Proverbs 2:3-6 NIV “Indeed, if you call out for insight and CRY ALOUD for understanding,  and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure,  then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.  For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”
We don’t like peeling the onion. Is it because we know the more we peel the more we will cry? Is it really a bad idea to have a good cry? God invites us to, “CRY ALOUD,” to Him. It’s part of the process of obtaining true knowledge of Him. When we peel the onion and go beyond the surface that’s where the truth lies. The truth hurts. It can make us cry. But these are well-spent tears. Often there are years of tears held prisoner waiting to escape. Free them and you’ll free yourself.
Psalm 51:6 NLT “But you desire honesty from the womb, teaching me wisdom even there.”
Honesty is something God requires if we are to be in a relationship with HIm. As we grow we even require it of ourselves. There’s nothing like being honest with yourself. Let’s look at 2 benefits for doing so:
1 John 1:7-10 KJV “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, andthe blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”
Notice the first benefit in the passage above for walking in the light, or truth: we have fellowship with one another. Have you ever met someone for the first time and knew you both honestly clicked, and it turned out to be really true over time? Not only did you see things you have in common your beliefs were the same. It was very easy to talk to one another, in fact, you enjoyed each other’s company so much it felt as if you were benefiting just because you were in one another’s presence. There were no ulterior motives, only love. For those who believe in God, this is how it is. We walk in the light; in truth, in honesty, therefore we have sweet fellowship, true friendship, with one another.
The next and most important super benefit I noticed in the passage above for being honest is having ALL of our misdeeds forgiven. When we peel the onion we see wrongs we’ve committed. It’s not always everyone else’s fault. Recognizing our faults is not pretty, and it doesn’t feel good. But it’s not until we deal with them we can ever have peace. So many folks are suffering greatly mentally, physically, and spiritually because they either don’t know this truth or are unwilling to face it. They’ve been programmed to think confessing their missteps and having a good cry to God makes them weak. But on the contrary, it is the strongest thing a person can do. When done with a penitent heart a miracle happens: we experience the refreshing joy of total forgiveness for our many sins. Healing in all areas takes place.
All of us have missed the mark. There’s not a person alive who can honestly say, “I’m perfect!” or, “I’ve never done anything wrong.” Those who are truly in tune with themselves know this. But fools think there’s no need to make amends:
Proverbs 14:9 NLT “Fools make fun of guilt, but the godly acknowledge it and seek reconciliation.”
Proverbs 12:15 NLT “Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.”
Want to experience ultimate peace? Ultimate joy? Peel the onion: acknowledge the truth about yourself, and seek reconciliation with God and others you may have harmed. Have a good ole cry to God. Peel away the past hurts and years of pain. He will heal you. God will make you whole.😊
The scriptures repeatedly foretell a time when there would be great animosity for God even among those claiming to be believers. Instead of folks streaming to the the truth, truth would be cast to the ground, with the help of a ruling entity:
Daniel 8:11-12 KJV “Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down.  And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it CAST DOWN THE TRUTH to the ground; and it practised, and prospered.”
Matthew 10:22 KJV “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.”
Is not the world we live in as scripture describes? Is not truth cast down to the ground? Are people not hated for the name of Jesus Christ everywhere?
WHY CAN’T I FIND A TRUE CHURCH?
There are many who will say, “I go to a good church, you should come to my church.” But who’s definition of, “a good church,” are we going by here? Theirs or God’s? Usually theirs. To some folks a good church is a place where there is live music, a good meal after service, and a popular, charismatic, preacher. To others less showmanship and sticking to the word is so much more, even if there are few members present. If you’re wondering why it’s so hard to find a good church these days listen to Jesus’ own words:
Matthew 24:10-13 NLT “And MANY WILL TURN AWAY FROM ME and betray and hate each other.  And MANY FALSE PROPHETS WILL APPEAR and will DECEIVE MANY PEOPLE.  Sin will be rampant everywhere, and THE LOVE OF MANY WILL GROW COLD.  But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”
Jesus said in the time of the end most folks would, “TURN AWAY,” from Him, not come running to Him. Does that sound like a great falling away or a great revival? I often think of the above text when I hear preachers claiming to have these great revivals over here and over there. Not saying people can’t be revived. Their claims just don’t match the scriptures. What Jesus Christ Himself said would be going on today is just the opposite:
Matthew 24:23-26 NIRV “At that time someone may say to you, ‘Look! Here is the Messiah!’ Or, ‘There he is!’ Do not believe it. False messiahs and false prophets will appear. They will do great signs and miracles. They will try to fool God’s chosen people if possible. See, I have told you ahead of time. “So if anyone tells you, ‘He is a long way out in the desert,’ do not go out there. Or if anyone says, ‘He is deep inside the house,’ do not believe it.”
