I have recently completed a three part essay on belief, entitled: “Do You Believe, I Mean Really Believe”. The name of our newsletter is “A Trumpet in the Wilderness”. The wilderness was a place and time of testing for the Children of Israel. We had better well learn the lessons they went through because everything that happened to them are examples for us, mainly for what we are not to do.
Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. 1 Corinthians 10:11
The Children of Israel faced tests in the wilderness; in fact they had ten tests and failed all of them. This whole thing about the wilderness, this entire experience, was to get His chosen people to do one main thing. Do you know what that was? Believe!
I believe there are two wildernesses: the one we are in now, that is today’s world, with its challenges, temptations, and difficulties; and a wilderness yet to come - the great tribulation. We won’t be victorious in the trials of the great tribulation if we are destroyed in the present day trials. God wants us to come to His place of rest now, so when more challenging days arrive, we are prepared. Our wilderness is here now but not yet.
For as long as I write I will mention about belief and believing.
I felt compelled to write the three part article; yet there was another article I had to write and that was newsletter #43 entitled “Lessons From A Patriarch”, which not only depicted a large portion of the life of the great Patriarch Jacob, from which I derived my title, but it also was a newsletter in which I candidly shared some of my own sins especially in years past, and how they have effected the lives of my children as well as my own life. Newsletter #43 was difficult to write, and I was surprised that only one individual asked to be removed from the mailing list because of some of the personal things about which I wrote. But I had to “get real”. Before I embarked on a study on believing I wanted to get things out in the open.
If you are interested, most of our past newsletters are available free upon request.
Thursday May 9th I was invited to speak to a small men’s group not far from where I live. When I spoke at the men’s meeting I attempted to make several points. Although I believe I failed in that attempt, I pray the LORD somehow drove home some of the points I tried to make. I entitled my talk “The 4 R’s’” It was a play on the 3 R’s. The 4 R’s I spoke about were: Real, Repent, Relationship, and Responsibility. After leaving I realized I could have added several more R’s, one being Rest. We must learn to rest in the LORD. We must enter into His rest.
In this article I want to focus on the “R” word called “Real”. In my talk I called it “Get Real”. When one really gets real he really gets honest. He gets authentic, the veneer is stripped away and the genuine article comes forth, with all its imperfections. Getting real is more than a “velveteen rabbit”; it can’t be found in a fairy tale. Only as we die to ourselves do we become real. Getting real is the antithesis of being hypocritical. We must get real with one another, with ourselves, and with God. We must resign from our lifelong careers of being little religious thespians, and become transparent and candid, and then walk as Yeshua did. Once our sanctimonious mask is ripped off to reveal the hideous monster underneath, we are then ready for the remolding only Our Lord can perform. The levity must cease. Until we stop playing church, and realize that the Christian life is more than lingo, but a life of self-denial, a crucified walk, we will fail
An Attraction of a Puissant Evil
I am still going to write a major article on pornography as soon as I have complete leeway from the LORD. The word “puissant” (pyoo i sent) is a little known late Middle English word that denotes powerful and strong. This puissant evil inflicted by the porn industry reaches not only the dingy backrooms of degenerate men, the bedrooms of teenage boys, but the studies of pastors and church leaders. I know a lot of preachers, several on a personal level. I would like to tell you about three preachers.
Preacher #1 is well known in certain circles. He told me he stays just too busy to get into pornography. He said: “Remember Jack, idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” He went on to say, “I fill my day with so many activities that I just don’t have the time for that stuff”. While he is correct in part, there may come a time when time seems all he has and he may find himself in places he never thought he would go.
This individual pastors a smaller church. In a very serious conversation he confessed that many times he has been on adult websites, and he is ashamed of that and very sorry that he engages in this sinful activity. Yet, he said, “I have no one to really talk to”. Our contact is only rare. He said he wished he could confess the problem to his congregation but feels they would fire him. He probably is correct, but maybe not. Yet he is in a dangerous position and I pray he can find the strength to gain control over his problem.
