And now we have Ron’s mid-week sermon blog. Quite a long one, so I’m putting it below the fold so as not to obscure my last post
—– Ron’s post ——-
As I begin writing this post, there are two things that really stand out in my mind that would be good to consider in order to build upon what needs to be addressed later in this post. Before I begin to explain these two matters there are a couple of things that came to mind today as I was thinking about the last post and recent events that have led into seeing the need to address these in greater detail. Once these items have been addressed, we will move into the primary purpose of this post that reveals much about how we believe and live what God has given us.
The first initial thought to be built upon is that I wonder if this might be the last post I write in this age. The point being is that I really don’t know, but I move forward following God wherever and through whatever He leads me.
As our senior evangelist, Johnny, mentioned in his last sermon about following God: “Either we believe this is God’s Church and God is leading this Church or we want to go back to Egypt. But most in God’s church, from what I am hearing, are more resolved than they ever have been. It’s what I hear. They understand that this is God’s Church and they understand that it is the Great God of this universe and His Son Jesus Christ who is leading and building His Church, and that we are on God’s time. God lets us see what He wants us to see at the time and God does reserve the right to tell us to turn right or turn left, and it should be our desire to follow God.”
This paragraph that has been quoted from Johnny’s sermon is a sermon in itself, and in actuality is the sermon he gave, and yet there is so much more. The spirit of this quote will be drawn upon to explain why the thought that “this might be the last post I write in this age” is there. This is said solely for the value of the true thoughts and feeling I have at this moment that is based upon what I believe and am therefore living.
There is no thought of “going back to Egypt,” or going off in some other direction than the one I believe God is leading us in. Over this past week, there are a handful of people who have decided they can no longer follow in the same direction. Although I obviously believe they have made a horrible choice, I have absolutely no ill will toward them nor look down upon them in any way. Each person alone is accountable before God for the choices he or she makes. I can only answer for my own self and my choices. Let me put this into a bit of a current perspective.
Questions and Doubt:
Over the past couple of weeks, there are a couple of statements that have been made by others that have been passed along to me. One statement that has been made by more than one person revolves around their stated concern that things I have written and spoken about have not come to pass, which has led to the conclusion, or doubt, of whether I am a prophet or even the one through whom Jesus Christ is leading His Body the Church of God.
As it has been stated in varying ways at various times, I cannot give to them what is in my mind in my spirit. I can, and do, only act upon what I believe God gives to me. So what is it that has not come to pass? Perhaps such people are primarily speaking of the fact that there has not yet been a physical manifestation of the blowing of the Second, Third, and Fourth Trumpet. Perhaps such people feel that the Fifth Thunder should be far more manifest in it fulfillment at this time.
Candidly, each person must ask and answer such things themselves before God. All I can do is go by my own personal experience and belief as I strive to always continue moving forward, following God where I believe He leads me through a process of spiritual discernment. Though it will make this a longer post, I believe it is good at this time to consolidate some of my own personal experiences as a recorded witness of the process that has brought me (and so many of you reading this) to this moment in time and why we are moving forward in the present truth with less than three weeks remaining to the coming of the King of kings.
Before I explain some of that personal experience, there is one more statement that has been brought to my attention and needs to accompany all of this. Paraphrasing a statement made by someone I’ve known for many years, a question was asked about why I hadn’t yet declared that I was not a prophet when I had clearly stated I would if the prophecies did not come to pass. This individual may believe, or wonder if, we are not well past the time that all prophesies should have been fulfilled and I should have therefore made such a conciliatory and surrendering statement. However, there is a great problem with that ever happening and that will likely be to the disgruntlement and anger of some. The reason for this not happening will be mentioned as we continue through this post, and it should be noted that I have not been living my life by being concerned about the approval of others, but of God.
To quickly shed light upon the statement I made at that time, one would need to know what I was addressing in my own life at that moment. As a matter of truth in spirit and openness to the Church and to God, I stated what was at the heart and core of my attitude (my spirit) and belief which was that if things did not come to pass as stated about prophetic events and if that is what God revealed (that I was not His prophet), then I would acknowledge it. More than that, I would seek repentance and throw myself down before the Mercy Seat of God, for I would desire to quickly change and do exactly what God revealed I should to make things right for complete reconciliation because I know (believe) I serve a very merciful and loving God.
It was not long after I had expressed such sentiment and conviction to the Church about what I would do in such an instance that God revealed to me that I was more than a prophet; I was an apostle, which was evidenced by the fruit of the remnant Church which was scattered around the world and evidenced by the truth (truth which was not prophetic in nature) He had established in the Church through me, which can only be done through an apostle. Some short time after that experience, God strengthened me further in powerful confidence and faith that I was indeed His prophet as well as His apostle. I live by what I believe. That is what God has molded in me, and I can live by no other way.
