Archive | July 2016

Graven Images

Low self esteem, combined with envy toward other people who have accomplished something in life, makes some people create false fronts for themselves, pretending to be something they are not. Social network profiles are full of these projections of false to face images, along with photos of oneself at a much younger age. Somehow for these people, reality as it actually is is just too much to accept.

Society also creates its own yardsticks for self measurement through its created image adoration of sports, music, or entertainment figures – as if there’s nothing else that is important in life except being adored by fans and being in the spotlight. So there are people who believe, “If I’m not one of them, I’m nobody.” This is tragic.

These false fronts are the “graven images” of the imagination created to supplement a non existent and desired “reality based on fantasy”. Some even steal their image from someone else – often the very persons of whom they are jealous, because such persons are perceived as mirrors revealing the absence of this desired admiration. It’s a twisted form of flattery perhaps.

“You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.” (Exodus 20:4). Even the masks we may want to wear to impress others can become objects of worship, false gods that we make, with a narrative spun around these images that is as fantastical as the projection itself.

Sometimes such individuals embrace their own disguise to the point that they are unable to support themselves in life where one might actually need a practical job in order to be responsible for one’s bread and board. This is not a condemnation, but an analysis of a deeper and perhaps very painful issue. It is a refusal to let go of that which is not, in exchange for something that would actually work.

Certainly all have “dreams” about being something else. Especially at a younger age. A lot of people want to be a rock star, so to speak. Yet as life moves along, we may have to face the facts that we either have to modify our relationship to these dreams, or abandon them entirely, especially as the years and the pounds increase! Accepting this reality is a part of life.

Why cling to what is never going to be, or lie about it as if it’s ever been a part of your life, when God has things in the here and now which will, at the end of the day, be far more rewarding than those fifteen minutes of fame? (And by the way, the more anyone remains in the lie they embrace, their self respect diminishes. you cannot possibly live a lie and still have self respect.)

“But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.’” (1 Samuel 16:7). God sees the real truth!

There is a real work of deep healing that needs to be done within such individuals. Like shipwrecks at the bottom of the ocean, they need to be salvaged and restored. This is what salvation is ultimately – a spiritual salvage operation which has deep ramifications for your entire life and being. (Note the similarities of the words: salvage, salvation.)

And there is only one Redeemer and Healer, Christ Jesus, Who can accomplish this. Yet the first step is to own up to one’s own ruse, and surrender it like the publican! “God be merciful to me a sinner.” All true healing starts here, in complete and unconditional surrender to the redemption in Jesus Christ. This is the only way to connect with “saving” – salvaging – Grace!

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, so that in due time He may exalt you.” 1 Peter 5:6

Show up for work, in other words. His work.

Sky Blossom

A visual offering today, with a little poetry to follow…

Also posted on my art blog:

https://studioblaise.wordpress.com/2016/07/25/sky-blossom/

Prints and other items in this design here:

http://pixels.com/featured/sky-blossom-yvonne-blasy.html

Skyblossom.png

Unfettered One.png

Might it be that, when we realize that our life is hid with Christ in God, that it brings a perspective of things that rises above the mundane, yet gives wings and meaning to life? Might this be that “far off world hung shining”?

Prayer When In A Pinch

Sometimes we need to admit, “Well, I fell off the prayer wagon again. Life has become chaotic because of it…” But here’s another way to approach it.

When it gets chaotic like that, it can be seen as an opportunity to simply aim our awareness and focus heavenward in the midst of the chaos. It is a time to “practice the Presence” of our Lord Who is omnipresent, and omnipotently connecting Heaven to earth for us as we acknowledge Him right then and there.

I think of it this way – The Captain of our souls is not only present in the quiet port, but He’s also the One present when caught in the tempest, helping us to navigate it, seeing us through. Sometimes “prayer” consists simply in acknowledging that this is how it is and handing the wheel to Him. No, God is not our co-pilot. He is fully in command. Have Your own way, Lord. Take over. I’m not able to do this, but I know You are more than able, and I thank you for it. (See link below.)

In the beginnings of our travels with Jesus, it is often a matter of falling off the prayer wagon, but getting back on again – as far as a regular special prayer time is concerned. “We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer…,” the old hymn encourages us! The important thing is to climb back on the prayer wagon! If that is your intention, God helps you honor it. It’s not always perfect, especially at first, but He’s still there… He is really pleased that you’re making the effort, and can indeed open up life to better facilitate it.

Walk or stumble toward Him, and He runs toward you!!!

