Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matt.28:19-20
These were the words, referred to as the “Great Commission” spoken by Jesus to his apostles. These men had been his disciples, his personal students for 3+ years. It was with these men that Jesus lived and talked with daily; and it was to these men that he gave the secrets of the Kingdom, too. “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables Mark 4:11. But what about the common man? What about the man who reads and still hears parables? what is his, I mean, our “Commission”?
Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. Rom.12:1-2
These are the words written by the Apostle Paul to the young church in Rome; but what did they mean to them, and what do they point to for us today? How does transformation take place and what is mind renewal? What is the difference between being conformed and being transformed? What is spiritual worship and how does one present your body as a living sacrifice? Paul writes these words to a city that years later would be seeing Christians offered to the lions and people would be literally living sacrifices. I can only imagine that the the commission Paul lays out here is what prepared and enabled those men and women of the future to be able to do what they did. The sacrifice of those men and women change a nation and the world. What was it they did to prepare for that day?
present your bodies as a living sacrifice – Paul first addresses the state of the physical body and the all physical scenes to be offered up fully alive and operational but in a state of sacrifice i.e offering. Offering means “to give”; its a state of being “given too” as one might give himself in marriage or give himself to training for a certain task .
holy and pleasing to God – Holy means to be “set apart” this being a state that is fully acceptable to God.
Here we see a person in a physical body who has set aside that physical body, mind, and, emotions and is fully committed to train and do whatever is necessarily to accomplish the task.
this is your spiritual worship – λογικός, ή, όν – logikos, logical and means divine reason . and the word worship is the idea of divine service – so it could read your Divine Logical service. Or the Service that will transform logic into the Divine.
Here Paul goes with a negative a “WHAT NOT TO DO”
Do not be conformed to this age
Conformed – συσχηματίζω suschématizó; means “having an outward shape” – to conform oneself (i. e. one’s mind and character) to another’s pattern. In other words don’t try to be like someone else. Paul talks about this further in a letter to the baby Christians in Corinth when he says: What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.”…..For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not mere men? What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.
Paul and Apollos and any man cannot cause growth. At best a man can point you toward the answer within and at worst he can give you a teaching, law, doctrine, practice or anything the natural mind can see, mimic and conform to. Idolatry was the #1 enemy of God throughout the writings of the Old Testament. An Idol is any fixed image, idea, teaching or philosophy that the mind can identify, break apart to study and conform to. Idolatry was the hardest thing for Israel to let go of and today is no different. We might not worship statues made by human hands that much, but, we do worship i.e. serve doctrines, teachings, concepts and traditions taught by men in the place of the Living indwelling Christ.
As I see it, the biggest hindrance to the kingdom of God being on earth is not those who would speak against Jesus Christ but those that would Idolize Him. What do I mean by that? I mean those that would take and turn Christ, the Living Word of God into a book or story to be studied, memorized, worshiped and finally conformed to. The Transformation of a Mind does not take place by learning about Jesus Christ, the Transformation of a mind takes place in KNOWING CHRIST THE LIFE WITHIN YOU.
be transformed by the renewing of your mind –
In other words Transformation takes place by BEING WITH THAT REALITY THAT IS IN YOU!
This is the very essence of Meditation and the practice of Being Still. This is what others have called Union with God and the Practice of his Presence.
The Renewing is the process of making that which is, new again and the Mind is: the comprising alike the faculties of perceiving and understanding and those of feeling, judging, determining; hence, specifically, the intellective faculty, the understanding: (Strong’s Conc)
A Mind made New so it can perceive, understand and feel God to the capacity it was created to. A Mind no longer perceiving its nakedness as shame but a mind freed from the conditioning of Idol thoughts to a New Mind metamorphosed into the instrument of the Divine.
so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God
How many times have I heard people pray to know what God’s will is and yet I can’t recall ever having heard anyone ask or pray about how they could have their mind renewed. People want the ability to know God’s will but are often unwilling or more often are simply ignorant to the process and work of mind renewal.
For those who live according to the flesh think about the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, about the things of the Spirit. For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit itself to God’s law, for it is unable to do so. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God lives in you. Rom.8:5-9
How happy is the man who does not follow the advice of the wicked or take the path of sinners or join a group of mockers! Instead, his delight is in the Lord’s instruction,
and he meditates on it day and night. Ps.1:1-2
But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; Jn.16:13
“This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Jer.31:33
And Finally more of Paul’s words describing this process of Mind renewal in another way. A way in which we all can relate to: When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 1Cor.13:11. A childish mind is not a wrong, evil or bad mind it is simply an ignorant childish one.
The kingdom of God is within you and yet we seem to think that the answers to our life is found in holy books or the teachings of men. Inside of us all is a treasure that is waiting to be found and explored, a Christ that wants to be known. As the scriptures says, “Be still and know that I am God”. The practice of stillness seems to be a lost one among those who take the title Christian. They take a name and try to take a commission that is not theirs. Going into all the world without first being transformed is the same as going into battle crippled, blind, deaf, dumb and without one weapon. You want to take up the Great Commission then first present your bodies for sacrifice and your minds for transformation. How do you plan to teach people about knowing God’s will when you yourself have not gone through the process necessary to know it. Moses prepared 40 years in a very quite dessert. Jesus was unheard of from 12 to 30 as he prepared; and Paul 15 years in obscurity going through this practice of stillness and meditation, experiencing the third heaven and having his mind made new and his life transformed. It is only through face to face intimacy that any of us can ever express the light needed to cause the darkness to flee. The practice of meditation is not the answer; it is simple a means by which you can discover for yourself what God has written on your heart. As Paul wrote:
You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2Cor.3:2-6
If God’s will is to be done on earth as it is in heaven then it will take men and women who are willing to take the time and effort to discover the reality that lies within them. It will take time in desserts to find the wonderful secrets that have been written down in their own hearts. It will take individual people who want to know God as they are known by God and it will take the brave who are willing to lay down their idols and search for what they do not yet know. Before the Great Commission comes this, the Commission you don’t usually hear about: it’s the One where you have to go outside the gate.
Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come. Heb.13:12-14
Its lonely outside the place where you grew up. No family, no church friends; just the rejects of where you came from. Can you leave your physical, religious, political, educational and spiritual home to discover the truth within you? Can you leave all that you have known to be truth, to stand naked face to face with a God you don’t really know but want to? Maybe this will give you a little different understanding of the words spoken so long ago that said:
How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it. Matt.7:14
the earth and all of creation hopes you find it!
June 25, 2012 | Categories: Bible, Bible Study, Church Life, Disciples of Jesus Christ, Discipleship, House Church, Jehovah, Jesus Christ, Organic Church, Reimagining Church, Religion, The Lord, The Word, Truth, Wise Sayings | Tags: living sacrifice | 2 Comments
What I find to be One of the most misunderstood phrases among Christians today is
“The Word of God”
For so many Christians today this phrase has come to mean “The Bible”
The Christian ear hears “preach the Bible; be urgent…..”
Is this what Paul was saying? I guess he could of just said: “preach my letter” since that is what people do today and its what they in practice think Paul was saying.
The Apostle John seem to have a different view of the “Word” than many have today when he starts his gospel off with;
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Can we really say: In the beginning was the Bible, and the Bible was with God, and the Bible was God.
Most Christians would say “NO” with their mouth yet in their practice would agree with the above interpretation.
The author of The letter to the Hebrews wrote:
Heb.4:12-13 For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and laid open before the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
Living, Active and has Sight
Paul writes in his letter to the saints in Corinth:
2Cor.3:6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of a new covenant; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
How does the letter kill?
A letter is a description of something living but it in itself is not alive. A letter like a picture can capture a moment in life, freeze it or as Paul says “Kill it”. Life is ever moving, ever changing it is only the dead that remain exactly the same.
So what is the Bible then?
It is a letter recording God’s words to different men, peoples and nations. It records the thoughts of different men who had a revelation of God. It is a record of life, frozen in time, but all this letter can do is nothing more than “bear witness” to the Word of God.
As John has recorded and the Author of Hebrews records the Word of God is not something written or something that can be contained but is a living being. John says: John 1:14 “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth.” and the author of Hebrews says: Heb 12:13 And there is no creature that is not manifest in his sight.
This “Word of God” that Paul, John and all the men of God speak of is the living Christ within you.
It was the Bereans who heard Paul speak the “Word of God” and after they heard the word preached they went to the scriptures to see if it was so.
Acts 17:11 Now these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of the mind, examining the Scriptures daily, whether these things were so.
So I ask you, see if these things are so! Every time you see the “Word” mentioned in the scriptures replace it with “Bible” and see if it rings true to you. After that replace the “Word” with “Christ” and read it seeing if it rings true to your Spirit.
I say all this not to put the Bible down but to raise Christ up. Biblical knowledge is not a bad thing but if it replaces a living relationship with Christ then it has become a hindrance and an idol. You don’t need the Bible to hear Christ speak.
The Bible should never replace Christ in being the voice that leads and guides you.
Jesus said: You pore over the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, yet they testify about Me. And you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. Jn.5:39-40
Lastly – How does one hear the Word of God?
Ps.46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God. Still the chatter in your mind, still your thoughts and allow the still small voice of Christ to be heard within you!
There is a lot more that could be said on this subject but I have kept this short and sweet so it can be read by all and I have faith and trust in the Lord’s voice within you to teach you all you need to know!
November 9, 2011 | Categories: Bible, Bible Contradictions, Church Life, Disciples of Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ, Old Testament History, Organic Church, Religion, Simple Church, The Lord, The Word, Truth, Wise Sayings | 1 Comment
There is reality and there is what we think is reality and the two are not the same. Reality is what eternally is. So what really is eternally true? Oneness, connectedness of all things the non-two of everything, this is eternal truth. In the physical world ,that appears so divided, the truth is unity. Fear, frustration, worry, hate and division are manifestations of a mind not accepting the eternal unity that is. Because my mind sees what appears to be two I believe in what my physical eyes see over what eternally is. Our bodies are not eternal, from dust they came and to dust they shall return. Our minds are not eternal, from dust they came and to dust they shall return.
That which animates the body, that which we call life is eternal and it is this life that all beings share in. It is not many lives but one life that animates every physical body on this earth. This is why it makes no sense to say “I hate the life in that person but I love it in this person” – there is only one life. To awaken is to see the reality of that one life and to live in the truth of that reality, this is how a physical mind can be renewed in the light of truth. Life imprisoned by a mind in the darkness of division is a life unrealized and unfulfilled. As the left hand does not say to the right hand I have no need of you, so no one can say to his neighbor “I have no need of you”. If the attitude of our hands was I am not one with you and have no need of you how difficult would it make our life on this earth? If this is the attitude of people toward each other what a difficult task it would be to get anything done (this is the curse) .
To believe in a savior, calling or mission does not alleviate or free your life into the oneness that is unless you yourself see the reality of that oneness. Religions have often mistaken mission for identity and used this as a reason for separation from others. Its disheartening to hear that “To love your neighbor as yourself” is often read as a command or goal and not a revelation that your neighbor is you.
Its not so much about what you believe is its more like
“Do you see what really is”
. Do you have eyes that see or eyes hidden behind the veil of divided flesh. Before Jesus was taken to the cross the gospel of John records a pray his disciples could hear and part of what he prayed was “that they may all be one”. Many read this to be a prayer about becoming one but it is my belief that this was not Jesus asking the Father to make them one in the future but simply to open their eyes to the reality of the oneness that all life shares. It was the mission of Jesus to destroy all perceived divisions not only between God and man but between man and man and man and creation so that all can share in the freedom that comes from the destruction of division through the revelation of Oneness.
God is One and all his children are One. This is love, that a man sees and lives his life One with everyone, not because he should, but because it is what is real and eternally true.
Something I Miss
The past 22 years have been quite an adventure for both my wife and I. We left the church we had known and been raised in and went on an adventure to find something higher or something more. During these years, we have been involved with 10 different churches or groups for an extended period of time. Each group having its own style, doctrine, traditions and focus. I can honestly say that we have learned something valuable from each group we have been a part of. As of now, we are part of a Filipino Christian and Missionary Alliance Church that we have been attending for the past seven months. Very nice group of friendly, hospitable people that love potlucks (a big thumbs up in my opinion). We also are a part of a Mystery School that meets once a month on a Saturday for about 7 to 8 hours. The Mystery School is a 12 session school taught by Christopher and Yolanda who are a very wonderful couple that Vina and I feel share the same heart that we have for Christ, people, and the world in general. The School has been an excellent opportunity for exposure to ideas, history, science and others forms of Christ that I was unfamiliar with. Christopher’s style of teaching is great without legalism and yet he has authority that comes from his experience with the things he teaches us. The school will be coming to an end in the next two months and we will be onto something new. One of the main ideas or truths Christopher constantly is reminding us of is the simple words of Jesus which is to
“seek first the kingdom of God or Heaven”
. These few words are simple but expose a tremendous dimension if you see it. The Kingdom of God is within you Lk.17:20-21 and Matthew 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. – I am going to consider the the Kingdom of God and Heaven are the same for the purpose of this blog – The word Heaven means both the abode of God and Expanse (TWB 2407). Consider this, the Universe, God, Heaven are all ever expanding and it is this constant expansion that is happening right within us. Growth in Christ is not only inevitable, it is eternal. It is not a stagnate well that Jesus talked to the women at the well about – it is not a finite kingdom of God that is within us but and ever-expanding Christ that we are called to be conscious of, draw from and express on this earth. This eternal ever-expanding Christ within us can be called Christ Consciousness.
But, back to the point – Because of these 22 years, today I was reflecting on what I really treasure or miss, and I think I might try to put into words what that is. When I hear someone share something real, something that comes from their heart … (and what I mean by heart is that place inside of you where Christ is enthroned – the heart then is the mercy-seat of divine unconditional love. The ability to express the heart of Christ and the ability to hear that expression with “ears that hear” takes the functioning of Christ Consciousness within you. It is this interaction of speaking and hearing that is the true communion or re-member-ing of Christ i.e. joining the ears and mouth to the head and heart) … it is this type of communion with a group of people that I miss. So much of what is called “fellowship” today is simply from the head, sharing information about God, the Bible, history or your work, but the sharing that comes from the fountain deep within oneself, I have found to be a rare and treasured experience. Heart communion and Head fellowship are not the same thing. I am not saying that one is right and one is wrong. Head fellowship does have its place – mentally learning things is a good thing but I have found that it does not give you the same satisfaction that the things that come from the well within bring. Heart words that people have shared have caused me to be conscious of another dimension of Christ that I had previously not been aware of. And like a drink of cool sweet tea on a hot day, I am refreshed and enjoy the new view given me by a sister or a brother in that moment. Heart words are like pearls created from deep within ones heart – the Love that is Christ not removing but encompassing an irritation and then bringing forth the pearl for all to see and appreciate what Christ within hath created from that irritation (Matt.13:45-46). Oh that I be not a pig, unconscious to the pearls brought forth by others (Matt.7:6). I long to see and hear of the pearls of my brothers and sisters and not just hear puffy leaven stuff that looks like it should be so much more than it really is (1Cor. 8:1).
Recently I heard a classic message out of the book of Malachi. Mal.3:8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me!” You ask: “How do we rob You?” “[By not making the payments] of 10 percent and the contributions. The importance of tithing! The fact that the Church needs money to pay the bills and the ministers is a given but should we use Mal. 3:8 to support the need to give 10% of your money to the church?
Is tithing a law we should follow?
Should we pick and choose what Old Testament laws to follow and which ones we won’t?
Deut 21:18-21 “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father or mother….. bring him to the elders of his city, to the gate of his hometown. ….Then all the men of his city will stone him to death……
Most just ignore this Biblical Law, but not all.
Paul wrote: For sin will not rule over you, because you are not under law but under grace. Rom.6:14
So what does it mean to be under Grace and not the Law?
I believe it has something to do with the “Why” we do things and not the “What” we do.
As Paul wrote: So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good. Rom.7:12
There is Law that is placed upon us and law that is discovered within us.
As Paul wrote: For in my inner self I joyfully agree with God’s law. Rom.7:22
Following laws like tithing, honoring thy Father and Mother, Being faithful to your spouse, not committing adultery – is not what the message of Jesus.
Jesus said: But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matt.5:28
Simply not breaking the law is not what life is all about. Spirit Life is lived from the heart not the brain. Laws are brain things – The work of Christ is within the heart of man
Jer.24:7 I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the LORD. They will be My people, and I will be their God because they will return to Me with all their heart.
Heb 8:10 “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” says the Lord: “I will put My laws into their minds, and I will write them on their hearts, ….
Prov.23:7 7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. “ Eat and drink!” he says to you, But his heart is not with you.
Am I saying the law is bad? No. What I am saying is that the law is descriptive not directive. The law was not given for you to follow but for you to read and then discover these realities within your own heart. Its within your heart that Christ has hidden these things and they are meant to be discovered and lived out because they come from the depth of your being, they come from Spirit. The laws are not meant to be read and obeyed like a traffic sign would be.
Paul said in writing his first letter: I only want to learn this from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now going to be made complete by the flesh? Gal.3:2-3
Paul calls works of the law “The Flesh” When Paul speaks of the flesh he is speaking of things external or things not coming from within your own spirit. The Galatians were being told to have the men circumcised because the Bible commanded it. Gen.17:14 If any male is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that man will be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.”
Paul makes clear the difference between Law and Love –
For a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, and [true] circumcision is not something visible in the flesh. On the contrary, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart—by the Spirit, not the letter. His praise is not from men but from God. Rom.2:28-29
The outward following the letter of the law has nothing to do with God –
True union with God is in Spirit expressed in Love.
DO IT BECAUSE YOU (your heart) WANTS TO NOT BECAUSE YOU (your mind thinks [ego]) ARE SUPPOSED TO!
