Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Right Direction

It seems to me that every once in a while we need to check our God- given road map and make sure we are headed off in the right direction. There are so many avenues that come are way, and courses that we may / think we should or could take, but if we are not cautious, we too may very easily veer off quickly in the wrong direction, and before we know it we will be way off course. We will humbly need to 'stop' and ask directions so we can return & stay the course!

Clearly we are warned of deception in the last days. Clearly. Yet so many seem indifferent to the" repeated" warnings that are present in scripture! Are they/ am I so accurate in my theology that I/we do not need to heed them? They are there for a reason, for all of us, for all to take heed to. We need the warnings of scripture - and clearly the Father knew that we would need them, ..for he repeated them several times..!! It's like the Father is saying - "If you didn't get it the first time, child, I will repeat it here for you again". Also, if there were hundreds of false prophets in the O.T. and as well in the time of the apostles and early disciples as indicated scripturally, how much more do we in these days need to heed the fact that they are indeed as well present today, and as such, continue to lead people unknowingly astray. (Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world) If John could say this then, that many false prophets at that time had gone out in the world, how much more could it be said today? Yet it is surprising to me that with such warnings evident in scripture, people ignore warnings to test everything, and assume for example, that just because it's supernatural, just because it's Christian, or just because it's God, it's therefore God indeed. Why not test with scripture ? Why not? What's the problem ? If it's indeed from God, and we are convinced it is, then what's the problem ? Why not keep from deception? Listen God is all wise and all knowing and if He said it, it is for our admonition and spiritual good and growth. Remember Jesus said they will come to you in sheep's clothing , .. I am thinking they very well will have a Bible in their hands !

Take for example the issue of pride. I think it's one of the top reasons why people think they don't need to test anything. They lack humility to the Word of God. The Word of God is not going to change for anyone! I have noticed that if people are easily offended by what is said when it is only in concern for another, it's plain and simple, it's pride that causes people to abruptly be offended. If they are confident in Christ and their relationship and that they are on course, they won't be offended. Instead they will joy, thankfulness, and they will have a good fruit basket to turn around and share with others, even in those moments. It's pride that causes people to not feel that they can ever be deceived and to be arrogant and unloving to others, but most of all, it's pride that people don't heed the scriptures. Soon off track, they will realize that God is all wise all knowing and humbly they will return and forsake their foolishness. As servants of him, we all to know that this is ongoing in us all and we are therefore not easily angered to these kinds of things, but instead we are humbled greatly in respect of truly understanding not only our own need, but the needs of others.

I once heard a preacher say something I will never forget. Words to definitely live by! He said something like this:

"Listen, I could be wrong.."

He was not discounting what he had said, he was saying that he was only sharing from the Light of what God had given him, and that he was being careful not to go beyond that. He was saying that he trusted the Lord to guide ALL , including himself, where He needed or someone needed added Light to the Truth. This is a good attitude to have in regards to ourselves and one another.

In my understanding he was very wise and knowing - but interestingly, it was those three words that revealed his true character to me ! This because, when I heard him say that, I realized (with joy) that the reason he had been given so much understanding (Light) was not because he was any different than anyone else, but because he kept that simple right attitude nestled within himself - He was aware of how greatly dependant and needy he was for God and God alone, to continually keep him and guide Him...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Eating Bread with Unwashed Hands

Reading Mark 7 today. The Pharisees didn't like the disciples of Jesus too much, did they? In fact, they cornered Jesus in this portion of text to directly accuse the disciples of Jesus of not keeping the traditions of the elders , one of which was to eat BREAD with washen hands. (ritual hand washing). Apparently this was not a practice that the followers of Jesus Christ valued or saw any spiritual value in at all.

It was a clever tactic, only the end result was that it backfired and became a mirror into their own spiritual condition. Christ turned it around instead and used this to expose their own hearts. He took this opportunity to show them who it was that was truly falling short in terms of what God truly is after (in us all). He laid it all out bare and used this opportunity to expose to THEM their useless rituals and traditions, which they performed, as complete failure in terms of God's love and true desire for mankind. How indignant they most likely were at the thought of all that they had placed their hope in, for ages,... to be told that it was actually against Christ ?! and not helpful at all !?

