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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Obadiah: Pride of the Heart Deceives

Pride in the heart is worse than pride in the mind. Heart pride may even appear meek and lowly but the superiority complex is there deep within. Pride in the mind may be noisy and talkative, but it's often shallow and reversible. 

Heart pride is deadly. It is deep seated. It's a stubborn stumbling block. It's something like a pastor who is all-out for his church denomination, vowing to die for it. Does this sound familiar? "I will die a ________ (name of denomination). These are hopeless conservative and dogmatic ideologues. No different or better from rabid communists or capitalists. They're intellectually unhealthy to be with.


Well, it's different if you're unwaveringly proud of Jesus Christ, His Kingdom, and His Word. In this case, you should be rabid to the extreme, though people of man's mind will fear and avoid you.


And they are among people most deceived. "Your heart pride has deceived you, you who live in caves on high mountains,  telling yourself, 'Who can bring me down?' " [Obadiah v.3]. 

Proud but deceived people love occupying positions-high positions. They feel they're going to be there forever. No matter how small they really are, they feel big up there. I mean, we're all small in God's eyes. This truth should keep us meek, patient, and understanding most times. This should make us open and transparent, able to divulge anything in public. Pride hides a lot of things in the heart. 

I've seen titled and degreed church people act like flies on top of a horse. Just because they stand on a horse, they think they're also horses. Have you seen a fly gallop? 

And have you heard them pray? Proud but deceived people pray to themselves. They talk to themselves and praise themselves. "Who can bring me down?" asked proud Edomites to themselves. They were too confident about their position. 

Blessed by God!

It's like the "I" man in Luke 12. The rich man produced crops. You see, proud but deceived fellows are richly blessed by God, like Edom was in Obadiah's time. They plundered their brothers the Israelites while the latter suffered greatly against their enemies. 

The "I" rich man of Luke 12 talked to himself. Having much wealth, he prayed to himself and worshiped himself. He talked about nothing but his accomplishments, his money, his success--and how he can be wealthier and more successful. You hear nothing but "I" from him. 

Proud but deceived church leaders talk to themselves or among themselves, too, and you hear nothing from them but their denominations. Just as Esau or Edom had nothing to do with his brother Jacob but ill will, so do these denominations have nothing to do with other Christian denominations except how to get each other's members--and be the mega-est church of all. 

The pride of the heart deceives--big time!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Obadiah: God's Sovereignty Over Current Events

If you have any concerns or complaints about life, you have no one else to address it to except God. He alone is. Besides Him, there is none.

It says somewhere that Satan is the god of this world. True, but only as far as God allows him. Satan is just among millions of tiny particles beneath God's footstool, squirming and clamoring for His audience. Satan cannot make anything happen anywhere on earth as God can. In fact, He alone makes things happen on this planet.

God alone.

He said to Edom: "See, I will decimate you among the nations; you will be despised to the max," [Obadiah]. Whatever happens in current events, whatever happened in all history, it was all out of God's sovereignty. God's deciding hands. Satan could only ask permission for every little act he is allowed. Without God's go signal, he cannot do anything. 

God can act directly or indirectly any time He wants. In Edom's case, God sent an envoy carrying His message to the nations. The envoy may be an angel or a human agent, or a God-led event that affected world leaders and formed ideas or prejudice against Edom in their minds. It was all through the cosmic influence of the Holy Spirit hovering above the waters. And the message was a call to rise together against Edom. 

When nations rise together to fight against a nation--like in the case of Iraq when it was attacked by Allied Forces in Sadam's time, or like how the Allied forces attacked Hitler in the Second World War, it was a call from God. 

The same can be true of wicked alliances. When Italy and Germany joined forces under fascist Hitler and Mussolini, it was a permission by God. It was not something Satan orchestrated. Satan was in the background awaiting God's signal to have some participation--if God wished to. But the whole thing was under God's sovereign hands.

Israel sinned against God, so God called Assyrians and Babylonians to wreak havoc on the two kingdoms of Israel, even destroying the Jerusalem temple itself. And Edom joined in the devastation by cheering the Babylonians and raiding and plundering the escaping defeated Israelites. However, God later avenged against Edom by calling nations to decimate it. In all these events, the bible mentions nothing about Satan doing this or doing that. It was all God's sovereignty. 

"See, I will make you small..."

It was all God. God decided who'd be made small and who'd gather together to make the attack. God decided when the attack would be, and how terrible--it was no less than decimation. "I will make you small."

It was God who decided who would be killed, and how. It was God who decided how cruel the attackers would be. 

Satan was not part of any of the decisions. He was there, somewhere at the back, among waiting non consequential crowds, hoping that God might want to use their service.

In Job's case, God made use of Satan's challenge. In fact, it was God who challenged Satan, and the latter merely offered a counter challenge. But it was all God. In Ahab's case (just before his death), although He knew what exactly to do with Ahab, God asked the opinions of certain spirits in the background, waiting for His call. One offered to be a lying spirit to Ahab, and God allowed the spirit to be thus. 

