Friday, October 06, 2006

Doctrine Is Practical

Doctrine Is Practical
by John MacArthur

I have in my library a book by the spiritual father of a quasi-Christian cult. He argues that doctrinal statements, systematic theology and propositional truth claims are contrary to the spirit of Jesus' ministry.That seemed a rather bizarre notion when I first heard it years ago. But the belief that Christ is against doctrine is a notion I seem to be encountering with increasing frequency.No idea could be much further from the truth. The word doctrine simply means "teaching." And it's ludicrous to say that Christ is anti-teaching. The central imperative of His Great Commission is the command to teach (Matthew 28:18-20).Yet there's no shortage of church-growth experts, professional pollsters, and even seminary professors nowadays who are cautioning young pastors that doctrine is too divisive, too threatening, too heady and theoretical—and therefore simply impractical.Impractical? I agree that practical application is vital. I don't want to minimize its importance. But if there is a deficiency in preaching today, it is that there's too much relational, pseudo-psychological, and thinly life-related content, and not enough emphasis on sound doctrine.Moreover, the distinction between doctrinal and practical truth is completely artificial; doctrine is practical. In fact, nothing is more practical than sound doctrine, because there's ultimately no basis for godly behavior apart from the truth of God's Word.Practical insights, gimmicks, and illustrations mean little if they are divorced from divine principle. Before the preacher asks anyone to perform a certain duty, he must first deal with doctrine. He must develop his message around theological themes and draw out the principles of the texts. Then the truth can be applied.Romans provides the clearest example. Paul doesn't give any exhortation until he has given eleven chapters of theology.He scales incredible heights of truth, culminating in 11:33-36, where he says, "Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given Him that it might be paid back to Him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen."Then in chapter 12, he turns immediately to the practical consequences of the doctrine of the first 11 chapters. No passage in Scripture captures the Christian's responsibility in the face of truth more clearly than Romans 12:1-2. Resting on eleven chapters of profound doctrine, Paul calls each believer to a supreme act of spiritual worship—giving oneself as a living sacrifice. So doctrine gives rise to devotion to Christ. What could be more practical? And the remainder of the book of Romans goes on to explain still more practical outworkings of one's dedication to Christ.Paul follows the same pattern in Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and 1 Thessalonians. The doctrinal message comes first. Upon that foundation he builds the practical application, making the logical connection with the word therefore (Romans 12:1; Galatians 5:1; Ephesians 4:1; Philippians 2:1) or then (Colossians 3:1; 1 Thessalonians 4:1).So we have imposed an artificial meaning on the word doctrine. We've made it something abstract and threatening, unrelated to daily living. That has brought about the disastrous idea that preaching and teaching are unrelated to living.The scriptural concept of doctrine includes the entire message of the gospel—its teaching about God, salvation, sin, and righteousness. Those concepts are so tightly bound to daily living that the first-century mind did not see them as something separate from practical truth.The New Testament church was founded on a solid base of doctrine. First Timothy 3:16 contains what many expositors believe is an early church hymn: "God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory." There, in capsule form, is the basis of all Christian teaching. Without that, no practical application matters.The next few verses of 1 Timothy describe what happens when men depart from the basis of biblical truth: "Some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods, which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth" (4:1-3).In other words, lying, hypocrisy, a dulled conscience, and false religious practices all have root in wrong doctrine.No ministry activity is more important than rightly understanding and clearly proclaiming sound doctrine. In 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus, Paul commissions two young men to the ministry. His central theme is the importance of adhering to sound doctrine.Paul charged Timothy: "In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following" (1 Tim. 4:6). "Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching," Paul adds, "persevere in these things; for as you do this you will insure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you" (v. 16).Titus 2:10 says we "adorn [or honor] the doctrine of God" by how we live. When it comes to affirming sound doctrine, what we do carries far more significance than what we say. That's why it's disastrous when a pastor, seminary professor, or any kind of Christian leader fails morally. The message he proclaims is that his doctrine is unrelated to life. And for those whose lives he has touched, doctrine becomes merely an intellectual exercise.True doctrine transforms behavior as it is woven into the fabric of everyday life. But it must be understood if it is to have its impact. The real challenge of the ministry is to dispense the truth clearly and accurately. Practical application comes easily by comparison.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Don't Tell Em Jesus Loves Them

These are lyrics to a song by Steve Camp that absolutely break my heart and make me weep. May they stir you this day to look at every face as Jesus sees them.

Don't Tell Them Jesus Loves Them - Steve Camp

Oh suffering soul, crying out for love
In a world that seldom cares
See the hungry heart longing to be filled
Much more than our prayers
And a young girl sells herself on Seventh Avenue
And you hear her crying out for help,
"My God, what will we do?"

Don't tell them Jesus loves them till you're ready to love them too
Till your heart breaks from the sorrow and the pain they're going through
With a life full of compassion may we do what we must do
Don't tell them Jesus loves them till you're ready to love them too

Oh, the desperate man
Are we reaching for the souls that are sinking down in sin?
Oh, cry for the child
We've lost our passion for the lost and there are billions left to win

And another forty thousand children starve to death today
Would we risk all we have to see what of them say
Why have we waited so long to show them Jesus lives
To share salvation's song
Why have our hearts become so proud that we fail to see
To love them is to love God
And a young girl sells herself on Seventh AvenueHear her crying out for help,"What will we do?"
Don't tell them Jesus loves them...til you're ready to love them too

Matthew 25:31-46

“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ 41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ 44 “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

How We Ought to Think

I found this at Puritan Sermons and thought you might enjoy it. May God Bless your day as you read this

How We Ought to Think about God's Providence
by Thomas Boston


1. Beware of drawing an excuse for your sin from the providence of God; for it is most holy, and is in no way any cause of any sin you commit. Every sin is an act of rebellion against God; a breach of his holy law, and deserves his wrath and curse; and therefore cannot be authorised by an infinitely-holy God, who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity without detestation and abhorrence. Though he has by a permissive decree allowed moral evil to be in the world, yet that has no influence on the sinner to commit it. For it is not the fulfilling of God's decree, which is an absolute secret to every mortal, but the gratification of their own lusts and perverse inclinations, that men intend and mind in the commission of sin.

2. Beware of murmuring and fretting under any dispensations of providence that you meet with; remembering that nothing falls out without a wise and holy providence, which knows best what is fit and proper for you. And in all cases, even in the middle of the most afflicting incidents that happen to you, learn submission to the will of God, as Job did, when he said upon the end of a series of the heaviest calamities that happened to him, "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord," Job, i. 21. In the most distressing case, say with the disciples, "The will of the Lord be done," Acts, 21:14.

3. Beware of anxious cares and fearfulness about your material well-being in the world. This our Lord has cautioned his followers against, Matt. 6:31. "Take no thought, (that is, anxious and perplexing thought,) saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?" Never let the fear of man stop you from duty, Matt. 10:28, 29; but let your souls learn to trust in God, who guides and superintends all the events and administrations of providence, by whatever hands they are performed.

4. Do not think little of means, seeing God works by them; and he that has appointed the end, orders the means necessary for gaining the end. Do not rely upon means, for they can do nothing without God, Matt. 4:4. Do not despair if there be no means, for God can work without them, as well as with them; Hosea 1:7. "I will save them by the Lord their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen." If the means be unlikely, he can work above them, Rom. 4:19. "He considered not his own body now dead, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb." If the means be contrary, he can work by contrary means, as he saved Jonah by the whale that devoured him. That fish swallowed up the prophet, but by the direction of providence, it vomited him out upon dry land.

Lastly, Happy is the people whose God is the Lord: for all things shall work together for their good. They may sit secure in exercising faith upon God, come what will. They have good reason for prayer; for God is a prayer-hearing God, and will be enquired of by his people as to all their concerns in the world. And they have ground for the greatest encouragement and comfort in the middle of all the events of providence, seeing they are managed by their covenant God and gracious friend, who will never neglect or overlook his dear people, and whatever concerns them. For he has said, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you," Heb. 13:5.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Did You Miss me???

If you are reading this, I first off must say thanks for being faithful to check back. I have been away for some time in regards to posting. I am in this continual process of change. Since I last posted a few things have happened.

1. I became the local leader of our GNN tean here in Youngstown. If you are in the area and want to get plugged in let me know.

2. I left my church of about 20 years or so. That was a bit much of a hard choice. Not from a theological stand point but from a friendship one.

3. We found a new church with a group of great guys.

With that out of the way I would like to point you to the new website and then share a little bit from one of my very favorite people of all times John Bunyan. Here is the link to the new site. I updated it today and I think I will leave it in the format that it exists in now. I will work daily to update and to keep everyone up to date with changes. In the mean time let me know what you think.

And now without further adue here is todays reading from John Bunyan

There was a certain man that had committed treason against his king; but for as much as the king had compassion on him, he sent him, by the hand of a faithful messenger, a pardon under his own hand and seal. But in the country where this poor man dwelt there were also many that sought to trouble him, by often putting him in mind of his treason, and the law that was to be executed on the offender. Now, which way should this man so honor his king, as by believing his handwriting, which was the pardon? Certainly he would honor him more by so doing, than to regard all the clamors of his enemies continually against him.

"Just thus it is here. Thou having committed treason against the King of heaven, he, through compassion for Christ's sake, hath sent thee a pardon. But the devil, the law, and thy conscience, do continually seek to disturb thee, by bringing thy sin afresh into thy remembrance. But now, wouldst thou honor thy King? Why then, He that believeth the record that God hath given of his Son, hath set to his seal that God is true. "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son" (1 John 5: 11, 12). And therefore, my brethren, seeing God our Father hath sent to us, damnable traitors, a pardon from heaven, (even all the promises of the gospel) and also hath sealed the certainty of it with the heart-blood of his dear Son, let us not be daunted, though our enemies with terrible voices do bring our former life never so often into our remembrance."

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Escape from Christendom


by Robert Burnell

The Journey
In my dream I see the lone figure of a man following a road. As the sun sets beneath the hills, a city comes into view. Nearing it, the traveler sees what appears to be a large group of churches. Spires and crosses pierce the skyline. His pace quickens. Is this his destination? He passes an imposing structure, a neon sign flashing "Cathedral of the Future." Farther on a floodlit stadium supports a billboard boasting that fifty thousand people crowd into evangelistic meetings there three nights a week. Beyond this, modest "New Testament" chapels and Hebrew Christian synagogues cluster together on the street front.

"Is this the City of God?" I hear the traveler ask a woman at the information booth in the central square.

"No this is Christian City, "she replies.

"But I thought this road led to the City of God!" He exclaims with great disappointment.