In their religious mindset they understood and perceived that the way to impress God and be in God's favor was to be religious in their endeavors to perform a certain way, pray a certain way, read scripture a certain way, have church a certain way and a certain day. The Pharisees felt they had the direct approval and complete favor of God for their efforts;  they were very meticulous, in fact they were handed down through the generations by scribes such as Nehemiah. Their intent at the time of Nehemiah was good - to not go into captivity again - i e in our time that would be to not fall into sin.    (One example of the failure of this logic, is  that the divorce rate among the church is as high - I have heard higher - than the 'world' .  Clearly this logic that one will not fall into sin by following rituals, man's commandments, traditions, or being of a  denominational mindset is not working)   

Eventually traditions and rituals are  elevated and worshiped above Christ the Lord.  They become extreme in their devotion or should I say bondage, as it becomes the burden of all their efforts. This brings total distortion of the Truth. Not just a portion. And we know that the Truth is a person - they totally missed Jesus. They missed Him standing there in front of them due to their distortion.    They are vehement in their pursuit of self righteousness ... and their attack against TRUE Jesus lovers and followers is a broken trail behind them. In the sad end, they become the exact opposite of what they profess, or should I say of WHO they profess to know.

How does this apply in the here and now? Do we subonsciously bring into our own relationship with Christ this idea of needing to "wash" our hands before we are free to eat the BREAD that comes down from above? I think we do.  Think about it.  Christ is the Bread of Life and we truly want to make ourselves bare before Him, bare and more bare, in the sense that we rely no longer on traditions and various rituals as any form of Gods favor. Bare in the sense that we acknowledge their is no value in them.  That they might even be dangerous to spiritual growth with Christ.  They are very prevalent in Christianity still from what I have seen.  There is no way we can earn God's love and favor.  WE are truly sad if we think that we can, but even sadder if we turn around and teach others to do the same (as the pharisees did)  "If any man have ears to hear - Jesus said - let them hear."

There are many accusations spewed out against us who are outside the traditional institutional type thinking and environment. That would seek to disqualify us as legitimate in terms of our faith (that is bare) and in terms of our love and commitment to Christ and mankind.  WE are no longer a part of the church they would say because we "eat our bread with UNWASHEN hands." However, it is beside those disciples that we stand,  who also were railed against.  The great Son Jesus has spoken long ago and is still saying that same thing.   He   values highly not religious endeavors  (no value) but only those whose hearts would remain steadfast in love, devotion and committment to Him, .. even when it means living quietly and even solitarily in the midst of all this noise. Even when it means that the pharisees would gather together to make their accusation with all it's vehemence known.  It's all out there. The landscape of Christianity is filled with voices, so so many. They all blend into one voice at times -  often decrying that they alone know God perfectly and are sent to make it known to us.  

We have to listen so very closely now.  So many voices out there.  They will not always use scripture, but  often  they will use scripture cleverly, and know scripture so perfectly,  yet clearly lack God's Spirit, lacking love, compassion, true mercy.  Lack the ability to endeavor with the Spirit's love, help and guidance the simple ability to  show the way CLEARLY to Christ.  They will instead show the way "unto their religious beliefs etc."  Their knowledge of scripture and doctrines becomes (as it did in the case of the Pharisees of old and of now,) a repeated scenario of scripture quoting doctrine police who see themselves as God-sent,  to correct, rebuke the masses.  They become a massive hindrance and stumbling block.

There is so much to say but it struck my heart this morning reading this, of that direct accusation against the disciples.  That they were eating Bread (Jesus) without Washing Hands (keeping their forms, self imposed rituals and traditions). Let's rejoice together in Christ the Lord  that He has freed us from these things so that we can eat Bread with unwashen hands.

