A Voice in the
Wilderness

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December 31, 1997

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"Past, Present, Future"

Greetings Everyone...

Past...

The other day a regular corresponding friend asked "How did VW get started, anyway?" Very briefly...as I go about my work, I am usually in a state of thought/prayer. This one particular afternoon, thus engaged, suddenly, I knew the Lord was indicating to me that I should start "writing" a monthly newsletter. This I knew "had to be the Lord" because I am not a "writer." I've been a musician, and while I've done some speaking/preaching...I've NEVER been a writer. So it began July, 1994 as a small postal mailing.

The following winter, while watching one of the prophecy programs on TBN, the particular program announced that they had a new "Homepage." At that moment, suddenly, I knew the Lord wanted VW to expand to a Website...although, at the time, I had no idea for sure what a "Homepage" might be, nor what the "Internet" was. I forget the exact details now, but the Lord allowed communication with a "long-lost cousin" who got me started into CompuServe. I was loading up the articles into the Religion Libraries, and spent MANY HOURS on the forums, posting, replying...and being censored into the "private area" for speaking out with Scripture "too much." Around the same time the e-mailing list began its infancy.

Then, I was having modem troubles. And while at the computer store to buy a new modem, I saw that ISP services were very reasonably priced, with a lot of homepage space. And about the same time, I became reaquainted with another cousin who pointed me in the necessary directions with html code.

As it turned out, during the two weeks that I was "away" from the CompuServe forums, compiling the beginnings of the VW Website, the "section leaders" at CompuServe "Religion" decided to start implementing some new policies and/or reinterpreting old ones. Whatever the case, when I "came back" there was essentially NO quoting of Scripture anymore. (This, in a forum called "Christianity.") They never "locked me out" as they have done with a few of you, but many of my posts would simply "mysteriously" not appear on the board anymore. It wasn't too much longer and it was time to unsubscribe from CompuServe. It had obviously become a "closed door."

Throughout the whole thing, the Lord's hand has been evident in this. There are many things that didn't get mentioned here. But the timing of the meeting of cousins, troubles with modems so that I could see about ISPs, to the preparation of the WebSite, even as the powers that be were making plans where I was engage in the "warfare" to shut the doors. I didn't know...but the Lord did...and had me making the new preparations.

Present...

While anybody can see the "Visitor Numbers" at websites, and sizes of e-mailing list databases...numbers do not tell the whole story. You all get an idea once in a while from the Q/A's as to the kinds of responses people (some being you) write in.

It would seem that you who make up this "Cyber Congregation" are quite diverse. Over 99% of you are on it because you subscribed. Most of you I never get to know because you are simply a "line" in the database. But, based on things many of you write as comments or questions, or the little things some of you mentioned about yourselves when you subscribed, you are from, literally, every "nook-and-cranny" of the world... every continent, and MANY DIFFERENT countries. (I didn't know English was spoken in so many places!)

Of those I hear from, many of you are of "like precious faith" and you have "come out of" the organized church, and are meeting in homes or in small groups in various places. Many of you are "individuals" in a "wilderness." For many of you, VW seems to be a focal point from which you derive Spiritual encouragement and exhortation. Many of you, in turn, take the VW materials and pass them on to further mailing lists. Some get posted in school/seminary libraries, BBS's and other such places.

Others saw what you thought was a proper "label" of "Christianity" and this is sort of "rounding out" your "christian experience." Some of you are not Believers in Jesus Christ, but you are seeking, reading VW offerings along with everything else you can get your hands on. Some of you are subscribed out of "curiosity." You pretty well think that what comes out of VW is probably a bunch of bunk. But you receive your entertainment from it. Some are here for the purposes of scoffing and ridicule. And, a little bit of everything in between.

What is VW here for? .....

Well...for a little bit of "all" of you. Most of my life "my" burden was for "the church." (I'm not an "evangelist") When I used to do music, it was for the goal that Christians would recommit themselves to the Lord for more faithful service. That was before I came to the more recent realization that most people in the "church" don't know the Lord...realizing that the apostasy we are in is something which is coming "from out of" the "church."(Acts20:30)

The Number One burden from the Lord is that people will "know the Lord" and be part of the "Church." (big "C") That people will know God's Word; this is why we do studies like currently in James & 1John. That people will know enough to be warned against false teaching; this is why we speak periodically to such subjects as Promise Keepers, Revival, Rapture, "gay rights", etc.

