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Thanks for Explaining Things

John, 

I enjoyed immensely the education you gave on translating in tract room last night, thank you!  It just cements in the fact that we must have the spirit to lead us.

I am thankful if I have any little part in getting the message to the Jews.  I feel like we are just starting to understand why the Jews  were confused and rejected the messiah.

My, my, when will I learn that Jesus just meant what he said, “You search the scriptures; in them, you think you have life, but they are they that testify of me.  And you won’t come to me.”

Now, Jesus is allowing you to see him in the scriptures.

Looking forward to Revelation Sunday Night.

Wendell

 

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While Praying

Pastor John, 

While praying today the Lord told me, all transgression is against Him, there is no transgression against me- the person.  I’m not supposed to be here, I’m supposed to be a reflection of my Father in Heaven.  I am supposed to decrease, while He increases in me.  If I will humble myself and realize that I am nothing, that is my safety, my security.  That will keep me from ever being offended.

When Jesus walked the earth, he took nothing personally, he was nothing, he was no one – in his eyes; he was a worm.  Jesus knew all spite, all hatred, all malice, all wickedness and misunderstanding that was directed at him, was really aimed at his heavenly Father.  And he prayed for those who felt that way- that God would forgive them for their attitude, toward God, not him!

If we will walk in that place, knowing we are nothing, it makes it very easy to forgive.  In that place we can’t be offended.  We can easily pray for those who misunderstand or aim to hurt us, or do so without intending to.  We can seek the Lord for them as Jesus did, knowing that all praise heaped upon us by men, for doing well, belongs to God.  And all hatred heaped upon us by men, for doing well, belongs to God as well.  We can just pray for them, knowing that God watches over our soul.

The Lord told me once, many years ago, “Taking care of you is what I do, while you are taking care of other people.”  

Jerry

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America Needs a Good King

Pastor John,

Last Wednesday evening when we got together, you spoke of a message on liberty that you told us you once carried in your Bible for over ten years, hoping to share it with a certain congregation, some day.  You explained that it was a message on the kind of liberty that the apostle Paul tried to show to God’s spirit-filled Gentile children throughout his New Testament travels.  In sum, you said that it was a message of liberty from ungodly commandments of men, and at the same time, a liberty to hear from and to be led by the Spirit of God and in all things. 

In Paul’s time, that liberty meant freedom from the works of Moses’ law (which never applied to the Gentiles anyway).  And for the children of God today, it is freedom from any yoke (whether it calls itself Christianity, or anything else) that is not the yoke of the sincere love of God and the nature and the will of God – and the mind of Christ that is created in us when we repent and Jesus baptizes us with holy Spirit, His Spirit.

You told us that the kind of freedom that God offers His mature children who are of the mind of Christ would kill God’s children who are otherwise minded, which included most if not all of my congregation years ago.

That liberty to be holy and free in the Spirit, and the peace that is necessary to learn of God, is a gift from God, and it does not exist everywhere in this world. 

I want to share a piece of a popular document, if I may, from Mr. John Adams.* I have considered it nearly every day since last Wednesday’s meeting.  This man had wisdom enough from God to understand that the liberty given to the United States, is a gift; a gift of freedom to those who are good, but destruction for those who are otherwise minded.  This moves my heart when I read it.  I love the reminder, and I love the wisdom of God that I believe was on this man as he penned this document.

Jerry

From John Adams to Massachusetts Militia, 11 October 1798

   John Adams

October 11, 1798

Gentleman,

While our country [United States] remains untainted with the principles and manners which are now producing desolation in so many parts of the world; while she continues sincere, and (is) incapable of insidious and impious policy, we shall have the strongest reason to rejoice in the local destination assigned us by Providence [the care of God]. But should the people of America once become capable of that deep simulation towards one another, and towards foreign nations, which assumes the language of justice and moderation while it is practicing iniquity and extravagance, ………and while it is rioting in rapine and insolence, this country will be the most miserable habitation in the world; because we have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion.   Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, (these all) would break the strongest cords of our Constitution, as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

==========

Thanks, Jerry,

I underlined the part of John Adams’ words that struck me.  The Constitution is, as he knew, wholly inadequate as an instrument of government for an immoral nation.  And this society is at that point now.  Whether we like it or not, what America needs is a good king who will rule by decree and put a stop to the obscene and wretched nonsense that claims its right to exist under the Constitution.