Friday, June 13, 2008

the Motive to my Madness

Jun 11, 2008

The Motive to my Madness
When you love someone with the love of God, you see inside their heart. You become extremely sensitive to what they are feeling and how they hear and understand. You can literally go inside of them and when things are spoken, you can hear through their ears, see through their eyes and understand things from their perspective. If someone says something negative to someone you love, you can decipher exactly what they heard, how they took it and what feelings they have because of it. It's not as though you see it from a distance, you actually experience it with them because your heart is woven tightly to theirs. Real love takes you outside of yourself and allows you to enter and meld with other people's hearts. The love of God is all about the heart.

Parents can tell when their child is showing off or embarrassed or insecure in front of a group of people when no one else in the room has a clue. If a person says something to one of my children, I know exactly what my child heard. I know if they understood what was said to them or if they took it wrong. I know immediately how my child felt about what was said, because I feel it with my child. I can usually predict their response. I see these things because my children are the "objects of my affections." When they hurt, I hurt. When they are sad, I feel that same sadness sweep over me. When they laugh, my heart laughs with them because we are one.

People constantly ask me why I preach the things I do. I've been accused of trying to come against everything in the Christian religion. Some people have accused me of purposefully trying to stir up controversy. Others have suggested that I like going against the flow of what everyone else is doing. I've been called a heretic, a deceiver and even a wolf in sheep's clothing. I've been called godless, rebellious and a hater of authority. Some people think I say the things I do because somewhere in my life I was deeply hurt by someone in the Church and I'm retaliating in anger. Others are convinced that I'm doing it for the attention. Many have suggested that I like debating and many more think I'm completely off my rocker.

You have to understand that when I first started loving people, I began to hear through their ears what we were teaching them. Suddenly, for the first time, I felt what they felt and I could see exactly what the traditional Churchey message was doing to their hearts. I could see destructiveness in the religiously-manipulative things that people flippantly said without thinking. For the first time in my life, I could actually see and feel what was going on in their hearts when the preacher said things such as, "You have to be in your Bible every day in order to know God." I could become as one with the feelings of shame, hopelessness and personal failure that each person in the audience felt when subjects like spiritual warfare, fasting and speaking in tongues were gloated about publicly. When the worship singer puts on that over-accentuated happy mask while singing through the offertory, I could experience firsthand the spiritual insecurity and lack of confidence in the people who were watching. Because I loved the people, I was in tune to the part of them that sheepishly compared themselves to that "victorious" person singing on stage, and I could sense their spiritual disappointment in themselves.

I think what defines religion is when people say things they've memorized and learned, but have never stopped to think about what was said or how it affects the people to whom they said it. I remember gasping in disbelief at the heartlessness of certain things that were spoken from the stage of my Church. The sad thing is that there is almost no truth at all to the things that are commonly stated in our religion. Most of the time we are just saying things we've grown up hearing people say.

Christianity is full of clichés and hook lines that people mindlessly quote when they don't know what else to say. Stuff like, "Give it to God, Brother," or "You need to be in the Word, Sister," effortlessly flow from our lips, but rarely do we stop to consider how the person we said it to was affected. That part doesn't matter to the religious person. All that matters to them is that they got an opportunity to say something they've heard others say. If it hurts people, they are not to blame; after all, sometimes the truth hurts. They crush the spirits of everyone around them, all in the name of religion. Let me be the first to say: it's heartless!

My deepest desire is to defend the hearts of people from this spirit of religion. This is why I come against the things I do. It's because these things have been used to oppress, manipulate and basically beat the hell out of honest and sincere people. If you read every one of my blogs, you will find one common denominator: they were written for the purpose of freeing people from a certain teaching that either put them in fear or spiritual and emotional bondage. This is why I wrote the "Spiritual Warfare" blog, "Bible" blog, "Fear of the Lord" blog, two "Worship" blogs and every blog on this website.

