A DOG’S BOWL

“...that I may be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ Jesus, the righteousness of God by faith.”

Autumn is the perfect time to talk about trees; and winter, about dead, dry things. And hey, here we are in November, the in-between month. Still Autumn, but moving into winter. Today, all around me are trees aglow with bright colours. Watch for the briefest of moments, and you will soon see the flutter of leaves tumbling through the air, as the branches shed their summer-wear in preparation for winter. Funny thing, that. When that arctic blast hits, the trees take off clothes, while we put them on!

But, as much as I love the trees around me, I’m not here to talk about them, I’m here to talk about a different tree, a special tree I was shown several weeks ago. The tree I saw before me was healthy and strong and beautifully shaped. As my eyes took in it’s towering presence, I noticed something else that set this tree apart from all other trees. The branches were unusually long. They stretched throughout the world encircling the entire globe.

No, this was not a normal tree. This tree was special, the kind of tree that if you saw it, you would say with me, “That’s the most awesome tree ever!”

Yes, this was a special tree. It’s branches were heavily laden with fruit, they stretched into the four corners of the world and back again.

Some were in the UK. Some in Europe. There were branches in Africa, and all over the U.S. Others stretched into South America, and even into the Arctic regions.

This tree was special. This tree was global. Yet, this tree had begun life as a root in a dry ground, the same root Isaiah predicts in Isaiah 53:2.
“For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground.”

Can you picture it? Can you see a root in dry ground producing a tender plant? Sounds pretty far-fetched if you think about it, doesn’t it? Yet, with God nothing is impossible. From a dry root, God brought forth a special tree.

Isaiah talks more at length about this special tree in chapter 11, verse 1,
“And there shall come forth a rod (a tender plant or shoot) out of the stem (stock) of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.”

Jesse was the father of Israel’s King David. David was a man so on fire for God that He praised Him seven times a day, all the time, no matter what. He praised on the days things looked bad, and on the days things looked good. While he was king, Israel walked in God’s ways. They walked righteously. The result was that the children of Israel were healthy and blessed and well-watered.

David served the one true God so faithfully that God made a special covenant with him. He foretold that there would one day be a son of David’s on the throne, who will be King for all time.

David’s own natural son, Solomon was not this king. He began as a mighty King and a wise one. In fact, Solomon was known for his wisdom. Godly wisdom, but Solomon tripped up. Big time. In his later years, he stopped serving Jehovah Adonai, and turned to serve the many gods of his wives, even going so far as to build their gods temples.

Yet, God insists through Isaiah’s words, that the root of Jesse shall produce the Branch from which shall spring this King whose kingdom shall be never ending.

Does Jesus qualify as this Branch? Israel says no. Yet, by their answer they are ignoring their own scriptures. Jesus does indeed qualify. He is from the root of Jesse just like Isaiah said He would be. In the books of Matthew and of Luke, Jesus’ genealogy is listed for all to see. Luke tells us that Jesus began his ministry when He was about thirty years of age. He was believed to be the son of Joseph. Jesus was not the natural son of Joseph. The Bible tells us He is the Son of God. However, he was believed to be Joseph’s natural son. Down amongst “the son of’s”, we see this,
“...the son of DAVID, the son of JESSE.”

Jesus was from that root of Jesse. He was planted in a dry ground. Dry. Parched. Not being watered. Dead.

Hey, can anything good come from something dead?

I was instantly reminded of a mini-vision I’d been given in 2013. I saw a dog’s water bowl. It had not had any water in it for so long that it was filled with dirt, and debris, and disgusting filth. What a sorry sight. In Jesus’ day this was the condition of the Church, and the nation of Israel. A dry ground. Waterless.

Not that the leaders knew it. They believed they were full and rich and headed the right way.

“We follow Moses,” they bragged. “Our father is Abraham.”

But they weren’t even close. Through the years, they had strayed so far from the truth that they didn’t even recognise it when Jesus spoke it. Their teachings were planted in the dry sand of traditions and teachings of men. They were following after the world, and the things of the world, listening and obeying it’s voice instead of God’s.

They were dry. Waterless wells. Filled with dirt and debris and disgusting filth. Just like the dog’s bowl God had shown me.

The condition of the Church today is the condition of Israel.

In 2013, when I was shown the dog’s bowl, I asked, “Lord, what is this bowl about? What does it mean?”

He answered, “Dryness in the Church; no Holy Spirit for they have refused it.”

With tears I want to ask you, has the Church today rejected the original gospel the same as Israel did? I had. For countless years I was missing it, and it showed. I was feeding on the traditions and fables and teachings of man that are so common place in the established Church of today, and I was choking on the dryness of these teachings.

