As Unto One of These

Friends, I watched a precious little video, yesterday; about a teenager - born without arms - who was encouraged and provoked by his coach and friends to push - and press himself - into jumping to new heights and achievements. The coach had to get in his face a few times, and really push him, before the young man dared to push himself. To see his, and his coach's, tears of joy - after reaching what he was pressing for - was very moving, and brought tears to my eyes. At this very late prophetic hour, it reminded me so well why we PROVOKE and EXHORT one another unto love and unto good works; and SO MUCH THE MORE.

Provoking is never fun, for all the parties involved; but the results can be - especially when we are provoking unto what God's Word calls us to press for. It is greatly disturbing, here at this late prophetic hour, to see so many self-identify-as-Christians not care about what God calls us to press for - and they quickly push back against any calls toward love and toward good works. They are on the potential precipice of achieving great things in their life and heart toward God - yet they do not fear or care about what God says. To have a reverential fear of God means that you know what God says is true, that He will do EXACTLY what He says, and that you hear and heed what He has to say. So many Christians do not really fear God at all, because they do not care what He has to say.

Friends, just like how the coach got in the face of the young man, and had to push a few buttons, so I will do so for you - so that you will press yourselves to win. So that you will go farther for Christ than when you first believed. So that you will know deeper depths of Christ's love and fellowship. So that you will attain unto the words: "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."

If running the Christian race, and pressing for The Prize, were easy, then every believer would already be doing it; but they aren't, and it isn't easy. The prizes and rewards are only for those that take the race seriously - that take the One Who has called the race reverentially in obedience. The Apostle Paul pressed himself to finish strong - and reminded each of us that we should be provoking the same goal - and so much the more - as we see the finish line approaching in view.

In order to finish a race strong, we must note what guidelines the judges put forth and expect. We must also fear and respect the judges, knowing that they will disqualify those that run unlawfully. There are prizes and a runner's crown to be won - as well as capable of being lost. We search Scripture, and place the greatest emphasis on what Christ most clearly states will be a matter of inspection at the finish line. The Judge makes a point to underline certain things that His servants should or should not be doing, when the race is called. He tells us that He is observing the entire course of the race, and takes note of infractions or excellings along the way. He repeatedly emphasizes that we must finish wisely and faithfully.

The list of critical marks, overall, that He takes pains to especially spell out is rather short. These demand our highest attention. To neglect the exact guidelines that the Judge announces, is certain grounds for disqualification - a hypocrite runner who knew better but did not follow them.

One of the greatest 'white elephant' hypocrite guidelines - that identify-as-Christians love to ignore - is where God expressly states that He places the highest scrutiny on how we treat our fellow servants. Anything done to the least of them, is as though it is done unto the Judge. It should grievously sober us up, that both times God, Himself, mentions this, it is in context of how will the Judge find us when He returns. Particularly that Christ dials it down to one important subject area: are we honouring and rewarding those who have laboured on our behalf - with greatest care especially given to those who labor in His Word and doctrine.

Again it should sober us up, that in the same breath where God promises to spare those that serve Him, He chews out those who defrauded others of what was due them - and placed the offenders in the category of those that do not fear God. Failure to obey what God tells us to do is dis-obedience. Multiple times, Scripture emphasizes that God watches, sees, hears - and records. He notes what is done in reverential fear of Him - and He also notes what is done in disregard for Him. And this of those that are His sons. There are sons of God who act righteously, in fear of their Father; and there are redeemed sons who don't care what their Father says.

It saddens my heart greatly, to see so many identify-as-Christians who will loudly proclaim that all they care about is the rapture, and once they get to heaven they won't have to worry about what they should or should not have done, they'll just have a happy time hugging everyone, etc... However, the Judge has already told us that will not be the case. Most identify-as-Christians willingly forget that there is one event that comes after every race, BEFORE everybody is dismissed to family and friends: the judging and award ceremony. Christ is coming - and the very first order of business is to reward every man according to their noted and recorded works: good and bad. The meet-and-greet will follow; but He will only be sparing those that fear and serve Him.

Friends, as we have touched on before, the issue of muzzling the ox is one that The Judge takes personally. I would be remiss and grossly negligent if I did not press and provoke you on a criteria that He so expressly lays out; especially in connection to His soon coming. Now - right now - is the time for us to be searching and trying our ways, whether we are running lawfully - in fear and reverence - in loving service to Him, personally. If there are areas we need to address, then make haste to amend it.

On this point of not muzzling (defrauding) the ox, START by picking the TOP 3 (don't worry about others till you at least address those most withholden from) Christian ministries (television, radio, website, blog, YT channel, pastor, teacher, in-person, etc.) that "ESPECIALLY ...labour in the word and doctrine." This narrows down the field very well. You know who has laboured in those areas FOR YOU. They have done work FOR YOU; you have an obligation of gratitude to them. Note that He does not list those that tickle our ears (dreamers, prosperity gospel, only-happy-stuff, etc.) - only those that labour in God's Word and doctrine (and they don't cherry pick; they are faithful to tell it to you straight).

One of the greatest excuses that identify-as-Christians use - to actually apply a muzzle - is, "Well, I don't agree with everything he has to say..." You will never find someone that you agree with 100%; I certainly haven't. You aren't responsible for what you don't agree with - you are responsible for what you do agree with - and eat. If you keep going back to their buffet for second, third, and fourth helping, then don't try the lame excuse that you don't like the food. You are obligated for what labour you did receive; especially if it benefited you. We are stewards - held responsible - over the servants that work and labour for us. It does not matter if they are near or far.

Obviously, we all have different financial wherewithal that we are stewards of, too. Our responsibility is commensurate to our ability. God gives greater responsibility to those with greater ability; it is all proportionate. Many are on tight fixed incomes, or less than that. We take the widow's mite, and the Samaritan's pence as our example in that situation: do the best that we can, as a token of our intentions and heart. We should always make an effort to at least send a cup of cold water their way. Any minister of God, worth their salt, knows the expression and value in the token of a widow's mite.

Back after August 2012, after events that turned my world upside down, the Lord brought me across a local Christian radio station, where the pastor was an immeasurable blessing for about two years after that. I know the blessing that their ministry brought to my soul. I knew that the Lord personally directed me across their path. It was with a heart of gratitude - to both the minister and to God, Himself - that I would send small gifts as I was able. And I made effort to make sure that I was able; because it was important and justly due. I could not pay their light bill, that's for sure; but I could send what was within my ability - even if I had to reach to do it. Likewise, if I come across a Youtube channel that I regularly feed from (of which is extremely few), I make an effort to send them a gift, token, or honorarium as a gesture of my appreciation - both to the minister, and to God for bringing such across my path.

Let us serve our mutual Father in love; knowing that He sees us, and takes great delight in when those that truly fear Him speak often one to another. Let us love in deed, not just in words; for actions speak louder than words.

Let us be found wise and faithful servants - shining brothers and sisters - considering one another, provoking one another, and encouraging one another unto love and to good works - and so much the more as we see the day approaching! Let us go forward - TOGETHER - HEARING Him, FEARING Him, LOVING Him, and SERVING Him - FIRST - AND HIGHEST ABOVE ALL ELSE!!

Brother Daniel



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