Teaching, TravelsJanuary 25, 2023

The Gift of Life

Hey you. Ya. YOU. Beautiful YOU. If only you will do what you need to do to see you as God sees you, in Christ. Life will become the gift it is meant to be to you.

Listen to me. Ok? I love you. I know stuff. Real stuff. Not a “Know It All’ but a real care about you. So give me a chance. No offense here, my brother or sister. Gonna take some heart to get this.

It’s about the real purpose of your life.  In order to feel the touch of God’s love to you as your true Friend and divine Brother, it requires understanding. Nobody knows what you’re going through. But He does. And, man, does He love YOU.

He doesn’t require a Law Degree but your degree…of heart to “seek” Him(Mt.7:7).  You know that place inside you that you yearn to express? That place where you’d really love someone to know and cherish? Well, He is waiting for you to give Him that, so He can, in return, fill  you with His heart of love. Like no girlfriend, boyfriend, husband or wife.

So let’s take a pause out of all the generic information you routinely process each day. Especially all the modern day token “christian” and political “right” -“left” stuff. All of it. Death will render all of it useless. This moment is special. Your life matters. So let’s go low, so we can get high.

                       Imagine having NO “life” in prison…

Everything is taken away in exchange for a number. Could you handle it? Isolated in horrible conditions; cold and sweltering heat for years. Not justice, not punishment. Torture. Contrary to misguided thinking, today’s “justice system” does not originate from the Bible but from Greek torture. Few understand the horrors of mental and physical torture inflicted upon massive numbers by being in prison. It is the most profound outrage.

In the picture here, is my oldest son Abraham loving men in the Mexican prison in Ciudad Juarez. Cool hat, hey?  7 days after we visited, a gang attacked the prison, from the outside, and killed 20 men. We have walked through the circuit of many prisons.

We sat with starving prisoners in a 3rd world dungeon, as they were shackled with irons, day after day, month after month, years upon years. What is life to them?

We had barely enough light to see each other; some in disease, or need of a wheel chair, in physical agony, in need of surgery. Thinking only about death. Thinking there’s no purpose for their life.

 I can realistically say we have touched unbearable pain. 24/7 prisoners question “What is my life?”. They exist in a hidden subculture of torment. We  have all done “crimes”; i.e. similar things in our hidden thoughts. Likewise with old people who also question the meaning of their lives.  What does an elder man live for when he has no one?  I met a homeless man in Chile who fell asleep drunk on train tracks and awoke with his legs severed. Imagine the pain. His life is a flickering wick and Jesus meets Him as such (Read  Mt.12:20/Is.42:3).  What I am trying to get at, my friend, is that for billions of people the essential question is the groping for a purpose to life.

One day, while I was out preaching, a mother ran up to me and threw her arms around me, weeping and asking for help. Someone had just kidnapped her autistic daughter. What is the reason for her life? Maybe you have met such people or actually been in such dire circumstances: inside or outside. Maybe you live in a “castle” but inwardly on the edge of deep fear and sin. Thoughts of despair, or even suicide, can knock on your door. Satan is not a “scare tactic” or medieval invention. He is real. Be honest. Look at the world. But there is an answer. It starts with seeking truth. The reason for all distress is not understanding the purpose of life.

Great numbers, beyond belief, kill themselves each day. They suffer from the mental assault of war-time memories, regretful words spoken in the fit of rage, or the unexplainable draw of, and clash with, the enigma called sin.  Some battle with physical pain but, everyone, including me, battle with this inner torment (Rm.7:14-20). You may be surrounded by family and friends, yet all alone inside, lying to yourself with false comfort, wondering “What is the purpose of my life? Why do I feel so depressed at times?”.

I have sat with countless “Christians” who are just as blind as a man walking into traffic. They know doctrines and parrot Bible verses but are totally void of depth. A trite claim to a vague “christ” leaves them…trite. They are dying, deep inside, yet insist “Oh, I’m already saved. My life is great”. Just so sad.