To give out of the abundance of your heart is a joy and gift to God. To give because you think you are supposed to or you have been guilted into it is the true robbing of God.
How is that robbing God?
When you discover God within your heart you discover that you and the giver are one. From that revelation you give, not because you are supposed to, but because it is who you are. You don’t give to prove something your giving displays your real self. Following the Law takes that away – Law is then lifted up replacing Christ. The Law was meant to point us to God not be our God – The Spirit of Anti-Christ is that which replaces Christ, don’t let the law be that to you.
Who knows the difference between the giving of the widow and the rich man? – they do. Only you and God know why you do what you do, but isn’t that enough. Are your actions coming from a heart overflowing with the discovery of the Love of God buried deep within your being or are they the actions of a man leaning on his own understanding of what the Bible says is the right and godly thing to do. Again, only you and God know.
January 18, 2011 | Categories: Bible, Bible Contradictions, Church Life, Disciples of Jesus Christ, Friends, House Church, Jehovah, Jesus Christ, Organic Church, Pagan Christianity, Reimagining Church, Religion, Simple Church, The Lord, The Word, Truth, Wise Sayings | 1 Comment
Mark 9:23 And Jesus said to him, ” ‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” (NASB)
These are bold and spectacular words. They open the treasure house of the Eternal King
to the children of clay, the privilege of God’s own omnipotence and all the possibilities of His infinite resources. Side by side these two astounding declarations stand, “All things are possible with God;” “All things are possible to him that believeth.” (A.B. Simpson)
What is Faith
Dictionary.com definition – –noun
1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another’s ability.
2. belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.
3. belief in god or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.
4. belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.
5. a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.
We have the English word “faith” but what are the Bible writers talking about when they use the word “Faith” ? For this we look to the scriptures to discover what they are talking about when they write we need to live by faith.
Heb.10:38-11:3 BUT MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH; AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK, MY SOUL HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM. But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul. Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. (NASB)
what the righteous live by
This is a quote from the scriptures Hab.2:2-4 Then the LORD answered me and said,”Record the vision ……For it will certainly come, it will not delay. “Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith. (NASB)
Here we see two lives portrayed One is Proud the Other is Faith – Pride comes as a sign of self-righteousness not faith-righteousness.
Self-Righteousness is a righteousness achieved by following rules – it comes from human effort and human will not from the faith of Christ within the heart of man.
Paul also quotes Habakkuk in Rom 1:17 For in it God’s righteousness is being revealed, out of faith for faith, according as it is written: “Now the just one by faith shall be living.” (CL)
When Paul says “out of faith” he is indicating that faith is the source and foundation of the hearing of God’s holiness “to faith” indicates that faith is the receiver and container that receives and contains God’s holiness unto righteousness.
assurance of things hoped for
In other words it is the guarantee of what you believe. The word “hope” here is not something you are wishing for but something you are assured of. Hope speaks of a true belief
conviction of the unseen
Conviction is the Greek word “elenchos” and it means: a proof, test or evidence. Faith is the evidence of the unseen. Such as – the proof the unseeable wind is moving is the fact that I see your hair being blown around by the unseeable wind.
Jn.4:24 “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (NASB)
Spirit in greek “pneumati” it means spirit, wind. God himself is unseeable but you can know Him or perceive Him by His affect in you and the things in creation. He can be seen through touching things in creation by blowing on them as it were.
The True Living Faith of a Believer is the Evidence of God’s Existence
Faith comes by:
Rom.10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
Hearing – Jesus said: Mark 4:9 And He was saying, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:23; )
Matthew 13:11-17 Jesus answered them, “To you (his disciples) it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven,…. while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. “In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says,
‘YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND;
YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE;
FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL,
WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR,………
“But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.
“For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it. (NASB)
Jesus distinguishes a very important difference between His Disciples and the Religious Leaders of the time was the ability and or lack of ability to both hear and see spiritual realities. The disciple John addresses this again to each of the churches in his letter the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
To each of the 7 churches in Asian John wrote : Rev.2:7 ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches ….”
The First step in a walk of faith is the willingness and openness to hear. In order for someone to really hear they have to be open to listen. Those who “KNOW” cannot hear because they are already filled up with knowledge. Living from a Knowledge of Good and Evil is not the same as living from the Life of Faith.
Hearing the Word of Christ
What are we to be hearing? The Word of Christ and what is this Word?
John 1:1,14 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
The Word is the expression of God i.e. Jesus – The Word of God is a person and his name is Jesus.
A though may form in the brain but it is not know to another until it is expressed by the person. The thought forms the word and expresses it by wind through the mouth. Jesus is the Word of God – the expression to us of the thought of the mind of God.
Is the Bible the “Word of God”? Jesus refers to what we call today the Bible as the “Scriptures” Jn.5:39 “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me;
In the scriptures we do find expressions of the Word of God i.e. Jesus, like the one above – We can say it like this “The word of God said “you search the scriptures because you think….” When one says “The word of God said” this is not quoting a book but a person who is called Jesus. The Bible quotes the Word of God but it in and of itself is not the Word of God and this can be very confusing to a lot of Christians. Jesus above tried to bring clarity to this point when he spoke to the religious leaders and said “You search the scriptures” Paul also tried to bring some clarity to this point when he wrote the saints in Rome.
Rom.10:4-9 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on law shall live by that righteousness. But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows: “DO NOT SAY IN YOUR HEART, ‘WHO WILL ASCEND INTO HEAVEN?’ (that is, to bring Christ down), or ‘WHO WILL DESCEND INTO THE ABYSS?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).” But what does it say? “THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART”–that is, the word of faith which we are preaching,
Many Jews read the Bible as a book of rules and laws to be followed. When Jesus, the Word of God came they rejected him in favor of their written rules and laws. They ended up quoting scripture in order to reject him. In Paul letters to the saints in Rome he declares that Jesus Christ is the end of following rules and laws to make one righteous and that “faithing Christ” – The Word of God is now how the righteous live. That the righteous live by the Word of God in your heart and mouth and not from a legal reading of the Bible like the Jews did.
Rom 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (NASB)
It is the Word of God (Jesus) that dwells in your heart, He dwells in your brothers and sisters hearts as well. You will find the Word of God expressed within the scriptures. For those who have eyes and ears to see they will find the Word of God within all of His creation as well as hearing it from within your heart. John 7:38″He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'”
Under nervous and physical exhaustion, Simpson became convinced that he was to die at a certain day and hour and was overwhelmed with despair and the inability to find God and receive eternal life. When that moment passed, he rallied some, but he felt as if his life was hanging upon a thread. At length one day in 1858, he stumbled upon Walter Marshall’s Gospel Mystery of Sanctification in his pastor’s study, and his eyes fell upon a paragraph that he took as a message from God: The first good work you will ever perform is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Until you do this, all your works, prayers, tears, and good resolutions are vain. To believe on the Lord Jesus Christ is just to believe that He saves you according to His Word, that He receives and saves you here and now, for He has said — “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” The moment you do this, you will pass into eternal life, you will be justified from all your sins, and receive a new heart and all the gracious operations of the Holy Spirit. This was like a shaft of light from heaven. He fell upon his knees, looked up to the Lord Jesus, and prayed believing that God received, saved and forgave him. An inward assurance and spiritual blessing followed. The Word of God became as divine revelations to him personally. pg.5 AB Simpson – An Integrated Spirituality with Christ as the Center by Rev. David John Smith
Faith – Alive or Dead:
James 2:14-20 What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” You believe that God is one You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.
But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?
In the Christian world their has been a battle since the time of Jesus with his friends Martha and Mary. Martha was a doer for Jesus and Mary was one who loved being with Jesus. Both are necessary but there is a time and order to things. Jesus said to Martha –
Lk.10:39-42 She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
Doing is necessary but it must follow and not precede hearing Christ. Jesus was speaking and that meant it was time to listen and not do. Often doers are more concerned with doing than listening and listeners more interested in listening than following what is being said. The reality is both are needed but listening must be first then the doing follows.
Faith and Believing
Faith begins with hearing then moves into believing but proof of believing is seen in ones actions. If you really believe in your heart that eating a certain type of food is the best for you then you would do it and if you believed in your heart that eating Big Mac’s is very bad for you then you would not do it. Everyone lives out their belief’s no matter what they say or even think they believe – true belief is found not in the mind of man but within the heart of man.
Prov.23:7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he….(KJV)
Matt.12:34 You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. (NASB)
Lk.6:45 “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart. (NASB)
It is within the heart that Christ i.e. the Word of God, desires to dwell or incarnate –
Eph.3:17-19 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. (NASB)
Col.3:16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (NASB)
Are we ones who have ears to hear Christ speak to us? Are we wealthy and rich in our knowledge about God and in real ‘need’ of nothing? Are we a people on fire for Christ or just warm toward Him? Such was the church in the city of Laodicea. Christ said to them:
Rev.3:20 20’Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. (NASB)
In Revelation the Door that Christ is knocking on is that of a church and not to someone of the world. It is to Christians that the Word of God~Jesus is desiring fellowship. The Word of God is asking for anyone who HEARS HIS VOICE i.e. The Word of God. You see the works the people were doing were good works but they were not being directed by Christ – they were coming from a people trying to be like Christ – doing things he would do but not getting direction from Him.
A Doer of the Word
James 1:22-25 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does. (NASB)
You know you believe when you willingly do.
Mark 9:24 Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.” (NASB)
Unbelief is the greatest sin and in reality the only sin.
“He that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” This is strong language, but there is no doubt that the sin of unbelief, according to the divine standpoint, is the most hurtful of all spiritual conditions. It destroys the very contact of the soul with God as effectually as the cutting of a telegraph wire would prevent the transmission of a message. The Life of Prayer Ch.5 A.B. Simpson
Faith is –
1. Hearing the Word of Christ (not just reading but hearing with spiritual ears Christ
speak to you personally)
2. Believing the Word of Christ (true heart belief not just metal acceptance or brain belief)
3. Doing the Word of Christ (If you truly believe what you have heard it finds a home in
your heart and you always do what comes out of your heart)
November 29, 2010 | Categories: Bible, Disciples of Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ, Reimagining Church, Religion, The Lord, The Word, Truth, Wise Sayings | Tags: A.B. Simpson, Faith, Scripture | 1 Comment
TO STAND FIRM ON THE GROUND OF OPENNESS
For a fulfilling Spiritual Walk one needs to be Open. To be open does not mean to believe in a certain aspect or expression of God but openness recognizes the vastness and the ultimate unknowableness of God. What we know of God is so small that we cannot possibly understand all His means or ways with our finite minds.
To stand on the ground of openness is a recognition that our human minds like to box things in. We like to construct neat and clean understandings. The human mind is comfortable with black and white and when our minds attempt to understand a Spiritual God we tend to understand Him in our image of black and white, good and evil. Ultimately, in our minds attempt to define God we create, as it were, graven images. A graven image is a lifeless image like a photo of you. It is an image of you in a moment in time but it is not you. One of the 10 commandments was to not make any graven images.
Exodus 20:4-5 (The Message)
No carved gods of any size, shape, or form of anything whatever, whether of things that fly or walk or swim. Don’t bow down to them and don’t serve them because I am God, your God, and I’m a most jealous
When the children of Israel began to worship the golden calf at the base of Mt Sinai in their minds it was Jehovah they were worshiping it was not another god. The calf was a physical representation of the characteristics they understood and had seen demonstrated by Jehovah. Another way of saying it was this that this golden calf was their theology, their understanding of God. Today in evangelical western society we don’t create statues to worship but we do create theology, creeds, teachings and doctrines that are worshiped the same way that golden calf was.
You see at the base of Mt Sinai the children of Israel made a fatal decision that would ultimately lead to them wandering in the wilderness for 40 years and never entering the promised land. God called the Israelite’s into intimate fellowship with Him. They were called to come up on the mountain and meet with God face to face. It was God who told Moses to tell the people to prepare and when: Exodus 19:13 ……. ‘ When the ram’s horn sounds a long blast, they shall come up to the mountain.”
But because of fear they rejected the call to come up and remained at the base and eventually began to worship what they understood Jehovah to be like in the form of the golden calf.
Exodus 20:18-21 (New American Standard Bible)
All the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance. Then they said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we will die.”
Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin.” So the people stood at a distance, while Moses approached the thick cloud where God was.
Man’s fear of God comes from his lack of faith and trust in God and ultimately from his not knowing the heart of God. People need an intimate knowing of God
– As the Prophet Hosea says: 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. And the Prophet Isaiah in 5:13 Therefore My people go into exile for their lack of knowledge This knowledge that people lack is not head knowledge but a knowledge that comes from an open heart. The Hebrew word here is daath with the root word being yada and it speaks of the intimate knowing that happens between a husband and his wife. When man rejects intimacy with the uncontainable, unknowable God, usually because of fear, he turns to what he can know in his mind and that is simply an image of God. In the case of Israel they built an earthly kingdom instead of being apart of the spiritual kingdom that God had called them to. Today when God calls man into intimacy with Him we go to Seminary or Bible College or some other way to begin to learn about God. We do this until we discover that God is not really known that way. It is in the stillness and openness of heart that we can know and have a revelation of God.
Often Men and Women experience God intimately and share of their experience to other brothers and sisters. Others instead of desiring their own intimacy with God fear what they do not understand and begin to reconstruct, with their minds, that experience with God into a modern day golden calf’s that we call movements and denominations.
It was Peter who saw an amazing event and immediately he wants to build something. He wants to try and close the door and contain it, capture it with his mind and memorialize it.
Matt 17:1-4 Six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
The only thing we memorialize are things of the past or things that are dead – God is neither! God simply is – and this is something our fleshly minds just don’t comprehend but fortunately they don’t have to because we have a spirit that does and it in this spirit that we can live.
Our flesh needs to define our spirit expresses
Our flesh needs protection our spirit explores
Our flesh wants to contain God our spirit experiences God
Our flesh needs to see in the physical realm our spirit has eyes and ears in the spiritual realm
Our flesh fears God our spirit is Love with God
Our flesh sees us as separate from God our spirit knows oneness with God.
Openness of heart and will is the ground on which Christ, the Word of God, is planted, takes root and can grow.
Openness is not a revelation of Christ it is having a faith and trust in Him that He will reveal Himself to you in the way He chooses to do so.
When Jesus walked the earth he found that hearts were closed and hard they were not open. The gospel of Mark records the story of the minds of men in action. These minds had so captured their God that they could not accept a work of God if it did not fit into their present picture and understanding of God.
Mark 3:1-6 (New American Standard Bible)
He entered again into a synagogue; and a man was there whose hand was withered. They were watching Him to see if He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. He said to the man with the withered hand, “Get up and come forward!” And He said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to kill?” But they kept silent. After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately began conspiring with the Herodians against Him, as to how they might destroy Him.
The hardness of heart is a condition of many in the religious world today. “If it is not said the way we say it, it is a sin” Theology and doctrine often rule over love!!!! Jesus is recorded as saying : John 10:33-34 The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” Jesus answered them, “Has it not been written in your Law, ‘I SAID, YOU ARE GODS’?
What was he doing that they wanted to kill him? Nothing, he simply said something they did not have revelation about themselves. He said something their minds could not wrap around and all mind wants to do is kill what it fears because it does not understand.
It is only on the ground of openness where revelation can happen!
Matt.16:16-17 – Not flesh and blood but My Father revealed this to you!
It is only on the ground of openness that Jesus says (Matt.16:18 “I will build my church and the gates of hell (or the things which try and contain, capture, memorialize and bind up God i.e. religion) will not prevail!!!!
The gates of hell, the abode of death wants to contain God but Resurrection life has defeated this forever! You want a fresh Revelation – STOP REJECTING WHAT YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND – stand in faithful and trusting openness before the Lord – turn to that resurrection life within you and see the Revelation of God. Stop fearing a defeated enemy and Trust God.
Paul writes to Timothy and says:
2Tim.2:23-26 But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels. The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.
The snare of the Devil is the rigidity and rigor-mortise of your understanding of God. The hardness of ones heart is not the rejection of the God you have know but a rejection of a living God today. A God that is new every morning and wants to reveal Himself to you in a new and fresh way. You who are not standing in openness will reject the God you claim to love because He is not coming in the same form He did last time.
To those standing in openness Jesus said:
Matt.25:37-40 “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
These followers of Christ didn’t understand who they were loving they just loved. They were open to all and unknowingly ministering to God through their openness to all. They didn’t ask if you were a Christian or what kind of Christian or what your belief’s were they simply gave to everyone those who came to them what they had to give and what they had to give was the love of Christ in whatever form worked at that time!!
Much fellowship and Church Life is lost because it is not being built by Christ upon the ground of openness. Openness does not mean agreement in everything it means I can be open to hear your experience or revelation of God in whatever form, words or images who choose to do so. Openness means I am not going to judge your experience or revelation. For some reason man has come to the conclusion that he needs to be the one to build the church and he wants to do it based on his understanding of God. The Kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom built with spiritual stones by Christ. All we can do is stand together in that open field and let Him do His work.
Does it really matter if your loving brother believes that sprinkling with water is baptism. Does he really have to be fully immersed because that is the way it has been revealed to you. Is this required for you to consider him a brother or sister.
If one sees a demonstration of the Love of God in the story of the Buddha or hear the wisdom of God in the writings of Lao Tzu can you not accept it for what it is. You are not required to see it just as you are not required to see the love of God in the story of Job. Can you hear it on the ground of openness and simply ponder these things in your heart like Mary did with the things she did not understand. Now I know that minds will read this and fear of the enemy will being to enter – “Oh if we did that it will be the way the enemy will get in and corrupt us” – Fear of the enemy is a lack of Faith in Christ and his work on the cross. If you don’t stand in openness you leave no way for the Spirit to do anything new in or with you. Can we be people who ponder instead of judge the things we don’t have revelation on?
