Newly Restored! – Please Listen…
Archive for February, 2005
The god of this world is determined that the light of the Gospel not reach the hearts of men. He does not care how religious we are because Satan himself is religious. He was created perfect, and his entire being was filled with the glory of God. Until iniquity was found in him, praise to the Creator filled his musical talents with glorious sounds of worship. He has never quit being religious, he simply diverted his religion to himself and seeks to deceive others to do the same. The entire world is incurably religious, but every religion except the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a religion of satanic influence. The entire message of the Old Testament is loaded with the hidden Gospel of the coming Christ. Satan was successful in hiding this truth from the Jewish leaders of ChristÂ’s day and they became complicit in His death.
SatanÂ’s strongholds continue to hide the Gospel from the hearts of men. To the Corinthian church, Paul wrote, Â“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.Â” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4) The business of the church and the intercessors is to pull down these strongholds so that men can be converted. Our altars are empty of repenting sinners, because our message cannot get through to the blinded souls all around us. A prayerless church is a dying church because intercessory prayer is GodÂ’s one and only place of obtaining power to pull down strongholds. He does not dispense His authority to prayerless saints.
The prophets of God understood this. A statesman prophet named Isaiah cried out, Â“He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.Â” (Isaiah 40:29-31) The words Â“wait uponÂ” are a powerful metaphor and teach us to Â“bind ourselves together with Him.Â” Prayer is not the spilling out of a Â“want listÂ” before our God, but is the uniting of ourselves in an undiminishing fellowship with Him. It is the losing of ourselves in utter surrender so that we gain all He is united to our undivided heart in Him.
I fear that this generation of the church knows little of this kind of praying. Consequently, we are developing a thousand ways of building our churches. The problem is that we are filling the churches with unconverted souls that are nothing but proselytes to the club. Our God is not impressed with this trend and is even now raising up men and women to pray by the old-fashioned Biblical plan. I personally feel as though my prayer life has been a joke for most of my Christian walk. This closing hour demands a praying remnant of Salty Saints uniting themselves with our Â“Great God and Heavenly Father.Â”
Our enemy, Satan, and his host have created towers of strongholds all over GodÂ’s world. The families of earth and their multiple cultures are blinded but nowhere worse than in America. If we will quit being blinded by all the high-sounding religion and see the world with Gospel eyes and Biblical convictions, then we can start Â“pulling down strongholds by the mighty power of prayer.Â” Again, to the church at Corinth, Paul said, Â“(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.Â” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5) Not one person reading this Â“Salty SaintsÂ” has to give up their children to drugs, strong drink, sexual bondage, etc. Not one Pastor needs to be satisfied with a dying congregation or empty altars.
God did not send you to your village in Africa or your town in America to preside over spiritual death. A praying saint will soon become pregnant with revival. As that pregnancy grows, so will grow the enemies of the Gospel. Be steady, committed, dependent on God alone and not yourself, and wait upon the Father and His redeeming Son. When ElijahÂ’s servant saw a cloud about the size of a manÂ’s hand, faith spoke out of ElijahÂ’s heart and said, Â“Â…for there is a sound of abundance of rain.Â” (1 Kings 18:41)
Strongholds are SatanÂ’s business, and God has relegated the job of pulling them down to His saints. We can do nothing without His anointing, but His anointing has no place of manifestation until His saints give up and depend only on Him. You are the channel by which God wants to affect everyone in your sphere of influence. There is no power of the Â“god of this worldÂ” that cannot be affected by an intercessor that waits on the Father.
One of the greatest thrills of my Biblical studies has been to Biblically trace the events in Babylon and the country of Iraq. My journey began over thirty-six years ago when I pastored a small church in Black Mountain, North Carolina. As I read prophetic Scripture and studied the remarks of Bible scholars of the past, I became convinced that Babylon would be rebuilt as part of prophetic fulfillment. My real awakening began when this became part of my teaching of prophecy. To say that people were skeptical is to be mild. Nobody in the ranks of the Bible teachers and ministries to whom I was acquainted believed or even understood what I was talking about. It just was not part of the language in the current books being published about prophecy and the coming of the Lord. I quickly learned to say, Â“time will tell, just wait and see.Â” Of course, we were all looking for the Lord to come any day so there was no time for a remote and long-forgotten city in an utterly unknown region of this world to be rebuilt.
