Saturday, July 25, 2009
How many times have I heard someone refer to the “system” as being synonymous with the institutional entity erroneously called the church? I don’t know. All I do know is that it is way too confining a definition, too small a picture for me. Why? It’s because “we know that we are children of God and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one”. This control is in actuality the matrix of religion, otherwise known as the world system, and it has completely saturated our beliefs, outlooks and thought processes.
This matrix of religion exists within and is entrapped by our soul and is what fuels beliefs, philosophies, creeds, etc. There has to be an impetus, otherwise all such ideologies would be a house of cards. Satan, being the father of religion, is both the impetus and the instigator.
I want to make it clear that Satan operates from within the arena of the soul. That is the location from which not only evil emanates but also where truth wishes to reside, (be fleshed out) contingent upon our choices. Our spirits (if we have been born-again) are pure and perfect forever, having been indwelt by the spirit of Christ.
“Leaving the system” is usually interpreted as making an exodus from a religious or institutional setting, and yes it is, but it is only a very miniscule part of the departure. Everything outside of being ‘in Christ’ is religion. This includes our moral conduct, how we choose to live our lives, our definition of right and wrong, etc., and it doesn’t matter one whit whether one is a believer or an atheist. Religious organizations may be flavoured differently but are but one expression of the father of lies’ intent to draw Christians away from the simplicity of the gospel - which is there is NOTHING we can do to earn God’s favour. Our good works, our ‘holiness’, our right living are all based on Satan’s deceptive assertions that by our ‘doing’ or being a good person we can be ‘like God’.
So, leaving the “system” does not/cannot extricate us from Satan’s influence in terms of the religious bondage he has intertwined within the strands of our soul. This may come as a surprise. Many who have left institutional Christianity blame their former religious leaders for duping them and leading them astray from the truth. That may be partly true, but it is essential to remember that these religious leaders have been lied to by the same enemy that exists in everyone’s soul. In other words, these leaders are just as deceived as you and I who have begun to see the truth. Our anger is misdirected; it’s not the leaders or the system that is responsible for the deception: it is the Father of Lies himself. In gratitude to Christ for opening our blind eyes, our response should be to pray for those leaders still enslaved within the chains of religious bondage.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Those who don’t know the Lord are often contemptuous of those who do. They think believers are stupid at best or brain-washed at least. They don’t realize that they, too, have been totally duped by the enemy of their souls.
EVERY person alive exists within the confines of his/her own personal matrix, custom-designed to keep him/her blind from seeing the truth. What is this matrix? It’s religion, pure and simple. But how can people who don’t pretend to believe in God be entrapped in religion? It’s because we typically think of ‘religion’ as being something which goes hand in hand with one’s particular faith, when actually religion is one’s lifestyle. It’s how people choose to live their lives. “I may not be the best person in the world”, they say, “but at least I don’t abuse my sick days at work”. “I don’t claim to be religious, but I am kind to others and give money to charity.” “I don’t believe in God but I consider myself to be a moral person” etc. etc. etc. In this sense, even atheists are religious, because they live their lives according to their own personal moral code.
Religion was instituted by Satan in the garden as a means to circumvent having dependency on God. Merriam-Webster defines religion thus:
- a personal set or institutionalized system of attitudes, beliefs and practices
- a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith
What better temptation could Satan have contrived than one that would persuade humankind we don’t need God? That we, by virtue of our own ‘ethics’ and ‘morality’ could decide for ourselves what is an acceptable code of conduct, or what is ‘good’ and what is ‘evil’? What people don’t see (because they have been blinded) is that apart from Christ, there IS no ‘morality’. Why? It’s because at the moment when Adam and Eve succumbed to temptation, a cataclysmic event disfigured their souls, and Satan has been able to replicate himself in the flesh of every person born since. That’s what the scriptures mean when humankind is described as having been ‘born in sin and shaped in iniquity’.
The truth is, without knowing Christ as our life, we are eternally, totally lost and without hope - and no religion or religious set of beliefs is going to alter that fact one whit. Non-believers (and many believers) have absolutely no concept as to the utter depravity of their own souls. They blissfully live their lives in utter ignorance, endeavouring to be ‘good’ people by following the rules, playing nicely with others and adhering to social mores.
This religious veneer, however, is incredibly thin. No one has any idea what s/he is capable of when backed into a corner. When consumed with fear, rage, jealousy or hunger, people have done horrendous things (check out the daily newspaper). It’s at those moments that people come face to face with the evil inherent in the core of their very beings. “I would have never thought she was capable of murder!” Oh, really? We are ALL capable of the most horrific, despicable acts. There is not one of us better than any other.
