Wednesday, August 16, 2017

OVERCOMING THE GREATEST DECEPTION OF MANKIND

Rather than giving warning after warning about the great deceptions which have been among us, are among us and are coming, I am going to help you focus on how to defeat any and all deception. It is simple to understand, but takes diligence to fully accomplish.

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Matt. 11:15; Matt. 13:9 and 43; Mark 4:9; Luke 8:8; Luke 14:35)


What on earth was Jesus talking about? We were created with ears and they work well for hearing all sorts of things. Why would we not be able to hear what is there for us to hear?

I often return to this sentence when discussing discernment and understanding. In context, Jesus was referring to the spiritual ability to understand the parables He was telling. This is not difficult to interpret, because it is very literally spelled out. Let’s gather in the context from Matthew 13:3-17.

Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”

He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:

‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand,
And seeing you will see and not perceive;
For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
Their ears are hard of hearing,
And their eyes they have closed,
Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them.’

“But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”


This is more than a statement of understanding and discernment.


Being able to come to an understanding of God’s word is something that is granted to us by the Holy Spirit. We do not gain it from our own knowledge and wisdom. Growing in faith or sanctification is a work of the Holy Spirit, which prepares our spiritual bodies that were born when we were regenerated by Jesus. This is not a difficult connection to make, but there is another side to this coin which I have bumped into several times this past week during my prayer and study time. I think it is important that I share it with you, because it brings fuller meaning to what Jesus meant when He cried out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

To unravel and reveal this further, let’s take a look at the 6th chapter of Isaiah from which Jesus quotes. This quotation comes from the scene of Isaiah’s commissioning. Immediately after Isaiah responded, “Here I am. Send me,” God responds with the words Jesus quoted. There is a train of thought that I don’t want you to miss, so keep this scene in your mind as we visit a passage in Romans 1:22-27:

Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

God’s commission to Isaiah and this passage from Romans are very much the same. God is delivering a stubborn and stiff-necked people over to their sins.

“You wanna chaw? Then let’s chaw!”


On more than one occasion, I have heard stories of how different individuals were broken of their bad habits through a method that is pretty aggressive, but has been pretty successfully applied in the stories I’ve heard. The story usually goes something like this:

I’ll never forget the day Pa caught me chewing tobacco. He took me out behind the barn, sat me down on a stump, cut off a wad of tobacco and stuffed it in my mouth.

“You wanna chaw?”

I shook my head, knowing the state he was in and that responding with a yes was not my best option. After a few minutes with the chaw in my mouth, I leaned forward to spit.

“Boy! If you spit, I’m going to knock you into next week! You wanted to chaw, so let’s chaw!” Pa commanded.

Since I couldn’t spit, there was nowhere else for the black juice built up in my mouth to go, so I swallowed it. The minute I did, I felt things go off inside of me that I knew weren’t supposed to be happening. My stomach was in rebellion, my head started spinning and I could feel my body tingle all over. I looked into Pa’s eyes, which were cold as steel as he watched me.

I’m not sure what it looks like on the outside when somebody turns green, but I knew what it felt like on the inside. I could tell that it wouldn’t be long before my insides would be trying to put themselves on the outside.

“You like to chaw, huh?” Pa asked.

My response was to lean forward and explode into dumping the contents of my mouth and my stomach out on the ground.

“Pretty pleasurable to chaw isn’t it, boy!” Pa mocked.

When I was finished spilling all that I had inside me on the ground in front of that stump, Pa cut off another chunk of tobacco and put it into my mouth. The scene repeated itself several times. I wasn’t sure if the tobacco or my life would give out first. I finished the supply of tobacco I had so proudly purchased some hours before, spilling that last chunk and the black poison it had formed inside me onto the ground alongside all of the rest of it.

Without a word, Pa got up and left. I was sick for three days after that, but I ain’t never wanted a chaw since.

God gives those who rebel over to their sins


In the same manner as the story above, God gives those who rebel against Him over to their sins. Besides our rebellion, what sin is He giving us over to? The clues are found in the passage in Isaiah as well as Jesus’ words when He quoted from it and are alluded to in two passages from Psalms:

The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
The work of men’s hands.
They have mouths, but they do not speak;
Eyes they have, but they do not see;
They have ears, but they do not hear;
Nor is there any breath in their mouths.
Those who make them are like them;
So is everyone who trusts in them. - Psalm 115:4-8 and Psalm 135:15-18

Those who rebel against God are made to be just like their idols


They become foolish, blind, deaf, mute and dead, just like the images which they form for themselves. Jesus’ call goes beyond discernment, but is a call to those who are not given over to idols. It is a call to those who do not lust after the will of the flesh. In terms that ought to penetrate to your core:

Jesus calls to those who do not put their trust in silver and gold.