Thank God that I had a mind of my own and when I read something in the Bible, I believed the exact, literal words. The eighteenth chapter of the Book of Revelation is not a chapter about a symbolic city that has a likeness to a literal city that used to exist in the Middle Eastern country of Iraq. The author of the Bible is the Creator God Himself, speaking through His Son and by the Holy Ghost. He means what He says and every word is exact. When you interpret the Bible in exact word-for-word meaning, always in context with the whole, you can bank your life on what it says. I sure would love to have everything I have spoken and written for these thirty-six plus years on this subject. I can say without a doubt that God has, to the present moment, fulfilled every word in His Holy Book.
Babylon, Iraq is today the very center of world attention. Biblical prophecy is marching on a straight path to the Great Tribulation and the battle of Armageddon. Iraq is the geographical center of the coming Â“One World Order.Â” This central nation of the end time events cannot be a dictatorship. It must be a free nation of free people. Three times in the book of Daniel chapter eleven, where the Antichrist is clearly prophesied, it is stated that he obtains his powers by flatteries, not by military might. The powers of Â“flatteryÂ” is nothing but a prophetic word describing a Â“skilled politician.Â” Listen to DanielÂ’s words, Â“Â…and obtain the kingdom by flatteries,Â… shall he corrupt by flatteries,Â… but many shall cleave to them with flatteries.Â” (Daniel 11:21,32,34) Iraq is on its way to becoming a democracy in a sea of dictatorships and despots. Much of the geography where Iraq is located will change to make way for the skilled political tricks of the Â“man of sinÂ” soon to step into the political arena.
The political mix in Iraq is quite intriguing. The Southern region will be dominant, and that in itself is prophetic. Babylon is clearly part of the Southern geography and will be central to the reign of the Antichrist. At the same time, the Northern region has a large population of Assyrians; and there will come, at least by the end of the Seven Years of Great Tribulation, a sharp divide between the Assyrian of the North and the rest of Iraq. ThatÂ’s mainly for the future, and not yet evident in the political development. You have not heard much or maybe nothing about the Assyrians. They were largely disenfranchised from voting because of their political design and Christian beliefs. Their future in Iraq is after the reign of the Antichrist and not before.
Just like Jerusalem will be the center of the one thousand year millennial reign of Jesus Christ, the Antichrist will make Babylon and Iraq the center of his reign. ItÂ’s the perfect place of his delight and joy. Satan actually delights in Babylon in the perfect imitation of Jesus ChristÂ’s delight and love for Jerusalem. Once the Antichrist gains political power, he will begin in earnest to completely rebuild Babylon and to make it his golden city. This will probably not begin in earnest until after the Rapture. There will be at least three and one-half years to seven years between the Rapture and the beginning of his reign of terror corresponding to the seven years of Tribulation in Revelation. The stage is being set.
The present stirring at the center of the United Nations is a clear part of world development. America is becoming more and more out of step with the United Nations. The antagonism between America and the United Nations officials will make their move out of New York a coming necessity. It is clear that the very nature of the United Nations and its leadership are perfectly fitted to become part of an Antichrist movement. Their agenda is in lockstep with the anti-Semitic movements in Europe and among Arab dictators. Liberal, social programs are front burner actions with this extremely liberal organization. The United Nations is an enemy to the family and Christian values that are still loved by a host of Americans. If the United Nations has not moved out of New York by the time that Hillary Clinton loses her Presidential bid in 2008, that will seal their goodbyes.
Iraq must be a free nation and an intimate part of a world market. Dictatorships and free enterprise are impossible to merge, and Iraq is destined to be the queen of a worldwide economy. The Scriptures say of Babylon, Â“And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble.Â” (Revelation 18:11-12)
Daniel described the Antichrist as follows: Â“And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.Â” (Daniel 8:24-25)
These words describe a powerful politician that rules by eloquence of words, crafty leadership, and a captivating personality.
