THE SINLESS PERFECTION HERESY

Let us not continue to live a sinful lifestyle but let us not sin by pretending to be perfect.

I just ran into a couple of people, on Facebook, who are preaching the doctrine of Sinless Perfection and trying to tell people that they, themselves have attained to that state and no longer sin.

1 John 1: 10 If we say, “We don’t have any sin,” we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

If you view sinless perfection as a real and reachable goal, you will chase after it for the rest of your life and never attain to that goal. This will leave you frustrated and feeling condemned. This can lead to suicide or worse.

If you lie about it and pretend to others that you have attained to sinless perfection, God is not amused and Scripture says that you are calling God a liar. That is not a place that I would like to find myself, and I would strongly suggest that you do not go there.

Those who preach sinless perfection, pull a number of verses out of context and try to convince you that both Paul and Jesus have commanded you to be sinless. You can find verses that appear to say so. For instance:

Matthew 5:48 “Be Ye Perfect as your Father in Heaven is Perfect.”

However, as in every verse they pull out, they make gross errors in understanding the meaning of the text. In Greek, the word translated “perfect” is teleios. (a) complete in all its parts, (b) full grown, of full age, (c) specially of the completeness of Christian character.

Teleious is an adjective meaning, “consummated goal” – mature (consummated) from going through the necessary stages to reach the end-goal, i.e. developed into a consummating completion by fulfilling the necessary process (spiritual journey).

[This root (tel-) means “reaching the end (aim).” It is well-illustrated with the old pirate’s telescope, unfolding (extending out) one stage at a time to function at full-strength (capacity effectiveness).] It means “reaching the end (aim).”

There is nothing in the definitions of the word “teleios,” that could ever be construed to mean “sinless.”

Jesus told the woman caught in adultery to “Go and sin no more.” The sinless perfection doctrine would understand him to mean, “Go and be sinless.” That was not Jesus’ intention. Jesus was more than aware that she, an unsaved Jew, still under the Law, could not stop sinning altogether. What he was saying was that she should get out of that relationship and not live an adulterous lifestyle. She could not be sinless, but she very well could stop sleeping around with other women’s husbands.

Paul speaks of being “Dead to the Law.” In this sense, we are perfect. Dead men do not break the Law. It is true that when we are Born Again, our sins are washed away. God sees us through the Blood of Jesus and He sees us as the perfection or righteousness of God. We are sinless if we are in Christ. However, we live in a sinful, fallen body and in a sinful, fallen world. We are still subject to temptation and we still sin. This sin, messes with our relationship with Christ. We must repent. When we do, He forgives us and makes us right again.

Those who preach sinless perfection are divided into three groups:

  1. Those who believe in it but admit they have not yet attained to it.
  2. Those who lie about it (and call God a liar).
  3. Those who turn to Gnosticism for an answer.

Looking at them:

  1. The first group is frustrated, condemned and suicidal.
  2. The second group is going to Hell in a handbasket.
  3. The third group is, of all people, most to be pitied.

I will leave the first two groups lie. Let’s talk about the third group. This group will tell you not only that they believe in sinless perfection but that they are indeed, sinless. When you examine their lives, you find drunks, drug addicts, wife beaters and sodomites, all of whom are telling you that they are “sinless.”

“How can that be?” you ask. Good question.

Gnosticism is a deep subject and far too deep to cover here. Let us limit our conversation to the issue of how a rank, habitual, unrepentant sinner uses Gnosticism to proclaim himself “sinless.” Gnosticism predates Christianity but it infected Christianity from day one. Paul fought the Gnostics, day and night. The one Gnostic belief that applies here is this:

The Body and the Soul may be separated, one from the other. It is possible for a sinless soul to dwell in a sinful body.

In other words, through prayer and meditation I can develop a soul that is perfect before God. My body is getting drunk, whoring around, cheating on my wife and robbing my neighbor but my soul is sinless. My Body will die and go to the grave because it is evil. My soul will go to God because it is perfect.

There is a sense in which this is true. As a Christian, my body will die or, if Jesus comes first, it will be changed. My soul has been washed in the Blood and made perfect. Based, not on my own works but on the Grace of God, my soul will go to be with God. Later, my body will be resurrected, changed and reunited with my soul.

