Thursday, October 15, 2015, 8:19 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “The Letters.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 59:1-15a (NASB). Your Iniquities (vv. 1-2) Behold, the Lord’s hand is not so short That it cannot save; Nor is His ear so dull That it cannot hear. But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear. God divinely disciplines (rebukes, corrects, scourges, punishes, judges) us, his children, for our good in order that we might share in his holiness. “To those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (See: Heb. 12:3-11). Some discipline is meant as training in godliness, teaching us perseverance, patience and endurance. It is also intended for the purpose that we might learn to not rely upon ourselves, but on God, as well as so we can encourage others with the comfort we receive from God when we go through trials and tribulations (See: 2 Co. 1). In other words, it teaches us compassion and tenderness. Yet, other times God disciplines us to humble us and to bring us to repentance and obedience to Him, because we have strayed away from our pure devotion to our Lord, we have wandered off to follow after the gods of this world, or we have retreated into following our own fleshly desires once again (See: Rev. 2-3). When we go through these difficult times, and we pray for relief, it may feel sometimes as though God is not listening to our prayers or that he has forgotten us. Yet, it isn’t that he lacks the power to intervene on our behalf. He does have full power. And, it isn’t that he can’t hear our cries for mercy, either. He is not deaf. Sometimes the timing is not right, i.e. God has a very specific time in which he plans to rescue us from our trials and not before then. He allows us to go through hardships and disciplines for a purpose, and in fact scripture says we are destined for them. So, he asks us to be patient, and to suffer willingly for the sake of his name, and for the sake of his gospel, and to trust him with our lives and with our circumstances. Yet, sometimes God does not intervene for us in rescuing us from our trials because our unrepentant sins have brought the trouble upon us, and we must go through this time of difficulty so that we will turn from our sins and obey our Lord. Your Hands and Lips (vv. 3-5, 7-8) For your hands are defiled with blood And your fingers with iniquity; Your lips have spoken falsehood, Your tongue mutters wickedness… They trust in confusion and speak lies; They conceive mischief and bring forth iniquity. They hatch adders’ eggs and weave the spider’s web… Their feet run to evil, And they hasten to shed innocent blood; Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity, Devastation and destruction are in their highways. They do not know the way of peace, And there is no justice in their tracks; They have made their paths crooked, Whoever treads on them does not know peace. These words were addressed to the people of God, not to pagans. These words were also written (spoken) to a nation, which was comprised of the people of God. They were in a very unique situation that no longer exists, for the people of God now are those who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of their lives, and the nation now is spiritual, not physical, i.e. we exist throughout the earth. Yet, it is possible that today these words could be spoken to a physical nation largely comprised of people who call themselves Christians, such as the USA. About 80% of the US population claims Christian as their faith. The USA definitely came to mind as I read these words afresh today, as well as did the majority of the church within the US. The US government and military have been invading other nations for some time now, confiscating property not their own, stealing other nations’ natural resources, and killing and destroying at will. The way they get into these other nations, though, is via trickery, lies and deception. They first create a situation which requires a solution, and then they come to the “rescue” with the solution to the problem which they first created, but the solution is that these independent nations should give up their sovereignty and should hand control of their governments, land, natural resources and people over to the New World Order “Beast.” And, it also involves the persecution and the killing of true followers of Jesus Christ who stand on the Word of God and who do not compromise their faith, even in the face of death (See: Is. 59:15a). The institutional church here in the US is culpable for what our government is doing worldwide in forcing other governments to comply with the New World Order, which includes the deaths of innumerable innocents, even the deaths of many of our own young people who have given their lives on the battle field thinking that they were doing the right thing in serving their country, believing the government’s lies, and believing they were really over there to protect the lives of innocents and the lives of their own countrymen. The events of 9/11/01 were conspired by factions of our government and some of their allies and for the purpose to get us into Afghanistan. It took no time at all for our government to send troops over there after 9/11/01, and now our president is talking about keeping nearly 10,000 troops there until sometime in 2017, but his reasons for doing so are lies. The reason the institutional church is culpable for the atrocities committed by the US government and military is because they partnered (unequally yoked together) with the government via the 501c3 not-for-profit corporation status starting some 50 years ago to the present. Not only that, but they encourage government worship at the gatherings of the church via the pledge of