1 Corinthians 15

Slowly rereading the words of this chapter comforted me tonight.

It is not the here and now that gives me hope. Other than the Word of God, more often than not the things I see bring discouragement.

1

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
2
By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
3
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4
And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
5
And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
6
After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
7
After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
8
And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
9
For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.
Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?
But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.
For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.
And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?
And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?
I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.
Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.
But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?
Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:
And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain:
But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.
All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.
There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.
So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:
It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:
It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
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In Expectation

Waiting, anticipating, expecting, practically agonizing to be there, completed, perfected with Jesus Christ, never alone, surrounded by all who share in the sweet salvation and joy in the One who saved us!

This world is not my home, I’m just a-passin’ through.

https://wp.me/p5dER6-1kl

The Promised Superhero

 

Jesus is no pansy. His power makes even the physical achievements of Aquaman look like hopscotch and jump-rope.

I loves me a good superhero fantasy story, and Aquaman is right up there at the top of the list for me. But that’s entertainment, and Jesus is no fiction regardless of how badly you’d like to think so. Here are a few reasons why.

My blogging friend G.W. puts the Bible’s description of the Savior into a descriptive visual here, with Bible reference notes such as His feet being like bronze glowing in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of rushing waters: here’s G.W.’s post to which I refer.

The Lord Jesus Christ, freely offering huge love, forgiveness, and joy like none of us can experience here with imperfect humans, is not one with whom to wage war. One cannot win against Him if one tried, but when one knows Him and His love, there’s no reason to fight Him and every reason to adore Him.

“He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” (Matthew 12:30)

We are all sinners and in need of Him to save us from the death sentence we all have. Don’t let death be the end for you. Believe Jesus died FOR YOU and rose again and you will have better life after your last breath here than the best you can ever imagine.

And on the topic of sin, here is an excerpt from G.W.’s post:

“The popular Christ being preached today (who says sin is okay if you were born that way) is not the Christ of the Bible, nor the Christ who will be our final Judge.”

For some reason, there is a big push toward accepting certain types of sin in society today, but the fact remains that we are all “born that way” – that is, born sinners, separated from God, in need of accepting His Son as Savior to reconnect us with Him.

Don’t accept sin. Accept Jesus!

Too many people have a wrong idea of what it means to accept Jesus, as they assume there is some kind of rituals or list of rules to follow, but that puts the job on THEM to try to save themselves, when the job is already done by Jesus and all they need to do is accept that fact. Then, yes, they should read about Him in the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, to know in better detail just what they were saved from, who did the saving and how, and what is going to happen next.

Truth can be stranger than fantasy.  I pray my readers understand the Truth about Jesus being THE real hero we all need.

 

That lonely, needy feeling

It doesn’t seem to be socially acceptable to shout out, “Hey, I’m feeling lonely and needy. Can someone please talk to me?”

But sometimes talking to someone is all it takes to not feel that way anymore. It doesn’t have to be a conversation about feeling lonely or needy. The connection itself, the interchange of words and thoughts, even listening to someone else talk about things that have nothing to do with your own problems, can be healing.

The opposite effect can result from reaching out and not connecting, though.

So, more often than not, I don’t even try. The risk isn’t worth it to me.

 

 

 

Discouraged or something

“Have I laboured all for nothing.
Trying to make it on my own.
Fear to reach out to the hand
Of one who understands me
Say ‘I’d rather be here all alone.’

It’s all my fault

I sit and wallow in seclusion.
As if I had no hope at all,
I guess truth becomes you
I have seen it all in motion
That pride comes before the fall.”

-From Jennifer Knapp’s “Whole Again”

Those words of a beloved song came to mind as I thought about how good it would be to reach out and be understood.

“Cheer up. Look on the bright side. Here’s what you need to feel better.”

Best intentions aren’t always a solution.

Sometimes a solution is not the answer.

Maybe there is a reason for the feelings. I believe I will know someday, and all these pains won’t even be worth comparing to the joy that is coming.

Until then, though, I ponder.

Why is understanding in such short supply? Or do I just not know where to find it or how to hunt for it?

