THANK GOD I WAS RAISED AN ATHEIST
My parents are honest people. They’d had some bad experiences with the Catholic organization when they were younger and so decided not to raise their children as Catholics. Their decision was based not on a hatred of God or Jesus, but on a dislike of Catholicism. To them, anything that came from the Catholic church was suspect, as the people they’d dealt with in the church were disingenuous at best and outright cruel at worst. And so I was raised an atheist, and I say thank God for that.
If I’d been “raised in the faith”, I would not have had the advantage of learning about God and Jesus from the Bible, and then by extension getting to know God as my loving and protective Father and Jesus as my big brother, Lord, and best friend. I would never have sat at the feet of Jesus, like Mary, learning from him directly. I would instead have sat in a pew learning doctrines of men and devils at the feet of churchianity.
As I’ve mentioned in previous entries, churchianity is not what Jesus had in mind when he established God’s Kingdom on Earth. In fact, churchianity much more resembles the hodgepodge melting pot of blasphemies that characterized the back-sliding phases of the children of Israel prior to Jesus. Those were the phases where worship of God took a back seat to demon worship or occurred alongside it in blatant violation of the first Commandment.
I mention this not to bash churchianity (although it sorely deserves to be bashed), but to point out that I really dodged a bullet there by not being raised to worship demons or to hold to doctrines of men, and for that I owe a debt of gratitude to my parents.
Being “raised in the faith” is essentially a death sentence for developing real faith. I know many people who were raised in the faith, and while they continue even as adults to support churchianity and its many social causes, none of these people are actually following Jesus. They religiously attend church on Sundays, do volunteer work, organize church-related social events, and pour money into their church’s coffers. Otherwise, their lives are indistinguishable from those of unbelievers. That’s not to say they’re not generous with their service to their respective churches, but they’re not following Jesus. They’re following churchianity.
Christianity is not something you are born into; it’s something you are born-again into. Catholicism claims that you’re born-again at baptism, which takes place when you’re around three weeks old, but that’s clearly nonsense. Spiritual rebirth of necessity starts with repentance, and obviously a three-week-old baby has no idea what repentance is or how to do it.
Most Protestant denominations also either hold that rebirth takes place at baptism or at some form of ritual that may or may not involve the laying on of hands. But having hands laid on you by someone who is not born-again does not make you born-again. In Acts, the ceremony involving the ritual laying-on of hands accomplished spiritual rebirth because the people performing the ceremony were genuinely born-again, and those being reborn genuinely wanted to be reborn. God’s Spirit happily attended those ceremonies. Whether or not he chooses to attend ceremonies where people who are not born-again attempt to confer spiritual rebirth on those who don’t really want to be born-again is anyone’s guess, but I’m guessing that in most cases not.
The whole circus of organized Christian religion needs to be nuked from space. It is falsely portraying Jesus and the gospel and driving people away from God. In other words, churchianity is a false prophet. It should not be surprising, then, that this false prophet is spawning individuals who themselves are false prophets. YouTube and some “faith-based” TV channels are full of them.
Jesus was an outsider to organized religion. He used it as a resource tool, but he didn’t support it. His job was to overthrow it, like the tables of the money-changers in the temple. What he retained from Judaism were the prophets, the Ten Commandments, and the Passover feast. But he modified the Passover to insert himself as the spiritual sacrificial lamb. The slaughtering of a lamb is no longer required in the new Passover. The rest of Judaism (i.e., the lower-case law, the oral teachings, etc.) he threw out altogether.
Jesus warned us that in the last days we would be inundated with people who claim to be following him, but are not. And here we are, right on schedule. God permits churchianity and false prophets as a way to sift the wheat from the chaff: Those who choose to do his will and follow Jesus are the wheat, while those who choose to do the will of the world and/or follow churchianity are the chaff. Make sure that you, during the sifting process, remain wheat to the end.
SHAKING THE NORMIE DUST FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY FEET
When Jesus sent his disciples out to preach the Word, he instructed them only to go to villages and towns that were Jewish, and to avoid places that were not. When they found a house that was receptive to the Word, they were to stay there as a base to teach the rest of the town or village; but if they couldn’t find a house that was receptive, they were to shake the dust from the bottom of their feet as a warning to that place, and move on.
I’ve been doing a lot of foot-shaking over the past few years. God’s Word is becoming less and less welcome in more and more places. Even people I’ve given Bibles to, who at first accepted them politely, have since thrown them out.
It’s a hard lesson for born-again believers to walk away from people who don’t want anything to do with God and Jesus, especially if those people were raised in Christian homes. There’s a part of us that wants to keep trying to reach them, but that’s not what Jesus modeled. He preached and taught only where the Word was welcome, and we’re to do the same. That’s because people hear the Word by the Spirit of Truth, and only if they’re open to the Spirit of Truth. If they’re not open to the Spirit, you can’t reach them. They hear nothing you’re saying and are only tolerating you to be polite.
I would rather people throw shoes at me than just stand there being polite. At least they would show some spark of life, but normies (mainstream majority “normal” people) are for the most part devoid of life. They automatically gravitate to whatever the majority is doing, so that if the majority supports that men can be women and women can murder their children in the womb, that’s what they support. For normies, going against the herd is a fate worse than death.
And following Jesus is definitely going against the herd.
I grew up surrounded by normies. I never felt like I belonged, because I didn’t. I’m not a normie. In hindsight, feeling like an outsider was good training for being a born-again believer. I still don’t feel like I belong in the world, but at least now I understand why. I’m happy that I don’t belong in the realm of Satan. I’m happy that I feel like an outsider when I’m around normies. I’m happy when they reject me and treat me as an “other”, because that’s what I am. If they accepted me, I would start to worry. If they welcomed me, I’d know I was doing something wrong.
Mainstream Christian churches are filled with normies. They gravitate towards the largest congregations and go through the motions, the same motions as all the other normies. Christianity started to die when it became mainstream and was adopted by normies. Little by little, it became less about following Jesus and more about following the herd. That the herd is being steered by Satan doesn’t enter the thought processes of normies, because their thought processes don’t function. Normies don’t think, any more than a herd of animals thinks. Normies respond to base provocations like fear and desire and do what all the other normies around them are doing. That, to a normie, is life.
Jesus didn’t waste his time on normies. When he advised his disciples to shake the dust from the bottom of their feet as a sign against those who wouldn’t receive their message, he was talking about normies. Normies have never received the Spirit of Truth, not in Jesus’ day nor in ours. Christian churches are filled with people who reject the Spirit of Truth. That’s why they fall for false prophet after false prophet and remain lifetime card-carrying members of churches that are blatantly in violation of God’s Commandments.
They are Christian in name only, and only because they grew up in a Christian home or have Christian friends. But their concept of what it means to be a Christian is as far removed from Jesus as the Jewish normies were in the towns and villages that rejected the disciples. In spirit, they are the same herd of normies, just in a different time and place.
Scripture says that we should let the spiritually hungry come to us, we shouldn’t go to them. Jesus taught and preached only where the Word was welcome. He didn’t whitewash it, he didn’t water it down, and he didn’t twist or bend it so as not to offend anyone. He spoke God’s Word as God guided him to speak it, and so must we. Those who want to hear it will come to us, those who don’t, won’t.
It’s a sign that you’re on the right path when normies reject you. When that happens, don’t change your tune to try to please them; just shake the normie dust from the bottom of your feet, and move on.
THE DEEP STATE BAIT: THE WORLD UNDER SATAN
When Jesus said that the world is under Satan, he didn’t mean it figuratively or metaphorically, he meant it literally: The world is actually under the authority of Satan.
We born-agains, however, are not under Satan. We’re in the protected zone of the Kingdom, with “PROPERTY OF GOD” and “HANDS OFF THE MERCHANDISE” emblazoned across us spiritually. The evil one knows to keep his distance from us (unless God gives him permission to tempt us).
Even so, we live our lives surrounded by spiritual enemies. Everyone who is not born-again is under Satan, which means they’re our spiritual enemies. You have to be careful around enemies. You can’t give too much away. Scripture says to keep your innermost thoughts even from your spouse, because no-one can be trusted. Scripture also says that Jesus kept his innermost thoughts to himself because he knew men’s hearts. He trusted no-one, not even his closest disciples. And seeing how they all fled when he was arrested, he was right not to trust them.
The world being under the control of Satan means it’s built on lies, Satan being the Father of Lies. And who better to place as “leaders” of nations than people who lie for a living, otherwise known as politicians; and who better to promote and broadcast the lies of politicians than mainstream media and their controlled opposition, the alternative media? The world is awash in lies because it’s based on lies and run by professional liars.
Two of the biggest lies are that politicians have power and make their own decisions, and that the media is free and can broadcast what it wants. We know that both politicians and the media are tightly controlled and steered by the deep state that undergirds all power structures across all nations. Not just politicians, but anyone in a position of worldly authority, including doctors, university presidents, teachers, religious leaders, business executives, lawyers, accountants, law enforcement, musicians, artists, athletes, actors, etc. – nearly everyone in a position of authority or who has achieved a certain level of success in their field has entered into an agreement with Satan.
Of course, Satan’s recruiters (working mainly under the auspices of “secret societies”, foundations and charities) don’t approach potential recruits by asking them if they’d like to sell their soul in return for career success and exemption from the world’s laws, but that’s essentially the deal. Most of the recruits are sourced at universities and colleges; other recruiting sites include auditions, casting calls, grassroots organizations, boardrooms, interview rooms, locker rooms, gala events – any place ambitious people congregate. Satan feeds on the ambitious; they are his go-to tools, because they’re so predictable and so easily controlled. Not all ambitious people will sell their soul for success in their chosen field, but most will.
Once the deal is made and the new recruits enter their apprenticeship stage, they are closely watched both with the world’s surveillance tools and spiritual surveillance. This is when the dirt is carefully gathered on these people to be used against them later if they want out of the deal or if they go off-script. If no dirt can be found at that stage, the monitors dig deeper into the recruits’ past to find something, or they just simply earmark for harm certain loved ones of the recruits, and make sure the recruits are aware of it. This is how Satan is able to run such a tight ship throughout the global deep state. He’s instituted a system of coercion, threats, and blackmail that the recruits seemingly can’t escape, not even through death, and he’s roped in their loved ones as well, though most of the loved ones are unaware they have a target on their back. The whole process is diabolical in the truest sense.
The good news, though, is that most of these people can escape if they really want to. Unless they’ve knowingly and with full agreement given their will over to Satan (as those at the highest levels of the deep state have done), they can escape. But the only way out is by becoming a follower of Jesus. There is no other way out. You can’t just simply walk away from a contract with Satan. You can only break free by coming under the protection of God’s Holy Spirit, and that only happens through spiritual rebirth.