The Christian faith was started upon a revelation of God that was seen by at least 120 people after Pentecost. It was the 120 in the upper room who were standing together in that room of openness and expectation. It took the 3.5 year ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus to get those 120 to stand together in openness. When the new manifestation of God came in the form of Spirit the 120 received this new way and for the first time saw the life of Jesus through spiritual eyes and God was made new to them. Paul had a revelation of this same God in Jesus not because he believed the stories of the Apostles but because he got knocked down off his horse, physically blinded, and placed on the ground of openness and then saw and heard God speak through Jesus to him. On the ground of openness you will shocked and amazed at the places you find God. If you have ever had a revelation of Jesus Christ then you know that ground of openness because you were standing on it when you first saw or heard Him. The ground of openness is the ground young children play on – they don’t ask for a list of belief’s or statements of faith they just want someone to come and play with them.
Here we read the story of Peter and the Baptism in the Spirit given to the Gentiles on the ground of Openness that Peter stood on. It is throughout the gospel stories that Peter is being asked to take a stand on the ground of openness. Peter was a very black and white person but Peter had faith in God. It is Peter’s willingness and understanding of his lack of understanding God that allows him to do what he does.
A voice came to him, “Get up, Peter, kill and eat!” But Peter said, “By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean.” Again a voice came to him a second time, “What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.” This happened three times, and immediately the object was taken up into the sky. Now while Peter was greatly perplexed in mind as to what the vision which he had seen might be, behold, …...While Peter was reflecting on the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you. “But get up, go downstairs and accompany them without misgivings, for I have sent them Myself.” …….As he talked with him, he entered and found many people assembled. And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him; and yet God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean. “That is why I came without even raising any objection when I was sent for. So I ask for what reason you have sent for me.” ……Opening his mouth, Peter said: “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, ……. While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, “Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?” And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days.
Peter was perplexed in mind – this was against what he believed to be right and true. Peter responded by reflecting not by accepting or rejecting. Peter did not judge the vision he simply reflected on it, gave it time, he remained open to what it might mean. The scriptures say “while Peter was speaking.…..because he was open and operating in that openness the Lord does the work of building the church. It was not the words of Peter that opened the way for the Spirit to fall but the Spirit of openness that Peter demonstrated that gave way for God to move on a People that Peter didn’t even believe God could accept. It says that Peter was amazed at what happened. When we stand on the ground of openness we will be amazed at what God is capable of doing it is beyond our wildest dream and hopes.
I understand that the fleshly mind fears openness but I ask you to be open to these words and reflect on them. Trust and have Faith in God that He will be your protection and give you a new Revelation of Himself.
September 10, 2010 | Categories: Bible, Bible Contradictions, Church Life, Disciples of Jesus Christ, Friends, House Church, Organic Church, Pagan Christianity, Reimagining Church, Religion, Simple Church, The Lord, The Word, Truth, Wise Sayings | 1 Comment
Is it that we live by the life of Christ or do we live by a life that Christ has transformed or is transforming?
Or, is it that as we live by the life of Christ within us our mind and bodies our transfigured/transformed into temples of God ~ Earthen vessels equipped, filled and baptized into Christ to express the righteousness and will of God on earth.
Either Christ is our Righteousness or we will attempt to achieve, through the supposed help of Christ, a righteousness that I contribute to.
Spiritual Complacency ~ a self or fleshly-satisfaction/righteousness that is accompanied by unawareness (i.e. spiritual blindness and deafness) of actual dangers or deficiencies found in our own righteousness and not that of Christ alone.
Imitating Christ is not necessarily the expression of the life of Christ!
When Paul writes the saints in Corinth and says: 1 Cor.11:1Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.
He is writing to a Church struggling with which life to live by. One is a life of laws, eat this, don’t eat that. Touch this, don’t touch that. Paul writes to these saints pleading with them and says:
1Cor.10:15-17; I speak as to wise men; you judge what I say. Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ? Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread.
Instead of a dualistic view of the world of good and evil Paul asks them to look at the One life in Christ we celebrate. In other words Paul is saying: we no longer partake from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil we partake of the One tree of life. The tree of life is not a new law but a new life and in his attempt to communicate this reality Paul says to these saints:
1Cor.10:23-24; 31-33 – All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable All things are lawful, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor…..Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God; just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved.
Paul’s desire is to see and live by the One life that is. Not taking offense by taking a side as the life of good and evil does. Paul calls for these saints to stand with Him in that One life as Jesus did when he was in the flesh on earth. Jesus said to his disciples:
John 14:7-10 “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.” Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.
When Paul says: “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” He is not asking these saints to copy certain actions or even thoughts such as what is good and evil. Paul is asking the people to imitate him by living by the indwelling life of Christ like Paul does and like Jesus lived by the indwelling life of his Father.
Paul goes onto to talk about a mystery:
1 Corinthians 15:50-53 50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
Paul here is first declaring the fact that the kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom and not a kingdom of the flesh (that which is corruptible) the way Israel was. Paul then goes on to refer to two specific events the first one and only one I would like to look at here is “corruptible must put on incorruption” Paul refers to this particular action in a least two of his others letters where he says:
Gal.3:24-28 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
In Paul’s first letter ever written he wrote to the Galatians much like the Corinthians and says “you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” Like Corinth he talks about not living under the law but in Christ – which he calls clothing yourself with Christ. It is this Christ who Peter describes in the same words saying calling him the incoruptible seed 1 Peter 1:23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, Paul again talks about this incorruptible seed or life within us in his letter to the Romans –
Rom.14:11-14 Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is near Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.
Paul here refers to this salvation or incorruptible life as “put on the armor of light” and “put on the Lord Jesus Christ”. When Paul says awake from sleep that our salvation is here he is through the spirit retelling the parable Jesus spoke about the 5 wise and 5 foolish virgins (Matt.25:1-13). In this parable told by Jesus the “putting on of Christ” is illustrated by those having enough oil. In the story Salvation came not to all the virgins with oil but those with enough oil.
Our flesh can never have enough oil to live the Life of God only the Life of God can live the Life of God the law has proven this.
The question for us today is can we lay down our own individual lives our own individual pride and be imitators of Paul and live by the life of Christ within us
not of a righteousness of our own but one that is found only through Christ who has made himself one with me living through me.
The message of the gospel of Jesus Christ is like the understanding that all immortals know in the story of the Highlander ~ There can be only One!
September 9, 2010 | Categories: Bible, Bible Contradictions, Church Life, Disciples of Jesus Christ, Friends, Jehovah, Jesus Christ, Organic Church, Pagan Christianity, Reimagining Church, Religion, Simple Church, The Lord, The Word, Truth, Wise Sayings | 2 Comments
Language and terms are a tricky thing. Everyday people speak or write words to each other in an attempt to communicate thoughts and feels. The reality is the intent of the one speaking the words to communicate their thoughts and feelings is rarely ever met. Words are symbols for thoughts and feelings and the meaning of a symbol is many different things to many different people. I grew up on the west coast of the USA in a non-denomination Christian family. I understand and speak in non-denominational Christian west coast symbol. I live in the east coast and I am not a part of a Christian church you can imagine the difficulty I have in communicating what I think and feel.
For today’s symbol I am using the word “Enlightenment”.
Enlightenment is a term Paul the Apostle used in his writing the letter of Ephesians “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints. Eph.1:18” In most cases where a Christian uses the term enlightenment, the words of Paul are not thought of instead the Christian thinks it is a non-Christian term and is from the teaching of Buddha. Now Buddha did experience enlightenment but my thought and questions is, “is this word and experience a non-Christ experience”?
The Greek word used by Paul is πεφωτισμένους pephōtismenous 5461 and it means: to shine, give light.
In the verse Paul states the reason for enlightenment is εἰςeis to reach a point or entry into perceiving, hence to know.
Another way of saying it might be “enlightenment is the the doorway for the eyes or your heart or conscientiousness to obtain the knowledge and understanding of the spiritual realities”.
So this is Paul’s use of the symbol but how does Buddha use the symbol? In Buddhism, bodhi or enlightenment means the awakening experience. It speaks of the Buddha, Buddha means “one who has awakened.” To awaken means to open ones eyes.
Leaving his kingdom and loved ones behind, Prince Siddhartha became a wandering monk. He cut off his hair to show that he had renounced the worldly lifestyle and called himself Gautama. He wore ragged robes and wandered from place to place. In his search for truth, he studied with the wisest teachers of his day. None of them knew how to end suffering, so he continued the search on his own.
For six years he practiced severe asceticism thinking this would lead him to enlightenment. He sat in meditation and ate only roots, leaves and fruit. At times he ate nothing. He could endure more hardships than anyone else, but this did not take him anywhere. He thought, “Neither my life of luxury in the palace nor my life as an ascetic in the forest is the way to freedom. Overdoing things can not lead to happiness. ” He began to eat nourishing food again and regained his strength.
On a full-moon day in May, he sat under the Bodhi tree in deep meditation and said. “I will not leave this spot until I find an end to suffering.” During the night, he was visited by Mara, the evil one, who tried to tempt him away from his virtuous path. First he sent his beautiful daughters to lure Gautama into pleasure. Next he sent bolts of lightning, wind and heavy rain. Last he sent his demonic armies with weapons and flaming rocks. One by one, Gautama met the armies and defeated them with his virtue.
As the struggle ended, he realized the cause of suffering and how to remove it. He had gained the most supreme wisdom and understood things as they truly are. He became the Buddha, ‘The Awakened One’. From then on, his name was changed and he was called Shakyamuni Buddha. Shakyamuni “sage of the Shakyas,” Shakya being the name of the tribe or clan to which his family belonged. … Shakyamuni died at the age of eighty. His last words were, “Work out your own salvation with diligence”.
Paul would write 500+ years later : “work out your salvation with fear and trembling; Phil.2:12”
It seems that Shakyamuni Buddha used the word enlightenment in the same way Paul used it. I Once Was Blind, But Now Can See!
Saul on the road to Damascus was blinded by the light of Jesus Christ and after that he could see what he could not before. When he could see his name was changed to Paul meaning small. Prince Siddhartha was blind with his life of riches and later in his life of poverty but in being still he was able to overcome and see what he could not before. When he could see his name was changed to Shakyamuni Buddha meaning teacher from Shakya one who has awakened.
Eph.5:13-14 But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.” Paul the Apostle
All things….Everything that is visible is LIGHT..Just open your eyes, awaken to what is and be enlightened!!!!!
July 31, 2010 | Categories: Bible, Bible Contradictions, Church Life, Friends, House Church, Jehovah, Jesus Christ, Organic Church, Pagan Christianity, Reimagining Church, Religion, Simple Church, The Lord, The Word, Truth, Wise Sayings | Leave a comment
A Parable – The Prodigal Son’s Older Brother
One day their was a very mature young Christian man. He was hard working and had served God faithfully for many many years. He had never neglected any of God’s commands. He has been in Church his whole life. He taught Sunday School, attended Sunday night service and taught a children’s class on Wednesday nights. His motto is: I follow God’s word so if the Bible says to do it I do it.
This mature young Christian man also had a younger brother. This brother had never gone to church. When he was younger he had always been a very happy outgoing guy. After high school he lived the party life got in with the wrong crowd and ended up becoming a drug addict. During these days of drug addiction he had lied to, stolen from and caused much pain to his friends and parents. One day this young man found himself in a back ally looking at a half eaten throw away big mac. As he put the burger to his mouth to eat he wondered aloud if this is all that life is. He began to think of his parents and the way they loved one another, he remembered other good loving people he had met in his life, laughing with them and enjoying life. He wanted to be around people like that again. He got up and began to clean himself up. He got into a free drug rehab program the city had set up, was able to go on job interviews and then got hired. After only a few months he went to visit his parents and older brother. He shared his story with them all and thanked them for the love that they had was given to him as a child. Over the next year this young man rose in the company that hired him and given a position of Jr Vice President, he met a beautiful and funny young lady who he was engaged to and he had purchased a beautiful new home just a block away from his parents house. The President of the company he worked for offered to throw a party in this young man’s honor and sent invitations to all of his family and friends. The older brother received this invitation and read these words
To friends and family of my newest Jr Vice President.
I invite you all to attend a celebration of life. There is no one I know who has demonstrated more love, honor, hard work, and the graceful determination to be the best than my newest Jr Vice President.
He represents for me everything that is good in this world. As all who know him know his motto:
I have found a voice in my heart that I follow, I call the voice Love.
Please join us for this 5 course meal in his honor.
With this the older brother became very angry and said why oh why God does my brother get blessed when he is still so worldly. Why does he get a great promotion, why does he find a wonderful girl to be his wife. Since I was young I have read and followed your word. I have faithfully attended Church every week and on Wednesday’s. I volunteer for as many programs and help days as possible but why do I never get honored. I pray but why do you never seem to answer me. I am a good person but my brother who is a recovering drug addict, a thief, a liar and has never set foot in a church is being honored as someone who represents everything that is good in the world. God you are the only thing that is good so I will not attend this party and honor you!
And God said: My son, I have always loved you and have wanted to give you the desire of your heart and it is from your heart that I long to hear. Your many works and ministry have kept you very busy and my desire is that you come and rejoice with Me in the return of your brother. Your younger brother got lost and was unaware of who I really was. But I never forgot him nor have I ever left him. When life became so hard for him he began to remember love and desire love. He remembered the way your parents loved each other, loved you and loved him. He remembered the love of friends and he desired to have that love back in his life. You have always called me Father but your brother has know me as Love. You read about me in Church your brother watched me display myself through your parents relationship. If you really want to honor me then honor your brother because it is in his life that I am displayed.
This is a transcript of talks given by Laurence Freeman to the monks of Gethsemani Abbey, Kentucky, USA in 1992.
On Our Spiritual Journey
by LAURENCE FREEMAN who is a Benedictine Monk and Director of The World Community of Christian Meditation
These talks were given to Monk at Gethsemani Abbey in 1992
1 The Ego
This is from the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke: And to all he said, “If anyone wishes to be a follower of mine, he must leave self behind; day after day he must take up his cross and come with me. Whoever cares for his own safety is lost; but if a man will let himself be lost for my sake, that man is saved. What will a man gain by winning the whole world, at the cost of his true self?” (Luke 9:23-26) The great hindrance to this journey, this following of Christ, is the way in which we falsely identify ourselves with our ego. Perhaps we as religious people take it a little too much for granted that it is a good thing to leave self behind. I was once talking to a rather successful business-woman in New York who came to a talk I was giving there. I gave this talk on leaving ego behind, which you wouldn’t think anyone could really object to. She came up afterwards and said, “What nonsense you are talking! I don’t want to leave my ego behind.” She said, “I am my ego.” At least I think she had a clear sense of what she believed. We, most of us, identify ourselves with our ego, unconsciously. As we do the work of this prayer, we come to understand ourselves, our ego, more clearly. We see that the ego is both the cause and the state of suffering. The Buddha said: life is suffering, and suffering is life. He is referring, I suppose, to the ego. The ego manifests itself in many ways and gets into everything. It can get into our spiritual work, into our spiritual journey. We don’t lose the ego when we come into a religious life. We don’t lose the ego even when we begin to pray. There are certain signs of the ego’s activity that we become more aware of as we become more simple. The first sign of the ego is the desire to be great, the desire for example to be number one, the desire to dominate. Then there is the desire to take; the ego wants to take, rather than give or rather than let be. The ego desires to keep, to hang on, to cling, to possess, not to let go. The ego desires to advance, to get more, to be more, to know more, to own more. The ego desires to hold on to everything even at the expense of others, putting ourselves, in other words, before others. Those characteristics of egoism are characteristics of every activity, spiritual, physical, and mental, that we might be involved in. So there is a real danger, particularly for the religious person, of an egotistical spirituality. A spirituality that desires to be great, that desires to take an experience of God or holiness, to keep it, to gain more, and to hold on to it even at the expense of others. The sayings of the Fathers of the Desert are really a constant commentary upon the dangers of an egotistical spirituality. This is perhaps why St John of the Cross tells us to give up all desire, even the desire for God. Not the love of God, not our innate longing for God which we cannot give up, but our desire for God – the desire to possess, to control, to own, to keep God. In this way of prayer, in the simple 3 ascesis of the single word, we strike at the ‘root of sin’, as The Cloud of Unknowing called it, at the root of our ego. We let go. There’s a phrase in Alcoholics Anonymous: Let go, let God. Of course, the ego is a natural stage of the development of our humanity. The ego develops at a certain age in a child, and the ego is a necessary and useful force or tool, instrument, of consciousness. Without an ego, we won’t be able to communicate with each other. We wouldn’t be able to relate to others. It isn’t that the ego is bad in itself. There is nothing in human nature that is in itself bad. Therefore Jesus who was fully human must have had an ego. And yet Jesus did not sin: a man like us in all things but sin. How do we understand the problems of egoism? All these hindrances, all these faults can even get into our spiritual life. But if we look at Jesus, what we see, I think, is a man who certainly had an ego, who could say “I” and who had a will, who could give up his ego and his will at the end of his life: “not as I will but as you will”. So we see a man who had an ego, and clearly a strong ego, but a man who did not sin, because he never identified himself with his ego. He never said “I am my ego.” That was the great temptation that he went through in the desert, to identify himself with the tendencies of egoism. He was tempted. The ego clearly manifested its tendencies in him, but he never identified his real self with the ego. We who have sinned have the work of detaching ourselves from that identification, breaking that identification, simply waking up, in other words, to the fact that we have an ego, and it is a useful thing as long as it is there, but it is not who I am. The ego is not my true and deepest identity. This presents I think a great challenge to modern culture, our contemporary society, because the ego is so hyper-activated in our society. The ego is the great force of a technological and consumer society, the technological society which wants to be in control of everything, and a consumer society that is dominated by desire. What we have to be particularly careful of in such a culture is the creation of a consumer spirituality or a technological spirituality, a spirituality that becomes identified with psychological techniques, for example. Or a spirituality that becomes identified only with the desires of spiritual jollies, spiritual pleasures. This is the role of asceticism in a society like ours. It is the understanding that asceticism, and the essential ascesis of the Christian life, is prayer. Asceticism is the way in which we recover the primary will in the human person. The primary will is deeper than the desires of our ego. The primary will is our natural inclination, tendency towards God, what the early Cistercian fathers called the pondus, the natural gravity in the soul that draws us towards God. The purpose of asceticism is not to crush the will or to punish, but to clear away, to clear the blocks, to unfold the mind, and to reveal this essential goodness at this core of the human person, so that what we do is right and what we wish to do is right. And, in this way of prayer, in the simple ascesis of the single word, we strike at the root of our ego.
