Load More...
No more items
Teaching, TravelsApril 21, 2024

A TEST OF A CHRISTIAN – The growth from human to divine love (John 13:35, 15:12/1 John 4:7-21)

 

The anguish of tragedy and its’ aftermath resonates around us all, every day. It  is the silent scream of millions  around the world feeling  betrayed, defiled,  forsaken and alone. All men search for a rescue from their plight, whatever the misery. No one really  knows how to respond to the trauma each of us bears in life. Suffering hits an individual and sometimes all those surrounding the consequences. Jesus is the Mediator Who offers His intervention, compassion and resolution. Could you consider that every time you face someone who hurts it is a test for you to show His love (Jn.13:35) ?

THIS IS THE STORY OF CLINT>

Clint was 17 when his parents left him at an Iowa Rest Area. They told him to stretch his legs. But when he got out of the car and closed the door,  they sped off. He chased the car a bit, but then, everything inside just collapsed. He just stood there…. staring; as his only link to the world drove away out an “Exit” ramp. Could it be; they weren’t coming back?

Clint was not born an orphan, but worse yet, was traumatized into becoming one while in a stage of an undeveloped young man. Think about it.

 Panic made him frantic. Tears welled up inside and he ran into a field of tall grass, just behind the Rest Area. He laid there all day, on and off,  just weeping. The next morning it all just hit hard. Clint said his mind felt  like it was trapped a forest fire of mental anguish; “How do I get out of this? What do I do? Where do I go? What just happened?”. Dark thoughts burned within. His parents just disposed of him like trash. “I must be so worthless” he concluded.

Begging in the Rest Area went nowhere and the workers there warned him they were going to call the police. Then Clint made a horrible choice. He robbed a 78 yr. old lady.  Where did that thought come from: “Criminal DNA”? Hardly. It was out of the ashes of pain over why his parents did this to him and the desperation he felt inside. How could he ever comprehend this? 

Fast forward: The lady had  a heart attack and died on the spot . 

Clint went down 28 years; never had a job or one visitation. He sat alone in a cell with a label  in a steel file cabinet “Career Felon”. Nobody  else would ever know the pain-level this brother suffered. It could be more than an entire city. One day, while feeling unhinged, Clint got lost in the brain-fog of his despair. His frustration swelled as he sensed total ruin in his peril of injustice.  Frustration grew to anger and lit the fuse of rage.

 In an instant, his fires unleashed a scream, a curse and a forsaken cry for help.  “God! You don’t care.  I’m so damn alone.”  He fought. He grabbed. He kicked. He smashed. He cried.  It felt like hours but it was 57 seconds of pure rage. Clint was now laying on the floor. As if 500 volts of electricity almost killed him, he was puzzled.  and bewildered. “What just happened? What  just  came out of me?! Was that really me’?!”.  He was cuffed and brought into a room of terrifed faces at this ‘nice’ inmate gone biserk. Then what?

The Aftershock – Sin-eruption. Shock over our sin can turn  the mind upside down and inside out. All that built up mental torment,  affliction and hypocrisy can end in tragedy or a gasp of cathartic release. 

 Before anyone could speak, Cliff said “I know what you’re all thinking: I am dangerous.” A guard with chains. – A doctor with a needle. A nurse dropping her phone trying to call security: “We can’t put him in The Hole. Send him to Medical”. Clint slumped into a dazed stupor. The aftershock of rage intensified further trauma.  If we could see inside Clint, we’d see ourselves. He’s not from Mars. No android. No wires. If you were put in that situation it would be your name here _________ not Clinton. We share his exact composition: this heart, his reaction thought process, this tender mind, how many of you know similar hurt and misunderstanding? How do you respond? Don’t you want to shout, clarify and cry? There’s only One Who truly knows. Why? How? He walked the worst path of human misunderstanding, false accusations and suffering. He came to Clint in  tears in healing. He comes to you before, or after.

The public wants to employ technical terminology to classify Clint as an isolated case.  God seeks to clarify the anatomy of all  human composition being the same. What Pauls is not merely for Christians but all men. Man does not do what he wants to do.  Rather, because of sin within us, we all do the very evil we hate.

Paul concludes …but no longer are we the one doing it but sin that dwells us…we find than the principle that evil is present in us, the one who wants to do good (Rm.7:15:21). This is the source for compassion for all brothers of humanity. This is not an excuse but the reality of sin. Can you see this, not just for yourself, but for all around you? It is how to learn compassion. 

 I’ve had my experiences of not understanding Gods’ ways  and so have you. You didn’t want the anger but couldn’t stop it. Once I was shot and blinded for a time in my left eye.  I  lost everything that was anything to me. I cursed so severely  I erupted into a violent storm that I thought shut the door on God.  But years later I was ”shocked” by a calm as I found grace for my trauma and  learned God’s mercy is never ending. 

So I can now help you my brothers and sisters around the world.  But who, these days,  even cares to hear Gods’ truth? They got their “preachers” and web sites. He who has ears to hear let him hear the truth. Sin  can explode in wild ways or simmer silently in lust, unbelief or  revenge. Either way, none of us can deny that, at some time, in some place we have seen “the monster within”. Aftershock  impacts us all with our own hidden “Hiroshima”.   Don’t lie. Don’t deny. Answers come to the humble and transparent. Embrace the truth.

A prisoner is tagged, labeled and caged. The majority walk free, denying and lying. “Oh me. Not that. Never”.  People talk of sin as “the unthinkable”. But nothing is “unthinkable” if you think it. And if you think it Jesus thought it because “He who knew no sin became sin”. Self-righteous builds an imaginary self-image: “Oh there is little hope for him” a  brother is told. But, on the day of judgment, each one of our hidden sins will be laid bare. Do you want the compassion you showed to others or the judgment you show to others? Jesus says the way we treat others He will treat us.  People ask me how to witness. I tell them treat others the way you would want to be treated. Bless others and instantly the Spirit will give you both wisdom and boldness because that’s Jesus.

There is only One Voice of the One Present to us all saying “Come to Me “Clint.  Stop judging. Start loving. You are overburdened, and I free you and will cause you to find My rest.  Take My yoke upon you brother and learn of Me, I did not come to condemn but to save, for I am gentle and humble lowly in heart, you will find rest relief and ease and be blessed in your soul. For My ways are not harsh, hard, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious. My brethren shall find acceptance.” (Mt11:28-30).

The main emotion I touch in individuals amongst the vast prison-community is the aftermath of rage.  Contrary to social condemnation, rage is not a fixed DNA “criminal” predisposition. It exists in all levels of society and institutions. It’s the “dirty word” SIN. God identifies it as an  infirmity lurking  in all mankind due to a seismic separation of hurt, pain and fear  at our “epicenter”. God responds in compassion not retribution or anger. 

Jesus demonstrated the heart of The Mediator. This means He not only took on the deepest surge of rage ever vented. He actually BECAME SIN (2 Cor.5:2o-21). As He pleaded with His Father on the cross to have mercy on us Jesus felt every iota of trauma. His very body raged with sin. At that very moment Jesus wept with bitter sorrow to conveyed to the Father our hopeless plight of being captured by our own evil. 

The “silence” of God is not His unwillingness to answer your prayers but His ways of leaving you to show your heart to Him. God is not into the manufacturing business. At 12 years old Jesus was out loving the world. When His mom got worried He said “I am about My Fathers’ business”: love. Build your mind, memories, logic, plans and words with love.  God promises to richly bless you. Stand on self-pity and you will “see” how compassion comes easy. Instead of allowing your sin, and the sin of others, become your obstacle, take heed to the revelation of God’s Word and see it as the stepping stone to divine compassion.

Listen, my brother or sister, this world has no answers.  Does a  “good man” suddenly, out of nowhere,  become a “bad man”? This is the  B.S. we are told from childhood.  It’s a lie. To see the depths of our sin causes two things: our gratitude for His forgiveness and our compassion for other sinners trapped in the blindness of sin. God says no man is ever good and all men are always bad (Read Rm.3:10/Is.59). There are no levels of: Real bad, better bad, Good, Better, Best. All of us are wicked to the core. This is absolutely “Good News” (gospel). “I came for the wicked…to save that which is lost…not to condemn but to save…”

I felt a giant sigh of relief: “Whew. I no longer have to pretend I’m ‘a nice guy’ inside, knowing full well I’m not. If you get any love out of this article from me it’s proof of God because I’m a dreadful thug. The answer to  sin  is not despair but “faith working through love”. “Ya. That’s what I am inside. So what? Jesus is my Exonerator”. It was resolved 2000 yrs. ago.  God demonstrated that He loves, understands and forgives us.  It’s laughable cool. Because you will fall again and again…..

 The ultimate “cage”  is our own humanity. In the prison world the word corruption is a no, no. But in every facet where there is humanity; divorce, military, athletics, corporations etc. there is corruption. The whole human race is corrupt. And this is the “cage” was obliterated by His death and resurrection. Get it? You got to. It’s awesome. We often find ourselves in “the hole” of our own bottomless pit.  In that place God brings the wings to escape: Faith in Jesus.  Brother or sister, you must learn to understand how to deal with you or you are sitting on a keg of dynamite playing with matches.  

Rage is like  no other emotion in that it expresses every man at his core. Ready for this one? It is normal not abnormal. Poke any tiger and it will roar. Read Isaiah 59 to find your Ancestory.  Every single human has rage sitting at the bottom of his cage. But I assure you  the ultimate “Aftermath” is not an  irreversible identity. Gods’ mercy is closer than you think. Sonship is His promise. Instead of sulking in bewilderment: “How could I do this?!” Answer. “Because I’m a sinner”. Done. Trust  the Mediator.  What brings a grizzly into a camp is that it smells the beef.  Eliminate the food, eliminate the danger. So yes, you DO have a lot to DO with your sin. If you ‘play’ with self-pity and preserve the “food” of  hurts and feelings  “the beast” will rip your ass to shreds.  Allow Jesus to mediate and exonerate your sin ‘once and for all’  and you will not fall prey to your beast. 

To some who read this story, Clint is like an item scanned at a Wal-Mart checkout: “Beep”.  Surely you’ve met people, no matter what you share, they only see themselves. They find no compassion for the plight of others.   “God so loved the world” He gave up Himself (Jn.3:16). Any pagan can love those who love him (Luke 6:32).  But Gods’ love is to love beyond yourself.

Contrary to what many Christians believe today,  Jesus holds us accountable to a shared brotherhood with all humanity. This is His absolute revelation: from the homeless, to prisoners to enemies “…for both He who sanctifies (God) and those who are sanctified (lost men) ARE ALL FROM ONE FATHER (We are all from one humanity created by one God including the humanity in which Jesus shared); for this reason He (Jesus) is not ashamed to call them(us)  brothers (because we were all created by God)”. Undeniable: (Read Hebrews 2:11).

Jesus had not yet risen from the dead so there were no Christian brothers in Jesus’ day. So what Jesus said, He was speaking to all lost mankind.

From the Sermon on the Mount to all His interactions with mankind Jesus undoubtedly exemplified how we are to treat others with His heart towards them as brothers and sisters. This is what makes Jesus head and shoulders above all teachers. It is totally contrary to the ways of sinful men. It was only the Pharisees who were offended that He spoke the same to pagans as to all because they differentiated and isolated themselves as superior . “But wishing to justify himself,” he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”. Jesus does not say “Whoever accepts Me as his Savior” but rather gives the example of the heart of the Samaritan.  (Luke.10:29). Powerful stuff.

 

Copyright

All material on this website is protected by copyright. Duplication or theft of photos or content is subject to criminal prossecution. Some names and information regarding places, testimonials, and other content has been altered for privacy purposes while all relevant material has be unaltered.
Adventure, Teaching, TravelsMarch 20, 2024

Have your world changed by THE MAN WHO CHANGED THE WORLD

A TAXI RIDE

God can come to you at any moment, in any place;  if your heart is truly open. It’s all about HEART guys.

Michael-woroniecki-2024
A photo captured in the “auditorium” (large warehouse style room) at La Modelo Prison In Bogotá Colombia.

The other morning we were on our way to this prison outside Bogota, Colombia. It was early rush hour so the streets were packed with people everywhere: young, old, rich, poor, common, official. As you know, it is the same in the many, many, cities all over the world: 7 billion people.

But as I sat in the taxi, gazing out the window at all the people, I wondered what if one man yelled out “I’m going to change the world”. No one would even flinch. Of course it would be quite absurd. Then I imagined the tiny, remote overcrowded city I once visited called Jerusalem.

There, one morning, long ago, amidst such multitudes, one ordinary nobody stood in such a rush hour and yelled out that he was going to give something to change the entire world (Jn.7:37-38).  Did He really expect people to stop, listen and change? I don’t think so.

Amongst all the loud clamor, no one really pays attention to anyone else, too busy getting to work.  So what about this ordinary guy; “who had no stately form or majesty that we would look at Him, nor an appearance that we would even notice Him… and was oppressed and afflicted” (Is.53)? We know he was homeless because he explained “…foxes have holes and bird have nests but I have no place to lay my head”.  So why and how, out of nowhere, for what motive, would  this common man make such a seemingly ridiculous claim?

It astounds and  baffles me to realize everything Jesus did was a WORLD EVENT but there was no fanfare.  No one even noticed.  He was no different than anybody walking the streets. What could he do to “change” a world world 20,000 miles around?  Was he going to stop its’ rotation or heal all diseases? Maybe create a utopia. His dynamic was in the massive power of His resolute will hidden within His body.

 

So let’s just sit and ponder for a moment the plan Jesus was shouting about. We know that when Adam sinned God’s original purpose for mankind to walk in His love was thwarted.  Satan tore the heart of man away from Gods’ love by luring Adam and Eve into sinful rebellion.

So God turned His back on man? No. God instantaneously, inaugurated an even far greater  plan.  Jesus agreed with the Father to implement a plan to redeem the entire world, one person at a time.

Tragically, this plan would require the torture of Jesus. Why? Because the entire body and soul of man became defiled.  Salvation would not take place in some kind of doctrinal theory land ‘out there’. God would put His Son in the very heart of a man.

The one and only way Jesus could transmit His work of salvation to us would be through sharing a common body of sin. So, although Jesus did not sin, yet He took on a body of sinful flesh (Rm.8:1-4/2 Cor. 5:21). And by sharing in this body and soul with all mankind it is “where” Jesus would execute His plan of redemption. The body of Jesus would become the battlefield, where He would take on our sinful flesh to win the human soul back from Satan. The human soul is a complex composition of sinful feelings, moods, thoughts, lies, etc. which Jesus had to experience and conquer.  (see the 17 listed below)

Why did Jesus deliberately bear such horror?  Because His HEART  is not like ours. Sin has rendered our heart “more deceitful than all things” (Jer.17:9). His heart is essentially full of pure mercy. This love calculated the cost and Jesus was willing to enter into this Mediation and sacrifice everything of Himself  for us. This Man Who Changed The World does so out of HIS NEW HEAVENLY LOVE. The entire process of salvation, every minute of every day, is about winning us through resurrection love. Every wicked sinner can know  THE FATHERS ULTIMATE LOVE: His only Son Jesus.

We connect with this gift by faith. But this faith is not passive. It is super-charged by the experience of this divine love.  It is born from above out of contemplating the demonstration of Gods’ love in the crucifixion of Jesus.

In the story of  Abraham and Isaac God gave a “full-length feature movie” on earth to prepare mankind for the heavenly revelation of sacrificial love. The Father manifested HIS NEW LOVE to change the world. His heart is the opposite of our selfish heart.  The crux of God’s heart is seen in the sacrifice of one’s own life; as Jesus displayed for all the world to see.

God’s plan is not to change  the economic, educational, military or prison systems but the “system” of our soul. When Jesus returned to heaven he left the world exactly the same as it was when He was first born in the manger. But for the first time there were  men and women on earth who were now willing to sacrifice themselves for others.  This sacrificial love spread throughout the world. Even to fill  a bum body named Michael with Jesus. The Father frees us from ourselves; by the inner work of what Jesus manifested. This is how your world can be changed.

Jesus promised He would not leave us as orphans. He began a new family.  The Holy Spirit would give us the mighty works Jesus won through the cross. Jesus  provided His body as the shared means to put His death and resurrection in us.

“For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart…Christ in you the hope of glory” (Heb.4:12/Col.1:27/Jn.1:1,12-14).

Salvation comes within our body to perform  the interior work Jesus accomplished in the human soul. By His saving work we become “set apart” (Agios); “divided” so as to “fellowship” with Christ in the very work He did for us on earth.  By fellowship in the Spirit we become transformed by rebirth into truth and transparency from lies, exaggeration and presumption. He frees us from the sins of self-pity etc. If God can put His Spirit in a bum body like me He can do it for anybody. Death is at my back whispering my time is short but I rejoice.

My heart is united with His death and resurrection I am secure in eternity. I have gone from stress to peace and comfort, from living for ‘the big ME’ to compassion for others. This is called sanctification. It is a fruit of justification by faith. I no longer have to strive to be right. He changes me as I ponder His heavenly love revealed in the crucifixion.

Jesus is the Master of my soul. Think of all the gym equipment that focuses on specific body parts. Likewise, in regards to all the specifics areas of sin and struggles, Jesus is there as The  Instructor (Intercessor/Mediator). He took on all our sin (Vicarious Atonement) and teaches us how to “work out” and lift us above sinful memories, feelings, hurts, imaginations, etc. and build His Word into our consciousness. This is a salvation that never takes place by a “sinner’s prayer” but only in the living Jesus.

Jesus is the Mediator and Intercessor (see 17 things below). So He is at work in me “to do and will His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:12-13). “I do not have a High Priest Who cannot sympathize with my weaknesses, but One Who has been tempted in all things AS I AM, yet without sin” (Heb.4:15). I am being transformed from my body of fear and condemnation into His risen compassion of joy and wisdom. It was in His excruciating experiences of human suffering that this “Man Who Changed the World”  touched every aspect of our soulish and bodily infirmities (Jn.12:25). There is no fear in the love of God because every aspect of my consciousness of Him within me is His sacrificial love to the Father.

When Jesus shouted out to the crowds it was about the “living waters” of this profound provision of all His “theological” (I hate that word) accomplishments to give us (Jn.7:37) (see below) . Our hearts can be won back from Satans’ impact. Sheer genius. So what I’m saying is that salvation is not at a theoretical mind play of trying to emulate ideas and concepts. Salvation is a REAL HEART CHANGE from ‘being in the flesh’ to ‘being in the spirit’ (Spirit-Jn.4:24) (Jn.3:3-8,6:63/1 Cor.2:11/15:45).

It is the proof that His cross is at work within you as you learn to apply  the things listed below (Jn.12:25/Rm.6:6). Paul says he is “found in Him” by a ‘participation’ in “the fellowship of His sufferings” in His death and resurrection (Phil. 3:9-10).

Jesus said to the Father “You have not desired sacrifice and offering (outward things of behavior), But you have prepared A BODY for Me” (Heb.10:5). If Jesus did not change the soul in the body we would still be living in the Old Testament existence. Jesus was tortured in body to the full extent of all the horrors of sin to meet any man in the horrors of his sin. He suffered the most of any man so bring total salvation to every man.

THE DEMONSTRATION OF GODS’ LOVE

The following are facts, and quotations,  in a summary of my research into historical documentation and medical journals. (References: Journal of the American Medical Association/Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine/An Appraisal of Evidence/The life of Flavius Josehpus/A Forensic Inquiry).

I would plead and beckon you to enter a deep, serious contemplation to envision the experience of the crucifixion. The Holy Spirit can right soften your heart and give you His light.

So imagine you’re living in ancient days. One day while at a market buying some bread, you hear and notice a large parade yelling and laughing over something you can’t quite make out. You walk over to see what’s going on. So there’s this pitiful guy falling all over the place stumbling down the street carrying a beam of wood over his shoulder. (The convict was forced to carry either the 100 lb. vertical or 300 lb. horizontal beam to the place of execution.) You think “Another criminal felon getting what he deserves.” Crucifixion was very common in those days. 

But there’s something in the air very distorted you just can’t put your finger on. This is the same man you heard days earlier shout out, in midst of a morning rush, that he’s going to change the world and is king. Well, he is wearing a crown, but the thorns are an obvious ridicule. Doesn’t much look like He’s changing the world but it’s sure changing him. Blood is pouring out of his back, and head. His entire body is covered with holes and deep scars. The crowd is quite vicious and mocking him with spit and hostile assault. You follow to see where this spectacle ends. In the distance, it seems obvious that a hill is awaiting  the felon to fulfill his dire sentence. The hill called Golgatha (place of skulls)  is strewn with crucified bodies. The soldiers often just left victims to rot because it was such work to bury each one. Many are dead and being eaten by wild dogs and birds. This is where the world decided to put the Son of God (Jn.15:25).

 

Michael-Woroniecki-Blog-Post-About-Jesus

 

Maximum pain and excruciating agony were intrinsic to the design of a crucifixion so as to inflict a savage violence by a commander and soldiers. First, the condemned was stripped naked and scourged 40 times with a “scorpion” affixed with multiple metal tips to give a flesh-tearing “bite”. This would cause the person to lose a large amount of blood, and approach a state of shock. Historical documents affirm that in the case of Jesus a crown made with thorns was driven into his head.

During the death march, the prisoner, would be led through the most crowded streets.  Upon arrival at the place of execution, selected to be especially public, the convict would be stripped of any remaining clothing, then nailed to the cross naked.

The body weight was upheld by the victims outstretched arms anchored by four 7 inch nails driven through the wrists and feet. Upon the cross being raised with ropes and dropped into the anchor hole, the nails would jerk into a position under the hand bones and the feet would bear the entire downward weight.

“The typical cause of death was asphyxiation as the condemned would suffer severe difficulty trying to inhale, due to hyper-collapse of the chest muscles and lungs. Natural instinct would repeatedly force the culprit to repeatedly pull himself up by the arms in order to breath, leading to exhaustion. When no longer able to lift himself, the condemned would die within a few minutes. This method was to achieve a prolonged torture. There is scholarly support also for heart failure or arrhythmia, hypovolemic shock-acidosis, dehydration, and pulmonary embolism. including sepsis following infection due to the wounds caused by the nails or by the scourging that preceded crucifixion, or from stabbing by the guards.”

The crucifixion was an execution that encompassed absolute humiliation, by making the condemned as vulnerable as possible. A sign was fastened to the cross to notify onlookers of the person’s name and claims as they hung on the cross, further maximizing the public humiliation.  Jesus did this fully cognizant of what would be involved and DID IT FOR YOU! For all your sin past, present and future. This is His love for you.  What was for generations and throughout many cultures  a very common death sentence the crucifixion became notable from Jesus.  The plan of God?!  This is love of God for you and I. Not what we deserve.

The life and death of Jesus is not up to any man to interpret according to his own whims. There is only one clear revelation of God’s Word. It is not a generational rumor or medieval folklore but a historical fact documented by even unbelieving scholars like Josephus. The Man Who Changed The World crawled repeatedly on all fours to his own torture.

The fact is Jesus is the only One Who fulfilled every divine requirement by God for a man to be reinstated into fellowship after the sin of Adam and Eve separated man from God. Salvation does not occur by repeating the ten  words of the man-invented “sinners prayer”. Nonsense. Diabolical. The modern day prayer formula is an outrage to the excruciating price of agony Jesus endured. Our Adam-nature must be broken and cleansed of sin to be reconciled to a holy God.  It is not a personal subjective option. The fallen soul is the same generic evil entity in all men and thus requires the same exact work by the Holy Spirit to “cover” sin and impart a new born again spirit. The commonality of the human soul is clearly seen in every institution of men from the military, to education, etc. as even advertisers base all their endeavors on the predictability of humanity. So Jesus could bear the exact same body as all men and by His death and resurrection provide the essential needs for salvation.

These are the phenomenal endeavors. Jesus is like the ultimate “Marvel Super Hero”. He is the “Man of Steel” super hero “Thor w/ hammer” accomplished on earth so that a sinful man could be reconciled back to our Creator God.  Jesus had to fulfill each one of these requirements  in his life and on the cross. It is in personal fellowship with the living Jesus that we become recipients of and participate in these spiritual realities.

Theological Terminology for what Jesus accomplished on the battlefield in His body. All these works are reckoned by the Holy Spirit in return for individual faith.

  • 1) SUBSTITUTION -Jesus put Himself in our place to bear the wrath we deserve
  • 2) IMPUTATION – the Father put our sin on His Son
  • 3) MEDIATION – What Jesus was doing on earth between His Father and man
  • 4) ATONEMENT – He fulfilled the required of O.T. blood sacrifice 
  • 5) PROPITIATION is the soothing impact His death totally calmed the wrath of God
  • 6) INTERCESSION as the required prayer to win the Father’s understanding of our hopeless plight
  • 7) VICARIOUS proxy- indirectly  
  • 8) EXPIATION- restitution- reparation -to extinguish effects of guilt  
  • 9) RECONCILIATION – reunification
  • 10) APPEASEMENT – peace offering
  • 11) EXONERATION – setting free from a wrong doing 
  • 12) REDEMPTION – turning a bad event into good outcome
  • 13) SALVATION – deliverance
  • 14) SANCTIFICATION – to make holy
  • 15) JUSTIFICATION – the composite of all these works and the grounds for salvation
  • 16) HOLINESS- the state of being fitting for God’s fellowship
  • 17) RIGHTEOUSNESS – the gift of perfection reckoned in return for faith

REAL CHANGE

The expression “change the world” is common. They say people like Einstein changed the world because they implemented a superior range of “advancements” from the cave man days. Can’t deny that.

We often hear college students boast of how they are going to “change the world” and “make the world a better place”. My response “It is you who must be changed”.  Why invest yourself in this world? It is  like putting wall paper and new carpeting in a condemned building (this world)  about to be destroyed. But the real changing of the world in every body in which Jesus lives today.

The streets, prisons, hospitals overflow with broken souls in desperate need of love and care that any student, rich man or common laborer could expend even one ounce of sacrificial love but only Jesus can change  the inner world of selfish men.  The world of men is set in a destiny of death and destruction (1 John 2:15ff/Rm.6:23).  Jesus says, “The world hates Me without cause” and “He who makes himself a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (Jn.15:25/James 4:4).

You CAN change a man’s world with the love of Jesus in your heart. We are reaching multitudes. The photograph above is my son Joshua bringing Gods’ love with broken words to broken men. Paul says “I have been crucified with Christ…” (Gal.2:20). We lose our lives to participate in His working within. The next time you wonder where is God’s love for you, it was demonstrated in such a far-reaching manner it only needed to be done one time in all history (Rm.5:8).

As we work in hundreds of prisons we always come back to working harder with industrial effort of heart and mind to find new ways to express God’s love to these who suffer so greatly. In the hardest of hearts these broken souls have only one hope to change their world; the path of salvation. It is for me, for you, for  us to love them, beyond our own limitations,  so that our love might soften them to Him; because “with the heart a man believes” (Rm.10:10). If the heart is ruined so are the chances. It can be changed.

A person who is hit by trauma can become shut down. The target, therefore, in order for him to change, is the heart. And the weapon to hit the target is love. It is the only power able to soften the heart. The Man Who Changed The World created this potential for change. The Holy Spirit is the only hope to bring supernatural change. If Jesus had not done what He did, long ago,  there would no such hope for change today. The next time you see someone wearing a cross ask them if they know it’s a torture symbol of love.

Try to picture a desert scene with a tiny sprout of a plant sprouting out of the sand: “For He grew up before Him (the Father) like a tender shoot, And like a root out of dry ground (the world)” (Is.53).  There is no crowd or trumpet sound, no awe or  celebration, when Jesus comes to you. Salvation is between you and Him. Today, as back then, His offer to change you is ONE HOPE FOR GOD’S PERSONAL LOVE

So because of His love in us, my family and I work by His supernatural force to give men the only hope for their world to change. Like Jesus, Stephen was being stoned to death, yet cried out “Do not hold this sin against them”.   So we must change to do everything we can to love the unloved and unlovable. I have no problem yielding to  ongoing change because it shows Jesus at work in me and  gives glory to God and hope to others. It’s not that I was wrong and now I’m right. It’s that I am always wrong because of sin and will never be right according my flesh. Paul says “I AM” the chief sinner and “Wicked man that I AM”.  It’s never about us but Him in us.  As far as it depends on me I will help anyone who asks for my help (Jn.6:37). Jesus is soon to return. Please, open your heart to His love.

 

Copyright

All material on this website is protected by copyright. Duplication or theft of photos or content is subject to criminal prossecution. Some names and information regarding places, testimonials, and other content has been altered for privacy purposes while all relevant material has be unaltered.
Teaching, TravelsOctober 03, 2023

What is “Inner Healing”?

NEW 10-20-23 FINAL EDITION

 

“When I became embittered and my innermost being was wounded, I was stupid and didn’t understand (hurt = bitter): I was an unthinking animal toward You.Yet I am always with You; You hold my right hand …Your Presence is my good”. King David (Psalm 73:21-28/read the entire chapter).

Most people think God has to do something special to heal you. As if He isn’t quite aware of what YOU need. Maybe, somehow, you alone fall outside the lines of all humanity. No, my friend. Sure, God meets each person at some unique point but the Father has done one thing for all time to heal everyones’ predicament. Now it’s up to us. And we have the secret power. It’s called free will.

“This is all too difficult for me to figure out.”

Such is the reaction right out of The Inmates Handbook of Excuses. I hear it often working in prisons.  If anyone had an excuse to give, they  do. Every day they exist, smitten with guilt and regret,  in a stinky 6×6 cell, battered as being ‘lazy and ‘good for nothing’ by corrupt guards. Brother, we have no excuse my friend.

The truth is we are all afflicted with spiritual laziness due to the sin of Adam. A man can work the hardest of worldly jobs but when it comes to God, well, a token “sinners prayer” is sufficient. “Don’t bother me. I got it already”.

When a person refuses to see this laziness, in his dark soul, he blames Gods’ revelation for being “too difficult”. But the facts are 400 years before Jesus was even born the prophet Isaiah predicted that the  face of Jesus would be full of such love that the suffering it drew from Him  would be etched into His suffering face for each individual (Isaiah 53).  Jesus made the gospel for dumbest, laziness and most wicked to access by his will.

Scriptures reveal how Jesus  went to the most lowly, uneducated people and beckoned the smallest children “Come to Me” (Isaiah 61/Mt.11:27).  Simple, humble, transparent honesty is the “formula” for understanding the merciful revelation of the living Jesus. “Hidden” only from the proud (Mt.11:25). There is nothing difficult about receiving His love. Unless DOING is beyond you.

What do you DO for God?  Jesus promises if “any” man is willing “to do” His will he will know everything needed (Jn.7:17/Mt.11:25,-29). The WILL is the  operating mechanism of faith and obedience. It is of immense importance, showing, on the one hand, that singleness of desire to please God, produces the fortitude to gain light on all questions,  and on the other hand, that the lack of will, whether realized or not, is the chief cause of failure and grief. The will alone exerts the surrender and obedience to claim God’s Spirit.

God promises those who wait on Him  shall become as EAGLES…Those who hopefully wait for Me will not be put to shame ” (disappointed) (Is.40:31/Ps. 49:23,25:3). Waiting is not passive. It is anticipation within. It the only means by which a man finds answers. The definition of “wait”, in the Hebrew lexicon, contains a picture of someone crouched behind a rock ready to leap upon an oncoming horse.

 

Imagine an eagle, with a broken wing, trying to leap into flight.  But its’ wound leaves it  crippled.   I’ve seen this pitiful sight. Everything in me wanted to heal the eagle. But it wouldn’t let me come near. It would screech and run. Yet it could not do the very thing it was created to do. And, worse yet, it could never cure its’ own wound. So many people are like that eagle.

 

Contrary to an eagle, we human beings, we can heal our wounds.  We can position ourselves in truth so God can heal us by HIs Word. I have learned, like David,  how to heal my broken wings.  I think of wings as our will. We create thrust by moving our wings.

Everyone has the potential, or wings, to fly. But the road is “narrow” of those who venture the obedience of faith. The majority never truly learn to fly because they never “flap” their wings.   Men remain blind and wounded. He prays a “sinners prayer” but changes nothing. He  sees his “Christian” life like a painter working on the fine touches of a self-portrait. It’s all flesh. He never learns to wait on God.

The word trauma in Greek means wound: “a disordered state resulting from severe mental and emotional stress….a deeply distressing or disturbing experience”. Everything, and everyone in life is one of two things; real or phony; truth or lies. God promises to make us as eagles to rise above what is not real into the Spirit of truth if we obey His revelation. 

Aimlessness is inevitable when our wings are broken. “…without vision a man is lost” (Pr.29:18). It is the deep sense of God’s Presence and being a part of His purpose.

He says ‘I will restore you to health and I will heal you of your wounds…because they called you an outcast, saying… no one cares for you… I will be your God … you will survive the sword and find grace in the wilderness… when you come to find rest in Me I will say  ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love…I have drawn you with loving kindness…I will rebuild you…take up a tambourins…go forth to dance…sing aloud with gladness…give praise and say  ‘O Lord, you save Your people, the remnant of Israel’ (Jeremiah. 30:17-31:7).The repeated Biblical scene of Jesus is His  constant healing.

Jesus said  “Father forgive them they know not what they do“.God knows you don’t know the dire consequences of your pride. So He just requires a budge. Faith is as small as a mustard seed. It is written “God is love…By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him (1 Jn.4:9).

When we are born we are all  like one of those paratroopers you see in a World War II movie landing, out of the sky on earth. Bam. Pow. Zap. We don’t have a clue what to do with our life. We drop into a dark foreign land called EARTH.   We just listen to everybody else whose already here. They say work hard at this thing called living. Unlike those paratroopers, we have no mission, no briefing or preparation for our purpose. Then we find there is nothing on this planet. Nothing.

 God is love, and He understands all these deep feelings of being lost. It’s why Jesus came. He  offers a REAL healing for all that has happened beyond enemy lines.  Jesus set His will to  engulf all the evil of our humanity. He Who knew NO sin BECAME SIN (2 Cor.5:21). He knows the strangest and most fearful hidden inclinations.

 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins”; that is, our depths of inner scars, hurts, pain and regret” (1 Jn. 4:8-10).

Speak to God as “Father” (Mt.6:9/Jn.17).

You CAN DO this. You CAN utter “Father!” Thats not too hard. This is your will; your wings fluttering. You CAN go deeper, higher. Right here. Right now. Pour out your heart.  I could never list all my regrets of things I wish I did or didn’t do: “Why did I say that? How could I think that?”. It is at this most weakest point where we can begin to build feathers into wings.

Consider this precious example.  “Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that hovers over its young, He spread His wings and caught them, He carried them on His pinions… I have wounded and it is I who heal”. A mother eagle attacks the nest of her young, out of instinctual love,  forcing the eaglets to employ their wings to fly. This is the purpose of hard times. It is God “attacking” your comfort zone so you find your will.We must choose to exert our faith and move out. (Deuteronomy 32:11, 39)

I’d like to serve as a messenger and brother of God’s love; a healing agent of the Holy Spirit. I’d like to ‘show my wings to inspire you to budge; to rise up. God takes no delight in any of our suffering and grieves over all the trauma that has befallen you (Lam.3:33). Remember He does not own this world (2 Cor.4:4). He paid a heavy, heavy price to provide healing.

God didn’t want it for you. But will use it for your good if you trust Him (Lam.3:75). He sees you, in Christ,  as His beloved. Now you must just come into HIM.

Do you know the word ‘cauterize’? It is to seal your past, once and for all. “Forgetting” and “reaching” (Phil.3:10-12). No more regret. I can take you into the healing chambers of the Most High. It is a grand “place” (Jn.14:23). But, like my daughter Mercy had to walk to the helicopter, because of the fierce winds at her rescue. Despite her broken neck, she had to GET UP and go to the rescue chair to hoist her into the helicopter.

The answers I share with you here I had to find for myself. For so long I thought there was some kind of “magical” spiritual healing I needed. Then I realized. There are no Scripture verses  of a “healing service” (as is common today) because what Jesus said in the market places is directed to you and I concerning all suffering.  He IS the healing to all trauma; all “PTSD”.

Just before John 3:16, the most popular verse, Jesus reveals a profound simple truth about FOCUS. Most people never see it. As Moses told the tribe of Israel to stare at a bronze serpent, he formed over a fire, so must we FIXATE ourselves upon Jesus to be healed of all poisons from this world (John 3:15-16).

Jesus promises “…the truth shall set you free” and “Father, sanctify them in truth, They word is truth (Jn.8:32-36, Jn.17:17). Life causes many complex distortions in our mind. These “imaginations” capture us and can hold us bound for our entire lives. Obedience is simply exercising your full will power to break their hold.  We fester our own wounds  by caving into self-pity and unbelief.The healing to all trauma is to set your will to “fly” in the living Jesus.

Clarity and  understanding lift us like the wind under our wings. Obedience is like our thrust to propel us upward.  When we replace lies with acting on the promises of God.  Years and years of habitual cycles of negativity can be  broken by one full resolution of will.  King David says that as he began to “run the way of” it was like the first domino that causes the landslide of darkness into an open sea of mercy and God “enlarges the heart” (Ps. 119). Healing is a process of obedience to  the Word of God.

I have watched presumption slay the masses. The days slip away never to return. The Scriptures repeatedly warn there is a raging battle for your human soul.  Passive adherence to doctrines does nothing to regenerate the will. Knowledge repetition means nothing. Obedience is the answer. I was born to fail. I was born again to conquer.

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses (established ways of thinking)” (2 Cor.10:3-5).

Become what Jesus intended by His resurrection; a spiritual man. That is, a man above a typical natural man. So many benefits await you. Aside from wisdom, understanding, truth, light, etc. is just the wonderful constant blessing of His Presence. I wish I could zip open my heart and mind. As a result of my obedience to the truth,  Jesus fills my inner most being, like streams of living water (John 7:38).

My wife and I have been married almost fifty years, preached in hundreds of cities, many countries, to millions of people, in hundreds of prisons, facing countless difficulties and seemingly hopeless situations.  Six warrior adult children; Ruth, Elizabeth, David, Sarah, Abraham and Joshua ride the wind to bring inner healing to the lost.  We fight by the Holy Spirit of the living Jesus. The end is near. No cliche. Please, we beg you. Wake up! Before its too late!

 

 

Copyright

All material on this website is protected by copyright. Duplication or theft of photos or content is subject to criminal prossecution. Some names and information regarding places, testimonials, and other content has been altered for privacy purposes while all relevant material has be unaltered.
Teaching, TravelsAugust 29, 2023

HEart

For the eyes of God roam (Hebrew – “run to and fro”)

throughout the earth to show Himself strong

for one whose heart is completely His

2 Chronicles 16:9.

 

THIS BLOG MESSAGE IS IN CONSTRUCTION AS WE ARE ON THE ROAD AND IT WILL TAKE TIME TO FINISH. THANK YOU.

God’s revelation of the heart is phenomenal! It is a ‘shortcut’ to bypass all the religiosity man put on men. It makes everything about knowing God so simple.

No “sinner’s prayer” here. No “right” doctrinal knowledge or formula required. No legal demands for “righteous” standards of living.   Individual heart is the means Jesus uses to save an individual; His Heart to our heart. It takes heart to find heart. It takes heart to know heart. No one can come to Jesus unless the Father draws him in heart (Jn.6:45).

There is a tragic ill-conceived presumption common today; that ‘the heart’ is an easy-whim claim; “Oh I have a heart for God. I love God in my own way”. The Scriptures warn there is a deeper explanation. Everything about God is  all about HEART.  But how does your heart react right now? Do you show your heart? How big, wide, deep and humble is your heart? Do you  know what  heart means? Do you think “I already know all this?”. Consider:

“The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it? …

He who trusts in his own heart is a fool…

the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil and insanity is in their hearts throughout their lives…

in whatever our heart condemns us;

for God is greater than our heart…” (Jer. 17:9/Ecc.9:3/Prov.28:17/1 Jn.3:20).

I’ve been caught in the battle of trying to figure it out for over fifty years.  Back and forth, up and down, inside and outside.  I guess you could say I’m a bit slow. But better late than never. Praise be to God. In my lowest, and highest point, I have come to see my heart.  I don’t know how much I got it right. But what I have, I offer you. Accurate understanding works. I have sadly realized most people don’t get it because they don’t want “it”; heart. In general, men want to strive to prove they are right and this very fact exposes lack of heart.  Striving results in anxiety and ends in turmoil and darkness. Few people realize salvation is not knowing about the things of God. It is knowing God’s heart.

BARE WITH ME FOR THESE FEW BOLDED PARAGRAPHS; So this may all sound a bit  lofty or irrelevant, depending on your own desire for honesty with yourself, and also your exposure to the realities of the mass population. Your manner of response will show you your heart.  I  write this to offer someone ‘out there’  a helpful context to find a mental clarity  and crystallize the heart, amidst  the sometimes immense daily struggles and existence.

Every other day there is a news report about a killing or bizarre event involving people with mental health issues. How many times do you encounter someone whom you think “Wow. He’s got issues”? Walk around where you live and you will find everyone is suffering from mental oppression, full of sadness and grief. The very air of these times is filled with demonic oppression like never before. Demons run rampant on the earth. 

We think we are distant from the mental darkness others must be facing. This is both true and false. Surely the darkness of sin has varying levels severity. But the source of sin  is the same in us all. The evil potential  that lies within sin is incomprehensible and operates within each of us. We all carry the dark potential of ‘going over the edge’ as declared in the above Scriptural revelation. But Jesus offers a REAL resolution by offering us His resurrection heart for us to access. 

What we deal with at one time in our life may, in another time, due to a number of things,  explode, both inward and outward,  into a complex massive struggle later in life. So the sooner we unpack God’s truth and understand how our human being functions the sooner we can identify and subject our humanity as  a true disciple of Jesus.

Jesus uses one word to describe sin; “darkness” (John 8:12,12:35-36). Society has no remedy to darkness except psychiatric drugs. Christianity offers hyperbole and doctrinal theory. There is no definition or even informed recognition of darkness by “professionals” or “preachers”.   Yet TV is full of drug adds that use social-psychological terms to identify specific mental breakdown, all have countless side effects.  Suicide is not only a fear in prisons, or amongst Veterans and the homeless. It is everywhere people suffer depression and despair. Mental decline increases with age and wherever drugs, alcohol and sexual perversion are prevalent. Christian delusion floods this country and takes the place of the living Jesus using empty Bible jargon and a false image of what it means to make your mind right-eous. 

 Let’s be honest. We have each had times when we recognize within ourselves the darkness that threatens our mental equilibrium. This is THE HEART “desperately sick”. The concept of a sinful heart sin is so vague it carries no relevance. This ignorance has debilitating impact in our lives. We must come to understand how our own human makeup is “programmed” to works against us. Sin is not neutral or passive. We are by nature negative creatures driven into laziness and self-deception. Mental health is established by actively subjecting ourselves to God’s remedy over all our composition.  

Our heart is transformed by obedience to the truth of God’s Word. It is through faith that we can access and utilize  THE heart, as an objective mechanism, for our personal direction and expression. Faith brings us into God’s heart of peace and happiness.  The blessing of God’s promise to Abraham was fulfilled in him by his heart of faith. Despite the fact that he was still a sinner (uncircumcised) it was his heart to believe God that made him see God.  Instead of the curse and vexation of sin wrought in birth Abraham found God and God found Abraham.  

“…for with the heart a person believes,

resulting in what is right before God” (Rm.10:10).

The most familiar passage about heart is when God chose a young kid named David, who was taking care of sheep, on a hillside.  His appointed him king over Israel. God wanted someone to rule His people like His own Son would do. The one and only qualification to rule over a million people was something David couldn’t purchase  or fake. But he sure did learn; HEART.

Over ten thousand years ago God wanted to show His the one and only means by which He sought amongst men. God wanted to show His own heart to the world so He chose David.  Then David showed his heart was after God’s heart.  David understood the sin into which he was born and he shut his mouth to open his heart.   (“I was born in sin and in sin did my mother conceive me”). He  knew God did not want a sacrifice of “right behavior appearances”  to atone for his sin but rather a “see-through” heart.

David committed adultery and the murder of his greatest general. Yet what God saw was HEART. God saw reflections of His Son in such a “broken and contrite” like no other man (Ps.51). And this was something David chose out of his own will. Transparency is no little thing. Sincerity is no little thing. They are powers to get beyond a heart “desperately sick” to a heart that pants after the living God.

David was so transparent before God he could sense the Spirit of Christ, though not born again, he  wrote over a hundred prophetic declarations. Consider Psalm 22.David was like Christ and Christ was like David.  The depth of anointing; the awareness of Christ, upon David was so great he manifested the Spirit of the Messiah. When men were around Jesus they recognized Him and said “this is the Son of David”. Jesus took honor in being like David.

The number one characteristic to avoid confusion and delusion and focus in on heart shown by David to be broken transparency with God. No word games. No presumption. Laid bare. If you want to escape mental anguish it starts with a blatant palpable honesty. When others talked to David they felt like they were drinking fresh  water amongst all the polluted hypocrisy. He was someone who would bear enormous suffering from rejection and thousands of enemies because  reflected a heart response of constant praise for God. How could He do this? What was going on in this dude? He did not defend, pity or build himself. David had NO CONCERN for how he appeared on the outside. David was enthralled with the Person of God.

“For the Lord sees not as man sees;

for man looks on the outward appearance,

but the Lord looks on the heart”

1 Samuel 16:7.

The origin of the American culture is not Christian. Our culture is rooted in the lies of Christian delusion. It is neither republican,  democrat or sane. The “founding fathers” like Thomas Jefferson were rooted in pagan Greek philosophy; the self-betterment of man. Thus todays “Christians” are rooted in self-righteousness. Transparency and heart are as foreign as Chinese currency. Christianity is a religion of a self-betterment image.

So what I’m saying, my friend,  is that for David, things concerning his heart for God were not complex and compartmentalized into a Greek philosophical thinking of “Well, I want to do that, but in my heart I thought this, and I didn’t feel that but I didn’t know this so I figured God didn’t want me to do that because I must do this”. God is not a God of confusion. This is not heart. It is the mind full of Christian knowledge and rationalizations. 

Jesus said if He had not come and made everything very clear we might have an excuse for our excuses but now we have no excuse for excuses, hypothetical situational reasonings ( John 15:22-26). Excuses are born out of the wicked heart and lead down the path of endless darkness. The heart of Jesus  made things childlike in order for any man to serve His Father. 

What do you want to do? Who do you want to be? Are your actions a calculation of your appearance as righteous or simply a release of love to the Father? A heart is not occupied by the obstacles or opposition. It may have the initial impulse of sin but always follows the secondary impulse of love. It is not by calculation but by gut reaction. What drives me is not trying to be right but my transparent love for Jesus. Ultimately, I make nothing of everything tin order o give Him the “something” His eyes search for; heart.

When I was in college I majored in Sociology and Psychology. I always thought it was quite funny how “professionals”  invented a psycho-babel jargon as though they were inventing some mystical knowledge about things long ago described as  basic common sense issues in the Bible. Below is my second oldest son Joshua posing as a “gangsta” to get to the gangsters in a prison just like Paul said to do (1 Cor.9). 

 

The French psychologist Pierre Janet and German psychoanalyst Zigmund Freud argued that underneath the layers of critical-thought functions of the conscious mind lay a powerful awareness they labeled as “the subconscious”. Scientists argue that the “subconscious” is not something immediately accessible but rather requires therapy and both past-personal experience and dream analysis.  

They say it is where people hide their real self. What they call the subconscious God’s calls HEART. It is not only constantly accessible but essential to understand so as to function in Christ. Of course, their speculations and conclusions have no reference to sin and darkness that occupy our old “subconscious”. 

They used a bunch of psycho-babel to try to dissect the inner workings of human existence.  Although their conclusions are  all nonsense it all served me to glorify God for my phenomenal human constitution as explained in the Scriptures. It also helped as I read Romans 6-8 and discerned what they discuss is the difference between the Presence of the Spirit  and self-consciousness soul rooted in sin. Also they make no place for the operation of the conscience. 

The conscience is the seat of God’s inner law. It is implanted within our heart. It is not the heart but rather utilized by the heart, as is the mind, the memory, instincts, feelings, moods, etc.  The essential mechanism of our identity, which they define as the subconscious  (sub-“below”- like in submarine) conscious (like in awareness) is THE heart, prior to salvation.

Our heart awareness (consciousness)  “is desperately sick” and extremely negative. We must be regenerated by the Presence of the Spirit to transform our self-consciousness into God-consciousness. The only reason I mention the pyscho-babel is because their exhaustive efforts, although wrongly defined, emphasize and highlight for us the multi-function of our various God-created mechanisms.  Paul says we must “discern” between the natural and spiritual existence or we remain “carnal” (1 Cor.2,3).

Today the “New Age” culture exploits this ideology as if offers some novel aspect  of humanity. It is all about the exploitation of SELF. Thus men become involved in endless cycle of mental trauma with something that can only be resolved by the cross of Jesus. We must die to self. Sadly,  today’s Christianity offers religious mumbo-jumbo and has no understanding of how our mind, heart, will and memory are to be sanctified by the truth (John 17:17). . That is to say that our entire human being and brain paths must repent, be reborn, retrained and renewed into the Spirit. 

Right now, your daily awareness is focused on your internal state (SELF: moods, feelings, events, frailty, memories, etc.) by way of  mental cognition and 5 senses. You  are aware of some thing by your mental cognition and are aware of other things by physical senses, while other things. You may be aware of a story in a book in your mind (or Bible verses)  but your senses make you aware of the taste of an apple or hot sandwich. So awareness is multifaceted. 

 Most Christians think that by ascertainment of Bible knowledge they receive an awareness of God. This is not true. It is merely an awareness of the THINGS of God. It is what the Pharisees possessed. It is knowing the letter of the law (2 Cor.3:6).

David says his awareness was of the very Presence of God’s Person. It was like dwelling under the shadow of His wings (Ps.91). The conscience and all creation bears witness to His existence. But this is not God-consciousness. Rather conscience is a mechanism that beckons us beyond itself.

Most Christians wrongly, and tragically, equate the conscience, the things learned of God, and awareness of God in creation, as salvation. Thus they live under the laws and dictates of conscience rather than being personally saved and led by the Presence and freedom of His Spirit.

All creation bears witness to us of a God-awareness (Rm.1:20/Ps.19). However our conscience burdens us with our sinful state until the blood of Jesus  frees us to submit to the heart of the living Jesus. We begin to “see” Him (Heb.12:1). We begin to trust Him, not as a distant entity, or doctrinal package, but in the life of the Son. “He who has the Son as the life” (1 Jn.5:12). His life within us is the only power to motive us to die to ourselves.

The cross of Jesus is “where” this old self-awareness must “die” for God-consciousness to be “born again”. When the Spirit of the Son comes into our hearts crying “Abba Father! our heart awareness becomes  God-consciousness. We become “spirit”, not just a soulish creature (1 Cor.15:45). It is the only way to become a person after the heart of God, like David. We BECOME Christ-like.

The apostle Paul says this awareness of His Spirit empowers us to transform our mind as our conscious soul is regenerated into spirit-life (Rm.12:2/1 Cor.15:45). Our conscience becomes “washed clean” from “dead works” (thinking righteousness is based on our behavior) and  also serves as a daily  “witness” to us of truth and when we die to our entire life to God on the day of judgment (Rm.2:14-15). But this is not heart. 

God-consciousness,  is eternal life and  continuously sustains and regenerates our spirit into changing levels to become like Christ.

Our choice to believe God transforms, not only our mind, but our heart from “stone” into love  (Ez.36:26).  The apostle Paul explains that his flesh had to die for him to enter the life of Christ. In other words we can’t be self-centered in a God-centered awareness. It just can’t happen. It’s one or the other. Sin is the constant pulse of our flesh but it is “covered” by the forgiveness and blood of Jesus. Self-life  is not our conscious pursuit of life when we are born again. Rather, our heart pants after God like a panting doe after a stream.

The Old Testament teaches the wholeness of man, in that, although our mind, heart and soul function as separate faculties they are woven to work together by our submission to redemption and participation  of our will (Heb.4:12). It is Michael who determines the function of my life out of my regenerated heart for God. My  heart is the center of my being. It is the flight control tower where I “control” and send off the decisions and patterns of my intentions, reasoning, motives. I have now brought into subjection all the mechanisms of my human being. Jesus says the first commandment is to love God with all our body, heart, soul and strength.

The manner in which I love and treat others, the choices of how I spend my mind-thoughts,  time and finances; the feelings and things that depress me and grieve me, the level of my maturing process and the course of my years on earth all show my heart. The driving force of the heart is not knowledge or good behavior. Those things fluctuate and fail. The driving force of the heart is your love. What is the nature of your love? Do you love? Why do you love? How do you love? For what reason do you sacrifice your own feelings, time and ways in order to help someone else? How authentic is your care for others? The inner workings of your mind; the deepest desires within you manifest your heart. God sees it and deals with you accordingly.

Jesus says “For out of whatever fills the heart of a man flows into a man’s  life;

his words, actions, time, finances, ….

(Matt.12:335-37/Lk.6:45-49).

 

Imagine  running “to and fro” desperately looking for someone you love. This is what God is doing.  He seeks for simply a true, real person with no games or arrogance.It’s all about one thing a heart, or love, for God. It is what you must do, be and live for. Everyone has gone their own way. Everyone yields to the complex mind games and struggles of self-pity. “It’s all too hard” is the cry of the multitudes.  The natural ways of human striving end in failure. The ways of love always end in blessing; i.e. newness of life. This was the promise of God to Abraham. The wind of the Spirit  is the most beautiful means to creat a heart of love (John3:8)

His Spirit is “running to and fro” and down every beach, neighborhood, block and dwelling. Like a young man with vigor and strength, God yearns to find and to give His Spirit to someone who is giving their heart to Him.

You are what your heart chooses to be. It is not meant to rule you until you are able to rule it. Want to be confused and vexed, then make things complicated with thoughts, words, excuses and rationalizations and justifications.

“WHAT DID YOU DO?” is what Jesus is going to ask us when we stand before Him. In other words your life is not what you say butis what you do, who you are, and how you respond. This is your heart.

My dear friend rivet your heart on the living Jesus (Hebrews 12).  Be honest. Be real. Trust Him. Believe Him. Hope in Him. As all the people recorded in God’s Word responded out of heart in faith “seeing” the unseen (Heb.11:6ff). Put your foot down and believe. Watch and wait. You will rise up like an eagle with wings on the wind (Is.40:31).  He promises wings to make you fly. This is no allegory. You are meant to be a son or a daughter reflecting the love of Jesus to the Father.