The country of Iraq and the city of Babylon is on its way to becoming the capitol of a world order ruled by a smart politician that the Bible identifies as the final antichrist. The stage is being set, the government to provide civility and a functioning, orderly infrastructure is being trained. Soon the last world ruler will enter the scene. Prophecy has never been more perfectly ordered than what we are witnessing in the Middle East. Only the wise can see the signs of the end and stay prepared to be Â“caught upÂ” before the last worldwide drama of evil and GodÂ’s final judgments.
Joseph R. Chambers
The Strongholds are Coming Down
Â“ConversionÂ” is the greatest experience of a human life and the only path into the Kingdom of God. And nothing about Â“conversionÂ” is as noteworthy and wonderful as the Â“conversion of our love.Â” The root of the sin nature in every life is the Â“love of self.Â” This generation has fallen victim to a Â“self- loveÂ” that is utterly devastating. Sadly, this whole idea of Â“self-loveÂ” has been championed by humanists both of the secular society as well as the church world. In fact, Â“self-loveÂ” is the core of every main thrust of the religious movement. Our world is blinded to the end results of Â“self-loveÂ”, because being a born again Christian has lost its depth. Being Â“born againÂ” is no longer radical but just a kind of mental decision.
The Biblical experience of Â“conversionÂ” is supernatural. By the blood of Christ and by His Spirit the life of flesh is transformed into the life of spirit and literally flooded with resurrection life. The old-fashioned Methodists had some of the greatest preachers and writers on the need of Â“conversion.Â” E. Stanley Jones said, Â“The difficulty is that the spaceman with all of his intelligence still has the soul of a chimpanzee. He is handling vast forces with great intelligence, but he is morally and spiritually unfit to handle those forces. The spaceman has thrown away the banana and is chewing on sticks of dynamite. He may blow himself and our civilization to pieces. He needs conversion.Â” Every man or womanÂ’s grandest need is Â“conversion.Â”
Jesus said, Â“Ye must be born again.Â” When asked by an intellectual Nicodemus, Â“How can a man be born when he is oldÂ…Â” Jesus answered, Â“Â…Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God . That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.Â” (St. John 3:5-7) Apostle Paul describes conversion wonderfully. Â“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.Â” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
It is either radical and thorough, or it has not happened. The alcoholic will not need a few tapering drinks after conversion. He will be free. The drug addict or sex offender will be so utterly transformed that he will be the counselor to the counselors. Everything will be turned on its head or should I say on its feet. The twenty-first century is desperate for this message. It is our only hope of renewal in ChristÂ’s kingdom. Jesus Christ does not have a back-up program if number one fails. But number one has not failed and will not fail. ItÂ’s GodÂ’s business.
All of Â“self-loveÂ” without Â“conversionÂ” leads to self-obsession, self-worship, and finally self-destruction. Jesus said, Â“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.Â” (St. Matthew 16:25) John said, quoting the Son of God, Â“He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.Â” (St. John 12:25-26)
The dynamics of the truth is the opposite of what this world thinks and purposes. We live by dying and gain by losing as long as that death and loss is in Jesus Christ alone. The supernatural of God can do nothing for us until we surrender all of self. The great revelation on which life is established is the moment self is understood as the center of death when it is alone without God. Â“Self-loveÂ” is the baptism of death, but self after Calvary is the picture of redemption. Life begins at Calvary.
A true conversion by the Holy Spirit is a fountain where love grows and grows until Divine love touches everything in our lives. The love of a man and his wife or a wife and her husband is mostly lust and often without any lasting emotion until they are touched by the Divine. This Biblical relationship turns to happiness and lasting oneness when the love of marriage is absorbed in personal surrender to each other. Sex without faithful love is a dead end street.
One of the greatest activities of GodÂ’s eternal Spirit is the shedding forth of love. He is omnipresent and His business is to spread the love of God in the body of Christ. Every Â“convertedÂ” individual comes under the transforming influences of the Spirit of God. The Roman believers were encouraged after being justified to continue praying and were told they had Â“Access by faith into His grace.Â” This entrance to the grace of God included hope and the great Apostle Paul said, Â“And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.Â” (Romans 5:5)
The eternal reservoir of GodÂ’s love is available to every saint of God. It is not just available, but GodÂ’s Spirit is responsible to flood it in your heart. Give up your Â“self-loveÂ” and receive a baptism of His love. ItÂ’s yours for the surrender of all you are to all of Him.