Jesus calls to those who do not put their trust in the work of their hands.

Those who put their trust in those things are guilty of worshiping idols and guilty of falling under what Paul wrote in Romans 1:28-32:

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

How do we respond?


We respond by turning away from idols and exalting Jesus. This was the cure for Israel and it is the cure for all of the generations down through history. Jesus has rightful dominion over all the earth. Jesus is to be exalted above all idols, teachings, works of our hands, all silver and gold, all nations and kingdoms; ALL THINGS!

Both Psalm 115 and 135 end with the commands to:

Bless the Lord and Praise the Lord!


Those are not just commands for singing and worship, but attitudes of humble submission and exaltation of the King of kings and Lord of lords. Do not be led astray or deceived by idols, false teachings and trusting in the works of your hands. Exalt Jesus and overcome the greatest deception of mankind.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

We Do Not Need a New Prophetic Word

I am amazed at the explosion of “prophetic words” that are springing up in every direction. Warnings of every kind are coming from the direction of all four winds and the thousands of variations between them.

The phrases, “God told me,” or “God showed me,” or “God gave me a vision,” are used to lift a person up to a supreme level of authority. After all, what authority is higher than a word spoken directly by God? The problem becomes evident immediately following that phrase of self-exaltation by the speaker. I’ve seen it over and over and over. Though not a specific example, someone sharing these new prophetic words might say:

“God came to me in a dream and told me that on November 14th, 2017, He is going to destroy America with an asteroid which will hit right in the middle of Nebraska and touch off a series of earthquakes which will completely wipe the United States of America off of the face of the earth.”

November 14th, 2017 comes without incident and rolls over into November 15th and 16th and 17th, etc. So, evidently, it wasn’t God who told them that an asteroid was going to hit right in the middle of Nebraska. That ought to be a humbling experience and cause a person to reconsider the source of their dreams and interpretations, right? Instead, they get a new “prophetic word” a few days later. This “prophetic word” explains away their error concerning the other “prophetic word,” and these people come up with a new date and a new “prophesy.”

THESE ARE FRAUDS


These are false prophets and false teachers who are being used by Satan to deceive those who are weak. Through their lies, he frustrates their faith and makes them begin to doubt. Those who are truly weak in their faith, without the power of the Holy Spirit to teach them discernment, might fall away completely, but consider this:

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was. – 2 Timothy 3:1-9


This warning of Paul has applied for the past 2000 years, it is actually, the nature of man, so, in some form, these things have always existed. In my lifetime, these issues have multiplied exponentially. I have allowed myself, on occasion, to be swept away by some of these things as well. There is great appeal to some of these teachings, because they make our flesh tingle and give us something to grasp and hold onto; something we can sink our fingers into. They seem reasonable and logical. In some cases, passages of scripture can be found and manipulated in such a way as to make them appear right. Just sit on that idea for a moment.

Jannes and Jambres


Though not specifically called out in Old Testament scriptures, Jewish tradition named two of the sorcerers in Pharaoh’s palace as Jannes and Jambres. In the passage above, Paul is referring to the following passage from Exodus 7:10-12:

So Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh, and they did so, just as the Lord commanded. And Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a serpent.But Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers; so the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. For every man threw down his rod, and they became serpents. But Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods.


Paul’s point is clear. Though something can sound and look like the exact same thing as godliness, it is not and will be swallowed up by true godliness. Eventually, those things which appear to be godly will reveal themselves to be foolish. Yet even when they prove to be foolish, some people continue to follow them, because they have a form of godliness, but deny its power.

What is a form of godliness?


I want to zero in on a phrase in Paul’s teaching to Timothy above:

“having a form of godliness, but denying its power.”

What is a form of godliness? This is a question that I have sought after for years, because I believed that within it is a profound principle for changing our lives. I think I have finally narrowed it down. To get at the root of it, I’m going to wander away for a moment to examine what is meant by the word form. More specifically, I want to take a look at Plato’s Theory of Forms. Without going into too great of detail, here is how Wikipedia defines this philosophical theory:

Forms theory is Plato's argument that non-physical (but substantial) forms (or ideas) represent the most accurate reality. When used in this sense, the word form or idea is often capitalized. Plato speaks of these entities only through the characters (primarily Socrates) of his dialogues who sometimes suggest that these Forms are the only objects of study that can provide knowledge; thus even apart from the very controversial status of the theory, Plato's own views are much in doubt. However, the theory is considered a classical solution to the problem of universals.

This philosophy, in essence, says that there is a perfect conception of the things that we see and don’t see, which helps to define what a thing is. A dog is derived from a perfect conception of dogness, so to speak. Honesty is derived from a perfect conception of honesty which we cannot see, but can define because of the concept or idea of honesty. It is pretty logical and reasonable on the surface. It is the only way we can truly define things and come to some understanding of them from our limited, human perspective.