I do not know this man personally, but from men who do know him well I write the following. Preacher #3 is famous and many of you would recognize his name, but since I do not have his personal permission to use it I won’t. He knows he has a potential problem in this area and he unashamedly admits it. Although he pastors a large church he has no computer in his study. He has no computer in his home. When his wife leaves town he gives her the remote control to the television. He has men around him that he is accountable to. This brother is indeed real and most likely will remain free from sexual sin of all kinds. He’s not only real, but smart! I can see why the church he pastors is one of the strongest in the country.
I know first hand that true freedom can come through one whose plethora of strength is never-ending and is exceedingly more puissant than any sin and that is – Yeshua, our Messiah and Savior.
Failure in the Pulpit
I know of another preacher who was caught in the very act of a sexual encounter with his secretary. I can assure you he had not been real. Now the church he “pastored” is in desperate shape and his sin will affect a great number. The extended arms of a leader will grab many as they crash to the ground. It’s a tragic thing when one tries to live his Christian life vicariously through his pastor or anyone save Yeshua. When he tries this, failure will be his reward. If only this pastor had been real, if after the first look at the secretary, he repented, called two or three spiritual God-like men over, and confessed his thoughts, then wise and prudent decisions could have been made. Today, he could be living a life pleasing to the LORD instead of one of embarrassment, shame, and disgrace. Our sins will find us out! His coup de grace came when he was caught, but if only he’d been real from the beginning, he and the flock he shepherded may have been spared the consequences of this sexual sin. This man, his family, the secretary, her family, and this church need your prayers.
I urge each of you to get real, be honest, and repent. As James says “confess your faults to one another…..”
A Reprobate mind
As a watchman I am to warn. I believe America has crossed over the line. We no longer are content to merrily sin but now we flaunt it.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors or evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worth of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. Romans 1:28-32
The word reprobate is one of the strongest words in the English language. The King James uses the word reprobate. The New American uses the word depraved, while the Phillips translation uses the word degenerate, but only the word reprobate denotes the intended use.
The word means thoroughly corrupt, morally abandoned, lacking all sense of decency. Reprobate comes from the Latin “reprobare”. In theology - the adjective reprobate means damned, predestined for damnation; the noun reprobate means a person abandoned by God and excluded from salvation.
This nation has killed too many babies. It has flaunted perversion long enough. If we have a reprobate mind, then anything goes. Is this what we are seeing across our nation? Of all the judgments God could send to the United States, the most severe is to leave us to ourselves! We will be destroyed by our own devices. If we continue to drink more and more of the deadly toxin we will be utterly destroyed! Any nation that continues to mock God by flaunting the most egregious sins in His Holy face awaits a judgment too horrible to put into words!
Yes, it’s paramount that we get real! Getting real is more than sharing, although it certainly includes that. Getting real can lead to a life of holiness, but comes with a cost. It was Leonard Ravenhill who said: “Many like to hang around the cross, but few want to be nailed to it.” Paul told us that we are crucified with Christ, but nevertheless we live, yet not us but it’s Messiah (Christ) that lives through us.
God has many in His remnant who have become real and have moved on to the deeper things of God which include holiness, obedience, denial of self, and the cross life. They have battled satan for years, but some have become battle weary and feel like they are the only ones in the battle.