"That's what we all thought when we arrived," she answers, her tone sympathetic.

"This road continues up the mountain, doesn't it?" He asks.

"I wouldn't know, really," she answers blankly.

I watched the man turn away from her and trudge on up the mountain in the gathering darkness. Reaching the top, he starts out into the blackness; it looks as though there is nothing, absolutely nothing, beyond. With a shudder he retraces his steps into Christian City an takes a room at a hotel.

Strangely unrefreshed, at dawn he arises and follows the road up the mountain again; in the brightening light of the sun he discovers that what seemed like a void the night before is actually a desert--dry, hot, rolling sand as far as the eye can see. The road narrows to a path which rises over a dune and disappears. "Can this trail lead to the City of God?" He wonders aloud. It appears to be quite deserted and rarely traveled.

Indecision slowing his steps, he again returns to Christian City and has lunch in a Christian restaurant. Over the music of a gospel record, I hear him ask a man at the next table, "That path up the mountain, where the desert begins, does it lead to the City of God?"

"Don't be a fool!" his neighbor replies quickly. "Everyone who has ever taken that path has been lost... swallowed up by the desert! If you want God, there are plenty of good churches in this town. You should pick one and settle down."

After leaving the restaurant, looking weary and confused, the traveler finds a spot under a tree and sits down. An ancient man approaches and begins pleading with him in urgent tones, "If you stay here in Christian City, you'll wither away. You must take the path. I belong to the desert you saw earlier. I was sent here to encourage you to press on. You'll travel many miles. You'll be hot and thirsty; but angels will walk with you, and there will be springs of water along the way. And at your journey's end you will reach the City of God! You have never seen such beauty! And when you arrive the gates will open for you, for you are expected."

"What you say sounds wonderful," the traveler replies. "But I'm afraid I'd never survive that desert. I'm probably better off here in Christian City."

The ancient one smiles. "Christian City is the place for those who want religion but don't want to lose their lives. The desert is the territory of those whose hearts are so thirsty for God that they are willing to be lost in Him. My friend, when Peter brought his boat to land, forsook all and followed Jesus, he was being swallowed by the desert. When Matthew left his tax collecting and Paul his Pharisaism, they too were leaving a city much like this to pursue Jesus out over the dunes and be lost in God. So don't be afraid. Many have gone before you."

Then I see the traveler look away from the old man's burning eyes to the bustle of Christian City. He sees busy people hurrying hither and yon with their Bibles and shiny attache cases, looking like men and women who know their destiny. But it is clear they lack something which the old man with eyes like a prophet possesses.

In my dream I imagine the traveler turning things over in his mind. "If I do go out there, how can I be sure that I will really be lost in God? In the Middle Ages Christians tried to lose themselves in God by putting the world behind them and entering a monastery. And how disappointed many of them were to find that the world was still there! And the people here in Christian City who are preparing to go to some jungle or a neglected slum, maybe they're coming closer to what it means to be lost in God. But then, a person can travel to the ends of the earth and not lose himself."

The traveler turns again to see the old person starting up the road for the narrow path down to the desert's edge. Suddenly, his decision mobilizes him and leaps to his feet, chasing after him. When he catches up, they exchange no words. The ancient man makes an abrupt turn to the right and guides him up still another slope which steepens as it rises toward a peak shrouded in a luminous cloud. The climb upward is very difficult. The traveler appears dizzy and begins to stagger. His guide pauses and offers him a drink from a flask hanging over his shoulder. Panting, he drinks it in great gulps. "No water ever tasted sweeter than this," he says with great feeling.

"Thank you."

Now look there." The old man points beyond them to a vista not nearly as monotonous and desolate as it had seemed earlier. The desert below has taken on many colors and gradation. In the far distance blazing light is throbbing and moving on the surface of the horizon like a living thing. "There is the City of God! But before you reach it, you will have to pass through those four wildernesses you see. Directly below us is the Wilderness of Forgiveness." The traveler notices small, dim figures making their way slowly in the direction of the city, separated from each other by many miles.

"How can they survive the loneliness?" Asks the traveler. "Wouldn't they benefit from traveling together?"

"Well, they aren't really alone. Each one of them is accompanied by the forgiveness of God. They are being swallowed by the desert of the Lord God's vast mercy. The Holy Spirit is saying to them as they travel, 'Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!' They are made whole as they travel."

Just beyond there is an expanse of blue. "Is it sea?" Inquires the traveler.

"It looks like water, but it's a sea of sand. That's the Wilderness of Worship. Here, look through these glasses and you will see that people are walking there, too. Notice how they begin to group themselves here. They are having their first taste of the joy of the City--worship. They are discovering how they were made for the worship of God. It is becoming their life, the white-hot source of everything they do."

"But don't people also worship back in Christian City? What's so special about that wilderness?"

"Worship, that is true worship, can begin only when a life has been utterly abandoned to the desert of God's presence. Out there the heart begins to worship the Father in spirit and truth."

Looking beyond the blue wilderness to where the desert rises in red and fiery mountains, the old man explains to the traveler that among those reddish mountains is the Wilderness of Prayer.

"Passing through that wilderness travelers find it necessary to turn away from every distraction and concentrate on prayer. They quickly learn that there is no possible way for them to survive but by crying out to God continuously. By the time they reach the outer extremes of that wilderness, prayer is their consuming passion and their supreme joy. It appears at first that the City of God is just beyond the Wilderness of Prayer. But there is one more wilderness hidden by those mountains, which you will pass through before you reach your destination. It is simply called the Harvest. You'll know it when you reach it. And beyond the Harvest is the City itself. Your name is known there. Your arrival is awaited with eagerness. Come, let's begin our journey."

"Nightfall doesn't seem to be a particularly propitious time to begin a journey like this," he says.

"Don't go back to Christian City," the old man exhorts, gazing at him earnestly."

"Not even at this hour? That way I could get a good night's sleep and start first thing in the morning," the traveler adds hopefully.

"But your rest is out there," he urges. "Walk on now into the desert. The Holy Spirit will help you. Don't be afraid to be lost in God. You'll find your life nowhere else."

The Wilderness of Forgiveness

The old man has left the traveler standing alone at the edge of the desert as darkness falls. The lights of Christian City beckon from beyond him. I can imagine him thinking of the warmth of a friendly conversation over a warm meal and of going to sleep in a comfortable bed. But then his expression becomes resolute and he murmurs, "This is doubtless the road I have to take. I will find my life only by losing it, that's a certainty. But how can I know that if I take this path into the desert I will assuredly be lost in God and not merely lost? I can remember many people who took a solitary path which led them not to the City of God but into such unreal thoughts and spurious experiences that their minds and lives were destroyed. Surely the danger of settling for less than life in Christian City has to be weighed against the possibility of losing it in a wilderness of spiritual delusion. I'm sure that the darkness beyond contains not only the path to the City of God but also countless trap doors to hell, where one can be lost in lonely vanity. How can I be sure of distinguishing the true path?" What I first think in my dreams to be a star hanging low over the horizon now take the shape of a cross hanging directly above the path in front of the traveler. He looks up and notices it, his face showing recognition. He whispers quietly, "Forgiveness." And then with deep reverence quotes: "'So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing abuse for Him. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city which is to come..' Yes, I will go on!" The traveler says exultantly, taking his first steps into the desert.

As dawn breaks he sees nothing but sand and sky and a path which can be distinguished from all the others by the cross which hovers where the trail meets the horizon. As the day wears on it is obvious that the traveler is weary, thirsty, sick with heat. Just when it appears he cannot trudge another step, a stranger appears at his side.

"Over the next hill you will find a spring," she says. "Keep going, you are almost there," she encourages him.

He is soon lying by a spring, drinking water and eating food which the helpful stranger provides.

"This is the Wilderness of Forgiveness," she explains to the traveler. "People often expect God's forgiveness to be like a beautiful park with fountains and rivers and green grass. They cannot understand why it should be a desert. Yet one has to learn that God's forgiveness is everything--everything! And this is possible only in a desert, where a Christian comes to see nothing, appreciate nothing, hope in nothing but the cross of Jesus." She quotes several passages from Galatians to the traveler:

But far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. Peace and mercy be upon all who walk by this rule, upon the Israel of God...

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification were through the law, then Christ died to no purpose.

"Do you think the apostle Paul traveled this Wilderness?" Asks the traveler.

"Yes, he did. For years Paul had worked very hard in the City of Religion, to be a religious man. Still he found no peace for his spirit. Then Paul met Jesus; and from the start, Jesus meant one thing to Paul: forgiveness. He was overwhelmed with it. The forgiveness of the cross was the theme of his life from then on. But Paul's first experience of the Kingdom of God as a reality in his life was right in this wilderness."

"So I'm walking where the apostles walked." The traveler's voice is full of awe.

"Remember when Peter lowered the net at the command of Jesus and brought it up loaded with fish? His immediate response was, 'Leave me Lord, I'm a sinner!' Jesus answered, 'Don't be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.' Implied in Jesus' answer was, 'I will take care of your sin.' And when they brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Jesus--followed Him here into this Wilderness of Forgiveness in pursuit of a cross. After Jesus had died for Peter's sins and risen for his justification and was about to fill Peter with the Holy Spirit, He said to this man who had denied Him three times, 'Simon, son of Jonas, Do you love me?... Feed My sheep.' And with this thrice-repeated question and command, Peter's life was healed with the forgiveness of his Lord."

"For years," the traveler tells her, "I've been trying to get beyond theoretical, doctrinal forgiveness, most probably what is taught in Christian City, in order to know forgiveness itself. I've wanted to be immersed, baptized, LOST, in it. I have longed to hear Jesus say to me personally, 'Take heart, brother, your sins are forgiven.' I've wanted to have the blood of the cross flow into my heart and purify it."

"You have come to the right place. Before you reach the other side of this Wilderness, you will experience the relief of having that load of guilt, which still, in fact, weighs you down like a rock, rolled away. You will begin to walk before God without shame. Just as you were once obsessed with the need to build yourself up, you will soon be obsessed with the forgiveness of God."

"Obsessed with the forgiveness of God?"

"You will become so obsessed with God's mercy that you will be free, for the first time in your life, of other people's opinions."

"Ha! Not me." His response is immediate.

"The woman who washed Jesus' feet with her tears was obsessed with His forgiveness to the point where she was heedless of the jeers and opinions of others. Or the cleaned leper--he joyfully fell at Jesus' feet giving thanks for more than the cleansing of his body; he had received the inner healing of forgiveness. When Zachaeus climbed a tree to see Jesus, he was watching his own forgiveness walking toward him down the road. So obsessed was he with the forgiveness which visited his life that day the chains of covetousness broke from his heart. You have come to the place where it will happen to you."