Having said what has been stated thus far about my own convictions that are a matter of my spirit that is begotten and growing in maturity in the spirit of God, I will share a small portion of that which has molded me and made me who I am today. Again, it is so very pronounced in my mind what I stated earlier, “that I cannot give to others what is in my spirit.” For I believe what has been molded, fashioned, and transformed in my spirit is by the working of God and His Son Jesus Christ. So as a matter of my own personal conviction, I must follow where I believe God leads me.
The experiences that are personal to me in my relationship and conviction toward God are far too numerous to mention in a post, but there are certain high points that stand out for me. The first was in my original calling when I knew, without study or previous Biblical knowledge, that the seventh day of the week (Saturday) was God’s Sabbath, and upon hearing about it, I was changed convicted to keep it. At that time, at the age of 19 (turning 20 in just a few days), I was far from being religious and had no care or concern about learning anything about God. The seeing and knowing that Sabbath truth at the moment of hearing it was an immediate conviction and revelation in the mind, the working of God’s spirit I did not understand at the time, but I did experience it.
It should be stated at this point that I’m describing a process that works in all people who are called by God as He reveals truth (His word) to them. This truth I was just describing about the Sabbath came from a couple of booklets that had been written by God’s apostle at that time, Herbert W. Armstrong. Upon hearing or reading such truth that originates from God’s ministry, God communicates the knowing (the seeing) to the mind. What we read or hear in such cases is suddenly clear and simple to see, whereas without God’s spirit opening our mind to see, we wouldn’t. As I go through these personal experiences, it needs to be understood that most of these are a matter of God working with me in order to fulfill in me at that time or at a later time the role of His end-time prophet and apostle. Sometimes there are people who believe God is revealing something new, different, or special to them other than what is given first to His Church the leadership of His Church. That is not true. That would only cause division and confusion (opposition) in unity of the truth that He gives to His Church in only one way. Such would be fully contrary to God’s spirit of unity, harmony, and order in His Church. There is a great difference in how God reveals (communicates) truth to the mind of those whom He calls and who become members in the Body of Christ the Church and in how God works to reveal truth to prophets and apostles.
Continuing on with that experience of first being called and first seeing the Sabbath, that which had not been there in knowledge or belief before was suddenly in my mind. Within the same hour, the knowledge of the identity of the scattered nations of Israel was also clear in my mind. It was an experience of seeing and absolute knowing that was just there, as I later learned was spiritual in that God simply communicated to my mind (spirit) by His spirit. To each person called by God, such experience is personal and teaches what should always be remembered and never forgotten that only God can communicate truth to the mind. You cannot CAN NEVER come to any truth in the mind but by the power of God’s spirit that gives it by direct revelation/communication.
We will come back to this most important matter about our calling later in this post, for we are to embrace this lesson (this truth), hold it dear, and to never forget it, which is the very thing people fail to remember when they stray from following where God leads.
One of the most important events in my life after that, which drove this truth far more deeply into me of how God communicates truth to us, was in specific knowledge God gave to me in the early 1980’s when I first was in the ministry. There are verses in John 14 and in 1st and 2nd John, that quote Christ saying, “I will come again” and as John spoke in a related matter, “Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.” As with the experience of when I was first called, I knew that these verses were not speaking of a future return of Jesus Christ nor of anything having to do with him having lived in human flesh. The only thing believed in God’s Church at that time (and continuing on to the apostasy) was that this was about Christ’s second coming in John 14. In 1st and 2nd John the expression of “Christ is come in the flesh” was interpreted as having to do with the belief that Jesus had eternally existed, but had emptied himself of godly life and power in order to live in a fleshly (physical) body and die for the sins of mankind.
Yet as when I was first called, I knew that something had to be missing here in the translation of this from Greek. It is not that I knew it because I was educated in the Greek language or Greek grammar, but God simply gave me to know back then in the early 1980’s that this was about Jesus Christ coming into and dwelling in human life through the power of God’s spirit as he said he and His Father would do. It was this same knowing that was simply in the mind without any other proof. It was nearly 12 years later when I came across a book written by a Greek scholar who had translated all the words of the New Testament from the Greek language into English and had identified every word by its proper use in Greek grammar. Sure enough, the words were not past tense nor future tense in these verses, but were akin to what would be described in English grammar as “present progressive,” meaning that it was speaking of action that was currently happening (present tense) and would continue on (progressive tense) as a constant process from that point forward. This was speaking of Jesus Christ who through the power of the holy spirit would come into our life (in the mind) and continue dwelling (abiding, living) in us (except during any period of separation due to unrepented sin).