I personally know some people who’ve signed on to this Hell on Earth in exchange for worldly success. I knew them socially before I was born-again. I myself was never recruited, probably because I was too much of a wild-card and never ambitious for worldly wealth or success. I was always looking for love and truth, even as an atheist. I wouldn’t have been a good fit in an organization headed by the Father of Lies. I would have been, as they say, a clear liability.
Jesus got the offer. Satan himself tried to recruit Jesus during his temptation in the desert, offering him the big prize – all the wealth and glory of all the world’s kingdoms – but Jesus turned him down flat. The ones who didn’t turn him down have their names recorded in history books. Strangely, though, when we read about these “great” men and women, we never read about how they were tempted by the devil and accepted the offer. That part of their biography is always glaringly missing.
I’m not knocking the deep state. I wouldn’t want to be part of it and I don’t admire those who are in it, but I’m not knocking it. It is what it is, and it serves its purpose, kind of like a sewage system serves a purpose. God permits the deep state for a reason. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be avoided like the plague, but I’m not interested in disrupting what it does or how it operates. Even though God put Satan in control of it, God still controls Satan, which means that God ultimately controls the deep state. More specifically, he sets boundaries for what it can and cannot do, the way he set boundaries for what Satan could and could not do to Job.
Satan no longer has free will, so he needs God’s permission to do evil. But God will only permit as much evil as has been earned by those receiving it or as much as is useful for testing purposes. God created evil and sets boundaries for it, but he doesn’t do evil. He lets those who are evil and choose evil do evil. Even evil serves a purpose in God’s economy.
So you see what Jesus meant when he said the world is under Satan. It actually really truly is. The unholy realm where Satan is Lord is just as real as the holy realm where Jesus is Lord, yet Jesus is Lord over Satan and therefore also over the deep state. God has given Jesus that authority.
It’s enough for us to know that the world is under Satan and that Jesus has overcome the world. We don’t need to dig any deeper into the deep state or try to disrupt its plans. As long as you stick with Jesus, those plans don’t include you. You are not part of that judgement. So let the deep state be and focus on God and his Kingdom. You will not accomplish anything either by exposing individual members of the deep state or by trying to thwart their plans. All you’ll do is get in the way of God’s judgement. Yes, it’s useful to know that the deep state exists and how it functions, but otherwise it’s best just to let it be.
And if you personally know someone who took the bait and became part of the deep state, pray for them. And pray for those who see no way out, but want out. Amen.
THE DESTRUCTION OF CHRISTENDOM
The controlled demolition of formerly Christian Western nations, or what used to be called Christendom, is now going full steam ahead under the guise of a globalized pandemic. The uprooting and dismantling of the workforce, the economy, our history and our culture (including and especially our belief system, which is based on the Ten Commandments) is eerily similar to what took place in Germany, Russia and China just before their 20th century revolutions. The medical has become the political, with slogans like “for the greater good” and “we’re all in this together” lifted directly from the Propaganda 101 handbook. Those who don’t agree with the new normal order are being identified, tagged, and marked for elimination, just like in Germany, Russia and China. It’s only a matter of time before doors get kicked in at 3 a.m. and “dissidents” are hauled off to quarantine facilities that bear a striking resemblance to concentration camps.
Being followers of Jesus, we’re supernaturally outcasts and dissidents, not just to the new normal order, but to the world in general. Living opposed to the realm of Satan is the heart and soul of being a Christian. Our outsider’s perspective gives us a heads-up of sorts for what’s coming. Because come it will. There’s no avoiding what is about to be unleashed.
Every day we see the walls closing in further on those who will not comply. Mandates that just a few months ago were ridiculed as conspiracy theories are now being imposed by the very same people who labeled them as such. We are surrounded by deceivers who have no shame in being caught in their lies and about-faces. Like their father Satan, they speak lies as their mother tongue, while Truth is a foreign language they have no desire to learn.
Unfortunately, the only rallying cry that has emerged so far to combat the West’s destruction has been to urge people to “wake up”. But waking up won’t stop anything; it will just make people more aware that the destruction is happening.
Scripture teaches us that when a nation is in danger of destruction, it’s not because of evil from without but evil from within. The people of the nation strayed so far from God’s Commandments that they devolved into a society where evil and depravity were normalized. Their destruction was the natural outcome of their devolution. Those doing the destruction were, in fact, doing God’s judgement.
I don’t blame the forces (human and otherwise) that are behind the dismantling of Christendom. We deserve every bit of the evil that’s coming our way, seeing how far we’ve fallen spiritually. This would not be happening to us if we hadn’t earned it. In other words, this is God’s judgement on Christendom, just as the flood was God’s judgement, and the destruction of Sodom was God’s judgement, and the 10 plagues of Egypt were God’s judgement, and the obliteration of the heathen nations by the children of Israel was God’s judgement. The controlled demolition of formerly Christian nations is God’s judgement on those nations and will proceed just as assuredly as every other instance of God’s judgement. As Christians, our job isn’t to wake people up to the coming destruction or even to try to stop it, but to get out of the way while God takes care of business.
When God told Abraham about his plans to destroy Sodom, Abraham tried to strike a deal with him. He asked God if he would cancel his plans if there were at least 10 righteous souls in the city. God agreed to do so, if there were 10 righteous souls. As we know, the destruction proceeded as planned. That meant there weren’t even 10 righteous souls in a regional area of hundreds of thousands. How many righteous souls do you suppose are in formerly Christian nations today? Remember that only two souls (Joshua and Caleb) out of more than a million were considered worthy to cross over the River Jordan to the Promised Land.