As the heading at the Website says, "Oasis of Biblical Truth." In a desert one finds oases. Places in the midst of dry bareness where there is water and growing vegetation. The world is a big desert of false teaching, deception and rebellion. We seek to hold forth God's Word in Its purity. Any teaching, any questions answered, are always with God's Word as the foundation. We do not apologize for this stance, nor will we waver from it.

Future...

The same friend (who was referenced at the beginning of this note) was also bewailing recently the "falling" of so many who used to be solid in the Word...or so it seems. And in a friendly way chided me that I'd "better not ever slip" like they have.

Well, all I can say to that is, "ditto" and "Amen!" Yes, I am periodically beset by human frailties, and "fears" in connection with the writings. When we began 1John, for instance, I looked at the recent lesson in (5:6-13) and was "worried" about remembering the "correct theology" regarding the "water and blood." And we began the book in other passages. But, with the coming of the traditional time of year when people remember the "Birth of Christ" the Lord made it clear that "now" was the time to consider chapter 5, and some of the things about Christ's essence as He came to this world. And the Holy Spirit gave a different lesson from the "traditional."

This happens periodically, as I come to realize that many of the "traditions" I grew up with are flawed. While I still believe I was "saved" at age 5 (I am now 40-something), there were many years I taught/preached the same things that the false prophets are preaching; not because I was convinced of them from Scripture...but because the "great men of God" taught them. I was not a "Berean." I did not search the Scriptures daily to see if those things "were so." I simply accepted some scholar's explanation of the Scripture...as I sat in the pews of certain "brands" of "church."

But let me tell you. When you come to the Lord in total repentance, and get the garbage cleaned out, and start seeking His Face with the whole heart; there is a new relationship that becomes established through the Holy Spirit. The Word of God "speaks" to you. It becomes "clear." You don't "need" some PERSON to teach you, because the Holy Spirit teaches (1Jn2:27), just like Jesus promised would happen. (Jn16:13) One does not need to "confer with flesh and blood."(Gal1:16) Having at one time been "there" and now being "here" ...why would I want to go back! It is my heart's desire and firm vow to remain steadfast. The commitment is to "spend and be spent for your souls" (2Cor12:15) for our Lord.

And thus, I encourage each of you to not simply accept teaching that comes from VW ...BECAUSE it came from VW. Rather, search the Scriptures for yourself. By now you have come to realize that teaching does not happen, but what there are scads of Scripture references supporting it. Look up those references. Read the context surrounding them. Be convinced in your own heart regarding what God's Word says. If I present error...please, please, please...show me. From Scripture.

So, as we come to the close of another year, and continue waiting with anticipation in the new year for our Lord to come to receive the Believing Christians unto Himself (Jn14:3) let me express my deep appreciation to you who are of "like precious Faith" for your Spiritual support. Let me encourage and exhort you to remain steadfast in the Faith (Col1:23), to not waver nor faint.(Gal6:9)

And if you are one who does not yet "know" the Lord, be assured that the Lord's desire for you is to be saved. Up until now you may be in rebellion or ignorance, "Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, (Acts17:30) The coming of the Lord is very near. He is waiting for 1) the wickedness of the world to become full (Gen15:16,Dan8:23,9:24) and for 2) the number of the Redeemed to be filled (Lk14:23,Acts15:14,Rom11:25)

But He will not wait indefinitely. While He is "longsuffering...not willing that any should perish" ..He is also "not slack concerning His promise."(2Pt3:9) And there will come a point in time for you when He will say "the time is at hand. He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still." (Rev22:11) He calls many (Mt22:14) and says, "Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." (2Cor6:2)

It is my desire that anyone who may read anything coming from VW will know the Lord, and...

Always be...

Looking unto Jesus... (Heb12:2)
Paul

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