Grace and Truth

…all the words of this life…


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The Emergent Church/New Age Connection

“Forget not that the vision (of Heaven, of God, of any spiritual leader — or of any millennium) is based in the majority of cases upon the dreams and thML4D8RN1aspirations of the mystics down the ages who have blazed the mystical trail….” Alice A Bailey, Occultist

Beyond these models of reconciliation, a theology of mysticism provides some hope for common ground between Christianity and Islam. Both religions have within their histories examples of ecstatic union with God, which seem at odds with their own spiritual traditions but have much in common with each other.” Tony Campolo, Emergent Christianity leader

In my last post in this series “A Meditation on Emergent Spirituality” we looked at the “emerging” synthesis between all religions. We saw that the gaps and differences between all of these Mystery religions are increasingly being closed through the tool of mysticism, and in particular meditation. With the Word of God suitably deconstructed, once-shunned mystical practices are now practiced and promoted by Christians, leaving the door wide-open to the master-deceiver to gain access. onenessThe result? Vulnerable Christians whom are primed and ready for mass deception. Mysticism, whether under the banner of the occult, Christianity, Judaism, Catholicism, Islam or anything else, effectively opens the door to the same deceptive spirit each time – that of anti-christ.

Thus it comes as no surprise that the Emergents, whom are delving into the Mystery religion practices, are now using the same language as the New Agers/occultists.

First let’s look at some of the foundational principles of the New Age/Occult:

The major goal of the New Age Movement is to prepare Man for entering the Aquarian Age and to bring world peace in an already bruised world…”

Here are 7 of the 13 main principles of New Age Philosophy:

  • One Global Order – One World Government, One Currency, One Universal Being.
  • Universal Energy, Universal Matter, Universal Life, Universal Soul As God
  • Divine practices (Astrology Yoga & other esoteric arts)
  • Syncretism (Unity of all Religions).
  • The need for Meditation (for generating altered states of Consciousness);
  • The Evolution of Man into Divinity (The latent Life Force evolving naturally to the Divine);
  • The Union of Man with the Divine  (source: http://eastrovedica.com/html/newage.htm)

sheep fallingThe substance of Emergent theology is now basically the same as the New Age. Here are some quotations from the New Age/Occult paralleled against Emergent Christians quotations in order to demonstrate the similarities in their belief systems through their use of language. Notice that the occult and the New Age use a lot of “Christianized” terms. This is not coincidental. It is a subtle-ness that is deceiving many Christians – and so by laying out the following quotations side-by-side I am trying to bring to light the darkness of this deception.

 

  • “Oneness”:

New Age/Occult:

“Oneness is more than a beautiful word. Oneness is the energy of love that lies within you and connects you with all of life….Mystics of all traditions have experienced and shared the concept of Oneness throughout the ages.” (From Global Oneness Summit webpage:http://globalonenesssummit.com/)

“Are the mystics and sages insane? Because they all tell variations on the same story, don’t they? The story of awakening one morning and discovering ken wilberyou are one with the All, in a timeless and eternal and infinite fashion….” Ken Wilber, A Brief History of Everything, 42–3, New Ager, philosopher, writer.

The Emergent Church:

ls“…It will take a decolonized theology for Christians to appreciate the genuineness of others’ faiths, and to see and celebrate what is good, beautiful, and true in their beliefs without any illusions that down deep we all are believers in the same thing.”

We are already one. But we imagine that we are not. And what we have to recover is our original unity.” Leonard Sweet, Quantam Spirituality

  • Religion/Spirituality

The New Age/Occult :

AAB“The Master Jesus will take a physical vehicle and will effect a re-spiritualisation of the Catholic churches…”  Alice A Bailey, occultist, A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, p.759

“This second group will implement the new religion; by the time they come into control the old theological activities will have been completely broken; Judaism will be fast disappearing; Buddhism will be spreading and becoming increasingly dogmatic; Christianity will be in a state of chaotic divisions and upheavals. When this takes place and the situation is acute enough, the Master Jesus will take certain initial steps towards reassuming control of His Church; the Buddha will send two trained disciples to reform Buddhism;”  Alice A Bailey, occultist, The Externalisation of the Hierarchy.p.573

The Emergent Church:

“Some of the values of the emerging church are an emphasis on emotions, global outlook, a rise in the use of arts, and a rise in mysticism and spirituality.” Josh Reich

“My goal is to destroy Christianity as a world religion and be a recatalyst for the movement of Jesus Christ.  Some people are upset with me because it sounds like I’m anti-Christian. I think they might be right.” McManus, The Barbarian Way

 

  • Co-Creation” & “Conscious Evolution

New Age/Occult:

A Cocreator is: “One who is experiencing the creative intention of universe incarnating as their own intention, expressing that intention as an essential self in creative work, joining with others doing the same; one who co-create with spirit, with others, and with nature.”