2 The True Self
Jesus uses the phrase, “our true self”: “What will a man gain by winning the whole world at the cost of his true self?” (Luke 9:25) It is very difficult to answer that question: What is the self? What is my true self? It is really rather indefinable. But it is evidently of some importance that we understand what it means because it is for this reason that we are doing all the work of leaving our false self behind. It’s rather indefinable, but I came across a very wonderful phrase from a seventh century Indian philosopher. He says: “The self is the inner light. It is selfevident and it does not become an object of perception.” In the Gospel of Thomas, there is this secret saying of Jesus, “The Kingdom is within and without you. If you will know yourselves, you will be known. And you will know that you are sons of the living Father.” I think it is to that, that Jesus is referring when he replies to the Pharisees in the Gospel of Luke when the Pharisees ask him, “When will the Kingdom of God come?” He said: “You cannot tell by observation when the Kingdom of God will come. There will be no saying ‘Look here it is or there it is’ for in fact the Kingdom of God is within you”. (Luke 17:20-21) If we see a connection, which I think we must, between the Kingdom of God and the true self, what they have in common if they are not in fact the same thing is that we can’t observe them. We can’t say, “look, there it is” or ‘here it is”. The Kingdom of God is the experience of our true self, and it does not admit of observation. In other words, it is beyond self-consciousness. It is beyond the normal or familiar activities of the mind by which we objectify something and analyse it and label it. We are doing this constantly whether we are intellectuals or not. We are constantly intellectualising things, objectifying things. Perhaps it helps to see this true self that we cannot observe in relation to the ego. A story is perhaps the best way of capturing it. It is the story of a man who does a favour to some angel and, as a reward, he is given a servant. This servant is a rather magical servant who will do anything the master wants. This is a wonderful thing to have and so for quite a few days, the master uses his servant for getting everything he wants. But after a few days, he has got everything he wants, and he wants the servant just to keep quiet. But then he discovers that the servant is irrepressible. The servant is constantly coming to him, and not giving him a moment’s rest and always asking for things to do, so much so that he begins totally to wear his master down and exhaust him. The man is brought almost to the point of collapse until he comes up with a bright idea. He sets a big pole in the middle of the courtyard. Whenever the servant comes to him, asking for something to do and the master does not want to give him anything to do, he says, “Go run up and down the pole until I tell you to stop.” It is rather a nice story describing perhaps the relationship between the true self and the ego, and even expressing something of the mystery of prayer. The running up and down of the pole could be described as our prayer. All prayer has this repetitive 5 quality, the stilling of the mind bringing us to equanimity, to quies. a discipline, and a repetitive discipline such as the mantra, keeping the ego in its place: The radical renunciation of our false identification with our ego. It is this unself-conscious state which is the condition of our true self. It’s why we cannot look at the true self. Just as St Irenaeus says that God cannot become an object of our knowledge. We can only know God by sharing in God’s own self-knowledge. We can never say, “Look, there is God”, as if God were something or someone separate and outside of us. God can never be an object of our knowledge. The Spirit of God is the self-knowledge of God. And the great Christian revelation is that the gift of the Spirit, the whole purpose and meaning of the life and mission of Jesus, the sending of the Spirit is the sending of this self-knowledge of God, the love of Father and Son that involves us, absorbs us, into the knowledge of God. We can only know God by being led into the Spirit of God. So just as we cannot look at God as an object, we cannot look at the true self that we are. In the same way, we cannot look at another self. We can’t say, “My true self is looking at your true self.” What Jesus is describing is a self-less state, or rather an ego-less state, in which we are able to see, know and love Christ in each other because we see, know and love Christ in ourselves. The state of looking at someone as if they are separate from us is the egotistical state, the state of duality and separateness. It is in this state, in which we are usually engaged with each other, my ego relating to your ego, that we either find each other attractive or unattractive. We either agree or we disagree. We either like or we don’t like. We love or we hate. We judge or we pardon. All of those activities that relate us to each other, and these are vital activities of community, are at the level of the ego. In a Christian community, we are aiming to meet each other, not at the level of our separate egos, but in Benedict’s vision: “To love one another at the level of our true self, where we are one, and where the unity we have with each other is nothing less than Christ himself.” We cannot separate Christ from our true self. I don’t know whether one could say that Christ is our true self, but we cannot separate Christ from our true self. If we have found our true self, then we have found that wavelength in which we can relate to each other in a truly loving way, truly compassionate, truly in empathy, truly non-judgemental, truly tolerant, putting up with the weaknesses of body and character in each other. This is very much related to our relationships with each other, very much related to forgiveness, for example. We cannot truly forgive one another unless we are in touch with our own true identity, our own essential goodness. We cannot forgive one another, and therefore we cannot enter into relationship with one another, unless we are in touch with that true self. The process of forgiveness occupies such an important place in the Christian vision precisely for this reason – because it is in the process of forgiveness that we detach from our ego and find our true self, from which experience we find the power to love one another. Christ is the supreme example and teacher of that. It is in this pure prayer that the ego is transcended. In the transcendence of the ego, reconciliation and communion become possible. So having found the self, the true self, we come to the condition of God, of being unconditionally loving. That is our call to “be perfect, as our heavenly Father is perfect”, our heavenly Father who shines on the good and bad alike, who loves good and bad equally. We are called to love in that way, to know each other in that way, in the common ground of being, to know and love each other in God. We can only do that if we have found our true self, this true self that we cannot look at, but the true 6 self that we are, that we simply are. This is why the starting point for any spiritual journey of this kind has to be the recognition and the affirmation of our essential goodness. That’s probably the most difficult point for most of us to get to because until we have got to that point we cannot really believe that this journey is possible. Perhaps, indeed, until we have come to that belief of our essential goodness, we are even frightened of finding out who we really are.
3 Egoless Prayer –
Pure Prayer Our ego is not our true self. In pure prayer, the ego is transcended. It is in that work of pure prayer that our false identification with the ego is gradually diminished, and the true self begins to emerge. I think it was Merton who talked about the true self as like a shy deer that does not like to come out of the woods; it does not like to be looked at. From the teachings of Cassian, the Desert Fathers, and the whole monastic tradition, it is very clear that the purity of prayer is its egolessness. Pure prayer means ‘without ego’, ‘without self-consciousness, self-analysis’. The prayer in which we are analysing what is happening, watching what we are getting out of it, is not pure prayer. That’s why the first rule of meditation is to meditate without demands or expectations, and without judging your meditation in fact in any way, finding the fruit of our prayer not in what happens during the meditation but in our life as a whole, in the transformation of our personality. This egoless prayer is precisely what St Anthony is referring to when he says, quoted by Cassian: “The monk who knows that he is praying, is not praying. The monk who does not know that he is praying, he is truly praying.” We see the same understanding of prayer in the Syriac tradition. The Syriac Fathers say very simply: “If we are to pray, we must lose my prayer.” We must go beyond ‘my prayer’; and leaving my prayer behind, enter into the prayer of Christ. What this suggests to us is the prayer of Christ himself. All forms of prayer, all methods of prayer, whether it is the Divine Office, whether it is any devotional form, even if it is Scripture itself, any form, ritual or method of prayer is only preparatory, or a reminder, or an incentive, or an encouragement to go deeper into the purity of unself- conscious prayer, into the prayer of Christ. The same is true ultimately of the mantra, the formula of Cassian. There comes perhaps a time, when we stop saying the mantra, when we are led into pure silence, pure simplicity. But it is very important for us I think to be cautious about how we understand that. Remember the “pax pernicioso”and the sopor letalis, the lethal sleep and the pernicious peace. The purpose of the mantra is not just to lead us to quiet but to lead us beyond the ego, beyond all sense of ‘I’. That’s why a very simple way of describing this would be to say: “Say your word until you can no longer say it. We do not choose when to stop saying it. And as soon as you realise you have stopped saying it, then simply start saying it again.” The problem comes when we are meditating and we are led into a state of quiet. There are maybe no distractions or very few distractions and we feel very peaceful, and then we say to ourselves: “I am silent; I don’t need to say the mantra anymore.” The problem of course is that if we say we are silent, we are breaking the silence. The thought “I am silent” is a sign that we have not yet become fully simple, totally simple; we are still self-reflective. And there is the radical simplicity of Cassian’s teaching, why he insists to say the mantra in times of adversity and in times of prosperity. In pure prayer, there is the absence of ‘I’ as a separate ego, and even the absence of God as an object of perception, all ideas and images of God. This is a description, 8 of course, of apophatic prayer, and the whole of this tradition of pure prayer is in the apophatic tradition. In the Greek Orthodox Church, the relationship between apophatic prayer (prayer that takes us beyond all thought and words and statements about God) and kataphatic prayer (prayer in which we use words, thoughts and images), the Orthodox thinkers believe that these are two valid forms of prayer, two dimensions, but they give the priority to the apophatic, prayer that takes us beyond all statements and images about God. When we think of prayer, indeed the whole of our life, we need to see poverty as the working goal, the goal that we are working towards. If we were to say “What is the goal of our life?” we would probably say “liberation” or “salvation” or “enlightenment”. And we would say that renunciation is the means by which we come to this goal. There always seems something wrong in that. But if we put it the other way around, there seems something very right about it. The goal is renunciation; and liberation or enlightenment is the means. In other words, we are never trying to possess the goal, never trying to make an object of God, never trying to look at our true self. If renunciation is the goal, if poverty is the goal, then we have arrived, no doubt why poverty of spirit is the first of the Beatitudes. It is in that poverty that we find joy, because the goal is realised, it is never achieved. The process of prayer is the process of realising what is, not of making something happen.
4 Our True Self –
A Child of God Jesus says that the true self is the highest value in life: “What will a man gain by winning the whole world at the cost of his true self?” (Luke 9:25) The true self that we’ve been talking about, that we realise as we detach from the identification with our ego, the true self that Jesus says is the highest value in life, that true self is a child, a child of God. In this true self that we are, we are more truly a child of God than we are even a child of our parents. We have a higher reality or a more essential reality as a child of God, that being our fundamental relationship into which all our other relationships are rooted. As a child of our parents, we have a psychological and physical identity, and that has, clearly, a certain reality. But the most basic reality is that reality we have as a child of God. Realising that, finding that true self, is the work of contemplation. Contemplative experience doesn’t rely upon something abstract, but it’s something practical and real and ordinary in the best sense of the word ordinary, something normal. In the New Testament, the teaching of Jesus in particular, the Kingdom experience seems to be what we mean by the contemplative experience. When Jesus talks about the Kingdom, he talks about childlikeness: “Unless you become like a little child, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” It’s this childlike quality that makes it possible for us to enter, and live in, continually, the contemplative dimension of our faith. The most basic reality is that reality we have as a child of God. Realising that, finding that true self, is the work of contemplation. This child of God that we are is called to be a fully mature child. Karl Rahner has a marvellous essay somewhere on this quality of childlikeness. He says that the quality of a child, ‘childliness’, he says, is openness. The quality of an adult child, a fully mature child, is unbounded openness. A very wonderful description of sanctity: unbounded openness. That’s a definition or understanding of holiness, wholeness, that allows many different types of holiness, many different ways of entering this contemplative experience. We cannot be whole unless we are the unique person that we are. Following a discipline doesn’t mean crushing our individuality or becoming something that we are not. But to be an adult child, to be our true self, is to be unboundedly open to the unique person that God has created us to be, and that conditions have formed us to be, with our wounds and handicaps. Rahner says God will be found by anyone who has the courage to keep up his childhood, the courage to remain open to this essential identity that we are. He says this: “A human person is a child embarking on the wondrous adventure of remaining a child forever, or rather, becoming ever more fully a child. His maturity and his divinisation are just ever fuller actuations of his childliness.” So even our divinisation is simply the full development of our essential identity as a child of God. We can see the relationship between contemplative experience and contemplative being and childlikeness in a child. Children are natural contemplatives in some ways; not fully conscious, but because of their relative lack of self- 10 consciousness, they are able to enter fully into what we call the contemplative dimension. The less self-conscious we are, the more contemplative we are, and the more ordinary and open we are as well. It’s a very wonderful thing to pray with children. We have many small groups of children, meditation groups, usually started by parents who have been meditating for some time, and who feels a natural sense of wanting to introduce their children as early as possible to this dimension of prayer. It’s a wonderful thing to see that and to see how naturally, how ordinarily a child can sit in stillness and in silence and do this inner work that Cassian describes, the work of saying the mantra. The child doesn’t necessarily find it easy, but they find it natural. The wonderful quality of the child is, of course, they don’t ask lots of questions about, you know, is this infused, recollection, grace, the prayer of simplicity. They don’t ask all these theological or psychological questions. They do the work. They are simple. It has, I think, a very wonderful formative effect upon their faith. They have this natural capacity for pure prayer, the experience of God, the Kingdom. This capacity tends to be either lost or overshadowed as they get older. It seems that part of their religious formation should be exposure to this. As we do the work (The Cloud of Unknowing always calls this pure prayer the work), and as our true self is realised more clearly, certain changes appropriate to that of a child, an adult child, begin to appear within us. These are some of the qualities of a child. Innocence, for example. We associate innocence with childlikeness. For an adult, this innocence of the child would be, for example, purity of motive. We do things for simpler and simpler reasons. We come to a singleness of mind about what we do. We do it attentively. We do it without duplicity, without ulterior motives. We do it with simplicity. Generosity is the characteristic of a child, at least sometimes. As a child of God, as an adult child, this generosity is expressed in the way we give ourselves, the way we surrender, the way we abandon ourselves if you like, the way we can commit ourselves. All those are expressions of this generosity of a child. The ability to respond to the call of the gospel to let go of everything, poverty of spirit in the inner life, depends upon this quality of generosity. We believe that if we give everything, if we leave everything behind, we will receive it back a hundredfold. But the problem is believing that often makes us prepared to give it all up provided we get it back a hundredfold. We lay down a condition. We say, I’ll give all this up, provided I get this back. That is a lack of generosity. Coming to that generosity is the work of grace. It’s the work of simplification. A child is characterised also by courage, a lack of fear, at least in a healthy child. Usually the courage of a child is so great the parents have to look after it, to protect it. But it’s the courage too that comes to us as a child of God, as we realise our true self, the courage to risk our life, to lay down our life, to let go of our familiar identity. There’s a wonderful phrase in Heraclitus in the early Greek philosophers: “If we can stop thinking about our troubles, it will generate courage.” Taking the attention off our problems, our troubles and worries, moving beyond the egocentric state, generates courage. There I suppose, is the teaching of Jesus, as he tells us so often in the Gospels: particularly in the Resurrection appearances, not to fear; in the sermon on the mount, not to worry, neither worry nor fear. These aren’t just consoling remarks. These are injunctions to us not to worry, to move beyond fear and worry, which we do in our prayer 11 Finally, the quality of truth, truthfulness. A child naturally tells the truth; a child loses its innocence, or its innocence is compromised, when it encounters for the first time the dishonesty of adults. We recover that truthfulness through our prayer, within the contemplative life, because we lose our fear. Our fears gradually decrease – the fear of being known, the fear of being vulnerable. We hide the truth because we are frightened. We fear revealing our false identity. But if we knew that our false identity is false, if we know that our ego is not our true self, then we don’t mind letting the ego be seen a little bit. We don’t feel we have to cover up, to appear better than we are. That’s humility. Truthfulness is simply humility or self-knowledge, allowing ourselves to be seen, to know ourselves as we really are. Those are some of the practical changes which would be observable, at a psychological and at a social level, as a result of this work of pure prayer.