Because of Timothy’s Greek roots, I believe Paul was talking about this theory when he used the phrase, “form of godliness.” So, using Form Theory, there is a perfect conception of godliness which defines godliness. Likely, that conception is formed by the religious traditions of your family and/or church. From that conception, we come to define and gain knowledge of godliness, but that is not necessarily true godliness. Why? Because though our knowledge of godliness might define it for us, it is lacking the power of godliness. What is it lacking?

What do forms of godliness lack?


Knowledge of God, knowledge of Jesus and even professing that Jesus is Lord do not measure up to godliness. That’s a little bit scary when you first look at it, though it should not surprise you because Jesus said, “not everyone one who calls me Lord will enter into the Kingdom.” (Matt. 7:21) So, what power is being denied? Ezekiel 37:1-10 gives us a wonderful picture:

The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. 


And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”


So I answered, “O Lord God, You know.” 


Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 


Thus says the Lord God to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.”’” 


So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them. 


Also He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.”’” 


So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.


The bones rose up and took on the form of men, but they were not made alive until the breath of God entered into them. Genesis 2:7 says, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” The breath of God coming into mankind is what brought him to life in the beginning and is what brings us to life in our new birth. In our new birth, this breath of God is His Holy Spirit.

What does the Holy Spirit do?


To answer his question, let’s look at what Jesus said about the Holy Spirit:

·         Reinforces Jesus’ teachings. “But the Helperthe Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” – John 14:26
·         Bears Witness of Jesus.  “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.” – John 15:26
·         Guides you in truth. “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” – John 16:13

The Holy Spirit will testify to the truth and He will guide you in the truth. That truth has already been written down. God’s plan for the salvation of His people has already been laid out and revealed. We come to understand it and apply the power of our rebirth to our lives when, by the Holy Spirit, we are given eyes to see and ears to hear.

 “You can’t handle the truth!”


In reality, this statement is truer than the scriptwriter for the movie really understood. You can’t handle the truth. You can’t know the truth through looking at its forms. The power of the truth cannot be grasped hold of and you cannot sink your fingers into it.

 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 16:17


This was Jesus’ response to Peter’s confession of faith. This statement should drive all of us into a state of humility concerning our own confession of faith. Our flesh and blood does not reveal to us the truth of Jesus’ Lordship.

Our forms of godliness do not bring us to the truth. The Holy Spirit comes to us and testifies to us concerning who Jesus is before we ever come to any understanding of Him or confession of faith. We don't save ourselves through some great choice we make. We are saved because understanding is given to us from above. Following that initial confession, little by little, we are guided into a deeper truth by the Word of God and His Spirit opening our eyes and ears to recognizing it.

Why We Do Not Need New Prophesies


We’ve come full circle. You ought to have a solid grip on the phrase, “having a form of godliness, but denying the power.” How does that apply to the subject of this post? It’s simple really. If the Holy Spirit guides those who are His own in all truth, He is going to begin our guiding using His already revealed Word (I capitalize it because the first chapter of John declares that Jesus is the Word).

Knowing and understanding the Word is an act of humility and submission rather than an act of increasing our knowledge and wisdom. Those who exalt themselves with the words “God told me…” or “God showed me in a dream…” need to check themselves and their egos.

How should we interpret the signs we see today?


We are seeing portions of prophesy fulfilled today. I won't deny that. Because these signs have increased in both frequency and intensity (like a woman in labor), we are probably seeing the beginning of the end unfold in front of us, but the day and hour has been revealed to no one and we are to immediately discount the testimony of anyone who says they do know the day and hour. It begins with humility and self-control. Here is an example:

I have had visions; some very clear ones. Some of my visions seemed to have set certain dates for certain events, but when I checked them against scripture, they did not work out unless I added my own knowledge of scripture to them and manipulated them to fit. Instead of declaring those dates to be some great future event, I looked to their purpose in how they apply to my weakness and limited understanding instead of throwing their weight onto everyone else.

In most dreams and visions which we have we are not being given some new, special revelation about how God is going to carry out his plan of redemption or to formulate some date. God's plan of redemption and destruction is already laid out. His prophets revealed His plan through thousands of years of preaching and writing.

I have no special knowledge beyond what was given to the writers of scripture, in fact, the last chapter of Revelation even warns us of the consequences of assuming that we can add to or take away from what is written in God's Word. Rather than being inspired toward pride, it is better to err on the side of caution and humble yourself. If you need an illustration of this look at the calls of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel and how they responded to God's call to prophesy.