Wheel-Print-2(source: http://barbaramarxhubbard.com/)

Conscious Evolution is: “The evolution of evolution from unconscious to conscious choice as humans gain powers with the potential for co-destruction and co-creation. The natural capacity of a universal species is to co-evolve with nature and co-create with Spirit. The pattern is synergistic cooperation.” http://barbaramarxhubbard.com/evolutionary-language/et

“A significant portion of the earth’s population will soon recognize, if they haven’t already done so, that humanity is now faced with a stark choice: Evolve or die.” Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose

The Emergent Church:

Co-Creation Conference, May 2014 : ”…from our unique perspectives, on Co-Creation with God, summed up in this event’s subtitle: The Great Emergence and the Spirit’s Call to Evolve– evolving toward ever-increasing empathy, wholeness, and energy to confront the challenges and opportunities facing people of faith in the world today.” Brian McLaren’s website (http://brianmclaren.net/archives/blog/cocreation-interview-with-mike-m.html

tony campolo“…a new humanity will be brought forth from this Christ consciousness in each person.” Tony Campolo, “A Reasonable Faith” 1983 page 65

“So when we say, with the writer of Hebrews, that “it is appointed to human beings to die once, and after this, the judgment,” we are not saying, “and after this, the condemnation.” We are saying, with John, that to “see God,” to be in God’s unspeakable light, will purge us of all darkness: …To believe in a new creation that arises from within this creation – that’s a source of true hope and courage.” Brian McLaren, Emergent Leader

 

  • Jesus Christ

The New Age/Occult:

“The Tibetan has asked me to make clear that …. there is no need for any man to join the Christian Church in order to be affiliated with Christ. The AABrequirements are to love your fellowmen, lead a disciplined life, recognise the divinity in all faiths and all beings and rule your daily life with Love.” Alice A Bailey, occultist. The Externalisation of the Hierarchy Ext. p.558, a book channeled by her familiar spirit, the “Tibetan”.

“Many misunderstandings and false beliefs about Christ will clear if you realize that there is no past or future in Christ. To say that Christ was or will be is a contradiction in terms. Jesus was. He was a man who lived two thousand years ago and realized divine presence, his true nature. And so he said: “Before Abraham was, I am…Jesus attempted to convey directly, not through discursive thought, the meaning of presence, of self realization. […] Thus, the man Jesus became Christ, a vehicle for pure consciousness.” Eckhart Tolle, New Ager, The Power of Now

The Emergent Church:

rob bell“I follow Jesus because he leads me into ultimate reality. He teaches me to live in tune with how reality is. When Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father except through me,” he was saying that his way, his words, his life is our connection to how things truly are at the deepest levels of existence. For Jesus then, the point of religion is to help us connect with ultimate reality, God”. Rob Bell, “True” of “Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith

The purpose of the church is to give form to, to put into form and shape, the energy-matter known as Jesus Christ. New Light leaders, therefore, are in-formational connectors helping the body of Christ to become an in-formed church, an in-formational community…. A major New Light undertaking is the designing of newstream communities that can be ‘in connection’ and ‘in-formation’ with the spirit of Christ. Christ will be embodied for the postmodern church in information” Leonard Sweet, Emergent theologian/leader

 

  • The 5-Step Peace Plan

The New Age/Occult:

“The New Revolutions also contains a five-step plan for peace in the world. We call it the Five Steps to Peace….” Neal Donald Walsch, occultist

 The Emergent Church:

“We believe it is part of the beginning of a Spiritual Awakening, a Global Movement, a New Reformation.” Rick Warren on his 5-step P.E.A.C.E. plan rwhttp://thepeaceplan.com/

 

 

  • Eschatology (end-time theology):

The New Age/Occult :

“…First of all, He (“Jesus”) will come to a world which is essentially one world….” Alice A Bailey

“Make no mistake, humanity is given a choice. By clinging to the old age consciousness and falling under the demonic delusions of false spirituality, the majority are doomed and will perish. …. A new community of men and women who have left the old Age behind and are linking their consciousness with the impulses of the Age of Aquarius….The genuine new age calls for the new Method – the Aquarian Work for the Aquarian Consciousness.” Jason Jeffrey – article published in New Dawn no. 78

“Now is the time when we turn the birth into an enduring shift to a new culture and consciousness. This is the turning point decade when we can create abMH world based on our creativity, our unity, and our love. Let’s each help fulfill the prophecies of entering a new Golden Age!” Barbara Marx Hubbard, occultist, New-ager futurist.

(Watch Barbara Marx Hubbard’s Vice-Presidential Nomination Speech at the 1984 Democratic National Convention:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1FWXm-8FGs)

“The senior Members of the Hierarchy will not at first be the ones who will make the needed approach. It is only in the later stages, and when the time has come for the return into recognised physical expression of the Christ, leading to the definite restoration of the Mysteries, that certain of the senior Members of the Hierarchy will appear … ” Alice A Bailey, The Externalisation of the Hierarchy. p.570

 

The Emergent Church:

“The eighth of the ten questions identified in the subtitle deals with eschatology…. In the chapter I suggest that most of our conventional eschatologiesbmc are deterministic, working from the assumption that the script of future is already written, or the movie of the future is already filmed. As an alternative, I propose a participatory eschatology where the creation of our future is a joint venture between humanity and God…” Brian McLaren, A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions that are Transforming the Faith (Harper, 2010).

