Friday, July 31, 2009

What does this mean?

In true prayer
will and desire are one.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The True Seal of a Super Christian

The first gifted Christian writer, Jacobe Boheme taught that the qualification needed to fit one for
membership in our Heavenly Father's Kingdom
is to become a little child, not a superman.
The true superman is the outcome of the
Christ child within. Entrance into the King-
dom is only to be obtained through birth, not
in any other way.

Monday, July 27, 2009

I wouldn't consider myself a gardener of any real kind, but I do have a kind of green thumb. I live at the base of a granite mountain where the soil depth in some places reaches nearly 1/2 inch. Below that is solid rock. It makes for a great foundation for a house, but a really lousy garden. Still I have plenty of flowers and color around the house and along our drive, even some nice trees. True, the flowers are essentially in containers built in to the side of the hill and it took a backhoe to dig the holes for the trees, but we still have lots of flowers, all of a kind the rabbits won't eat. I have no idea why but the majority of the flowers the rabbits don't eat are yellow, as are the blooms of the natural brush around the house. Basic color may be the same, but each flower has a distinctive smell, shape and size. Actually they are nothing alike in some ways and very similar in others. God is so imaginative in how he blended plants and colors all to live and flourish side by side. Their distintives define them. There is nothing wrong with being different. God made yellow roses with their thorns, yellow poppies with their heroin, yellow Marigolds with their natural poison and yellow sunflowers with their life giving seeds. And they will all grow together beautifully in the same garden. Their distinctives only define what an how they are useful. I wish churches were more like flowers. Have all the distinctives you want without being devisive. Let your distinctives define, not divide. A yellow poppy could be addictive or medicinal, depending on how it is used. A dandilion could be a weed in a lawn or part of a dinner salad. Fifteen years ago at a Promise Keepers Pastors conference in Atlanta Georgia I signed a pledge to focus my ministry on how we are alike in Christ, letting my distinctives define, not divide. The garden I grow in now is far mor beautiful than it ever was before. My real goal is not to get people in church but in Christ. Col 1:27 "Christ in you , the hope of Glory. the shack study guide

Friday, July 24, 2009

Why Don't Hawks Sing?

Did you ever hear a hawk sing? Me either. Hawks pretty much have a screech (high pitch as opposed to a low pitch squawk) that is anything but musical. I wonder why that is. Most birds have melodic a song that identifies them. As a kid a mocking bird sat in the tree outside my bedroom window doing his imitation of every other bird in the neighborhood. When I had heard enough…usually around midnight I would go outside and throw a rock into the tree, chasing him to the neighbors tree where he continued his late night show. Usually by around 2 AM I would hear the crash of a bottle (and some muffled and probably unprintable words) thrown in the neighbors tree. After his brief commercial interruption, he would be back outside my window discussing whatever it is Mockingbirds talk about all night. I grew to hate that bird. Back in the 80’s I supplemented my income by raising and selling birds by the thousands. My biggest customer was a local bird of prey rehabilitation center. Their passion was to nurse injured birds of prey back to health and re-release them into the wild. To accomplish this noble goal, they had to be fed their natural food, thus my financial need became the supply for their demand. I had 5 kids I planned to release into the wild too. One summer I noticed a Ferruginous Hawk (like the one pictured above) sitting beside the road, apparently stunned. I had a cage with me and gently guided him (a guess) into it and took him home. By the time we got home the hawk had revived somewhat from what turned out to be an electrical shock. I put the cage inside a walk in cage where he could safely wait for an exam from Christi, the head of the rehab center. When I opened the door of the cage he misunderstood my intentions (or was expressing his displeasure at the accommodations) and sunk his huge talons into my boot, rubbing but not piercing my foot! Since he would not let go of my boot, I carefully slipped my foot out and let him keep it. That's when I discovered a billed creature can smirk. Examination showed he would need a few weeks to regain his strength after his episode with a high power line and was taken to the rehab center for recovery and later release back into the wild. This story came to mind this morning as I was reading of the wonders and creativity of our Father. God made so many different birds with so many different colors and songs. If you read my daughters blog you know we have LOTS of critters around our house all the time. I have noticed the quail are always chattering amongst themselves and the songs of praise can usually be heard from several different choirs around the house. Sometimes they are together around the water or in the shade of the one large pine tree, but usually they are each in their own niche. There is a family of Red Tail hawks that nest back on the hill behind me that will silence every song with just one screech. The quail quiver and hide in the bushes and the songbirds silently fade into the trees. My new favorite author, Jacobe Boheme, in commenting on Christian’s arguing about the letter of the law and their own personal favorite interpretation made a thought provoking comparison. I think William Law’s 18th century English translation of his 17th century observation is plain enough to not warrant further translation: “Yea, such Men are worse than Thistles and Thorns that grow among fair Flowers, for they at least stand still and are quiet, whereas those Wranglers are like the ravenous Beasts and Birds of Prey, which fright the other Birds from singing and praising God.”