We can’t see darkness with our eyes, but we feel its eery presence. Jesus speaks of it constantly as the radiation of sin (John 8). We search for a place to hide from it, but the key is understanding it. It drives multitudes into condemnation, sexual perversion, adultery, family ruin, unbelief, isolation, fear, religious delusion, and inexplicable torment. Unless you know the euphoria of drugs, you do not understand why compassion is needed for those who see drugs as the only way to escape life. We hear thousands of “feel-good” stories of intervention for recovery of “the goodness of humanity”, but all are left with no driving PURPOSE; so, sooner or later, they fall prey to an empty life. No understanding. Understanding life is everything (Col.2:2).

                                                          “Surely a live dog is better than a dead lion” (Ecc. 9:4).

A lion may seem far superior than any old dog. With its noble mane and impressive roar, its “ego” suits the title “the king of the jungle”. But not once it is dead. Each of us are like a lion in our jungle. We roam and dominate our “jungle” projecting what we think is life. We base our conscious state on our own aura. We walk about like a lion obsessed with ourselves. Are you with me? Honesty required.

We listen to ourselves speak our bold words and become deluded  “Oh, I’m fine. I already know all I need”. But death shows no respect for our self-inflated image. The “mane” and “roar” that feeds our self-identity means nothing when we are dead. The only thing that matters is REALITY. And reality is established in the Word of God that LIFE is a gift because of one reason: it affords the time to search and secure ETERNAL LIFE. This is the purpose of life.

Brother, when we’re dead, all appearances and self-defense will mean no more than the noble attributes of a dead lion.So strip away the gloss and see the clay. Your life has no more value than the lowest criminal on earth.  A dirty ol’ dog has the same thing we all have. It contains the one power granted by God. It is alive. With all the many

people we deal with there is one bottom line: you are alive. No matter where you are, or what might constitute your life, you must secure ETERNAL LIFE BY A TESTIMONY TO THE LIVING JESUS. Life is what you make out of it, not what it makes out of you.

     DAWG MENTALITY

The main reason for our grief is when we don’t understand how to deal with the gruesome nature of this life. There’s a football coach who talks about a “dawg mentality” in facing hard issues of the gridiron. Continued failure can destroy a football player. But if he thinks that no matter how bad things get, he must hold fast to his gift of being able to play football, it keeps him going.

Likewise, I tell you of a “dawg mentality” that enables us to conquer the “gridiron” of this life. It is the realization that you are alive and able to “play the game”. I am a Dawg Man who rejoices, not in what I have, or who I am in this world, but that I am alive, with fingers, eyes, legs and a heart to actually be able to use this life to find and serve the living Jesus. Hallelujah.

So many times when I played football I would just stand on the field, in the middle of game, smell the grass, relish the moment in that equipment and love being able to play. Today I do the same in this game called life. Dawg Mentality resolves unbearable conflicts by simple perspective. A lowly state of mind cherishes the fact that whatever you face, wherever you are in life, it doesn’t matter, because you are ALIVE and can live for Jesus.  One would never imagine that such a simple mentality leads to divine life. But it does. This is the attitude of the “prodigal son” who had to lose it all to find it all. He was brought to eat pig slop, before he could realize the father was waiting, to run out to meet him with robes, new shoes and a meal of celebration (Lk.15).  It is our total desperation that tests and cleanses away the entitled presumption of heart (Jer.17:9).

A dog has no self-esteem or ego. It survives in animal circumstances simply to live. Consider Isaiah 59. We “growl like a bear and moan like a dove”. This is who we really are. Jesus says “the last shall be first” because it is only in humiliation that we can see and accept our wicked nature. We deserve HELL. We must let everything of self pride go. We are nothing but a dawg. In this is freedom from self. In our nothingness is the realization of joy that we have life as a gift to discover God. A shot at heaven. Wow. The Father wants to remake us to be whom He alone sees we can become. But if we refuse to be clay then He cannot mold us. This is the process of salvation and redemption into eternal life. When we accept our “animal” (sinful) state, we are in the desperate “place” to see God as everything. Our consciousness of Him becomes our only focus in life.