“This is a theology that – with its implicit threat of being left behind, of time running out – is used by Dispensational preachers to great evangelistic effect. It has been a very effective goad to conversion… To the contrary, the history of the world is infused with the presence of God, who is guiding the world toward becoming the kind of world God willed for it to be when it was created. Human history is going somewhere wonderful” Tony Campolo

 

  •  Mysticism and Theology

The New Age/Occult:

“Therefore, in the new world order, spirituality will supersede theology; living experience will take the place of theological acceptances.” Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul (her spirit guide)

The Emergent Church:

“Mysticism, once cast to the sidelines of the Christian tradition, is now situated in postmodernist culture near the center….Mysticism begins in experience; it ends in theology…..” Leonard Sweet (Quantum Spirituality p. 76)

 

mysteryThe point I am trying to make with these quotations is that the Emergent Church is already heavily enmeshed with the New Age/occult. And as such the Emergent Church is not actually Christian. Both the New Agers and the occultists use “Christianized” terms such as Jesus, Christ, Christ-consciousness, God, heaven, etc, as does the Emergent Church. But do not be fooled, they are absolutely opposed to true Christianity, to the true gospel and to the real Jesus Christ in every way.

Remember: A lie mixed with a half-truth is a more effective deception than an outright lie.

Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God…. For the mystery of iniquity is already at work; ……The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie” 2 Thessalonians 2:3-11

There can be no doubt that the religious synthesis between the Emergent Church and the Mystery religions is part of Satan’s plan to usher in a false tower of babelreligion – a One-World religion, paving the way for the Anti-Christ. In fact, the unity of religions in a One-World system is a stated purpose of the New Age/occult. When “Christianity” begins to say the same thing as the occult then it is time to wake up and take notice of what is going on! This began all the way back in Genesis at the Tower of Babel. This is not a “new” or “re-imagined” Christianity, but rather an ancient scheme of Satan designed to bring together a united rebellion against the only true God. But how will Satan attempt to do it?

Next post….”A Harlot, an Emergent and a Pope Walked into a Bar”

  •  Mystery Babylon, the Mother of Harlots
  • The “emergence” of Western culture from post-modernism to post-post-Modernism
  • The origins of “Emergence”

 

*I highly recommend the book “The Light that was Dark” by Warren Smith: http://www.amazon.com/The-Light-That-Was-Dark/dp/0976349213

Any questions, please ask. Blessings!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mysteries and Mysticism

babylonThis post follows on from The Deep, deep Roots of Emerging Mysticism where we looked at Mystery Babylon, the Tower of Babel, Nimrod and the ancient roots of the “mystery” religions – all  sprung from the root of Satan’s lie:

For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God….”

It is my belief that the Church is willing to accept rituals, prayer labyrinths and other pagan practices because we have lost the anointing of the Holy Spirit both in our churches and in our prayer closets.  Friends – we desperately need a revival!  Where are those who, like Elijah, will cry out to God until He sends the rain?

I believe we have lost the anointing in our churches and prayer closets because are not willing to pay the price to have it.  The anointing is costly. 

Yes, salvation is free to all because of Christ’s atonement at Calvary – that is undisputed – but the anointing of the Holy Spirit is an expensive treasure.  To follow our Master is not always easy.  The way of the cross is hard, it demands sacrifice, humility, self-denial and death to self.  Are we willing to pay the price?

This is something we need to decide, because there is an influx of Mystery Religions coming – and from the way of the cross they are completely opposed…

treeoflife

The Tree of LIfe

knowledge tree


The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil

                                                           Which Tree will you choose?

 

Characteristics of the Mystery Religions

In contrast to the way of the cross, these mystery religions all have one thing in common:

They elevate humankind to god-hood.

Rather than death to self, “Self” is exalted.

“.…you will be like God….” Gen 3:5

Just as Lucifer tried to exalt himself above the throne of God; just as Nimrod tried to elevate himself above the heavens by his tower, so too the mystery religions continue to attempt to exalt humankind to deity. What these mystery religions proclaim, in essence, is that : humankind is essentially divine, we just need to realize it.  Our divine consciousness simply needs to be recognized and released.

Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Gnosticism, the New Age & Western Occultism all hold to this belief.

The Bible calls this the “Mystery of Iniquity”.  Man in his “divinity” seeks to reach up to god-hood.  He tries to elevate himself through some sort of works.  These may include: religious rituals, asceticism, enlightenment through meditation, good works etc.

New Age believes in the essential goodness of Man and the Divine Spark in Man (http://eastrovedica.com/html/newage.htm)

Notice that this “reaching up” is the exact opposite of what God did in sending His Son, Jesus Christ:

who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Phillippians 2:6-8

While mystery religions attempt to lift man UP to the heavens, Christ, the true God, humbles Himself and leaves heaven to come DOWN to save us from our sin.

The Bible calls this the “Mystery of Godliness”.  We cannot save ourselves. Our eternal salvation and redemption required for God to come down to us in order to save us.

  • The Mystery of Iniquity says that humankind is divine – our problem is that we don’t know it (PRIDE)
  • The Mystery of Godliness says that humankind is sinful, unable to save ourselves and that it required God to come down to us in the flesh to save us (HUMILITY)

Which is more appealing to human flesh?

Has the “Mystery of Iniquity” Entered the Church?