Today, if possible, the main body of the established Church has strayed even further away than when I was growing up. God predicted through the Apostles that this would happen. Paul warned that ravenous wolves would come in and destroy the Church. In fact, throughout his lifetime, he fought against this. Then in his second letter to Timothy, his son in the ministry, he warned of a people rising up who have a form (type) of godliness, but deny the very power of God. This is the Church of today. Are you part of it,my friend? Are you? You don’t have to answer to me, but you will have to answer God.

Yet, there’s a solution--the Lord says this, “Come out of her, so that you will not be judged with the world. Come out! Not all are Christians who call themselves Christians. These are the waterless wells. From these ones turn away. Pray for them. Love and bless them. But keep them at a distance. Don’t run with them. Fellowship with believers, not deny-ers. The gospel of Christ crucified is the power of God unto all those who believe.

In our day, right now, what was predicted in the Word of God, particularly by John in the book of Revelation is happening. The Catholic Church has become a huge umbrella. In a time when evil has turned into a virtual downpour, it’s umbrella is opening wider and wider, embracing many religions: Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, pagans, Atheists, Humanists (yes, that very stuff taught to our kids and grandkids in the Public schools, and we wonder then why the kids go wrong!). Many Jews, and even Homosexuals will take their place under the world’s enormous umbrella that will house one all-embracing Universal religion.

And surprise, surprise, surprise. Even Protestant divisions are all crowding under this umbrella with all the rest. In fact, the Lord told me that I would be surprised at specific ones who will join hands with the world, and stand along side other religions who teach that Jesus is not the only way to heaven, who teach instead that there are many ways. And how right God was! Each day, I am astonished, and very often, deeply sorrowed when I see the headlines in the Christian news.

In my own words, I cannot even express the pain I feel when I see Southern Baptists numbered with the ones taking a stand with the world in denial of Jesus Christ, the Sent One, the true Messiah. There they are talking “Change!" when in truth they are throwing God’s unchanging truth to the ground, just as Daniel predicted. In my heart I can hear so many saying, “Well, just look. Our leaders are saying this is good, this is love, this is unity, so they must be right.”

I can only speak Isaiah’s words as I watch the events unfold before me, while I pray for the eyes of each individual to be opened before it‘s too late, and their choice is sealed. Forever.
“Therefore are my loins (my inner being) filled with pain: pangs have taken hold upon me, as pangs of a woman that travails. I was bowed down at the hearing of it; I was dismayed at the seeing of it.”

The tree I was shown by the Lord, the special tree, is the tree of Righteousness: Jesus, the author of life.

Jesus is that tree of life. We see Him first in the garden, that garden of long ago. Adam and Eve were the branches. But they thought they could get their life from a different way. They chose a different source. They chose to follow satan. The delusion was: follow satan and we won’t need nourishment from the tree of life anymore, we’ll be trees by ourselves.

The instant they chose satan, they became dead. Dry. Waterless. Filled with debris and disgusting filth. Lifeless, my friends. Why?

Because satan is death. He’s death, and death cannot give life.

There’s only one who can give life, and that’s God, our original Creator.

Adam and Eve thought they could live by their own rules, and do their own thing. They thought they could become gods unto themselves. They believed that they could separate from the tree of life and still live.

Today, here is man still gasping for breath. Many in the Churches are suffocating. Dry as a bone. Like that dog’s bowl. Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. Filled with dirt, debris, and disgusting filth.

The life that is built on the teachings and traditions of man is a lie. It’s a fake. Call it fake life. And why settle for fake life, which is only an illusion that is yours just while you are here on earth, when you can have the original?

Fake is death. Same as the world. For we can not get life by ourselves. Nor can a dead world give it to us.

We are dead when we are unattached to the tree of life. And, no matter what other voices say, the Bible tells us there’s only one tree of Life. One Way. One Righteousness. All others are fake. And why settle for fake when you can have the original?

No matter how much we may like to believe that we can do it ourselves. We cannot. On our own we are as dry and lifeless as that dog’s bowl. So, God did it for us. He sent our tree of life, our Source, back to us. He sent us Jesus, from the root of Jesse, by whom He made the worlds. John 1:11 tells us Israel rejected Him,like they rejected the prophets before Him.
“He (Jesus) came to His own, and His own received Him not.”

God sent Jesus, our original Creator. He gave us back the tree of life.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him: and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.” (John 1:1-4)

Jesus came into the world He had given life to, and when He looked around him, He saw dead things. And dirt. And debris. And disgusting filth.

He was the Creator, but the world did not know Him or receive Him. But to everyone who received Him, He gave them power to become the sons of God, even those who believed on His name. This was true in John’s day, and it’s still true now. The truth, my friend, never changes. Only the lie is the shape-shifter.

