When I played college football, at Central Mich. University, we won the National Championship but I lost everything (Jn.12:25). Little did I comprehend what was going on in and around me. I could lift 405 lbs., but I could not budge the weight of pain-filled loneliness. I could halt a linebacker by a crushing block but could not stop the oncoming devastation of personal rejection. I could run a 40 yd. dash in 4.4 seconds but could not outrun depression.
I was just saved. I had just met Jesus but I was torn up inside and felt like my entire life was crumbling before my eyes. I did not understand The Inner War and how gut-wrenching truth would get beyond it.
Within a matter of hours and days I was confronted by the enormous clash of two opposing realities within my mind. I did not understand then but what what happened to Him happens to all who follow Him: Two Worlds Collide – Lamb Found Dead. Up until the first day of football camp I was welcomed as a fellow comrade and teammate. But in that one afternoon arriving on campus for double-sessions I faced dimensions of hostility from teammates, that simply baffled my thinking.
Hey man, I was just a dumb, beer-guzling, polish kid, from the west side of Grand Rapids, Michigan. I cheated my way through school and Mass on Sundays, after the bars on Saturdays, was about it for my duty to God. I had no clue to the divine ramifications of what it would mean to actually get personal with a living God and experience the switch from darkness to light.
How could such contrast and hatred arise due solely to one decision? I left college in the Spring as one man and returned in the Fall as another. I was seen and despised as a traitor because I made an uncompromising stand for “the Other side”; Jesus.
When my teammates looked to my mouth to spew wicked words of dark inspiration they were shocked to watch my lips formulate light; “It’s all about the living Jesus fellas”. I took two pieces of medical tape and made a cross on the back of my helmet and used a magic marker to put one on my wristband. I went from a “Badass” to a ‘weirdo’. Smash stuff and mock others and I was “cool”. Love people and help others and you’re a “nut”. It would be a long time before I could begin to normalize this abnormal reality.
Mockery is no little thing. I did it to others but never had it done to me. It shattered my entire mind-set of people, the world and my own identity. I felt like a building collapsing from being detonated by an inward implosion. I was left in the rubble of wounded isolation not knowing this destruction of my old man was God’s answer to a ‘deal’ in which I came directly to Jesus to build me a new man. Now He was fulfilling His end by bringing me to Himself.
God was becoming my Father and was leading me into the place, where a boy becomes a man, and a man becomes a son. It is the place designed to render every son the lesson of turning loneliness into the solitude of contemplation, to discover awesome stuff, that every human craves, whether they admit it or not, like meaning, and feeling intimately loved, having a purpose and a joy of “streams of living water”. Not mickey mouse poetry but deep piercing supernatural reality. I had entered what is known in the animal world as a “cocoon” (i.e. the cross-Rm.6:6/Jn.7:37). Butterfly… yet to fly.
One year earlier things were totally different. I was treated like dark royalty because I did the things that caused “the guys” to revere me. Like one night, I got drunk and started a barroom brawl. Things were broken. Police were called and sirens filled the night air. I fled down a back alley and up a chain-link fence. A cop threw me in jail. My football reputation kept me out of prison, but the inner war was spiraling out of control.
Over the next year I learned how to switch the force of my will from being subject to the lies of darkness to grasp the truth.And when we do this life changes for the good. It involves turmoil. I don’t mean to sound corny, my friend, but I love you and can help you find happiness. It is crucial to face and identify subconscious fallibility.
My friend, there exists today, a twisted thinking that combines cynicism with Christianity. It involves the confession that Christ is the answer; “No need to tell me. I already know and have IT” BUT the underlying thinking is “Hey, ya I know I got loads of “issues” in my real life, but there’s no real answers. Nobody is perfect”. So go to the extreme. As if anybody is saying this.
Being honest and understanding the inner war is essential to avoid the tragedy of being blindly driven by subconscious fallibility.So please, pause a second and don’t say “Oh, no need to tell me about Christ. I already know”. When the reality of day to day life is full of denial of sad contradictions it only increases the misery and depression. Jesus says “The truth shall set you free” (John 8:32). To replace this bad stuff with blessing merely requires simple humble honesty. So let’s go beyond this crumbling paradox of abysmal cynicism.
Look man, I get it. I thought it. I did it. But please, give me a chance. There is a purity of reality that has been so defiled, and set aside as UNATTAINABLE, that it is accepted as normal Christian thinking but is straight from the pit of hell. You don’t have to go on with the inner war that you are dealing with. I am not lying, exaggerating or trying to sound ‘better than thou’. A life in the Holy Spirit is beyond the inner war and only requires truth.
The force of your will can bring you out of any darkness if you do what is necessary. Maybe, just maybe, you don’t know it all, hey? Maybe you haven’t “Been there, done THIS”. Let me help talk you through the most serious deception that most people accept as truth. After I met the living Jesus, I couldn’t figure out how to deal with ongoing depression and “issues” that I was told by “Christians” would disappear by a ‘sinner’s prayer’.
So let me go back, for a second, to cite a microcosm of today’s cultural dilemna. My dad was a very angry selfish dude, but man, he was obsessed with church. So one day, out of nowhere, my mom comes home and says “I met the living Jesus.” My dad got furious. I was shocked. Why would a “christian” rage against a wife who talks about Jesus? I began to probe their conflict and came to understand the absolute tragedy of christian hypocrisy.
Stay with me. First, can we agree our pride can be a tricky beast? It blinds us and drives us to say or do stuff that we later regret. We yearn for true understanding, forgiveness, meaning, identity, and love but pride insists “Oh I’m fine.” God promises to heal and fulfill us but how do we really get to God? Can you possibly put aside any self-righteousness presumption?
Deception does not wave giant red flags. Truth demands humble character. We face a need for a bandwidth of discernment. There are 67k denominations, 300k churches, and a glut of TV “preachers” mimicking gospel terminology with ersatz “compassion”. Like sheep, the multitudes do not question, but quickly accept, a lethal counterfeit of prosperity-tithing that exploits desperate men like pawns. Do you dare be an individual and seek the Word of truth of a living Jesus (2 Cor.11:3-4)?
I grew up seeing my parents and many others destroyed by religion and refused to be a naive hypocrite or forlorn and cynical. I decided to make a straightforward deal with God. I asked for, and received, an “All-City” fullback award that I needed it to be recruited. But I “chickened out” of my part.I even got worse into booze and drugs. Recruited by Central Mich. Univ. the team called me “The War”: badass image, but inside, terrified of hell. Why was I running from God?
Injuries threatened my football world. I couldn’t afford to stay in college so I made another deal with God. This time I contemplated the Scriptures and found out that our part of the deal is to come directly to Him and surrender our self; “lose your life to find it” the very answer to the inner war with self (Jn.12:25/6:37/Mt.7:7/Malachi 3:10). So, in my mind, faith was squarely on the line, dependent on whether a living Jesus would come to me.I had also been reading a book about a caterpillar, a process of a dark cocoon, and a butterfly. Very relevant.
One spring day, my coach calls me in to his office and awards me a full-ride scholarship. I exploded with a “butterfly” dream. I was “playing with fire.”JESUS IS ALIVE! This was about not about football but my future life.I walked outside and dove into a pond (I was later told it was filled with insecticides. Whoops). A few months later, I visited Notre Dame. While sitting in the stadium, I gave my self to the living Jesus. I didn’t know it then but Iwas “born from above” on June 14th, 1974 (Jn.3:3-8).
I share all that, to say this: Jesus says “Come to ME… Learn from ME… MY ways are easy…” (Mt.11:28). He knew, back then, that He wouldn’t be in Israel when we read this. And He sure wasn’t calling us to a religous system, that ended up killing Him.His Word is relevant today because He is here.Give your self to Him. He will give Himself to you; a “life-giving spirit”; an inner manto conquer the inner war (1 Cor.15:45/Eph.3:16).
We look inside ourself for answers, but the need is to just be still, reflect, contemplate His promises, and look upward, call on His Spirit. The inner war is not some unique “personality flaw”: “Oh nobody knows what I’m dealing with”. It is in all of us like a poison in our blood. Satan tricked Adam to defy God (Rom.5:12). Sincorrupted our entire flesh with a blotch of pure evil.
I was thrilled to finally understand the evil in me as objective sin. God knows this yet loves me.Ignorance to sin tricks us, ruins our lives, works death, and leads to hell (Rom.7:19 Rom.6:23/Rev.21:8). Paul speaks at length, contrasting a man of the Spirit to a man of the flesh. The ultimate purpose is to live beyond your problems so that other lost men can know the true gospel of Jesus. Jesus says forget about trying to make yourself perfect. It’s just more self-obsession. Love will take your mind off yourself.
Anyone who tells you that you can “better” your self is as ignorant as the phonies who dragged a sinner to the feet of Jesus. In one sentence, God, in Christ, nullified all human “righteousness”: ‘he who is without sin, stone her’ (Jn.8:7). There is no one righteous.. our heart is desperately sick… Pride must be “excluded” (Rm.3:10,27/Jer.17:9). We can never “better” our self because there is nothing in self better than self. We must look outside of ourselves. Run to, not away, from God. Today “Christians” want no part of suffering. Yet this is the true gospel. When Paul said he was “crucified” with Christ he meant it.
We all crave to be, do or say what is right. But sinful flesh cancels out this possibility. We are tormented by failure. In Love, God designed a plan to rescue us from self; sin, ego, pride. It is not striving to be a Christian by applying Bible verses to our sinful flesh. It is coming to Jesus Who alone can mediate His plan to reconcile us to His Father. The plan demands our faith. It “reckons” to us the perfect righteousness acquired by the Risen Jesus.
This faith is the ultimate force of the universe. It instantly and automatically cancels all failure and sin and makes you right in God’s eyes (Rm.1:17, 10:9-10). This is the healing to your scars. It takes you beyond the inner war, onto the road of purpose and destiny. Joy proves and reflects this faith. God can finally look on us with the same favor as He does upon His Son (Rm.4:9/Phil.3:7-11).
If we do not have clear discernment between the flesh and the Spirit, we will mistakingly identify the operations of the conscience as the Spirit, which will only result in legalism. Once a man comes into the Spirit the conscience must be cleansed because it fights against the Spirit. It must be “washed clean” from driving us to do good works to justify ourselves (Heb.9:14,10:22).
The term living Jesus is not a novel cliche. It is Biblical revelation and the only legitimate identity of theliving One waiting to come to our side right now.He took on all your sinful ways, in His flesh, on the cross (Rm.6:6,8). Imagine replacing guilt with untouchable triumph; Free as a “butterfly”; a son of the Father (Jn.8:32,36/Gal.2:16-21/ 2 Cor. 5:17,6:17-18). A “deal”for a material blessing does not compare to the exuberance of unlimited forgiveness, meaning, and things you never imagined from His Holy Spirit. To learn discernment of the Spirit requires the breaking of the “old man” and the witness of the Spirit to the inner man.
Upon graduation, I went to three seminaries; MST, the priesthood and later Fuller Seminary but saw further into how Christianity is a counterfeit institution of with no answers but theology and social-political values. A system about Jesus is not the living Person of Jesus. You can learn tons of Bible knowledge, but none of it means that you have come to Him (Read Jn.5:39).
The true church is seen in the live in the Book of Acts 4:32. The ways of the Spirit are not some deep, hidden mystical formula. That kind of stuff is rooted in self-pride. The Spirit honors only childlike humility of faith. Having your guts ripped apart for Jesus and dealing with emotional struggle is part and parcel of the gospel (2 Cor.4:8-11). It is turmoil beyond time, with an eternal purpose and reward. Glory to God!
A systematic approach to God of “Do’s” and “Dont’s” and striving to BE RIGHT dulls the instinctive impulse of our conscience to find the Personal love of our Creator (Rm.2:14/2 Cor.3:6). It exposes a clear void of the Holy Spirit. The downfall here is to instantly feel defensive and try to distance yourself from this reality. Rather, choose transparency before God. Be grateful to see the problem and identify your ignorance to the ways of the Spirit. There are scores of“christians” strewn across the battlefield of life. You don’t have to physically go to a church on Sunday to confirm the influence of our culture.
Everyone builds their own inner “church” of self- isolation. The question is whether it is built on your “righteousness” or His? The snare of group think is man-think. So you don’t have to attend a building to be part of the system. You give up to man-thinking because you do not give in to Jesus thinking. A 1 hour system of 5, 10, or 20-minute segments, that you or others orchestrate, cannot heal the inner war or give you “rivers of living water” (Jn.7:37-38).
We must come to understand that the edge between being in the Spirit and walking in the flesh is a mere decision of transparency away. It is the choice between humility or to remain proud and confident of carnal ways you choose to identify as God. I remember when I was riding in the hearse with my Dad, after my mothers funeral, he turned and said to me “I cannot recall even one of the reasons that I constantly fought with your mother”. It took him his whole life to reach this moment of subtle and partial humility. Full humility is no little thing.
I can not imagine how anyone lives their whole life in this lost world never knowing the individual touch of the love of Jesus. Stupid pride leads men to hell.Please, my friend,dig deep into humility. Get real. Learn the power of contemplation (Rm. 4:19). Don’t let the scars win. Talk to God.In a moment, you can choose childlike faith (Mt.18:3). The Spirit of Jesus has led me over decades to 50 countries to walk the city streets, campuses, prisons, ghettos, etc., and bring the living Bread to all who hunger. He is calling you by name to fulfill your destiny. Game?
If you’d like to help us reach people with the living Jesus, everything helps. We have no group that supports us. Thank you. More than anything we’d love to touch base with you if you’d like. We love you my friend!
Fascinating is the word I use to describe the intimate activity of the Father in the life of His Son, and, by consequence, in me living the life of a son. I base this on the revelation of Galations 3:16. Paul explains that everything God does, is in, through and towards Jesus. He does nothing, in a sense, in isolated focus on us. We are not worthy of His eyes.
So therefore it is to our utmost expediency to figure out what it really means to be In Jesus (THE seed). Only then can a man discover the design of God’s plan and eternal destiny.
This may sound a bit lofty, but actually anything about a Supreme Eternal Being is lofty. But God brought all His loftiness down and dirty in Christ to earth. So it simply means that everything about salvation depends on being IN the living Jesus. Cuz we can’t get what He offers by prayers, church attendance or moral behavior. Only Jesus. Repeating 9 words in a “sinners prayer” does not quite fit the bill.
So our focus must become what does it practically mean to be IN CHRIST. What does it mean to be “anointed with Christ”; i.e. a Christian.
(Greetings. Before we get started just a side note here, Music is so huge. God can use it to open our spirit to His revelation. If I might suggest to check out the new music CD we just finished writing in Logic. If it doesn’t help you let me know, I’ll send your ten dollars back. Any money helps us reach the lost (see bottom of blog). Maybe it will help you, like it helps us. This music is fully appreciated, for how I made it, by using headphones. There are microsounds that are hard to hear without them. The new CD is available at: www.itunes.com/theancientboom )
Imagine walking down a shoreline and coming across a familiar boat that has obvious signs it has been abandoned. You call out to a little boy playing nearby and ask him if he might know what happened to the owner. The boy says “Oh, you mean Peter? He left his boat to follow the carpenter”.
You recall an earlier time on the beach when you saw Peter engaged in an intense conversation with someone. Prior to that Peter was excited and was telling a small crowd how he had finally paid off a boat he cherished. You wonder out loud “Why would he suddenly then sacrifice his boat to follow a carpenter?”. The little boy smiles “Jesus was no ordinary carpenter”.
Many who met Jesus did similar “illogical” things in response to His touch.
He calls us not to conform to a religion or try to emulate a pious lifestyle. He promises a “magic”called the Holy Spirit, by which He, transforms a man into a life-giving compassionate person. “I will make you a fisher of men” He promised a self-centered Peter. The living Jesus comes to men in the midst of what they like to do and offers something far greater to do (Mt.12:6,41).
I was consumed with football in college. Peter was fishing. One woman was a prostitute. Matthew was ripping people off. Paul was a self-righteous “somebody”. One soldier was tormented by guilt. A thief on a cross was at his utter end.
I have talked to many older men; coaches, business executives, car salesmen, doctors, etc. They say “I wasted my whole life on a job. If only I had it to do over”. So common. Nothing new in this world. Just going through the motions. What you did yesterday will be similar to today and what you do today will be similar to tomorrow. The curse of mundane existence dates back to the consequences of a guy named Adam making a wicked choice. It affects all men, causing a fisherman named Peter, and his buddies, to do some crazy stuff.
Imagine yourself setting out in a boat, about two o’clock in the morning with rough seas in a gathering storm. No, you’re not drunk. Just a bit bored and fool hearty. No one else knows what’s shaking your heart and consuming your mind. You’re not really thinking about fishing.
Suddenly, you see someone appear walking on the water towards you. Such a man named Peter should have reacted to the sensational nature of the incident. Instead, he revealed his soul was preoccupied with one burning issue; ‘Jesus, will you command me to come to You?’.
This was no allegory or fairy tale folks. Jesus is God. He yearns to show you. People say “You shouldn’t ‘test’ God”. He says “Ask and you shall receive” (Mt.7:7). He will come to you in any way, at any time, anywhere if you desire His reality. Peter did walk on water. But he lost his focus. Jesus lifted him up and never gave up on him. Contrary to American Christianity, Jesus offers no career or insurance policy. No American Dream, retirement plan or 401K. Not even a title. His purpose is not for you to invest in becoming a successful professional working to make this fallen world a “better place”. His purpose is beyond this world (Eph.1:3-11).
My family and I are working very hard. We are battle warriors fighting on our terms, on so many fronts, for hurting people. We are not provoked by or compelled to respond to false accusations and banter. We do not speak when we should listen or listen when we must speak. We are set with laser focus, in these last days, on communicating true repentance and forgiveness of Jesus to all.
Somewhere in my big bald ugly head, I know you and I could become good friends, even if you don’t agree with me, or are my most ardent enemy.
There is an adage ‘ The enemy of my enemy is my friend’. Satan is working against you, “day and night”, behind the world around you. He uses sophisticated ways to manipulate our sin (pride) against us (Rev.12:9-12/Eph.6:12/2 Cor.2:11,10:3,11:3).
It is amazing how quickly contentions dissipate when gaining an intelligent perspective on fighting this mutual enemy: “love covers a multitude of sin” (1 Pt.4:8).
Today, everyone talks so lightly about repentance and forgiveness. As if, by a whim or prayer, it can be snatched off a tree like an apple. As if Jesus really has nothing to do with getting “IT”. Just pray a “prayer” and get “IT”.
Imagine being given an in-depth code to a hidden multi-million dollar treasure. Everything depends on knowing the code. Would you take it lightly? Jesus says true repentance and forgiveness is the key to have His message in your life as “GOOD news” (Lk. 24:47). Please, my friend, listen to me. You are not exempt from the influence of this culture of hypocrisy. So-called “Christians” refuse to humbly revisit their “foundation”. This, in and of itself, shows a “commitment” only to being stubborn, proud and lazy. I constantly revisit my foundation with a broken and contrite heart (Ps.51:17). It proves true repentance.
It’s not complicated. Quite the contrary. These things automatically transpire in a heart like Peter’s. If you reflect a similar response then surely there are no issues. The complexity is due to the inoculation of all “Christian” verbiage. God gives explicit examples of how someone can search for repentance “with tears” but not find it (Heb.12:17). This is terrifying.
Paul warns of two kinds of sorrow (2 Cor.7:10). The first is typical guilt and shame. As a young Christian I would beg God for forgiveness, over and over and over, only to find that, after many years, this cycle of stagnancy never changed. True repentance results in a forgiveness that eliminates this morbid cycle and leads to real change and new life. It resolves your past, once and for all (/Phil. 3:12-13/Gal.5:20).
Our sinful heart has so much junk going in and out of it, we don’t even realize how regret, over our life, sneaks in and lodges itself deep in our soul. It negatively affects all our thinking. Out of nowhere weird thoughts and feelings can vex our mind into the sullen madness of sin. It’s like one of those zombie movies. Things you thought were long gone, and dead, come back to haunt you. It’s because you don’t know TR&F (true repentance and forgiveness). Sin was never killed. To die with Christ is repentance (Rm.6). It is the only means to comprehend the depths of supernatural forgiveness.
WHY STRIDE WHEN YOU CAN FREELY RIDE?
True repentance and forgiveness (TR&F) does not involve trying to make yourself a good person. TR&F sets you on the tracks of reality. So many people think that walking down the tracks means they are on the train of salvation. They simply refuse to look into paying the price to board The Train (Lk.14:26). They are content to think they can get “there” in their own way; “No thanks. I’m fine”.
The pride hidden behind self-pity is the most successful weapon in the arsenal of Satan. Most people think of self-pity as an innocent comfort zone. Satan fills your mind with an array of lies; ‘God can never forgive me. I know what I did is terrible and what I’ve had to go through is terrible. God does not love me. I deserve to pout. I’m on my own’. As if such thinking gives you a solid negotiating position to manipulate truth. Secret rebellion is as vile as any outward acts of Hitler. It is absolute defiance to faith in what He has revealed. Until you learn to deal with sin, as the evil that it is, it will continue to thwart you from TR&F. God deals with every person on earth in justice and righteousness.
Here’s a fact you probably won’t believe. 20 veterans a day commit suicide. Ever think about them? Never. Why? Everything is about you. Yet they represent everything you are dealing with. How? I have met veterans who escaped death only to “be killed” in a battle with their mind. They could not withstand the onslaught of guilt, self-pity and depression over what they did. All their life they feel isolated and alone which breeds self-pity. Repentance is an insult to them and forgiveness is shrugged off as too simplistic a solution. The same is true for everyone dealing with battle scars from the world; divorce, drug addiction, sexual perversion, parental scorn, etc.
Sin is the greatest “mystery” in the world (2 Thes.2:7). It has as many masks as there are people on the earth. No one can understand it. No one even talks about it. No one, but One, can conquer it. I know this will sound extreme but the Scriptures reveal the root of all sin is our inborn hatred for God. I know you may not realize how everything we do, whether little or big, is an outcome of this motive. Jesus explains “there is no excuse for sin….they (all men) hate Me without reason” (Jn.15:25). We hate God for using His Law to expose us as utterly wicked.
The reason God does not act the way we want is because He is not the God we want. We want ourselves as god. However, He is the God He is; “I AM”. We are the ones who have fallen and must come to know and surrender to His revelation. The things we don’t understand are not an indictment against God but against our own stupidity and resistance to facing the magnitude of evil in us against Him.
When a man commits a crime legal experts search for a motive. Sin has no motive. It is illogical impulse provoked by unreasonable choices. It is the consequence of a THING within us. It is mindless rebellion. The never ending questions behind every sin are “Why or how could I?. It makes no sense.”
Sin is the most puzzling, vexing, avoided and offensive word in the human language.
My friend, listen to me, this can be a pivot point in your life here and now. If you will expend the heart to understand these things you will repent and find true forgiveness. It is not a one-time act, but a lifetime of wonderful relationship. It is time to shake yourself out of the lethargic conformity to procrastination. Your life is flashing by like a bullet train. You can be different. You can change the world. I’m serious. It’s time to be intelligent, sincere of heart and utilize your will to believe God as a real solution to your personal dilemma.
There are 7 billion victims of sin strewn across the battlegrounds of this world. Every place you look is overflowing with immense pain, prescription drugs, greed, insanity, and suffering. Do you really think this is the will of our loving Father?
Jesus accomplished the phenomenal victory of rising from the dead so we do not have to be subject to the garbage of this wicked world.
The “churches” today are a joke. They offer “lip service” of truth but live a lie (Mk.7:6/Mt.23). Their definition of “power” is sermon-hype. Jesus says the fruit of a tree shows it’s integrity (Mt.7:21). Ignorance of the Word result in sermons that replace the Holy Scriptures (Jesus says it is the “leaven”). Jokes and anecdotes are the “ear-tickling” ploy of wolves in sheep’s clothing. As a result, the “disciples” are as plastic and clueless as a bimbo media correspondent. This is not a bitter attitude but a prophetic warning over life or death end-time deception. This is no game. Today there are countless fools “preaching” about sin and their “holiness”. They have no idea what they are talking about.
First of all, they define sin, as does the world, by a classification system. It classifies individuals as “evil people” based on outward behavior; killers, bank robbers, drug addicts, drunks, perverts etc. In God’s eyes everyone from the Pope to the child killer is the same. Jesus was killed by something no one classifies as “sin”; self-righteousness.
