Friday, June 20, 2008

Being Hunted

"Let not an evil speaker be established in the earth;
evil shall hunt the violent man to overthrow him
Ps. 140:11

Take God’s warning seriously. If you attempt to harm someone, even with your tongue, you will be hunted down by evil. Solomon said that an evil person "flees when no man is in pursuit." That is because, even though no man may be pursuing them, the wicked can sense the wrath of God. Something within them senses that "evil angels from God" are on their trail, and they cannot escape them. The wicked imagine themselves as hunting down the upright, to tear them down, but in fact, by giving themselves to evil, they have only become the hunted.

When Jesus said for us to do good to those who hate you and to pray for those who maltreat us, he was not simply saying, "Y’all disciples be nice, now." Not at all. By that, Jesus was revealing to us the only way of escape from the wrath of God against all unrighteousness. God meant it when He said, "Vengeance is mine, says the Lord. I will repay." Therefore, if we avenge ourselves, we are not only guilty of disobeying Jesus; we are also guilty of thievery, for you have stolen something that belongs to God alone: vengeance.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


The following are quotes from a couple of meetings, recorded by Jamie Gregory:

These are quotes from the first night of the new NT study with Pastor John (6/14/08):

"God creates within us the right desires we have by writing His law on our heart."

"The spirit will let you know what is right and what is wrong in every situation. The law of Moses could not do that."

"God despises ceremonies behind which unclean spirits hide. And the most unclean spirits hide behind the most beautiful religious ceremonies."

''Believing in Jesus does not make you a child of God, it gives you the right to become one (Jn. 1). 'He who comes to God must first believe that He exists, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him’ " (Heb. 11).

"God is your God if you have His spirit."

"Holiness is not contrary to common sense; it gives you common sense."

"Live as if we are thankful."

"With this knowledge comes responsibility."

"Nobody can do more damage to God’s truth than those who have been given it and yet are unfaithful to the Giver of truth. Nobody can turn people away from the light more effectively than those who have been given it and do not walk in it."

These quotes are from the next morning’s gathering (6/15/08).

"You condemn the world by not living the way it does."

"We are not debtors to the flesh, to live after the flesh " (Rom. 8), even to our fleshly, natural parents. God got you here. He chose your parents; they did not choose you. You owe everything to Jesus. We do owe a debt to gratitude and kindness to parents, of respect and fear to governors, and a debt of goodness to anyone who has given us a helping hand along the way, but we do not owe them so much that they have a right to influence the way we live, to pull us into sin. We are not debtors in the flesh to anyone, to live after the flesh."

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Veil That Covers

"And He will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people,
and the veil that is spread over all nations
Isa. 26:12
". . . you covered me in my mother’s womb."
Ps. 139:13

According to Isaiah, God has covered all people with a "veil". Every person who has ever lived on earth was covered with it, just as David was, in their mother’s womb. This veil is something that all have in common, and it is referred to many, many times throughout the Bible, especially the New Testament. What is this veil, this covering that God has cast over all people?

David referred to this covering while praising God for creating him within the womb of his mother. He said (Ps. 139:13-15): ". . . you covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are your works, and that my soul knows right well. My substance was not hidden from you when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth."

So, what was this covering, this veil cast over David, cast over every other human being? The answer is revealed in the book of Hebrews, when the writer refers to the glorification of Jesus; that is, when Jesus passed out of his natural body and was given a glorified body by the Father: "Having therefore, brothers, boldness to enter into the holiest place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which he has consecrated for us through the veil, that is to say, through his flesh" (Heb. 10:19-20). The flesh that covers your spirit is the covering that God casts over every soul that is conceived, and, just as David described it, God gives flesh to those souls while they are still fetuses in their mother’s womb.

Isaiah prophesied of a glorious day in which God will destroy this covering of flesh and give His people new bodies to cover their spirits, bodies made of eternal substance, bodies that will never suffer pain or die, bodies that are "like his glorified body". We are blessed to come into existence, to be given this veil of flesh so that we may live and know the Lord, but it will be a far better blessing to pass through this veil of tears and receive our spiritual "mansions" that are stored up for us now, with Jesus in heaven.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Rod of the Wicked

"The rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous,
lest the righteous put forth their hand unto iniquity
Psalm 125:3

"Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me."
Ps. 23:4

It is undeniable that the wicked can afflict the righteous. It happens all the time, and it has happened throughout history. The Bible is full of stories of the righteous being maltreated by the wicked. The promise that God has made is not that the rod of the wicked will never touch the righteous but that it will never rest upon the righteous. In other words, the rod of the wicked will not afflict the righteous perpetually until it drives him beyond his power to endure, but it will be removed when our heavenly Father has accomplished His wise purpose for it being there. It makes me tremble to know what God can choose to do, using the rod of the wicked. When Job lamented, "The thing I greatly feared has come upon me," he was lamenting the fact that God had chosen to use the rod of the wicked against him.

God’s rod comforts us, but it takes some humility to confess, when we are being persecuted, or even chastened, that God is using the wicked as His rod. How could we ever be comforted by the rod of the wicked unless we commit ourselves completely to the Lord, trusting Him to be the one who determines when we suffer, how we suffer, and how long the suffering must last?

