing to God.

I will remain willing not to file this deduction should our earthly government or circumstances change, making a different route more prudent and pleasing to the Lord in the future. This could be for a future generation. I do believe this time will come.

Pastor John, praise be to our hero, Jesus!!!!!!

Thanks:

W S

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Response #6

Amen pastor John, I love it ,I love it, thank you for being there. it feels so right. Jesus has a very simple way of doing things. It gives all the glory to God,” it all is his.”

Thanks Stuart

 

 

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Christmas

Hal wrote:

Dear Pastor John

Christmas isn’t a huge affair for Samantha and I, a bit of a hangover from the WCG days (World-wide Church of God), but we have family coming for a couple of days. I wonder if you are going to have any snow around for Christmas? We are in the middle of a heat wave. The maximum for the 25th is predicted to be 112F with strong wind, so the only white will be hail if we happen to get a storm (not likely). It’s been up to 106 so far so we have sealed off an area of the house downstairs to keep airconditioned and we have a generator just in case the system fails us.

Hope you have good fellowship as the saints gather there. We will certainly be thinking of you as we do often.

Hal and Samantha

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Hi:

There was a lady who took my OT class at the community college here who was in the WCG at the time. She started coming to our prayer meetings, received the baptism of the holy Ghost after a little while, and upon receiving the gift of God immediately felt she then had the authority to straightened out me and the saints concerning this Christmas thing. So into my office she marched with her old WCG materials on the subject.

Every year about this time, she would grow discontent when she saw our Christmas trees, lights, and presents, and every year about this time, she would “attack” me with some charge, either stealing money from PTS, or something else, but usually it had to do with money.

I finally told her she needed to move on and find a place and a pastor with whom she felt comfortable. I certainly wasn’t he.

Western Civilization, of which you and I are a part, is a Christian culture; at least, it began as a Christian culture. I see Christmas, Easter, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and the Fourth of July as all being on the same level. We reap the benefits of all of them, and we don’t get carried away with any of them. None of us is above his culture, and when we pretend to be, we become over-religious and vain. Do WCG folk refuse to take days off from their jobs at Christmas? If they do, how can they explain it to their consciences?

Since it has been adapted by Christians from ancient Roman and other vain customs, Christmas belongs to Santa Claus and his eight tiny reindeer. It is when people try to “keep Christ in Christmas” that problems begin. Jesus never was in it. Leave it to the fat little elf and his flying fleet of funny, four-footed, furry friends, and everything will be just fine.

Amen.

Pastor John

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One viewer’s comments are as follows:

Pastor John,

This is the first year in about four that I’m actually enjoying the christmas season! On our way out of xty, Darren and I went to the library and studied how christmas started. What we found out surprised us, and we didn’t want anything to do with it. For a couple of years we didn’t even have a christmas tree. Well, it just must be because this past year I received the holy Ghost, and I feel so free! I am enjoying christmas again! It’s not about Jesus, but it’s okay. My kids, and I, can like Santa Claus! The lights on the houses are very pretty, and I have enjoyed the time we have driven around to look at them, with the girls squealing with delight! I am looking forward to next christmas when we will all be there! See ya soon!

Sister Julie

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Dear Sister Julie:

Did you know that my father believed in Santa Claus? He would argue with anybody about that! And the only reason he would miss the Christmas parade is if there was a good prayer meeting somewhere. It just doesn’t pay to get too religious about anything. Solomon said so. Yes, Daddy loved the Christmas season and thanked Jesus for it. He loved every day and thanked Jesus for it.

So, to reply to one comment you made: even though Christians misunderstand and try to make Christmas a holy day, I still think Christmas IS about Jesus, the same way the beautiful sunrise this morning is about him, and the oceans’ waves are about him, and your children’s laughter is about him. He has set us free to enjoy the sunrise, the waves, the children, and Christmas. We are not bound by superstition to enjoy it; we are liberated by the Spirit to enjoy it. Paul said, “He hath given us richly all things to enjoy.”

My Aunt Leatha pointed out that Scripture to us a few years before she died. I had read it many times, but I didn’t have the spirit of joy and peace living in me strong enough to make that special connection with those words, as she did. She was a shining example of being free in the Spirit to enjoy all things. She loved living, and she loved the Lord–and people. Speaking through David, Christ said, “All they that hate me love death.” Aunt Leatha was one of the old saints who taught us to love life, and showed us how to love it: by loving Jesus and following him into perfect liberty. She fell asleep in February, 1996, and I am glad she lived long enough to come out of Christianity with me. She was a nurse who gave me my first bath in the hospital when her sister gave birth to me. I am thankful that Jesus anointed me to be a blessing to her for doing me that very great favor. At the time, I couldn’t do anything for myself, you know!

I love to sing “Christmas songs” about Jesus, and occasionally grow weary of hearing so many Christmas songs that leave the name of Jesus out. That’s the fad now: ignore, as much as possible, the “J” word. Once, in July, I even sang Silent Night in a Sunday morning prayer meeting.

So, yes, the fat little elf has his place in men’s imagination. And there is no reason to despise him. Leave men to their games. But all things are eventually about Jesus, just as all roads once led to Rome.

I am glad you were able to ride around with the girls and enjoy the lights. Some of them are pretty neat. And they all are about Jesus.

Pastor John

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Another viewer’s comments are as follows:

Ashley W. wrote:

Hey Pastor John!

OH, I loved that e-mail from Sister Julie and your response to her. It made me miss Aunt Leatha! I just thank Jesus for allowing to spend time with her. She fed me worms, then tried to cure it with her famous homemade pickles, and then gave me my first full cup of coffee. Very Sweet memories for me to cherish!!!

I also liked the part about your dad believing in Santa. It’s fun to believe in Santa, isn’t it? It’s good to have fun! 🙂

Well I gotta go! I hope to see you soon 😉

Ashley

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Ashley:

I think one reason my father believed in Santa Claus was because he and Santa were close to the same age.

Thanks for the e-mail. I hope to see you soon, too.

Pastor John

 

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Bro. John,

The love of God is truly so wonderful and tender. He is showing me more and more just how much He loves His people. Its a love so tender and soft and gentle but yet so pentrating to the very soul, piercing the very heart. There is no greater love than that from anyone that I have ever felt or known. As I listen to the tape again last night and this morning I could feel Jesus just crying out to his people, “let me love you, let me love you.”

That song you sang, “though your sins be as scarlet and though your robes be worn with the sins they’ve born,” He was talking to his children, not the world. God has children who need a cleansing touch from Jesus. They need their robes washed in the blood of the Lamb, and what He was saying last night was, “I don’t care about your sins, let me wash you, let me cleanse you, let me love you. Trust me and I’ll take care of that. I love you. I want to make you happy. I want you to be satisfied with me. I want you to trust me, trust me with your whole heart. Let me love you.”

He wants to hold his children near and comfort them, give them hope, take away the fear and doubt and learn to trust their feelings, because He put those feelings there to guide them, and its okay to listen to and obey those feelings. He’s tender to their needs and hears their cries. He sees their hearts and wants so desperately to help them, but they have to be willing to let Jesus help them. They have to be willing to obey that “Voice” that they hear, but maybe don’t understand. They have to be willing to trust and lean not to their own understanding. He wants them to come out from dead works of christianity to serve Him and be happy and to have enough fear of Him to know its the right thing to come out when they hear that voice and not suppress it as if it were some other wrong thought or idea. They are wanting to trust and wanting to be helped, but they are so abused that they are so afraid, so afraid, John.

I could feel last night how tender the voice of Jesus was and how afraid his children are to listen. They don’t know who to trust. And Jesus with such compassion was saying, “Trust me, you can trust me. I love you. No one will hurt you. I won’t let anybody hurt you.” I can see now that sometimes it may take many tugs of the heart by Jesus to get His children to trust him, but that’s how it felt last night.

John, he is so patient, so loving, so forgiving, that if it takes that tuging, He is willing to do it. How many times has He dealt with us on things to get it across to us how much He loves us? He hasn’t dealt with us according to our sins, thank God. And each time one of hischildren feels that touch from God, it draws that person closer to God and puts that love deeper into their hearts. Every time that love hits your heart John, its like a dagger that explodes and spreads the love of God all through your being. You feel like your heart is going to burst. You don’t know what to do with yourself. Last night I saw the shadow of Jesus come before me and I obeyed and stood up and Jesus danced with me. I felt like a young girl dancing with the “love of my life”, and I was, and we were going round and around the dance floor, snuggly held in his arms. He was mine and I was his. There was nothing but love, no fear or thought of fear, no doubt or thought of doubt, nothing but the love of God.

When you sang the lines “though your sins be as scarlet, and your robes be worn from the sins they’ve borne”, Jesus would twirl me around and his love would engulf me letting me know that that didn’t matter to him. He loved me, and He was there to protect me from any further harm or danger. I was safe, safe and loved. That’s how I felt He wanted to do all His children, those broken hearted, bruised, hurt, those whose hearts had drifted away from him, he was wanting them to be close to him, encouraging them to “come on, I can make it right, just be willing. Be willing to let me help you. Be willing to see things the way they are so I can fix them for you. Be willing to open up your heart to me. I can’t do anything until you are willing for me to help. You must be willing. Be willing to be wrong if that’s what it takes.”

We have to be willing for whatever God wants. Its not about our wants, its about God and what He wants for us. Its so good, John, its so good. “Trust God” Two simple words so full of truth, for they work, you see, because they do for me and I know they’ll work for you.

Sis. Betty

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Amen, Betty. It was so good to see the many blessings that people received last night. I am looking forward to more.

jdc

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JOE wrote:

Hello Pastor,

This morning OFS and I had a bible study on the book of Matthew chapter 1 verses 18 to 25. After reading through those verses we did not see anything there to talk about that we have not see before. But as we were about to move ahead and start to talk about other things, some thoughts, questions and answers started to enter into my mind.

We discovered that the birth of Jesus was as prophesied. We saw God playing out His plans for humanity through Joseph and Mary. We asked ourselves how was Joseph able to believe the angel when he was spoken to that the child in his wife’s womb was of the Holy Ghost. God just put the child in the womb of Mary without sex being involved. This has not been heard of for a virgin to conceive. In answer to that we discovered that Joseph was a just man. His being a just man to us means that he would have had some understanding of God and maybe God would have been walking with God to know when a message is from Him. We noted that if it were the first time that God is sending an angel or communication to him, it would have been very difficult for Joseph to believe it was God.

We saw Joseph and Mary though married being kept by God from knowing each other for the period of the pregnancy (9 months?). We also noted though it was not recorded there that both Mary and Joseph did not understand what God was doing through them. They were not able to comprehend it. But we discovered that because God was at work in their lives, they kept the baby and did not think of aborting it. We saw Joseph and Mary going through the pressures of friends and relatives whom they would possible have told about it, but who might not understand it and would have turned against them querying, accusing them and all that. God took care of that for them!

We saw that when it was said that Joseph was thinking, he actually was praying, thinking, reflecting and wondering over the matter. His situation was so much that God had to send an angel to consol him and explain to him what he is passing through. This shows that God was at work!

In verse 24, we discovered that before the angel spoke to Joseph, he actually had withdrawn himself from the wife. He must have been rejecting her food. In his heart, he had written Mary off as his wife but just waiting for an opportunity to return her to her parents for adultery (or fornication?)

In verse 25, we discovered that Joseph and Mary had other kids after Jesus (Mark 6:3). This was contrary to what some people believe and teach.

There is a great lesson for everyone in those verses. To the single. To the married. To the unbelieving. To the believing. If one can just read those verses with the Holy Spirit interpreting, questioning and answering our questions, we shall be more blessed to understand that God uses situations to bring His plan, purposes to pass. And when He is at work in our lives we can virtually do nothing but be controlled by Him. let us learn from Joseph and Mary. Ours might not be exactly the same situation but there are situations that “confuse” us about ourselves, God or anything. Let us wait until God shows up. When He does like Joseph we shall understand and rejoice knowing that all things worketh together for the good of them that love their Lord.

John tell me, what does it mean in the old times to be a just man. Also give me some insight on what happened in those verses above that we missed out.

