religion

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one thing I often hear when I’m talking about faith in God is “I’m not religious”. I usually answer that with “well good. neither is God.” religion is a set of rules and requirements imposed externally on one’s life to govern the way one lives. that puts the one in question in charge of his or her own righteousness.  that is, like, categorically opposite to faith in God. that’s faith in self. that is the fundamental difference between choosing religion and being born again. every religion out there from the new age and pagan world views, wicca, eastern philosophies, and cults to the pseudo christian denominational organizations, are all a works based system in one form or another. that is, they are all dependent on how you live your life to achieve the goal of godhood, sainthood, righteousness, perfection. they all have some kind of account balance for countering bad with good, whether its paying for it with some sort of penance, or neutralizing it with good deeds. the bottom line is that salvation depends on oneself.

if this were they way, how would one know when one has done enough? on what would one base one’s faith? in self? but one has seen that self is capable of corruption, and therefore needs to counter it. a corruptible self is not a reliable basis for faith when the stakes are so high. that the stakes are high is evident, else we wouldn’t be thinking about countering the bad, or even recognizing that bad is bad. I mean, what is bad, and why is bad less desirable than good, if there were not a reason to care about it? is it just in this life that it matters? if so, then it really doesn’t matter that much.

the Bible teaches something completely different. it teaches that God is the one who provided the solution for all the bad, and that faith in what He did is the way to deliverance. the way to union with Him. the way to righteous perfection. I think that’s why it’s so hard for some to accept. they think it can’t be that easy. it’ hard on the ego. most people feel they have to deserve it, and they know they aren’t perfect.

so what happens when one is born again? why is this so much better? because what God offers is a change from the inside. religion will never be able to touch that. the caterpillar never becomes the butterfly simply by willing himself into it. neither by following a regimen imposed from the outside. so it is with everyone who comes to God, and receives the gift of righteousness by faith. then such a one is changed on the inside, and no longer needs the law to govern him/her.

this is the point where people start either rejoicing or choking. it’s hard for many to conceive that God really doesn’t impose the law on people to govern their lives. “why, you mean we can live anyway we want to and still be accepted by God?” yeah. that’s what I mean. the thing you may not be aware of is this …  when one is born again, one is just that – born again. the body is still the same, but the spirit inside – the real you – is recreated all over. you might be surprised at how profoundly this will change one’s “want to”. when the desires of the heart are changed from the inside, when the nature of the beast is changed into the nature of God, all the want to’s change with it. now one is really back in union with God.

isn’t that point of all religions anyway? don’t people engage in religious pursuit because ultimately they desire to get back to God somehow? even most atheists seem to desire to at least be good, not just be happy. people seem to have an innate awareness that there is some kind of higher power, and that it is both higher than themselves, and more powerful. they also show a desire to hook up with that higher power. else they wouldn’t engage in any kind of religion. they wouldn’t care. those that don’t care are never chosen as role models for anyone except others who also don’t care.

so what God offers is a real change, and gives His own Spirit to govern us from the inside. I can tell you from personal experience that the Holy Spirit is a much stricter governor than any rule I have ever encountered. you break a rule or a law, you hope you don’t get caught or you pay the price. you might experience shame, or embarrassment.  but you disobey the Holy Spirit and you have this conviction in your heart that you just can’t ignore, even if nobody else knows you have disobeyed. shame is the price we pay for breaking the rules. conviction is the result of walking contrary to the leading of the Spirit, because it now goes against your own nature, and you know good and well that the Spirit of God only wants the best for you. and Jesus said “my yoke is easy, and my burden is light”. the Spirit of God never deviates from that in His leading.

wouldn’t you rather be lead than ruled?