How true is this scripture! I was recently invited to be a part of a church by a man who said he was one of the 7 elders of the church. It was in a different state deep out in the woods somewhere. They promised to furnish me with a place to live etcetera. The man knew the Bible well. But when I checked out his church website he proudly directed me too all I saw was them praising and lifting up men. One of these men I know for sure is a heretic who preaches a different gospel. This man through his books, sermons, and the like has misled many. The man has been dead for some time but to this day many especially leaders in churches view him as a great example. I gently confronted the church elder about this and the answwers he gave me were so pitifal I wanted to cry. Because I knew this man was headed straight for hell if he did not repent. I thought about how many in his church and folks around the world that their website is misleading. Jesus was not joking when he said there would be many false prophets claiming to have Him (the Messiah) in their midst.
Despite all the false preachers and all the fake churches you and I can be saved if we endure to the end.
We are living in great apostasy as foretold by scripture. The bright side to this is it means Jesus is really about to come soon. The scripture says the falling away has to happen first before Jesus returns. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3) So there’s nothing that could stop that from happening. But what I also find interesting is in Matthew 24:13, and Matthew 10:22 Jesus says, “the one who endures to the end will be saved.” That means despite all the false preachers and all the fake churches you and I can be saved if we endure to the end.😊 Our situation is not hopeless just because falsehood is running rampant.
CAN YOU SERVE GOD WITHOUT BELONGING TO A CHURCH?
If we find some real servants of God to fellowship with–as they are few and far in between–by all means meet with them. (Hebrews 10:24-25) But remember Jesus’ words says we will all be judged by God individually (“the ONE who endures to the end will be saved”). He did not say if we find the right church fellowship we will be saved. Annanias and Sapphira found the right church. They fellowshipped at the church with the apostles who walked daily with Jesus. But they were both judged for their sin. Finding the right church wasn’t enough to save them. Read about what happened with this couple please in the book of Acts 4:32-5:1-10. And yet people like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Elijah, Jeremiah, Daniel, and many others were often alone away from likeminded people of faith and served God faithfully. Hmmmmmm.
Many of us know about Job; the man who refused to curse God no matter how much physical and mental torture the Devil put him through. The Bible tells us that Job was the most righteous man in all the earth. (Job 1:8) Yet Job did not have a church he belonged to.
Joseph is another great example who was taken away from his father Jacob at a very young age. Jacob was a great encouragement to his son Joseph when they were together. But when they became separated Joseph grew into manhood in a land he knew nothing about and among foreigners who worshipped false gods. Yet Joseph did not curse God for being mistrerated (sold into slavery) by his own brothers, and then going to prison for a crime he did not commit. In spite of all this, and not having likeminded believers to fellowship with Joseph maintained his integrity to God!
And ahh Jeremiah; this man was among the chosen people of God the Israelites who were steeped in apostasy. God chose Jeremiah to warn the people to repent from their wicked ways. Jeremiah did indeed warn the rebellious house of Israel repeatedly for 40 years yet no one paid attention to what he said. Can you imagine preaching to the same people (who claim to know God) over and over for 40 YEARS, and all they do is persecute and ignore you? Jeremiah faithfully did his job through thick anfd thin. He lived among apostates, not a true church, but this did not deter him from serving God!
And lastly the apostle John found the true church. He met with Jesus Christ himself regularly. After Jesus death and ressurection John fellowshipped with other true believers and was a pillar in the church. Then one day he found himself exiled away from like-minded, true believers. John was persecuted and put on the Island of Patmos (alone) as a punishment for preaching about Jesus Christ. (Revelation 1:9) Did John’s faith waver because he now had no church on earth to fellowship with? No. In fact it was while he was alone on the Island of Patmos that the Lord Jesus came to him and gave him a series of powerful dreams, visions, and instructions that John recorded then later shared with God’s people, and the world! We know these powerful dreams, visions, and instructions today as The Book Of Revelation.
YES, you can indeed serve God even if you don’t have a church fellowship here on earth. It is my prayer that believers everywhere will examine this next text and realize the true church we all (true believers) belong to whether they’ve found a good fellowship or not:
Hebrews 12:22-24 NIRV “But you have come to Mount Zion. You have come to the city of the living God. This is the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to a joyful gathering of angels. There are thousands and thousands of them. You have come to the CHURCH of God’s people. God’s first and only Son is over all things. God’s people share in what belongs to his Son. Their names are written in heaven. You have come to God, who is the Judge of all people. You have come to the spirits of godly people who have been made perfect. You have come to Jesus. He is the go-between of a new covenant. You have come to the sprinkled blood. It promises better things than the blood of Abel.”
John 8:44 CSB “You are of your father the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies.”