So much in this life seems so complicated and only results in what feels like futility.

Maybe someone will think about me. Maybe someone will pray for me.

I think I need to go out for a walk.

Maybe I will think about eternity. Maybe I will think about the sunshine breaking through the clouds. Maybe I will think about mud.

Maybe I will think about this song:

(Jennifer Knapp’s “Whole Again” performed live, acoustic version)

 

Discouraged

“Have I laboured all for nothing.
Trying to make it on my own.
Fear to reach out to the hand
Of one who understands me
Say ‘I’d rather be here all alone.’

It’s all my fault

I sit and wallow in seclusion.
As if I had no hope at all,
I guess truth becomes you
I have seen it all in motion
That pride comes before the fall.”

-From Jennifer Knapp’s “Whole Again”

Those words of a beloved song came to mind as I thought about how good it would be to reach out and be understood.

“Cheer up. Look on the bright side. Here’s what you need to feel better.”

Best intentions aren’t always a solution.

Sometimes a solution is not the answer.

Maybe there is a reason for the feelings. I believe I will know someday, and all these pains won’t even be worth comparing to the joy that is coming.

Until then, though, I ponder.

Why is understanding in such short supply? Or do I just not know where to find it or how to hunt for it?

So much in this life seems so complicated and only results in what feels like futility.

Maybe someone will think about me. Maybe someone will pray for me.

I think I need to go out for a walk.

Maybe I will think about eternity. Maybe I will think about the sunshine breaking through the clouds. Maybe I will think about mud.

Maybe I will think about this song:

 

 

This is the Gospel

I am sharing this from a fellow WordPress blogger. I am glad to see someone else who understands it’s not about a list of sins separating us from God, but sin itself IS separation from God, and only acceptance of what His Son did for us by giving His life will connect us to Him the way He intended.

A quote from the blog entry:

It isn’t so much a list of violations that Paul is talking about here; it is the very condition of being in rebellion against God that he is talking about.

https://wp.me/p1V2TT-3up

About God…

The following was written by my friend Ivor, who wrote it for one of his other friends. I share it here with his permission. If you have any questions that I can’t answer, I will pass them on to him.

Please allow me to put together a picture of what God has shown me in His word that He wants:

And before I do that let me say why I believe that there even is a God.

Even if it is just for the sake of discussion, I like to acknowledge that it may all be not true and when we die it will be lights out, done, over.

There are many that cling to that idea as I’m sure you know.
These are people that want to live for themselves and not be answerable to God, so they just do away with God in their own mind.

A more sober person is willing to give things a more open and sincere look.

The case for God is strong but nobody can prove His existence.

Again, the case is strong, the evidence is compelling, but yet we believe in God because we decide to, and we believe that, based on the evidence, we have made an intelligent life decision, thus one big step in faith. (If you want any more discussion on this please say so.)

God created man for love and fellowship with Him. As you know, actual love is not possible when one is held totally subordinate to the other, so God turned man loose so that man could make choices.

Since then, God has been trying to get our attention and draw each of us into a love relationship with Him. (The Bible is essentially a love letter to us from God that pivots on John 3.16*)

God knows man and all elements of the life of men and God says the gate is narrow (to Him) and few there will be that find it.

The problem:

The problem is that none of us is perfect so we all have done things that are not okay with God.

God is perfect, Holy, and cannot accept sin or sinful people, so He devised a plan that included a perfect sacrifice for all the sins of anyone that believes and trusts in the Sacrifce to make them presentable to the Father.

The Lord Jesus died on the Cross to accomplish two simple things:

1) Pay for our sins
2) Win our hearts

However, if it does not do the second, it does not do the first. It’s that simple.

There is absolutely nothing that we can do to win God’s favor but to accept God’s provision for our redemption and deliverance.

God wants us to have a turning point – a moment when we cease from our own efforts and waywardness and shift our hope and confidence to the Lord Jesus once and for all.

Below is a prayer that contains the elements listed in Scripture for immediate salvation.
This is a once in a lifetime prayer and if spoken from the heart with sincerity will assure one of salvation and it will likely make a monumental change in one’s life.