However, my soul and my body cannot be separated while I live. When my body sins, my soul sins. When my soul sins, my body follows. My soul is not, in fact, sinless in practice. If my body commits adultery, it is usually following my soul, where the act first took place. This calls for repentance.

I cannot live in sin and claim that I am sinless because only my body is sinning. This is foolishness of the first order.

Interestingly, the Bible speaks of three salvations:

  1. We have been saved.
  2. We are being saved.
  3. We shall be saved.

We were saved the day that we accepted Christ. By the Grace of God, we left the road to Hell and got on the path to Heaven.

We are now being saved. Salvation is a process. Being freed from sin and changed into the likeness of Christ is a lifelong process. We are born again as spiritual babies. After years of Prayer, Bible reading, Christian fellowship and discipleship, we find that we have grown and matured a lot. However, the closer we get to God, the brighter the light. The brighter the light, the easier it is to see our own sin and failings. Baby Christians compare themselves to other Christians and feel pretty good. Mature Christians compare themselves to Jesus Christ and see themselves as wretched sinners. This is why Paul wrote, at the very end of his ministry, that he was the “Chief of Sinners.” Paul was not comparing himself to other Christians but to Christ. In that light, the great Apostle could only see himself as a sinner, having never attained to the likeness of Christ.

On the day that we die, or on the day Christ returns, whichever comes first, we will be saved. We will, at long last, be freed from all sin and all temptation and we will in fact and practice, have become the righteousness of God.

John’s short thesis is an amazing piece of Scripture; he covers two heresies in one paragraph.

1 John 1:5 Now this is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in Him. 6 If we say, “We have fellowship with Him,” yet we walk in darkness, we are lying and are not practicing the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say, “We have no sin,” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say, “We don’t have any sin,” we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

A FAITH THAT DOES NOT CHANGE YOU, HAS NOT SAVED YOU!

Those who claim that Grace has given them a license to sin, are not saved. Period. When you are Born Again, you do not become perfect, but you do change directions. If you are a drunk, you may not stop drinking but you agree with God that drunkenness is a sin and you start the fight to free yourself from alcohol. You may still fall to temptation and get drunk when a friend stops by with a bottle, but you no longer hang out in bars five nights a week. If you fall and get drunk, you feel conviction, you know it was wrong, you ask God to forgive you and help you beat the temptation to get drunk. If you say you are saved but still get drunk five nights a week and you feel no remorse, no sorrow, no conviction and you go on your way, insisting that the Blood of Jesus has cleansed you from all sin, you are a liar, and the truth is not in you.

NEVER CALL GOD A LAR!

On the other hand, sin is a strange thing. There are things that I did without a thought when I was a baby Christian… things that I cannot do anymore. It is a strange thing, as a Christian, to wake up one day, under conviction that something you have done freely, as a Christian, for twenty years, is a sin. Sometimes, just when you are starting to feel really holy and righteous, God suddenly convicts you that something you thought was okay, is not okay with him. He let you do it while He was working on your grosser sins. Now that they are conquered, there are, you discover, some finer points that God wants to work on. Just when you think that you are about perfect, God stands you up next to Jesus and starts comparing the two of you. That is a very uncomfortable process.

Years ago, in an old fashioned, country Church of God, I ran into two very self-righteous old biddies who claimed to have attained to sinless perfection… They were “Totally Sanctified.” They wore clothes from head to toe. Only a little of their face showed. Even their hands were hidden in gloves. Their hair, never cut but very gray, was neatly stacked in a “Pentecostal Bun” and hidden under a scarf prayed for by Oral Roberts and never washed. Not a hint of makeup or jewelry could be seen and no perfume hid their body odor. The Black, King James Bibles they carried, seemed to weigh them down. They were, however, the meanest backbiters and the most terrible gossips I have ever met in my life. They would stand and pray things like, “Lord, please help Brother Smith who I saw coming out of a motel with a woman, last Thursday Afternoon…” Mean women… really mean, but “perfect,” as they would happily brag.

Let us not continue to live a sinful lifestyle but let us not sin by pretending to be perfect.