For Christianity, the central problem is how God could have become person. How spirit could transform itself into matter. Word become flesh. Consciousness become protoplasm. The direction is from the top down. For Judaism, on the other hand, the problem is how humanity could possibly attain to God’s word and intention. How matter could raise itself to spirit. How simple desert souls could hear the word. Human substance attain consciousness. The intention is “to permeate matter and raise it to spirit.” The direction is from the bottom up. Perhaps the two traditions, one moving down, the other moving up, are destined to meet in the divinity of humanity.” Leonard Sweet, Quantum Spirituality, pg. 191

We affirm our divinity by doing what is worthy of gods, and we affirm our humanity by taking risks only available to mortals. God had to become one of us before He could become heroic … Robert Schuller affirms our divinity, yet does not deny our humanity … isn’t that what the gospel is? Isn’t God’s message to sinful humanity that He sees in each of us a divine nature of such worth that He sacrificed His own Son so that our divine potentialities might be realized? … The hymn writer who taught us to sing ‘Amazing Grace’ was all too ready to call himself a ‘wretch’ … Forgetting our divinity and over-identifying with our [Freudian] anal humanity… Erich Fromm, one of the most popular psychoanalysts of our time, recognized the diabolical social consequences that can come about when a person loses sight of his/her own divinity …” Tony Campolo

Um, I’d say that’s a resounding “YES”.

But what does Jesus say? “If any man will be my disciple, let him take up his cross and follow me.”

The way of the cross is death.  First death, then life.  Christ Himself died and was raised up.  We also need to die to self and be raised up to resurrection life by the power of the Holy Spirit.  We need to confess that we are sinners only saved by God’s grace, not by any human works.

The anointing has a price: and it comes at the expense of human pride.

Definition of Mysticism

According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy “The term ‘mysticism,’ comes from the Greek μυω, meaning “to conceal.” In the Hellenistic world, ‘mystical’ referred to “secret” religious mysteriousrituals. In early Christianity the term came to refer to “hidden” allegorical interpretations of Scriptures and to hidden presences, such as that of Jesus at the Eucharist.”

knowledge tree

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil

In all of the “mystery” religions, we see that there is something hidden or concealed, a higher knowledge that only the elite few, being enlightened, are privy to, whilst the majority are left in the dark…..Remind you of anything?…

Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘….God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:4, 5

Another mystic described (reality) as “It is hidden, it is hidden and it is hidden“.”  (http://eastrovedica.com/html/newage.htm)

This is why the triangle is a symbol of the mystery religions representing:

      The enlightened few at the top

tri

The majority of the un-knowing at the bottom

This is true for gnosticism, the New Age, Freemasonry, the cults and the occult.  In fact “occult”  is “from the Latin word occultus, meaning “clandestine, hidden, secret” is “knowledge of the hidden” (source: Wikipedia)

Contrast this with the pure simplicity of the Word of God.  God has spoken through His Word and it is open and available to whomsoever wishes to read it.  It is suitable both for the intellectual ex-Pharisee and for the uneducated fisherman.  God’s plan of redemption is through His Son Jesus Christ and is plainly declared throughout scripture.

The Mystery of God

This is not to say that there is not mystery surrounding God.  Of course there is.  He is so much higher than us, His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts higher than our thoughts.  It is impossible for the human mind to fully comprehend God in all His goodness, power and glory – truly now we “see through a glass darkly”.  Yet He has made Himself known to us through His Word, through His Son and by His Spirit and because of Christ’s atonement it is possible for us to have a personal relationship with God.  This is indeed a divine mystery.

However what can be known of God is open and available to the lowest and the highest of the human race.  There are not different levels or hierarchies in the Kingdom of God.  Some are not privileged with a “special” knowing or knowledge whilst the rest of the plebs are left in the dark.  “God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all”.  God wants us to know Him and has revealed Himself to us through the Word made flesh (Jesus), and the Word of God (The Bible).

The thing that concerns me about the Emergent Church is that they are turning away from how God has chosen to reveal Himself to humanity – the Word of God – because, as Leonard Sweet says:

Doctrine does not convey the mystery of God.”

This is very subtle and very clever.  This statement is appealing because in a sense it is true. Reliance on pure doctrine in a Christian can bring about legalism, rigidity and life-less coldness.  Doctrine-only without the Holy Spirit’s anointing is dead.  I have known Christians and churches with a purity of doctrine. They do not tolerate false teachings nor teachers, and yet there is no warmth, no love and no life.   They label anyone who has had a personal experience of God as a “mystic”.  They have run to the extreme of “truth” with no grace.  This is not right. As Christians we need a personal experience with the living God, like Isaiah and Peter did.  We need a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ.  We must know not only the Word of God, but the God of the Word.  We need the anointing!

Yet, the other extreme is also faulty – to give away doctrine completely in order to search out the mystery of God, usually through experience-only.  God has given us doctrine (or teaching) in His Word so that we can truly come to know Him.  If we base our knowledge of God purely on our experiences then there is no objective point of reference as to whether who/what we are experiencing is truly God or whether it be a deceptive spirit. The Bible says to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God”.  It is only through the safe-guards of the Word of God that we can measure our experiences to see whether they line up or not.  Anything that falls outside of scripture is prohibited and not of God.

treeoflife

Tree of Life

So we need the Word of God and the anointing of the Spirit of God.  Together they bring life.

The Holy Spirit bears witness to Jesus Christ, so when the Word is preached (in the power of the Holy Spirit) the Spirit is there.  When the authority of the Word is denied another spirit is able to gain access – the spirit of the “Mystery of Iniquity”.  We see that that is what is happening in the Emergent church.  Pagan spiritual practices are now acceptable and openly promoted.  Labyrinths are being installed in churches, Eastern meditative breathing techniques are being taught from the pulpit, people are praying to pictures of Jesus, prayer stones are being handed out.