And how well I know that shape-shifter! Because I choked on his lies for many years. Then, there I was in 2012, partially alive but not quite there. I knew the Word somewhat by then, but I had thought I could get life both ways. I believed along with so many others that I had life just because I made Jesus my Saviour when I was eight. I believed that because I had confessed Jesus and been sorry for my past sins, I could live just like the world and still make it to heaven.

So there I was living a twisted life in a twisted, broken body, filling myself up with God’s Word daily, while refusing to let go of the dirt, debris, and disgusting filth of the world I was still clutching tightly in one fist. I didn’t see it as dust, dirt, and disgusting debris, you see. I saw it as “bright shiny things.”

I was what Ephesians 2:1-3 said I was, and so are you if you are walking the way of godless man, like I was.
“And you who were dead in your trespasses and sins,
in which you used to live when you followed the ways of the world and the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.
All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature, and following its desires and thoughts.
Like the rest, we were by nature objects of [God’s] wrath.”

So there I was like that dog’s bowl, filled with dust, dirt, and disgusting filth.
“But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive together with Christ.”

There I was, living a twisted existence in fake life, when all along, the original was as plain as the nose on my face. I was feeding on it day after day in the pages of God’s Word. I was confessing it was mine. Now, all I needed to do was reach out and take it. By faith.

But I needed to grab it with both hands, not one. And in order to do that, I needed to open up that one fist, that fist holding tightly onto worldly things. I needed to open up that fist and turn loose of all that dust, dirt, debris, and disgusting filth that I could have sworn were bright, shiny things.

Today I’m shouting, even though my shout is often gentle and quiet. It’s still a shout.

I shout because something special happened to me on the day in 2012. I saw the fake for what it was. I opened my fist, and I saw those bright shiny things--the trappings of the world that never brought true happiness, the medications and surgeries that never healed me and never would, all turn to the dust, debris, and disgusting filth right before my eyes. I saw them turn, and I let them drop.

That was the day I became a branch of that special tree, that tree with the extra long branches encircling the globe. That was the day I made a full commitment to Jesus, the tree of life, and the only giver of righteousness.

I turned and grabbed all He had with both hands. I repented. I’d had enough of the fake I’d held on to for so long. I turned and I made a decision. I made a firm choice, and this time my choice is a forever choice, like a marriage. I chose Jesus, the original, and I turned my back on the fake.

He came, you see. The author of life. What’s more, He chose to die in my place. And yours. And for a world strangling on dust. On dirt. On debris. On disgusting filth. A world dead in sins and trespasses, and following after death. Disobedience. Following the prince of the power of the air, the one who is deceiving the entire world.

The world and many born-again believers think, like I did, and like you may, that they are following good. There they are chasing after those “finer things of life,” the things that moths eat, rust corrodes, and thieves steal, instead of life.

I’m here to tell you that your way seems good, but the key word is “seems”. You’re living a fake life. And why go for fake when you can have the original?

Fake is only an illusion. It’s a healing that’s doesn’t heal, it’s a freedom that does not free, it’s riches that do not satisfy, it’s salvation that does not save, it’s peace that is not quite peace. It is love created by hate. It is unrighteousness that excuses itself. It is evil that calls itself good, and good, evil. All of this is brought to you by the death you’ve been walking in. It is fake. Unreal. Delusion.

I’ve never once been sorry for giving it all up. I gave up everything, and I’m not sorry. I’m not sorry now, and I never will be.

I’m not sorry because I let go of the fake I had held tightly in my hand for my entire life. I let go and I got something better.

I got Jesus. I got the original life. And who needs the fake when you’ve got the original?

Jesus died so that He could give us the life we need. He died so that we could once again live in Him. And as long as we follow Him, and not those “bright and shiny things of the world,” we have the original.

When we follow Him, we have the real.

We have healing that really heals. We have freedom that sets us free. We have riches that satisfy our every need. We have a salvation that truly saves. We have a peace that makes us whole and complete. We have a love that does not allow us to hate. We have a righteousness that is not SELF-righteous. And all of this is brought to us by a mighty Saviour who is life, the only Source. The Way. The original.

The moment I said, “I choose you, Jesus. I give up death, and I choose to follow you", the Spirit of the law of life in Christ Jesus set me free from the law of sin and death.

At that moment His life surged through me like never before, and I was transformed, from the inside out. I had everything that the fake could never give me. Even true physical healing, the healing that is from the inside out.

So often, we only believe in what we can see, and what we can see is physical or natural. Doctors. Medicines. Test results. Scientific studies. If we just look on the surface of things, that’s as far as our faith can go. This is what the world teaches. This is the devil’s realm, and it is all he, the god of this world, wants you to see. If you see more, if you see beyond the physical, you’ll no longer be in bondage to him, you’ll be free. You’ll be free as I am free.

Take the original and let go of the fake. Let go and be free.