JOE

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JOE:

I think that Joseph and Mary were not married yet, but were what we in the Western cultures would call “engaged to be married”. Had they actually have already gone through the Jewish marriage ceremony, she would not have still been a virgin.

The commitment to each other during that time of engagement, however, was clearly stronger than is the commitment among people here today. Broken engagements are fairly common now, but back then, to break off an engagement appeared to be the equivalent of a divorce. It was a very serious thing.

Being a just man means being a man who judges as God would judge. I have written a BROADCASTER on that subject titled, “On Being Just”. If it is not on line at our web site now, I will work on it and get it up ASAP.

Pastor John

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Daisy C wrote:

Hi John.

I just have to reply to your email about Xty requiring people to pretend to believe they have the love of God when they don’t. Then, of course, as you say, “they are obligated to pretend, in order not to appear to be unbelievers.” That is so true! Xty is sad nonsense! I was in Xty for many years, always wanting more, and trying to believe I could get something from God, and wanting to love Him, and not being able to do so. What I always wanted and prayed for was to know His truth and how to love Him.

False doctrine is the saddest thing on earth, to me! It keeps people from hoping and trying to reach the real and living God! I know He will reach those whom He wishes to and His will is going to be done. I remember, while in Xty, the utter hopelessness I felt for many years. Those Xn “ministers” had no words of wisdom nor hope to give me. I would go to meetings and be the only one there to cry out of loneliness and despair. Thank God, Jesus had me picked and chosen way before that, knowing I would seek Him with all my heart. He know I would always wonder and want more than I had. I am eternally grateful and have never had a question about being really born again since I was baptized with the holy Ghost in 1994.

It is a miracle that my son, Paul is the one who first told me about the baptism of the holy Ghost being the new birth…and he did not have it at the time! And something made me get so excited and want to find out more! Within a few weeks, I became born again.

Daisy

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You have a wonderful testimony, Daisy. Keep giving it. This is how we “confess Christ”; by confessing what he has actually done in our lives. By do that, you will overcome the world.

jdc

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Damien Callaghan wrote:

Pastor John:

Looking at that zodiac site and some others I found has shown me so clearly one truth that Satan will never allow his ministers to use. Different ones of them have certain pieces of truth; they have worked out prophetic stuff that appears quite amazing, they read the prophets with fine tooth combs, but you know they just cannot read [and understand] 1John at all [concerning the spirit of antichrist].

It seems all Christian ministers synonymise the Antichrist with the Beast. They, perhaps correctly, speak of New World Orders, the zodiac and other star signs and conspiracies and Satanic counterfeits [and from left field, pyramids on Mars!!!???] but none teach that the greatest counterfeit of all is Spiritual and involves “fake passports” to enter the body of Christ. These people so quickly read over the word “antichrist” [and John’s definition of it], substituting Satan’s attention-shifting redefinition that they miss it completely. And, of course, if you say something to them, you are part of Satan’s work against their “divinely ordained ministry”.

The day God gives you or whomever the power to really preach this to the world, “hell” will break loose. Satan will be furious to say the least when the truth about the body the Christ, and what it is, and how you get into it are made known widely and loudly.

Interesting days to come.

djc

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Damien:

Yes, I agree. The truth about the new birth will be the key to God’s children realizing that they must come out of Christianity, if they want to be united in the Christ, if they want to please God, and if they want to serve Jesus in spirit and in truth. Satan seems to be able to endure almost any of the blessings God gives His people except the truth. The truth is what makes us free, and the truth is what binds the prince of darkness.

Oh, God, help Your people! Trying to open their eyes, Jesus has, instead, infuriated many of his own children by sending them messengers with his truth for them. They do not recognize the love of God when they see it because love, too, has been redefined by Satan’s ministers. (Have you ever heard the first sermon that I preached, in 1993, after Jesus revealed the truth about Christianity to me? It is called “Destruction by Redefinition”).

Solomon said that the man who increases in wisdom increases in sorrow. How true that is! It is a precious blessing to have our eyes opened by Jesus to understand the truth of the gospel, but then, it hurts to see the condition of our brothers and sisters. But what can we do? Many of them will die defending Satan’s right to be in the body of Christ.

jdc

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