David…

TO CHOOSE BLINDNESS

This Blog has been censured by the International Association of Evangelical Ostriches.

Jesus was wont to say, “Let those who have eyes to see, see” and “Let those who have ears to hear, hear.” I understand the blindness of the lost, “Unless you are Born Again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” Pardon me if I ignore the lost in this article. My subject concerns those Born Again, children of the Living God, who choose blindness over sight and deafness over hearing, at the most critical point in the history of the world.

“I don’t want to talk about that. I am going to preach the Gospel to the lost, nothing else matters.” Says a Pastor as he lowers his head, excuses himself and walks away. That statement might be valid, except that his sermon of the morning had been about tithing, with a strong call to support the building program. His congregation is dwindling, offerings are down, a third of the seats in the building are empty but this Pastor sees his salvation in a new sanctuary. Talk about current events, the imminent collapse of the nation and the rise of the New World Order are things he chooses not to look at, listen to, or think about. To preach on such things would be ecclesiastical suicide.

We used to joke about Evangelists and their numbers. If my pastor was going to stretch the truth for an illustration, he would begin by prefacing his statement with the phrase, “Evangelastically speaking…”, combining Evangelistic and Elastic, in a single word. This was so because success or failure in ministry was and is measured in numbers. The pastor with the biggest church, largest congregation, most revenue, is the winner. We judge God’s Church by Babylonian standards and wonder where we failed.

Jesus gathered a congregation that numbered more than five thousand, preached a single sermon and ended up with twelve, and one of those was a traitor. That is success! If you can find eleven people who will listen to the truth and follow you anyway, you are witnessing great things. Babylon would have you judging by the numbers. Jesus would have you make disciples.

The Gospel is central but the Gospel as presented in Scripture, not the bastardized, Americanized, Babylonian gospel. The Gospel in Scripture requires repentance, makes disciples and is judged by observing the quality of the crop. The Babylonian Gospel centers on how many people you can get to walk down an aisle, shake the preacher’s hand and repeat the “Sinner’s Prayer.”

If you are making disciples, you will share the whole truth with them and you will guide and direct them to the road that leaves Babylon. You will lead your little flock into the Kingdom of God and they will dwell there. You will teach them what Jesus said to watch for and help them to see. You will encourage them to seek wisdom and understanding. You will not hide the truth. You will preach the truth, even when you know that a Disciple or two may reject the truth and leave the fold as a result.

Church Growth Seminars lead to Spiritual Death. Eleven disciples and a traitor is better than a church of five thousand Hell-bound sinners.

Babylonian pastors, in Babylonian churches, will never talk about prophecy, current events, or the sins of America. They will carefully measure their sermons by the offering plate and the number of seats filled on Sunday morning. Truth that lowers revenue will be avoided at all costs. They will not listen to the truth and they most certainly will not preach it. The Fourth of July will be celebrated as a church holiday. Christmas trees and Easter Baskets will decorate the sanctuary in their season but no teaching will ever be given that would help the people understand current events and the immediate future in light of Biblical Prophecy… These Pastors will blindly lead a blinded congregation into Tribulation and the Great Deception without a clue… They have chosen to be blind and they have chosen to blind their congregations.

Preach the truth. Preach the whole truth. Pray that God will give you a dozen disciples. It is enough.

Revelation 18:4 Then I heard another voice from heaven: Come out of her, My people, so that you will not share in her sins or receive any of her plagues.

David…

TRUMP AND THE TREATY THAT WILL MAKE HIM GOD…

What a deal! Everybody gets what they want. Israel expands its borders to unprecedented size and there is peace in Israel… The whole world is adopting American values, Freedom is in the air and religions, once the seat of great division and turmoil, are now uniting under Pope Francis…

Trump is a consummate businessman. Trump knows contracts and he knows how to leverage people and make them sign contracts; contracts that are often to their detriment. A treaty is nothing more than a glorified contract; a contract between nations. Trump will be a master Treaty Maker and nations will sign treaties that place their own nations at a disadvantage. Trump knows how to do that and all the powers of Hell stand by to give him whatever assistance he needs.