People like to classify sin by outward behavior so they can feel self-righteous; “Oh I could never do that. I’m just not that kind of person”. This is only further proof they are “that”; self-righteous. I talk to countless “Christians” whose self-righteousness is far worse than any prisoner I’ve met; “Oh I know I’m a sinner but I’m not that bad”. At least the prisoners admit the prison in which they are captive. How many times have you heard on the news some local neighbor or family member of someone they “knew” say; “Oh he was not that kind of person. He could never have done that”?
The Bible defines several all-encompassing definitions of sin. It is “lawlessness”, “foolishness”, “knowing what is right and not doing it”, “anything not done from faith”, “all unrighteousness”, “haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked” and “the sting of death” (1 Jn.3:4/ Pr.24:9/Jam.4:17 /Rm.14:23/1 Jn.5:17/Pr.21:4/1 Cor.15:56). Such definitions “shut the mouths” to all self-righteousness (Rm.3:19). From the pope to every prisoner all of us are subject to a powerful evil force within us rooted in the very blood of our human nature. We are wicked to the bone.
My wife and I come from entirely different backgrounds. She was a “nice” beauty and I was, and am, the wicked beast. Yet, in the eyes of a holy God, we are the same. Sin is not in our personality. It is in our human nature.
LAW MIRRORS SIN
A mirror shows you what you look like. The Law is exactly the same (Jam.1:23-25). You may think that you are not “that bad”. In the eyes of God, aside from the 10 commandments, there are ten thousand laws He has written, that specify the precise behavior He demands for companionship (Hosea 8:12). The mirror-effect of the Law works like this: It is written “Thou shalt not lust….” – reflection – you instantly “see” that you lust. Paul says “through the law comes the knowledge of sin” (Rm.3:10,20). The mirror reflects the wickedness of your wickedness (Rm.7:13). We don’t have a hope in hell to be good enough for God.
I am constantly trying to prove to God that I’m not as bad as He says. “I CAN do what is right. Watch me God. For just one moment of time, watch, I’m going to do good. Here it goes. There, I helped someone. I witnessed to someone. I didn’t swear. I didn’t get angry. See. I can do right.” If only I could extinguish this cursed voice of pride within my soul. I can’t put a spear in it. I can’t tie up in a dog house. But the good part is coming; None of this is ME. God says “sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace” (Rm.6:14). Now, stay with me, you got to get this!
Paul explains “where there is no law there is no violation” (Rm.4:15). So where is this “where”? It is “where” Y O U are? Where I am, there is no law. Moses is not my Lord. I live, not by doing what he wrote but by what Jesus “wrote” in me (Jer.31:33). Not by trying to do, or be, right by the Law, but through “the magic code” of repentance and forgiveness; in truth and grace (Jn. 1:17).
From childhood, we are directed by what we should and shouldn’t do. This is the law written in our conscience (Rm.2:24). It is has been pulverized from the “nuclear fallout” of Adam’s sin. So it is by no means accurate, but still in tact to lead us to Christ. True repentance requires we yield our conscience to be “washed” so that our entire way of living “dies” and is crucified with Christ (Heb.10:22/Rm.6,8:3). A child of God is born of the Spirit and led by the Spirit, no longer the law of the conscience (Rm.8).
Paul explains that if being “right” comes by DOING “right” then Jesus died for nothing (Gal.2:21). (Read Romans 8:1-3)
In the most basic description, the Law is letters on pages. They can do nothing for you. There is no power looking at ink. The Law is not caffeine or testosterone. There is no energy but only misery in words that tell you to do what you can’t do; be good. It does nothing. The only thing the Law does is “kill” (2 Cor.3:3/Heb.7:19). At best it is a tutor (Gal.3:24-25).
As a result of Adam’s sin mankind plunged into ever deepening levels of evil. God created the Law to show anyone, who wanted His companionship, the purity His Character demands. But man had fallen too far (Rm.7:5). The Law (trying to be good) can not make an evil man acceptable to a holy God.
The Law started 10,000 years ago and also demands complex rituals of animal sacrifice to obtain forgiveness. God says if you insist on trying to be right, in even one small way, you are accountable to obey all ten thousand laws (James 2:10). Have fun. The evil of our sin is only magnified in any attempt to obey the law (1 Cor.15:56).
THE OBJECTIVITY OF SIN- seeing in the puzzle.
The very first thing John said when He saw Jesus was “Behold the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn.1:29).
The prophets foretold of an anticipated forgiveness that would be like “fresh spring rain” from a Messiah. He would not exact from us obedience to the Law but rather freely give to us grace, to cover all our sin, once and for all. Nothing would be required from a man (Hos. 6:3). . The Law came through Moses…grace…was realized in Jesus (John 1:17). Paul clarifies that the O.T. requirements are now “obsolete” (Heb.8:13). There’s nothing you have to do to repent and be forgiven. The issue is not about procedure but heart and truth (Ps.51:17).
“Behold, days are coming…when I will make a new covenant…not like the old...” (Jer.31:34). “I will tread down your sin…and cast all your sins into the depth of the sea…” (Mic.7:19). “…I will cast all your sins behind My back.” (Is.38:17). “I have wiped out your sins like a thick cloud and your sins like a heavy mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you” (Is.44:22). The heart of God is to give us forgiveness. That’s it.
So much can be learned from the initial encounter between Jesus and Peter (Lk.5:7). So check it out: God meets a dirty fisherman. Let’s see. What do you think would be their conversation? Peter said “Go away Jesus. I’m a wicked man.” (Lk.5:7). Jesus said “Repent of your sins and ask Me into your heart as your personal Savior”? Not quite. Jesus never said anything like this nonsense of today. No principles, emotional catharsis of contrived tears or promise of “prosperity”.
Jesus told a woman caught in the act of adultery “Go and sin no more” (Jn.8:3). How could He say this?
Something happened in that air that no one but those two knew; TR&F (true repentance and forgiveness). Jesus touched her with His Character as He touched Peter in the in-depth place with the secret code called reality. His tone, His look, His personal love. The words of Jesus were not Law but grace. Extremely Personal.