You see, my friend, we must ‘double down’ on this painful realization of our sinful state rather than further the phony image we display. This is repentance. Such attitude releases us and supplies eternal life. Reality is not found by trying to jump out of your struggle, but rather, by learning to walk through it, in faith in Jesus, to allow our mind to neutralize the highs and lows of our emotions: Reality. So faith becomes life. “The just shall live by faith” (Rm.1:17).

WHAT IS ETERNAL LIFE?

Jesus says “This is the will of My Father, that everyone who BEHOLDS the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life and I Myself will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:40). Plain and simple: when you meet the living Jesus you receive eternal life. If you want to sell it short, that’s up to you. But not me. It is Who He IS. I know WHOM I have believed (2Tim.1:12). HIS forgiveness and eternal cleansing.

Jesus says “This is eternal life, that they may know YOU, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent…And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life” (John 17:3/1John 5:11-12).

Eternal life is the dawning of a new divine serenity in the midst of inner chaos, fear, regret and pain. It is absolute security in what…Who God is. It is knowing divine love.  It is absence of striving.  Jesus is Who the Father intends for us. It is being you, desperate but fulfilled, as a son or daughter of the living Father.

He is finding the “place” higher than the mountains, deeper than the Grand Canyon (Jn.14:23). He is survival in the midst of unbearable pain. Jesus describes Himself as “living waters” rushing within your innermost being (Jn.7:37-38). I mean, come on, man. This is not typical christianity, self-morality, or Bible knowledge.

Many people deny and ignore what I say. They think I’m exaggerating or pontificating. They don’t want to come down from their loft and receive help from a brother or friend. They are afraid I will “preach” at them. No, bro. I will love you. Some merely want someone to affirm their conception of life. They want an admirer. Please listen to me.

There’s no denying we all can’t help but think of life in a wrong way. Why? We are desperate to be happy.  I beg you. Stop. Think. Don’t convince yourself that things are ok because you have somehow made this life seem livable. The purpose of life is not life. Life is NOT the goal of our existence. It can never make you happy because you are made in the image of Almighty God and need far more than anything life can afford you. The goal of life is not a happy life. All such thinking is deception. A DEAD END. A demonic sham.

My dear precious brother or sister, I am not a “Downer”, but an ambassador to the new world. Life is a gift to take and use to find eternal life… Someone far, far greater. Life is a quest that doesn’t require money, a car or a person. It requires inner things, silent words, deep thoughts, heart expressions, divine engagement, contemplation.

So don’t worry about how much time you waste. Use what you got. Delight in what you have left. Time is a fixed parameter of hours, days and years. You’ve got to bring your conscience to stand trial before the revelation of God’s truth in the Scriptures. What REALLY is your inner state?

LIFE is not about making it better but discovering ways to utilize it, to test yourself within it. Like the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, the radiation of sin has ruined every molecule of this life. The sin of Adam and Eve has rendered all of us a “basket case”. Sin has slammed shut the door to God. Jesus is the new door (Jn.10).  It was never difficult for me to admit being a wicked sinner. I only thought “Whew. God loves me despite my evil ways”. The great apostle Paul says “I AM the worst sinner” (1 Tim.1:15). Ever saint knows his depravity. The wages of sin for us all is death. No “bright light at the end of a tunnel”. Only hell. So let’s get out of “here”, hey, man?

No stairway to God inside us. No Bible verse or “experience”  to heaven. Just the living Person of Jesus.  Sound strange? It’s cuz american christianity has influenced us all to see Him as an “It”, interpreted by a system of doctrines. The Biblical revelation of a testimony to the Person of the living Jesus is the only way to redeem life and be released of the claim Satan has to your life (Rev. 12:11). The apostle Paul constantly declared his testimony. It is the paradigm of how to construct our testimony. A testimony is the present day working of the power of the blood of the Lamb: i.e. personal  testimony to the experience of Jesus IS Eternal life (Jn.17:3).

The modern terminology of salvation is to “accept Christ”. This method is from Charles Finney and John Wesley in the 17the century “tent revivals”. Look it up. I did. They created this quick prayer-formula because they didn’t think the masses could understand the depths of the gospel. It is completely unbiblical. Yet it is accepted because famous men and modern day fat cats reduce the magnificent promises of Jesus to an unoffensive acceptability and have cemented it into the system of Christianity as law.