Let me start with a disclaimer. This is not a prophecy and I am not a prophet. There are ten thousand contingencies that could make my ideas here obsolete in a minute. This is my best guess, given at this moment and it is subject to change.

Some of you will argue that this goes against and contradicts many of the things that I have written in the past. I am in complete agreement with you. This is new and this is based, not on what I knew before but on what I knew before plus what I have learned since.

The fall of Babylon, described in Revelation 18, follows the seventh Bowl Judgment in Revelation 16. This is not at the beginning but at the end of the Tribulation. I have described, in other places, why I believe that the United States is the Babylon of Revelation. The video here, is the best description I have yet heard. I will not repeat my argument here.

I had, for some reason, been thinking that, as Babylon, America would fall at the beginning of the Tribulation. I now have reason to believe that it falls very near the end. The fact that it follows the seventh Bowl Judgment and that John was shown the fall by one of the angels holding the bowls makes that scenario quite logical.

If, as he has almost supernaturally overcome all the obstacles in his way so far, Trump again overcomes any challenges and is coronated on schedule, this argument stands. This argument depends on his assuming the throne… Should he not reach that day, this argument is null and void. Everything that I see, tells me that he will become President. Let us proceed with that assumption in mind.

IMAGINE:

Let us imagine that America does not die, per se, in order that the New World Order / Kingdom of the Beast can rise. Let us imagine instead, that America is the foundation and the seat of power for the New World Order and the Kingdom of the Beast.  Let us imagine that the “Spirit of America” is rebirthed under Trump’s leadership and that that system goes worldwide… Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness becomes the rallying cry of the Beast…

Let us say that this spirit of universal freedom and happiness overtakes the world and that, under one world government, seated in New York or Washington… the values of the New Atlantis become the values of most of the world… There will be pockets of resistance, of course and we will fight wars to enforce freedom and happiness around the world… Islam will be defeated and the remnant will retreat to desert caves…

Babylonian Christians… those who have mistaken America for the Kingdom of God and the light of Lucifer for the Glory of God, will cheer… God is winning and Trump has brought us freedom and money and success and he has killed all those awful Muslims! Praise God!

A cowed and battered Palestinian Authority will be ready to sign anything, and Donald will have the perfect treaty…

  • The Palestinians will get a limited State.
  • The Jews will get their Temple
  • The Vatican will get sovereignty over Jerusalem and enforce the peace with United Nations Troops.

What a deal! Everybody gets what they want. Israel expands its borders to unprecedented size and there is peace in Israel… The whole world is adopting American values, Freedom is in the air and religions, once the seat of great division and turmoil, are now uniting under Pope Francis… The Televangelists and the Babylonian Christians are thrilled out of their minds… Rick Warren is in Seventh Heaven and Kenneth Copeland is made a Bishop in the Church of Rome… Even the Muslims are coming onboard… Hindus and Buddhists are thrilled… Pagan religions, from the smallest to the largest are falling under the spell of Pope Francis and embracing Life. Liberty, the Pursuit of Happiness and Donald Trump! It is a wonderful world.

But peace comes with a price… a simple pledge and a tiny microchip… Starvation and death hits the Bible Believers hard.

For three and a half years the Jews work on their Temple. Donald Trump is spending an inordinate amount of time in Israel… He is Israel’s greatest friend and loudest cheerleader! The Priests are put in place and the daily sacrifice is resumed for the first time in two thousand years! Israel holds a ceremony and declares Donald Trump is the Messiah! And Christians… even the Babylonian variety, begin to rebel…

For three years or more, the cry has rung out around the world…

“DOCTRINE BE DAMNED… UNITY AT ANY COST!”

Suddenly, even the Babylonian Christians can no longer stomach the situation. There is a great revival… not so much of numbers but a return to holiness…

Pope Francis and The Donald are not amused. The fate that fell on Muslims in the early days, now falls on Christians.

Then comes the Temple Dedication. The Donald, now known in Israel as The Messiah, will preside…

Then comes the revelation of the Statue in a wing of the Temple and the Jews are appalled…

Then comes the “I am God” speech.

All Hell breaks loose…

Just imagine.