This is why you can not separate TR&F from the Person of Jesus. He alone is the One Who imparts reality to these terms. There was far more communicated between Jesus and the individuals whom He forgave. Jesus makes every effort to “reason” with us, compelled by His longing desire for us to know His forgiveness. Peter was weighed down with guilt. As a Jew he was well aware of his failure.
I am not driven to stop sinning. I am driven to serve Jesus. I am anchored in my seat and not lured to consider any STOP. I am in Christ. He is my Lord. In Him there is only grace. I have learned the “reasoning” of a God Whose reason is “hesed“; covenant mercy. In trying to describe TR&F Paul exhausted the human language and described forgiveness as being so emphatic it is backed by two promises of God (Heb.6:16-17 ). God “doubles-down” on what He offers.
THE TRANSACTION – Snow “reckoned” for Scarlet
“Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord, though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool” (Is.1:18).
As a catholic I went to confession hundreds of times, driven by my conscience, to be and do “right”. The passing euphoria of that “forgiveness” didn’t even last until I got home. It was a passing emotional impulse. I had no idea what repentance meant. Evangelicals don’t realize it, but they think exactly the same as the Catholics they condemn.
Repentance is the intelligent transaction in which we “reason together” with the Father and hand over our life (scarlet) to Him in exchange for His forgiveness (snow).
We have no clue how to deal with sin by our own reasoning. We feel bad over and over and over. We become addicted to feelings. But neither penance or a sinner’s prayer will lead to TR&F. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t say you’re sorry for your sin. I say it thousands and thousands of times. I so terribly fear presumption. I know my heart is wicked.
It is hard to imagine but Jesus perfectly obeyed every single written Law (Rm.8:1-3). He is the only One Who was and is acceptable to the Father. Jesus mediated His life to the Father in a vicarious substitution for man. He provided atonement for sin. Thus the holiness of the Father was satisfied and His wrath for sin appeased.
People wrongly think salvation is something in us so we have to be careful to maintain our moral integrity. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus says “I came for the sick…” (Mk.2:17). Salvation is not in us. Sin is all that is in us (Rom.7:18). Salvation is only in Jesus (Jn.14:6). Jesus provides the eternal posture of repentance for communion with His holy Father. He is constantly mediating our sanctification before the Father (Jn.14:23). He uses many things to break us into His disposition of humility. Our destiny and power arenot within ourselves but in our standing in Christ (Gal.3:16). It is in the mind-set of Jesus that we oversee and overcome sin.
This mindset (the standing of “white as snow”) was depicted long ago in Joshua as a type of Christ: “Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments…and Satan stood accusing him…and the Lord said ‘Remove the filthy garments…and clothe him in festive robes…and put a clean turban on his head” (Zechariah 3).
Seeing The Puzzle
It is impossible to separate ourselves from sin but Biblical revelation says Jesus did exactly this. The Holy Spirit offers a discernment between Jesus and our sin (Heb.4:12). Have you ever seen one of those puzzles in which you try to identify certain things hidden in the design? Once you identify the objects all the distractions are no longer a problem. God does not make sin disappear as the ‘holy rollers’ claim. What He offers is the Spirit to separate and discern sin, so that we can understand victory rather than live in ignorance and defeat. Sin cannot be understood but God offers an understanding of how to deal with it.
Sin was not created. It is the aftermath of Eve’s “nuclear” defiance against God (1 Tim.2:9-15/1Pt.3:off/Eph.5:22/Col.3:18). You were not there when Adam and Eve sinned. You had nothing to say about IT. It is like a sickness (Jer.17:9). A cold is not you. It is something you did not choose at birth. But now you do have a choice.
Paul could not have made it any clearer: “…I am no longer the one doing IT, but SIN which dwells in me…” (Rm. 7:20).
It is Satan’s strategy is to convince you are the source of your evil. You are not. Sin is not your personality. It is human nature. It is Adam’s fault. His nature is ours. His arrogance was sin. Now you can agree with him or agree with Jesus.
There is a specific divine ‘mechanism’ God created to regulate TR&F. It is the only trigger to release you from your feelings and thoughts. To release you from sin. The concept is called “reckoned”or “credited”(Rom.4:9). It is like the transaction behind using a credit card. It is like the slogan of the Nike company “JUST DO IT”. No drama. No tears. No guilt or penance. No requirement for moral betterment. The faith to believe God for TF&F is “reckoned” to a man as what He deems “righteous” (Rm.4:3).
For hours and days on end, you can think “I am the only one who thinks like this. How could I do that? How can I think these terribly sinful things?” You feel horrible. You must choose to believe; “I know all this crap comes out of the sin in me, but Jesus is greater and my forgiveness has long ago been reckoned”. It is joy “unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Pt.1:8).
6 billion others think the same Adamic cycle but refuse the Jesus cycle. Even Jesus was tempted in all things (Heb.4:15). In the O.T. the concept of a “scapegoat” was that a man had to lay his hands on a goat, confess his sin, then send it into the wilderness. In the N.T. Jesus chose to be our Scapegoat. Instead of blaming something or someone else, He stands willing to accept your blame because He bore it all.
All sin was cast into the sea. All of IT was forgiven. IT was “tread down” and is “remembered no more”. Jesus “objectified” sin ( 1 Pt.2:24). IT was put on The Lamb and killed (2 Cor.5:21).
We have all felt the seismic tremors that shake us to the core of our identity when we yield to something evil. We think “How am I ever going to change?”. If you think you already repented, at a subconscious level, you will really think “I have no hope. There are no other answers. I’ve surely exhausted my number of 2nd chances”. Jesus specifically addressed there are no limits or numbers to forgiveness (Mt. 18:21).
The truth is you did not do what you did. Sin did. A war of conscience arises to condemn you. If your conscience has not been “washed” you will ultimately give in to it (Heb.9:14,10:22). Sin comes from hell so we feel like hell. Paul says it makes you feel “death” (Rm.6:23). It causes chaos and confusion. It draws you further into self-pity and depression. All of it, based on a lie. YOU are not sin. It is going on in you, despite you. If repentance required piety, who determines how much? Are a hundred tears sufficient? How long of time does each sin require “sorrow”? Forgiveness is instant and eternal.