Solomon said, "The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly." In other words, God uses humans to try other humans, Solomon’s point being that God will use evil men to try the faith of righteous men. But David’s point in Psalm 125:3 is that those wicked men are not in charge of what happens to the righteous. They may want to do us the damage they attempt to do, but nothing can be done unless our loving heavenly Father determines it shall be. And it will end when He determines it will end, and not before. Many times, wicked men wanted to kill Jesus, but they could not because "his time was not yet come." But when God determined it was time for His Son to die, a wicked man, such as Pontius Pilate, could not prevent Jesus’ crucifixion, even though he wanted to. It was God’s appointed time for Jesus’ crucifixion, and as Christ said to the Father through David, "All my times are in your hand."
God has tried no one beyond his power to overcome. No one among the saints has ever suffered more than he has been able to bear. God knows our limitations, and He designs our sufferings so that if we stand fast in faith, our sufferings will only make us stronger and wiser; they have no power to destroy us; God never sends that degree of affliction into our lives. Every soul who has fallen into sin and unbelief during times of trial has done so because he rebelled against the hand of God and chose the wrong path; he was not pressed by God beyond his ability to bear the pressure.

When the upright suffer, it is only for a season, and it is always for a good, healing purpose. And if we stay humble and do the will of God even when we are hurting, the time will come when we will be thankful for the pain that God used to perfect our hearts. God may choose to use the wicked to afflict the righteous, but after the trial is over, He will destroy the wicked and take the righteous up into His comforting bosom, closer to them than ever, and they will be satisfied.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Right Relationships

"Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God
with all thy heart, and with all thy soul,
and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the
second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets
Jesus, in Matthew 22: 37-40

Every commandment that God ever gave to His people was designed for one purpose; that is, to guide them into a right relationship, either with Him or with other people. You can search from Genesis to Revelation and you will never find a commandment from God that was not directed toward one of these two goals.

Life in the kingdom of God is not a solitary affair. The word righteousness describes life that is in a right relationship with God and with our neighbors; it does not describe the quality of a soul without regard to others. There is no righteousness where there are no right relationships.

The Law that God gave Moses contained a multitude of commandments concerning how to express one’s love for God and for others. When God said, "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image", He was revealing to the Israelites how to have a right relationship with Him. When He said to them, "Thou shalt not kill", and "Thou shalt not steal", He was revealing to them how to have a right relationship with one another. It is all about relationships. There is no such thing as being holy alone, unless you are God. But even God has chosen not to be holy alone.

In both the Old and the New Testament, we are given instruction concerning relationships with people who occupy specific places in our lives, such as husband, wife, parent, child, and even spiritual places, such as prophet, pastor, and teacher. There is a way to have a right relationship with each person who occupies each place in our lives. The Bible is full of instructions intended to guide us into a right relationship with others, based on (1) their place in our lives and (2) their spiritual condition. But the places that can be occupied in our lives are so many, and the spiritual conditions of the people in those places can vary so widely, that the Bible cannot tell us how to have a right relationship in every circumstance with every person. That is why Jesus suffered and died for us to have the holy Ghost; it guides us into "all truth"; that is, it guides us into a right relationship with every person, in every circumstance, every day of our lives. The Bible can never do that.

Paul said, "Comfort the feeble-minded." And he said, "Warn the unruly." And he also said, "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine." Now, if someone comforts the unruly instead of warning them, and warns the elders that do well instead of honoring them, and gives double honor to the feeble-minded, that man doesn’t have a right relationship with the people involved. The holy Ghost must reveal to us who is "unruly", and who is "feeble-minded", and who qualifies as "an elder that rules well", etc. Then, when by the holy Ghost we discern who is who in the body of Christ, we can at last develop a right relationship with them.

Once you see the magnitude of this truth, you will want to strive to have a right relationship with everyone in your world. You will even want to make sure that you have a right relationship with the Devil. God has a right relationship with the Devil, and we can, too. God cast him out of heaven, and Paul told us to be like God and "make no room for the Devil." Sometimes, a right relationship is no relationship at all. Several times Paul mentions that a certain body of believers should cast out a member of the body because of stubbornness and rebellion. Jesus even mentioned cutting off precious members of the body so that the whole body could be saved.

There is no such thing as a man having a right relationship with God but a poor relationship with God’s obedient people. Jesus said, "As much as you have done it unto the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me." John said, "How can you love God whom you have not seen, if you love not these whom you have seen?" I recently spoke with a man who thought that his relationship with God was fine, even though his relationship with the body of Christ is almost non-existent. He is like many who have a higher opinion of himself than Jesus has of him. Jesus loves those who love his people and who express that love in a way that helps them develop right relationships.

All right relationships in the kingdom of God are a triangle. That triangle includes you, another person, and God – with God in the middle. No one has a right relationship with anybody without God being in the middle. My father taught us that God was so jealous over his people that He even wanted to sleep between a man and his wife, and that if He did not, then there was bound to be trouble between them. Pursue every relationship you have on this earth through God. Do not be closer to anyone than that person is to God. Do not trust anyone more than that person trusts God, and do not follow any person unless that person is following God. Even the great apostle Paul said, "Follow me, as I follow Christ."

Only those who are led by the Spirit of God have a right relationship with anybody. That is why Paul said that only those that are led by the Spirit of God are the real children of God (Rom. 8:14). Thank God for helping us to discern who is who in our lives, so that we can develop relationships that are right in His sight, for if there is a single relationship in our life that is not right, we ourselves are not yet completely right with God.