I’m not sure if there’s any point in praying for Christendom. Most of the people in it would rather curse God than humble themselves before him. I think we’re at the stage where God has simply given people over to their depravity and let them go. This is not a situation like Jonah and Nineveh, where all the Ninevites repented in sackcloth and ashes and God cancelled his plans to destroy their city. No, this is definitely more like the flood or like Sodom, where God warned his own people to prepare accordingly or suffer the same fate as the condemned.
Our shelter from the coming storm needs to be like Noah’s – we need to go into the ark of God and shut the doors and windows tight. But unlike Noah’s, our ark is spiritual, not physical. Our salvation is spiritual, not physical, just as our wars are spiritual, not physical. This is not the time for slacking off or wandering off from the path. This is not the time for weakness. Our temptations and tests will only get harder because the stakes are getting higher and higher. We need to be ready for them by preparing now.
And how do we prepare? By staying as close as we can to God, doing everything he advises, and following as closely as we can behind Jesus. And what does that translate to in action? Read your Bible every day, keep the Commandments, treat others as you want to be treated, and love your enemies. And if you haven’t yet started to teach and preach the Word, start today. When God, at the Judgement, asks you what you did with the talent he gave you, you do not want to be the one who says you were afraid and so hid it away. God enables your talent, through his Spirit, so let him speak and work through you. Remember that Jesus was ready to start his ministry before he realized he was ready. His mother had to push him.
Consider this your push.
Make God and his Kingdom all your focus and all your labour, as a follower of Jesus, and no matter what the world throws at you in the coming months, you’ll survive in the only way that matters – spiritually.
THE TIME FOR BEING A SEAT-WARMER IS OVER: THE CALL TO MINISTRY
I AM WRITING THIS BLOG ENTRY IN UPPER-CASE LETTERS SO THAT YOU’LL KNOW HOW IMPORTANT THE MESSAGE IS.
I AM SHOUTING AT YOU SO THAT YOU CAN’T CLAIM YOU DIDN’T HEAR ME.
HERE’S THE MESSAGE:
IF YOU’RE NOT ACTIVELY MINISTERING OR PREPARING TO MINISTER GOD’S WORD, YOU’RE NOT FOLLOWING THE EXAMPLE SET BY JESUS. YOU’RE NOT DOING GOD’S WILL. YOU’LL BEAR NO FRUIT. AND IF YOU BEAR NO FRUIT, YOU’LL BE TORN FROM THE VINE AND BURNED, AS SCRIPTURE WARNS.
REMEMBER THAT JESUS TELLS US THAT THE WORD IS A SEED THAT NEEDS TO BE SOWN. FRUIT CANNOT BE GROWN WHERE NO SEED IS SOWN. YOU NEED TO SOW THE SEED AND THEN WATER AND TEND THE PLANTS THAT GROW. THAT IS THE WORK OF MINISTRY. YOUR JOB, AS WAS JESUS’ JOB DURING HIS TIME ON EARTH, IS TO SOW THE WORD AND TO WATER AND TEND THE PLANTS UNTIL THEY GROW ENOUGH TO BE ABLE THEMSELVES TO SOW THE WORD.
YOU DON’T NECESSARILY HAVE TO TEND THE PLANTS THAT HAVE GROWN FROM THE SEEDS YOU’VE SOWN. YOU TEND WHATEVER PLANTS ARE AT HAND. IF THE PLANTS AROUND YOU NEED WATERING, WATER THEM. IF THEY NEED PRUNING, PRUNE THEM. IF THEY NEED TO BE REMOVED FROM THE OTHER PLANTS BECAUSE THEY ARE DISEASED OR UNPRODUCTIVE, REMOVE THEM. GOD WILL DEAL WITH THEM FROM THAT POINT ONWARD.
MOST ORGANIZATIONS THAT CALL THEMSELVES CHURCHES DO NOT SOW SEEDS. THEY HALF-HEARTEDLY DROP A STUNTED SEED HERE AND THERE, BUT THE SEED IS STERILE. IT PRODUCES NOTHING. IT WAS NEVER MEANT TO PRODUCE ANYTHING, AS THE AIM OF THESE ORGANIZATIONS IS TO KEEP YOU COMING BACK TO THEM, NOT TO PREPARE YOU TO LEAVE THEM. THEY WANT YOU TO BE DEPENDENT ON THEM FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. THEY NEVER WANT YOU TO GO FORTH AND PLANT SEEDS YOURSELF.
WHEN JESUS APPOINTED THE 12 AS HIS DISCIPLES, THEY BEGAN THEIR APPRENTICESHIP. THE PURPOSE OF THE APPRENTICESHIP WAS TO PREPARE THEM TO TAKE JESUS’ PLACE. THEY WERE LEARNING HOW TO BE LIKE JESUS. WE ARE, ALL OF US, THE FRUIT OF THE LABOURS OF JESUS AND HIS FIRST DISCIPLES, AND WE ARE, ALL OF US, LEARNING TO BE LIKE JESUS SO THAT WE CAN TEACH OTHERS TO BE LIKE JESUS.
BUT NOTE THAT THE 12 STARTED THEIR MINISTRY WORK ALREADY DURING THEIR APPRENTICESHIP. UNDER JESUS’ WATCHFUL EYE, THEY WERE SENT OUT WITH INSTRUCTIONS ON WHERE TO GO, HOW TO GET THERE, AND WHAT TO DO WHEN THEY ARRIVED. THEY DIDN’T WAIT UNTIL JESUS LEFT THEM TO START THEIR MINISTRY WORK. THEY STARTED ALREADY WHEN THEY WERE STILL LEARNING HOW TO BE LIKE JESUS. AFTER JESUS WENT HOME, THEY CONTINUED THE SAME WORK THEY WERE DOING BEFORE, BUT WITH GREATER POWER.
