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The Indwelling Holy Spirit Produces A Line Of Demarcation
January 19, 2018

Dear Friends in Christ Jesus our Lord,

We've uploaded the next video in our series Mutually Serving Jesus Your Lord With Resolute Determination. It's 8. The New Covenant Calls For Radical Service <https://youtu.be/pKmmHe8-MHI>.

As we've been walking and praying together lately, the Spirit of Christ has been leaning heavily on our hearts to address the vast differences between people's idea of themselves as "Christians," and how God perceives them. Call it a "line of demarcation" which differentiates the many counterfeit gospels from the one true Gospel — the authentic Good News which emanates from Scripture and permeates both Testaments. We've shared in multiple formats to encourage and warn you concerning the seriousness of wholehearted pursuit of Father's will being done in and through the lives of His children. 

To our heavenly Father, being born of His Spirit at the new birth must be the turning point of your life. God the Holy Spirit has come to dwell within you for your will to be Father's will and for you to do Father's will to please Him (see Philippians 2:12,13). So, does this describe your own life and that of those walking alongside you in the faith? Are your personal and collective thoughts and discussions focused on what our Father wants you to do each day? As we've said so often: Our Father positions you to be our Lord's representative to the people you encounter each day in all kind of venues — your home, for sure, but also your neighborhood, workplace, office visits — wherever you find yourself being put by Him to be His heart and hands and voice and love.

Wouldn't you recognize if God the Spirit was living and working within you? 

If you've been born from above with the Spirit of Christ, the enemy of your soul takes immediate notice. When you were owned by him, Satan didn't have to do much to involve himself in your activities, values and goals — you were already part of the kingdom of this world, his kingdom! (See Ephesians 2:2.) 

There's a definite "line of demarcation" from Satan's perspective between people who are already his by reason of being human and therefore dominated by their sin nature, and those in whom the indwelling Spirit of Christ has made them His temple to serve God! 

So if you have the Holy Spirit within you, don't be surprised when you find yourself tempted and tormented when you're trying to represent the love and holiness of Jesus to others. You've aroused and agitated a very real enemy who's quick to send his demonic recruits your way to discourage you from doing Father's will. Sadly, so many are stopped in their tracks from doing Father's will by nothing more than what we call the devil's "sweaty body scenario."

Here's an example in the physical realm of this scheme. For thirty years Mike played a lot of pickup basketball. He normally perspires a lot during activity, and he began to notice a trend among the young men he played ball with: they hated to get sweat on themselves. They avoided body contact as much as possible just to keep from getting someone else's sweat on them. Realizing this, Mike would purposely come up and slide against them, and sure enough, they’d back off from guarding him. He was free to make any shots he wanted! And our enemy operates in a similar way to get you to back down from following through on what the Spirit is directing you to do. That's next in our discussion.


"I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons. Are we trying toarouse the Lord's jealousy?" (1Corinthians 10:20-22).

There's no doubt about the reality of demonic entities in this passage! And giving way to their insidious influence constitutes spiritual adultery — you're allowing your spirit to participate in harlotry. As a member of the bride of Christ, that's heinous to Him, as heinous as a wife intentionally provoking her husband to jealousy by her adulterous actions. Yet so many within Christendom do just that. Please picture this: Because of the intentional rebellion of Adam and Eve against their gracious and holy Father, the soul of every subsequent human being has a sin nature — a propensity to exercise independence from God, defy His good and righteous ways through sin, and make self their ruler. 

Our soul is also the place from which undemolished demonic strongholds operate: any area within our soul in which we're choosing our own way no matter what God's Word says. That area of disobedience is fertile ground for Satan to operate through a demonic spirit. And to hide their deceitful work, the demons sound just like the voice of your soul. We were born with that sinful propensity, and until we're born from above, our thoughts and motivations emerge from that rebellious ground. 

But after we are born again, the Holy Spirit takes up His dwelling in our spirit. From within you He guides you, empowers you, convicts you, comforts you. And while His voice may seem quieter and less assertive than the clamor of your own thoughts, His is THE voice you need to listen for. To clearly hear Him means you need to push beyond excuse-making rationale or personal reluctance to obey Father or beyond any whispers of demonic strongholds lurking within your mind or just agitating you from outside yourself. 

The voice of the Holy Spirit within you can come across in many ways. Sometimes He may give you a strong prompting to do something you wouldn't have thought of yourself, like contact a specific person or pray immediately for the need of someone when you have no idea what's going on in their life at that moment. He may stop you in your tracks to realize you've just said or done something hurtful and need to ask forgiveness as soon as you can. He may cause a verse or passage of the Bible to jump out at you with specific clarity of an action you personally need to take. In times of sorrow or distress He may bring to mind verses you've memorized, or prompt you to cry out to Jesus. Or, in the case of one of our relatives who was praying about a specific need, He may dictate to you a phone number which is the very solution to your situation! These are just some of the ways He makes His voice known to you.

But the crucial point for you is whether you choose to listen to the voices in your soul or to the Holy Spirit in your spirit. Where you set your mind to listen is up to you. But Paul makes a key distinction: "Those who live according to their sin nature have their minds set on what the sin nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires" (Romans 8:5).

It's up to you where you get your guidance. Let's focus on the Holy Spirit and a key reason His voice is so essential to your faith walk: He equips you to fight the good fight and press onward to fulfill Father's will through you and in you. And that's where the intensity of determination to walk in the steps of Jesus comes to play in your life. Complacency and shrinking back have no place in the Kingdom of our Lord! That's why Paul is so adamant in his command to Timothy to reckon himself as a "fighter", a "soldier" on a spiritual battlefield. There's no room for lethargy here: 

"Fight the good fight of the faith" (1Timothy 6:12). "Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus" (2Timothy 2:3)and Paul's own personal testimony, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith"  (2Timothy 4:7). 

There's no "sounding retreat" in the walk to which we're called in Christ. Our loving Father gives us the grace to persevere in doing His will, and we can appropriate that grace and receive His glorious reward. Or we can let go of the hope we professed, give way to habitual sin once again, and suffer the consequences (see Hebrews 10:38,39).

If you're among those pressing on, here's another characteristic of those who listen to the Spirit and, out of loving and obedient trust, courageously do Father's will. A strong "line of demarcation" distinguishes genuine lovers of Jesus as their Lord from those who speak one way but live another — as Isaiah put it, people who honor Him with their lips but their hearts are far from Him (29:13). It's that heart desire to do our Father's will as we listen to His Spirit which makes all the difference to us and to Him. Both Testaments emphasize what takes place in the heart first, which then brings forth an obedient response: 

"I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart” (Psalms 40:8); and, "We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ" (1Thessalonians 1:3). 

Let's consider for a moment a metaphor Jesus uses to describe a genuine walk of obedience to the voice of the Holy Spirit. In contrast are those in Christianity who listen to the voice of their self-ruled soul and the complacency it produces. Our Lord's words here are unmistakeable: 

“STRIVE to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able" (Luke 13:24). 

The Greek word for strive used here specifically denotes serious intensity, like a wrestler competing to win a great prize. He's straining every nerve to the utmost to achieve his goal. In fact we get the word "agony" from this word for striving. How's that for making every effortto enter the narrow gate! This same intensity of pressing on in trust even in the face of temptation and opposition is used multiple times in the Newer Testament (for example, see Philippians 3:12; Colossians 1:29; 1Timothy 4:10; Colossians 4:12). From our Lord's point of view, entering through the narrow gate of love-grounded, obedient trust is serious stuff.

Throughout the entire passage of Luke 13:22-30 you find Jesus citing intensity to expend every effort to enter the door of salvation. There’s a sense of urgency in these verses because the day is coming when the door of entry will be closed (vv. 24,25). Outside will be those who had only a superficial relationship with Jesus. That's because He recognizes and admits only those who obeyed His message (v.27). And rather than repenting, the ones standing outside will react with remorse and anger (v. 30).


"And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ" (Romans 8:9).

Look within yourself. Are you filled by the Holy Spirit with love for Christ and the love of Christ toward others? Do you submit each day's goals and activities to the scrutiny of the Holy Spirit — not as a burdensome obligation, but rather as a loving and responsive vessel to be about His business for the sake of Jesus? Is it to this end as a faithful and loving laborer in the Master's field that you can honestly say that by His grace you "labor,struggling with all His energy, which so powerfully works in me"? (Colossians 1:29). 

Finally, when you do pray, does your heart overflow with thanksgiving and gratefulness for His faithfulness toward you? Do you carry that same trust into your prayers for others, or do you find yourself voicing names and then getting on with your day? Does your heart linger before our Father's throne to be refreshed and to bring Him pleasure? And, can you say that out of His love at work in and through you, you're always wrestling in prayerfor brothers and sisters of like trust so they may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured? (Colossians 4:12). Those are prayers of intensity and purpose and trust, the incense that flows up to delight the presence of our God! 

Trusting wholly and praying fervently,

Mike and Sue 

 

Serving Our Lord In His Kingdom Isn't A Sanitized Ministry
January 8, 2018

Dear Friends in Christ Jesus our Lord,

The last of what we consider to be "backdrop videos" has been uploaded to YouTube: 7. Jesus Is Present In Both Testaments <https://youtu.be/dBg22vAU-OE>. We produced these initial seven videos for these reasons:


• To reveal the continuity of both Testaments, and to help you realize that our Lord Jesus used the Hebrew Bible to disciple His first followers. Why would He disciple any differently those who were later to put their trust in Him?

• Abraham is a key figure throughout both Testaments of the Bible. When you see his obedient trust which produced actions in response to God's commands, would you consider the Patriarch a "believer" whose faith remained locked in his mind, or an obedient servant whose actions demonstrated his trust in God? As James has written, could anything less be required of us today than to authenticate our faith with the outworking of obedience?

• As you prayerfully develop your faith practices with others who may want to walk alongside you, be sure that each of you has responded to Father's grace in Christ with love-grounded obedient trust according to God's Word. The Hebraic foundations of living wholeheartedly for Jesus and walking in Father's will by His Spirit are a trust-based way of life. Yet the pervasive influence of Nicolaitanism, Hellenism and Romanism within Christianity for so many centuries has deceived many to feel they must supplement the truth of Scripture with traditions, rituals, and other texts.  


To Be Forewarned Is To Be Forearmed

(If you're aware beforehand of possible dangers or problems,

 you've gained a strong tactical advantage.)