In my next post I would like to look at:

  • Some of how these techniques and practices are being taught and promoted in the Emergent Church
  • Their (hidden) purpose and
  • Where its heading – The Age of Aquarius and One-World Religion

In A Meditation on Emergent Spirituality

Blessings!


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Are You Unbalanced?

As you know my Blog is called “Grace and Truth”.  The reason I called the blog this name is because God sovereignly told  me to.  He told me to start it, confirmed it with His Word (in Acts 5:20), and then told me what to call it – grace and truth.

“For the law was given through Moses but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” John 1:17

I find it an interesting observation though that even though grace and truth came through Jesus Christ, we, as His followers, tend to run with either one extreme or the other – that is:

  • Extreme grace – leading to both “greasy grace”, (or lawlessness) and also a lack of discernment of truth; or
  • Extreme truth – leading to hard-heartedness and legalism

Both of these extremes are wrong.  To run with a zealousness for truth, without love is just as wrong as disregarding truth for the sake of grace, mercy or love. But how easily we fall into one or the other!

scales

CH Spurgeon said: “…It is very easy, brethren, unless God gives us understanding, to preach up one precept to the neglect of another.  It is possible for a ministry and a teaching to be lopsided, and those who follow it may become rather the caricatures of Christianity than Christians harmoniously proportioned….Oh how easy it is to exaggerate a virtue until it becomes a vice.”

I have seen both of these extremes in Christians (and yes, that includes myself).  I will give you an example of how I have seen both of these Christian virtues in fact become a vice.

Truth with no Grace:       I am a street-preacher and love other street-preachers, but I have seen something that is a grievance to God.  It is when a preacher brings forth the hard truths of the Word of God from a heart that has not been broken for the sins of the people.  Preaching the truth about hell, sin, judgment and the Law will only be graced by the  Spirit of God when the Holy Spirit has utterly broken that preacher’s heart with compassion and mercy for the people before whom he/she stands.  You see, it comes down to responsibility.  As a preacher, once you enter into intercession for the people, you are taking responsibility for them, for their souls.  And it is impossible to stand before them without compassion and mercy once you have taken responsibility for their souls.  God will only bless those with His authority whom are willing to take responsibility for others. Authority and responsibility always go together (see Isaiah 53:10-12).  We must “speak the truth in love.” It is amazing that when we speak the truth in love, the real love of intercession, people will listen and respond to it.  So we see that the truth needs to be graced by His Spirit.

girl praying

Grace at the expense of Truth: I had been praying for a friend of mine whom was not a believer for two years.  I had interceded for her regularly and asked God for an opportunity to share the Gospel with her, which praise God, He did.  As soon as we began our conversation another Christian joined us and listened in.  My friend and I had a wonderful, Spirit-led conversation where I was able to share the gospel with her.  I was able to share everything with her, the Law, God’s judgment on sin, hell, and then of course the wonderful Gospel of grace of Jesus Christ who died on the cross to take the punishment for our sin, forgiveness, heaven and redemption.  I was so thrilled that the truth had been shared and that she had responded well.  However as soon as she had left, the other Christian reprimanded me for talking about sin, hell and judgment saying that all that I needed to talk about was the love of God.  And…I guess I could have, God is love, but really, it wouldn’t have been the whole truth….  Unfortunately there are hard truths in the Bible and, if we are wanting to be truly honest before God, they are unavoidable.  But the good news is, the hard truths are there for a reason… Paul says in Galations 3:24 that “the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith”.  The Law is there to expose sin and so to bring us to the knowledge of our sin and of our need of a Saviour.  It is by the  truth of the Law and God’s judgment of sin that we are led to Grace and justification by faith.

Notice how John describes Jesus:

“For the law was given through Moses but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” John 1:17

Jesus2

Jesus Christ, the perfect Son of God, through whom came grace and truth.  The divine mystery of Jesus, the Word made flesh, God incarnate in human flesh, can be difficult for our human minds to comprehend. But, I think it’s important to remember that it doesn’t come down to some sort of a mathematical equation.  A couple of points to note:

  • Jesus is both fully God and fully man at the same time, not 50% God and 50% man
  • By the same token, Jesus is also concurrently full of grace and full of truth.
  • Jesus is not half Law and half grace (and neither are we)

He came not to do away with the Law but to fulfill it.  And it was because He fulfilled God’s law perfectly and never sinned, that He was full of grace and love.  Yet it was also because He is full of grace that He could fulfill the Law perfectly.  Why? because “Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Romans 13:10)

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 (emphasis mine).

anointing oil

And so we see that our Lord is the perfectly balanced One.  Just as the anointing oil of Exodus 30 was perfectly blended, mixed and mingled, with this much of myrrh and so much of cinnamon and that much of cassia etc, so it is with Jesus Christ.  So perfect in truth and grace.  Not leaning too much towards one or the other, never ceasing to be holy in order to be loving, always merciful and kind to sinners.  Nowhere do we see this better demonstrated than in His cross.

In the cross, God maintained the truth of His holiness and righteous anger towards sin, when His wrath was poured out on His Son, because of His grace, because He so loved the world.  Both truth and grace in the cross of our Lord and in His very person.

