True Christian Love
A.W. Pink

Love is the Queen of the Christian graces. It is a holy disposition given to us when we are born again by God. It is the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. True spiritual love is characterized by meekness and gentleness, yet it is vastly superior to the courtesies and kindnesses of the flesh.

We must be careful not to confuse human sentimentality, carnal pleasantries, human amiability and affability with true spiritual love. The love God commands, first to Himself and then to others, is not human love. It is not the indulgent, self-seeking love which is in us by nature. If we indulgently allow our children to grow up with little or, no Scriptural discipline, Proverbs plainly says we do not love them, regardless of the human sentimentality and affection we may feel for them. Love is not a sentimental pampering of one another with a loose indifference as to our walk and obedience before the Lord. Glossing over one another’s faults to ingratiate ourselves in their esteem is not spiritual love.

The true nature of Christian love is a righteous principle which seeks the highest good of others. It is a powerful desire to promote their welfare. The exercise of love is to be in strict conformity to the revealed will of God. We must love in the truth. Love among the brethren is far more than an agreeable society where views are the same. It is loving them for what we see of Christ in them, loving them for Christ’s sake.

The Lord Jesus Himself is our example. He was not only thoughtful, gentle, self-sacrificing and patient, but He also corrected His mother, used a whip in the Temple, Severely scolded His doubting disciples, and denounced hypocrites. True spiritual love is above all faithful to God and uncompromising towards all that is evil. We cannot declare, ‘Peace and Safety’ when in reality there is spiritual decay and ruin!

True spiritual love is very difficult to exercise because it is not our natural love. By nature we would rather love sentimentally and engender good feelings. Also many times true spiritual love is not received in love, but is hated as the Pharisees hated it. We must pray that God will fill us with His love and enable us to exercise it without dissimulation toward all.


A True Story of the Power of the Gospel from Siberia in the late 1800’s
Translated by Charles Lukesh

In the following pages you will find one of the most gripping true stories of the power of the gospel. It is a story of Russian immigrants on the way to Siberia with their family. The parents succumb to cholera, leaving the two children, Shura and Pasha, to fend for themselves. The boy is picked up by robbers, joins the band, and helps kill two Christian travelers, finding a New Testament in the loot.

What happens after that only the angels will he [sic] able to fully reveal. However, enough is known from the testimony to stir the coldest heart. Nothing like it has ever come to the desk of the publishers. Every Christian ought to read this testimony for inspiration; all unsaved persons who doubt the power of the gospel will be stirred to the depths. Christians should make this booklet available to lost sinners.”

–Cyrus Osterhus

[Note: The images were not part of the testimony but were added by brother Michael in this blog post to give a few visuals as one reads this testimony.]


The nickname “Greasy” was given to Paul when he was but eight years old, under special circumstances that will be mentioned later. His real family name was Tichomirow. He was the son of a farmer from one of the poorest villages in the government of Mogilew. The family consisted of the father, the mother, and two children—ten-year-old Shura (Alexandra) and eight-year-old Pa­sha (Paul). They lived peacefully, were religious in the orthodox way, and enjoyed the respect not only of the inhabitants of their own village, but of those of all the district.

On the holy days, the local orthodox priest used to visit them to play cards with the father—not for money, but merely to pass the time. Sometimes the game was “Dulatchki,” in which it was customary for the losing one to suffer the pack of cards to be thrown at his nose. If either of the players had some money, they sent the children for liquor, which would put them in a hilarious mood. The priest, whom they called “Batushka” (Daddy), used to say, “It is no sin to drink with moderation. Even the Lord Jesus loved to be joyful and at the wedding in Cana changed water into wine.”

The children loved to look on and noted with special interest how the nose of the priest would become more and more red— they did not know whether it was from the use of the liquor or from the frequent hits with the pack of cards thrown at him cleverly by the father, who usually won the game. The good-natured priest used to say with a croaking voice, “He who will endure to the end will be saved. I shall have my turn, my beloved, and then look out, because it is written, ‘Owe no man anything, and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.’”

This hilarious life came to an abrupt end. Several successive bad harvests compelled the farmers of the village of Sosnovka to consider moving to Siberia. In groups they talked over the matter with one another and finally decided to send out messengers to find an appropriate piece of land in one of the Siberian districts. Because he was a clever and experienced man, Tichomirow was among those land-seekers. After three months the messengers returned; they had found land in the government of Tomsk. Promptly selling their land and property, the farmers started on their way. That was in the year 1897.

During the trip, the trains made slow headway and had to make long stop-overs at the crossroads in Samara, Tcheljabinsk, and Omsk. The moving farmers had to wait for weeks to get trains for further travel and had to spend the days and nights in the small railroad stations, lying on the floor. The boiled water was not sufficient for all, nor could the people afford to buy warm food from the restaurants. Consequently, the poor, simple people satisfied themselves with dried herring or other dried fish and drank un­boiled water. As a result, many had stomach trouble, and cholera set in. The oldecholerar people were especially afflicted by the plague.

On the last stretch before Tomsk, Mr. Tichomirow became sick. All indications signified cholera. To the horror of his wife and children, he was taken from the train in one of the stations and put in the barracks for people with infectious diseases. It was only natural that Mrs. Tichomirow and the children leave the train also. They found refuge not far from the barracks behind the snow fences along the railroad tracks. Daily they inquired about the condition of the father, but the information was more sad every time.

After three days had passed, the sorrow-stricken mother had to declare to the children that she was sick. It was a heart­breaking scene when the mother was taken away on a stretcher from the crying children. In her they lost their last support. With a sad heart the mother parted from her children, suspecting that she would never see them again. But more terrible to the mother was the possibility that her beloved children would be fully orphaned in a strange land.

As the mother was carried into the barracks, the desperate children ran crying behind the carriers until the heavy barracks door was slammed in their faces. How lonesome and miserable Shura and Pasha felt. As if bereft of their senses, they circled the barracks crying now for the father and then for the mother. The only answer they received was a coarse cry from the guard, threat­ening them with a whipping if they would not leave the barracks. But the children did not cease crying and asking to be let in. They wanted to die with their parents, since they felt that they could not live without them. Thus they kept running around the barracks until late at night when the severe cold compelled them to think of their warmer clothing, which they had left with some other things behind the snow fences. However, when they came on the spot where they had abode with their mother before her sickness, they found no sign of their baggage. Apparently someone had taken the few poor things of the immigrants.

Crawling behind the snow fences, the children huddled together to keep each other warm. Shura, who was the older, was very concerned about her young brother. During the night, which seemed to her like an eternity, she did not close her eyes. As soon as Pasha awoke, the children hastened again to the barracks. The first guard they met told them “Do not come again. This morning we carried away the body of your father, and your mother is likely to die today.”

It was impossible to compel the children to leave the barracks. Again and again they looked through the windows and called for the mother. Would her beloved voice be silenced forever? And would she be only a cold corpse in the morning? Yes, in the eve­ning they were told that the mother had died an hour ago. Hugging each other, they sat behind the snow fences anboy_girld cried bitterly. That night even Pasha did not sleep; with his back against the snow fence he looked into the distance, where the rails seemed to disappear out of sight. In his childish mind the terrible happenings of the last few days passed again before him. When he finally saw the train drawing nigh, he said, “Shura, I will live no longer without Father and Mother. Come, let us lay ourselves on the rails. The engine will crush us, and then we shall be dead. What do we have to live for now? Where shall we go, and to whom shall we be of any use?” With these words Pasha took his sister by the hand and dragged her to the rails.

Shura was terrified; she took her small brother in her arms and cried with sobs, “No; for nothing in the world will I go with you to cast myself under the train. Neither will I let you go. I am terrified! It is terrible!”

“Let me go; I shall go alone!” cried the boy.

While they talked to each other, the train rushed by. Pasha threw himself on his face to the ground and began to complain loudly, “Why have you held me back? I do not want to live anymore.” However, his sister spoke to him kindly in order to persuade him to give up his horrible thoughts. After a long time, when he had become calmer, he promised not to think anymore about death and not to leave her alone in the world.

After this the children huddled together in their refuge, waiting for the break of day, determined to see the grave of their par­ents in the morning. To the freezing and hungry children, the cold night seemed infinitely long. Finally, at daybreak they hastened to the cemetery, where in an especially enclosed corner those who had died of infectious diseases were buried. At the gate the chil­dren begged the keeper to let them in and show them the grave of their parents. But the man answered in a harsh voice, “How many bodies were carried out here only last night? How could I know who is buried here? Besides, ten bodies are usually thrown into one hole; sometimes even twenty.”

Not achieving anything, the children looked with eyes red from weeping through the cracks of the fence toward the irregular mounds of wet clay. For a long time they stood there crying and looking at the graves, until the keeper drove them away. Op­pressed with sorrow, the children, holding each other’s hands, returned to the snow fences, which were witnesses of their cruel experiences of the last five days, including the parting with their beloved mother. This place now became the orphaned children’s second home. Under the protection of these fences they began to consider what to do next.

The very thought of being put into the barracks for orphans seemed terrible to them; yet they realized that it would be their salvation from hunger, which began to be more and more intense. Their meager supply of food, as well as their money, had been taken with the rest of their baggage.

Fear overshadowed the lonesome, hungry, freezing children even though high above them the larks were joyfully singing their spring songs and the clear rays of the sun gilded everything around. In the hearts of the orphans it was a dark night. Their mutual sorrow drew the brother and sister together. Shura tried to be a mother to her little brother. She kissed him and tried to comfort him with the following words: “We shall not despair, my beloved; God will not forsake us.”

Just as the children decided to follow the railroad to the next village to beg a bite of bread, they heard above them a coarse voice. “What are you doing here? To whom do you belong?” An unknown uniformed man appeared before them and looked at them searchingly. They became so completely confused that they could not say at once that they were the children of immigrants and had just recently lost their parents. The stranger commanded them to follow him and led them into the distribution office. There it was promptly decided to send them to the barracks for orphans, where they did not want to go, because it meant separation for them. The girls’ barracks were several railroad stations distant. Not heeding the pleadings and tears of the children, the officials took Pasha to the boys’ barracks about two miles distant, while Shura was sent on the train to the girls’ home. The sorrow of the children at parting cannot be described, for they lost in each other all that was still dear to them on earth.barrack

Pasha was taken to the barracks where three hundred boys had already been placed. Many of them who had lived there a long time had become very mischievous, since they were now accustomed to the environment. The newcomer was greeted by the boys with coarse jokes, shoves, and pushes. Pasha entertained only one thought within a week: to flee from the barracks. The whole sur­roundings—the indifference toward the needs of the children, the coarse manners of the inmates, the continuous squabbling and fighting, as well as the obnoxious dried fish soup at dinner had become intolerable to him. The lad watched for a suitable moment for the flight.

The boys were forbidden to leave the barracks without being accompanied, but Pasha dared not tarry. He went out in the dark, climbed over a low place in the board enclosure, and ran, as if being chased, in the opposite direction of the railroad. About four miles from the barracks was the beginning of a large forest. On arriving there, Pasha felt somewhat calmer. He ran no more, but walked on, endeavoring not to lose sight of the edge of the woods, yet trying to get as far as possible from the barracks. Pasha walked until he was too tired to go further; then he lay down under a tree and was soon fast asleep. He dreamed that he was over­taken and carried back to the barracks, where he received a whipping and the obnoxious fish soup was continuously poured into his open mouth.

The warm spring sun was already high in the sky when the little runaway awoke. The manifold song of the birds almost deaf­ened him; it seemed as though the feathery songsters wanted to boast of their art before the intruder in their green domain. Pasha arose and thought about what to do next. He decided to return to his home village of Sosnovka; he had not forgotten the name of his district or country. What good times he used to have in Sosnovka! He remembered the small but beautiful river where he had bathed and caught fish with the other children. He would like very much to have seen his beloved sister before going, but where or how could he find her? Besides, it terrified him to think that he might be found and brought back to the barracks. Therefore, he bravely decided to go on so that he would soon be far from the hated place; then he would inquire more particularly about the way to his home village.

With the exception of one village where he begged bread, he avoided the homesteads all that day. As the second night overtook him, he went further and deeper into the woods to spend the night. He lay down under a big tree and was soon fast asleep. Before daybreak he was awakened by a slap, and somebody called him with a loud voice. “Hey, there! Get up, little fellow! Why do you lie here? With whom are you here?” When Pasha arose, he was confronted by three fellows armed from head to foot. He was thor­oughly frightened! “Be not afraid; we will not harm you. Tell us how you came here.”

When Pasha saw that these men were not from the barracks, he told them freely what he had passed through and where he wanted to go. The men listened attentively; the clever and daring boy appealed to them. After a short consultation they decided to take him along with them, “that he may not perish,” they said. “This stripling can become somebody yet. He was not afraid to flee from the orphanage, and now he wants to undertake the long voyage to his home village all alone! We just have to raise him in our style.”

The men told the boy of their decision, at the same time praising their manner of life, and promised him that he should fare very well withgypsies them. Pasha dared not contradict them, because he feared these armed men. He went with them into the interior of the woods, where in the clearing a strong young man waited for them with horses. The man grasped Pasha under the arms, lifting the boy in front of himself on the horse, and they galloped away. After riding a long time by winding paths in the forest, they finally stopped. The horses were taken away, while the men, dragging Pasha behind them, crawled through an opening under some trees broken down by a storm. After a few minutes’ walk through thick woods they came upon a clearing where there were about twenty persons, mostly armed, including a few women. The eyes of all centered upon the boy, brought in as dirty and ragged as he was. They poured questions upon him; they wanted to know who he was and where he was from. One of the men, seemingly the leader of the band, asked, “What’s your name?”

Pasha; Paul!” answered the boy with a firm voice.

“What is your family name?”

“Tichomirow” (which means “quiet peace”).

“That kind of a name does not fit among us; from now on you shall be called ‘Greasy,’ since you are so dirty and greasy,” said the man. From that time he knew no other name than Greasy; the new name pleased them all very much.

Now it became clear to Pasha that he had landed in a robbers’ den. By and by he became acquainted with the new life, eventu­ally finding even a liking for it. The carefree liberty, the good food, the joyous and animated mood—all these worked to make him friendly to those people, and he ceased to think about Sosnovka. Only his sister Shura he could not forget; the thought of her often made him sad, as he assumed she was no longer alive.

The little “greasy” one soon became the darling of all the robbers and served all for a pastime. He became very much interested in their adventures and impatiently looked forward to their bringing in all new loot. Day by day he became familiar with the new life and soon forgot what once his parents had taught him about the sin of stealing. It became even a pleasure to him to inspect the looted things and to listen to the tales of the robbers when they returned from their “work,” as they were pleased to call their evil trade.

By the time eight years had passed, the then sixteen-year-old Greasy took a lively part in the robberies and plunderings of the band. Because of his bravery, cleverness, and capability, he soon became the helper of the leader. Their work terrorized the inhabi­tants in a circumference of seventy-five miles. The deep woods made it possible for the robbers to carry on their work without dis­turbances. It seemed as though nobody could find and put a halt to their activities. They robbed everybody who fell into their hands and not seldom committed murder.

But everything has its own time. One thing, a very simple case, brought about a complete change in the lives of the robbers. One part of the band, with Greasy as their leader, overtook two men passing through the woods. They robbed them and then killed them. The robbers took their horses, clothing, and boots for themselves, besides three rubles and fifty kopeken.

In one of these sacks, with all kinds of utensils, the robbers found two books. The men wanted to throw the books away, but on the spur of the moment they considered that it would be better to take them along for cigarette paper, so Greasy stuck the books among his things. In the evening, after looking once more over the stolen goods robbed during the day, he pulled out the books and began to leaf through them. One of the books had to him the unfamiliar title The Voice of Faith; the other was a New Testa­ment. Concerning the latter he had a feeble recollection from childhood; his parents also used to have a New Testament in Sos­novka.

To pass away the time, while he was lying in his bunk Greasy began to read the pages facing him at a chance opening of the book. There he read, “There is none that seeketh after God…Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: De­struction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Rom 3:11, 13-18). He considered, “Formerly there were also people as we are today—‘Their feet are swift to shed blood.’ ” In his mind there appeared the picture of how they, the robbers, had on their quick horses pursued the fleeing travelers, and how, though the people pleaded for their lives, they had killed them without pity.

In remembering this, he considered further, “Who may those people have been? Why did they carry this book with them?” He began to leaf through the New Testament in the hope of finding some information about the murdered ones, but he found no document containing a clue as to who the slain ones were. He found only the following inscription on the flyleaf: “May 15, 1898, the day of conversion to the Lord. On this day He forgave my sins and washed me with His holy blood.”

Greasy did not understood the meaning of those words, and turning additional pages he read on: “Know ye not that the un­righteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?” (1Co 6:9). He went on to read the various abominations that follow. He then read the summarizing words: “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1Co 6:11).

After this Greasy read the prayer of the man who said, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold” (Luk 19:8). He turned a few leaves and was gripped by the reading of Luke 23, where the crucifixion of Jesus is depicted. It was of special interest to him that two murderers were cruci­fied with the Christ, and that the one was forgiven by Jesus and promised entrance to paradise.

Greasy shut the book and lay it under his pillow. Rolling himself in his covers, he tried to sleep—but sleep left him. His heart was very much disturbed; all efforts to put away the thoughts crowding into his mind were useless. Over and over rose the picture of how the two travelers on their knees had pleaded to be spared.

Not until morning did deep sleep overcome Greasy, and he awoke with renewed unrest in his soul. His comrades noticed the strange expression on his face, but they did not know to what circumstance they should ascribe it. Some thought he had become sick. For a number of days he walked around in a daze, and nobody could get out of him what really was the matter. His comrades did not cease to try to find out the cause of his sadness until he finally declared to some that he no longer could be at peace since he had read something in the book that they had taken from the murdered ones. At this declaration all were overtaken with a strange feeling. What kind of book could it be that could bring about such a sad transformation of their jolly comrade?

The band of robbers then demanded that this book of witchcraft be surrendered and burned. Some, however, asked with inter­est that the book be given to them to look into. Finally it was decided that the book be read to the whole gang. When they were all together, Greasy read to them those parts which had moved him so greatly. They listened with strained attention. One young rob­ber declared from the beginning with great certainty that the book was the New Testament and that he used to know it. “My mother was a stundist [believer],” he said, “and always read in the Gospels. She often took me to the children’s meetings, where we read out of this book and sang and prayed.”

For a long time the men sat listening to the reading of the book, and then they parted silently. Most of them were in a de­pressed mood. None of them could grasp the reason why the reading of the book should make such a strong impression on them. From that day the robbers came together from time to time to read the New Testament. The effect of the book was so powerful upon them that they could not withdraw from its influence.

Thus a whole month passed. Then the young robber whose mother had been a “stundist,” declared to his comrades openly that he could no longer continue in the criminal trade. Greasy followed him. (The other robbers had already noted that both these young men prayed with tears in their eyes.) Eventually even the leader of the band followed their example.

Then arose the question, “What do we do now, and how do we start a new life?” They realized, first of all, that it would be nec­essary for them to yield themselves to the authorities. Since it was impossible for them to reimburse those whom they had dam­aged, there remained only one thing for them to do: turn themselves in! Although the majority did not agree to this plan, the young robber (who was the first to start the new life), Greasy, and five other men decided to acknowledge their whole guilt before the representatives of the law.

The day of separation came; the parting was touching. The comrades asked Greasy to read to them once more out of the New Testament. He opened to the place where the meeting of Jesus with the demon-possessed is described, and the Master’s power is depicted by the healing of the men and their subsequent loyalty to Him. “Thus it was with us also,” added Greasy. “We are about to quit our sinful lives. Let us cease to do evil to people and follow Christ!” After these words Greasy fell upon his knees and with a loud voice confessed his misdeeds. Others followed his example. Among the general crying and sighing, only scattered words and phrases could be distinguished—“Forgive me!” “Do not remember my…” “Wash me with Thy blood!” “Give me power!” “I shall no more…” “I promise…” Parting with a kiss from the others, the seven robbers, with their weapons in their hands, left for the nearest town, while the others disappeared in different directions.

With a decidedly firm step, Greasy and his comrades walked into the city. Immediately they drew the attention of the inhabi­tants. Who could imagine where this group of colorfully arrayed, armed men could have come from? At the corner of one of the main streets, they asked a policeman where the state attorney of the district court lived. The policeman pointed out a large two­story house in the same street, which the robbers entered. Previously they had agreed that Greasy, the most intelligent, should present their case to the district attorney.

The robbers entered a large, sunny room with hardwood floors, in which about twenty people were already gathered, waiting for the district attorney. At the door of the office stood an attendant of the court. Greasy turned to him with the following words: “Please tell the district attorney that we must speak with him without delay.” The employee looked suspiciously at the armed group and asked, “What case do you have to present?”

“It is something very important,” answered Greasy.

The employee disappeared behind the door. In a few minutes the robbers stood before a distinguished elderly gentleman, who seemed somewhat excited by the unexpected appearance of seven armed men. The robbers, even though they had determined be­fore leaving the backwoods to take the unusual step of free confession, were also noticeably stirred when they stood face-to-face with the representative of the law. “Permit us to explain to you who we are and why we have come to this place,” began Greasy with a trembling voice. “We are robbers, but you need not fear us; we have come to confess our whole guilt to you and take the conse­quences. We have realized what a great injustice we have done, and are here now to suffer the punishment meeted out by the law for robbery. Do with us as justice demands. Here are our weapons; take them.” With these words Greasy and his fellows quickly laid down their weapons in a heap.

The district attorney became completely confused and could not immediately control himself. It was the first time in his life that he had witnessed the confession of a whole group of men, who yielded themselves voluntarily into the hands of the representa­tives of the law. After some time he called the police; in a few minutes a small detachment of armed soldiers led by a police captain appeared. The necessary notes of the case were taken and turned over to the department of investigation. As Greasy, in the course of the examination, pictured the story of his life in general terms, and spoke of the reason that he and his companions forsook the robber’s life in the forest, the district attorney and all present were visibly moved. Only with effort could they hide their tears. It was difficult for them to believe that the thorough change in these robbers was due solely to their acquaintance with the Gospel. “I would like no longer to be called Greasy, but instead Paul Tichomirow,” said the youth. “I will hereafter serve God and mankind and without murmuring take upon myself the punishment determined by the law. We are now in your hands.” All his comrades agreed with this declaration.

Quite excited, the district attorney commanded that the seven criminals be carried into the jail to be kept in separate cells un­til the investigation be finished. Thereupon the former robbers were led away. The district attorney remained alone with the police captain in the office. For a long time they discussed together this extraordinary happening. They knew that ordinarily criminals denied their guilt, or admitted it only under the pressure of undeniable evidence, or if they were caught in the deed. These men, however, came of their own free will and confessed all. How great must be the power of the Gospel to change the men in this man­ner!

After the police captain had gone and the district attorney had concluded his office hours, the latter told his wife the experi­ence with the robbers. Her surprise was also great, and after some consideration she said, “One of the robbers that was crucified with Christ turned also, but he could not run away. These men, however, did not need to come; they could have carried on their business and kept hiding in the woods. It is surprising—an unknown case in the history of justice!”

By nightfall the district attorney and his wife were not yet calmed. “What do you think; Tanja [a pet name for Tatjana]?” he said. “Should we not read the New Testament also? Perhaps we could find what could have worked so upon these men. We hardly know the book.”

“I have read it already,” said Tatjana Alexandrown disdainfully. “I cannot understand what could be in it to have worked so upon those robers.”

The district attorney, Jurij Nikolajewitch, rose and went into the library to look for a New Testament, while his wife hurried to the kitchen to give orders for supper. Jurij Nikolajewitch put on his spectacles, opened the New Testament, and began to turn the leaves in it. His attention was drawn to John 12, and he began to read. While reading, he agreed with the action of Mary, who spent the valuable ointment on Christ. At the same time, from the standpoint of a jurist, he could not help condemning the secret thief Judas—in his mind he viewed the traitor’s evil deeds in the light of the pertaining paragraphs of the law. The attorney continued to read; he was astonished at the omnipotence of Christ by which He raised Lazarus, whose body was already decomposing. He mar­veled at the unbelief of the scribes, who were the eyewitnesses of these unheard-of wonders. He thoughtfully considered the grain of wheat that must first die before it can bear fruit, yet he could not grasp the real meaning of the parable.

However, when he came to the words, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (Joh 12:32), he felt suddenly as if the crucified One had come near. He felt a glow in his soul and a longing after the Cross from which once the great words sounded, “It is finished!” (Joh 19:30). He wondered if that could have been the power which had drawn Tichomirow, but a certain dread overcame him as he read at the end of the chapter the words, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (12:48). Then it was clear to him the reason that the robbers left their nefarious business.

At this time his wife came from the kitchen. “What are you thinking? What has stirred you up so greatly?” she asked her hus­band. Jurij Nikolejewitch began to explain, but he could not put the proper words to the unusual theme, and she could not under­stand him.

That night Jurij Nikolajewitch could not sleep. As soon as he closed his eyes, he heard the words, “My word will judge…” It seemed to him the paragraphs of the law of God were condemning him, the district attorney, for all the misdeeds committed in his life, and he was seeking and calling for some advocate, but could find none. At last he fell into a short slumber, but even then he could find no rest. In the morning he related to his wife what he had passed through during the night. She ascribed his condition to his strenuous service and nervous state, but when he declared his determination to give up his position, she was shocked and feared that he was losing his reason. Jurij Nikolajewitch, however, remained firm in his determination. It was evident to him that the Son of God lifted upon the Cross was drawing him, the district attorney, to Himself in order that He might be his personal Sav­iour.

Paul Tichomirow and his comrades were put in separate cells. All the judges who participated in the examination and heard the robbers wondered at the step that they had taken, and were especially surprised over the fact that these men were changed only through the influence of the Gospel. Thus the great power of God’s Book is manifested to whosoever draws nigh with a simple heart and a real desire to know the truth. The turning of the robbers, the sudden, inexplicable resignation of the district attorney, and the demand of the priest that the former criminals be isolated under the assertion that Tichomirow and his comrades were misleading the other prisoners to the acceptance of their faith—all these occurrences soon were the talk of the town. The fire of the Gospel sprang up in every cell. Many of the prisoners and even some of the guards memorized almost all of the twelfth and six­teenth chapters of the Acts of the Apostles because they were so greatly impressed by them.

A year later the seven robbers stood before the judgment bar. Because of the men’s open confession, the district attorney did not need to emphasize their guilt; the old district attorney, as the criminals’ representative, pleaded for mercy since the men had made an open confession and wanted to live an honest life. Nevertheless, the men were condemned to ten years of compulsory la­bor. Humbly they accepted the judgment, realizing that they deserved it; consequently, they did not appeal for mitigation. The trial was public. When the accused were permitted to speak the last word, each of them in simple expressions voiced his regret for hav­ing wronged others for so many years, and each told of the effect of the Gospel in his inner life. Many of the listeners were touched; the seed of the Word of God began to take root in numerous hearts.

After the end of the trial, the condemned were sent away singly to various destinations, with the exception of Tichomirow and Solowjew, who went to the same place. At the parting, they promised one another to remain, under all conditions, honest and true to the Lord and to tell others of His love. Tichomirow and Solowjew were sent to the district beyond the Baikal Sea. In all the transfer prisons that they had to pass through on their way, they related their salvation through the Gospel and the love of God to every sinner. Everywhere they found some who would listen to their simple testimony and consider it in their heart.

Among those under compulsory labor, whose lot they now had to share, the two men found especially attentive listeners to the living Word. After some time several surrendered fully to the Lord. Within two years even the prison management noticed that the usually unruly convicts had become quiet, and that the behavior of some had become faultless.

On the way to exile, Tichomirow sought everywhere some sign of the immigrants of the government of Mogilew, hoping to find out something about his countrymen, and particularly whether his sister was still alive. All the letters that he had sent to his home town had remained unanswered. How often his thoughts returned to his beloved sister. How he would have liked to tell her of all his experiences, and his conversion from the works of death into the living hope in Christ.

After several years, on account of some joyful national happening, an amnesty was granted, giving Paul Tichomirow and George Solowjew their liberty. Taking leave of those convicts who had been converted, they commended their spiritual children to God. All cried at the parting.

Tichomirow and Solowjew began their way on foot in the direction of Irkutsk-Tomsk. Their most ardent desire was to succeed in getting into European Russia to their homes, of which they still had feeble recollections. Everyone whom they met on their wanderings or in the lodgings took an interest in them and asked who they were, where they had come from, and where they were going. All were deeply moved by the life story of the former robbers, and in the hearts of many the desire was awakened to serve the Lord also. In many of the colonies they found believing brethren, with whom they spent the evenings in brotherly discussions and the reading of the Word of God. The believers rejoiced in the triumph of the Gospel manifested in the conversion of the lost sinners and glorifed the name of the Lord. In one of the settlements where they spent Sunday and testified to a large congregation con­cerning their former life and their conversion, a great awakening started; a good number of souls turned to the Lord. This brought great joy to all.

In the first days of spring, when all nature was coming to new life after winter’s long sleep, the migratory birds flew in large flocks toward their old homes, where in the fall they had left their nests behind. Tichomirow and Solowjew also hastened toward their home town, where, however, their houses had been destroyed long ago. In their wanderings, they kept close to the railroad. Vainly Tichomirow tried to remember the name of the station where he had lost his parents and his sister. He would have liked to see once more the pile of snow fences in whose shadow he had passed through so much sorrow and hardship in his childhood. As he remembered his experience, tears ran down his cheeks, and he exclaimed, “Oh, my beloved ones, you have all forsaken me, and now I have to wander about alone in this wide world!” But then he remembered that neither had the Son of God a place of refuge on this earth; even among His own He was quite alone.

Toward the close of the day the wanderers drew nigh to a small town situated on the banks of a river not far from the railroad. Turning into one of the streets, they asked the people, “Are there any believers?” A neat little house among the tall pines was pointed out to them. Nearing the place, they noticed two children playing at the door of the house and in the yard a young, well-dressed lady, who was quite busy. She greeted them kindly, however. The men told her that they were believers and asked for lodg­ing. The young woman led them graciously into the house, saying, “For the brethren in the Lord there will always be a place.”

At that time she called her husband, who was working in the garden. He came at once, greeted the guests cordially, and con­versed with them while his wife hastened to prepare the tea. Before the water in the samovar [Russian teakettle] came to a boil, she had milked two cows and set the table. What a feast: large pieces of fresh butter, cream, a large pitcher of rich milk, two or three kinds of cake, boiled eggs, and wonderful white bread. It was a quite a sight for the eyes of the hungry wanderers. The large lamp threw a bright light on the snow-white tablecloth, and the shining samovar hummed cheerfully.

The friendly lady of the house entered in her white embroidered apron and said to her husband, “Ask the brethren to come to the table.” They sat down to the well-laden table, and the head of the home asked the blessing. He thanked the Lord for His love and care and for the guests and asked Him to keep them in faith and bless the food. It was the first time in his life that Tichomirow had sat down to such a richly laden table amid so hospitable and kind a family. His heart overflowed with joy and delight. The chil­dren, a boy and a girl, also occupied places at the table and listened attentively to the conversation.

Tichomirow, at the call to supper, had to stop relating the story of his experience at the point where the robbers in the thick woods began to read the New Testament that they had taken off the persons of the murdered travelers. At the request of the head of the house, Tichomirow continued his story. In vivid words he pictured how the Gospel entered into his own and his comrade’s heart, how they regretted their evil deeds and decided to change their way of living and deliver themselves to justice, how the dis­trict attorney was converted, and how they were sentenced. Further he told them of his stay in the transfer prisons and of the years he spent in compulsory work until he received amnesty. The hosts could not take their eyes from the narrator, and the lady of the house often wiped the flowing tears from her cheeks as if she wanted to hide them from the others.

During this narration the time passed unnoticed until the large clock loudly announced the midnight hour; then they all knelt and thanked God for His wonderful grace in the salvation of the lost sinners. When the lady of the house arose, greatly moved, she said, “But where do you want to go now?”

“We have determined to return to our former homes,” answered Tichomirow.

“Do you still have relatives there?” she continued.

“Solowjew still has a mother, who is a believer and lives in the government of Kiev. I have nobody—neither father nor mother. I am simply going to look up my childhood place, my home village in the government of Mogilew. First of all, however, I have the great desire to tell my countrymen of Christ and His love for them.”

“Are you an orphan a long time already?” resumed the hostess.

“I lost my parents when I was eight years old; I lost them in Siberia on our migration trip. My father died two days before the passing away of my mother.”

The lady grabbed the table with both hands and stood leaning forward, looking Tichomirow deep in the eyes. Her husband looked at her, surprised, and could not understand the reason she questioned the guest so thoroughly instead of preparing the beds for the night. Tichomirow continued. “We—my sister and I—remained as orphans; she was somewhat older than I. The day after the death of our mother I lost her out of sight. Up to this moment I do not know what has become of her. Surely she must have perished like so many orphan children of the immigrants, on account of the impossible living conditions. She was a good girl and cared for me as my own mother.” At this point Tichomirow began to cry.

Pale as death, with tears streaming down her face, the hostess exclaimed, “Is it possible that it is you, my beloved brother, Pa­sha? Tell me quickly; my heart tells me it is you.”

“Shura! Do my eyes really see you? You, my angel, my beloved!” he cried, weeping like a child.

“Yes, it is I; I am your sister; you, my beloved! How my heart cried out for you!” The brother and sister threw themselves into each other’s arms, kissing and weeping. Then Tichomirow reached out for the children, who, crying, looked at the mother. Pres­ently he kissed the children and the husband of his sister.

Even Solowjew took part in the general joy and was greatly touched by the unexpected reunion of the brother and sister. Oh, what joy there was! Shura was so excited that she did not know what to do first. Again and again she drew near to Pasha, put her arms around him, and said, “Is it truly you, my brother? Do I really see you? Oh, what joy! As you neared our house I had the im­pression of having found something valuable; my heart was full with an unspeakable joy. I did not know how it came. I was pre­pared at once to offer you refreshment and lodging. After all the distress that I have experienced, I am ready to help other needy ones also, but in this case my heart yearned especially to do so. Now I know why. It was my beloved brother who came to me; for twenty years we have not seen each other. What a joy!”

Again they fell on their knees and praised God with such a fervency as never before. Even the five-year-old daughter of Shura prayed, “Dear Savior, I thank Thee that Thou hast brought Uncle Pasha to us!” They all cried, and Alexej Wasiljewitch thanked God for the valuable gift that God had granted to his wife.

It was already three o’clock in the morning, but they had not slept; even the children had not lain down. Once more they drank tea, conversing together. Finally just before daybreak they went to bed, having commended themselves to the care of God. On account of their recent experiences the sleep of all was restless. Pasha dreamed of how he had read the Gospel to his robber pals in the woods and of how he had parted from them. He dreamed of the district attorney, the court, the transfer prisoners, and the compulsory labor. When he awoke and convinced himself that he had only been dreaming, he thanked the Lord anew for what He had done. At the breakfast tea, he again expressed the same astonishment and admiration at the wonderful grace of God in caring for orphans.

Shura asked her brother to repeat his experiences from the time of the parting at the snow fences at the railroad station. She herself had suffered much in the barracks for the girls and had remained there until late fall. With the beginning of autumn, since the barracks were not heated, an epidemic had set in and the children had died by the dozen. Then the good people from the sur­rounding villages had come and taken the children with them to save the little ones from freezing. Shura had been taken by a poor but believing widow who had four children of her own. In a small hut where the flat roof was covered with turf, Shura had spent the winter with Aunt Dunja (a pet name for Eudoxia); there she had had enough bread. Aunt Dunja used to read the New Testa­ment and pray with the children. In this colony was also a school which Shura had attended; she studied diligently. She enjoyed reading very much and especially liked to read in the New Testament. At the age of fourteen she had experienced the grace and knowledge of salvation and requested baptism, through which she had received the fellowship of believers.

Four more years passed. Shura had grown up to young womanhood. She was known as a diligent worker and was the best singer in the choir. Everybody loved her. It would not have entered anybody’s mind that she was not the daughter of Aunt Dunja. They loved each other very much. The choir of the village had often visited the neighboring villages and towns to witness for the Lord. Once the singers had decided to visit the town where Shura now lived. There the Lord had blessed their service richly. Under the influence of the spiritual messages of the preacher, who had come with the choir, and under the effort of the wonderful sing­ing, a number of people had turned to the Lord, among them a young bookkeeper who was employed in a business house. Within a year he had become the husband of Shura, and they had since lived together in love and harmony. They were blessed with two children.

When Shura had finished her story she reminded Pasha of how he would have thrown himself under the train after the death of the parents and of how she prevailed upon him not to take the desperate step, saying, “Despair not, my beloved; God will not forsake us.” Now Pasha and Shura were constrained to think of the words of the Psalmist. “Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him. A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the wid­ows, is God in his holy habitation. God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains” (Psa 68:4-6). At this they praised God anew.

Shura agreed with the intention of her brothers to return to the old home to call the relatives and acquaintances to Christ, and she was also desirous of accompanying him on the trip and helping him in the work with unsaved souls. Alexej Wasiljewitch heart­ily agreed with the plan and promised to watch over the boy, while Shura was to take the girl along. He also gave the necessary money for the journey.

Three days later the brother and sister were on their way toward European Russia. With Solowjew, they passed through Sam­ara, Saratow, Pensa, Woronesh, Kursk, and Kiev. In the latter city, Solowjew parted with Pasha and Shura to go to his home village, in the hope of returning to them after having seen his mother. The brother and sister continued their journey to the government of Mogilew, to reach finally their home place of Sosnovka.

Upon arriving there and inquiring about the family of Tichomirow, they found two brothers of their father, two aunts, and some distant relatives still living. All were surprised at the appearance of Pasha and Shura, whom they had heard perished after the death of their parents before reaching their destination. Everybody invited them as welcome guests.

Soon they learned that their young relatives were evangelists who refused to celebrate the joy of meeting again by drinking be­cause it was not becoming to Christians. “But why not?” asked the inhabitants of the village. “Are we not also Christians? Yet we drink liquor at every opportunity.” Such questions usually started a discussion which later turned to the reading of God’s Word. Pasha’s narration of how he came to the new life made a great impression upon all. Almost every evening the inhabitants of Sos­novka gathered at Tichomirows’ to hear the Word of God. Very gradually the truth of the Gospel broke down the barriers of the old prejudices of their purely outward form of religion. Many found Christ as their personal Saviour and decided to devote their lives to Him wholly.

Then came a new testing time. The priests were stirred up and aroused the police of the whole district, insisting that the con­vict had come and ruined the foundation of the orthodox faith of the people—and that if the authorities did not capture him, even the foundations of the state would be endangered by the new teaching. At night a policeman appeared in the dwelling of the Ti­chomirows and led Paul to the president of the country police, where the next morning the examining magistrate and the priest appeared. After the investigation, a bill charging seduction was filed. While awaiting the court trial, Tichomirow was taken to the country prison under police guard.

Shura sorrowed very much for her brother. She had to return to Siberia without being able to see him again, because visiting the arrested ones was forbidden before the trial. After a few days, Pasha wrote the following letter to his sister:

“My dear sister Shura, I beg you not to be sorrowful about me. I am very glad to be in the prison no longer as a thief and rob­ber, but as a Christian to take part in the sufferings of my Saviour. I rejoice therein indescribably, because in the prison many lost souls thirst after salvation, to whom I am permitted to bring Christ. Be not dismayed, but pray for me. I greet you and your hus­band and children with a kiss.” A whole year passed before the court trial; by that time Paul had been in three prisons. Everywhere he preached Christ, and everywhere the sinners decided to follow the way of salvation. The prison chaplains, however, asked the authorities to deliver them from this heretic with whom they could not live peaceably. The court condemned Tichomirow to ban­ishment for two years in the government of Jenisejek on the charge of seduction of the orthodox believers to “stundism” (Gospel belief). Investigation brought to light that in Sosnovka alone about a hundred ceased to go to the priest and to worship holy pic­tures.

Soon after his condemnation, Paul was carried again, by the way of the transport prisons, to the country so well known to him—Siberia. He succeeded in notifying Shura and her husband of the train in which he would pass the nearest railroad station, and they went there to see him once more. They were permitted only to greet him through the bars of the prison wagons. Shura cried because she felt sorry for her brother, but he looked at her, smiling, and let her know thereby that he was glad to be permit­ted to suffer for Christ’s sake.

Two years passed. The life of Tichomirow during this banishment reflected everywhere that pure and holy life of Christ, which was the cause of the success of his testimony. During those two years he was in continual communication by letter with Shura and also with Solowjew. The latter informed him that he remained in his native village, where a small group of Gospel Christians gave him a brotherly welcome, and that he was permitted to work among them with a great blessing. His mother was still alive and very happy because God had answered her prayers and saved her son. She was concluding the last days of her life with her son, who was now an honest and chaste Christian.

After finishing the time of his banishment, Pasha went to his sister fully determined to devote his whole life to the salvation of lost sinners. He would not be bound in marriage because he wanted nothing to hinder him in the proclamation of that Gospel that had changed him and many others completely. He worked in the congregation of that town in which Shura lived and also in other towns in Siberia, but his permanent dwelling was with his sister, to the joy of his brother-in-law also. Shura often accompanied her brother on his trips into the villages as his co-worker in the vineyard of the Lord. The spiritual life of the congregation progressed.

Paul Tichomirow wrote the following words on the first page of the New Testament that he had taken from the brother whom he slew: “Forgive me for Christ’s sake, beloved brother. I put you to death while I myself was dead in my sins. The Lord hath for­given me and raised me to a new life. Thy untimely bodily death was the means of leading not only me, but also many other sinners and murderers to eternal life. Thy New Testament softened my hard heart as a living stream, stilled my thirst, and continues to flow further, quickening and giving life to other souls also. For this I praise thy and my God. Amen!”

In thankfulness for blessing obtained by the reading of this life story, this effort has been made by the means of this translation to enable others to be partakers of the blessing that comes from a sincere and serious acceptance of the Word of God. It is recom­mended by repeated reading not only to gain more thorough knowledge concerning the incidents described, but also a more cor­rect appreciation of one’s own condition as it is in the sight of God. This effort is made with prayer that the reader may search his own heart to see if he can measure up to the standard of God.


For those who would like printed copies of this story, you will find it at Chapel Library where you can order it for a nominal fee.


J. C. Ryle (1816-1900)

Introduction by brother Michael

Myriad today who profess the name of Christ follow him for one reason. This being what can Jesus do for them. Whether it is fixing their finances and increasing their net worth, giving them health, a new house, restoring their marriage, giving them a great job, and any other number of reasons, it is all about them and what Jesus will “bless” them with. Nothing more than a genie in the bottle religion where the bottle is “rubbed” through prayers, tithes, “seed” offerings, name it claim it “faith”, meditation/visualization and more so as to open the floodgates of heaven and shower them with blessings from on high.

Yet this seeking of the fleshly over the spiritual is nothing new for we read of people of like passions when Jesus was on earth. These being those who followed Jesus to have their fleshly appetites filled. We have an example of this in John chapter six where multitudes were following Jesus not for the miracles he did that testified he was of God, but rather that they got a free meal and wanted more.

When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus. And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither? Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. (John 6:24-26)

This “free meal” gospel is preached by so many today it is hard to keep track of them all. From Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, TD Jakes, TBN, Jentezen Franklin, Rick Joyner and countless others you can find this message far and wide on television, radio, the Internet and of course in “Christian” book stores. All preaching the “gospel” of how to get your best life now. And believe me it sells big time! The numbers of people who are eating this putrid fare up is in the multi-millions which is evidenced by the followings these preachers have.

This of course happens because so many who profess to be Christians today are ignorant to what the Bible actually teaches and hence when a preacher twists the Word they are none the wiser. Because if one would actually sit down and read the Bible they would see, of course if the Spirit is teaching them, that this “gospel” is not the true gospel of Jesus. For the true gospel that Jesus preached is that which calls believers to take up their cross and to die daily. And that in this life they will have sufferings and tribulations. But sufferings and tribulations do not sell to fleshy-minded people. This is why you will even find this “gospel” preached by “secular” personalities like Oprah who touts the new age “bible” of this gospel known as “The Secret.”

Yet there is a more excellent way for those who seek a heavenly city whose builder and maker is God. Those whose affections are not on this life and how to maximize it on this earth, but rather for their next life in the world to come after the resurrection of the dead. My hope is that many who are caught up in the “get it now” gospel will have their hearts pricked and eyes opened to turn from the false shepherds and follow the true one who will give unto them living waters. In light of this, I have posted an article that speaks to the truths of suffering and how it is part and parcel of being a true follower of Jesus.

End of Introduction

Earthly Sorrows and Following Christ

J. C. Ryle (1816-1900)

“And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?”—Mark 4:37-40.

ON whom must we build our souls if we would be accepted with God? We must build on the Rock, Christ. From whom must we draw that grace of the Spirit which we daily need in order to be fruitful? We must draw from the Vine, Christ. To whom must we look for sympathy when earthly friends fail us or die? We must look to our elder Brother, Christ. By whom must our prayers be presented, if they are to be heard on high? They must be presented by our Advocate, Christ. With whom do we hope to spend the thousand years of glory and the after eternity? With the King of kings, Christ. Surely we cannot know this Christ too well! Surely there is not a word, nor a deed, nor a day, nor a step, nor a thought in the record of His life, which ought not to be precious to us. We should labor to be familiar with every line that is written about Jesus.

Come now, and let us study a page in our Master’s history. Let us consider what we may learn from the verses of Scripture which stand at the head of this paper. You there see Jesus crossing the lake of Galilee in a boat with His disciples. You see a sudden storm arise while He is asleep. The waves beat into the boat and fill it. Death seems to be close at hand. The frightened disciples awake their Master and cry for help. He arises and rebukes the wind and the waves, and at once there is a calm. He mildly reproves the faithless fears of His companions, and all is over. Such is the picture. It is one full of deep instruction. Come now, and let us examine what we are meant to learn.

Let us learn…that following Christ will not prevent our having earthly sorrows and troubles. Here are the chosen disciples of the Lord Jesus in great anxiety. The faithful little flock, which believed when priests, scribes, and Pharisees were all alike unbelieving, is allowed by the Shepherd to be much disquieted (disturbed; uneasy; restless.) The fear of death breaks in upon them like an armed man. The deep water seems likely to go over their souls. Peter, James, and John, the pillars of the Church about to be planted in the world, are much distressed.

Perhaps they had not reckoned on all this. Perhaps they had expected that Christ’s service would at any rate lift them above the reach of earthly trials. Perhaps they thought that He who could raise the dead, and heal the sick, and feed multitudes with a few loaves, and cast out devils with a word—He would never allow His servants to be sufferers upon earth. Perhaps they had supposed He would always grant them smooth journeys, fine weather, aneasy course, and freedom from trouble and care.

If the disciples thought so, they were much mistaken. The Lord Jesus taught them that a man may be one of His chosen servants, and yet have to go through many an anxiety and endure many a pain. It is good to understand this clearly. It is good to understand that Christ’s service never did secure a man from all the ills that flesh is heir to and never will. If you are a believer, you must reckon on having your share of sickness and pain, of sorrow and tears, of losses and crosses, of deaths and bereavements, of partings and separations, of vexations and disappointments, so long as you are in the body. Christ never undertakes that you shall get to heaven without these. He has undertaken that all who come to Him shall have all things pertaining to life and godliness; but He has never undertaken that He will make them prosperous, or rich, or healthy, and that death and sorrow shall never come to their family.

I have the privilege of being one of Christ’s ambassadors. In His name I can offer eternal life to any man, woman, or child who is willing to have it. In His name I do offer pardon, peace, grace, and glory, to any son or daughter of Adam who reads this paper. But I dare not offer that person worldly prosperity as a part and parcel of the Gospel. I dare not offer him long life, an increased income, and freedom from pain. I dare not promise the man who takes up the cross and follows Christ, that in the following he shall never meet with a storm.

I know well that many do not like these terms. They would prefer having Christ and good health, Christ and plenty of money, Christ and no deaths in their family, Christ and no wearing cares, and Christ and a perpetual morning without clouds. But they do not like Christ and the cross, Christ and tribulation, Christ and the conflict, Christ and the howling wind, Christ and the storm.

Is this the secret thought of anyone who is reading this paper? Believe me, if it is, you are very wrong. Listen to me, and I will try to show you that you have yet much to learn.

How should you know who are true Christians, if following Christ was the way to be free from trouble? How should we discern the wheat from the chaff, if it were not for the winnowing (to separate chaff or other lighter refuse matter from grain by means of wind or a current of air; separating the good from the bad.) of trial? How should we know whether men served Christ for His own sake or from selfish motives, if His service brought health and wealth with it as a matter of course? us which of the trees are evergreen and which are not. The storms of affliction and care are useful in the same way. They discover whose faith is real, and whose is nothing but profession and form.

How would the great work of sanctification go on in a man if he had no trial? Trouble is often the only fire which will burn away the dross that clings to our hearts. Trouble is the pruning knife which the great Husbandman employs in order to make us fruitful in good works.

If you desire to serve Christ and be saved, I entreat you to take the Lord on His own terms. Make up your mind to meet with your share of crosses and sorrows, and then you will not be surprised. For want of understanding this, many seem to run well for a season, and then turn back in disgust and are cast away.

If you profess to be a child of God, leave to the Lord Jesus to sanctify you in His own way. Rest satisfied that He never makes any mistakes. Be sure that He does all things well. The winds may howl around you and the waters swell. But fear not, He is leading you by the right way, that He may bring you to a city of habitation (Psa 107:7).

From “Ruler of the Waves” in Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties, and Roots, both available from Chapel Library.
J. C. Ryle (1816-1900): Bishop of the Anglican Church. Revered author of Holiness, Knots Untied, Old Paths, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, and many others. Born at Macclesfield, Cheshire County, England.

The Gospel Rejected

A few months ago I sent a little paper that explained the gospel of Jesus Christ to a gentleman who lives in a little beach community where I spent many a summer day. The gentleman, whom I will call Tom, is a faithful Roman Catholic. Always goes to Mass, prays the rosary and does what the priests tell him to do. Something he has done religiously for nearly 70 years. Yet with all his faithfulness and devotion to Mother Rome he is dead in trespasses and sin and does not even know the simple gospel message or power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16). Instead all he has is rote, ritualistic, dead religion. Dead for it has no power to save, no power to change a life, and no power to raise from the grave. A hard reality that his life bears abundant witness to.

The little tract I sent is from Richard Bennent at Berean Beacon. It is compassionately written where it compares the teachings of Rome verses those of the Bible. No chaff, just the wheat from the Scriptures pointing the reader not to councils or encyclicals but rather the Bible; that is, the Catholic Bible. Truth hidden from the eyes of most Catholics as it is obscured under the veil of ceremony and tradition. Yet even so, by God’s grace truth can be found in the Bibles that most Catholics have in their homes. Hence, I sent the tract to help my friend, if God so willed, to discover such truth.

The reply I got is tragically characteristic of those who have religion but not salvation. Something endemic with Roman Catholics but certainly not limited to them. His response speaks for itself where I have added a few words in brackets [ ] to help in clarifying what he was trying to convey. Everything else is word for word.

Yes, I [was] reading [the] little paper Bible [you sent which was] very nice but I always go to church every Saturday 5:00 P.M. or Sunday 8:00 A.M. I never reading Bible book by the pew, I used my rosaries all the time so I set down [in the] chair, I prayer [i.e. pray] 15 minutes and 20 minutes with my prayer book Bible every morning. I[t] was my First Holy Communion little prayer book [from] 1941 – 67 years ago I used prayer book. (bold added)

Really no commentary is needed for his response speaks for itself. Nothing about Jesus. Nothing about how he repented from sin and believed the gospel (Mark 1:15). Nothing about how he takes up his cross daily and follows Jesus (Matthew 16:24-25) living not by bread alone but every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). Nothing about how he was buried with Christ and is now raised from the dead walking in newness of life (Romans 6:4) as a new creature where old things have passed away and all things are now new (II Corinthians 5:17). Nothing because these truths are as foreign to him as Greek is.

So it goes for Tom. What about you? Do you have a similar defense when someone presents the gospel to you? Do you stand strong on your religious faithfulness and devotion to your religious traditions, and if a Catholic, to Mother Rome? Are you also faithful in praying the rosary and reading prayer books? Do you faithfully attend Mass/Church and perform all of the requisite bowings and kneelings and crossings and standings? Is this the extent of what Jesus “did” for you? Is this the power of the gospel and the risen Lord in your life?

If so, you would do well to examine yourself (II Corinthians 13:5) for you have nothing more than religion and certainly not the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ or the requisite new birth (John 3:7). A religion which enslave you to tradition and ceremony just as it does Tom and just as it did unto the Pharisees who heard Jesus’ words yet rejected them in order to hold to their traditions.

This people honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. (Mark 7:6-9)

This day you can be free to worship God in spirit and truth (John 4:23) or you can stay in bondage to the traditions of men. You can continue to trust in your religious devotion to make you right with God as Tom is doing, or you can cry out to God that he have mercy on you a sinner. The latter God will justify, the former will he will not.

Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. (Luke 18:10-14)

Choose this day reader whom you will serve, God or Rome, for you cannot hold to the traditions of Rome and keep the commandments of God.

Those who do not know the truth about Islam preach it as the religion of peace. This being especially true in the west where most are ignorant to the reality of what takes place in the name of Allah across the globe. Not from radical fringe groups but from vast numbers where entire nations are in bondage to Islamic law. Law that does not set people free but rather enslaves them where women are treated especially bad. Here, most in these Islamic dominated nations view women as 3rd class citizens or even worse.

This indictment is not true of all Muslims as blanket statements are never wise. For there are many wonderful Muslims as persons whom you would want to have as your next door neighbor. Many being outspoken opponents of the terror attacks and killings where they loathe what is done in the name of their religion.

Nevertheless, the religion at its heart when followed and implemented in law as it is written in the Quran speaks for itself. One only need to visit an Islamic nation or study the reality of what transpires to opponents of Allah in these countries to prove this point. Here, I encourage all to check out to get a painful dose of the reality of Islam and the countless lives that are being destroyed daily. The same Islam that wants to take over all nations of the world so that all mankind can live in fear and terror as the disciples of Mohammad preach with swords and bombs their message of convert or die.

Our hope and prayer is for those who are of the Islamic faith to come to Jesus who is the true Prince of Peace. One who never preached the sword against his enemies or those who did not believe as he preached, but rather tells his followers to:

“…resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:39-48)

Compare this against what Mohammad taught that Allah desires his followers to do.

“Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not.” Sura (2:216)

“As to those who reject faith, I will punish them with terrible agony in this world and in the Hereafter, nor will they have anyone to help.” Sura (3:56)

“So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them.” Sura (9:5)

The choice is yours. Choose the Prince of Peace where you will gain your enemies by submitting to them in love, or choose the prophet of war whereby you will loose your enemies by destroying them in hatred.

The 2nd District Court of Appeals in California has spoken loud and clear as to how the ungodly view the parent’s right to raise and teach their children. Here, Justice H. Walter Croskey wrote in a February 28 opinion that “Parents do not have a constitutional right to home school their children.” This is the view of fascism, communism and all “isms” that hate God and believe the state owns the children. A world view that impacts not only Christians but any parent of any religions/non-religious beliefs who desires to raise their children and teach them per their belief system and not the state’s.

This being so as the state of California wants to mandate that parents either get sanctioned and accredited by the state to teach, or they send their children to the government run institutions. Institutions that are infested with crime, sex, drugs, alcohol, violence, and all other sorts of sordid activities engaged in by a festering mass of hormonally charged and morally adrift youth. And, if a parent chooses to not comply with this draconian ruling, criminal changes may be filed.

Think of it, a parent charged with being a criminal because they want to teach their own child! A child given unto them by God above yet the state says, no, sorry, not your child because it is us alone, the supreme elitists who know what is best for your offspring and society at large. What vile arrogance. One only need look at the state-run schools to see how abysmally these self-professed “experts” are doing in creating their Orwellian plutocracy.

In terms of statistics it is estimated that 166,000 students are home schooled in California. The rub though is that in order to home school California requires parents be accredited. Here, the number complying or not complying with this regulation is unknown. Also, accreditation requirements vary across the state. One example is where a five-year preliminary teaching credential requires the parent earn a bachelor degree from an a accredited college or university. All of this entailing their completing and passing multiple examinations.

In the past California has graciously granted parents the right to home school their children if they establish themselves as a small private school, file the necessary paperwork and either hire a credentialed tutor, or enroll their child in an independent study program run by an state-sanctioned school while teaching the child at home. The net-net being that the state does not want any child out from under their control so as to indoctrinate them to the party line. A party line which includes homosexuality, condoms, evolution, athism and a host of other doctrines contrary to natural law and God’s word.

This party line can be summed up beautifully by quoting from Croskey who wrote that “A primary purpose of the educational system is to train school children in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation as a means of protecting the public welfare.” (Emphasis added) And you thought it was all about reading, writing and arithmetic. Sorry, it isn’t but rather it is about raising up a generation of lemmings drugged on Ritalin who will not question anyone or anybody that is sanctioned by the state. Lemmings that will nod yes and amen to everything the state says regardless of whether it goes against their conscience, natural law or the Scriptures.

Is this America where freedom of thought was always prized and welcomed or Nazi Germany where the government raised up a generation of Hitler youth that gave unquestioned allegiance to the state? Youth who also were trained in government schools in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and nation so as to protect the public welfare. The problem is that there were millions who fell outside of the “public welfare” but were instead counted as dross to be burned in the pyres of the myriad gas chambers.

The question to those parents who value their children and their right to raise and teach them per their belief system is what are you going to do about this? This question applies to those of all belief systems where everyone should think long and hard about why they keep their child or children in a system that disdains the parent’s rights as to how they raise them.

And to those who are Christian the alarm is sounding louder then it ever has for you to wake up from your slumber if you still believe that the government run schools are looking out for the Christ-centric welfare of your children. They are not nor are the majority of legislators, educators or judges. Just look at what these institutes teach with a critical eye and measure it up against the Scriptures and see how opposed it is to the things of God. Look at the values your child brings home from school, the foul words they learn and spew back to you, the sexual practices they are engaging in, the drugs/alcohol they may well be dabbling in, the “pack” of troubled individuals they run with. I know as I have been there and have experienced it from within where the irony is that I attended religious educational institutions (Roman Catholic). Here, my friends and I freely engaged in these sinful behaviors and more without our parents around to rightfully stop such wickedness. But that is another story.

Truly it is time to wake up and I hope you are seeing that things will not change from within for the better as government run schools will continue to wax worse and worse. Just do a little research as to what is taught today in these schools verses that taught say 25 years ago and I’m sure you will be shocked.

My view from God’s word and I pray some godly wisdom is for you and your family to work with all of your might to either remove your child from the public school system and teach them yourself, to send them to a God-fearing, sound Christian school (realizing they are a dying breed) or to move out of the state to a more family friendly state. Easy? No, most certainly not but God never said it would be and the health and spiritual well being of your child/children is at stake. Some practical advice I would share is:

  • Find a local homeschooling group in your area. Meet with them and get to know them even if you think you cannot home school due to financial reasons, lack of a supportive spouse, or you feel you are unqualified to teach. Speak to them, if they are Christians, pray with them and seek godly counsel from those who have been in the battle longer than you have.
  • Bring this up with the elders at your local church and put the goad to them to address this issue with more than rhetoric, sermonizing or worse yet silence. Get them to address the issue head-on with prayer, study, preaching against this tyranny and practical, constructive help to be given to parents who want to home school but are struggling to see how they can. Talk to them specifically about having funds provided to the people in the church instead of the building, the new carpet, the “holiday” decorations, the sound system, the coffee shop, the book store, etc. This I recognize is novel in most 501c-3 churches today but if you study the Scriptures it is to the people and their needs where the money of the church is supposed to go to and not some unnecessary megalith.
  • If your church will not support you in this God-ordained endeavor with practical and even financial help, then shake the dust off your feet and seek out those with like values who meet house-to-house in home churches. These groups typically are very home-school focused. See for some churches and/or search the web for home church sites. Don’t neglect sound doctrine though when looking for a church if you go this route.
  • Reach out to other national homeschooling groups to network with.
  • Set aside time with some brethren, even if only one or two to start with, to pray, fast, read the Scriptures and humbly seek the Lord’s face. Pray for guidance, wisdom and a work of God to reverse this situation or to direct your steps and those of your family. Also repent where you have been in sin as the Spirit convicts you.
  • Make a point of having more family time together. Bible studies, prayer, meals, outings, etc. Work to bond your family closer this year than last year. Skip the movies, turn off the TV, DVD players, iPods and computers/Internet, cut way back on after school activities that keep your children away from you for more and more hours and even on weekends and work diligently to strengthen your family to bond closer with your children. Children whom the enemy is doing everything in his power to steal, destroy and kill them both physically and more importantly spiritually.
  • Fathers – turn off ESPN, put away your golf clubs, stop being a slave to your job and a ghost to your family, repent of your selfishness and start being a Godly man and lead your family as Christ leads the church. You are responsible for your children and it will be you that the Lord holds accountable for their education and upbringing or lack thereof. Stop pawning it off on the state and step up to the plate and play ball where you take responsibility for your children and life to serve your wife and them instead of yourself.

In closing those who live in other states should take this as a shot across the bow from the opposing forces. The question is whether you will hear it or continue to slumber thinking that such a thing will never happen in your state. It will where my advice to you is the same given to those in CA. Get your kids OUT of the government sponsored schools and “…bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Eph 6:4) Do whatever it takes while you still can!

I close with the Word of the Lord sent unto Israel but just as applicable for us today. “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” (Deut 6:4-7)

An extremely popular movie circulating on the Web these days is known as Zeitgeist. A movie where it can be concluded that one of its primary objective is to discredit Christianity and to “prove” that Jesus the Messiah was a fraud and that Christianity is nothing more than an amalgam of pagan beliefs. Along with this charge, the creators of this movie draw the conclusion that religion is simply a tool of the world employed by the powerful to keep the masses in subjugation through superstitious ignorance.

Sadly, the vast majority who have watched this film are representative of the Internet “get it now” generation that does not do its homework or perform due diligence when presented with a thesis. Instead, if what is presented sounds and looks good to them and falls in line with their world view, they accept it as “gospel” truth without question or further research. So it goes with Zeitgeist for countless individuals who have watched the movie, been baptized into its doctrine and become its evangelists.

This is ironic when you consider that those who say they are open minded and seeking truth are actually guilty of the very thing they accuse Christians of. The accusation of course being that Christians are gullible simpletons who have believed a lie, which if only they took the time to research, would see they are deceived. Yet when the disciples of Zeitgeist accept everything in this movie that discredits Christianity without raising a questioning eyebrow they are seen as being the true seekers of truth. I’m sorry but this is hypocrisy.

True Christians though, contrary to any inferences or accusations, are not afraid of truth. Examine Christianity honestly and you will see that the claims of Jesus Christ and the writings of the apostles and prophets have been the most studied and scrutinized ever to have existed in all of history. Try this with the writings from Zeitgeist’s heralded “experts” and see how long they last under a microscope of equal power.

And so I present a challenge to those who have watched Zeitgeist and even those who have not. This being for you to examine evidence that the writers of Zeitgeist failed to provide to their viewers. Evidence you should evaluate and examine for yourself so that at the end of the “day” you have done your homework and can base you beliefs on what is presented from both sides of the spectrum.

As a starter consider Zeitgeist Refuted. Watch it with an open mind and take the time to do your own research. For I would just as much hate for you to accept what is presented in this rebuttal anymore than what you may have believed from Zeitgeist. Because if at the end of the “day” you come away rejecting Jesus Christ this is your choice where I am not here to strong arm you to my beliefs. But your rejection should be based on fact and not the wild and fanciful conclusions drawn by Zeitgeist which wither away when honestly examined.

Likewise, I want to state that myriad true Christians, contrary to what you might think in watching the Zeitgeist “exposé”, are not ignorant to what is presented therein. We will readily admit that men are liars for our Lord and the Scriptures teach us this truth over and over again. We even have commandments of God and the Lord Jesus that teach against lying.

It goes hand-in-hand with this truth about men being liars where we preach to the world that false religion has been one of the greatest purveyors of lies. A fact as much true today as it was in Jesus’ day where we can read just one of his many scathing denunciation of the Pharisees who were emblematic of outward professors of religious godliness in words and deed yet inwardly they were “ravening wolves.” Jesus says to them and all false professors you “…are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (Jesus in John 8:44)

We likewise are astute to the banking institution and Federal Reserve being a fraudulent system. Not because of Zeitgeist though, but because our Scriptures, the ones Zeitgeist vainly attempt to disprove, tell us so. Truths that have known by God’s people for thousands of years before the Federal Reserve was even conceived in the mind of man. Yet most men then, as is true today, reject God’s word and build systems in direct opposition to his commands as they are ever seeking to fleece people of their wealth and to enslave them to ungodly institutions. For our God tells his people that they are to “…have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure shalt thou have: that thy days may be lengthened in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” (Deuteronomy 25:15)

But men, ungodly men, have throughout history used unjust weights and measures just as is the case with the Federal Reserve and her fiat money, fractional reserves and other ungodly practices. Men who are just like those who produced Zeitgeist, Christ denying, God hating individuals who hate his word and seek to build their own religion of humanism. Yet the Word of God stands against the Fed even as our LORD declares that “A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.” (Proverbs 11:1)

We too know about false religion and that of Roman Catholicism and her Babylonian mysteries. Here, many of us have studied to show ourselves approved where we understand that Christ Mass (i.e. Christmas) is pagan just as is Easter. Here, we boldly preach against these lies that have crept into the church even when it means mockery from the religious of our day and shunning from our friends and family. You can if you like read a detailed study I have done on Rome’s adopting of the pagan into the church here where she magically crafted Christmas out of the Roman Saturnalia. It is written specifically to those who call themselves Christians and keep this day so as to educate them, yet you will profit from it if you take the time to read it and to see that our Lord has shown us these truths. Truths that our brethren throughout history have valiantly defended when attacked by Rome’s lies and those of all false religion.

Brethren who defended the truth with their very lives for it was these, that is the true Christians, who were tortured and killed by Rome’s murderous killing machine know as the Inquisitions. Killing not done by Christians but by Christ-denying papists who were dead in their sins and hated Jesus Christ. They being just like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day who had him scourged and nailed to a tree! Again, our Lord warned us about such things two thousand years ago so we know full well that religious men will do many evil and vile things in the name of God. For our Lord spoke specifically to this very thing where he said, “These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them.” (John 16:1-4)

Finally, be in known that true Christians who have “done their homework”, are well aware that conspiracies exist whether they be in governments, homes or even religious institutions. Why you ask? Because once again our Scriptures reveal this truth. A truth where our Lord taught that “…men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” (Jesus in John 3:19-20)

This is the very nature of sin or evil which does not want to come into the light lest it be exposed. Sin that may be as “small” as you telling someone a lie, or as large as a group of men plotting the destruction of western civilization. Our Scriptures also deal in exacting precision with conspiracies as they have been plotted against the Lord and his anointed. Below we will look at just two.

The first is where the Jews sought to kill Paul whom they hated with a bitter passion after he went from killing Christians (that’s right) to preaching Jesus Christ crucified as being the only way for a man to be made right with God. We read that, “And when it was day, certain of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. And they were more than forty which had made this conspiracy. And they came to the chief priests and elders, and said, We have bound ourselves under a great curse, that we will eat nothing until we have slain Paul.” (Acts 23:12)

And the most famous, or infamous example of all conspiracies is when men conspired to kill the Prince of Peace, the Lord of Glory where “[t]hen assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtlety, and kill him [Jesus].” (Matthew 26:3-4)

And so you see we are not as ignorant as Zeitgeist make us out to be, no quite the contrary. And the fact that some of our brethren, that is the few chosen Christians that are in the world may not yet see these things does not in any way negate the truths that our Lord and his Word reveals. For all of mankind has been deceived at one time or another and Jesus Christ warns all against such deception where he says “Take heed that no man deceive you.” (Matthew 24:4)

I close by saying to all that you truly take heed that no man or movie deceive you. Truth does exist and I unashamedly declare that it is found in the person of Jesus the Christ. You will have to make a choice today whom you will serve. Will it be the world and her institutions and lying spokesman or will it be Jesus Christ? Will you be on the side of those who shouted out “crucify him!” when presented with Jesus Christ just as Zeitgeist shouts today, or will you fall down at his feet and cry out for mercy that he grant you repentance and eternal life?

Praying to Mary

The call is out to all Roman Catholics to contact their travel agents, pack their bags and head to the south of France to visit Lourdes. Here, you can not only escape the cold of winter that most in the northern hemisphere are experiencing now, but you can get the added benefit of “…be[ing] able to gain a Plenary Indulgence daily …which may also be applied, by way of suffrage, to the souls of the faithful in Purgatory.”(1)

That’s right. Take a trip to Lourdes between now and Dec 8, 2008, bow to a Marian image and you will receive a “get out of jail” pass from the Pope to lessen your days or years in the fires of purgatory.

And, if you cannot get to France worry not for you too can get in on the taking from the treasury of merit if between February 2-11 you “…visit a blessed image of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lourdes solemnly displayed for public veneration in any church, oratory, grotto or suitable place.”(2) But, please keep a close eye on your watch and the calendar because if you are a day early or a day late, sorry, no indulgences for you.

Tis true that I write with a tone of sarcasm and if my tone angers Catholics this may well be good. Because you must know that neither a trip taken to Lourdes or one to a local Marian shrine around the corner will not merit you anything from the Living God except his wrath and judgment. Wrath and judgment because first you are trusting in vain works of the flesh to remit sins and their penalty when no such work can ever do such a thing. Only the shed blood of Jesus Christ can remit sin and pay the price in full when applied in faith to the heart of a repentant sinner.

And second, you are looking to Mary and not Jesus as you worship the creature instead of the Creator. Mary is created, Jesus is Creator. Jesus is alive and lives forever more, Mary is dead and buried and she is not interceding for you contrary to all you have been taught. Praying the rosary, pilgrimages to idolatrous shrines, or bowing to statues in your home or church building will leave you dead in your sins.

Many a Catholic knows this because your conscience bears witness to the truth that for all your devotion to Mary and Rome your heart is still black with sin. You still are plagued by guilt, you still are in bondage to sin both in deed and thought, and you still are no different today than you were yesterday. Always believing that this pilgrimage, this recital of the rosary, this Mass, or whatever the work is will grant you the peace you so desperately are working towards achieving.

Yet none of these works will grant you what you seek for, and unless you repent, you will die in your sins. And no such cleansing from these sins will be found after death because “…it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27) Next stop after death is not purgatory as no such place exists, but rather the great white throne judgment spoken of in Revelation 20:11-15 which you will appear before after you are resurrected from the dead (see John 5:28-29). And unless you are found in Christ you will be cast into the lake of fire which is the second death.

This is why the Scriptures declare that “…now is the day of salvation” (II Corinthians 6:2); today, not tomorrow and not when you die. The Scriptures also declare that there is a treasury of grace but it does not flow from Rome or any church but from the Father through Jesus Christ. A treasury where grace cannot be dispensed by the Pope or any man nor can one receive from this treasury per vain works such as pilgrimages to shrines. Instead, grace is given as a free gift from God per his will as he, not the Pope, is the giver of gifts unto men.

To this, the honest Catholic may ask the question in retort, “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” (John 6:28) To this I will reply just as Jesus did unto those who asked him this very question where he said, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” (John 6:29)

Believe on the Lord Jesus, repent from your sin, and turn to the Living God for salvation through Jesus and not Mary or “mother” Rome.

(2) Ibid.

Much I would love to write on the subject of the true gospel but time right now fails me so this will be a short post. My life and coming to Jesus Christ was marked by a mighty deliverance from my belief in a false gospel to a unwavering belief on the true. A gospel that had no power in my life to change me or make me a new creature. Instead, what I had was dead religion; this most notably being that of Roman Catholicism. A religion that left me no different from the heathen next door as my life bore ample witness to the fact I was dead in sins.

How many out there are just like me? How many have believed on a false gospel and are trusting in a work of the flesh and not the authored and finished work of Jesus Christ? How many are blinded by false doctrines and false gospels and are still in bondage to sin? The gospel of Rome is not alone in this camp for the same thing can be found in Mormonism and with the Jehovah Witnesses. All three like peas in a pod who uphold the goodness of man, the ability of man to work his way into heaven, and the belief that faith in Jesus Christ alone is not enough for salvation.

And it goes beyond these organizations as we also have preached today in the vast majority of churches is the “gospel” of “ask Jesus into your heart” by praying the “sinner’s prayer.” One that is found preached the world over by the likes of the most famous ministers and churches. One that has become part-and-parcel with the easy-believing generation today where salvation is reduced to answering correctly to a series of questions.

If you would like to get some Scriptural insight into this “another gospel” and how it is just as prevalent in the evangelical church as it is in Rome please check out the latest video by Berean Beacon Ministries found on their Home page. It is entitled “The Invincible Gospel and the Modern Evangelical Lie.” A message more geared to those who profess faith in Jesus Christ to aid them in their ministry and witnessing to others. But one which would profit any who listen who have ears to hear the truth.

I pray that you will be greatly blessed from this message.

Can You Make Payment?

©copyright 2007 brother Michael

In America we have witnessed a major collapse in the housing market due to many factors but one primary reason is that people who did not have the financial wherewithal to make payment for this debt went ahead and acquired the loan anyway. In time, whether due to rising interest rates for adjustable rate mortgages, loss of a job, or just the reality of an unwise decision, these debtors were unable to make payment. Subsequently, defaults on loans started occurring the nation over which have rumbled through the global economy like a magnitude 7 earthquake swallowing many a family into the gaping mouth of foreclosure and bankruptcy.

It goes without saying that for these families this time has been most traumatic as so many have lost their beloved homes and been thrust into a very uncertain and stressful time. A time that for many could have been totally avoided if they had listened to the voice of wisdom who “…standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths…[and cries out] O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart [for] …[t]he rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” (Prov 8:2,5; 22:7)

Heavenly Debt Owed by All

Yet today I am not writing about wisdom in financial matters, as important and life changing these can be, but rather about matters of infinitely greater concern. For I write not about earthly debts owed to the rich men of the earth and the banking elite, no, rather I write about the heavenly debt owed unto the Sovereign God of the universe. A debt owed by all peoples of all religious beliefs the world over who believe they have the means within themselves to pay this debt. Included in this list are peoples of all religious and non-religious beliefs including those professing to be Christians or Buddhists, Catholics or Mormons, Hindus, Muslims, atheists or agnostics it matters not. For all who believe they can pay this debt by their works, “goodness” or charitable deeds are included in this list.