Tuesday, February 9, 2016, 5:00 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “Forever With Us.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Mark 14:1-11 (ESV). By Stealth (vv. 1-2) It was now two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to arrest him by stealth and kill him, for they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar from the people.” If someone does something by stealth, they are being sneaky, sly, crafty, underhanded, and secretive (concealing their actions). It is the opposite of openness and honesty. There are many leaders today within the government and within the organized church structure who are plotting the demise of Jesus’ true followers, and of the gospel of salvation, and they are doing so by stealth. For one, they create crisis situations (false flag operations), and then they blame their actions on other people, and/or they use these fake or orchestrated crisis situations in order to advance their own theology and political agenda. One of their purposes is to pit various people groups, one against another, so that they can bring order (the New World Order) out of the chaos which they first created. They do this, as well, in order to make certain people groups look bad, so that they can come up with a solution to the “problem.” Within the institutional church, the targeted people group is evangelical Christians, i.e. those who hold to the tenets of the Christian faith, who teach the full gospel message of salvation, who warn of judgment, and who call people to repentance and faith or renewed faith in Jesus Christ. Since the church here in America has largely gone the way of the world, and is focusing much attention on attracting the world to the church, and marketing the church to the world, they have diluted the gospel message to make it more appealing and acceptable to the world. They focus much on entertainment and on making the people of the world feel comfortable in their meetings, so they will want to come back. Thus, they demonize those who are still preaching the gospel according to Jesus and his NT apostles. They call them legalistic, intolerant, bigoted, hateful, and charge them with teaching works-based salvation, even though they teach what the apostles taught and lived. Within the government of the US, and perhaps in other national governments, as well, which give loyalty to the New World Order, Christians are also being targeted for extinction or for reprogramming. The crisis situations they create are for the purpose to demonize all who they consider to be “extremists” or “radical” in their faith, and for the very purpose to bring all religions in harmony, one with the other, under a one-world religion. The way things are going, I believe it won’t be long before the gospel, as taught by Jesus and his NT apostles, will be outlawed as hateful, bigoted, prejudicial, intolerant and unloving toward our fellow humans. Leaders within the church and government are already making motions that direction in their consistent and regular messages against intolerance, and in their calls for unity and harmony among people of different religions and varied lifestyle choices. A Beautiful Thing (vv. 3-9) And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they scolded her. But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.” When we honor our Lord in service to him, there will always be those who will criticize us for what we do. Now, I realize that not everyone who says they are servants of Jesus Christ truly are, and their deeds are not always honoring to God or in line with his word. So, we do need to exercise discernment, and we do need to test everything we hear, see and read from those who call themselves servants of Jesus Christ and/or who claim they are his messengers. Yet, there will be many who claim to know Jesus but who do not have the mind of God, and/or who are not following Jesus with their lives, who are thinking like the world instead of with spiritual discernment, who will come against the Lord’s true servants and will criticize, reject, persecute and ostracize them, just because what they are doing feels foreign to them. That is what the religious leaders of Jesus’ day did to him. Yet, when we are dishonored of humans, God honors us, if we are walking in his Spirit and no longer according to our flesh. When we are rejected of humans, our Lord receives us. When humans abandon us, our Lord assures us of his continued presence with us, that he will never leave us or forsake us. When humans mock us, criticize us and say all kinds of evil against us because of our sincere faith and devotion to our Lord, our Lord encourages, strengthens, and comforts us, and heals our broken hearts. He speaks tenderly to us when humans speak harshly against us. He reminds us of his complete sovereignty over our lives, and that he has allowed all this for a time and for a purpose, which is to bring people to salvation, to revive his church, and for the spreading of the gospel of Christ. Yet, one day Jesus will make our enemies acknowledge that God/Jesus has loved us (See: Rev. 3:9). To Betray Him (vv. 10-11) Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them. And when they heard it, they were glad and promised to give him money. And he sought an opportunity to betray him. The sad reality of this all, though, is that it is not just our government or those in leadership within organized religion who will turn against us, and who will criticize, reject, abandon and betray us. Scripture teaches that the gospel of salvation turns family members against one another, because those who do not receive Christ and his message of salvation from sin will hate and resent those who are following Jesus Christ with their lives. When this hits close to home, that is when it is the most painful of all. Yet, Jesus faced that, too. It wasn’t just the religious leaders of his day who hated him and who rejected him, mocked him and criticized him. People of his own town, his own faith, and from his own birth family turned against him. They thought he was crazy, too, and his own family members wanted to remove him from public ministry, probably because he was an embarrassment to them. And, one of his chosen closest companions was the one to betray him to death on a cross. Yet, in all of this, we are to put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, believing in God’s sovereignty over our lives and his absolute power and control over all powers and authorities. We have to know that this is part of God’s plan and purpose for us, that we should suffer as he suffered for righteousness’ sake. So, we should rejoice! When suffering injustice for the sake of the gospel, let God be your comfort. Let him encourage and strengthen your heart and mind. And, keep on keeping on in your faith in Christ Jesus. Forever With Us / An Original Work Based off Psalm 46 / February 5, 2016 Be still and know God is over all things. Throughout the earth, He’ll be honored as King. The Lord Almighty, Forever with us. He is our refuge When we’re in distress. Therefore, we have Not a reason to fear. Trials will come, But our God is still near. He is our helper, So we do not fall. Mountains will quake, But on Jesus we call. Joy to the Church, Even if sorrow comes. Enemies rage, But our faith marches on. God’s Holy Spirit, Now living within, Gives peace and comfort, And grace without end.