This is the good news/bad news scenario. The bad news is that we are irreparably flawed, depraved and rotten to the core. The good news is that we are irreparably flawed, depraved and rotten to the core! It’s bad news for those who live their lives according to their own moral code, who don’t recognize that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is the only hope. It’s good news for believers, because it testifies to the fact that we can do NOTHING to measure up or to try to attain to God’s holy standards. It sets us FREE from trying (and failing) to keep the rules and agonizing over our total inability to change ourselves – because HE HAS DONE IT ALL FOR US (but that’s another blog entry)!
Sunday, July 19, 2009
To run any computer without some kind of protection as in anti-virus software, is simply an impending computer accident of the night mare kind just looking for a place to happen.
Don’t leave home without it!
What internal software are we as believers running regarding the nasty contaminates just waiting to bring us down into another form of polluted corruption?
I love with sobering clarity the words Jesus spoke regarding becoming polluted, corrupted and defiled, He said, “It’s not what goes into a man that defiles him, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man. That which proceeds from the mouth, comes from the heart, therein lays the defilement.”
This hidden but lively poison is resident within all flesh; yes even the “Christians” flesh.
Recently a colleague of mine phoned in sick to work, as natural as breathing the thought came flooding into my consciousness, “He’s simply pulling a fast one,” of course this was based upon factual knowledge, right, WRONG!
Here is a joke to lighten things up here for a moment, what is a mental gymnast, someone who jumps at erroneous conclusions. Ha!! Of course this never happens in a Christian’s life or thinking does it-ha!
Such full of life and hope, these words spoken to those who have ears to hear from Paul: “In a well-furnished kitchen there are not only crystal goblets and silver platters, but waste cans and compost buckets—some containers used to serve fine meals, others to take out the garbage. Become the kind of container God can use to present any and every kind of gift to his guests for their blessing. Run away from infantile indulgence. Run after mature righteousness—faith, love, peace—joining those who are in honest and serious prayer before God. Refuse to get involved in inane discussions; they always end up in fights. God's servant must not be argumentative, but a gentle listener and a teacher who keeps cool, working firmly but patiently with those who refuse to obey. You never know how or when God might sober them up with a change of heart and a turning to the truth, enabling them to escape the Devil's trap, where they are caught and held captive, forced to run his errands.”
As well as these words of encouragement from John: “If we claim that we experience a shared life with him and continue to stumble around in the dark, we're obviously lying through our teeth—we're not living what we claim. But if we walk in the light, God himself being the light, we also experience a shared life with one another, as the sacrificed blood of Jesus, God's Son, purges all our sin.
If we claim that we're free of sin, we're only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense. On the other hand, if we admit our sins—make a clean breast of them—he won't let us down; he'll be true to himself. He'll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing. If we claim that we've never sinned, we out-and-out contradict God—make a liar out of him. A claim like that only shows off our ignorance of God.”
Talk about a fabulous and totally dependable means of keeping free from the nasty inner workings of the flesh trying to bog us done with condemnation.
Along with the new Operating System of His grace and love, is this built in anti-virus software that works better than the law of gravity!
Saturday, July 18, 2009
The following quote is from my friend Bill Landon, from his book entitled, “The Devil You Don’t Know”.
“It is not a mark of shame that we have a set of misconceptions incorporated in our basic understanding. This is not evidence that we are stupid, immoral or slow-witted. Think of where we came from. We all have come out of the world. This is a world that is awash in misconceptions, ignorance and outright dishonesty. You must always keep in mind that the world is under the control of the evil one: “We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” (1 John 5:19). So we all come into the life of Christ with an impressive set of fairy tales about the way things are. This reality is difficult to accept, especially for us who are convinced that we are pretty savvy about how things are. It is nonetheless, true.
We need to consider some things. What is more important—coming to a deeper understanding of the Father, His world and ourselves or preserving our own foolish pride? To me, there is nothing sweeter than coming to know the truths of God. I am practical enough to realize that this sweetness may be too esoteric for many people. Then consider the pragmatic advantages of growing in the understanding of the truth.”
I want to add some thoughts of my own especially in light of this, “So we all come into the life of Christ with an impressive set of fairy tales about the way things are.”