Here’s a good psalm for enforcing His promise (Deuteronomy 31:6) to never leave us or forsake us, especially in a “pinch” when it’s not easy to “feel” very spiritual.

“Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven,
You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol,
behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,”
Even the darkness is not dark to You,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You.” (Psalm 139:7-12)

Additionally, it is always good to remember the simple Jesus Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me!” He invites us – “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.” (Psalm 50:15)

This little prayer seems almost simplistic, but when you call out to Him, His mercy is what unfolds His miracles – which means for you that you can sail on through “the impossible” and not let circumstances get you down. Feelings can be deceptive, but we walk by faith, not feelings or sight.

“But the lovingkindness (also translated mercy) of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear (deeply reverence) Him, And His righteousness to children’s children.” (Psalm 103:17)
A little audio visual – Jesus Savior Pilot Me (please excuse the ads at the beginning if they show up…) Enjoy!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VT-kyKUvUk

Something Someone Needs To Hear

Someone, whoever you are, this is for you:

Sometimes there are people in your life who are running their game, & they get very good at it. They get you to buy in – often by eliciting sympathy. “Feel sorry for me. Take up my cause. So and So is wronging me.” Duplicitous as a Clinton $3 bill. Track record of putting others on a trail of tears using this tactic. Pray for discernment and direction.

Eventually, in spite of efforts to make you believe otherwise, the ruse gets exposed. It always does. You’ve been lied to, or at best been fed half truths. It’s the set up to get your buy in.

In the end, it all boils down to knowing when it’s time to hold ’em and when it’s time to fold ’em. Your life needs to go on, and if someone’s sucking it away because they don’t actually have a life or a real identity, but have a tendency to leach on and draw from yours, with a history of the same, it’s time to draw the line, and say, “You don’t get to come across this line anymore!“

Don’t feel bad about it.

And if you’re a praying person, the confirmation of your suspicions is the answer to your prayers – the signal that you don’t need to accept this anymore. You may have been, or stand the chance to be, host to a parasite, their next stop – if they can pull it off.

Or you may have the gnawing sense (that does not go away) that you simply need to cut the ties with this person.

Very often sensitive, caring people struggle with this – their greatest strength – compassion – can also be their Achilles’ Heel because they don’t have an “off” button for shutting it down. They get conned into things, taken advantage of. They can easily become enablers to whatever the game is.

Your “messages” (to the rest of the world, the situation in question, and to yourself) need to change from, “I’ll do everything possible for you,” to “I’ll do what I can.” And let it go with that. Be in the integrity of that. You are not infinite God; you are finite you.

Trust in God. Eventually you will see things, and hear that Still Small Voice saying, “Time to fold ’em.”

Then get up and step away from the table.

And don’t look back.

Related Scriptures:

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. (James 1:5)

Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom. (Psalm 51:6)

In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:6)

Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom. (Psalm 51:6)

For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. (Proverbs 2:6)

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7)

The Cult Of Self And Its Non Biblical View

First of all let’s get a short definition of “cult of self”. It is a prevailing “philosophy” that promotes the idea that “we are all one, and the one is God; therefore, you are God”. God is within you and is you. Christ is within you and is you. You have no need of repentance, redemption, or regeneration. You are OK as you are. Since “you” are the only one who is, your wants are all that matters. That’s how it works out. It is an infantile perspective – like a baby whose only awareness is itself and what it wants.

It is claimed by its promoters that this teaching is in agreement with Christian Scripture, as there are “christianized” versions of it, but Scriptures used are cherry picked – as in most Eastern based teaching – claiming that “God is within you.” It is promoted in the same way that most New Age / New Thought teaching is presented: that it’s all the same and does not matter what you believe. It’s another aspect of this “we are one” theme.

For awhile I was influenced by so called “New Thought Christians” (there is no such creature actually!) who were followers of A Course In Miracles. However after awhile I started to ask, Where’s Jesus as Savior and Lord in all this? These people will only acknowledge Him as a “teacher”. In fact, some of them were reactive to the idea that He is the one Savior of mankind. So I got serious about that question – prayerfully, persistently studying the Holy Bible myself, the whole counsel of God, which reveals that Jesus Christ is the only One to whom we must come for salvation. Scripture says self is the problem, that it must be reckoned crucified in Jesus Christ!

So, what says the Scripture – does everyone have “God within” himself? Are we born that way?