The traveler resumes his journey, his mysterious companion walking silently by his side for an hour or two then suddenly disappearing.

"What joy I feel!" The traveler exclaims aloud. "This must be what the disciples felt as they returned to Jerusalem after the ascension of Jesus."

In the cross-shaped light, the traveler makes out the figure of another woman rising over the crest of the next dune and walking slowly down the slope toward him. He appears to recognize her. From his expression I gather that this person has wronged him. Her eyes are fixed on the traveler as she comes up to him.

"Will you forgive me?" She asks.

The traveler stops still. The woman draws closer, asking a second time, "Will you forgive me?" They are face to face when she asks for the third time, "Will you forgive me?" The traveler's mysterious companion is again at his side, quietly instructing him, "This Wilderness of Forgiveness is not only a place for receiving forgiveness, but also for giving it. This woman is but the first of a procession of people from your past whom you have never really forgiven. The supernatural forbearance which has flooded your being all day is being challenged by the bitterness buried in your soul for all these years. You have to make a choice. The sterile, shallow, lip service forgiveness of your past life is powerless even to be polite to this woman. But the forgiveness of God which has been flowing in to the point of becoming an obsession can flow out now if you will allow it to."

The traveler reaches out, takes the woman by the hand, looks into her eyes and replies, "Of course I forgive you!"

She weeps. And just as she forms the words, "Thank you," she is gone.

Then the man who called the traveler a fool in the restaurant back in Christian City comes running and panting toward him. Mopping his face with his handkerchief, the troubled man begins to beg forgiveness.

"Of course, of course," the traveler replies heartily. "It's nothing. Don't think another thing about it."

"Please don't take this matter so lightly. I NEED your forgiveness. Will you REALLY forgive me, from the bottom of your heart?"

"But I already have," returns the traveler. His companion illuminates the situation for him: "He needs your FORGIVENESS. Not courtesy, but active, genuine forgiveness. He needs your LOVE."

"My friend, you are forgiven," the traveler tells him earnestly with respect in his voice.

With visible relief the man sighs, "Thank you!" And disappears into the desert air. His companion reminds him of the verse in Matthew 18 which reads:

Then Peter came up and said to Him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times, but seventy times seven."

The Wilderness of Worship

"Water! Who would have thought that in the middle of this desert there would be a sea!" The traveler is exclaiming to himself when next I see him in my dream. From the brow of a mammoth dune he looks down into an expanse of blue stretching to the horizon. "But no, it isn't water," he remembers. "The old man on the mountain pointed to this as the beginning of the second wilderness." As he descends the hill to its edge, the strange sea of sand is not as flat as it seemed from above. There are waves of blue extending into the distance like a frozen ocean. "Perhaps there is a relationship between this and 'the sea of glass' before the throne of God. Perhaps the waves will flatten out as I approach the City of God."

Suddenly a person of unearthly beauty is standing a few feet away from the traveler. "Greetings," the being says. "It's a long way across this stretch. Many have perished trying to make it on foot. I offer you a better way."

"A better way?" Asks the traveler. "Yes, I have the power to cross this wilderness in a split second. And if you will let me, I can take you with me. I can have you safe on the other side directly."

"What must I do?"

"All I require is a token act. If you will merely kneel to pay me homage, I will lift you across this wilderness with the speed of light.."

"But that would be to worship you, wouldn't it?"

"Why do you find that strange? People do it every day. You did it yourself long before you came to this wilderness. The citizens often worship me in Christian City. Some there worship money--serve it like slaves. Their eyes light up at the thought of it. But the love of money is only a symbol of my reality."

"You aren't reaching me with your talk of money. It's never been a problem in My life," the traveler retorts. "How about romance? What could be more beautiful or innocent than being in love? But when the state of being in love becomes a goal and dominates the mind, there is idolatry involved. And it is 'yours truly' behind that idol," he says triumphantly. "But the most personally satisfying worship I receive comes from men and women who are pursuing religious successes."

"Well," the traveler cuts his boasting short, "If I have to worship you in exchange for quick trip across this wilderness, I'll gladly walk, if it takes forever!"

At this, the bewitching creature vanishes in defeat.

I soon hear the traveler reasoning with himself again: "In Christian City it is possible to go through all the surface motions of faith in God while one's real worship, the thing which obsesses the mind day and night, is idolatry. Now that I have left there I can survive only if I'm lost in the worship of God. God has said: 'Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. The wild beasts will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches; for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.'"

"Perhaps such worship can be formed only in this desert, with its dryness and pounding heat, searing light and eerie silence."

These reflections are interrupted by a sudden crescendo of indescribable music, singing of unearthly beauty. Voices seem to be everywhere. Yet no one is visible. From the top of a blue wave, the traveler sees seven people standing in a hollow with their hands raised heavenward, uttering the praises to God. In the midst of this music, his mysterious companion returns. Filled with joy, the traveler tells her, "Do you notice how the seven worshipers are really surrounded by a multitude of magnificent beings whose voices blend with theirs? I feel that out here in the desert I have, in a mystery, already entered the outskirts of the City of God."

"But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gatherings, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to a judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to sprinkled blood that speaks more graciously than the blood of Abel... Therefore, let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire."

After some time the song ceases. Everything becomes still. No one is in sight but the seven worshipers, who bid the traveler God's peace and file over the dune, leaving him alone with his companion. She leads him to a rushing steam and provides him another meal.

"So this is the Wilderness of Worship," exclaims the traveler, still in awe from his experience.

"Yes, here Christians learn to worship God the Father in spirit and truth. You might call it the outer court of the City of God; for as you have seen, the inhabitants of that City are all around you. Back in the Wilderness of Forgiveness you began to experience the power of Jesus' blood cleansing your inmost heart. Here in the Wilderness of Worship you receive His Holy Spirit. God baptizes you with power and from on high in order for you to worship Him with a worship which, in the wildernesses beyond, will take the shape of deeds. Joel 2 tells us: 'And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even upon the menservants and maidservants in those days, I will pour out my spirit.'"

"I have never experienced such worship as this. But will it last?" Asks the traveler. "Will I still be able to worship the living God with such grace in the deserts beyond?"

"Changes are taking place in you which, if you let them, will last forever. Your heart is being opened by the outpoured Spirit. Your mouth is being opened to speak as God gives you utterance--'Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.' And your eyes are being opened to see visions and dream dreams. You are receiving eyes which see God"

"But don't these same things happen back in Christian City? I am told that this sort of thing goes on in the Apostolic Church of the Future every Sunday night."

"The difference, brother, is that here you do not merely taste worship or dabble in worship. Here in the desert you are lost in the worship of God so that all your praise and thanksgiving goes to Him. Everything you do is done for Him."

"But isn't there a danger of fanaticism?"

"Fanatics worship principles, ideas, human personalities and even demons, but never God. Consuming worship of God is the doorway, not to fanaticism, but to liberty such as you have never known. When you are lost in the worship of God, you no longer worship such things as money, romance, or success. You have found the one true object of worship, and as you worship Him you are fulfilled."

With these words his companion departs. Once again the traveler is alone on a sea of blue sand, lost in the worship of God.

The Wilderness of Prayer

Now the sea of sand comes to an abrupt end in the foothills of a fiery mountain range. There is no vegetation, only walls of dry, hard, burning rock. Bones cluttering the sand at the base of the rocky barrier are mute testimony to the dangers of this desolate land. The traveler fixes his gaze on the cross-shaped star as he walks, and recites to himself:

"Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few."

Hearing voices in the distance, the traveler follows the path at the foot of the mountain toward them. There the path abruptly turns into a gash in the mountain. Entering the opening, he listens as a voice echoes and resounds with such intensity that no words can be distinguished. Moving deep into this rock pass, the traveler nears a huge wrought iron arch under which a man is addressing an assembly of men and women. "This is the way, believe me," pleads the man, his words now distinct. "This narrow gate to my left is so rusty it will hardly swing. Who in his right mind would want to follow that steep path, when this well-paved, well-traveled way is open and ready? Come through this gate and you will be out of the wilderness before the day is over. Good food and a clean bed await you at the other end. There are prayer meetings arranged at the rest stops every hour along the way."

Without hesitation the traveler passes under the wrought iron arch and proceeds down the road. Others join him. The route on which he now walks is smooth and pleasant in contrast to the blue sand he had just plodded through. A sign repeats the information that there are rest stops every hour, consisting of a prayer meeting and a light lunch.

At the first such stop he talks with a pleasant hostess: "I've come a long way. Please tell me where this path is taking us."

She smiles and replies, "You will be beautifully housed and well taken care of. Your journey will be over by nightfall."

"The traveler walks on, increasingly perplexed. Just as darkness begins to fall after a scenic journey through the rocks and trees, he finds himself on the brow of a hill looking down on a city.

"Welcome!" Exclaims a man standing beneath a wrought iron arch identical to the arch through which he had passed earlier.

"Thank you," replies the traveler. "But where am I?"

"Why, this is Christian City!"

Without another word the traveler turns and runs back the same way he came. With Christian City out of sight, he slows to a walk but doesn't stop until he's reached the other arch, the end of the false path. He cries out, "I have only one desire: to find that narrow gate and enter it before I take a single rest. How could I have been so blind? Of course the narrow gate had been almost obliterated by weeds and vines.

Daybreak finds him on a narrow path winding up through scarlet rocks. There is a hum in the air as of a wind through trees, but neither wind nor trees are found here. The hum grows louder and finally can be distinguished as a chant of many voices. Now the traveler sees the people on the path ahead. He has become part of a procession of people all moving toward the City of God. As they walk they are each talking to someone unseen. Some of them are crying. Some seem exuberant. Some are mentioning people's names and asking good things for them. Some ask their neighbors ahead or behind for help, but their main concern is with their unseen listener.

The traveler's mysterious companion now returns and addresses him. "Here in the Wilderness of Prayer the contrast with Christian City is extreme, you know. There, they do have prayer meetings and people pray before they go to bed. When life becomes difficult, their prayer becomes intense, until the crisis passes. But in the Wilderness of Prayer, prayer becomes one's way of life--the source of one's whole existence. The time has come for YOU to be lost in a life of prayer. Meditate on these passages in the Gospel of Luke," she adds, handing him a sheet of paper on which is written:

Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was Praying, the heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form, as a dove, and a voice came from heaven, "Thou are my beloved Son; with thee I am will pleased" (Luke 3:21-22)

But so much the more the report went abroad concerning him; and great multitudes gathered to hear and to be healed of their infirmities. But he withdrew to the wilderness and Prayed. (Luke 5:15-16)

In those days he went out into the hills to Pray; and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when it was day, he called his disciples, and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles...(Luke 6:12-13)

Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountains to Pray. And when He was Praying, the appearance of his countenance was altered, and his raiment became dazzling white. (Luke 9:28-29)

He was Praying in a certain place, and when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to Pray, as John taught his disciples" (Luke 11:1)

And he came out, and went, as his custom, to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples followed him. And when he came to the place he said to them, "pray that you may not enter into temptation." And he withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and knelt down and Prayed. (Luke 22:39-41)

And when they came to the place which is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on the right and one of the left. And Jesus said. "Father forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:33-34 ).