“God, I come to you in the Name of Your Son Jesus Christ. You said in Your word that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10 : 13). I am calling on Jesus right now. I believe He died on the cross for my sins, that He was raised from the dead on the third day. Lord Jesus, I am asking You now to come and live within me as Lord and Savior and help me be what you want me to be.

I repent of my sins and surrender myself totally and completely to you. I accept You and confess You as my Lord and Savior. Thank you for making me a new person and forgiving me of my sins, In Jesus Name, Amen.”

When this is settled we can move forward into life in God which is different for each of us and how to find fellowship with the the rest of God’s family.

I am but a bystander as this is strictly between you and God.

*John 3:16 says: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Where Could I Go?

I was accused by a beloved family member of having apathy toward her when she was angry at me and another family member. The truth is, however, that my aloofness was a defense mechanism. I do not wish to fight, no matter how one tries to bait me.

A man used to bait me to fight, over and over, for the sake of his ego. It nearly destroyed me.

I will not go back to taking the bait.

And so who can I talk to when things like this happen? I don’t want to trouble my friends and other family with the details, for they can only understand so much, though I do talk with them a bit about it.

In the end, but even in the beginning, the One who hears my woes is the One who already knows: my Lord, my Savior, my dearest Friend… Christ Jesus.

I say, “Thank you, God, for being my comfort in time of sorrow.”

These lyrics permeate my being while I sit in a rocking chair in front of the wood-fired cookstove, waiting for the oven to come up to temperature so I can put Pigs In Blankets in to bake before I drop exhausted into my own blankets.

“Where Could I Go But To The Lord”

Living below in this old sinful world
Hardly a comfort can afford
Striving alone to face temptation’s call
Where could I go but to the Lord

Where could I go, where could I go
Seeking a refuge for my soul
Needing a friend to help me in the end
Where could I go but to the Lord

Neighbours are fun I love them every one

We get along in sweet accord
But when I pass the chilling hand of death
Where could I go but to the Lord

Where could I go, where could I go
Seeking a refuge for my soul
Needing a friend to help me in the end
Where could I go but to the Lord

Life here is grand with friends I love so well
Comfort I get from God’s own Word
But when my soul needs manna from above
Where could I go but to the Lord

Where could I go, where could I go
Seeking a refuge for my soul
Needing a friend to help me in the end
Where could I go but to the Lord

Where could I go, where could I go
Seeking a refuge for my soul
Needing a friend to help me in the end
Where could I go but to the Lord
Where could I go but to the Lord

And the story on the song’s writing:

http://dianaleaghmatthews.com/where-could-i-go-but-to-the-lord/#.W6SCuuoTFGo

Amish Man Finds God

The following is the testimony of a man named Eli Lee. Eli was raised in an Amish community, but he found the teaching to not be in line with God’s Word.

I don’t know Eli. Never heard of him till today. But I believe I will meet him, and all others throughout history who have put their trust in Jesus as Savior, someday, in heaven.

Here is Eli’s story:

. . . . . .

From July 11, 2017

I was born and raised in the Amish culture. Growing up, I don’t ever remember desiring not to be Amish. I sincerely thought that being a part of the Amish was the only way I would have a chance to go to heaven one day.

When I was twenty years old, I married my wife, Leah. God then blessed us with eight wonderful children.

As an Amish man, I was very zealous about my religion and tried my best to live according to the rules and what I understood of God’s Word. I was involved in enforcing the excommunication of several people in my community because they claimed they could be sure that if they would die, they would go to Heaven. These people believed that salvation had nothing to do with following the Amish rules, which was not a permissible way of thinking.

My dad was a bishop, so it was very important that all his children remained loyal to the religion; we did not want to disgrace him. Every morning and every night, my whole family would get down on our knees, and I would read the mandatory prayers out of a prayer book just like my dad had taught me to do. I was doing well until I got sick at the age of thirty.