David…

 

 

THE DEATH OF THE BIRD GOD

After an hour or so, the people were in a demon induced frenzy. The holy man, who had been sitting alongside the fire, smoking his hallucinogens, stood slowly and approached a girl of about 14 years of age, quietly tapping her on the shoulder…

This is a true story:

The little bird that twitted from branch to branch was innocent enough but the demon, who pretended to be the god that bird had come to represent, was bloodthirsty and evil beyond imagination.

The people who called the little bird God were gathered around the fire, as naked as the day they were born. Slowly at first, but then more rapid and insistent, the drum began to beat in that beat so familiar to Satanists around the world.

After an hour or so, the people were in a demon induced frenzy. The holy man, who had been sitting alongside the fire, smoking his hallucinogens, stood slowly and approached a girl of about 14 years of age, quietly tapping her on the shoulder. Taking his cue, she approached the fire and quickly threw in her first-born son. The baby screamed for a second or two but was quickly silenced by the flames that snuffed the life from his tiny body.

And the Bird-God, speaking through the shaman, promised to protect the tribe from the cannibals they feared with an unnatural terror.

Standing beside the fire stood a young boy, perhaps ten years old. Suddenly sickened by the sight of the burning infant, he ran into the woods, weeping. “God” he cried, “if you are a god, you cannot want a mother to throw her child into the fire.” Dazed and confused, he ran; not knowing where he was going. He would run for a day and a night, passing through impassable jungle, weeping and calling out to a God he did not know.

Some twenty miles from his tribe, on a major river in Ecuador, stood a strange, almost American looking house. The young couple who lived there were missionaries. They had heard of the boy’s tribe while still in Bible College and determined that they would reach that tribe for Jesus. Moving to Ecuador, they had no way of contacting the tribe. Other Indians, even Christians, were terrified of the Tribe. The word on the river was that the tribe beheaded and roasted any outsider they came across. No one would venture into that part of the jungle.

Not knowing what else to do, the young couple built a house on the river, as close as they could safely get to the tribe. For more than a year, they would pray for the tribe every day. It wasn’t much… some of their supporters were getting impatient and their support check begin to get smaller by the month… Still they prayed for the tribe that everyone assured them could not be reached.

Then came that morning. Rising at sunrise, coffee in hand, they went out on the front porch to pray for their beloved but unknown tribe. There, to their great surprise, on the top step, lay a bloodied and exhausted little Indian boy…

That boy would become a son to them. He learned English and Spanish and he learned the Bible. In the Bible and through his newly adopted parents, the boy met and came to know the God he had called out to the night the baby burned.

Two years later, at the ripe old age of twelve, he returned to his tribe and told them of the savior he had come to know. Soon they sent him back to the river to fetch the people of this marvelous God who loved them so much that He gave his own Son to deliver them. Surely, this God was more powerful than the little bird god who demanded the lives of their sons.

Within a few months every member of the tribe had confessed Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

I heard this story straight from the mouth of those missionaries. That was in the 1970s and they were older and retired even then. Surely they are in Heaven now but I have never forgotten their story.

Hebrews 11: 8 By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went out to a place he was going to receive as an inheritance. He went out, not knowing where he was going.

Sometimes, no, often God’s ways are beyond our understanding. Would you move to the jungles of a foreign land, build a house and pray every day for a people everyone assured you could not be reached? When finances dwindled and you were reduced to eating nothing but beans and eggs every day, would you stay? If your answer is no, you need to repent and get right with God… God uses people who do not have to understand the details…

David…

UPS AND DOWNS

This is my story… this is a small chapter out of a long and full life. I am thinking that I will lose friends over this… Good riddance. This will help a lot of people, God has assured me of that. Take a little walk on the dark side, down the road to deliverance…

Philippians 3:But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ. More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of Him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them filth, so that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own from the law, but one that is through faith in Christ—the righteousness from God based on faith. 10 My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 assuming that I will somehow reach the resurrection from among the dead.

David’s life had fallen apart again. It was not the first time, nor would it be the last. He was Bipolar and deep in the pit of depression but he could not have known that then. He only knew that it hurt and that there was an uncontrollable urge, deep down inside, to run. He prayed desperate prayers and he wept. He would cry for days without respite. This was soul pain; an indescribable burning that would not go away.