From the visions I have seen, I have searched God’s prophesies and warnings throughout scripture and come to a single conclusion every time. It is no special knowledge but a path to follow through the already revealed Word. I’ve spelled it out in a number of different ways in my writings over the last few years. Here it is in simple form:

We must humble ourselves before the Holy Lamb of God.


We need to stop assuming that we will leisurely skate (a prideful attitude) into heaven by our own knowledge and good works, and recognize that salvation comes from the Lord. (Ephesians 2)

Our salvation did not come from flesh and blood; it was not our decision which saved us. We were as dead as those dry bones in Ezekiel 37 until life was breathed into us and then we began to believe. We were brought to confess Jesus as Lord in the exact same way as Peter was. (Matt. 16:3-18)

Holding onto some form of godliness (family and church traditions, theological outlines, books we've read, carefully crafted timelines, etc.), which we have chosen as our hope, guide and assurance, will lead us to foolishness. (Galatians 3)

Our Holy Lamb has laid out the path for us; He guides us in His truth and teaches us how to discern the truth of His scriptures from the lies which are all around us. (Revelation 7:16-17)

Though we stumble, in my case stumble so far that I dug a deep pit for myself when I fell, Jesus, by the power of His Holy Spirit, will lift us up again and finish the work which he began in us. (Philippians 1:6)

We should not look to our flesh, which can only understand things by their forms, but put our flesh to death and embrace our new birth through the power of Jesus' redemption. (Romans 7)

Salvation comes from the Lord and we ought to be looking in His direction rather than focusing on our own weak understanding. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

We must focus ourselves on this:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. – Deuteronomy 6:5 


This should be our response to the sound of Jesus’ voice as He calls to us through His Word and by His Spirit, even when He shows us a clear vision.

It was not Gideon's doubt which made him lay out the fleeces, nor did God see it as an insult or testing of God, it was sound obedience on Gideon's part to discern the Spirit. (Judges 6)

Humbling ourselves and testing the spirits against the Word of God is our defense against false teachers and false prophets and the great assurance of our salvation. Paul gives us an emphatic command concerning those who have a form of godliness, but deny the power:

And from such people turn away!


That statement includes depending upon our own, flesh. We should not trust our own knowledge and flesh, ought to thoroughly examine our own motivations, and flee from those which do not line up with God's Word.

We are to turn away, run away and stay away from these people and their teachings. Running away does you no good unless you have somewhere to run to. Run to the Holy Lamb of God and abide in Him (John 15), for without Him, we have only a form of godliness, but deny its power.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Be Careful Concerning the Great American Eclipse and Revelation 12 Sign Hype

The enormous hype surrounding the “Great American Eclipse,” is not only coming from secular sources, but is also coming from those who profess to be Christians in what might be best referred to as the New Age Prophecy Movement. This movement, in which Jesus seems to be scattering prophetic wisdom and visions among anyone with a YouTube channel, is dangerous and deceptive. Following right on the tail of the Great American Eclipse is the Revelation 12 sign on September 23rd

CHRISTIAN BEWARE!!!

Let me back up one moment before going further with this. Are these prophetic signs fulfilling prophesy? Yes, they are. Look at this passage from Genesis 1:14-15:

Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so.

So, yes, these are signs. God has sent them as a message to His people. We are to take them seriously.

BUT…

These are not signals for, nor do they give license to setting dates and/or declaring prophetic woes upon any nations or people. Furthermore, for anyone to claim that some great prophetic word came to them in a vision, a dream or some particular experience (perhaps a particularly difficult bowel movement) flies directly in the face of the Word of God. Consider this:

For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. - Revelation 22:18-19

This is a serious warning and it applies to the whole of scripture. To add to or declare God’s judgments beyond what He has laid out in His Holy Word is dangerous ground. We can speculate to the meanings of these signs, of course, but we do so examining the scriptures in order to understand what signals God is sending us through His signs. It DOES NOT mean that we can set dates for the rapture and declare that God is going to destroy America or make any other such statements.

These Are Warnings

When you hear the distinctive rattle of the tail of a diamondback snake, what does it tell you? When you see the hackles standing up on a dog’s back, it has its teeth bared, and it is growling, what sort of sign is it giving you? They are warnings to back off from whatever you are doing. When God sent Moses to Egypt to demand that Pharaoh free the Israelites, He gave signs and warnings of the consequences of Pharaoh’s disobedience. Joshua, Elijah, Elisha, Samuel, Nathan, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the prophets throughout the Old Testament gave warnings. There was always a single warning… Back off from what you are doing! Repent and turn to the Holy God!