The drawback to having a king, of course, is that even good kings in this world die, and wicked kings will take their place.  That is what happened with Rome.  The (relatively) good Emperor Augustus Caesar was followed by three patently wicked and cruel emperors. 

Let’s put all our hope in Jesus, and be prepared in our souls for him to come.

Pastor John

*https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Adams/99-02-02-3102

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Listening to the Spirit Today (2)

Pastor John,  

I understood this from the Lord a few days ago, and wrote it down.

If anything we are doing fails once we start doing it God’s way, does God want it in our lives in the first place?

Then, talking to the Lord this morning, I understood this- 

If there is anything in your life that you can’t change in order to line up with the will of God today, it is built of self-will, and it will fall.  

It reminds me of Token’s very wise words, many months back, “Pride, is everything you think you can do, without God.” 

Jerry D.

 

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Listening to the Spirit Today

Pastor John, 

I’ve heard it said, “Good intentions pave the way to hell.”  

Well, what road are “bad” intentions paving? 

I don’t believe God wrote that scripture.  I think good intentions pave a way for Jesus to show up in your life and introduce you to holy intentions and holy actions!  What can a man have beyond a good intention before God shows up?  

Man’s goodness is not the righteousness of God, and it will not get you into heaven.  

But your goodness will precede your being a partaker of God’s Holiness, if you’re ever going to partake of it at all. 

Jerry D. 

========== 

That’s true, Jerry.  Our righteousness will not save us, but Jesus said he calls those who are laboring, trying to do what is right, and yet still longing for God’s righteousness (Mt. 11:28).  And though he told his disciples that they must go beyond human righteousness (e.g., Mt. 5:20), he did not tell them to despise it. 

Thank God for everybody, everywhere, who is trying to do good! 

Pastor John

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Patience, not Indifference

Pastor John, 

I loved Wednesday night’s message.  I think these are the best times, when we walk away feeling like we can see just a little bit more of what God sees, and feel just a little bit more of what God feels. And it always comes with a feeling of “YES!”  A feeling of “this is just who I hoped God would be, and who I want to be!”

 I did my best this evening to write down things as you were saying them, the way that I was understanding them.  And as I wrote, I felt a whole lot like the way a moth looks, when it is fluttering back and forth around a light bulb.  He knows that he is near the light, but can’t seem to zero in on it.  I feel that way tonight, I can feel a whole lot of light in your message this evening, but standing on my toes, I can’t yet reach exactly what it is that I am feeling. And I can’t express it the way that I want to.  I wrote it down, I had to, and I’m hoping I didn’t add too much of myself, so as to ruin what I was feeling from the Lord.

It occurred to me that people who serve the Lord without the Spirit baptism, without the washing away of their sins by the holy Ghost, often speak of God similar to way the way I understood him to be this evening – but it isn’t really the same.  If thoughts about the Creator do not come from the Spirit – which those people do not have – then those thoughts are not the truth even if their words sound true because they are not from the Spirit of truth.  It takes a tearing down of the old man and the rebirth of a new man by God’s spirit to understand that God’s long-suffering mercy on people is not indifference to their ways.  God is still holy while being patient; God is still righteous while showing such love; and God is never blind.  The goodness of God that you spoke of Wednesday night, pastor John, cannot be understood as mercy in the hearts of sinful people; they count it as indifference, but God is not indifferent to sin, though He is long-suffering and full of love.  A person cannot know the difference without being born of the Spirit and submitting to the mind of Christ. 