"A prayer life is something we engage in alone, yet it brings us into fellowship with God and man as nothing else will," his companion tells him when he has finished reading. "Prayer is going to God, to the Father's door, and asking for bread so that you can give it to your needy brother. When you knock and keep knocking, it always opens. Always. Out of that communion with God comes something you share with others. And as you share what God gives you, you have a communion with them. A person will have this communion even if he's shy or clumsy. For this life of prayer delivers one from the fear of other people's opinions and the fear of one's own blunders."

"But does it take these eerie mountains, these cliffs, this continuous danger to learn to pray?" Asks the traveler.

"Well, in the past you cried to God in your occasional emergencies. Here you are learning to see your life as a continuous crisis, driving you to call on God day and night. "Shall not God vindicate his elect who cry to him day and night?' The clearer our vision of what happens in the world--how close to the edge of chaos the nations are--the more we understand that the only way to know life is to come close to God the Father in prayer, to cry to Him day and night. We pray without ceasing because the crisis in earthly life is never over."

"But why does it all have to be so hard? It looks to me as though the climb through these mountains is the toughest part of the journey yet."

"Because prayer is our main work. It takes thought, concentration, an active will and the best of one's strength to pray for the hallowing of God's name, the coming of God's kingdom, to pray for laborers in the harvest, or to pray for specific people and their needs. You have barely begun to scratch the surface of the awesome things that wait to be done in answer to your prayers, if you will keep going."

"That's it, though! To keep going. I'm getting so tired."

"This is because your prayers are becoming engaged in the Real Battle. Prayer is the ground where we overcome evil with good. In these mountains you will learn to pray for your enemies. The life of overcoming evil with good starts with asking that good will come to those who have done evil to us."

The narrow path leads to a lookout where the traveler and his companion share a meal. Afterwards they walk to the edge of the lookout where she points to the path winding down through the mountains which diminish in size until somewhere near the horizon they appear to reach their end.

"You see, there begins the Harvest," the travelers companion says, pointing to a view beyond them, "Remember these words which Jesus said:

'Do you not say, there are yet four months, then comes the harvest? I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see how the fields are already white for harvest. He who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, "One sows and another reaps." I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor; others have labored, and you will have entered into their labor.'"

The traveler look into the distance while his companion explains further: "In Christian City, remember there is a fine, wide street called Missionary boulevard, lined with spacious well-kept buildings and adorned with fountains and lawns and lovely shrubs. Those buildings house every missionary enterprise known in the Christian world. There are headquarters for literature outreach, editorial offices for elaborate missionary magazines, and smaller facilities that provide a prayer letter service for the lesser known laborers. There are studios that produce world literature telethons and video tapes for missionary appeals. There are institutions that offer refresher courses for missionaries on furlough, and a computerized itinerary service for missionaries who need to broaden their financial base. There are recruiting centers, rest facilities for retired missionaries and even a budding record company. But lately Missionary Boulevard has been thrown into a panic by some disturbing news. Word has been received that large numbers of missionaries have committed the unpardonable breach of missionary etiquette: instead of taking as their mission field the approved territory of the known world, missionaries have plunged in to the desert toward the City of God.

"But what kind of mission field is this desert?" The traveler asks. "Whose soul are you going to save in the Wilderness of Forgiveness except your own? And when you get to the Wilderness of Worship, everyone there is already alive with God's glory. In the Wilderness of Prayer there is wonderful communion with other travelers, and I'm learning to intercede. But there aren't any lost souls..."

The Harvest

Reaching the outer extremity of the Wilderness of Prayer, the traveler in my dream is taking in his first clear view of his destination. In the far distance, radiant with a holy splendor, is the City of God. Visibly overcome with emotion, his step quickens. Suddenly he encounters a terrible stench of smoke and echoing bodies. Now there are corpses everywhere. Forms with life left are moaning for help.

A woman doubled up with pain begs the traveler, "Please, please do something for me. I can't tolerate this pain anymore!"

"I'm powerless," he tells her. "What do you think I could do for you?"

"A little water is all I need. Please bring me some water!"

"Where am I going to find water in the desert?"

"How long do you think YOU'LL last," she replies, "unless you find water for yourself? Please find some and bring it to me."

As the traveler scans the desert in bewilderment, his mysterious companion returns and guides him to a spring surrounded by thousands of empty flasks.

"Drink some yourself," she suggests, "and then fill a flask for the woman.

After drinking this water, the traveler is immediately strengthened and brings some to the woman. By the time she has finished drinking her health is restored. Immediately she takes the flask, runs to the spring and begins helping her neighbors. There are men with deep wounds, children lying on their backs with faint, rapid breathing, and elderly people with dirty bandages around their worn faces. Some victims are screaming with pain and others are weeping silently to themselves. Some are revived with a single flask of water. Others need much more. I see other travellers engaged in this same effort. As victims are healed, they too participate in the labor of raising up others. As they carry water from the spring, the traveler shares this passage from the Gospel of John with another man:

"Meanwhile the disciples besought him saying, "Rabbi, eat." But He said to them, "I have food to eat of which you do not know. So the disciples said to one another, "Has anyone brought Him food?" Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent me, and to accomplish His word."

"I guess we're learning what this means," added the traveler.

He spends many days in that place involved in the work of revival. One evening as he rests by the spring his companion returns and sits down beside him.

"I don't suppose we'll be able to go on to the City of God until we've finished here?" The traveler asks her.

"That is true," she replies.

"But will they wait for us?"

"Don't worry. Just keep reviving these people until they're all on their feet. Then the gates of the City of God will be open and the inhabitants will come out and escort you in. Bear this in mind:

'Do not say, There are yet four months, then comes the harvest. I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see the fields are white for harvest. He who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, "One sows and another reaps." I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor; others have labored and you have entered into their labor.'"

"But these needs are so staggering that I am beginning to feel overwhelmed. The joy of seeing restoration take place before my eyes is offset to some degree by the vastness of this sea of despair. Is there an end to it?"

"Brother," replies his companion, "just as you had to lose yourself in God's forgiveness, and in worship and prayer, you are now losing yourself in the harvest. It is one thing to dabble in the harvest. It's quite another to be lost in it."

"But will I have the strength to keep on working among people with such great needs?"

"Isn't that what Jesus did?"

And as He sat at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" But when He heard it, He said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice.' For I came not to call the righteous, but the sinners."

"It must have become discouraging for Him, though"

"Jesus wept over religious Jerusalem for its hardness of heart. Obviously, His greatest encouragement on the human side came from these repenting singers. Of these He never tired. You can confidently abandon yourself to this harvest without danger of being engulfed by it, provided you keep your vision of the City, and provided you do your work here with a whole heart. The Spirit of the Lord will sustain you if you will be careful to listen to these people as Jesus listened to the woman at the well, to the lepers, the lame, the blind, the father of the demon-possessed boy. Don't be in a hurry. Take time to listen and ask the right questions. Find out where people really hurt, what they really need. Also, you must tell them about Jesus as you go about with your flask. The water in the flask and this message of yours are identical. These dying people are thirsting for Jesus, not theories about Jesus, but Jesus Himself. The message of Jesus is a drink of refreshing water which brings them back to life. Remember the verse, 'Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without pay, give without pay.'

Don't be satisfied until the mercy of God has raised them ALL to their feet."

"Yes. Think about this passage in Revelation;

"And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; and I heard a great voice from the throne saying, 'Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God himself will be with them; He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, for the former things have passed away.'"

"As you first experience the labor of the harvest and discover you are actually able to raise these perishing ones to their feet by giving them living water from the divine spring, Jesus, you have tremendous joy. The wilderness experiences of forgiveness, worship of god and prayer have issued in the power to heal the sick in the name of Jesus."

"'He who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father.' The challenge is to endure."

The Vision

When I next see the traveler in my dream, he has begun to complain, "How long is this gong to go on? I would have thought that by now the work would be finished and we could go on. I'm sorry, but I'm tired. I'm going over by that boulder to rest in the shade for a couple of days."

Later another traveler passes the boulder and finds him lying there almost dead. Running to the spring he fills two flasks, returns and pours the precious water down his throat.

"Drink, brother, drink!"

"Thank you! Oh, thank you! I was almost done for," says the traveler between gulps. "But how did I come to this? What went wrong?"

His mysterious companion joins him again. "Brother," she says, "you lost your strength because you lost your vision. The City of God over there is still your destination. It is your home, the dwelling place of our God. While you work, be sure to take time daily, hourly, to pause and look at the City of God. If you fail to look up in the midst of your labors and see the City of God, fail to stop and hear its music, neglect to breathe the atmosphere it sends forth to you, or to drink from that steam which flows out from beneath its gates, you will be exhausted. You must remember that sustaining power comes from the City."

"The traveler resumes his work in the Harvest with fresh vigor. But at nightfall overcome by weariness. He goes to the spring; approaching it is a woman who looks to be quite elderly, yet doesn't appear the least bit tired.

"What is your secret?" Asks the traveler. "You look so youthful and vigorous while I have no strength left."

"I have taken my cue from Daniel," she tells him. "Daniel must have been a busy man, yet in the midst of the daily pressures he continued to return to his upper chamber where the windows opened westward. There looking toward Jerusalem hundreds of miles away, he prayed and gave thanks to God. Even though it meant the lions' den, Daniel refused to neglect his prayers. Daniel keeps his vision alive by making the City of God his focus. Ad that's what I do. The more problems I have to contend with here in the Harvest, the more time seems to press in on me, the more firmly I fix my eye on the City of God. I make sure to keep looking up. Every time I eat bread and drink wine I do so in anticipation as well as in remembrance. This is the food of the City, you know. It keeps my eyes AND my heart there."

When the traveler left the old woman, he seemed to be consciously attempting to keep his vision before him. In low voice he was singing the words of Revelation: "And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; and I heard a great voice from the throne saying, 'Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will with them; He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away!"