God backed up His warnings with His signs. Why? God wants us to understand that HE controls the universe. Let me give you a tiny sample of what God’s warnings declare:

“Who has divided a channel for the overflowing water,
Or a path for the thunderbolt,
To cause it to rain on a land where there is no one,
A wilderness in which there is no man;
To satisfy the desolate waste,
And cause to spring forth the growth of tender grass?
Has the rain a father?
Or who has begotten the drops of dew?
From whose womb comes the ice?
And the frost of heaven, who gives it birth?
The waters harden like stone,
And the surface of the deep is frozen.

“Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades,
Or loose the belt of Orion?
Can you bring out Mazzaroth in its season?
Or can you guide the Great Bear with its cubs?
Do you know the ordinances of the heavens?
Can you set their dominion over the earth?

“Can you lift up your voice to the clouds,
That an abundance of water may cover you?
Can you send out lightnings, that they may go,
And say to you, ‘Here we are!’?
Who has put wisdom in the mind?
Or who has given understanding to the heart?
Who can number the clouds by wisdom?
Or who can pour out the bottles of heaven,
When the dust hardens in clumps,
And the clods cling together? – Job 38:25-38

Chapters 38 through 41 are filled with an example of God’s complete sovereignty over ALL of creation. The message is clear. I AM WHO I AM (Genesis 3:14).  God existed before creation and will continue to exist without any challenge to His existence. He does not have to answer to anyone or do anything that anyone commands. He is God and He is Holy. His signs are before us in every moment of every day and in every single aspect of our lives. But when He puts signs in the heavens, He does it for the purpose of letting us know that we need to HUMBLE ourselves before Him and pay attention. We need to back off from what we are doing, repent of our errors and focus on His Holiness.

For those who are wondering what the specific purpose of these most recent signs are about, let me give you a hint. These are signs to let you know that God will no longer bear the rejection of His son, Jesus, nor the disobedience of His law. He will no longer tolerate the challenges to His sovereignty and that includes those of you who call yourselves Christians, yet believe that your will, your words or your works will somehow sanctify you in the sight of the Holy God.

Jesus Is Wholly and Holy God

Just in case you are one of those who thinks that sweet Jesus surely isn’t involved in the coming judgments had better take another look at how you view Jesus. In the 8th chapter of John, when the Pharisees were questioning Jesus’ authority, He responded to them with a simple statement which infuriated them to the point of trying to kill Him:

“Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”

Those are the exact same words which God said to Moses when He was asked by what authority Moses was to say he was making his demands. Jesus is not a wall flower. He is God. He is in on the judgment that is to come. In fact, He is THE major player in carrying out the judgments. Jesus is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah who is coming with a rod of iron.


Make no mistake; Jesus’ wrath will be terrible!

But there is hope. Those who hear His call, repent of their sins and turn to Him as the hope of their salvation will be saved from the Day of Wrath.

Let me list a few of the warning signs:

·         There are currently more than 30 active volcanoes worldwide.
·         On a daily basis, there are more than 100 earthquakes worldwide, more than a dozen every day are stronger than 4.0.
·         In the past six months, there have been major floods on every continent in the world, on many of those continents several times over.
·         There are famines taking place in numerous regions of the world.
·         There have been fireballs coming through our atmosphere in vast numbers. On some occasions there have been more than 50 within a twenty four hour period.
·         The radiation produced by the sun in the last six months has nearly doubled in intensity.
·         There are spot wars all over the world and rumors of war. We are a hair’s breadth from a major global conflict.

Jesus told us that these things would be like birth pains of a woman who is about to give birth. From that we can understand that they will increase in frequency and intensity until the fullness of time is complete. The command that everyone is missing when they look to the prophetic words of Jesus is this one:

“Look up, for your redemption draws near!”

That doesn’t mean gaze into the heavens and wonder what’s coming next and then make a YouTube video about your speculations. That means look toward the HOLY ONE!!! Don’t look within yourself, don’t look to your church, carefully crafted theologies that tickle your ears, don’t look to your neighbors, your family or your friends. Don’t look toward your religious practices, LOOK TOWARD THE HOLY GOD. Fall on your knees and humble yourself before the coming King of Kings and Lord of Lords.


Be CAREFUL! Do not be deceived by the numerous false teachers. Do not be fearful or in a panic. Turn your focus onto the Holy Lamb of God who lives, reigns and has dominion over heaven and earth. Look to HIM, Jesus, for your salvation.

Friday, August 4, 2017

FIVE STAR REVIEW

I'm happy to announce that the book, Our Holy Lamb, which was a collaboration with my sister, Karen John, has received a five star review on Readers' Favorite. In celebration of such a great review, we are offering a promotion throughout the month of August.

Here is the text of the review:

Author Bil Howard, in Our Holy Lamb - Lifting the Fleece Book 1, points the reader toward Jesus Christ the Lamb of God being a person's only hope. He helps the reader to better understand their need for true repentance and not becoming conditioned to the religious thoughts of the church and others around us. Howard gives wonderful, insightful points with scriptures, illustrations and detailed study to ponder upon. Illustrator Karen John helps the reader to visualize what the author is trying to convey with her detailed artwork and views portrayed through the stroke of a brush. Howard delivers a very straightforward and powerful message, one that needs to be presented in our world today.