I am astounded at how oblivious some people are to the hearts and souls of others, while simultaneously being perfectly "in tune" to each jot and tittle of their religion. When you find yourself fighting for your doctrine at the expense of people, you have crossed the line from loving to heartlessness. An astounding number of people in Christianity today don't care in the least if what they say is harmful to others. They care only about defending and upholding their memorized system of beliefs. Ironically, they don't actually know for sure if any of those beliefs are true. They feel as though they are true because they've heard them said so many times, but when push comes to shove, they haven't seen one shred of evidence proving the authenticity of most of the things they say. It's merely a sentence they've memorized and quoted all their lives and nothing more.

I have found that if I take every cliché and hook line in the Christian world that clearly hurts people, and hold it up to the light, it proves to be untrue. The problem is that most Christians don't have the guts to hold their "beliefs" up to the light. They're not even sure they are allowed. They secretly wonder if doing so might make God feel like we do when the cashier at the convenience store holds our twenty-dollar bill up to the light. It's a feeling of being accused of counterfeiting and interrogated undeservingly. Remember that we mustn't think that holding Christian teachings up to the light is in any way mistrusting God. He is the Light! If you are a lover of people, you will find that almost everything you hear from the pulpit Sunday morning does not pass the light-test.

I believe that most Christian clichés and hook-lines came into existence in the Church because LOVE went out the door years ago. You simply cannot say some of the things I hear said if you love people. You cannot stand in front of a group of people and tell them that they all need to be fasting in their lives or else they won't get closer to God. Most of the people in that audience haven't fasted a day in their lives and when you say that to them, you are condemning a majority of folks in the room. You can't stand up and boast about your 21-day fast that you and the prayer team went on while praying for the big outreach on Saturday. Why? Because that kind of boasting makes everyone else feel small and insignificant in their walk with God.

If you love people, you can't tell them that unless they speak in tongues, they haven't received the "Baptism of the Holy Spirit." When you truly love, you wouldn't allow something so hideous and heartless leave your lips. Lovers of people don't make loveless statements like, "If you have any unforgiveness in your life at all, God won't forgive you." Think about it. Every single person on the planet earth can find some point of unforgiveness in their heart if they look hard enough. You are essentially telling everyone in the room that their Father in Heaven will NEVER forgive them. When you mechanically tell a congregation that if they don't give ten percent of their income, they're "robbing God," you are putting about 85% of the people into a hole of condemnation.

You wouldn't say such things if you loved them more than you did your religion. No Pastor who loves the people in his congregation would tell them that ‘if they love God, they need to show up to next Saturday's outreach and help out.' Think about that statement. These statements put thousands of people under terrible bondage that takes a lifetime to overcome. Someone who loves people wouldn't even consider suggesting that their Father would turn away or abandon them completely. Yet this heartless heresy is preached all over America to millions of precious souls.

I stand adamantly against most of what is said in Churches today. I do so because I love people and I sincerely want to protect their hearts. If a man were to tell my children the same lies about me as I've heard Christians tell each other about the Heart of God, I would absolutely freak out. Imagine someone going to your child's elementary school and gathering all the kids together and telling them that if they continue to mess up and make mistakes, their parents just might leave them forever. How would that make you feel as a parent? Ironically, we don't think twice about saying these things to God's children. What if someone told your son or daughter that if they didn't pay you 10% of their paycheck, you would lift your hand of protection from them and allow the fires of hell to swallow them up? How would you respond if you found out that someone told your child that they are on this earth to be your servant and slave? What would you do if a youth counselor at your child's school told your baby that if he or she ever directly disobeyed you, you would douse them with gasoline and light them on fire? What if I told you that I have taught my children that whatever awards, ribbons or trophies they won in life, they must give to me and give ME all the glory, and I would never under any circumstances share my glory with them? What kind of a parent would you see me as if I thought that way?

I do what I do for one reason: I am a lover of people! Every time someone comes against the things I teach, they are almost always hollow in their hearts and full of religion. They are protecting a "system of beliefs" that has no concern about human hearts. I made a decision long ago that I wouldn't mindlessly say the awful things I grew up hearing. I would challenge those horrible things and hold them up to the light. In doing so, I have discovered that any time something is said or taught that makes people feel scared or condemned, you can bet your life that it isn't true. When you look deeper at any teaching that hurts people, I am convinced that you'll find that it's just something people say, but has no truth attached to it. This generation needs to be motivated by love and nothing else. Anything less will ultimately destroy the souls of people

Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Greatest Part of the Journey

FORGIVENESS frees my soul ..