This was a most profound and undeniable experience that strengthened me mightily in confidence, faith, and conviction within God’s ministry. The next example, a great lesson having a strong impact on me in knowing that God is the only one who can place truth into our mind by communicating it on a spiritual plane, was a series of truths that Christ gave me regarding truth about the apostasy, the man of sin, the identity of the stones of the temple, God spewing out the Church and separating it from His indwelling, the prophesied massive scattering of the Church, etc. These truths were a matter once again of absolute knowing when they were given. These were not received from others, nor believed by others, who were of the Church, and these were not learned through study or personal insight, but in every case it was the same as with my original experience when called. It was simply an absolute knowing in spiritual discernment that I knew was communicated to my spirit (my mind) from God through His spirit.
Following the experience of God revealing so many truths related to the apostasy and having had the experience of God blessing me to do that which would have been the farthest from my mind to ever even consider, let alone my aversion at the time to writing, I wrote a book. Then, after a triple bypass in August of 2005, God brought me to one of the most powerful experiences yet of His communicating His word to me in my begotten and transforming spirit. In preparation for the Feast of Tabernacles, God was revealing truth from a large portion of scripture about how He alone has eternally existed and that Jesus Christ had not eternally existed. Although the Church went through more than half a century of having truth restored to it through God’s apostle at that time, Herbert W. Armstrong, the church believed through the era of Philadelphia that Christ had eternally existed.
It is so simple, but people often have a difficult time remembering and internalizing the most basic truth about how we learn and know truth. God has to give it! He must communicate it from His spirit to ours. There is absolutely no other way to know the truths of God on a spiritual plane. Yes, there are pieces of truth that the carnal mind can come to about very basic physical knowledge. This is true in most religions calling themselves Christian, but it is not of God. One church has built its name upon the simple physical acceptance of the true meaning of the Greek word that is translated as baptize, which they know simply means to “immerse” in water and not to sprinkle with water as most others believe. Another church has built its name upon the acceptance of what they see on a physical level (through physical reasoning and intellect) that the Sabbath of God is on the seventh day of the week.
Such examples are plentiful, but none of this was revealed as spiritual knowledge from God and from His spirit to theirs. It is only physical in nature. Yet the more that a person embraces and seeks to obey God in simple straight forward instruction, even on a physical plane, the more their life will be blessed; but this does not involve a spiritual relationship with God as a result of His calling.
Only God can communicate spiritual knowledge and understanding as He does through His Son Jesus Christ. It cannot CAN NEVER be received by human intellect, for such is limited (restricted) strictly to a physical plane with the ability to reason and know (learn). Herbert W. Armstrong was not given the ability to see that Jesus Christ had not eternally existed and that his origin of life began with a human birth from a physical mother, Mary, and who had been begotten at conception by a spiritual Father, God Almighty. It is God alone who chooses how and when He reveals spiritual knowledge. It was not a fault of Herbert W. Armstrong that he did not know this truth, nor did it diminish him in any way as God’s apostle, but it was simply God’s knowledge to give when He chose to do so. No one can judge God in such matters, although many have judged His servant Herbert W. Armstrong over such things, as with the subject of Pentecost.
As I was being given a large amount of revelation in scripture on this subject in preparation of the Feast of 2005, I was being strengthened in a phenomenal way with this continuing and maturing experience of God communicating to my spirit His truth in these matters. I had learned long before this time that there was no other way to know such things. It was with this spiritual strength God was flooding upon me that I had such confidence and knowing that one more subject would have to be addressed in the Feast sermons, but that the knowledge of it would not be given to me until sometime during the Feast. It was about the subject of Melchizedek. By the Last Great Day, God had communicated it fully to me.
Spiritual knowledge spiritual truth can only be communicated by God’s spirit to our spirit. Anything else is only physically discerned knowledge. A person can read truth on our websites and grasp a limited perception about God’s plan and truth that is before them, but they cannot internalize it and cannot know it spiritually unless God gives it. Such a person can never be in full agreement with God or His Church because they are simply unable to do so solely on a plane of physical reasoning. Not only that, but even a person who has been called of God and given ability to see what is spiritual in God’s word can lose that ability to see spiritually unless God is continually dwelling in them. That is why sin must be repented of quickly because sin cuts one off from that spiritual life and spiritual insight dwelling in them. If it isn’t there then the ability to see, believe, and even have the choice to live by it is gone on a spiritual plane. Once this happens a person may choose to continue eating only clean foods, but it is a physical thing without any spiritual perception or insight at all. The same is true about tithing or observing a Sabbath day. Some in the world do those things as a physical matter, but not as a result of God abiding in them communicating from His spirit to their spirit on a continual, ongoing basis. If that process of continual indwelling ends, a person will begin to lose what they have, for it is God’s.
