Dying to self

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Galatians 2:20

To live you must die. To be born again you must allow your flesh to die.

To be alive in Christ you must be dead to your self.

Byron Frank

The Truth About Sin

Photo by Riccardo Bertolo from Pexels

If people truly knew the devastation of their sin, they would never “mess around”, “try it once”, “just have a little bit more”, say “it was just one time” or “it’s just a little lie.”

For those who have been burned by the sin they are in, or as a result of the sins of others, it’s just that, a painful fire of agony and devastation. It’s prison bars of hard labour and slavery to an unrelenting master.

Sin is woodworm. It rots the human soul at the roots, devouring all peace, joy, love and truth, leaving a putrid smell of rotting flesh.

Sin consumes and destroys. It destroys you and those around you. Like an uncontrollable fire ranging on a hot dry day. It devours everything that is set before it.

How poignant the picture of Jesus hanging on the cross. He who knew no sin. He never expressed, gave way or made provision for any vile thing. Even so, He choose to take the penalty of the sin we so readily invite into our lives.

The violence of sin ravaged His body, tore His flesh and disfigured the one and only God who came to earth as a human. For sin is the heart of violence, cruelty and malice.

Jesus hung on the tree to free us from our prisons, our own deplorable lifestyles. Our beautiful Saviour’s face dripped with blood and grimaced in pain.

The reality of sin laid bare. The result of sin is death.
Jesus took that death so we could be free from our own sin and the sin of others.

He bore our sin and shame. Jesus laid down His life and rose from the dead to break the curse humanity has been subject to since the garden.

He did not die to merely forgive your sins but to remove your sin.

He died not only to remove the cost of sin in our lives.
He died and rose again to restore us to our created value, like a great artist restoring His masterpiece.

Jesus meticulously removes the grime, dirt, mire and mud, revealing His original design.

The colour and depth of His creation lay hidden under the darkness of sin. He could not leave His art work hidden.
He needed to restore us!

No matter how deep and dark the sin. No matter how “far gone” you think you are, you’re not beyond the blood of Jesus Christ. You’re not beyond the loving gaze of the original artist!

He paid the ultimate sacrifice to restore you to who He created you to be.

His blood flowed to wash all your sin away. Your addictions, your fetishes and perversions; your lies and your cruelty.
Jesus’ blood was shed for all that has marred you, all that has crushed you, disfigured and twisted you.

Turn to Jesus and come into your designed purpose.
Come to Jesus and begin to live out the destiny He has had written for you before the foundations of creation.
Follow Jesus and enter into your true identity.

“There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”– Acts 4:12


The Church And The COVID-19 Problem.

Crowded mall during Christmas lockdowns.

“Through the use of her weapons of prayer and faith, she holds in this present moment the balance of power in world affairs…the Church is the mightiest force for civilization and enlightened social consciousness in the world today.”

Paul E. Billheimer

“The line between national decency and a decent into fear and hatred is, and always will be, razor thin. Any nation that assumes it is too righteous to fall into these same sins will risk making the mistakes that Germany did in the 1930s.

John Hendrix

The Church should “continually ask the state whether its action can be justified.”

-Dietrich Bonhoeffer

During the last nine months multiple global events have transpired that humanity has not seen the likes of since the 1930s.

In 1933 a man came into power in Germany by the name of Adolf Hitler. He used the disarray and desperation of the German people to capture the hearts and hopes of the nation so he could take complete control over the country.

In the late 1920s, Adolf Hitler spent years spreading his ideas and furthering his political position by using propaganda and force. He slowly wore down the powers of Germany and became chancellor, which was a position second only to the president of Germany.

He used a crises which was later revealed to be entirely orchestrated by himself and his Nazi party.

There was a large fire started that burned down the German parliament in February, 1933. Hitler blamed this on the Communists and stated that it was started in their attempt to take over Germany. He convinced the then prime minister of Germany, Paul Von Hindenburg to suspend sections of the German constitution. The “Reich President’s Edict for Protection of People and State” removed all civil liberties from the people of Germany. This included the rights of free speech, freedom to assemble, and free press, among others.

Hitler used the fear of communism as a way to remove the individual rights of each German citizen.

We are seeing the same tactics being used today. Since March of last year, the media has been fuelling fear in society with the narrative of a deadly virus.

Society has been left vulnerable while they have focused on their “safety.”

Instead of the guise of communism overtaking the government, the Canadian politicians, health officials and media (as well those all over the world) are using the guise of a “health crisis” to take away our Charter Rights and Freedoms.

They are using the fear of COVID-19 as a way to remove the individual rights of each Canadian citizen.

This is not the only similarity we are seeing in Canada to Hitler’s grand schemes. When Hitler took power he began propaganda in order to control the people of Germany.

CTV reported four weeks ago that the Canadian military has for sometime been operating a propaganda arm of the military. They have admitted to releasing false information to Canadians to see how they would react to false news.

This is Canada!

After nine months of this “pandemic” the truth of COVID-19 is coming to light. We have seen that the news media have been giving misleading numbers and that much of what the general public has been told cannot be trusted.