I started my notes Wednesday night by writing down what you told us many years ago, in Louisville: “The truth isn’t the truth if it isn’t what God is saying right now.”  Life, our life, in God seems to always come back to that simple statement.  It cuts through everything, and leaves us with a choice: either we have God’s life, or we have no true life within us.  And then I added to that statement, to include what you told us tonight: “The truth isn’t the truth if it causes a pure and perfect heart to stumble before the Lord.”  And that is true, not because God can’t do it any other way (He can do anything), but because He doesn’t.   God isn’t trying to prove to people that He is right; he has an entirely different objective, a different heart, than men have when they talk. 

If God judged us on what we know, we would all be damned, for as Paul said, “We know nothing as we ought to know,” and God always knows more than we do! 

A pure heart will lead God’s people to an understanding that will lead them to satisfy the Lord before they leave this world.  Our job is to have the Truth at the ready, in case God wants to use us to move someone toward that end.  In ourselves, we can’t move God’s people forward, not one iota.  But God’s loving truth can, and will! 

I thought about Joshua, in Zechariah 3

Zechariah 3

“And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. 2And the LORD said to Satan, The LORD rebuke you, O Satan; even the LORD that has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? 3Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. 4And he answered and spoke to those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And to him he said, Behold, I have caused your iniquity to pass from you, and I will clothe you with change of raiment. 5And I said, Let them set a fair turban on his head. So they set a fair turban on his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD stood by.”                                                           

What is God telling us in Zechariah 3, when Israel’s high priest, Joshua, stood before the angel of the Lord in filthy garments, with Satan at the ready to be his Accuser for his transgression.  But God accepted Joshua’s desire to do right, his “want to” to please God, and then rejected Satan’s demand to judge him strictly by God’s Law.  God then took Joshua’s filthy rags and replaced them with what was perfect and acceptable in God’s sight.  God was perfectly able to change Joshua out of his unacceptable garment, when He was ready to do so.  Amen! 

What was Satan about to accuse Joshua of in heaven’s court?  Before the moment God’s angel rebuked Satan and ended the trial, what was Satan using as the plumb-line by which to judge Joshua and prove himself right?  As the Law’s prosecutor, he would have been using the truth that had been revealed at that time, the very words that God Himself had commanded as Moses’ Law!  But how did God see that “truth” which was in Satan’s mouth right then?  He saw that “truth” as insufficient, if not outright wrong! 

How does God feel about how we use the truth that we know?  Would God consider something that causes His people to stumble in their pure desire to please Him, something that wounds them in their sincerity, even when they are serving God incorrectly and in ignorance, to be no better than the words in Satan’s mouth, as he played the part of the accuser of Joshua, who stood before the Lord in filthy garments? 

Are the words we call “the truth” just an accusation against God’s precious children if those words aren’t delivered in God’s time and Spirit?  Whether we call it “the truth”, is it what God wants spoken at that moment?  If not, it is not the truth!  The Truth of God is a Who, not a what, and that Truth, the Son of the living God, always speaks the words of God in God’s perfect time.  If the truth isn’t delivered in God’s time when we speak to God’s children, we are speaking to them with another spirit, not the Spirit of Truth, no matter what we call it. 

No wonder Jesus said not to worry about what you will say “on that day”.  Matthew 10:19-20 – “But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak, for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.  For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.” 

Jesus didn’t say too much, according to the scriptures.  He waited on God.  God’s presence in his mouth gave his words value.  That’s what having the Spirit means to men; having God – even in thy mouth

Satan, called “the Accuser of our brethren” in heaven, was telling the truth, according to God’s commandments to Israel, when he stood and accused Joshua in heaven’s court, and yet, God rebuked him.  We do not want to stand in his place. 

What did Jesus do when Satan came to him quoting to him the “truth” from a Psalm (Psalm 91), in the wilderness?  Did Jesus submit to that, since it was a scripture from the holy Bible, or did he follow the Spirit of God?  He followed the Spirit, not the letter of the biblical text.  Paul later said, “The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life!”  Jesus knew that first. 