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Don't EVER Go To Church Again!

I have been going to church ever since I was 2 weeks old…which means that all told, I have gone to a church service somewhere around 10,000 times! It seems like a lot more. I meet so many people who tell me they don’t like going to church and my typical attitude is I don’t blame you. Going to church is not my idea of fun either, but I have to, I work there. What horror stories I could tell of what I have seen go on at church. No one should be subjected to what I have seen. Anyway, I have decided never to go to church again, ever. I know, I will get forced into it sometimes, but I really don’t ever want to go to church again…ever…and I hope you don’t either. We are in pretty good company here because Jesus never went to church either, not even once. Actually, it should not be that hard anyway seeing how I can’t actually go to church anyway, at least not the one Jesus spoke of, the one I really want to be a part of. Jesus called HIS church, His bride. I can’t see him married to a building, not even the ancient temple, can you? He made it clear that I am the only church He is even remotely interested in visiting. He put it this way: Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? Andrew Boheme said in 1622: “A true Christian brings his holy Church with him into the Congregation. For the Heart is the true Church, where a Man must practise the Service of God. If I should go a thousand Times to Church, and to the Sacrament every Week, and hear Absolution declared to me every Day, and have not Christ in me, all would be false, an unprofitable Fiction and graven Image in Babel, and no forgiving of Sins.” Apparently Jacob didn’t think much of going to church either, but he LOVED to go. He loved to be with others who knew that the church was not gathered until they got there, THEN the real celebrations and praise could begin. Not only that, wherever he went, the church went with him, in him and a praise service could break out at the song of a bird or the sight of a falling star. I don’t think I will ever want to go to church again ,but then, I don’t ever want to leave home without it either.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Holiness vs Love in The Shack

Most all of all the criticisms I have heard or read of the Shack need no real apologetic because they were groundless. Most challenges were answered on the same page or the comments were taken out of context. One earnest critic of The Shack commented that while He loved the portrayal of the Love of God, he wished the author had spent more time on God’s holiness. Actually, I think the Shack paints a beautiful picture of God’s holiness from cover to cover. I believe the problem arises from an incomplete understanding of the very nature of God and creation. Before I give my reasons, let me give a brief over view of the Story Over view of
The Shack.

