Monday, August 27, 2012

Religion is of the flesh . . .

Religious behavior is ingrained in us all. Religion is of the flesh and its ultimate source is pride. When we choose men or women as "ordained" to lead us and "do" religious minutiae for us -- we have decided that they are better suited or better educated to administer God-stuff for all of us while we do other worldly-stuff. It is utter nonsense when one really reads the bible more closely. 

Yes, the Lord God of Israel set up a priestly caste of Levi in the Old Testament. But Christ nullified everything of the flesh, of sin, and yes even of religion. Religion died on the cross with Christ. The first letter Paul wrote was to the Galatians and it was to stop their being religious-minded, rules-bound, and to set them back on the simple truth of no religion -- but only Christ. Only freedom in the Spirit was to guide the ekklesia; the assembly of believers -- not ANY man, not any principle but a Person -- in Christ alone are we to gather -- in Christ alone.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The following exercise is from the synchroblog at

Fielding Melish and his wife Felicia have two children, ages 10 and 6. They live in a very remote part of Maine, USA. They are surrounded by extended family, none of whom are Christians. The nearest churches are one hour away, and by all evangelical standards, none of them are good. These churches are either highly legalistic, highly libertine, or just flat-out flaky.

One of Fielding’s cousins is a practicing Christian. They see each other once a year. Fielding’s cousin has shared Christ with Fielding many times over the years. Whenever they’ve talked about spiritual things, Fielding shows interest.

Felicia grew up in a Christian home. She’s received Christ, but she isn’t evangelistic and is overwhelmed with working long hours and raising two small children. She would love to find a church nearby for the spiritual support and instruction, but none exist.

Fielding has no college education. While he is capable of reading, he is not a reader. He doesn’t use the Web either. He’s a man who works with his hands, both for his career and for recreation. He’s an “outdoorsman.” He hunts, he builds, he does manual labor, etc. In his spare time, he helps his elderly parents with various building projects.

Fielding is not an atheist. Neither is he an agnostic. He believes in God. He believes Jesus is the Savior of the world who died for our sins and rose again from the dead. He hasn’t fully surrendered his life to Christ, but he is not sure what that looks like exactly. His children know a little about the Lord, mostly because of what their mother has taught them.

Recently Fielding asked this question:

When I’m with my cousin once a year, I want to learn more about God. But when I come back home, and I’m around everyone else, my mind is off of God, and I am back to working, raising my kids, and helping my parents. Someone needs to come up with a solution for people like me . . . people who are in the middle. (By “in the middle,” Fielding means someone who believes in Jesus, but who isn’t fully absorbed in the faith yet either. They simply don’t know enough nor do they have any spiritual support system around them.)

Relocating is not an option for Fielding and his wife. Even if they wanted to relocate, they don’t see a way they could do it financially.

Remember: Fielding and his wife don’t personally know any Christians. None of their extended family or coworkers are believers either. And the nearest churches (which are an hour away) aren’t recommended.

Question: If you were Fielding’s cousin, how would you instruct him and his wife the next time you saw them?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Misplaced Desire . . .

I have been considering the fact that God created us with souls that hunger and thus experience desire. I believe that that singularly deep and unfulfilled desire we experience as humans is designed to cause us to need and thus experience the reality of love, (to know the joy of fulfillment & completion), and so to be able give love.

As God is love, we can then be in a place to somehow realize that deeper need for the love of God Himself in our lives. When He extends His infinitely forgiving, redeeming, unconditional, and life-giving love in a personal way to us, we may at last finally see our desire is indeed for Him and cry out for all that everlasting love He can bring alive in us. Without our longing, without our desire, without our emotional hunger we are like automatons. God has made us in His image. He is a God  that desires and wants a destiny for His Creation. He desires that we know Him and His love. He wants us for Himself more than any of us can realize. Read the Song of Solomon. Read of how Isaac ran to meet Rebekkah as she approached him. These are but a few of the biblical pictures of how the Lord God desires each one of us as a Bride, as His love completed. He is calling a great throng of people to know His heart and to love Him. He will teach us a new way of desire, a selfless love that will fill us with His Spirit.

The danger we face as humans is to attempt to fill a natural God-given desire with things that cannot satisfy and sometimes can deeply hurt us. We can hurt others as well. In our search for what we deeply hunger -- we can develop misplaced desire that can gradually consume our lives in painful ways. In our individual search for happiness, fulfillment, joy, peace, love and yes, unknowingly, even God Himself -- we substitute other things that will never bring us to that lasting joy of contentment and peace. Sometimes what we choose to bring a sense of closure to our search is but an endless maze of sorrow, shame, pain, addiction, and sometimes death. We must carefully consider what may be driving our misplaced desire. We must seek the truth and get help if we need such to avoid years of wasted life pursuing an object of misplaced desire.

Below, I offer more ideas by others on this issue of "misplaced desire" . . .

"Our misplaced desires lead to emotional sickness. The Bible says, “hope deferred makes the heart sick.” To find emotional healing, you must recover hope. Place your desire in the only thing that will never be deferred. Above all else, desire God." ~ Angie Wyatt

"The application of misplaced desires eventually becomes a cycle of addiction where stimulating encounters, relief, and the mad search for new experiences become ingrained in the recesses of the mind. The insatiable appetite to acquire, to own, to indulge, to take pleasure, to consume, is relentless. Rationality and moral self-control are dominated by the rising lust for power, an insidious power that becomes a sacred goal, a wholly consuming interest." ~ Michael G. Moriarty

"Augustine’s Confessions is in large measure a record of misplaced desire. Our hearts well up with idolatrous desire for created things. We turn to the world of beautiful things instead of turning to the one who is Beauty itself. “In my unlovely state I plunged into those lovely created things which you had made.” But even in our corruption and confusion, God remains the hidden object of our desire. God uses our misplaced desires to draw us, in spite of ourselves, to God. “You were with me, and I was not with you.” In our desire for beautiful things, we are suddenly ambushed by God’s beauty, deep and secret and seductive . . ." ~ Ben Myers

"Every day our desires affect our wants which affects how we act, what choices we make, and who we decide to be. The friends we choose to be close with, the job we take, the way we spend our free time — all of these reflect our desires; yet it’s common to feel unattached to our desires and have almost no idea what it is we really want. Our struggles with sin and addictions are rooted in desire. . . . I believe a lot of sins are from misplaced desire.

Does that mean that desire is bad? I think the church in the West would jump to the conclusion yes! Desire gets me into trouble, I need to avoid it at all costs. Yet I would argue that unowned desire is what gets us in trouble. When we don’t understand what our desires our and when we don’t ‘own them’ we are controlled by them.

Take time to look into your sins as well as your wants to find your desires. We cannot repent of our desires, they are God-given and legitimate, but we can repent of seeking to fulfill them in the wrong way. Let God show you what desires He’s placed in you and own them. Don’t be controlled by them. Live your life fueled by desire under control and guided by God’s Word." ~ Evan Olsen

I would add to the above thoughts that we believers mainly need to be guided by the Spirit's voice of love for us. “Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.” ~ Psalm 37:4

The Way Crooked … made straight . . .

The Way Crooked … made straight . . .

Given #1: The wicked heart/soul, with human nature being twisted, has a law of sin that operates in all hearts. The flesh of our Adamic father passed down a penchant for rebellion and evil. No amount of self-disciplined or self will can overcome this force, this “law” that operates within what we are. We are doomed to sin, to rebel, to defy what stands in the way of the self-seeking satisfaction. We sink into deep oblivion of rebellion and twistedness as we let sin rule and ultimately the end result is death -- life being swallowed by the curse of death. Our spirits are dead, dormant, unmoving, and held captive to our heart/soul/will/mind of a fallen nature. We walk in a darkness we cannot see, we exist in a prison of our own self that we cannot escape on our own. We need help.

Given #2: Our only hope is in the life, death, and resurrected life of Jesus Christ, He alone has overcome this curse. By faith in the gospel of His delivering power, in His salvation, through His life-giving spirit -- we can escape the condemnation of being a slave, a condemned slave to sin within us. Only the Spirit of God can reveal this to us. Only His voice can speak to us. And only by His loving grace, mercy, and power can we be delivered. If we reach out to Him, believing in Him, in even the weakest faith --He answers us and puts His life, His revelation of Himself within us. Then the battle of overcoming by faith, overcoming self begins. But even that battle must be worked out in us by His power and His Spirit. Never can our own strength be depended upon to overcome. Somehow we must gain revelation of His overcoming life, Christ in us, to walk as overcomers of the world, the flesh (self), and the devil. “Oh Lord… have mercy on me -- a wretched sinner,” is our honest cry before Him.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

In Him we live and move and have our being. (Acts 17:28)

This whole Bible is about bringing man back to God, bringing him into God, and restoring him to his environment. "In Him we live and move and have our being" is the fundamental truth of the spiritual life. There is one thing I suggest to you, or hint at, which, if you grasp it, would be such a tremendous help to you. When the Lord says anything, it may look on the face of it something very simple and not at all profound and wonderful; but anything that comes from the Lord, though it be apparently very simple, contains all the vast knowledge and understanding that the Lord has, and not to take account of that 'simple' thing may bring you into a vast amount of trouble.

When the Lord Jesus says: "Abide in Me" it sounds so simple and so ordinary, but it contains all this history, and this great principle and truth: "If you get out of your environment you are exposed to all the poisons and all that creates spiritual disease. Abide in Me for your health's sake! For your life's sake! For the sake of everything! Abide in Me, and I in you!" Have you got that? You look again at any seemingly 'little' thing that the Lord says, and if you could see you would find that you have a universe of meaning in it.

By T. Austin-Sparks from: Divine Order – In Christ - Chapter 3

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Beware of the present-day "Christianizers" . . .

"The letter of the law brings death but the Spirit gives life." Too many people see God as some great "bean-counter" watching and tallying our adhering to every minutiae of scripture. This is dead religion and empty-minded tradition. When Christ died on the cross and was resurrected -- religion died forever. It's time we seek Truth for ourselves via the Spirit versus what somebody tells us. God have mercy on our self-serving religious mania and deliver us into freedom.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Eternity -- a ticking time bomb of Destiny

Before the beginning began, God saw a people, a Bride, a temple of the redeemed, a holy and justified extension of the infinite One who needed nothing but to express an ineffable Love from beyond Time. And so His mysterious Creation ensued and in spite of the inherent great risk of free will being unleashed upon the Cosmos, He had a plan to overcome even Rebellion itself -- by His sacrifice of Himself for those He called, those He saw before the foundations of the world, for those He loves with an everlasting love -- God was pleased to reveal His Son in you and me -- and how incredible is that!? Eternity -- a ticking time bomb of Destiny -- has taken up residence in these tabernacles of sinful flesh -- Even so Come Lord Jesus -- our spirits cry to the throne!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

"God was pleased ... to reveal His Son in me."

One of my fav verses from the book of Galatians is Paul stating that "God was pleased ... to reveal His Son in me." And this is the crux of faith -- it is deeply personal and obviously subjective. Once the Creator reveals Himself to a human, they are forever altered in an ineffable way. The test of the reality of this is witnessing the spiritual transformation of the person. Since Jesus stated He was "the resurrection and the life" it means God has deemed it fit for His Spirit of resurrection life to take residence within those He reveals Himself to as God. I cannot explain this -- I just know I have never been able to escape the reality of such an event when it happened to me in March of 1974. As Paul wrote, "God was pleased to reveal His Son in me." This transformational event needs no religion, no teaching, no apologetics, no preacher, no pew, no altar call -- it is done by the Spirit of God Himself. Our only role is to accept what He reveals. It is a type of ultimate surrender to a moment of ultimate love and forgiveness. That is what I know for now.