The last number of weeks, the Alberta government released some of the specifics behind the COVID numbers. What the data states is only 11 people in Alberta without pre-existing conditions have died from the virus. The rest of those who have passed had heart disease, diabetes, AIDS, Cancer etc.

They also released that 88% of all COVID deaths in Alberta were people with high blood pressure.

This places a great deal of doubt on the cause of these individuals passing. Did they die as a result of COVID- 19 or as a result of these underlying conditions?

The BC government admitted that all but two deaths relating to COVID-19 were in longterm care facilities. Again, this shows that the general population has very little to fear from this virus. This also shows that the government has not done an adequate job of protecting the vulnerable in these facilities. It is strange we do not hear any ideas or plan to better protect those in long term care facilities. This along with Bill C-7 shows that the Canadian government cares little for the elderly and is not concerned with the amount of deaths we are seeing in the older age bracket.

They would rather piggy-back off these tragic deaths to gain control of the general population. They have segregated this community, isolated them from their loved ones and now they are dying at an exacerbated rate.

The data regarding all of Canada shows that less than 200 people have died outside of longterm care facilities. This shows that the majority of COVID-19 deaths are attributed to the very elderly and infirm.

The CDC in the United States just released new data stating that six per cent of deaths recorded passed solely from COVID-19. The other 94 per cent died with the COVID- 19 virus strain in their systems and had two to six other serious illnesses contributing to their deaths. Most were at advanced age (74 and up) and others died of suicide, stabbing, head trauma etc but were certificated as having the COVID-19 virus in their systems postmortem.

This data shows that the government’s reaction to COVID-19 is unwarranted.

Furthermore, there have been reports of false tests, and people who were never even tested getting positive results. These reports have also become more and more rampant.

The test used to detect COVID-19, the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test has been proven to be inadequate to detect COVID cases. The inventor of the test himself, Kary Mullis said it was never meant to be used to diagnose.

He stated , “PCR tests cannot detect free infectious viruses at all,”

The fact that COVID-19 has yet to be isolated in a lab makes it even more concerning that most of the world is using PCR tests to verify COVID.

The PCR test picks up everything from the common cold to the flu which is another reason we have seen a spike in COVID cases but an all time low in flu cases this time of year.

The measures of mask wearing have also been debunked by a large body of reputable scientists.

The scientific evidence says that the wearing non-surgical cloth masks makes you 13-times more likely to get sick because you are breathing in your own toxins.

The World Health Organization even stated that “masks carry uncertainties and critical risk including risk of self-contamination.”

To those who are vulnerable, mask wearing is even more dangerous as they have a higher chance of infection.

For most people they think wearing a mask in the stores is no big deal. However, in Nazi Germany, Hitler made a certain population wear a yellow star on their arms.

Do you imagine anyone being forced to wear that star said, “No big deal it is just a piece of fabric.”?

If you know your history you know why they had to where that star. Hitler had a plan and it included step by step manipulation and control. From a small scale, to a greater and greater scale.

Once the general population was used to seeing the yellow stars he moved those same people who wore the stars into ghettos. He cut them off from the rest of society. After that he moved them into death camps.

We hear this as history but we are seeing the beginning of the same actions being done here in Canada. Once the general masses are compliant with wearing masks the governments will push further. Restrict every citizens freedom even further. The masks are just a starting point. Once people have accepted mandatory mask restrictions without even a shrug the government will push the envelope even further by implementing more restrictive and evasive measures upon society.

We have heard in the news there will be a vaccine ready in the next few months. Science tells us it takes 7 to 10 years to safely develop and produce a vaccine. Nine months is not close to seven years.

(I won’t go into all the details here about the how and why this vaccine is being released so early.

There are a couple logical conclusions to why this may be. Feel free to send us an email regarding this as well as to request the vast amount of research I am referring to in this message. I have included relevant links at the bottom of the essay.)

Why do we need a vaccine if the survival rate of COVID-19 is 99.8 percent?

The details surrounding the roll out of this vaccine gets even more concerning for the general public.

I do not share these details lightly.I am writing this after nine months of study and prayer and with a deep conviction. I am writing to Christ’s Church first and foremost and secondly to anyone with logical thinking who are seeking truth in these days.

I feel a deep conviction to shed light upon what is evident to me and many others who have had their eyes opened to the reality of what has been set before us.

The reports that are being released is that, those who refuse to take the COVID-19 vaccine will be cut off from society, not unlike the Jews in Nazi Germany.

For those who refuse this potential dangerous vaccine the threat is that we will not be able to work, or shop. That we will not be free to do much of anything involving people. Travel, socialize, take our kids to the zoo or museum, etc.

If these plans go through without the public’s refusal and condemnation of these dehumanizing policies, the results will be devastating.

I am not saying these things will happen. I am saying the writing is on the wall and judging by history it is not looking good.

No government who has removed the people’s basic freedoms has ever willingly given them back. The various arms of Government in Canada and other world powers said we would be shut down for three weeks. It’s been nine months and the Canadian governments have just rolled out more restrictions.