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More on Tripwires

Recently I have been pondering more on tripwires. The Lord has been showing me how they work in my life, and I believe it is a common thing. a tripwire, in the spiritual sense, can be anything that triggers an old way of thinking that used to get you and keep you in a hole of some kind, or cause a mental disturbance that set off an emotional storm. Anything like that. It’s probably different for each person, but the same principal. Like me, for example (since I know my own experience best), I saw on the cover of the ‘believers voice of victory’ the headline for an article called ‘living the dream’. It became a tripwire for me. It set off a rash of thoughts about how I always miss out, how I always fail to achieve or obtain how everyone else gets the prize but I miss it. It isn’t a rational line of thinking, but because of a series of events earlier in life a foundation for such a belief was laid, and then later built upon because I had accepted it as my lot, it became a stronghold in my mind. After becoming a Christian, I set about to pull it down because it opposes the knowledge of God. Remnants still remain, or else there could be no effective tripwires. Thing about them is, you never know when, where, or in what form they are going to be. You know them when you hit one. Avoiding them is impossible. Dismantling the traps they set off, by casting out imaginations and renewing the mind, is the only way to render them useless. What effect is a tripwire if there is nothing for them to set off? It’s nothing but silly string then.
So, identifying the tripwires is not important. Dealing with the thoughts they trigger is. If something gets triggered, and it brings despair or causes you to feel downcast, identify the belief that is the basis for those thoughts, and see if they match what the Word of God says about you. Then start casting out the old belief and replacing it with the Word of God, which is living and active and able to discern between bone and marrow, spirit and soul. The soul must always yield to the spirit, because the spirit is already in the image of God. The soul – the mind and the emotions – is what we renew to make it match the Word.
Easy peasy, right? Well … not always so easy. But that quality decision to do it makes all the difference.

tripwires and clotheslines

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recently I have been in a monumental battle. over very little things. but Scripture tells us that it’s the little foxes that ruin the vines. why? because the big foxes can reach the grapes, and so simply eat the grapes. the little foxes cannot reach the grapes, so they chew down the vines to bring the grapes to them. Scripture also tells us the a little rudder steers a huge vessel, and a slight misdirection can send that vessel to the wrong side of the planet.

so it is with tripwires and clotheslines.

Tripwire

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A tripwire is a passive triggering mechanism. Typically, a wire or cord is attached to some device for detecting or reacting to physical movement. From this basic meaning, several extended and metaphorical uses of the term have developed.

Metaphorical usage

The Berlin Brigade stationed in the divided city of Berlin during the Cold War was given the mission to be the “tripwire” for a Soviet incursion into West Germany.

Literal usage

Military usage may designate as a tripwire the wire attached to one or more mines — normally bounding mines and the fragmentation type — in order to increase their activation area. Alternatively, tripwires are frequently used in boobytraps, whereby a tug on the wire (or release of tension on it) will detonate the explosives.

Soldiers sometimes detect the presence of tripwires by spraying the area with Silly String. It will settle to the ground in areas where there are no wires; if there are any, the string will be suspended in the air but not set them off due to its light weight. It is being used by U.S. troops in Iraq for this purpose.

tripwire

tripwires in life can be anything that sets off a mental mine, an image inside of loss, failure, or insufficiency. maybe something you read, or see, or hear. God tells us in His word to be conformed to His image, and that looking into the perfect law of liberty is like looking into a mirror with Jesus reflection in it. you do that enough times, and go away with that image in your mind, and pretty soon you begin to believe that is what you look like. tripwires set off those inner images from past failures and upsets that, when you hit them, trigger a kneejerk reaction in your own mind designed to throw you completely off the path to victory.

Clothesline

Urban Dictionary

clothesline
a pro wrestling move in which a wrestler puts his arm straight out to the side and knocks his opponent over, either from his own momentum or his opponents’

Hulk Hogan gave a wicked clothesline to the Macho man.

clothesline

clotheslines in life can hit you unexpectedly from anywhere. they come in the form of people, saying or doing something that hurts, offends, angers. it’s like getting the wind knocked out of you. God says in His word that perfect love casts out fear. that He has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind. that love covers a multitude of sins.

it seems hard sometimes to remember that walking in the Spirit puts us on the path to overcoming, and that keeping the Word of God before us and meditating on it day and night is what makes us prosper and have good success in everything we set our hand to. but once we have tasted the goodness that God has for us, and that walking with Him is, it gets easier to remember. in fact it gets to be the thing we chase after, and desire above all.

we live in a fallen world. it’s a warzone, with a crafty enemy that sets traps and mines everywhere, using whatever resources he can. he can’t overcome us himself, as he has been stripped of his authority, paralyzed of his power, and ruined in all his works, by the blood of Jesus. but he will make use of anything he can manipulate, whether it’s something in our own mind that isn’t renewed to the image of Christ, or someone that doesn’t know God or maybe does but doesn’t realize he’s being used. either way, we have been given the armour, the weapons, and the inner image of Christ to completely overcome every thing the devil sets in our path to stop us.

we can remember that once we are born again, we are not of this world.