ALL OF YOU READING THIS SHOULD EITHER BE ACTIVELY MINISTERING GOD’S WORD OR PREPARING TO DO SO. IF YOU ARE GENUINELY BORN-AGAIN, YOU ARE IN GOD’S CHURCH, NOT IN THE WORLDLY CHURCH. THE WORLDLY CHURCH WANTS YOU TO BE A PERPETUAL SEAT-WARMER SO THAT YOU NEVER LEAVE, SO THAT YOU KEEP SHOWING UP TO GIVE IT MONEY. THE WORLDLY CHURCH EQUATES SOWING MONEY WITH SOWING GOD’S WORD. THIS IS A LIE. JESUS SAYS WE CANNOT SERVE GOD AND MAMMON. A CHURCH THAT EXPECTS YOU TO GIVE IT MONEY IS NOT SERVING GOD.
GOD’S CHURCH WANTS YOU ACTIVELY MINISTERING GOD’S WORD. THERE ARE NO SEAT-WARMERS IN GOD’S CHURCH, AND NO MONEY IS REQUIRED TO BE IN IT.
IF YOU HAVEN’T YET STARTED TO MINISTER GOD’S WORD, CONSIDER THIS A NOT-SO-GENTLE REMINDER AS WELL AS A WARNING. THERE ARE NO SEAT-WARMERS IN GOD’S CHURCH. IF NOTHING ELSE, START A BLOG. IF NOTHING ELSE, START A BIBLE CLASS. JUST DO SOMETHING. THE MINUTE YOU STEP OUT TO MINISTER, GOD AND JESUS WILL GUIDE YOU. GOD SAYS THAT HE WILL NEVER LEAVE US OR FORSAKE US, AND JESUS TELLS US HE WILL BE WITH US UNTIL THE END OF TIME. IF YOU ARE BORN-AGAIN, GOD AND JESUS ARE WITH YOU AND THEY WANT TO HELP YOU SOW THE WORD.
BUT YOU NEED TO TAKE THE FIRST STEP.
IF YOU HAVEN’T YET TAKEN IT, TAKE IT NOW.
THE TIME FOR BEING A SEAT-WARMER IS OVER.
GREENVILLE STATION, Nova Scotia, September 8, 2021 – God can use anyone to get his message across. Anyone can be made a vessel of his Spirit. As born-again believers we know that, because most of us came to God from a place of profound sin. Even so, God healed us and made us one of his. If he can use us, he can use anyone.
Years ago, when I was a teenager, I used to hitchhike to get around. Every summer, I would hitchhike out to Vancouver from Halifax. Sometimes I’d hitchhike back to Halifax, and sometimes I’d fly.
On one of the years that I decided to hitchhike back, I got stuck at an all-night truck stop somewhere in rural New Brunswick when the trucker who’d picked me up at the Quebec border said he needed to catch a few hours’ sleep before continuing on. It was around 3 in the morning. He told me I could either lay down in the extra bunk, or he’d give me money to go into the restaurant and get something to eat to pass the time. I didn’t think it was a good idea to bunk down in the truck, however innocent the offer might have been, so I went into the restaurant instead. I was there for about a half-hour before I decided to keep hitchhiking.
It was around 3:30 a.m. and nearly pitch black when I made my way back to the highway. The minute I stepped onto the pavement and realized how dark it was, I thought this isn’t very smart and maybe I should go back to the restaurant. But just as I turned to go back, I saw headlights approaching, and almost as a reflex, I stuck out my thumb. Before I knew it, a vehicle had pulled up beside me, the passenger door opened, and a male voice called out “Hop in”.
So I hopped in.
The driver was a young man, around 30 (though he seemed old to me at the time). He was friendly, funny and talkative, and we chit-chatted for a couple of hours as we bounced along in his old pick-up truck. I don’t remember what we talked about, though it was probably my hitchhiking adventures and the places I’d been. We didn’t exchange names or ages, we just chatted, which was pretty much par for the course. My job, as the hitchhiker, was to help the driver stay alert and pass the time pleasantly, while the driver’s job was to get me from point A to point B.
Just after sunrise, as the sky was starting to get light, the guy said he needed to pick up some wood at a woodlot, and would I mind if we made a short detour. I told him no, that was fine, I didn’t have to be anywhere at any given time, so he could pick up the wood, if that’s what he needed to do.
We pulled off the highway and onto a dirt road and drove for about five minutes. There was nothing around us but deep woods, and the road got rougher and ruttier until we could barely roll. That’s when he braked, turned off the engine, turned to me, and said something that I won’t repeat here, but I think you know what it was.
I had been hitchhiking at that point for about three years. I’d never had any problems and always got where I wanted to go, safe and sound. But this time was different. I knew from the look in the guy’s eyes and the tone in his voice and from the impossibly remote setting that I’d permitted myself to be driven into that this was not going to end well for me. I was more terrified than I’d ever been in my life. I was so terrified, I couldn’t move. I was frozen stiff.
He had unzipped his pants and started pawing me, trying to take my clothes off, when suddenly my mouth opened and words came out. I can’t describe it any other way than my mouth opened and words came out. They weren’t my words and I wasn’t saying them, but they were coming out of my mouth.
Here are the words: “Would Jesus want you to do this? What would Jesus say if he saw you doing this? Would Jesus want you to be doing this? What would Jesus say?”