Mack is a man in great pain for many reasons, some his own doing in his youth and most from a horrible attack on his family. He has all the struggles and emotional battles one would expect of anyone who found themselves in this situation. He is angry with himself, God and most of the world. So angry he is driving himself crazy. He is hanging on to his emotions and sanity by the finest of threads as best he can, but he knows he cannot go on like this forever. He is so desperate for some kind of resolution, any kind actually, that he accepts an offer from what may be from God or his Daughter’s killer to meet at a deserted cabin in the dead of winter in a remote wilderness. He hides what he is planning to do from all but a trusted friend and heads for the Cabin. Arriving at the cabin he meets the Trinity of Papa, Jesus and Sarayu and later Sophia. They are not at all what he expected. At first he resists and challenges, rejects and wrestles with everything he is discovering. In the end he finds that he deeply desires the love and light Papa and all bring into his life and the book closes with Mack at peace with God, himself and the world. The best part of the book is that although the story is pure fiction, the light of understanding was the actual experiences of the author, Paul Youngs.
Why I feel that both the Holiness and Love of God is in balance in the book is because real ugly life and tragedy are exposed in all the characters when they are walking outside the light of God. Horrible feelings and actions abound, as it does anywhere there is darkness. The ugliness of darkness in it’s varied forms is contrasted with the Love and light of a heavenly Father who deeply cares for all his children, offering the light of understanding, but never forcing anyone to walk in that light. This is reinforced over and over again in every conversation. Sophia reasons it one way, Sarayu visualizes it another. Jesus humanizes it, Papa personalizes it. Nowhere is the holiness of God injured, everywhere the brilliance of his Love brings the light of true understanding to the heart of Mack. Mack chooses to live in the Holiness of God by walking in the light revealed. He seeks and offers forgiveness and the Holiness of God is satisfied again as it was on the Cross.
Many people could relate to the anger of Mack, but Not the Love of God. This God of the Shack is just too good to be true. They have read of the actions and accounts of the wrath and anger of God in scripture and have been told since they were in diapers that God was really going to be mad at them if they didn’t straighten up. They are looking for the HOLY God, THE God of wrath and anger to come through to scare people out of hell, or vise versa if you wish. Someone here really needs to get a good beat down if God has any holiness left in him at all!
The problem here is a incomplete understanding of God. The God most people think they know is NOT the God of revealed scripture. I believe He is more like the God in the Shack than the God in last Sunday’s sermon. Let me share with you my understanding of the nature of God which I have gleaned from the writings of Jacob Boheme from the 1600’s who greatly influence William Law and the great preachers of the 1700 and 1800’s.
To understand the scriptural accounts of the “anger or wrath” of God, His nature and creation must be understood. Scripture clearly teaches that God is and always was light and love and is His sole source of being.
Consider this:
1JN 1:5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
Since darkness is not in God, where is it? It cannot be in Him because there is darkness in Him at all. Darkness is found in the absence of light. It is perfect nothingness. Before God created anything, there was no such thing as Darkness and there was nothing around to know the darkness, there was only the Light of and in God. John speaks of this:
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. John 1:3-5

All life and light of any description, metaphorical or literal, exists only in and through the infinite power of the God of Creation. In the ultimate sense there are only two things, God and not God, the Creator or the Created. Can you guess which one you are? The gulf between the created and the Creator is infinite and cannot be crossed by any effort on the part of any created being, be it man or angel. At the core of creation no light exists in any sense apart from God so it can be said that God “created” darkness. This was not a problem for the original creation because the light of God coexisted with the creation and there was light. Inside the creature God placed will, desire, want, need, anger, wrath all those things that live in darkness. All were fulfilled and satisfied in the light of God, but when Lucifer and the angels fell and when Adam went his own way they were separated from the light they had and were destined to live in darkness. The creatures now had knowledge without understanding, desire and need with no power to fulfill them and the resulting frustration, wrath and anger that previously was dispelled in holy living in the light and love of God. BUT because of the darkness, the creatures do not know all this. Lucifer and Adam rejected the light and lost it and all mankind sense have wandered in darkness and called it light because they have never seen light. Jesus recognized this problem and warned the people:

MT 6:22 "The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

Man has become so attuned to this condition of darkness Jesus went on to say:
JN 1:6 There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."

Man in his darkness, outside the light of the gospel of Christ can only speculate in his darkened mind about the attitudes and activities of God and thus describe God as Wrathful or Angry, when nothing could be further from the truth. When the LIGHT and LOVE of God is shed in the heart and mind of the creature, the creature will ONLY see love and Light because wrath and anger do not exist in God.