So why do we get it so wrong?  And what can we do about it?

There is only one way.  We need to remember that it is “Christ in you the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27):

  • Our only hope is to be so FULL of Him, of His Life, that He will simply live His life of grace and truth through us.

So:

  • We need to re-submit ourselves to God in a fresh consecration.  To offer ourselves as a living sacrifice to Him.
  • We need to confess any un-confessed sins to Him
  • We need to ask Him to re-fill us with His Spirit.
  • We need to be led in obedience by the Spirit of God in our day-to-day lives, small and big things.

 

“There is a way about the precepts: there is a chime about them in which every bell gives out its note and makes up a tune.  There is a mixture, so much of this and that and the other; and, if any ingredient were left out, the oil would have lost its perfect aroma.

So is there an anointing of the holy life in which there is precept upon precept skillfully mingled, delicately infused, gratefully blended, and grace given to keep each of these precepts.” (CH Spurgeon)

May God bless us all with an outpouring of His Life in this New Year!


6 Comments >

cross-on-hill

There is something that’s arisen-

Emerging from the ground.

It breaks out

Through the

Post-modernist earth

But its roots go further down.
 

 

.

At first it’s only little,

As it starts its progress

Just a small inner circle-

Rolling towards the cliff edge         
 

 
                                                     .

It stops

For a moment

Before

It falls

Then:

Down

the

slope

of

Relevance

It tumbles                                                                                           .

 

 

Down, Down

And further down

It rolls, it goes, its spins,

Away from the cliff

Where the Truth

Has always been                                                                                          .

 

 

And so it rolls

And as it goes

It kicks up all the dust

And as the dust and dirt

Stick

To it

The circle grows ever vast                                                                 .

 

 

Voices herald the circle

As it picks up on its pace

And while it continues to hurtle

They cry:

“Look!

A new Christian way!”                                                                         .

 

 

For the old grew rather narrow”

They say,

“The consequences

Unpleasant

And our churches

Too small-minded

For the world at present.                                                                     .

 

 

And for us,

The Christians,

To claim

That Jesus

Is the only way

Is quite arrogant

Wouldn’t you say?                                                                                        .

 

 

And then

What if we are rejected,

Despised and maligned?

A common truth

To all

Surely we can find”                                                                                      .

 

 

And so the dust of Relativism

Is added to the ball

It grows ever stickier

As it continues on its fall                                                                              .

The voices grow louder

As the ball gains more ground

And as the dust shifts-

Disturbed-

By the wind

Something else

Is found:                                                                                             .
 

 

“The Mysticism

Of our forefathers!

The voices shrill again

Add that

To the sphere”

And so

Pagan spirituality

Is regained-                                                                              .
 

 

(Increasingly it is clear

That the expense

Is at the cross’s

Offense-

So

It is

Abandoned)                                                                                                 .

 

 

Bigger and bigger

The ball grows

As it moves along

Its way

And more and more

The dust does variously

Accumulate                                                                                                  .
 

 

…The dust of Tolerance

Is gathered

Political correctness too…

And all the while

The voices cry:

(As the winds blow through)                                                                         .

“Pragmatism works!

Our structures

Will grow big

Who cares now

About Truth

When better stuff

Will stick?”                                                                                                  .

 

 

And so it goes

And on it rolls

Down the way

That, to man, seems Best

And as a new way

Is Mapped out

The Old Book is left                                                                                     .

 

 

But For a moment

If we stop and turn away

From the ever-rolling ball,

If we look toward that cliff top

Where the Truth still stands tall:                                                                   .

 

 

An old rugged cross

Remains

Defiantly erect.

For the sacrifice

Once offered there

For man

Is perfect                                                                                           .

 

 

And The Blood

That was shed,

At the foot

Of that cross,

Still cries out aloud.

But with it-

Look!-

There is gathered

A small, faithful crowd.                                                                       .

 

 

They join in the cry

As they gather

Round the cross

“How long O Lord?

How long

Must we too

Suffer loss?”                                                                                                          .

 

 

They look not down

But instead

Look up

And To heaven

Make their plea:

“Oh God, revive us!”

For they know

The answer lies

Only

With

He                                                                                                               .

 

 

For our hope

Lies not

In some new way

Of mans invention,

but rather in

The Revival

Of the ancient paths-

As we seek

God’s intervention.                                                                                       .                                                                            .

.                                                                            .


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Reputation…what reputation?

“ Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,  who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”  Philippians 2:5-8

Woe betide the person that truly follows his Lord even to the point of no reputation!  Or so I had thought.  Over the last few years I have become a spectator to the total destruction of my own reputation.  While I did recognize that this was at the Lord Jesus’ initiation and that He was slowly leading me in a crucifixion of my flesh, it was still an excruciating experience to say the least.  I did try to hold on to my extremely important reputation as best I could, but it just didn’t work.  Following Jesus will do that to you.

Last night it was revealed to me that I have now officially become of no reputation.

To the world I am an intense, religious, street-preaching nutter.

To the churches that I have left (in obedience to His leading) I am a rebellious infidel.

And to most Christians I am an over-zealous, inexplicable, street-preaching freak.

LOL

Literally.  When I realised this last night I laughed and laughed.