Most people are reluctant to change either their beliefs or their surroundings. And those who've spent years committed to particular religious practices but have never questioned these in light of the Scriptures will be inclined to cling tightly to the practices they're accustomed to. In fact for most people this would be an entirely new way of living: turning to the Scriptures together with others who are wholly committed to loving Jesus and doing Father's will to mutually establish your way of life, trusting that the Spirit of our Lord Jesus is in your midst. But with so many false gospels permeating society today, this is the only way to rid yourselves of the many pagan practices that have infiltrated Christendom over the centuries.


In your quest to mutually restore a trust-based way of life, you'll find you're ridding yourselves of "sanitized Christianity" and moving into the "unsanitized" way of Kingdom living. This may sound strange to you, so let's discuss it.

One of the key aspects of being part of the Nicolaitan religious establishment is attending one or more of the scheduled weekly services or programs. Many people identify their spiritual connection by the building where they gather together on a weekly cycle. It's a very sanitized way of life. The services and programs are predictable and designed to make them feel comfortable. They feel acceptable to God because they're present at services. After all, they're surrounded by "basically good people" who can hide any concealed pet sins behind plastic smiles of being "fine Christians." 


Satan has achieved success in convincing multitudes of churchgoers that all "good people" make it to heaven. So they can leave their weekly service not sensing any personal responsibility to uphold the reputation of a holy and righteous Lord by their own behavior, values or goals. And since bills for the building and the pastor's salary need to be paid, the leadership is under pressure to make sure attendees keep coming back week after week to feel good about themselves in their attendance.  


At a number of these services entertainment is provided through skits or humorous stories by the clergy person. When the Bible is taught, people's knowledge base may be added to, but rarely are they brought to repentance over their compromise with the world system in their daily lives. And you'd be hard pressed to hear sermons which convict listeners' hearts over their lack of love or concern for the lost around them in their neighborhood, city or nation. Increasing Bible facts without penetrating hearts with the obedience and love which extend the Kingdom of Jesus only inoculates people against His living through them to reach others!  


Our Lord Jesus would never teach Bible truth devoid of personal responsibility to take action on it! Following in the steps of John the Baptist (Matthew 3:2) Jesus called people to "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near" (Matthew 4:17). Jesus commanded His listeners to repent, which means to turn away from their sin and turn to their heavenly Father for their sins to be forgiven through trust in Jesus. That's why He sent His disciples out with the same message: "They went out and preached that people should repent" (Mark 6:12). It was also understood by His disciples that "to hear" meant "to put into practice,"  a message which applies as surely to us as to them. Unless His Word is put into practice, it's just syllables built on sand (see Matthew 7:26; James 2:17-26).


Jesus has established a Kingdom through His rule in the heart of anyone who genuinely belongs to Him, and each person has an essential part to play which requires Spirit-directed action. To help you understand this Kingship rule of Jesus, the Hebraic Restoration is like going back in time to this key principle: How was the Hebrew Bible understood by our Lord and by His first century followers? In order to take hold of what this Biblical perspective means to your own life, each person with whom you're journeying must be willing to look into God's Word as He intended it to be understood and put into action — but without the demonically inspired pagan influences and trappings of Nicolaitanism, Hellenism, or Romanism.


Newcovenant


Serving In Extending Our Lord's Kingdom Isn't Sanitized

"Remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins" (James 5:20).


Jesus didn't endure suffering and death so people could complacently sit in sanitized church pews enjoying pleasant music and entertaining messages that leave them feeling comfortable. The assignment of Jesus was to destroy the devil's work (1John 3:8) and save us sinners from the eternal damnation we all deserve (Mark 10:45). His singular assignment for those who belong to Him is to make His Person known for Who He is and why He came (Acts 26:18), and to raise up disciples who will do the same (see Matthew 24:14, 28:18-20; Mark 8:35; Acts 1:8).


There's a spiritual battle being waged by Satan and his demonic forces against all of humanity, but especially against those who love and serve Jesus as Lord of their lives(see Revelation 12:17). Satan's own kingdom encompasses all who are part of this world's system (see Matthew 12:26; Ephesians 2:2) and are not indwelled by the Spirit of Christ. In military terms our Lord's Kingdom is extended on earth through "trench warfare" even as the enemy of our souls wages war against us (see Ephesians 6:12). 


Like Timothy, you're called to set aside your own goals to serve our Father's pleasure as a good soldier (see 2Timothy 2:3,4). That means having a heart motive that's yielded to doing our Father's will. His indwelling Spirit then guides you into what He wants you to do next  and this requires your willing and immediate response. Your determination to respond with obedient trust is the primary area in which any undemolished strongholds, toxic memories, and/or your sin nature will oppose you. Because of their influence, it's sometimes an internal battle for you to be immediately obedient the way Abraham was. 


The Holy Spirit made sure Hebrews chapter 11 was written into the Bible to reveal the character, determination, and sacrifice of the people our heavenly Father has regard for. You might say that His Spirit included this chapter so that anyone who thinks he or she belongs to Jesus can discern how high the bar of their trust-based actions of obedience by His grace is set. It's very high!


Our heavenly Father and Lord Jesus don't desire that anyone be lost to hell, but that all would repent (2Peter 3:9). For you to have this same burden for others to repent and be forgiven is developed from the Hebrew Scriptures. It's in these Scriptures that you get a clear picture of your own sinful depravity, your need for the Sinless Substitute to atone for your sins, and the loving compassion and grace of our heavenly Father to accept His Son Jesus as the sacrifice on your behalf. It's this heartfelt understanding that motivates you to want to let others know what our Lord has accomplished on their behalf in being the Mediator of a New Covenant.


So what do we mean by the Kingdom being unsanitized? It's this: To share why our Lord sacrificed Himself on the cross, His Spirit places the ones who belong to Jesus in the midst of specific people — people with whom He wants His servants to represent Him so that they might respond and enter the New Covenant. In whatever neighborhood, workplace, shopping center you as His follower find yourself, you're there to represent Jesus. This noble and loving purpose is clearly understood by the Kingdom-minded. The benchmark service of the authentic Gospel is that we lovingly and actively minister the New Covenant among those who need to encounter Jesus as their Savior and Lord.


"I have not come to call the righteous, 

but sinners to repentance" (Luke 5:32).


From the first followers of Jesus to those of us today, anyone who bears His Spirit is called to carry His burden for sinners. But the "sanitized" who keep as far away from the lost as they can are revolted by our way of life. We grieve for the lost and reach out to them whenever the Spirit puts them in our path. We who are "unsanitized" out of love for our Lord and for others are like the 'hounds of heaven' seeking out those who have yet to be drawn to Jesus. 


Being called to the "spiritual trenches" by our Lord Jesus demands that we rely on the authority of His Name and engage the demonic forces for the sake of our family, our neighborhood, our workplace. It isn't a sanitized way of life in which you can just hide away from the call of the Captain of your salvation (see Hebrews 2:10,11). Satan's demonic workforce hates you and is determined to undermine your trust and your obedience. They fight back, tempting you, looking for your weakness or for the weakness of those in your family or fellowship family (see Ephesians 4:27; James 4:7; 1Peter 5:8). 


These attacks are very real. Mike was twice physically choked by demons as he prayed for particular individuals. He also experienced two nearly catastrophic vehicle mishaps in which he wasn't at fault. In the first car incident the demon told him he'd die if he continued the assignment our Lord had sent him on. He kept going, confident that our Father is sovereign and nothing can happen to His children unless He allows it. Prior to the second incident the Holy Spirit warned us that Satan would make an attempt on our lives as a family if we pursued the mission we were given. We kept going and did suffer a car wreck, but we were able to make it to our destination just one day later than planned. 


The unseen battle against the wiles of the enemy and his hosts of wickedness is the reason so few in sanitized Christendom want to wholly serve our Lord Jesus and fight on behalf of the souls of sinners. Added to fear and potential life disruption are the demonic strongholds which use familiarity to keep congregations together. Leaders too recoil from spiritual warfare because of the bondage they're trying to hide. So they never bring up the authority of Jesus' Name to deliver those who long to be freed to serve Him. As studies have repeatedly shown, for decades the influence of Christianity in this nation has diminished as the self-absorbed slosh from one congregation to the next looking for what will help them feel good about themselves.


We who do share our Lord's burden for the lost need to both encourage and remind each other of what we're all about on earth. Before He sacrificed Himself on the cross to pay the debt of all sinners, our Lord made sure we knew the response in heaven when a sinner turns away from sin and comes to Jesus. He also established for those who would serve Him the identifying character qualities needed by those who would deny themselves and pick up their cross to follow Him. Here are some responses and actions Jesus made clear for all who would serve Him as Lord:

•"In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents" (Luke 15:10).

•"But go and learn what this means: I desire mercy, not sacrifice.'  For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners" (Matthew 9:13).

•"If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over" (Matthew 18:15).

•"So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty'"  (Luke 17:10).

•"And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?" (Matthew 5:47).

•"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?  Even sinners love those who love them" (Luke 6:32).

•"Then Jesus said to His host, 'When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous'" (Luke 14:12-14).


You can recognize for yourself that the life of the Kingdom-hearted causes them to live outside their human comfort zone. If you've embraced the true Gospel, you're not looking for social acceptance from people who choose to keep God in a church-building box or confined to the pages of His Book. Instead you're encompassed by a deep sense of sympathy and compassion for those who are trapped in their sins. You appreciate so much what our Lord Jesus accomplished to pay the price for your sins. And His love for you produces such love for Him and for other people that nothing can hinder you from wanting them to be free of their sins too. In other words, ministering the New Covenant through His loving power and grace is an assignment you take seriously.


Finally, it's crucial that you recognize what happens when people disregard the Older Testament and look to the Newer Testament alone as truth. Numerous false gospels spring from theologies which isolate the testaments from each other as fabricated opponents called "law vs grace" and "wrath vs love". Not wanting any responsibility to Jesus as LORD of all they are and say and do, people look for a sanitized religious establishment to attend. That way they can have a complacent, socially acceptable place to call their "spiritual home." Over the years we conducted Hebraic seminars especially in the "Bible Belt," many of those in the pews were in dire need of salvation themselves. Content with a false gospel that promises them they're saved no matter how they live afterward, they follow pulpit "blind guides" who tolerate sin and gloss over unrighteousness. Tragically they're leading the oblivious flock down the broad path of destruction. 


A note of encouragement. If you've left the religious institutional establishment in which you once found comfort and self-satisfaction, please don't look back at what you might be missing now. Press on, seeking the transforming work of His Spirit, until our Lord's burden for the souls of mankind becomes yours. Be the same minister of the New Covenant that Jesus Himself would be if He were you!