But it was all God. It was never God versus Satan. It was all God.

In the end times, Satan will finally rebel against God--again. He rebelled before creation and was defeated to submission, he has been simply awaiting permissions from God through history, and in these last days he will rise once more and rebel the second time and try to fight against God and go against His will. Of course, we know how the story will end. 

Remember, it's all God. He decides who gets smaller or bigger, who wins or loses. 

It's all God.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Vineyard Tenants: Mark 12

Yesterday, we had a terrific time watching Mark 12 unfold before us in an awesome vision. The discipleship church God gave me to handle (for a while) saw how God's vineyard is presently doing and how His household operates in it. 

Tenants

Tenants are renting the vineyard. and tenants are bible-believing people (like the Pharisees and law teachers in Jesus' time) who are tasked with collecting fruit. They need not plant because the vineyard Owner, before leaving, put up everything needed in it--the hedges, tower, wine press, and the plants themselves. In fact, it says the Owner "planted" a vineyard. And His design is for one single vineyard, not subdivisions.

The tenants or farmers are not household servants--they're there supposedly to gather fruits so that when household servants are sent to collect them they'd be ready. But tenants are not servants--they're there for two selfish ulterior motives--to keep the fruits for themselves and grab the vineyard for themselves. They're land grabbers. They're out to grab the vineyard from the Son, the Heir, and name the vineyard under them. 

In fact, they sabotage the design of the Owner--they subdivide it (denominationalism). The Owner planted a vineyard--one single vineyard; it does not say "vineyards." Neither does it say that the Owner intended to later subdivide it. It is clear that the Owner planted a vineyard and intends it to stay a (single piece) vineyard.

Unmasking Tenants

The tenants are people who pretend to be vineyard workers, who believe the bible, who teach sound bible-based doctrines, who can preach well and handle God's truth according to human homiletics and theology, but do so because they want to steal vineyard fruits. 

They claim the fruits as their own (they hate it when other churches "steal" their members, feeling that they own people's lives), and aim to steal the vineyard from the Son. Oh, how they hate the Son, at the same time pretending to be His servants. They never do things according to his supernatural and spiritual ways alone. They prefer to do things in the world's ways. 

Tenants are never contented with what the Owner has provided. They think that the hedges, the tower, wine press, and plants that the Owner has built are not enough--even obsolete--so they put up other things in the vineyard--things they copied from the world, like titles, degrees, human theology, denominations, and denominational doctrines and manuals or policies.

Household Servants

Household servants are true servants. Their only concern in life is look for fruits and collect them for the Master. To them, no fruit means wickedness, unfaithfulness, and rebellion. Tenants may try to impress them with their self-effort "accomplishments" in the vineyard, but servants don't care a bit about anything outside what the Owner has built and established in the vineyard. Servants are loyal to the Owner, and therefore decry how tenants have subdivided the vineyard into their own territories, each with different doctrines and policies.

True servants look for genuine fruits, which the tenants have stolen. It's not that there aren't any fruits; the thing is, the tenants stole them. Thus, tenants hate servants and persecute and murder them. If you're not particular about fruits (fruit that last) and are not persecuted for Christ's sake, you're nothing but a tenant renting on God's vineyard. True sons and daughters need not rent--they're co-heirs with Christ.

Many today are in the vineyard, working very hard, but not to glorify the Master and His vineyard, but to steal portions of the vineyard, title them and name them for themselves, claiming them to be their territories, and stealing the fruits. They have enriched themselves on these. Later, they aim to kill the Son also.

The Son: The Last Move of God

The Son, Jesus Christ, is the last move of God on earth these last days. Christ must be genuinely formed in us and we must be crucified so that we no longer live but Christ HIMSELF lives in us. This means we give up everything--and I mean everything, especially our denominations. 

Christ desires the complete unity of all believers (Jn.17), and if Christ is really in you, this should be among your earnest desires, too. You should leave your denomination and join Christ's glorious church, which is without spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. This church is the single, undivided, non-denominational vineyard of God. God will soon "come and kill those tenants and give the vineyards to others" [Mk.12.9]. He already did this with the Pharisees and law teachers and had given the vineyard to Christians. 

Later, however, the Christians also greedily grabbed the vineyard and subdivided it among themselves. Now, God is coming and destroying "Christian: churches put up bu men and gradually taking the vineyard away from them and giving to others--to those who have Christ genuinely formed in them. They do not belong to any denomination; they are genuine Kingdom servants.

Soon, when Christ is perfected in these servants, and Christ lives and is seen in them (Christ is really manifested in them because they no longer live), the "tenants" will see the Son in them and hate them, because in truth,  they hate the Son. Then, these bible-believing "vineyard workers" will persecute and kill them. 

In the first coming of Jesus, the Messiah, it was bible-believing people who persecuted and killed Him--not pagans. In the second coming of Jesus, it will be bible-believing people who will again kill Him--by killing true believers in Christ.

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