Allow me this personal illustration / explanation:
When one of my sons was nearing 18 he left home for a cross country road trip, unannounced, and was gone for several weeks. My wife and I were terrified with his sudden and unexplained disappearance. After a few weeks of intense searching we came to believe he had probably gone east with some co-workers who disappeared at the same time. A speeding ticket mailed to the house from across the country confirmed our suspicions. Since he was under 18 we asked that he be returned to us as a runaway, but force if necessary. I was prepared to fly cross country to get him. In the weeks he was gone we had tons of advice and suggestions on how to handle the situation when and if he came home. Most were from the “teach him a lesson” view of life. What we wanted more than anything in the world was to hold him in our arms and love him. Teaching him a lesson was the furthest thing from my mind and NO WHERE in my heart. NOTHING we could do to him in the way of discipline or punishment would or could compensate for the pain we had already endured in his absence. We knew that, should God return him to us, we would accept and love him in any condition. We learned much of the Father’s love for us during those painful weeks. After several weeks our son did return to the valley where we live but was scared to death to come home. He was sure he would be in a great deal of trouble and that we would be very angry with him, which from his point of view was totally reasonable. He had totally deified us and felt he deserved to be in big trouble…a point that needs no debate. He contacted some friends in the valley, but was not sure how he should come or even if he could come home. Two policemen stopped him late one night in the parking lot where a friend lived. Their check showed he was listed as a run away minor and they called in the middle of the night asking if they could return him. There was absolutely no anger resentment or any such thing, only an overwhelming joy that my son would soon be home. When the police brought him to the house, he was timid and scared, not knowing what kind of reception he would get. His brothers and sisters soon arrived in the middle of the night to start the homecoming party! HIS mind was darkened by his own thoughts of how we would react and he assumed the worst. He was sure we would be very angry. It took a while for him to be home to finally really believe we were not angry with him, that we loved him completely and wanted the very best for him. He had to come into the presence of our light and love to dispel his attribution of anger in us. He has lived in the security of that Love ever since them.

Let’s recap: At the center of creation itself is NO LIGHT, but darkness. All creation depends on the light of God for whatever light it has. In the original union there was no problem but man turned FROM the light of God to the “light” of the darkness of creation and called the darkness light, but it was not. The attributed and assumed anger of God is in the darkness of the creation and visible only from the created side, it does not exist in the God side. When you only have darkness you assume it is IN GOD but when HE turns on the light it is only love. All these metaphors of God’s wrath and anger are spoken of from the created perspective, not the creator’s perspective. It is impossible for the created to understand that anger and wrath do not exist in the Creator God because they HAVE NO LIGHT. They can only see and understand wrath and anger from the darkened created side.
Paul explains: 2 Co 4:4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
John adds: JN 3:19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."

When the creature attributes anger or wrath to the creator OR when the creator speaks of anger or wrath towards the creature, it must be understood that the anger and wrath exist ONLY on the created side and then only because the created has rejected the light and love of the creator. Light and Love dispel wrath and anger.

Consider these scriptures with this understanding in mind:

PS 4:6 Many are asking, "Who can show us any good?" Let the light of your face shine upon us, O LORD.
PS 13:3 Look on me and answer, O LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;
PS 18:28 You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.
PS 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation-- whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life--of whom shall I be afraid?
PS 43:3 Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell. PS 76:4 You are resplendent with light, more majestic than mountains rich with game.
PS 89:15 Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O LORD.
PS 97:11 Light is shed upon the righteous and joy on the upright in heart.
PS 104:2 He wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent
Mat 6:22: "The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
John 1: 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. JN 1:6 There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
JN 3:19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 Butwhoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."
JN 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
JN 12:35 Then Jesus told them, "You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going. 36 Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light." When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.
Rom 13:12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
2 Co 4:4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. 6 For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

2CO 6:14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."
EPH 5:8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14 for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." 15 which God will bring about in his own time--God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.