Jesus promises to give you His heart.I love you my friend. Don’t be complex. Let go of all that mental undercurrent that holds you down.

Jesu s promises if we will go into all the world and proclaim His gospel He will show the world His heart. His love is an “ART” of the Spirit. It is like having all the paint and brushes, all the tools and equipment to  shape the greatest composition right within you so to give yourself to Him by giving yourself to others. This is the greatest blessing a man can know. The end is near. You can do so much and find such reward within. Change your mind. Create your  own HeART Work.

SONY DSC

 

Copyright

All material on this website is protected by copyright. Duplication or theft of photos or content is subject to criminal prossecution. Some names and information regarding places, testimonials, and other content has been altered for privacy purposes while all relevant material has be unaltered.
Teaching, TravelsJuly 02, 2023

“Why did you make me like this?” (Rm. 9:20)

“I’m so sorry father. How could I think to tell you that you did not understand? How could I? Running off into my own ways because I thought you did not know what I needed was my own rebellion. I have been such a failure and I just saw how wicked I am by seeing what I am apart from you….I’m not worthy to be called your son….I just thought there had to be something for me out there but all it did was make me question why I was the way I am” (Luke 15).

Is this not a question we have all asked ourselves? Come on, really? The sad thing is we have done so many times and never realized God has actually long ago answered it. So much of our stress arises out various reasons for asking “Why?” We sit alone in our vast empire of speculations, sadness and fear pondering the deepest issues of our life. God in His vast empire of love and wealth of understanding has explained the deepest questions of our heart.

I just think its absolutely amazing how Paul tackles the issues most people think are a slam dunk against the existence of God. In Romans 9 Paul confronts the question of why and how we can exist when God clearly states “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion” (v.15). Then Paul goes to the next reasonable thought process. He says if God already decided on certain people whom He will love and certain people He will reject what’s the use of existence. If God is against us why should we even make any effort to improve our lives or for that matter have any hope in life at all?

The backdrop of all such thinking starts with the creation and fall of mankind. Paul says “On the contrary”, as any brilliant lawyer, he refuses to accept the premise that any man can presume to make a conclusion upon the Character or reasoning of God. Period. He refuses to go with any initiation of any thought. The groundwork for reasonable thought starts with God, not with man’s conclusions. Man is completely untrustworthy in any self-made propositions.

Before any man can conclude any statement about God he is faced with the fact that he is MAN and  “who are you O MAN who answers back to God. The thing molded will not say to the molder, ‘Why did you make me like this, will IT?” Clay can not talk. It is NOTHING.

The  anointed prophet Jeremiah says he learned how to face extreme difficulty of living a life of constant hardship. He says of himself “Let him sit alone and be silent… LET HIM PUT HIS MOUTH IN THE DUST perhaps there is still hope” (Lam.3:28029). Over the fifty years I have served Jesus I often say to myself  “Shut the hell up!”. I am the greatest enemy to myself. And I am not a passive enemy. Ego is an all out hostile evil.

I call it “pre-launch” of thoughts.  Jesus says to “calculate”. The origin of this word is calculus  which is an ancient mathematics to break large things into little things. It is to breakdown the big issues into the actual motives, reasons, emotions, etc. It is the time when I am pondering my response. I am separating between “soul and spirit” because God corresponds at the realm of “spirit and truth” (Heb. 4:12/Jn.4:24).

I must find the place within me where I “launch” my actions from pure motives.  It  will determine my own course. Before I can even ask God anything I must examine my deepest motives.  It is here where I see the undertow of unbelief and must enforce the law of “Shut the hell up”. I put my finger over my mouth and realize as an enemy of God my flesh is a direct channel of Satan.

Imagine what it is like to literally “put your mouth in the dust”. It is the only response that proves you GET IT. God is God. You “O Man” are wicked dust and to dust you shall return. This is the only fitting strike against the core ego of pride. After all, he thinks he’s got something to say to God. In this case the farmer named Job might have some counsel. He says man is the food for maggots (Job 25:6).

“Why do you take Him to court for not answering anything a person asks? For God speaks time and again, but a person y not notice it. In a dream a vision in the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they slumber on their beds, He uncovers their ears at that tie and terrifies the with warnings, in order to turn a person fro his actions and suppresses pride” (Job 33:13-17).

So I use this expression only to convey the dire resolute nature we must use to deal with our SELF. To die to self is no light matter. If we can get to this point of “putting our mouth in the dust”  S.T.H.U. we can begin to find the real depth of resolution and answer to “Why did you make me like this?” or “Why has my life been of such nature?”. Because God goes on to put forth a profound reasoning. Basically He says “Look, you defiled yourself with sin. You absolutely corrupted your entire humanity.

The composition which I intended for you to have was in my divine image. But you said you would rather live without me. And this was so foul and vile that IT, not me, obliterated your design. You began to perform all manner of evil. It got so bad I had to wipe you off the earth by the flood in the days of Noah. But then I figure I’m not going to waste my creation of mankind. So I will provide a way for them to escape their foul human nature. I will choose a people to reveal Myself to  and make a covenant as I originally wanted of fellowship and love.”

So the birthplace of the answer to this question is that God “endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction” (v.22). In other words God was putting up with man from the outset of sin of Adam and Eve.  The offspring of our wicked ancestors became so vile they were like the beasts (Isaiah 59). Paul quotes from this passage in Romans 3:10ff. There was no Israel. No David. No Abraham. Just filthy wicked people doing terrible things.

God wanted to wipe them out again generations ofter Noah  but Moses interceded. So God said that He would keep the promise to Abraham and fulfill it with something mind blowing. God had originally designed 12 tribes of Israel to be the people whom He would redeem. But as He saw how they corrupted themselves He said “Look. I’m going to enact a plan that cannot fail. I will call those who were not my people, “MY PEOPLE” and her who was not beloved “Beloved”.

In other words God would go to the most wicked of humanity and treat the as His people. The word is Gentile. It simply means nation or people: “the world”. He would now look on the world as “His people” if anyone so wanted. They would not need to be jewish or maintain sacrifices and visit the Temple. All they would have to do is believe His revelation.

Who is this who comes from Edom,
With garments of glowing colors from Bozrah,
This One who is majestic in His apparel,
Marching in the greatness of His strength?
“It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to  save.”Is. 63:1

Paul concludes Romans 9 by saying “Behold  I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, And He who believes in Him will not be disappointed”. What an understatement. Faith. Sounds so simple, and indeed it is. But, like the Jews, today people insist upon “making myself a better person”. Trying to improve yourself by your own efforts of betterment is a formula for disaster. It is always ends in the subtle and ever so silent question “Why did you make me like this?”. You fall into the darkness of a life rooted in yourself. The “talking back to God” never stops. It becomes the norm. Ever so hidden but ever so loud in the ears of an omnipresent King.

Consequently, like with Israel, it is not the majority who recognized God’s plan. It is “the remnant” (v. 27). It is the very few who are more than willing to “Shut the hell up”. To recognize they are “O Man”; the wicked of the wicked; deserve nothing, but hell fire. If you can come down off your tower of presumption and pride and, in the depths of your being, S.T.H.U. when it comes to all your complaining then my friend you can become the people of God. Because indeed you are “not My people”.

If you can identify with Esau and know “Esau I hated” then you can become “Jacob” whom God says “I loved” (12-13). Instead of saying “there is no justice with God” because no matter how hard I try I can not win His favor, I cannot improve my life, you will say “God has given me the divine privilege to be called His son or daughter””.  You will realize that having nothing but His willingness to save you is everything. Because what we deserve “O Man” is hell fire.

 

Copyright

All material on this website is protected by copyright. Duplication or theft of photos or content is subject to criminal prossecution. Some names and information regarding places, testimonials, and other content has been altered for privacy purposes while all relevant material has be unaltered.
Teaching, TravelsFebruary 17, 2023

The Strategy for Tragedy & Solutions To The Unbearable

Jesus – “God saves”… from

Tragedy -“something (big or small)  causing suffering”… and

Unbearable – “intolerable, beyond endurance, more than flesh and blood can stand”… by a

Strategy – “a grand plan of action designed to achieve a desired goal”… for

Recovery – “return to health, healing, redemption, equilibrium”… in Him.

 

Consider The Ravens 

“God gives food…to the young ravens which cry” (Psalm 147:9).

The ravens fed me in the desert,
as they glided without effort,
they led me to my shelter,
upon the breeze surrendered,
the place I am centered…. alone with my Shepherd!

(Poem by my youngest daughter Elizabeth-38)

(Below from left: Sarah, Ruth, me, Beth, David, Abraham/  Crouched in front: Rachel, Joshua)

At  this very moment, wherever you are, whoever you are, Jesus is waiting to meet with you. In your exact state, He yearns to adapt His love to your individual level of struggle and suffering.  His heart is to lift you into His Spirit. A common cliche asks  “Is it too good to be true?”. No. This stuff is real.

Howdy, partner in humanity. Greetings from your fellow family members. Come on in. We are honored to share our “wings”. We’d like to help you find yours. (Our last name in Polish actually means “little bird”.)

So what I want to give you here, in my own feeble attempt,  if you will plow through this Amazon Jungle of words,  is a touch of His dimension. In one sentence, or another, He will come to you, if you will come to Him.

You see, my dear friend, Jesus has this distinctive wound in Him that is extremely sensitive to everyones’ sorrow. He knows it so well. As our Brother from above, Jesus was subject to the most excruciating human pain ever known to mankind. This involves all inner fear and hurt resulting  from our most hidden sin.

Jesus was literally ripped apart. His skull was punctured by thorns and torn open by laughing guards beating on it. It made a “migraine” seem like an ant bite. Out of 4 nails, pounded into His body, flowed quarts of  blood. It was not for His sake that He agonized. He cares about YOU.

It’s like, how many times have we heard ‘Do not worry. Consider the ravens… how much more value are you’. We think “Ya. I already know that. My problems require something far more than a Bible cliche” (Lk.12:24)?

Please. Reconsider. Relearn. What if Jesus Himself was laying on His back, in the stillness of a moment, looking skyward, and saw a raven. There and then this “insignificant” bird  drew this God-Man to contemplate the answer of His Father to His own Personal agony? It wasn’t about some morsel of knowledge but the Fathers’ very Presence. My dear brother or sister, herein lies the profound access point to enter the “place” where we can be lifted above any and all tragedy. To find supernatural lift out of our deep seated, mental anguish and suffering. I’m not lying or exaggerating.

This has to do with going to a “place” you’ve never been. Finding a physical place to find a spiritual place.  Maybe, to lay on your back, lean against a rock or tree, sit by a stream, at a beach, to engage your heart and mind like never before. You possess latent faculties, like machines, created to bring you into a transcendent process only you can perform.

We live in a hi-tech culture in which thinking is nothing more than a bit above instinct. Meditation is relegated to California cult weirdos. So pathetic. Todays’ “Christians” do a sinners prayer and hour on Sunday and bring forth the fruit of a light hearted twit. Seeking answers like anyone else.  The living Jesus compels us into a deep contemplation as the bread and butter of a divine meal. He is the Bread of Life (Jn.6). This is not a mere metaphor but a Personal promise.

“My words are spirit and life…I am the Door… I am the Way, Truth and Life itself…I am that I am…Deep calls to deep” (Jn.6:63, 9,10,14/Ps.42:7). His words in Scripture beckons us beyond nice stories, written with black letters on white pages (Jn.6:63,4:24). They compel us to Him. Revelation of the  living Person of Jesus offers a library of disclosure; a fountainhead of restoration, not one answer or a second, but a 3rd answer. But you have to learn how to do it…then DO IT! It’s not magic. It’s passion. What is your heart capacity; King David or king Saul? Do you know the difference? Jesus promises, not only recovery, but the dawning of the Father’s Character (Jn.6:37,14:23).

So how do we get to this light? In His reference to “consider the ravens” could Jesus be sharing with us His key to finding the solution to His own unbearable tragedy? He requires everything in you to back down, shutdown, redirect your focus and energy and ONLY then to find HIS PEACE (Jn.14:27/Phil.4:7/1 Kings 19:12/Ps.42:7)? Not a passive acquiescence but another dimension of life.  He requires something so simple our nature of anxiety causes us to miss it. Our flesh desires something sensational. Something of instant gratification.

Jesus asks of you a beautiful nothing.  The Answer to the burden of life is awaiting…. just a “bird” away. Sadly, the majority will go their whole lives carrying massive hidden grief, never learning to be still before a merciful father.

If you read this thinking you already know what I’m writing, you will not learn zero. I’m sorry but I’m not the perfect writer. This is a bit long and wordy but what I share is a rare REAL. Essential to discovery is a humble disposition of conscious need. You can only fill an empty cup. It’s exciting to learn real answers. Can you STOP religious presumption? The man named Job, was more righteous than any man of his time.

But suddenly enormous suffering showed him his inner chasm. He realized he knew nothing of an everlasting almighty God (Job 42:5-6). He was a man who knew how to gaze at a bird, or any creation of God, to learn what he never knew (Job 42).

My oldest son, Abraham, claims 6 words are like magic to get him in Gods’ way: “I don’t know anything about You.” Can you even say this? “Well, not me. I know alot about God. This makes me better than the pagan”. Come on man. Let go.  If you hold to knowledge, you don’t realize, “Consider who you are…not wise, not noble, not mighty… God has CHOSEN that which is nothing that “He might nullify THE THINGS THAT ARE(1 Cor. 8:1, 1:26-29,3:19). Yikes. The “things that ARE“?! You mean everything? Yup. Jesus says  He didn’t come to earth for the “healthy” but the “sick” (Mark 2:17). That’s me. How about you?

 Jesus says “LEARN FROM ME”

Paul says “Follow me as I follow Christ” (1 Cor.11:1). I’ve gone through a lot to learn a lot to pass on to you. I remember 50 yrs. ago when I first read “Come to ME, LEARN FROM ME(Mt.11:28-29). I first thought “How can I? You are dead and gone. Can’t fly to Israel. You are not there.” Then an astounding “little” truth hit me. He dropped me a breadcrumb.  “What?! You are living?! It’s not about me going, doing, or being?”. It’s about YOU actually coming to wicked ol me?”

In an instant, I realized that all my nothingness, which I was intimately aware of, could be to my advantage. Coming to the living Jesus demanded nothing… but childlike Faith: “He will teach me. I will LEARN.” Learning anew is the everything to our nothing.

The word “sinner” is THEE most offensive word in the human language. If “Christians” really knew what it meant they’d likely never identify with it.  Rm.3:10-19 is brutal to self-pride and ego. Contrary to famous preachers, who distort verses to win crowds, Jesus does not call us to “love yourself” but to “deny yourself” (Mk.8:34/Matt.16:24/Jn.12:25/Lk.9:23).

This didn’t offend me. It excited me. “God knows I am a selfish wicked man yet has a strategy to love me?”. So read no further if you are stuck on yourself. Any moron can parrot the “letter of the law” Bible verses, but only a heart of nothing learns from “the SPIRIT of the law” (2 Cor.3:6/Jn.6:63). Any parrot can repeat the word “Jesus”. It is not a magic mantra that imparts salvation. Salvation is not a matter echoing “Jesus”, or His teachings. It is learning to live IN HIM. And this requires death to self (Rm.6:6/Gal.2:20).

When I gave my life to Jesus, I was playing college football. I faced my proud self-ego and relinquished in quest of a new beginning (2 Cor.5:17). It is an individual decision everyone must make. We can choose how humble we are willing to go. Humiliation is the ultimate test and cauterizes the trauma involved in repentance. The mockery and humiliation I bore for Jesus, amongst “friends” and family, transformed my mind from this world into His (Rm. 12:/Jn.15:25).

So I follow Jesus despite the hatred of this world (Lk. 14:26-33/Jn.18:36). Two worlds: one insists you become something, and one that requires you become nothing. Your choice. Conversion is the most meaningful and richest experience of my life. It  brought me to understand “the cross” and  learn why nothingness is so grand, so beautiful, so profound, so real.

I began to learn REAL. Mind blowing. What do people hate me just because I love Jesus? How does my present day loneliness and sin originate 10,000 yrs. ago?  Adam and Eve turned from God and thus incurred this painful of isolation and sin in every all human nature. Thus we inherit it from our actual ancestors. Jesus yearns transition our tragedy of loneliness into the power of solitude. 

This is why we must die to ourselves; this inherited nature. It is a nuisance. A constant obstacle to faith. God emphatically declares that He is One “Who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist (Rm.4:17-18).  So we must find that real place of calculation and personal repentance. It is where we see and identify our sin but go beyond it into His place of grace and hope for redemption.

God found an old pagan dude named Abraham to use in order to create our means for redemption. It’s called faith. Of course, today this word is thrown around like it’s common but it is “strategic”. Abraham found his “raven” moment. One still night, out alone, maybe laying on his back, staring up at the stars. Abraham found his real moment before God:  “Man, look at that sky of stars! God, Father, You have got to be real.  I believe in You. I give you my life”. Boom. Faith was born. Never before that moment did faith exist.

God wanted to show how faith is only born in (divine) hope against hope (mere wishful thinking)“. Being 100 years old Abraham was “as good as dead(Rm.4:18-19).

From this moment on someone who was nothing could now receive everything through an individual still-hearted incorporation of faith (Rm.10:9-10). So, in a sense, the more nothing you are, the weaker you become, the more tragic, the older you get, the greater God Almighty can move on you. IF you are willing to go find the “raven” place. God is just so cool. He really loves this nothingness thing. His Spirit only works “out of nothing” (Rm.4:17). I can never overdo this Biblical fact.

So the strategy of the Father is to bring within our nothingness His Presence. We must discover a place where we bridge the gap of sin into His Presence. If we are caught up in ourselves we will never recognize this beckoning in our conscience. There is no prayer-button to push but a heart to surge. With the heart man believes (Rm.10:9-10).

Our Father is not aloof to our cries, my dear brother or sister. He doesn’t put our prayers in a waiting line. But He does require certain “stuff” from us.  He wants our HEART. His has an operative strategy which means He is a merciful ever-present, intimately involved Father, Who longs to be gracious (Is.30:18,43:1). He knows you by name. Are willing to be still…..to silence all voices… and wait for His? If not your burden is sure to continue and increase.  It is an individual challenge; this road; you and Him. No bouncing our thoughts off others. We start with nothing, but faith,  and refuse to stop until we find our end in His Presence. This is REAL bro. Not “out there”. Not difficult. As near as your mouth, on your lips (Rm.10:6-8).

TWO COMMON RESPONSES:

There are those who are a ‘runaway’ from describing their lives as “tragic”:  “Oh no. I’m fine. No problem”. They deny the truth (Jer.17:9). Basically, you cannot teach them anything. On the other hand there are the lowly, quick to label their situation as “tragic,” hoping to find any love. I do not hesitate to identify myself with the latter. The term desperate is not a passing incident but a life-time realization of my state. My sick mind is transformed by the faith of Abraham (Rm.12:2,10:9-10)

Have you ever been in a military hospital, mental ward or prison infirmary? For that matter, any hospital or ward. It’s like a warehouse of tragedy. There’s an unbearable story in every bed, and usually, at least, a thousand beds in every facility. I don’t see strangers but fellow brothers and sisters. I have learned the compassion of Jesus renders divine comfort to us all. We are all brothers and sisters by human nature.

The stillness I discovered  I now carry with me and give to my brethren.  Multitudes, who the world once accepted as “safe and sound”, they quickly tag the label; “DAMAGED”. Nonsense. The “damage” has long harbored within. It was already there when they were born in sin (Ps. 51:5). But circumstances of mental anguish amplified it to the forefront of consciousness.  Jesus promises “I WILL GIVE YOU REST” (Mt.11:27ff). Very few would ever realize that their feelings of hopelessness can be fully redeemed by God’s strategy to tragedy (Rm.8:28)?

God gets inside our “Complex” through His love. Our duty is to stop, and relearn what we thought we knew.

I talk with soldiers, labeled heroes, and folks on Wall Street, labeled “success”. But in secret, they tell me things as casualties of the hidden battle with sin: pain, fear, guilt, and shame.  They don’t understand themselves. They do not know the “Complex” of sin can turn any little, or big thing, into a nightmare. Sin influences every aspect of our memories, feelings, mind, attitude, reactions, plans, ect. So I write here to translate God’s strategy to permeate the deepest grief with the love of the beloved Son to help you understand. The only hope is to RELEARN how to deal with life.

When you fall into a place where you feel stuck Jesus proposes His “place”. When we are struck down into a dark negative feelings one choice to believe God can turn on His light. We blame others or grope for some reason because we don’t understand this compelling vortex of evil is imbedded in our blood and exploited by demons.  When pressures bear down on us we look within, but find nothing but anger.  It is not your personality. It is sin.  It renders you disconnected from God, isolated, and feeling nothing. No church group of people or sermon can resolve it.

My friend, the strategy to such inner tragedy is not found in trying harder but in  transparency with the Father. Out of love,  He tries to use our desperation to break us to “see” we are nothing, so we can find His “place” of TRUTH (Jn.14:6).

We all feel a constant sense of instability. It lingers  in the basement of our self-awareness. We look for distractions but these are reverberations turn to anger and irritability and bubble-up at any time over nothing.  Have you ever thought “Am I going crazy?”. We’ve all thought this quirky feeling. SIN.  God explains “all men are full of evil and insanity is in their hearts” and “they stumble like blind men… the poison of a snake is on their lips” (Ecc.9:3/ Is.59/ Rm.3:10).

Sin is in us, dude. You and me.  It don’t go away through “confession”. People say “How can a sane man commit insane acts”? No man is sane. Just look at the world. Everything is nuts. Jesus seeks to come within, regardless of our sin, and give us a second “nature” of His Presence.  We learn faith to replace God’s “something” for our nothing (sin). Jesus resolved IT. Believe. This is solid Biblical revelation.

Like “ravens” in the night sky, Abraham let go of himself,  seeing God in the stars. He found “the place” of surrender. When we submit to the grace of the death and resurrection of Jesus the tragedy of our sin subsides in His work on the cross. Atonement. Appeasement. Substitution. Mediation.

So many times I see my own self-righteousness can’t process my own depraved ways. So I must simply obey His strategy. I can’t earn my way back into God’s favor. I just admit I’m wicked. His compassion is for everyone always. You don’t have to “forgive yourself”. Jesus did long ago. I merely recognize sin hiding within.  Meditate on how Paul understood sin as an objective entity, apart from his true identity (read Rom.7:14 to the end). Mind blowing.

Without understanding the components of our sin we remain prisoners, roaming the long lonely corridor of life. We wonder “Who am I?” We search for love and acceptance.  “Am I worse or better than others? What is my future? Do I even have one?” Our “identity” is established to others by our visible points of worldly association. But that’s not us. Our individual identity can only be found in “the place” (Jn.14:23).

When asked to describe someone an acquaintance will give this “unique” description;  “Uh. They liked laughing and climbing trees”. So different than billions of others.

God does not dwell on Pluto, but  earth. He yearns to reveal Himself and heal our consequences of a physical accident, being in prison,  alcohol or drug abuse, a hospital-bound sickness, adultery and divorce,  financial distress or any of a thousand  things that draw us into the darkness of unbearable tragedy.

My fellow comrade, there is one bottomline-tragedy, worse than all, that we must first deal with: DEATH. It is in you, now, working to steal away your life. Right now, you can take-on an intelligent, level-headed analysis of death. Set your mind anew. Gods’ revelation promises divine “medicine” of His Spirit to neutralize “the unbearable”.

 God never wanted us to suffer. He created us to be immortal. But the sin of Adam and Eve began our tragic toil; “the wages of sin is death” (Rm.6:23). Death and sin are inseparable.  Wrinkles, weakness and bodily depletion show up in the blink of an eye, out of “nowhere” and strip us of our self-strength. In a moment of time we are brought face to face with one universal truth;  death proves we are nothing. We will all be but worms (Job 25:6).

The Strategy of Nothing… The Beautiful “Nothing”… In which He becomes Everything

My wife Rachel sings a beautiful song on the streets, and in prisons, written by The Rolling Stones. Yup. Total pagans used for God’s glory. It’s called “Wild Horses” (Her rendition is they couldn’t drag God away from loving you).

King David cried to God: “Teach us to number our days so that we may present to You a heart of wisdom….Lord, make me to know my end…let me know how transient I am..my life is as nothing in your sight” (Ps.90:12,39:4-6).

So this talk of death, and being nothing, is not extreme, crazy, radical or debatable.  It’s like gravity. It’s common sense. The Father yearns to transform our fear into His perspective. His love directly impacts our natural feelings of unbearable grief:

“For YOUR sake we are put to death all day long (We die to ourselves to help others  find His everything in our nothing.)…I am convinced that neither death, nor life…nor any thing is able to separate us from the love of God” (Rom.8:28-39).

You will never hear about the tragedy of death on NBC NEWS. It is the conspiracy of all mankind to hide the reality of death.  Ever notice how famous people slowly fade from the public eye as they get old? They want no one to see the grotesque shock of aging on their faces. It comes from the inside out.

A young Robert Redford, Paul Newman or once “sexy diva” is stunned by the tragedy in the mirror.  I recently saw the greatest fullback of all time, Jim Brown. I was stunned.  His “great accomplishments”  will register only a few minutes on a news epilogue.

Our youthful hype, tight skin and strong body is slowly succumbs to inescapable depression and misery. The elderly can not cope with the mental hurricane of rapid degradation. Millions are abandoned by children, unless there’s a hope for money.

 Death proves one thing: no matter what you will do on earth, its’ end is nothing. Death comes at one moment in time, but its’ grim composition begins in our early lives. Like a huge industrial complex, sin and death corrupt every human experience, cell, organ, muscle, and brain. I’ve never heard a man boast “Hey man. I’m going to die!”.

In some crazy way we feel we are entitled to a better life.  We think we “I deserve better. WHY did this happen to ME? No one understands my problems. I don’t deserve this. We blame God. My friend, stop. Consider the ravens. They are not brainwashed by this world. They make no contribution to society. They demand no one to give them a job or ministry. No goals or plans.

They do one thing. They do nothing; but it is the beautiful nothing. They draw us to glorify God. To be thankful that we have a chance of this life for eternal life. They were created for the same purpose as us; to give our magnificent Father His due glory. To get our mind off our sin, our ego our problems our self.   Can you imagine saying “I don’t deserve anything because I am nothing”. And I mean really, deep down, grasping all of what you are… not.

I continue to learn how to be a master “safe cracker”. What I mean is I have learned how to still my heart by being trained over years by the Spirit the right “combination” to enter the “safe” place of the Most High; the beautiful of nothing. Everything in me is silent. My mind and heart go to work.  Isaiah  said “Woe is me,  for I am nothing” (Is. 6:5). John the Baptist said “I am not worthy to tie your sandals… and… I must decrease and He must increase”. Job said “I am dust and ashes”. A woman told Jesus she was as a dog looking for just crumb of God’s Presence (Mt.15:27).

Jesus told Mary no human task compared to sitting at His feet (Lk. 10:42). My “work” is to turn the tumblers of my heart, and apply faith to analyze my memories, search my wisdom, examine my weaknesses, see my pride and put the drive to be REAL. Being real is God’s demand (Jn.4:24). Then, and only then, can I find the beautiful “nothing”. It is where I find ME: “my outer man perishes (as nothing)  but my inner man is renewed… like the eagle” (2 Cor.4:16 /Is.40:31/Jn.10:10). Jesus says our only work is to BELIEVE (Jn.6:29). So He wasn’t talking about doing nothing but “nothing”.

The other day Ravens “fed” me in my wilderness of nothing (1 Kings 17:6) As I laid on the grass in a remote field, staring up at the flight pattern of ten ravens. My soul was troubled and sorely grieved by inexplicable depression; an odor of death. The adversity of being a sinner.

In and out, the ravens flew, as if designated pilots on a mission to draw me higher. In mid-flight I watched several flutter in place, then suddenly switch directions and catch the wind in the opposite flow. Wow. That’s God. Just magnificent. They glided in a pattern, making their sounds, as if talking to me while weaving in amazing symmetry. Come up hither. Learn from us. Love the Lamb.

Such an event with no crowds to marvel.

 -This is part of a song I am working on in an attempt to capture the same sense as I describe here. If you listen closely you will hear the sound of a raven blended in with the synthesizers. Let me know I’ll send it to you if you like. 

I beheld High Places. I gave yield to the breeze of the wind as divine. I spoke no words but heard many.  I said no formal prayer but felt many answered within. I let go and found me. Ahhh. The old self lifted.

My regenerated spirit was quickened (1 Cor.15:45). It is who I really am beyond my sinful nature. It is my God-certified disposition (Jn.4:24). I arrived in the field bummed out, but left uplifted. Walked as one, but flew as two (Isaiah 40:31/Rm.7:23). Paul explains I am “hidden in Christ” (Col. 3:3). Don’t knock it unless you try it.

It is not in my sinful nature to know who I am. It died 50 yrs. ago. Humiliated by 100 guys and coaches on a national championship football team. Now, I will never “live” that life again. The Fathers’ love is built on His promise and oath (Heb. 6:13-14). He cannot lie.  My real identity “…has not appeared as yet what I will be” (1 Jn.3:2). It is not within me to  understand the insidious ways of my carnal flesh. Paul says ‘what the heck am I doing choosing sinful ways’(Rm.7:14). Then explains God’s strategy; “Thanks be to God…on one hand I serve God…but on the other the law of sin” (Rm. 7:25)?

My strategy is to learn, study and relinquish myself to His strategy.

To implement the awareness of my nothing as an instinctive attribute of my character. “To die is gain” (Phil.1:21/Gal.2:20).

Paul said “I am the dreg of all things…the scum of the earth” (What is a ‘dreg’?)(1 Cor.4:13). How’s that for nothing? His new spirit ridiculed the tragedy of death: “Oh death where is your sting…the sting of death is sin … but God gives victory through Jesus” (1 Cor.15:56). This is the grand GOOD NEWS OF THE GOSPEL (Col. 1:27).  I am confident His Presence in me is greater than everything against me (Phil. 1:6). “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress…or peril, or sword, or famine or nakedness…WE ARE PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG” (Rm.8:31-36).

 “He who believes in me will live even if he dies” (Jn.11:25).

The strategy requires one thing from you: authenticity. Being real is like flight. It demands wings. God doesn’t make our wings. We do. It’s not common to be real before God. It’s not a cinch. Few people in this world ever achieve this goal. It involves bringing into confluence many parts of our human entity.  How deeply do we think, contemplate and talk to the living Jesus?  Does His tragic death turn our hearts inside out? Do we pause… and glide with the ravens? Do we know the sphere of His “wind” (Jn.3:8). Do we ponder and visualize?

Jesus knew that Adams’ sin so corrupted us we would live in unbearable tragedy.   No stairway to heaven within us. Mankind would be facing unbearable consequences of sin. So He agreed to come to earth. He would endure the greatest so we could be born all over again if we surrender to His revelation (Jn.3:3/ 1 Pt. 1:23). The Father and the Son conceived The Strategy and the Holy Spirit brings The Solution; The Plan to overcome a depraved world in sin.

“In the world you shall have tribulation but TAKE courage (My power)

I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD (John 16:33).

Jesus CHOSE to “empty Himself” of His divinity and succumb to the Father’s strategy (Phil.2:7-8). No entitlement. Humility led to humiliation

It demands our WILL (Jn.7:17).

Jesus fell to the bottom of life to bear all the ‘unbearable’ sin. It killed Him and He killed it. So today, Jesus can come alongside us, with His risen Spirit. You yield. He transmits His Presence (Rm.6:6/1 Cor.15:45/Jn.3:3-8). The God phenomenal of Divine comfort is when we hear  Someone else feels our exact pain and circumstances. He appeases our sense of lonely isolation and imparts His strength in individual solitude.

The strategy over tragedy requires brutal honesty with Him, in Him, of our old self in hope the ravens will draw us into our new self. It is my sinful self who killed You Jesus. It is this monster who drives the nails and thorns into Your divine body. It is I who blames You for my suffering. Forgive me.

 You alone understand why I sin. You felt all its’ compelling  pulsations and sensations. You killed every aspect of this crazy insidious entity of sin. Your shed blood reckoned me unlimited forgiveness is mine.

My fellow sojourner, we must work to comprehend and access this magnificent gospel. It is not singing songs at church. It is not having to suffer alone inside while smiling outside and parroting christian theology. The Father has made Himself evident within us, by our conscience, so that we will come to Him our of our individual accountability (Jn.3:16-17, 7:17/Rm.1:19-20/Jn.15:22-27). The man who diligently activates his free will begins to utilize intelligence finds the solutions and strategy to any unbearable tragedy. It is not knowledge. It is His heart; His love; His Character.

“Here I am. Bring your tragedy to Me” says the One Whose mind thought of YOU, then, personally, with love beyond measure. Let go.

Failure is not a personality flaw. They say some are good, and good things happen and some are bad so bad things happen. Absurd.  Neither is any person fixed by an inescapable “addiction” to booze, drugs, sexual deviation, TV, video games, etc. These are all cultural myths.

I deal with this constantly in prison work. Men are conditioned to rationalize and justify behavior, that they are told, can only be controlled by drugs and psycho-therapy. Tragically, despair and suicide result. They are told that they ARE evil because they DO evil. So they DO evil because they are told they ARE evil. A vicious cycle of lies.

Blame started with Eve towards Adam. People blame their parents, a job or the past. There is “NO EXCUSE” (Jn.15:25). It is an essential to take full accountability for ones’ life. The work of the cross can only begin with intelligent accountability to find and know the truth.

Just as you failed miserably, so too, can you succeed wonderfully. Seize the reigns of your destiny. Defy the lie. Learn from the raven. Watch the unbearable slip into the bearable. CHANGE.  He bore YOU in His body on the cross.  God would be a monster if he created anyone with an inbred “addiction”. Sin was a result of our decision, not God’s decision. His is for redemption.

The truth is we are all “addicts” to a thousand variations of sin, at any one time in life. Habits, no matter how established, can be conquered.  We have a choice in how we choose to think and interpret our circumstances. Blame leads only to the paralysis of self-pity.

Let God teach you how to “divide” yourself from yourself by His Spirit (Heb.4:12). It is ultimate freedom.  In Christ, the Spirit shows sin to be an irrelevant objective (learn this word) non-matter. Paul says “I do not box the air” and “it is not me but sin in me”  (1 Cor. 9/Rm.7). The resurrection destroyed sin forever. What and how you believe matters.  Words matter. Thoughts matter. A tiny hope blossoms into faith. God expects us to be individuals capable of unique honest heart-found expressions to Him. Freedom. We have to un-think the wrong stuff to rethink right stuff. Repentance is begging God for recovery. Humiliation is a very refreshing process of healing to unlearn and relearn.

THE “EMBRACE”OF THE FATHER WE ALL LONG FOR… AWAITS YOU !

When some people hear us speak of the living Jesus, they question our intense warning against the “Accept Christ as Savior” prayer-formula. They don’t understand that our admonition is not out of a casual or flippant chafe opinion. It is a serious, well-calculated LOVE, of the Father, to present the multi-faceted provisions of His living revelation. Our only desire is for you to truly know His love.

God is not a cosmic perplexity. We need not fear we cannot understand Him. He “casts out” all fear (1 Jn.4:18). He has no “brainteasers”. He does not demand moral behavior before He will come to you. It would be a contradiction to expect morality from men, whom He reveals are evil by nature. Remember Abraham was a pagan.

The precise thinking of those who designed the “sinners prayer”  in the 17th century (Charles Finney and John Wesley) was to supplant “the complexity” of the New Testament with an easy token prayer-formula. So the lazy nature in all men didn’t need to comprehend a “distant” Being. This is outrageous. It is “defiance” to Jesus Who promises to reveal Himself to the most common of men.

Todays christianity is a magnet for self-righteousness because it instills an instant false “righteousness” as an immovable bedrock based on what a MAN DOES.The fruit is obvious. Not humility but “Don’t tell ME! I’m already ‘saved’ “.  The constant recycle of condemnation due to our sinful inability to meet any “Christian” standard. If you never experience the divine embrace, we all long for, you will live in the torment of an ongoing vice between legalism (striving to be right) vs lawlessness (our natural ways).

The Father extends one alternative: SONSHIP (Jn.8:36/2 Cor. 6:18/Rm.8:15/Gal.4:6).

The driving heart of Jesus is to reveal His mediation of adoption to the most wicked, stupid and ignorant (1 Cor.1:18ff). It is not a lofty theology but the intimate experience of a fellow brother touching us as The Brother. We are gripped by another awareness in which we sense a realistic approach to God as “Daddy” (Gal.4:6). Not weird. Not warm fuzzies. Historical fact. The security of identity as a real child of God. The warm caring “embrace” of belonging; “You are mine”.

Jesus became the “prodigal son” Who actually shared in, bearing our rebellion in our experience of sin. He sweat blood, feeling our run of rebellion, from the Father, while on the cross. Yet ran back to the Father, driven by His vision of the Father. Divine love is like the many colors and angles reflected through a prism. It’s not fabricated religious sentiment but historical documentation of God coming to earth to give us His wealth of perspective to any sinner to resolve our greatest tragedy. No one is excluded. The disciples were not brain surgeons. Yet, through Jesus, became profound authors of a New Covenant.

The modern-day “salvation” reduces a mountain to an ant hill. It is a diabolical effort to create a token cutoff point from discovery. It circumvents the entire gospel. “Christians” remain in dire need, but since they prayed the “sinners’ prayer”, they refuse to “go back” and face their void. It would not be denying the Lord. It would be obeying the Lord. Instead of a prism of light permeating their lives with wonderful colors they are left with a useless common stone. My friend, come back to the Father. You have nothing to regret or fear. He awaits with open arms. We’re talking about ETERNITY in heaven or hell.

When I was initially confronted with sin I was greatly relieved and happy. I thought “Do you mean that God, not only fully sees and knows my evil, but explicitly describes it and responds with eternal forgiveness and love?”. That day I will never forget. I was twenty years old. My foundation began rooted in this truth.  I became enthralled with the living Person of Jesus. I don’t have to hide or deny what I am to God. Whew. Can you imagine walking each day KNOWING Jesus loves YOU, no matter what? And the Woroniecki family cares about YOU. Give us a chance to show you. Below is a picture outside a prison facility in South America.

A sports writer once described my high school running style, as an All-City fullback, with the words  “reckless abandon”. It hit home. In retrospect I realize this is the very attitude I have had all my life to get beyond myself and the entanglements of mainstream religion. I have faced  enormous opposition, false accusations, and struggles from without and within. Many mistakes and failures, but driven by love, I have continued to “run” forward.

Pounded and hit from all sides, I turn, catch my balance and surge forward. Maybe I can gain a few extra yards of God-space on this field called the world. Trying, with all abandon for the living Jesus, to put up a sign, carry a cross, give a pamphlet, where people gather. Maybe, just maybe someone comes to Him. It’s all that matters to me.

 I’ve found unspeakable joy in giving the love of Jesus. He says “It is in giving that you receive”. When we fill our mind with the tragedy of others it changes our perspective on life. When we see the individual heartache, and hear the horrendous details of their story, it dwarfs our troubles.  Over some fifty years God has honored this reckless abandon of love for the lost and hurting.

My family and I are privileged to be sent to work amongst thousands of people who deal with so many variations of tragedy and unbearable sorrow. If you’d like to help us we are not rich. Nor are we supported by any group, church or organization. We need all the help we can get.

We are presently on our way to Brazil and South Africa to reach a population of oppressed, both in prison and common society. So I ask you to please allow this article to help you with what the merciful Father has shown me in the living Christ.

I invite you to check out the Go Fund Me link to my daughter Ruth. She recently  incurred a horrific tragedy by falling 200 feet down a mountain. She broke her neck in two places. It brought my family and I into tremendous sorrow and tears but we know the mercy and tender love of the Father as manifested in the living Jesus. It happened on Christmas morning.(Consider our most recent family tragedy mentioned at the very bottom of the page; please see also: L.A. Times:  https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2023-02-23/have-mercy-on-me-hiker-tells-how-she-survived-200-foot-fall-from-ice-trail

Ruth’s Go Fund Me Page

 

Copyright

All material on this website is protected by copyright. Duplication or theft of photos or content is subject to criminal prossecution. Some names and information regarding places, testimonials, and other content has been altered for privacy purposes while all relevant material has be unaltered.
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, but it’s 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 serving “LIFE” with no life: 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? (“all things to all men” -1 Cor.9). 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, 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 dealing with a disease, or in need of a wheelchair, and others in physical agony, in need of surgery. Thinking only about death. Thinking there’s no purpose for their life.

I can really 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 a fit of rage, or the unexplainable lure of, and clash with, the enigma called sin.  Some battle with physical pain but, everyone, including me, battles 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 is 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 is 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 mean nothing when we are dead. The only thing that matters is REALITY. And the 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 have learned this dawg mentality and rejoice, 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 the 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 the 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 surviving 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). Every saint knows his depravity. The wages of sin for us all is death. So let’s get out of “here”, hey, man? No “bright light at the end of a tunnel”. Only heaven or hell.

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, as Paul says “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil.1:21).  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-mindedness mean 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, and 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 I 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 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 Eve 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 the purpose of our lives is meant only to find eternal life before our Father God.

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

Ruth’s Story on Go FundMe

 

 

 

 

Copyright

All material on this website is protected by copyright. Duplication or theft of photos or content is subject to criminal prossecution. Some names and information regarding places, testimonials, and other content has been altered for privacy purposes while all relevant material has be unaltered.
Teaching, TravelsNovember 17, 2022

The Power of Heart

After Adam sinned, Scriptures resound with God crying out

‘Does any man want Me?'(Is.65:2,63:5/Rm.10:21)

The Son answered

“Let Me give them my heart for you Father”.

So, in plain sight,

for anyone to ‘buy’.

Jesus freely offers His heart.

 Will you say ‘the investment… too high’.

My friend, please listen. It is the last days.

Seize; THE POWER OF HEART

In  reading this title, some of you might think this ‘heart of Jesus’ stuff is a bit sentimental ‘fluff’ for the every day dealings of hard-core sinners. Well, let me tell you, Jesus doesn’t think so. Cuz I work with hardened criminals and “bad ass” gangsters who have committed unspeakable acts. They live in a giant cage with five layers of barbed wire (a concept that was pioneered by Hitler for German concentration camps) with no possessions or freedom. They are herded like animals. They are oppressed and deeply wounded, every night having to toil, not just with the weeping of cellmates, but their own internal combustion of torment. Guilt, regret, rage, depression and thoughts of suicide turn in their mind like chain links in bike socket.

Do you really think they’d give me one second of time if what I presented them was not of impact? Yet we are invited to hundreds of prisons effecting thousands of men.  You see, I don’t stand in front of them with knowledge or lace-woven concepts of a theoretical image. But as a man of God living in a down and dirty nature and world. This is the brutal reality encompassed in the heart of Jesus. Above all, He did not come in the lofty notions of a holy God, but as a despicable criminal punished on a cross,  bearing the identity of a human slave, a brother to anyone that would come by His side (Phil. 2:5-8 /Heb. 2:9:-18).

So I stand before my fellow brothers and rely on His Spirit; that they see His heart through mine. “See it fellas? It’s Jesus. He’s not the one seen on a stained glass church window but One washing the feet of the worst degenerate and most depraved man on earth”. Paul said That’s me. I am the worst sinner (1 Tim.1:15). Do you realize what this means? Imagine all the depraved people Paul met. Yet he says, he is worse than them all.

I’ve dealt with guys who’ve done things that would make some vomit. But I know His blood dripped with love, understanding, forgiveness and brotherhood. One drop of His merciful heart either covers everything or nothing. This is the gospel; GOOD NEWS.  I deal with prison officials who get mad at me because they want to insist they are not like criminals. They say “You don’t know the criminal mind or the evil of their acts”. I say “You don’t know the mind of God or perfection of His act of His righteousness”. God says “come let us reason together though sins be as scarlet they shall be white snow”.

They resent the implication that, in God’s eyes, they are no better than the prisoners. I once lifted 405 lbs. My CMU teammates marveled how a little guy like me could have such power. It was heart. My heart was set. My heart is set to believe God’s love for me, for  all men, always is compassion no matter what.  If you set your heart on it will be yours. Jesus says wherever your heart is so is your treasure. My soul is on fire for my Brother Jesus so men see Him, not me. They don’t need to ‘get it right’. They need to see the heart of Jesus as a Brother Who loves them dearly regardless of their sin.

There was a time when I could decide who I loved. No longer. His heart in me compels me to love the unloved and care as He cares (2 Cor. 5:14). I don’t say this to brag but simply as a matter of His doing. Actually it ruins my life but marvel of divine love dissipates all loss.

No mountain to climb. No ocean to swim. No puzzle to solve. No “getting it right” with a moral image to impress anyone. It doesn’t start with an attainment of knowledge. It starts here with you believing me, Him in me, speaking to you here and now.

The beginning is the end. He awaits you in the chambers of your heart, getting beneath outward image. Opening your heart is like coming into a top notch mechanic shop filled with the highest grade tools to use.

This secret chamber contains latent powers of individual capacity to actually access the Character of God. The majority go to the grave never tapping this wonder within blinded, wounded and driven by sin. Instead, men exist at the level of common human instincts and intellect. They settle for outward religious appearance.

One time a reporter interviewed me for an article she was doing. It was obvious she was  trying to portray me as a wild ‘hell fire and brimstone’ maniac. I remember telling her that following Jesus was all about HEART. She was stunned. She expected some complex code, lifestyle or legalistic list of moral demands. I’ll never forget her response. She said “Oh Michael, that’s nothing.  I have a great heart”. I thought to my self  “How can you be so trite about something so profound?”.

God says the heart is “desperately sick” (Jeremiah 17:9). So it actually takes a heart(individual) to get beyond the heart (common). It takes the individual facet of the heart to freely admit its’ own impediment of original sin. Sin does not have to bar us from God. Quite the contrary,  as a result of faith in His magnificent plan, our wicked ways qualify us to discover The Power of Heart; GRACE i.e. “Where sin increases grace abounds all the more” (Romans 5:20).

 Stay with me. My friend, In this crazy wicked world, saturated with christian delusion,  it is a natural instinct to give up on finding the reality of God. So much hurt and so many doing the hurting.  It seems the multitudes of “desperate hearts” have no where to turn. They can not meet the standards set by high lofty ‘better than thou’ “Christians so they just ‘fake it’. But let me feed you some utterly beautiful and magnificent truth.

The answer starts in this magical  “something” located right within you. No need to go anywhere or do anything. Paul says “the words are in your heart…for with the heart  a person believes” (Rm.10:8-10).

Jesus did not want to leave us alone on earth. He had spent thirty three years in a body like ours walking the earth one step in front of the other. Every human situation we face today was of His concern then. He entered into every feasible situation, relationship and challenge. God actually walked this earth in Jesus. Every minute of every hour of every day Jesus analyzed, felt and took on and concluded what we needed. It was no little thing. Nothing this world or any man could supply.

We all have lazy tendencies in reading Scripture. But if we allow our heart to engage we grasp beyond letters, doctrines  and knowledge to Jesus. We see that in His words He is offering us revelation of Himself. We can all read what He says of peace, love and justice.  But can you realize that  essentially Jesus is saying in every word “My heart I  leave with you My heart I give to  you” (John 16:33).  In John 16:13ff Jesus is saying that HIs heart will guide us into all truth.

It is not as though I live by a message or philosophy as my daily source. I still my spirit, like an eagle riding the wind, and give way to His Presence. Jesus sees into the deep motives of our human nature and why we do and think crazy things we ourselves don’t understand. He beckons us to let go and let His wind lift and carry us. Recently I was laying on my back in the grass pondering God’s glory in cloud formations. Suddenly an eagle came into the picture thousands of feet in altitude. It went so far, so fast without moving its’ wings. Completely still and profound. This is the “place” where heart meets Heart. Where nothing matters but Him (John 3:6-8). We hover in the wind . We live in Christ.

Jesus understands why we are so consumed with ourselves and would never truly want God. Our flesh, that He took on, is “hostile” to God (Rm.8). He realizes the reason for our hypocrisy and the regret of unintended words and actions. He felt it. No one on earth, back then, and in all time, has the answers that He alone  holds within His heart. Bible verses don’t supply the answers. His heart supplies the grace. We must have Him to have answers. The King of compassion not only identifies with  us but offers to substitute His heart for ours.

Jesus could see this day coming so long ago. This world is crazy and insane. He thought of us as desperate orphans. We once worked with a large amount of orphans in Bogota, Colombia. It was heart breaking to hear of how they were abused and abandoned. They were so grateful for our love teaching Tae Kwon Do and befriending them in trips to the zoo etc. We continue to deal with this tragic life situation in meeting so many prisoners who were abandoned. One guy told me he was driving with his parents and they suddenly just stopped and made him get out of the car on a remote highway. Imagine.

We often think of God as if behind a steel wall. But He is a revolving door goes with us into darkness to bring us into light. There isn’t one person on the face of the earth that does not struggle with the torment of loneliness and sin. Countless crimes and human depravity is a result of simply feeling abandoned and left behind that wall. Jesus saw into this great infirmity, derived from the rebellion of Adam. He thought to Himself “If I could just leave them My heart, it would be the power of love they need to overcome it all?”

Despite the insinuation of “Christians”, who insist they are all alone and have no one, no where to turn or any answers to their problems, I am here to tell you the truth. Either Jesus is a liar or we have access to His very heart here and now. It is up to our heart to find His.  It is not a sentiment any more than any living person is a walking sentiment. The composite of His Person constitutes a heart full of limitless forgiveness, understanding with very specific answers as real as any mechanism on earth.

Jesus says “I do not leave you as orphans…I will come to you…” (John 14:18). Everything is about contemplating that God the Father actually sent the Holy Spirit of Jesus to any man to bring His very heart into our conscious existence.

There was this young guy who grew up as the youngest in a big family of brothers. Nobody thought much of him cuz, as many youngest of the family, they are thought of as not having a clue to the realities of life. Well this kid, guy, man, warrior named David didn’t let any of that stuff bother him one bit. The stones they threw at him he took and used to slay a giant. How? Why? God answers this very clearly. He says “I have found David…a man AFTER MY HEART who will do my will (1 Samuel 13:14/Acts 13:22).

David possessed the greatest power on earth; a heart for God. His will was SET. People are dumbfounded how a simple family of eight walk Pinot the dangerous streets, ghettos, prisons with no flinch. Answer: We each have the heart of David. He looked no where and to no one to give Him the love God gave him. He wrote numerous Psalms full of heavenly descriptions of all things. How did David get this stuff? He was a shepherd not a theologian. How could he command armies and remain safe when thousands in battle were out for his head? The power of heart.

The ‘down to earth’ simplicity of it all is mind-blowing. It is the very thing that gave a wretch like me the far distant thought that I, me, Michael, wicked man that I am, could actually have the heart of Jesus. It sounds almost blasphemous if it wasn’t real. The revolving Door constantly, personally, mediates my darkness for His light. God designed a marvelous plan undeniable in its’ childlike sincerity. It requires no superior moral accomplishment. It requires no sophisticated education. It requires no ability to say right things in right ways. It only requires YOU. You have all you need within you.

Most people live by instinct. People as a whole respond the same to life situations. Some go a step farther and develop some intelligence. They say “On second thought, I change my mind to this or that”. But who will go the distance to find the 3rd Answer?  The answer that lies within Him.

God told a farmer named Ezekiel “Behold I have made your face as hard as their faces and your forehead as hard as their forehead. Like emory harder than flint I have made your forehead. Do not be afraid of them…take into your heart all MY words which I WILL SPEAK TO YOU”. (Ez.3:8). So the goal is to hear His voice (John 10:27). It is the very first thing I set out to do when I gave my life to Jesus. Without it you are like a tumbleweed blowing here and there.  You feel one way one day and another way another day. Something on TV or at work makes you think a certain way. This guy tells you one thing another guy tells you something different. Truth isn neither of them, know squat. There is so much vast profound stuff waiting for you brother, or sister,  but it will only come to you when and if you start to be aware of the power of your heart. Utilize all that “violent” attitude you developed for other things in life. Switch it.

 

 We don’t even realize it but we have all been indoctrinated into the system of American Christianity where Jesus is separated into categories of theology and knowledge. He is lost amidst the maze of stuff about Him. The “sinners prayer” mentality to “accept Christ” lays a ground work of God as THEORY not a living Person. You gain more knowledge about Him than life in Him. Those who propagate these ways don’t do it for you but for themselves. You are just a means to their earthly reward of ego.

It is outrageous when you start to realize the truth.The entire world of christianity is set on one thing; feeling better than others. The stairway of self-righteousness may seem like it goes up to heaven but it is headed down to hell.  It is the exact opposite of Jesus’ compassion and what the Word of God explicitly teaches (Romans 3:9ff).

The heart of Jesus was the epitome of humility and humiliation (Phil.2).  Prison christianity epitomizes the general thinking of Americans. It is interwoven with the whole thinking of “rehabilitation”. So “getting better” becomes the goal that is really secular based. It is a life long failed venture built on anti-christ; self-improvement.  It is a crock of crap in light of God wanting to make you a NEW man not better (2 Cor.5:17). An entirely new identity.  The very heart of God real within you. The power of heart is the only power able to propel me through all life.

That’s what the cross is all about. Getting rid of the old you. Not just bad habits or wicked ways but your essential constitution as a man of this world (1 Cor.15:45). Paul says that the cross is the power of God because it frees you from yourself to love Him (1 Cor.1:18). 

I have seen hundreds,  if not thousands of times, how men attack me because they want to insist there is nothing more to the Lord than what they know. They don’t want to go deep. Shallow. Trite. But none of it works. None of it gives you the Depth of the Incarnate Jesus Christ. What happens? Tragic takedown. Just what Jesus saw on earth and why He knew He had to leave His heart. Because no man can follow God without His heart within them. 

 

People ask me how Rachel and I could raise six selfless children. How could we do so without hard driving legalism or fluff-bucket christianity. The answer is we let them see and learn the heart of Jesus within us.

A guy who suffered greatly was another simple farmer named Isaiah. In chapter 53 he speaks of what he saw in himself as a prototype for Who Jesus would be. The key to not only bearing up under injustice and terrible inner grief was the RESOLUTE WILL to BELIEVE GOD. And God richly rewarded him.

“For the Lord God helps me therefore I am not disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint and I know I will not be ashamed” (Isaiah 50:7). He’s not talking setting his face on farming. His eyes gazed upon the One Who sits on high.  He was A Resolute. No wimpy  mambie pampie set on living for himself. Where is that defiance you had to do acts of darkness? It must never be thrown aside. You learned a great deal in developing the fearless resolution. But now the question is will you sanctify it in truth and do so for Jesus. 