Newcovenant

Mike & Sue

 

With Whom And How Often Do You Converse About Jesus?
January 2, 2018

Dear Friends in our Lord Jesus Christ,

We waited for the New Year to begin before sending this e-mail so that 2017 could come to a complete end. It was during the whole holiday season that it really dawned on us: the absence of Jesus everywhere we turned, even with "Christians" we spoke with. Yesterday we took a prayer walk and grieved before our Father, letting Him know how broken our hearts are over what He sees going on in this nation especially this time of year: so many who call themselves "Christian" going through celebrations and gatherings doing the conventional "Christian" activities — but without even a mention of Christ in their life.


(On several occasions in the past we've written how you can recognize the priorities in people's lives: It's whatever they bring up first or most often in their conversations. Or, on the other hand, what they don't bring up at all!)


In correspondence and cards we've recently received, parents most often wrote about the worldly success of their children (and grandchildren). And when we receive family write-ups like this, commending success in this world, the first thing that comes to our mind is that their children have been raised to be God's enemies (see James 4:4). Success by the world's standards — its values, goals, achievements — has taken deep root in these younger people's lives. Even if they say they have a walk with Jesus, the worldly allure has come alongside like a spiritual mistress to share their heart's allegiance. Our Lord's own warning of the outcome of this divided loyalty rings out: "The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches  and pleasures, and they do not mature [i.e. do not bear fruit for the Kingdom]" (Luke 8:14).


However we did receive one memorable phone call from a friend praising our Lord Jesus for healing his daughter of a cancerous tumor. What joy as we delighted together with him in the loving power of our King! As 2017 came to an end we could understand even more clearly why our Father commanded us over 20 years ago, "Contend for My Son Jesus!" You may think we're being too critical about what we see taking place in Christendom today. NOT ONE BIT! This isn't groundless observation. Just ask your family and others close to you in your own faith walk: How often do you speak about Jesus and any recent experience in which you recognized His involvement or intervention?


"For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household..." (1Peter 4:17).


In every corner of society and in most of institutional religion, the centrality of Jesus has all but been eliminated. We noted in our first Prophetic Insight and in other writings that the real fruit of the Hebraic Restoration will begin when the Dark Days of Chastisement come upon the US. Neither of us is looking forward to that nightmarish period. But based upon the political, spiritual and moral degeneration of our nation, God's chastisement seems inevitable. In the midst of the decay infiltrating all corners of this land (and other nations as well), we all the more deeply appreciate how long-suffering our Father is in withholding His just wrath because of mankind's predisposition to sin (see Genesis 6:5). His righteous and loving heart awaits the humble and authentic repentance of those who will respond to His call. Yet His righteous justice has been sorely violated. Over 50 years ago Billy Graham's wife, Ruth, exclaimed: 

“If God doesn't soon bring judgment upon America, He'll have to go back and apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.” Our God doesn't apologize!


There's a reason we're pinpointing Sodom at this time. Please look at your own lifestyle in light of God's Word and His purpose for the resources He's made possible in your life. (Be sure you keep your evaluation Vertical since it's all too easy for any of us to do a horizontal comparison with other people yet miss the precise and specific work Father wants to do through you.) Especially judge for yourself how you use your own money. When we think of Sodom we most often connect the city with its detestable practice of homosexuality. But the issues for which God also held the city accountable were its prideful greed and injustice: 

"Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy" (Ezekiel 16:49).


You may have heard of Congressman Ken Buck's new book, Drain the Swamp: How Washington Corruption Is Worse Than You Think. Amazon's writeup on the volume reveals an insider's direct observations of how far this government has strayed from its Constitutional mandate to justly represent the interests of the people: 


"Lavish parties. Committee chairmanships for sale. Pay-to-play corruption. Backroom arm-twisting. Votes on major legislation going to the highest bidder. Welcome to Washington, D.C., the swamp that President Donald Trump was elected to drain. Congressman Ken Buck is blowing the whistle on the real-life House of Cards in our nation's capital. Elected in 2014 as president of one of the largest Republican freshman classes ever to enter Congress, Buck immediately realized why nothing gets done in Congress, and it isn't because of political gridlock—in fact, Republicans and Democrats work together all too well to fleece taxpayers and plunge America deeper into debt.
'It is an insular process directed by power-hungry party elites who live like kings and govern like bullies,' Buck reports. Buck has witnessed first-hand how the unwritten rules of Congress continually prioritize short-term political gain over lasting, principled leadership. When Buck tangled with Washington power brokers like former Speaker John Boehner, he faced petty retaliation. When he insisted Republicans keep their word to voters, he was berated on the House floor by his own party leaders. When other members of Congress dared to do what they believed to be right for America instead of what the party bosses commanded, Buck saw them stripped of committee positions and even denied dining room privileges by the petty beltway bullies."


Over the years Congressman Buck hasn't been the only one to blow the whistle on the government in Washington. We've cited on several occasions that the demonic Principality of Deceit rules Washington and uses the government leadership to keep this nation divided and dominated by the rich in their self-interest. Our real concern, however, is for those who claim to be "Christian" yet applaud these leaders whose values and policies are anti those of Christ in their neglect of the poor and aliens in this land. When greed and injustice are admired by those who have their piece of prosperity's pie yet have no concern for the suffering of the struggling majority, it creates unbearable sorrow for the righteous who pray unceasingly for Father to intervene.


You may be shocked or angered by this next statement but it's where we are in our hearts. Because of the Lordship of Jesus in our lives and the current state of our government, we find we can no longer recite the pledge of allegiance. This is NOT a republic nor is it "one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." Nor would Abraham Lincoln be able to declare today that this is a government "of the people, by the people, for the people..." This nation has succumbed to exactly what our Founding Fathers warned would happen if people forsook the Bible, ceased to be a republic and became a democracy.

The stated ideologies of China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea may be different from those of the US. But each of these nations is ruled by a central elite who control the dynamics of government. And the controlling elite in this nation are just more disguised and sinister(If you disagree with what we're saying, look up God's perspective on what injustice by those in authority looks like: Deuteronomy 16:19, 24:17, 27:19; Isaiah 10:2,59:4,14; Amos 5:24; Luke 11:42. Can you see the parallels between injustice in times past and currently in our day?)


"But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you obeyed from your heart the pattern of teaching to which you were entrusted [i.e., that has now claimed your allegiance]" (Romans 6:17).


While we are grateful to our Father that He caused us to be born in this land, our allegiance is only to Jesus our Lord. And with this singular allegiance we live by His Spirit as He would live if He were us. His Word is THE authority that guides our lives, and by His Spirit we honor all human beings as He calls us to (1Peter 2:17). Living by His Word does make us better citizens because we live under His rule in our hearts with His concern for justice and goodwill for all. And yes, we too would kneel before Him at a football game to bring attention to the gross injustice being heaped upon our minorities


We've been to inner-city ghettos and Indian Reservations. We've personally witnessed the bondage of suffering in the people living in these places that's been caused by the policies of white male supremacy. Several years ago we were so disheartened by the past and present policies of the Bureau of Indian Affairs that we gave up our non-profit tax status so we could take issue with them publicly and call for justice. Our prayers have been constant and focused that those in charge of policies would repent and make the changes necessary for justice to be shown to all in this land. 

flagSwastika

Symbols can evoke strong feelings, especially national symbols like flags which form a basis for identification as a country. (Eighty years ago even the Nazi flag which today rightly evokes such revulsion because of what it came to represent was honored as a symbol of unity by a particular group — but certainly not by the disenfranchised who faced the brutal results of its racism and bigotry.) A symbol can painfully call to mind the reality of disenfranchisement among those who aren't experiencing the equal rights and opportunities the country was founded on. Then the right to make the privileged aware of the inequity is exercised in ways that their situation can be seen and heard through a larger forum. 


If the sanctity of the symbol itself becomes more important than the freedom even to kneel to bring attention to the injustice in this nation, then we really are a deceived society. The injustice which is fast being exposed even among self-identified Christians publicly discredits the just reputation of our holy Lord as well as repudiates the core of His commands to "Love your neighbor as yourself", and, "Do for others what you would have them do for you." Bigotry and hate and self-obsession abound when injustice rules. And when these are allowed to marginalize certain segments of the populace, the focus of governments as well as religious hierarchies puts even greater emphasis on symbols to deceive and make the society more vulnerable to control. 


The political and societal attitude in this nation toward the poor is no different than it was in ancient Sodom. Even now whatever hope the impoverished as well as minority families had of financially meeting their needs is being robbed so the rich and politically-connected can maintain their luxury lifestyles. Following Jesus as Lord means following His commands with a willing heart. Don't allow your commitment to maintaining a satisfying lifestyle keep you blinded to the role Jesus would have you play as His heart and hands of resource and help. If there's no concern in your mind about whether this day's needs will be met, you have no idea what poverty really is. If you don't have to give serious thought about paying a bill or obtaining essential medicine to get through this day, please heed our Lord's warning:

“You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me” (Luke 18:22; see also Luke 16:13,19-31; Matthew 25:31-46; 1Timothy 6:10; James 2:5; James 5:1-5 for our Lord's perspective on the righteous use of the resources He's made each of His followers stewards of).


If you have any awe or holy fear of our Father, then you know that He is compelled by His holiness and justice to enact judgment just as He has in the past so that people will repent, turning away from their evil ways and coming to Him for forgiveness and a right response. He never fails to send multiple warnings. And He is finally forced to act, even to uphold His own reputation (see 2Chronicles 36:16; Isaiah 48:9; Ezekiel 20:44).


"You will be hated by everyone because of Me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved" (Matthew 10:22).


We've written previously that followers of Jesus who are Innovators, Early Adopters, and Early Majority most often were among our seminar attendees when we conducted them away from a "church" building. It's not that all three groups simultaneously grasped the truths we presented. The "Innovators" were the first to comprehend the relational priorities and foundations of obedient trust our Father is restoring and the way of life they call for. Innovators in turn affected the Early Adopters who then came alongside the Early Majority with whom they were already in relationship. There's a parallel here with Innovators and the tribe of Issachar. Two hundred of those men were leaders who understood the times and knew what Israel should do (see 1Chronicles 12:32). And followers of Jesus whom He has called to be Innovators understand the times and immediately know the choice they need to make" to lift up Jesus by doing our Father's will. 

Are you an Innovator, Early Adopter, or Early Majority?