Newly Restored! – Please Listen…
Babylon is without question a spiritual battleground. I visited the area on Friday, March 12, 2004, only to find that the Polish army was in charge of security. They were of a totally different mind set from American troops. As we were entering the area, we heard shots from a watchtower and knew we were unwelcome. There were no signs or directives, so we proceeded to find someone in authority. After continuing around the perimeter, taking pictures of meaningful sights, the Polish found us. We were searched, questioned, treated unkindly, and finally taken to the command center for the area. American troops were called and came with apologies. Then, we learned from the Iraqis in control that if he had known we were Americans, he would have welcomed us. They apparently didnÂ’t like the Polish either.
This episode is a shadow of coming conflicts over religious and prophetic locations in Iraq. Two religions are developing on a worldwide basis. One of these religions is Biblically based and is the espoused Bride of Jesus Christ. Those that are ready for the Rapture or are getting ready for the Rapture must be absolutely committed to a Bible-centered faith and a pure Godly life-style. Rapture-ready saints are a beautiful crowd of Bible-loving people. The new theologies, watered down evangelism, and sinner-friendly churches are quickly rejected by these Godly men and women. The hope of His espoused Bride is His soon appearance to rapture us unto Himself. You can spot the preparing Bride by their separated living and constant expectation of their LordÂ’s eminent return.
There is also developing a bride for the Antichrist. A One World Religion to aid the false christ is already well developed, but growing. It is desperate that good people learn to recognize this false system. First, this system has no allegiance to the absolute of Holy Scripture. Every word of God is pure and must be honored. The commandments of God were written for our delight and protection and to ignore them is spiritual death. Yet, this new religion preparing for its future is loose and full of compromise. The Bible identifies this false religious system in numerous passages.
The setting for the Biblical picture of this false religious system is none other than Babylon. Revelation chapters seventeen and eighteen are two different pictures of this ancient city of Nebuchadnezzar. Saddam Hussein was fixated on this city. He even built one of his palaces overlooking Babylon. I was able to get a picture of this palace before being stopped by the Polish army. I have now found the proper authority to visit this whole area and the palace during our tour later this year. Please remember that Revelation seventeen is distinct from Revelation eighteen. The first is a picture of this false Babylonian religion and the second is the actual city rebuilt and glorious, but completely judged by God for her compromise.
LetÂ’s look at how rich and worldly this false religion is as seen in this holy revelation. "And I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration." (Revelation 17:3b-6). This woman martyrs and hates anyone that rejects her dominion. She is arrogant and blasphemous. What are her blasphemies? ItÂ’s her rejection of the "truth forever settled in heaven" and her replacement of truth with her own lies and false prophecies. The religion of the Antichrist dares to deny the Bible and claim her right to replace these truths with her edicts and her own revelations. Any religion not based on Biblical absolutes is false to the core and will be a part of this Mystery Babylon.
False religions are almost always blessed by the world with great riches. Our present religious climate tends to revere any religious organization that is big, massive, and rich. We had better mature beyond such insane thoughts. Daniel warned us that the primary methodology of the Antichrist would be flatteries. He prophesied, "And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits." (Daniel 11:32). I personally know great men and women that once lived for His glory and His coming that have been flattered by the grandeur of these new big time religionist.
The whole world is growing more and more religious and further and further from the Scripture. Religion without the plain, absolute, and authoritative truth of the infallible Word of God is false every time. We must never judge people, organizations, or prophecies by our own opinion. The Bible is not hard to understand. It is simple and exact, and if we fail to judge by truth, we will be deceived. The two systems of religion are clear. One holds to truth from the worn, but tried, Scripture. The other system is always looking for something new, flesh-centered, and exciting to the human mind.
Babylon and Iraq have now joined Jerusalem and Israel in vying for the attention of the world. The two cities will continue to be center stage until one of the two welcomes the King of kings to reign in her towers of strength. Every hour brings us closer to the end when all things will be judged by the Holy Bible. The only crowd that will stand the test is that company of saints that makes the Holy Bible the only authority and gladly submits to its eternal revelations. What a day that will be!