5 Christ in Contemplative Experience
This is from the Gospel of John: He entered his own realm, and his own would not receive him. But to all who did receive him, to those who had yielded him their allegiance, he gave the right to become children of God, not born of any human stock or by the fleshly desire of a human father, but the offspring of God himself. And so the Word became flesh; he came to dwell among us and we saw his glory, the glory as befits the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth. (Jn. 1:10-14) We’ve been talking about the way of pure prayer, transcending our ego and the contemplative experience. What is the meaning of Christ in transcending our ego and the contemplative experience? It’s clear that the contemplative experience is not restricted to those who believe in Christ. That’s a very important question for us as modern people to address. This coming era is the era where Christianity will meet the other great world religions, and it will be as epoch-making an encounter as the days when the early Judaeo-Christians met the Greeks. It will be another great stage in the universalisation of the gospel when we are able to express the Christian experience and meaning in terms and symbols other than those we have been familiar with: a contemporary encounter with other religions in which we often meet people who have transcended their ego, examples of great holiness, people who are living and pursuing a contemplative life. It raises the question of where Christ for us gives meaning, and ultimate meaning, to our experience. In pure prayer, for the Christian, Christ is the centre of the whole experience. We have been taking about the basic theology of Christian prayer, that we are leaving our own prayer behind. As we leave our ego behind, we leave behind that which can say, ‘I’ or ‘mine’. So if we are really practising a prayer that takes us beyond our ego, it doesn’t make sense anymore to say this is ‘my prayer’. That intuition was recognised by the Desert Fathers when they said that the monk who knows he is praying, who is self-conscious about ‘my own prayer’, has not yet really begun to pray, has not reached the full purity of prayer. Yet in pure prayer, although Christ is the centre, Christ is not an object of thought because there is no thought. The mind becomes still. Christ is not an object of our imagination. We are moving beyond the realm of the imagination, beyond thoughts and images. We’re not speaking to Christ in words. We are becoming silent, leaving all words behind. Yet, experience shows that our meditation, our pure prayer, is deepening our personal relationship with Christ continually. Deepening our understanding and our experience of our relationship, indeed our union, with Christ, the union with Christ that we experience and discover at the level of our true self, in other words, beyond the ego. To experience relationship at the level of our true self involves moving beyond a sense of duality or separateness. If I meet you at this level 13 of our true self, then we are not conscious of separation; we are conscious of a union, love. This is the fruit of meditation practised in Christian faith. Pure prayer deepens our knowledge and love of Christ. Indeed this pure prayer, practised with Christian faith and in a Christian context clarifies, makes clearer who Christ is. We begin to see Christ in a more and more universal sense. We certainly meet Christ within the terms of our own culture, our own vocation. But the Christ we meet within our own culture, within our own tradition, is the universal, cosmic Christ who fills every culture, and can manifest himself and mediate himself through any tradition. We must meet Christ as the personal presence in ourselves. That is the most authentic. We will never be fulfilled, we will never be satisfied, we will not have reached our goal until we have met this presence which is within ourselves. It is not enough for us to meet Christ indirectly as it were through the outward signs of our religion, our practice or of our culture. All of these are signs pointing us towards this deepest, most personal encounter with Christ within ourselves. We meet Christ most purely and authentically at the level of the personal, within the relationship we have with ourselves, why we have to do the work of selfknowledge and purification, ascesis, get into a good relationship with ourselves. And also we meet Christ within our relationship with others. The Christ we meet is the risen Christ, the present Christ. The figure of Jesus that we encounter in the New Testament, in scripture or in theology and thought, is more of an indirect encounter. It’s of great value and importance, but not as purely personal, or as purely real, as the Christ we meet at this personal level of relationship. But I think we come to value the historical Jesus expressed in the words of scripture more as a result of our meditation, our pure prayer. Meditation leads to a deeper reading of scripture, a deeper intuitive understanding of what the words mean, what those inspired words are mediating to us. Cassian says this very clearly, that one of the fruits of this pure prayer is that we will come to read scripture as if we were the author of it; in other words, more and more at the level of experience. The experience in scripture is resonating with our own personal experience. By letting go of the images and thoughts at the time of meditation, we come back to those images and thoughts at the time of lectio with a great deal more to gain. The word is indeed incarnate in scripture, as the early fathers said. But our ability to recognise and relate to the incarnate Word in scripture depends on the depth of our personal encounter with the Word in our hearts. Scripture is a kind of mirror of what is within our hearts personally. The historical Jesus in scripture mirrors or reflects back the risen Jesus within our own hearts. Prayer itself is not a theological exercise. It is so damaging to Christian faith if we limit prayer just to the level of mental prayer, to discursive meditation, to thoughts and images and imagination. Those are the tools of theological thought and exploration, valuable but not enough. Prayer is not a theological exercise, although according to Evagrius, it makes us true theologians. “The one who truly prays is a theologian, and a theologian is one who truly prays,” he says. Prayer is itself though an encounter, a personal encounter. Redemption is the result of a meeting, a personal encounter, rather than an exchange of ideas or opinions or views. And the whole person is involved in this kind of encounter, in a redemptive encounter of this kind. Our journey to wholeness and holiness is inseparable from our 14 relationship with Christ. Christ indeed heals us psychologically, spiritually, maybe even physically, in order for us to come to a wholeness in which we can know him fully, and be redeemed by that knowledge.
6 The Prayer of Faith
Meditation is pre-eminently the prayer of faith. We know Christ, not through thought primarily, but through faith. Meditation, pure prayer, is the prayer of faith. Leaving thoughts and words and so on behind leaves us with the word, the mantra, the act of pure faith. It makes us realise by experience what faith is. Faith is not our systems of belief. Faith is not the same as our theology. Faith is our relationship with another person. Faith is our capacity to be in relationship. We talk, for example, about being faithful to our community, faithful in marriage, faithful in friendship. Faith is the capacity we have, and the gift we have, to be in relationship. It is only when we are in relationship that we can know another person. It’s not so much the thoughts that we have, but the relationship that we have. Most of us received the beginning of our relationship with Christ as children. Jesus was like a family friend, one of the grown-ups in our families, friend of our parents, and priests, and teachers. As we mature, we come to know this family friend as a mature person in our own right, to know him personally. Faith grows and develops. Our faith in Jesus is built not upon what is said about him so much as what he has said about himself, built upon his own self-knowledge. That is where his authority lies, just as our own faith in ourselves, for example, is built much more upon what we know about ourselves than what others may say about us. What Jesus has said about himself is this: the seven I am of Jesus: I am the true vine. (John 15:1) I am the way, the truth and the life. (John 14:6) I am the door. (John 10:7) I am the bread of life. (John 6:35) I am the good shepherd. (John 10:14) I am the light of the world. (John 8:12) I am the resurrection and the life. (John 11:25) What those terms suggest to us is Jesus revealing himself to us, not as an object of worship, not as a cult figure, but as a teacher calling for our total reverence and love; as a guide calling for our total trust and abandonment; as a brother; as a friend: “I call you servants no longer but friends.” One who we know loved his own in this world, one who is not a moralist but a liberator, a teacher of the Way, a guide, a door, the Way, with him in the spirit to the Father. We most effectively mature our faith by prayer, by depth of prayer. Our prayer is always deepening and maturing. We move perhaps beyond certain types of prayer, not because they are bad, but because we simply grow into a deeper relationship with Christ. Maybe when we begin this relationship, we rely to a large extent upon 16 photographs, mental images of this person. But, as we mature ourselves, as we become more capable of human relationship, then this photograph, mental image of Christ, gives way, more and more, to the encounter with the real person. This encounter that occurs primarily at the level of our heart, our personal experience, then becomes wonderfully enriched in the Eucharist, in scripture, in community, all the other ways in which we also encounter this risen person of Jesus. The Spirit is constantly at work in us, preparing us to see him, to see Jesus, more and more clearly. The starting point I think is to know that Jesus is finding us, the lost sheep. Jesus talks far more in the Gospels about God seeking us than about the human duty of seeking God. Our faith in Jesus is built on this confidence, that he dwells within us, seeking us in the sense that by seeking us he draws us away from our ego into our true self. That’s the journey of Christian prayer: with Jesus, in the Spirit, to the Father. What he teaches us on prayer in the Gospel of Matthew for example, the sermon on the mount, points us towards this experience of the indwelling presence within our own hearts: In interiority, in faith, in trust, in attention, “set your mind upon the kingdom”, and in peace, beyond worry and anxiety. He teaches us the way of pure prayer. But above all, he teaches us to pray by praying with us and in us. Christ is at prayer in us. The mind of Christ, the human consciousness of Christ in us. So Christ is at prayer in us through a mysterious union, and he is the master of prayer. The prayer of Jesus, the incarnate Word, is the perfect prayer of the human being. No one could do it better, and therefore he is the one who teaches us to pray. He is the master of pure prayer. He meditates within us, realising his true self as the Son in union with the Father, just as we realise our true self. Prayer that is in the spirit, his prayer beyond thoughts and words, beyond the ego, his true self, one with the Father, and simultaneously one with us – that’s the mystery of Christian prayer. Jesus, who is one with the Father, is present within each of us also, each of us uniquely and universally. To see him is to see the Father. So the starting point of Christian prayer is that we enter into the prayer of Christ through our union with his human consciousness. And we must find our true self in order to find him. We must leave self behind in order to follow him. This is from the Gospel of John again. So the Word became flesh. He came to dwell among us and we saw his glory, such glory as befits the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth. Out of his full store, we have all received grace upon grace; for while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but God’s only Son, he who is nearest to the Father’s heart, he has made him known. (Jn. 1:14, 16-18)
October 13, 2009 | Categories: Church Life, Disciples of Jesus Christ, House Church, Jesus Christ, Reimagining Church, Religion, Simple Church, Truth, Wise Sayings | Tags: Meditation, Prayer, Spiritual Journey, The Ego | Leave a comment
Living by the Spirit, Organically
How are we led by the Spirit?
What are disciplines of Christ?
What do we look for and how can we know that we are being led by the Spirit of God?
What does it mean to be free from the law of sin and death?
How can we walk in faith, walk in love and to be transformed in mind?
These questions and more will be what we look at (beginning Sunday Oct.4) not just in a study but in a practical everyday application of being able to recognize and hear the Spirit’s voice and walk these realities out.
The first letter Paul wrote was his letter to the churches that met in the Galatia territory. I think it is significant to understand the issue to which Paul was addressing in his writing of this “first” letter and first writing of what we know today as the New Testament.
After his greeting Paul writes Gal.1:6 I am amazed that you are so quickly turning away from Him who called you by the grace of Christ, [and are turning] to a different gospel.
Turning away from Him (Christ) to another gospel or as Paul says in vs.7 a changed Gospel of Christ.
How upset was Paul when dealing with the issue this letter is addressing?
Gal.1:9 if anyone preaches to you a gospel contrary to what you received, a curse be on him!
What is the Gospel of Christ?
The word Gospel simply means “Good News” Christ means “Anointed” to Anoint literally means to “cover in Oil”
Gospel of Christ = Great news you are going to be covered in the Holy Spirit both within you and without you. The Transformation is here and it is not only going to change things within you but it will also change things on the outside as well and also with all of creation being freed in the process.
Luke 8:1, 9-15 Soon afterwards He was traveling from one town and village to another, preaching and telling the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with Him, Then His disciples asked Him, “What does this parable mean?” 10 So He said, “The secrets of the kingdom of God have been given for you to know, but to the rest it is in parables, so that Looking they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.
The Parable of the Sower Explained (The Organic Nature of God in Man)
11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12 The seeds along the path are those who have heard. Then the Devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 And the seeds on the rock are those who, when they hear, welcome the word with joy. Having no root, these believe for a while and depart in a time of testing. 14 As for the seed that fell among thorns, these are the ones who, when they have heard, go on their way and are choked with worries, riches, and pleasures of life, and produce no mature fruit. 15 But the seed in the good ground—these are the ones who, having heard the word with an honest and good heart, hold on to it and by enduring, bear fruit.
The Secrets of the Kingdom – Right Here
Seed = God’s Word that is spoken and heard within your heart.
Path = Those who hear the Spirit’s voice within them, in their heart.
Thorns = Worry, desire for wealth, pursuit of pleasure
Good Ground or Good Path = Those who hear the Spirit’s voice within them believe it and live by it thus producing the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
Christ & Matters of the Spirit.
Christ is One with many Parts – We all together form and manifest Christ on earth through the Spirit which speaks to us and leads us. This is a description of the working out of the organic nature of Christ on earth.
1 Cor.12:1-12 1 About matters of the spirit: brothers, I do not want you to be unaware. 2 You know how, when you were pagans, you were led to dumb idols —being led astray. 3 Therefore I am informing you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
4 Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are different ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are different activities, but the same God is active in everyone and everything. 7 A manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person to produce what is beneficial:
This next story Jesus links intrinsically to His Gospel.
Matt.26:6-10 While Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon, a man who had a serious skin disease, 7 a woman approached Him with an alabaster jar of very expensive fragrant oil. She poured it on His head as He was reclining at the table. 8 When the disciples saw it, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. 9 “This might have been sold for a great deal and given to the poor.” 10 But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a noble thing for Me. 11 You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me. 12 By pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she has prepared Me for burial. 13 I assure you: Wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told in memory of her.”
Why and How is Jesus linking this story to His Gospel?
1. After this acrion in vs.14 Then one of the Twelve—the man called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests 15 and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand Him over to you?” – This is what put Judas over the edge
All the Disciples saw this action as waste
Jesus described the action as a “Nobel Thing”
Jesus saw the action as a preparation for what was coming.
Jesus knew the action was coming from a heart that was listening to and responding to the voice of the Father.
This is Jesus gospel – That a man or woman a son of man can live by and walk in the Spirit and have a face to face relationship with God the Father. That a son or daughter of man does not simply live by bread alone but can really live by a relationship where he hears the words of his Father who is God. This gospel, this good news is not something Jesus simply preached but He lived it out in front of men to see. He lived it out right until the end when Jesus was killed. He said you don’t need to know the law to live a righteous life you can simply listen and follow the voice of our Father who lives within the hearts of all of His children. Jesus says “Please, follow my way – I have lived openly before you showing you the way to the Father – follow what I have shown and discover our Father who wants to know you face to face. I strongly urge you to follow this way and enter our Father’s kingdom here on earth just like it is in heaven.
Luke 16:14-16 The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and scoffing at Him. 15 And He told them: “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the sight of others, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly admired by people is revolting in God’s sight. “The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then, the good news of the kingdom of God has been proclaimed, and everyone is strongly urged to enter it.
Rom.4:12-13 And he became the father of the circumcised, not only to those who are circumcised, but also to those who follow in the footsteps of the faith our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised. For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would inherit the world was not through the law, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.
It is Faith to hear the internal voice of the Father, believe it and do it – This is righteousness. Faith is not following a book, tradition or law – Faith is hearing our Father God’s voice, believing it and following it. To follow a book, tradition or law, even if it is from God, is death. In the picture below who is following the Spirit and who is following a book???
September 28, 2009 | Categories: Church Life, Disciples of Jesus Christ, Friends, House Church, Jesus Christ, Organic Church, Pagan Christianity, Reimagining Church, Religion, Simple Church, Truth, Wise Sayings | Tags: Faith in God, Meditation, Organic Chruch, The Gospel | Leave a comment
THE ESSENCE OF ASHRAM LIFE
by Swami Sahajananda (Br. John Martin)
Father Bede rarely talked about his inner experience
during his long life, except in the last four years after his
stroke in 1990 and in a few other instances such as the
recollection of his awakening to the divine Presence in the
natural world. Anyone familiar with the major events and
turning-points of his life, however, cannot but discern the
workings of grace in those extraordinary moments of his
earthly existence. It was grace that led him to take that
eventful walk on the last day of school before he went up to
Oxford, and revealed to him the Divine in and surrounding
nature; it was grace that inspired him to realize that God
worked in and through history as well as the cosmos. Grace
compelled him to return to Christianity, to become a
Catholic and to enter a monastery after his conversion. It
was grace also that guided his studies of oriental mysticism
and planted in his heart the desire to go to India in 1955. It
was grace that gave him the capacity to persevere there
through many trials even to the hour of his death.
Bede’s mysticism is accessible, however – particularly
in his later correspondence – in hundreds of letters to close
friends and disciples. Sifting through the vast details of his
experience, from his school days to his final illness, three
distinct but interrelated types of mystical awareness are
evident. They constitute the golden string of his inner being,
the rich unfolding of grace in his unique history.
The first type, natural contemplation, has already
been alluded to above. This kind of contemplation – that is,
the ability to perceive the divine Presence in nature –
One day as I was teaching Indian Philosophy to the
students at the Rosarian Philosophate in Trichy, one of the
students asked me, “Brother, what is the literal meaning of
ashram life?”. “I don’t want to tell you the literal meaning of
ashram life,” I replied. “Why?” the brother asked curiously.
“If I tell you the literal meaning of ashram life then you will
all come and join ashrams.” I said. There was a burst of
The essence of ashram life consists in the word
“Ashram” itself. The word ashram can be divided into A –
Shram. Shram means hard work, struggle and conflict. A
Shram means no hard work, no struggle, no conflict, no
burden and no labouring. This is the literal meaning of
Ashram life is a life where there is no effort to
achieve something. It is a life of inner freedom, spontaneity
and effortless life. It is a life of freedom in the sense that
there is no desire to get anything more nor fear of losing
THE GARDEN OF EDEN AND ASHRAM LIFE
Humanity is created for ashram life. The garden of
Eden is the first ashram that God created for humanity. To
live an ashram life is the natural state (sahaja) of human
beings. The ashram life of the first human beings is very
beautifully described in the book of Genesis. God created
humanity in his/her own image and likeness. God is Holy
and Whole so also he created human beings as holy and
whole. God is beyond time and space so also he created
human beings in his/her own image, in the sense that there
is something in the human beings which transcends time and
space. In God there is no conflict, there is no effort to
achieve anything. There is no struggle (shram). There is no
fear of losing something and there is no greediness to get
something more. By creating God does not get anything
more, by not creating God does not lose anything. The true
self of human beings is like that: a state of freedom and
In the garden of Eden human beings were naked and
not ashamed. Physically it means they had no clothes on
their body. Spiritually it means they were empty, in an egoless
state. They were empty in each moment of their life.
They lived their life without creating an ego in themselves.
They lived the life of eternity, which is wholeness of life
where horizontal and vertical are united. They had no sense
of psychological time (it is because they were unfolding and
not becoming) but had only biological and chronological
time. They walked with God in the cool of the evening,
which means they had very intimate relationship with
God, God living in them and they living in God. God was
their subject, God was their Ego, they saw everything in and
through God, they did everything in and through God. They
had no ego, no centre in them. They were naked and not
ashamed. They had no guilt feelings. They had chaste
relationship with God. They were innocent in the sense that
they did not know good and evil.
In the garden of Eden they did not make any effort to
achieve something. They lived according to their created
nature or given nature. They had nothing to achieve – only to
live. They had no conflict and psychological suffering
because they had no psychological time. Psychological time
belongs to the fallen state and is the source of psychological
misery and suffering. They lived their life naturally,
spontaneously and freely. They were following the natural
path (Sahaja Marga). Their journey can be described as:
from eternity to eternity;
from wholeness to wholeness;
from holiness to holiness;
from one unfolding to another unfolding.