The nature of people and the period of time in which we find ourselves writing is comparable to the roughly 40-year period between Jesus's ascension into heaven and the destruction of the Temple in AD 70. For instance, many who were among the first to put their trust in Jesus found themselves persecuted as our Lord had forewarned His followers would happen (see Matthew 10:23, Matthew 24:9; John 15:20; Acts 22:4). Their early acceptance by society changed into intolerance and harassment. Others who followed Jesus as Lord were known as the Way, a sect "believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets" (Acts 24:14; also Acts 19:23). Like Paul they still attended the feasts at the Temple in Jerusalem and prayed there as well. But when the Temple was destroyed by the Romans, believing and non-believing Jews alike scattered. Those who hadn't escaped the city when they freely could were enslaved or killed. But in their scattering they were able to extend our Lord's kingdom everywhere they settled, apart from any former participation in the religious system. 


The decades immediately following our Lord's ascension forced His followers to recognize the growing animosity around them and their own commitment to endure in their obedient trust until the end. Innovators, Early Adopters and Early Majority people who have left institutional religion are facing similar antipathy today from those who cling to their religious establishment as their sole expression of faith. Our Father has been setting into motion another facet of His divine timeline. In 1967 the promise He gave to restore Jerusalem to the Jewish people was fulfilled (see Luke 21:24). This restoration of Jerusalem coincided with the beginning of the Hebraic Restoration by our heavenly Father. At the same time, however, Satan introduced "weeds" in the form of the Jewish Roots Movement based on obedience to the laws given to Moses. In contrast, the Hebraic Restoration flows out of the trust-based obedient relationship Abraham had with God. 

timeline

Our Lord Jesus foresaw with the destruction of the Temple that there would be a period of time in which some of His followers weren't sure what to do without the Temple and religious establishment that had exercised authority over it. During the season between 1967 until the Dark Days of Chastisement come upon this country some will also question if they can live in the Lordship of Jesus while still remaining within the confines of the Nicolaitan, clergy-based religious establishment. Millions who follow Jesus have already fled institutions and systems to find greater fullness as extended spiritual family with others who are seeking relational intimacy and spiritual power in Jesus as they together extend His kingdom.


"Come near to God and He will come near to you... Put away deceit from your hearts, you double-minded" (James 4:8).


Have you been reluctant to confirm with our heavenly Father that He is both restoring His unchanging truths and demanding the same love-grounded, trust-based obedience and responsive action as Abraham had (and as the heroes of faith were cited for in Hebrews 11)? Then please do so before you get swept up in the compromise and deceit of this world system which has infiltrated so much of Christianity in this land. We made sure while we were still in Israel that we confirmed the rhema which our Father gave us to make known to His called-out ones in the United States. Then we continued to seek His rhema step-by-step as we incorporated into our own lives the various truths He gave us to share. By His grace these truths have extended beyond this land to 104 other nations as well!

Jesus

Rhema — His revealed specific will for you. This personal revealed word requiring active and obedient response is what sets you apart when you've been called out of this world's ways and system by the Father to serve our Lord in His Kingdom and fulfill our Father's will. That's far different than the self-serving religious activities of complacent people who lock themselves within the religious establishment and expend time and effort keeping the religious system running. We who are Kingdom-hearted — who are abundantly grateful for the rule of King Jesus in our hearts — would delightedly forfeit our very lives for one more soul to come into that wondrous relationship with Jesus as their Lord. You may have noticed as we have, however, that those who practice a form of godliness through their religious practice but live only for themselves have no such conviction in their hearts. The "thorns" of this world have ensnared them in the duplicity of religious form that's devoid of the indwelling Holy Spirit.. 

People who treasure their relationship with the King of the Kingdom speak boldly about our Lord Jesus, frequently mentioning His divine interventions, His loving power exercised on their behalf, and His Spirit's guidance by which we know our Father's specific will. People whose religious expression is confined to what's going on in their church facilities speak of their lively worship or their Bible study group, the preaching, the youth programs and Sunday School activities. But they find they have NOTHING to share about Jesus — and that doesn't seem to bother them. The truly sad thing is that they can't even sense their lukewarmness toward Him, nor His sorrow that they can't see beyond their own family concerns to extend prayer and help to others beyond their household. We're reminded of something the Holy Spirit spoke to us years ago concerning a particular denominational leader we'd talked with: "There's nothing in heaven recorded about him!" What has our Father recorded of your own love and obedient trust and how it's being enacted according to His will? What about those close to you in your faith walk, or your children or grandchildren? Have you ever brought it up to them? Does it really matter to you?


It's been heartrending for us to witness the diminishment of our Lord Jesus among religious practitioners who give Him a nod now and then but dismiss His Lordship, or who pray to other entities as well as to Him. Our Father has actually shown both of us mercy in calling us away from offering support to people who insist on staying within the Nicolaitan system. Still, it does hurt to hear from those who have chosen to flee the religious system but are still longing for what they've left behind. Not realizing that our Father is leading them to something that will build up their love and trust and fruitfulness, they live in a spiritual limbo. Yet Father never stops enfolding them with His love and His desire to breathe out through them His Kingdom purposes for their lives — if they would just turn with wholehearted trust and call out to Him in the Name of Jesus!


Over our years of following our Lord Jesus we've been blessed by divine encounters with other Kingdom-hearted people who love Him. Many of the writings of the late David Wilkerson still inspire us as we've been re-reading his publications especially from 1990 to 2005. To us he was one of the last great prophetic voices of our time who had the courage to both voice the Spirit's warning to the complacent and deceived, and to encourage those struggling to remain true to our Lord Jesus. If you're going through struggles as you're pressing on in Jesus, we want to encourage you with an excerpt from David's December 31, 2001 letter:


"All of Christ's deliverances were meant to: break the power of Satan, set people free, deliver those in bondage, and bring light into darkness... [In all the trials Joseph endured, he could say,] 'The Lord was preparing me to save you.'

That's how God works: He was preparing a man to save a remnant. Indeed, in every generation, the Lord raises up a Joseph Company. He takes these devoted servants through years of troubles and trials, to prove and strengthen their faith. And He delivers them from many satanic snares. But the Joseph Company is tested in ways that few others experience. They face tormenting doubts, pressing fears, fierce temptations... Joseph made peace with his past because he saw God's hand in it. 

The Lord also has a Joseph Company today. These are godly men and women He has touched and called. They don't seek fame or fortune [or ease of life]. All they want is to live and die fulfilling the calling God has placed on them. And the Lord has promised their lives will count for His kingdom."


Everyone whom our Lord would use to carry His purposes from generation to generation must learn through suffering as Joseph did. Please take this as an encouragement or warning, whichever is appropriate for you:

If you're already Kingdom-hearted or yearning for that, press forward in your faith walk together with others whose hearts are set apart for our Lord's use. Don't avoid the suffering and rejection you'll likely experience, especially from relatives or friends who don't yet understand what He is calling you to. Rather, embrace the trials and ostracism so you may grow in perseverance and develop the character our Lord wants to produce in you by His Spirit. Take hold of our Lord Jesus and press on with HIM knowing that you'll see Him face-to-face forever! 

Your past is insignificant compared to your future. In fact, any regret about your past sins of which you've repented is as prideful as boasting about your past accomplishments. Regret as well as boasting halt all progress on your pilgrimage to your salvation. But be assured that as you press forward with our Lord Jesus you're going to experience many more divine encounters with Him to share with others. A living testimony of an experience with Jesus will always outshine a memorized Bible verse in its effect on others' lives!


"As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard" (Acts 4:20),

Mike & Sue


P.S. We did want to let you know that we've added more videos to our Youtube series, Mutually Serving Jesus Your Lord With Resolute Determination. Go to

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLQRURo_TbJfKjaaTJYPmu_YPDrlSL-s6l

 

Having Courage To Discern And Take Actions
December 15, 2017

Dear Friends in Christ Jesus,
We wrote in our last email about some things we've observed over the years concerning the cost of being relationally marginalized and/or ostracized in order to serve our Lord wholly in His Kingdom. In this followup we want to discuss your need for discernment — our Father's perspective — about people who say they'd like to join you in carrying out our Lord's Kingdom purposes. 

Most religious systems openly receive anyone who walks into their weekly service, but they rarely get to know these visitors any more deeply than through their attendance. Yet according to God's Word, each genuine "body part" is called to be a living manifestation of the Body of Christ. It takes spiritual discernment on your part to help each person who thinks they want to be part of your extended spiritual family to know who they are in union with Christ. 

A person may need help discovering their spiritual gifting and how Father would fit their "body part" into the outworking of your extended spiritual family. As you talk with each other you may also find that they really have no interest in living under the Lordship of Jesus. Instead, they're looking for acceptance and friendship — but have no intention of living sacrificially to bring glory to the Father. You can see why discernment is necessary!

"And this is [our] prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God" (Philippians 1:9-11).


Discernment is a character quality of many facets. You might say that wisdom is gained through discerning what is right and just, and avoiding what is evil and unjust. Knowledge, which is the acquisition of facts and information, requires no such process; it's neutral. Jesus, however, was the embodiment of discernment about the hearts of the people He encountered: "But Jesus would not entrust Himself to them, for He knew all people. He did not need any testimony about mankind,  for He knew what was in each person" (John 2:24,25). The rest of us don't have the divine discernment Jesus had. But we need to gain it by asking His Spirit for the discernment we need to make wise choices and decisions. 

These encouraging words regarding God's perspective and our need to discern it shouldn't be taken lightly: "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, Who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you" (James 1:5). And, as we often encourage you to do, discuss any matter requiring wisdom with two or three others who know and trust Jesus as their Lord before you make a decision. If you don't absolutely trust our Lord's promise to be with you in the decision process, then nothing else concerning your faith walk matters. Your unbelief is as unreliable and unsteady as a wind-tossed wave, and you can be sure you won't be heard when you ask (see James 1:6-8).

"So, if you think you are standing firm, 

be careful that you don’t fall!" (1Corinthians 10:12).


You're most vulnerable to Satan's schemes to trip you up when you think you're close to meeting a goal. We can learn from the sad example in the Hebrew Scriptures of a presumptuous attitude that says to God, "I've got this one; You don't need to get involved." The setting is near the end of the Israelite exodus from Egypt. Moses has died, Joshua is their new leader. They're closing in on the Promised Land, where God had ordered them to annihilate all the inhabitants because of their grievously detestable and sinful practices. 