There is a very good chance that we will be facing some hard times.

The current events get even more concerning. As we saw in the news a few weeks ago, the city of Calgary is partial defunding the local police. This trend of defunding is happening all over the world.

Most of us have heard in the news two weeks ago about the federal government’s plan for the great “reset.”This plan is being supported and coordinated by multiple global players.

Everything is pointing to the same conclusion.

Some really sinister plans are unfolding. They have been conducted in sequence and in order to have the least amount of resistance from the general public.

The governments of the world using the politicizing of the BLM movement are posing to continue the defunding of the police. As a replacement they will bring in the military to enforce these new measures of control and seizure.

The measures have already begun as many provincial governments have announced that they will be using the military to help distribute the COVID-19 vaccine.

There were similar shifts of militarization in 1930s Germany with Hitler’s storm troopers, the Germany military and the Gestapo.

What the worry here in Canada is and what many people in government have alluded to is that after a large portion of us have been cut off from society the next plan is to move those who refuse the vaccine into camps.

Seize all their property and move them into camps just like Hitler did to the Jews during his dictatorship.

This is where things are heading if something does not change. We cannot know the future with absolute certainty, however, these or similar things are may happen if something does not interrupt the current trends.

Our rights and freedoms are being chipped away and the majority of our society is going along with it.

Now many provincial governments have effectively canceled Christmas. What is the best way to control the population? To separated them from their support systems: their loved ones and friends, to isolate people and demoralize them so they are reliant on the government and not one another. Christmas is the one time each year that everything is closed and families get together to celebrate the birth of Jesus and connect with family.

This is a huge strategic step in the overall plan.

History shows us that when governments begin taking away their citizens rights and freedoms there is only a small window in which the people can peacefully assemble, refuse tyranny and keep the government accountable. Once the propaganda and early restrictions are imposed and the people go along with it, the government gains a foothold which historically is not released until a full on revolt or civil war is started.

This is why it is imperative that we see the signs of the times and take advantage of this small window of opportunity that is quickly closing.

How do we as the Church react?

What do we choose to do?

How is the Church to conduct her self with this present state of affairs?

I have been seeking the Holy Spirit about this for many months!

What is the role of the church regarding the COVID-19 problem?

This week I felt a great deal of clarity, peace and also a release to start sharing.

I think about the Second World War and how most of the Church in Germany accepted Hitler. How many who did disagree didn’t speak up because of fear.

I heard a story of a church which was near the train tracks where cars of Jewish people were being transported to the concentration camps.

The people in the church would hear the cries of those who were suffering in the box cars and they would sing louder to drown out the Jewish peoples screams.

We cannot sing louder when the cries of injustice start to scream.

To delay or fail to make decisions may be more sinful than to make wrong decisions out of faith and love.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

We cannot stick our heads in the sand and pretend these things are not happening.

This is just the beginning. Things will get worse before they get better.

We need to be prepared as a Church!

“If we want to be Christians, we must have some share in Christ’s large-heartedness by acting with responsibility and in freedom when the moment of danger comes. . . mere waiting and looking on is not Christian behaviour.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

What the Holy Spirt has said to me is we need to get in front of this.

How do we do that?

First we cannot give into fear. Despite how dark things seems to be, we have no reason to fear.

The Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” -1 John 4:4

We have no reason to fear.

Satan has his strategies and he will do anything he can to implement them but he is a defeated enemy.

He has lies and deceit.

Jesus is the truth and the light and all the enemies lies will one day be exposed.

We know the end of the story. Jesus wins! He returns in bodily form just as He left.

Jesus has greater plans and strategies than those used by Satan and Jesus wants to use His Church for His kingdom plans.

We who are part of the Church need to ask Him how we are to walk out His kingdom plans in our lives regarding world affairs and then be faithful to His call and know the power of heaven is behind you.

Let us remember that Satan is behind these schemes. We cannot afford to make this about the people around us.

We wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.“- Ephesians 6:12

These ideologies go beyond one person!

Hitler himself was influenced by Charles Darwin and Charles Darwin was influenced by his grandfather Erasmus Darwin who along with other leaders of society signed the humanist manifesto. The purpose being, to get God out of every avenue of society.

After the Second World War, the same scientists who created the gas chambers went on to use some of the same compounds and chemicals to develop the morning after pill. Margret Sanger who created Planned Parenthood was greatly influenced by Adolf Hitler and she saw abortion as a way to eradicate the “lesser races”.

This selfishness, evil, self-worship and desire to control others is the essence of the first sin which was the attempt to be like God.

All of this is from the evil one. We fight against the lies and the false ideologies of this world, not against people.

I hate wearing the mask. Even more so, because it is a tool used to control and manipulate the masses.

Jesus loves that person. He died for that person!

We need to remember that.

We need to love those around us.

The governments of the world are manipulating people. Well intentioned people are following these “restrictions” thinking they are helping “flatten the curve” that they are saving lives, that they are not spreading COVID-19 to others. These people’s efforts and care for those around them are being used to enslave themselves and others. Those who have died “labeled” COVID-19 deaths have been used to further this underlying agenda.