We can say that they were living an ashram life which was
intended by God when God created them.
FALL AND SHRAM LIFE
But sin makes humanity to fall from ashram life into
shram life.The serpent which was on the tree was cursed by
God to crawl on its belly and dust shall be its food. A snake
raising its head (hood) represents wholistic consciousness
where vertical and horizontal dimensions are united. A
snake crawling on the ground represents horizontal
consciousness separated from the wholeness, which is the
consciousness of time: past, present and future. Eternity falls
into time. Through human beings the
creation participated in wholistic
relationship with God. When
humanity fell, creation also fell from
wholistic relationship into horizontal
consciousness of time.
Humanity has been cursed to
live the life of shrama, suffering,
hard work. Woman has to suffer
pains and the equality of the sexes
has been lost and the woman
becomes dependent on man. Man
has to toil and eat in the sweat of his
brow all the days of his life. The land will bring forth thorns
and thistles. Man has to live by the sweat of his brow. And
cursed is the ground because of the human beings’ fall.
The life of wholeness falls into a life of fragmentation;
The life of holiness falls into a life of unholiness;
The life of being falls into a life of becoming;
The effortless life (ashram) falls into a life of effort
By the sweat of his face man has to live. Our spiritual
journey has become the life of becoming, life of conflict,
life of struggle, life of good and evil. The more we try to
become good, the more thorns and thistles are found in us.
Our spiritual life is the life of shram, struggle and conflict.
And this life of shrama has been passed on from generation
to generation. This is the burden which humanity is carrying
from generation to generation.
THE CALL OF JESUS
Jesus is calling humanity to free itself from this
spiritual life of burden or shram, and enter into the life of
lightness or ashram. “Come to me, all you who labour and
are burdened (shram) of heart. I will give you rest (ashram).
Learn from me, I am meek and humble of heart…for my
yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Mt 11:28-30
Jesus himself might have gone through this life of shramlabour
and discovered the life of ashram or rest, which is the
real nature of all human beings. He might have seen how
humanity has been carrying this burden. Religion, which is
supposed to relieve people from this burden, has itself
become the agent of burdening people. He had compassion
on the people, so he is asking people to come to him
because he is living the life of rest, ashram. He is the living
ashram, so that he can free them from this burden and give
them rest and peace. “I am meek and humble of heart”, he
says. He is meek and humble because he has no ego, his Ego
is God. He is empty and naked. For his yoke is easy and his
burden is light.
It does not mean that Jesus takes away one type of
yoke and places another, lighter yoke. What he means is that
in the garden of Eden humanity was
meek and humble without ego. The
desire to become like God started an
ego in them which culminated in
their fall. The ego is like a bull on
whose neck a yoke has to be placed.
And this yoke becomes a burden.
But Jesus says, “I am meek and
humble,” I have no ego, I have no
yoke on me. I want to purify your
ego, make you meek and humble so
that there is no need of placing a
yoke and there is no possibility of
placing a yoke, either light or burdensome. Where there is
no ego there is no need of a yoke. So Jesus came to free
humanity from the ego; then he liberates humanity from all
the yokes and burdens. He makes it possible for humanity to
live the natural life of the garden of Eden, which is the life
of egolessness and thus ashram life.
God created humanity for ashram life. But sin
brought down humanity from ashram life to shram life.
Jesus is calling humanity to come back to this ashram life
which is the garden of Eden, the first ashram created by
September 22, 2009 | Categories: Church Life, Disciples of Jesus Christ, Friends, House Church, Jesus Christ, Organic Church, Pagan Christianity, Reimagining Church, Religion, Simple Church, Truth, Wise Sayings | Tags: Meditation | Leave a comment
Be still and know that I am God Ps.46:10 – This is one of the lines in the Psalmist song of decent. In another translation it says “Cease striving and know that I am God”. In the NT Paul writes “1 Timothy 4:10 (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.”
Do we stop striving or do we strive? I have come to believe that the answer is yes, we stop striving and we strive.
I have found that the practice of stillness is a monumental effort toward effortlessness. A paradox, why would seemingly non-activity take so much effort. Try it, even now, close your eyes and still your mind – think of nothing for one minute…… Not so easy is it, if you can get there, you usually can’t hold non-thought for more than a couple of seconds, and then thinking begins to kick in. The mind is something that never stops, good thing, because it is what keeps our lungs breathing and our heart beating and many more activities. The sub-conscience part of our mind does many things to keep our bodies functioning. The purpose of stillness then is not to stop the mind but to still the conscience mind, the one that does so much thinking, learning, judging and condemning.
Paul wrote about what he was praying in Eph 1:18 – I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
The EYES OF YOUR HEART many be enlightened. Notice that it is not the eyes of the mind that he is praying be enlightened. What are Heart Eyes? With our natural or physical eyes our mind sees the physical world around us. Our eyes look outward. The Heart eye sees what is inward. With this eye we see the unseen or spiritual world. It is in the practice of stillness that we are made aware of light within and the eyes see. .
Light and Eye go hand in hand because without light the eye has no function, it cannot see. Eyes that do not see are not necessarily blind (i.e. without the ability of any sight) they may simply be in darkness and unable to function. This why Paul prays that the heart eyes be enlightened so they can function.
Jesus says to the Pharisees in Matt.23:16 “Woe to you, blind guides, ..” He says this because they are in the Light (Jesus) externally yet they do not see. But remember this blindness can be healed.
To be Enlightened or To be in the Light.
Jesus said: Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either Go From now on sin no more.” Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” John.8:10-12
Those in the Light do not walk in the darkness of division and condemnation. Paul picks up this action by Jesus when he writes Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Rom.8:1 Usually this is read to say that those who believe in Jesus are not condemned but I want you to see the expansion of this that not only is the believe not condemn but he condemns no one as well.
1 Timothy 4:10 (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.”
Do you realize that Jesus has already saved all of mankind! Do you know how special it is for those of you who believe it.
Stillness does not bring about salvation, unity or peace – The practice of stillness simply places you in the light of awareness of what already is. And what is? One is! There is no division, We are One. The one who says he loves God but does not love his brother is not divided from his brother he is simply unaware or unenlightened to the reality of what is. And what is the reality? He is One with his brother – Even if he believes he hates his brother all he is doing is not loving himself.
John wrote in 1Jn.2:9 The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
Today Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhist, Hindu’s, Taoists, Nations and peoples all over the world live in the noisy darkness of division based on what they think and believe with their minds. Be Still, Be in the Light and Know what is, Know the Oneness!
WE ARE ONE
August 19, 2009 | Categories: Church Life, Disciples of Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ, Organic Church, Pagan Christianity, Reimagining Church, Religion, Truth, Wise Sayings | Tags: Division, God, Oneness, Religion, Tao | Leave a comment
The Human Being, Being in Christ.
Paul speaking to the Men of Athens said: for in Him we live and move and have our being (exist), as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ Acts 17:28
- This citation is from Aratus, a third-century b.c. Gk poet. Aratus (Greek: Ἄρατος ὁ Σολεύς) (ca. 315 BC/310 BC – 240 BC) and Epimenides of Knossos (Crete) (Greek: Ἐπιμενίδης) was a semi-mythical 6th century BC poet.
Let us begin with Zeus, whom we mortals never leave unspoken. For every street, every market-place is full of Zeus. Even the sea and the harbour are full of this deity. Everywhere everyone is indebted to Zeus. For we are indeed his offspring... (Phaenomena 1-5).
They fashioned a tomb for thee, O holy and high one—
The Cretans, always liars, evil beasts, idle bellies!
But thou art not dead: thou livest and abidest forever,
For in thee we live and move and have our being.
In referring to God Paul was quoting men who spoke of God as Zeus.
As humans we are about ‘being’ or in simple terms ‘we exist’ and the fact is, that we exist in God, and ‘outside of God’ does not exist. All of creation speaks to this reality that we are God’s children as Luke quotes the greek poets in this verse in Acts.
We are not alone. Men have know of God by many names and many stories. All men from every tongue and nation have been being drawn into knowing God since the beginning of time. Traditions have caused man’s pursuit of God to be an issue of disagreement, contention and separation. We don’t have to.
As people on this earth we are not separate or divided. To see or believe in separation and division is to be in darkness and believe a lie. The work of the cross did not divide us, this was an act of unification and displayed our oneness with God.
John said: If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. 1John 4:20
Why is it impossible to love God and hate your brother? Because they are one and the same – no separation. Can the hand say to the eye “I have no need of thee?” There is only “one life” “one love” “one spirit” (1Cor.12:12-25) To love God is not an action it simply “is,” because God is love. All we can do is have eyes that see, ears that hear and be aware of what is, and what is? – God is.
This is what Jesus was talking about when he said:
Matt.6:22-23 “The lamp of the body is your eye. If, then, your eye should be single, your whole body will be luminous. Yet if your eye should be wicked, your whole body will be dark. If, then, the light that is in you is darkness, how dense is the darkness!
To have a single eye is to see the oneness of the Lord displayed in His creation.
To understand music, you must listen to it. But so long as you are thinking, “I am listening to this music,” you are not listening. Alan Watts
To know God you must not attempt to know Him. All you must do is look for Him, see Him, and the experience itself is the knowing of God. To have eternal life and be in the kingdom of God is not a future experience but a present reality for all who see.
John 17: 11“I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are.
July 11, 2009 | Categories: Disciples of Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ, Organic Church, Pagan Christianity, Reimagining Church, Religion, Simple Church, Truth, Wise Sayings | Tags: Truth | Leave a comment
Intimacy with God is Knowing your True Self in Spirit and Being free by Overcoming the False Self known as Ego
When Adam and Eve were in the Garden they were told they could eat from all the trees but one. When they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil this became the center of man’s being – a center that ends in death. When the last Adam came to earth he spoke of the true center that is within man. It is the Tree of Life that is the center of Jesus and it is here that the last Adam lived from. As His disciple it is this center that we can live from.
The following is an article written by Osho in his work entitled “From beyond the Frontier of the Mind” I am not saying that I agree with all his teaching but I do appreciate his explanation of the Ego. I have added some scripture and my own words which are in italics.
Ego – The False Center
The first thing to be understood is what ego is. A child is born. A child is born without any knowledge, any consciousness of his own self. And when a child is born the first thing he becomes aware of is not himself; the first thing he becomes aware of is the other. It is natural, because the eyes open outwards, the hands touch others, the ears listen to others, the tongue tastes food and the nose smells the outside. All these senses open outwards.
That is what birth means. Birth means coming into this world, the world of the outside. So when a child is born, he is born into this world. He opens his eyes, sees others. ‘Other’ means the thou. He becomes aware of the mother first. Then, by and by, he becomes aware of his own body. That too is the other, that too belongs to the world. He is hungry and he feels the body; his need is satisfied, he forgets the body.
This is how a child grows. First he becomes aware of you, thou, other, and then by and by, in contrast to you, thou, he becomes aware of himself.
This awareness is a reflected awareness. He is not aware of who he is. He is simply aware of the mother and what she thinks about him. If she smiles, if she appreciates the child, if she says, “You are beautiful,” if she hugs and kisses him, Through appreciation, love, care, he feels he is good, he feels he is valuable, he feels he has some significance.
A center is born.
But this center is a reflected center. It is not his real being. He does not know who he is; he simply knows what others think about him. And this is the ego: the reflection, what others think.
2Cor.3:16-18 but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil (ego view) is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (from ego). We all, with unveiled faces, are reflecting the glory of the Lord (our true nature) and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.
If nobody thinks that he is of any use, nobody appreciates him, nobody smiles, then too an ego is born: an ill ego; sad, rejected, like a wound; feeling inferior, worthless. This too is the ego. This too is a reflection.
First the mother – and mother means the world in the beginning. Then others will join the mother, and the world goes on growing. And the more the world grows, the more complex the ego becomes, because many others’ opinions are reflected.
The ego is an accumulated phenomenon, a by-product of living with others. If a child lives totally alone, he will never come to grow an ego. But that is not going to help. He will remain like an animal. That doesn’t mean that he will come to know the real self, no.
The real can be known only through the false, so the ego is a must. One has to pass through it. It is a discipline. The real can be known only through the illusion. You cannot know the truth directly. First you have to know that which is not true. First you have to encounter the untrue. Through that encounter you become capable of knowing the truth. If you know the false as the false, truth will dawn upon you.
Gen.2:16-17 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”
Ego is a need; it is a social need, it is a social by-product. The society means all that is around you – not you, but all that is around you. All, minus you, is the society. And everybody reflects. You will go to school and the teacher will reflect who you are. You will be in friendship with other children and they will reflect who you are. By and by, everybody is adding to your ego, and everybody is trying to modify it in such a way that you don’t become a problem to the society.
They are not concerned with you.
They are concerned with the society.
Society is concerned with itself, and that’s how it should be.
Gen.3:11-13 Then He asked, “Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat from the tree that I had commanded you not to eat from?” Then the man replied, “The woman You gave to be with me—she gave me [some fruit] from the tree, and I ate.”
So the LORD God asked the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “It was the serpent. He deceived me, and I ate.”
They are not concerned that you should become a self-knower. They are concerned that you should become an efficient part in the mechanism of the society. You should fit into the pattern. So they are trying to give you an ego that fits with the society. ….
The society creates an ego because the ego can be controlled and manipulated. The self can never be controlled or manipulated. Nobody has ever heard of the society controlling a self – not possible.
Gal.5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
And the child needs a center; the child is completely unaware of his own center. The society gives him a center and the child is by and by convinced that this is his center, the ego that society gives.
A child comes back to his home – if he has come first in his class, the whole family is happy. You hug and kiss him, and you take the child on your shoulders and dance and you say, “What a beautiful child! You are a pride to us.” You are giving him an ego, a subtle ego. And if the child comes home dejected, unsuccessful, a failure – he couldn’t pass, or he has just been on the back bench – then nobody appreciates him and the child feels rejected. He will try harder next time, because the center feels shaken.
Ego is always shaken, always in search of food, that somebody should appreciate it. That’s why you continuously ask for attention.
You get the idea of who you are from others.
It is not a direct experience.
It is from others that you get the idea of who you are. They shape your center. This center is false, because you carry your real center. That is nobody’s business. Nobody shapes it.
You come with it.
You are born with it.
So you have two centers. One center you come with, which is given by existence itself. That is the self. And the other center, which is created by the society, is the ego. It is a false thing – and it is a very great trick.
…… The others have given you the idea.
That idea is the ego.
Try to understand it as deeply as possible, because this has to be thrown. And unless you throw it you will never be able to attain to the self. Because you are addicted to the center, you cannot move, and you cannot look at the self.
And remember, there is going to be an interim period, an interval, when the ego will be shattered, when you will not know who you are, when you will not know where you are going, when all boundaries will melt.
You will simply be confused, a chaos.
Because of this chaos, you are afraid to lose the ego. But it has to be so. One has to pass through the chaos before one attains to the real center.
This experience is know as the Dark Night of the Soul
And if you are daring, the period will be small.
If you are afraid, and you again fall back to the ego, and you again start arranging it, then it can be very, very long; many lives can be wasted.
Heb.6:4-6 For it is impossible to renew to repentance those who were once enlightened, who tasted the heavenly gift, became companions with the Holy Spirit, tasted God’s good word and the powers of the coming age, and who have fallen away, because, to their own harm, they are recrucifying the Son of God and holding Him up to contempt.
I have heard: One small child was visiting his grandparents. He was just four years old. In the night when the grandmother was putting him to sleep, he suddenly started crying and weeping and said, “I want to go home. I am afraid of darkness.” But the grandmother said, “I know well that at home also you sleep in the dark; I have never seen a light on. So why are you afraid here?” The boy said, “Yes, that’s right – but that is MY darkness.” This darkness is completely unknown.
Even with darkness you feel, “This is MINE.”
Outside – an unknown darkness.
With the ego you feel, “This is MY darkness.”
It may be troublesome, maybe it creates many miseries, but still mine. Something to hold to, something to cling to, something underneath the feet; you are not in a vacuum, not in an emptiness. You may be miserable, but at least you ARE. Even being miserable gives you a feeling of ‘I am’. Moving from it, fear takes over; you start feeling afraid of the unknown darkness and chaos – because society has managed to clear a small part of your being.
It is just like going to a forest. You make a little clearing, you clear a little ground; you make fencing, you make a small hut; you make a small garden, a lawn, and you are okay. Beyond your fence – the forest, the wild. Here everything is okay; you have planned everything. This is how it has happened.
Society has made a little clearing in your consciousness. It has cleaned just a little part completely, fenced it. Everything is okay there. That’s what all your universities are doing. The whole culture and conditioning is just to clear a part so that you can feel at home there.
And then you become afraid.
Beyond the fence there is danger.
Beyond the fence you are, as within the fence you are – and your conscious mind is just one part, one-tenth of your whole being. Nine-tenths is waiting in the darkness. And in that nine-tenths, somewhere your real center is hidden.
1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear has torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love.
One has to be daring, courageous.
…..But if you are courageous and you don’t go backwards, if you don’t fall back to the ego and you go on and on, there is a hidden center within you that you have been carrying for many lives.
That is your spirit/soul, the self.
Once you come near it, everything changes, everything settles again. But now this settling is not done by the society. Now everything becomes a cosmos, not a chaos; a new order arises.
But this is no longer the order of the society – it is the very order of existence itself. It is God’s Kingdom come – God’s culture on earth.
It is what Buddha calls Dhamma, Lao Tzu calls Tao, Heraclitus calls Logos. It is not man-made. It is the VERY order of existence itself. Then everything is suddenly beautiful again, and for the first time really beautiful, because man-made things cannot be beautiful. At the most you can hide the ugliness of them, that’s all. You can decorate them, but they can never be beautiful.