But Joshua and the other leaders make a grave error of disobedience. When the people of Gibeon hear that the Israelites are drawing near and they can expect destruction, the Gibeonites devise a ruse. Men are dispatched to Joshua with worn out clothing and moldy food, pretending they've traveled from a distant land and are no threat to the Israelites. Their statement seems credible and Joshua can see the ragged condition of these men and their supplies. So he and the fellow leaders neglect to ask God for discernment. "The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the LORD. Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath" (Joshua 9:14,15). Israel chose to rely on their own rationale rather than God's, and seeds of future self-reliance were sown.

Discernment May Require The Courage To Cull
(to cull is to selectively choose)

In union with our Lord as His beloved servant, you can't expect to live with the same values and purposes and goals you had before you became a new creation in Jesus. Nor will your old relationships stay the same. In fact, you'll find His Spirit causing you to make radical alterations in your relational priorities in order to follow Jesus as Lord of your life. That's why following Jesus demands that you must weigh the cost of forsaking self-rule before you receive His Father's forgiveness and follow the way of our Lord (see Luke 14:26-33).


Contrary to so many counterfeit gospels today, Jesus didn’t come to improve your lifestyle and make you happy with worldly success. Far from it! He came to cull you out of darkness and enlist you to work in His Kingdom as His beloved laborer. It’s going to cost you to be in the family of Jesus — but not in any way that you could earn this wonderful privilege. Rather, the cost will be in giving up the worldly priorities, goals, relationships and values you once cherished. Are you willing to pay whatever it costs you for the pearl of great price? 


An anecdote from our past

Mike: When Sue and I arrived at the retreat center in 1983, we were asked to ‘triage’ the people who came on retreat. Our predecessor had destroyed his ministry at the center because he refused to confront the people who wanted to live there but refused to turn from their sin. I'd had Emergency Medical Technician training while we were at Seminary, thinking we would be serving in primitive areas overseas. So I was familiar with physical triage. Spiritual triage was new to me, but it also serves to sort people into one of three categories:


Level 1 Spiritually Healthy

•People who are healthy on a spiritual level will go on following Jesus with or without your help because they love and serve Him as their Lord. They are fully functioning as they serve His Kingdom purposes even if they occasionally stumble or grow weary at times.


Level 2 Spiritually Wounded

•These individuals need prompt loving attention and wise biblical counsel from someone who genuinely cares for them. If that kind of care and counsel is given, received and acted on by them, their probability of joining the Spiritually Healthy in Level 1 increases. 


Level 3 Spiritually Dead

•These people may call themselves "Christian" but their lives prove otherwise. Inwardly they enjoy their sin and have no desire to change. Satan has a foothold in them, and he uses them to wear down healthy followers of Jesus or to entice the wounded into spiritual death. If you have an “open door” policy in your faith community or ministry without any discernment over who comes and goes, Satan will send you all the Level 3 people he can. Most will appear kindhearted or needy. Yet behind this pleasant exterior is a "Trojan Horse" who will sow seeds of alienation and discord in your midst. Be especially careful if they flatter you or try to purchase your support through gifts. The ancient tale of the Trojan Horse is a warning. Be careful who you trust or offer support to or allow to join you in your faith family. You may find yourself so entwined with a spiritually dead individual that you feel too guilty to confront them to change or leave.


As you read the account below, ask yourself if you're a person Jesus would allow to go along with Him as His disciple to serve in God's kingdom. Then take a candid look at the people you're close to in the faith. Ask them in light of this passage, would Jesus call them "fit for service in the kingdom of God"?


"As they were walking along the road, a man said to Him, 'I will follow You wherever You go.' Jesus replied, 'Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.' He said to another man, 'Follow Me.'  But he replied, 'Lord, first let me go and bury my father.' Jesus said to him, 'Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.' Still another said, 'I will follow You, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.' Jesus replied, 'No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God'" (Luke 9:57-62).


We see discernment taking place in Acts 15, which records an action taken when two sincere followers of Jesus who are also dear friends disagree about something. Paul and Barnabas find themselves at odds over taking John Mark on their next mission. The younger man had forsaken them during their previous travels so Paul resists having him accompany them this time. Barnabas, however, wants to take his cousin along. The resulting argument results in Paul and Barnabas (with John Mark) parting ways for a time. 

Over the years we've discussed this passage with various people both in the Christian religious system and not. The vast majority of those who found their identity in their particular system sided with Barnabas, viewing Paul as too harsh and merciless in his action toward the young man. Herein lies a difference. We and most of the other people we've encountered who are Kingdom-minded and depend on the Lordship of Jesus in their lives would make the same decision as Paul. In a very real sense the apostle "culled" John Mark until a later time when the young man had proven his trust in Jesus and his own reliability. There's an Older Testament example of culling found in Deuteronomy 20:2-8: 

It shows that people who are beset by fear or worldly personal priorities can hinder and discourage the Kingdom service of Jesus followers whose hearts are fully and lovingly set on doing our Father's will.

Living and Teaching Your Family The Way Of The Lord

When it comes to discernment and making wise, courageous decisions about the brothers and sisters in Jesus who press on together with you in His Kingdom purposes, there's an essential factor which will either help or be a deterrent. It's your emphasis on the way of the Lord, which encompasses the decisions and values you live out in response to the Spirit's direction of your life. Living the way of the Lord is not any particular action that you or others take but rather how you and they make your choices and decisions. In other words, you want to discern the process of how and why they enact their way of life, whether it's the Lord way or something less like their own way. 


"And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us discernment, so that we may know who is genuine..." 

(1John 5:20,CJB). 


Think about people you know whose lives are demonstrating they really don't want to walk His way in love-grounded obedient trust. You can readily discern that self-rule is far more descriptive of their lives than the Lordship of Jesus if the following behaviors dominate their lives. They habitually •give excuses for the wrong choices they've made. Or, •act detrimentally toward others without any regard for their dignity or feelings. Or, •hold on to unconfessed sin and keep repeating the same sin again and again. Or, •unilaterally make decisions like a "Christian Lone Ranger" and expect you to pick up the pieces. 

Does that sound like an authentic disciple of Jesus? He or she will abandon the work our Lord wants to do mutually through you and others when they perceive it isn't meeting their self-interest goals or will cost them worldly friends or activities their flesh craves.


Mike: Here's an anecdote from many years ago which I think is worth recounting. That's because I want to really encourage those of you who do have discernment to be sure to speak up so a wrong decision isn't made. In spiritual terms your silence would be joining in on a sin.


"It was 1970. We were low on fuel and still 25 miles out to sea southwest of San Diego. Just a few months earlier I'd arrived at this helicopter squadron right out of flight training. Now I was a co-pilot on a helo transporting two dozen personnel from an aircraft carrier some 100 miles due west of San Diego in the Pacific Ocean. We were the first of our contingent of 6 helicopters to refuel at the carrier, and we were launched into a holding pattern as we waited for the other five helos in our flight group to refuel, load their personnel, and lift off.


"We flew back toward the mainland in the #2 position just over the top of dense fog. As I kept up with my co-pilot duty of navigating, I warned my pilot-in-command several times that our flight leader in the #1 helo wasn’t flying us toward San Diego — he was headed deep into Mexico toward the tip of Baja California! We were flying east in a strong 40 miles an hour crosswind from the northwest. I kept repeating my warnings until the pilot-in-command of my chopper reluctantly radioed the flight leader about his navigation error. The flight leader then made a minor correction but still didn’t alter the path on which he was leading the rest of us.


"My mind swiftly recalled an incident during flight training several months earlier. At that time I had failed to take sufficient action to correct an errant student flight leader who had put our flight of four aircraft on a collision course. Through desperate evasive measures my plane had just barely missed striking the other aircraft. During the debrief following the flight, the Commanding Officer and Flight Safety Officer replayed the audio tape of my repeated radio transmissions that had warned the flight leader of his error. 


"When the tape was over I thought the student flight leader was going to get chewed out. Instead, the CO pierced me with steely eyes and demanded, “Dowgiewicz, how far were you going to let this go? You knew the flight leader didn’t know what he was doing. When were you going to take over before someone got killed?” 


"Now, months later, a low fuel light flashed at us. The flight leader, still believing he was north of the track to San Diego, had ordered us all to turn south. The pilot-in-command of my helo began his turn south with the rest of the flight, and I immediately grabbed the controls and stopped his turn. “Dick,” I pleaded, “if we follow him we’re going to run out of fuel right here over the ocean!” Dick understood what I was saying, and the implications of it — mutiny! His finger squeezed the radio button: “Mayday! Mayday! This is Landslide 15. We are a flight of six lost somewhere southwest of San Diego. Can someone help us?”


"The crisp voice of an air traffic controller boomed back, “Roger, Landslide

15. I have you on my radar. Vector to San Diego 060/25 miles”— a course going northeast, far away from Baja. Just as we touched down on our base runway one of our engines flamed out, starved of fuel. I had almost let the situation go too far without taking action."


In my years of serving our Lord I've been called the "enema" a good number of times. That's because He frequently placed me right in the middle of hidden sin situations taking place at seminaries, Christian colleges, Christian schools, and within many congregations of all denominations. IN EVERY SITUATION I DISCOVERED THERE WAS ALWAYS ONE OR MORE PEOPLE WHO WERE AWARE OF THE SIN AND/OR ILLEGAL ACTIVITY THAT WAS TAKING PLACE BUT KEPT THEIR MOUTHS SHUT OUT OF FEAR! 


I write this not to commend myself but rather to admonish those of you who let sin in your midst go on unconfronted because you fear the loss of social acceptance. In the situations I was made aware of, the silent people in their fear-based cocoons allowed our Lord's reputation to be defamed by those who called themselves Christian yet were violating His ways and His Name. And most of the time the perpetrators in these incidents left a wake of emotionally scarred victims.


In 2002 our heavenly Father prohibited us from offering support to those who have chosen to enmesh themselves in Nicolaitanism. His Spirit then prompted us to write two articles which expanded on our book Pastoring By Elders, which we published in 1997. We encourage you to read these two: "I Hate Nicolaitanism" <http://www.restorationministries.org/pdf/hebraicArticles/IHateTheNicolaitans/IHateNicolaitanismEntire.pdf>; and, "God's Clergy-less Kingdom" <http://www.restorationministries.org/pdf/hebraicArticles/GodsClergylessKingdom.pdf>.