Friday 13th

It’s not a bad day for me. It’s really just another day. It actually represents a good thing – my maternal grandmother was born on this day 116 years ago. And it was a Friday. She married a man born on April 1st. Such irony. So fitting for my family. You would agree if you knew us.

I guess a lot of people take it seriously, that it is an unlucky day. But the origins of the superstition are varied from culture to culture. The thought that 13 is an unlucky number seems to have something to do with it. I like the number 13. It’s a prime number, and I like prime numbers. There are few of them, and they are different from the rest because they can only be divided equally by 1 and themselves.

Then there is the black cat. Another sign of misfortune. And yet, my black cat, Gizmo, is not unlucky for me. He does have a bad habit of getting underfoot, and complaining if you don’t go around him. If you step on him, which I do occasionally because I don’t see him there, he will let out a scream like a banshee. This upsets the other cats, and the dogs look at me funny. It upsets me too, because it startles me. So he gets stepped on, or run over by enthusiastic dogs on their way to the door. Seems more unfortunate for him than for me. But in all the years we’ve had him, he hasn’t seen fit to change this. He is a prince, after all.


As I sit here looking out the window, all I see are blue skies and new blossoms, budding leaves and trees swaying in a gentle breeze. This lifts my spirits greatly. It’s going to be a fine day, and a fine weekend!



i think this is well worth reading.

Well Spent Journey

‎”I would repeat that liberal theology is only humanism in theological terms.” –Francis Schaeffer

In certain liberal churches, there is a tendency to accept the idea that there are “many ways to God”. The idea that there isn’t anything particularly special about Christianity, and the many kind and generous Muslims and Hindus of the world have found their own way to God and should be left to themselves.

I assert that this isn’t a sign of love, or acceptance, or tolerance. It’s a sign of cold indifference.

“I don’t think Christians know what they mean when they proclaim Jesus as Lord of the world. That is a massive claim. If you took that seriously, you would probably have to be a fundamentalist. If you can’t be a fundamentalist, then you should give up Christianity for the sake of honesty.” –Gerd Lüdemann, a former liberal Christian

Many of these…

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Sufficient for me

 


There is a passage in the New Testament that is often the subject of much controversy. Never mind that it is in plain language. But the controversy usually comes from people trying to decide what it means, instead of just reading what it says and going with that. That’s so religious. But this passage has meant a lot to me in recent days.

The passage I speak of is II Corinthians 12:7-9

7 ‘And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

8 ‘For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

9 ‘And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

This is an easy passage to understand. It means what it says. It says that a thorn in the flesh was given – a messenger of Satan – to keep him down so the revelations he had been getting wouldn’t lift him up above reach. The purpose of revelation from God is to do exactly that, lift us up above the curse, the devil, death, failure (see psalm 97:11, Deuteronomy 28:13). A messenger brings a message. The book of Acts chronicles the ministry of Paul, and all the opposition that came against him after he started bringing the news of Jesus Christ to people. The message is clear, ‘shut up Paul!’. Some of that opposition was pretty rough, and almost killed him a few times. He ended up in prison. He never shut up.

When he asked God to make it go away, God did not say no. But since persecution is not part of what we are delivered from, and the negative messages that come from people, and the doomsayers, and the naysayers, God gave him the answer to the problem. His grace. If you know what grace is, and why it’s sufficient, it’s really clear what a radically awesome answer that is.

Grace, in the original Greek word used, is charis, and it translates like this:

1) Grace – (from chairo (1) to rejoice, be glad (2) to rejoice exceedingly (3) to be well, thrive)


a) That which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech

2) Good will, loving-kindness, favor

a) of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues

3) What is due to grace

a) The spiritual condition of one governed by the power of divine grace

b) The token or proof of grace, benefit

1) Benefit, bounty

4) Thanks, (for benefits, services, favors), recompense, reward

Sufficient is arkeo, and means this:

1) To be possessed of unfailing strength

a) To be strong, to suffice, to be enough

1) To defend, ward off

b) To be satisfied, to be contented

Okay! Now that we looked up the words, and found the original definition of the words used, we have a really clear image of what Paul was asking God about, and what God said in return. Contrary to popular religious teaching on this passage, that insists that the thorn in Paul’s flesh was a physical ailment, and that God said no He wasn’t going to take it away but rather that He was going to help Paul endure it like a champion – it pretty much just the opposite. In the Old Testament, God referred to the nations that Israel was going to encounter in the Promised Land as thorns in their sides if they mingled with them and adopted their practices. They were not going to become physical ailments to the people of Israel. They were going to become problems. Why would a thorn in the flesh suddenly mean something different in the New Testament? That just isn’t how scripture flows, changing meanings and definitions from one place to the next. It is, however, how religious interpretation often is.

You can see I have a real issue with religion. I do, because it has a real tendency to mar the message of the Bible, and to put people in restrictive ceremonious rituals that are empty of life and power.

Well, as I said, this has become a real source of power for me. I have my own thorns to deal with. God isn’t just going to remove all the problem people in my life. I really don’t see that as being practical anyway. No, rather God is going to – has – given me this same grace, this charisma, this influence of Himself on and through me, to deal with thorns in my life. This grace is completely sufficient for me making me possessed of unfailing strength!

It’s not very religious, but it certainly gets results!


 

staying buoyant

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I’m standing on the promises of a God who never lies. I’m walking on water. The boat might be overcome with waves, the sea might be thrashing out of control, the clouds and rain might be pelting down in sheets. But I am staying on top. I’m standing on something more solid than rock. I’m standing on His word.

Scripture testifies that God has magnified His word above all His name (Psalm 138:2). It says that God is not a man that He should lie, neither the son of man that He should repent; that if He has said, He will do it; that if He has spoken, He will make it good (Numbers 23:19). It states that His word never returns without accomplishing that which He sent it out to do (Isaiah 55:11).

I’m on good ground.

The things around me have been challenging. There have been times when I have felt like giving up, giving in, caving. But the Spirit of this same God dwells within me, and I am born of Him. Therefore when I feel like that, when I feel tempted to quit, that Spirit rises up inside me, and reminds me that I am not of that seed anymore. Quit isn’t in my options menu. Give up isn’t in my vocabulary, unless it’s spoken to the circumstances around me, and to the enemy of my soul, who only comes to steal, kill, and destroy.

I will have a good report to write about. I already do. I already can. Calling those things that are not as though they were, like a child who imitates her father. I’m putting my words out there, like my Father does His, making His words my words. I’m looking hard into the covenant that He made with us, and finding His promises. He promised Abraham, when He first cut the covenant with him, that He would bless him, and make him a blessing. That is the same covenant that I am a partaker of, through faith.

You may wonder how I can have such confidence in someone I have never seen. It’s because of his word. When He gave His word, He gave himself. In the beginning was the word and the word was with God, and the word was God … and the word became flesh and dwelled among us. And if you’ve seen Jesus, you’ve seen the Father. I see Him all the time, every time I read His word. If he magnified His word above all His name, then so shall I. I have made His word final authority in my life, did that over 30 years ago. He has never let me down, and His word has never failed me.

I don’t expect it to now.

indestructible

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the theme for my life these days! when I think of spiritual warfare, this is my battle song!

DISTURBED

INDESTRUCTIBLE © (Disturbed – Dan Donegan ; David Draiman ; Mike Wengren)

Another mission, the powers have called me away
Another time to carry the colors again
My motivation, an oath I’ve sworn to defend
To win the honor of coming back home again
No explanation will matter after we begin
Unlock the dark destroyer that’s buried within
My true vocation and now my unfortunate friend
You will discover a war you’re unable to win

I’ll have you know
That I’ve become
Indestructible
Determination that is incorruptible
From the other side, a terror to behold
Annihilation will be unavoidable
Every broken enemy will know
That their opponent had to be invincible
Take a last look around while you’re alive
I’m an indestructible master of war!

Another reason, another cause for me to fight
Another fuse uncovered now, for me to light
My dedication to all that I’ve sworn to protect
I carry out my orders without a regret
My declaration embedded deep under my skin
A permanent reminder of how it began
No hesitation when I am commanded to strike
You need to know that you?re in for the fight of your life

You will be shown
How I’ve become
Indestructible
Determination that is incorruptible
From the other side, a terror to behold
Annihilation will be unavoidable
Every broken enemy will know
That their opponent had to be invincible
Take a last look around while you’re alive
I’m an indestructible master of war!