Now, of course, the issue of license is of concern. Paul asks “should we continue to sin so that grace may increase? May it never be!” (Rm.6:1). Without becoming complicated he simply explains everything comes down to true repentance. To die with Christ is a real thing. It’s that simple. Either you believe or you don’t. When the men said “Help us in our unbelief” Jesus didn’t say “Sure. No problem”. Faith is not about quantity but authenticity (Mk.4:31). If you won’t believe just a little, then you don’t believe at all. A little true faith is faith.
MAKING WHITE- The finality of the death of sin
The death of sin was made sure; executed by a hammer, nails, a crown of thorns, a wooden cross and One Man of impeccable Character at one point in time. Sin began in Adam and ended in the Lord Jesus (Rm.5). There’s no question Jesus was killed. So there’s no question sin is dead. A ransom transaction of His perfect blood for our sinful blood was completed. Access to a holy God restored.
It is written “… the death that He died, He died to sin once for all” (Rm.6:10/1 Pt.3:18). New Testament forgiveness is once and for all (Mk.10:45/1 Tim.2:6/Heb9:26).
What’s done is DONE. No sin can be added. Jesus has already died and risen.
Forgiveness is both an impersonal and personal transaction. It is impersonal in that it invoked a “ransom” of which you had nothing to say (Mk.10:45/1 Tim.2:6). It was some thing done 2000 yrs. ago because of some thing called sin. It is Personal in that Jesus is the One Who resolved IT. He did so out of His own Personal love for you. Forgiveness cost Him every drop of blood that circulated through His body, down the cross and into the ground. About this, you have everything to say. It is from Someone offered to someone; you. This experience, Paul describes, as “lavish” (Eph.1:7).
The Father knew your name 2000 yrs. ago. Jesus knew He was dying for you. In the midst of His mental anguish, a vast number of faces flashed in and out of His pain-ridden body. You were one of them if you are one of them.
Predestination is not confusing. Eternity has no time line. Standing in heaven you will realize it is not predestination that is strange but the limitations on earth of days, months and years that are strange. What was shall be and this is only consistent with eternity. Paul says “The Father chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world” (Eph.1:4). The Father wrote our name in His book “from the foundation of the world” (Rev.13:8).
Sin is not A sin. Thus forgiveness is not for ONE but for ALL sin. Sin is “as scarlet”. Forgiveness is for scarlet. Jesus became scarlet on a cross so all sin, past, present and future was in His scarlet bearing nature (1 Pt.2:24). He Who knew NO SIN became sin (2 Cor. 5:21).
REPENTANCE LEADING TO FORGIVENESS
Sin began in Adam and ended in Christ. It’s that simple. The question is whether you are ever going to truly claim TR&F. Jesus didn’t kind of die. Or kind of kill it (1 Pt.2:24). Or kind of rise again.
Sin is no longer a problem for God. If it’s a problem for you then it’s all you. The choice to believe is all yours. In some bizarre way men do not want to be rid of sin because then they can’t consort with their best friend any more; Self-pity. People depict their situation as so dire, either God does what they want, or it proves He doesn’t really care. In other words, men are God and “the man upstairs” is merely their divine Butler.
People talk about veterans who have died in war as having made the “supreme sacrifice”. But they did not choose to die. They were killed by chance. A man who sacrifices his life to Jesus dies a real death. It is not theoretical or poetic. The depth of resolution require to completely die is a completed sacrifice of self. Paul says “I have been crucified with Christ it is no longer I who live…” (Gal.2:20). It is a conscious and deliberate act of sacrificing his life on this earth for Christ.
My family and I die to our lives daily (1 Cor.15:31). We’ve made thousands of calculated sacrifices so others can live. Jesus replaces selfishness. It is the reason Peter left his boat. Catching men is a joy beyond any haul of fish Peter ever made. How could Jesus tell the woman “Go and sin no more“? The adulterous woman had no desire to continue in sin because the new identity in the love of Jesus was far greater than her carnal desires. Zacheus returned everything he stole and far more. He got it. Matthew got it. John got it. Get it?
Repentance is to prioritize your focus on Jesus despite all issues of sin (2 Chronicles 20:12). The kindness of God leads to the praise of His triumph (Rm.2:4). Sin ‘sits there’ insisting it is you, but you insist on being dead with Christ. So we do not promise to do things right from now on because it would never be enough.
Paul was not “extreme” or “radical” when he wrote “united with His death” (Rm.6:6). Death is the only way to strip sin of the power in the law (1 Cor.15:56).
“… for he who has died is freed from sin” (Rm.6:6).
If you are not going to die then you are not going to live. True repentance is true death. If you don’t die to sin then you will die from it. Partial death is no death.
Forgiveness is actually way easier than we want it to be. It is like accessing a credit card that has long been in your name, just waiting for you to personally pick up and use. It was done and ready for you long ago. Credit card fraud is when someone performs a transaction but it is not backed up by his own personal account. Ease of access does not forgo fellowship in Jesus.
Repentance is “metanoia”; coming to your senses and simply changing your mind. It is the heart of the prodigal son turning from himself out of the compelling love of the Father (Lk.15). Changing our thinking instantly “reckons” us and brings us into the posture of His thinking (Phil.2:5ff). We die. He lives. God “reckons” us “as white as snow” (Rm.4:9,22).
A train operator turns a deliberate switch of a lever to alter the direction of the tracks. You must change the direction of your will to believe the forgiveness Jesus wrought is yours. You are never forgotten and always forgiven. It doesn’t depend on a prayer but on the cross. The train then runs in a different direction. You begin to discover new places. The tracks of forgiveness have long ago been laid. There is nothing you need to do but believe like Peter. You can not change sin but you can switch tracks.
He says “…if we ‘ride’ in the Light (ride the train) as He himself is in the Light …the blood cleanses us from all sin” (1 Jn.1:6-7).
Do you think there’s any question to massive power churning the wheels of a train? The TR&F Railroad will take you far beyond all your feeble and tentative considerations of salvation. It will set you on board forever. There are over 12 stories of faith in one chapter (Heb.11). Common ordinary people living extraordinary life. When I got on board, at my rebirth at Notre Dame, was the beginning of ongoing transformation; “from glory to glory” (2 Cor. 3:18)
I fully expected something beyond myself to take me beyond myself; into another mode of life. I am not the same person I was 40 yrs. ago…..or 10 years ago….or five months ago….or last night. His forgiveness has never changed but my comprehension of it has. He has taken me places I could never get to by my own strength.