Joseph R. Chambers
The cultural war in America is ultimately an attack on the Image of God in man. This war is as real in the conservative ranks as it is in the liberal ranks. I agree that the conservatives do not go as far toward the raw destruction of our likeness to God as liberals, but the seeds of doubt are present. Sin is a word almost forbidden in todayÂ’s language but the real issue is the image of God in man. Sin is anything and everything that distorts GodÂ’s image. There is not one definition of sin in the Bible that does not include this idea. The Creator seeks to keep nothing from His creation except that which destroys our likeness to Him. Simply speaking, the essence of sin is whatever mars His beauty in you and me.
Genesis, the first of sixty-six books in Scripture, is the building block of the entire Bible. Every theological truth flows from the beginning book. The centerpiece of both Genesis and the Holy Bible is the creation of man. This was His grand act and was the only part of creation that included His breath of life as part of the event. Everything of the created universe revolved around man. Man and woman were to extend GodÂ’s personal family and to give Him daily joy as they conversed together and enjoyed the indescribable atmosphere of unmasked pleasure. Moses recorded these words, Â“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.Â” (Genesis 1:27-28)
The three chief areas of attack by liberals is a direct confrontation of what this great truth of GodÂ’s image in man represents. The Biblical home must be destroyed or liberalism and humanism cannot succeed. Any society that loses the concept and reality of strong families with bedrock values will collapse. Children are desperate in their formative years for the sense of their father and mother. Remove either and the other parent must be a genius to keep the children from becoming wrecks. At best, they suffer loss that functional families can never begin to grasp. Animals and earth creatures know nothing of this Divine instinct within the family. They may herd together, but the family lines are unknown. This is a great distinction of our God-like qualities.
Children and their innocence are the second wave of attacks by mindless liberals and humanists. Little children are naturally pure and endowed with a divine longing for the spiritual. Give any child whose innocence has not been compromised the right opportunity and they will almost leap toward faith and God. After fifty years of Gospel living and preaching, I never tire of seeing children respond to faith. They naturally believe and have a natural hunger for anything religious. The very reason that millions of altar boys have been molested by priests is the simple trust children have toward anyone representing the church. Children are extremely vulnerable to be abused by the unscrupulous within religious institutions. I believe sexual abuse of children should be a capitol punishment.
Jesus ChristÂ’s life and ministry on earth was spotlighted by the beauty of children aglow in His presence. The Jewish leaders were incensed by the excitement of children worshiping Him and crying out for the joy of His love. Â“And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased, And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?Â” (Matthew 21:15-16)
The similarity of the innocence of a child to the spiritual joy of being converted to Jesus Christ is already revealed in this beautiful statement of Scripture. Another incident amplifies this truth. A question was posed to the Lord, Â“Â…Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?Â” (Matthew 18:1b) Our LordÂ’s answer is a revelation of eternal value. Â“And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.Â” (Matthew 18:2-5) The arrogance of unconverted human flesh will never enter the Kingdom of God. The intellectualism of our present religious world is revealed for its folly as we behold our Lord in His ministry of humility.
Our present culture with its Â“cross-pollination of the sexesÂ” is utterly destructive to everything beautiful. This is the third wave of attack against the image of God in the human race. We were created male and female and every distinction of the sexes is His Divine handiwork. The word Â“femaleÂ” does not exist in the angelic world because this created beauty was reserved for His chosen families. It was the completion of His human design so that this special creation could multiply and fill His universe.
When a culture distorts this beautiful union of man and woman, it is the last step to hell. Homosexuality and lesbianism is a Satanic intrusion into the most perfect expression of human design planned and executed by our Great Heavenly Father. The perfect companion of all immorality is pornography. It is the most dehumanizing and spiritually destructive propaganda of history. Pornography is the literature of rapists, committers of incest, serial killers and every other form of the fornicators. It feeds the worst of SatanÂ’s imagination in human hearts. ItÂ’s the breeding ground of demons and dark spirits out of the bottomless pit.
But oh the joy of the man and woman that will allow Jesus Christ to renew the human soul and spirit to the beauty He designed. The Â“convertedÂ” man or woman that willingly becomes as a Â“little childÂ” is still the joy of our Creator as was Adam and Even in their pristine state. Jesus said, Â“Â…Ye must be born againÂ….Â” (St. John 3:7) It is the one pathway back to the plan of God that we Â“we were created to fulfill.Â” The new birth is a Â“re-creationÂ” of the created. It is supernatural work by His blood, and all He requires is total surrender and total faith in Him. We were His handiwork in creation, and we are His handiwork in redemption.