I love those around me. I am not going to yell or argue with someone working in a store who is just trying to do their job by asking me to put a mask on. I will tell them politely that I am mask exempt. If that is not accepted I will quietly leave. However, I will not compromise my convictions nor my health to appease people. I will not contribute to the degradation of society by wearing a mask.

We have to tell others the truth out of love and not out of anger about the ideologies that they have been fed.

Then what do we do?

These huge global movements seem so overwhelming.

First we need to be informed. Maybe you have never heard the facts I have been sharing. Maybe it is all new to you.

Remember, all the information in the world will do you no good if you do not go to Christ to show you the truth behind the data.

How can we watch the news and not engage?

We need to engage with Christ!

Not engage with human reasoning but engage with the reasoning of the Holy Spirit.

We need to pray for our eyes to be opened to the enemy’s plans.

We need to ask the Father for discernment.

Then we need to speak up.

“First they came for the socialists and I did not speak out- Because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out- Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out- Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Martin Niemoller

How do we use the information that we have gathered?

We have a Charter of Rights and Freedoms in Canada. Freedom of Assembly, Freedom of Association, Freedom of Religion, of conscience, of belief. All of which are being trampled upon under the guise of health and safety.

The facts are clear. What the public health officials are telling us are not scientifically verifiable, nor do they represent the consensus of the health experts at large.

The public health officials are not the experts. The experts disagree with public health.

The public health officials get their pay cheques from the government, which are influenced by the mass media. It’s not to their advantage to listen to the proper science or to the experts. They actually are guilty of suppressing the truth.

It is reasonable to state our rights and freedoms just like Paul stated his roman citizenship. It’s within our rights to civilly disobey unjust and amoral rules and regulations. The restrictions are not laws and to subvert our rights and freedoms they need ample cause. It’s not a health emergency just because they stand up and say it is. They need proof. Which they have yet to provide. Nothing has been passed in the legislature or the parliament. We have the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to stand upon for this very reason. We must stand upon them in times of wayward government regulations and restrictions. What the governments of Canada is doing is illegal and against our rights as Canadian citizens.

We need to ask the Holy Spirit where, and when we are to speak up and share the truth of what is going on in society. We need to ask the Holy Spirit where to take our stand.

Who stands fast? Only the man whose final standard is not his reason, his principals, his conscience, his freedoms, or his virtue, but who is ready to sacrifice all this when he is called to obedient and responsible action in faith … and in exclusive allegiance to God…where are these people?”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The Church throughout the history of the world have been the leaders in every natural disaster, every social plight, speaking up regarding every corruption of society and injustice. The Church has lead all mankind forward by the guidance of Christ Jesus and His Holy Spirit.

Matthew 5:14 says “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.”

We have the truth that the world needs. Jesus Christ is not surprised by what is going on and we don’t need to be either.

We are not behind the times. We as the Church have a prophetic voice to the nations and to the world.

Whether society wants to admit it or not, no where else will they find the answers they seek.

“The ultimate question for a responsible man to ask is not how he is to extricate himself heroically from the affair, but how the coming generation is going to live.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

We as the Church cannot afford to sit in the shadows waiting for this “COVID Crisis” to pass. We need to rise up.

You see in scripture, the prophets rose up in the darkest of days prophetically proclaiming the coming days. Prophetical speaking about the deeper realities that they were facing in society.

They were shunned and despised, chased down and murdered. However, the Spirit of God could not be quenched. And it will not be quenched now. The Spirit of God burns on through His Church.

We are seeing a new season of prophecy unfolding in these trying times.

We saw an increase of miracles and healing the last decade. The increase of the miraculous will not stop. Along side the growing momentum of the miraculous, we are now seeing the spirit of prophecy increasing. It will continue to increase until Christ returns.

On the day of Pentecost Peter stood up and proclaimed this prophecy in Acts 2:16-21

“No, what you see was predicted long ago by the prophet Joel:

17 ‘In the last days,’ God says,
‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
Your young men will see visions,
and your old men will dream dreams.
18 In those days I will pour out my Spirit
even on my servants—men and women alike—
and they will prophesy.
19 And I will cause wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below—
blood and fire and clouds of smoke.
20 The sun will become dark,
and the moon will turn blood red
before that great and glorious day of the Lord arrives.
21 But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord
will be saved.’”

We have been living in the end-times since Christ ascended into heaven. This passage expresses the increase of the Spirit’s activity as the end of the age draws to a close and all history will be rolled back like a scroll.

Satan is pushing his agenda and so the Holy Spirit pushes back with an increase of power, influence and truth.

We see the lies that are inundating our society. The Holy Spirit is proactively activating Christ’s Church with the Spirit of Prophecy. We see deeper words being spoken, we see spot-on accuracy with prophetic words increasing. We see servants of Christ cutting through the lies with words of truth.