And then I cried a bit.

But then I laughed again.

Because suddenly I saw it – I WAS FREE!!

If I am already considered a crazy, too-spiritual, infidel, nutter then – I might as well keep going!

And I will.

I have nothing to lose.

Hooray!

I can wholeheartedly recommend the hilarious and humble link Pineapple Story, by Otto Koning, if you want to hear more about surrendering your reputation and other rights to Christ.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYM-4mGYzzE


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Feeding Others

holyforchrist777.blogspot.com

holyforchrist777.blogspot.com

“Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season?…” (Luke 12:42)

Following on from Being Fed, after the revelation of my own true state of spiritual starvation, through the depression I suffered, something very interesting happened.  I would like to explain the spiritual principle that has been revealed to me.

God opened my eyes to see my true state of starvation.  I was shattered by the knowledge that I could no longer rely upon myself –in any way.  My body let me down, my mind let me down, with all my own resources at an end all I could do was cling to was Him.  But this knowledge led me to a deeper relationship with Him, one in which I knew I needed to be fed and in fact that was the only hope left for me.  He fed me with the Bread of Life and kept feeding me as I spent time with Him.

Then what happened next is the interesting point:

God then led me to start feeding others.

Because pride in my self, my abilities and strengths had been broken, I began to have a greater sense of compassion for others whom were struggling.  A desire rose up in me to help others because of what I had been through myself.  Out of that desire our food pantry ministry was born four years ago, in which we give out food parcels to people suffering food insecurity both in the Body of Christ and in the community.

And then, after some time, another hunger began to take hold of me, that was to “feed the multitudes” through street-preaching.  This one came as a real surprise to me as the thought of preaching the gospel on the street to passersby absolutely terrified me! I remember the first time I went out there.  I was so scared that I was shaking and I wondered why I was doing this to myself.  Through the terror though there was a fire burning within me.  I was so well-fed, I just had to share some of this food with others.

It somehow didn’t seem right for me to keep feasting when I knew there were others

pastorsponderings.org

pastorsponderings.org

out there who were starving.  Just as Christ broke the bread and poured out the wine as a symbol of His life being poured out for us, He also calls us to be as broken bread and poured out wine for others. Being broken bread and poured out wine hurts.  It’s not easy and it’s certainly not comfortable.  Often it is difficult and something we would not typically choose to do ourselves. But Jesus is still moved with compassion for the great multitudes and just as He said to His disciples then, He says to His disciples now: “You give them something to eat”. (Mark 6:34 & 37)

If we look at the Apostle Peter’s life we can see this spiritual principle at work.  Peter, at first, couldn’t see his own spiritual bankruptcy. Even though He had been with the Lord for about three years, seeing Him minister, learning from Him, Peter still didn’t really know his need of God.  Self-confidently he had declared “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”   (Luke 22:33)  When the moment of truth came however, Peter betrayed Christ and denied Him three times as Jesus had foretold he would do. Peter was heartbroken. I believe in that moment his own true state was revealed to him.  He saw the emptiness within, the starvation of his soul-poverty and he was broken by the knowledge.  The revelation of his impoverishment caused him to retreat and return to the career from which Jesus had called him – fishing. In John 21 we see Jesus in His amazing mercy seeking out Peter in his failure.   He calls out to Peter and the others with him, and look what He says, Children, have you any food?

Jesus immediately gets to the heart of the matter – do you have any food?  Are there any inner resources left in you on which you can depend? Or have you come to the end of yourself?  Have you seen your need of me yet?

The disciples are, of course, thinking merely in the physical realm, but nevertheless their answer is true both physically and spiritually – “No”, they have no food.

So what does Jesus do next?  In His grace He provides the food they weren’t able to provide for themselves, and, as is God’s way, it is in abundance.  “…and now they were not able to draw …in (the net) because of the multitude of fish.” (v 6).

He feeds them.  “Come and eat breakfast,” He says (v12), and He “came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish.” (v13)  He came and fed them – but only after they had seen their need of Him.

Immediately after they are fed Jesus seeks to restore Peter.   Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him three times and each time after Peter declares his love for Him, Jesus says “Feed my lambs”;”Tend my sheep” and “Feed my sheep”.  Why would Jesus single out Peter, the disciple whom had been the one to verbally deny Him, to feed and tend His precious sheep? It’s because of this spiritual principle – Peter had now seen his own bankruptcy and been broken by it. More so than any of the others he had seen his inner emptiness and it was because he could see it that he was ready to be used.  Jesus could not entrust His sheep to merely anyone. He needed someone who had seen their own need, and therefore would be sensitive to need in others.  He needed someone who knew that without God they could do nothing and would therefore be utterly dependent upon Him.  Peter would not be a harsh and unfeeling shepherd, He would now truly love and care for the Master’s sheep because his own pride and independence had been broken.

Watchman Nee said “When once your back is broken you will yield ever after to the slightest touch from God.”

So to sum up:

  1. Here in the West we are spiritually starving.  Starved of eternal relationship with our creator, the source and sustainer of all life, we seek temporal satisfaction elsewhere.  We often don’t know that we are starving.  In some cases this revelation can only be achieved through painful experience.
  2. Once we see our true state of starvation, through God’s intervention, we then naturally seek to be fed.
  3. God then uses us to feed others through the broken bread of our lives

It is my hope and prayer that this post has encouraged you to seek after the only true source of life and satisfaction –Jesus Christ, the Bread of life.  If you already know Him I pray that you will seek Him in greater measure and that ultimately you will share Him with others wherever He may lead you.  I will conclude with a quote from D.T. Niles:

“Evangelism is one beggar telling another beggar where he found bread.”