He offers far more than anything you wanted. The one thing that is greater than anything you can think you want in life is the thing you can’t IMAGINE. The thing you never thought of is the very thing God offers you; His very heart in Jesus. A profound identity of destiny in His sonship.

But it requires no ordinary man. This is what Jesus is  talking about in Matthew 11:12: “the kingdom of heaven suffers violence and violent men take it by force”. There is so so so much waiting for you to SEIZE. But if you give in to the system of men they are lazy ass pretty boys who don’t really want anything to do with the heart for Jesus. The whole thing is to appear righteous before others (Mt.23:28). Look at ME<ME<ME. If you get what I’m trying to say you can catch “the wave” of a life time. You will pick up the “the wind” in regards to all things you deal with (John 3:8). 

Jesus says the ME of  we  must die so He can live (John 12:25/Rm.6:6). This is true freedom (John8:32). It’s not about finding YOUR LIFE but losing your life to find His. It’s not about going from one set of rules to another. Jesus created the gospel for the poor, the simple, the guys like you and me. Not theology. Reality.

Jesus told the Pharisees they loved Him with their lips but their HEART was far from Him (Mark 7:6). You may have come out of the false churches but their ways still remain in you as long as your life is based on  words rather than heart.

Face to face Jesus confronted the hypocrites; “You are those who justify in the sight of men, but God knows your heart; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God” (Luke16:15).

Think Jesus. Contemplate His words and thoughts. What a man. What a MAN. What a God. He says all of life comes down to your thoughts and words. It is not about where you go or what you do (John 6:63). It is not about outward physical movement. It is about how and why you think what you do and why and how you live. God has abundantly opened doors into prisons for us to bring Jesus. It is an extremely demanding and exhausting work. Many times we have suffered severe sickness in opening ourselves to their environment. All times we face hard, cold faces determined to not budge, that we inevitably do far more than budge. Countless saved souls. Anxiety often fills our hearts but we tap the individual choice to go beyond ourselves. We have a code word: “Ground Zero”. It reminds us to go to the very bottom of life and realize these men will have nothing unless we give them the heart of Jesus which is simply being ourselves.  Many times we have done several performances in the hot burning sun and suffered heat stroke. Nobody knows. Nobody cares. That’s fine because we have everything in the very heart of Jesusl. Come, my precious friend, please, seize the power of heart within you to enter  into the heart of the Son and the Father by His Spirit.

BELOW  IS SOMETHING  I  WROTE TO DISTRIBUTE IN THIS PRESENT DAY WITH ITS SECULAR EMPHASIS ON “THERAPY” AS THE CURE-ALL FOR ALL THE SOCIAL CHAOS.

PLEASE FEEL FREE TO COPY AND USE IT.

Jesus stretched out His arms on the cross and, I say with Him, “I love you so much.”

Michael

TRT – Thought Replacement Therapy – My friend, I know you hurt inside. So do I.  Neither drugs, sex or money can heal. You know this. Contrary to what you think, this pain is not you. It is something in you. It is sin in you (Rm.7:15-8:4). There is One Who cares. The living Jesus yearns to explain this and comfort you.  Judgment day is near. Please, listen to me. Come directly to the living Jesus. Sit all alone. Be still. Talk to Him (Mt.11: 25:30/Jn.6:37,7:37). As seen in the New Testament, Jesus engages individuals. Don’t look for outside affirmation. You will stand alone before Him (2 Cor.5:10).  If you really want His relief, freedom and full resolution of sin Read included Scriptures. 

     1.John 3:14—15- This is no little statement.  Jesus uses Numbers 21:9 to spotlight as an epic truth to  “Gaze upon” Him and His specific work on the cross. Face your sin. Realize the depravity and consequences. Let it break self righteous pride. Proportionate sorrow is a good thing. Repentance grounds you in humility and eliminates catastrophic presumption 2 Cor. 7:10-11 -Remorse  leads to lingering morbid self-introspection (2 Cor.7:10).  When the conscience is cleansed the compass for life switches to being led by the Holy Spirit. There is No Return to “dead works” of self-improvement (Hebrews 10:18,22,9:14). Reject regret over past actions (Phil.3:13).  Requires “Violence” of will (Matthew 11:12). 

     2.John 3:14–17-Put all your sin (self) on Jesus on cross – Like the snake on Moses’ staff, Jesus embodied all poison of evil, contemplate, God’s love and forgiveness for you in Jesus to “bear” all your sin for your entire life (1 Peter 2:24). Obey God by faith in Jesus

     3. 2 Cor 10:3-5 Must “Cast down” all thoughts and imaginations connected to sin. False piety and self-pity is disobedience to God’s revelation. “Excessive sorrow” is rebellion- (2 Cor.2:7).  As far as Jesus is concerned His shed blood resolved the healing process for all the pain of sin.  

     4. Replacement therapy changes brain paths in your mind. -Thoughts are mere unseen ideas, fueled by  obedience or demonic inspired emotion.  You are not fighting a vicious bull dog but your own free will. You can replace a thought faster than you can say “How could I do that? I have no hope.”  Quality of life is rooted in quality of thoughts and words. Once you stop dwelling on the severity and depression of failure and switch to faith in the Word of God His reality opens to His Spirit.  God says “Your thoughts are not My thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8). So LEARN to replace yours with the  multitudes in Scripture like these:

       “I have called you by name…I love you“ (Isaiah 43)

        “not counting their trespasses against them”- ALL sin- no sin left       uncovered- No matter how deliberate or intentional (2 Cor. 5:19).

        “If we sin we have an advocate”- (1 John 2:1-2).

        “Everyone born of the Spirt is as the Wind” (John3:3-8)

        “out of your inner most being shall flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37-38). These actions of obedience begin, not a ‘better’ life, but a new life (2 Cor.5:17). Resurrection life replaces self-remorse (Jn.12:25/Rm.6:6ff/1 Cor.15:45/Rom.5:12ff). God requires one thing; a sincere heart  (Ps.51:17). No dwelling on how bad you may think your sin is or what you think you must do or feel but resolute faith in God’s revelation. Absolute surrender. His love is worth any rejection by others . If you stand for Him, Jesus promises to stand for you (Matthew 10:32).

Thought Replacement Therapy has 100% success rate. If you implement this discipline for this process it will take hold and become your foundation. You will fail. It will take time. But once the anchor is set in your WILL, the boat is secure. The mind will change. Like multitudes do for thousands of secular programs of “therapy”, SUCESS DEPENDS ON YOUR COMMITMENT. THE REWARD: divine freedom, redemption for all your failure, eternal life and salvation from hell (John 8:32-36,11:25/Rev.20:12-15). I pray for you, my friend, asking God for the one seeking Him. I love you as a fellow warrior.

Copyright

All material on this website is protected by copyright. Duplication or theft of photos or content is subject to criminal prossecution. Some names and information regarding places, testimonials, and other content has been altered for privacy purposes while all relevant material has be unaltered.
Teaching, TravelsSeptember 30, 2022

The Mastermind

PLEASE LET ME BLOW YOUR MIND

Be honest. Do you think God has ever spoken to you? When was it and what did He say? Most expect a Moses experience of an audible voice resounding from the sky. So consequently most  insist they have never “seen” or “heard” God.

But this is not true. God says He has spoken very specifically and has very clearly allowed Himself to be seen by everyone (John 1:14,3:14/Hebrews 1:1-2/Romans 10:18). Jesus continuously said “He who has ears let him hear” obviously putting it on us not Him. So the question is not whether He has revealed Himself to you, but whether you are willing to see.

The living Jesus comes to us with the gift of His unconditional love. God sent Jesus to openly display to all men, on the cross, no matter how wicked, “I LOVE YOU AND FORGIVE YOU”. Everyone, and I mean YOU and I, feel like we must earn God’s love.  It matters not where we are in life. What matters is whether we are will “see” and believe He is the Mastermind of a divine plan.

In the scuttle and hustle of our daily lives, in this unfettered world of chaos, how is that we can be so still, so silent, so resolute to allow Him pierce our moments so as to “hear” and “see” His love come?

Are we so consumed with our inner turmoil that we refuse to welcome His appeal? Are we so consumed and given over to our self-designated plight that we can not imagine He has another plan?

What do you think of when you think of the death of Jesus? Really, we all think basically the same. We picture a distant and ancient historical event of a setting where something beyond our imagination took place. Our mind is saturated with our own life and world situation. But if I you will let me take you back, I assure you that your life will go forward in leaps and bounds.

So let’s stop for a moment in time. You there and me, here writing this. I hope you don’t think it too bold or presumptuous that I tell you the Spirit of Jesus is upon me because He loves you so much and yearns to tell you things to draw you to Himself. You see my friend, Jesus was not merely another man, as so many others, brought into the horrors of a crucifixion as punishment by the government of His time.

Jesus was way ahead of what would befall for the declarations He was to make to the world upon His arrival and growth in becoming a spokesman for the Father on earth. He laid forth divine revelation He brought directly from heaven. The Father instructed Him precisely what to say and do. He then took it into Himself how He would conduct His every step on our earth and  shattered and grim world.

Jesus was to mastermind the plan. He was to inaugurate an entirely new manifestation of life. It would a completely new REVELATION. No man could ever conceive or even receive what we were about to behold. Yet, like the inventor of the watch, or any sophisticated mechanism, Jesus would put together a precise way that we could leave our present state of being and enter His divine state of being. It would not depend on our ability to project ourselves, by a matter of will power, but yield ourselves by the execution of His work imputed and imparted within us.

It begins by our “entry” into the cross. As the Mastermind of plan engineered for hopeless men, Jesus had to become hopeless. As the Mastermind of plan engineered for dying bodies and ruthless hearts, Jesus had to suffer ruthless pain, while becoming ruthless. He had to walk, live and talk in a body subject to death, and indeed die in its’ worthless state. He who knew NO SIN BECAME SIN (2 Cor.5:21).

You see my friend, while Jesus was on the cross He was not just dying. He was masterminding. He was in His most pinnacle state of intelligence as He negotiated, propitiated, atoned, appeased, bore and intermediated with His Father for His mercy on us. He masterminded a way so that no a man does not have to DO even one thing to allow His plan to be inaugurated. So if a man does not have to DO anything could this mean a man does not have to DO GOOD?

Absolutely!

The “Good for Nothing” Someones

So there’s this guy named Paul. He like ‘got it’ as far as the living Jesus. His life is like really beautiful. He did all kinds of miracles and suffered for Jesus like no one else. So one day he’s writing a letter to some guys in Rome. He like just starts bearing his heart to them. He says “Look brothers and sister, there is  not even one thing GOOD thing in me. Nothing. I’m as wicked as it comes. In fact, I’m AM more wicked than anyone else on earth” (Romans 7:18/1 Timothy 1:15).

So Paul is so into the state of trying to declare his state of being is wicked that he culminates it with the ultimate joy of a guilt-ridden man by saying “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1ff). Think about it. Why would he conclude chapter 7 with the first four verses of chapter 8 unless  he is giving a narrative of his own conscious life? He is not writing something foreign to his daily experience. He is not like a guy who never played football narrating a football game.

They called the man who orchestrated the terrorist act of 9/11 the “mastermind”. He was responsible for every detail of how, where and when the men who flew the planes into the Towers would take flying lessons and exactly what they would do on the day of the attack. Well, as terrible as this all is, consider the exact details Jesus had to consider and implement so that He cold bring down the “towers” of man’s pride, while providing the alternative of His Character to implement into our corrupt state of being.

“God will to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the pagans, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27,2:2/Romans 16:25).

Jesus made it so that we can actually enter the very Presence of God. So often when we go into prisons I find myself pondering what the ultimate thing is that we will leave with them. It is not a prayer. It is not even knowledge. Our goal is to leave His Presence.  His tender love and creative thinking is in us to convey to them. Our goal is to pierce the dark mind with light. To give you, and all men, nothing less than the thought that you can freely access the divine light of the living Jesus.

If you will fully surrender all that “I can be a good man” pride you can become the special “good for nothing” someone to access the divine plan of The Mastermind.

Copyright

All material on this website is protected by copyright. Duplication or theft of photos or content is subject to criminal prossecution. Some names and information regarding places, testimonials, and other content has been altered for privacy purposes while all relevant material has be unaltered.
Adventure, Teaching, TravelsMay 11, 2022

Tacumbu

The Tacumbu prison in Paraguay is in the top five of worst prisons in the world. Created for 800, now holding 4,000. Appoximately 18 people die there every year.

 

THIS CONCLUDES THE COMPLETION TO THE FIRST PART OF THE PRIOR “TACUMBO” BLOG.
We had spent several days sharing Jesus throughout the third world city of Asuncian, Paraguay. We contacted the main prison there and were immediately welcomed in. Warden Luis opened the door for us to enter this huge prison yard. The sight of thousands of shattered men, openly crying, begging for help, or just talking into the air, hit me like the wave of a catastrophe. A few guys were actually climbing the walls on drain pipes. It was almost unbearable. I walked over and sat next to one brother, after another, trying to diffuse the internal anguish that ignites panic into such human frenzy.  

Five years of graduate studies never prepared me. It shook me to my core and haunts me to this day. This tragic scene was NOT due to it being an isolated jungle-prison in a 3rd world culture. These brothers were not from Mars. No antenna. No space ships. It is actually a similar scene in scores of places throughout America and the entire world.  The torture of feeling you are a reject or unfit for society is a lie and contradicts our God imparted conscience and reason. The fears, tears, and desperation of those brothers in Tacumbu arose out of the exact same stupidity we are all taught: happiness is determined by our individual ability to achieve it. Brother, this is a lie and a vicious scheme of Satan.  

 

Brother, we have been lied to all our lives. Since childhood we are told humanity is just wonderful. Really? Why then does evil dominate the world? It is a fact: God created Adam and Eve as perfect and wonderful. However,  they corrupted themselves, and through procreation, all mankind with SIN (Genesis 3/Romans 5). The greatest tragedy of human existence is not even considered, and no where mentioned in this world . You’ll never hear on the NEWS about sin as the reason for crime, suicide, drugs, homelessness, prison, war, even though it is the essence of all hell on earth every human being is tormented by 24/7. 

Despair makes us not only vulnerable, but also gullible to the debilitating lies and defiance of religion and society.  I know you’ve been bombarded with “answers” and are tired of being let down. Disillusionment takes a mighty toll on our soul. When you feel cold and angry being open can seem like a mountain range away. But it’s not. It’s right here. One choice away. 

Behind closed doors is the reality of inexplicable dark and fearful thoughts that we hide inside. Dark stuff  has no definition  in a Websters Dictionary or psycho babel. Yet it eats guys like you and I for lunch. It ain’t nice. No “diagnosis” for darkness. 

Like you, I was raised thinking there are good and bad people. I was a ‘bad people’. Feeling shame, guilt and condemnation hits us at an early age and never stops. It picks up momentum as we get older. Little bad things blow up in our face. We feel like a unique… monster. Dark streams of mental anguish trickle into our subconscious. Then, one day, you go to prison and are condemned by society. Like a steel ball bounced around, in one of those old pin ball machines, all you wonder is “What’s my next hit?Am I a pawn relegated to a destiny of chaos and hell, both mental and literal, by a Puppet Master in the sky?”  Brother, I know this feeling. 

Hopelessness is no little thing.  What purpose is there to live if you are locked into a destiny to do evil, because you are evil, and are evil because you do evil? Where can the mind go from there but down?

Brother, enough already with Mr. Macho. We’re at the bottom of life here, bro. A false sense of “Everything’s going to be okay” don’t help. It’s not going to be ok, if you don’t get a hold of TRUTH. This is not one of many options to have a nice day. 

I don’t mean to insult you bro, I love you, man to man, eye to eye. But no matter how old you may be, it’s time to open your eyes. Truth is kick ass. It automatically creates mental clarity. It’s like fire. Truth burns away lies and half truths and supplies the beauty of warm glow. The brain is wired to process truth not lies. If you force your mind to accept a lie as truth YOU WILL SUFFER A MENTAL WARP. Indeed, all men are created by God with the inner  “wiring”, in the conscience, to bring us into forgiveness and the interpersonal saving love of Jesus. This is provided a person comes into walk in THE LIGHT OF TRUTH. 

 If a person deals with God in transparency everything will flow as God intends; i.e. abundant life, joy, the fruits of the Spirit; Mental clarity.  But look, all men live in sin, all of us. Thus everyone deals with the mental conflict of the conscience as a self-warning, inbuilt mechanism, that troubles us with the mental condition of being out of fellowship with God,  separated from the Father. So, if you live, not in repentance, but according to the lying nature of man, innumerable ways will push you into mental anguish. Until we recognize, and learn to deal with our sinful state, according to the Word,  a “hypocrite” imposes the lie, of being “fine”, or a ‘good person’, upon his mind.He becomes diluted.  When a person insists he is following Jesus, but is not, he walks a mental tight rope and risks varying degrees of mental imbalance. There is an enormous amount of information that requires supreme accuracy of Spirit-tested motives so as to align and adhere to the living revelation of Jesus. It demands sharp, clear mental acuity. Imagine a baseball coach coming into a football team and using and imposing baseball terminology and strategy to define everything. Total chaos evolves in the mind when a person “comes to the Lord” while living according to the world.

 It is no little thing to discern between condemnation and conviction of the Holy Spirit. It can sometimes seem like walking a tight rope. A depth of spirit and truth  is required (John 4:24.

Condemnation is a raging monster wielding a club and beating a personal into despair and razing havoc due to a lack of  secure personal identity in Christ. When a man thinks of himself as a mere target for punishment, depression  discharges unbearable internal devastation. In low-tone mutterings of distress the mind whispers:  “Breakdown.”   Yet, there it is, front and center, for all to see: our mask.

We all face a twisted bondage to self-pride: “I’m ok. I’m fine. I’m together”. NO. You’re not. I’m not. Nobody is ok. And God cares and I care. A contrite heart learns to filter reality and welcomes the conviction of the Spirit because He leads one into actual security in the living Jesus. When you ‘bottom out’ in grief and anger; “If You exist God where are You, darn it all?” That’s ok. It’s real. It’s then when you are actually at your closest point to God (This is what Jesus is refereeing to in John 4:24). When we make a vertical drop, out of image,  into recognizing WE ARE IN our animal nature of basic human instinct: rage, it is called the transparency of repentance. 

Sometimes, way down deep, where even we won’t admit it, we curse God and ourselves. It is Adam in us. We feel the same sense of loneliness, isolation and sorrow that Adam incurred and it fills our mind with silent screams. Absolute darkness. Separated from our Creator. It doesn’t disappear but resides in our blood. We feel torn apart inside by an unseen “IT”.  Do you want to know the truth? Really? “What is truth?” Pilate asked Jesus. Not a concept… Jesus says “I am truth” (Jn.14:6). 

The living Jesus brings the truth of our individual sin to us by His Spirit.  He knows our agony, in our moments of the dark winds of sin,  as if a physical thing. Cancer ate  my mom alive  like a monster from the inside out. A perfect description of  “IT” within each of us. If we play games with IT, it will play games with you. You will fall off the wire of conscience into the abyss of darkness. Jesus says if His light becomes darkness “how great is that darkness” (Mt. 6:23). We think God can’t see this pain, or He is against us for it. That is a religious lie.  

Truth be told, all men are cut from the same cloth of a humanity… BORN into misery. The actual composition of our very body is explained in Scripture; nobody “better” than another due to “IT” (Rm.3:9-18). It is denounced by all societies yet obliterates us all. Why?  What is “IT?” 3 letters: S I N.

My friend, just like we need a doctor to diagnose our vast array of bodily functions, so too we must humble ourselves to resolve our darkness. God is not angry. God is love. He yearns to heal this very illness that killed Jesus: sin. This is the source that condemns us: sin.  It does not go away through warm fuzzies but is disabled by gut-wrenching truth.

When our humanity breaks down we see through our own frailty and have the golden opportunity to understand a hidden “mystery” that changes our lives completely (2 Thes.2:7). God enters our sinful flesh.  

Over 80,000 are currently in solitary. It is considered severe punishment because it forces a man to sit alone and ponder the darkness of his own nature. 

When you sit alone, you are forced to look within; what you see is not “wonderful humanity” but a dark enigma. “IT” is a hidden “mystery” that devours our life then prances off never to be caught or prosecuted for its crimes against humanity (2 Thes.2:7).  It is neither an animal or a monster.  Somehow it is intertwined with our very identity. 

I had no idea my inner torment was a direct result of a human phenomenon in my soul of the collision between sin and conscience. Not Michael, but human mechanics. I had nothing to do with “IT”. And my “pious” feelings of feeling “Sorry” wasn’t enough. Growing up Catholic, I went to confession. But after a million times, ya kinda figure “I can’t keep up. I’m going to hell anyways.”

The downside of this “upside” is the real side of ego. It is a revolving door into the abyss.  It’s where you wonder “Who the hell am I?”  It leaves you  spinning in dark space. Mental anguish festers mental distress and little bad thoughts explode into huge storm clouds. At any moment, in any place, you can float into “Tacumbu.”  

I had figured my life was awash,  didn’t count for crap, destined for No-wheres-ville. I had sat in isolation, wasting hours, days and months licking my wounds.  No one knows my pain. Left alone on the dance floor of life with the last ugly dame… Miss Selfpity pacified my mind but gave me no love. I think you might know her. She gets around.

I’d walk home, after my public appearances, to quite a different scenario than the flamboyant dude in public. There, all alone,  I’d  enter the ring of my 12 round bout with conscience. The spin-cycle of confusion and gut-wrenching truth: “THIS AIN’T ME” vs. “YES IT IS. NO IT AIN’T! WHAT AM I THEN? NOTHING?!” It was a mental Armageddon destined for the final act that occurred, not in a church prayer-service but Notre Dame football stadium.

My desperate heart  found precise articulation in a “violent” act of will. A final resolute choice that Jesus was worth me, if He would have me. I ran from,  laughed at, and betrayed Him for years. I said, ‘Don’t believe that stuff’. No more. Finally, I stood on the precipice of destiny. Defiant to defiance.  I chose to follow the One each of us hears calling and sees reflected in all creation:  “Come to Me… I love you” says the Lord Most High (Mt.11:28, Is.43:4). If you can silence the big-mouth ego long enough to ignite intelligence the heart  kicks in with  calculation of solemn purpose to tap into the love of the Father. 

Righteous Defiance (Ez.3:8/Matt. 11:12).

I’ve always felt sorry for the word Defiant. It’s a phenomenal word but always gets a bad rap cuz it was born on the wrong side of the tracks. It’s the only word with backbone.It’s what a man needs to be free; not to do dark but understand light.

Defiance to condemnation for forgiveness. Ever see anyone defiant for Jesus? Let me rephrase that. Ever see a real normal person? I don’t think so. They aren’t out there. 

It’s either be a religious-do gooder or hard cold pagan. From youth, we were NEVER schooled in sin. So it had full reign to build its castle of lies in our head. A  little more important than geography? But we were distracted, caught up in umpteen diversions; career; parties, booze, drugs, etc. It’s like soldiers sent to fight in a war only to learn it was all a diversion from the real battle. We never sat alone to ponder life and look within. So when all that  “fun stuff” faded, well, we were  forced to sit alone,  and what we see is not “wonderful” humanity. 

Some guys concede to the “bad boy” image cuz they just can’t put a finger on that hidden evil.  This pride blinds and takes a man into an out of control nightmare. It runs you wild but you never realize that this “IT” that is down there, is the  hostile source planted in us by Satan to kill us. No “Sinners Anonymous.” No buddies to help figure this. On your own.

I’ll never forget the face of the guy who killed his wife and family. In a world of hurt and tears he said “Darkness took control. I can never again make things right.”  Most “experts” would agree but Gods plan is specifically designed to redeem us from the conundrum of the secret world in us called SIN. I told him the following.

Check it out bro. Don’t lose me. Our outward display of evil can cause a 4-alarm fire in the eyes of society, in any number of ways. But its origin and potential is exactly the same in every man. It does not indicate, whatsoever, who YOU are as a person.  I thought this way for 30 yrs.

I watch so many brothers concede to a tag put on them because they just don’t understand that evil is strangely intertwined with our own desire. Stay with me. How can something we don’t want to do, be something we want to do? Lack of knowledge breeds confusion and makes us vulnerable to accept labels of being ‘abnormal’ and compelled to admit to some quirky “criminal” personality or DNA; as if you are a lower class of being. 

The “experts” affirm this cosmic lie in which “the bad” (us) are divided from “the good”(them). Such “therapy” magnifies already present despair. A ‘Tacumbu’ begins from over pressuring the mind to accept this lie as fact. It contradicts the witness in man’s God-created conscience of being loved by God and having beautiful potential.

Guilt, shame, and condemnation do not result from outward actions but an inward “principle” of sin (Read Rm.7:17ff). HOWEVER, THE SOURCE OF EVIL IS NOT INDIVIDUAL (Rm.5:12). Get that?! It means YOU didn’t come up with it. The source is a completely foreign entity within you. Ya, I know. It sounds like the ultimate ‘cop out’. But truth is truth. The reason Jesus comes to us in such profound unconditional love is because He knows this absolute reality: “I did not come to condemn but to save the world… not counting their evil against them” (John 3:19/2 Cor.5:19). 

This means, Jesus comes to you completely based on seeing you in His love for you, not on whatever you may have done.

Sin flows like a stream from the abyss into our conscious life (2 Pt.2:19 ). And we just sit there like a dummy letting it destroy us. It leads multitudes to question the significance of their own existence. What we think of, as some unexplainable evil coming upon us ‘out of nowhere’, in a certain time, or crime, has actually always been within us.  We don’t understand it and can’t get rid of it so we feel ashamed, guilty, and condemned. 

It is not YOU any more than a poison in blood. Man does not create darkness. It comes out of the ABYSS; the “bottomless pit” of hell. It is NOT a “mental issue”,  “personality flaw” or faulty DNA. (Eph.2:2/Rom. 10:7,3:10/Lk.8:31/Rev.20:3,17:8,11:7,9:11/Jn.12:31,14:30). Sin is a generational consequence of Adam’s rebellion. It is in the human nature he passed to us through procreation. It is 10,000 years old. We merely recycle its very predictable behavior. We see it demonstrated in every facet of life throughout past generations (hatred -murder-bitterness-pride-lust-rage). Paul understood this. He killed many people, yet, in the turn of his will says “I forget what lies behind” (Phil. 3:13/Lk.9:62). Sin is the same in us all, in its quantity and end “the wages of sin is death” (Rm.6:23).  

 

Where The Law Comes In:

God gave the 10 commandments to expose sin. So when we try to do them we see sin in us, that is, we see ourselves. Sin = pride, image, ego, self. It must die for us to be free in Christ (Rm.6:6). Sin renders us totally inadequate of “good behavior”. It may seem good on the outside but the motives of pride render it “filthy rags” (Is.64:6). “Through the law comes the knowledge of sin…” (Rm.3:20). We don’t see that we are good. We see that we are evil. Paul explains that “through the works of the law, no flesh is justified” (Gal.2:16-21, Rom.3:20).

Every Bible verse that defines sin: 2 Cor. 10:3-5/ James 4:17/ Rom.14:23, 3:10-18/1 Jn.3:4, 5:16/ Prov.21:4,9/Ps.14:1-3/ Jer.17:9/ Isaiah 59/ 2 Thes.2:7 

The Answer

So brother, here we go. Let’s take the horizontal road into the vertical climb. It is the road of the living Jesus, Who as God on High, became man, like us to meet us on our road and LIFT us beyond ourselves. Jesus is the answer to all this. So don’t jump this Bridge. Walk it.  God says He gives everyone a chance in life to “HEAR” the truth. This is your chance. It is your golden moment to “see” Him,  so He can help  you understand what the hell is going on inside you, that the majority reject. How does He come into you as you yet remain a wicked sinner (Col.1:27)?

The truth is: more evil thoughts don’t make you more evil bro. Thoughts are thoughts. Evil is evil. Sin is sin. No matter what level you experience,Jesus died for all.

It’s not Christian-lingo-sville, USA. It is not magical sinners prayers. You can’t pluck reality  like an apple off a tree. It’s about the grind of true grit, all about your individual  fight for sincerity. You are the master of a ship that can be lost at sea or come into an awesome understanding of a master helmsman. This is a personal journey, brother. It’s going to take time. But it’s more sure than night and day. 

Since we had nothing to do with Adam’s sin, we couldn’t stop it then, or now. So God created an easy way out. It is a mere ATTITUDE change. Repentance is called faith. Instant. No other requirements. Can you imagine if all the darkness you have accepted about yourself is a lie? Could you possibly deal with all the negativity as having nothing to do with YOU? Years of lies done away in a second. Sounds almost funny, hey bro? Certainly sounds crazy. 

It is a very sound, Biblical “craziness”, based on the death of One Who chose to give up His Godhood to become a fellow Brother and demonstrate unfathomable personal love to get you to heaven (Phil.2:7). Better than drugs or medical terminology wouldn’t you say, bro? Now how about that WILL of yours? It is closer to you than your hand. 

West Virgina has a massive cave system for mining coal. A guy starts ‘above ground’ then goes down into darker interconnecting tunnels. No matter how deep, the danger is the same, but the imagination causes panic. Like sin: The deeper you go, the more you start to panic. What if I can’t escape?  You have all these extremely dark and bizarre feelings. You think you are becoming far worse. Your mind starts to fry… but it’s all a LIE. 

We are God-created beings. Our brain functions at a mechanical level designed to process truth.

Truth is not a vague theory but the answer to all pain. Jesus says “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free…” (Jn.8:32). Understanding disseminates freedom. The cure to “Tacumbu” is understanding how our Creator designed REDEMPTION. 

It is a substantial, documented, proven intelligent love of the living Jesus for YOU. Life-changing reality begins not with a “prayer service” but with sincere individual transparency. 

I got no problem admitting I AM wicked (1 Tim.1:15). Do you? It’s logical. We see our sin constantly. To deny it, is to force our mind to swallow insanity (Ecc.9:3). I’m thrilled God loves me, knowing I’m a scumbag. Not “WAS” but AM (1 Tim.1:15 ).This little morsel of reality highlights how to defy sin with the mental clarity of reality (Mt.11:27ff). 

If we force our brain to accept lies (that we are good), as being truth, we subject our mind to suffer subconscious stress. It’s illogical to think deception will not have substantial consequences in our mental state. 

JESUS DEFINES SIN as immaterial substance of darkness (John 15:25,1:3ff,3:20). Far beyond deeds. It is a dark wind that permeates all of life. Inescapable. It has no edges to grab and say, “Here, this is it.”  You can “see” it in the world but not in a microscope. It is hostile to us each day, as we battle emotional, mental, and physical conflict. 

No snap of a prayer or “good” behavior makes it disappear in a poof. Some religious guys brought a woman in the act of adultery to Jesus for Him to stone but He said they were more guilty of sin than her because of their pride (Jn.8:44). Sin is a conduit of demonic intelligence (Ecc.9:3/Eph.2:2). Satan “prowls about” our mind with his darkness of the Abyss. He comes like a lion to devour you in the night (1 Pt.5:8). 

Brother, it wasn’t a few wacko dudes, but all of us, in our “wonderful humanity”, that united in our depravity, through proxy of our human ancestors, who crucified Jesus. Anything evil we might do today could never equal what we did in those 3 hours (John 15:25). Our human family despises His light upon our darkness (Jn.3:19-21,15:25).  

Check out this Biblical definition of faith: 

Abraham was a warlord. Awesome dude. Pagan at heart. Yet he was “made righteous” WHILE he was a pagan. He merely looked at the stars and believed: “God, I see You there and believe You must be awesome. I trust You”. Don’t just think about Him… TALK TO HIM. God yearns to make you righteous. He will do it in a blink, as soon as you believe Him. Abraham became the father of this righteousness by faith because he was the first guy to believe (study Romans 4/Heb.11). God called him “My friend” (Is.41:8/Jm.2:23). 

Society defines what is “right” by cultural norms, but God doesn’t listen to a world that killed His Son to tell Him what’s right. All men are criminals in His sight: “Not one is righteous” (Rm.3:10). The ONLY thing God sees as RIGHT-EOUS is faith in the work of His Son. Redemption trumps rehabilitation. 

For God does not require good behavior over bad behavior but faith in the “finished” perfect behavior of Jesus. He didn’t die for a limited number of outward sinS but for the “whole 9 yards”; all ramifications. “He who knew no sin became sin… so we can become right-eous” (2 Cor.5:20). My brother, this gospel brings mental clarity. 

I am not a good man. I am a pagan believer like Abraham. Faith alone “credits” me the righteousness of Jesus. Like a hillbilly “reckoned” right, I cannot fulfill laws, so I believe in the living Jesus (Phil.3:9/Gal.2:16,20/Rm.1:17). Faith puts me in His Light which is the only thing darkness can not permeate. I live in eternal forgiveness (John 1:3-4/1 Jn. 1:5-10) . This is what it means to be “born from above” (Jn.3:3).

 “There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus” whether murder, rape, crimes against humanity, cannibalism etc. (Rm.8:1). 

 I have seen many rescued from a “Tacumbu”. Sometimes ‘authorities’ tell me I don’t grasp the magnitude of crimes by prisoners. I tell them they don’t grasp the magnitude of forgiveness credited by He Who became the greatest Prisoner of all time.  “Get behind me Satan” is what Jesus said to the “Accuser of the Brethren” who uses people to lie to us (Mt.16:23/Jam.4:7/Rev.12:10). 

Resistance works bro! All negative feelings and thoughts may seem very intense but the truth is;just ignore them.

Sound too simple? Righteous defiance requires not a period of time but a lifetime opposing lies of Satan. God promises Satan will flee (1 Pt.5:8-9/Eph.6:12). Since that June morning in the stadium of Notre Dame, I have seen victory despite ongoing failure. As a man of iron will I have learned to defy his lies and live in the joy of my sin dead with Christ (Ez.3:8/2 Cor.10-3/Rm.6:6). I threw all my ugliness upon His Ugliness on the cross. His love reigned down (“wounded more than any man”-Is.53). 

My friend, “How could I do, or think that?” is a man that lacks the heart to believe. Salvation is not an “experience” but a cold, resolute decision. I believe in what You did Jesus. Done (Rm.8:5-13). Give up and give in. Long after Jesus was crucified, Paul says “I have been crucified” (Gal.2:20) . To “take up your cross” is not some morbid self-flagellation but a joy of being rid of your greatest foe: the old self (Mt.16:24). Jesus gives His Word to bear all our ‘baggage’; past, present and future (Heb. 10:22,9:14). The Word of God is the ultimate weapon of truth (Lk.4:1/Heb.4:12). Some spurn this answer as too simplistic for their “complex” problems. They “work” hard trying to better themselves to appear “good” (Jn.8:5,9:44/Rom4:4/Jn.6:29/ 2 Pt.2:19 ). But you can’t hide the darkness in the eyes.

The answer is not fixing your past but faith in Jesus for a future.  Mental anguish starts early and ends either in dying with Christ, or facing death when it will be too late.  I love you my precious friend. 

Copyright

All material on this website is protected by copyright. Duplication or theft of photos or content is subject to criminal prossecution. Some names and information regarding places, testimonials, and other content has been altered for privacy purposes while all relevant material has be unaltered.
Adventure, Teaching, TravelsAugust 30, 2020

You can reach your Pinnacle

Create feathers out of failures and turn your wounds into wings.

A “pinnacle” is the highest peak of individual fulfillment. Ever since childhood we each hope for such fulfillment.  But bad things can happen that make us feel like our dreams are lost. But I am living proof that all things are possible for him who believes.

Pin·na·cle / pinək(ə)l/ Latin- pinna: wing

1. A towering peak, as of a mountain, or rock high above the ground.
2. The word used to define greatness, to be the best. The highest point or the culmination of one’s potential.

I know an inmate from a 3rd world prison. He was falsely convicted of a capital crime and headed for Death Row. Imagine: His hands and feet were shackled as he shuffled past cages with a stench like a zoo and sounds of shouting, crying and screaming. So I’d like to start here, at the bottom of life. 

The word “Truth” comes from a Greek word: alethea. It means REALITY. It is an illusion that happiness rules this world. The truth is that suffering rules this world. Injustice, corruption, greed, lust, rage, divorce, drugs, homelessness, orphans, financial ruin, sickness, physical and mental scars are reality. Every single on of us deals with our own level of unique pain. But the abyss of hopeless despair is the same.

THE ORIGIN OF WINGS

Imagine a carpenter in his workshop. One day, Jesus is working on a table for a neighbor. He strikes a nail with His hammer into the wood from a tree he cut down. Suddenly, His mind launches into anguish of thoughts over the pain of nails piercing His own very hands and feet as He is soon to be sprawled out upon a cross. He can’t escape the living nightmare because He knows it’s real. It’s going to happen. He is no longer “there” as Josephs’ son, but transfers into the contemplation as the Father’s Son. He ponders His purpose, His mission, His agony.

“Can I endure it?” He wonders. “I must… I will.” Jesus knows He is our only hope. He knew He would carry heavy wood, step by step, up the hill, that would become the very altar upon which He would sacrifice Himself for us. So right then, right there, in those moments, in his carpenter’s workshop, Jesus forged THE ATTITUDE He needed to make it through the life He chose to live. This is how you make wings. You forge them in His “workshop” of anointed heart and mind contemplation in His Holy Spirit (Jn.14:23).

It is not up to God to equip you to serve Him. You see, my friend, this is what it means to make wings. It’s about you. Your will. Your choice. Jesus was able to ‘fly above’ death itself because He forged such will. You must learn to use your faith to draw upon this same attitude of His Spirit: WINGS.

Isn’t it wonderful that God designed the heart not as a pre-molded mechanism. It can grow and expand in its capacity as large and even enormous as we so choose the right decisions for redemption. God doesn’t create our wings. We do. Jesus says faith is like a tree that starts small but can become huge (Mark 4:31).

I sometimes recall the night I was face down in a jail sewer hole. I saw into the abyss of my nothingness. It scared me. I felt as a slain soldier looking for a place to crawl off the battlefield of life. A few weeks later my college football buddies and I were downing beers and eating cookies that my mom sent in a huge box.

All of sudden “BOOM!” My buddies fled like a hand grenade landed at our feet. A little book appeared in that box that scared them silly. But I refused to let the refusal of others, to be real, keep me from finding reality. I began to read that little book and it began to lead me down the path to my pinnacle.

You must fight, like your life depends on it, because it does. 

When God came to earth, He didn’t come in a circus act as a ‘fat cat’ in fame and fortune. That would have given us false happiness. You see, my friend, Jesus is that prisoner I mentioned above on Death Row, in my opening. He chose the bottom of life, so He could show us that He can lift anyone to their pinnacle, no what their circumstances are on earth, no matter what our past has done to us.

Wings are portrayed as a Hollywood gimmick or fantasy. But I’m here as your brother who loves you, like an archer with a loaded bow, to pierce through the lies with a straight arrow of absolute truth: WINGS ARE REAL!

Let your light shine before men (Matthew 5:14-16). Above my family and I are taking a creative photo in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Our goal is to be as those who search out and rescue anyone lost in the vast wilderness of this dark world.

Everyone knows that the labels men put on other men make them feel “better”, while degrading the victims with twisted facts and accusations. The truth is we are all offenders, all the same, potential “drug addicts”, “murderers”, “perverts”, “drunks”, etc. and God loves each one of us. No one is “better” than anyone. God does not see lust, booze or drugs as hereditary, personal, “addictions” but as the result of isolated pain and our desperate need for salvation by the revelation of His love.

Depression is not a unique “personality disorder”. It is a common struggle resolved by understanding and “seeing” human nature as God does9. All thoughts can and must be deactivated by truths (2 Cor.10:3-5).  

God is not a Monster spewing wrath but a compassionate Father waiting to help you find your greatest gift. Wings are the unparalleled capacity to see divine reality and by this “seeing” to be empowered to act accordingly. And by this personal dynamic, we learn how to transform our own wounds to rise above everything we face. You don’t need a doctor, church, pastor, drugs, therapy, etc. You need to change.

If you cannot LEARN you will not fly. If you will not LEARN you can not fly.

Ignite your will. Wake up my friend before it is too late. If you think “Oh no problem. I can be truthful” then you ain’t got a clue to the truth. It is in fear and trembling that I must fight to reckon myself to the cross so that the Spirit of Truth might have His way. Doing what you know you should do is what you must DO (Hosea 4:1). It starts with one step. Step by step, results in getting to your pinnacle! Let the wind of the Spirit kiss your face with the vision of eternal life.

Wings begin as you begin to turn away from phony pretense to gut-wrenching truth of who you are. My friend, your life can become INCREDIBLE. I hear thousands of people tell me the same exact line of regret over the time waisted and the wish that they could go back and do it over. God says you must not think like this ( Ecc. 7:10,8:12 / Rm.8:28/ Eph.1:11).

If you can read this…You can yet reach your pinnacle.

You can turn your failures into feathers by allowing your suffering to crush your pride and release your faith.

What is your “True Grit”? If you are willing to switch natural instincts for trained responses, you can elevate your 5 senses to see, hear, touch, sense and taste divine reality. You must take divine promises and put them into your daily thought process. In order to make a delicious meal a chef must take ingredients off the shelf. He uses his own ingenuity to put together a meal to eat. Spiritual ideals do no good sitting ‘out there’. You must take them from being “out there” and put them into practice.

My story is not born from an “altar call” or “sinner’s prayer”. It is born from above, where eagles glide in the freedom of open skies. Jesus says “Unless a man is born from above he cannot SEE the kingdom of God”24. I was in the football stadium of Notre Dame when I RESOLVED to follow Jesus. I didn’t demand or expect any “experience”. I just conceded to what my conscience had long craved. What is there to lose if you know you are nothing?117 Jesus says “the truth shall set you free”(Jn.8:32). I ‘died’ to take a chance. Now

I see… therefore I’m free.

Faith is not fairy dust or wishful thinking. It is calculated resolution of individual heart. It is intimate engagement between you and God alone. It is acting according to God’s Word. Faith is like an instrument that God created. But He leaves it to us to compose our music.

Dealing with both sides of crime, both criminals and military, is an amazing place to understand the ways of human nature and God’s unconditional love. All of us are bound by the same INSTINCT of pride but each of us can choose to RESPOND different.

It has been 45 years that I have been making decisions of how to turn my failures and wounds into feathers and wings. I have spent day after day, night after night, in deep fellowship with Jesus, exchanging attitudes of failure and wounds for feathers and wings. David says he learned to fly “under the shadow of His wings”.

People ask “How can ancient Scriptures impart wings?” They don’t. It is by our faith that we “see”, beyond the black letters on white pages in the heart of the living Jesus Who and are thus compelled by His Spirit to act.  Feathers are offered in the “I see” moments of Biblical revelation. Jesus says “My burden is LIGHT…”. 80 You can replace a heavy heart with this “feather” of God’s Word. The impact of your life depends on the degree you expend of your will power (Mt.11:12).

We can heal our own sorrows, regret and pain by a simple choice of individual faith. We can choose to touch, taste, feel, sense, and see; to BELIEVE in the reality of the living Jesus, more than what our physical or emotional senses dictate our situation should be. 

When you hurt someone or are hurt by them, humility is reconciliation. 9 You have hurt God, and been hurt by Him. The wounds that break you can also provide the wisdom to learn to “see” your failures and His redemption; wings (Read Jeremiah 30:12-17).

“He will cover you with His pinions and under His wings you may seek refuge” said David. What specifically was David thinking in his language of wings? It was not mere poetry. David knew something profound to which he had access (Psalms 91:4,17:8,36:7,57:1,63:7).

The strategy of hell is to take advantage of self-pity and ignorance, and thus cripple our mind with confusion and subtle accusations against God. Slowly this can harden our heart. Our will falls limp, and we give up. This is the strategy of the devil by which he wins countless souls. No one else knows it or sees it but God, and you. But we can turn off the dripping faucet of negativity by engaging our will, intelligence, and shut down thoughts from the abyss.

Jesus conquered The Abyss and every hellhole on earth (Rev.9:11). So He can cover every aspect of every struggle. There are not 10 abysses. There is only one. We see into it through the hole in our heart. Jesus can reach into this “hell hole” because He overcame the human wound of sin with His new divine wings of a resurrection heart.

This is exactly WHY I dare to fly. I know how to transform my failures into feathers. My wings grow bigger because His love has no measured limit.

Someone is waiting for you to tell them that God loves them. Anyone around you, like even those “rioters” on the streets, who are suffering from no purpose or love. Can you reach deep and expand the capacity of your heart? They may be about to fall off the edge and God’s love moving you to love them, can not only spare them, but lift you closer to your pinnacle.

There is something terrible “in the air” (Ephesians 2:2). The bothersome depression “I just can’t ‘put my finger on it” is designed precisely to keep you from doing so. We are subject to a fierce unseen battle of hostility and hatred. The Scriptures warn “in the last days lawlessness will increase… ” and “Satan prowls about like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour” (Mt.24:12/1 Pt.5:8).

The pinnacle of your will is required to triumph in these last days. Please, listen to me.

You can’t change or eliminate evil. It’s not going to go away or get better. But you can learn to cover, compensate and rise above it. This is the endeavor to build-out WINGS. God does not drop His power out of the sky. We must each learn how to receive and express His love out of which comes the desire and investment of will to build our wings.

We each choose our level of response to Jesus. Thus, I create my individual manner of tone, vocabulary, sensitivity, creativity, investment of my own belongings and personality to express my love for God and each person I meet. I choose the level of my energy in how, or what, will be most effective. His love comes under me and I choose to sprout my wings. We choose every aspect of who we are. What I’m saying is that God does not give us wings. We must learn how to create them.

If wings can lift someone out of the worst situation how much more anyone in a lesser situation?

No greater love than a man lay down his life…. Antwon is ecstatic about just being released from prison. David was able to help him get a place to live.

Reach for your pinnacle, and find something you never imagined. If you won’t try to find wings, you can’t deny that they exist. “Oh, but you don’t understand how bad I got it”. You’re right. No one can, but the Father does. His love can redeem even the worst situation (Rm.8:28) 

In conclusion, my friend, I ask you to ponder that facial look of unflinching courage on the face of an eagle. This is the attitude we must build within our will, to build our wings here and now. God cannot lie. He “swears” to “bless” (total package of help, grace, strength etc.) to create your wings in The Pinnacle of His Son (Hebrews 6:13-19).

 God told Ezekiel ‘I have made your face harder than your enemies…like a rock’ (Ez.3:9). This is godly defiance. To defy yourself and this world for the sake of faith in the living Father; Abba! Daddy! It is the very first thing a man receives, and proof of, the Holy Spirit (Galations 4:6).

In the cold shivering of this brutal world, the Father calls you by name. He yearns for you to understand the language of “Abba! Father!”15 It is the Eagles screech that God teaches us as we learn to build our wings. This prayer is the language of desperation. Begging is the norm. Like a majestic eagle on high, His silent voice screeches across the blue skies…

‘Why do you say that the justice due you escapes My notice’…Lift up your eyes and see Who created the stars…because of the greatness of My power not one is missing…Behold, the Lord God will come to you with might…His reward is with Him…Like a shepherd He will gather you under His arms…though you grow weary and tired and stumble badly yet those who EXPECT the Lord to come will mount up and ascend on high with wings like eagles’ (Isaiah 40) .

Copyright

All material on this website is protected by copyright. Duplication or theft of photos or content is subject to criminal prossecution. Some names and information regarding places, testimonials, and other content has been altered for privacy purposes while all relevant material has be unaltered.
Adventure, TravelsMarch 22, 2020

THE SECRET ANTIDOTE

The abandoned streets, from Las Vegas to Barcelona, from New York to Madrid reflect our entire world is in a dark “lockdown”, at a loss and in desperation. It is only natural to question, if God exists, why would He allow so much suffering and death? Isn’t God supposed to be loving?

As this deadly virus obliterates the world around us, you, of course, are not shaken in the slightest. You are confident that you know everything relevant to your present existence on earth. You know exactly what’s going on and what to do. Right?

Of course not. Everyone is at a loss for answers. The truth is, no one on earth has ever faced such calamity. Who does not feel utterly inadequate in such a time as this? As a friend, I ask you to take this attitude of humility and go far deeper. Let it trigger in you a place you’ve never gone; a deep calculation of individual accountability; “What am I going to do?”. Humility is the road that will offer you real answers.

We have preached the living Jesus on the streets of New York, Tokyo, Chicago, Rio, Paris, Madrid etc. We have touched the suffering of multitudes but never the shock of something that can only be answered by the living God. But the gut reaction of many is to accuse God of enjoying the terrible suffering of mankind: “He must be some kind of monster”. But this thinking is not objective consideration of sound reasoning of Biblical revelation and the human conscience. It is rooted in an emotional knee-jerk grudge against God as a result of some prior ill-effect from the world upon one’s life experience. An intelligent analysis of even the most basic facts eliminates such distorted accusations.

Instead of remaining in the dark, the Father beckons YOU to come into His light and discover a new place of secret things occurring behind the frightening scenes on TV. He is using this disaster to draw a human heart into the life-transformation of the death of His Son. This is no little thing. People are conditioned by Hollywood movies of zombies and apocalyptic scenarios where men conquer “end time” conflict in a sensational world setting. “Lights, camera, monsters, lightning, action…”. The reality is Jesus shall return in the most mundane and common setting; like a “Thief in the Night” (Rev.15:16, Mt.24:43, 1Thess.5:2).

This is about a real battle for human souls. And you are the ONE He is looking at right now. God is offering you, this “acceptable time”, to get alone and learn His secret antidote (2 Cor. 6:2/Heb.3:7,-11,4:7). The spread of this virus is not instigated by the wrath of God. One “little” fact. God was not behind all the wars, crimes, disease, etc. throughout time. The Scriptures reveal that the devil, not God, rules this world. He has all power to use all evil to destroy mankind (Mat.4:6, 2Cor.4:4, Rev.12:9, Jn.12:13, 1Jn.5:19). It is God, the Father, Who initiated merciful redemption, despite man’s rebellion to Him, to send His Son to earth to rescue us from this world (John 10:10).

Please, I beg you, to stop and ask yourself; “Do I really know God? Do I really understand what it means to know the living Jesus?”. You are at risk of hell, and have nothing to lose, and everything to gain, by deep humility. Even as you read this, most will gloss over what I write, driven so deeply by a “virus” far more deadly than this. For generations Satan has long been spreading another kind of “virus” called presumption. I would beg you to: S.T.O.P:

  1. Stop in everything you DO or SAY and…
  2. Think. Reevaluate the quick response by your instincts.
  3. Open your heart to God. What is your actual state of mind and heart.
  4. Pray like never before. Just shoot from the hip. Beg God to protect you from presumption. Talk to Him from your depths.
In our weakness, fear and lazy nature we “seize” His grace, power and revelation. We are a family that has fought for years to stand for the living Jesus. God can not save our shattered hearts with “Christian” formulas and platitudes. We have worked in prisons and seen how the Father brings lasting salvation to a person who reaches his reaches beyond token Christianity.

No one likes violent ways. No one listens to radical voices. I am not a religious zealot on a wrath-of-God rampage. I am a son. I am your brother, fighting with you, and for you, to help you understand that God is a very holy Creator and Father. He is not bum on a park bench or a passing stranger with an opinion. I love you man. But Jesus warns that a “violence” of will is essential to get beyond our lazy and selfish ways, escape the perils of this world and break into the reality of a fearful God (Mt. 11:12,4:1-11/Rev.12:9/John 12:31/ 1Jn.5:19).

You are not a scarecrow dangling from a post in a corn field. You have a power to awaken what God has put in you, the free will. It has the capacity, when united with faith, to touch the supernatural. It is God created and God imparted and if you will reject the claims and excuses of a victim and exert the attrition of a fighter you will receive great reward (Heb.11:6).

THE “VIRUS”

Do you understand how “presumption” is like a deadly “virus”? It entered our human bloodstream 10,000 years ago when Adam sinned. Satan designed presumption as the thinking to separate all mankind, from God (Gen.3:4/2 Cor.10:3). We think exactly what Adam and Eve thought; “I already know God. Therefore I can presume He is with me in what I choose to do”. It is the arrogance that God is subject to YOU rather than you are subject to Him. Presumption is deference to SELF, instead of a bended knee and bowed head of obedience. Don’t let this be a platitude. Stop… Open… Pray… A unique response is “What more can I do to know You oh God?”. To admit your void of God is not to deny a prior “commitment” but to dare upon the mercy of God at the price of your humiliation. How much more does God need to shake you to wake up? There comes a time when He sees the casual indifference and self-righteous response and says “Fine. Your choice”.

Jesus says; “I warn you whom to fear: fear the One, Who after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!” (Luke 12:5).

Stay with me. This is crucial. If you think this does not pertain to you, presumption is working perfectly. It is the reason for all your problems. You see, presumption is what gives you a feeling that everything is fine with God, when it is not. We are all born with a phenomenal knowledge of God already in our conscience. This knowledge is tragically equated with a relationship with Jesus (Rm.1:20).

 

in South American prison
Prisoners are hated by society but loved and honored by God because the injustice they suffer makes them a special class of people whose presumption is broken, making them open to the gospel. This is very rare in the outside world.

We live in a “Christian” world where the knowledge of Christ is common. It streams to us in multitudes of venues. Millions of preachers and “churches” flood the cities and airwaves. This glut of Christian knowledge has greatly increased presumption (1 Cor.8:1-3). Jesus says even knowledge of the Scriptures results in presumption, without directly coming to Him (Jn.5:39-40)

Our con science (with knowledge) reflects the image of God. It also resounds to us of His Character, regardless of whether men deny it (Read Romans 1:20,2:14). So presumption says “I already have all this knowledge about God. I don’t need to go to the cross and lose my life in Jesus”.

David begs God to protect him from this foul attitude because presumption of God is defiance to God (Ps.19:13). It exposes ignorance to the intimacy of Jesus. Consider Job. Initially he exalted in his wisdom of God. But when he finally came into His presence he shut his mouth and put his face to the ground (Job chapter 42). An eternal God can not be known by a finite brain. Can you imagine standing before God and saying “Hi God. I already know You so I’m fine”? Absolute stupidity.

This is a prison where we shared at length with a man who had been involved in war crimes in Europe, but you would never imagine from his gentle spirit and repentant heart. The men were so grateful the second day the men put up “thank you” signs and gave each of us a hand made gifts.