Discernment will increase with the remnant that is the true Church. They will see with spiritual eyes to cut through the lies like a hot knife through butter. Their words will penetrate hearts and will open the eyes of those who are spiritually blind who will come to know Jesus as a result.

With a prophetic voice the Church will be given the wisdom and discernment to apply the gospel to what is going on in this nation and around the world.

We will have the prophetic insight on how to be proactive not reactive.

The world sees what they are being told to see/ Through the Holy Spirit we can see the unknown realm of the Spiritual battles that are going on behind the scenes.

2 Kings 6:15-18 conveys the reality of open eyes to spiritual realities. When the city of Dothan was surrounded by enemy forces:

“When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.

16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

18 As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Strike this army with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked.

Jesus, open our eyes to see the truth behind the curtain. Take the scales off our eyes to see the spiritual realities around us. Give us discernment, wisdom and piercing truth.

I proclaim every eye and ear be opened in your Global Church to be in complete unity with the work you wish to accomplish through us. In Jesus name!

I do not know how this all will end but I know how to read the signs of the times through discernment given by the Holy Spirit.

I do not know what the future holds but I know who holds the future.

I cannot accomplish anything on my own. The Church was never designed to function with a lone wolf mentality.

We cannot do this alone nor are we suppose to.

We must be united!

I can seek Christ on my knees and He will guide me. However, if the Church seeks Him on their knees together the nations will tremble and yield to the rushing wind of the Spirit’s power. All heaven will be moved by a Church united and deployed against the enemy of our souls and his demonic ideologies.

Matthew 10:34 says,”Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword.”

The Church formed in fire is the church that stands through the storm.

We have yet to be tested! Not tested in the ways scripture indicates we will be.

Hebrew 10:25: “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”

The Bible was not written to a single person but always to the Church as a whole. We must seek Christ together!

The Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing, and violent people are attacking it.”(Matthew 11:12)

The number one thing we must do is seek Jesus on our knees. More then reading, more then researching, more than talking. We must be face down before the Lord in prayer. Seeking the Lord as a community.

We don’t have all the answers but He does!

History repeats it self. Nations, kingdoms, governments go to ruin and fall. Christ remains the same!

Jesus is the same, Yesterday, today and forever.

Let us remember that and ask Him for guidance as we go forward in the midst of the COVID-19 propaganda, repression and hate crimes which we see being afflicted upon society.

If you are reading this and do not have an intimate, functional relationship with Jesus Christ, if your heart was stirred by the spiritual truths that we have been expressing in this paper, if you long to know what this Christian life is all about, then you need to come into relationship with Jesus Christ. He loves you and has a purpose for your life!

Know that Jesus came as God to earth in the form and appearance of man. Fully God and fully man. He lived in perfect submission to the Father and then bled and died to break the power of sin and death. He died to free you, He died to bring you into right relationship with God. He rose again, vanquishing the power of death forever. And He is coming again! You can know Him and be free and be filled with the same Holy Spirit that Jesus was filled with. I invite you to enter into your true identity, your true purpose and be united with God through relationship with Jesus Christ!

Blessings in the name of the all powerful One, Jesus Christ!

“…whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

– Colossians 3:17

References to data presented and further reading:




























The Cross of Christ

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really loved me, you would be happy that I am going to the Father, who is greater than I am. I have told you these things before they happen so that when they do happen, you will believe.

I don’t have much more time to talk to you, because the ruler of this world approaches. He has no power over me, but I will do what the Father requires of me, so that the world will know that I love the Father. Come, let’s be going.

-John 14:27-31

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Rest, Work and Being Rooted in Jesus

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
– Matthew 11:28-30


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Not Death, Life part 1: The Hope of Glory!

“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, concerning those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. 

Since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in the same way God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus. 

For we say this to you by a revelation from the Lord: We who are still alive at the Lord’s coming will certainly have no advantage over those who have fallen asleep. 

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are still alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so we will always be with the Lord. 

Therefore encourage one another with these words.”