When I last see the traveler, his mysterious companion had returned with a final admonition for him: "KEEP looking to that City and remember who waits for you there. He has prepared a place for you and will soon be coming for you. Meanwhile, as you look to the City, He will renew your strength so that you will mount up on wings as the eagles, you will run and not be weary, you will walk and not faint."

Two Revivals

At this point I was swept away from the scene of the traveler's journey to the top of a high cliff. I found there a stone tablet inscribed with these words from Revelation 19:

"Then I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse! He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name inscribed with no one knows but Himself. He is clad in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which He is called is the The Word of God. And the armies of heaven arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, followed Him on white horses. From His mouth issues a sharp sword with which to smite the nations and He will rule them with a rod of iron; He will tread the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On His robe and on His thigh He has a name inscribed, King of Kings and Lord of Lords."

Looking up from the tablet, I saw beneath me two revivals simultaneously in progress. Christian City was experiencing a revival which manifested itself in a massive and rapid growth. Within a very short amount of time the population had increased tenfold. Building was going on everywhere. New homes sprawled up an down the surrounding hills. But the most dramatic aspect of this growth in Christian City was the appearance of magnificent new church structures towering over the country side. One cathedral was being completed which had a spire seventy stories high, housing the world's most powerful transmitter. Another church was taking shape in the form of a giant glass dome with revolving stage and wrap-around sound systems. The most unusual one looked like an upright cross with fifteen elevators taking people up to the sanctuary housed in the south arm and a Christian restaurant housed in the north arm. There were Christian educational facilities for every age group from pre-kindergarten to graduate school; this group sponsored scenic retreat centers in the style of Swiss chalets with vast seminar halls.

There was a feeling in Christian City that this growth was a sign of the world's last days. Books on the end of the age were up near the top of the Christian best seller lists, second only to the Christian sex manuals. Reporters came from all over the world to do articles on the booming conditions there. The inhabitants of Christian City were claiming that when the End came, they would be caught away to the City of God, before the chaos erupted.

At the same time, I saw across the desert far distant from Christian City a very different revival taking place with none of the accouterments of successful religion. Dying men and women were being raised to their feet like the dry bones Ezekiel saw. They were being delivered from their diseases, their sins, and their spiritual prisons, merely by drinking the living, life-giving water and shared it with others, bringing healing to them. As by a spreading fire or a surging flood, the sick ones were being swept to their feet. Laborers there, who'd spent years seeing limited results, found that now it was taking no more than a single drop of water on a parched tongue to raise the dying to life. And each day the process was accelerating.

Finally I saw the last prone body raised to life. What one appeared a battlefield of defeat had become the camp of a mighty army. Suddenly an earthquake shook the ground beneath my feet. The Sky darkened and a sound of war rolled in from the east.

Then I saw Christian City being invaded and destroyed. The magnificent cathedrals, the world's largest cross, retreat centers and seminar halls were splintered apart and flattened by deafening explosions. Dead bodies of the inhabitants who had thought they would escape this holocaust filled the streets. The armies of destruction now pressed on into the desert toward the scene of the second revival. Soon this seemingly indestructible horde was engulfing the Wilderness of forgiveness, the Wilderness Worship and the Wilderness of Prayer. When the City of God came into its view, a single roar like that of a wounded beast filled the air. The horde drove on toward its goal, appearing about to storm the City of God.

But near the wall of the City, the army of revived ones waited poised and ready. When the enemy came within range, the gates of the City burst open. Out marched the Army of Light led by a King of such splendor that the enemy horde had to shield its eyes. The revived ones merged with the Army of Light and joined battle with the enemy. Three-and-a half days later the war was over. The enemy was destroyed and the triumphant ones entered the City of God for which they had been chosen before the foundation of the world.

Again I was swept away to read another large tablet engraved with further words from Revelation:

"Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly in midheaven, 'Come, gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.' And I saw the beast and the kings of earth with their armies gathered to make war against Him who sits upon the horse and against his army. And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had worked the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and whose who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with brimstone. And the rest were slain by the sword of Him who sits upon the horse, the sword that issues from His mouth; and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.

"Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, that he could deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years were ended. After that he must be loosed for a little while. Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom judgment was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony to Jesus and for the word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark of their foreheads or their hands. They came to life, and reigned with Christ for a thousand years."

When I had finished reading this, as abruptly as my dream had come to me it ended, leaving me with a deep sense of awe, a new awareness of the undercurrents in my own life, and a renewed desire to seek to know God in spirit and truth.

Never has it been more clear to me that two revivals are in progress on the earth. One is the revival of the Spirit of God by which dead men and women are freed from their sins by the blood of the Lamb and raised to a life which is the life of the sons of God, a life which bears God's nature, manifests God's mercy. The other revival is the revival of religious flesh, a revival which is so appealing and gathers such multitudes and wields such power in this world because it offers all the comfort of religion while allowing you to keep your ego and all rights to yourself.

Surely each of us has to decide which revival he is going to be part of . Am I going to invest my life in some enterprise of booming Christian City? Or am I going to lose my life in the pursuit of God's will of mercy? Am I going to concentrate on building something that will cause the citizens of Christian City to sit up and take notice? Or am I going to spend my life bringing the poor and the maimed and the halt and the blind to the Master's table?

Originally Published by Bethany House Publishers in 1980.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Johnny Mac on the seeker movement

Here is an audio clip that has some good info on it. Please listen as John MacArthur addresses the seeker movement sweeping the churches. This audio comes courtesy of Todd Friel formerly of TTW Ministries who is now with Way of the Master Radio. Enjoy

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Redeem the time

I boosted this from Jim at Old Truth. It seemed so relevant that I feel it needed to be linked to. Click above on the blog title. Remember what paul said in Ephesians 5:15-17

15See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is

Thursday, July 20, 2006

A catechism for your kids

I found this link above over on Slice of Laodecia and thought it would be good for those of you that have kids.With the ever increasing six flags over Jesus theme the message sometimes gets lost, therefore we need to guard our kids and this seems like a good map to use. Also I am including another link to Old Truth where there are some articles that all dads should take the time to read. May God bless you during this reading.

My Other Site

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Old Testament Conversions

Here is a study on O.T. Conversions. There is an attack on historical Christianity that says man can get to heaven apart from Jesus. Let's defend this historical truth that Jesus is the ONLY way period!!!


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Guide to Biblical Interpretation

This comes from James White's website Alpha and Omega

I. Background of the passage

A. Main theme of the book?
B. Author’s purposes?
C. Author’s background?
D. Historical setting?
E. What kind of literature is this? Parable, poetry, apocalyptic, teaching?
F. Reader’s Understanding/Context - To Whom Written?
G. Usage of Other Scriptural Concepts - Quotations?

II. Immediate Context

A. Read passage in at least three different translations.
B. What immediately precedes and follows the passage?
C. Are any definitions provided by the immediate context?
D. What is the main argument of the entire chapter?
E. What is the main point of the passage itself?
F. What is the consistent understanding of the passage in this context?

III. Broad Context

A. Does my interpretation make this passage contradictory with

1. the author himself?
2. other Biblical passages?
3. common sense?

B. What other passages in Scripture bear directly on the issues raised in this passage?

The above steps are normally sufficient for most purposes of interpretation. However, should further study be needed, the following steps are helpful:

I. Identification of Key Terms

A. List the “key” words in the passage.
B. Are their meanings clear? How do the translations differ at this point?
C. Consult a concordance for the meaning of the words in the original languages.
D. Examine the usage of the word (in original language) by the author, then in other books.
E. If a NT passage, see how terms were used in OT. If OT, see how concept is picked up by NT.
F. Determine if the phrase is an idiom of the language.

II. Word Studies/Syntactical Studies

A. Consult linguistic dictionary on usage of term in Scripture/secular literature.
B. Study occurrence of each word in context each time it is used in Scripture.
C. Study possible cognate terms (Greek-> Hebrew/Hebrew->Greek) and relationships.
D. Examine the grammatical form of the word in the context, and determine syntactical relationships.

III. Textual Studies

A. Consult a critical text of the passage in the original languages.
B. Examine any textual variants that effect meaning.
C. Determine possible effect of acceptance of various readings.

There are numerous resources available for the performance of all of the above steps - the trick is finding them and learning how to use them. An exhaustive concordance is a must, a good Bible dictionary is very helpful. Always try to work through the passage on your own before turning to the commentaries. Many good commentaries are available, but they are never infallible. They are meant as aids only. The best commentary on the Bible is the Bible itself, particularly the Bible as it was originally written. If Greek and Hebrew are unavailable to you, invest in at least three different translations for comparative purposes.

For a more indepth treatment please visit here. There are notes and a four part lecture series to go along with the notes.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Make the Most of EVERY opportunity

This comes from Gospel for Asia's website

07/05/2006: Unseen Evangelist Preaches Powerful Message

In the state of Chhattisgarh, India, Abhay was preparing to conduct open-air meetings at a three-day event held last month in a rural village. But some of the villagers and their leaders came to stop him.

"If anyone attends these meetings," one leader told the Gospel for Asia missionary and his team, "they will be fined 1,000 rupees" (about US$22, the equivalent of two weeks' wages).

Fearing this repercussion, the villagers who were gathering to hear the message returned to their homes. But another village leader, a Christian, proposed a compromise.

"If the villagers are not allowed to come together for the meetings," he stated, "they should at least be able to hear the message through a loudspeaker."

The other leaders agreed to this condition, so Abhay tied a loudspeaker to a tall tree in the center of the village and turned up the volume.

Although none of the villagers ventured out to the meeting, more than 200 people from neighboring villages gathered in an open space near the center of the settlement. And from inside their homes, the people of the village heard Abhay's message clearly from the loudspeaker.

After the three days of preaching, as Abhay was heading home, a man from the village approached him and embraced him joyfully.

"I listened to your messages every day, and they changed my life!" the man exclaimed. "I was going through a lot of problems and did not have any peace in my mind. When I heard the Word of God, peace and joy filled my heart. I surrendered my life to the care of God and received Jesus Christ as my Savior."

Abhay was excited and encouraged. He praised God for allowing His Word to be heard by the people, even if they could not see his face.

Abhay requests prayer that the whole village would come to know the Lord.

Monday, July 10, 2006

49 Commands of Christ

49 General Commands of Christ
What are 49 Ways to Love God and Others?
The theme of all Scripture is to love God with all of our hearts and to love one another. (See Matthew 22:40 and John 13:34.)