God tests each of us for the “virus” of presumption. Then, on the spot, He presents the results to our conscience. When you insist that you already know God, but deep inside, you are fully aware that you are not in fellowship with Him, your conscience is tormented because you are living a lie. It reverberates with the symptoms of deep anxiety, the false sense “I’m fine”, frustration over lack of change, spiritual laziness, blame, and self-pity. All these expose the void of the living Jesus. It is a foundation in presumption. Obligation and guilt replace a sincere love for God.

Tragically, this “virus” of presumption does exactly the opposite of what you think. It does not give you a relationship with God. It takes away all the time and hope of you building one. If you are not “violent” against presumption it will kill you, like it does to billions. No matter how much you may know “God RESISTS the proud” (Jm.4:6/1 Pt.5:5). The secret antidote?

“Who is the man who fears the Lord? He will show him the way he should choose…The secret counsel of the Lord is for those who fear Him, and He reveals His promises to them…How great is Your goodness that You have stored up for those who fear You…You hide them in the protection of Your presence” (Psalms 25:12-14,31:19).

So I ask you. Would you like, once and for all, to extinguish the flames of presumption? To not leave one ember of pride burning. To look at its face in the mirror and say “I shall defy that defiance. I shall fear God. I shall learn to love God”. (Rm.3:18, 5:12)? If Jesus humbled Himself how much more should we (Phil.2:5). If He became a bondservant, and washed His brothers filthy feet, how low will we go to behold the Father as He did?

“The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Prov.9:10).

God has done His part to literally ‘scare the hell out of us’. Now it is our part to put our face in the dust and realize we deserve hell fire. People throw around the word “sinner” like it means a social misfit. When in reality it is the most offensive word in the human language. God says we are not basically good, but essentially wicked (Rom.3:10-12 Is.59:4-11). Where are you sitting? Find the tiniest particle of dirt closest to you. Put it on the tip of your finger. It has more value than our life. “…We are but dust.” (Ps.103:14). This realization is the attitude that Paul used to fight presumption (1 Cor.4:13/1Tim.1:15, see also Job 25:6). It was not a complication but a qualification for God’s grace.

Now how does that strike you? Can you get “there”? This honesty puts us in the perfect position for mercy. On the ‘heart-monitor of meaning’ our lives read out as a flatline. In fact, our life is worse than nothing, because our wicked ways are an assault on the nature of a holy God. When I first realized this, it did not offend me, it freed me from striving to be what I knew I wasn’t; a good person. I then learned to live by faith in Jesus.

Answer this: Why is it we want others to think we are something that we are not? Why do we hide our little stupid stuff from everyone? Because we know that what we really are is wicked, while at the same time project to others our presumptuous ways. The only way to break this stronghold is to set our will on being transparent about our sin (John 3:14).

Let me help you find His road for you to journey. God is the road to God. It is marvelous because He is marvelous. Paul said “I have learned the secret…” (Phil.4:12). Paul traveled this “secret” road with others who understood that the secret of God.. IS.. God.

The secret antidote to presumption requires a depth of transparency. It is here where the fear of God goes from being an ambiguous term to a reality in your life. Paul said he was the worst sinner and ‘the scum of the earth’ (1 Tim.1:15/1 Cor. 4:13). He saw humiliation, not as demeaning, but as a means to learn transparency. For when you know that you deserve eternal torment in hell this changes everything. Whatever it takes to brake your pride then becomes a blessing (Ps.84:10).

Lesson 101 in the fear of God; nothing should be based on the measly in’s and out’s of whether this or that happens in your life. God is not a means to an end, but the means and the end. “Oh the depths and riches of God…” said this man who was beaten, homeless and shipwrecked (Rom.11:33).

On the grounds of our last prison there was a gorgeous rose bush. The rose was packed with aroma exactly like the ones in my mothers garden when I was a child. God says that His creation radiates His glory so that His Character is “clearly seen” (Rm.1:20,2:14). My conscience was saturated by the sound of bugs, movement of wings, intricacy of leaves, vines and branches. So at the proper time I just followed the lead of my conscience to Jesus.

No mind can fathom His beauty. His glance gives birth to galaxies. Ocean waves explode at His nod. The sun sits still while gigantic planets zoom about it in perfect rotation. He hears every sound, frequency and whisper. He knows how many times every animal blinks. His compassions for mankind moved Him to sacrifice His only Son and attack us with mercy like an army sent to rescue. He is the “Watcher of mankind” (Job 7:20). His majesty reigns forever. My heart grieves for all those suffering at this time. If anyone will hear what their conscience tells them, they will recognize God calling them to escape the fear of the virus by the fear of His Holy Word.

We must learn, like Job, that regardless of any suffering, God is worthy to bow in silent tongue and worship Him. If we are in touch with God we realize it is not “What about ME?”. The outcome of true repentance is not self-happiness but to walk in awe of God. This is to give Him His due. This is contentment and peace of mind. It is what everyone is seeking at this time of consternation. It is the blessing of knowing the secret (Phil. 4:12,6-7). No more contending with God that He must be, or do, what we want.

We declare “YOU ALONE ARE GOD. AND THERE IS NO ONE LIKE YOU”. And for this holy decision He renders reward (Heb.11:6).

One of the many online photos taken of us preaching Jesus in a swarming downtown in Brazil Mardi Gras. A few days later the streets are completely empty because of the virus.

The living Jesus knows the secrets of God and the secrets of our sin. He knows the lingering effects of presumption (2 Cor.4:4). On the cross, Jesus produced the ultimate antidote, to mediate the secret sin in our heart with the secret of a holy God. So He designed a humility not found in the common market. It remains presumption to “the wise and intelligent” and is revealed in the spirit of truth to a little “child” (Mt.11:25).

The word “secret” in Hebrew is “sod” and means friendship. (see Ps.25:14 ASV/ Amplified/ KJV “the sweet friendship and companionship of the Lord is with those who fear Him”). Imagine replacing presumption with a depth of God. Jesus says “No longer do I call you servants…but friends” (Jn.15:15). He doesn’t want self-righteousness (Rm.10:6-10). He requires we come to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. (Lam.3/Rm. 6:6). He returns like a thief in the night.

The Scriptures warn; EVERY MOUTH WILL BE SHUT AND THE WHOLE WORLD WILL BECOME SUBJECT TO GOD’S JUDGMENT (Rm.3:19).

RIGHT THERE

I wasted a lot of time “waiting on God”. My prayers went “unanswered” day, after day, year after year due to my presumption. I expected God to do a song and dance for me when I prayed. Guess what happened? Nothing. So then I began to think “Could He be waiting for me to get up and do the song and dance for Him?”. Could my “growing up” open up God? I faced my presumption. I became accountable for my life. I taught myself to fear Him, obey His Word and implement a plan.

Of course, we don’t want to think this, because laziness is the root of presumption. We want to throw everything on God because……well…because He is God. He can do anything, right? No, He can’t. God can not violate His own creation. He has given us a power of the free will. He cannot lie. It would contradict His holy Character to then violate our free will to impose His will. It is not that God refuses to answer your prayers. It is that you refuse to “hear” His answer.

Have you ever had something right there at your fingertips but you let it slip away? Everything you need from God is right there at the fingertips of your heart. All you need do is act.

The decision to truly seek the Lord is like a touch-screen. It will open up for you what is necessary to live in these last days. If you squander this time it will torment you for eternity.

Things can change on a dime, now, tonight on your bed, in the morning, turn right instead of left, change your mind, slide to your knees, feel bad instead of self-righteous, take back that word. What if all you have to do is ask Him for help? Maybe you just need to hear words come out of your mouth that you never heard before. Like “I’m sorry” or “I shouldn’t have said that” or “I changed my mind” or “Can you give me another chance?” or “Can you help me I have no idea?”.

This kind of change is an outcome of the fear of God. If you don’t stretch you will never touch. Reach always requires a stretch. If you would just be willing to realign your demeanor with one tiny mustard seed (Mark 11:22-26). Can’t be any closer. God is giving the whole world the time to think and say what we need to think and say.

“And if you address as Father the One who judges impartially based on each one’s work, you are to conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your temporary residence” (1 Peter.1:17).

If you want to “Go for it” it doesn’t make any sense to do so in ways that do not guarantee the “with an oath” to give you the desired outcome (Jn.12:25/Heb.6:16,7:20). The cross does not mean 10 things. It means one thing; death, resulting in eternal life. God does not make us a “better” person, by fixing our problems. The cross is God’s power for us to die (1 Cor.1:18).

We are like sheep led to slaughter that so we become a ‘new creation’ by the power of His resurrection (Rm.8:36ff/Phil.3:3-11). Every fear can be traced back to our fear of death. So the fear of God, to obey Him, eliminates all fear, because His “perfect love casts out all fear” (1 Jn. 4:18). If you are willing to die with Christ you are promised that you shall live with Him (Rm.6:6).

 Apply the branding iron of the cross. It’s not ‘out there’, my brother or sister. It’s RIGHT THERE, in front of you. Here, take it. Die. Pick up it up. Right now. No, you don’t have to go someplace or wait one more second. Stop it. Seal His cross upon your “old man”. This one second can determine your eternal destiny. It’s just faith man. Love the burn.

“Do not fear what they fear; do not be terrified. You are to regard only the Lord of Hosts as holy. Only He should be feared, only He should cause your dread” (Isaiah 8:12-13).

 

We were in a women’s prison and ministered to some 300 precious ladies suffering so bad. It was remarkable to watch this one young woman completely change her heart right in front of our eyes. We told her not to listen to the lies of those “counselors” who tell her things that drive her with fear. We were so blown away. Probably like what Jesus felt with the Syrophonecian woman. She experienced the fear of God. She showed the marks on her neck from where she had already tried to commit suicide and said Elizabeth’s love and sharing saved her life.

This is the moment to brush aside whatever holds you back. What others say or think, including family and friends, will mean nothing in heaven or in hell. Some people are set on drugs, some on religion, some on guns. I advise you to set your heart to find the words like the prodigal son. It wasn’t enough to come to his senses. He had to find the heart and the words (Lk.15:18). It starts with a cherished whisper “Save me Jesus”.

Moses was the “humblest man on earth” (Num.12:3). He was told to remove his shoes and did so without question. His fear of God rewarded Him with the presence of Yahweh “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious…” (Ex.34:6ff). God says we must test ourselves; 24/7 “Am I being moved to do this by my presumption or by Your Spirit Oh Father” (2 Cor.13:5/ Phil.2:5).

 

When you feel shaken, as if life’s foundations are taken down around you,
looking for a substance strong enough to ground you,
and when the streets of paved routines seem desolate, 
reaching are His eyes that found you. 
For when common freedoms are defeated and uncertainty yields to grief and weakness,  
there remains yet the deepest and most obscured secret. 
It is undisclosed to those who suppose this hidden mystery is already well known.
But yet to the humble who would dare to draw near, 
so as to tremble and to hear Him,
The secret of the Lord is revealed to those who choose to fear Him.
resolute reverence,  as the antidote well tested, 
created in wisdom with which God long ago invested, 
giving His perfect Son Who bore our infection to heal us with His love through fellowship,
showing all things will be done just He has made known to the one with whom His secret has been disclosed.

-Elizabeth

 

 

“Fear God and give Him glory for the hour of judgment has come” (Rev.14:7).

Copyright

All material on this website is protected by copyright. Duplication or theft of photos or content is subject to criminal prossecution. Some names and information regarding places, testimonials, and other content has been altered for privacy purposes while all relevant material has be unaltered.
Teaching, TravelsJune 15, 2019

How To Know God: the compass of conscience

 
In our most recent work in a prison here in Brazil, we saw the marvelous love of the Father. The conditions are horrendous. It is only God Who bring the comfort they need. Little did we expect, the town was also hosting a massive convention on alcohol with people from all over the world. We were so privileged to touch these men with Jesus, in the mornings, while also distributing some 14,000 tracts at the conference, in the evenings. Sorry to say, our precious Rachel paid the high price of now coming down with pneumonia as a result of our close contact with the prisoners. Such is the price of compassion.

We all suffer from sickness and pain; physical, mental and emotional. No man can bear the stress of life. So sad how so many choose to merely talk about their problems, rather than humbly learn how to find real answers. Jesus promises to “bind up” (Hebrew literal “stop the bleeding”) anyone who comes to Him (Is.61:1). But we must come in truth. So many suppress and deny the pain of past and present bleeding wounds. “Oh, I’m fine. I know all about God”. But the REALITY of their lives exposes a sad truth.

Reality is not what we SAY it is, but what we SEE it is in our daily life.

Many accept the thinking; ‘Just hold on to what I got, because I have already done all that I am going to do in life to ‘get to God’. So whatever I have right now is what I am going to end up with when I die’. Oh, please, my friend, no. Why not seize answers, if they really exist? God doesn’t require exclusive knowledge of physics or celestial navigation.

It took me many years to translate spiritual terminology of the Scriptures into practical understanding for application to personal struggles. Christianity, as an impersonal system, that functions in a realm of theory and emotion. Multitudes are disillusioned.

Death is not something coming someday. It is happening right now within us. Every day, every month and every year our faculties of mind and body are aging and becoming inoculated to truth meant for immediate response. Our mental posture of childhood innocence is seduced by cynicism and bitterness. It is the curse of sin (Rm.6:23/Gal.3:10). What does it hurt to stop and check the compass of life?

Our watch is broken. It is much later than we think. A clock is a distraction from the accurate measure of life. God has placed His mechanism within us to do so. It is the device called the conscience.

The will of God for us is to know Him, not via a system built by men, but through the very thing called conscience He created within us (Rm.2:14). So many say “I’ve wasted my life. Can I still find God’s will for me?”. The answer is yes. The value of our life is not known by how much we accomplish in the eyes of this world but in the eyes of God. Before you spend one more thought on what you wish you did or did not do, should you not rather learn the wisdom to do what you yet can do? 

THE EASE OF DISTRACTIONS AND PERILOUS CONSEQUENCES

A stunning view suddenly became a sight of terrible fear.

My family and I used to live in Colorado. We often visited Yellowstone National Park as we traveled to bring the living Jesus to the campuses in the Northwest. On one visit, I took a hike by myself up into the backcountry. It was spectacular. I pondered many amazing mountain views.

I watched a black bear walk across an Alpine Meadow and was startled by an adolescent grizzlie that ran ten feet in front of me. It was the hike of a lifetime. I came over a ridge and was descending into a huge gorge, encompassed by a vast forestland range. I soon realized that I had gotten so distracted, I lost focus of my bearings. Suddenly I was gripped with fear.

As I peered out over this spectacular view, I realized I was surrounded by a circle of mountains all looking the same. Not a path in sight. I knew I could not take even one more step until I figured it all out. My amazing hike was about to turn into a nightmare of being lost in the wilderness. My heart sank.

 We’ve all heard terrible stories of people being lost. The reason is usually due to walking the wrong radius. Imagine the letter V laid out over miles. I am at the bottom of it with the choice of going one way or another. Once I start walking the wrong way I would, increasingly, be walking away from the line to my campsite and farther into the wilderness.

The majority of well-intended people lose their bearings in life, not necessarily because of some vicious drive to do evil, but simply because they do not heed the serious need to maintain the God-given bearings of conscience. It is what we have been given by God to lead us in this world. If we lose it’s bearings, we become lost in the wilderness.

The conscience is every man’s God-given compass in life (con-with/science-knowledge). It is the measure of the choices of our freewill. Its composition is a profound impartation of God’s very image created within us at conception. It is not vague. It is upfront in our daily consciousness. It weighs all our decisions and delivers an instant “print-out” of its evaluation.

Our teachers and parents never taught us, alongside math, geography, and science, how to use this “compass”. But it is a moral mechanism more accurate than any man-made instrument. It measures truth, as our eyes and ears measure sights and sounds.

It is a myth, disseminated by Satan in the garden of Eden, that man does not know God.  The conscience is our ‘common sense’ indicator to the truth of God. It holds the power to lead any seeker of truth to the saving knowledge in Jesus.

 
Joshua does not exactly wear a suit and tie to reach prisoners. Paul says “I am all things to all men”. His only desire is touch guys using a “rap” song he wrote about how Jesus will come to them in the midst of sorrow, fear, pain, murder and death.

When I started out on my hike, I made a choice not to follow the typical path. So I knew I had to maintain serious focus so as not to lose my bearings. I never expected that distractions could be so consequential. I immediately sat down and asked Jesus to help me. Slowly, I began to realize how and where I went the wrong way.

The men love to participate in a cultural dance. We believe in a living Christ Who would actually dance with them in such a way.

SUPPRESSION OF THE TRUTH

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against… men who suppress the truth…because that which is known about God is evident within men; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly see, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but became futile (stupid) in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools…” (Rm.1:18-22).

There is no “Beep. Beep. Beep” alarm when the conscience is ignored. Rather, it dispenses varying degrees of guilt, anxiety, and stress which are warning signs of going off a radius. Here then, is where another inborn mechanism works to distract you off course. The sin in our human nature is bent on the “wilderness”. The wilderness is not some obvious red light district of drugs and punk heavy metal music. It is any subtle appeal to move outside the compass of conscience. The choice to NOT sit down in silence before God is a choice to walk on into “the wilderness”.

It is always so edifying to watch men touched by Rachel’s song of the Father crying for their love. She sings it in Portugues,acapella, no backup music whatsoever.

What we refuse to understand can ultimately kill us. Slowly, but suddenly, life can become occupied by a “reality” inconsistent with the truth. We build a subculture of self-delusion. Denying reality becomes your reality. This is exactly why God put a conscience within us, to specifically “bear witness” to His absolute truth (Rm.2:14ff). When we deny it, we deny Him and incur perilous consequences.

Distractions can be any number of things, whether Christian or secular, whether “nice” or evil. Sin is hostile to our very existence (Rm.8:7). Its constant mode is sabotage. Selfish pride and ego are not fun and games. Sin does not leave us the luxury of “I’ll get to it if I get to it”. Things happen. They can cause serious emotional and mental harm. Ever met someone absolutely devasted after a fifteen-year marriage now facing a divorce? How about someone who has perpetrated a serious crime and just can’t get over it? Maybe a soldier back from Afghanistan (PTSD)?

We were created to function in harmony with conscience, soul, and spirit. When our mind contradicts our soul (conscience) we alter our equilibrium. Our mind fights towards peace but is tormented by conscience in conflict. Paul says we can become as a ship caught in the tide, pulling it into the rocks of destruction. The question is how serious are you about knowing God. Can you dare to take control of yourself to the extent of becoming silent before God? Can you detect and discern your inner disposition? The outcome is a breakthrough in REALITY.

Jesus told a fisherman named Peter “I will MAKE YOU…a fisher of men”. It wasn’t up to Peter to become something he was not. True salvation is the work of the Spirit of Jesus. Multitudes cry alone each day because they are brutalized by a world gone mad. Salvation is manifested by our love for others. The Father is waiting for you to learn how to be a fisher of men.

God created Adam and Eve (mankind), to reflect His Character by using the conscience as the perfect guide. However, sin corrupted this divine capability. So it is no longer a perfect guide. It must be cleansed of sins effects (pride). The conscience tells you this very thing. When a man chooses to disregard this inward compulsion, he alone bears all the consequences of independent autonomy; EGO.

The Father asks you the very same question He asked Adam “Where are you?” (Gen. 3:9). It’s not about geographics. It’s about your heart. The heart is not buried behind the rib cage. It is displayed in your face, your words, your actions, investments, etc.

Ruth demonstrates her outcome of the wound recorded on her x-ray and shares how the twelve screws drilled into her leg drove her to be able to dance despite them. She constantly deals with pain. She relates it to everyone’s pain in life which they too can learn to conquer and dance beyond.

Taking your bearings requires two or three turns on the combination into the vault of your heart. For King David, it was “cake” because he was a heart-master (1 Sam.24:11). Such a character reflects a sincere desire to steer clear of all presumption. Because presumption is the undercurrent that causes a “shipwreck of your faith” (1 Tim.1:19).

I remember the exact moment on that mountain when I dared to sit in silence and closely evaluate when, how and where I went wrong. I am so thankful for the courage to do so. It could have saved my life.

Abraham is a leaders leader. He could design a FORTUNE 500 company. Not a father’s pride. Just a fact he has designed, welded, engineered and sewn things; just blown away by his creativity. We don’t go alot. But we got is from our own blood, sweat and tears. His motivation is not based on “works” of obligation but to serve the Father and our family so Jesus is exalted (Eph.2:8-10). In various settings, both outside and inside, within schools, delinquent centers, on the streets, and in prisons, we use the different modes of communicating the gospel. The torches obviously represent the fire of God’s Holy Spirit.

God said, Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…” (Gen.1:26). Few realize that the 150 songs David wrote, and how Solomon’s wisdom circulated throughout the world, were a direct result of the image of God. They demonstrated the profound capacity for the knowledge of God in every man. Every poet, philosopher, musician, teacher, and ruler throughout history has, in most cases unknowingly, drawn from the knowledge of God to rise in the society of their generation.

Jesus left no excuse for not expanding our life into the fullness of His love.

Our humanity is of no little composition. As our potential for depravity lies within our sin, the potential for glory is the beckoning of our divine image. An image by Rembrandt or Picasso sells for millions of dollars. It reflects a brilliant reality. How much more so is the brilliance of His mercy, ingenuity, humor, creativity, intelligence, reflected in, through and to us? God “painted” us, out of nothing, to reflect His divine Character. If we “suppress” our conscience, we suppress God.

Jesus did not lower his revelation to appeal to “cavemen”. On earth, He appealed directly to every man’s conscience, knowing it automatically bore witness to Him. We have “no excuse” (Jn.15:22). He held poor men, the sick and lame, rich men and Pharisees accountable to this same standard (Jn.8:44). Paul understood this clearly and stated his preaching was not hit and miss, but to “every man’s conscience” (2Cor.4:2).

 

We deal with people from entirely different countries who express the exact same complaint of all mankind: that God is too difficult to be known. It is not your five human senses that find God. It is the common sense, of coming to your senses (Lk.15:17).

Knowing God is not attained by conjuring up some emotional experience, but admitting the truth of the utter filth that reigns in your heart.

There is no knowledge quota that proves you know God. In fact, Paul explains  “…now that we have come to know God, OR RATHER  – TO BE KNOWN BY GOD…” (Gal.4:9). When I made All-City Fullback in Grand Rapids I realized I was being watched by coaches and sports writers. It is simply up to me to do what was in my blood. I had “SMASH” in my bones and all I had to do was display it on the field. If you love God you will love Jesus and this love will be displayed “on the field”.

King David does not say “I am intimately acquainted with Your ways” but rather “You are intimately acquainted with my ways…” (Ps.139). I know that I am known by God, not by some exclusive knowledge, but because I see Him in me, despite myself. I could never do the things I do.

I once saw a video of a swarm of serpents coming out of the woods on a beachfront to attack a passing lizard. If I hadn’t seen it I wouldn’t believe it. But this is exactly what happened to Israel in Numbers 21:8. God commanded Moses to fashion a staff with a snake and anyone who looked up it would not die. This symbol has come to represent the entire Medical system to this day. It is called the Nehushtan/ Rod of Asclepius.

It is the symbol of healing (Contrary to distortions by historians who reference Greek mythology). What makes this so significant is Jesus uses this precise event to explain how we must FACE our sin, on Him, on the cross (Jn.3:14). Essential to the saving knowledge of Jesus is facing our wickedness united to the cross (Rm.6:6). Paul realized how we, as men, have been so “poisoned” by sin our only hope is to be crucified with Christ (Gal.2:2).

You ask “How can I know God?”. It begins with truth. Admit the reality of a life devastated by your sin. How hard is it to sit alone and allow your conscience to speak its truth? The conscience can school you but it can not save you because it can not supply what you need to heal the wounds from sin.

It will bring you to true repentance and faith in Jesus. The law, both written on stone and in our conscience, is a “tutor” to lead us to Christ so that we may become justified by FAITH” (read Gal.3:24, 2:16,21). Trying to be Christian and do good things can not cleanse the corrupted conscience because sin is only appeased by receiving, FROM Jesus, His blood covering. Most people sweep sin under the rug and thus never come into true repentance. You can not overdo a broken heart before God.

Paul explains “For what the Law (both written in stone and in conscience) could not do (save us from our fallen sinful state)….God did… sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin (atonement)… gifts and sacrifices (good works) … CANNOT MAKE THE WORSHIPPER PERFECT IN CONSCIENCE…But when Christ appeared as a high priest …through His own blood, once and for all time… can cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God….” (Rom. 8:3-4/Hebrews 9 & 10). Facing Sin+His Blood+Repentance=Cleansing. Consience is now better than ever.

`

The pull of conscience is far more powerful than that of the magnetic pull that reaches within this instrument to direct even a tiny needle.

As a Catholic, I thought I already was a Christian. But I figured a person could never really know God. It was good enough to be the best I could. I did bad things but also good things. I believed in Jesus. (Even the devil “believes” Jm. 2:19). God was “up there” and I down here. He was holy and I was, well, whatever is the opposite. The truth is, I remember constantly in battle with my conscience. It drove me nuts.

I clearly remember one evening, walking back from a bar at CMU, knowing I no longer wanted to live with this anxiety. I had to yield to Jesus. I had no idea how powerful the release of guilt and enormous stress would be on that June morning in the University of Notre Dame football stadium when I gave my life to Jesus. The truth is you have assimilated guilt for so long you don’t even realize how much it bears upon your disposition.

 

 

The first step to know God starts with the choice of courage, to be real. To lay all your cards on the table. Stop resisting. Stop rationalizing. Fully surrender. To have the audacity to yank your ego down in any awkward moment proves your heart. Defy its defiance to the living God. Pride is the serpent who will destroy your life unless you face the cross in total transparency.

A love of truth involves a maturity of calculation, contemplation, and resolution to admit and turn from all instincts for pretense. To trust that God will come under you as you make deliberate choices to fly. It may sound theoretical, but its impact on reality is like nothing you have ever known. It is the breakthrough.

 

Comedy and humor serve to open the hearts of all men. Proverbs says it is like medicine.

The answer to pride is not trying to be humble but brave enough to believe that by admitting the utter nothingness of your life is standing full face in front of the cross. Impose His death upon your most wicked ways. When we calculate beforehand, not with emotion, but logic, the distractions that entice us, we are ready to respond with “counterintelligence”. Jesus says “Calculate (pure logic) the cost” (Lk.14:28). Every moment of such contemplation expands your potential to conquer in the real world.

True forgiveness requires the intelligent calculation to create and implant predesigned “algorithms” that will automatically trigger a broken heart with pre-prepared resolution to avoid the downfalls of losing your bearings.

Elizabeth has learned ballet to project the elegance of beauty of God’s glory and impart this expression to girls who would otherwise never have such an opportunity.

Jesus sent the “Spirit of Truth” for this very purpose; to provide anyone with the added witness to a divine intelligence to empower the conscience with understanding to combat the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment (Jn. 14:16,16:7-10 ).

We are offered the “right”; the opportunity, the authority to become actual children of God (Jn.1:12). What does this mean? It means living a life of profound victory and dynamic selfless love. Jesus came to earth to tell us exactly how to make these choices to supernaturally equip us to manifest Jesus, avoid the wilderness, escape hell and enter eternal life.

Be careful with every choice you make. Create your feathers into wings.

Salvation results from making the right choices of being real and truthful. Each choice is like finding a beautiful and delicate feather. We can design them, one by one, to create our own set of wings. Rebirth. It will take us into the reality of the Holy Spirit. Add one choice to another and soon we learn to fly in Christ. We “mount up like eagles” (Is.40:31).

Those who live in the desperation of severe poverty have no hope of ever seeing a magic show. Many have never seen it. We rejoice to bring some sense of a special presentation to them.

A “CHRISTIANITY” ON STEROIDS

My family and I work-out in a gym here in Brazil. I’ve never seen so many guys with such muscular definition. So I wondered why the Bench Press is usually empty. Then I learned that most guys here are on steroids. The muscle definition is based on drugs and specific exercises, not on individual strength. They look awesome, but put them on the Bench Press and their weakness is exposed.

Amazing to see how “badass” guards want to talk and ask about Jesus. We explain how we must act as mediators between both sides because God sees no difference. All men are criminals in His eyes.

I was first introduced to the gospel, back in college. Like every wicked man, I was blown away by the amazing terminology and concepts of the Bible, especially the New Testament. My carnal mind could not comprehend such bewildering reality. I had a choice. I could fake being Christian because I was learning such new stuff. I could easily implement hypocrisy (taking steroids), or face the hard, cold TRUTH of how far I was away from such holy things.

The most disastrous choice a man can make is presumption. The only reason to pretend you have something that you don’t is stupidity. Because ultimately the “steroids” will fail. When a person wrongly equates the knowledge of conscience with New Testament salvation, it is tragic, yet common. The acquisition of New Testament lingo is adopted, but, in reality, the person remains under the Law of conscience and his life remains powerless. He has not come to the living Jesus. The New Testament realities simply awaken the knowledge of God in the conscience that had been ignored. People equate this novelty with salvation.

“Little” David created a “Transformer” character to explain the power of the free will.

I chose to welcome the challenge of hand to hand combat with the truth. A guy named Jacob dared to “wrestle” with God and won the identity of Israel (Gen.32:24). Maybe it is from my All-City Wrestling award from High School but I love to wrestle. Maybe it was just because of my desperate state of conscience. To internalize the truth of Christ requires internal wrestling of repentance, not outward emulation of appearance. It is not merely the recognition of the truth but the obedience to it that results in salvation. I knew I had to become a grain of wheat and fall into the earth to die before I could become a part of this astounding revelation (Jn.12:24-25).

Repentance is not a matter of switching out one teaching for another. A personal dilemma arises when a man, in his head, comprehends the New Testament theory, but in his heart of hearts resists the personal call to repentance. Jesus requires nothing less than the ultimate ” price” of ego (Jn.12:25/Rm.6:6). So, he talks the talk of a “jesus”, but, in reality, he rules his own life (2 Cor.11:1-4). He remains subject to his conscience. He mislabels the conviction of the Holy Spirit as a mere “personal struggle” and accepts the sad state of his life as “God’s will”.

David exemplifies the FOCUS that comes from deep within yourself to accomplish things far beyond yourself.

In other words, he remains under the Law, written in the conscience, while actively employing the New Testament language. He equates his pride of biblical knowledge with salvation but, because the conscience has not gone through the divine work of redemption, the battle evolves and expands, sometimes into unpredictable consequences. He equates the righteous impulses of conscience with his own godliness and thus becomes enslaved to the Law. He is confused because this is not reality. It is a deception. 

We deal with so many such “Christians” who insist they are saved, not because the Holy Spirit bears witness to the living Jesus, but because (unknowingly) their “commitment” is not to the living Jesus but to the awakening to their inner knowledge of God. The absence of Jesus is clear. It’s all about doctrines and knowledge. They think by admitting this they are denying their “commitment”. But in fact, the conscience bears witness to the humility of retrospect and repentance. It can result in ultimate delusion. They are fighting the wrong fight. They have wrongly labeled pride as faith. If the light becomes darkness how great is that darkness, Jesus warns (Mt.6:23). James says “You believe that God is one. You do well: the demons also believe, and shudder” (Jm.2:19). Paul explains the difference between works of the law or of the Spirit (Eph.2:8-10).

 

The worst prison is a closed heart. The key to freedom is a broken heart.

It is tragic to see people equate pleasing the conscience with pleasing the Holy Spirit. They live by do’s and don’ts. Self-righteousness is the foundation of such hypocrisy. Their “happiness” is no different than that of the world. Their lives are a miserable bird cage existence. We see this daily.

I will never understand why men cover guilt with hypocrisy then parrot biblical concepts of grace and forgiveness. All it takes to get the real thing is a childlike heart of sincerity. As if God doesn’t notice. The reason a man refuses to sit alone in silence is that he is permeated with guilt and unbelief. He feels like he has worn out his welcome by God. Stress, anxiety and nervous energy are due to a troubled conscience. You need climb no mountain. Stop. Be still before the Father and ask Him to draw them deeper to find the truth of real freedom (Jn.8:32).

Today so many are consumed with church, church, church, good works, sermons, personalities, preachers, books, etc. etc. But no heart. No truth. No reality. No living Jesus. Developing a pretense rather than a heart. A church did not die on a cross and an experience can not administer the work of Calvary. The doctrines of both New and Old Testament, enlighten our soul but only the living Jesus can heal the wound of sin.

 

Abraham has constructed from scratch so many things to use to preach and teach Jesus. He has had to overcome many obstacles including major surgery on his throat that caused restricted air flow through his throat.

Two men can wear the exact same suit. One man knows it was given to him. The other man knows he bought it with his own money. The conscience bears witness to the source of our claims. It is easy to simulate Christian words and behavior. No one may ever question your source but you know, in your conscience, that your weakness is solely due to the truth that you never really trained.

Sarah radiates in costume and heart the freedom of new birth. How she has turned 40 yrs. old right before our eyes is like surreal. Her work ethic for the gospel and her family has the angels singing.

The touch or scent of REALITY is undeniable, even if it is denied. The witness of truth is the truth. The witness of lie is that it is a lie. Everything you say may sound “Christian” but when the actual situation of your daily life is a disaster, whether you admit it or not, it bears witness to a lie. Instead of defending a lie why not seek the truth? When faced with the merciless oppression of Satan, the “steroid” hypocrisy cannot bear the weight of reality.

Joshua created each one of these nine, six-sided images. It required hundreds of hours of research and development to construct solid Biblical principles to break through the shallow and token misconceptions of the gospel.

Pilate asked Jesus “What is truth?”. Jesus sighed “My kingdom is not of this world…I have come into the world, to testify to the truth (reality). Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (Jn.18:37).

 

My family and I are here headed up into the “high country” of a Brazilian ghetto. Flanked by my son Abraham, my old legs wobble along, hoping to find the steps set before us by One Who already walked them. They lead into the remotest parts of the earth to search for those who are “of the truth”.

Imagine thinking that you are walking towards heaven when, in reality, you are on a bearing towards hell. The persistent rejection of truth can “sear” the conscience. It is like what a cowboy does to mark a cow. Self-deception is like living in a coma. The consequences are enormous (1 Tim. 4:2). The truth involves a thousand things, but yet it is only One. It is what is. He is Who He is ; “I AM WHO I AM” (Ex.3:14).

These men live in concentration camp-like jail cells. There are 150 men in places built for 30. There is no airflow or sleeping space, even on the floor. There is no electricity so they sit in total darkness. We beg God to bring His gospel of Jesus.

 

It is not complicated. When you don’t understand something, you make excuses which result in self-pity driving you further into the wilderness.  

The schools have been a phenomenal harvest field. In today’s society, suicide is rampant. Drugs are the norm. Single parents with no finances have no love to give.

Jesus says “I am the truth…And they shall all be taught of God… Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me” (Jn.6:45). If you will work to identify and respond to your conscience, the Holy Spirit will work to bring you into Jesus.

 

Growing together, from childhood, as a family of eight, has allowed us all to cherish the formation of conscience and reminds me of the first time I was taught how to use a compass.
Since our early days in Colombia, God has used us to bring multitudes of precious people into the truth of Jesus Christ. We have received countless emails and texts of those who express words like a soothing aroma of joy and marvelous accounts of how God came to them with His personal love to save them.

 

Elizabeth demonstrates the burden God puts in someone for total strangers. She borrowed an inmates shirt to express her song.

The first time you realize you can save a soul is the last time you will think twice about trying. If you will go the extra mile, you can win the human race.

“Come, follow Me….I will make you new”.

 

Descending to earth as the Father’s living proof,
Jesus says, “I was born to testify to the truth”.
The spoken Word to heal every wound.

Truth is this that binds,
Truth is this that divides.

Some were drawn to follow Him, others pulled to leave,
Some remain as captives, while others are set free.

Some were made blind, as to others, restoring sight
Some gnashing their teeth, while others marvel in delight.

Some responded in mockery and laughter, yet others broken to cry.
Some chose to remain darkness, while others walked into the light.


Some turned to sorrow and repentance, while others were bitter and offended.
Some sought branches to lift, while others turned to crack their whips.
Some worshipped with praise, while others condemned Him to the grave.

Some are left with the only Answer to conclude,
others, just a question to elude,


But all who look on Jesus clearly see, 
“What is Truth”




 

 

Copyright

All material on this website is protected by copyright. Duplication or theft of photos or content is subject to criminal prossecution. Some names and information regarding places, testimonials, and other content has been altered for privacy purposes while all relevant material has be unaltered.
Teaching, TravelsDecember 23, 2018

A Friend 12.25.18

I ask my reader to bear with the length, wordiness, and repetition. My children are helping me to get the whole short-worded blog thing. My next one will be much better. I don’t mean to impose upon you with long-winded truths. I get it. I’m just trying to figure out hos I can give you a tight and edifying word. Thank you for putting up with my ignorance.

A man thought to himself “Why is it every night I feel like I could cry? I am alone. I have no one. I constantly feel sad and fearful. Everywhere I go, I can’t escape myself. Something is wrong with me. If only I had a friend. Someone who understood and loved me. Someone whom I could talk with and could help me battle life.”

People joke about having an invisible friend. This is exactly what God promises. “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness…and he was called the friend of God” (Jm.2:23).

He is Jesus. The hope of my morning.

There is nothing wrong with you my friend. Feeling helpless is human. A person may deny it, but the truth is we all live with hidden pain and chaos. It can be so severe you think you have a personal problem. But God the Father understands and yearns to become your Friend to help, love, forgive, heal and explain how He can bear your burden.

People identify the reason for their pain as a problem with their marriage, divorce or loneliness. Some think it is because of a failure, past experience, present wanting, a personality disorder or a stressful situation.

The truth is difficult issues only exacerbate turmoil that existed long before the incident and will continue long after. It is the strategy of Satan to link your pain directly to some specific thing or person which you can not change. Think about it. It will torment you with helplessness.

It’s time to understand change as revealed in the Word of God.

Continue reading

Copyright

All material on this website is protected by copyright. Duplication or theft of photos or content is subject to criminal prossecution. Some names and information regarding places, testimonials, and other content has been altered for privacy purposes while all relevant material has be unaltered.
Teaching, TravelsDecember 19, 2018

Cut To The Quick 12.19.18


WHAT IS GOING ON BETWEEN YOUR EARS?

What is happening in your own private thought room called the mind? If others could see your thoughts would they see black, grey or a display full of vibrant colors? Do you know the life-giving creative thought process of the Holy Spirit? He is waiting to inspire us with His love. Our brain is a phenomenal machine able to chart a brilliant course of love and life, from, in and for, the explosion of resurrection power in the living Jesus.

When we allow God to cut to the quick of our heart a most beautiful thing occurs. First, I must qualify this statement. It is no little thing to open up our doors to Him. Our sinful heart can hold a firm grasp on hiding our secret ways. We don’t want to let Him into our dungeon chamber. But when we release our tight grasp, when we trust in the Father’s love, when we release our life into His hands, and believe that all He wants for us is to know His love, something marvelous happens.

It is not sensational, involving emotionalism. It is the divine intelligent love of God. It is the thought process of the living Jesus releasing His thoughts into our brain called “living waters” (Jn.7:37). Yup. It’s real.

It is like an explosion of the divine colors of eternity entering our finite thoughts. It is called inspiration or anointing. It is the Holy Spirit. It is the echoes of rebirth. In a micro-second, the reality of God’s Spirit cuts into our slothful negativity with His vibrant eternal life. The heartbeat of Jesus touches ours. It is no exaggeration. If anything I cannot possibly express the inexpressible joy. Anything I state is an understatement. If you could picture the physical brain impulses suddenly forced to process divine life what would it look like?

What would a brain surgeon say if he could see this process on a monitor? It is what happened to the woman at the well in John 4, and the Roman Centurian at the cross, and Nicodemus in John 3. This is real. It happened for many people who spoke with Jesus. He defined the content of His words as “spirit and life” (Jn.6:63). The brain is only accustomed to natural thought patterns. The natural man does not understand the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them…but he who is spiritual appraises all things” (1 Cor. 2:14ff).

The default of our brain is negativity. It echoes the same voice of Adam “Why is our life not simple and everything is a syndrome of demand and burden?” Could there really be unseen forces using this cycle of thought to keep us down? Why do we so easily settle for this natural way all men think about things? There is a spiritual way.

Why not be brave? Ask God to cut to the quick with His thoughts (Is.55:8ff)? Things that start out simple often drift into mental gridlock. Cut them off at the pass. Learn God’s Word. Memorize a verse. Then, at that moment of a downward spiral, recall it to your memory and wait on God’s explosion of life. Do not conform to this world but be transformed (Rm.12:2). Use your free will to change.

 A simple answer to complex problems is what we all desire. A brilliant scientist named Albert Einstein said: “God’s ways are always simple ways”. He said, “I am not smart, I just spend longer on figuring out problems”. Don’t be so quick to accept the negative. Wait for God’s simple answer. It always comes when you ponder, not the problem, but the living Person of Jesus. God promises “Those who wait…shall mount up like eagles” (Is.40:30-31).

Could it be that “unanswered” prayers have an upside as well as the downside? If what we wanted always happened every time we snapped our finger we would never develop character. God wants us to tap the profound colors of intelligence within our brains. As a Father, His primary purpose is to bring forth the Character of His Son in us. Paul learned that through difficulty God’s purpose is to show us that we are “more than conquerors” simply by using our mind joined with faith (Rm.8:37). He says patience brings about “proven character”. So the upside to “a silent God” is that He is training us to draw upon all that He has already given us and live by faith and walk in humility.

Could it possibly be that we ourselves, without even realizing it, oftentimes complicate our lives because we don’t know how to examine our thoughts and balance our emotions with the Word of God? Are we so consumed with our anxious thoughts that we miss the voice of the Shepherd Who calls us to learn how to utilze the beautiful gift called discernment?

“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit…able to judge (cut-discern) between the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

We have problems at work, family, relationships, or lack of, or any number of other outward things. Then there are the inner problems with unbelief, regret, anger, fear, depression, and loneliness. In every, and any situation, our desire is to ‘Cut to the Quick’ to find if there is a simple answer.

Imagine the enormous joy you would feel if you were staggering through a thick forest and suddenly discovered a beautiful paved path. Oftentimes, I find how God is with me, but only by faith. Not my feelings or circumstances. It is only when I step out in faith that I come to the One Who has paved a path in Whom I find the Father’s intended plan.

Long ago, God the Father came up with a very clear path through the forest of the human struggle. At first,  it sounds overly simplistic to say “The words of Jesus offer the answer to everything”. People says “That may be true at a theoretical level but what about the practical solutions needed in multitudes of specific situations?

So many problems require a specialized knowledge and require you to do things you don’t want to do. It was like this in the Old Testament. For a person, back then, to be right with God, a very tangled knowledge, that involved complex rituals of sacrificing the blood of particular animals was required. There were 10,000 laws that had to be obeyed.

Jesus ‘cut to the quick’ when He said “Come to Me… For 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” (Jn.6:40).

Everything we have chosen in life does not have to overwhelm us.

Multitudes of churches today have a long list of do’s and don’ts. Also in the secular world, much is needed to climb the social ladder for success. A specific education, vernacular and image is expected. Even with relationships, things can become very burdensome when the requirements for involvement escalate to unreasonable expectations. Everywhere you look things are not simple. 

The magnificence of God is seen as profound in that, no matter the obstacles of human existence, God has ‘cut to the quick’ with a resolution in One Human. He simplified all matters concerning knowing Him in One Person. He took all our heavy, intimate and complex issues and determined the perfect answer to life is One Man. God requires no vast knowledge, moral observance or personal atonement.

We need not search beyond the boundaries of our own capability. We need not to strive to exhaust ourselves with imagining mental barriers that don’t exist in the sight of God. The answer, as they say, is right in front of your eyes. The question is whether you will “see”; i.e.  “behold the Son”.

Jesus is the most brilliant Person ever to walk this planet. He says “My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Mt. 11:30). How could Someone say such a thing when He was about to enter into the unimaginable burden of carrying the sin of mankind to the crosss?

Jesus came to earth the landscape of humanity was before Him. He lifted up His eyes and began the journey of God meeting man. Jesus walked with, sat by, laughed and cried with, taught, and touched as many as possible. He shared in and with us. Slowly, and ever so wisely, Jesus began to release the greatest gift the world has ever been given access to; His Father.

If the answer to life’s greatest burden of sin, was defined by Jesus as the relationship with His Father, how much more so is this our answer? So the issue for us is knowing the Father as Jesus does.  He promises to reveal Him to us in the exact manner as He Himself knows the Father’s love (Jn.17:22).

There was no need for Jesus to electrify a crowd with a spectacular vision or sophisticated rhetoric. Jesus simply spoke and spoke simply. His Word is enough to generate revelation of the Father to the one who is willing to “behold the Son”. In other words, our part is to see through Jesus to the Father. To see God in Him. To be overwhelmed by His love and mercy.

To “behold the Son” is impossible today, they say if this “Son” is dead and gone. But, for a certain few, however many no one knows, they believe Jesus is a living Person. So then the question is this word “behold”.  Nothing mysterious about its literary meaning. The depth Jesus intended only registers to a heart that knows such depth. It is in the sight of the beholder that the sight of Jesus is truly seen. 

For indeed, to all those who come to behold Him today, is given the same chance that was given to those of yesterday. Oh, to behold Him. To see in Him, beyond the body of a Carpenter, beyond even the life of the Son, to the Character of He Who is called by Him “My Father” (Jn.17).

 Jesus cut to the quick with His every word. Complex problems you say? Jesus revealed every issue is multi-faceted. One Rubix cube can be twisted and turned into a variety of color codes. Likewise, it is about the way in which you “behold” an issue,  that determines the relevance and significance of that issue. To one who beholds the Son, the complexities of sin fade when seeing the profound ways of God are so simple. 

Behold the Son shines His eternal light upon us to release the anxiety of darkness out which our struggles often loom. If we would let His Word ‘cut to the quick’ of our heart, to expose the gutwrenching truth of a situation,  we could find a “complex” situation becoming quite simple. The truth will set you free, Jesus promises. 

Sometimes we say something is very difficult to do when in fact what makes it so difficult is because we refuse to admit our own hidden agenda.  We may not want to do something but want to pretend that we do want to do it. So we make our own situation complex by our lack of honesty and transparency. Thus the Person of Jesus simply exposes our actual motives and leaves it up to us to repent and believe His “My yoke is easy” (Mt.11:30.

John Denver sang a song about watching an eagle fly. He said that any man, no matter how rich, is really a poor man if he never saw an eagle fly. Don’t go your whole life without changing your mind, humbling your pride, and allowing God to bring His eternal word into your heart. No matter what you may have in this world you are poor man if you do not see this Eagle fly.


Copyright

All material on this website is protected by copyright. Duplication or theft of photos or content is subject to criminal prossecution. Some names and information regarding places, testimonials, and other content has been altered for privacy purposes while all relevant material has be unaltered.
Teaching, TravelsNovember 10, 2018

The Drawing 11.28.18

Check out our new CD my son David and I just finished at ITUNES.com/MichaelWoroniecki

It’s titled “Legacy of Love”- This music is our attempt to meet those seeking the high energy euphoria of EDM with the high energy resurrection life of the living Jesus.

I would rather not name any one of the multitudes of highly admired personalities who have admitted they can not cope with their inner state. They sing. They dance. They make men laugh and cry. They instruct. They exemplify what men desire. But when no one sees, they abuse prescription or illegal drugs, alcohol and sometimes turn to suicide. All because they do not know how to deal with their inner self.

The media is always shocked.  When public tragedy contradicts reason, there is an obsessive search for a motive, because people don’t want to think they themselves could ever do such a thing. Why do “normal” people do bad things? How could someone, who acts so capable, who has it all, do the unthinkable?

The truth is, that every single person, in isolated moments of pain, and memories of dark experiences, has varying degrees of depression and tormenting thoughts. It is not due to a unique personality “disorder” or some clinical “diagnosis” of a past failure. It is, in one sense, not our fault. It is due to the debilitating enigma in our bloodstream called sin. It is like a monster hiding in your home.  It drives us to do things we hate (Rm.7:19ff).  No one ever talks about yet it rules the world. We all share this “disorder” of a broken human nature but who is willing to understand why no one is “cool and together”?

Sin is clearly explained in the Biblical description that we are “desperately sick” and “insanity is in the heart of everyone” (Jer.17:9/Ecc.9:3). We are not “basically good”  (Rm.3:10). It doesn’t matter how well we hide it, we are inadequate to deal with life. We need the context of creation, from the Creator Who fashioned our every bone (Ps.139).

Every aspect of our imperfection attests to the tragic outcome of the genesis of pride in Adam and Eve. You are not alone. Regardless of your sin, the Father yearns to come alongside you. He loves you. Don’t resist. Don’t rationalize. Exert the humility and will to understand His loving revelation of absolute truth. Find beautiful redemption. Our inner cry for help manifests itself in innumerable subtle ways. But thank God, He hears, He sees and He stretches out His arms with His profound solution of mercy. He can quantify and simplify everything we defy.

Come, go with me, to this “Land”…of the living Jesus (Numbers 13:30/Hebrews 4:11). I understand the isolated pain of loneliness. I know the “hell”, but most importantly, I know how to tap heaven. Listen to me, the answer is not “playing church” or striving for a pretense as a nominal Christian. I am sorry if my blunt phraseology offends anyone but  I am just speaking the truth to help rescue a brother or sister into the astounding reality of Jesus. Time is like an evil magician who holds our life in front of us then suddenly “Zap” makes it disappear.

.

Bear with me in a little ‘small talk’ to give a bit of background to who I am. My family and I are in Brazil. We’ve been working in South and Central America for about 16 years. We shipped our van to Colombia,  drove through Peru (caught in an earthquake), down to Chile and up and over the Andes through to Argentina. The culture of a ‘third world’ country is very different from the states. Many obstacles.

Rachel and I are in our sixties. Being older makes things much more difficult. Plus we don’t speak Portuguese, as our children do. So everywhere we go is an extreme challenge. But 45 years of marriage has taught us, and our six mighty warriors,  how to venture in the land of faith in God’s promises.  

Above, the high pass in Chile was the mountain cold. But we finally arrived in southern Brazil after ministering for a time in each of the countries.  To transmit God’s love is the generating power of His resurrection. Our Father teaches us to lift the countenance of fallen men with the hope of Jesus. It is worth all hardship.

Besides the streets, God has opened up so many opportunities through the government into schools, prisons, and social events to preach how to tap His living Spirit. Long ago we put together a 90-minute presentation of dance, music, drama, comedy and most of all love. We use it as a very effective vehicle to preach Jesus and reach into places we would otherwise never have access.

INTRODUCTION

I divide this blog into Part I,  Part II and Part III. (someday I may actually write a short  blog like they are supposed to be)

People make a hobby out of complaining. Let’s face it, nobody cares. So if we can finally find someone to listen, there’s a lot we have to share. Pity the poor soul. But seriously, no amount of someone listening to us can heal our pain. We will walk away with the same problems.  Human love is never enough.

The Drawing refers to the specific, peculiar way in which God draws us to Himself. His divine love is the only love that can silence our tongue and lift our heart.  People often said to me “You only came to God because you got desperate”. Well, that wasn’t difficult. I was born desperate. God comes to us in our darkest hours, because it is when we are the most real. He comes on a level to relate to our suffering with His suffering. Jesus killed the “monster” and provides the only weapon; the drawing.

We must understand that death is not just a one-time physical expiration of breath. It is the invisible shadow of the misery of the curse of sin upon all human and individual activity (Gal.3:10-14/Rm.6:23). It is the deep sense of anxiety over the vanity of life. It is the consequence of having a soul (self-life/ego) separated from God. It is the lingering sense of defiance of sin against God and the death of His Son.  We never identify depression (as a result of sin) so we never resolve it. We blame others, or things or God but our grief is the death inlaid in our sin.  Jesus yearns to enter and touch our death with His death, to see if we might want His “out”. He reached into our brokenness as the suffering Servant. He bore this curse so we might become free of it.

If we will seriously ponder the phenomenal love that He demonstrated for us, through His death on the cross, our wounds can be healed.

In our “Christian” culture, the phrase “Death and resurrection of Jesus” is as unimpactful as any book title. Men search for answers to drugs, alcoholism, murder, divorce, record numbers of suicide, PTSD and umpteen tragic problems. Multitudes of “daredevils” do “recreational” things with a hidden death wish. Everyone, at some point, wishes they could escape their life. Jesus is considered irrelevant. Because the “jesus” of today’s culture is nothing but an icon (2 Cor.11:4). How could an event 2000 years ago help anyone in modern-era conflicts?

At first, I hesitated to share this subject because who wants to read about death to self? I know it will cause some of you to stop reading. Everyone wants a quick and easy, snap-of-the-finger “salvation” pill. But if it doesn’t really resolve the inner depths of conflict what good is it?  It is an icon.

What if dying with Jesus, is not only the sole manner of salvation but provides a depth of joy intended to draw you beyond “the old man”.  Neither Catholics or evangelicals understand His death is not a ‘downer’. It is the awesome resolution to guilt, regret, and depression. The key is not to “believe” in some abstract doctrine of ancient history. It is to cooperate with the living Jesus drawing you into individual participation with His death and resurrection (Phil.3:10). Herein lies the “secret” remedy (Mt.10:25/Phil. 3:10). He promises to give you every ounce of wisdom, love, and healing you need. God cannot lie.

In light of all this, shall I not take a chance to share The Drawing?

I shall.

I’ve heard famous millionaires use the expression “I’m dead to you” or “I’m dead to that” in a secular context. Everyone clearly understands what they mean. Maybe you have heard athletes, dieticians, coaches and people in all walks of life use similar expressions, indicating how a denial of self, is a discipline, or “death” to various comforts so as to attain a more noble goal. So dying to self is not some weird concept. It is the true gospel; the GOOD news of God’s spectacular provision through the Holy Spirit. What makes this death fascinating is that in dying to self the Holy Spirit begins to provide far-reaching parameters of who you are to become; i.e. an actual “new creation” (Jn.12:25/2 Cor.5:17). Take it from this master of failure, it works.

Truth is not a bummer. It’s a promise. It is a divine absolute (Jn.14:3). His death and resurrection lead to “living waters” (Jn.7:37).   It is not moral attrition that “draws all men” to Jesus. The power of God is the cross (1 Cor.1:18). This is good stuff, my friend. Because God’s Personal love from Him is personal to you.

PART I

Rock stars, movie stars, politicians, and fat-cat preachers do a lot of crazy things to draw followers. They project their ego with an appealing image, slogans, and words to draw men to themselves. But who, and why, would someone sacrifice their very life to draw men? How could this possibly help anyone else?