Can you imagine if God called our efforts to communicate the truth “slander” or “accusations”, as he did to Satan, who actually was right when he charged Joshua with sin?  Joshua had really done wrong, and it was God’s stern law that Satan was using to condemn him, but God didn’t call what Satan was saying “the Law” or “the Truth” because what Satan was after wasn’t in God’s heart.  Satan was about to slander the love of God for Israel in the heart of Joshua, and everyone else who was in that court that day.  God’s words, used outside of God’s time, slander God in the hearts of spiritually weak people. 

The spirit you are under is more important than the words you say!  We have to wait on God or we can hurt somebody.  God loves his people, everywhere. 

We have the power to do good if we will be patient. 

When Satan quoted scripture to Jesus in the wilderness, it was “the truth”.  Who would say otherwise?  But without God’s timing, what did God call it?  What did Jesus call Satan’s words that day?  The books of Mathew, Mark and Luke refer to Satan’s truth in the wilderness as Temptation.  But a temptation to do what? Disobey God, for God did not want Jesus to do what Satan was trying to get him to do, using holy Scripture to get him to do it.  Once, Jesus even called Peter’s efforts to rescue Jesus from the cross the work of Satan (Mt. 16).  If it is not God’s time to do a thing, it is sin, no matter how right it appears to be.  It is frightening to think of what God thinks of our words when we speak without an unction from him? 

I thought about the wisdom of your father’s words, pastor John, at the end of his life, when you asked him what he would like you to say at his coming funeral.  He responded, “Whatever won’t embarrass anyone.”  I bet Preacher Clark would have said “Amen” if one had added to that statement, “Whatever won’t wound a heart that is tender toward God; whatever won’t confuse someone’s honest efforts; whatever won’t make them sin against their conscience in the Lord or cause them to back up from what from God they do have.”  

What about, “Whatever doesn’t sidetrack them from wherever God has them, that He is satisfied with, until He moves them?” 

God wasn’t concerned with Joshua’s filthy garment, in Zechariah 3, but with the heart that was beneath that garment. Then, God rewarded that heart with an acceptable garment!  It was easy for Him to do.  We can’t move God’s people forward; we can just be available, and even then, we are truly available to God only if we are walking in the Spirit. 

I’ve heard testimonies from years past in which brother Murray would point out, “If you get to somebody before God does, you are wasting your time.”  I now wonder if it goes even deeper than that?  “Wasting time” may be the best that we can do in those cases.  What God calls it may be far worse.  Jesus wouldn’t even speak to people before God got to them.  He waited on the Truth. 

The intent of your heart is going to determine where you spend eternity. 

Jerry

 

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Wednesday Night

Pastor John, 

Monday night I was ironing and just talking to Jesus.  I was telling him how thankful I am for the love I’ve been feeling and for all that he has done for me, for us.  I said, “Jesus I crave more of you.”  That is the only way I knew how to describe how I’m feeling.  I reached over to turn Songs of Rest on and Darren was singing and I heard this:

There is truth you can know, there’s a life you can crave,
There is strength to help you overcome the world.
There is power to get you out of the grave,
And so much more, all in my Father’s world.

I loved hearing my heart’s desire echo in Darren’s song!  The next day, I wanted to hear that song again, but I didn’t know the name of it.  I looked, and I listened, but I couldn’t find it.  Then, Wednesday night, that was the first song Darren sang.  My heart felt like it was going to leap out if my chest.  I thought, “Oh Jesus, you care so much you let Darren sing that song for me again.”

Then when you were talking about having a perfect heart before God, I remembered listening to a CD and hearing you preach that message.  It stirred my heart then just like it did Wednesday night.  It feels like another layer of the hard Christian beliefs has been blown away.  Then, when you were talking about loving God’s children everywhere, there was such love in it.  There was such a spirit of gentleness, just sweet, loving, gentleness, I felt like it was just poured into my heart.

Then when you and Donna sang “Come to the Water” I just felt like my cup was running over.  That song has always touched me; it feels like such an invitation every time I hear it.

When I got home Wednesday night, I tried to pray; I tried to do several things, but couldn’t.  All I could do is lie here and soak it all in.  

What a sweet, wonderful life Jesus has given us!

Michelle

 

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