These are some of the major experiences I have had of God communicating His word from His spirit to mine. All such experiences are the things that have been transforming my mind changing the very way I think and have chosen to live. I know deeply who I am and what God has called me to as His prophet and His apostle in this end-time. I cannot give this to anyone, because it is only for God and His Son to give. That which has been molded in me is fairly well complete. I know I am His prophet, though I do not know all prophecy. I only have that which God has given me.
For this very reason, because of all these experiences and the truth given to me that I have mentioned, I will continue to move forward following where God and His Son lead me. As was mentioned in another post, “We do not live by ‘what if’s,’ but by ‘what is.’” By the time you read this, there will be less than three weeks to Pentecost. The reality is that whether Jesus Christ comes on that day or not, I will be living by “what is” at that time and I will be following God wherever He leads me. If at that time I am in a spirit body, I will follow Him. If I am still in a physical body, I will follow wherever He leads, and I know that at some point in time, even if it isn’t immediate as it was on May 26th of last year, it will come and we will know what God wants us to know at any moment in time.
It is through all we experience in our ongoing relationship with God that we are ever being transformed from physical to spiritual. That process is not easy, especially for those with whom God is molding, fashioning, and creating for great purpose in some of the primary structure of His Temple of His Kingdom. Those called now to be in His Kingdom at the start of its reign on earth and those called now to live on into that millennial period have been chosen for a great purpose and an awesome opportunity in life.
Past Two Sabbaths:
Two Sabbaths ago an urgent Church-wide fast was called. We recognized we were in the midst of a great spiritual war that was being waged. Our desire was that God and His Son dwell more fully within us because we are convicted of the verse quoted in that post which called for that fast: “You are of God, little children, and have overcome (Gk.- conquered) them because greater is He (God Almighty and Jesus Christ) who is in you, than he (Satan and his demons) that is in the world” (1 Jn. 4:4).
On the Sabbath of this fast two weeks ago, our senior evangelist, Johnny, gave a powerfully inspired sermon about the purpose of our fast and of the spiritual war that was being waged. On that day God also inspired the post, “A Rapidly Approaching Pentecost.” The revelation within this post reminds me of the time when Daniel was fasting toward the end of the Jewish captivity while they were in Babylon. It was at this time that God gave him understanding of the seventy years prophecy concerning the occupation of Jerusalem and that this time had now been fulfilled and it was time for them to begin to return. In like manner, God revealed to us that we have been living through the First Woe of Revelation which is about Satan and his demonic army who were given five whole months to wage war against God’s people. God revealed that the fierceness of that war was nearing its end and He strengthened us with understanding so that we could grasp why we were experiencing such intensity of battle throughout the Church.
Satan and his demons desired more than anything else to be able to wage such a great spiritual battle against God’s people. They desired it far above waging battle on an already deceived world. Although the time these beings were given to wage great warfare against God’s people would end at the completion of five months, God’s people are always to remain on guard because these beings will still seek out those who let down spiritually, for that is power they always have if God is not fully dwelling in us (1 Jn. 4:4) in order for us to continue steadfast.
Before this past Sabbath, God inspired another powerful sermon by another evangelist, Terry. That sermon so perfectly fits with what happened since the fast and the last post, yet it was prerecorded and given before the Sabbath and before other events came to light toward the end of the week and over this weekend. The devastation of this First Woe was minute (small) in comparison to the time of the apostasy when it was relatively easy and quick for the demonic world to so successfully attack and decimate God’s Church at that time. Although the devastation was minimal in this great spiritual war, never-the-less, it was very painful, as it always is when any fall from following God in His Church. There have been a handful that have fallen, which included three who were senior elders, one elder and one who was an associate elder. As with all who leave, I deeply look forward to the time they come back into fellowship in spirit and in truth.
The good news now is that this five-month battle has ended and God’s Church has been defined. This great army of demonic spirit beings are now turning their wrath toward this world. One great war is over and the last one is about to begin. We have lived through a time of great trouble that was cast upon the Church, and now that time of trouble is ready to be cast upon the world.
Indeed, we have lived at the prophetic moment in time when Michael, the great prince who stands for the children of God, has stood fast along with an angelic army to wage war along side of us. We should take great courage to know what has been fulfilled and each persons’ part in it, as God has made us to stand.