In recent years Father has chosen to limit my health and emotional capacity in a number of ways for His particular loving purposes. In His mercy He has kept me from picking up the painful pieces of decisions people make that lack the wisdom they'd receive if they earnestly sought and discerned His will. During our years of ministry we've watched a good number of people who faithfully served our Lord for a period of time — but just as the goal of the assignment He'd given them was in sight, they bolted to meet their own worldly desire instead. You can recognize they missed the pathway because they always offer you their rationale to explain why they've made their alternate decision to what they'd known before to be God's will. Even Paul found himself sadly recalling a former fellow laborer who chose to serve self-will rather than Father's will: "Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me..."  (2Timothy 4:10).


Please don't take this e-mail as a negative report! We'd be remiss if we didn't share with you some of the experiences we've had, along with the discernment and wisdom we've gained by His grace. Make sure that you are using the discernment and wisdom Father would give you through His Spirit while you're still here on earth. According to His Word, he bars entry to the new heaven and the new earth to the "cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars" whose destination is the second death in the lake of fire (see Revelation 21:8). Be the voice who loves enough and is courageous enough to warn those who are practicing these things that NOW is the time to turn! The narrow gate really is that narrow.


Mike & Sue


P.S. Mike: I'd served in the navy for 9 years before I became a follower of our Lord. But during that period I spent 3 years learning from a man of great character, Commander Norm Gearhart. He instilled in me two biblical principles which have stayed with me for a lifetime:  •"Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning" (Proverbs 9:9). •"Walk with the wise and become wise..." (Proverbs 13:20).

A particular life precept which Norm derived from the Scriptures and impressed deeply into me is this: "A man of God keeps his word even if it’s difficult and costs you great inconvenience."

 

Kingdom Living: First Marginalized, Then Ostracised
December 11, 2017

Dear Friends in Christ Jesus our Lord,
First we want let you know that we uploaded two more videos in our series, Mutually Serving Jesus Your Lord With Resolute Determination.< https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSe_p1PaKNw&list=PLQRURo_TbJfKjaaTJYPmu_YPDrlSL-s6l >. Our prayer and hope is that you'll discuss the insights in these videos with several others who are walking with you in like obedient trust and love in our Lord Jesus. We can't stress enough how important it is for you to have complete trust in the presence of our Lord Jesus to guide you
This one step as you mutually rely on the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit to empower you distinguishes your lives of serving our Lord in His Kingdom from the lives of those who are content to find their satisfaction by serving a religious system. Kingdom people speak from their experiences which our Lord continues to give them as they press on in obedient trust for His Name's sake. 
But people whose spiritual lives are confined to their religious practice speak only from the reference point of their Bible knowledge or about events going on within their congregation. We grieve for them that such a narrow perspective reveals they haven't experienced a life-changing "Jesus encounter" that would generate a resounding testimony of praise.

Perhaps you've had conversations with folks like these that ended up like this. After you've shared how you trusted in the presence of our Lord Jesus to guide you and He responded through His Spirit in such amazing ways, you get one of these responses. They either get glassy-eyed and don't really hear what you're saying, or they listen silently and then quickly change the subject. Or they respond defensively, perceiving that you're a threat to them. That's because they depend so much on their Bible study programs and the centrality of their clergy that they don't know how to live with Jesus as Lord of their lives. Either way you're left feeling saddened that you haven't been able to communicate Jesus on a heart to heart level.


"The Kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, 'See here!’ or ‘See there!’ 

For indeed, the Kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:20,21).


The essence of the Kingdom is that we give our Lord Jesus the freedom to live and move and have His will accomplished through us! The true meaning of all spiritual growth in people in the Kingdom is that our Lord has ever-increasing opportunity to manifest Himself through our lives. The honor of our Lord Jesus is at stake in everything we say and do — and that reality keeps us dependent on His loving grace toward us and the manner in which we represent that love and grace toward others.

There is nothing stagnant about living in our Lord's Kingdom. Yet sadly so many established religious systems count on the compliant complacency of their congregants to remain unchanged. A Kingdom-minded person, however, is burdened by love to serve the King's interests and purposes. In so doing day by day they are being transformed by the Spirit into more and more of His likeness (2Corinthians 3:18). So often in the gospel accounts we see Jesus using the phrase "having ears to hear." From God's standpoint, to "hear" means the intent to obey what you've heard, to follow through with it rather than just letting words pass into your ears (see Luke 8:21). To hear is an active response to put what He says into practice (see Matthew 7:24-27). When our Lord Jesus and the Newer Testament writers emphasized that their teaching must be put into practice (e.g. Philippians 4:9), they were addressing people who were (or would be) authentic disciples — ambassadors of Christ who were sold out to extend the Kingdom. It's important to recognize that the religious leaders of Jesus' time, as so many today, had ensnared the people into passivity. These leaders had a vested interest in maintaining their authority and the subservient status of the "laity", and our Lord's rebuke to them was filled with sorrow and reproach: "You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about Me, yet you refuse to come to Me to have life" (John 5:39,40; see also John 7:17).


Religious Christendom today finds itself in the same addictive snare of relying on Scripture study alone to be their definition of personal spirituality. We who are Kingdom-minded need to recognize the nature of this trap and steer clear of it. Study without obedience that reaches into the lives of others with His love and power lulls you into satisfaction that what you know about Scripture is all God expects of you. Below is a survey we've discussed before to describe the nature of those who inspire others to keep walking wholeheartedly in the steps of Jesus, and the nature of those who continue to ensnare people in the pervasive stagnation of "Bible knowledge alone is sufficient expression of my spiritual life." Where would you put yourself on this list?


How People Are Inspired To Be True To Jesus And His Kingdom

• Innovators (2% of people) — This minority hungers to grow in their Lord's character and do His Father's will. Out of love for Him they are willing to yield themselves and all they have so that His desire for all to hear and come to repentance may be accomplished through their service (see 2Peter 3:9). Transparent about who they were before Father revealed Jesus to them, Innovators are humbly open about their personal flaws and weaknesses, and give glory to Him for the transformation He continues to do in them. Yet their dedication and zeal can be unnerving to the lukewarm.

The best way to describe the motive of Innovators is that they take very seriously our Lord's stern warning, "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it" (Matthew 7:13,14). Innovators are heading for the narrow gate themselves, and yearn to take with them as many as will go. But they also realize there are the foolish who love the things of this world more than their regard for Jesus, and don't have ears to hear.


• Early Adopters (12%) — These people have close relationships among Innovators as well as the Early Majority, and are inspired by the love and responsiveness they observe in Innovators' lives. Because they are willing to be influenced by the Innovators and extend that influence to the Early Majority, they are positioned relationally to help bring about change in the lives of the less mature or weaker in the faith.


• Early Majority (33%) — Change doesn't come easily to this group! Not wanting to appropriate the Spirit's desire to work in and through them, they're fearful to associate with Innovators. But neither do they want to be left behind when they see the Spirit at work in the lives of their friends, the Early Adopters. They may hesitate to put themselves in new situations in which Father wants to use them, but they're not resistant to taking steps of obedient trust at particular times. 


(These first three groups represent the people who attended our seminars over the years when we conducted them outside of a "church" building, such as in a hotel conference room or a classroom. These groups also describe the individuals who later went forth to serve our Lord in extending His Kingdom.)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 


• Late Majority (33%) — Descriptive of people who have stagnated in their faith, these rely totally on institutional endorsement by the Laggards in leadership before letting themselves be inspired to press on. Whatever belief system or religious practices their forefathers observed is good enough for them because they don't want to rock their current relational boat. And not being expected to grow in love and commitment to either Jesus or to each other is a plus from their viewpoint.


• Laggards (20%) — Laggards are most often religious leaders who won’t allow themselves to be changed or inspired by others. Fearful of losing their position, they habitually deter others in their congregation from living wholeheartedly and fruitfully in the Lordship of Jesus because that kind of obedient trust would remove the leaders' spiritual control over them. Spiritual stagnation doesn't concern them because they have no intention of changing the way things have always been done.


(While not many in number, some Late Majority and Laggards were present when we conducted seminars in "church" buildings. Afterward these two groups often marginalized, then ostracized Innovators, Early Adopters, and Early Majority individuals in their congregations, ultimately forcing them to leave. We believe that the marginalized and ostracized whom our Lord blessed by forcing them out of the religious establishment represent part of the 20 million who've fled organized religion as reported by Christian pollster George Barna. They've departed religion in order to experience the spiritual power and relational intimacy our Lord's first followers embraced.)


If You're Even The Least Bit Kingdom-Minded 

And Yet Try To Remain in Religious Establishment Christianity, 

You Will Be Marginalized By The Laggards

(marginalize: to treat a person, group, or concept as insignificant or peripheral)


• Laggards—Thoroughly enjoying the prestige of position or influence in a religious system, Laggards will do anything to maintain their dominance. They intentionally keep their personal lives private and hidden so that no one will know what goes on in secret that could be open to criticism or censure. Since they perceive Innovators, Early Adopters and most Early Majority people as a threat to the status quo they so rigorously control, these categories of individuals are made to feel so unwanted and avoided that they leave.


• Late Majority — Easily controlled by Laggards since they rely so completely on their institutional endorsement, this group makes sure they aren't perceived as friends with the "troublemakers" who are so disdained by their Laggard leadership. They just want things to stay the same as they've always been even if their congregation is "dead" to the Spirit.


• Early Majority — These people are balancing on a fence of whether to grow in the Spirit as they walk in confident trust as Kingdom servants of Christ, or to find themselves ostracized by people they've spent years sitting alongside who aren't Kingdom-minded at all. They sense that the Laggards will eventually turn on them like they do the Innovators and Early Adopters, and that scares them. Yet inside their hearts they really do want more of Jesus to be in their character and motives, and less of the fear of man and reputation.


• Early Adopters — When these followers of Jesus are inspired by Innovators and are also influencing the lives of the Early Majority who look to their example positively, they unintentionally become a threat to the Laggards. Realizing the relational impact of those who are pursuing greater intimacy with Jesus and obedient trust in Him, the Laggards know they have to remove them from any position of influence in the congregation. Initially they make subtle insinuations about the ones who are growing in zeal, to the extent that any Early Majority person who does admire their spiritual growth keeps quiet about it.


• Innovators—These courageous and loving followers of Jesus are perceived as a spiritual menace by religious leaders and others who don’t live in the Lordship of Jesus. Marginalization takes place first through disparaging remarks or insinuations: "He/she is a troublemaker", or, "He/she doesn’t fit in here." Once the faith community at large believes the Laggards' alienating accusations, the Innovators and anyone they’ve inspired are ostracized—EXCLUDED! And those who are influenced by the Laggards and want to remain socially acceptable to them join in on repeating the slanderous allegations.


"Jesus replied, 'No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the Kingdom of God'" (Luke 9:62).