The difference is just like the difference between a real flower and a plastic or paper flower. The ego is a plastic flower – dead. It just looks like a flower, it is not a flower. You cannot really call it a flower. Even linguistically to call it a flower is wrong, because a flower is something which flowers. And this plastic thing is just a thing, not a flowering. It is dead. There is no life in it.
Gen 2:17b – for when you eat of it you will surely die.”
You have a flowering center within. That’s why Hindus call it a lotus – it is a flowering. They call it the one-thousand-petaled-lotus. One thousand means infinite petals. And it goes on flowering, it never stops, it never dies.
But you are satisfied with a plastic ego.
There are some reasons why you are satisfied. With a dead thing, there are many conveniences. One is that a dead thing never dies. It cannot – it was never alive. So you can have plastic flowers, they are good in a way. They are permanent; they are not eternal, but they are permanent.
The real flower outside in the garden is eternal, but not permanent. And the eternal has its own way of being eternal. The way of the eternal is to be born again and again and to die. Through death it refreshes itself, rejuvenates itself.
To us it appears that the flower has died – it never dies.
It simply changes bodies, so it is ever fresh.
It leaves the old body, it enters a new body. It flowers somewhere else; it goes on flowering.
But we cannot see the continuity because the continuity is invisible. We see only one flower, another flower; we never see the continuity.
It is the same flower which flowered yesterday.
It is the same sun, but in a different garb.
The ego has a certain quality – it is dead. It is a plastic thing. And it is very easy to get it, because others give it. You need not seek it, there is no search involved. That’s why unless you become a seeker after the unknown, you have not yet become an individual. You are just a part of the crowd. You are just a mob.
Matt. 6:33 But seek first the kingdom (culture) of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.
When you don’t have a real center, how can you be an individual?
The ego is not individual. Ego is a social phenomenon – it is society, its not you. But it gives you a function in the society, a hierarchy in the society. And if you remain satisfied with it, you will miss the whole opportunity of finding the self.
Gen.11:5-6 Then the LORD came down to look over the city and the tower that the men were building. The LORD said, “If, as one people all having the same language, they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.
And that’s why you are so miserable.
With a plastic life, how can you be happy?
With a false life, how can you be ecstatic and blissful? And then this ego creates many miseries, millions of them.
You cannot see, because it is your own darkness. You are attuned to it.
Have you ever noticed that all types of miseries enter through the ego? It cannot make you blissful; it can only make you miserable.
Ego is hell.
Ps.23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil
Whenever you suffer, just try to watch and analyze, and you will find, somewhere the ego is the cause of it. And the ego goes on finding causes to suffer.
You are an egoist, as everyone is. Some are very gross, just on the surface, and they are not so difficult. Some are very subtle, deep down, and they are the real problems.
This ego comes continuously in conflict with others because every ego is so unconfident about itself. Is has to be – it is a false thing. When you don’t have anything in your hand and you just think that something is there, then there will be a problem.
If somebody says, “There is nothing,” immediately the fight will start, because you also feel that there is nothing. The other makes you aware of the fact.
Ego is false, it is nothing.
That you also know.
How can you miss knowing it? It is impossible! A conscious being – how can he miss knowing that this ego is just false? And then others say that there is nothing – and whenever the others say that there is nothing they hit a wound, they say a truth – and nothing hits like the truth.
Jn.8:31-32 ……. you really are My disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
You have to defend, because if you don’t defend, if you don’t become defensive, then where will you be?
You will be lost.
The identity will be broken.
So you have to defend and fight – that is the clash.
A man who attains to the true self is never in any clash. Others may come and clash with him, but he is never in clash with anybody.
Luke 23:34-37 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided His clothes and cast lots. The people stood watching, and even the leaders kept scoffing: “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One!” The soldiers also mocked Him. They came offering Him sour wine and said, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!”
It happened that one Zen master was passing through a street. A man came running and hit him hard. The master fell down. Then he got up and started to walk in the same direction in which he was going before, not even looking back.
A disciple was with the master. He was simply shocked. He said, “Who is this man? What is this? If one lives in such a way, then anybody can come and kill you. And you have not even looked at that person, who he is, and why he did it.”
The master said, “That is his problem, not mine.”
You can clash with an enlightened man, but that is your problem, not his. And if you are hurt in that clash, that too is your own problem. He cannot hurt you. And it is like knocking against a wall – you will be hurt, but the wall has not hurt you.
The ego is always looking for some trouble. Why? Because if nobody pays attention to you, the ego feels hungry.
Gen. 4:6-7 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you furious? And why are you downcast? If you do right, won’t you be accepted? But if you do not do right, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
It lives on attention.
So even if somebody is fighting and angry with you, that too is good because at least the attention is paid. If somebody loves, it is okay. If somebody is not loving you, then even anger will be good. At least the attention will come to you. But if nobody is paying any attention to you, nobody thinks that you are somebody important, significant, then how will you feed your ego?
Other’s attention is needed.
In millions of ways you attract the attention of others; you dress in a certain way, you try to look beautiful, you behave, you become very polite, you change. When you feel what type of situation is there, you immediately change so that people pay attention to you.
This is a deep begging.
A real beggar is one who asks for and demands attention. And a real emperor is one who lives in himself; he has a center of his own, he doesn’t depend on anybody else. …….
But you, if the wife escapes, divorces you, goes to somebody else, you are completely shattered – because she had been paying attention to you, caring, loving, moving around you, helping you to feel that you were somebody. Your whole empire is lost, you are simply shattered. You start thinking about suicide. Why? Why, if a wife leaves you, should you commit suicide? Why, if a husband leaves you, should you commit suicide? Because you don’t have any center of your own. The wife was giving you the center; the husband was giving you the center.
This is how people exist. This is how people become dependent on others. It is a deep slavery. Ego HAS to be a slave. It depends on others. And only a person who has no ego is for the first time a master; he is no longer a slave. Try to understand this.
And start looking for the ego – not in others, that is not your business, but in yourself. Whenever you feel miserable, immediately close you eyes and try to find out from where the misery is coming and you will always find it is the false center which has clashed with someone.
Rom.6:6-9 For we know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that sin’s (ego’s) dominion over the body may be abolished, so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin (ego), since a person who has died is freed from sin’s (ego’s) claims. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him, because we know that Christ, having been raised from the dead, no longer dies. Death (Ego) no longer rules over Him.
You expected something, and it didn’t happen.
You expected something, and just the contrary happened – your ego is shaken, you are in misery. Just look, whenever you are miserable, try to find out why.
Causes are not outside you. The basic cause is within you – but you always look outside, you always ask:
Who is making me miserable?
Who is the cause of my anger?
Who is the cause of my anguish?
And if you look outside you will miss.
Just close the eyes and always look within.
The source of all misery, anger, anguish, is hidden in you, your ego.
And if you find the source, it will be easy to move beyond it. If you can see that it is your own ego that gives you trouble, you will prefer to drop it – because nobody can carry the source of misery if he understands it.
And remember, there is no need to drop the ego.
You cannot drop it.
If you try to drop it, you will attain to a certain subtle ego again which says, “I have become humble.”
Don’t try to be humble. That’s again ego in hiding – but it’s not dead.
Don’t try to be humble.
Nobody can try humility, and nobody can create humility through any effort of his own – no. When the ego is no more, a humbleness comes to you. It is not a creation. It is a shadow of the real center.
And a really humble man is neither humble nor egoistic.
He is simply simple.
He’s not even aware that he is humble.
If you are aware that you are humble, the ego is there.
Look at humble persons…. There are millions who think that they are very humble. They bow down very low, but watch them – they are the subtlest egoists. Now humility is their source of food. They say, “I am humble,” and then they look at you and they wait for you to appreciate them.
“You are really humble,” they would like you to say. “In fact, you are the most humble man in the world; nobody is as humble as you are.” Then see the smile that comes on their faces.
What is ego? Ego is a hierarchy that says, “No one is like me.” It can feed on humbleness – “Nobody is like me, I am the most humble man.”
It happened once:
A fakir, a beggar, was praying in a mosque, just early in the morning when it was still dark. It was a certain religious day for Mohammedians, and he was praying, and he was saying, “I am nobody. I am the poorest of the poor, the greatest sinner of sinners.”
Suddenly there was one more person who was praying. He was the emperor of that country, and he was not aware that there was somebody else there who was praying – it was dark, and the emperor was also saying:
“I am nobody. I am nothing. I am just empty, a beggar at our door.” When he heard that somebody else was saying the same thing, he said, “Stop! Who is trying to overtake me? Who are you? How dare you say before the emperor that you are nobody when he is saying that he is nobody?”
This is how the ego goes. It is so subtle. Its ways are so subtle and cunning; you have to be very, very alert, only then will you see it. Don’t try to be humble. Just try to see that all misery, all anguish comes through it.
Just watch! No need to drop it.
You cannot drop it. Who will drop it? Then the DROPPER will become the ego. It always comes back.
Whatsoever you do, stand out of it, and look and watch.
Whatsoever you do – humbleness, humility, simplicity – nothing will help. Only one thing is possible, and that is just to watch and see that it is the source of all misery. Don’t say it. Don’t repeat it – WATCH. Because if I say it is the source of all misery and you repeat it, then it is useless. YOU have to come to that understanding. Whenever you are miserable, just close the eyes and don’t try to find some cause outside. Try to see from where this misery is coming.
It is your own ego.
Rom.7:16-19 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree with the law that it is good. So now I am no longer the one doing it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For the desire to do what is good is with me, but there is no ability to do it. For I do not do the good that I want to do, but I practice the evil that I do not want to do.
If you continuously feel and understand, and the understanding that the ego is the cause becomes so deep-rooted, one day you will suddenly see that it has disappeared. Nobody drops it – nobody can drop it. You simply see; it has simply disappeared, because the very understanding that ego causes all misery becomes the dropping. THE VERY UNDERSTANDING IS THE DISAPPEARANCE OF THE EGO.
And you are so clever in seeing the ego in others. Anybody can see someone else’s ego. When it comes to your own, then the problem arises – because you don’t know the territory, you have never traveled on it.
Matt.7:3 “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?
The whole path towards the divine, the ultimate, has to pass through this territory of the ego.
Ps.23:4 Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear [no] danger,
The false has to be understood as false. The source of misery has to be understood as the source of misery – then it simply drops.
When you know it is poison, it drops. When you know it is fire, it drops. When you know this is the hell, it drops.
And then you never say, “I have dropped the ego.” Then you simply laugh at the whole thing, the joke that you were the creator of all misery.
I was just looking at a few cartoons of Charlie Brown. In one cartoon he is playing with blocks, making a house out of children’s blocks. He is sitting in the middle of the blocks building the walls. Then a moment comes when he is enclosed; all around he has made a wall. Then he cries, “Help, help!”
He has done the whole thing! Now he is enclosed, imprisoned. This is childish, but this is all that you have done also. You have made a house all around yourself, and now you are crying, “Help, help!” And the misery becomes a millionfold – because there are helpers who are also in the same boat.
Luke 15:14-18 – The Prodigal Son After he had spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he had nothing. Then he went to work for one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. He longed to eat his fill from the carob pods the pigs were eating, but no one would give him any. When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired hands have more than enough food, and here I am dying of hunger! I’ll get up, go to my father,
It happened that one very beautiful woman went to see her psychiatrist for the first time. The psychiatrist said, “Come closer please.” When she came closer, he simply jumped and hugged and kissed the woman. She was shocked. Then he said, “Now sit down. This takes care of my problem, now what is your problem?”
The problem becomes multifold, because there are helpers who are in the same boat. And they would like to help, because when you help somebody the ego feels very good, very, very good – because you are a great helper, a great guru, a master; you are helping so many people. The greater the crowd of your followers, the better you feel.
But you are in the same boat – you cannot help.
Rather, you will harm.
People who still have their own problems cannot be of much help. Only someone who has no problems of his own can help you. Only then is there the clarity to see, to see through you. A mind that has no problems of its own can see you, you become transparent.
1 Cor.2:14-16 But the natural man does not welcome what comes from God’s Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to know it since it is evaluated spiritually. The spiritual person, however, can evaluate everything, yet he himself cannot be evaluated by anyone. For: who has known the Lord’s mind, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.
A mind that has no problems of its own can see through itself; that’s why it becomes capable of seeing through others.
In the West, there are many schools of psychoanalysis, many schools, and no help is reaching people, but rather, harm. Because the people who are helping others, or trying to help, or posing as helpers, are in the same boat.
…It is difficult to see one’s own ego.
It is very easy to see other’s egos. But that is not the point, you cannot help them.
Try to see your own ego.
Just watch it.
Don’t be in a hurry to drop it, just watch it. The more you watch, the more capable you will become. Suddenly one day, you simply see that it has dropped. And when it drops by itself, only then does it drop. There is no other way. Prematurely you cannot drop it.
It drops just like a dead leaf.
The tree is not doing anything – just a breeze, a situation, and the dead leaf simply drops. The tree is not even aware that the dead leaf has dropped. It makes no noise, it makes no claim – nothing.
The dead leaf simply drops and shatters on the ground, just like that.
When you are mature through understanding, awareness, and you have felt totally that ego is the cause of all your misery, simply one day you see the dead leaf dropping.
It settles into the ground, dies of its own accord. You have not done anything so you cannot claim that you have dropped it. You see that it has simply disappeared, and then the real center arises.
1 Cor.13:9-12 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when the perfect comes (center arises), the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put aside childish things. For now we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, as I am fully known.
And that real center is the spirit/soul, the true self, Oneness with God, the truth, or whatsoever you want to call it. It is nameless, so all names are good.
You can give it any name of your own liking. He is called “I AM”
Rev.3:12-13 The victor: I will make him a pillar in the sanctuary of My God, and he will never go out again. I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God—the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God—and My new name. “Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.
June 19, 2009 | Categories: Church Life, Disciples of Jesus Christ, House Church, Jesus Christ, Organic Church, Pagan Christianity, Reimagining Church, Simple Church, Truth, Uncategorized, Wise Sayings | Tags: Disciples, Ego, Overcoming | Leave a comment
I have to laugh when the thought passes my mind that says “what about me” I laugh because I know Your response is “Me, we don’t know a me, we only know the We”. I know that is the Hope and Joy of us all and yet the old thoughts of “Me” still swirl around in the pool of images that play in my mind. To know you Lord and to be immersed into the “We” is my only hope of rest from my struggle against “Me”. Your Gift of Oneness is my freedom and it is this that I give myself to. To gain the consciences of We is to loose the false consciences of Me, then You are All in All.
Working out your Salvation
Rom.14:23b ………….and everything that is not from faith is sin.
Col.2:19 He doesn’t hold on to the head, from whom the whole body, nourished and held together by its ligaments and tendons, develops with growth from God.
Rom.14:1 Accept anyone who is weak in faith, but don’t argue about doubtful issues. 2 One person believes he may eat anything, but one who is weak eats only vegetables.
What we are looking at here is the confused relationship between the Law and Faith in Jesus Christ.
The Law = The rules and reality of “cause and effect”
Faith in Jesus = Hearing the voice of the Lord internally, believing and doing.
One is ‘directive’ (Faith) and one is ‘descriptive’ (Law)
The law is not to be used to tell us what to do or how to live. It is not our guide.
Rom.14:3-4 One who eats must not look down on one who does not eat; and one who does not eat must not criticize one who does, because God has accepted him. Who are you to criticize another’s household slave? Before his own Lord he stands or falls. And stand he will! For the Lord is able to make him stand.
This is the Lord who dwells within the household slave – It is the work of the Lord who will make His voice known to the household slave and cause him to stand in Faith.
Rom.1:5-8 One person considers one day to be above another day. Someone else considers every day to be the same. Each one must be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 Whoever observes the day, observes it to the Lord. Whoever eats, eats to the Lord, since he gives thanks to God; and whoever does not eat, it is to the Lord that he does not eat, yet he thanks God. 7 For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. 8 If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
This is descriptive of the process of discovering oneself. You are not your own – You have been made one with God through Jesus Christ. You cannot divide your “Being” from Him. You can choose the Path you walk on but you cannot choose who your spiritual Father is.
Rom.1:9-12 Christ died and came to life for this: that He might rule over both the dead and the living. 10 But you, why do you criticize your brother? Or you, why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11 For it is written: As I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow to Me, and every tongue will give praise to God. 12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.
The Lord is the only TEACHER or GUIDE anybody will ever need.
Heb.8:11 And each person will not teach his fellow citizen, and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know Me, from the least to the greatest of them.
John 14:23-26 Jesus answered, …… “I have spoken these things to you while I remain with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit ;the Father will send Him in My name;will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.
Matt.23:9-10″Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10″Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ.
Rom.14:13 Therefore, let us no longer criticize one another, but instead decide not to put a stumbling block or pitfall in your brother’s way.
One who points out to a brother that something they believe should be this brothers belief as well. It is making the “law” directive instead of simply being descriptive.
Rom.1:14-23 (I know and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself. Still, to someone who considers a thing to be unclean, to that one it is unclean. 15 For if your brother is hurt by what you eat, you are no longer walking according to love. By what you eat, do not destroy that one for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore, do not let your good be slandered, 17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever serves the Messiah in this way is acceptable to God and approved by men.
The Kingdom of God – This is entered into by those who practice Union/Companionship with with God. The Kingdom of God is not about following rules of right and wrong, good and evil: it is about living a life together in relationship with God – Doing everything together with Him. If I do everything together with Him – I do all things in faith.
Rom.1:19 So then, we must pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another. 20 Do not tear down God’s work because of food. Everything is clean, but it is wrong for a man to cause stumbling by what he eats. 21 It is a noble thing not to eat meat, or drink wine, or do anything that makes your brother stumble. 22 Do you have faith? Keep it to yourself before God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But whoever doubts stands condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith, and everything that is not from faith is sin.