Jesus says “Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to Myself (Jn.12:32-33).  Say what?! How could someone being “lifted up” on a cross possibly “draw all men”? And if He is dead, then what would there be for “all men” to be drawn to?

Someone could question whether all men are drawn to the cross when, in fact,  all men are sinners drawn to sin. People aren’t running around seeking Jesus. Quite the opposite. The meaning of this verse is two-fold. The death of Jesus is so magnificent that the conscience in all men bears witness to His death as the ultimate sacrifice of love (Rm.1:20/2:14).  Jesus also means is that all men who come into His realm, and deliberately calculate the sacrifice their life to His death, will experience THE DRAWING of His Spirit into His revelation. (The backstory of the above verse is where Moses lifted a bronze serpent to the people of Isreal in the middle of a plague. All who “lifted up”  to look upon it’s lifting were healed (Numbers 21:9, John 3:14).

It’s like if someone tells you that if you go to the top floor of a building you will see, and be drawn into, the sight of a magnificent sunset. On any other floor, you won’t see it.

Likewise, when a person chooses to “go to” the level, in his own heart, where he can contemplate the love shown in the cross of Jesus, he will behold the Son (Jn. 6:40). If you are willing to lay down your life, He will honor your love. It’s a win-win situation. Do you not want to get rid of your troublesome ways and find peace?

When a person unites himself with the “lifting up” of the cross, the Spirit of God draws them to the living Jesus.  Jesus meant that “all men” who come into the profound ramifications of His death will be drawn into the Character of Christ. He will be made new. Jesus promises all who are taught of God will come to Him (Jn.6:44-45).

The cross is the University of the Father. It is where He teaches us obedience. There is probably no more hated word than “obedience”.  It is the school in which we study and accurately learn all the subjects of faith, forgiveness, redemption, wisdom, and love. It is where we learn how our inability to understand certain things, IS understanding God (Pr.9:10).  The death of Jesus leaves us with a mystery which causes us to marvel, love and obey.

Our lives flash across this world, like cars on an expressway. Suddenly, we get old and arrive at the destination point of all men… Death. So if we are going to die anyway, why not die a death that’s already been died? I know that doesn’t sound correct but His death is a death to save you from death.

In divine foresight, Jesus saw our agony. So he came to earth to ‘kill’ the enemies of sin and death. His resurrection offers a death, more powerful than death, and a life, more powerful than both this life and this death. Paul laughs “Oh death where is thy sting…nothing in life can separate us from the love of God” (1 Cor.15:55/Rm. 8:35-39).

The school of  God’s Spirit operates in only one “district”; the cross. Jesus says if you want Me, deny yourself and take up the cross (Lk.9:24). Paul says I “fellowship with His death” (Phil.3:10).  He boldly explains “I was crucified with Christ…the life I LIVE is Christ… because if we become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly, we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, our OLD MAN (our human nature) was crucified”.

Paul continues “in reference to your former life, lay aside THE OLD SELF...corrupt with lust” (Phil.3:10/ Gal.2:20/ Rm.6:5ff).  Think about it. Paul went back to the past, when Jesus died, in order to find a retroactive present identity and a future of eternity in God’s Spirit.  Resurrection awaits.

Such language the world doesn’t know. And when they hear it they walk away. Likewise, the  “Churches” of today fully understand buzzwords like “prosperity” and “success”. But death to self is like a foreign language.

How about you? Your true identity is waiting for you to leave your comfort zone.

joshua-woroniecki-with-special-need-children

Every step Jesus walked made an impression on earth never before seen in the history of mankind. It’s not about trying to follow footprints in the sand. An earthly Jesus we can not imitate (2 Cor.5:16). Salvation is not emulation. It is transformation through our personal death and resurrection.

Jesus was a divine dictionary of a new world. He said life is death, and death is life, and real love is when you die with Him because then you will be in His love (Jn.12:25).

Love is not a thing to do, but a Person in Whom you learn to love.  God is love. He is intelligent love. He knows how to quantify and simplify our most complicated matters. He knows exactly what you need and designed the magnificent plan to draw you.  As the most intelligent Being in the universe He calculates the exact care we need. So the way to love is to be drawn in Him. Being with Him you desire nothing on earth. Again, Jesus says, “No greater love than a man lay down his life…” (Jn.15:13). His death is the ultimate compass of love. John Denver wrote about how a man is poor who never saw an eagle fly. How much poorer is the man who does not know the love that comes if he will die?

Basically, we are only a problem for ourselves. We are our greatest hindrance to God’s love. Everything about us is an obstacle to the ideal. For this reason, the weakness caused by the cross is the one and the only thing of which Paul brags; “I will boast in the cross…through which I have been crucified to the world and it to me…I will boast of my weaknesses…for when I am weak then I am strong” (Gal. 6:14/2 Cor.11:30).

When a man becomes compliant to Jesus, he is compelled to lose his own ways because of how all complexity arises out of trying to mix and match new spiritual ideals with the routine of an old man. Imagine being free of deceit in secure transparency.

michael-woroniecki

Human existence is regulated by that thing we call TIME. Time is a fierce taskmaster. We link our worth to seconds, days, months and years. Men are captured by it to work away their whole lives. Never thinking there’s something beyond it.  But  Jesus actually obliterated all of TIME when He rose again. He defied time and space. “I was dead but behold I live for evermore”. He created eternal “time”. He can penetrate and transcend our every moment with His realm of eternal life (zoe) (Jn.6:68, 17:3). Through rebirth, His Spirit breaks into our time-conscious existence to “see” the wind of His Spirit (Jn.3:3-8). It happened to me at Notre Dame.

The average tick of a heartbeat is about once a second. At precisely one predetermined second your heart will stop. How many people have you heard regret the time they wasted? The elderly, coaches, businessmen, parents, etc. look back with remorse. You don’t have to be one of them. Redemption not only inverts time but can redefine every moment to transform it.

60 heartbeats a minute + 60 minutes an hour times + 24 hours a day = 86, 400 moments a day. How many millions of moments do you miss living because your mind is frozen by a single memory locked in time?

Behold a vision of a new future. Be drawn to the cross. Find the ‘top floor’. See the Son rise. All your sin was engulfed by the past moments of His three hours of separation from His Father. Jesus became every man’s “old man of sin”. He experienced our every pain and cry from the curse. Jesus was “frozen ” in a moment like no other. By His wounds, He entered every moment of time and by His triumph, He can heal any one of our moments.

All He asks is for you to relate, identify and fellowship with Him in His death. To believe what He did was for you. Remember the finality of death is in glorious eternal life. Past bad memories can fade like a mist. His plan worked. His words fulfilled. All who want Him are drawn to Him when lifted up with Him. It is the true escape.

Paul says “redeem the time” (Eph.5:16).

The cross is not to turn you into a forlorn wimp but rather to become His high energy servant of love, free from yourself, to lay down your life for multitudes in need. Thanks to the relentless work of Elizabeth sending out endless emails online we are so grateful for the donation of thousands of Bibles and New Testaments that we received from an anonymous person. Now, we just had to get them 7000 miles to the other side of the world with the other 30 boxes of supplies. Exhausted Abraham made it work.

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!… Since you are precious in My sight, Since you are honored and I love you, I will give other men in exchange for your life (sacrifice)” (Is.43:1-4).

My intention is to help you to see how your true identity is waiting for you beyond the death of your old man. God’s true love is the only power to draw you into a life beyond yourself. To align your mind with His redemption. It is not a suggestion or an option. Repentance is God’s command (Mk.1:15/Rm. 10:2). The Father holds us accountable to change because He has given everything in His Son for us to do so.  It is for freedom that Christ has set us free (Gal.5:1). His truth “shall set you free” (Jn.8:32).

PART II

How do we get the most out of our moments?

The modern-day thinking about being a Christian is to accept and suppress frozen moments while trying to emulate Christian behavior. A sure formula for a miserable life. A one-time sinner’s prayer is supposed to be like a magic wand that puts a  zap on us with an automatic change of heart. It just doesn’t happen. It is nonsense.

What happens after praying the ‘Accept Christ as savior’ prayer is that “Christians” continue on in their old ways and never find the drawing into “a new creation” (Eph.1:11/2 Cor.5:17). Because they refuse to be “lifted up”. Their sinful ways continue and they recycle the same old doctrinal rationalization of a forgiveness that is not based on a relationship with the living Jesus. Satan has free reign to play mind games of hypocrisy and delusion because the old sinful self is never actually dealt with by the cross. The old man lives with Christian pretense and Biblical rhetoric.

If you want to be ‘lifted up’ concede to be brought down so you can lay your life down on the cross.

I think everyone would agree that a man’s state of mind is a composite of his past. Memories are stored away in the library of your mind. It is an absolute wonder how God can access any ‘book’ and reconstruct our brain patterns of thought to establish a new storyline. He edits each one of our stories into a grand epilog. He inserts mercy and turns the curse of sin into a blessing. His cross takes the sting out of our death and inserts an elation of joy.

We are created in the image of God and our capacity is profound.

“…the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace…”(Rm.8:6).

Jesus would never have told men “Repent…” if we did not have the potential within us to do so (Mk. 1:15). Likewise, Paul would not have said: “set their mind” on the Spirit. No matter how many teachings we hear, emotions or tears we shed, the human mind does not change by a poof. It requires the “work” of individual intelligent cultivation. It requires prayer, our words, our heart (Jn.6:39).

In some cases, we may not be fully aware of how much a past experience is holding us “frozen” in a time past. But we have a sense of it. It comes about in our daily disposition. Seconds, days, months and even years tick by, but we remain frozen in the same disorder. The Holy Spirit needs our cooperation to put an end to old ways and implement the process of redemptive humility.

Without it, certain thoughts keep you in “prison” to sadness, lust, despair, condemnation and worse. In fact, our very personality can be shaped by something we don’t even understand. This is the power of the old man. We don’t realize how our free will remains completely limp. This is why God uses hard times to shake us with the power of the cross. He is trying to activate our will, our heart and our lips (Rm.10:6-10).

It is the only way out of our dungeon of despair. Apply your intelligence and rigorous contemplation to believe God, despite the impossibility you now feel.  Jump start your heart like kick-starting a motorcycle. It’s like waking up from a deep coma. You have given up and don’t even know it. Discipline your time. If you will just start anything little to force yourself to implement a new way of talking or acting you will see the deep potential of your free will.

The failure to do so is tragic.

One of the most penetrating sounds I’ve ever heard is when I’m walking through a prison and I hear the echo of a loud slam of steel prison doors. It shudders through me with the feeling that my brothers are suffering in inescapable torture. Likewise, memories can be like like a prison cell that holds you in the grip of a cruel ‘warden’.

We talk to thousands of men whose lives are dictated by one past experience of sin in rejection, sorrow, failure or some tragic situation.  Millions of moments reduced to what they did in one. Our goal is to bring about that ONE that will change all the others; “Maybe there’s something more. Maybe I don’t understand the cross”.

God would never say “forget what lies behind and reach for what is ahead”  if it were not possible (Phil.3:13). He would never say repent if you could not do it. He is not a monster but a Father.

How do you “forget” something you deeply regret? It is up to us to energize our free will and act on God’s promise (Mt.11:12) . He will interject His wind of grace.

“For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col.1:14). This “transfer” can happen at any moment in any place.

It is so sad to see people captured by a mere thought.  What is a thought? It is nothing. It is invisible. At best it is a mental image of something that doesn’t even exist in the physical world. It is not a grizzly bear. It is not a steel vice. It is not a machine. It is like a bubble to be popped by your will, your change, your repentance. A limp will leaves a man floating in the realm of abstract imaginations. It is the realm of Satan  (2 Cor.10:3/ Eph.6:12). It leads to hell.

When you go through the motions of yesterday your free will floats in the misery of a routine dictated by time. God says “Without vision, a man will perish” (Pr.29:18). If you allow your will to be controlled by the thoughts in your mind, and your mind controlled by random thoughts of your past, you will have no future  (2 Cor.10:3). Even the apostle Paul had to overcome his deep regret over frozen moments of his past (Acts 22:4/1 Cor.15:9).

Unfrozen

Stuck in a sentence,

 trapped in a wall with no exit,

under siege without weapons,

while the past repeats in the present,

 all logic is threatened,

a flood of unresolved tensions

leave you like a vehicle with no engine.

You are frozen in a moment of endless questions.

I, the Lord, am here for the melting.

I am here for smelting,

the breath, the breaking, the helping,

I am here for the treading.

Be at rest, surrender to the wine press

 and stretch your heart to find an intense stillness,

for when your mind is split asunder

breaking down your internal infrastructure,

when you are pulverized and pressurized

this is when I can purify you into Me

so as to sort and sift the inner life unseen.

I offer like a bridge to retroactively

redeem all things,

through the perspective of faith.

No moments left to waste,

but rather to penetrate

 with a greater grace,

mediate to cleanse the stain,

expiate to wipe the slate

so as to recreate and to fashion,

a focus without distraction,

through the only timeless transaction,

your broken moment now unfrozen,

through My blood atonement,

 So now see with greater dimension

that in the work of eternal redemption

 the final result was the first intention.

-Poem by Elizabeth Faith Shalom Woroniecki (my daughter).

THE MOTIVATION OF BEING CALLED OF GOD-Romans 8:28-30

Salvation offers a magnificent redemption of your entire past, present, and future.  The word for “healing” is Rapha in Hebrew. It means completely fresh, new, repaired.

God says for I, the Lord, am your healer…I will heal you of your wounds. Jesus constantly healed people by His touch (Mt.9:35/ Mk.6:13/ Ex.15:26/ Dt.32:39/ Ps.30:2, 41:4, 103:3, 147:3 /Jer.30:17/ Mal.4:2). Precious moments of contemplation lead to healing and redemption. Redemption is a release upon payment of a ransom. The death of Jesus paid our ransom to Satan to release God’s right to redeem all aspects of our life from sin.

“…you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life…but with precious blood, as of a lamb …the blood of Christ” (1 Pt.1:18).

My son Joshua took the photo above as he found a place to sit alone and contemplate the love of Jesus.

God promises that He can take the greatest regret and transform it into a predestined purpose (Eph.1:11). The majority cannot be still in the moment because anxiety over their past and present life haunt their conscious life.  Jesus promises to send His Spirit to interpret the past, while in the present, and walk on into the future with a profound wisdom and sense of His predestined plan. This is the marvelous provision of redemption. Jesus wants us to learn how to live in the moment. Take no thought for tomorrow (Mt.6:34/Jm. 4:13). And how can we live in a moment when it is full of misery from the past?

HAVE YOU ANY WOOL?

Jesus says “My sheep hear My voice” (Jn.10:27).

When I first read this verse I was baffled by Jesus saying His sheep hear His voice. It seemed as something I would never know because I knew I could never escape my wickedness. I never heard any audible voice or even a still small voice. My mind was so full of junk I could barely hear my own voice.

Hearing “the voice” of the Shepherd seemed to be something only for the saints. But I slowly “heard” as I believed. Paul explains “Faith comes by hearing” (Rm.10:17). Hearing what? Hearing God’s eternal Word speak to you in a moment of time. His voice is not an audible sensation. It is not reading circumstances. It is walking in faith and living in the school of the cross. It is practical reasoning by a mind transformed by the Word of God (Jn.10:3,16).

His voice is “heard” in the true understanding of forgiveness, grace, faith, the blood, wisdom, and love of His Spirit. This is the voice of the Shepherd. He speaks through His revelation in the Scriptures. In every moment, of every day, God is speaking to us in the majestic work of Jesus. He is waiting to translate your every nightmare.

You are quick to “hear” the voices of regret, guilt,  sorrow, and woe but are we willing to “hear” the Word of God speak of forgiveness, grace, promise, hope, and new life? It is for us to explore.

When I was in seminary I had a teacher who would fill large blackboards full of diagrams of Scripture verses in Greek. It was extremely insightful. If you could diagram a moment, what would it look like? It would be fascinating. Imagine one of your moments of sadness. You could write a short sentence. Then under it and next to it and above it write the depths of thoughts and feelings. One moment can be diagramed with multitudes of related moments and they would be chained to multiple dimensions and levels of emotion. Good news. God is God. It is nothing for Him to grasp and transform. Again, He can quantify and simplify your most complex issues. Can you imagine if one of your worst memories could become one of your best? This is God’s promise and He is able (Eph.1:11).

“…a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions” (Heb.9:15).

Hearing His Voice is understanding His perspective. It happens from building the Scriptures in your memory. Your perspective then becomes the Word of God.  Fresh invigoration of new creative views begins to spring forth.  We learn to overcome any fear, any moment or sin. This is the whole purpose Jesus sacrificed Himself. So He can enter into our time with His eternal purpose, His wisdom, and destiny. God is God. Everything He does is eternal. Thus, time is overwhelmed by eternity. We can face natural moments in time because Jesus is supernatural. Death is swallowed up by victory (1Cor.15:54).

Faith grabs His promise of redemption and leads to paths of righteousness. Choose to hear the Shepherd. He yearns for us to find His victory for the most deplorable moments we face; to enter in and to walk out again (Jn.10:4). He can take a memory and transform it into His destiny by an act of your will to believe Him. To set your will to the resolute contemplation of a living God.

Listen

“Come”, I say, “Come!”

“Where is that voice heard from?”

“I am your invitation,
an invisible publication,
in suspended animation,
like an inconclusive equation,
a language lost in translation.
I am taught by the clouds,
the thought on the sprouts,
reached out in the boughs,
as spoke like the river flows,
the oak that grows,
a signal like the smoke,
spread as a dandelion blows,
as bold as the golden hour glows,
covering like winters first snow.
I am breaking down the walls,
My voice has gone out
never to exhaust,
calling to the lost,
to come without cost,
to the light of the dawn
given through the cross.
I am heard in the moment,
known by the one who will own it,
My voice is petitioning,
My words riveting,
My call ever witnessing,
the only question left is…
are you even listening?”

Elizabeth Faith Shalom Woroniecki

PART III

Here are a few examples of situations that highlight the profound meaning in the word REDEMPTION. This past fall we returned to the States to work in some prisons there. As we traveled to a prison, we stopped off in my hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was like crossing the bridge from the present into the past and actually into the future.  I returned to Saint Adalbert grade school  (these stairs). We took the time to explore moments of the past. And at this time we discovered a wealth of joy.

I ask you to look at the building in the background and stairs upon which this football team is standing. Notice little duff in number 14 on the top row. That’s me.  I was 14 yrs. old.  A few months earlier I was shot in the eye with a BB gun. The coach let me pose with the picture but I didn’t play on the team, nor could I play for the next several years.

My heart was shattered by that one moment in time. I felt devastated. Hopeless despair. I ran in the house screaming and crying in pain and fear.  My mom took me to the hospital where I had to lay on my back for a month completely still. It affected every day following because I was mocked and isolated. I remember praying if God was real would He please help me.

In the picture below my family and I stand on the same exact stairs where I felt devastated and hopeless of any future.  Never could I have imagined, back then, that in a ‘trillion’ blinks of an eye, I would be standing in the same exact place with a wife and six marvelous children.  It is amazing to see how the drawing of His death results in the manifestation of predestination.

But “where” did that moment of being shot in the eye come from? Could it have been from my future?  I returned to a place from my past, St. Adalbert’s, but indeed, was it not from my future? I revisited that “frozen” moment of great pain, isolation, and hopelessness. Only to discover His redemption had melted my character into the future of God’s destiny. What made the difference between me and a million others is that I chose to be drawn to the cross in Jesus Christ.  He alone causes “all things” to work together for good (Rm.8:26/Eph.1:11).

I now know how crucial it is to have a posture of stillness before the Lord. I can go “there” at any moment. This began in the hospital bed not able to move. If you are willing to bring the death of Christ into your pain He can bring multi-dimensional perspective to your past. How many moments are being sent to you, right now, from the future? Will you find His redemptive power?

My football career never materialized as I dreamed it would be. So many injuries put me on the bench. Now I realize how God protected me, not only from fame but from physical catastrophe. I had many concussions.  I used my head as a battering ram.  Redemption gave me health and a special gift; how to be alone. Redeem the curse into a blessing. Believe God.

If we learn to comply with a balance in our reactions to sadness, in our emotions and thinking, and not overreact,  we can breed a disposition “that passes all understanding” (Phil.4:7). Not to be erratic or headstrong. Not to be cynical or sullen. To find balance and maintain an equilibrium of mature hope and faith will bring to us the fulfillment of our moments. All my life I was obsessed with finding meaning. I found it.

Truth comes by revelation. It is the only thing to stabilize our fragile and erratic nature in a world of hypocrisy and madness.

 I also took my children to the cemetery to plant a rose on my precious mother’s grave. Her name was Rose.  It was like entering an actual Time Machine.

The following is a synopsis of a mere ten-minute event that rendered me a lifetime of comprehension.

 FINALITY- the end

THE HIT: I heard a knock on the front door as the doorbell rang. I ran down the front stairway. I saw,  through the door window, a spooky looking older man in a black suit. As I opened the door I noticed his hearse parked in our driveway. I quickly concluded he was the undertaker I had just called to come for the body of my mother.

Less than an hour earlier she had died, in her upstairs bedroom. In one short month, intestinal cancer had literally eaten her alive. Her body shrunk from a somewhat pudgy frame to look like a Holocaust survivor.

I open the door and we barely greet. I walk him up the stairs. He is carrying a large vinyl black bag. My mind does not connect that the bag is for my mothers’ body. A bag?!

THE BLACK BAG: As we approach my mother’s bedroom, I point to her lying on the bed. He coldly walks into the bedroom and lays the black bag next to her. The opening of that loud zipper echoes in my memory to this day.  He awkwardly works to maneuver my mother’s limp body inside that black bag.

My mind was having trouble trying to process what my eyes were seeing.

Slowly my heart is gripped by a deep sorrow. In a matter of minutes, I again hear that huge zipper closing around my mother. My mom is inside that black bag. A reality of extreme pain, I had never before known, invaded my conscious existence. The moment was frozen. It was seared into my memory. It was the finality of death. Unlike physical pain, I could not fathom any remedy for this extreme pain. No doctor’s visit. No pills, no bandages, no crutches, no answer.

THE TOSS: My heart was sunk into a quagmire of darkness and sorrow. The man, nonchalantly, picks up the black bag, with my mother inside. Then, he makes a very awkward toss of her over his left shoulder. Is was like a work man’s toss of a cement bag. He walked out of the bedroom and back down the stairs. I’m thinking “That’s my best friend. How dare you treat her like that.” But I realize she is dead….actually dead. Gone. For good. It is something all men refuse to think about yet is inevitably coming for each of us. (Is it not bizarre that the human race pretends they will never die? No man, but Jesus made this subject His life focus.)

How could she be dead? I had just been with my her a few hours earlier, giving her ice to ease the burning pain of cancer eating away her internal organs. I led her into deep-hearted repentance as she turned away from religious deception and admitted her wicked ways.

The Undertaker walked down the stairs, out the front door, and to the back of the hearse. He opens the door and throws the bag inside.  As he walks to the driver’s door, he looks up at me and waves goodbye. He gets in the car and backs onto the road to drive away. We did not exchange more than two sentences. Yet he just took away the love of my life.

My heart was shattered. Something told me to chase the car, to scream, to stop him… but none of these actions were consistent with reality.  That’s my buddy. My fellow comedian with whom we shared a “Groucho Marks” routine. We shared my deepest words and so many tender hugs. This is the woman who gave meaning to our dysfunctional “family”. I had to let go. To accept the finality.  I headed to the basement, to be all alone. I wept harder and longer than I ever have with such pain my stomach had cramps the next day. How could I ever find the motivation and the vision to live on?

THE FUTURE OF THE PAST:  I could never have known in the living of those moments how much I would share about them in the future.  In a sense, I was living my future, at my most painful moment. The death of my mother taught me finality. When you resolve the end of one source of life, it demands that you find another source of life. 

Let me tell you, that you can go on. There is a purpose to your present day.  Your moments can be melted. It is worth all the understanding and heart needed to find The Drawing.

I remember when I played football at CMU where I learned so much of how to die to my self. It was so very difficult to let go of ways in which I had come to find comfort. By losing my life I was finding space for an unknown future  (Jn.12:25). We have so many shared emotions with our past. It is hard to get beyond them. There comes a time when we must end our love for our self. It must be final.

If we are to make space for new ways we must let go of the old things that occupy our mind. Jesus says a house divided against itself cannot stand. Either you be new or you be old. No one, even God, is going to make you be new. The love for my mother will never fade but my life with her will not return on this earth. This void has been filled with a “…no greater love…”(Jn15:13).

These incidents happened long ago but today I am the outcome of there impact. These moments of the death of my mother and the excruciating moments of rejection playing football at Central have produced decades of life for multitudes. They came with no instruction booklet. It was solely up to my faith in Christ to unravel their significance.

You can choose to take a moment that would be meaningless or negative in your life and interpret it according to the Word of God. You can then learn how to use it to build not only your future but help others with theirs. My friend, I beg you, don’t let your suffering be for nothing. Grasp the sorrow that leads to real change so you can give a depth of the love of Jesus to thousands and millions of suffering all over the world (2 Cor.7:10).

There are countless such moments of which I could share. As hard as it was to explore, once I chose to believe that I could face it in His Spirit, He utilized this incident of enormous suffering and confusion to bring about His glorious destiny (Heb.12). Destiny is a fluid thing. It doesn’t come to us as an iceberg but as the wind (Jn.3:8).

It opened up my cold heart to a heat wave of wisdom. It thawed those frozen moments.  I could translate that pain into resolute maturity and gain remarkable insight. I began to learn how to tap supernatural grace to show me dimension into all my moments of pain. To go beyond my own selfish shallow self-pity to care about others with the comfort He began to show me. The living Jesus lifts our life to the Father as His work of the cross.

The finality of natural death is a paradigm for dying to myself. There is no place for a hope that I will see my mother in this life. All the times we shared together render me nothing but sadness so there is no reason for me to entertain them. Likewise, in regards to my OLD MAN. The death of Calvary left no remnants of the old Michael. He is gone.

My mom always had a dream of me becoming a priest. If only she could see my family and I as eight “priests” today. Back in 1974, she took me to a Catholic Charismatic Conference at the University of Notre Dame. It was there, in the football stadium, that I gave my life to Jesus. We visited the university this past fall, to minister at the Michigan/Notre Dame football game, which was the first of the season. We not only had a tremendous witness with our signs for Jesus, but I was able to recapture the greatest moment of my life I shared with my mom, so long ago, and with my family now.

I was reminded of when I first drove down to ND for the conference at 20 years of age. My mind was calculating the rejection that would be involved in following Jesus. It was after my sophomore year, just after I had traveled out east. (I had no car but I had a thumb.) I “hitchhiked” from Grand Rapids to Mt. Washington in New Hampshire to see a mountain and spend time on top of it to read the New Testament. Upon my return, this very empty man was transformed in one day, at one moment, in one place; Notre Dame, my “Drawing” began.  Eternal life drew me into the meaning I so longed for.

Moments can be like dark caves that He lovingly enters with His redemptive light. From a ragtag lost soul, wandering about in the wasteland of the world,  you can choose to believe in Jesus. I sat in the Notre Dame football stadium gazing upon “Touchdown Jesus”. My Father’s humor, of a football scenario, did not go unnoticed. It was then and there that I was born again. Slowly, I cultivated a focused vision of loving the lost in and by the marvelous Spirit of the living Jesus.

“Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, Who leads you in the way you should go…your well-being will be like a river…” (Isaiah 48:17).

To watch our six children carry on His Legacy of Love is a fulfillment of indescribable joy. Mercy here Downtown Chicago.

While in the states we were invited into a number of prisons. It was nothing less than amazing. And the men, oh, the men. So precious and in need of the Father’s love and understanding. We went to a prison considered one of the worst in the country. Someone, at some time, was looking for a good spot to dump unwanted material. So horrible it had to be put somewhere out-of-sight, out-of-mind. So bad they actually purchased a landfill for it. Not just any landfill but a landfill on an island so no one would be bothered in any way. It is tragic that we are not talking about some dangerous chemical or a massive amount of trash, but human beings. It is to these men that we go to explain “The Drawing” of Jesus Christ.

There are so many guys from gangs called “the Bloods” and “the Crips”. Their focus is murder and death. Yet who thinks of how they became like this? They grew up in utter hell, treated like animals, whose parents were drug addicts. Their memories are filled with nothing but nightmares. Real nightmares. We did everything the Spirit led us to do to enter their moments with the hope of a new tomorrow in Christ. So many guys who commit murder in an impulse. Then the rest of their life is held captive by this moment.

People just like you and me. Sons of fathers and mothers, brothers to sisters and fathers to children. People who grew up laughing and playing with toys and hoping to buy ice cream from the truck in the park. But now put on an island and locked behind not one, or two or three, but five layers of barbed wire.

It seemed we were going to be very late because the New York traffic was its usual horrid condition. But, as the wind blows, God led my amazing son, Abraham, to navigate our (“compact car”) huge semi-truck, around the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge, to make us on time. It was all so planned to fulfill our Father’s profound destiny. I owe the heart I have for these prisoners to the many past moments that I was sent by the future.

God can use this life to break our ego and to create in us the one thing He will never despise, a broken heart (Ps.51:17).

Downtown New York is like another country. So many homeless people sitting just out of the way of rich people walking by. This woman was one of the many homeless we were able to reach in New York. Just think of her moments (below). What she must go through so as to write such words on cardboard then take them out to sit on the street.

One moment came to us with the idea to witness at the New York Marathon. While there we realize all the affluent runners were leaving clothes along the route. We went along and picked up bags of very expensive sweatshirts and pants. We then passed all of them out to the homeless.

Among the dozens of sharings we had with individuals in NY, Joshua talked to a man who had killed over a hundred soldiers in Afghanistan. He was devastated and frozen in time. He said “no one knows what’s going on me. Everyone thinks I’m just another tough guy but I can’t bear to live.” Joshua spent a long time sharing with him and the guy just broke down to tears in finding the moment where Jesus could come to him.

When we arrived at a certain prison the man in charge had attended CMU the same year as my wife. The security number he gave us was 33 which was my football number. He had us perform for several groups and we were blown away. So many open men. I have never met a man so loving and caring as the man in charge. He invited us to his home for a meal and gave boxes of food and provisions.

My precious Rachel working the harvest all by herself downtown Chicago (above). She is a hundred pounds of heart. One man, one woman, all alone,  can ‘change the world’ of others into His eternal kingdom.

Imagine a homeless guy with no arms walking into a place to get something to eat. I watched him wedge a fork between his toes to bring it to his mouth. Yesterday I fed a guy in a wheelchair with stub legs. No big deal. But another guy had been watching and was so moved to see someone care he began weeping.  Indifference is like an end-time plague.

Multitudes of homeless everywhere we go. We must make effort to feed the poor and homeless. We must care about the handicapped, orphans and prisoners. Not to boast of ourselves. Jesus says don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. But it is amazing what a person can do who dies to himself.

No one can escape the stench and curse of their dying carcass, except those promised a new body. No thoughts are new, except when given by the Spirit. All the ‘success’ offered by this world parallels the past indication that all “successful” men died with nothing. Every accomplishment in this world is a step backward. While every sacrifice and tear shed for Him is reward and laughter in waiting. The only way forward is total surrender.

Implement new thought patterns anchored in the truth of God’s Word.

“O Lord, You have pleaded my soul’s cause; You have redeemed my life” (Lam.3:58).


 

 

Copyright

All material on this website is protected by copyright. Duplication or theft of photos or content is subject to criminal prossecution. Some names and information regarding places, testimonials, and other content has been altered for privacy purposes while all relevant material has be unaltered.
Teaching, TravelsSeptember 19, 2018

Young Bird 09.20.2018

 

When you were a little child you didn’t spend time being perplexed over how to act. You were carried by the innocent impulse of trust. The fresh scent of a blooming flower made you smile. It wasn’t dependent on money, a work related problem or a living situation. You believed, even though you didn’t know,  Whom you believed. Ok, I get it, the world forces us to worry. But we always have a choice how to ultimately respond.

My son Joshua took this photo (above) one time when we ministered out west by the Maroon Bells in Colorado. Can you ‘hear’… God? (We caught 14 trout.)

As a child you pondered the wind, the clouds, the marvel of flight. God’s love surrounded you and put a wonder within you. You didn’t ask for this love. You didn’t define it with doctrines. You didn’t try to be ‘good’ to earn it. It is the same today, my friend. God’s love is free and requires only that you surrender to Him as when you were a child (Mt.18:3).

Our body gets old, but the child that was in us way back then never went anywhere. We can reactivate our wonder and disposition as a child, at any time.  It never vanished. This is the attitude that touches the love of the Father. Jesus says it is not only required by the only way to find true conversion (Mt.18:3).

Despite how bad your problems may be, or how much you may hurt, or have sinned, a marvelous Father  is waiting to lift you. The cross of Jesus proves it so (Rm.5:8). You may feel distant from God, like a ‘perfect stranger’, but He is a perfect Father  Who runs out to meet you, wherever you’re at (Lk.15).

God is waiting to reach you, with His astounding attributes, that are clearly seen, if you are willing to “see” in Him in them  (Rm.1:20). As in a glistening mountain lake, He is trying to draw you into the pure joy of tranquility in solitude. The Creator of the universe is “speaking” to YOU. Will you will “hear” (Ps.19:1)?

Yes, it does take effort. But the effort is not beyond you. It is not for things to know.  It is not an effort to comprehend theological doctrines, or to ‘get your act together’ or a ‘sinner’s prayer’. Not for things bought with money (tithe).  Not for things learned from a school, church or ‘pastor’. Not by a feeling of righteousness attained by obeying the laws of the 10 commandments. It is grace. It is free. It is the gift of unconditional love. It is the ways of the living Jesus (Jn. 1:17).

 

The things God requires from you are already within you. They simply require intelligence. They require your heart (Rm.10:9-10). They are waiting for you to initiate and articulate. They are latent. They are….the person…of you. You are not a fallen angel or mechanical robot. You didn’t ‘evolve’ from pond slime. You are profoundly created in the exact image of the spectacular living God.

Yes, the sin of Adam corrupted this image. Satan took over, and rules, the  world through sin (Lk.4:6/Jn.12:31,14:30, Jn.15:19, Jn.16:11/2 Cor.4:4/ Eph.2:2,6:12/ 1 Jn.5:19). But the redemption of Christ now offers us the one way back to rediscover our God-implanted potential (Jn.14:6).

You must stop. Utilize your brains.  Stop following.  You don’t need anybody. Begin to tap the ‘new creation’; the kingdom of God (Rom.14:17 /1 Cor.2:11/2 Cor.5:17/Jn.18:36). Be like a man in an air traffic control tower, who regulates high-altitude objects into perfect patterns of flight and landing (thoughts-2 Cor.10:3).

Use humility to unravel a new identity. You can bring forth a beautiful depth of humility, as seen in Jesus; a life-giving personality; a patience; a more time-consuming empathy of care for others. Talk openly, honestly to your Father. You can subject your pride;  “I will learn to do, think and say things anew…with love for God and men in mind”. There are old thoughts, like a rusty vintage car, waiting  to be converted by the power of your intensity, detailed focus, sincerity and reckless abandon for truth.

Listen to me, you beautiful person, all we got is a brief 70 years. That’s it!

You can choose, this moment, to defy your “obstacles”. Don’t let them win. No matter how scared or weak you feel, how much you fail, or others fail you, forgiveness is a simple one time decision. Faith blossoms quickly when seeded in the beautiful meadow of God’s love (Gal.5:6). Regret and fear require recalling bad things over and over again… and again and again. Forgive yourself and be done with it. Forgive others and be done with it. Believe God; His love.

The Father sees us in our fragile condition, as a tiny bird. Jesus says to the most wicked of men, that He yearns to hold you close as…a young bird. (Mt.23:37-Greek- chicks-“nossion”).

 

My son Abraham ‘diving’ into His love with men in one of the worst prisons in the world.

It is crazy-cool how two human beings, who have never met, can instantly dive into a dynamic relationship. This sounds impossible, even ridiculous. But I know, because of Jesus, I constantly lock eyes with someone and we become instant brothers (Mt.25:35). It is the power of God through the cross (1 Cor.1:18/1 Jn.1:6ff). How beautiful. How amazing.

My hope is that you and I could do this very thing, right here, right now. We could rise above ourselves, and without saying a word, participate in the movements of His Holy Spirit.

 

 

 

Of course, the naysayers chuckle of such talk as foolish idealism.  They don’t believe, so they never experience. The world says “Relationships take time. You can’t just love unconditionally.” Have you heard the latest sermon cliche that has spread like a wild fire? A famous “preacher” said “We must agree to disagree”. Poison. It’s an excuse for resistance, to hold on to self-pride. Uniformity is not unity. Can you imagine Jesus saying that (consider John 17:21) ? His love makes men of one heart.

What I write is for the simple, the trusting child; willing to comply; who dare to believe the love of God is such a magnificent reality it can turn ordinary men into extraordinary men. To make us see past ourselves and become consumed with His purpose (2 Cor.5:19). His compassion is far, far beyond anything we have seen in a “church”. It is not a token smile or handshake. It is detailed concern.

Compassion draws us into a life of God; the supernatural, to make us big, with such a degree of heart, that we cover someone, who disagrees, not with our standard, but with His care; even an enemy. We seek no adherence or response in return. It is a one-way street, of other-focused love.  We seek only to give him, or her the love they so desperately need. It is to be a “Hero”.

Jesus asks us to imagine how much He must care for mankind, if cares so much for a little bird (Mt.6:26/Ps.84:3). He sees each of us as such. He calls us to act like never before, because we are loved, like never before. We can care for others because He cares so much for you (1 Pt.5:7).

The Following is a poem by my daughter Elizabeth;

How I long to gather you,
how I long to answer you,
how I long to you love you
in this manner.

To channel My love to you like a flame over a candle.
For everyone tramples
the hope that is so fragile.
You are beaten in this battle,
and life breaks into shambles.
How I long to break those shackles that hold so strong.

How I long to gather you,
how I long to answer you,
how I long to you love you
in this manner.

Your wing is fractured,
and must be healed.
My love is a shield
under which I will conceal you,
and My mercy will yield to you
the things that may seem unbelievable,
for you are not unreachable.

How I long to gather you
How I long to answer you
How I long to you love you
in this manner.

-Elizabeth

Wisdom beckons you to create within you a warm heart, a wise focus, a personality to care. These are all things you can do right now. Don’t listen to old thoughts. Listen to love.

Anyone, at any time, can “invent” new ways to live in the love of God. If you return to innocence, it will return to you. It will reward you. What you must do is right in front of you. Just a choice away. It’s not complicated. Don’t make it so. Just alter your next thought.

God’s love welcomes a total stranger as a total brother (Mt.25:35ff). How much more can it do for those who already know each other; to love each other,  to live with each other, to care for each other?

Healing is not a feeling. It is a decision. It is can be now. Faith is supernatural. Are you willing to be?

Uniformity is not unity. Jesus promises  a oneness the world has never seen (Jn.17). My family and I confirm this. It is natural to love only those who already love you. It is easy to settle for a life put together by familiar relationships, surroundings, and past experiences. This is the norm. This is the way we are born to live. This is the way of our lazy nature.  It does not want to reach deep,  to expend the energy to create a deep heart, to engage our potential in the repentance to become bigger.

Jesus explains “…And no one, after drinking old wine wishes for new; for he says, ‘The old is good enough.'” (Lk.5:39). Jesus says we must be born again (Jn.3:7). Into His love.

His love is defiant to our selfish ways. So much so, Jesus showed us what He thought of our sinful nature on a cross. He compels us beyond it, to an empty grave.  He yearns, to teach us of it’s ways.

My family, of Rachel, our six adult children, and I, have begun to learn how we can live beyond who we are. We shock ourselves with His love. The power of our will dawns upon us constantly like a beautiful morning dew. We feel the triumphant joy rising within so we can bring others into this family of wonder.

In fact, we see this all the time. We see the supernatural. We live the supernatural. We give the supernatural love of God.

Because we know two people can become one, in a Heartbeat of love. We live with this reality in our daily lives. We know that we can dive into a relationship of love with anyone at any time, because we are ‘young birds’ loved by “the mother bird” (Mt.23:37-Greek-nossion/young bird/Lk. 13:34). We have learned how to draw how to expand our wings from within to cover anyone who receives our love.

So what’s my point? Where is this ‘crazy’ guy going with such talk? Well, my friend, I am not taking you to a doctrinal thing. This is not about me or anything I do or have done or will do. What I am hoping here is to bring you to Him. To Him Whom I have ‘seen’. To Him Who dwells amongst us. In the most unlikely, sinful and feeble places of our daily dwelling, God, our Father, is waiting to meet us in Jesus and propel us into greater ‘self’ (Jn.12:25). He Who was, and is, and will always be, yearns to take you with Him.

 

He is at your side waiting to touch you with His love. He beckons you to come alone. To find a field to walk, to run, to rest, to think. He leans against a majestic tree waiting for you to see His smile. If you will let go of the ‘kite’, He will lift it and you will fly. Like a true father, God awaits to sit and talk with His child. To take you on His lap, put His arm around you, run with you, laugh with you…and listen, and listen, and listen…and love you

Yes, this is the Word of the living Jesus. The Son Whom the Father sent to do exactly of what I write. To draw you into His abode of love and a  joy you have never experienced and a place of forgiveness and healing. Where is this “place”? How do we find it? Do I write of lofty spiritual fantasy? No, my friend. I’m quite grounded in the nitty-gritty stuff of this world. I know failure, disappointment, and extreme pain and fear. And I know how the love of God has transformed my life.

Recently, my family and I were working with the homeless and others  on the streets of downtown Chicago. What a gift. What a privilege. (For those of you who know us, we have came back to the states for a short time, from Brazil. We could not pass up opportunities offered to us  here in the states in New York, Colorado and Philadelphia. We will be returning to Brazil shortly but had to seize this opportunity.)

We have been preaching Jesus at many college campuses and events since arriving. But we yearn to return to our third world home where the poor, the orphans, the forgotten and the prisons are as a ‘young bird’ fallen from its nest. The poverty there is of no comparison to here.

While in Chicago we went into the ghetto and projects to preach outside one of the worst ‘gang’ community high schools. In the few hours there we were amazed at the openness to the gospel. Just talking with so many on the streets our hearts were drawn into that ‘place’ of bringing all that is within us to them.

When we went downtown, and to the Monday Night Football game, we talked with so many, many precious people from all walks of life and various degrees of sanity and reality. From the homeless young man, broken to his core, to a man in a seven hundred dollar suit, all hiding their heart within them. A heart full of so many struggles and wrenching conflicts. Who are we to have any answers? Ah, but that is not the question. Rather, Who is He Who dwells on a high and holy place? And how is that we can draw from such a seemingly distant God? It is by faith.

To see others, not as we do, but as He does, is the pearl of great price (Mt.13:45-46). It is the reason and the reality in all that I write.

Jesus says ‘I want to hold you as…a young bird…’ (Mt.23:37-Greek-“nossion”). And He says this to the most arrogant and resistant people of his day; the Pharisees. How much more for you who have no such resistance and arrogance. To you who can reach deep and alter your attitude, your thinking, calculation, resolution, and comprehension. To you who change, in a heartbeat, who you are and consequently, who you shall become, and most of all Who you shall then discover.

There are far more things to our communication than words. Our soul is unseen but its voice is clearly heard through; our body language, the expression of our face, the tone of our heart, the look in our eyes, the motives for how and what we do.

Jesus says human beings can appear one way on the outside but be quite different within (Mt.15:8). David says “His speech was smoother than butter but his heart was war; his words softer than oil yet they were drawn swords…” (Ps.55:21/28:3). What I’m trying to show you is that there are many, many “things” that compose what makes you, YOU.

You have everything to say about whether you look within to bring them out. This is called repentance. As we intersect the lives of so many poor and prisoners we realize it is desperation that is the precondition of receiving the “instant” connection of the love of God. If one does not reciprocate the openness and willingness to communicate in truth and love nothing happens.

Jesus says “I did not come for the healthy…but for the sick” (Mk.2:  ). Ah, such a sweet sound to the ears of this “sick” man; Michael. People have criticized us and distorted our involvement with “the sick” and that’s ok. God forgive them. But as for us, these are those whom we love. These are our friends. We suffer with them, and so we become outcasts like them. They are feeble. They are like a fragile ….. young bird.

Taking pictures in in some prisons is not allowed but some have allowed us to do so.  So we appreciate this allowed photo that constantly makes us rejoice. It is of my three daughters and Rachel  (my wife) dancing a cultural dance with prisoners.

A lady we worked with in Chicago asked me “What must I do to escape my misery? How do I ‘get God’ in my life?” The answer is not the typical response of “Accept Christ”. Of course, the answer is to ask Jesus to come to you, but this does not happen as some kind of magical experience.

men-in-prison-chile

Everything, and I mean everything, starts with reality. Not with praying a prayer, singing a song, jumping up and down, a breakdown into tears of catharsis or any kind of moral betterment (getting your “act together”).

The woman on I spoke with on the street corner had never heard such a thing. She thought she had to clean up her act first. No. Repentance is not “cleaning up your act”. It is learning to simply act. To reach within all your hidden parts and begin to bring them into the open.

Reality starts with reality. It starts with the very things I wrote earlier. Of reaching with expanding your heart. It starts with realizing what and who you are,  as God says you are (Jer.17:9). It starts with finding a deep heart.

Begin to comprehend why you do and think the way you do. It is not your personality. It is sin in you. When I read Romans 3:10ff I was both floored and exhilarated. I was always taught I was a good person. I am NOT a good person. I am born as a wicked sinner and can never change this evil nature of mine. Never. It constantly ruins things for me.  Redemption is not a way of God. Redemption is the only way God deals with us. My job is to be broken and honest with my Father about what I am.

Can you imagine a young little bird? Can you see it’s greatest weakness is it’s vulnerability? My son Joshua is working on a new website titled In Weakness because the more we have grown, the more we have realized, His strength is only out of our weakness (2 Cor.12:9). It is the only place in which you can truly learn to begin to fly: i.e. to live in His love, beyond yourself. Not that I love Him but He loves us unconditionally, despite our sin (1 Jn. 4:10).

When you truly understand, and fully accept, that you are inherently evil, through no fault of your own, you can begin to formulate effective attitudes of gratefulness because you begin to catch a glimpse of “the lake” (Romans 5-8). When you are overwhelmed by His care and love for you, proven in the work of Jesus on the cross, you let go of all that you hold to.

This process creates humility. It is the crown jewel. It puts us into the “place” to receive God’s favor (1 Pt.5:5/Jm.4:6). Suddenly, things that you were never aware of, within you, begin to change. The problem was never with God’s love for you. It was you not willing to face and understand your sin. It is in not believing Jesus actually died for you. So simple. So basic. So profound.

                                                  “Would you….love me?”

old-women-we-met

Can you hear them crying my friend? A ‘young bird’ is crying for your love. Actually, so many. Young, old, broken, hurt, scared, given up, thrown aside, considered worthless, totally abandoned. I’m not talking one or two. I’m talking millions and literally billions. The other day David met a man who came up to him while preaching on a campus.

The man had just gotten out of prison after 17 years. He was blown away by society. He was looking for a pay phone. Couldn’t imagine there were none. Of course, he was homeless. David was able to bring him to Jesus and get him a place to stay in a YMCA. The man was so grateful he cried with David. Two little boys, little birds, instantly entered into a relationship of love.

This is lif, my friend. This is joy. This is the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

 

 

 

 

  “LOVE NEVER FAILS”

Paul

1 Corinthians 13

Copyright

All material on this website is protected by copyright. Duplication or theft of photos or content is subject to criminal prossecution. Some names and information regarding places, testimonials, and other content has been altered for privacy purposes while all relevant material has be unaltered.
Teaching, TravelsAugust 05, 2018

The Valley 08.24.18

Like through a keyhole
I am trying to see now,
is anyone home?

A face like stone I am looking in your eyes,
and I see stormy skies
how can I break down those lies?

I see beyond your walls
and hear a dying pulse
from the poison of a hope that’s false,
your panic sends out calls
but the echo is lost
too many boundaries crossed.

I try to stand here and knock
but the door is yours to unlock,
I know I seem like an outsider
but it’s the same battle and I am a fighter
I want to make your burden lighter
but life is on a timer
it is your map to decipher.

Find the pathway through,
that’s what I am here to do.

So let me in, let’s begin
I am no salesman but traverse the world within.
Breaking the silence is hard
but if you open what is barred
and drop your guard
I have the missing part
inside the place of hurt
you see  you define my art
sink below the surface and let us find a deeper heart.

-Elizabeth

(David, my youngest of six children, carrying a sign in a busy Brazilian downtown city center. You can see our four signs around him if you look closely. It reads: “For All Who Suffer-Don’t Give up-Seek Jesus-Todays ‘churches’ are false”)

THIS BLOG IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION- We just arrived in the states to seize upon a few opportunities being offered to us to work in the prisons here. We will be hard pressed and return to Brazil in a short time. So I will be updating as I can. Last edit date is 9-14.

Introduction-

The NOW for THEN

Hello, my friend. Welcome. I don’t know how long you will visit here with me, so let me get right to a pivotal question; would you like to discover an inner-treasure of thinking?  Would you like to ‘go someplace’ new? To escape the sometimes inner grief, regret and routine boredom of life? I realize you may think this is religious hype. It is not. I have found this gift. I would like to help you get beyond “group think” to find this individual  “abode” where your loving Father can render you wonderfully  “different” from the masses (Jn.14:23). Generic thinking will take you nowhere, and give you nothing, but depression.

My friend, if you will truly humble yourself, God Himself promises to “exalt you” (1 Pt.5:6). Imagine what this must be, for God to Personally lift you.  Can you put aside all your past ‘Christian’ experience, good or bad, to discover God actually speaking to you here, anew?

Our lives are controlled by little invisible things called “thoughts”. If these are changed, our lives will change (2 Cor.10:3-5). The Spirit of God yearns to help you, with His grace, to push aside routine imaginations in our mind (Rm.12:2). Then it is up to us to seize and act upon this “light” that  He gives us (Jn.3:19,8:12,9:39/ Mt.6:22,11:25/ Gal.1:12/1 Cor. 2:11-13/ Eph.3:3-9ff etc.).

The Father promises to continuously, unconditionally and innumerably wipe away our failures (Mt.18:21ff/Col.1:13/Eph.1:7). So don’t worry about failing. Forgiveness is the essence of His heart towards you.  He offers you a wealth of new thoughts, more numerous than the sand (Ps.139:17/2 Cor.5:17/ Eph.4:24).  This doesn’t come from a ‘pastor’, group or church’ but directly from asking the living Father. His thoughts are a new and living way to think about things that you don’t yet know (Is.55:6ff). This is the way of the Shepherd Who yearns to reveal a ‘narrow path’ up a magnificent ‘mountain summit’ (1 Cor.2:9/ Rm.11:33/ Mt.7:14). This is a reality.

“So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You… a heart of wisdom” (Ps. 90:12).

Can you say “Teach me, Lord”? What I’m asking you my friend is can you patiently learn? Most people think that once they know some Christian things they know everything they need to know. Pride builds its wall and deception undermines everything.  God’s Spirit wants to draw us into a disposition of learning. It is His call to be ‘broken’. This is the way Jesus teaches us to govern our decisions. Over time, He tears down our ‘old self’ to build in us a new, calculated, thought process that puts our frailty at the forefront of our perspective (Rm.12:2/Jn.12:25/2 Cor.5:17).

Our days are but drops of rain in a passing storm. God says if we comprehend our frail ways He can show us His eternal ways. It is in seeing our nothingness that puts us in the place to learn of His ‘everythingness’.  This light renders a wisdom for how and what we should do in the present. The NOW of our actions is to be determined, not by anything or anyone today, but by the new thoughts learned from studying His eternal Word.

An athlete trains his mind (NOW) with thoughts that take him beyond the grueling endeavor on the race. A mind set of the finish line provides enormous motivation (THEN) (1 Cor. 9:24).  He “works” to train his mind with thoughts based on a real hope (Jn.6:29). Such thinking is the opposite of the majority whose lives are dictated by the sensations of the here and now of their present surroundings (1 Cor.15:32).

Jesus says “Blessed are the poor for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt.5:3).

Please, let me first expose the massive obstruction. Today, modern Christianity is processed through corporate boardrooms by “leaders” that rake in 626 billion dollars a year. It is a counterfeit that permeates the world. Satan is behind it all to construct the acceptance of a ‘Christ’ contrary to the revelation of the Scriptures. This “salvation” appeals to the lazy sinful human nature in us all. It is a self- gratification for self-comfort, NOW. Tens of thousands of denominational systems offer lifestyles and doctrinal versions of  “another Jesus”  (2 Cor.11:1-4/Mt. 23/ Jn.7:7,15:18-19/Is.53/1 Jn.4:1-3).

Countless “churches”  perpetuate their greed with scams of the “tithing/prosperity” sermons as a new normal. The focus is on doctrines, personalities, concepts, ministries, Bible verses, moral conduct, etc.etc. etc. rather than simple devotion and obedience to the living Jesus. This is not the true church (Jn. 17:11/Eph. 4:4/Acts 2:44, 4:34). Today’s “preachers,” think they are so clever by coming up with “Christian” jargon to rationalize, entertain, impress and rip off the masses. Jesus exposed such hypocrisy as wicked. He assures everyone that what men think they are ‘getting away with’  NOW, will surely come back THEN, on judgement day (Matthew 23:4-5ff/Lk.12:1).It is tragic how the naive masses fall for this  “Christian” deception so easily.

However, whether you go to one of these specific ‘churches’ is not the issue.  Rather, the issue is a question of whether you allow self-pride to prevent new thoughts of a new  life.

The tragedy of self-deception is that we don’t realize how we deceive ourselves. Paul says he must treat himself in “such a way” so as not to allow himself to be deceived (1 Cor.9:27).   This brings us to the cross;  where humility and brokenness work within us. We become united with Jesus in His death (Rm.6:6). Paul warns that our “old man” is being corrupted each day by deception (Eph.3:22). It has nothing to do with whether we choose deception. We are like an apple fallen from a tree. We are dying without any willful consent. We daily succumb to our own wickedness. We are being overtaken by our lower nature. Thus, true repentance is our only hope. Paul says “I die daily” (1 Cor.15:31/ Gal.2:20,6:14). Deception results from ignorance, and we are ignorant of many things.

Jesus says “Learn from Me” (Mt.11:29).