There is a growing sense within me that once gain how even the wonders of the ‘grace message’ seems to becoming in just another form of self-righteousness, let me explain if I can.
The evil one’s influence is not a done deal in the life of a believer, really, duh! The heart beat of our God and Savior is ‘compassion’ and that word in and of itself is so bankrupt of describing the intensity of what He actually feels to and for us, lost and found humanity.
Without seeing, encountering His closeness I see experiencing grace as a meaningless venture if in fact more of His compassionate heart does not set aflame our inner most being for those He died and rose again for.
Our continued ability to see more clearly and compassionately toward those who still continue to choose death, religion etc. is out of a growing cognizant sobriety that His grace engenders.
In my continued journey I am choosing to embrace the truth of His great love in exchange for my present and yet to be recognized fairy tale mentality.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
My buddy Mark is someone on the outside who can so easily be seen for who he isn’t, you know judging a book by its cover?
What Mark use to be and who he is now and is becoming, is a living oasis in a barren desert world, it is my deep delight in knowing him as my friend and brother in Christ!
Mark has two dogs, both obtained from the pound, the last one named Harley is a cross between a Newfoundland/Lab and Chow, and he now weighs about 140 pounds. If Harley bumps into you, it is you that moves not him. I remember Mark telling me about one of the times when Harley was much lighter, only 90 pounds that in his doggy brain seeing himself as being just a pup, decided to jump up onto Mark’s lap, well to say the least, it proved to be most interesting.
I’ve told Mark, Harley should be the poster dog for Pet Smart, meaning this dog has repeatedly proven that the guaranteed ‘indestructible’ label on various dog related products are meaningless to this canine masticating punisher.
Mark has gone back several times already to have Pet Smart come up good on replacing the previous product he purchased reading, “indestructible”!
This highlights to me something else that far surpasses the label of being indestructible, and that is the Life that is ready and available for whom so ever wills, to simply receive it.
It is that life I want to speak of here in some quotes from Austin Sparks.
“This divine life is incorruptible and therefore indestructible. It is deeper down than our consciousness, deeper than our souls, deeper than all our sensations. Yes, deeper than this human frame, deeper than this mental constitution, deeper than the whole organism of our physical and nervous life, so that we may even lose our reason and spend the end of our years in a lunatic asylum, and it makes no difference to the deepest reality. Very often in unconsciousness there is that that can be touched by prayer. There is a point of communication.
You may find some real child of God, in whom His life has not been paralysed, but who has been in communion with Him, and that one falls perhaps into a great sickness, and in sickness loses consciousness. There is no communication on the outside with anyone, no response to anything said; but kneel down beside that one and begin to pray in the Spirit, and you find a point of contact. There is response, quickening, peace comes in where there has been torment or delirium, perhaps life begins to flicker again. You have a point of contact. It is spirit to spirit. It is one life.
This life of God is a mighty thing within the renewed spirit of man. This is our point: that is the divine basis upon which His end concerning man is to be realised. The one thing that Satan is against is the getting of Christ inside. He will have any kind of substitute in Christianity and religion, just so long as you do not come too near on the question of regeneration or rebirth, which means the introduction of Christ into the innermost part. Anything but that. Any lie but that.”
That is what we meant when we said that God’s thought becomes much more positive by reason of the conditions obtaining through the fall: that is, there have to be these active, energetic factors now implanted in man. It all becomes a matter of conflict to get that.
Monday, July 06, 2009
The art of story-telling is a language that targets the heart, and as Jesus said, “he who has hears to hear, let him hear what the spirit is saying.”
Slowly I am continuing to peck away at reading more of Brennan Manning’s books, the one I’m in right now is, “A Glimpse Of Jesus” and it too is deeply touching my heart, hearing the truth as freeing as it is, is also very painful!
Something (there are so many things I’d love to share from this little book) that spoke volumes to me today was from Manning quoting (which he does a lot of) journalist and Christian apologist Malcolm Muggeridge.
“Only mystics, clowns and artists, in my experience, speak the truth, which, as Blake keeps insisting, is perceptible to the imagination rather than the mind. Our knowledge of Jesus Christ is far too serious a business to be left to theologians and exegetes alone. From the Middle Ages these professionals have monotonously neglected art and the imagination as guides to religious truth. I find myself in complete agreement with those who wish to reinstate the mystics, clowns and artists alongside the scholars. The imaginable is the believable.” To modify Wittgenstein: ‘What we cannot imagine, we must confine to silence and non-belief.’