I’m indestructible
Determination that is incorruptible
From the other side, a terror to behold
Annihilation will be unavoidable
Every broken enemy will know
That their opponent had to be invincible
Take a last look around while you’re alive
I am indestructible

Determination that is incorruptible
From the other side, a terror to behold
Annihilation will be unavoidable
Every broken enemy will know
That their opponent had to be invincible
Take a last look around while you’re alive
I’m an indestructible master of war!

life’s a beach

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I cant believe I didn’t write about this already! last fall when the beau and I went to the beach, camera and dogs in tow. it was the first time he had seen the beaches of oregon, and for the dogs as well. for me, it was seeing heaven! while we aren’t living on the beach (right now it’s pretty turbulent with rain and flooding) it’s within my grasp. I have yet to see beaches anywhere else as beautiful, as cool and primordial and primitive, as along the pacific northwest coastline. the northeastern edge of the rim of fire.

we went to a place I used to know as short sands. a mile or so through forest to the small inlet, accessible only when the tide is out. our first trip there was on a holiday, and too many people were there. its best on winter days when there are only the few hardy surfers. tourists tend to leave their brains – and their manners – at home. still, we had a good time.

 

the next time we went we had a better time, and the air was cooler. I had a brief run in with a woman who’s crazy little Boston terrier was off the leash, and raked my leg trying to climb up on me. he came running like mad toward me from several yards away where he was playing in the water,  and simply began jumping and raking my leg with his hyper little feet. I pushed him off once while she watched in amusement, then more forcefully a second time when he refused to stop. that’s when she had the cow, and started calling me names and acting all of 12, when she was likely my age or more. ‘he has a leash”  she exclaimed. sooo why wasn’t he on it? it’s a law on public beaches. too bad we had left our tired dogs in the car for that part of the excursion. still, we had a good time.

I cant wait to go to Ruby Beach some time, up in the Olympic Peninsula.

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wait and see

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‘you might have to wait for that’ … ‘you may not get every thing you want’ …

the other night I sat down to write out the things I had recently asked God for. things I have been standing on the Word waiting for, which seemed endlessly not to come. I had begun to ponder why things had been at such a long standstill, when I heard the Lord say ‘ye have not because ye ask not …’. It became suddenly clear to me that I had largely been assuming to receive things, like a badly needed job, when I had not actually asked for one. I don’t really know why it is. maybe it’s because one’s faith grows even more when one asks God for something, and when it comes it results in obvious glory to Him. maybe He just likes to be asked. either way, I asked. I asked for a job, with a certain schedule and pay, and I asked for a house with four bedrooms and two baths, on five acres, with a barn for the goats. then I sat down to write out my requests, more for my own benefit, so that I will remember what I asked for and when. immediately the thoughts ran through my mind that I may have to wait for a while for these, and that I may not get everything I want. they brought with them a feeling of impending disappointment and struggle.

I pondered these thoughts for a moment. they were very familiar. but I asked ‘why would I have to wait? why is it I might not get what I ask? where do these thoughts come from?’ again, it became suddenly clear to me.

over the last too many years I have heard these very statements come from well meaning Christians, who want to shield me from disappointment, and govern me away from asking for those things I desire lest I ask for selfish reasons. but even beyond that, most seem to view the requests in the light of what I am able to get with my own efforts and resources. while it’s quite true that I might have to wait to acquire the job I want or the house I want, and I might not be able to get them on my own, it stands that I am not on my own. nor am I setting out to get these things in God’s name. I have asked One who is able, and willing, to get these things for me, according to His own word.

so, I put these thought to rest. put them in the ground, really. chased them out like flies in my house. its not that I am unwilling to wait. I have been waiting for several months now for the job. and like Lazarus, whom Jesus waited four days, until past the time that the Jews believed the soul hung around before departing for good, and then called him out of the tomb, so shall I come up out of this tomb of need and debt. and it will be plainly clear that it was the Blessing of the Lord that did it. but I will not have to wait until some undetermined time that no one knows, and I will not be disappointed with something less than I have asked. my God is able to do far about all I can think or ask.

wait and see. He will do it!