I am not being critical, cynical, anti-church or a know-it-all. My heart is love and compassion for you my friend. But these last days are so very serious. As we constantly travel and preach the gospel, we are touched by the fierce battle with sophisticated forces destroying men. Let me assure you, these forces are not demons running around waving red flags with two horns and pitchforks (Eph. 6:12). If you can’t admit that you are deceived then you are not in pursuit of truth  (1 Jn.1:9). David begged God to protect him from his own deceptiveness (Ps. 19:13). The question is ‘to what degree are you deceived’? Do you truly understand the nature of sin?

On the cross, Jesus said, “It is finished”. Anyone who tells you that God requires something other than faith in Jesus is ignorant of the gospel, no matter how ‘successful’ they might be. True salvation starts with simple honesty. From this basis, you can begin to face and effectively learn to the wisdom to overcome our wicked ways.

My friend, I want to welcome you into the truth of the Father’s personal love for you. This is the only hope to not just survive, but conquer these last days. He requires you go nowhere, or do anything but come to Him with an open heart. The amazing life of His living Son is waiting for you. As a family of eight adults, we can tell you the living Jesus is not represented by the monstrous entity of modern “Churchianity”.

We represent no group, doctrine, cult, organization or ‘church’. Neither are we supported by any. We do not think we are the only ones or have some elite knowledge. We are simple nobodies and this is what qualifies us for His reality(1 Cor.1:26). Jesus says “If I be lifted up...” (Jn.12:32). Over the last forty years we have learned how to put together various genres of music, dance, magic and theatre to use as a means to get us before crowds to preach the magnificent life of the living Jesus.

This blog is our own story as we travel in various countries. Long ago, we shipped a van to Colombia and drove throughout the countries,  on the streets, orphanages, social events and above all many, many prisons. God has opened doors into 3rd world prisons and we have been granted the divine privilege to bring His love to this forgotten world of immense suffering and pain.

When all is said and done, the NOW for THEN is selfless love. Jesus says there is one proof of being His disciple. It is not doctrine, morality, knowledge of the Bible, church attendance, tithes, etc. Jesus says,  “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn.13:35). It is the sure promise in NOW for the eternal reward THEN. In Mathew 25:35-40. Jesus cites six specific things He will hold each of us accountable for when He returns.

I wrote this blog just before we arrived here at the end of August. michael-woroniecki-2015

Below is one of the several crowds of a few thousand very poor people who live in terrible conditions to whom we are being offered by the city to reach in the living Jesus. Yes, this is an often repeated expression in our lives because, despite all the “Christian” chatter of doctrines, moral aptitude and “preachers” seldom do people consider in solitude and heart the living Person of Jesus.

We had just finished our “performance” in a maximum prison here in Brazil. As we were putting away the equipment, I noticed an older and younger man at the back end of the courtyard. They were holding each other and crying. I walked over and talked with them via my Portuguese speaking daughter Sarah and Joshua (pictures of our family below).

The older man was a father visiting his son. When we realized their story, our hearts dropped. This father had beaten his son so bad, when he was young, that the young man had brain damage and had committed a horrible crime. The son was about twenty years old and kept saying “It’s ok Dad. It’s ok.” Who could ever even imagine such a tragedy? It’s in such a moment as this when you realize the high value of God puts on your life in being led into such a place where there is no one else who could and do and say what you know of Jesus. The joy is so deep.

As we were leaving a guard, who had been there 20 years, and dealt with unimaginable criminals, came up and, with a big sigh, said “you guys brought me back to life…thank you…I can breathe again”. He said hearing all we shared made it the best day of his life.  Such encounters are the outcome of understanding how to overcome sin and go into the world as children of God in the Holy Spirit. It is solely to the glory of God. We are often grieved by”Christians” who talk, talk, talk about Christian rhetoric but do nothing but token “ministry”. We present His life, as did those in the Book of Acts represent the true church (Acts 4:32). Jesus is not about displaying your pretense for an hour on Sunday, but walking in His Spirit, to give His love to multitudes who would give anything for a fraction of anything He offers.

 

Hey man, this is not some ‘preacher’ sharing with you. My name is Michael. I’m a son and I just love you freely as a brother. Don’t mean to sound ‘heavy’ or exclusive.  I just want you to know the joy in Jesus we share as a family. Not from jumping around singing songs for an hour. But from doing the Fathers will. Consider how Jesus explained that talking with one Samaritan woman was like eating a meal (John 4).

We fought hard to get into a Military Prison. At first the Director kind of laughed us off. He said; “Your program is for kids, right?”. Had a very negative and derogatory attitude. Finally, let us in. Then, when saw our connection with the men his attitude completely changed. It was amazing. So many tough police became broken and so open to Jesus. We didn’t know how it would go but the Spirit was so present.

At the end, a prisoner asked for the microphone to tell us “People hate us. Even our own relatives. In this place where nobody else wants to be, you will always be welcome”.  So many stories. Guys falsely accused. Some of the guys with bullet holes from gang warfare. The Director came out, literally running, and stopped our van as we were leaving and apologized for his previous bias said “I am so, so sorry. I had no idea”. It’s been a week since then and a sub-director just wrote us a long text about how every single man, she talked with, expressed how they were touched. She asked us to come back. Not about catholics or evangelicals. It was about Jesus. I shared from Romans 7:19ff/1 Pt.5:5/Jn. 13:35.

The reason I share these beautiful stories is, not to lift us up, but to make you realize how we all can make such a huge real difference if you will just go beyond yourself.  Such are the stories we touch. God wants to use all that He gives us. Similar stories can be yours, because Jesus says the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. When I see my sin in men, and their sin in me,  it enlightens me of His compassion for all men as sinners. Men hate and kill men because of what other men do to them. The cycle of madness is everywhere. Someone has to step in. It doesn’t require a brain surgeon or nuclear physics.

We are all the same. All desperately in need of understanding God’s love for us as individuals. One day we’re in a ghetto with gangs, the next day with the police. One day with rich kids, the next day with those who have nothing. I’ve heard so many “Christians” claim they “can’t” do such things. “It’s not my ‘calling'” they say. Baloney. We see ordinary unbelievers, social workers, expend great love to help others. It’s such a testimony to what a person CHOOSES. We are all handicapped by our own stupid sin; selfishness. But if you claim Jesus He offers the way beyond.

The Father yearns to help us get beyond ourselves. This is the very purpose of salvation; to bring His love to a dying world. Through having an accurate understanding of the Word of God we can become equipped to lay down our lives so Jesus can be all things, to all men. This is why Jesus came. So we can be His body in this dying world. To save men with His blood. The greatest problem we face, which we all clearly see, is our complex nature of excuses because of sin and also feeling so inadequate. It’s just hard to imagine God can use such a people as my family and I. You need no degree or sponsorship. Just a heart, like king David.

When you deal with people, in a constant ongoing basis, you learn a lot about your own weakness and how it can become the very key to tap God’s power into the hearts of men’s pain (2 Cor. 12:9). The eyes of the Lord search the earth for such heart (2Chronicles 16:9).  Opportunities of service abound when we are willing to be selfless. The rewards are enormous.

Feel free to jump around in this blog. I realize there’s a lot here to read for the typical person. But I know it is well worth your efforts to read it all. Take the time.

My focus in writing here is not to dump a bunch of lofty theology on you. I am writing to offer you practical help in how to find true victory in Jesus and out of this love, become His witness. I will never stop teaching about sin because until you get it….it is getting you. The ignorance of sin prevents you from becoming whom God wants to make you.

When you get real with God you can get real about sin. Being REAL is a rare commodity. It’s crazy but we live in such a facade. We convince ourselves that we are someone who we are not just so we don’t have to face what we really are. So we are never real. People throw around the word faith like a football. But real faith is everything; “those who believe GOD IS…” (Heb.11:6). Faith is the only way to be real. It provides the security of God’s love for you, as you are, and the cross for all that you shouldn’t be.

Like David, whose love and understanding of the living God drove him to a life of love, praise and conquering impossible situations, both inward and outward. He had committed murder and adultery. Yet his love for God, and God’s love for him did not decrease. (Below is a school we presented Jesus yesterday, the 16th)

I can admit that, below my smile, and “I’m fine” image I suffer from a sinful nature like all men. I hide deep emotional stress, pain, and conflict. But transparency with the Father puts us in the position of broken and contrite heart to win His favor. He honors truth and resists pride.

If you can begin to understand the real nature of sin you can gain a handle on this enigmatic monster that lurks within. You can know and be compelled by a love you can’t contain and must share with others. How great is God’s love for us all, despite our sin.

People argue over whether you can ever be free of sin. Of course, you can be. But not by your own efforts to be moral. It is by faith. The Bible reveals how Paul says he does the very sin he does not want to do. At the very end of his life, he says he is the chief of sinners (Rm.7:20/1 Tim.1:15). It also documents how Jesus says “Go and sin no more…the truth will set you free…so those who do not see may see…where there is no law neither is there violation…he who has died is freed from sin…he who is born of God can not sin… (Jn.8:11,32-34,9:39/Rm.4:15,6:7/1 Jn.3:9). This is not a contradiction.  You’ve got to understand the Biblical revelation on sin if you want to enjoy true salvation. It is the marvelous mystery Paul recognizes (Col.1:27). (Below Joshua walking a dangerous place)


One fine beautiful day, the birds were singing, and all creation radiated the splendor of God. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Adam exploded with wicked outrage against the Creator. Who can imagine such a scene?  It started when Satan planted a lie in Eve. He told her that God was holding something back and that she knew better than God. Eve convinced Adam that God was unjust.

This conception was SIN and it instantaneously defiled perfect humanity with total depravity. Adam and Eve fell into a despicable ‘place’ deprived of the Presence of God. It is called self-consciousness or ego. This human nature passed on to all man. Sin destroyed us. So today, sin plays with our mind and emotions.  It is an impulse. It is an anarchy of pride. The ‘me’ of sin in you is extremely offensive to God; a Father Whose intention for mankind was profound love and a relationship of fulfillment.

Sin is not an occasional bad thought or feeling. It is “the principle of evil” that runs through our blood (Rm.7;21). Satan entangles us in this evil web of condemnation, confusion, and self-deception. You need to ask God for  “discernment” (1 Cor.2:11/Heb.4:12). It is the capacity to distinguish flesh from spirit an objective manner (Jn.9:39ff,4:24). Satan exploits our ignorance and manipulates our vulnerability.  He is a beast and a murderer (Jn.8:44).

How often have you felt the sigh; “Why? Why? Why do I feel like this? Why did I do that? Will anyone ever truly love me?” This feeling lingers deep in our nature. It is the echo of Adam’s cry. It is not your personality. It is not because you are all alone. It is the ‘sickness’ of sin embedded in our flesh (Jer.17:9). You blame a hundred other things because you do not understand that your entire body is infected with a poisonous thought process that makes us cry, rage, pout, and fantasize for no reason.

It feeds a daily routine-cycle of frustration, anger, and depression. We constantly look for an escape from this inward misery. Entertainment, money, comfort, food, booze, drugs, sermons and therapy offer passing appeasement. But all these things are temporary. They occupy the masses and leave men with nothing at the end of their life but death. If you will apply yourself to understand your nature, by the Holy Spirit revelation, you can bring your life into Christ.

Adam knew he lost the love of his life when God turned away. Everyone is in a desperate search for a husband or wife. Yet 75% of marriages end in divorce. Marriage is not the answer. We have an enormous hole in our heart and nothing, including salvation, can ever repair our sinful nature.  That’s right. Divinity was ripped from humanity. And it ain’t coming back. We are broken.  But there is something far greater than our experience of ourselves. It is called FAITH.  It is the only way out of our mess.


It doesn’t eliminate anxiety. But it provides the understanding of why we get frustrated over what we should or shouldn’t do. It explains why there is a cry for help that bounces around in our head that we know will never be heard. Nothing can accurately describe the complexities of our pain. But faith clarifies it. I used to think it was just me. “Why me Lord? How can I feel so sad if I’m saved? Shouldn’t I always feel happy”?

Then, through extensive “research”, called praying, reading the Word and talking to multitudes, I uncovered sin is a well-kept secret, hidden by “Christians” out of ignorance. Of course, everyone in a conspiracy denies the truth. They perpetuate the fantasy of a religious “La, la land”. They “christianize” the ways of a sin with ignorant Biblical babel. Their faces are contorted with misery and a forced smile because they live a lie. A thousand excuses for their pain but no understanding of the one answer. No “Christian” smile or chitter chatter can hide or heal this screaming wound.

God says “Your wound is incurable And your injury is serious There is no one who cares No healing for your sore, No recovery for you Anyone who would love you has forgotten you…For I have wounded you with the wound of an enemy…Because your sins are great and numerous Why do you cry out over your injury? Your pain is incurable…the heart is desperately sick’ (Jer.30:12/17:9/Jn.9:39-41/Rm.5). Sin is not a mere mistake or failure. It is cataclysmic with hell as it’s direct consequence. 

THE HOPELESSNESS BEFORE TRUE HOPE

Hopeless? Indeed. Paul explains that what we need is a hope “against (natural) hope” like Abraham had (Rm.4:18). This is to say that the hope of the human species is insufficient to get us to the place where we need to be. Wishful thinking is not it.  You can’t ‘muster up’ the hope to get beyond impossible situations. God offers supernatural hope. It starts with hopelessness. Sound strange? It is. It is “the cross” (Gal.2:20). It is in this place of nothingness, of death to self,  where faith is born. Faith is the offspring of the hope God offers us. Paul says “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for…”  (Heb.11:1,6,6:18,10:23).

There’s no physical scar to which we can point to identify the terribleness of our sin.  We can’t see into a cage and say “Oh look. There’s the problem.” Discernment is the ability to “see” ourselves in God’s light. It is a reward God gives to the one who truly comes to the end of himself. It is God’s hope. We think that trying “do what is right” is what will get us out of our mess. This is legalism. It is self-righteousness. Paul says “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit ” (Zech.4:6/Jn.1:13). Before we can find His hope we must come to the end of ourselves (Rm.6:6).

But beware. There is this very old and highly used ‘bridge’ called presumption. It is an overly used DETOUR to avoid hopelessness. It is a direct connection to pretense, to avoid humiliation. It is a quick-jump escape for the hypocrite. Satan offers this juncture to bypass the cross. Because coming to the end of yourself, in hopelessness, is essential to find real hope (Romans 6). When I “see” my sin, I don’t pretend to be ‘fine’, I yield to the cross. I repent. I believe Jesus offers hope beyond my hopeless state. It is true faith.  Don’t take the DETOUR. It is an aspirin for cancer.

If you really want to confront your “wound” God promises:

“For I will restore you to health And I will heal you of your wounds…Because they have called you an outcast saying; It is Zion, no one cares for her…”

People often ask us how and why we came all the way from the states to their country.  We shipped a van from Miami to northern Columbia and have driven through the countries of South America to tell men of this healing by the love what Jesus did. There is a real way to be free of sin. It doesn’t go away but you can learn to rise above yourself through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The ultimate outcome is to be ‘born again’ into the ways of a new life in God’s Spirit (Jn.3). Men are ignorant of this. The false “gospel” of the evangelicals is all emotional hype which only produces disillusionment and heartache.

I tell them “I am here because my Father put the cross of Jesus in my heart many years ago. It solved sin once and for all. Jesus died so I can live. Now I carry this ‘concealed weapon’. It is not a symbol of religion. It is the sign of the ultimate power of love (1 Cor.1:18).  He shapes me through it, in pain and stark reality. I am driven by it to tell others about the living Jesus.

(They asked us to share with a large group of workers before an event for a local village.)

When my mom died of cancer the reality of time struck my heart with a terrifying blow. “Hey, Dude. You are on the clock”. What was, what is, will not always be.  I cried so hard it hurt. I was awakened. And now, 40 years later, I’m blown away by what that moment caused. A sullen man walked into our house with a large black vinyl bag. He walked into my mom’s room, zipped her inside and walked away with my best friend thrown over his left shoulder. That ten-minute experience drove it’s harsh reality in me and ruined my life… but it released His.

God knew how that moment, and many others,  would send His compassion, to those who would otherwise never know. I graduated from the largest seminary. Wealth, comfort and reputation were at my fingertips. But I hoped for more.

Yesterday we were performing in a High School in the middle of pigs-on-the-street poverty. Afterward many kids, teachers and administrators came up to talk, to hug, to listen about Jesus. These are true riches of the more I hoped for. They were touched by our reach. We were touched by their reach. Nitty-gritty Reality. Jesus. They actually ‘got it’. People here look up to Americans. An American family, who could have anything, “all together”,  come to their destitute out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere village. This is “no greater love” (Jn.15:13).

I love you, man. I want you to know the joy I know. This is the only reason I write the way I do. I’m trying to ‘get to you’. We are searching for heroes. In these days of self-obsession and horrendous delusion, God is searching for anyone with a heart for Jesus.  Opportunities are endless for those who are selfless. What is He doing in you right now to take you someplace in five or ten years from now?

You could say “Well I’m just not that kind of guy to be into God like you are.” Brother, Let me tell you,  He is the “kind of” God to be into YOU whoever you are. The truth is there is no one who is “into God”. I am a wicked scumbag. I deserve hell.

Life flashes by,  like a shooting star across the night sky. Suddenly you are old. It’s gone. Over. Done. No one talks about death or hell. Never. When some famous guy dies the media acts like it’s just another stage of existence. Like “Oh, no big deal, they just died”. Really? Let me tell you my friend, unless they dealt with all that I am sharing here, they are in hell. Sickness or an accident can kill us at any moment. On the other side is hell.

I realize everything in us reacts against this but the conscience is a resounding witness to this undeniable reality. God does not see things as we see them. People think ‘nice guys’ don’t go to hell. Really? Jesus lays down entirely other-worldly criteria for justice (Matt.25:41). No second chance. No purgatory. Yet nobody, except the weirdos, talks about torment, gnashing of teeth and eternal horror in a lake of fire. But either it’s true or Jesus is a liar.

The sole reason for the death of His Son was to offer salvation from the horrors of sin’s consequence “the lake of fire” (Rev.20:15). This alone is a reason to give Jesus everything.  He is the most loving man ever to walk this earth and warned over and over about death and hell. Any intelligent person would conduct their entire life, every moment of every day,  with eternity in mind. The Now for THEN.  In these last days, Satan is raging, in a frenzy of madness to use spiritual delusion take as many souls to hell as his legions can conquer (Eph.6:12).

THE LOG JAM

“No. Not me. I know all about Christ”.

Really?  Come on, my dear fellow fighter-in-the-human-race, please. I’m not your enemy. I love you with the truth. Are you really going to ignore that a broken and contrite heart is a divine requirement (Ps.51:17/1 Pt.5:5)? Don’t do it. Please. Stop. Become aware of the deep subtle evil in the instinct of presumption. It can be buried beneath years of rationalizations, justifications, excuses, and pretense.  The one proof of a person who loves God is a broken and contrite heart, transparent of his own fear of presumption (Ps.19:13/ 1 Cor. 9:27). You can stop your boat from sinking by a simple decision to be REAL and humbly lay your pride bear before God. Beg Him for help. His breaking is the only thing that will render you discernment. 

Imagine a ‘log jam’ on a river. Branches and debris back up in one place because of an obstacle.  The obstacle can cause a dam from all the debris backing up and ultimately destroy the land. Until that obstacle is removed the river is blocked. It can not flow.

It is tragic to talk with so many “Christians” who refuse to face the log jam of their own pride. “How could I be the obstacle to my own life?” And the more years that go by the bigger the obstacle becomes. “I could never have been wrong all those years”. Regret festers denial. This one issue; the number of years wasted, is the common stop gap to reason. The hope for true redemption is negated by a fool-hearted fixation on justifying the past.

What sense does it make to esteem a past “experience” when your present life is in shambles?  Satan tells a “Christian” that he must hold fast to a past “conversion experience” with unflinching pride because it is a commitment to the Lord. But this thinking is clearly exposed as a fallacy to the Biblical priority in humility.

The validation of salvation is not an “experience” that you interpret as of God. God says His “witness” is to the life of Jesus in someone by His Spirit (1 Jn. 4:20,5:4-12/Jn.15:13,13:35). Salvation is through faith in the historical event of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Not some personal “experience”.

Your life is not over my friend. Who knows how long you have left?   You still have a chance.  What matters is that you do not squander the moments that remain. God doesn’t esteem how many years you claim to know Him, but whether you walk in  “spirit and truth” (Jn.4:24). God thinks quite differently than we do  (Mt.20:1-16)

The boast of “Christian” experience is really nothing more than stubbornness.  It prevents the change-of-heart necessary,  to discover a heart yet unknown. God says “Do not be as the horse or mule which have no understanding” (Ps. 32:9).  Obstinance is the obstacle to “rivers of living water” (Jn.7:37).

You’re not going to hear these things amongst the “churches” of today.  They don’t talk about death or hell because all they want are smiles and small talk. ‘Let’s all pat each other on the back and say nice things to each other.’ It’s crazy. It’s madness. It sure ain’t love.

Over our travels, God has opened up doors into schools of all ranges of children and background. This is a school we did in Columbia a number of years ago.

Presenting-in-a-school-in-South-AmericaOne time my family and I were traveling past the Grand Canyon. We wanted to walk from the top to the bottom and back up the same day. Everyone, including Park Rangers, told us it could never be done in one day. Obviously, this motivated us to do it. And we did. Of course, the next day we could barely walk. (Below is a picture of a village here and a school in Chile.)

You gotta go. You gotta be. You gotta do… what everybody says you can’t and nobody wants you to do. You’re on the clock. Some forty years ago “Christians” I knew in Grand Rapids, Michigan accused me of being “driven”. They meant it to accuse me and I felt defensive. But as I matured I realized… Of course, I am absolutely driven…by the blood of Jesus! (They’ve lived in one city forty years. God has led me to hundreds of cities in 60 countries.) Ya. I’m driven. Thank you, Jesus. And thousands have benefited.

Been that way since the moment I was reborn at Notre Dame. They, of course, settled down in nice comfortable living. I never owned a house. Never want one.

In that “little” Grand Canyon excursion my family and I realized an enormous principle of life. Always challenge the motives of the naysayers. People without a heart for God will pull you down and step on you, all the while smiling, and acting like they agree.

What exactly was the source and background of those Park Rangers? What is their basis of being “experts”? Do they know my family? Of course not. All they know is the response of the typical overweight, out of shape American tourists (no offense intended-just fact). The fact is people have no idea who you are and what you can do.

Likewise, all the people who tell you “No way”, “Can’t be done”, “Shouldn’t do that”.  Do these “experts” live the truth, know the word and have a heart for God? So many of my “friends” and relatives whose lives are anchored in comfort and laziness say “No way”. A relative and a “close friend” both told me I could never raise a family in an RV on the road, as Rachel and I have done for the last 40 years. Pretty awesome children. If love is the measure….let’s measure. Pretty awesome God. Quite a lame source of viewpoint.  If you look closely below you can see our signs outside the University of Tennessee.

Nothing more Satan wants than to keep you bound in one place to a group of people all your life. What a disaster. New furniture and new cars are about the extent of anything new you’re gonna know. My friend, forget listening to the “Park Rangers”. They got no authority. Other than what they get from others who live in total denial of the impossible. God wants to blow your mind. It’s kind of the attitude we have had all our lives in response to “Park Rangers” and anyone in life who tells us we can’t, or that God can’t do something. This is God’s attitude. He loves to defy the limitations of men.

“Thus says the Lord, ‘Because the Arameans have said, ‘The Lord is a God of the mountains, but God is not a God of the valleys, ‘Therefore I will give all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the Lord,” (1 Kings 20:28).

 In the descent and ascent of the Grand Canyon, we realized the huge advantage an army would have over an enemy stuck in a valley. Ever feel stuck? Of course, you do. We all do. And God has revealed Himself as One Who promises victory to the disadvantaged. Jesus was in the ultimate valley of death. So how’d that work? Not bad hey?

As we walked into this “valley”  (above)  the people in the village told us to stay close. They said it was dangerous. It was actually kind of funny because that’s what others had said about them. Sure, they got guns. But they also got heart and this is our specialty. God did a mighty work. We carry a weapon with us for protection in such places… I display it to all when I put our cross together and show them it.

David says “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (Ps.23:4).

David revealed the secret to his dynamic heart is “a broken and contrite heart” (Ps.51:17). The world despises the idea of being “broken”. They think “loser”.  They have no problem spending enormous energy and money on being “driven” by the world to do what the world says is worthwhile.

But Jesus says “he who loses his life shall find it” (Jn.12:25). I have met many a “broken” heart full of self-pity, a forlorn spirit, cynicism, and unbelief. This is not the broken heart of which I speak. Adam broke our humanity with depravity.  God sent Jesus into our broken humanity to rescue us from depravity. It is all about something so simple; being real.

The valley held a sweet memory to David. It is where he pulverized the giant Goliath, twice his size. Surely he knew fear like any young man who faced an ultimate warrior from a foreign land. Yet, the weapon of heart David had was so superior. His love for God left the giant laying in the valley after he had cut off the head, to drop it at the feet of Saul.

We each live in “valley” in which we walk each day. It is the inner turmoil of emotional pain, grief, guilt, anxiety, etc. etc. We are not to avoid it or deny it. We are to walk through it with Him. Learning to do this is no small thing. It doesn’t happen overnight. But it doesn’t happen at all if we do not seek, with all our heart, to grasp the magnitude of His provision in the work of Jesus.

People here are terrified of the ghettos into which we go. Even the police have told us they can’t go there or they’d be killed or kidnapped and tortured. No exaggeration. But what is the background out of which they speak? People have told us “No way” will they ever let your family into the prison system. Really? Cuz they just welcomed us in.  If you want to know the reality of David  “because You are with me” it requires HEART. If you want excuses they are a dime a dozen.

David had a major  “Breakthrough” in a valley (2 Sam.5:18). He was frustrated by his outward responsibilities and his inward inadequacy. He could not find any answers within himself. The Great Eagle from on high swooped down into his valley. He meets us at the cross. We give up our excuses. We give up our very nature. He gives us resurrection hope and life. He makes our old heart new. The gloomy defeated attitude of “the valley” rules the heart of all men who walk in the shadow of the valley of death; which is the curse of sin pulsating in our flesh.

What is the shadow in which you walk? How does your job or relationships cast a shadow on you? Could you possibly believe there is a way God could walk with you, into a place of redemptive joy, praise, and thankfulness?

“Passing through the valley of Baca (Hebrew-bewail-mourn-with tears) they make it a spring; the early rain also covers it with blessings. They go from strength to strength, every one of them appears before God in Zion (Hebrew- praise)(Ps.84:6). Don’t ya just love such a God Who speaks in such a way? David had that hope that is so far beyond natural thinking.

The longer I live,  and the more we proclaim Jesus, I realize how everything is about the Father’s depth of compassion to touch our pain as sinners through His Son by the Holy Spirit. This may sound lofty and vague. The reality is comprehending the nitty gritty suffering of Jesus, as revealed through the Scriptures. Then personally responding to His love with a heart of praise befitting His momentous work of the cross.  His accomplishment for us breeds hope that ends in faith.

Then, face to face, sharing His personal reach of the gospel to the world. With a gentle tone of compassion, Jesus confronts our inner state of shambles. Like standing at the foot of the Twin Towers just after 9/11. That’s us inside.  Ezekiel described us as a valley of dead bones. No hope. Like a hundred-year-old woman thinking of having a baby (Sarah-Rm.4). The prophet was gripped by the deep sense of hopelessness. Absolutely devastated and destroyed by Adam’s sin. We are experts on hiding these “dead bones”; sin and anxiety. Why? Because we don’t want others to think we are what we are.

It is fascinating to see God move beyond me, despite my hopelessness of  “9/11”. God looked into that valley and asked Ezekiel if the dead bones could live. I just love to imagine the thought process behind his answer. He didn’t say no or yes. Because just when you think you know how God is going to work He humbles you in a totally unexpected manner. Ezekiel wisely, from experience said, “You know Lord” (Ez.37:3). Then, came the glorious command on the winds of the Spirit “LIVE!”. This is who we are as the army of God. Warriors put together in the valley of death. Paul says if we die with Him we shall also live with Him (Rm.6:6).

Jesus uses “Father” 184 times to describe the Character of God. It’s not hard to love people when you know the love of the Father. People require no schooling or degree. Just you, being you, learning how to transmit His love to them. It has been an absolute joy to be here.

63,000 murders in this city last year. More people died here than in the entire war in Syria. It is the highest per capital murder rate in the world. We do not feel it is a coincidence for us to be here. Not a coincidence for us to be allowed into the prisons and villages where millions of men are slaves to lethal gangs. So who does God send? A family of eight? We’ve heard our share of “No.” “Never.” “Impossible”.

God has gone before us because we believe He has a large number of people in this city. It just makes sense. Jesus says “Blessed are the poor…” because their attitudes are like no other.

Our new CD is titled “Looking for Heroes” because in a world where everyone is looking for purpose and love our hope is to fill someone with His vision to love others. You may think “Well I’m just not the ‘kind of’ person for God”. No one is. But He is the ‘kind of’ God for you. Jesus walked around and rubbed shoulders with people in all walks of life for this very reason; to show everybody God is for you. (We are trying to get it up soon so you will find CD online at ancient boom on iTunes, Spotify.. etc)

So much suffering everywhere. And so many doors to anywhere. Yesterday our minds were blown away by the things we saw. A lady asked us to come to her “event”. When we arrived, my mind was discombobulated (don’t know if this is a word). But it’s what I felt. I have seen a lot over my years in many countries. I have never seen anything like this. It’s one thing to drive by such a place. It’s quite another to walk in and touch the reality in which these beautiful people must suffer every moment of every day.

It was a village of cardboard huts with filth,  trash, pigs, and stench. As we entered “the village” (absolute dump) children came running out to greet us. Beautiful children. So simple. So normal. As we walked into the “event” we wanted to both weep and rejoice. So, so sad. Just unimaginable sorrow. It was the look on everyone’s face. It was like everyone was humiliated knowing that we were seeing into their humiliating circumstances and looking into their soul. Obviously, you won’t be where we are but you can be where you are. Someone will pop out of nowhere if you are willing to see them. In every shadow are unimaginable conditions in which people are barely hanging on the edge. You can rescue them.

Below is a picture of one of the marvelous opportunities we had to speak and perform on a stage set up by the government to a huge gathering of a large ghetto. As we turned a corner to drive up the hill of entry two women were fighting all out. As we entered the gathering numerous teenage kids were walking around with machine guns.

What you see is how they live. And they know it is dangerous and disgusting. We really didn’t know how to act. So as always we just were who we are and loved as we can. No forced smiles. Because everything wasn’t “ok” and everybody knows it.

As we were driving here down the main expressway off to the side of the road we see a military police holding a rifle pointed at four other kids getting out of a taxi. He is accompanied by several other officers with guns drawn and pointed. As we tried to digest this tragedy we realize we are to take the very next exit. As we exit we see a truck of military police guns drawn on a group of kids. We got out to ask instructions and three guys tell us about a forty year guy who was just killed in a firefight with police.

We watched five truckloads full of men in full military swat gear, each armed with a machine gun, enter the neighborhood. One of the guys who were in our performance took out his gun and followed the trucks. All the children standing around took off running, screaming and crying. We were informed of the constant gun battles where neighbors are shot and killed in plain sight in the middle of the day.

Every person you start to talk with usually ends up pouring out their soul and crying. A big strong guy came up after we were done sobbing. He said so many things about how Jesus touched him. He said he would never be the same after he heard our message of the living Jesus.

Paul says the goal of our instruction is love and when you understand this love to be of such a manner, it makes you gulp.  To be with someone in their moment takes one thing; heart. Why? Because we are so selfish. Instead of relating your experience to him could you just be there with him? What we usually do is water down their moment by sharing our experience of such moments. The results are they receive no compassion. The outcome of divine empathy is not us or them. It is Jesus.

As we left this place here on the right a Director walked us outside this facility. As we stood in the large courtyard he said “Shhh. Listen…”. We looked at him with a puzzled look. “Hear that silence? Your message has gotten in.”  You’d have to be familiar with the chaos and insanity of a prison to appreciate this statement. He explained it is not merely momentary. That never happens. It implies the size of the rock was huge for the ripples to be so big.


We are so thankful to have finally gotten into the huge prison system here. It is massive. There is something about working with prisoners like nothing else. It is in our blood because it is in His blood. To realize these men are trapped in the same rotten building structure and stench every moment of every day with no hope of anything else is just so grievous.

We’ve all done something terrible for which we could have to go to jail. If not a crime against men, surely we have sinned against God, which bears horrendous penalty. Here then is where compassion is found.

Aside from the terrible living conditions, and being taken from their family, they must carry the deep weight of their crime against men and the guilt for their crimes against God. It is our job to bring them the vision of the dry bones. They walk in a very dark shadow in a very dark valley.  Jesus walked into their valley. He carried the entire pain of all men for all time in those three hours of agony. He held the bars contemplating the monumental torture on a cross yet before Him. Yet He believed in the Father’s promise that death itself must obey the high command of His Father;  “LIVE!”.

We try to enter into the shadow of men to declare another shadow in which they can walk. It is written “He walks in the shadow of the Almighty shall dwell in the shelter of the Most High’ (Ps.90). He overshadows our shadow. Think about it in the way the afternoon shadow of the sunrise up and overrides a cold morning shadow.

It requires much prayer to deal with the young gangs in the Delinquent Centers. The last one housed a very dangerous gang called The Red Command who had recently killed someone in their cellblock because there just wasn’t enough room for him.

Despite how you may feel right now, or how others make you feel,  you are not worthless or alone. The Father says “Fear no one. I love you, forgive you and have a plan for your life.” Within you is a brilliant ‘mechanism’ waiting to be released. It is called heart.  It doesn’t require some profound moral or physical strength. Just one turn of humility to tap the incredible and beautiful life of Jesus that will change the world in you and through you.

A French scientist named Blaise Pascal once wrote “All of the problems of humanity stem from man’s inability to sit alone”. It is what I say over and over again to men about getting alone and being still before the Father. It is no little thing. It is John14:23. It is salvation. Salvation is not from an “experience”. It is His work on the cross.  It is the only place where you will find the peace that Paul writes of in Phil.4:7. It is where you will ‘see’ how extraordinary you can become through true repentance; a “new creation” (2 Cor.5:17). Not a revamped “Christian”.

I’m trying to get you to go beyond yourself and all the “Christian” stuff,  to the living Jesus. I’m not looking for money or offering a self-help scam. Just a wonderful reality about who you can become that people do not want you to realize. Why? Because it exposes the laziness in them. People absolutely love to find excuses to avoid doing what they say they want to do or what they know they should do.

It is so easy to hide fear with an excuse. I do this many times and every time I hate the weasel I see myself to be. The truth will always set us free. We must realize that until we are able to lay bare the truth of our every motive we remain in bondage to a lie. It is written, “The sluggard says ‘There is a lion in the streets’” (Proverbs 22:13). It doesn’t say the coward. It says the sluggard. The gut motive of most excuses is laziness. So many times I can make an excuse not to do this or that but I know it really comes down to just not wanting to expend the energy. I’m lazy. I’m worthless. I deserve hellfire.

This problem always comes down to an ignorance of God. We continually think He demands more than we can give. The truth is He demands only what Jesus already gave. This is why Paul makes a very big deal out of freedom.

Never has there been such a time when despair or thoughts of suicide permeate a culture saturated with opioids and umpteen drugs. Men are in a frenzy and panic to find personal love and happiness. But one day each person comes to the tragic awareness that no one cares and aloneness is a terrifying reality.

Madness is accepted as normal. Hate is defined as personal preference and the reality of God and church is so corrupt only a fool takes it seriously.

Your life does not have to go the way you do not want it to go. You can yank it back from the edge of the abyss of mundane robotics. I speak from absolute certainty, documented facts of history and personal experience.

In today’s society, the idea of God is personal morality, churches, sermons, preachers, doctrines, sinner’s prayers and vivacious personalities.  All of this, in reality, produces nothing more than all these doctrinal complexities constituting  “another Jesus” (2 Cor. 11:1-4 ). Things and stuff. Rather than simple devotion to Jesus. Being real, being broken and contrite is like a far off distant galaxy to the hypocrites of today. If you have heart, it’s cake. No bragging. Just a fact.

Faith in the finished work of Jesus yields a character of resolute and intelligent security and love. No matter how much the hypocrites think they got us all figured out, they don’t have a clue. And God keeps it hidden (Mt.11:25). They say “Oh you think you’re the only ones” or “You are not what you say you are”. It used to bother me. But then I realize you can’t change the mind of someone who has no mind to change. If someone is bound by conformity to the system of Christianity, he cannot think independent in his own God-given intelligence. He is a slave to his own self.

It is quite amazing how Jesus was such a Gentleman Who spoke in such compassion. Yet when it came to the hypocrites, He sounded like a different Person (Mt.23). Why? Until you deal with a hypocrite, you will never understand how both wrath and compassion work in the justice of God.

Don’t listen to those hypocrites, my friend. They don’t care about you. The rest of your life is before you (Jn.15:13/Rm.6:6). Don’t live the rest of your life without the Father’s love and blessings. It’s going to fly by.

He does not require we reach to Him with some self-purification. In fact, He has proven this, very clearly,  by coming down to reach us right here on earth. He exchanged eye contact. He felt and gave a common hug. He wore our clothes and was bruised by our pain. He heard our words as He will hear yours right now. There is nothing you or I could do to live up to His eternal holiness. Every day we break another of the ten commandments. Our impulses and instincts of anger or lust constantly tick away in us like seconds on a clock.

There is nobody Who has shown the absolute kindness and friendliness as Jesus did. He is a man for all men. Because when Jesus became man, He became like all men. For three hours on the cross, Jesus bore every foul,  bitter thought and feeling, common to every ‘kind of’ man and woman. He succumbed to the valley of dead bones so that in three days He might hear that glorious command of His Father “Rise up My Son. LIVE”.

 

Below is a picture of Elizabeth working on beaches. They had just finished running a 13-mile half marathon race. Ruth has a new arsenal in her bag of weapons. I don’t know who’s cuter the bunny or her with it. We call her Gracie. It is an extremely fluffy tiny rabbit. It is phenomenal how powerful it works with people. Not only the handicapped and elderly but the hard-ass gang members. An old woman in a wheelchair started weeping when she held it. She said she was taken back to when she was a little girl. Could tell you so many stories. Ruth can actually make her appear and disappear. It’s quite amazing and always gets a genuine gasp.

There are 198 deaths a day from drug overdose. That’s  73,000 a year. Think America needs help? Be a bit more sensitive to the people at work, someone at Wal-Mart, a person walking by…etc. etc. They need the love of the One Whom you know…if you know Him.

 

 

 

 

 

Caught in the crossfire
between heaven and earth,
I hear bullets flying, soldiers fighting,
children hiding,
mothers crying,
innocence dying.

Diving for cover not wanting to suffer
the wounds of regret, losing their breath,
not able to forget the scars of death
that bled into their psyche.

Wound so tightly while walking blindly,
taking aim not knowing who to blame,
but full of disdain,
for the things they can’t explain.
Stuck in their brain is yesterday,
trying to find a pathway through their sorrow,
begging to borrow just the courage to live tomorrow.

Out of the shadows will come their future,
the reach of their Rescuer,
the Father’s  Prime mover,
His only Beloved,
With His armour
to shield and to cover,
sitting along with them in the gutter.
In utter disaster bringing them love and laughter,
to find them in the back alley,
lift them up to carry
from the darkest of valleys.

To heal and help like no other,
saying,
“Take courage, don’t fear now,

Your Brother  is near now,
and He will be your Hero”.

-Elizabeth

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright

All material on this website is protected by copyright. Duplication or theft of photos or content is subject to criminal prossecution. Some names and information regarding places, testimonials, and other content has been altered for privacy purposes while all relevant material has be unaltered.
Teaching, TravelsMay 22, 2018

Kenos 05.22.18

 

Our youngest daughter, Elizabeth, uses ballet, to display the elegance of Jesus, as a sacrifice of praise to the Father.

 

 

CROSSROAD

This road was made for dancing,

The labor of the Father’s planning,

His Son’s shed-blood for our bandaging,

On the cross our wounds He was wrapping,

The price of our soul He was ransoming,

So my hands are free for others grasping,

And my gifts for others lacking.

This love is for hearts that are cracking,

His seed for the ground of planting,
His answers for those who are asking.
His light is lit for the unmasking,

so their burdens they might start casting,
to make their eyes start laughing,
their courage to be long-lasting.
Because Jesus was the dead man standing,
on His road of  life everlasting.

Elizabeth Faith Shalom

 


Joshua and Dynamic David created this caricature to depict  Will Power –

a Comic Book Super Hero whose powers of faith can take you beyond all struggles. Three cheers for their anointed creativity that has proven extremely effective to help thousands.


Someone recently told me that they love the photos on this wwebsite So I deliberately got a little ‘carried away’. We love the Father for what we see Him do as we walk His Crossroad.


Every person makes decisions every day. Some big. Some small. Some fail. Some succeed. They can determine the quality and direction of your life. I hope what I share here might help you. Don’t you want God on your side? Prayer is not some far off lofty thing. The key to effectual prayer is transparent expressions born out of true humility; kenosis. For God “resists the proud” (Mt.11:25, 29 23:12/1 Peter 5:5/Jm.4:6/Ps.138:6).

My family and I live to share Jesus as we travel all over the world. So we face multitudes of very difficult choices. We were in Paraguay the last few months. God opened doors that we never imagined. The authorities welcomed us into schools, orphanages, prisons and even city events. This, my friend, is something we could never make happen, no matter how we tried. We have no one helping us. No organization or group. We work as we need to. Tons of leg work. Tons of heart.  Got to find places to live and share the gospel.

The photos and things I share are far beyond us. It is living proof that the Father hears His sons and daughters. You don’t need to “play church” or depend on others. God is able. When Rachel and I were first married we were constantly told we could never do what we are doing. Now, along with our six amazing adult children; David, Elizabeth, Ruth, Joshua, Abraham and Sarah we all together are laughing our way into His marvelous ways.

Glory to God we do not listen to men. The Holy Spirit of the living Jesus constantly leads us into amazing opportunities to share His gospel. They happen because He constantly expands our life-perspective. As you grow into God’s eternal love you find yourself constantly hoping that He might allow you to share in His work. The officials invited us to share Jesus, in our performance, for an entire hour in their national independence day event which was covered by nation wide television. Their colors are also red, white and blue.

Paraguay is a nation saturated with the effects of a history of tyranny, communism and dictatorship. The oppression and extreme poverty determines, and is fully recognized,  as causing incompetence at all aspects of society and breeds attitudes of destitution.

We have just arrived in Brazil after weaving our way through many miles of a truckers strike. The bad roads in Paraguay damaged our very old tires so bad we had to replace all five in a small town. This incident, along with unexpected travel and visas costs, sadly cut into our tight budget.

We may never be rich, or have great talent, but anyone, at anytime, in any place, can own the great wealth of compassion if you are willing to learn the ways of the cross.

The world looks down on a broken man, but I have learned how the cross is the only way to truly experience the power of the Holy Spirit (Jn.3:8/1 Cor.1:18).

Ever since I was a kid I can remember how terrified I was to speak in front of people. I was an extremely  selfish guy who could never imagine serving God. Life was all about me. I was, and am, extremely insecure.

But destiny doesn’t depend on what we think about ourselves. In our moments of greatest weakness, it offers us the bridge of simple faith to intersect His divine love, at the cross, with our complete human failure. This is the intersection of an eternal destiny. He wounded me at an early age, and I chose to believe in His revelation rather than rebel with excuses and self-pity (Pr.20:30/2 Cor.5:17). It is not what we claim about ourselves, that proves who we are, but rather what He does in us (Phil.2:12-13/ Mt.6:21).  God trains a coward, through humility, to be a soldier, and son, who learns power, love and discipline (Heb. 12/2 Tim.1:7).

 

 

 

It is not from  human motives or ego,  that we stand for Jesus.  Rather, it is in the constant recognition of our nothingness that allows Jesus His full intervention into our lives. Sometimes a guy will write me who seems interested in Jesus. Then, after I share about the cross, he ultimately fades away because he refuses to consider there is something that he doesn’t already know.

WHAT IS THE CROSS: Just two pieces of wood  put together in a horizontal and vertical manner. However, when Jesus was crucified, upon this Roman configuration of execution, He intersected humanity with a dimension that penetrated the conscience of mankind with an inescapable disconcerting reality. Todays “Christians”  talk about the cross as a vague doctrine that merely requires a kind of mental gymnastics, to substantiate  “salvation”.

Catholics revere it. Evangelicals avoid it. Jews scoff.  The Scriptures leave no man an alibi to ignore it. Two pieces of wood offer no power, but the One Who captured and conquered Satan by it, demands allegiance to it (1 Cor.1:18).  For long after Jesus died, Paul boasted in the cross; “I have been crucified with Christ… and to the world” (Gal. 2:20,6:14). Paul explained the cross as a contemporary ‘living’ work of the Spirit, completed only in fellowship with Jesus (Phil.3:10). He says every Christian, to be a Christian, must be “united” with Jesus in His death (Rm.6:6).

Of course, no person, on the face of the earth, in a right mind, wants to identify with a symbol of barbaric torture. Unless…there is something far more to it. Jesus would never say things that lead to a life of morbid grief. He is the ultimate King of resurrection and abundant life. So when He says “Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Me” it involves divine dynamics, not human reasoning ( (Mt.16:24/Jn.10:10). The question really comes down to “Do you want to experience this reality?”.

A surface definition of humility is an attitude where someone avoids credit for something with a pious tone of voice. There exists a far deeper reality. The practical key to implement ‘the cross’ is to discover the diameter, the caliber and degree of divine humility, as defined by God:

“…Have this attitude… although Jesus existed in the form of God, He did not regard equality with God and thing to be grasped (utilized), but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, and being made in the likeness of men… He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil.2:5-8).  (You see my friend, it is called in Greek “kenos”-to be made empty. When I was in seminary I read scores of theological exegesis on this one concept and realized it has enormous implications. It transforms my life.)

Jesus came as an ordinary man. He emptied Himself of Himself to become the ultimate example of love (Jn.15:13). He Who should have been honored and served chose rather to honor and serve. His ‘humility’ resulted in our salvation.  He emptied Himself of Himself in order to come under us and love us as one of us (Phil.2:7).  Jesus was the firstborn amongst many such brethren yet to be born (us). So thus, His manner of humility is to be our manner (Romans 8:29/Col.1:15-18/Heb.2:11). If Jesus emptied Himself of His divine nature how much more should we empty ourselves of anything we think we are, or have, in our nature?

When we “empty ourselves” of all our fears, pride, goals, excuses and wounds, God then has the space to intervene in our consciousness with His Spirit. It is our responsibility to empty ourselves and His promise to fill us. Abraham exhibited kenos-humility by emptying himself of his greatest desire; the sacrifice of his son, Isaac. This event was a ‘foreshadow’. The Father actually  “emptied Himself” of His beloved Son (Jn.3:16). Then Jesus emptied Himself of the Father, revealing the constitution of true love is sacrifice (Jn.15:13).

This is the mystery of God’s mighty mercy. I testify to this saving love of Jesus. As I emptied myself (repent) He saved me from myself.  It goes like this. Abraham was the first to display that true humility is the precursor to the faith that touches God (Rm. 4/Heb. 11:6). This faith cancels out all ‘puzzles’ in our mind; complex self-serving thoughts (Rm.8:6,12:2). It is bought by nothingness (Rm.4:17-18).  So anyone can get it and use it. God’s grace is a free gift. So anyone can receive it.

Believe; receive; live… new life. Ignore what your body or the world dictates and act on what God says. This is living eternal, divine life. If this truly happens Christ leads you.   Salvation is the work of the Father implanting His Son as His divine seed within a humble heart ( Gal.3:16). It is the condescension of God into our exact misery (Jn.1:18/Ps.18:35). 

For so long I never understood “By His wounds (scourging, stripes)  we are healed” (Is.53:5/1 Cor.1:18). How could it be that our present-day wounds (fears, sin etc.) can be transferred to and healed by a simultaneous suffering from 2000 years ago?

The photos depict a wide range of people. And people carry multitudes of all-varied wounds of sorrow, pain and sin. Prisons are like small cities that hold every walk of life. Every man is different. My family and I are not spiritual entities. We are full of fears, fatigue, and helplessness. How can we, as wounded warriors, heal the wounds of distant strangers?

Human instinct says “Muster up a strong visual (ego). Appear strong”. God says “empty yourself” (kenos) (2 Cor.6:8,4:7-8/Heb.11:34).  Be nothing. Being nothing is something I can do very well. So His Spirit can do what I cannot. We could never imagine living what we are doing. We have no “special calling”. We have no magic dust. There is no secret formula. We are a typical nobody Polish/Irish family of eight from Catholic roots in Detroit and Grand Rapids, Michigan.

It is because the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus was a supernatural event with retroactive ramifications (Consider Jn. 12:32/Heb.9:3ff). It is actually Jesus applying His work today (2 Cor.4:10).

If you change attitudes that hold you back, God promises to lift you up (1 Pt.5:6). Time and time again, when I re-evaluate my selfish ways, I realize that I can not ‘be like Christ’ because I do not know what Christ is like. But I can change my ways because I know my ways and how I need to change them (Jn.12:25/Phil.3:13). This repentance is kenosis. If you want to be healed repent.  Believe His scourging was personally designed with you in mind. Such faith in His love is the impetus to discover new life.

Wounds are not healed by high-class sermons, churches, ‘spirituality’ and preachers. God comes in the most common daily steps, prayers and activities. The Spirit comes like the wind in ordinary moments. I would never want a “Billy Graham ministry”; fly into an airport, taxi to a motel, taxi to a prescribed setting, preach a rehearsed sermon, taxi back to motel, taxi back to the airport, fly home. The most profound ministry we’ve experienced comes while traveling horrible roads, in the most terrible places and walking common places, with fellow wicked sinners because it is all dependent on our nothing but humility and faith in the spontaneous convergence of the living Jesus.

Paul said ‘I am the scum and dreg of the earth’ (1 Cor.4:13). He boasted not of eloquence but of definitive God-activity (1 Cor.2:1ff).  It is in being gut-wrenching that man finds God.  Paul was thrilled to empty himself of himself. His wounds were deep. I have seen many “desperate” men totally self-sufficient. Kenos showed Paul to be truly desperate and transparent in his writings and manifest a living dead man. He killed Stephen and many more. “I am the chief of sinners” he said. Phillip was walking a dusty road when he met a guy riding by in a horse chariot who was transformed in a few hours of conversation with reality (Acts 8).

Today’s “Christians” are so full of religious cliches and token religiosity. Paul was in step with how Jesus enters the lives of men with clarity to bring true healing. The inner struggles of the cross create a deep heart; a man of His mystery.  Any ‘place’ a wicked man goes, the deep heart of Jesus goes.  Men interact with each other according to outward appearances. But Jesus knows the heart and thus deals with everyone according to His profound compassion (2 Cor.5:19).

In one photo we are in a Catholic church. In another Protestant.   We may be amongst obvious hypocrites, while in another gang-bangers. Our ‘haters’ say that such diversity exposes compromise; “You associate with Catholics, protestants, gang members, mentally ill and atheists as if you agree with them”. We know the evil things people say about us but we respond as Jesus says “Father forgive them”.

Paul says “I become all things to all men to win one”  (1 Cor. 9:19ff).  Jesus does not limit His love. In fact, there could be nothing more “compromising” than for a holy God to come into the nature of a sinful man.  Thus is the mercy of the New Testament in contrast to the conditional forgiveness based on moral adherence to the ten commandments of the Old Testament.

A strange thing we have realized is that hypocrites do not know how to laugh or be real with sinners because forefront in their mind is “I must prove I am more righteousness”. To walk in the freedom of the Spirit demands we die to our self-righteousness. Paul became like any man so that, possibly, in some way, he could reach that man. There is only one time that anyone has given us money in our travels and it was a hundred dollars from a bunch of guys drinking beer on the side of the road for whom we just saw and decided to perform. It was so beautiful. These guys were so far from being religious but so honest and sincere. No question it was a fruit of kenos.

Awesome Abraham, often tells men a key is not the “Christian” response; “Ya. Ya. I know all that already”. It is three words of a deep heart; “I don’t know”. Kenos does not leave you forlorn to in self-pity.  It leads you the Door of a new “place”(Jn.14:2). He is a King with a castle of innumerable rooms to choose from; “How can I exemplify the rich humble and loving character of revelation of the Character of Christ”. There is no law only grace.

Jesus exposed the evil in all of us as men on the world stage of the cross. Then, as His second ‘act’, in resurrection victory, manifested the ultimate love and power of the Father. Jesus said “If I be lifted up I will draw all men to Myself” (Jn.12:32). There were no film crews or Internet. Yet the Holy Spirit broadcasts this one event to all the earth in every generation as the one-time manifestation of GOD. You and I do not have to die on a physical cross or emulate the life of Jesus. We must believe with the faith that reflects His work to the Father. 

Despite any denial of any man, the cross absolutely radiates, with undeniable mass appeal, the divine love of the Father for all men. Confess. Believe.  Live an ongoing testimony to Jesus. He is the “Catalyst”of a living gospel of the living Jesus (Col.1:27,2:2). Jesus surrendered Himself to the ‘tools of man’s trade’; wickedness (Mt.20:28). Then created the tools for His Father’s trade; redemption.

Like an astronaut in outer space, who is detached from his tether line, Jesus detached Himself from His divinity to reattach Himself to our dark humanity (Phil.2:9). By this choice, He authored the faith of salvation in the Father. While He ‘floated’ in moments of utter darkness; “My God, My God why have You forsaken Me”, Jesus was working to calibrate, atone, appease, justify to provide specific healing required by each of our grave wounds.

Little did men know, way back then, that by killing Jesus, they were killing their own greatest enemy; sin. In man’s worst event in human history, God was achieving His greatest event in human history.

In a way of speaking, the Father compressed His divine glory, into a human posture. In the womb of Mary, God impregnated a sinful nature with divine power (the incarnation). Then…Bam…33 years later, sin exploded and was forever destroyed. Jesus rose from the dead. This seed is now in me. A hammer and nails failed to kill the One Who reclaimed His divine glory. He was seen for Who He is; God.

“He who knew no sin became sin so that we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor.5:21).

Wow. Big time stuff. Dancing, laughing and singing kind of stuff. We do not bring a dead and boring Jesus to men.  This is awesome stuff. It generates creative intelligence and hope.