I enjoyed the short chapters, which allowed for hard-hitting, straight to the point concepts, along with a new picture to illustrate the new point found within the chapter. Chapter 8 was my favorite as Howard unashamedly faces the very controversial topic of Halloween. He looks at how believers are being deceived by Satan and does a wonderful job of sharing his thoughts with scriptures, and allows the reader to face this issue head on to deal with for themselves. While this is a short book, it is power packed, and one for those who truly desire to be stretched within their faith and to grow deeper. This isn't for the faint of heart or for those who are looking for a book filled with fluff. This is a very rich and powerful work.

Reviewed By Darin Godby for Readers’ Favorite

Sunday, May 7, 2017

God Hates Religion

“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.” – Revelation 3:15-19

We are to abide in Jesus daily. Jesus makes that clear in the 15th chapter of John. We are to forsake this world, the riches of this world, the entrapments of this world (even the ones in the church), and the cares of this world and abide in Jesus. That means that Jesus is to be exalted above ALL other areas of your life EVERY DAY.

God provided manna in the wilderness in Exodus 16, every day. It was only good for the day it was gathered and then it rotted and turned into worms if it was saved (except the two days worth so they would not gather on the Sabbath). God has never been a God of weekly lip service, special ceremonies or special holidays. He has always commanded and demanded our daily attention. It is no different with Jesus. He commands and demands our daily attention on Him. That is what is meant by the word ABIDE.

Don’t believe me?


This is how God opens up His judgment against Israel as He delivered it to Isaiah:

“To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?”
Says the Lord.
“I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
And the fat of fed cattle.
I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
Or of lambs or goats.

“When you come to appear before Me,
Who has required this from your hand,
To trample My courts?
Bring no more futile sacrifices;
Incense is an abomination to Me.
The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies—
I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting.
Your New Moons and your appointed feasts
My soul hates;
They are a trouble to Me,
I am weary of bearing them.
When you spread out your hands,
I will hide My eyes from you;
Even though you make many prayers,
I will not hear.
Your hands are full of blood. – Isaiah 1:11-15

Do you still believe that God winks at sin? Do you still believe that Jesus gives a free pass on Sunday morning for whatever you did on Saturday night? Do you think that God is going to continue to tolerate your religious acts apart from abiding in Him daily? I don’t believe you can read the above passage and be content in giving Sunday lip service to Jesus. Jesus is not a salve to put on your wounds. Jesus is not a bandage to cover your ouchies. Jesus is not there to give you a free pass for your Saturday night sins. Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and commands your daily presence.

There is a greater question that must be asked of those who confess Jesus as Lord and an enormous warning to be delivered to those who are trusting in their religion to save them. (Go and read my last post when you finish this one.)

Are you among those who Jesus never knew?


“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” – Matthew 7:21-23

Standing alone, it is pretty easy to clearly understand that having a relationship with Jesus trumps all other good works you might do, but if that isn’t enough, the six verses before these three make it clear that the fruit one bears testifies to their true nature and the four verses after them tell you where you ought to be investing your efforts. John 15 makes it very clear how one who bears Jesus’ fruit is to act. If you have no desire to abide, as in John 15, or build upon the solid Rock, then you need to repent and seek a new relationship with Jesus.

God Will Not Be Mocked By Your Religious Practices


Not only should the above passage from Isaiah have you trembling concerning your Sunday lips service attitude, but you need to be aware that if you are not abiding in Jesus, the Word of God, on a daily basis, then you will be among those who are deceived by the false teachers and the Anti-Christ. Both the False Prophet and the Anti-Christ are already in this world, so you better wake up and start paying attention. Pay attention to these words of the apostle Paul:

“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” – 2 Timothy 3:1-7

All of my adult life I have sought to understand what is meant by the phrase "holding to a form of godliness, but denying its power." The Holy Spirit has led me to a full understanding of it. It relates to what we just read in Matthew 7. When we deny our relationship with Jesus, we deny the power of our salvation. It really doesn't take a lot of wisdom to understand that if the branches deny the sap of the vine to flow through them or become disconnected from the vine that they will quickly die. Besides the death of never being connected, denying our daily relationship with Jesus puts us at risk for deception.

Deception will come and already has come in the form of religion. Deception is in the common Christian symbols and traditions that you probably see in your church on Sunday. Without the guiding of the Holy Spirit, to guide you into all truth (John 16) and the relationship connected to abiding in Jesus on a daily basis, even the scriptures are a stumbling block.