-1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Not Death, Life part 1

The Oil, The Flame, The Vessel: Reflections on Matthew 25

photo credit: Wikipedia

Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise.  The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil. When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
 “At midnight they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!’
“All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’
“But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’
“But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked.  Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’
“But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’
“So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.”-Matthew 25:1-13
A wedding was a great occasion in Jewish culture. The whole village would turn out to accompany the couple to their new home and they went by the longest possible road in order that they might receive the good wishes of as many as possible.  
There was a Jewish saying regarding this: “Everyone, from six to sixty will follow the marriage drum.”
The point of this parable lies in a Jewish custom, which is very different from anything we know. When a couple married, they did not go away for a honeymoon. They stayed at home for a week keeping open house. They were treated and even addressed as royalty. It was the greatest week in all their lives. The festivities would last all week and only their chosen friends were admitted. The celebration continued after the marriage ceremony. It was also that joyous week that the foolish virgins missed; because they were unprepared.
This story is true to life. You still see this in Palestine today.
Dr. J. Alexander Findlay wrote on his experience when he visited Palestine:
“When we were approaching the gates of a Galilean town, I caught sight of ten maidens gaily clad and playing some kind of musical instrument, as they danced along the road in front of our car; when I asked what they were doing, the taxi driver told me that they were going to keep the bride company till her bridegroom arrived. I asked him if there was any chance of seeing the wedding, but he shook his head, saying in effect: ‘It might be tonight, or tomorrow night, or in a fortnight’s time; nobody ever knows for certain.’ Then he went on to explain that one of the great things to do, if you could, at a middle-class wedding in Palestine was to catch the bridal party napping. So the bridegroom comes unexpectedly, and sometimes in the middle of the night; it is true that he is required by public opinion to send a man along the street to shout: ‘Behold! The bridegroom is coming!’ but that may happen at any time; so the bridal party have to be ready to go out into the street at any time to meet him, whenever he chooses to come. … Other important points are that no one is allowed on the streets after dark without a lighted lamp, and also that, when the bridegroom has once arrived, and the door has been shut, late-comers to the ceremony are not admitted.” 
Spiritual significance
This parable, like all of the stories Jesus told, had a local context. The people would immediately understand this story in a practical sense. Most of them would also understand the story held a deep spiritual significance as well.
If Jesus is indeed speaking on spiritual truths and drawing His listeners in, where do we fit in?
On a quick read through this parable, it is easy to claim this is simply a story of salvation.  Here we have those who are ready to meet Jesus and those who are not. Here we have the foolish bridesmaids, representing those who are unsaved and not ready for Jesus to return, and we have the wise bridesmaids, representing those who are saved and are ready for Christ’s return. This is the most straightforward reading, and what of most of us have been taught.
However, what is the church called in Revelation? The Bride of Christ! The church, as in the global and historical group of believers, is the bride of Christ.

It is then not so simple to interpret Matthew 25 as a passage about believers and unbelievers. We see in this passage an important message for the church!
About the Church
This story begins with a picture of the church following and rejoicing in the celebration of the Bridegroom. The church is to be a people of worship! However, Jesus barely lets this sink in as He continues.
Verse 2-4: “Five of them were foolish, and five were wise.  The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps,  but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil. 
Right away we are presented with the problem: five were foolish and five were wise.
In celebration, as we meet and fellowship together, celebrating the risen Lord, as we function as the Church, we have people who are foolish, and we have people who are wise. 
This is not a surprise to anyone as we humans are marked with the problem of a sinful heritage. We have the potential to be both foolish and wise. 
God uses what seems to be foolishness to the world to express His true wisdom. 
1 Corinthians 1:18-21 says: 
The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. As the Scriptures say,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.”
 So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe.“
We should not be so prideful that we are afraid to look foolish for the Gospel. However, we should be determined to have only one sort of wisdom, and that is the wisdom of God.  
As the Apostle Paul so eloquently stated: I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:2)
The Oil and the Flame
The distinction Jesus made between the two groups of bridesmaids went beyond simply calling one group foolish and one wise. He explained that one group brought extra oil for their lamps while the others didn’t bring enough. 
Then, what do the lamps and oil represent? We see in Scripture that oil represents anointing, as symbolized in Exodus 30, where Aaron and his sons were anointed by oil for service as priests. The audience that Jesus was speaking to would have immediately known that He was referring to anointing. 
Hebrews 1:9 refers to the oil of gladness in which Jesus was anointed, which reinforces oil representing anointing. 
From this oil comes a flame to bring light.

What immediately comes to mind when we see this imagery of the flames of the lamp, are the tongues of fire which rested upon the Apostles on the day of Pentecost. 

The oil then represents anointing and the flame represents the power of the Holy Spirit. The lamp is the vessel in which these two are held, thus representing the believer.
We are the vessels! We have the anointing of God on our lives and the power of the Holy Spirit flows through us.
Those in the body of Christ have been anointed for service. When we receive Christ we are given a purpose in His Kingdom and in His Church. We can choose to cultivate this anointing or we can choose to misuse it. We can choose to give it to God for His service or choose to ignore His call.
Look at parable of the three servants further down in Matthew 25. They were all given their talent, the first two chose to use they’re anointing wisely and invest it in the kingdom of God, reaping a spiritual harvest, the third chose to use human wisdom and rely on his own understanding and was left with nothing. 
Verses 24- 28 read: Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’
“But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’
“Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver. To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
I have seen men who were powerful preachers and evangelists, anointed by God to preach, who squandered their giftings. They were prideful of their gifts, thinking it was out of their own merits that they could do such great things for the Lord, refusing to truly acknowledge or give praise to Christ. They did not cultivate their relationship with Christ, or care to work on their character. Eventually, their human strength gave out and they turned to worldly desires.

You see, we cannot rely on our anointing, but rather must rely on the power of the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit’s power in our lives our lights will go dim!

Verse 6-8 say: “At midnight they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!’
“All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’”
Christ will call at unexpected hour. Can we rely on our own wisdom and experience when we are called to action?

No, we will find that our lights have gone dim and we cannot rouse the Spirit that we never knew!