Know all and you will pardon all. --Thomas A’Kempis

We are all full of weakness and errors; let us mutually pardon each other our follies

A mature Christian has capacity to absorb the offenses and weaknesses of others, not just demand they perform up to the code of ideals. --Stephen Crosby

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you.—Unknown

Anger makes you smaller, while forgiveness forces you to grow beyond what you were. --Cherie Carter-Scott

He who cannot forgive breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass.--George Herbert

Resentment is like a glass of poison that a man drinks; then he sits down and waits for his enemy to die.—Unknown

A Christian will find it cheaper to pardon than to resent. Forgiveness saves the expense of anger, the cost of hatred, and the waste of spirit. --Hannah More

Forgiveness means that you've decided not to let it keep festering inside even if it only comes up once in awhile. --Doc Childre and Howard Martin

Forgiveness is giving up the possibility of a better past. --Unknown

Forgiveness is a funny thing. It warms the heart and cools the sting. --William A. Ward

You will know that forgiveness has begun when you recall those who hurt you and feel the power to wish them well. --Lewis B. Smedes

It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend. --William Blake:

Forgiveness is . . . accepting God's sovereign use of people and situations to strip you of self importance, and humiliate your self love. --Martha Kilpatrick

Without deep humility, true forgiveness is impossible…and will never happen. --Martha Kilpatrick

Forgiveness is me giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me. --Anonymous

Never does the human soul appear so strong as when it foregoes revenge, and dares forgive an injury. --E. H. Chapin

Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?-- Abraham Lincoln

There is no revenge so complete as forgiveness.-- Josh Billings

Always forgive your enemies--nothing annoys them so much.-- Oscar Wilde

To err is human; to forgive, divine.-- Alexander Pope

Humanity is never so beautiful as when praying for forgiveness, or else forgiving another. --Jean Paul Richter

The glory of Christianity is to conquer by forgiveness. --William Blake

Yes, this is what good is: to forgive evil. There is no other good. --Antonio Porchia

A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers. --Robert Quillen

Forgiveness is the final form of love. --Reinhold Niebuhr

One forgives to the degree that one loves. --Francois de La Rochefoucauld

'Tis the most tender part of love, each other to forgive. --John Sheffield

Never forget the three powerful resources you always have available to you: love, prayer, and forgiveness. --H. Jackson Brown

We are all on a life long journey and the core of its meaning, the terrible demand of its centrality is forgiving and being forgiven. --Martha Kilpatrick

Forgiveness is the giving, and so the receiving, of life. --George MacDonald

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Heart Tugs (soften our hearts O Lord)

I am reminded today with joy,  of the many promises we are partakers of, through Jesus, directly through our relationship with Him.  WE are given joy and  specifically, we are given the opportunity today and everyday, as we hear His voice, to soften our hearts.  People who are lost and those who do not know Him, and know the Light that is  shining all around them of Christ and His love for them,... they may not hear His voice today, they may not have that opportunity that you and I have been given, to soften our hearts toward Him.

Be grateful and rejoice that you & I have had, and continue in Him to have, the opportunity each day to awaken, and to feel the tug of His Spirit in our hearts, and have songs  and joyfulness within our hearts.  The reason for that tug is to soften our hearts.  Think of what it means if you were to lose that every morning.   Think of what it means for others to have never ever known or experienced that.  

The tug at our heart is a sure sign of God's love and of His desire to welcome us into sweet fellowship with Him each and every day. He longs for us.  People who are in the world and caught up in ambitions and deceptions, they do not have that tug at all in their heart.  They may have once had it, but slowly over time, they lose that heart tug, little by little.  

WE need to continually help each other to offer ourselves up to this process daily.  The process of softening our hearts and responding to Him.