It’s easy to feel like you’re the only one. In these last days many true believers who are already battle-worn find themselves in some of the most brutal battles with satan than ever before. They are pressed on every side. They correctly see the United States swimming in a cesspool and the liberal church right there with the United States doing the backstroke. Many have large ministries, but they are almost exhausted from all the fighting, while others have small ministries like mine who are just as battle worn. Many do not even have a ministry per say, other than that of being a true believer, i.e., being real in their diurnal living, trying to help support a family, and living out the vicissitudes of life. They may even deem that they have a banal lifestyle, while in all actuality they are indeed ministers and challenged as much or more than any. They too have been battling a long time and the temptation of advocating a cease fire is ever present. I have been tempted drastically in areas of this ministry. Stamps now cost 41 cents a piece. Although we are not a large ministry, we still send out around 350 newsletters. If I am consistent in writing, we pay more money; but if I am not consistent in writing then the ministry slides. We pay 98% of the cost. For the past six months I have prayed about putting an insert in each newsletter that would read something to the effect. “If you want to remain on the mailing list please either email, phone, or write and let me know.” My wife Barb strongly opposes that, and so have a few others. Actually I have put the insert in about 20% of the newsletters, but so far have not put it in the entire mailing list. Some with which I have shared the idea have said it’s a great idea. “You’ve got to prune something to get fruit,” one individual told me who has a large ministry and mails out thousands of newsletters. You want to know the real reason I have not put this insert into every newsletter? I am afraid not a single person would respond. Do I get discouraged? Absolutely I do! I don’t live there, but I have my days. Many of you do as well. But let me tell you about Danny.
To satisfy my so-called epicurean attraction to coffee, I find myself in a local McDonalds several mornings each week, with notes of a half written newsletter, a Bible, and a book or two pertaining to Christian subjects. For only 27 cents I can have a semi quiet time with the LORD and a very good cup of coffee. I don’t make the McDonalds every morning; at best I make it about 5 out of 7 days. But there is a man by the name of Danny who probably is there daily. Danny also has a ministry. His ministry is to pass out ballpoint pens. Danny depicts another “R” word I want to write about - Resilient. I admit I do not fully understand all that is inscribed on the pens, rambling words, non-applicable scripture - but after reading it, you know it’s something about God and not doing drugs. Danny wears T- shirts with the same inscribed rambling words that are on his pens. You see, Danny is somewhat disabled. I speak to Danny every morning. Often it’s just a tacit greeting, but on several occasions I have had meaningful conversations with him. He has been a guest in our home on at least one Thanksgiving. While engaged in some of the longer conversations, Danny spoke of his motorcycle wreck years ago and how drugs were involved. He knows he has some brain damage and he wants to do all he can to tell people about God and to keep kids off drugs. I do not know to what extent he has been impaired cognitively, but he has some. He also has some motor damage and speech problems. Yet I sit amazed as I watch Danny pass out his pens. Not only amazed by Danny, but by those to whom he gives the pens, or, I should say, attempts to give the pens. Danny’s appearance would not render him a spot on the platform of most churches, or even a seat in a pew in some. By the way neither would mine. Danny’s speech is greatly compromised, and unless you listen very closely it’s difficult to understand what he is saying. When he offers a pen, some simply smile and walk away, shaking their heads and dismissing him by an insouciant wave of their hand. Some are more abrupt and even rude, and will respond with a sharp and biting, “No!” Others accept the pen with a little more than a nod in response. Still, there are those recipients who gladly accept the pen with a gracious thank you. I accept the pens and gladly add them to my pen arsenal which I use to scribble out notes that later somehow become a newsletter. When someone is rude to Danny, he will look at them with eyes more embarrassed than perturbed, and then he will shuffle around and sit back down. In a few minutes, he is back on his feet passing out another pen.
Danny will never know how many his life has impacted and how his faithfulness has been such an encouragement. Discouragement will approach all of us. When I start to become discouraged by the lack of response, or sense that we may not be able to afford to continue this ministry, I often think of the get-real person Danny - being rejected by at least three out of five people every morning, shuffling back to his seat and anxiously awaiting for another to enter the restaurant so he can offer another pen. Believing is consistent, or I should I say relentless; it’s getting real with God and walking as Yeshua did. It’s doing something when you don’t feel like it. Getting real is commitment whether it’s felt or not. So pass out another pen Danny, and I’ll do my little part and continue to write. For those of you that are battle-weary, remember, you are not alone! Remain real, keep believing, rest in Him, and know your victory is now!!!
We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted , but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. 2 Corinthians 4:8-10
Now may the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob bless you through His Son Yeshua.
In His Service,
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem