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Wednesday, July 21

Songs For Strength To Press IN ...


All of my (Keith’s) Christian life, I have had a deep and abiding love for The Gospel of Jesus Christ and His Church. This has been so much a part of my being that pastor friends have often called it “the hallmark of my life and calling.” My passion is to see God’s men, women, and children properly loved, respected, and raised up in the untainted ways of Jesus Christ, which is why we have been making our messages available in music, video, and printed resources for over 40 years. All are available for a donation, one-time or recurring gift, to help support our ongoing work.
In all my years as an evangelist at heart I have clearly seen how crucial the role that pastors and leaders are called to, and must play, in the adoption and rearing of God’s beloved children. In order for their roles to be fulfilled, God must be accurately represented. In pulpits and places of worship where God and His Word are not represented accurately, a lukewarm and lifeless future is inevitable. My, and Brenda’s, aim is to produce only and all Christ-centered resources as The Holy Spirit leads through financial contributions and prayers provided by our loving and passionate team of sponsorship partners. The heartfelt prayer of all of us at Toward The Mark is that the messages in these songs, like "I NEVER KNEW LOVE BEFORE"  and  "STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART",  serve to encourage each hearer to passionately pursue Jesus Christ, to meet with The Holy Spirit in the pages of God’s Holy Word, and to work with Him to apply the lyrics to building the very nature of Jesus Christ in their life with Him.
Whether you, and individuals in your social circles, are serving as church members or not, we look forward to how our messages in song will encourage you in your individual or unique needs. Various messages in our songs are proving to apply to a wide variety of needs in the family of faith in Christ Jesus. "Jesus said, the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field; the which when a man has found, he hides, and for joy of what he found, goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field (Matthew 13:44)."
We pray God uses this message to fan the flame in your heart to passionately pursue oneness in God, His wonder-full Word and Ways, and His Plan and Purpose for you in this life. We are eternally grateful for our loving Toward The Mark Family of sponsors who make this message, and all of our resources, possible by their prayer and monthly financial support! If you have questions about our work, about our mission, or would like to share a testimony or prayer request with us, please write to us. It is crucial right now that we remember who we are, and remember Whose we are! Though our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has won "the war" for us already, we have isolated skirmishes left to fight and overcome before He, The Great Conquering King, returns in ALL of His Glory with The Mighty Host of Heaven at His side. Now it's time for all of us to put our ALL into this fight, and to finish our part, each one of us, and to work with pure focus, fearlessness, love, discipline, and every single thing that God is here to equip us with by His Holy Spirit for... pressing toward the mark (becoming One In Him) for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14)!
Before we close... we would be remiss if we did not INVITE YOU to take part in standing with us and our TTM Team and Family by making a tax-deductible donation. If you prayerfully decide to become a special part of our 2021 monthly sponsorship team, you will be joining our milestone *40th* ANNIVERSARY TEAM, which means your seed will be helping with regular and new initiatives reaching our God-given goals for His Kingdom. Stay tuned for next updates in our ongoing blogs of how The Lord is expanding TTM's reach. Listen in to our podcast channel with our "WON BY ONE" song lyrics *No NEED to FEAR it; We all NEED to HEAR it*... our re-released version of Scott Allen's (Mylon & Broken Heart) song, "WON BY ONE" that was most recently produced by Scott Allen and Keith.  Direct link is https://directory.libsyn.com/episode/index/id/3489319.
As we in The Army of Jesus Christ find ourselves in this final push just before the great trumpet sounds, we must take our thoughts captive, practice self-control, ask The Holy Spirit to meet with us in the pages of God's Holy Word, hydrate by the Living Water of His Word, and stay FOCUSED on His LEAD... at all costs. The proper context for all of our thoughts, words, and deeds will be found in God's Word, through The Person of Jesus Christ, and The Holy Spirit's tutelage as we meet with Him in The Gospel Jesus Christ preached. For it is only as we put on the mind of Christ that we will be able to be made new IN Him, which is the reward of seeking Him with our whole heart.
Once we are in daily pursuit of becoming ONE in God, through His Son Jesus Christ by the leading of The Holy Spirit, His wisdom and understanding that He builds *in us* changes everything! Always remember that, as we focus on working *with God*, The Holy Spirit will give us Christ's wisdom to overcome worldly obstacles and to inherit rewards that go far above all that we could ask or think! Watch and see!

If you have yet to invite Jesus Christ into your heart to be your Lord and Savior, or if you have allowed something or someone to come between you and God, Paul The Apostle teaches Us, "That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and will believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture says, Whosoever believes on Jesus Christ will not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him. For whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:9-13)." Right there where you are, pray this prayer, then REST-ASSURED and watch what God will do...

          "Dear Father God, in the precious Name of Jesus Christ, the King of kings and The LORD of all lords, I lay my life at Your Feet. I come before You, confessing that I am a sinner, and I ask for You to forgive me of all my sins - those that I know I have committed, as well as those that I am not even aware of.  I ask that You come into my heart and be my Lord. I lay my life, and everything in it, at Your Feet, and ask that You please take me and begin to change me to be like YOU. I ask that You redeem the time that has passed, and allow me the opportunity to become exactly what You have predestined me to be, from before the foundation of the earth. I commit my life to You now, and thank You for receiving me as Your own. In the wonderful Name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, I pray, Amen."  And AMEN (So be it)!


            WELCOME HOME!

            If you have just prayed this prayer, we want to congratulate you for making the greatest decision that you'll ever make! By accepting Jesus Christ, or rededicating your life to Him, as your personal Lord and Savior, you have begun the wonder-full process of being grafted into the family of God, and we welcome you "Home" to God's Family. We would also like to invite you to contact us so that we can send you information that will help you begin growing in your relationship and daily walk with God. We would encourage you to begin attending a Holy-Spirit-filled, full-Bible focused church right away.


            We advise you to begin reading The Holy Bible daily, whether you understand it or not. Always remember, God's written Word in The Holy Bible is LIKE NO OTHER BOOK that has ever been written! When we rendezvous with The Person of The Holy Spirit as we read what God has written there, it becomes stored in our heart for The Holy Spirit to access it to bring to our remembrance.  You will find that the Scriptures will become applicable to whatever you are going through, at any given time!

            There are wonderful Bible teachers that can, especially early in your walk with God, help you to receive good teaching and encouragement right away. Though informative, those Bible-teaching programs are never to be a substitute for close relationships with people who love and serve God. At times, the transformation process that you have now begun will be difficult, and you will be tempted to go back to your old ways of living your old life. It will be during times like these that hanging out with strong Christian friends and mentors will be crucially important. There really IS strength in numbers! (Selah)

            And remember... growing in Godliness requires purity of focus, staying steadfast, immovable, and uncompromising in the faith of Jesus Christ, and now more than ever, no matter what, Keep PRESSIN' IN! You might consider using our book  LETTERS FROM THE FRONT, the special collection of keys to defeating hindrances that have kept many of God's servants from walking with the confidence and authority that Jesus Christ died to provide for us! Twelve life-changing chapters include:


;
Sin Makes Ya Stewpit!
The Cart's Before the Horse
The Crisis of Eroding Integrity
The Fruit's on the End of the Limb
Too Quick to Compromise
The Rarest of All Breeds!
Please...Stop Stinkin'
Three Keys to God-Pleasing Faith
Let It Go
Understanding the Fear of The Lord
Into the Secret Place
Give to Give


  To help you further your fight to victory through the battles that confront every one of us in these turbulent times we live in, get your copy of our book, "LETTERS FROM THE FRONT." In this collection of 12 letters written from the front lines of battle fought in the spiritual, natural, and theater of the mind, Keith's Scripture messages will build your faith and help you reach God's full potential for your life.
"LETTERS FROM THE FRONT"
available by sending
email requests to TowardTheMark HERE.


We pray God uses this message, and all of our resources, to fan the flame in your heart for Christ Jesus, His wonder-full Ways, and His Plan and Purpose for you in this life. We are eternally grateful for our loving Toward The Mark Family of sponsors who make this blog, and all of our resources, possible by their faithful prayer and monthly financial support! If you have any questions about our work, or if you would like to make a special tax-deductible donation, place a special order for any of our books, magazines, or CDs, or to share a testimony or prayer request with us, please  e-mail us. Also feel free to write a letter and mail it to TOWARD THE MARK, P.O. Box 1152, Yorktown, VA 23692-1152.
With love we lift you to The Lord in our prayers, hopeful that you have determined to press "Toward The Mark" for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14). We appreciate you eternally for taking part in our work by reading and sharing this Pressin'IN *TowardTheMark* Blog!

Your Servants in Christ Jesus,

    
To Show GOD BIG in a World that Sees Him small… 
sums up the reason Keith stepped out in faith to focus on reaching the lost and strengthening believers everywhere, through Toward The Mark, Inc.  Keith and Brenda's prayer is that you will be encouraged and edified by the Secrets from God's Word that Keith recounts in our written and recorded products.

We couldn't do this without the help of our friends!
This blog message, along with the complete collection of original podcasts, music, blogs, books, CDs, and other Bible-based resources of Toward The Mark, Inc. is made possible by the faithful prayer and financial support of the TTM Sponsorship Family. We'd like to invite you to come on-board, to become a part of the TTM Family as well, by becoming a monthly financial partner. Your support will go toward fulfilling our God-given calling to help provide effective, contemporary outreach tools that are available to everyone, the churched and un-churched alike, all who desire to know more of the love, truth, and salvation of Jesus Christ. We invite you to partner with us, as we, "press Toward The Mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:14)

Keep PRESSIN' IN!


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Thank you in advance for sowing your financial seed into the fertile soil of this ministry! We pray God bless you with a 100-fold return for your generosity!







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Friday, April 30

The Power Of The Tongue -- Speak LIFE

"See flipcard titles"

It is Out of the Abundance of a Person's Heart that the Mouth Speaks


Where godly integrity is absent, death is inevitable!  You may ask, “Why do you say that it's the lack of integrity that is ‘deadly’?” In reply, let me draw your attention to the old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me!”  Believe me, no statement has been or could be further from the truth!  While sticks and stones in the hands of the wrong people can break bones, words spoken in the wrong way can cause even worse damage to a person’s heart!  Consider the following Scripture verses.  “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” (Proverb 18:21)  “My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword.” (Psalm 57:4)  “There is that speaks like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.” (Proverb 12:18)
In the Ten Commandments, God says, “Thou shalt not kill!”  Don't be deceived into thinking that this command applies only to physically stabbing or shooting somebody to death.  On the contrary, as Jesus, Himself, said, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, (as defined in Vine’s Expository Dictionary to mean: “utter contempt, empty, intellectually rather than morally, empty-headed, vain, fool, a godless moral reprobate") shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” (Matthew 5:21-22)
You see, you don't need a knife or a gun to commit murder! All you need to do is sow the wrong word seed into the life of a person and, if not rooted out, death will soon follow. Luke teaches us that, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45)
There is a great example of this, during the Second World War, as our troops were fighting to gain control of the islands in the Pacific theater. The Japanese unleashed a rather unconventional and very deadly weapon. They used a number of English-speaking Japanese women, collectively dubbed “Tokyo Rose” by the Americans, to broadcast messages intended to undermine the American war effort. As the American troops were listening to their radios, “Tokyo Rose” would break in and read from a script that the Japanese military thought might inflict the greatest psychological damage. For example, she would say things like: “Boys, while you are suffering for a lost cause in these hot jungles, your wives and girlfriends are back home in the arms of other men,” or, “Your government does not care about you! That’s why they have sent you here to die in this fight that you can never win!” Like my own grandfather, anyone who was there can tell you that these “fiery darts” inflicted emotional torments that resulted in many physical casualties.
Deadly word seed, if not rooted out, will yield a death crop wherever it is sown! “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7) Contrary to the beliefs held by many, this verse pertains not only to our sowing money seed when the plate is passed in Church, but is also equally applicable to word seed we sow.
If you sow good seed, you will reap a good harvest. Sow weed seed and what do you get? Weeds! It IS really that simple. Practicing godly integrity where our speech is concerned will always minister life to the hearer.
Check out a statistic I learned from a Pastor friend of mine some time ago. He shared with me that he read the results of a study explaining where, on average, it takes seventeen positive words of encouragement to negate just one harshly spoken word (discouragement) in the life of a person. He said that, in some cases, it will take even more than that, if the person ever recovers at all. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” (Proverb 18:21)
We all have a wonderful opportunity to turn the tide of destruction in the lives of those around us!  We need to truly understand this:  LIVES OF PEOPLE CAN EVENTUALLY BECOME WHAT WE SAY, so ...  SPEAK LIFE!
  


Thank you for joining us for this important message that we hope and pray God will use to help you, and everyone you know and share it with, to ...

 
Keep PRESSIN' IN!

Your friends and co-laborers in Christ,
    

To show God BIG in a world that sees Him small...  
sums up the reason Keith stepped out in faith to focus on reaching the lost and strengthening believers everywhere, decades ago, through Toward The Mark, Inc.  Keith and Brenda's prayer is that you will be encouraged and edified by the Secrets from God's Word, The Gospel of Jesus Christ and The Gospel Jesus Christ preached.


We INVITE You ... check out and share more resources from TTM for helping build your trusting, resting, and waiting i-n God's Word, Will, and Ways: 



~    Keith and Brenda's BETWEEN THE LINES Podcast channel

~    BetweenTheLines Podcasts on our TTM podcast channel:  



~    Take me back to the TOP of THE POWER OF THE TONGUE blog

Help fan the flame in the hearts of those who are looking to increase in their faith, courage, and bold strength through Christ Jesus!  Give your tax-deductible gift today and help make more messages and resources like this possible!  Become a crucial part of The Family of Toward The Mark, Inc. Sponsors, whose every gift is appreciated and helps!



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Wednesday, March 31

A Prophetic Word to the Church

A Prophetic Word to the Church

DEDICATION:  
It is the heartfelt prayer of all of the Toward The Mark Team that this blog will serve to—in a big way—encourage, preserve, and ensure the role of Godly integrity in the lives of all who read it.
Dr. Myles Munroe once made this very sobering statement: 
Wouldn’t it be terrible to wake up one day and realize that you spent forty years pastoring a church when you should have been driving a bus for a living? Or how about waking up one day after driving a bus for forty years to realize that you should have been pastoring a church?
Please, never accept a leadership position in God’s Church for the pay or the recognition. Accept it only because it is your divine calling! God always provides for the fulfillment of His vision for our lives! This is especially true for those who have been called by Him to love and to feed His sheep. Based on the present condition of not only the church, but also the massive amounts of people that are going unreached in this country, I am of the opinion that about 95% of those occupying leadership positions today should be doing something else with their lives. As harsh as that may sound, here is why I say it. America has within just the last 30 years made the tragic transition from being a Christian nation to becoming a religious and an extremely materialistic society. This situation can only turn around as the right people, folks who are operating inside of their gifts and callings, assume church leadership. But how are we to know the difference?
In 1990, totally grieved about the treatment that I had seen so many of God’s people having to endure at the hand of “professional religious leaders,” I began to earnestly fast and to pray for them all. While in prayer, I received a timely word from the Lord. Remember, this Word came to me back in 1990. This is what He said:
“Be encouraged; it won’t be long now. I am dismantling the Church as you have known it, and am raising up a new breed of leader. The pruning process that is occurring even now will yield a fresh, new, and abundant crop of men and women who love and seek Me with their whole hearts. Their affection will not be divided! They have both seen and endured the painful wrath and tormenting flames of religion’s harsh taskmasters, and through it all have emerged victorious. This will be that generation that will be called My Bride. They will walk in purity and will be without spot or wrinkle because I will remember their sins no more. Untainted any longer by sin and the terrible stench of religion, they will be a sweet-smelling savor to Me and all who receive them. I will take pleasure in all of their exploits and will bless all they put their hands to because I know them intimately and because they know Me intimately (Because I am in them and they are in Me). Just as I called forth Lazarus from the grave, I will soon call these forth from the factories, from the job sites, from the kitchens, from caves, home offices, and all four corners of the earth. I will call all of those who have endured deafening loneliness for My Name’s sake, and while I have had them hidden in caves, they have trusted in Me, rested in Me, and waited on Me without fail. These are the joy of My heart and will be easily recognized by all who see them. They will be girded about in the spirit with the towel of loving and selfless service to others!”
*Find this Word to the Church, along with more of what we find when we look between the lines, in our book, "THE CRISIS OF ERODING INTEGRITY."  More info and availability @ Toward The Mark's website.  In Christ Jesus, Keith & Brenda Shealy


"I am dismantling the Church as you have known it, and am raising up a new breed of leader." - Keith Shealy

"But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him.  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."  (John 4:23-24)


If you would like to sow financial seed into the work and ministry of TowardTheMark:
Every gift is appreciated, tax-deductible, and helps.

Mail tax-deductible contributions by check or money order payable to  Toward The Mark, Inc  P.O. Box 1152, Yorktown, VA 23692-1152. 

Thank you for sowing your financial seed into this work and mission that God has given! May God bless you with a 100-fold return on your gift of generosity!


We INVITE YOU...
see and hear, also follow and share, more from TowardTheMark:

 "Our Year of Opportunity" website;  
 "KeithAndBrenda BetweenTheLines Podcast"
 on TTM's Libsyn channel;  
 "Keith Shealy & Toward The Mark" on Facebook;  
 "Keith and BrendaLee Shealy's Videos" on the TTM Channel;  
 "Pressing In *Toward The Mark* Blogspot" on Blogger; and  
 "TTMSingingSgt" on Twitter ...
 for more Scripture-based messages, what the devil doesn't want us to know.


Toward the Mark, Inc. © 2005 - 2021 | Privacy Policy and Terms of Use apply | Visit TowardTheMark.com website |
Connect with TowardTheMark on e-mail.

Monday, February 22

The Abomination Of Misrepresentation

You don't need a gun or a knife to commit murder!

What passes for Christianity today bears little to no resemblance to the teachings of The Lord Jesus Christ. Much like paint that is diluted to the point that it becomes useless, God and His Word are being diluted to the point that The Gospel of Jesus Christ is misrepresented as useless in the eyes of the masses of uneducated people. We ignore this situation to our own destruction!

  Have you ever been falsely accused? Have you ever been blamed for saying something that you never said or for doing something that you never did? Have you ever had something that you said or did so distorted that it literally had nothing in common with what you originally said or did? If so, then you can surely empathize with those who have experienced the terrible feelings that come with being falsely represented in the eyes of others.

            When I played football in college, after the final game of our season in which we won the National Championship, someone on my own college football team falsely accused me of stealing my home jersey. It was the most horrible feeling I had ever had in my life. Why? Even though I wore the jersey to play the game, it was not mine to keep. Like the helmets and shoulder pads we were issued, the jersey was the property of the college's Athletic Department. Therefore the theft of the jersey was an offense committed against the school. Far worse than that, however, was the deliberate attempt to kill, steal, and destroy the good reputation that I had worked so hard for years to achieve.

            Curiously enough, this took place just after my precious grandmother sent me my first Bible and shared with me a dream she had of my preaching God's Word to large crowds. I later realized that this incident was perhaps my first substantial spiritual attack; an unclean spirit of false accusation had come to steal the Word of God that my grandmother had spoken over my life. Let me explain to you how it happened.

            On the day after our final game of the year, everyone on the team reported to the training facility on campus to clean out our lockers and turn in all of our gear. Three days later, much to my surprise, I was called into the coach's office and told that a member of the team had reported seeing me steal my home jersey. I felt as if someone had kicked me right in the stomach. I explained to the coaching staff that I had turned in my jersey, along with the rest of my equipment, to the team trainers. After about an hour the coaching staff let me go. I will never forget the heaviness and frustration that consumed me for weeks afterward! I knew I was innocent, but I could see that the coaching staff was not so convinced, or at least I felt that way. All I could think of was how everything that I had done to win the respect of my coaches had all been destroyed with one lie.

            I remember going around to certain members of the team asking them if they had heard of anyone finding the jersey. After a few days I was approached by our defensive team captain, who informed me that he had heard who had my jersey, and that the thief had taken it because he was angry at me about something. The plot thickens!

          During that school year I had spent some time with a young lady, and I soon learned that one of the team trainers had a crush on her. That was where the problem became difficult! Why? The team trainers were off limits to the players; much like diplomats from foreign countries, they had complete immunity from us. We could not touch them physically or accuse them before anyone; to do so meant immediate dismissal from the team. As my mom would have said, "He had me over a barrel and he knew it!"

            I would like to tell you that the matter was resolved, but it never was. The fellow that had stolen the jersey never came forward, and there was no way that I was going to file a complaint- which I later discovered was exactly what he wanted me to do. I simply had to wash my hands of it and go my own way, no matter how much I was tempted to do otherwise. Do you see how much damage one false accusation can cause? In my case, it almost cost me both my hard-earned reputation as a football player and my place on the team I had loved and worked so tremendously hard to be a part of.

            However, you might enjoy knowing that about five years later, a band that I was touring with performed about fifty miles from my old school. One morning while we were in town I drove out to the campus just to walk around the stadium and visit the awards room. Before I left I thought that, by some long shot, head coach Norton might be home, and I drove up to his house and knocked on the door. Much to my surprise, Coach Norton answered. When he saw me, he smiled and invited me in, and we must have talked for an hour about all of the things that happened the year we won our division's national college championship. It was a season that none of us will ever forget! Just before I got up to leave, I asked, "Coach, you do know that I did not take my jersey, don't you?" He replied, "Shealy, I knew your heart, Son- I knew you could have never taken anything. Besides, you earned something that no amount of money in the world could have bought. You walked away from here a champion; you walked away with a ring!"

            As I stood up and made my way to the door, Coach Norton reached up, gave me a big hug, and said, "You know you still have a few years of eligibility left?!" At that, I smiled real big, hugged his tree stump of a neck again, got back in my car, and drove off. The ride back that day was perhaps the lightest that I had felt in years. I had finally been released from the weighty chains of having been misrepresented and falsely accused in the eyes of the one person that I had loved and respected the most at that time in my life.

            Why do we feel so badly when we have been falsely accused or misrepresented? The answer is to be found in this verse from Proverbs, "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold." (Proverbs 22:1) A good name, a good reputation are worth more than great riches! Of all the things a person can possess, one of the most precious is a good name and reputation.

            Now, we are told that Satan comes to kill, steal, and destroy, and the good reputation is one of his favorite targets. When it comes to attacking a person's good name, the tongues of people are quite useful to him. "And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defiles the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison." (James 3:6-8)

            Consider this example from the life of the prophet Jeremiah. His words of warning to God's people stirred them up, but not to repentance. Instead, they attacked the prophet for bringing God's Word to them. "Then said they, Come, and let us devise devices against Jeremiah. Come, and let us smite him with the tongue." (Jeremiah 18:18) Upon hearing this, Jeremiah made this supplication to the Lord.

            "Give heed to me, O LORD, and hearken to the voice of them that contend with me. Shall evil be recompensed for good? for they have dug a pit for my soul." (Jeremiah 18:19-20) What was the evil these people had devised against God's prophet? What was the pit they dug for his soul? Words! They said, "let us smite him with the tongue." They called him a liar! "Let us not give heed to any of his words." (Jeremiah 18:18) The witness of the people against the prophet was false. They were engaging in slander. Now, you may still be wondering why this is a big deal. Do you remember that bearing false witness against a person is forbidden in the Ten Commandments? "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor." (Exodus 20:16)

            In addition to being one of "The Big Ten", bearing false witness is one of the Seven Abominations. "These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren." Proverbs 6:16-19

            God hates all sin, but these seven are especially abominable to Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, murder of the innocent, a heart that imagines wickedness, feet that quickly get into mischief, a false witness, and those who sow discord within families (including God's family). Observe how prominent the tongue is in the Seven Abominations. Notice also that God looks at a lying tongue the same way He does murder.

            Slander, libel, and gossip (even in the disguise of "prayer requests") are tantamount to murder. This is why it is also called character assassination, because the unjust destruction of a person's good name is akin to murder.

            Think about it for a moment: false accusation strips its victims of all credibility. In many cases, it destroys a person's ability to benefit society altogether, fulfilling satan's agenda of hindering the fulfillment of God's will for every individual. Lies and misrepresentation brand the accused as unclean, whether they are guilty of the offense or not, making it all but impossible for anyone to receive the words of the accused as credible. Once the accusation has been made, taking it back is all but impossible, much like trying to return an omelet back to eggs. How many times have journalists of liberal-leaning television news stations repeated baseless, empty charges against someone who had a stellar, lifelong reputation in service to our country? Or, what about the heartbreaking stories of innocent people who sat in prisons for years because they had been falsely accused of crimes they did not commit? Misrepresentation has caused many lives to be destroyed; that's a fact!

            False accusations are satan's devices, and people who engage in such practices are his accomplices. Satan especially delights in using false accusation and deception, in an attempt to destroy God and His people in the eyes of those who do not know God. It is incredible that some of his greatest allies in that endeavor are people who sit in pews or stand in pulpits on Sunday mornings. The following words from the book of Revelation describe what has happened.

            "And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." (Revelation 3:14-17)

            What had the church of Laodicea done? They claimed to represent God's ways when they did not. They were bearing false witness against God. The Lord, describing Himself as "the faithful and true witness," said that that made Him want to vomit! The words He used, "spew thee out of my mouth", signify Him throwing up. The Lord would rather that they had been cold - that is, wicked with no pretense of righteousness - or hot - that is, truly righteous. But the church of Laodicea was lukewarm, while claiming to be hot. They were therefore assassinating the character of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is no wonder, then, that the Lord said He would vomit them out of His mouth!

            That is the condition of the church in America today. The church has given the enemies of the Lord great occasion to mock God and to speak evil of the way of Truth. This includes all of the well-meaning, sincere people who go about doing damage to the cause of Christ through being busy working for God rather than working with God, all the while believing they are serving their Creator. This is no isolated problem, either. Many ill-prepared church folks distort what God wants to do in the lives of mankind.

            Those who claim to be Christian, but do not walk according to their new nature in Christ, are lying about God and effectively claiming that God is a liar, for not only are they misrepresenting Him, they are not trusting Him. Furthermore, those who bear false witness against God and do not trust Him are walking in hatred of Him. ""A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin." (Proverbs 26:28)

            The lukewarm Christian flatters God; they know all the right words to say, but they do not really believe it. As Jesus said, "This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." (Matthew 15:8-9)

            Unless we are walking in the Truth, all of our works, including worship, are worthless. For instance, how much can be taught by a pastor who does not know God and His Word? Not much! Why doesn't he know much? He was taught by others that did not know much, who in turn were taught by others that did not know much either, and the cycle goes on. "And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch." (Matthew 15:14) [By the way, do you know what they call a medical student that graduates at the bottom their class? Doctor! Selah.]

            How could such a decline take place in the church? It happens much like this. When I was in the fourth grade, our teacher had the entire class stand shoulder to shoulder around the classroom, facing inward toward the center of what had become a large circle. She then asked us to join hands. Once we had done so, she stepped in as part of the circle, took the hands of the students to the right and left of her, and asked us to be very still. She then said that she was going to show us how someone can say something that can be taken totally out of context. She told us that she was going to whisper something in the ear of the student that was holding her left hand, and that she wanted them to repeat exactly what they had been told to the person next to them, and so on, until the last person repeated what they had heard back to the teacher. Once the message had traveled around the entire circle, and had come back to the teacher, she asked us all to return to our desks. Once we were seated, our teacher went to the chalk board and wrote what her original message had been, and also what the message the last student was that had been relayed to her. The difference, as we compared the two messages, was astonishing! The two had nothing in common.

            Similarly, when people's opinions of God's Word are taught and repeated in Christian circles instead of, as the Scriptures say, as "the very words that proceeded from the mouth of God", great misrepresentation of our heavenly Father will be the result. Hence, we see the lukewarm condition that most of the church body finds itself in today. Many years ago, Thomas Jefferson said, "Had the doctrines of Jesus been preached always as pure as they came from His lips, the whole civilized world would now have been Christians."

            Billy Graham, another great American, once told a story that also makes this point. On one occasion, after Billy had finished preaching a fiery message, a rather irritated older man walked up to him and said harshly, "Mr. Graham, I am very disappointed in you, Sir!" Billy replied, "Why?" The man said, "Are you aware that your message tonight has set the church back fifty years?" At that, Billy replied, "I'm terribly disappointed. I hoped to see it set back two thousand."

            You see, what both Thomas Jefferson and Billy Graham were describing are perfect examples of the abomination of misrepresenting God. Both men could see that what passes for Christianity bears little to no resemblance to the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Much like diluting paint to the point that it has become useless, both God and His Word are so misrepresented by so many that the Gospel is discredited in the eyes of masses of uneducated people. We ignore this situation to our own destruction, because the Scripture contains the following warning.

            "There shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of." (2 Peter 2:1-2)

            So, what do we, as individual Christians, do to not misrepresent God in today's society? I once heard a man of God say, "The best thing that we can do for the poor is to not be one of them." as the Scripture says, "Come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord." (2 Corinthians 6:17) The Scripture also says, "Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil." (Ephesians 5:14-16)

            In the Scripture verse from 2 Timothy 2:19, "Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity", the phrase "depart from iniquity" mean stop sinning! This includes sinning through ignorance. The word "depart" is used in that phrase to also mean we leave sin behind. We are not to linger in it, or be slack. We must not hide behind the false righteousness of saying, "Well, I'm not as bad as others."

            Consider the fly in the ointment, as in Ecclesiastes 10:1, "Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savor: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honor." What does this verse mean? Well, today we use the word "pharmacist" instead of "apothecary." If we go to the pharmacist to fill a prescription and take it home only to open the package and find a dead fly floating in the bottle, would we still take the medicine? No! The dead fly ruins the entire contents of the bottle. Similarly, "the fly in the ointment" of our testimony represents that one sin -- it could be a habit or a single act -- that will cause us to appear as false witnesses for Christ. In other words, that one sin that we have committed will be what satan uses to hold up in front of others, to try to discredit us, and all of the good work we have been known to have done in the past.

            To illustrate how a little folly does damage to him that is in reputation for wisdom and honor, imagine taking a gallon of pristine, fresh, mountain spring water and putting one single drop of raw sewage into it. What will you end up with? A gallon of sewage. Therefore, the best advice is to, "Abstain from all appearance of evil." (1 Thessalonians 5:22)

            We who name the name of Christ are His ambassadors, and we must be ever mindful of the reality that we carry His reputation with us wherever we go. Spiritual slothfulness in our walk with God will be a stain that cannot be hidden, and we will be perceived as false witnesses for our Lord and Savior. This is the abomination of misrepresentation!

            The answer is to awake from our spiritual sleep, put off the old man, and put on the new man in Christ, created unto good works by God the Father. This means that we must die to our old flesh nature, with all of its selfish cravings. Only then can we truly understand that a false witness, toward God or anyone else, is like a murderer and we should never so much as mention a false word against anyone among us.

            God desires that each of us abide in Him, that we love Him with all of our hearts, and love our neighbors as ourselves. All of this, of course, is humanly impossible! But with God all things are possible. If we will but humble ourselves under the mighty and sovereign Word of God, then He will lift us up.

            It's a fact... as we walk with God, we will become more like Christ Jesus, and the faithful witnesses of God. And our lives will become living proof of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Gospel that Jesus Christ preached.

            It is our prayer that, as the LORD looks on your life, He will find you... "rightly accused of rightly representing Him!"

            We pray God will use this message, and all of our resources, to fan the flame in your heart for Christ Jesus, His wonder-full Ways, and His Plan and Purpose for you in this life. We are eternally grateful for our loving Toward The Mark Family of sponsors who make this blog, and all of our resources, possible by their faithful prayer and monthly financial support! If you have any questions about our work, or if you would like to make a special tax-deductible donation, place a special order for any of our books, magazines, or CDs, or to share a testimony or prayer request with us, please  e-mail us. Also feel free to write a letter and mail it to TOWARD THE MARK, P.O. Box 1152, Yorktown, VA 23692-1152.

            Always remember, God's written Word in The Holy Bible is LIKE NO OTHER BOOK that has ever been written! When we rendezvous with The Person of The Holy Spirit as we read what God has had written there, it becomes stored in our heart for The Holy Spirit to access and bring to our remembrance.  You will find that the Scriptures will become applicable to whatever you are going through, at any given time!
We appreciate you eternally for taking part in our work by downloading and sharing this Pressin'IN *TowardTheMark* Blog!

Your Servants in Christ Jesus,

    
To Show GOD BIG in a World that Sees Him small… 
sums up the reason Keith stepped out in faith to focus on reaching the lost and strengthening believers everywhere, through Toward The Mark, Inc.  Keith and Brenda's prayer is that you will be encouraged and edified by the Secrets from God's Word that Keith recounts in our written and recorded products.


Personal Comments as a Servant and Overcomer in The Lord
"Speaking about being an effective representative for Christ Jesus, The Holy Spirit taught me countless lessons during my many years in business. My goal was not only to succeed among my coworkers and leaders in a secular work environment, but to excel as a Christian carrying His Name and reputation with me wherever I went and in everything I endeavored to do. With demonic spirits of 'entitlement' permeating society today, business owners and managers are finding it tremendously difficult to 'weed through the masses' and locate, hire and invest in training employees who will give them, as my grandfather used to say, 'an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay'. Having managed several companies over the years, I have decided to pass along to you, from 'the boss's perspective', some simple, yet tremendously effective ways that you can increase your chances of holding on to your present job during these tough times, and to also greatly increase your potential for advancement. We will continue, in the next several weeks, to lay out several things for you to consider for working into your daily routine. We encourage you to write repeatedly, apply, and take to heart the principle you will find presented below in the 'Bearing True Witness of God in The Workplace' graphic. We invite you to see more on our social media channels also presented for you in the info below."



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