Repent—Matthew 4:17—Humility
Follow Me—Matthew 4:19—Meekness
Rejoice—Matthew 5:12—Joyfulness
Let Your Light Shine—Matthew 5:16—Generosity
Honor God’s Law—Matthew 5:17–18—Love
Be Reconciled—Matthew 5:24–25—Responsibility
Do Not Commit Adultery—Matthew 5:29–30—Self-Control
Keep Your Word—Matthew 5:37—Truthfulness
Go the Second Mile—Matthew 5:38–42—Deference
Love Your Enemies—Matthew 5:44—Creativity
Be Perfect—Matthew 5:48—Sincerity
Practice Secret Disciplines—Matthew 6:1–18—Faith
Lay Up Treasures—Matthew 6:19–21—Thriftiness
Seek God’s Kingdom—Matthew 6:33—Initiative
Judge Not—Matthew 7:1—Discernment
Do Not Cast Pearls—Matthew 7:6—Discretion
Ask, Seek, and Knock—Matthew 7:7–8—Resourcefulness
Do Unto Others—Matthew 7:12—Sensitivity
Choose the Narrow Way—Matthew 7:13–14—Decisiveness
Beware of False Prophets—Matthew 7:15—Alertness
Pray For Laborers—Matthew 9:38—Compassion
Be Wise as Serpents—Matthew 10:16—Wisdom
Fear God, Not Man—Matthew 10:26—Boldness
Hear God’s Voice—Matthew 11:15—Attentiveness
Take My Yoke—Matthew 11:29—Obedience
Honor Your Parents—Matthew 15:4—Honor/Reverence
Beware of Leaven—Matthew 16:6—Virtue
Deny Yourself—Luke 9:23—Determination
Despise Not Little Ones—Matthew 18:10—Tolerance
Go to Offenders—Matthew 18:15—Justice
Beware of Covetousness—Luke 12:15—Contentment
Forgive Offenders—Matthew 18:21–22—Forgiveness
Honor Marriage—Matthew 19:6—Loyalty
Be a Servant—Matthew 20:26–28—Availability
Be a House of Prayer—Matthew 21:13—Persuasiveness
Ask in Faith—Matthew 21:21–22—Patience
Bring in the Poor—Luke 14:12–14—Hospitality
Render to Caesar—Matthew 22:19–21—Gratefulness
Love the Lord—Matthew 22:37–38—Enthusiasm
Love Your Neighbor—Matthew 22:39—Gentleness
Await My Return—Matthew 24:42–44—Punctuality
Take, Eat, and Drink—Matthew 26:26–27—Thoroughness
Be Born Again—John 3:7—Security
Keep My Commandments—John 14:15—Diligence
Watch and Pray—Matthew 26:41—Endurance
Feed My Sheep—John 21:15–16—Dependability
Baptize My Disciples—Matthew 28:19—Cautiousness
Receive God’s Power—Luke 24:49—Orderliness
Make Disciples—Matthew 28:20—Flexibility

Friday, June 30, 2006

New Website Up and running

Let me know what is missing and can be improved. Thanks

Prophecy Time

This commentary is from Herb Peters at Fulfilled Prophecy. I have been following Herb for almost 2 years now and I must say that I believe he is onto something. I am not pointing fingers and I know all the warnings that the Bible gives, but we are told to watch so I would encourage you to watch and pray. If interested I have the website linked to the left. Thanks

Poor Guy

The G-8 have issued their decision: Iran must respond to Javier Solana's incentive package that was approved by the so-called "five plus one" nations, at a meeting next week with Solana Read about it here. If you recall, Iran said the world would have to wait until next August for their reply. Evidently, something may have changed their mind. Let's take a look at what this "something" might be.

For a start, just who are the G-8 nations now throwing their weight behind Solana? They are a grouping of the world's eight major economies -- Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, United Kingdom, and the United States.

OK. Now, who are the "five plus one" nations that supported Solana's incentive package offer to Iran? They are the five governing UN Security Council powers, the United States, United Kingdom, France, Russian and China -- plus Germany. And, last I knew, the UN was an international body made up of 191 nations. I think I'll skip listing all these nations.

Now, who are the EU nations? Why? Because, according to this article Read it here, Solana represents this group of nations too. Let's see, the EU member states are, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands and United Kingdom.

Friends, these are a lot of nations. Each individual group of nations mentioned -- the G-8, the "five plus one" governing powers of the 191 member UN and the 25 member EU -- have an awful lot of clout in the world. But, when someone succeeds in bringing them all together -- such as Solana evidently has -- we're talking about someone who has achieved almost unimaginable international stature.

So, Iran's negotiator must meet with Solana next week.

Poor guy.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Attributes of God

Please spend some time learning about God. I can see nothing better to spend our time on.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Chocolate Soldier

The Chocolate Soldier
Heroism - The Lost Chord of Christianity!
by C. T. Studd

Heroism is the lost chord; the missing note of present day Christianity! Every true soldier is a hero! A SOLDIER WITHOUT HEROISM IS A CHOCOLATE SOLDIER! Who has not been stirred to scorn and mirth at the very thought of a Chocolate Soldier? In peace true soldiers are captive lions, fretting in their cages. War gives them their liberty and sends them, like boys bounding out of school, to obtain their heart's desire or perish in the attempt. Battle is the soldier's vital breath! Peace turns him into a stooping asthmatic. War makes him a whole man again, and gives him the heart, strength, and vigor of a hero.

EVERY TRUE CHRISTIAN IS A SOLDIER of Christ - a hero "par excellence"! Braver than the bravest - scorning the soft seductions of peace and her oft-repeated warnings against hardship, disease, danger, and death, whom he counts among his bosom friends.

THE OTHERWISE CHRISTIAN IS A CHOCOLATE CHRISTIAN! Dissolving in water and melting at the smell of fire. "Sweeties" they are! Bonbons, lollipops! Living their lives on a glass dish or in a cardboard box, each clad in his soft clothing, a little frilled white paper to preserve his dear little delicate constitution.

Here are some PORTRAITS OF CHOCOLATE SOLDIERS taken by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. "He said, 'I go, sir' and went not"; he said he would go to the heathen, but stuck fast to Christendom instead. They say and do not. They tell others to go, and yet do not go themselves. "Never," said General Gordon to a corporal (as he himself jumped upon the parapet [earthen or stone embankment protecting soldiers] of a trench, before Sebastopol, to fix a gabion which the corporal had ordered a private to fix, and wouldn't fix himself). "Never tell another man to do what you are afraid to do yourself."

To the Chocolate Soldier the very thought of war brings a violent attack of ague (feverish chills), while the call to battle always finds him with the palsy. "I really cannot move," he says. "I only wish I could, but I can sing, and here are some of my favorite lines:

"I must be carried to the skies
On a flowery bed of ease,
Let others fight to win the prize,
Or sail thro' bloody seas.
Mark time, Christian heroes,
Never go to war;
Stop and mind the babies
Playing on the floor.
Wash and dress and feed them
Forty times a week.
Till they're roly poly-
Puddings so to speak.

Round and round the nursery
Let us ambulate
Sugar and spice and all that's nice
Must be on our slate.

"Thank the good Lord," said a very fragile, white-haired lady, "God never meant me to be a jellyfish!" She wasn't! GOD NEVER WAS A CHOCOLATE MANUFACTURER, AND NEVER WILL BE. God's men are always heroes. In Scripture you can trace their giant foot-tracks down the sands of time.


Noah walked with God, he didn't only preach righteousness, he acted it. He went through water and didn't melt. He breasted the current of the popular opinion of his day, scorning alike the hatred and ridicule of the scoffers who mocked at the thought of their being but one way of salvation. He warned the unbelieving and, entering the ark himself, didn't open the door an inch when once God had shut it. A real hero untainted by the fear of man.

Learn to scorn the praise of men.
Learn to lose with God;
Jesus won the world through' shame!
And beckons us His road.


Abraham, a simple farmer, at a word from the Invisible God, marched, with family and stock, through the terrible desert to a distant land to live among a people whose language he could neither speak nor understand! Not bad that! But later he did even better, marching hot foot against the combined armies of five kings, flushed with recent victory, to rescue one man! His army? Just 318 odd fellows, armed like a circus crowd. And he won too. "He always wins who sides with God." What pluck! Only a farmer! No war training! Yet what hero has eclipsed his feat? His open secret? He was THE FRIEND OF GOD.


Moses -the man of God -was a species of human chameleon-scholar, general, lawgiver, leader, etc. Brought up as the Emperor's grandson with more than a good chance of coming to the throne, one thing only between him and it-TRUTH-what a choice! What a temptation! A throne for a lie! Ignominy, banishment, or likely enough death for the truth! He played the man! "Refusing to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, he chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin and success for a season, accounting the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt."

Again I see him. Now an old man and alone, marching stolidly back to Egypt, after forty years of exile, to beard the lion in his den, to liberate Pharaoh's slaves right under his very nose, and to lead them across that great and terrible wilderness. A WILD-CAT AFFAIR, if ever there was one! When were God's schemes otherwise! Look at Jordan, Jericho, Gideon, Goliath, and scores of others.

Tame tabby-cat (tabby: domestic cat; rich watered silk) schemes are stamped with another hall mark- that of the Chocolate Brigade! How dearly they love their tabbies yet think themselves wise men!

REAL CHRISTIANS REVEL IN DESPERATE VENTURES FOR CHRIST, expecting from God great things and attempting the same with exhilaration. History cannot match these feats of Moses. How was it done? He consulted not with flesh and blood, he obeyed not men but God.

Once again I see the old gray-beard, this time descending the Mount with giant strides and rushing into the camp, his eyes blazing like burning coals. One man against three million dancing dervishes drunk with debauchery. Bravo! Well done, old man! First class! His cheek pales not, but his mouth moves, and I think I catch his words, "If God be for me who can be against me? I will not be afraid of 10,000 of the people that have set themselves against me. Though a host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear." And he didn't. He wins again. Whence this desperate courage? Listen! "Now the man Moses was very meek above all the men which were upon the face of the earth." "The Lord spake unto Moses face to face as a man speaketh unto his friend." "My servant, Moses," said his Master, "is faithful in all Mine house, with him will I speak mouth to mouth." Such is the explanation of Moses the chameleon, the man and friend of God and consequently a first-class hero.


David- the man after God's own heart- was a man of war and mighty man of valor. When all Israel were on the run, David faced Goliath - alone...with God (and he but a stripling, and well scolded too by his brother for having come to see the battle). What a splendid fool Eliab must have been! As though David would go to see a battle and not stay to fight. THEY ARE CHOCOLATE SOLDIERS WHO MERELY GO TO SEE BATTLES, AND COOLLY URGE OTHERS TO FIGHT THEM. They had better save their journey money and use it to send out real fighters instead. Soldiers don't need dry nurses, and if they did the Holy Ghost is always on the spot and ready to undertake any case on simple application. No! David went to the battle and stayed to fight, and won! Wise beyond his years, he had no use for Saul's armor. It cramped his freedom of action. He tried it on and took it off, quick sharp. And, besides, it made such a ghastly rattle, even when he walked, that he could not hear the still small voice of God, and would never have heard Him saying afterwards, "This is the way to the brook, David! And there are the five smooth stones! Trust only in Me and them. Your own home-made sling will do first class, and There, that's the shortest cut to Goliath." THE CHOCOLATES RAN AWAY - they were all Chocolates - but David ran upon Goliath. One smooth stone was enough.