Jesus went to the lowest sector of humanity to bring us to the highest sector of glory. In working with “criminals” we proclaim “The Criminal” Who was “despised” and bore the punishment for us all but now reigns as Judge. What love! Jesus was willing to be the ultimate… “prodigal son” Who left His Father but ‘came to His senses’ and danced His way back  (Lk.15/Heb.12:1).

Failure and redemption are my ways. Yet Jesus promises that His love can be in me, if I die with Him. Sometimes I am terribly burdened by all the many things I must deal with but then stop and realize: “Wow. I am watching a selfish slob like me actually care about others? This alone is proof of God is with me.” Intelligent love is not an instinct. It does not fall out of the sky. It takes time and creative will power. It is learned through obedience to an invisible Father God. Through many trials and errors, Jesus teaches us how to think, talk and act so as to absorb the burdens of men and respond with His compassion.

He entered the place where each of us is ashamed to admit and afraid to go. And it is here, in the heart of our sinfulness, where Jesus inserts Himself, to demonstrate the power of God (Mt.20:28).  We must join with the living Jesus to create a divine synergy.  As He believed His Father would raise Him out of every human predicament so must we join with Him today to do the same thing He did. And as the Author of such faith the Father gave Him the Name above all Names(Phil.2:9). He perfectly sympathizes with our every weakness and waits for our moment of kenosis.

So many prisoners tell me the same experience that I myself know; i.e. the mind toils away at night, at times, as if caught up in a cyclone of destructive thoughts. Loneliness feels like it’s eating a hole in your soul. Sometimes sadness is embedded in our every feeling. These are the precise wounds of being human.

Inescapable feelings of pain can conjure up terrible fears. As if some alien being of sorrow as infiltrated our body and is hiding somewhere behind our bones.  This is the monster of sin. I must not listen to its echoes of death reverberating in the chambers of my brain. I  believe Jesus sympathizes with my exact sin and proves my healing has been had by His resurrection.

As Paul writes I “fellowship with Him” in sufferings (Phil.3:10).  I know that when I arrive at the “perfect moment of faith” I shall reign over all my wounds in the power of His resurrection Character. Thus, shall I be healed of these wounds through identification and participation. Paul says “Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus” (Phil.3:12).

It is in this sharing with men in this kenos transparency that we witness the healing Presence of Jesus to others. In one prison we had shared with men for about three hours. Sometimes we just don’t know if they’re “getting it”.

After we finished, the prison Director walked with us out to our van. “My jaw is on the ground” he said. I don’t know how to explain what I just saw.” An unbeliever saw the amazing mercy and “kenos” of a ‘humble’ God towards men. It was not a family or a ministry. This is  Jesus. At another prison, as we were leaving through the lobby,  he saw us coming and slowly started to clap saying “Way to go Woroniecki family you brought the Lord Christ to these men like I have never seen”.  It was so encouraging I was dancing on a cloud.


In every prison, we face men, with whom we are at a loss for how to reach. Their living conditions are despicable, both physically and in their souls (Read Section A at the end of this article). But the blood of Jesus runs through our veins as we carry the heartbeat of God. We try to communicate that we are all both criminals and victims. Sin wounds all men in all ways.

One day we drove six hours into the middle of nowhere and back. I was stunned and filled with stress to see the faces, all look the same, as the men came walking into the gathering from their individual cell blocks. It was like an episode of ‘The Twilight Zone’. A sci-fi movie scene where each face was molded into an exact same look of agony. Like we had landed on a distant planet, far from anything we had planned for.

We were there four hours. We could only beg Jesus to touch them. Today we learned of the outcome. A very beautiful thing. The Director, after our visit, changed his web site profile, from his individual picture to a picture of him with our family. It is the ultimate compliment. What he saw as not us.


Contrary to modern “salvation”, Jesus never reduced His work on the cross to; “Pray a sinner’s prayer to ‘accept Me as Savior”.  The gospel calls us to discover an entirely new life through obedience.

The cross is “the power of God” to find this life (1 Cor.1:18). The humility of the cross is a subconscious slow-kill of our greatest enemy; the ego; sin.  Once you give your “Yes Lord” it begins His process. No lasting victory over sin, can ever be won without detachment of yourself from yourself to be united with Jesus. Only the cross can do this (Heb.4:12). No, it is not complex. A caterpillar simply yields to a higher metamorphosis. He will bring forth a butterfly. Read the book “Hope For The Flowers”. God used this book to simplify and edify the glory of the cross to me.

This one simple decision renders the promise; “By His stripes we are healed”. Paul says “that I may know…the fellowship with His sufferings being conformed to his death in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead….” (Phil. 3:10-11). Just snap your finger and change your mind. Believe His Word rather than your feelings.  Every problem; physical, spiritual, emotional, mental, circumstantial involves sin. So by Jesus “becoming sin” and exploding it, He established “the place”; “the way, the truth and the life” in order to conquer it (Jn.14:2,6).

This is the excitement in preaching the gospel.  We have something REAL to take to men. Actual healing. Actual eternal life. Actual redemption of their circumstances. Everything that I know to be true can be true to anyone. It is far greater than material happiness.

This world draws men with an ‘eye candy’ of happiness. One time we were preaching on the quad of Colorado State University. A marine recruiter was offering pamphlets to draw young men; They say “Be All You Can Be”, then something they incur on the job prohibits this from ever happening.  I’ve met many men who tell a tragic story of severe injury both mentally and physically. They offer PTSD counseling, because a handicap, a divorce or thoughts of suicide leave them wounded the rest of their lives. A man’s nature is to be proud, not humble. So hope is far away.

I asked the Lieutenant  “Do you ever tell these young people any stories from Walter Reed Hospital?”  I mean if a package of cigarettes is required by law to warn of possible consequences, like cancer, then how much more so should a job with death and life-altering injuries as a possible end? Likewise is the glitter of Wall Street or Silicon Valley. Precious lives and years wasted for nothing but stress and depression.

Bank on it.  Everyone has no one. And no one has anyone… to love them. Don’t buy the ‘eye candy’. Everyone knows that they have no one. Regardless of image.  God says ‘All men moan like doves…growl like bears (‘Is.59). No matter how many people you ‘know’, you know, that no one knows you. It is heart-wrenching. But it IS solvable through the supernatural work of the cross. No matter if you are a banker or a bum walking on Wall Street,  true repentance,  is the only thing that offers you a promising future. The living Jesus beckons “Come to Me all who are weary and heavy laden…My yoke is easy and light”.

Jesus says  ‘God so loved the world that He gave…ME’ (Jn.3:16).  I love this wicked world because when someone in it realizes what we are saying it is awesome to be the vessel of salvation. Jesus knew all His Father had to offer men and it made Him ecstatic. Master Jesus came as a poor man, to the poor, with poorness of heart (kenos), to conquer the poorness of the world (Mt.5:3). Whether Paraguay, Brazil, Europe or the U.S. happiness in the poverty and humility of heart.

In His thoughts, beyond the cross,  Jesus anticipated He would find poor individuals to whom He could reveal His viable and profound joy and save men from hell. And man, was Jesus excited when He found such a person (Jn.4:32/Lk.7:9/Mt.15:21). What about you?

Don’t listen to the lies of fat-cat “prosperity” preachers.  Jesus offers you the “mission statement”  focused on healing the poor and suffering, not enriching the comfortable (Isaiah 61). The gospel is the provision of the enormous blessing of eternal life here and now.  Not with material “blessings”, but spiritual revelation (Eph.1:3ff). A heart crammed full of materialism has no desire for invisible comforts of God (Mt. 6:24/Mk.10:25/1 Tim.6:10).

People who realize they are overwhelmed by inescapable ‘hell’, both outside and inside,  have the divine opportunity to see God.  Such circumstances yield the genre of God; kenos. God did, can and does heal the “incurable” wound but it is only when we yield to His kenos (Jer. 10:19,15:18,30:12-15,17:9).

We tell people “I want to show you something you can not see… to prove to you it exists”. This is our heart in our demonstration of preaching the living Jesus and all His rich promises.


Long ago, when we were walking the streets, next to a volcano, in a village in Central America, my daughters were playing with some children. I remember praying “Lord please use such beautiful women to their fullest”. Today I see His fulfillment far beyond anything I could have imagined. They are intimately involved with multitudes of children.

Below ‘Gentle Josh’ translates for his mother and introduces her to sing her heart to wounded ‘children’ disguised as prisoners.

The cycle of desperation breeds children of such poverty with tragic stories.  It makes me wonder “What was the actual real tone in the voice of Jesus when He says ‘Let the children come to Me'” (Mt.18)? Could it have been in a depth of sorrow and sadness from seeing their poverty and desperation? Our hope is to break the cycle of hopeless despair and prevent children from ending up in prison.  Imagine living in a state of panic because you realize you have a life of absolute desperation. No one cares and there is no escape.

Two little boys were at a stop light. Hugging and playing with each other in the intersection, as if displaying some circus act.  One of them made the sign of the cross as he hurriedly ran up to cars hoping for a handout. They got nothing. They huddled back and tried again, and again. While ministering in a prison here, the other day, I asked some men what they were going to do when they were released. They explained  “working the intercessions”.

The cardboard neighborhoods are without number. The individual stories of murder, family tragedy, drug abuse and unimaginable suffering pile up in our minds. We think we can just hear them, comfort the people and keep working. But somehow they penetrate our hearts in ways we do not realize. It’s unbearable.

The impact a willing person can make upon another little human life is amazing. The amount and extent of impact have no limit, except as Jesus says in that “….the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few”.

 

 

 

When the Scriptures say that He “bore” our sin we don’t realize it means all the nitty gritty stuff we struggle with every moment of every day while He walked the earth.  Jesus wasn’t a divine robot. This is why He can “heal”, sympathize and lift your every struggle. He was afflicted by the same constant bombardment of crazy feelings, deep pain, and suffering all around Him, constantly pressing upon Him. He is the ultimate friend and brother.

CANDY WRAPPERS

My son Joshua received two pictures on his phone from an inmate in a very remote prison we visited. They were of left-over wrappers from candy and popcorn we distributed in our time there.  This guy, we’ll call John, owns nothing. But, he would never say “nothing”.  Because in his cell he has two candy-wrappers he protects like gold coins. When he holds them he thinks of far more. You see, the candy wrappers hold back the dark forces of despair pressing upon his mind and sustain him with a memory that calms his anxiety.

They represent three young women, Ruth, Beth and Sarah, and a family who “came from God” one morning in mid-March. The girls distributed, tracts, candy and popcorn down the rows of chairs set up in the prison courtyard. They stopped to greet him personally. They didn’t condemn him but rather treated him like a long lost friend.

Something like this had never happened to John, over the past seven years he had been in prison.  So the candy wrappers held the ‘magic’ of these real memories. They help to balance the memories of deep regret that put him here. He remembers how Ruth placed the candy in his hand and Beth touched his shoulder. He often touches his shoulder and remembers what he felt like. Sarah actually paused to give him a place to talk. John knows that this experience will never happen again.

Below Genius Joshua is working in one of the oh so many cardboard neighborhoods that fill Paraguay.

The man was hit in the head with an ax, by a gang of thieves. He was left for dead, and for blame, at a crime scene, of which he had nothing to do. Of course, no one believes him. He asked Joshua if he could call his eighty-year-old mother and talk to her. After Joshua did so, the man texted back that hearing the happiness in his mother’s voice was like a miracle. It made him read the Scriptures that Joshua had been sharing. The awful sounds of crying prisoners, in the background, and the stench in his nose, fades for the duration he can maintain the memory. So John tells us how he imagines the program is starting over again…and again…and again.  It was the time he was given something, other than hatred; hope, love and access to the words of Jesus.

Imagine: What would be your manner of life; your state of mind; for you to actually cherish candy wrappers?


THE CONSPIRACY- 

Can you recall the words, as you grew up, from teachers, parents, and friends about how this world offers a great promising future? As you got older you realized it was all garbage. People say they don’t know why there is so much mental illness, opioid addiction, divorce, suicide and school shootings.

You might understand it in the desperation of a third world country but America?  People don’t have ‘candy wrappers’. They have access to everything yet have no happiness.

I have walked the streets of rich countries, preaching the living Jesus, and on college campuses, for over forty years. To find one open soul is a very rare thing. There is no “kenos”. They claim to know all about the Lord but have no clue how to effectively cope with the pressures of this world. Young people are raised in the iniquity of parents who have been conditioned to comply with American values.

A culture of poverty adjusts to the poor and uneducated. It makes room for them. It holds to Catholic values. America has no such adjustment. Get with it, regardless of age, or face the consequences. Parents are nowhere to be found. Teachers have no clue. The politically correct garbage does not discern between social issues and immaturity because of age.

Below David uses his mastery of various genre’s of music to ‘Hip Hop’ and ‘Chill’ out with a song he wrote of reconciliation and forgiveness.

Why did famous people Heath Ledger (Joker in Batman), Kurt Cobain, Avicii, Junior Seau, Chester Bennington, Robin Williams, Chris Farley and so many others, both known and unknowns, kill themselves? They had all that riches offer. But nothing can fill the void for your Creator. No purpose=No happiness. No meaning. Opioids and marriage. Big houses, fancy apartments, nice clothes and parties. Booze and entertainment. But when you get to the top you see something you were not prepared to see; it’s the same empty heart as at the bottom.

Below Ace Abe and my wife  Rachel perform a play about a girl chasing butterflies for happiness and a Prince (on stilts-the amazing Abraham) tells her that she must become a butterfly.

People living in rich nations, especially the young, are abnormally subject to a culture of immense anxiety and pressures, scandal, perversion, internet dominance, media distortion and many other things that do not exist in third world countries. The obsession of parents to focus their children on boyfriend-girlfriend relationships results in catastrophic consequences.

Rejection is ‘nuclear’  to the feelings of an adult. How much more devastating to the ill-prepared and immature? So when children (and they are only children)  face rejection and breakups it begins a wound of mental breakdown. American children face things a child of the same age, in a 3rd world,  will not face until their mid-thirties.

Below Joshua loves the kids as a kid.

It is phenomenal how much children absorb. I remember all the impressions I received as a child. Children become what they are taught. They learn hypocrisy or humility. Imagine a child who learns “kenos”. It does no good for a child to be given false dreams  that at a latter age result in disillusionment and depression. The Word of God offers the reality of a dangerous and sick world, but also, hope and promises fulfilled by faith.

And, lest you think this perspective is that of an isolated religious vagabond, consider  a famous man like Sylvester Stallone, in the movie Rocky:

 “Let me tell you something you already know. The world is not butterflies and rainbows. It’s a cold cruel dirty place. And it doesn’t care how tough you think you are. It will beat you to your knees and keep you there as long as you let it. Not you, not me, not anybody can hit as hard as life. But it’s not about how hard you get it hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. About how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done. “

(Side picture: Abraham, Sarah, Ruth, Shalom, Joshua, and David organized a birthday celebration of games and competition for a juvenile center of orphan young men who will never have a real birthday.)

You only live once. Who are YOU? Don’t take the easy way out my friend. Maybe not today, but the day is coming when you will terribly regret the fruits of lazy pride. Give up and give in to the cross of  Jesus.

TO SELL, BUY AND PAY– The Game of Christianity

We beg you not to play “church”. The Greek word for foreknowledge is “prognosis”. Like a doctor who can tell you the effects of a disease,  the effects of hypocrisy can be ‘foretold’. If you walk the path of hypocrisy it will become “impossible” to change (Matt. 19:23ff).

Today’s false preachers sell a “prosperity gospel”. The naive buy this false image and commodity to claim “I am a Christian. Look and see”.  They each pay the price of their souls. They sell, buy and pay each other a lie, for the lie that agrees with finding a comfortable life in this world. Amidst some 20,000 denominations, they insist they are different than “lost souls”. Yet when confronted with their many contradictions and hypocritical living they are quick to rationalize “Well nobody’s really different or perfect”.

Anything to do with unregulated exposure to awkward situations, with the outside world of sinners, is forbidden. And anyone confronting this lie or living the truth is denounced as a vagabond “accuser”. They ask “Where’s your love?” while they themselves are do nothing, but token ‘works’, to care for others. Christianity is played within the confines of a building they call “the church”. It can be huge or you and one other person.

Have you ever seen a picture of the statue called “The Thinker”? Most statues commemorate a person or historical event. This statue is simply of a man sitting, with his head resting on his hand, with his elbow on his knee. It is obviously commemorating the posture of thinking; the art of contemplation.

I beg you, forget what everybody else around you says for a moment. If God is real would He not want you to think individual thoughts? The conformity of non-thinking to the system of “Christianity” is nothing more than political correctness. Peer pressure.

Please, my friend, don’t waste your life.  Don’t listen to “Christians” who draw their religious sounding babel out of their mental warehouse of excuses based on sermons, cliches and delusion. They don’t care about you. They care that you might expose them as hypocrites. Jesus wouldn’t even be allowed to speak in the “churches” of today. He is not submitted to a “Pastor”, only His Father. He has none of the scholastic credentials or ‘speaker’ qualifications. His preaching is not based on emotional hype or anecdotes of humor but on reality. He does not preach “church” attendance and a sinner’s prayer. He proclaims “Come follow Me“.

Likewise, Paul would be labeled a “rebel”. The “super-apostles” didn’t recognize him.  His rebuke of the “prosperity” teaching and the love of money and comfort would be classified “You’re not being loving”.

Do something novel. Think. Pray. Force your mind to express your heart to a Father Who loves you. Find a place of solitude and force your spirit to expand. I have never seen a car fix itself. Have you? Never seen a refrigerator cut the grass or a computer wash the floor. No machine can do something it was not manufactured to do.  It is a limited machine.

Not so with you and me. We each have the profound potential to change. I remember in college when I first began reading the Scriptures. The idea that God offered to change me was fascinating. He calls it repentance but it means “change of mind” (metanoia).

You will stand alone before God. So think alone now. His true blessing and destiny await one who will pick up his cross of personal accountability to follow Jesus. To care about others hearing the gospel. Jesus says “The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few”.

The apostle Paul writes about the essential need for a man to think for himself. ; to think differently. It is our greatest accountability. It is a stunning reality but the majority merely acquiesce to common thinking.

Today’s modern “Christianity” thinking is an integral part of Satan’s conspiracy against the truth.  One man, calls himself a “preacher’. He projects an image with a rhetoric to sell his version of a “salvation” of trite involvement. It provides a good feeling of smiles and positive lingo about one’s own self as being righteous without one minor thing, the cross.

(Below we get all men to be STILL with Tae Kwon Do posture)

Each person has the free will to believe whatever, or whoever, you want. Nobody will stop you from deception. The witness of my family and I, is to the truth that the promises of the living Jesus, in His Word, produce eternal life and dynamic oneness;  John 17:11. I would be lying if I said otherwise.


My dearest friend, you have no idea how much you have to give and have been given. The Father is waiting to use you. You can see, hear, smell, walk, sing and do things you can’t now imagine. Aside from the most basic provisions of housing, food, transportation etc.  you are offered all the riches and promises in God’s Word. You have no idea how much you can do, and say,  to help someone else. Multitudes are waiting for your candy wrappers.

Sarah and I tried to share the gospel with an older Spanish-speaking couple at the park the other day;  “Good Lutherans”.   It was hard to get a word in; ” We are saved by grace and need not DO anything.” Such thinking is nothing more than silly nonsense.  When I asked if they ever shared the gospel with others they laughed and accused Sarah and I of being a cult and insisted “works” won’t save us. I wonder. Could it ever be about love not doctrine? I get uptight and fail often but I have learned personally so much of how to reside in His “abode” of love (Jn.14:23).

Today people think that to call yourself a Christian means you are one. They assimilate tons of doctrines from sermons. Then they equate sentimental feelings of ‘love’ for Christ, and doing good works, or throwing token money (tithe), here and there, with salvation. Then, when they find themselves confronted by awkward issues, interwoven into the gospel, they find themselves  rationalizing and justifying their disobedience because their house is actually built on sand (Mt.7:21ff). They don’t understand joy because, in reality, they are living by the very thing they oppose “works” for righteousness.  If you live by legalistic feelings of a troubled conscience then you are headed for a “shipwreck” (1 Tim.1:19). Hypocrites use hand-picked doctrines to block out accountability. Nothing worse than to choose hypocrisy over the wonderful ways of freedom in Jesus.

Jesus did not have aliens in His mind when He said: “Go into all the world…preach the gospel”. Yet every “Christian” we talk to insists “Oh, witnessing is not for me. That’s nice for you but don’t put your calling on us”. My name is not in the Bible. They must be waiting for the aliens yet to come to earth to obey God’s Word.  The truth is Jesus calls the most common and the most nothing (1 Cor.1:20ff). Surely a fisherman had no schooling. I have no in-born ability or desire to tell men about Jesus. It’s not  ” my calling”. It’s my choice. It’s the energy from knowing His love. We love because He first love us.  He makes us care.

 

Paraguay had a big race event. Of course, all my guys entered it, including Resilient Rachel,  to both run it and to witness at it. It was spectacular. Some ten thousand people. Everyone did fantastic. Lo and behold our “little” Rachel actually won first place in her category. No little feat (feet) considering she has a stride befitting her petite stature. Sorry, got to brag on our sweetheart mother. Despite all her many burdens she manages to run each day and to give her all the highest call.

It was amazing but Relentless Ruth went up and talked to the man in charge. She told him about us being here in their country and asked if she could say a few words to the large crowd with the microphone. I thought it was in vain. He would never do so.

 

Well, as often times, I was wrong. He gave her the stage and she came through with a beautiful testimony to the living Jesus. She shared about the steel rod in her leg and how she was in a wheelchair. How Jesus raised her up and now she runs in many races. So this testified to

how they can tap His redemptive power and find His healing in all their situations.

As I grew up I saw the lives of three of my brothers end in tragedy; divorce, drugs, and perversion. I did one “little” thing at the age of twenty that led me into this beautiful life. I gave my life to the living Jesus. Your life will either end in the trash heaps of this wicked world or the divine destiny of the living God. You can invest in a life of sacrifice by caring for others with the love of Jesus or live a life of empty existence for yourself. The choice is yours…right now.

 

 

Wired

When you walk the wire, remember Satan is a liar, 
his lies bind you tighter 
so don’t fuel his fire or let his burning conspire 
against the higher calling of your thoughts.
Be a fighter with truth as your attire and the Spirit as your rider.

For the blood is your buyer 
and grace your supplier 
peace the umpire 
and faith the provider 
of the promises of God as your advisors. 
Your desire has already transpired so do not tire,
the saints look on as admirers,
for your foundation is now laid in sapphires.

Elizabeth Shalom

 


SECTION A– Prison life

Have

Over the past ten years, my family and I have worked very hard to penetrate the prisons in South America with the gospel of Jesus. It could never happen in the states but there is a huge harvest throughout the world. As a result of relentless prayer, and such efforts, God opened doors that we never imagined.

I share this to motivate some young sincere man or woman who loves Jesus. People told me I had to have a group support me. Not so. Another nation is only a Hotel and plane reservation away. It is no small endeavor but the rewards of personal fulfillment are enormous. Little did we ever expect what we now know. What we have touched, and been touched by, has changed our lives. We have uncovered a reality, not unlike the concentration camps created by Hitler.

Along with all the innumerable horrors of human suffering; drug addiction, serial killers, abortion, child abuse, human trafficking, etc. being subject to prison is one of the worst tragedies on the face of the earth. As tons of “Christians” get re-saved for the tenth time, or “share a word” with a deluded congregation, who render no true repentance, there are literally millions who would give anything to hear what you have to share. To just have you come and talk to them. To touch their shoulder or hug them.

Try to imagine the severe physical and mental anguish, of living in such hell, moment by moment, with the consciousness of having five, ten, thirty or more years, with not a shred of hope for escape.  then compound them with all the hours, days, weeks, months, years of doing their sentence and nothing but sitting and sleeping in filth and stench.

Below is the art work shop in the biggest prison. It is a very rare provision.

No friends. No contact. No food or nutrition. Slop. No outlet. Nothing to look forward to. No park. No grass. No clean shower or change of clothes. Every view they have is of the exact same walls of hopeless despair. Never an escape. I’ve said these things before in some variation and I will say them many times yet to come because they constantly turn in my mind.


Mighty Mercy brings her fire to all who see her flame. Memories of guilt and regret haunt their minds. They can not run away or hide. Barbed wire reminds them their label is “Dangerous (locked away) Criminal”. The other day I told a group that, in God’s eyes, all men are both criminals and victims. They were not inbred criminals. They spontaneously erupted into applause. That’s how much it is on their minds.

There’s a prison in Paraguay of five thousand men that is like walking into a mental ward. We see things we don’t want our minds to deal with.  If you dare look closely into the eyes of these men absolute devastation and hopelessness. They have abandoned their soul and resorted to animal instincts of survival. They are hanging by a thread of human existence.

Imagine trying to sleep with ten other guys in 90-degree heat and no mattress or air to circulate. Imagine being sick or having a tooth ache or broken bone. Having no hope causes another wave of mental decline. No loving touch. No outside conversations. Some guards treat them worse than animals in a zoo.


Super Sarah works to bring young people out of themselves as she conducts her “Leadership Challenge” at a local Paraguay school.

Then to see these same guys smile at us because of something we say or do. They instantly know our names. They just want to hear us talk to them. When we see them care about us when nobody cares about them. We have received more love from them than anyone we have ever known in the states.

They ask for stuff then apologize when they realize we don’t have stuff because are not supported by anyone and are not rich Americans. Yet some overflow with gratitude and insightful phrases. After studying us as a family this guy told me “You realize Michael that you have built yourself your own private army”.

We asked a guy what he thought of our performance. What could we do better? He said, to be honest, the performance was great. But what was really powerful was your kindness. Your humility in bringing yourselves as a family was most powerful.

Indeed, an army of kenosis love. An army highly skilled in combat compassion. Of “special ops” listeners. We toil constantly with things we could buy to give them but always come to the point that there is nothing greater than the gospel of eternal life. The simple choice to heed Jesus saying “I was in prison and you did not visit Me” (Mt.25:34ff). Now we must do here in Brazil what we have done so many times in so many places all over again all over the world. It is difficult to find an affordable place to live and share the gospel as we travel. It demands a great deal of prayer, leg work, phone, money and computer access to access various entities. So any help would be greatly appreciated. Although we expect none. And if we ever get it we see it as coming from God. Come, Lord Jesus. Hallelujah.

Copyright

All material on this website is protected by copyright. Duplication or theft of photos or content is subject to criminal prossecution. Some names and information regarding places, testimonials, and other content has been altered for privacy purposes while all relevant material has be unaltered.
Teaching, TravelsMay 21, 2018

Candy Wrappers 04.24.18

Our princess Elizabeth wrote this poem. She is a warrior poet. Also she is our resident ballerina.

When you walk the wire, remember Satan is a liar, 
his lies bind you tighter 
so don’t fuel his fire or let his burning conspire 
against the higher calling of your thoughts.
Be a fighter with truth as your attire and the Spirit as your rider. 
For the blood is your buyer 
and grace your supplier 
peace the umpire 
and faith the provider 
of the promises of God as your advisors. 
Your desire has already transpired so do not tire,
the saints look on as admirers,
for  your foundation is now laid in sapphires.


Joshua and David created this caricature to depict  Freewill as a Comic Book Super Hero. It can drive us beyond all the struggles we face. Three cheers for an act that has proven extremely effective.


Someone recently told me that they love the photos on this web site. So I think I over did it. I got a little carried away. Hope you can enjoy them. Can’t say that we don’t love what God has give us to do. My family and I have been in Paraguay for the last few months. God has opened doors that we never imagined. The authorities  welcomed us into schools, orphanages, prisons and even city events.

The Holy Spirit of the living Jesus has led us into amazing opportunities to share His gospel; “Praise You Oh Father”. They even invited us to share Jesus for an entire hour in their national independence day event which was covered by nation wide television. Their colors are also red, white and blue.

Paraguay is a nation saturated with the effects of a history of tyranny, communism and dictatorship. The oppression and extreme poverty determines, and is fully recognized,  as causing incompetence at all aspects of society and has plundered this country into  attitudes of destitution.  We have probably learned more about compassion in our experiences here than in many other longer periods in various other countries.

The gospel was created to reach into such suffering with beautiful outcome if one is willing to learn the ways of the cross.

We may never be rich, or have great talent, but anyone, at anytime, in any place, can own great wealth by the choice to yield to the cross. The world looks down on a broken man, but I have learned how the cross is the only way to truly experience the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor.1:18).

God says His child is not a coward but has power, love and discipline (2 Tim.1:7).  It really doesn’t matter what we claim.  It is what we do, with what we have, that shows the world who we are (Mt.6:21).


It is not from  human motives that we are willing to bear the hardships and suffering for Jesus Christ. It is Jesus living in us. When we die He can move through us. Sometimes a guy will write who seems open. Then, after I share about the cross, he quickly fades away. He does not understand the power God offers in it.

The key to understand the cross is in this Scripture “By His wounds (scourging, stripes)  we are healed” (Is.53:5/1 Cor.1:18).

You see my friend, it is called in Greek “kenos”-to be made empty.  (This is salvation: True humility is death to self; ultimate ’empathy’). God emptied Himself of Himself as the ultimate example of love to us. His ‘humility’ resulted in our salvation. He emptied Himself, of His Himself in order to love us as one of us (Phil.2:7). He absolutely identified with everything about us.

It is the mystery of His mercy. And it works!  It goes like this. All that matters; Faith cancels out the puzzles in the mind. Faith is bought by nothing (Rm.4:17-18).  So anyone can get it. And grace is free. So anyone can have it. You just believe and receive. And if this truly happens Christ comes within you.   Salvation is the Father implanting of the Son as the seed within us ( Gal.3:16). It is the condescension of God into our exact misery (Jn.1:18/Ps.18:35).

The photos depict a wide range of people. Prisons hold every walk of life. Every man is different.

Paul was in step with how Jesus enters the lives of all men. No prejudice. Any place a wicked man goes, God goes.  God does not deal with men according to their sinful ways but according to His profound compassion (2 Cor.5:19).

In one photo we are in a catholic church. In other we are amongst men of all religions. We may be amongst obvious hypocrites, while in another gang-bangers. Our ‘haters’ say that such diversity exposes our compromise; “You associate with catholics, protestants, gang members, cults and atheists as if you agree with them”.

Paul says “I become all things to all men to win one”  (1 Cor. 9:19ff).  Jesus does not limit His love. In fact, there could be nothing more “compromising” than for a holy God to come into the nature of a sinful man.  Thus is the mercy of the New Testament in contrast to the ten commandments of the Old Testament. Hypocrites don’t know how to be with sinners (or laugh with them) because forefront in their minds is “My righteousness”. To walk in the freedom of the Spirit demands we die to our self-righteousness. Paul became like any man so that, possibly, in some way, he could reach that man.

My son, Abraham, often tells men the key to knowing Jesus is not saying “Ya.I know all that already”. Rather three words to God; “I don’t know”. The humility of ‘kenos’ is like a huge castle with tons of rooms to discover and everyone is rich with revelation. In a bizarre twist of realities, Jesus completely surrendered Himself to men to apply their ‘tools of their trade’; wickedness, to His very Person. He chose to fully subject Himself to whatever men wanted to do to Him (Mt.20:28). He knew what it would be.  Yet He continued.

Like an astronaut in outer space who is detached from his tether line, Jesus detached Himself from His divinity to join Himself to our humanity (Phil.2:9). While He ‘floated’ in moments of utter darkness; “My God, My God why have You forsaken Me”, Jesus was working to provide the healing love to our grave wounds.

Jesus displayed, on the world stage of the cross, the utter wickedness of man. Then, as His second ‘act’ manifested the ultimate love and power in resurrection victory. I confess. I believe.  I live an ongoing testimony to the resurrection of the living Jesus, a magnificent mystery (Col.1:27,2:2). Jesus walks this earth today…in us….and all who serve HIm.

Little did men know, way back then, that by killing Jesus, they were killing their own greatest enemy; sin. In man’s worst event in human history, God was achieving His greatest event in human history.

In a way of speaking, the Father compressed His divine glory, into a human posture. In the womb of Mary, God impregnated a sinful nature with divine power (the incarnation). Then…Bam…33 years later, sin exploded and was forever destroyed. Jesus rose from the dead. This seed is now in me. A hammer and nails failed to kill the One Who reclaimed His divine glory. He was seen for Who He is; God.

“He who knew no sin became sin so that we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor.5:21).

Wow. Big time stuff. Dancing, laughing and singing kind of stuff. We do not bring a dead and boring Jesus to men. Jesus  went to the lowest sector of humanity to bring us to the highest sector of glory. This is awesome stuff. It generates creative intelligence and hope. In working with “criminals” we proclaim “The Criminal” Who “despised” the punishment but now reigns  as  Judge. Jesus became the ultimate… “prodigal son” Who danced His way back to His Father (Lk.15/Heb.12:1).

Failure and redemption are my ways. Jesus bore all my wounds, while He was in prison, in scouring, and on the cross. He entered the place where each of us is ashamed to admit and afraid to go. And it is here, in the heart of sin, where Jesus inserted Himself, to demonstrate the power of God (Mt.20:28). Although just a man, Jesus believed His Father would raise Him out of this human predicament. And as author of such  faith the Father gave Him the Name above all Names and demonstrated the power above all powers; the resurrection (Phil.2:9). We now have access to this faith.

So many prisoners tell me the same experience that I myself know; i.e. the mind toils away at night, at times, as if caught up in a cyclone of destructive thoughts. Loneliness feels like it’s eating a hole in your soul. Sometimes sadness is imbedded in our every feeling. These are the precise wounds of being human.

Inescapable feelings of pain can conjure up terrible fears. As if some alien being of sorrow as infiltrated our body and is hiding somewhere behind our bones.  This is the monster of sin. I must not listen to it’s echoes of death reverberating in the chambers of my brain. I must believe Jesus bore this exact thing and live by faith. At these moments, I believe that He was here, all alone, on the cross, in this darkness. As Paul writes I “fellowship with Him” in these sufferings, of the cross (Phil.3:10).  I await the power of His victorious Character. Thus, I am healed of these wounds through identification and His participation.

In one prison we had shared with men for about three hours. Sometimes  just don’t know if they’re “getting it”.  After we finished, the prison Director walked with us out to our van. “My jaw is on the ground” he said. I don’t know how to explain what I just saw.” An unbeliever  saw the amazing mercy and “kenos” of a ‘humble’ God towards men. It was not a family or a ministry. This is King Jesus.


In every prison, we face men, with whom we are at a loss for how to reach. Their living conditions are despicable, both physically and in their souls (Read Section A at the end of this article). But the blood of Jesus runs threw our veins as we are carry the heartbeat of God.

This past Friday, the 18 of May, we drove six hours into the middle of nowhere. I was literally stunned to see the faces, all look the same, as the men came walking into the gathering from their individual cell blocks. It was like an episode of ‘The Twilight Zone’. A sci-fi movie scene where each face was molded into an exact same look of agony. Like we had landed on a distant planet, far from anything we had planned for.

We were there four hours. We could only beg God to help us reach them. Today we learned of the outcome. A very beautiful thing. The Director, after our visit, changed his web sight profile, from his individual picture, to a picture of him with our family. It is the ultimate compliment.


Todays “Christians”  talk about the cross as a vague impractical doctrine. As if it is a mental gymnastics for “salvation”.  Jesus never diminishes His work to a prayer; “Pray a sinner’s prayer to ‘accept Me as Savior”.  He calls us to obedience and a new life. The cross is “the power of God” (1 Cor.1:18). It starts with a humility that kills your greatest enemy; the ego.  But Jesus would never say things that lead to grief. So when He says “Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Me” (Mt.16:24) it is a call to abundant life, not of this world (Jn.10:10). You simply don’t understand, or don’t want to.

No  lasting victory over sin, can be had without  detachment of yourself from yourself. The cross does this. No, it is not complex. If you yield, like a caterpillar, He will bring forth a butterfly. Read the book “Hope For The Flowers”. God used this book to simplify and edify the glory of the cross to me.

Long after Jesus died, Paul says “I have been crucified with Christ…” (Gal.2:20). The apostle Paul explains the cross as a contemporary ‘living’ experience. He says every Christian, to be a Christian, must be “united” with Jesus in His death (Rm.6:6). This one simple decision renders the promise; “By His stripes we are healed”. Paul says “that I may know…the fellowship with His sufferings being conformed to his death in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead….” (Phil. 3:10-11). Re-attach your tether line to the living promises of the Word of God.

 

There is real power in true  faith. Not personal morality. Faith is the only power offered to us by which we can actually access divine life; the free gift of salvation.  Every problem; physical, spiritual, emotional, mental, circumstantial involves sin. So by Jesus “becoming sin” and exploding it, He established “the place”; “the way, the truth and the life” experience of exploding it, for us to enter in order to conquer it (Jn.14:2,6).

This is the excitement in preaching the gospel. We feel so unworthy. We have something to take to men greater than material happiness. This world draws men with an ‘eye candy’ of happiness. One time we were preaching on the quad of Colorado State University. A marine recruiter was offering pamphlets to draw young men. I asked him “Do you tell these guys any stories from Walter Reed Hospital? If a package of cigarettes is required by law to warn of cancer how much more so should a job with death and life-altering injuries as a possible end?

They say “Be All You Can Be”, then something they incur does just opposite. It takes away their ability to be what they could have become. They offer PTSD counseling, because a handicap, a divorce or thoughts of suicide leave them wounded the rest of their lives.

Bank on it.  Everyone has no one. And no one has any one… to love them. Don’t buy the ‘eye candy’. Everyone knows that they have no one. Regardless of image.  God says ‘All men moan like doves…growl like bears (‘Is.59). No matter how many people you ‘know’, you know, that no one knows you. It is  heart-wrenching. But it IS solvable through the supernatural work of the cross. No matter if you are a banker or a bum walking on Wall Street,  true repentance,  is the only thing that offers you a promising future.

Jesus says  ‘God so loved the world that He gave…ME’ (Jn.3:16).  He knew ‘what’ He was and all His Father had to offer and it made Him ecstatic. Master Jesus came as a poor man, to the poor, with poorness of heart (kenos), to conquer the poorness of the world (Mt.5:3).

In His thoughts, beyond the cross,  Jesus anticipated He would find poor individuals to whom He would reveal His viable and profound joy and save men from hell. And man, was Jesus excited when He found such a person (Jn.4:32/Lk.7:9/Mt.15:21).

Contrary to the lies of fat-cat “prosperity” preachers, His “mission statement” is focused on the poor and suffering, not the rich and comfortable (Isaiah 61). The gospel is the provision of the enormous blessing of healing to the wounds of sin, not with material “blessings”, but spiritual revelation (Eph.1:3ff). A heart crammed full of materialism and comfort has no place to find faith in the invisible comforts of God (Mt. 6:24/Mk.10:25/1 Tim.6:10).

People who realize they are overwhelmed by inescapable ‘hell’, both outside and inside,  have the divine opportunity to see God in their “kenos”; emptying themselves.  Such circumstances yield the genre of God. God did, can and does heal the “incurable” wound but it is only when we yield to His kenos (Jer. 10:19,15:18,30:12-15,17:9).

We tell people “I want to show you something you can not see… to prove to you it exists”. This is our heart in our demonstration of preaching the living Jesus and all His rich promises.


Long ago, when we were walking the streets, next to a volcano, in a village in Central America, my daughters were playing with some children. I remember praying “Lord please use such beautiful women to their fullest”. Today I see His fulfillment far beyond anything I could have imagined. They are intimately involved with multitudes of children.

Below ‘Gentle Josh’ helps his mother calm her anxiety and introduce her to sing her heart to ‘children’ disguised as prisoners.

The cycle of desperation breeds children of such poverty with tragic stories. We stop some from ending up in prison. It takes courage just to face their wounds.  In going to so many schools, as we do, it is a profound privilege to realize the impact a willing person can make upon another little human life. When you see their hearts it makes us wonder “What was the actual real tone in the voice of Jesus when He says ‘Let the children come to Me'” (Mt.18)? Could it have been in a depth of sadness from seeing their poverty and desperation of their condition?

They live in a state of panic because they are raised with the unbridled instinct for survival. Imagine growing up in, and slowly putting two and two together, to realize you have a life of absolute desperation.

They are wounded at an early age by feelings of desperation and abandonment. They realize if they want to eat they must do something. If they have no parents what are they to do? Some impersonal guardians are looking any opportunity to escape their responsibility.

We have tried to distribute food and are overtaken by heart-breaking desperation.Two little boys were at a stop light. Hugging and playing with each other in the intersection, as if displaying some circus act.  One of them made the sign of the cross as he hurriedly ran up to cars hoping for a hand out. They got nothing. They huddled back and tried again, and again. While ministering in a prison here, the other day, I asked some men what they were going to do when they were released. They explained  “working the intercessions”.

The cardboard neighborhoods are without number. The individual stories of murder, family tragedy, drug abuse and unimaginable suffering pile up in our minds. We think we can just hear them, comfort the people and keep working. But somehow they penetrate our hearts in ways we do not realize. It’s unbearable.


So sometimes we find ourselves so troubled and depleted.  At the same time it is marvelous because it makes me wonder “Wow. This alone is proof of God; to make a selfish man like me care about total strangers.”

When the Scriptures say that He “bore” our sin we don’t realize it means as a real man 24/7 while He walked the earth.  He was afflicted by the constant bombardment of immense suffering all around Him, constantly pressing upon Him.

CANDY WRAPPERS

My son Joshua received two pictures on his phone from an inmate in a very remote prison we visited. They were of left-over  wrappers from candy and popcorn we distributed in our time there.  This guy, we’ll call John, owns nothing. But, he would never say “nothing”.  Because in his cell he has two candy-wrappers he protects like gold coins. When he holds them he thinks of far more. You see, the candy wrappers hold back the dark forces of despair pressing upon his mind and sustain him with a memory that calms his anxiety.

They represent three young women, Ruth, Beth and Sarah, and a family who “came from God” one morning in mid-March. The girls distributed, tracts, candy and popcorn down the rows of chairs set up in the prison courtyard. They stopped to greet him personally. They didn’t condemn him but rather treated him like a long lost friend.

Something like this had never happened to John, over the past seven years he had been in prison.  So the candy wrappers held the ‘magic’ of these real memories. They help to balance the memories of deep regret that put him here. He remembers how Ruth placed the candy in his hand and Beth  touched his shoulder. He often touches his shoulder and remembers what he felt like. Sarah actually paused to give him a place to talk. John knows that this experience will never happen again.

Below Joshua is working in one of the oh so many cardboard neighborhoods that fill Paraguay.

The man was hit in the head with axe, by a gang of thieves. He was left for dead, and for blame, at a crime scene, of which he had nothing to do. Of course no one believes him. He asked Joshua if he could call his eighty year old mother and talk to her. After Joshua did so, the man texted back that hearing the happiness in his mothers voice was like a miracle. It made him read the Scriptures that Joshua had been sharing. The awful sounds of crying prisoners, in the background, and the stench in his nose, fades for the duration he can maintain the memory. So John tells us how he imagines the program is starting over again…and again…and again.  It was the time he was given something, other than hatred; hope, love and access to the words of Jesus.

Imagine: What would be your manner of  life; your state of mind; for you to actually cherish candy wrappers?


THE CONSPIRACY- Can you recall the words, as you grew up, from teachers, parents and friends about how this world offers a great promising future? As you got older you realized it was all garbage. People say they don’t know why there is so much mental illness, opioid addiction, divorce, suicide and school shootings.

You might understand it in the desperation of a third world country but America?  People don’t have ‘candy wrappers’. They have access to everything yet have no happiness.

I have walked the streets of rich countries, preaching the living Jesus, and on college campuses, for over forty years. To find one open soul is a very rare thing. There is no “kenos”. They claim to know all about the Lord but have no clue how to effectively cope with the pressures of this world. Young people are raised in the iniquity of parents who have been conditioned to comply with American values.

A culture of poverty adjusts to the poor and uneducated. It makes room for them. It holds to catholic values. America has no such adjustment. Get with it, regardless of age, or face the consequences. Parents are no where to be found. Teachers have no clue. The politically correct garbage does not discern between social issues and immaturity because of age.

Why did famous people Heath Ledger (Joker in Batman), Kurt Cobain, Avicii, Junior Seau, Chester Bennington, Robin Williams, Chris Farley and so many others, both known and unknowns, kill themselves? They had all that riches offer. But nothing can fill the void for your Creator. No purpose=No happiness. No meaning. Opioids and marriage. Big houses, fancy apartments, nice clothes and parties. Booze and entertainment. But when you get to the top you see something you were not prepared to see; it’s the same empty heart as at the bottom.

Below Abraham and Rachel perform a play about a girl chasing butterflies for happiness and a Prince (on stilts-the amazing Abraham) tells her that she must become a butterfly.

People living in rich nations, especially the young, are abnormally subject to a culture of immense anxiety and pressures, scandal, perversion, internet dominance, media distortion and many other things that do not exist in third world countries. The obsession of parents to focus their children on boyfriend-girlfriend relationships results in catastrophic consequences.

Rejection is nuclear destruction to the feelings of an adult, how much more devastating to the ill-prepared and immature? So when children (and they are only children)  face rejection and breakups it begins a wound of mental breakdown. American children face things a child of the same age, in a 3rd world,  will not face until their mid-thirties.
Consequently, young people are full of excuses, rebellion and accusations as a result of the iniquity of their parents. These “christians” know it all. “Don’t tell me. Been there done that. I’m doing IT in my own way. Accepted christ years ago.”

It is the delusion resulting from self-consumption in rebellion to the cross.  They can’t be taught a thing. Not an ounce of kenos humility. My family and I know the evil things people say about us, and as Jesus would, we respond “Father forgive them…”.

And, lest you think this perspective is that of an isolated religious vagabond, consider  a famous man like Sylvester Stallone, in the movie Rocky:

 “Let me tell you something you already know. The world is not butterflies and rainbows. It’s a cold cruel dirty place. And it don’t care how tough you think you are. It will beat you to your knees and keep you there as long as you let it. Not you, not me, not anybody can hit as hard as life. But it’s not about how hard you get it hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. About how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done. “

(Side picture: Abraham, Sarah, Ruth, Shalom, Joshua and David organized a birthday celebration of games and competition for juvenile center of orphan young men who will never have a real birthday.)

You only live once. Who are YOU? Don’t take the easy way out my friend. Maybe not today, but the day is coming when you will terribly regret it. Give up and give in to the cross of  Jesus.

TO SELL, BUY AND PAY– The Game of Christianity

We beg you not to play “church”. The word for foreknowledge in greek is “prognosis”. Like a doctor who knows well the effects of a disease, we can foretell to you the effects of hypocrisy. Once you grow beyond a certain time, it is becomes “impossible” to change (Matt. 19:23ff).

Today’s modern “Christianity” thinking is an intergal part of Satan’s conspiracy against the truth.  One man, calls himself a “preacher’. He projects an image with a rhetoric to sell his version of  a “salvation” of trite involvement. It provides a good feeling of smiles and positive lingo about one’s own self as being righteous without one minor thing, the cross.

The naive buy this image and commodity of “salvation” to claim “I am a Christian. Look and see”.  They each pay each other a lie, for the lie each agrees to accept. Amidst their 20,000 denominations they insist they are different than “lost souls”. Yet when confronted with their many contradictions and hypocritical living they are quick to rationalize “Well nobody’s really different or perfect”.

Anything to do with unregulated exposure to awkward situations, with the outside world of sinners, is forbidden. And anyone confronting this lie or living the truth is denounced as a vagabond “accuser”. They ask “Where’s your love?” while they themselves are do nothing, but token ‘works’, to care for others. Christianity is played within the confines of a building they call “the church”. It can be huge or you and one other person.

You can choose to believe whatever, or whoever, you want, but the witness of my family and I, is to the truth that the promises of the living Jesus, in His Word, produce dynamic oneness;  John 17:11. I would be lying if I said otherwise.  Don’t listen to the lazy cowards. Become alive.


My dearest friend, you have no idea how much you have to give and have been given. The Father is waiting to use you. You can see, hear, smell, walk, sing and do things you can’t now imagine. Aside from the most basic provisions of housing, food, transportation etc.  you are offered all the riches and promises in God’s Word. You have no idea how much you can do, and say,  to help someone else. Multitudes are waiting for your candy wrappers.

I tried to share the gospel with an older Spanish-speaking couple at the park the other day;  “Good Lutherans”.   It was hard to get a word in; ” We are saved by grace and need not DO anything.” Such thinking is nothing more than silly nonsense.  When I asked if they ever shared the gospel with others they accused Sarah and I of being a cult and insisted that “works” won’t save us. I wondered if they ever thought of one word… LOVE.

Could caring about others trump doctrine? Today’s “Christians” use Bible verses to block out accountability to love men. People think that to call yourself a Christian means you are one. They equate sentimental feelings of love for Christ, and good works, or throwing token money, ‘tithe’, here and there, with salvation. Not quite (Mt.7:21).

I guess Jesus must have had aliens in His mind, when He said “Go into all the world…” because every “Christian” I talk to says “Oh, THAT is not for me. Don’t put your calling on us”. The aliens are yet to come to earth to obey God’s Word.  The truth is Jesus calls the most common and the most nothing (1 Cor.1:20ff). Surely a fisherman had no schooling. I had no in-born ability or desire to tell men about Jesus. It’s not some big complicated “calling”. It’s just the outcome of energy from knowing His love. We are the most simple and share Jesus in all walks of life because He makes us care.

 

Paraguay recently had a big race event. Of course, all my guys entered it, including Rachel,  to both run it and to witness at it. It was spectacular. Some forty thousand people. Everyone did fantastic. Lo and behold our “little” Rachel actually won her category. No little feat (feet) considering she has a stride befitting her petite stature. Sorry, got to brag on our sweetheart mother.

It was amazing but Ruth went up and talked to the man in charge. She told him about us being here in their country and asked if she could say a few words to the large crowd with the microphone. I thought it was in vain. He would never do so.

 

Well, as often times, I was wrong. He gave her the stage and she came through with a beautiful testimony to the living Jesus. She shared about the steel rod in her leg and how she was in a wheel chair. How Jesus raised her up and now she runs in many races. So this testified to  how they can tap His redemptive power and find His healing in all their situations.

As I grew up I saw the lives of three of my brothers end in tragedy; divorce, drugs and perversion. I did one “little” thing at the age of twenty that led me into this beautiful life. I gave may life to the living Jesus. Your life will either end in the trash heaps of this wicked world or the divine destiny of the living God. You can invest in a life of sacrifice by caring for others with the love of Jesus or live a life of empty existence for yourself. The choice is yours…right now.

These streets were made for dancing, 
these hands for those that are grasping,
these gifts for those who are lacking.
This love for the hearts that are cracking,
these seeds for the ground of planting,
these answers for those who asking.
This light was lit for the unmasking,
so their burdens they might start casting,
to make their eyes start laughing,
their courage to be long lasting.
Because Jesus is the dead man standing,
and this life is the life everlasting.

-Elizabeth

 

SECTION A– Prison life

Have you ever seen a picture of the statue called “The Thinker”? Most statues commemorate a person or historical event. This statue is simply of a man sitting, with his head resting on his hand, with his elbow on his knee. It is obviously commemorating the posture of thinking; the art of contemplation.

I beg you, forget what everybody else around you says for a moment. If God is real would He not want you to think individual thought? The conformity of non-thinking to the system of “Christianity” is nothing more than political correctness. Peer pressure.

Stop waisting your life.  Stop looking to “Christians” who draw their religious sounding babel out of their mental warehouse of excuses based on sermons, cliche’s and delusion. Jesus wouldn’t even be allowed to speak in the “churches” of today because He is not submitted to a “Pastor” (only His Father). He has none of the scholastic credentials or ‘speaker’ qualifications. He has attended no seminars or schools. He does not preach “church” attendance and a sinner’s prayer. He proclaims relationship with His Father.

Likewise, Paul would be labeled a “rebel”. The “super apostles” didn’t recognize him.  His rebuke of the “prosperity” teaching and the love of money and comfort would be classified “You’re not being loving”.

Do something novel. Think for yourself. I have never seen a car fix itself. Have you? Never seen a refrigerator cut the grass or a computer wash the floor. No machine can do something it was not manufactured to do.  It is a limited machine.

Not so with you and me. We each have the profound potential to change. I remember in college when I first began reading the Scriptures. The idea that God offered to change me was fascinating. He calls it repentance but it means “change of mind” (metanoia).

You will stand alone before God. So think alone now. His true blessing and destiny awaits one who will pick up his cross of personal accountability to follow Jesus. To care about others hearing the gospel. Jesus says “The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few”.

The apostle Paul writes about the essential need for a man to think for himself. ; to think differently. It is our greatest accountability. It is a stunning reality but the majority merely acquiesce to common thinking.

Over the past ten years my family and I have worked very hard to penetrate the prisons in South America with the gospel of Jesus. It could never happen in the states but there is a huge harvest throughout the world. As a result of relentless prayer, and such efforts, God opened doors that we never imagined.

I share this to motivate some young sincere man or woman who loves Jesus. It is no small endeavor but the rewards of personal fulfillment are enormous. Little did we ever expect what we now know. What we have touched, and been touched by, has changed our lives.. We have  uncovered a reality not unlike the concentration camps created by Hitler.

Along with all the innumerable horrors of human suffering; drug addiction, serial killers, abortion, child abuse, human trafficking, etc. being subject to prison is one of the worst tragedies on the face of the earth. As tons of “Christians” get re-saved for the tenth time, or “share a word” with a deluded congregation, who render no true repentance, there are literally millions who would give anything to hear what you have to share. To just have you come and talk to them. To touch their should or hug them.

Try to imagine the severe physical and mental anguish, of living in such hell, moment by moment, with the consciousness of having five, ten, thirty or more years, with not a shred of hope for escape.  then compound them with all the hours, days, weeks, months, years of doing their sentence and nothing but sitting and sleeping in filth and stench.

Below is the art work shop in the biggest prison in Brazil.


No friends. No contact. No food or nutrition. Slop. No outlet. Nothing to look forward to. No park. No grass. No clean shower or change of clothes. Every view they have is of the exact same walls of hopeless despair. Never an escape. I’ve said these things before in some variation and I will say them many times yet to come because they constantly turn in my mind.

Memories of guilt and regret haunt their minds. They can not run away or hide. Barbed wire reminds them their label is “Dangerous (locked away) Criminal”. The other day I told a group that, in God’s eyes, all men are both criminals and victims. They were not inbred criminals. They spontaneously erupted into applause. That’s how much it is on their minds.