Old ‘friends’ try to hold me to past sin and immaturity. They say “You used to say this” or “You used to do this”. I am constantly seeing my scarlet ways and have to choose to live in His new ways (Mt.18:23). My forgiveness does not come from men. It has come from Jesus and keeps me securely on board His revelation.
God warned Able; “sin is after you but you must master it” (Gen.4:7). Paul says “For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace” (Rm.6:14). The requirement to “master” sin is not self-purification. It is hearing God swear to you that He forgives you. A man who knows true repentance and forgiveness is a happy man ( Rm. 4). You don’t have to “get right” before you get serious with God. Simply believe Him to “reckon” you right by the only thing right in the world; His righteousness (Rm.4).
FINDING YOUR FREQUENCY
There is no one like you. So why try to be like everyone else? Create your own story. Find your own path. Feed a fire within for the “more” God promises (Eph.3:20). Your Father will lead you to His Son but you are the only one who can begin this journey. It’s not about trying to figure out what or how to do things. Like Peter, face Jesus and everything will fall into place. The puzzle will be solved. The code will be yours. You will be sitting on the train being taken into a destination beyond this world.
How often have you realized that because you are ‘set in your ways’ no matter how you have tried to change everything remains the same? There is no merit with God for being stubborn over a past “commitment to Christ” when in day to day life you have no clue to His Frequency. Pretense has no corresponding reality in God’s Word; except “hypocrite”.
If you define God by how, or whether, He enriches your life you contradict the revelation of the Father in the words of His Son; “If anyone wishes to come after Me he must deny himself, take up His cross daily and follow Me (Lk.9:26).
Paul says “I run in such a way as not without aim” (1 Cor.9:24).
Life is a maze of rock crevasses and dimly lit caves. Moab, Utah is full of such places. It is phenomenal. The tight spots, narrow passages, and sharp edges can bear upon you with fearful imaginations of danger. Then suddenly, you turn a corner and behold a view so magnificent you are angered at yourself for any hesitation you had in pursuing this venture; true change of heart. TR&F solves all the struggles of life by replacing our self-serving life with His focus on love for others.
Forgiveness cost the Father the blood of His Son. Therefore, how quickly, and full-heartedly, must we learn how to forgive ourselves, and each other (Matt.18:21ff )?
A few of us are presently preaching the gospel across the states. If you’d like to meet up contact us through our website. Some of us are working to save up money. Before we head back to Brazil, Abraham and Ruth will take the gospel with signs and tracks, in three more languages, to Manilla, Tokyo and Seoul this November. They will spy out the land for when we are done with Brazil.
If anyone is interested I would strongly suggest you check out the prison conditions, online, in Manila. There is no zoo or pig farm I have ever seen as bad as these prisons. We are trying to get in.
As I have previously explained we have no consistent support and rely on our own savings from working jobs. It would be great if anyone could care to help us. It will cost between five and six thousand. Traveling across the states is not free. I am not a fat-cat preacher. We don’t own a home. Thank God. I share this, not in a kind of begging spirit, but in joy and faith, as Paul also expressed his needs so he could reach as many as possible with Jesus (1 Cor.9). We proclaim the love of the Father to you and pray the precious Spirit of His Son upon you. Don’t forget to check out our music; search “Ancient Boom” on itunes.
We were immersed in a sea of orange. All eight of us were spread out in front of the stadium at the Tennessee vs Alabama football game. Well over a hundred thousand people. The blessing was so deep I believe it comes out of the DNA that runs within my spirit of the blood of the Lamb. “Oh…” the wonder of a Father and Son Whom we get to serve in His Spirit.
Sure there are scores of hypocrites and evil doers but for the burly guy named Sam, who shared with me how he had killed men in war and couldn’t imagine how Jesus could forgive him, for the well-dressed older businessman who had been through a divorce and had had it with his “church” and all the others it is beyond worth it. If there is any wonder, quest or desire to do “God’s will” this is it. “Oh…” the depths of His simple and dumbfounding ways are so joyful.
Of course we all felt so bad for David who had the “Student Section” and was pelted with both filthy words and objects. But God gave him the grace to endure it all. We could only comfort Him with the sufferings of Christ. The following few days we spent dealing with a campus full of reprobates. We have been preaching at University of Tennessee for over thirty years and it has gotten progressively so bad it is impossible to explain. You have to see it to believe it. The drugs and alcohol, mixed with Christianity is a formula for insanity.
And so I say to you, do not twist the things of God. Be a child. When you find your back up against the wall, and the “living” shadows of Despair, Grief and Regret point their fingers at you, insisting on their accusations of hopelessness, you must shake your head, rise to your feet and stand in the Word of God. Prove yourself to be a true child of God. If you can stare down your worst nightmare and say these heartfelt words, as Paul did, then surely you are a “just man who lives by faith” (Rm.1:17):
This picture was in the University of Tennessee’s Paper the Next day.
“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For ho has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor?…” (Rm.11:33). Do not doubt! Only believe. You think this… You think that… But He is God and you but a man; a worm; a maggot (Job 25:5-6). His ways are so, so, so far beyond (Is.55:6ff).
This was the picture for the University of Auburn’s Newspaper.
We had a rich blessing in Alabama, mostly at Auburn University. It is quite a unique school. Lots of crowds and numerous good sharings with individuals. So now we are finishing up our ministry on college campuses and preparing to head back to Montevideo, Uruguay and throughout South America. So much required in preparing to go, in going, in arriving and in heading out.
Our hope is to get those silver aluminum-looking insulated skinny blankets in the camping department at Wal-Mart for the guys in prison overseas. They are small and work well. They cost about a buck a piece so obviously we can’t afford them at that, being that we deal with thousands of guys. So we are writing letters to those corporations as well as many other companies to try to get goods to help bless these guys. Also we are doing the same to try to get equipment. We are hoping to get a projector and screen to really help us in so many venues. We have a web site that we send to people to verify our work. If anyone would like to help us you can check it out. Wow. Would we ever appreciate any help: www.wouldyougobeyond.com