God bless!


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Passover

This year I have been surprised by the strong sense of anticipation I have felt as Passover has drawn near.

While I have been aware for a long time of the eternal truths that shine forth through the feast of Passover, this time it is different. Recently I have come to see that the story of Passover in a striking way reflects my own story. The external truth of the Passover, to me, has become an inward reality.

My Passover story began about six and a half years ago. I had been a church-going Christian all of my life. I loved God and knew He loved me and had guided me throughout my whole life. I lived my life the best that I could and everything had turned out pretty well. I had married a wonderful man, had a lovely baby girl and was really quite happy with my life and with myself. I had no need for anything more and I certainly was not looking to change myself or my life in any way.

Then one day someone gave me a tape-sermon from a fiery old preacher-man and everything changed.

Mainly I listened to the sermon out of curiosity, with absolutely no clue as to the ramifications it would have on my life forever. By the time that sermon was over I was on my knees on the floor. I was in the presence of God and I was borne down under Holy Ghost conviction. What happened that night changed me forever. I saw myself clearly for the first time in my life. For me, a young woman, satisfied with things as they were currently in my life – to be absolutely confronted with the state of my own heart was devastating. My sins were right in front of my face – the things I had done and shouldn’t have done and the things I should have done and didn’t. Not only that, but I also saw that I had inherited a sin-nature from Adam and that there was nothing that I could do about it.

The only way to explain what I experienced (and words cannot do justice) was a death. I was crushed under the weight of my sin. I wept and wept. I was in mourning. An hour before that my life was good and fine, no major issues, all smooth sailing, and now everything was different, I was different. This was not something that could be dismissed or forgotten. I was utterly undone. For the person I was before this to continue to exist was no longer a possibility. In the light of truth there was no option for me but to repent of my sins and cry out to God for His grace and mercy.

And God came to me in mercy. I knew that Jesus had taken the penalty for my sins upon Himself at the cross. That He had already paid for them there and that I was forgiven. I arose from the floor a changed woman. Out of the ashes of that mourning and death God had raised up something different, something beautiful. It was Life in place of death.

From that moment I was different. In all honesty prior to my meeting God face-to-face, I had been rather hard and cold-hearted, although I didn’t see myself that way at the time. I used to say that “I love animals but hate people”. I saw what people did to each other and I hated them for it. (I didn’t really include myself in that category though, I was pretty ok.) I was capable of feeling compassion towards suffering and needy people of course, but to be actually inconvenienced by going out of my way in order to help them, was an irritation to which I would not, nor could not, subject myself. To actually lay down my life for others was a concept so foreign to me that it simply would never have entered my mind. (My husband can attest to the hardness of heart that used to be mine, to my shame).

But now, because I had been “born-again” I was a new creation. I was now a child of God and was full of Him. I became tender-hearted, as He is. I began to reach out to others, as He does. Although I am obviously not perfect, I can honestly say that the total and complete change in the state of my own heart is the biggest proof to me that there is a God, and that He is in the business of changing hearts. I know what I was before, and I know the difference to what I am now. Of course until God exposed the truth of my heart to me I had no idea.

Going back a little at this point, although I was convicted, forgiven and changed that night, I actually continued to struggle under the weight of my now-revealed sin for quite a few months. Whilst I knew that Christ had died for my sin and that God had forgiven me, I still experienced a heavy weight of guilt and I couldn’t seem to be able to walk in the forgiveness for which I knew Christ had died. Whenever I messed up that just added more weight to the guilt. I even came to think that perhaps I was meant to remain in this state. However, once again, God met me in His mercy. He simply revealed to me one night that my sins past, present and future are “under the blood”. He showed me that no amount of fussing or of feeling guilty changes the fact that I am covered by the blood of the Lamb. He actually showed me that guilt was a waste of time and energy because the blood of a righteous Redeemer is what God sees when He looks at me.

In that moment of time, all the burden of my guilt vanished. Now I knew experientially that I was forgiven, I knew that I was free from guilt! A load lifted from me, never to be experienced again. I now walk in the “glorious liberty by which Christ has made (me) free.” And all because of the blood. I could now truly say, as the old hymn:

“’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved”

God said to the Israelites at the very first Passover:

“Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you…” Exodus 12:13

Just as God’s judgment “passed over” the Israelites because they were covered by the blood of the Passover lamb, I too have been covered by the blood of the Lamb, so that I have escaped God’s judgment for sin. The Bible says:
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal Life”

About 1300 years after the first Passover lamb was sacrificed in order to redeem Israel from slavery in Eqypt, another Lamb was sacrificed in order to redeem humankind from the bondage of sin. This Lamb was slain on Passover too, crucified on the cross. John the Baptist said of Him: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” He was blemish-less, unleavened by sin and He tasted of the “bitter herbs” of suffering. Jesus, the Son of God, chose to come to earth to be the sacrifice for our sins, in order to redeem us. He was the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” and all because “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

May God bless you with His grace this Passover season!