There is no wisdom, there are no codes, and there are no professors or teachers that can give you a full understanding of the Word of God. The Truth can only be found through the guidance of The Word, The Light and The Truth (John 1). The Truth stands on its own apart from what you believe or what you’ve been taught. All things must be tested against the Word of Truth. Apart from Jesus and Him glorified and exalted in your life, you WILL BE DECEIVED.


Abide in Jesus Daily


Give up your religious practices and your dependence upon religious rites and symbols. Instead, abide in Jesus every single day. Exalt Him above all other things in your life and seek His wisdom and His guidance through the Holy Spirit and through His Word. We all get off track, but in order to continue to abide in Jesus; we must recognize our wandering and rebellion, repent of it and get right back into abiding. BE RESTORED NOW!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Don’t Get Too Comfortable With Your Religion and Religious Practices

And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” – Matthew 24:2


In the past several months and even into the last few years, Matthew 24 has been consulted over and over again as people search for signs of the times and for clues as to what is coming. I’ve referred to this chapter several times myself and just like many, I’ve skipped over the most important warning Jesus gives in Matthew 24. It wasn’t until the Lord directed me toward the obscure references of Shiloh that finally saw what Jesus was telling His disciples and US in this passage. Before we go into that, let’s build the scene.

Earlier in the week, Jesus, the King who comes in the name of the Lord, has ridden into Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt fulfilling prophesy and doing it on the 10th day of the first month in connection with bringing the sacrificial lamb into the home before the Passover. As the Triumphal Entry is taking place and the very stones of the ground are crying out that He is Lord, Jesus begins to weep for Jerusalem. As He arrives at the temple, His weeping turns into anger and He cleanses the temple. Following the cleansing of the temple, Jesus rips into the religious leaders and pronounces judgments upon them.

The chronology and timing of isn’t clear between the three references, but it is possible that Jesus left the temple to cool off. Please don’t take this to be certain, because it might not be the case. Instead, place yourself inside the character of one of the disciples who has been watching all of this take place. You’re expecting that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords is about to set up His earthly kingdom. Having seen the zeal with which He had cleansed His Father’s House, you assume that bringing up how beautiful and majestic God’s House is would be a safe move, right?

That’s when Jesus delivers the jaw dropping statement above. In essence He said, “Don’t be too taken by that or too impressed by it because not one stone of it is going to stand upon another.” The disciples followed along behind Him quietly as they passed through the Kidron Valley, and then went up the other side onto the Mount of Olives. When they stopped to rest, one of them had the guts to ask, “When will all of this take place?” That’s when Jesus delivers the prophesy which so many people have been referencing. Let’s leave that alone and go back to the jaw dropper, because there is a gem to be found in that single statement.

We know that He was talking about the future destruction of the temple, but there is deeper meaning in it, especially if you lay that statement beside the one found in John 2:19, “Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’” In that statement He was referring to His own body as John points out in verses 21 and 22. They fit together more closely than you realize, but you have to go to Jeremiah to start getting a handle on it. Just as a hint, both statements are connected to Shiloh. Let’s go see what Jeremiah said.

 “Behold, you trust in lying words that cannot profit. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and walk after other gods whom you do not know,  and then come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name, and say, ‘We are delivered to do all these abominations’? Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of thieves in your eyes? Behold, I, even I, have seen it,” says the Lord.


  “But go now to My place which was in Shiloh, where I set My name at the first, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of My people Israel. And now, because you have done all these works,” says the Lord, “and I spoke to you, rising up early and speaking, but you did not hear, and I called you, but you did not answer,  therefore I will do to the house which is called by My name, in which you trust, and to this place which I gave to you and your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh. – Jeremiah 7:8-14


This judgment continues on and Jeremiah repeats it again in chapter 26. Let’s get some more background into what God is talking about in this prophesy. Shiloh is an obscure reference to Jesus as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah spoken of in Revelation, but we’re not going there just yet. What Jeremiah is talking about is a place called Shiloh, which was a holy place where the tabernacle was set up after the Israelites entered the Promised Land. You hear about Shiloh throughout the Old Testament all the way up until you read about the Philistines capturing the Ark of the Covenant and then you never hear of it again until this prophesy of Jeremiah.

Shiloh and the tabernacle were wiped out by the Philistines and that is why you never hear of it again. Jeremiah’s prophesy is making reference to what happened to Shiloh for what is going to happen to the temple and then Jesus repeats the judgment again. If you compare the judgment that Jesus pronounces on the religious leaders in Matthew 23 with the judgment of Jeremiah 7, you see that they are very similar. It would take an entire book to make a complete comparison between the two, but we can boil it down to something very profound, which applies to US.