This shows a picture of a people who don’t even understand where they have gone wrong. They truly are foolish! Their lights are dim and they ask their fellow believers to light their fire instead of going to God.

 Verse 9 -“But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’
We cannot rely on someone else’s anointing to fill our tanks. We have personally been given the Holy Spirit. He does not rest upon a “special” individual in order to be equally distributed.

He is given by the Father and is a result of relationship. We need to go to the source! 

Have you ever seen people in the church do this? They jump from leader to leader, church to church, trying to piggyback off what the Holy Spirit is doing there.

You can’t get a good drink standing under someone who is gulping from a canteen.You need to take the canteen in your hands and place the bottle to your lips and drink deeply.  You can’t get a tan by standing beside a tanning bed. You must get in and let the glow touch your skin. 

There is no secondhand Holy Spirit! There is only true relationship with Christ; there is only the power of the Holy Spirit working through the true believer. 
Ephesians 4:4-6 says:
“For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.
There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
one God and Father of all,
who is over all, in all, and living through all.
When the wise bridesmaids said We don’t have enough for all of us, go to the shop and buy some for yourselves”  What they were really saying was: “Why are you asking me for something I cannot give? The Spirit is within me, but I cannot give it to you. Go to the Source, go to God!”
We must not be foolish. We must go to the Source for our strength and power, we must cultivate the Spirit in our lives.
Equal Chances
These parables tell an internal story, On the surface the bridesmaids looked the same. They all held lamps, they all followed the same path. They even rested at the same time. You could not tell the difference between them. To the outside world they were all equal. There was no way to tell the difference between the wise and foolish.  
It is the same in the Church. We do not know what is in each other’s hearts. We all appear to be following Jesus together. We are all servants equal before our King. We are not to pass final judgement on who is a true servant of God, and who is not. That’s up to God in the end!
This story also tells us we all have equal opportunity!  Just like the bridesmaids and servants had equal opportunities and were all given the same chance to follow and obey. God’s grace is upon us our entire lives, before salvation and after. We choose to follow God. We choose to obey or turn away.  We choose to use what we are given or squander it. We choose to go to Him to be fulfilled or go to the world. No matter what our choices, God knows the entire time where we are at.
He knows the giftings and anointings He has bestowed upon us. He knows if we are allowing His Spirit’s power to manifest itself in our lives. And, as in these parables, our lives will end and everything will come to light.
So this message is for today:
Verse 29 – “To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.”
This message is for the future:
 Verses 31-33 “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne.  All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.”
This is the urgency expressed in these stories. There is a time when it is too late. We must get to know God right now, we must drink deeply of the Spirit right now. We don’t know how long we have on this earth and we definitely don’t know when Christ will return. 
The need to Serve
This may appear like a scare tactic, a “who is in and who is out” scenario, but this is not the main point of this passage.
Verses 34-40 say:
 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
If our hearts are full of the Spirit, we will naturally want to serve in this life, we will naturally want to bring God’s Kingdom to earth. However, we need to take our desire to serve and actually serve. 
This has become true in my life. It is easy to make excuses as the third servant did. He made all the excuses he could think of before his master. They did not stand, they did not “hold water.” Neither will ours. It is easy to make them. I have made them for years.  “I am too busy to help right now.” “Maybe next month when things settle down I will volunteer.” “If my job didn’t take so much out of me…” None of these excuses are valid. They will not stand before God!
Look at the scripture. We are to serve the hungry, naked, sick, lonely people who need caring for. These people are all around us in our daily lives. We don’t necessarily need to volunteer, or take that much time out of our busy schedules in order to care for these people. We can and should help when the Spirit directs, but this passage implies a moving and working Gospel. We can respond in the thick of things, meeting needs, bringing God’s Kingdom as the opportunities present ithemselves. 
Can we not stop and pray for a sick or lame person? That’s what Jesus did, and people were healed! Can we not stop and talk to a lonely person on the street? I believe we can do better in these areas. I know I want to, I know I can and I will. 
When I was growing up, the church emphasized that in our culture the primary way to bring people to Christ was through relational evangelism. The building of an ongoing relationship with a person is a great way to present the Gospel, but it is not the only way. I have seen this model presented for years and I am sure it has a lot of merit and was partly a response to a time when people would preach on the street but ignore their neighbour. But to say this is the primary way to bring people to Christ is a lie that is damaging the church. From what I have seen, many Christians today will begin relationships superficially, not being outspoken or forward with the Gospel. They then look for the right moment to share Jesus. The right moment was when they first met! We then see Christian women and men being led into a sinful lifestyle rather then leading others to Jesus. They never find the right moment to share the gospel with their unsaved friends and as the relationship progresses it becomes more and more awkward to mention their faith, as it was never mentioned in the first place. They are afraid to offend and lose a friendship and so the believer is influenced by the non-believer instead of the reverse. This is what the Bible calls “Friendship with the world” (James 4:4). It is not evangelism and surely not biblical. 