I became so sick that I couldn’t work. My wife and I spent all our time and resources over the next three years trying to figure out what my medical problem was, but the doctors and hospitals were unable to figure it out. I finally gave up on the doctors and told my wife that there was no point in continuing like this. If I was going to die anyways, I didn’t see the point of doing so in a way that left a large amount of debt for my family. For this reason, I quit going to my appointments.

We had a small home business that manufactured wood products. Since I couldn’t work and had to rely solely on hired help, the business began to go downhill. As a result, our finances were getting tight. One day, after realizing that we only had enough food in the house to last a few days, I went out and tried to work despite my health condition. I overdid things and ended up sick again and in bed for a week.

A few days later, my wife had to run an errand, so I was lying on the couch alone. I realized that I couldn’t take it anymore. I cried out to God and told him that I didn’t understand what was going on. I knew that His Word said that He would take care of his children, but I didn’t feel like he was taking care of me. Because of this, it made me begin to question whether I was his child or not.

I continued talking to God and gave my wife and children to Him. I told Him that I would trust Him to somehow take care of them because I was physically unable to do so and could not bear to continue seeing them go hungry. I also gave my business into His hands. I asked that He either make it become successful again or “run it to the ground,” so I could quit worrying about it.

As far as myself, that day, I asked God to forgive my sins, and then I begged Him to take my life. I told Him that I was tired of living and felt worthless here on Earth. I did agree that if there was still something He wanted me to do on this Earth, I would be willing, but I would need patience to endure whatever it was that I needed to go through until I got to that point. I asked that He put His Holy Spirit in my heart, so that I could better understand what His will was for my life.

As I finished up my prayer, I cried myself to sleep.

When I woke up a couple of hours later, I got off the couch and felt so light that I had to look down to make sure my feet were on the floor. I also felt an incredible peace like I had never experienced before. I knew that God has heard my prayer and that I was now in unity with Him. I realized that He had forgiven me of my sins, and that He had given me salvation.

At the time, I did not know what being saved was, but I knew deep down that I was born again. I also knew that God had given me salvation as a gift, and that it was not something that I would receive at the end of life only IF I followed the rules of the church well enough like I was always taught.

Later that same day, I walked to the neighbor’s house, who had a phone with an answering machine. As I was checking my business messages, I saw that one had come in. The message was from a customer, who wanted to order about $7,000 worth of material. I immediately began to weep and worship God because I now knew that not only had He forgiven me from all my sins and made me His child, but He had also taken over our business and finances.

Something else happened that day that I was totally unprepared for. The Holy Spirit now lived in my heart, and He immediately began working. I kept thinking about the newfound salvation that God had given to me as a gift. I knew that if anyone would find out that I now believed in this way of faith, I would immediately be in trouble with the church; this thought troubled me.

I had an unrelenting urge to know God better and to know God’s heart, though, so I pushed those fears aside and started reading the Bible more than I had ever done before. As I read the Bible, the Holy Spirit gave me understanding, and I began to gain meaning from scriptures I had never understood before.

The more I read, the more inconsistencies I found in the teachings of the Amish church. Now, instead of the Amish teaching me, the Holy Spirit was teaching me. It was so refreshing to receive insight from the Spirit, but again, it troubled me because it kept pointing out more and more errors of the religion that was so dear to me.

It soon became evident that there was a big cross road ahead for me. If I kept believing the things that the Spirit was revealing to me, I knew that I would get in trouble with the church. And, on the other hand, if I continued believing the things I was taught by the church, I would have to be disobedient to the Holy Spirit. I didn’t dare to talk to my wife about the turmoil going on inside me either because I knew that she would immediately get scared and run to the preachers to tell them about what I was believing. Then, I would be excommunicated and separated from my family.

After some time, I became deeply distressed. One day, I fell on my face before God and said, “God, I do not know what’s right anymore. At first, I had been convinced that I was hearing your Holy Spirit direct me, but now I’m not beginning to question if maybe it was Satan’s voice I was hearing instead. I have no one to talk to because I have lost confidence in the Amish preachers, but I need to know if this is you that is teaching me these things.”