2Ti1:10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
1PE 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
1 JN 2:8 Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining. 1JN 2:9 Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble.
Rev 21; 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.
REV 22: 5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Home Owner Associations HOA

House in 06 after some storm damage.
Home Owners Association

Deanna and I were raised in the country with plenty of place to roam. As a child, I spent the day wandering wherever my feet ( bike, horse or eventually car) would carry me, usually to the golf course to hunt errant golf balls to sell back to the golfers or to the river to catch something to sell at my uncles pet store. It was a good life. During College and seminary we lived in sight of downtown LA, but never stayed home, to confining. When we began ministry we moved back to the same area and got a house out on a high point on the edge of a dry lake. My cross country trips to church on my Honda Scrambler MC made the ride to work an adventure. THEN we moved to Arizona. We had a nice parsonage in town that was more than adequate, but it was definitely inner-city. Wandering here for the boys was greatly limited and for my daughter totally redistricted! (she is still unhappy about that but I will bet she changes her mind as Tori gets tall enough to open the front door). Ours was an older neighborhood originally built in the county so there was no HOA to tell me what to do, which was a really good thing, trust me. After 19 years we saw that it was going to be possible for us to get our own home and I began to look. That’s when I found out about HOA’s. Each little community had written into the sales agreement a requirement that you submit to the whim of the HOA board. They would command what you could park in your yard and where, what you could put in the back yard, how high it could be, how to arrange the stuff in the garage and how long the garage door could be open! No way could I live like that. I grant them the right to enforce it if I was to buy in their community, but I chose not to. I found another place where I felt right at home, a couple of acres on a county island that no one wanted because of the terrain. It backed up onto state trust land and a mountain so development was unlikely and there was NO HOA! Here, every man does what is right in his own sight within county deed restriction limits. My kind of place: I won’t tell you what to do if you don’t tell me! We built our dream house here and have been here for 13 years. The state turned the back yard into a 14,000 acre Mountain Preserve so it can never be developed and because of the washes, no one can build any closer to me than is already here. It is perfect for me. This comes to mind as I read something this morning.
1CO 6:19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
The thought came to me: can a person claim the blood of Christ for forgiveness and NOT give himself up to that same blood? Is it that kind of an exchange? If we claim the blood, do we claim the life? The book says were bought with a price. To gain God’s forgiveness and eternal life and the indwelling Spirit of Christ, must I give up my will to Him as the president of my HOA or can I just have all the benefits and privileges of forgiveness and eternal life and still do everything my way? I didn’t move into an area that had a HOA to avoid the inevitable conflict. Can it really be any different with God? Who really owns this house anyway?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wrath of Kahn and Galatians 2:20