People who cannot tell the truth to save their lives are children of the Devil just like the Pharisees. They’re everywhere. I was a sales rep who was very skilled at my job. I worked at a Fortune 500 company and trained hundreds of other reps, wrote sales scripts for the company, etcetera. I was a rock star at that place and was treated like one. Going to work was easy, it was like taking candy from a baby (literally). I enjoyed going to work so much that in 3 years I never took a vacation, and we got a week’s paid vacation every 6 months. Then one day God showed me one of the reasons why I was so great at sales, I was a pretty good liar. That’s right, all the sales techniques l studied, utilized, and taught others were nothing more than sorcery and witchcraft. Tricking people with words is witchcraft. And for that reason I was headed to The Lake Of Fire and didn’t even know it. Interesting how when you’re so good at deceiving others you deceive yourself.
Revelation 21:8 NIRV “But others will be thrown into THE LAKE OF FIRE that burns with sulfur. Those who are afraid and those who do not believe will be there. Murderers and those who make themselves impure will join them. Those who commit sexual sins and THOSE WHO PRACTICE WITCHCRAFT will go there. Those who worship statues of gods and ALL WHO TELL LIES will be there too. THE LAKE OF FIRE is the second death.”
I repented and got out of sales. Though I’ve struggled at times financially since leaving sales what I’ve gained is worth so much more:
Philippians 3:7-8 NIRV “I thought things like that were really something great. But now I consider them to be nothing because of Christ. Even more, I consider everything to be nothing compared to knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. To know him is worth much more than anything else. Because of him I have lost everything. But I consider all of it to be garbage so I can know Christ better.”
Matthew 16:26 NIRV “What good is it if someone gains the whole world but loses their soul? Or what can anyone trade for their soul?”
THE SOUL TRADE
When I started writing this article, I thought I would be talking about other liars and how terrible lying is until I felt a nudge from the Holy Spirit saying, “Talk about yourself; how you were a big fat liar and how you’re still fighting to repent from it.” So here we go:
I used to also produce music. I had a very short stint in the music business. I’ve been in recording sessions with folks who are in the Rock n Roll Hall of fame (or the Rock n Roll Hall of shame). Back then I thought I was really doing something. Now I know all I was doing was forfeiting my soul. Yep, I wanted to be rich so bad I ignored the Lord and lived for Satan employed in his music business. I made all kinds of music but I believe my specialty was creating those sappy R&B love songs that tell you all the lies you want to hear. Things started moving fast and I began to make connections with very influential people in the business, some of whom you’ve seen on TV (don’t like to name drop). Then one day the clique I was running with made me an offer I had to refuse. Since our last recording session 2 months prior I had repented, I returned to the Lord but they didn’t know it yet (we lived in different states). How timely it was then when I went to the studio instead of us rolling up weed, drinking Heinekens, recording and mixing music as we normally did, they invited me to take part in a seance and, ‘Mix our spirits together,’ so they said. This happened as soon as I walked in the studio. No, “Hellos,” “How was your trip?” nothing! They were all sitting around in a circle, something they never did before and one of them said, “Lenny, we need to mix our spirit with your spirit.” I firmly said, “Lenny don’t mix spirits.” All hell broke loose after that! This seemed to be an initiation for me of sorts but it didn’t go as they had planned. Long story short I barely got out of that room with my life. One of the people at this spirit mixing meeting was my older brother from the same mother, he was also the owner of the record label. I had to hide from him for about 15 years after this encounter because of the money he felt he lost (millions) because I would not produce records for him anymore. When you hang with snakes you get bit. If this story sounds all too familiar get out! “GET OUT! FAST!”
When you are eager to make money you don’t care about lying to get it or who you hurt in the process. And I know for a fact that my music creation was a very clever way of lying to people. Music can be so influential and deceptive when used the wrong way. Most folks never even detect it. Satan is dancing and singing people straight to hell with his worldwide music industry. He uses people like beatmakers, producers, songwriters, singers, rappers, recording engineers, etcetera to help him do it. All they want is to showcase their talents and get paid for it. But many find out too late they’re involved in something much more sinister. Most of today’s mainstream songs are hypnotic lies from the Devil. Remember, lying equals dying; telling lies, and listening to them.
TELLING THE TRUTH AIN’T ALWAYS EASY
I think the hardest thing I ever had to do is tell my wife (ex wife now) about my infidelity. When I became a Christian 27 years ago God let me know that all my sins were forgiven. It was and still is the greatest feeling in the world. There was just one thing left I had to do; God showed me I needed to confess to my wife the times I sinned and committed adultery in our marriage. Not only was this a sin against God it was a sin against my wife and a sin against my own body (1 Corinthians 6:18-20Hebrews 13:4) Yes, cheating on your spouse is lying too and breaking God’s marriage covenant. Til this day there’s things I suffer I believe because of committing this grave sin. Yes, God has forgiven me but he still chastises those He loves. Sometimes there are things we all suffer because of our past sins. But I’d rather God beat the hell out of me now instead of sending me there, forever. (Revelation 3:19) All in all God’s righteous judgment is tempered with mercy for those who repent. So let’s be earnest and repent. May we not love to lie. For if we do, we will surely die.