He was a Sailor with a good record. He was a convict on felony probation for strange and inexplicable crimes; crimes committed while in a manic fit. He was such a good Sailor that the Navy had pardoned everything and taken him back with open arms… all forgiven. He was divorced. When he went to jail the first time, his wife had abandoned him. She had been simply the latest in a string of women who had rejected him. David had overcome the pain and started over. All was well, or so it seemed.

Now, his fiancé had left him. He had gone to sea for a couple of weeks. When he returned to port, she was not there to greet him. When he called, she did not answer. He called her father who told him that she was married. In the two weeks he was at sea, she had not only decided to go with another man, she had run to the courthouse and married him.

David’s psyche broke and it broke badly. He lay weeping in a rented hotel room. It was in the depth of that awful, searing, burning pain that David decided to start over again. He had access to a little money. He would go far away, change his name, take on a new identity and start a new life. This place hurt too badly… he could not stay here.

Buying a train ticket from Jacksonville to San Diego, he hid in a sleeper compartment and cried. He barely saw the country as it slid by, outside the window. If he ate anything at all, he would not remember; it was all a blur. It was pulling into the station in San Diego that everything changed. Suddenly, the lights came on.

David left the train walking on air. The sky was bright, the birds were singing, it was a new day; the first day of a new life. Somehow, the fact that he was a deserter from the Navy and in violation of a felony probation just didn’t matter. He would overcome that. David felt like Superman; he could do anything.

Getting a hotel room, he began to explore his new surroundings. He liked everything he saw. In reality, he had very little money, no job, no hope and no future. In his spirit, David was free and on the top of the world. This was hypomania, but he could not have known that. David could not be defeated… he would win.

Walking through the streets of this new city, he only knew that he had to find work. David was a Christian. David knew Jesus, and against all logic, he prayed. He asked for guidance and direction. Suddenly, he saw a man, dressed as a Catholic Priest, collecting for charity on a street corner.

Perhaps it was guidance from a God who loved him and knew how He would fix what was broken in this young man and how He would use him in the future. Engaging the young Priest in conversation, David asked for information and assistance. “I am not a Priest,” the young man said, “I work with a group that takes homeless men off of the streets and pays them to collect for an Orphanage in Mexico. Would you like to come with me? I am sure that we could help you.” David went with him. By evening, he had a bunk in a small shelter and a job at which he would excel.

Dressed as a Priest, David would stand in various places around San Diego and ask for money to help the orphans. In an extended state of hypomania, David was irresistible and his bucket would fill to overflowing. He was the top funds collector in the organization and, along with free room and board, he got to keep half of the money he collected. Life was good.

Then, one day, it all came apart. The hypomania broke and depression set in. David lay on his bunk and cried out to God for help. Praying, often with “inexpressible groanings”, he cried out to God. “Oh God,” he prayed, “whatever it takes to get me from what I am, and where I am, to where and what you want me to be; do it!”

The young man fell back on his pillow and slept soundly through the night. The next morning, he put on his black trousers and black shirt, carefully placing the little, white plastic yoke over the tightly buttoned shirt collar. It was that yoke that would identify him to the world as a religious man. It was that yoke that would help him pull in large donations for the orphanage in Tijuana, just across the border in Mexico.

That morning, the small group of men, all dressed like priests and carrying little red buckets, got on the train for the San Diego Airport. The group had never been there before and they did not know how they would be received. They had a Non-Profit, Fund Raising License from the City of San Diego, but this was different; airports are different.

They had been there just a very short time when an Airport Police Officer approached David. Straining his eyes to read the small nametag pinned to the black cloth, he asked, “Well, David, do you have a last name? David assured him that he did. “And what” the officer asked, “is your Social Security Number?” David, not knowing what else to do, gave it to him.

The officer carefully wrote down the information on a matchbook cover and disappeared into the crowd. Not ten minutes later he returned with another officer, and they asked David to go with them. He walked with them quietly and with a strange assurance that this was a God thing. Somehow his brain put this together with his request, “Whatever it takes to get me from where I am and what I am to where and what you want me to be; do it.” Somehow, this was the first installment in “whatever”.