allegiance (vow of fidelity) to the US flag/government, the singing of patriotic songs, the honoring of our soldiers as heroes who on orders invaded these other nations and killed innocents, on orders, and via the promoting and encouraging of belief in the lies that the government and their government-controlled media spew out on a daily basis, and by not teaching the flock to test what they hear to make sure it is true. Denying the Lord (vv. 9, 11b-13, 15a) Therefore justice is far from us, And righteousness does not overtake us; We hope for light, but behold, darkness, For brightness, but we walk in gloom… We hope for justice, but there is none, For salvation, but it is far from us. For our transgressions are multiplied before You, And our sins testify against us; For our transgressions are with us, And we know our iniquities: Transgressing and denying the Lord, And turning away from our God, Speaking oppression and revolt, Conceiving in and uttering from the heart lying words… Yes, truth is lacking; And he who turns aside from evil makes himself a prey. In addition to this, the vast majority of the church (US) has invited the world into the church meetings, and thus they have become one with the world in so many ways to where it is barely distinguishable between the church and the world anymore. They now pattern the meetings of the church in such a way as to attract the world (the ungodly) to the church, and thus they have turned the gatherings of the church into a huge circus with all kinds of circus acts and performers, for the entertainment pleasure of the world. So, they had to dilute the gospel message to make it more acceptable and appealing to the world, and they also had to train their pastors in how to detect those with “strong convictions,” and in how to discourage them from attending their churches, or in how to get them to leave the church and to go someplace else that would be “a better fit” for them (See: Is. 59:15a). So, the sad reality is that if you are serious about the Lord, and if you are serious about your walk of faith, and are committed to following your Lord in obedience and in surrender to his will, and if you take the Word of God seriously, then you may become prey, not just prey to the world of wickedness, but to the church, i.e. they don’t want you, and they are more than happy to help you find another place, but there isn’t one, at least not around where I live. The vast majority of American churches have become increasingly more and more ecumenical and accepting of all walks of life, tolerating sin, and teaching that God does not require repentance or obedience, but that all they have to do is “believe” and they have their salvation secured, and they have the promise of heaven when they die, no matter how badly they sin from that point forward or even if they acknowledge God at all. In fact, they can’t even choose to not believe, according to this doctrine. This false gospel of grace, though, makes a mockery out of what Jesus did in dying on the cross for our sins for Jesus did not die just so we could escape hell and have the promise of heaven. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. And, even there, this promise is not guaranteed to just anyone who says they are a Christian or who says they believe in Jesus. James (in the book of James) said that even the demons believe, and they shudder. Not many who call themselves Christians have the fear of the Lord anymore, but they treat God with disrespect and dishonor by how they live their lives and by how they represent him. This false grace gospel is all “Me, Me” focused, and is not God-focused at all. They have twisted the word of God and his gospel to make it out like God’s salvation is nothing more than a “get-out-of-jail free card” and the promise of heaven when we die. But Jesus died to free us from slavery to sin and to free us to become slaves of righteousness. So many people in the church today are trying to discredit the gospel according to Jesus by calling it “legalistic” or saying it is “works-based salvation.” They say, because it is a free gift, that nothing is required of us other than to “believe.” But, what they overlook is that this free gift is the gift of freedom from slavery to sin and freedom to become servants of righteousness, so if we don’t turn from our sin, and we don’t commit ourselves to following our Lord in obedience, then true salvation never took place. True grace sets us free from bondage to sin and frees us to walk in the Spirit in Christ’s righteousness and holiness. The Letters / An Original Work / December 17, 2013 Based off Revelation 2-3 To the angels of all the churches write: These are the words of your Lord and your God. I know all your deeds, and your witness, too, And who holds to My words and tells what’s true. I know all your hard work and your perseverance, Yet I hold against you: you’ve forsaken Me. Listen to what I say to you. You have people there who deny My name, And who put the cross of Christ up to shame. They entice the people to Me, profane, And their worship of Me is all in vain. They are so adult’rous as they chase their idols, And you put up with them easily enough. Listen to what I say to you. You give off an image of godliness, But what you present is so fraudulent, Or else you lack passion for Jesus Christ, So you look to others to tell what’s right. I say turn from your sin, or you will face judgment. He who overcomes will have eternal life. Listen to what I say to you. I know your afflictions and poverty; How you suffer for your Lord patiently. Do not fear the devil and company. You be faithful to your Lord endlessly. I know all your weakness and your dedication. You have kept My Word and not denied your Lord. I will write on you My new name.