If we look in the Bible, the Gospel is presented throughout every relationship: big or small, ongoing relationship or one time encounters.
As Jesus walked through His days, He taught, healed and presented the Good News to everyone He met, The apostles followed His example and we are to do the same.
Christianity is an “on the move” faith. We are to look for every opportunity to present the Gospel. We are to ask the Holy Spirit to broaden our views, our influences and take us out of our comfort zone. 
This last year I have been seeking the Lord on what He would have for me in ministry.  He has asked me to step out. As I felt the pull of His Spirit, I have prayed for more discernment and for an open heart to His Spirit’s leading. The result is, I cannot go to the mall without being given a word about someone. I can barely leave my house without being led to speak to people about Jesus or pray for someone’s healing. This has been difficult as it’s outside my comfort zone. I often make excuses not to speak to others or pray for healing.  
Since I have begun praying this prayer, the Lord has brought many in my path. The first time I was filling up at a gas station and five feet from me, there was a lame beggar. People would walk by and give him money. I felt the call to pray for his healing, but I made excuses: that I needed to move my car so others in line could fill up, that I would move my car and park it and then go speak to him. When there was no parking spot, I just went home. I phoned my pastor that night and he encouraged me that at least I am open to the Holy Spirit’s voice and if I am open He will bring more opportunity. I prayed, “Lord give me more chances. I wish to be obedient.” God is full of grace. Since then the opportunities have become more frequent and I have heard His voice louder, always when I am out by myself, never with my family as they would provide another excuse not to step out. I have now begun to speak the name of Jesus to this hurting world. When I do get a chance to pray for people, I believe the Lord uses these times to build His kingdom. 
God Knows Us
The fantastic thing about Matthew 25 is that it shows us how much God really knows us. This passage is not to scare us.Yes it’s a warning, and it’s to bring conviction. It reassures us that God knows us, inside and out. He knows us better then we know ourselves. 
Jesus wants us to take a long look at ourselves. Are we living up to who God made us to be? Are we squandering His anointing? Are we living by His Spirit’s guidance? Are we being obedient? Are we serving Him, by simply meeting the needs of those around us?
The things which Jesus picks out–giving a hungry man a meal, or a thirsty man a drink, welcoming a stranger, cheering the sick, visiting the prisoner–are things which anyone can do. It is not a question of giving away thousands of dollars, or of writing our names in the annals of history. It is a case of giving simple help to the people we meet every day.  Jesus knows that we can all do these things, He believes in us!
Verse 34 says: “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.”
The Kingdom of God was prepared for you and me. God meant for us to inherit it!
Ephesians 1:4,5 says: “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.  God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.”
Even before He made the world, He knew us! He loved us, He chose us!
Before HE MADE THE WORLD! We were predestined to know Christ!  He chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. This is radical. This means that God saw you; He saw you before a single organism was created. Before He took hydrogen and oxygen to make water, before all creation. He knew you would be here and you were loved, valued and were important to Him.
Does this not give us confidence? It’s not God who doesn’t believe in us. It’s we who do not believe in ourselves!
It gave Him GREAT PLEASURE! He loves to see us succeed, He yearns for us to live up to who He made us to be. He is full of Grace! Let us not waste our lives making excuses. Let us not take advantage of His grace. For that is the warning of this passage: Don’t let what you can do today be left for tomorrow, for tomorrow may never come!
People are dying! This world slips more into darkness every day. Do we not care? Do we not feel this urgency? I know you care in your hearts and in your heads. But the world would have us wait, make excuses and turn us into goats! We need to put care into action. Because love is proven true with action.
We cannot wait! We need to get this gospel message out! We need to pray for the sick, we need to care for the down trodden, broken and depressed. We need to get out of our bubbles and open our eyes and hearts to what the Spirit is saying to us. 
1 Cor 1:8-9 says: He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns.  God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
He will give you to strength to live this out. He will help you live with integrity and love. He
 will enable you to see your selves for who your really are, sons and daughters of the King. Then you will be able to accomplish this great task set before you.

God is with us! And He has invited us to partner with Him! Lets us heed the call!

There were five wise bridesmaids who followed in the celebration of the Bridegroom. They were prepared. They knew who they were in Christ. They were anointed for service and filled with the Spirit. They were ready for what was ahead of them.
Let us be a prepared Church, going to the Father for our identity, walking out in our anointing and fully functioning in the Spirit’s power!
Let us use what was given to us for the Kingdom of God, not laying dormant, not hiding our purpose, but rather, partnering with Christ, to reap a harvest for His Kingdom.
Let us serve those around us, not helping in order to get praise or adoration, out of disguised selfishness, but rather serving because we cannot stop ourselves because the Spirit compels us, and because we cannot bear to see one person lost in darkness.
So then we can look forward to the coming day:
But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.
Let us be His Sheep!

(note* This was originally a sermon presented at Living Springs Church in Calgary AB, Canada summer 2015)
Byron Frank holds a Bachelor Of Biblical Studies: Evangelism Concentration. He is writer, poet, evangelist and public speaker. For questions, comments or requests for speaking engagements please email him at dead2myself@gmail.com