The words kept repeating over and over, over and over, over and over, while I sat stiff as a corpse. After about a minute the guy’s grip on me weakened, and he slumped back in the driver’s seat and started to cry. Then he leaned onto the steering wheel and heaved and sobbed in a way I’d never seen anyone cry before, let alone a man.
Meanwhile, the words had stopped coming out of my mouth, but I was still frozen stiff. As his sobs quieted and he wiped his face, he started telling me that he’d picked up a hitchhiker the day before who’d said that she needed money to get the ferry from St. John to Nova Scotia, and that she’d do anything if he’d give her the money. He said he thought I was like her, and that’s why he’d done what he’d done to me.
Then he turned the engine on, and backed out of the rutty dirt road and onto the highway. We drove for a few minutes in silence. I hadn’t said another word after the Jesus words. We pulled up to a gas station and he said to me: “There’s a restaurant in there. You can get some breakfast.” And he gave me $5 (which was like $20 in those days). I opened the truck door to get out, and just before I closed it behind me, he said: “Be careful who you get in with.” And then he drove off.
It was July 1st (a holiday in Canada), and there were a lot of cars on the road, even early in the morning. I had no trouble getting rides for the rest of the trip back to Halifax. I got there early in the afternoon, unannounced, and went straight to bed. I was still living with my parents at the time. My mother was surprised to see me, as usually I was away for the summer, but she left me in peace when she saw how tired I was and how I didn’t seem to want to talk.
I never told anyone about this experience until I was in my 40s. I knew if I said anything to anyone at the time, they would have just blamed me for hitchhiking, and they would have been right. But I also didn’t say anything because I had no idea what had happened. I had no idea why those words came out of my mouth and why they made the guy stop trying to rape me and start crying. I had no idea what had happened to me, so I kept it to myself for a long time. The first person I told was an old boyfriend, when I was in my mid-40s.
You’re now the second person I’ve told.
When I was born-again, God took me on a tour of my life and showed me times when he had directly intervened to save me. This attempted rape was one of those times. As a born-again believer, I now understand what happened that day in the pick-up truck in the back logging road, with the guy who’d changed from a would-be rapist into a blubbering heap in a matter of seconds. I now understand that the words that came out of my mouth that day were not my words, they were God’s, and that God spoke through me, even me, an atheist who didn’t believe he existed. God knew that those words were the only things that could stop the guy, and so the name of his son Jesus was spoken over and over until the demons that drove him to drive me into the back woods were driven out of him and back to whatever hellhole they came from.
I have no idea what happened to the guy after he dropped me off at the gas station and drove away. I didn’t think about him again for years, until after I was reborn. I hope that his contrition turned into repentance and that his life was changed for the better. I think it was. Like I said, I’d never seen anyone cry like that before. He sobbed like someone who hadn’t cried for a long time, if ever. A lot came out of him that day.
God can use anyone to get his message across, even a vain, foolish, teen-age hitchhiker who doesn’t believe he exists.
HOW COMMITTED ARE YOU?
At some point, you have to decide whether you want to walk with Jesus or walk with the world. Jesus walked nearly everywhere he went during his ministry years, and nearly every step he took, he was followed by his disciples and other assorted hangers-on. Crowds pressed in on him from every side wherever he preached, but few people actually made the commitment to walk with him day in and day out. Some walked with him for a little while and then fell away. Some walked with him for a little longer before falling away. Very, very few made it all the way to his resurrection and beyond.
Following Jesus is not a part-time leisure activity. It’s a full-time commitment. When I called the 40-day Bible read-through back in July, a lot of people told me they intended to do it, but I’m not sure how many actually did. It only involved an hour or two a day for less than six weeks, and even that was too much for some.
As paradoxical as it sounds, most Christians haven’t made the commitment yet to follow Jesus. They’ve made a conditional commitment (IF I have time, IF I’m not too busy, IF I can find someone to look after the kids, etc.), but they haven’t made the kind of full-time, unconditional, no-holds-barred, life-long commitment that’s required if you’re going to make it all the way to the end.
You won’t win a marathon race if your only training is running for the bus. Yet most Christians think they’ve got a guaranteed ticket to Heaven just for showing up at church. They think that’s the extent of what it means to be a Christian, because that’s what they see other Christians do. They follow the worldly herd instead of following Jesus.
We know, from Jesus, that the Sabbath is made for man, not man for the Sabbath. You don’t follow Jesus because it’s a law or you feel obligated to; you follow Jesus because you need to, just like you take a day of rest because you need one. Being a Christian isn’t an obligation; it’s a need, because it’s the only way you’re going to get home. Jesus says that no-one comes to the Father except through him.
The world is the realm of tests and temptations. When you spend all of your time and energy catering to worldly obligations and chasing worldly temptations, you show where your heart is. We’re expected to keep earning our daily bread even as we do ministry work, but our priority should always be the Kingdom. If earning our daily bread interferes with our work for the Kingdom, we need to find another way to make money. Jesus completely gave up his carpentry business and his disciples also quit their jobs, but Paul made tents so that he wouldn’t be dependent on hand-outs. He quit his day job, but he kept doing manual labour so as not to be a burden to anyone. Even so, his tent-making never interfered with his ministry work.
God doesn’t command you to make a commitment to him or to Jesus. These are free-will choices that you make of your own volition. But once you make the commitment, you need to clear out of your life everything that may interfere with it, and that includes relationships. The more you give to God and Jesus, the more you get in return. The less you give, the less you get.
This is very much an “I set before you life and death; choose life” scenario. If you’re born-again, following Jesus is not something you do on the side: It’s your life. Anything that interferes with that has to go.