 

We are writing to encourage you who are Kingdom-minded. After you've left the religious establishment, don't let yourself look back feeling sorry for yourself or bitter against those who forced you to leave. If you give way to self-pity or resentment, all you've accomplished is to exchange knowledge-acquisition addiction for the sin of false expectation and/or bitterness. The truth is you've probably left behind numbers of people who are mired in a personal cesspool of unconfessed sin and mutually enjoy (or at least tolerate) being controlled by the same prevailing demonic strongholds.


You may find that you do have the seed of being Kingdom-minded taking root in your heart, but you lack the initiative to leave the Nicolaitan, clergy-dependent system our Father hates (see Revelation 2:6,15,16). You can't please God and have it both ways! Take our Father's warning seriously:


"Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do the righteous and [those with unconfessed sin] have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and [those who refuse to repent and enjoy their demonic strongholds]? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? Therefore, 'Come out from them and be separate,' says the Lord. 'Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.' And, 'I will be a Father to you, and you will be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty'" (2Corinthians 6:14,15,17,18; see also Hebrews 13:12-15).


As you can discern by the different groups we've referred to, above, not everyone has ears to hear the Hebraic foundations our Father entrusted us to share. So we want to close with an important insight which you may have already gleaned as you've read this e-mail. The fear of being marginalized and ostracized by the Laggards is a huge emotional barrier to overcome if you realize you'll lose your social acceptance among people in your religious system. Being "socially accepted" has become a form of idolatry in this nation, especially in this era of expecting instant response and affirmation to every tweet and posting you make. (People are crushed if they get a "thumbs-down" from anyone!) The nagging fear that you'll be rejected or excluded by other people has become a powerful and deeply rooted hindrance to keep individuals from living wholeheartedly in the Lordship of Jesus. They dread being mocked or left out of things because their "friends" won't accept their changed life. And clinging to being accepted is as powerful a deterrent to living wholeheartedly for Christ as the desire to keep on sinning is that keeps people from turning to Him as their Savior


Please, take a deep look inside yourself, and then ask those close to you in the faith to examine their hearts too. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you how our Father sees you in the decisions you make and in what motivates you. Some may find that they hear the Spirit of our Lord say, "I never knew you!" — and then run away from our Lord instead of humbly coming before Him to "REPENT!", which is the response He wants.


Over the many years of our ministry we've gleaned some insights that can serve as precautions both for you and for those who walk alongside you in the faith. Please take them to heart.


1. You may be among the kind-hearted who frequently offer hospitality to relatives, neighbors, and those in your religious and business social circles. But there may an underlying motivation behind this generosity toward others which hinders your walk with Jesus: a deep-seated fear of rejection or a nagging inner voice of insecurity which drives you to show such lavish altruism. 


(Mike: I was plagued for many years by a desperate need to be accepted by other people. A symptom of the influence of the stronghold of rejection is "seeking acceptance," and I was imprisoned by that motive for quite a while. I did a lot of kind things for people so I wouldn't be rejected by them. They actually thought I was a "nice guy." But after our Lord Jesus freed me from the stronghold of rejection and the stronghold of deceit that masked it over, I needed help from Sue and others in our home fellowship family to check my motives when I undertook kind actions to make sure they were purely from the Spirit and not in response to my old rut of personal need. It took about three weeks of them consistently questioning my motives until I finally could respond rightly to the Spirit's prompting and not revert to my old inner prodding. And even more important to me in this process was this: a sense of dignity, something I hadn't experienced before, filled my being. That's why I want to warn you if you find you use kindness and hospitality to cover over your need to be socially accepted.That may be a cover-up for your fear of being marginalized or ostracized. And kindnesses you use to appease your own needy bondage to seeking acceptance have no merit in heaven until our Lord Jesus delivers and heals you of this demonically-inspired motivation).


2. Attending weekly services and sitting alongside others who are facing forward with you can make you feel like you're socially accepted by others. A few smiles given and received, and you feel part of the crowd — even if the smiles are "plastic" and are hiding a world of concealed pain on all sides. So give serious consideration to this sobering thought. Churchgoers lead unbelievers in the rate of divorce, and it's clear that sitting in a congregation every week does nothing to build relationships that are spiritually intimate and loadbearing. 

We can't help but parallel the people whose lives and relationships are falling apart yet who weekly walk in and out of religious system services like "lambs being led to the slaughter". Week after week they continue to do what they do without realizing that something sinister is hardening their hearts to the loving intimacy and spiritual power our Lord wants for their lives. They go on complacently with the same religious practices and messages, oblivious that it's a system that's designed to keep them ineffectual and fruitless spectators. 


[Mike: I spent many years as a guest preacher in a number of congregations, as well as a lengthy period we traveled doing seminars around the country. In order to get a feel for the sense of genuine community in a congregation, I'd often ask them, "In the past year, how many of you have had someone else from this congregation in your home? I don't mean for a scheduled Bible study or some other planned activity, but just because you want to spend time with them." On average we'd get 1 hand raised for every hundred people. Think about it. Countless thousands attend services in their congregations every week, but few of the people they sit with care to know their deeper needs or hopes or struggles. 


During our decade at the retreat center we found that many felt freer in that setting to share with others from their faith community what life was really like for them. Sometimes the listener would break into tears as they realized how long they'd seen the person only on Sundays and never knew the emotional pain this one bore — and yet they called themselves "brothers and sisters" when referring to their congregation! Men in particular are beset by this relational isolation in Christendom. We mention this because if you have fled a religious system, you'll likely experience times when Satan paints you a deceptively rosy picture of your past participation in the religious establishment like it was the 'good ole days.'


Some of you older people may remember Jim Jones, the notorious cult leader. As the self-proclaimed messiah of the Peoples Temple religious cult, Jones promised his devotees utopia if they followed him. On November 18, 1978, in what became known as the Jonestown Massacre, Jones led more than 900 men, women, and children, who had once been regular churchgoers, to their deaths in a mass suicide via cyanide-laced punch. 

Several years later the father of one of the girls who committed suicide funded a study about what the 900 had in common. Their common identity was that none of them had someone they could share their inner hurts with in confidence. Please, look at your relationships and ask yourself, "Who do I share my deepest hurts with?" 


3. You may not have thought about present-day "family and ancestor worship." But over our years of loving and serving Jesus as Lord of our lives we've encountered this prison of the past in a number of people. For example, the Holy Spirit was convicting a person to repent and follow our Lord wholeheartedly — but then something stopped them. For some it was the fear of how other family members or friends might respond, as though their relational tie would be severed if they said "Yes" to the Spirit's call. For others, especially those raised in denominationalism, it was the fear that they would be violating the memory of their deceased ancestors by leaving the religion they were raised in. So they stayed in the same religious system practices as their deceased ancestors even though their hearts were hungering for more.


4. We do hope you're among those reading this whose hearts are strengthened to go forth with great encouragement as you press on to pursue the Kingdom. May you continue to mature in the character and love-based motivation of our Lord Jesus to reach others with His Life-giving love and hope. Just about everyone who pursues this path goes through the "valley of the shadow of loneliness." Authentic fellowship in the Kingdom that is based on repentant hearts that readily turn from sin and communal righteousness to stay pure before our Lord for His Name's sake is hard to find. We believe that when the Dark Days of Chastisement come on this nation, those hungering for genuine fellowship with brothers and sisters who are grounded in His love and the Spirit's power will find our Lord filling that need.


Your servants among the 2% as we encourage and caution you who love and serve our King,

Mike & Sue


P.S. We thought you might be interested in reading about some marginalized people in the Bible:

David (1Samuel 23:8-26); Elijah (1Kings 19:1-3a); Jeremiah (Jeremiah 38:6); Daniel (Daniel 6:3-11); Jesus (John 11:46-51); Lazarus (John 12:9-11); Stephen (Acts 6:8-14). You're in wonderful company!

 

Severe Vertical Consequences When You Rob People Of Dignity
December 1, 2017

Dear Friends in Christ Jesus,
A few nights ago we watched a movie in which a murder had taken place on an Indian Reservation. The de-humanizing surroundings in which so many Native Americans live were graphically portrayed, and our hearts are weighed down whenever we see anyone treated unjustly. From 2000 to 2002 we traveled to various reservations out west sharing the Hebraic foundations with people from various tribal groups. We couldn't help but be grieved by the deplorable conditions that robbed so many of their dignity, especially through unjust policies set up by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and even by many Christians groups who collaborated with the BIA. In response we gave up our non-profit tax status so we could freely speak up on behalf of Native Americans to publicly protest BIA practices. 

What were the indignities being heaped on people on the reservations? And, who in particular was doing this? The welfare mentality of the BIA toward the Native Americans certainly took away incentive to work, even as the supply of alcohol and drugs expanded to keep the people in submission. And it wasn't so long ago that government-sanctioned religious groups abetted BIA policies by forcing native children into Anglo-run (often with religious backing and participation) boarding schools in which any expression of their tribal heritage was swiftly punished. (We visited one of the boarding schools which even in the 1990s used rape and beatings with rubber hoses as well as solitary confinement to crush the spirit of these children.) To add to their loss of self-respect, surrounding the reservations we visited were businesses owned by Masons. In many cases you couldn't sustain a business near a reservation unless you were part of the Masonic organization. And these enterprises charged exorbitant prices, doing whatever they could to keep the people stuck in poverty.

During a prayer walk after viewing the film we mentioned, the Spirit of our Lord revealed to us other means by which people are de-humanized. The Spirit breathed into us that robbing people of dignity is Satan's most effective strategy against humankind. From our Father we are given dignity because we're made in His image. And from our Lord's sacrifice of Himself we are graced with the ability through trust in Him to call His Father our "Abba" — the highest dignity we could share, and one that Satan can never enjoy. So he robs us from walking in that dignity and convinces our vulnerable hearts that we are hopeless and that our lives are hopeless.

Dignity is the first gift our Father gave Adam and Eve, the same gift of grace granted to every person ever conceived — because only human beings have an eternal spirit which will either dwell with Him forever in joy or spend eternity apart from Him in agony. From the fall of the first couple in the Garden of Eden onward, Satan continues to battle to keep people from experiencing that dignity. Today the unmasking of sexual misconduct at the highest levels only demonstrates just how victorious Satan has been to rob people of their dignity. Obsession with illicit sex is nothing new. But that obsession became public and then hyped as normal through the pornographic media of Larry Flynt, the founder of Hustler magazine, and Hugh Hefner's Playboy empire which began in 1953. With the continuing rise of immorality within a mainstream culture that's been saturated with sex, you'd think the crumbling morals of generation after generation would cause these porn pioneers to have second thoughts. Not so. When asked by the New York Times in 1992 of what he was proudest, Hefner responded: 

"That I changed attitudes toward sex. That nice people can live together now. That I decontaminated the notion of premarital sex. That gives me great satisfaction."