There’s a prison in Paraguay of five thousand men that is like walking into a mental ward. You see things you don’t want your mind to see. If you dare look closely into the eyes of these men absolute devastation and hopelessness. They have abandoned their soul and resorted to animal instincts of survival. They are hanging by a thread of human existence.

Imagine trying to sleep with ten other guys in 90 degree heat and no mattress or air to circulate. Imagine being sick or having a tooth ache or broken bone. Having no hope causes another wave of mental decline. No loving touch. No outside conversations. The guards treat them worse than animals in a zoo.


Above Sarah works to bring young people out of themselves as she conducts her “Leadership Challenge” at a local Paraguay school.

Then to see these same guys smile at us because of something we say or do. They instantly know our names. They just want to hear us talk to them. When we see them care about us when nobody cares about them. We have received more love from them than anyone we have ever known in the states.

They ask for stuff then apologize when they realize we don’t have stuff because are not supported by anyone and are not rich Americans. Yet some overflow with gratitude and insightful phrases. After studying us as a family this guy told me “You realize Michael that you have built yourself your own private army”.

We asked a guy what he thought of our performance. What could we do better? He said to be honest the performance was great. But what was really powerful was your kindness. Your humility in bringing yourselves as a family was most powerful.

We are not phonies. No fake smiles. No enhanced photos. No ‘Look at how good and righteous we are”.

Indeed, an army of lovers. An army highly skilled in combat compassion. Of “special ops” listeners. We toil constantly with things we could buy to give them but always come to the point that there is nothing greater than the gospel of eternal life. The simple choice to heed Jesus saying “I was in prison and you did not visit Me” (Mt.25:34ff).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Text

 

 

Copyright

All material on this website is protected by copyright. Duplication or theft of photos or content is subject to criminal prossecution. Some names and information regarding places, testimonials, and other content has been altered for privacy purposes while all relevant material has be unaltered.
Teaching, TravelsJanuary 27, 2018

One Drop 01.27.18

I am writing to someone who realizes they don’t have it “all together”. At times you feel like, just below the ‘happy’ surface, is an undefined grief. Unguarded moments totter on the verge of depression.  Such pain can get the best of you and without realizing it influence your life. Mere thoughts can cause failure, dysfunction, and desperation. I know this from experience.

 I am writing to my suffering-brethren throughout the world who know the cold, dark caves of loneliness and the pain of falling into, and getting caught in, the deep crevasses of life. Of doing things you regret, of thinking thoughts you never thought, or having feelings that seem to draw you where you don’t want to go.

The truth is, all men hide such thoughts and feelings. But they deny it and never dream of sharing it. Why? Because of the ‘something’ that lives within each of us called self-pride; image. It won’t let you be totally honest. We are surrounded by a wicked world that breaks us but then rejects us for being broken.

Well, my friend, despite what ‘they’ say, a broken heart is not a weird or a bad thing. Jesus came for the broken. He was broken to death. He rose out of the tomb to become an Expert at turning death into a beautiful life (Mt.5/Jn.12:25/Is.61).

I am not offering some weird psychoanalysis. I’m saying that when Jesus promises “the truth will set you free”, He means it for the deepest aspects of our life. Such a short well-known phrase contains one word we all desire; freedom, and one that makes us apprehensive; truth. But freedom can only come from truth.

A while back I gained weight due being laid up from some head and back issues. But recently, I finally lost 25 pounds.  At first, I hated the scale. It was my enemy. I hid from its truth because it depressed me. Then I realized the truth was not my enemy but my necessity to get beyond who I was to become who I wanted to be. I had to stop saying “I don’t feel that bad”. I had to weigh myself.  We don’t need to fear the truth because God is for you, not against you. He is not a self-righteous “preacher” Who winks at our self-strength. His power is realized in our lowest moments (1 Cor.1:26, 2 Cor.12:9).

God is a deeply compassionate Father Who, not only knows our weakness but, yearns to comfort those who draw near to His truth. There are real answers to the most difficult struggles. It is human nature to view hard times with a macho attitude. But God looks to the contrite (Is.57:15).  He promises to give such men “life abundantly” (Jn.10:10). There is a third avenue beyond “I’m fine” and “I’m losing it”. It starts with a contrite attitude; “Maybe I don’t know everything about You, God. Maybe I could learn”. It involves not going to others but directly interacting with the One Who sees our hidden motives.

“There was a moment…..when I was all alone out there in the ‘dark’…

I felt….nothing.

Everything and everyone I ever knew or loved… suddenly was nothing.

I was all alone.

My life was paper…

and I thought…

and concluded….. nothing mattered.

Then I beheld the sky and the ocean so alive.

And I wondered

“Could I ever be so alive?”

Could I ever know such symmetry and meaning?”

And I contemplated “Could God be? Could He really be?”

I defied cynicism and cried

“Could You care about me?” 

I made a decision to believe… 

 the story of a Father…

Who sacrificed His Son to death…

to draw me into His love.

If everything was nothing that had I to lose?

And I woke up.

And it was as though I disappeared from the world of paper. 

I became alive… in another world.

  Then I spoke to my fears and said ‘Oh darkness, oh loneliness…. oh ya, ya… so what?”.

I am alive

to love… 

to show others

Jesus lives

Before…  I hated phonies. But I was one. I hated being ignored. Yet, I ignored everyone. I hated men who hurt others. But I hurt so many. I despised the arrogance of men but saw it in me. I mocked others to feel superior. But was crushed when I was mocked as inferior. I was hostile and angry at those who irritated me and this irritated me. When I lived in the dark I felt nothing. I just didn’t care. I was haunted by my own existence; burdened by my own contradictions. But as I hid in the castle of my ego, I found no will to defend its walls. So I surrendered to faith and it led me to truth in Him. 

I found the courage to admit the truth about myself… to myself. After all, who knows you… like you? You are your only chance to find you. I had to hate myself to find myself, lo and behold, this ‘crazy’ talk is the will of God (Jn.12:25, Rom.3:10).

Our journey through time can take us into a maze of unexpected twists and turns. Things happen to us that we never imagined. We come to realize that the ‘oomph’ we once had, to keep us going in a previous period of life, is just not enough to sustain us in the different stage that we now face. Every day demands more than the one before. Where do we turn? How do we turn? As strange as it all might seem, my friend, you are not alone, even in your aloneness. He waits to help you make the right move.

My son David here on the streets of Brazil with one of our graffiti signs designed to reach the many gangs that exist here. (The sign says; Dude, please, think – You are not garbage –  You are loved – Jesus was killed for us- He shed his blood for you).

People on the street have said “You have a beautiful wife and children. How can you say that you suffer loneliness?” Family can be great but it can also be overrated. Never could my wife or children give me the comfort I need. They do not supply my identity. Never could anyone understand my deepest conflicts. King David said ‘Being with You, I desire nothing (no one) on earth…there is no good besides Thee’ (Ps.73:25/16:2). No matter how much family members may “care”, the stark reality is, no human being owns the love to solve our dilemma of total depravity. Do you know what this term means? It is a theological term I came to learn and love while in seminary. At the bottom or this blog, I explain in depth what this really means. It is a bit heavy, but it is very helpful if you have not read it elsewhere on my blog.

It’s kind of obvious, hey? What’s amazing, is the more I understand the Biblical exposé on my depravity, the greater becomes the joy of my salvation. God says “…no one does good (love)…each one has gone his own way” (Is.53:6 /Rm.3:10ff). We are “sick” with self-obsession (Jer.17:9). We are smitten by an incurable “wound” (Jer.15:18,30:12 ). No one but God can comfort a man in the wound of human loneliness. Because we are not a mere body of blood, guts and bones. We have a soul. Made by God, we cry for His Presence and reconciliation.

I don’t know how people make it. Because the reality is, both family and friends can hurt you and even turn on you. They can look at you in the face, saying how much they care about you, then totally ignore you when you need them the most. They never give you what you hope for and let you down more often than not. Why do millions commit suicide, space out on drugs or depend on booze to comfort their pain? Self-awareness, apart from God, is scarily creepy. You think “Man, am I whacked. What the hell is wrong with me? I’m sure glad people don’t know this about me”. Well, guess what? People may not, but God does. Isn’t He a bit more important? You think it is your personality. It is not. Good news. God knew how depraved you and I were before we were even born, and He absolutely dealt with it (Rm.5).

People are terrified by the thought of being alone because they are afraid to face what they really are; bad memories, emotional depression, guilt, sadness, failure, etc.  I fully understand. I had no idea how to live the promises of Jesus while dealing with sin; myself. So after graduating from college, I made a decision to leave my girlfriend, beloved mother, who was dying from cancer, close friends and everything familiar, to travel three thousand miles to Fuller Seminary, in Pasadena, California.  Jesus says “My sheep hear My voice”.  I knew I could not honestly say I did. So I concluded that I needed to get all alone to learn what this meant.

I figured I had my whole life ahead of me. If I didn’t do it now, I may never do so. I feared the entanglement of the world could deprive my life of something God might have for me. Soon after I arrived at Fuller I got a job as a librarian. Weeks and months went by and I didn’t hear from those back in Michigan who said they loved me. I felt abandoned. I slowly realized how much they gave me identity and were my driving force to live. As someone who claimed to love Jesus, I felt this exposed my lack of divine relationship.

One night, after my work-shift in the library, I unlocked my bicycle and started my ride back to my apartment. Suddenly, I was overtaken by fear. I was emersed in thoughts of loneliness and despair. I got off my bike and just stood there, searching to stabilize myself. That huge empty parking lot depicted the desolation I felt within. Mental anguish got the best of me. How could I live with no one?  My heart crumbled under the weight of such a burden.  I was terrified to be all alone.

No one wants to be alone. Isolation is a form of suffering.  It is used to punish prisoners in solitary confinement. One of the most common reactions to being all alone is the common insistence  “Oh, I’m not alone. I have friends and family. I know that people love me. That’s what ‘church’ is all about”.  You may be surrounded by nice, warm, smiling people. But if you are honest you know the sense of feeling all alone despite them all. They have no idea who you really are. And you know it.  The truth is you can’t fathom an identity apart from them. But you don’t know what to do. God is not screaming at you. He says “Take my hand and let us walk” (Is.42:6).

Beneath all my Christian theology was a human nature I did not know how to deal with. Would I have to spend my whole life controlled by it, live in constant guilt and fake an abstract forgiveness millions of times? I could not escape it or make it “better”. I had to face that I was scared and wicked. It humiliated me. It broke me. I was a liar, a coward, a fool, a pig, arrogant and self-righteous. Paul said “I AM…the worst of all sinners” (1Tim.1:15). Present tense.

I heard no audible voice. No signs or visions. What came to me was “while we were yet sinners…Christ died for the ungodly…lo, I am with you always” (Rom.5:8/Mt.28:20). Either God’s Word is true or it is a lie. Either He gives new life or I am stuck with mine.

Jesus…walked… all alone;… made the decision to; leave His parents, call each disciple, rebuke the hypocrites, went fishing, help the poor, heal a leper, raise the dead… all alone; He was arrested one night… all alone; thrown into prison… all alone. Taken out in the morning by soldiers and tied to post…all alone. In each stripe, no one could offer Him comfort. Jesus was scourged… all alone; carried the cross to Calvary… each agonizing step… all alone. Jesus… hung… all alone. Pierced and mocked…all alone.

His all aloneness is waiting to come to you. His suffering can come to you in yours. Such a small thing He asks, to come to Him all alone.

I chose to believe He was with me in my aloneness. Beyond my carnal hope for some “extraterrestrial” comfort, came the hope that, if I obeyed the call to faith, I would find a hope beyond my hope. The Scriptures prophecy “with hope against hope” Abraham found faith (Rm.4:18). I began to understand the Word of God IS God’s Voice. God calls us to obey. There is no other way. In the dark, cold vacuum of our sinful “existentialism”,  we must wake up, get up and walk. I am so alive. He leaves it to us to obey in order to experience divine life.  It is a decision of pure worship.

I gathered myself, got on my bike, and….well…. here I am, 40 years later, writing of it to you today.

My wife Rachel and I portraying the phenomenal transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly. Jn.3:3

Jesus identified with our most terrible experiences. Obedience proves whether we believe Him in them. Jesus never called a group to salvation. He called individuals, one by one, face to face. Every single encounter in the New Testament is between Jesus and an individual. Paul says each of us will stand all alone before Him on the day of judgment (2 Cor. 5:10). So, if we will stand alone then, why be afraid to get all alone now? Faith is the only thing that will get you beyond yourself.

The immense pain Adam felt when he was severed from God in the Garden of Eden is part and parcel of us today. People are insistent of the necessity of a “church” because they are ignorant to the driving force of their own Adam-nature.  They seek others to satisfy feelings of loneliness and identity. It’ll never happen. Neither church nor marriage can heal the enormous wound our separation for God.  When a man is willing to stand all alone before the living Jesus, His Presence cures this incurable wound. You finally realize “I am Yours”. A man is freed from the bondage of seeking the passing comfort of people.

Elizabeth worked several jobs over the last two years to get back here to Brazil to help these prisoners. She shares a beautiful reality of how despite being alone in the soil, a tree can grow even behind bars.

The truth is if you are willing to be all alone…before God… you will never be alone. The moment you turn to Jesus, you pop up on the Father’s radar. You DO matter…. to the Father. You matter so much He sent Jesus to DO something you need done for you because you could never do it yourself. Jesus substituted Himself so that you could be released out of the dungeon of self-obsession; SIN.

“…Awake sleeper, arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you” (Ephesians 5:14).

Imagine a courtroom situation where a depraved criminal is being sentenced to death. Suddenly a “stranger”  steps forward to claim the guilt and bear the penalty. The criminal is aghast. What depth of gratitude would you see? Of course, this could only happen in one lifetime. What about a “stranger” bearing the penalty for the crimes of 10, 50, 100 or a thousand or a million vicious criminals; for a time period over 50, a 100 or a thousand years?  Jesus bore every ounce of our depravity.

This ‘stranger’ yearns to become your Brother, because He lives today.  For it was one drop of His sinless blood that covered the crimes of a trillion souls. One tiny drop of perfect blood satisfied the demand for pure holy Character of “the Holy of Holies”. All His righteous demand for justice and punishment is appeased in that one drop; never to be found in any other man. Jesus came to earth to give His entire gallon and a half. It’s called Atonement, Propitiation, Substitution and Redemption.

Forgiveness is not dependent on moral consistency. It was ‘manufactured’ and accomplished through the death and resurrection of Jesus “once and for all”. It is impartially reckoned to anyone who is repentant. Repentance doesn’t mean you will never sin again. It means you will never again doubt His forgiveness. Forgiveness is not contingent upon righteous thoughts or moral behavior but upon the historical event in time and space by the Son of God. Forgiveness is not called Tentativeness or Subjectivity.

Forgiveness is not like an unfaithful marriage partner who flees the spouse upon seeing unexpected evil. Forgiveness does not come and go. It is anchored as a lighthouse embedded in rock that beacons it’s light in our most severe storm.  Even if a ship fades from it’s view the light beacons all the same.

Picture the sprocket on a fast moving bicycle as the free will spinning in the vicious cycle of sin and propelling you in a wrong direction. You don’t have to slam on the brakes with a melodramatic “Mia Culpa”. The issue is not that you locked on to a wrong gear. What matters is that in every moment God is offering the freedom to switch gears, believe the cross and redirect your path. It’s not trite or lawless. It is faith.

True forgiveness is accompanied by clear facial recognition. There is a light. There is a lifting. Eternal life dawns upon the eyes. It is not the general smile men put on to appear nice. True happiness is the divine implosion of “nuclear” cleansing. Final. Resolved. It is finished. I am so forgiven it as though I have never sinned (1 Jn.3:9). It is a treasure in an earthen vessel

Some reject the absolute necessity of getting all alone. Others cannot fathom an existence apart from an identity with their “church”. Paul warns “when people measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding (2 Corinthians 10:12). Listening to others is like using a dictionary that has been doctored with false definitions. It is written to build a conspiracy of self-comfort. The tragedy is no one will stop you, not even God. It’s up to you to wake up. It’s your life. Don’t allow the things, job or people to get you caught up and miss your opportunity to become whom you can be in Christ.

My daughter Ruth at an orphanage during Christmas time.

I was a running back in High School. One time I overslept the departure of a bus for a football night-game. I was awakened by a  furious coach on the other end of a phone call. I have never since been so terrified by simply oversleeping. I was hyperventilating as I raced my car to the bus. I overslept because I had piled down two of my mom’s delicious gigantic ham sandwiches.  I played that game in a fog, got a concussion and fumbled the ball on the ten-yard line. It made us lose the game.

Oversleeping your life has far worse consequences. Yesterday I was 17 yrs. old. Today I am 65. Moments tick by so rapidly. The ‘game’ is on. The Father is not screaming at you on the other end of the line. You may sleep past the clock many times but His forgiveness and redemption wait for you to awaken just one time in faith. He is tender, patient and kind.  His yoke is easy. His burden light. He knows it is easy to oversleep in life.  From the womb to the tomb we are under the enormous pressure to prove ourselves. We are on the clock in a merciless world ruled by Satan (1 Jn.5:19/Jn.12:31/Mt.4:9 ).

The “bus is waiting for you”. Certain times arise in life that God arranges so He show you His love. Reading this right now can be this moment. Seize this opportunity.  Get out of bed. Instead of cynicism, self-pity or unbelief, respond with a different response. Don’t settle for instincts of Adam’s lazy tendencies.  Break the paradigm of human nature.

One time when I was a kid I found an old relic pistol behind a gas station. When one of my friends saw it he said: “Hey man, where did you find that?”.  Such a response made it clear that I really did find SOMETHING.  It was a setting where issues of rarity and personal discovery were the result of an obvious individual search. This is the precise context of facing who you are all alone and finding faith in Jesus.

An old pagan, named Abraham, was the first one to “find”  faith (Heb.11:8ff/Rm.4:1). Abraham was all alone. When you stand all alone before God it is up to you to find faith. Find something no one else has. Find courage. Find heart. Find love. The result is enormous blessing from God. Abraham authored the hope beyond human hope.  Faith is found in the setting of total obscurity. It sprouts in a desert; “a root out of parched ground”(Is.53:2). Abraham had to hope against everything that made sense and hope in a hope that made no sense.

Go someplace all alone where you can really think. No one else is around. It is on an open path surrounded by hills of grass and forest. It is warm. The sky is full of perfectly intermingled variations of grey and black clouds, to compose a majestic but yet sad sense of deep solitude. A subtle thunder bounces between the clouds and echoes across the distant skies. A subtle mist of rain sprinkles the air. Be alone. All alone. Fear not. He is by your side. Here’s your chance.  Talk to Jesus. Find  faith.  Let Him redeem your broken life. 

My family and I have been working for the last few months here in Brazil. So much corruption. The people are so oppressed. Next week we will go up to Rio De Janeiro for a week at Mardi Gras. Millions and millions searching to find an escape from the misery hiding within. They don’t know. They don’t understand.  It is very rewarding to work in the many prisons, city streets, orphanages, etc. Countless stories of the gospel changing people.

My daughter Sarah engaging a little orphan in a “Favela” during a Christmas time event for three hundred children. David was Santa Claus. Talk about a funny, young-faced and skinny Santa. Just looking at him was hilarious.

The other day we got a message from a gang leader in a prison we just went to. He was a bank robber who used a machine gun to rob banks. One day he killed a man who was attacking his sister. We watched God change this man from absolute hopelessness and near suicide to gratitude for beginning to understand the gospel. He said he was getting out this year. We found out he had forty years to go. Many men tell themselves this because it is unbearable.

God has given us an open door into the prisons throughout the country. It is remarkable. Of all the places we could be in the world we are sitting in a “harvest field” of lost souls. When some people find out that we also work in prisons they say “Why do you help them? They get what they deserve”. Obviously, these people do not understand forgiveness.

Often it is necessary to drive 3-4 hours into the country to reach the more remote prisons. Many gravel and dirt roads. Can you say… forgotten.

Prisons here are like a House of Horrors which renders them a daily life of relentless punishment.  Jesus says as we treat prisoners, so we treat Him (Mt.25:45/Heb.13:3). I praise the Father, that in every single prison we have ever been in, we have seen His mercy move upon men. Every single time I hear those steel gates open and close, and walk on, down the cold dark hallways, I marvel over where we are.

 

I only share this in a hope that someone might read this, who has the means and cares about others.

We are all alone with Him, to reach those, who are all alone without Him.

May you open your heart to His love for you.

This is a small group of guys in a local prison we’ve been able to have ongoing contact with who are getting released soon.

Foot Note Explaining our Nature of Sin:

The Father was devastated by the tragedy in the Garden of Eden. He gave man a free will and man chose evil, over God.  Adam forever defiled our human nature with the insanity of sin and inexplicable rebellion. It’s you, who doesn’t understand how wicked you are, not God. You think you’re a pretty good person because you’ve seen yourself do some “good works” and, well…”Look at that God. Pretty impressive, hey?”. No. Not at all. God sees the pride and denial of what He has revealed about you and all mankind; “There is not one who is good… all have become corrupt” (Rm.3:10/Is.59: 2ff ).

I’d like to ask anyone who has a problem with this “Why?”. Why in the world, would you have a problem admitting how wicked you are? It stares you in the face. Truth can be easy. It’s so productive. It’s so comforting. It’s so freeing. Sin is the conflict of evil inside our “Adam” nature. No, it’s not schizophrenia. It’s the Biblical truth of having a sinful human nature and God offering a divine nature (Rm.7:16ff /2 Pt.1:4 ). Sin is lodged within our mind. It is the eerie sense that something evil is hiding in the room but you can’t put your finger on it. You don’t know the real you.

Satan plays men like a poker champion. Long ago, he inlaid this world with a “society”; jobs, thinking and goals easily within man’s ability to grasp and accomplish (Mt.4:8-9/Jn.12:31,14:30). So man can easily feel “I am good. I am productive” by just doing stuff. In reality, it is all utter vanity and exists for its sole purpose to subvert man from God. So the Father has to break through everything you think is of value to establish an entirely new reality (Rm.12:2).

People say this is crazy and “Christians” try to soften the blow of being a ‘sinner’ in a world that fully belongs to Satan (1 Jn.5:19).  They become victims of fat-cat preachers who have no clue to reality. I am not saying this out of ‘attitude’. I heard and saw, first hand, the backstage scheming while in the largest seminary in the world. ‘Blind leaders of the blind’ (Mt.15:14 ). They reduce the magnificence of the Person and work of Jesus, and His salvation, to a cheap “sinner’s prayer” because they themselves are ignorant of Satan and sin. So “Christians” remain in bondage to sin while claiming to be saved.  They live by a carnal and impotent understanding of “forgiveness”. Jesus spoke the most severely to the most religious (Matthew 23).

My son Abraham sharing with prisoners how to “escape” the inner prison of guilt and turmoil in Christ.

Look, I know this stuff is heavy, but this is the truth that will set you free. It is the principal of the Adam nature within us. It will get you beyond what you think is yourself (Phil.2:12).  If we truly want to see God’s greatness we must accept our depravity. My friend, because of this nature of sin, our humanity has the capability to kill a thousand people and walk away with a smile. There are thousands of examples of the atrocities throughout history that expose man’s depravity. Our sin killed the Son of God. It is everything evil under the sun. Satan doesn’t want to ‘scare the hell out of us’. He wants to exploit this hell he put within us. He wants to arouse our hidden monster, then leave us to die in it. Satan wants to make you think hopelessness is your destiny but it does not have to be.

Sin is not you and you are not it. God wants to teach you to deal with it, as though it were a mechanical problem with your car. It’s called objectivity. It’s called discernment (Heb.4:12/2 Cor.2:11ff).  I’ve talked to so many war veterans, prisoners, and victims of divorce or drugs. They have absolutely no clue what they are dealing with. Sin ‘gets away murder’ because no one identifies it as such. There is no more offensive word in the human language than the word “sinner”.

People find a strange comfort in self-pity.  They say “God could never forgive me” as if their sin gives them an exclusive identity apart from what God has already declared about all men. Jesus bore everything evil in every one of us on the cross. Paul says “I do the very things I hate” ( Rm. 7:20). Therefore man does not go to hell for the outlandishness of some sin but for unbelief in Jesus, that His death cannot cover every sin. There is no greater sin than to shun forgiveness in deference to self-pride (Jn.16:8).

This view from our porch, the city here often floods because of the extreme tropical rains.

Copyright

All material on this website is protected by copyright. Duplication or theft of photos or content is subject to criminal prossecution. Some names and information regarding places, testimonials, and other content has been altered for privacy purposes while all relevant material has be unaltered.
Teaching, TravelsSeptember 28, 2017

Having Concluded 09.23.17

We were at the University of Utah for the eclipse. Really good. In Cincinnati where we were preaching at the second largest Octoberfest in the world. Just amazing ministry. So much suffering. So many lost souls. So many people from all walks of life, young and old, coming up to us. So many stories of pain. So thankful to be there to bridge the gap with reconciliation and touch their pain with His love and hope.

 

 

At the Detroit Lions football game, and often in many places, sharing the gospel is just very tough grunt work of standing for hours and sharing with sometimes only a few. Sex, drugs and rock n roll can’t heal the soul. They can’t patch the wounds or fears. No eternal substance. No invisible Messiah. They offer no Father’s hand to hold. No shoulder upon which to lean. All this sounds so obvious but why then do millions from around the country and world flock to a beer festival? No matter how much they drink, no answers are found in this “holy” beverage. Of course, it does cause worse problems. Abraham and Ruth also had an amazing witness in Dayton, Ohio which is the opioid capital of the U.S.

 

 

 

Paul says “For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this that One died for all therefore, all diedso that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him…”(2 Cor. 5:14ff). Why is this so hard to “conclude”? Pride. Stinking old smelly pride. We think we are something. The Father loves us enough to break us so we can see that we are nothing. There is not one iota of our flesh that is any different than any wicked man. Christ does not make one cell in our body “better”. But no matter how much He loves us in such ways He always leaves it up to us to choose our response.

Have you ever stopped to realize life on this earth is absolutely meaningless? Have you “concluded”, yet that you are “worthless” (Rm.3.12)? From a doctor, lawyer or president, every walk of life and accomplishment means nothing in light of eternity. The world calls many very wicked men heroes because they do some good act. In light of eternity, no matter how “good” the act, it means nothing. It’s great that people help people but it won’t get anyone to heaven. If good works could get a man to heaven, Jesus would never have had to come to earth and suffer torture. All that matters is the gospel of Jesus because this is eternal.

I have “concluded” that I am nothing. I will never be liked, popular or well known. I fully accept I will never have any friends or home or medical or financial security. Just won’t happen. I have “concluded”, none of it is worth the effort to achieve. I am weak, tired, and frail. But I can talk about Jesus, carry a sign, and walk. I am worthless; because I was born this way.

I fully understand people’s rejection and accusations. I don’t blame them one bit. I love them. I accept that I contradict everything this world says is acceptable. I have, and am, absolutely nothing in this world. I represent nothing people want, because who wants nothing? I will never have a respected “ministry” or be asked to speak somewhere. Everything I do, and everywhere I go, is up to me.

No, this is not some self-pity “Poor me”, rant. Actually, it is my greatest joy. Paul says he boasts only in the cross, and in his weakness (2Cor.12:5/Gal.6:14).  No schedule, no identity, no respect, no life… but eternal life (Jn.12:25). How God longs for a son who would be willing to learn to be led by His Spirit rather than the dictates of this world.  I could never have imagined the living Jesus. All these things, and many, many more, have brought me to “conclude” that the only thing that matters, is “that I might no longer live for myself but for Him”. The only thing I can do that matters, is to bring eternal life to someone else.

 

You’d think such a confession would be that of some very miserable and depressed dude. Quite the opposite. Having nothing, in Christ, means having everything, because He is all in all. His comfort is immeasurable. In my saddest hours, He is there. In my most lonely times, Jesus loves me. His love has met me, in countless times, and places where I have given up. Where my mind is torn, He holds me in His arms. I love the Lord because He hears my prayers. When the ego is smashed Christ is unleashed. Brokenness is such a treasure. It just makes so much sense, that this is the one thing that God does NOT despise (Psalms 51:17). I am a broken and dead man and I love Him so.

How do we find the Father’s care and love? How do we learn to love complete strangers, when we ourselves are subject, like all men, to a nature of laziness and selfishness? These two issues are the very essence of the two commandments Jesus says to sum up salvation: to love God with everything and to love your neighbor as yourself (Lk.10:27). Wow. But how? This is no little demand. Impossible, in fact.

 

 

Ya, I know, it’s so easy to grumble and complain, against the Lord, that He just doesn’t help you. Day after day, then it turns into year after year, “God, where are You. Why don’t you help me?”. I don’t mean to be insensitive, “spiritual” or to put an undo burden on anyone. Please, my friend, don’t read this like it’s just me, beating the same old drum. I’m no “expert” on these things, I just know they work. Don’t you see this is God’s love? This is not one of many.  There is only one answer to all the struggles we face in our sinful nature; loneliness, unbelief, guilt, lust, pride, regret, depression, grief, past sin, etc. One answer; the cross.You must come to realize what it means.

Jesus repeatedly says a man must die (Mt.16:24/Mk.8:34/Lk.9:23/Jn.12:25). Paul writes over and over, continually in his letters (Phil.3:10/Rm.8:17/Col.3:3/2 Tim.2:11) and a whole chapter in Romans 6 to clearly state that death to self is salvation; IF we are united with Him in death we shall know His life. This is the answer guys. This is the resolution to all your struggles and prayers. Just “reckon” all your garbage dead with Christ 2000 years ago.  God’s Solution is right in front of your nose in His Word. Don’t look away (Jn.3:14). Don’t assume you already “did it”. Start with a mustard seed of faith. You have no idea the reward that awaits you.

There is only one thing that makes it “difficult” for you. It is the degree to which pride controls you. You think you know better. You don’t. It’s not like you have to go through a physical crucifixion. Reach deep. Give in. What do you “conclude”?  It doesn’t start out with trying to prove how much you love God, but rather believing how much He loves you, that He won’t leave you stranded (1 Jn.4:10/Rm.5:8). He will meet you where you’re at. Do something different. Find a new response within your heart. Find the stillness of your individual spirit. Nobody will know. It’s between you and the God Whom you will stand alone before. To die to self is not a herculean self-work. Just the opposite.

In a sense, it is doing nothing, because this is all that a dead man can do. It is admitting the full scope of your nothingness. It is worthy of death. What does it mean to really believe this like Abraham (Rm.4)?

The lies Satan has to launch against us are far more destructive than the US arsenal of nuclear weapons, and more numerous than the books in the Library of Congress. “Day and night”. He is relentless and peppers our mind with reasons not to trust Jesus (Rev.12:10, 1Pt.5:8). This is why Paul says he takes “every” thought captive (2 Cor.10:3-5). It is not a warfare that ceases or fades. It is full of failure but also faith that Jesus says forgiveness is “70 x 7” (Mt.18:22) . At times the warfare is moment by moment until you grow into a larger scope of resolution. Just think of how you would feel if you could clearly see Satan speaking to you.

 

 

 

I want to walk gently and circumspectly. I know that everything matters, in regards to how I think, because it determines my future. So I must walk absolutely contrite (Micah 6:8, Ps.517). When you hunt a deer, you must use stealth. Every step you take can determine what happens. One foot breaking a branch or crackling leaves will spook the deer. Thus it is with learning to become a son and to master yourself.  The Lord will teach you to discern between soul (self), and the Spirit (Heb.4:12). Our heart is more deceitful than anything in the world (Jer.17:9). Paul says he is aware of every thought that comes into his mind because our very selves, our body of pride and mind of sin, conspire to rob and destroy us.

No matter how much you search for an answer, it always comes down to the degree you know the Father’s love for you.

How do all the particulars (atonement, mercy, forgiveness, faith, grace, understanding, etc.) of His love, wrapped up in the work of Jesus, now come to us today? Surely you already know “God is Love”, and will heartily agree with this concept. But does this practically change your life? Do you realize what an enemy you are of the cross? How do you deal with it? In lawlessness or proud self-righteousness? How about neither? Paul says our goal in life, is to “being rooted and grounded in love to be able to comprehend …the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge…” (Eph. 3:17ff). He loves you no matter what, but requires you to be broken to experience His love. Unless your pride (sin)  is broken, you will never how to die with Christ.

 

 

 

Imagine if you could instantly counter Satan’s lies with truth because you were so grounded in knowing the Father’s love. If you are not rooted and grounded in love, you will never be able to build and expand upon an understanding of the Father’s love for you. Imagine being so disciplined as to have your impulses trained, not to react out of the flesh, but to respond in the Spirit.

I have no air valve that I fill with God’s love. No pill. No button. There is no way, other than to choose to initiate dying to self. This is love. Sorry, guys. No little prayer. Obedience. It is tough at times, but the joy from obedience is a fountain of life. The cross is not a matter of abstract theory. It is seen and proven in time and space. It was real. It is real. Paul proved it “I have been crucified….” (Gal.2:20) . There is just no other way to live, than to die.

 

The disciples were no brain surgeons. The concept of dying to self is as common to all men as breathing. Coaches, athletes, businessmen, politicians all talk of “dying to self”; “I’m dead to you”, “I died to that”. I have heard many football coaches talk of how they had to die to family times, in order to prepare for a game of fame (a bit warped). Rich men get rich because they know well how to deny themselves. They “deny themselves” constantly to ‘make a buck’.

Sorry. No excuses. Everybody understands death. Death is death. It’s the utter end. No more place to live. Denying yourself is denying yourself. In the blink of an eye, you can die. Stop. End. No more. Of course, if you don’t have real access to Christ, it’s pointless. Sure, you’re going to fail and rebel, but you “conclude” and resolve you don’t want to initiate a life for yourself, but for Jesus. It is faith that separates the decision of dying WITH CHRIST from the pagan dying to self to live for self.

 

 

We are preparing to go back to work in the prisons in Brazil in two months. The transition of tracts and signs from Spanish to Portuguese is no small work. But the image of those men suffering is etched in our hearts and minds, and propels us on. We are very excited. Seeing the power of God’s love is the other side of dying to self. It is the reward. The things we have seen are just beyond amazing. To actually change lives into eternal life is the greatest joy God offers. Jesus said the same (Jn.4).

 

We have faced great danger in facing prison gangs, but love is so profound. Sarah did pick up a 3rd world bacteria last time we were there, from which she has been suffering quite seriously for many months. And Ruth also bears a tough time walking due to the steel rod in her leg. I too have been dealing with something weird in my head that causes vertigo and sometimes, I stop breathing in my sleep. Maybe due to a lot of brain trauma over the years.But nothing compared to the multitudes suffering from so many things, all alone.

 

 

We are so grateful that God enabled us to continue to minister effectively even while working full-time, most of the time working two or three jobs, by taking time off here and there. We were able to reach throughout Asia on an extended trip to China, Japan, South Korea and the Philippines all for the first time. We reached hundreds of thousands in Seoul’s largest gathering ever, the largest street crossing in the world in Japan and some horrible prisons in Manila and even touched Shanghai. We also reached many events here in the States, including about 5-7 million when the Cubs won the Series, events in Texas and Seattle, many universities across the country as well as the Presidential Inauguration.

 

IMG_8230

 

If we can be of help to anyone in anyway, please feel free to contact us. We also have a new music CD and a beautiful new track, if anyone would like, just ask, and we will send them to you freely. God bless any person who reads this. He loves you so much.

“Come Lord Jesus. We await. Mount your white horse.”

Copyright

All material on this website is protected by copyright. Duplication or theft of photos or content is subject to criminal prossecution. Some names and information regarding places, testimonials, and other content has been altered for privacy purposes while all relevant material has be unaltered.
Teaching, TravelsMay 05, 2016

Dying To Live 5.6.16

the-woroniecki-family

 

UPDATE

Most people stay away from God because they think He demands something they simply cannot see themselves wanting or being able to do.  I appeal to you. Look further. Come closer. Don’t be afraid. If He created you out of divine love then surely His plan for you is beyond anything you can imagine. You can’t allow all the Christian delusion that exists everywhere today to keep you from truth. The systems of men do not reflect the Person of the living Jesus.  Understanding does not come by a comprehension of Christian doctrine.

Like Peter, I too was afraid to face Jesus, one on One, because, as  Peter said “I am a sinful man” (Lk. 5:8). As if Jesus cannot relate to sin. Peter knew he could not give Jesus “a good person”. How can a wicked man go ‘toe to toe’ with a holy God?  A guy named Abraham was the “father” of faith. God chose this 100 yr. old pagan to reveal the ‘grand exploit’ He demands is not moral aptitude.

Rather God made clear through Abe, for all the world to see, that what He desires is something anyone can do (Rm.4:1).  God demands a transparent heart. Abraham said to God “I am but dust and ashes” (Gen.18:27). He felt  himself to be “as good as dead” (Rm.4:19).  He appealed to God out of the only place he knew;  “his innermost being” (Ps.51:6).  In this world of mega-pressure to conform to an image and meet worldly standards such simple reality can be either a distant and vague “someday” adventure or a simple choice that begins right now. 

Peter, like Abraham, knew that his sin had rendered him a complete failure in the eyes of a holy God. Truth was his only hope.  Unlike the standard of hypocrisy today a true relationship with God is not born out of a surface claim. It can only be truly appropriated in the collapse of self-confidence, where a man is laid bare and vulnerable, so as to come to grips with Jesus, on the cross in His, and in his,  innermost being.

Think about it. God has created trillions of people. Each person is completely unique.  So what happened between the point of His creation and the multitudes of the world all united as one in rebellion to God? Simple.  SIN. It severed all of us from God and left us ignorant and stupid to wallow in our pride groping for acceptance by others. They call it peer pressure or political correctness. Are you really willing to spend eternity in hell  for the gratification of this life?

You and I face a choice. It is the same choice trillions face in their time on earth. Don’t take this lightly. This moment will determine your eternity in heaven or in hell.

God demonstrated, through Abraham, that it is not exclusivity that causes a man to choose to believe God while others do not. It is a free individual choice to believe God while others choose not to. Abrahamic faith is not the “faith” of  modern society. It is not to ‘wish upon a star’ or Christian presumption. Abrahamic faith is born out of the deep composition of a man’s will  to surrender to the work of Jesus on the cross.  

The “cross” is not a symbolic reference to Christian sentiment from the past. It is not a cerebral but personal BREAKING with ego. It is the living revelation solely able to expose and shatter the deep-seated rebellion in all us (1 Cor.1:18). Contemplation of the multi-faceted ramifications of the cross brings one to the most important choice of one’s life; death or self-pride. Hidden beneath this monster, we call pretense, are catastrophic consequences that must be confronted. The Bible reveals that Abraham’s recognition of absolute inadequacy was a choice of self-failure and the birth place of the divine substance called faith (Rm.4/Heb.11)

I remember a time in High School when I received a D grade on a subject. To me, it was like an A+ because I was terrified of an F grade. Getting an F meant I flunked and I wouldn’t be eligible to play college football. There’s just something so demeaning about getting an F. I was thrilled that my lame efforts got me a D grade. No other letter grade is equated with a word except for  F ailure.

Our pride refuses to think of ourselves as a complete failure. However, in regards to the truth which God requires to know Him, the worst thing we can do is to pretend to be, or know something, that is based on false pretense (Jn.6:29). It means that we are living a lie. When your test comes right down to totally giving up on the subject called “ME”, at the last minute, you made some half-hearted effort to insist “I’m not “that bad”. I am not a sinful failure.

So many “Christians” of today are like D students fighting against that F. They know they fall short of God’s holy standards but sulk in the lie of self-pity, that they just can’t do what God requires. They fear the stigma of an F. They don’t want to be laid bare and exposed for what they truly are. So they strive to pretend they are something they are not.  If only they realized the beauty of an F. F stands for Failure. F is for Freedom. F is for Faith and the Father.  In truth, the “grand exploit” that God demands is to believe Him despite everything you think.

“Humble yourselves….Casting all your anxiety…upon Him because He cares for you…” (1 Pt.5:6).

 

ruth-mercy-woroniecki

 

 THE SCARED HEART

To find the profound healing from agape love one must start by fully recognizing his complete inability and failure in everything he is, he has done and strives yet to be and do. I tell you the truth. If you can get this, it is the “formula” for ultimate fulfillment. To be laid bare and desperate before God, in your “innermost being”, is both the end and the beginning of true victory.  It is only by the Spirit of the living Jesus, in the moment of here and now, that we find Him and His redemptive purpose.  Recently, my family and I were setting up our equipment in the center of a prison courtyard in southern Brazil. It was full of some three hundred desperate men with looks on their faces like “Who do you people think you are, coming into our prison, assuming we want you here?!”.

Never, throughout my life, could I ever have imagined one day being sent by God into 3rd world prisons. There is no credential that prepares anyone for this. It is not a skill to be learned. None of my 20 years of schooling taught me how to bring compassion to hopeless men.

As I realized the hostility of the prisoners around me, my mind was frozen with thoughts of fear. What words could a nobody Polish ‘kid’ find, from the west side of Grand Rapids, Michigan, who was  arrested the night of his High School graduation, for a bar room brawl? Such a predicament exposes who you are deep inside. Fear, desperation, and inadequacy define me as a failure. I don’t care like I should. I have not the answers they so desperately need. What do you say to  cold-hearted gangs in their world of prison?

Jesus was in prison. He sat with others yet so alone.  He was consumed with excruciating injustice and physical pain. His mouth caught the taste of blood flowing down from the thorns that punctured His skull. He suffered more than any man. It was at this terrifying hour that Jesus revealed the astounding reality of what was inside His true identity.

On the cross, Jesus thought He was a complete failure. He Who knew no sin became sin. He became all our failure and knew failure like no man. Jesus cried out, for all the public to hear, an outrageous question for the Son of God to ask…

“My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?” ( Mt.27:46/Mk.14:36/Lk.23:46).

“Shhhh. Jesus! Don’t you know? Unbelievers will hear Your unbelief?!”

At that moment, Jesus became the ultimate failure. He was crushed by the fear that He had ‘missed God’. What if everything He did was in vain? How could His loving Father allow Him to incur such excruciating suffering? Such were His fears. Not a shred of presumption. He was laid bare as any man.

 

Jesus-crying-for-Father-michael-woroniecki-blog

 

In His whisper that followed “Father into Your Hands I commit My spirit,” He let us see His heart as a Son dying, so we could live. He believed beyond His failure to His Father.  He refused to quit on faith in God. He took on sin without sinning.

To His last breath, Jesus was utterly reliant upon the Father. 

At that moment, His heart was torn in two, as Jesus bore the epitome of everything evil we despise in ourselves, and in others. It was a one time act in all of human history. Jesus became the sacrificed Lamb and the atonement that provided forgiveness for the trillions of men His Father created (2 Cor.5:21). In that horrendous moment of fear and despair, the Father had to look away. It was this very moment which left all the trillions without excuse, because Jesus provided everything God demands. He was the Mediator between sinful men and a perfect God. F is for Final salvation.

Jesus revealed that the essence of our fulfillment can only be born again out of complete failure (Rm. 4:19/Jn.3:7). 

If Jesus had not shouted those words, I would never know that fear and unbelief is part and parcel of my daily identity before the Father. His “failure” in death is the bridge for a sinner to access the Father. Paul says “I have been crucified with Christ…” (Gal.2:20). True hope can only be found in true death. Resurrection life is an uncommon divine entity. It can only thrive as death clears away the hostilities of natural ways (Jn.12:25). 

It is written “For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh” (2 Cor.4:10ff).

On THE EDGE

 

Barbed-Wire

 

Many prisoners are in their early twenties. They know and see their life as one huge failure. They face the reality of living out the rest of their lives in this one filthy prison of barbed wire walls, cement beds and eight to ten other guys in one cell. Isolated, alone and living in a body ravaged by drugs, despair and unimaginable regret. I know you can say “Oh that’s terrible”. But I ask you to try to really imagine what this must be like. It is the way to cultivate real compassion.

For 24 hours a day, one thought burns in their mind “How could I have lived the way I did? Surely, God has forsaken me”.  Every one of us is tormented by some variation of these same exact feelings.  We don’t realize that Jesus Himself felt everything inside us. This precious 33 yr. old Carpenter was there with you, and in you,  while bleeding to death 2000 yrs. ago, as a result of His own choice. He had, and has, superpowers. One of which is a personal love beyond all the wonders of the universe.  We hide things for which we could be arrested. He forgives; F is for Forgiveness. One wrong impulse or urge may destroy your life. He redeems. The cross is the historical proof and validation of a compassion for all prisoners of sin.

Who will dare access His power manifested on a cross (1 Cor.1:18) ?

A cliff jumper stands on the edge of a mountain ridge. He looks over all the danger but knows his will has brought him to this point.  Think he’s scared? You bet. But this is what he wants and what he has chosen to do. He faces death but has made his calculations. Every jump is a choice. Of course you’re afraid to take that leap of faith. But life is ticking away and death offers no second chance.

I, like you, must make an individual choice to believe God. No matter how I tried to relate to these prisoners, nothing was getting through. I was standing on the edge facing extreme hostile silence.  Have I travelled thousands of miles, spent thousands of dollars to proclaim God’s mystery only to have common thoughts hinder me on the edge? Do I risk their eternity to maintain my life? Is my goal to appear as a success, for my sake, or a failure for theirs? We have a response we say when people say “Nobody cares”. We say “You’re right. Jesus was ‘Nobody’ to the world”.

When you are a kid, you bank on your parents coming to your rescue. I’m no kid. ‘Nobody’ was coming. We’re talking about a prison, so remote and depraved, only hell has not forgotten it.   It makes the prisons in the states seem like a Holiday Inn.

Was I scared? Not really. Not as you might think.

”“The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom…Fear Him Who can cast body and soul into hell”

(Pr.1:9/Lk.12:5). I know myself. So I fear myself.

I choose to ‘leap’ beyond myself into the winds of the cross. A transparent son has no face to save or together-sounding language to espouse. I am a failure like all men and this is what they must see to “see” Jesus. They must see my scar. These are part of the trillions of souls Jesus yearns to save.

It is in this nothingness, of the cross,  that I find the freedom of new life.  I choose to believe God will open my parachute. I take the leap of faith with these men, to be as transparent and loving as I know to be. No pretense or conjured up image. Jesus says take no thought for what you will say because He will come at the last second (Lk.12:12). When we are dead, He lives.

 

david-woroniecki

 

As a father, having to lead six children and a wife into such danger, I thank my Father for His fellowship in the Spirit. It is everything. If my “parachute” doesn’t open, I am doomed. 

The fear of God drives me into self-scrutiny. No place for ‘image’. Either there is a God and He will move or this is all one big sand castle awaiting collapse. Moments on the edge generate new life. Without this,  I sulk into the grief of meaningless existence. In a world of utter routine boredom, it is rare to find the passion of a love that makes your hands sweat and your blood run fast. 

Paul says “I die daily…” (1 Cor. 5:31). He came to end to find a beginning.  He had to lose before he could win. So any victory was not his. I too was at my end.  It was one of my many “Why have you forsaken me?” moments.

Then, as if on the head of a needle, everything reversed. The Holy Spirit acted. Between the time it took for my mouth to open, and the micro-seconds it took for the thoughts of my brain to reach my mouth, the Holy Spirit changed my heart from judgment to mercy. The parachute opened. The anointed love of Jesus broke through me to get to these men. Some of the trillions saw their choice.

 

Michael-Woroniecki

 

 

(SEE END OF ARTICLE FOR COMPLETION)

Shadows

Do you remember when you were a little kid alone in your house at night? It seemed as if a shadow flashed by just as you turned the other way. You feared ‘someone’ was coming to get you? This was my experience many Saturday nights. Especially when I was watching some horror movie. 

There are two kinds of fear. There is the fear shared with all men. It is the drive to be a success. The fear of death bears upon you that your time is ever so short.  The fear of God is not such. It is the accountability of your conscience that you will answer to God for your choices, or lack of them (1 Pt.1:17/2 Cor.5:10).

You can be anywhere doing anything but deep within is a shadow of fear. Ever day, every moment, you just can’t explain the depths of your anxiety. It is the shadow called death. You do not define it as such but God does (Job 3:5, 11:21-22,12:22/Ps.44:19107:14/Is.9:2,13:6/Amos 5:8). God offers freedom from all fear. David knew His Spirit; “Thou I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for Thou art with me” (Ps.23:4/1 Jn.4:18). The trillions who are dead testify to the trillions who are alive that death is forever. F is for Forever.

 

the-reality-of-death-woroniecki-blog

 

Death is not something that is going to happen. It is something that has already happened (in Adam’s sin) and must simply be completed. It is the Grand Marshall leading the parade called life. The moment Adam and Eve sinned, we lost our immortality. Sin turned us into mere mortals heading to death.   It is not someplace “out there”. We are born into a body in which  death is a code written in our blood. God warns “the ‘wages’ of sin is death” (Rm.6:23)

It gradually kills human cells, causes wrinkles, muscular atrophy and the rapid deterioration of our brain and body. It will ultimately eat even our bones. 

Thus death is in your shadow as the greatest fear. Yet, it is completely absent in all social discourse. 

INSANITY (Ecc.9:3)

There is nothing more bizarre than man’s insane attitude towards death. If I were an alien, that landed on this planet, and found out that everyone walking around is going to die, yet never talks about it, I would ask “Why?” I would be completely bewildered.

No one runs around screaming “Death is coming upon me. It’s going to kill me. Can anyone help me?” Such people fill the buildings reserved for the mentally ill or are seen on the streets as derelicts. Such erratic behavior would be normal, if all men openly discussed the debilitating reality of our vain existence and abrupt obliteration that can happen at any moment.

Can your mind even consider that death could be one breath away?

I have visited and slowly walked through many cemeteries. I have stopped to ponder what must have been the life of the young and old whose bodies are now skeletons in the ground. I recently saw an article that explained how in Paris, they don’t know what to do with their dead because they are running out of room for them. Trillions! I have visited Convalescent Homes and spoken with people on the brink of death. They are about to die. You know it. They know it. Their entire physical state radiates it. Yet, the unspoken rule is “Don’t talk about death”.  As if it will go away when you ignore it.

150 people die  each day from heroin

7,000 die each day in the States alone

150,000 die in the world each day

You may do things, or had things done to you, that in and of themselves, did not  kill you but affected you in such a way, as to render you incapable of considering the gospel. A boxer becomes “punch drunk”.  A drug addict becomes “addicted”.  A drunk develops “wet brain”. God says a contentious woman is worse than death to a passive man (Ecc.7:26).

People talk about all things that cause death but never about death itself. They talk of guns, drugs and many dangers but never of their end.

Man’s refusal to deal with death is of such stupidity, it is like the eighth wonder of the world. People think more of how to swat a nagging fly than death. Even now as you read this, your thoughts conclude it is not relevant and are driven beyond it to the here and now of your daily life.

We may fail at many things in life but magnitude of the consequences and finality of death makes all other failures as nothing.  It is what you and I must face to escape the hell of the trillions.  

 

abraham-woroniecki

THE MONSTER OF FIRE

My mother complained of pain in her stomach. So my dad made an appointment for a biopsy. No big deal. I remember at the hospital. They were wheeling her into the operating table on a gurney. She sat up as she passed by me, standing in the hallway, and did her Groucho Marx impersonation.  She was a crack up. A little while later, they rolled her out and her face was buried in sorrow. A month later, she was dead. Extinguished like a flame.

I would not hear her voice again. No more jokes. No more special moments. No more dancing together or helping her bake an apple pie. So final. Never could I have understood at that time, this was a death which was both hers and mine. Her life was an obstacle to my death. I had to die to an identity that she kept alive;  the very things that prevented me from becoming a new man. God uses the dying in our winters to bring us into the new life of His eternal Spring.

Dying turned a heavy set, jovial woman into a tiny frame of skin and bones.  Night after night she would literally cry and scream from the pain. She constantly would eat crushed ice because she said it felt like there was a monster inside eating her with fire. Then, one moment in one day, when I was gone, she was gone.  Death came to her. The monster won. Yet the “sting” was short lived because she had renounced all false religion and surrendered to the living Jesus. She blossomed on the other side of death into eternal life.

 

winter-into-spring-analogy-michael-woroniecki-blog-2016

 

 A SOUND OF DEATH

No screeching tires. No sound of a bullet.  No terrible storm.

I will always  hear the sound of a large vinyl, black bag being zipped closed. My mother’s body was methodically placed next to it, then rolled into it, by a creepy dude in a black suit.  I had greeted him at the door and pointed him to the stairs to her bedroom. To my shock, he then tossed her body over his right shoulder, like a carpet, and carried her body right passed me down the stairs and threw it into the hearse he parked in our driveway.

My mouth was open. My mind was bewildered. What just happened?  DEATH will come to you in a different way but it definitely will come. They took her to a Funeral Home to “show” a body pumped with chemicals and covered with makeup. As if to fool everyone for one last time into thinking “she” is still alive and looks like this. Nope. She’s long gone. A monster killed her.

Death has no moral code or “nice” sounding proper etiquette. Millions of young people are lured into the military, never told that death is an integral part of the job description. Death will violate your “peace of mind” and devastate your “comfort zone”. It doesn’t care whether you understand. Such talk is not “politically correct”. The trillions of the famous and the poor walked in your exact human shoes and are long forgotten so as not to comprehend their end.

My friend, I beg you to listen to me. All of this about my mother is not shared as a son blinded by his affections for a mother. This one woman changed the world because she discovered Jesus at a catholic charismatic meeting and first witnessed to me of a living Jesus. Now I go into all the world. But I recognize her no longer as my mother but as a woman whom God used to teach me a divine lesson.

I share this as though a divine lecture on life given to me by my Father to share with all my brethren.  Stop living as though you are not going to die. Start dying so you can start living eternal life. You can go beyond the death of sin into the death of Jesus. You can be united in the “death” that ends in eternal life.

cross-of-Christ-for-michael-woroniecki-blog

 

The monster of sin hides within each of us. It eats away the precious moments of our life. It burns like an unquenchable fire consuming our time and energy with fantasies and vanities. Satan lusts for our soul with an unbridled fury of hideous passion. If you think you can stop him with a song and a prayer, you have no clue. It was a death of horrendous torture on a cross bearing One Man Who actually surrendered to Satan. He ransomed His soul for ours. One word – D E C E P T I O N. “Oh I’m not afraid of death. I’m fine” are the thoughts of a fool already swallowed by the monster.

Like it or not, admit it or not, self-deception is an out-of-control fire consuming your “house”.  Pride rages from room to room fed by the excuses and alibis of lies of why yo