As I continued with my prayer, I told God about a man I knew in the city that was a Christian counselor. Even though I didn’t know if this man was truly a believer or not, I knew that God could make even a donkey speak, and God laid it on my heart to visit and give it a try. I trusted God to put the words that I needed to hear into the man’s mouth.

I called the man’s number and made an appointment to go see him. I intentionally made the appointment at a time I was delivering things to my customers, so no one would know that I had gone to talk to him. I had convinced myself by this time that he was going to tell me that Satan had deceived me and that I needed to return and believe what I was taught from childhood. I just couldn’t imagine that God would want to have me choose my newfound faith and chance being separated from my wife and my children.

I didn’t get very far into telling this counselor my troubles when he surprised me by starting to praise God. After a few rounds of him praising God, I became a little irritated, and I asked him why he was praising God. He replied by saying that he was praising God because he could see that the Holy Spirit was at work in my life. I responded by asking him how he knew that this was the Holy Spirit and not Satan deceiving me.

Immediately, the counselor saw the seriousness of the situation, and he began asking me some more questions like, “Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God?” And, “Do you believe that Jesus Christ has died for your sins?” And, “Do you believe that Jesus rose again and went to heaven?”

My answers to all of his questions were, “Of course I believe that!” It was then that he got his Bible out and turned to first John where it talked about testing the spirits to see whether they are from God. He pointed out the fact that every spirit that confesses that the Jesus Christ is Lord is a spirit that is truly from God.

I soon realized that I was trying to convince him and myself that I was not being led by the Holy Spirit because of my desire to remain Amish. After I realized this, I got up and left.

Before meeting with the counselor, I had promised God that I would believe what he said. Even though a piece of me was relieved after talking to him, a piece of me was now also deeply distressed because I knew what lie ahead for me.

I went home, and I thanked God for answering my prayer. I felt much better at the time, but after about three weeks, the same doubts returned that I had before I went to the counselor. I prayed to God asking that he forgive me for doubting him, but in my mind, this was just too serious of a matter to be mistaken about. Not only did my eternal future rely on me making the right decision, but the souls of my wife and children were at stake as well.

Because I knew that God was not a God of confusion and that he was not a God that wanted to separate families, I began praying that God would begin working on my wife’s heart. I knew that I could not convince my wife to believe one way or another, but I knew that if this was really a God-led thing, He could lead and teach my wife in the same way that He led and taught me.

I agreed with God to talk to my wife about my newfound faith. I told God that if she agreed with me that salvation was by faith, then I would know that it was from God and would not doubt it again. However, if she would get scared and not believe that salvation is by faith, then I was going to throw the whole idea out knowing that it was all a lie from Satan; I would go back to believing what my father and the church had taught me.

After talking to God about my plan, I felt some peace but was also afraid of what might happen; this fear kept me from talking to my wife for about two or three more weeks.

Finally, I gathered up the courage and sat down to talk to her. I started with some of the smaller areas of indifference, and she agreed that what I said was right, so I kept talking. As I continued, I saw that she kept agreeing, and finally, I was able disclose everything to her including my belief that salvation was a gift from God by grace, not something that we may or may not receive after a lifetime of obeying the rules of the church. To my surprise, she agreed with that too!

At this point, I began weeping and praising God. I now knew without a doubt that God was truly teaching me, and that he had been working on my wife’s heart as well. From that day until this very day, I have never again doubted whether it was God or Satan that was working on me; I know that it was God all along.

My wife and I ended up spending most of the day talking about what our future and the future of our children would look like. We talked about what life might be like in the big, scary world that lay outside of the secure walls of our Amish religion. We knew without a doubt that as soon as they found out about our new beliefs, we would be excommunicated from the religion we had grown up in and separated from our parents and our siblings for the rest of our lives.

We also knew that as soon as anybody would find out, we would be bombarded by preachers and our parents about having been deceived. We would be told that unless we would repent, we would go to hell for eternity. Because of this, our plan was to not tell anybody what we believed for a couple of years; this would give us time to study the Scriptures and be able to defend what we believe.