Proverbs 12:22 KJV “Lying lips are abomination to the Lord: but they that deal truly are his delight.”
Luke 24:25-31 NLT “Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures.  Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?”  Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.  By this time they were nearing Emmaus and the end of their journey. Jesus acted as if he were going on,  but they begged him, “Stay the night with us, since it is getting late.” So he went home with them.  As they sat down to eat, he took the bread and blessed it. Then he broke it and gave it to them.  Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared!”
Sin has really blinded us. We’re slow when it comes to believing God and acknowledging Him. How often do we worry right after God delivers us from something we had no power to handle ourselves. We’re so quick to forget. This is not good; it has to stop.
It is good to meditate on the many times God has saved us. It is good to remember all those moments God didn’t let the enemy have his/her way with us. We should think about these things often. Then we won’t be so quick to forget. Our hearts will be filled with gratitude, joy, praise, and worship, instead of anxiety and fear. Let us repent for worrying about tomorrow, and trusting in our resources to save us:
Matthew 6:33-34 NLT “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.  “So DON’T WORRY ABOUT TOMORROW, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
THEY WERE TOO SLOW
Too often the Israelites were too slow. Their lack of faith cost them everything. Unbelief is something God really hates. May we not be too slow. This can cost us everything as well:
Hebrews 3:7-14 NLT “That is why the Holy Spirit says, “Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled, when they tested me in the wilderness. There your ancestors tested and tried my patience, even though they saw my miracles for forty years. So I was angry with them, and I said, ‘Their hearts always turn away from me. They refuse to do what I tell them.’ So in my anger I took an oath: ‘They will never enter my place of rest.’” Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ.”
As stated earlier many Israelites lost everything. They refused to repent even after seeing God’s mighty works FOR 40 YEARS, even though they were repeatedly saved by Him. This attitude brought on them a curse forever. Whenever you find yourself lacking faith pray to God; ask for forgiveness, and repent. Ask God to strengthen your faith. I find myself having to do this regularly. I hate when I lack faith in God and His ability to help me. He’s shown me so much over the years. I don’t want to become like the many unfaithful Israelites who died in the wilderness of whom God said, ‘They will never enter my place of rest.'” Let us keep warring like never before to keep the faith. And no matter how bleak our circumstances look let’s trust God regardless. There is a great, eternal reward for all who keep the faith: “We will share in all that belongs to Christ.”
I Peter 5:8-9 NKJV “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like A ROARING LION, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.”
Ever heard a lion roar up close? I once heard a tiger growl a few feet away from me in a cage. It felt like I was in the back seat of a car pumping loud music with lots of bass that went through my whole body. Only this felt very scary. And the tiger didn’t even roar he just growled. I can only imagine what a lions roar sounds like.
“The devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” Notice he SEEKS whom he may devour because he cannot devour everyone, only those who fall for his fear trap. Spewing out fear at every opportunity; at the job, through the media, at school, etcetera Satan watches to see who will take the bait, who will become gripped with fear like a deer in headlights. Once the Devil has you there the rest is easy. No wonder Jesus often told his disciples, ‘Do not be afraid only have faith.’ Yes, fear immobilizes a person just like a deer in headlights. He/she is stuck and can’t move. But it’s opposite for those who put faith in God: the deer can move. He/she has power to take that leap of faith out of harms way.
HOW SATAN ROARS
There are times when people will threaten you either outright or subtly. Either way the purpose is the same; to control you with fear. This is really the devil roaring through his children:
Luke 12:4-5 NIV “I tell you, my friends, do not beafraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.  But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.”
Proverbs 29:25 NLT “Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the LORD means safety.”
Some of Jesus’ apostles were severely beaten by the religious authorities for preaching about Him and were ordered to never speak his name. (Acts 5:40)
Acts 5:41-42 NLT “The apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus.  And every day, in the Temple and from house to house, they continued to teach and preach this message: “Jesus is the Messiah.” “
The apostles were not frightened by Satan’s roars, claws, and teeth at the hands of his false religious leaders. They resisted the Devil rejoicing that they had been beaten for the name of Jesus Christ and kept preaching everyday that, “Jesus is the Messiah!” Now that’s how you resist the Devil.😊 IN CONCLUSION
I could write a book on this subject but in conclusion I’d like to say don’t be bullied by anyone. God did not give us a spirit of fear. (2 Timothy 1:7) When scary situations arise and we hold firm we get to see how powerful our Father is. No one can do us anything that God does not allow. May this next passage give you strong confidence whatever your circumstances:
Joshua 1:9 NKJV “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”