“Sir,” the officer spoke, “it appears that you are on an unauthorized absence from the Navy and Florida wants you for violating a felony probation.” With this, they sat David down on a bench and shackled his feet to the floor. It was the start of a very long journey but the first step in “whatever”.

When he left the California jail, headed for Florida, a fellow prisoner shouted out, “You will be out by Christmas!” This was to be prophetic. Somehow, this was from God, but who could have known?

Lying on a bunk in a county jail gives you lots of time to think, and David thought. He remembered his father leaving when he was six. He remembered how he walked an aisle, accepted Jesus and got baptized at eight. He thought of how he had given his life to be a minister when he was twelve and how, by fourteen, he was certain that God wanted him to be a Foreign Missionary. He thought about how his teachers had told him how smart he was but accused him, in the same breath, of being lazy. He remembered crying because, sitting at his desk, with the books in front of him, he could not force himself to study. He remembered being a failure academically, even though he knew the material. He remembered being socially backward to an extreme. He remembered always being the last one chosen when the Physical Education class divided up into teams… Mostly, he remembered being rejected; repeatedly rejected. Now he was thirty-four years old and that rejection had followed him every day of his life.

How could you be called of God to minister and be a missionary when you failed at everything you ever tried? David questioned, and David cried. He read his Bible and he prayed. God spoke and God gave peace.

The court room session had been very short. “How do you plead?” “Guilty” “I accept your plea and I adjudicate you guilty. You are sentenced to thirty months in the State Correctional System.” That was it. David’s lawyer told him that with time served and time off for good behavior, he would only spend about six months in prison. He would be out by January of 1986.

The first day in his new home, David was sent around to check in. He would visit the clinic, the barbershop and the Chapel. He would have an interview with the Prison Chaplain. When He sat down with the Chaplain, he spilled his guts… everything, even his prayer that God would do whatever it took and how he got arrested the next day. Before he left the Chaplain’s office, David was the prison’s newest Chaplain’s Assistant.

When he reported for work the next day, the Chaplain sat him down. “David,” he said, “we have over two thousand books in the Chapel Library. They are in random order on the shelves. While you are here, I want you to do two things, I want you to categorize those books, make a card file and arrange them on the shelves and I want you to read two books, of your choice, every week, and write a summary of them to go in the card catalogue so that others will be able to read them and know what they are about.”

For almost six months, David read books, looked at books, arranged books, wrote book reports and talked every day with a godly Christian Pastor… This was God’s “whatever”. David was being changed and David was being set free. When he got out of prison, his debt to society would be paid. The Navy had discharged him while he was there. There would be no more probation and no parole. When David stepped out of that prison door, he would be a free man. More than that, many of the things that had held him in spiritual bondage would be gone and he could succeed in ways he never dreamed.

Christmas was coming and David’s release date was the middle of January. David remembered the wild and crazy prophecy the man in the San Diego jail had given, “You will be out by Christmas!” David prayed and he asked God to let him go home for Christmas. Sometime, after the first of December, the word came, there would be an early release. Two weeks before Christmas, David walked out the door a freer man than he had ever been.

David moved back with his parents near Lake Okeechobee, in South Florida. In the Single Adults class at First Baptist Church, David met Bill Townsend. Bill told him that he was Cam Townsend’s son and that his father had started Wycliffe Bible Translators. David didn’t believe him, but it turned out to be true. Six months after David got out of prison, he and Bill were travelling up and down the rivers of Peru, ministering in the deepest darkest jungle of the Amazon. For four and a half months they lived in a village so deep in the interior that it was a two-week trip by boat to the nearest telephone.

It was on a riverboat, going up a tributary to the Amazon that Bill turned to David and said, “If God ever called you, He is still calling you, ‘The gifts and callings of God are without repentance’” Years later Bill would say that he could not remember that moment, but David never forgot.

David would have more ups and downs but God would use him. He would go back to school, get a degree in Missions, go to Venezuela as a Missionary, help a small church of about thirty members grow to more than five hundred. He would start a small Bible College and teach young men who felt called into the ministry. It was in Venezuela that he would meet his wife of twenty-five years, Cathy… an Arawak Indian from Guyana. It was there that the first of their two children would be born.