David's secret was that he had but one Director, and He, the Infallible One. He directed the stone, as He directed the youth. Too many directors spoil the sport, and two are too many: just the One. Thus Christ said to His soldiers: "HE shall teach you all things; HE shall guide you into all the truth."

"THIS is My Beloved Son: HEAR HIM." ONE MEDIATOR ONLY, between God and Man, the man Christ Jesus." ONE DIRECTOR OF CHRISTIAN MEN - GOD THE HOLY GHOST. Whose directions require indeed instant obedience, but not the endorsement of any man.

THE DEVIL NEEDS RED-HOT SHOT, FRESH FROM THE FOUNDRY OF THE HOLY GHOST. He laughs at cold shot or lukewarm, and as for that made of half-iron and half-clay, half-divine and half-human, why you might just as well pelt him with snowballs.

Whence did this raw youth derive his pluck and skill? NOT from military camps, nor theological schools, nor religious retreats. "To know The Only True God and Jesus Christ," is enough. Paul determined to know only Jesus Christ, and look at the grand result! Whilst others were learning pretty theories, David, like John, had been alone with God in the wilds, practicing on bears and lions. The result? HE KNEW GOD AND DID EXPLOITS. He knew God only. He trusted God only. He obeyed God only. That's the secret. God alone gives strength. God adulterated with men entails the weakness of iron and clay - Chocolate - brittleness!

Yet hero as he was, even David alas! once played the role of Chocolate Soldier. HE STAYED AT HOME WHEN HE SHOULD HAVE GONE TO WAR. His army, far off, in danger, fighting the enemy, won. David, at home, secure, within sight of God's house and often going there, suffered the one great defeat of his life, entailing such a bitter, lifelong reaping as might well deter others from the folly of sowing wild oats. David's sin is a terrific sermon (like Lot's preaching in Sodom must have been), its theme - "DON'T BE A CHOCOLATE SOLDIER!"

In his simple, quick, and full confession, David proved himself a man again. It takes a real man to make a true confession - a Chocolate Soldier will excuse or cloak his sin. He tumbles in the mud, flounders on, wipes his mouth to try to get the bad taste of his acted lie out of it, and then goes on his way saying, "I have done no wickedness." A self-murdering fool! Killing his conscience to save his face, like Balaam beating the ass who sought to save his master's life. Being a Chocolate Soldier nearly did in David. Beware!


Nathan was another real Christian Soldier. He went to his king and rebuked him to his face, like Peter's dealing with Ananias (only David embraced his opportunity and confessed), and unlike the Chocolate Soldiers of today who go whispering about and refusing either to judge, rebuke, or put away evil because of the entailed scandal in truth. Genuine Soapy Sams. They say "It is nothing! nothing at all! A mere misunderstanding!" As though God's cause would suffer more through a bold declaration and defense of the truth and the use of the knife, than by the hiding up of sin, and the certain development of mortification in the member, involving death to the whole body. "He that doeth righteousness is righteous," and "he that doeth sin is of the devil," and ought to be told so. He that is a second time led captive by the devil needs neither plaster nor antidote for poison, but the stiff rebuke and summons to repentance of a righteous man to effect his salvation. WE ARE BADLY IN NEED OF NATHANS TODAY, who fear God and nought else, no, not even a scandal.


Daniel was another hero. Of course he was! Was he not the man greatly beloved of God who sent an angel to tell him so? I love to watch him as he walks, with firm step and radiant face, to the lions' den, stopping but once - like his Master en route to Calvary - to comfort his weeping and agonized emperor. God shut the mouths of the lions against Daniel, but opened them wide against those who had opened their mouths against His servant.

A man is known by his works, and the works of Daniel were his three friends, who, rather than bow down to men or gold, braved the fiery furnace. Again we see him going to the banquet hall, and hear his conductor whisper in his ear, "Draw it mild, Daniel, be statesmanlike. Place and power again for you if you are tactful and wise - especially tactful!" And Daniel's simple reply, "Get thee behind me, satan!" There he stands before the king, braving torture or instant death - but it's the king who quails, not Daniel - who tells him to his face the whole hot truth of God, diminishing not a jot.


John the Baptist - a man taught and made and sent of God - good old John! Who doesn't love and admire him? Why, even Herod did. A genuine deficiency of oil and an antidote for poison in his composition. He always told the flat truth, with emphasis. As he loved, so he warned. He knew not how to flatter. HE WOOED WITH THE SWORD, AND "MEN" LOVED HIM THE BETTER FOR IT. They always do.

The leaders of religion sent to John to ask him the dearly loved question of every Pharisee, "By what authority doest thou these (good) things?" They asked that of Christ Himself, and crucified Him for the doing of them. John's answer was plain and pungent, "I will tell you what you ask, and more. John was always liberal! I am nobody, but ye and your masters are a generation of vipers." A good hot curry, that! John never served his curries with butter sauce, but he was always very liberal with pungent relish - a man of God - NO SUGAR PLUM NOR CHOCOLATE SOLDIER HE!

Thus also he faced Herod after six months in an underground dungeon, and he a man of "God's Open-air Mission." Brought straight in before the king; surrounded with all the might and majesty of camp and court; blinking at the unaccustomed sight of light, but by no means putting blinders on the truth, he blurted out his hot and thunderous rebuke, "Thou shalt not have that woman to by thy wife." A whole sermon in one sentence, as easy to remember as impossible to forget. John had preached like that before; like Hugh Latimer, he was not above repeating a good sermon to a king, word for word, when the king had not given sufficient heed to it.

John received the unique distinction of a first-class character from both God and the agent of the devil. Hark to the Savior indulging in an outburst of exquisite sarcasm, "What think ye of John? A reed shaken by the wind? A man clothed in soft raiment?" A Chocolate Soldier? (How delicious! The Chocolates were right in front of Jesus at the time - Pharisees, Sadducees, priests, scribes, lawyers, and other hypocrites. How the crowd must have enjoyed it!) A prophet?

Nay, much more than prophet! "Of men born of women there is none greater than John." And what did the devil's agent say when, after John's death, he heard of Jesus? "This," I tell you, "is John risen from the dead." What a character! Fancy Jesus being mistaken for anyone! He could have been mistaken only for John. Nobody envies him the well-deserved honor, great though it was, for John was a man - pure granite right through, with not a grain of Chocolate in him.

Had John but heard Jesus say, "Ye shall be My witnesses unto the uttermost parts of the earth," I very much doubt if Herod's dungeon, or his soldiers, could have detained him. He surely would have found some means to escape, and run off to preach Christ's Gospel, if not in the very heart of Africa, then in some more difficult and dangerous place. Yet Christ said, referring to His subsequent gift of the Holy Ghost to every believer, "He that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he," intimating that even greater powers than those of John are at the disposal of every Christian, and that what John was, each one of us can be - good, straight, bold, unconquerable, heroic.


But here are other foot-tracks - outrageous ones: they can belong only to one man - THAT GRANDEST OF CHRISTIAN PARADOXES - THE LITTLE GIANT PAUL - whose head was as big as his body, and his heart greater than both. Once he thought and treated every Christian as a combination of knave and fool. Then he became one himself. He was called "fool" because his acts were so far beyond the dictates of human reason, and "mad" because of his irresponsible fiery zeal for Christ and men. A first-class scholar, but one who knew how to use scholarship properly; for he put it on the shelf, declaring the wisdom of men to be but folly, and determined to know nothing else save Jesus Christ and Him crucified. The result - he made the world turn somersault. His life was a perpetual gamble for God. Daily he faced death for Christ. Again and again he stood fearless before crowds thirsting for his blood. He stood before kings and governors and "turned not a hair". He didn't so much as flinch before Nero, that vice-president of hell. His sufferings were appalling; read them. He trod in his Master's footsteps, and so received (God is always just in His favors) the same splendid compliment that Jesus did. "All forsook him." So there were some Chocolate Christians in those days too. Anyone who forsook Paul must have been made of Chocolate.

Doubtless the "CHOCOLATES" excused themselves as they do today. "Who could abide such a fanatical, fiery fool? Such an uncompromising character? Nobody could work with him, or he with them!" (What a lie! Jesus did, and they got on well together.) A tactless enthusiast, who considered it his business to tell every man the unvarnished truth regardless of consequences. He won his degree hands down, and without a touch of the spur. A first-class one, too (that of the headman's axe) next best to that of the cross.

And so the tale goes on. Go where you will through the Scriptures or history, you find that men who really knew God, and didn't merely say they did, were invariably Paragons and Pluck; Dare-Devil Desperadoes for Jesus; Gamblers for God. "Fools and Madmen," shout the world and the Chocolates. "Yes, for Christ's sake," add the Angels!

"Nobly they fought to win the prize,
Climbing the steep ascents of heaven,
Through' peril, toil, and pain.
O God, to us let grace be given,
To follow in their train."


The Chocolate Christians of today can at least boast of having ancient pedigrees. There are CHOCOLATES A LA RUEBEN, who have great searchings of heart, and make great resolves of heart too. But somehow they still sit among the sheepfolds, listening to the pipings of their much-loved organs and church choirs. It's good to have a great heart searching. It's better to make a great heart-resolve. But, if instead of obeying, we squat among the sheep, leaving our few hard-pressed brethren to tackle the wolves by themselves, verily we are but Chocolate Christians. You made a great resolve to go to Africa for Christ a year or two ago. Where are you now? In England? Yes! Yes! Lollipop! (Judges 5:16)


There are CHOCOLATES MEROZ, who earned the curse of the angel of the Lord. War was declared; the battle about to begin; the odds were outrageous, and Meroz remained in England attending conventions until the battle was over, then he went, in comfort and security, as a Cook's tourist! Doubtless they said, "They couldn't fight till they had been properly ordained, and, besides, there was so very much to be done in fat, overfed Meroz, and surely to feed a flock of fat sheep in a safe place has always been considered the ideal training of war"; as though the best training for the soldier was to become a nursemaid!!! (Judges 5:23.)