I soon decided that I wanted to begin praying to God from my heart with my whole family. After talking to my wife and getting her consent, I talked to the children about it and forbid them to tell anybody that we prayed that way. I knew that if anyone found out that we were praying without the approved prayer book, we would be commanded to stop immediately or once again, be in danger of excommunication.

After making the decision to pray to God from our hearts instead of the prayer book, things felt a lot more pleasant; I felt that I had someone I could always talk to. I continued to pray that if the time came that God wanted us to speak up and be open about our new beliefs, that he would give us the courage to do so as well as give us the words to speak.

Even though we knew a lot of scripture from our upbringing, it didn’t necessarily mean that we knew what it meant. Reading the Bible was like taking the words of God and pouring them through the sieve of the Holy Spirit to see what came out on the other side. There were many times that I would quote a scripture, and as I heard myself saying it, I knew that what I had always been taught is not what it really meant; it had been taken out of context. I felt like I almost had to relearn what the Scriptures meant for the second time.

A few months passed. One Sunday, after church, the men were all sitting in a room visiting, and a young man started asking questions about going to heaven, about the church rules, and about the Bible. As I sat and listened to one of the elders give this young man all of the wrong answers and take Scripture out of context, I had a really hard time being quiet.

After thinking about it for a minute, I decided to not say anything and just sat back and listened instead. The young man was desperate for answers, though, and was not easily convinced because he had seen some things in the Bible that didn’t match up with what the rules of the religion said.

After listening to the Amish elder deceive the young man for about twenty to thirty minutes, the Holy Spirit finally took control of my mouth. I started asking this elder some questions about the things that he had said.

I heard myself saying things like, “Look at that scripture that you quoted; the verse before that says this ______________,” or “The verse after that says this _____________ and this ______________,” which, in most of the cases, completely destroyed his argument. I also began saying, “If what you said is true, what does this verse mean?” I heard myself quoting scriptures with references that I didn’t even know exactly where to find but that I knew were there.

Needless to say, the elder had a choice to make. He could either admit that he was wrong or try to defend himself. He decided to try to defend himself, but the Holy Spirit kept giving me Scriptures and truth to use in combat with his arguments, so his defense didn’t work. Soon, the elder became very angry and cursed me in front of everyone. Immediately afterward, everybody went home to their own houses.

That very week, the elder that argued with me went to the preachers and demanded that I be excommunicated right away. One of the preachers had been sitting in on the conversation that Sunday afternoon, and he didn’t think that I had said anything wrong.

Nonetheless, I was soon called in for a meeting, where I was asked all kinds of questions about what was said on the day of the argument. As I recalled the discussion, I was able to explain the true gospel to all of the religious leaders in the meeting.

The elder did not relent from his anger and decided to write a letter to the bishop and demand that he excommunicate me. Because of this, a few weeks later, a whole van load of bishops and preachers came from Pennsylvania, and they called me to another meeting. This time, again, the Holy Spirit took control of me and used me to quote scriptures and to explain salvation by grace to all those in attendance.

At the end of the meeting, the head Bishop told me that although he couldn’t really say that what I was saying was not true, he knew that it was not the way that our forefathers had taught us. I asked him what he was going to believe, what he knew to be true or what the forefathers taught him. He responded by saying, “Our forefathers taught us that we cannot leave this kind of talk alone, because if left alone, it causes much disunity and division in the church. So we don’t know any better than to do what our forefathers have taught us. If you are not willing to let go of your ideas of salvation, we are going to have to excommunicate you.”

I told them that there was no way that I was going to agree to the idea that it was not the Holy Spirit that had saved me and that was teaching me the truth, because if I did, I would be blaspheming the Holy Spirit. They then excommunicated me and my wife, since she too stood by my side and believed in Salvation by faith alone.

After the bishop quoted his memorized speech and a scripture about giving us over to Satan to destroy our flesh, I looked at them all and said, “You have taken it upon yourselves to fight against the Spirit of God, but I’m going to pray for you.” With that, they all hung their heads, turned around, went out to their buggies, and left.


This testimony has been published with permission from the owner.

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