Joseph R. Chambers
The greatest moment of our spiritual development will arrive when we can approach God and our fellow Christians with a totally open heart. I must tell you that being open does not mean revealing other personsÂ’ secrets. We are speaking only of ourselves and the place in our spiritual growth where all facade, make-believe, unfulfilled dreams and posturing is over, or at least we are ready for them to be over. We have a generation of both adults and children that have been so violated by sin that erecting mental walls has sometimes been the only method of survival. Sexually abused children will erect a wall of denial that blinds them to both themselves and others for years, if not for life. Many parents cannot handle honesty from their child so the child retreats behind the facts and lives only in a make-believe world.
The healthiest of all of us tend to see things as we want them to be rather than as they are. My Dad was an alcoholic and committed suicide when I was a teen. A healthy self-understanding was unknown to me for many years and only honesty with God saved me from destruction. By His grace I learned to be honest with God even when I dared not be honest with others. Because of this honesty with my Heavenly Father, I learned that I could not get away with anything that was impure. Repentance became a healthy way of life and slowly He taught me His wonderful ways of righteousness. Now I am sometimes so honest about myself I embarrass myself, but at least the gossipers have nothing to talk about.
We will always need to strive to be openhearted. Many times it is extremely painful and often others will abuse our honesty. Â“Remember, their abuse of your honesty can never match your abuse of your dishonesty.Â” Apostle Paul was so hurt within himself by his abuse of the Christians and his earlier rejection of Jesus Christ, that he wrote to the Philippian church about it. He exposed the very depth of his heart. He said, Â“Concerning zeal,Â” I persecuted the church, but Â“touching the righteousness which is in the law,Â” I am blameless. He confessed he was a religious hypocrite. But he did not end there. He proclaimed, Â“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.Â” (Philippians 3:7-8)
This kind of honesty would totally change the present church world. We are constantly trying to convince ourselves that we are something we are not, or that we are not what we are. Yet we wonder why depression is the scourge of this generation and that a pillbox is more valuable to us than our Bibles. Pride, arrogance and, finally, brokenness is always the result of dishonesty about ourselves.
E. Stanley Jones in his book entitled, Conversions, tells of conferences he used to have for Christian leaders and the upper echelon of the church. He called these conferences, Â“Ashram.Â” He always started the conference with the first session called Â“The Morning of the Open HeartÂ” that would last as long as six hours straight. The confessions he told about were breathtaking. Bishops and senior pastors confessed they were backslid, sinful, cold, uncaring, unloving, waiting anxiously for retirement, etc., etc. But once the heart was wide open and honesty was revealed, God began the work of Calvary and Pentecost, and men and women erupted into new life and glory for Christ.
He wrote of the results of the converted being reconverted or renewed, or whatever you want to call it. He said of this converting of the converted, Â“You can now take life by handfuls, and heartfuls, and beingfuls.Â” Again, he said, Â“You are alive to life to your fingertips.Â” Are you? Is life drudgery or a slam-dunk? Are you full of Christ and His Spirit or are you struggling to keep your head above water?
Are you a positive thinking Christian that absolutely knows that your words are nothing but empty rhetoric or do you possess they joy of the Lord down to the moments you are all by yourself? You are really Â“what you areÂ” when everything has gone wrong, and you are all alone, and its dark outside. Be willing to go to God and just say plainly everything you know and feel. Lay it on the line.
The secret of the Â“Open HeartÂ” is not really a secret. ItÂ’s in the Bible. The Words of the Holy Ghost are powerfully simple and easy to understand. Â“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.Â” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
It is only when we have an Â“open faceÂ” that we can clearly see Him and His glory. Our dishonesty will cloud our spiritual vision but the open heart strips away all the fuzz. When we see Him by His Spirit, we will literally be changed from Â“glory to glory.Â” The word Â“gloryÂ” is not just a faith in the head but a faith in the heart. I believe that some of you will get down on your knees today and be strikingly honest with Christ and you will have revival before bedtime or at least before sun-up.
Strongholds in Your Household – Part II