CHOCOLATES DU BALAAM begin first-class, and earn the name of prophets. Then they develop a squint, melt, and finally run out of the frying pan into the fire, thus Balaam. One day he couldn't get his left eye to look at God. It would look at earth and mammon and that chit of a girl, Miss Popularity. He ought to have done as God told him, and plucked it out. But he said that was too much to ask of any man, and besides he wanted the best of both worlds. He had a hearty desire to die the death of the righteous, but he wasn't willing to pay the price of a righteous life. He hadn't the pluck to curse God's people, so he made plans for others to make them sin. But one day, while his dupes were putting his chestnuts into the fire, they fell in themselves, and Balaam with them (Numbers 22-24).

"I counsel thee to buy of me eye salve, that thou mayest once again have a single eye, and be enabled to see the folly of flirting with the world."


CHOCOLATE DEMAS, who left old fiery hard-hitting Paul for an easier path. He said he thought Paul should wink at, or slobber over sin, instead of rebuking it. "He was so very fond of the knife, you know; and he never would use sticking-plaster, because he said it never healed the sore but made it burrow underneath and become bigger, worse, and dangerous" (2 Tim. 4:10).


MARK joined the Chocolate Brigade once. He left Paul and Barnabas in the lurch, and went back to Jerusalem for a rest cure - a religious retreat. Thank God he got sick of it ere long, resigned his commission, and re-enlisting in God's army became a useful soldier (Acts 13:13).


MANY FINE YOUNGSTERS ARE TURNED INTO CHOCOLATES BY OLD PROPHETS. Old prophets who have lost their fire, or fire off words instead of deeds, usually become Great Chocolate Manufacturers. That poor young prophet. He did so well when he obeyed God only, but it was all over with him when he listened to another voice, even though that of an old prophet. Didn't the old prophet say he was a prophet? And say he'd got the message straight from God? What a damnable lie! The floor of Christendom and elsewhere is littered with wrecks made by old prophets. God won't stand nonsense from any man. Every man has to choose between Christ and Barabbas, and every Christian between God and some old prophet. Better be a silly donkey in the estimation of an old prophet than listen to his soft talk and flattery, and afterwards become a wreck. "This is My beloved Son, hear HIM." No! Not even Moses, nor Elijah, nor both. "HEAR HIM." "You have an anointing from God, and you have no need that any man teach you." You say you believe the Bible! No your deeds give the lie to your words? (I Kings 13)


THE TEN SPIES WERE CHOCOLATES. They melted and ran over the whole congregation of Israel, turning them into CHOCOLATE CREAMS - "softies", afraid to face the fire and water before them. God put them all into the saucepan again and boiled them for forty years in the desert, and left them there. He has no use for Chocolates. It's not small things He despises, but "Chocolates"; for He said, "Your little ones shall inherit the promised land which you have forfeited through listening to men and despising Me" (Numbers 13).


JONAH became a Chocolate Soldier once. Told to go to Africa, he went to Liverpool and took ship for America. Luckily he met a storm and a whale which, after three days' instruction, taught him how to pray and obey, and set him once again on the right track (Jonah 1).

There's nothing that shows up CHOCOLATES so much as a bit of a breeze among God's people. Paul and Barnabas had one once. Judging from experience, I guess there were some Chocolates about then who got into a fog right away! Before that, they had vowed they would go to the heathen; but this breeze between Paul and Barnabas put them off. If they hadn't been MADE OF CHOCOLATE they would have said, "This affair between Paul and Barnabas only makes it more necessary for me to keep close to God, and do what He told me to do more exactly and punctually; so I shall go a bit sooner to Africa - that's all!"

Difficulties, dangers, disease, death, or divisions don't deter any but Chocolates from executing God's Will. When someone says there's a lion in the way, the real Christian promptly replies, "That's hardly enough inducement for me; I want a bear or two besides to make it worth my while to go."

CHOCOLATES are very fond of talking loud and long against some whom they call fanatics, as though there were any danger of Christians being fanatics nowadays! Why, fanatics among Christians are as rare as the "dodo bird". Now, if they proclaimed against "lukewarmness", they would talk sense. God's real people have always been called fanatics. Jesus was called mad; so was Paul; so was Whitfield, Wesley, Moody, Spurgeon. No one has graduated far in God's School who has not been paid the compliment of being called a fanatic. We Christians of today are indeed a lukewarm crew. Had we but half the fire and enthusiasm of the Suffragettes in the past, we would have the world evangelized and Christ back among us in no time. Had we the pluck and heroism of the Flyers, or the men who volunteered for the North or South Polar Expeditions, or for the Great War, or for any ordinary dare-devil enterprise, we could have every soul on earth knowing the name and salvation of Jesus Christ in less than ten years.

Alas! What stirs ordinary men's blood and turns them into heroes, makes most Christians run like a flock of frightened sheep. The Militants daily risked their lives in furtherance of their cause, and subscribed of their means in a way that cried "Shame" on us Christians, who generally brand the braving of risks and fighting against odds as a "tempting of God".


CHOCOLATE CARAMELS - "stick-jaw", boys call them - jawing, "I go, sir," and sticking fast in Christendom. No conquest is made in assured safety, and conquest for Christ certainly cannot so be made.

We Christians too often SUBSTITUTE PRAYER FOR PLAYING THE GAME. Prayer is good: but when used as a substitute for obedience, it is naught but a blatant hypocrisy, a despicable Pharisaism. We need as many meetings for actions as for prayer - perhaps more. Every orthodox prayer-meeting is opened by God saying to His people, "Go work today; pray that laborers be sent into My vineyard." It is continued by the Christians response, "I go, Lord, whithersoever Thou sendest me, that Thy Name may be hallowed everywhere, that Thy Kingdom may come speedily, that Thy Will may be done on earth as in heaven." But if it ends in nobody going anywhere, it had better never have been held at all. Like faith, prayer without works is dead. That is why many Prayer-Meetings might well be styled "much cry, yet little wool". Zerubbabel didn't only hold prayer-meetings; he went and cut down trees, and started to build. Hence God said, "From this day will I bless thee."

Report says that someone has rediscovered the secret of the old masters. Cannot we Christians rediscover, and put into practice, that of our Great Master and His former pupils, Heroism? He and they saved not themselves; they loved not their lives to the death, and so kept on saving them by losing them for Christ's sake.

WE ARE FRITTERING AWAY TIME AND MONEY IN A MULTIPLICITY OF CONVENTIONS, conferences, and retreats, when the real need is to go straight and full steam into battle, with the signal for "close action" flying.

The "Vox Humana" plays too important a part in our Christian organs and organizations today. The music, whoever plays, is bound to be thin when the tops of "Instant Obedience" and "Fiery Valor" are missing or unused, and without them to play the "Lost Chord" of Heroism is an impossibility.

"Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it," said the Blessed Virgin. Do what? Not put oil and spice into the soft holy vessels inside the house, but pour the Water of Life into those empty stone ones outside. Cana's marriage feast would have ended in shame had the wine run short. Christ's marriage feast begins only when the wine is sufficient - a blend from every tongue and kindred and tribe and nation. The supply is assured, as soon as the water is poured out as Christ directed, into "the uttermost parts of the earth". The mischief today is the reluctance of the servants to do the outside work. They all want to serve indoors, wear smart clothes, listen to the conversation, and make a terrible lot of themselves in the butler's pantry.

DO LET US MAKE A REAL START NOW - AT ONCE. For years, like Mr. Winkle, we've declared we were just about to begin, and then never began at all. We must divorce Chocolate and Disobedience, and marry Faith and Heroism.

"Who shall begin the battle?" asked the king. "Thou," replied the prophet, and when the king and the young princes led the way, though the odds against them were terrific, they won with ridiculous ease.

So, too, THE APOSTLES LED IN THE WAR OF GOD to the uttermost parts of the earth. Likewise in the Crusades, the kings and the princes of State and Church led; then why not today in THE CRUSADE OF CHRIST TO EVANGELIZE THE WORLD?

GOD'S SUMMONS TODAY IS TO THE YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN OF GREAT BRITAIN AND AMERICA AND CHRISTENDOM, WHO CALL THEMSELVES BY THE NAME OF CHRIST. "New wine," said Christ, "must be placed in New bottles." Those superfluously labeled and patched-up old-fashioned ones are as hopeless as the New Theology. They can't be moved lest they burst with pride and spill the wine in the wrong place.

Listen: "And it shall be in the last days, I will pour forth of My Spirit upon all flesh. Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions (of faith), your old men shall dream dreams (of courageous obedience); yea, and on My bondmen and on My bond maidens in those days will I pour forth of My Spirit, and they shall prophesy; and I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs in the earth beneath; and it shall be that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

But how can they call on Him of whom they have not even heard? Must you stay, young man? Can't you go, young woman, and tell them? Verily we are in the last (the Laodicean stage) that of the Lukewarm Church.

Wilt thou be to Christ the partner of His throne or a medicine which induces vomiting (Rev.3:21); a Militant or a Chocolate Christian? Wilt thou fear or wilt thou fight? Shall your brethren go to war and shall ye sit here? When He comes, shall He find faith on the earth? A thousand times you have admitted Christ's Love so amazing, so divine, Demands your life, your soul, your all.

Wilt thou be a miser and withhold what honor demands of thee? Wilt thou give like Ananias and Sapphira, who, pretending to give all, gave only part? Possessing and enjoying the vineyard, wilt thou, like the husbandman, refuse the agreed rent? Wilt thou fear death, or devil, or men? AND WILT THOU NOT FEAR SHAME? Some shall rise to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. Shall we refuse to emulate the heroes of old, or shall we accomplish the double fulfillment of those glorious words?

All these being men of war came with a perfect heart to make Jesus King over all the world. They were all mighty men of valor for the war! He that was least was equal to a hundred, and the greatest to a thousand! They were not of double heart! Their faces were like the faces of lions! They were as swift as the roes upon the mountains (to do their Lord's commands)! Ye sought in time past, for Jesus to be King over you. NOW, THEN, DO IT. (Compare I Chronicles 12:8,33, 38, and II Samuel 3:17-18).

Shall we not reply: Thine are we, Jesus, and on Thy side. God do so to me, and more also, if as God has sworn unto Him, I do not even so to Jesus - to translate the kingdom from the house of satan, and set up the throne of Jesus Christ over all the world. (Compare I Chron.12:18 and 2 Sam.3:10)

Come, then, let us restore the "Lost Chord" of Christianity - HEROISM - to the world, and the crown of the world to Christ. Christ Himself asks thee, "Wilt thou be a Slacker or a Militant?" To your knees, man! And to your Bible! Decide at once! Don't hedge! Time flies! Cease your insults to God, quit consulting flesh and blood. Stop your lame, lying, and cowardly excuses!