The Biblical language for salvation, Jesus says, is “BORN AGAIN” (John 3:3). Are you born again? When, where and how? Brother, sister, you are alive. Don’t play games. Don’t go along with the religious stipulations. The only purpose of life is to take the Father at His promise of eternal life. He yearns to bring you into His divine reality (Jn.6:37).

It’s NOT about doing some THING. It’s about your heart seeking His. It’s about sitting down and deeply contemplating eternity, now, today, before it’s too late. How do you get from here to there? From this miserable life to God’s eternal life? The bridge is faith (Rm.10:9-10/Hebrews 11:6). So simple. Nobody in history rose from the dead but Jesus. So it’s not an invented term; He is the living Jesus. Consider His earthly steps and words.They will draw you into His living Spirit.  Ponder His individual love in tender mercy to each wicked sinner. He loved them, never condemned. He offered no generic prayer formula. He offered Himself. “I am the Bread of life…the Good Shepherd…the Vine…the Way, the Truth, the Life” (Jn.6,10,14).

Jesus wants to bring supernatural living revelation to YOU through the New Testament. Yes, He demands repentance but, when you think about it, it’s all stuff you want to get rid of anyways. He can replace your grief from proud self-obsession, born out of deep anxiety, with His Holy Spirit Presence.

No exaggeration. No personal made-up fable, fairy tale or fantasy. I’m not trying to sound better or self-righteous “I got it and you don’t”. I am rooted in the Dawg Mentality. My only boast is that the cross of Jesus bore my animal nature. Like Paul said, I am the scum of the earth (1 Cor.4:13). It’s where I find Jesus. In His darkest moments, He bore all of mine. You WILL live forever, bro, no doubt; but in either heaven or hell. Your call. Survival in this short 70 year span is for ONE THING; “ONE THING I have asked for…to dwell in Your Presence…Mary has sought the ONE THING required” (Psalm 27:4/Lk.10:42). That Jesus would be exalted. No place for self, no reason for ego. Remember the dead lion.

I recently had a near-death experience that shook me to my core. It drives me to Dawg Mentality. I am only glad to be alive to help others behold Jesus. I re-examine and eliminate all “wood, hay and straw”, to build with “precious stones” (1 Cor.3:10-15). Never had I experienced such excruciating pain that drove me into uncontrollable vomiting. Made me thrilled my end is heaven.  Life is our one and only shot to seize eternity and then bring Him to others. Everything in this life, both bad and good, positive or negative, is a distraction from this purpose. It is ours to DIE to this life, to live forever (Jn.12:25).(Below: 2023 Rose Bowl Parade, Pasadena, California).

No matter how hard things may be, my beautiful friend, or how great things may be, no matter how deep in hypocrisy you have lived, it isn’t too late. You are alive. LIFE IS A GIFT waiting for you to gain the kingdom. “Thy kingdom come….” (Luke 11:2).

“The dead cannot praise You…Those who go down to the pit cannot hope for Your faithfulness. It is the living who give thanks to You” (Isaiah 38:18).

Don’t cancel out a hope for greater things, by being held hostage to a dying image. Stop being of those who settle in Theory Land. Nothing is from the heart.  Eternal life is not theory. It is grit reality of faith. It is not ascertained by Bible theory, but only in the heart of Jesus.

HARD TIMES-STRANGE?

From day one, Jesus walked out onto the earth warning men of hard times on this earth and thus beckoning  all men to eternal life in Him. “I AM THE RESURRECTION “.  He says “In the world you SHALL HAVE TRIBULATION but be of courage I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD” (Jn. 16:33,14:1).

I challenge you to realize that the Scriptures reveal the eye of His storm is a whirlwind that draws you into the cross, destroys your life, and brings you into the center of His peace.

His life is a focus beyond this world, here and now, to His Fathers’ Presence. Every word, every act, leading up to and centered in His death on the cross and resurrection, was to draw us, by His living Spirit, into eternal life (read 1 John 5:11,13, 20/John 11:25/17:3).