There were more bouts of depression and hypomania but God helped him overcome. In 2013, David saw a V.A. Psychiatrist. David had been a Missionary and a Pastor. Now, he sat across the desk from a secular Psychiatrist and spilled his guts.

He had told these things to a man he trusted once. A well-known and well liked Pastor and a Man of God. For his trouble, he had been shunned and asked to find another church. He had sought counseling from Christian Counselors who spouted off Bible verses David knew by heart. He had been prayed for and had family curses broken… some of it helped but still the questions remained.

He told this old Doctor of the crimes he had committed and how they cost him a marriage and led to years of wild and crazy living, followed by jail and prison. Unlike the Pastor friend, there was no shock or rejection in that ancient face, no repulsion. It was his last appointment of the day but the old Psychiatrist sat and listened for an hour and a half… long past quitting time. David’s life had been full of glorious successes, brought down by fantastic failures. One after the other, after the other. David had recited them. Still the Doctor had listened.

Finally, when David was spent and the story told, the old Doctor stirred and leaned forward in his chair. “You, Sir,” the Doctor said, “are functionally Bipolar.” Seeing the disbelief in David’s eyes, the Doctor said, “You don’t understand the disease. You are a smart man. Go home and look it up. For you, there is no need of medication. For you, to know the beast is to conquer the beast. I don’t think,” he continued, “that you will need to see me again.”

Two days later, the beast was conquered and David had his answer. Understanding how the depression he was prone to caused him to run from his problems, and how the hyper state and the mania always followed, explained his whole life. Now, he could hold on through the depression and recognize and bring himself down from a hypomanic state.

Not perfect overnight, still the progress is amazing and David’s life has changed for the better.

David A. Rice

THE LAST GREAT AWAKENING?

The greatest spiritual challenge will be resisting the invitation to join the accepted and protected church…

The next great revival will be in the FEMA Camps, somewhere between the barracks and the guillotine.

I wrote those words a year or so ago. I just received and started reading the new book, The Final Roman Emperor, The Islamic Antichrist, and The Vatican’s Last Crusade, by Tom Horn and Cris Putnam. Towards the end of the first chapter, they predict a fourth Great Awakening.

I am not certain that it will work out exactly as they have imagined it, but there is one thing that really caught my attention; this great awakening will follow tragedy. The United States, they believe, will be attacked by ISIS, with a weapon of mass destruction, perhaps EMP that takes out both people and infrastructure. The United States will descend into anarchy and become a police state. The common man will be robbed of communications, internet, cell phones, and, to a great extent, electricity and the basic necessities of life. It will be out of that desperate situation that revival will be birthed.

I agree. If there is to be a Great Awakening, it will be birthed in the midst of great pain and human suffering of an unprecedented nature.

If, and I still insist on the word “if”, there is to be a fourth Great Awakening, not only in America but worldwide, it will be accompanied and opposed by a United, One World, false religion called “Christianity”. It will also be opposed by Islam and the pagan government. Perhaps millions will be brought to salvation, through a Biblical conversion involving repentance and the rejection of sin.

To accept Christ, in this Great Awakening, will be to make oneself an instant target and many will die cruel deaths and suffer much as the Devil fights his last desperate battle. It will be the “Christians” in the false church who form the greatest danger to the Born Again child of God. The greatest spiritual challenge will be resisting the invitation to join the accepted and protected church… the church that follows a fuzzy, lovable Jesus who requires nothing and saves everybody, offering a Grace that accepts and encourages sinful lifestyles…

I am not certain, but I suspect that the thing that will be celebrated as a “Fourth Great Awakening” will be a false awakening… an unscriptural, Bibleless, Unified Church, that rises up to “fight Islam”. A church without doctrine or authority, a church of the “Warm, Fuzzy Jesus, where Protestant and Catholic alike worship Mary, pray to Saint Peter, and look to the Pope for spiritual leadership.

Any real revival, any revival that leads to repentance and commitment to the God of the Bible, will be marginalized and persecuted; both leaders and converts will be imprisoned and martyred.

Revelation 13:7 And he was permitted to wage war against the saints and to conquer them. He was also given authority over every tribe, people, language, and nation.

That is my take… What do you think?

David…