Even if you're not an original Trekkie, you will get this. When Kahn (Ricardo Montaban sp?) first appeared in the Star Trek TV series he was on a space ship floating through the universe in cryogenic suspension. Capt. Kirk had him defrosted and found that he and his crew were the only survivors of a lost world. His conquering spirit led him to capture the Enterprise, forcing Kirk and his usual comrades to face death together. Even in the face of death, Kirk's crew would not break. Kahn realized his mistake. In experiencing the threat of death together, the crew had bonded into a oneness that could not be broken. We know the truth of the depth of this bonding. Football training camp and army boot camp (and whatever else is in between) is based on this group psychology. The fact is you can only begin to understand and relate to another person who has experienced what you have. I'm sure I don't have to convince you of that fact. Kirk and his crew finally regained control of the ship and banished Kahn and his crew to an uninhabited planet to start their own new world. Their escape from that world was the basis for the Star Trek II movie, the Wrath of Kahn. Ok, what has that got to do with Galatians 2:20? I'm getting there, but I want to add my story first. Around 30 years ago I went through a series of life altering events that included three deaths in my immediate family, (I had to go to the hospital with my sister to tell dad (who was having major surgery) that mom only had a few weeks to live) one miscarriage, a failed business that led us to the edge of bankruptcy, my own major surgery and an assortment of the typical betrayals of "friends" and false accusations of enemies. It was so overwhelming a pastor friend of mine told me, (half jesting) "don't stand to close to me, I don't want to get hit by the same lightening." Through all of this I prayed, cried, pleaded and did everything any believer would do to hold on to his faith, even if by the finest of thread. It was as if God did not exist. For months, that stretched into years, no help help came. Some resolution came in a final determination to (as Hebrews 11 puts it) "walk in faith, having not received the fullness of the promise" until I died. With all the power of my will I could summon I chose to live believing, regardless of what I personally felt. If explanations were necessary, I would get them after my last breath. I even wrote and outline for a book I would one day write called "when the heavens are brass". It is a study in Psalms. My personal 12 step program. (You can find it in my blog archives 9-29-08). To be honest, I never really understood why God let that horrible series, that absolute forsaken feeling, come into my life for so long. Truth is, I have had brief visits with forsakeness since then, but I always retreat quickly to "walking and waiting" in faith plus a quick review of my 12 step program.. I even took it a step further, actually desiring to see some prayers remain unanswered until AFTER my last breath so I can celebrate the answer to my prayers with the Angels around the throne. ( I'm getting to Gal. 2:20, really). Sometime after 5 A.M. this morning, the Holy Spirit got really chatty. (it is my opinion He is a morning person, but that's just an opinion). Since He tends to speak with lightening flashes of understanding, it is hard to sequence all that He said. In trekkie terms it was a mind meld. I was reading a piece from Jacob Boheme (1620's) last night that really put some pieces of the puzzle of life into place. Jacob is a "Teutonic Theosopher" which is theological Geek Speak for a German who thinks a lot about God. Boheme was relating the story of a Soul who had come to Christ and felt totally abandoned and failing, even forsaken by God. I had deep empathy with that soul, it could easily be me. OK, NOW Galatians 2:20. Chatty Spirit wakes me up this AM and says remember all those really bad days of the past? Like I could ever forget! With a clarity that is growing like the rising of the sun I understand what happened back then and why I MUST revisit it today. Galatians 2:20 teaches "I have been crucified with Christ, yet I live". For me to Bond with Christ, truly bond, I MUST walk where he walked, feel what he felt, experience what he experience, even to that most horrible of moments on the Cross when He Cried, MY GOD1 WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?! It is NOT that he was ever forsaken, but He really FELT like it....The Shack makes this pretty clear. It is theologically IMPOSSIBLE for God to forsake Jesus...or me for that matter. But it is very necessary that I FEEL forsaken, to bond with what Christ went through, to understand is to be truly his brother. That understanding takes us from human sympathy to spirit empathy. It puts a whole new light on things doesn't it? In my life experience I did die, in a way. Physical death would have been so much easier and desirable at the time. But I do LIVE, but differently. When those abandoment feelings come, it is just a reminder of the fact that I AM A BROTHER of Christ. I am not failing, I am FINALLY MAKING IT, I'm part of the team, off the bench and into the game. I have to admit, I really love it when the Holy Spirit gets chatty. In case I lost you some where along the line, don't forget that only the Holy Spirit can really teach you what this means in your life, ask Him to show you personally, He will. If you have the time, check out Boheme's story:

The distressed Soul said,
I have followed thy Counsel, and thereby attained a Ray, or Emanation of the Divine Sweetness, but it is gone from me again, and I am now deserted. Moreover I have outwardly very great Trials and Afflictions in the World; for all my good Friends forsake and scorn me; and am also inwardly assaulted with Anguish and Doubt, and know not what to do.
The enlightened Soul said,
Now I like thee very well; for now our beloved Lord Jesus Christ is performing that same Pilgrimage or Process on Earth with thee and in thee, which he did himself when he was in this World, who was continually reviled, despised, and evil spoken of and had nothing of his own in it; and now thou bearest his Mark or Badge. But do not wonder at it, or think it strange; for it must be so, in order that thou mayest be tried, refined, and purified. In this Anguish and Distress thou wilt necessarily hunger and cry after Deliverance; and by such Hunger and Prayer thou wilt attract Grace to thee both from within and from without. For thou must grow from above and from beneath to be the Image of God again. Just as a young Plant is agitated by the Wind, and must stand its Ground in Heat and Cold, drawing Strength and Virtue to it from above and from beneath by that Agitation, and must endure many a Tempest, and undergo much Danger before it can come to be a Tree, and bring forth Fruit. For through that Agitation the Virtue of the Sun moveth in the Plant, whereby its wild Properties come to be penetrated and tinctured with the Solar Virtue, and grow thereby. And this is the Time wherein thou must play the Part of a valiant Soldier in the Spirit of Christ, and co-operate thyself Therewith. For now the Eternal Father by his fiery Power begetteth his Son in thee, who changeth the Fire of the Father, namely, the first Principle, or wrathful Property of the Soul, into the Flame of Love, so that out of Fire and Light (viz. Wrath and Love) there cometh to be one Essence, Being, or Substance, which is the true Temple of God. And now thou shalt bud forth out of the Vine Christ, in the Vineyard of God, and bring forth Fruit in thy Life, and by assisting and instructing others, shew forth thy Love in Abundance, as a good Tree. For Paradise must thus spring up again in thee through the Wrath of God, and Hell be changed into Heaven in thee. Therefore be not dismayed at the Temptations of the Devil, who seeketh and striveth for the Kingdom which he once had in thee; but having now lost it, he must be confounded, and depart from thee. And he covereth thee outwardly with the Shame and Reproach of the World, that his own Shame may not be known, and that thou mayest be hidden to the World. For with thy New Birth or regenerated Nature, thou art in the Divine Harmony in Heaven. Be patient, therefore, and wait upon the Lord; and whatsoever shall befall thee, take it all from his Hands, as intended by him for thy highest Good. And so the enlightened Soul departed from it.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Stop Resisting

Today we celebrate the most important event in our nations history, the official date of our freedom from what the founding fathers felt imprisoned their souls, if not their bodies. To live free of the consequences of the decisions made in Europe, we established a pretty good republic that, to date, has avoided what the originators were fleeing from. Our president, whose youthful opinions were not formed in this country, is trying to get us to return to a more European style of democracy. It seems natural for him because of the imprinting of his youth, but it might do him well to remember that we are a country of resisters...and proud enough of it so show off our colors once a year. If he is indeed sincere in his efforts, our resistance is confusing to him, he only wants what he believes is in our best national interest. A lot of us would beg to differ on what is in our best interest. Thomas Jefferson predicted that when America got into the position it now is in, it would be wise to consider another revolution. I seriously doubt that will happen the way it did back then, nor do I think it would likely do any good. Any revolution we have must be at the polls...and I pray the poll results are honest. The heartland of America will resist in some form or another, even if it seems like resistance is futile and I would count myself in that group. Unfortunately I all to often find myself resisting where I should never resist. I should be in absolute cooperation because there is no doubt about the intentions of our leader. William Law, a founding father of the faith said in 1750:

That which God is doing towards the new creation of us, had its beginning before the foundation of the world. "In Christ Jesus,"saith St. Paul, "we were chosen before the foundation of the world"; the same as saying, that God out of his great mercy, had chosen to preserve a seed of the WORD and SPIRIT of God in fallen man, which through the mediation of a God incarnate, should revive into that fullness of stature in Christ Jesus, in which Adam was at first created. And all this work of God towards a new creation, is by that same essential operation of God in us, which at first created us in his image and likeness. And therefore nothing belongs to man in it, but only to yield himself up to it, and not resist it.

May God Continue to Bless America. the shack study guide