Just as we don’t know the path of wind, or how bones are formed in the womb, we do not know the activities of Almighty God…Who is as high as the heavens are above the earth…” (Is.55:9). Whatever you are going through, He only allows upon you, for one reason, to lead you away from a proud heart to humble yourself and personally KNOW eternal life in the living Jesus.

“Lo, for my own welfare I had great bitterness; It is You who has loved my soul from the pit of nothingness, For You have cast all my sins behind Your back” (Is.38:17).

It is only hard times that bring us “face to face” with our conscience, to be exposed of its need for eternal cleansing by the blood of Jesus.  Forgiveness is not one of many things of salvation. It is everything. True forgiveness is the portal to eternal life. They said “Who can forgive sin but God alone” (Luke 5:21). Jesus proved He is able, as God, to give us His forgiveness. No matter what you have done or how deliberate you are in sin, it is crucial to find DIVINE forgiveness. Lingering shame, guilt and double-minded ness means something great awaits you. So life, no matter how tough, confusing or void of material happiness, is a gift to have the chance to receive forgiveness into eternal life.

All creation “bears witness” of God (Rm.1:20,10:18). Ocean waves, clouds, wind, forests, details in our eyes, ears and body do not speak of pond slime, evolving into monkeys as our grandparents. I surely have acted like it but ain’t from no monkey. God is my Father. He created and will judge us. So don’t play games, my brother, or sister. Get God on on your side…forever.  Don’t feed the monster of self-pity. Cherish the gift of life to do all you can to secure eternal life; believe Jesus.

Forget your upbringing. Forget a religious image. All your defensiveness is a dead lion, lying. You must establish a clear and concise “testimony to Jesus”; when and where and what happened when you were translated from this world into His Spirit. This alone is the reason to live.

“For affliction does not come from the dust, nor does trouble sprout from the ground. For man is born for trouble, as sparks fly upward (Job 5:6-7).

How often have you heard, or felt within yourself, the cry of self-pity “WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME?”. Hard times are not the exception but the norm of this life. A warrior of Jesus arms himself with this perspective. Have you ever sat by a fire and watched the sparks fly downward? Never. It’s a rule of fire that sparks always fly upward. Likewise, Job is saying, it’s a rule of life that, as sparks fly upward, so too does our life on this earth operate in a hostile and contrary manner to our good. Sin rules the world and Satan works everything against us 24/7. So when you wonder “Why?”, this is the answer. Jesus took all the world on His shoulders and also cried “Why Father have you abandoned Me?”. The Father’s answer was exactly what Jesus did in that very moment. He bore the horrors of sin once and for all time and rose from the dead to offer eternal life (John 11:25).

(Below: Feeding the homeless on  “Skid Row”. Side: Ruth working in Philippine Prison).

MY DAUGHTER RUTH…

was on the NBC evening news on January 30th. Check it out. It’s online at the NBC website. “… I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Rom. 8:17.)

For anyone who doesn’t know of what happened to my daughter Ruth. She was hiking an eight thousand foot mountain here in California on Christmas morning. Suddenly we received a phone call from a sheriff in a helicopter telling us they had just rescued her and were taking her to a hospital. She had fallen 200 feet and had been laying in the snow for over two hours bleeding from a severe head wound.

Long story short, Ruth had tripped on a path and tumbled 200 ft. down the mountain becoming unconscious. She then had to hold her neck and walk a long ways to be transported to a helicopter. Many wounds in her mouth,

Ruth Speaking in a prison in Manilaleg, and back. She broke her neck in two places, had to have a plate and 2 inch screw inserted into her 2nd and 7th vertebrae, and is in a neck brace.

It is a tragic ordeal that we are dealing with. Many tears. But like I share above, such suffering breaks all of us to our nothingness and desperation, leaving us to further realize our life is meant only to find eternal life before our Father God. We got a bill of three hundred thousand dollars from the hospital. Don’t know whether to cry or laugh. We believe ultimately, in some way, the Lord will either move, so we can pluck away at it over time,  or we will be going to work for a few years. In any case, the Lord shall provide. It will not hinder us from burning out to help others find the living Jesus.

If anyone would like to know more please see our Go Fund Me page at:

Ruth’s Story on Go FundMe