Read verses 8 – 11 of Jeremiah 7 again:

“Behold, you trust in lying words that cannot profit. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and walk after other gods whom you do not know,  and then come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name, and say, ‘We are delivered to do all these abominations’? Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of thieves in your eyes? Behold, I, even I, have seen it,” says the Lord.


Basically, God’s judgment against Israel in Jeremiah's prophesy and Jesus’ judgment against the Jewish leaders is that they were running off and doing whatever they pleased, sinning freely, worshiping other gods, stealing and killing and doing all sorts of wicked things, and then rushing back to the house of God to confess their sins and trust in the religious rites, ceremonies, worship services, communion, tithing and singing hymns of praise. They were trusting that they could do anything that they wanted to do because they could always go back to the temple of God to set things right again.

Does that sound familiar to any of you? Let he who has eyes to see and ears to hear understand.

God set up the tabernacle so that He could come and dwell among the people as they wandered through the dessert and as they came into the Promised Land. God brought them out of Egypt, He parted the Red Sea for them, He gave them sweet water to drink in the dessert, He provided them with manna and quail as they wandered on a daily basis to feed them, He gave them His law as a civil code for them to live by and establish a nation and then He asked of them to keep Him in the forefront of their lives. God asked the people of Israel to EXALT Him above all other things in their lives. Look at the challenge Joshua laid down in Joshua 24:14 and 15:

“Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”


Brothers and sisters, CHOOSE WHO YOU ARE GOING TO SERVE! Exalt Jesus over all of the other things in your life or do not. To put it in the same blunt language of Joshua, please excuse me in this, but it is URGENT that you understand this… CHOOSE TO PUT JESUS AHEAD OF ALL OTHER THINGS IN YOUR LIFE OR GET OUT OF THE WAY so you will not lead others astray along with you.

You might be insulted right now, you might be angry, you might be frightened and you might want to turn against me. Fine, but understand something first, running out and doing whatever you please, exalting the things and the circumstances in your life, putting your head in the sand and hiding, arguing with me or calling derogatory names on Facebook and then running back to your religious practices and your church with the same arrogance which the people of Israel had with both the tabernacle and the temple will not bring God's blessing upon you.

God has been very gracious in providing us with signs of His coming wrath so that we might escape it. God has withheld the evil of the earth from attacking with its full force. Over the past several years He has slowly been pulling back His hand as a warning to us that the times which Jesus talked about in Matthew 24 are coming. Just like a woman in the pains of labor, they have increased in frequency and intensity and they will continue to do so.

God has given us hints of what is coming in all parts of the world, in some cases, right in your own back yard. He will draw back His protection just as He did when He allowed the Philistines to destroy Shiloh, the Babylonians to destroy the temple the first time and the Romans to destroy it the second time. Jeremiah’s words, Joshua’s words and Jesus’ words ought to shake you out of whatever slumber you are in and draw you to TABERNACLE with your Lord.

I promised I would visit the meaning of the person of Shiloh. It is a very powerful and sobering connection as well. The person of Shiloh, who is Jesus, was referred to only once in Jacob’s blessing upon his son Judah (Genesis 49). In that blessing, he called Judah a lion’s whelp who would rule over his brothers until the person, Shiloh, came. What is extremely powerful and telling is that in Revelation 5, when Jesus takes the scroll containing His inheritance from God, He is referred to as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. That title is given to Him in no other place in the Bible. Look at what is sandwiched between those two mirrors of Genesis 49 and Revelation 5!

While you’re trying to decode the riddles of Daniel, Revelation and Matthew 24, you’re missing the whole point. While you’re constructing time lines and wringing your hands over whether we’re going to go through a pre-trib, mid-trib or post-trib rapture, you’re missing the whole point. While you’re watching wars break out, hovering in front of your televisions and computers for the latest world news and what it means to end times prophesy, you’re missing the point. While you’re looking to the skies and wringing your hands over the star alignments and planet X and sunspots and meteors, you’re missing the point. What is the point?

Jesus wants to tabernacle with you. Jesus wants to pitch His tent right beside yours every night and eat breakfast around the camp fire every morning. Jesus wants to be your temple. He wants to be lifted up in praise and thanksgiving every day.

Don’t look on Him as the people of Israel looked upon Shiloh and later upon the temple. Exalt Jesus day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. Drink the sweet water He provides so that you will not thirst. Eat the manna and quail He provides so that you won’t go hungry. Trust in Jesus for your salvation, your protection and your deliverance. Let Jesus be exalted in your salvation and in the salvation of those around you. The day is quickly coming when not a single stone of the temples which you have built for yourselves will stand upon another.

Look at what Jesus told His disciples after explaining the time of the end to them:

“For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” – Luke 21:35 and 36.



Lord, Jesus come and take dominion over your people and over all the earth. Amen.