The impact of ripping apart the fabric of morality and respect across all societal lines can't be overstated. Several generations of de-humanized women are convinced that sensuality and sexuality are needed to attract a man. Sadly, this framework has poured over into churches as well. That means multitudes of women have been robbed of God's design for them if they do marry — to be loved by a man through whom the love of Jesus flows to her. If you're a woman who has never been loved like this and yearn for that in a God-given marriage covenant, you need our Lord Jesus to both deliver you and heal you if you're ever going to experience that kind of Christ love from your husband. Past and present woundings run deep and can't be glossed over if you're to be free to love and be loved as Christ would have you be.

You husbands and ex-husbands, listen up. If you failed to consistently cry out to our Lord Jesus for His love to flow through you to your wife, you sinned against Him and against the woman you've shortchanged or devastated. It's time to repent and be changed in our Lord's sight.

"You reap what you sow...."

Has it occurred to anyone that all of these accusations of sexual misconduct against prominent men began to proliferate within a month after Hefner's death in September? God has turned the table on men who failed to keep their daughters safe, men who themselves became addicted to online porn, fornicated or committed adultery, and entertained themselves by any means that robbed women of their God-given dignity.

The indignity which we men have silently allowed to seize our wives and daughters is now being used to shame us. It's time we face up to the truth that we have sinned against God and against women. He is allowing us to be shamed and portrayed as fools in the media because we've taken the coward's path of stepping away and ignoring the unfolding tragedy. We're being stripped of our masculine responsibility to uphold the dignity of women. And we all too closely resemble the de-humanizing media portrayal of us as blundering, sex-obsessed sports fanatics.

You perhaps have no idea of the cultural catastrophe that's currently taking root. Because Eve, the first woman, gave way to Satan's deceit to exercise her own independence and self-rule, God pronounced a heavy sentence on all women to come: a predisposition to want to rule over men, and to usurp the role of authority that God gave to their husbands. This tendency doesn't involve just the married. And today's women aren't just looking to get even with men. They want to control and rule them! The Spirit of Jezebel dominates this nation and is reveling because of the shame and humiliation being heaped on men. The reputation of men in general is degenerating into untrustworthy, self-serving, sex-driven animals. And in the opinion of countless women who have suffered at the hands of a self-gratifying, lustful male, "Who needs them?"

Whether all the accusations of sexual misconduct are true or not isn't our real issue. The real issue is that we men have failed our responsibilities to God, to His Word, and to the women we were responsible to love as Christ would. Without Christ-like responsible men whom God commanded to exercise His standards of righteous authority, chaos and rebellion reign. Hearts grow increasingly cold, and self-survival prevails. The letters in the Hebrew word, "shalom — peace" mean "authority that keeps chaos in check." As men have become increasingly relegated to an irrelevant and unreliable role in society, chaos at all levels has increased beyond measure.

The way of out this rebellious unrest requires widespread repentance — each person turning away from their sin and turning to God — and the humility to ask forgiveness. For several decades now the Biblical truths of sin, the need for repentance, and the requirement to forgive and ask forgiveness have been exchanged for feel-good, self-esteem enhancing sermonettes.  And that void throughout so much of Christendom has been filled with the same elements of chaos that are overflowing this entire land: bigotry, greed, unchecked immorality, sexual perversion. In short, the lawlessness (the disregard for God's good and righteous laws and commands) which shattered the Hebrews during the centuries preceding Jesus's first coming has blanketed our society. 

"And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through His own blood. Let us, then, go to Him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace He bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess His Name" (Hebrews 13:12,15).

If you are part of the 20 million+  who are no longer entangled in the religious system establishment, we've begun uploading vlogs (a video blog) on Youtube, entitled:  Mutually Serving Jesus Your Lord With Resolute Determination
<https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLQRURo_TbJfKjaaTJYPmu_YPDrlSL-s6l>

In this series of videos you'll realize you can't attach the way of life in Christ which our Father is restoring to any form of religious practice or church system. The Kingdom of our Lord has no need for hierarchy or management. His Body is a living spiritual organism with Jesus as the Head of His followers. And His indwelling Spirit is the source of our Lord's guidance and empowerment (see Ephesians 4:16; Colossians 2:19). Extending our Lord's Kingdom on earth as His chosen and beloved vessels requires mutual resolute determination to walk His pathway of grace, relational intimacy, and spiritual power. In our Lord's Kingdom — His collective Body — there's no such thing as "Lone Ranger" Christians who have no use for other "Body parts". When you see your part in extending our Lord's Kingdom alongside His use of other followers' parts, you'll understand the Bible in a different light — a book of intentionality both on His part as Lord and King, and your responsibility as His servant and member of His family.

Only through repentance and asking forgiveness can we men halt the darkness we've brought on ourselves. 
Mike & Sue

P.S. For further insight on the curse we've all inherited from Adam and Eve,
see our videos:
"Men, Don't Pass the Buck"
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwwD5UobgLc&index=40&list=PLQRURo_TbJfIxBT6G8HYHlFFAtTknwm0V>

"What Do We Women Really Inherit From Our Mother?"
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yiEIrs_xMM&index=45&list=PLQRURo_TbJfIxBT6G8HYHlFFAtTknwm0V>

Restoration Ministries International
Sharing the Hebraic Foundations of the Earliest Followers of Jesus
Preparing Today's Followers of Jesus to Do Their Part in His Kingdom

2750 Alden Rd. Lot 51
Fruitland, ID 83619
(208) 800-0520

All our materials are a free download: 
Restorationministries.org
Our videos on Youtube: 
https://www.youtube.com/user/RestorationMinistry/playlists

"We urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join us in our struggle by praying to God for us" (Romans 15:30).

"Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering" (Hebrews 13:3). Go to: http://www.prisoneralert.com

 

Outcome-based: Telling Father What You're Going To Do
November 17, 2017

Dear Friends in Christ Jesus,
We mentioned recently that Sue's been rereading past copies of David Wilkerson's Pulpit Series newsletters and then passing them on to me to go through. When David was alive there was no other person who had such an affect on my walk with our Lord Jesus, or was so intertwined with my gifting as to serve as a mentor to me through his writings. Even now as I read the letters Sue leaves on my reading pile, he is still mentoring me.

This new series which our Father has assigned us has been taking some time to get underway. As we look back over these past few months we can clearly see the different revelations we've received from His Spirit as something akin to building a house — first the Builder gets all the material on site before He begins to build. We take seriously this counsel, "Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain" (Psalms 127:1). Our regular walks at a local cemetery (no distractions or traffic or rocks to trip over) have been key in the unfolding of this video series. (We keep our little recorder handy during these prayer times as the Spirit so often brings forth insights we don't want to forget!)

This morning I read a letter from David Wilkerson that was sent out in 2010, Waiting On God To Act (download). As I went through it, it was like the Spirit of our Lord was personally cautioning me not to become impatient. The letter also reminded me of many conversations over the past 40 years in which people tell me what they think God's will for them is, while at the same time the Holy Spirit is prophetically telling me something like, "The Father never told them that."

It's painful to serve as our Father's stop sign to let someone know they're running ahead of Him and that He won't bless their self-planned endeavor. I'm just a messenger serving as our Lord's warning for them to wait on Him, and many have proceeded on anyway to follow their own chosen course. David makes clear this impatience to wait on our Lord's will in his attached letter:

"It is subtle yet it can cause confusion in the lives of God's most faithful servants. Indeed, it has affected the faithful walk of many. To help with understanding this, let me suggest this impatience is a form of pride. And I draw this definition directly from Scripture: Pride is independence, while humility is dependence...

Every true follower of Christ has said in his or her heart, 'I only want to do the Lord's perfect will.' Yet here is exactly where so many of us miss it! We start to desire something that looks good, that sounds logical, that seems perfectly in line with what we think God has for us — but it isn't His will for us. This is one of the biggest traps Christians face: a good idea that is not from God's mind."

You can readily recognize the pride behind impatience: Impatient people are outcome based. They are telling Father what they are going to do for Him, rather than waiting for Him to make known what He wants them to do. Impatient pride also reveals itself when people give you their rationale or tell you the pros and cons they weighed in making their decision. These approaches have nothing to do with obeying the Father's will in loving trust. That's why it is the worst form of pride — establishing your own plans about what His will might be without waiting for Him to make His will known to you.

From our heavenly Father’s point of view, doing His will as His beloved child requires your obedience-based trust, just like that of our father in faith, Abraham. The Hebraic Restoration is an obedience-based walk with our God which emanates from a heart of love. How His will turns out is HIS concern, not yours! He doesn't intend for you to be concerned about future outcomes — that's HIS domain. Your trust-filled obedience and ever-growing love for our Lord Jesus is what evidences that you're a true follower of Him.

Our Lord gives His children only one step of guidance at a time. That’s out of His merciful love for us! If you’re looking for the whole plan to be laid out for you first, or if you have some perceived desired outcome for your actions, STOP! HE is your loving Master and He knows precisely how much information you need to do this next step of His will. Besides, your frustration when your own plans don't work out will also make you vulnerable to becoming angry toward God. You might find yourself complaining, "Why didn't He stop me?" or, "My decision seemed right at the time!"

One step is far enough for anyone’s faith to see. Take that one step before you seek the next step on your journey. Belonging to Jesus in loving trust and living with Him as your beloved Lord requires you to be obedience-based, not outcome-based. An obedience-based follower of Jesus lovingly trusts Him as a child would, to willingly seek just one step at a time without concern where that step ultimately leads.

Outcome-based Christians are treading a shaky pathway that can ultimately lead them astray to spiritual death through a heart of ongoing unbelief and habitual doubt in God if He doesn’t meet their desired outcomes and expectations (see the warning in Hebrews 3:12-14). And tragically, their devotion to our Lord can eventually dry up when they don’t limit themselves to His one step of faith but instead keep plunging ahead willfully toward their own plans and goals.

If you'd like a more in depth understanding of this issue and its pitfalls, read our article: The Spirit’s Rhema Has No “If—>Thens” & No Pros and Cons <http://www.restorationministries.org/pdf/GospOfCov/19.Rhema2.pdf>

Wanting to remind you, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done...",

Mike & Sue

 

 


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