“However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, IF indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But IF anyone DOES NOT HAVE the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” (Romans 8:9). Ouch – we have to acknowledge the “ifs” in this verse. That’s pretty clear: it is possible not to have the Spirit of Christ, and if this is so, then you do not belong to Him…

It shows instead that we are sinners who have rebelled against God, have fallen into sin, that we are in need of being saved from that sin, and in need of restoration and formation as children of God. No one who has been hoodwinked by the cult of self will ever tell you this truth. He will instead tell you that you are Jesus Christ, or that you have “God within” or some such idea. This is anti-Christ and the presentation of “another Jesus”.

How can we actually tell if we have the Spirit of Christ (Holy Spirit)?

“Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.” (1 John 3:24).

There are signs that the Holy Spirit has come to live within us in other words – we keep His commandments – as the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ Who always lives in obedience to the Father. Scripture calls this the “fruit of the Spirit.” Our motivation and inclination is away from the practice of sin and toward the practice of righteousness, love for God, love for our fellow human beings that is like the love of Jesus Christ – unconditional.

Scripture clearly informs us that the Holy Spirit must be given to us by God; it is not an automatic thing that we are born with.

How do we receive the Holy Spirit? Here’s what Jesus says.

“And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened… If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:9-13.)

We are not born with Christ within. Neither does God force His Holy Spirit upon us. We must ask, or pray, for the Holy Spirit.

Ask, seek, and knock persistently. The point is, the indwelling Christ is not automatic. We must ask for His Presence to come and live within us. There will be a great hunger and thirst for Him!

“Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.’” (John 14:23).

To believe that “we are all one” is not Biblical truth. Jesus Christ says, “Flesh is born of flesh, but spirit is born of the Spirit. Do not be amazed that I said, ‘You must be born again.” (John 3:6,7) We must receive Him and surrender to His word, will, and way. We must first genuinely be born again of His Spirit!

For “Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by its gates. But outside are the dogs, the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the bright Morning Star.” (Revelation 22:14-16)

It is my conviction that those who teach this idea that “we are all one, and the one is God, so you are God” are master deceivers, appearing since the mid to late 20th century and continuing on today. Some names: Joel Goldsmith (The Infinite Way), Helen Schucman (A Course In Miracles), Neale Donald Walsh (Conversations With God), David Wilcock (Law Of One), Paul Leon Masters (founder of International Metaphysical Ministry), Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now) and many more. Oprah Winfrey is a huge proponent and promoter of this idea that “I am God”.

Looking deeply at what they actually present, as these are simply different variations on the foregoing theme, combined with pantheism (the “universe” worshipped as God) , and packaged in Eastern meditation practices where you “go within” to contact your so called higher self.

We are warned of a time when we must “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and encourage with every form of patient instruction. For the time will come when men will not tolerate sound doctrine, but with itching ears they will gather around themselves teachers to suit their own desires. So they will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” (2 Timothy:2-4)

Beware, beloved in Christ! Keep your eyes on Jesus only, and remember: “… there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

Buddha did not die for your sins. Krishna was not raised from the dead, nor did he ascend to the Father. You are not going to be saved by Eastern meditation or yoga techniques. And being a devotee of your own “god within” certainly cannot save you either, since s/he does not exist!

 

The “Name” of Jesus Christ: In His Authority

We Stand in His Stead, As His Body, Administrating The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth!

This is actually what it means to be a Christian – to not only represent but to embody Christ through the Holy Spirit on earth. It is not a simplistic thing. It is a powerful calling, with a two fold intention 1) of destroying the works of the devil: “… The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil”. (1 John 3:8). And 2) “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” (John 1:12)

Let’s repeat that: Jesus came to destroy the works (power / authority of the devil and all its manifestations), and make us into sons of God. If we keep these two purposes in mind, a lot of puzzling things fall into place when we read and contemplate the Holy Scriptures.

Jesus prayed for a divinely empowered Church which would stand on Earth against the evil one and all his works “in His Name” – in His authority, in His stead. It does not come from us; it comes from Him. His “High Priestly Prayer” – His last word before His arrest and crucifixion, was a prayer for the bestowal of this on His people:

“The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” (John 17:22-24)

The Apostle Paul reveals to us that the Father raised us up and seated us in Christ Jesus in heavenly places! We are co-participants in Him through His crucifixion, resurrection, and His ascension into Heaven. We perceive ourselves in this way with the eyes of faith – as in Him in all these events of His Passion.

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4-7)

This is not just so we can go on a big power trip, or have a “God complex”, but so that we are also aware that our old sin nature is dead in Him, first of all. Out with the bad and old, in with the good and new – all “in” Jesus. In Jesus’ Passion (His death, burial, resurrection, ascension and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit), we have access to complete victory over sin, self, Satan and his system of this world.

“Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”(Galatians 5:24)

We reckon it so and live in what we reckon.

In the “Great Commission” as Jesus was about to ascend, His final reminder was about His authority, and it is in this authority – in His Name – that we’re to go forth and teach all nations to observe all that He commands. Why? Because through us He is calling souls out of the dominion of darkness into His kingdom to be restored as sons of God!

“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

The Role of Suffering

The foregoing understanding of Jesus’ name and authority brings meaning and purpose to life’s challenges, adversities, and suffering. This is the part that many today do not wish to acknowledge: the Lord’s disciplining of those He is transforming into sons.

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) “And if we are children, then we are heirs: heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ – if indeed we suffer with Him, so that we may also be glorified with Him.” (Romans 8:17)

“For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and He chastises everyone He receives as a son.” Endure suffering as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?… (Hebrews 12:6,7)

“And if we are children, then we are heirs: heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ – if indeed we suffer with Him, so that we may also be glorified with Him. I consider that our present sufferings are not comparable to the glory that will be revealed IN us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the revelation of the sons of God.” (Romans 8:17-19)

God will use everything that happens in life for our good! Not just the parts that feel good. Just as gold or other precious metals cannot be purified without the refiner’s fire, so we too spiritually require a similar process spiritually. This is not popular thought in today’s “name it, frame it, and claim it” formula Christianity. To our Heavenly Father we are golden. Yet it remains that the impurities must be removed, and we must also be forged into vessels for holy purpose.

These are just a few basic thoughts on the Name of Jesus. It could be summed up thus and affirmed in this way: If Jesus says that all power (authority to reign) in heaven and on earth is given to Him, and I am in Christ Jesus as a participant in His sufferings, death, resurrection, and ascension, and if I live, move, and have my being in Him, then I can speak to all things “in His Name” – on behalf of His authority over all of life.

Thus we need to remember to “Rejoice at all times. Pray without ceasing. Give thanks in every circumstance, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1Thessalonians 5:17)

Take these things to heart. Ponder them often. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the wisdom in these verses and to expand your understanding of them. Our Lord never refuses wisdom to anyone who asks. It does not happen overnight, however, so persevere.

People talk about “being born again”. That is only where it starts, but so many stop there due to popular shallow teaching. One can, however, look to an Old Testament type concerning this. The process can be stated simply this way: A slave could be set free from Egypt overnight, but it took 40 years to get Egypt out of the slave. For that they were sent wandering in the wilderness, to be prepared for receiving the Promised Land.

You might get free of the devil, in other words, but it takes awhile to get the devil out of you – in a manner of speaking. This inner work of “sonship reconstruction” is done by the sovereign hand of God Himself. We only pray, surrendering our will, “Come, Lord Jesus. They will be done.” And so we show up for work. His work in us by grace.

Monday Rant

 

It’s been a surprising day, one of those days where truth becomes more important than ever – not opinions, obfuscations, games, agendas, lies, and self deception. Especially the last one. Lots of that going around.

Some honest self awareness along the line of, “Oh gosh. I really did do that & I won’t do it anymore,” would go along way. You want so called “self realization”? Well, that’s it, baby. Realize that your self is messing up and stop it. Self is the problem, not the answer! Take responsibility for your wrongs and fess up!!! Cooperate where it’s morally right and just to do so. Do the right thing. Stop lying to yourself and stop being a bur under everyone else’s saddle. God gave you a conscience. Listen to it!!!

This goes on from the personal to international level and everything in between. Makes me think this world really is some sort of cosmic detention facility. Grrrr… No it’s not all someone else’s fault!

For example, people still think this is a “Christians” only country, that the Constitution only defends the Christian religion. Problem is, when you find those same people on another convo thread, they’re busy condemning those of other Christian traditions & slamming each other and saying stuff like, “Those Catholics are not Christian… those Methodists aren’t Chritian” & so forth. Good grief! No wonder there are over 30,000 “Christian” denominations! Just which of the “Christians”, in your opinion (since that’s all it is) is meant in the 1st Amendment?

Unfortunately when no one can get along, this is why we have crooked lawyers, to “interpret” the laws for us – while we bash and litigate against one another (usually there are vast sums of money involved). Or demolish the laws entirely. And remember, most politicians were once crooked, self serving lawyers.

Shall I go on? No probably not. Had it with the lack of thinking and integrity.

I will shut up now.