One of the reasons why Jesus started his ministry work with a 40-day fast in the wilderness was to get rid of all the worldly obligations and habits he’d accumulated. He did a total life reset. He went into the desert Jesus of Nazareth, son of Mary and Joseph, and came out of the desert Jesus the Christ, son of God.
As Paul says, we only have one life, one shot at getting it right, and then comes the judgement. If you think you need to do a reset to become who you need to be to follow Jesus, then now’s the time. You might not get time later if the thief comes already tonight.
Even if you’ve made the commitment to follow Jesus, it’s still a good idea to take stock of how things are going in your life, to see whether you’re still putting God first in everything or if something (or someone) else is taking his place. It’s good to take stock every now and then. It’s like spiritual house-cleaning or a mini-reset. Jesus did little mini-resets during his ministry years, going off by himself to the mountain to pray. If even Jesus needed to step back from the world occasionally to refocus and renew his commitment, how much more we need to do those things.
I hope you take some time today to either make a commitment to follow Jesus or to renew your commitment. God will help you with that, and bless your efforts.
ARE YOU WORTHY OF BEING A CHRISTIAN?
Some verses in scripture tend to jump out at you more than others. For me, one of those verses is that you’re not worthy of following Jesus unless you hate your closest family members and friends. What on earth is that supposed to mean? Doesn’t it fly in the face of honoring our parents and loving our neighbours and enemies?
On the surface, yes, the messages seem to contradict, but let’s dig a little deeper, since this is important. I don’t think any of us want to be considered unworthy to be Christians, any more than we want to hate people just because they don’t believe in God.
In Deuteronomy 13:6-11, Moses warns us that if a close family member or friend tries to privately lure us away from serving God, we need to publicly out them and then stone them to death. In Matthew 10:34-37, Mark 10:29, Luke 12:52-53, Luke 14:26-27, and Luke 18:29-30, Jesus gives us a similar warning, but stops short of telling us to kill the offenders. What’s implied is that we should leave these people in our rear-view mirror and not look back.
It’s not advisable to live or hang out with unbelievers. To do so means that you love them more than you love God. This makes you unworthy to be a follower of Jesus, since loving and serving God should be your one and only priority, and habitually spending time with an unbeliever negates that. Just as you can’t serve God and mammon, you can’t value God while at the same time valuing those who hate him or don’t even believe he exists.
If you say, “Well, I can love and serve God and still hang out with unbelievers”, you’re fooling yourself and/or are a hypocrite. Hanging out with unbelievers is a form of spiritual adultery. Jesus ate and drank with sinners, yes, but he didn’t live with them or habitually hang out with them. After he started his ministry work, he didn’t even spend time with his family. Did he still love them? Of course he did, but they didn’t believe he was the Messiah, so spiritually they were his enemies. He would have had to compromise who he was in order to be around them, and he chose not to do that.
He CHOSE not to do that.
It’s a choice we need to make, to put our love for God ahead of every other love, including love for our children. These are tests. Most people fail monumentally, which is why Jesus and Paul say it’s better not to marry and have a family. Our worst enemies truly are those who are under our own roof and/or are closest to us in blood, even if to all the world they seem like nice people.
I’m not advocating stoning your mother to death for trying to get you to be “less religious”. Stoning is Old Testament; we don’t do that anymore. But we still need to be aware that we can’t be around unbelievers on a regular basis, if at all. If you’re saying “But.. but… but…”, maybe you aren’t worthy to be a follower of Jesus. This is a hard teaching, but it is what it is. Jesus can’t be any clearer, and I’m just telling you what he’s saying. It’s a teaching that’s very easy to skip over if you don’t agree with it, but it cuts to the core of who we are as believers.
It OT times, legalism meant rigorously abiding by laws and statutes. These weren’t a choice; they had to be abided by. If you broke the laws or statutes, you were severely punished. This is how people were kept in line.
For NT born-again believers, it’s all about free-will choice. No-one is stoning you to death for committing adultery, but boy oh boy, will you suffer for it anyway. In some cases, you’ll wish you were dead, the punishment can be so debilitating.
So if you, as a believer, choose to put an unbeliever ahead of God in your life, you won’t be attacked by a mob and stoned to death, but you might lose your job or your home or your health, and if you still don’t take the hint, you might even lose eternity in Paradise. The punishments are just as severe for NT believers who sin as they were for OT believers who sinned; the only difference is how the punishment is delivered.
These are sobering verses. We can skip over them and pretend they don’t apply to us, or we can take a good hard look at our relationships to see if they’re making us unworthy of being a follower of Jesus. This may involve breaking lifelong ties with people, but the alternative is losing your place in Paradise.
You can still love someone and pray for them without having to spend time with them. Jesus says to love and pray for and bless our enemies, and unbelievers are our enemies. That’s just what they are. And as our enemies, we can pray for them, we can bless them, we can still love them, but at a distance.
Our love for God and our service to him should be all-encompassing, should leave room for no-one else in our life. Jesus lived among his disciples, but he didn’t give himself to them the way he gave himself to God; he wasn’t anywhere near as close to them as he was to God. And these were his hand-picked, God-approved followers.
In the end, it’s better to live alone than to live with those who’ll take your attention away from God. If you’re living or hanging out with unbelievers, you’re at risk of losing your salvation.
Ultimately, you need to choose: God, or the world; believing and abiding by scripture, or skipping past the verses that you don’t agree with.
You can’t choose both God and the world and still be worthy of Jesus. You’re only worthy if you choose God and God only.