In the beginning of this post, I mentioned that there were two things that stood out in my mind as I began to write. One point has been clearly built upon concerning moving forward and following God wherever and through whatever He leads us. Though I have sought to follow God in such a manner, I have not always liked it. Candidly, I have had at times the greatest dislike for the experience (while it was happening) when it has hurt the most. That is because the process of transformation hurts as we suffer through those things that work to mold and fashion the mind into greater unity and oneness with God.
I highly disliked the experience of the apostasy. I highly disliked the many occasions when those with whom I have walked to God’s House side by side have left our fellowship. I have highly disliked many occasions of wearing sackcloth when attacked by so many. And I highly dislike my current environment. Although I have highly disliked the times of suffering and pain, I have loved the fruit of what has been produced from such affliction because the power of God’s spirit dwelling in me is what has transformed me into who I am today, and I would not trade any hardship for that which God has blessed me with of Himself, dwelling more fully in my being, in ever growing oneness of mind and spirit.
The second thing that I referred to at the beginning has already been addressed in this post as to a powerful truth in our life. Everything EVERYTHING that is true comes only from God. Faith comes from God. Agape comes from God. Truth we receive and are even able to believe (exactly as I’ve described by the personal experiences I have mentioned) is communicated to us by God. He actually gives us the capacity to believe, for that is spiritual. Then we must choose to want to live by what we are given the capacity to believe. The ability to live that belief is faith, and it all comes from God.
A senior elder who has left our fellowship made a comment about going back to basics and proving those things to himself (paraphrasing the thrust of the conversation). He did not understand my reply and thought that I didn’t really understand what he was saying. People have not understood what God has said when He tells us to prove all things. That can be taken to mean that we somehow have the capacity and ability to “prove” scriptural interpretation or understand by our own ability what is written in scripture. We have no such power! Yes, we are to study God’s word so we can become more familiar with what is written, but we do not have the capacity to make a determination of whether something is true or not when it comes to the meaning of what we study.
By studying the 57 Truths, we can be more knowledgeable of what they are and far stronger in remembering or recalling them. The same is true about scripture. In this example of studying the 57 Truths, study of itself does not mean we know them to be true through any intellectual ability we might have even if we memorized them and could repeat them word for word. The only way we know they are true (all of them) is by the spirit of God that communicates that truth that knowing into our mind (our spirit).
Proving all things that are of God is a matter of putting them into practice as a way of life to live. It is as the example of “proving oxen.” It is to put them to the test to see what they can accomplish (produce). We are to prove through living God’s truth (after it has already been revealed to us) that it works to produce fullness of life, peace, good fruit, and blessings of life.
So if someone believes they can “go back” and prove things like the Sabbath, the Holy Days, God’s government (Truth #1 listed as given through Herbert W. Armstrong), etc., then they don’t grasp what they are saying. This 1st Truth concerning God’s government is not a matter of one’s ability to prove it. It is a matter of revelation and faith that God gives, communicating it from His spirit to ours. You may believe that the Sabbaths of God can easily be proven. Not so! To know them as God has given them is spiritual and a matter of faith. That is why so many who are no longer part of God’s Church, who are scattered and cut off from God’s spirit cannot agree on true matters concerning the weekly Sabbath observance, Passover, Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, Trumpets, etc. These are all matters of faith (God given) and are spiritual. You cannot prove them of yourself. Every truth is a matter of faith and what we can see spiritually given only by God.
Everything that we have the capacity to believe, that is true and of God, comes only from God and we can only see it and know it by God’s spirit dwelling in us and His communicating it to us by His spirit. If we truly grasp this then we have the potential for great wisdom, for that too is of God. If one can grasp and truly believe that everything they know and see that is true comes only by the revelation (communication) of God’s spirit to our spirit, then we can better see ourselves.
This portion of the post was the product of the second item that stood out in my mind as I began to write. It is the fact that we are so small, but God is creating that which will be great. Being small in our own eyes is a priceless gift from God. It is true humility to be able to see and deeply believe that you are small (not of anything said in shallow words, but that which is in spirit and in truth).
I’ve commented in the past that wearing sackcloth itches. It often itches because wearing true humility doesn’t go well with the human mind, because it is uncomfortable. Now that would be a great thing to prove. Prove humility! Learn to wear it always because it is in that state that the greatest work of transforming can thrive. That is the state in which God can produce more in us as we more perfectly yield to His molding, fashioning, and creating a new life in us.
So strive to wear sackcloth always. It is truly vogue for the children of God to do so.