That’s what God’s Word says.
What do YOU say?
THE CHRISTIAN PREPPER’S LIST
Bible prophecy-related predictions have exploded over the past year. Christians are panicking, believing we’ve entered the age of the mark of the beast. They point to places in the world where people are being prevented from participating in society – that is, from buying, selling, working, traveling, etc. – unless they consent to taking certain injections and showing proof they’ve taken them. Surely this indicates that the mark has arrived?
Whether the mark of the beast is here or not shouldn’t matter to us, because it doesn’t change our relationship with God and it doesn’t change how we follow Jesus. I know it’s fashionable to live in a constant state of panic these days if you’re a Christian, but when Jesus says always to be prepared, nowhere in that directive does he say to panic. Being prepared prevents us from panicking because, well, we’re prepared. We don’t have to worry. We’re ready for whatever the world throws at us because we’ve prepped in the only way that Christians should be prepping.
Here’s our preps list:
- Get as close as you can get to God.
- Get as close as you can get to Jesus.
- Stay immersed in God’s Word. Open your Bible EVERY DAY and read it.
- Keep the Commandments.
- Do God’s will.
- Treat others as you want to be treated.
- Love your enemies.
Note that it only involves “seeking… first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness”, because scripture tells us that if we put God first, everything else will be added to us. That means God will provide everything we need (food, water, shelter, transport, protection, good health, etc.).
So whether you’re on the run as an outlaw (as Jesus warned we’d be) or still living where you’ve been for the past while, your preps list doesn’t change. You get close and stay close to God and Jesus, you read your Bible every day, you keep the Commandments and do God’s will, you treat others well, and you love and pray for your enemies. None of that changes, whether you’re in the bosom of society or cast out of it.
Jesus says we should always be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. He means ready to leave wherever we’re living, but he also means ready to leave this Earth by dying. Even so, whether we’re leaving town or leaving our body, the preps list doesn’t change. We’ll always be ready to leave at a moment’s notice if we’re close to God and Jesus, reading the Bible every day, keeping the Commandments, doing God’s will, and being kind to people (including and especially the ones who aren’t kind to us). If we do all those things, we’ll be equally well-prepared to leave town or to leave this plane of existence. No panicking required.
So the next time someone tries to get you riled up about the end times or to sell you more guns and toilet paper, tell them you’re fine. You’re ready for whatever the world might throw at you, because you’re prepping the way Jesus says to prep, and that’s all you need.
THE POURING OUT OF GOD’S SPIRIT
Thousands of years ago, God promised his people that he would one day pour out his Spirit over them. He has since kept his promise. God has been with his people through his Spirit ever since the time of Jesus.
Jesus is with us, too – both God and Jesus are with us, through God’s Spirit.
That is the meaning of “God with us” – not that God took on human form and walked among us, but that he is with us through his Spirit.
Along with the pouring out of God’s Holy Spirit, however, we’re also now dealing with a lot of other things being dumped on us. Those things are not from God, are not his Spirit, and are not holy. They go by the name of false prophecy.
Scripture says that where evil abounds, grace that much more abounds. By God’s Spirit, we can overcome evil that comes to us in the form of false prophecy, but only if we recognize it as such.
There is a big push in many Christian communities to “prepare”. Unfortunately, what’s being pushed as preps isn’t spiritual oil in your spiritual lamp, but food, ammo, and guns. At the same time, we’re constantly being bombarded with spiritual fear porn about the end of days, the tribulation, the rapture, and the mark of the beast.
I would be the last person on Earth to claim that we’re living in “normal” times. We’re clearly not. But even if the beast, the dragon, the false prophet and Satan all stood in front of us waving their pitch forks, our response to them should not change. Regardless of the age we’re in, as followers of Jesus and recipients of God’s promise to his people, our response to the world should not change. We are still required to keep the Commandments, still required to treat others as we want to be treated, and still required to love our enemies.
When Jesus told us to watch, he didn’t mean that we should only be watching for signs of evil. That is a position of fear, and Jesus did not teach us to live in fear. He meant that we should watch in order to be aware of what’s going on around us, to know the signs of the times, and always to be ready to leave – that is, to flee or to die – at a moment’s notice.
We are spiritual outlaws from the world. The Spirit that is in us is not the spirit that is in the world. This makes us enemies of the world. We live among enemies. The prepping we need to do, as Christians, is not material prepping – it’s spiritual prepping. If you’re being advised by a Christian to prep materially, you’re dealing with a false prophet. Jesus never prepped materially or told his followers to prep materially, beyond telling them to get a weapon as a deterrent,
How do you prep spiritually so that there’s enough oil in your lamp when you need it?
Read God’s Word every day. Read it and reread it until God’s Word becomes your words.
Choose to forgive. When you have the option to hold a grudge or let it go, let it go. Always choose to forgive.
Remember that Jesus and God are with you, through God’s Spirit, so spend time with them. Talk to them. Listen to them. Let them guide you in everything you do.
Practice what you preach. Jesus says that those who hear the Word of God and then do it are like people who build their house on a rock, while those who hear the Word of God and don’t do it are like people who build their house on quicksand. The metaphor is clear enough. Make sure you not only hear, but do. The doing is more important than the hearing.
God’s Spirit has been poured over you, if you’re genuinely born-again. The measure you receive is up to God, but he bases the measurement on how much you can handle. Show him you can handle as much as he’s willing to give you, and then go for double that. The more you get, the more will expected of you, but the more you get, the more joy you’ll have, and the closer you’ll get to home.