Do you have faith?
What is your answer to: “why you are doing what you are doing?”
If this is not your answer: “After talking it over with the Father we decided “
Then what you are doing is in sin and is not being done in faith. This is what a life of sin is. It is not simply a life of evil but it is a life of good and evil lived independent of Jesus Christ. Its when a man says in his heart “I will”.
Heb.4:12-13 For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as to divide soul, spirit, joints, and marrow; it is a judge of the ideas and thoughts of the heart. 13 No creature is hidden from Him, but all things are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account.
The “WORD of GOD” that the writer of Hebrews is talking about is not the Bible. The WORD of GOD that the writer of Hebrews is referring to is Jesus Christ – The WORD made flesh that dwells within you. It is this WORD that we need to have “ears to hear” – It is through this WORD that we are led, guided and discover our Father and ourselves. It is to this WORD that we point each other. We are led out of the dark places of our thoughts and understanding and led into the saving light of Truth. It is through this “WORD” that we come to know the TRUTH and this TRUTH sets us free!
Col.2: 2 I want their hearts to be encouraged and joined together in love, so that they may have all the riches of assured understanding, and have the knowledge of God’s mystery —Christ. 3 In Him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden.
The knowledge of God’s mystery is not a teaching, a doctrine or something to be found in the Bible – the KNOWLEDGE of God’s Mystery is only found in a real and active relationship with the indwelling CHRIST HIMSELF.
Col.2:4-8 I am saying this so that no one will deceive you with persuasive arguments. 5 For I may be absent in body, but I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the strength of your faith in Christ. Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in Him, 7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elemental forces of the world, and not based on Christ.
One can be deceived by persuasive arguments, philosophy based on human tradition. Both of these elements created the basis for much of our Christian practice today. Persuasive arguments become our doctrines “about Christ” Philosophy based on Human Tradition become church practices, the liturgy.
Wikipedia – A liturgy is the customary public worship done by a specific religious group, according to their particular traditions.
Col.2:9-10 For in Him the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily, and you have been filled by Him, who is the head over every ruler and authority.
The entire fullness of God’s nature dwells inside of YOU because God has become ONE with you! It is this nature that dwells within you that you can live by. You now have a choice – you can live by the old natural nature or by the new Godly nature.
Col.2:11 In Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not done with hands, by putting off the body of flesh, in the circumcision of the Messiah. 12 Having been buried with Him in baptism, you were also raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And when you were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive with Him and forgave us all our trespasses. 14 He erased the certificate of debt, with its obligations, that was against us and opposed to us, and has taken it out of the way by nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and disgraced them publicly; He triumphed over them by Him. 16 Therefore don’t let anyone judge you in regard to food and drink or in the matter of a festival or a new moon or a sabbath day.
IN HIM, WITH HIM, BY HIM – This speaks of the relationship of ONENESS – We are not to look at, assess, judge or do anything outside of Him. As He goes so do we! He has forever joined Himself to us – ARE WE GOING TO JOIN OURSELF TO HIM????
Col.2:17-23 These are a shadow of what was to come; the substance is the Messiah. 18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on ascetic practices and the worship of angels, claiming access to a visionary realm and inflated without cause by his fleshly mind. 19 He doesn’t hold on to the head, from whom the whole body, nourished and held together by its ligaments and tendons, develops with growth from God. 20 If you died with Christ to the elemental forces of this world, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world? Why do you submit to regulations: 21 “Don’t handle, don’t taste, don’t touch”? 22 All these [regulations] refer to what is destroyed by being used up; they are human commands and doctrines. 23 Although these have a reputation of wisdom by promoting ascetic practices, humility, and severe treatment of the body, they are not of any value against fleshly indulgence.
You can hold to the Head and Live By Him, In Him and With Him or like Adam and Eve choose to live apart from Him by yourself. You can live by a knowledge of the Law (understanding universal cause and effect) or by the Being of Christ which is being led by the Holy Spirit. This Spirit, if we interact with him, will renew our minds.
Jesus Christ is not a religion, following Jesus does not need to be through a religion.
Wikipedia – A religion is an organized approach to human spirituality which usually encompasses a set of narratives, symbols, beliefs and practices, often with a supernatural or transcendent quality, that give meaning to the practitioner’s experiences of life through reference to a higher power or truth.
How we approach Jesus and interact with Him does not need to be through religion. It seems many Christians have segregated their relationship with Jesus to a religious experience that does not touch the secular life.
Wikipedia Secular – This word derives from a Latin word meaning “of the age“. The Christian doctrine that God exists outside time led medieval Western culture to use secular to indicate separation from religious affairs and involvement in worldly (or time-related) ones. This meaning has been extended to apply to separation from any religion, regardless of whether it has a similar doctrine. Secularity (adjective form secular) is the state of being separate from religion. For instance, eating and bathing may be regarded as examples of secular activities, because there may not be anything inherently religious about them.
God wants to be our companion, guide and wonderful counselor in every aspect of our being. God can lead us into the Truth in every area of our life. From mowing the lawn, to raising your children, marriage and business, Jesus can help you and guide you if you let Him. Every area of darkness and confusion that exists within our understanding He wants to bring light to and save us from.
Phil.2:12 -15 So then, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed,…..work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you, [enabling you] both to will and to act for His good purpose. Do everything without grumbling …, …pure, children of God ….in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world.
May 24, 2009 | Categories: Church Life, Disciples of Jesus Christ, Friends, House Church, Jesus Christ, Organic Church, Pagan Christianity, Reimagining Church, Religion, Simple Church, Truth, Wise Sayings | Tags: Christianity, Church Life, Discipleship, Following the Indwelling Spirit, Following your Bliss, Holistic Christianity, House Church, Jesus Christ, Organic Church, Post Christianity, Reimagining Church, Salvation | 2 Comments
Our Understanding will be challenged and even offended by the Lord.
John 6:41 Therefore the Jews started complaining about Him, because He said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They were saying, “Isn’t this Jesus the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can He now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”
The Mask – We all wear masks. Paul says : 1Cor.9:19-22 –
For although I am free from all people, I have made myself a slave to all, in order to win more people. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win Jews; to those under the law, like one under the law—though I myself am not under the law —to win those under the law…….To the weak I became weak, in order to win the weak. I have become all things to all people, so that I may by all means save some.
A mask is what is seen, it has been place over the real in order to be able to relate to and communicate with those who still find their identity in the mask they wear.
Neither Jew,Greek, American, African, Male, Female, Slave, Freeman, Black, White ALL ARE ONE IN CHRIST JESUS. No temporal mask identity’s us. If this does not offend people I don’t know what will. I have heard many brothers in the Lord not agree with this at all “There is no way God sees a woman the way he sees a man”. We all have a choice to either establish our identity through our temporal flesh or through Christ who is Spirit.
43 Jesus answered them, “Stop complaining among yourselves. No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets: And they will all be taught by God. Everyone who has listened to and learned from the Father comes to Me ….
Jesus said: They will be taught by God Everyone who has listen to and learned from the Father comes to me.
Jesus refers to the words of Isaiah
He did not say they would be taught by Moses but directly from the Father. To be taught by Moses is to be taught through the scriptures. To be taught by the Father is to hear His voice in and through everything He communicates and speaks to us through. If we limit hearing the voice of our Father to one thing – lets say the Bible or our Pastor – if this is our practice what we are doing is limiting God. What we are saying is “Father I will hear you in this way and in this way only” – This is what the people who were following Jesus did. There reliance upon their understanding of the Father limited there ability to hear Him through Jesus the Christ.
- I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread he will live forever. The bread that I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.” At that, the Jews argued among themselves, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, ” I assure you: Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you do not have life in yourselves. Anyone who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day, because My flesh is real food and My blood is real drink. The one who eats My flesh and drinks My blood lives in Me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent Me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on Me will live because of Me.
Bread of Life –
I am this living bread, and every one who ‘s eyes are open to the realization of this united nature of God and man shall live forever. And this bread of life which I give to all who will receive is my own living and combined nature. The Father in the Son and the Son one with the Father — that is my life-giving revelation to the world and my saving gift to all nations.”
Or maybe Jesus said something that sounded a little more like this: My life in the flesh is a bestowal of the bread of heaven. The fact of the Word of God bestowed in the flesh and the phenomenon of the Son of Man subject to the will of God, constitute a reality of experience which is equivalent to the divine food. You cannot eat my flesh nor can you drink my blood, but you can become one in spirit with me even as I am one in spirit with the Father. You can be nourished by the eternal word of God, which is indeed the bread of life, and which has been bestowed in the likeness of mortal flesh; and you can be watered in soul by the divine spirit, which is truly the water of life. The Father has sent me into the world to show how he desires to indwell and direct all men; and I have so lived this life in the flesh as to inspire all men likewise ever to seek to know and do the will of the indwelling heavenly Father.” (U)
In other words: In order to receive and live by the Life of the Father you have to be able to receive Him in whatever form and whatever way He chooses to give Himself to you. Not as your mind conceives but as the Spirit leads. Can a “Christian” receive the Life of the Father through a “Muslim “. Or does the Christian say “I know your beliefs, I know where you come from” How can I hear the words of our Father through this person?
Do I Offend You. –
Jn.6:61 Jesus, knowing in Himself that His disciples were complaining about this, asked them,”Does this offend you?
Matt.11:6 And if anyone is offended because of Me, he is blessed.”
Eating Flesh Drinking Blood – What the Law was – This comes from the Noahic Covenant.
Gen.9:3-5 Every living creature will be food for you; as [I gave] the green plants, I have given you everything. However, you must not eat meat with its lifeblood in it. I will require the life of every animal and every man for your life and your blood. I will require the life of each man’s brother for a man’s life.
Jesus said: Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. – Man does not live to simply supply the needs or wants of the physical body – Man can only truly ‘LIVE’ in relationship with the Father.
Mark 7 – After the feeding the 5000 he tells the story of events after Jesus speaks of himself as the bread.
Then one of the Jerusalem spies who had been observing Jesus and his apostles, said: “We notice that neither you nor your apostles wash your hands properly before you eat bread. Why is it that you show such disrespect for the traditions of the fathers and the laws of our elders?” And when Jesus heard him speak, he answered: “Why is it that you transgress the commandments of God by the laws of your tradition? The commandment says, `Honor your father and your mother,’ and directs that you share with them your substance if necessary; but you enact a law of tradition which permits undutiful children to say that the money wherewith the parents might have been assisted has been `given to God.’ Why is it that you in this way make void the commandment by your own tradition?
Jesus then quotes Isaiah prophesy to hypocrites, saying: `This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. In vain do they worship me, teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men.‘
Today the line in the sand is between the internal living voice of Jesus over and against the doctrines, traditions and teachings “about” Jesus.
Dependence on Christ is dependent on our hearing, recognizing and obeying HIS voice.
Gal.4:8-9 But in the past, when you didn’t know God, you were enslaved to things that by nature are not gods. But now, since you know God, or rather have become known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and bankrupt elemental forces? Do you want to be enslaved to them all over again?
Now that you have met God, have gotten to know God and know the sound of His voice. You have also spent the time and allowed God to get to know you, you have heard and followed His counsel in your Life. How can you now turn to your old traditions and Bible teaching about God for guidance in your life?
Jesus and the Law
Luke 6:1-5 On a Sabbath, He passed through the grainfields. His disciples were picking heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands, and eating them. But some of the Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”
Jesus answered them, “Haven’t you read what David and those who were with him did when he was hungry— how he entered the house of God, and took and ate the sacred bread, which is not lawful for any but the priests to eat? He even gave some to those who were with him.” Then He told them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
The law which was to help man had been used to imprison man. The nature of the Sabbath was to tell us our bodies needed to rest. But that law does not overrule the Man Jesus Christ.
Following the Spirit as opposed to following the teaching of demons.
1Tim.4:1-6 Now the Spirit explicitly says that in the latter times some will depart from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons, through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared. They forbid marriage and demand abstinence from foods that God created to be received with gratitude by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing should be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, since it is sanctified by the word of God and by prayer.
If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, nourished by the words of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed.
Prov.3:6 think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.
If you take the time to still your mind and listen for the voice of your Father, if you seek Him out in this way He will speak to you. His words can come as the Wonderful Counselor if you seek His counsel. If you seek His comfort He will comfort you. If you just want to fellowship – He wants to get to know you. The only way He can get to know you is if you let Him. He never forces His way in and He never goes where He is not invited. Talk with Him! Walk with Him! Spend time with Him and get to know Him as a friend. He will win your trust – from personal experience I can say that His love never fails and He will blow you away with His wonderful counsel.
End Part 2
May 13, 2009 | Categories: Church Life, Disciples of Jesus Christ, Friends, House Church, Jesus Christ, Organic Church, Pagan Christianity, Reimagining Church, Simple Church, Truth, Wise Sayings | Tags: Disciples of Jesus, ears to hear, Following your Bliss, Freedom, Heart, House Church, Knowing Jesus, Organic Church, Post Christianity, Reimagining Church, Transformation | Leave a comment
A Declaration of Dependence on Christ
Standing at the Parting of Ways
Walking with the Lord Together
Joshua 24:15 But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”
Why is it so difficult to experience a functioning church. In order for a church of Jesus Christ to truly function as a church of Jesus Christ it takes the vast majority to be completely dependent on the indwelling life of Jesus Christ. Not other gods or idols. Without the complete dependence on Jesus Christ His church, His body cannot express who it really is.
The opposite of dependence on Jesus Christ is dependence on something else aka `a god’. If I am not depending on the indwelling life of Jesus Christ expressed to me through the Holy Spirit then I am dependent on the thoughts and reasoning’s of independent temporal flesh.
Paul speaks about dependence on Christ in this way:
Phil 3:7-11 But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ. More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value, of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of Him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them filth, so that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own from the law, but one that is through faith in Christ —the righteousness from God based on faith. [My goal] is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, assuming that I will somehow reach the resurrection from among the dead.
The church is a gathering of parts of Christ’s body that, if functioning orderly, are being directed by the head i.e. Jesus Christ. A body that is “out of order” consists of parts that are living by law and not the present indwelling voice of Jesus Christ.
If we look at Most traditional Church settings we recognize the fact that these are established on traditions and doctrines
The First Baptist Church; Pentecostal Church of God; Assemblies of God; Four Square Church – its all of them.
What guides the people when they gather? Is it the practice for each one to come with ear to hear the living voice of the indwelling Spirit or do they come to take part in a preordained order and tradition without ever engaging the Life within them? Only can each one answer for himself.
I know for myself when I went to Church I came to do my part . I taught Sunday School and had other duties but I can’t say I was never taught or encouraged to listen and respond to the Spirits voice and minister to my fellow brothers and sisters at that moment. I am not saying that it never happened because it did a few times. But over 20 years of being in an institutional setting it didn’t happen more than 20 times. Over all it was rare that we would ever really engage in actual Life.
When John wrote to the 7 churches in His Revelation of Jesus Christ – To each church he said: “Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches”
As people who have the voice of the Spirit within them, I ask the question “do we listen to and allow ourselves to be instructed by the voice of the Spirit/ the Christ within us? Do we live our life dependent on the leading and guidance of that voice? Or do we just live a careless life of dependence on our temporal thoughts and feelings. Do we try and better ourselves by overcoming bad or harmful habits, addictions and other listed sins. Do we try to live righteous lives like the Pharisees did or like Peter do we declare – You Jesus, have the words of eternal life.
John 6:60-68 Therefore, when many of His disciples heard this, they said, “This teaching is hard! Who can accept it?” .…. “Does this offend you? ….. The Spirit is the One who gives life. The flesh doesn’t help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. But there are some among you who don’t believe.” …..From that moment many of His disciples turned back and no longer accompanied Him. Therefore Jesus said to the Twelve, “You don’t want to go away too, do you?” Simon Peter answered, “Lord, who will we go to? You have the words of eternal life.
The church got really small this day. Jesus lost most of the 70 disciples that had been following Him. You see theses disciples believed He was the Messiah – the problem was, what they believed about Him more than they believed in Him. When His words did not match what they thought (in their fleshly mind) He should say or do – they no longer followed Him. The reality was they never really followed Him anyways – they were living out their doctrine and traditions of the Jewish Messiah. As long as He fit within their concepts they accepted Him but when He went outside of their understanding they were offended and left him behind. Jesus was not the Jewish Messiah they thought He was. Peter had no greater understanding than the disciples who left but Peter was unwilling to live in the old way. He was able to hear and see that Jesus had the WORDS of eternal life and although Peter did not understand Jesus he did not see anywhere else to go.
What could not be heard? Jn.6:28-59
Then some disciples asked – “What can we do to perform the works of God?” they asked.
Many today ask this question – why don’t we do like Jesus did – the miracles and such? Jesus answered them this way –
Jesus replied, “This is the work of God: that you believe in the One He has sent.”
Belief comes by hearing Him, accepting and having faith in Him and then doing. The work of God is not to believe in the teaching and examples of Jesus Christ. The `work’ we are to do is listen to the ever present indwelling voice of the Father, believe it and do it.
“What sign then are You going to do so we may see and believe You?” they asked. “What are You going to perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, just as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat. ” Jesus said to them, ” I assure you: Moses didn’t give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the real bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the One who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”Then they said, “Sir, give us this bread always!”
“I am the bread of life,” Jesus told them. “No one who comes to Me will ever be hungry, and no one who believes in Me will ever be thirsty again. But as I told you, you’ve seen Me, and yet you do not believe.
Here He is asking them to “do the work of God” They want to perform miracles like Jesus had just done with the bread and fishes. How many of us today want to do the miracles that Jesus did? How often is the scripture Mark 16:17-18 (“These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”) This verse is often put forth as an example of doing the work of God.
Jesus goes on to say: For I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
In other words – I am not asking you to do anything that I myself am not doing. I want you to believe and follow me the same way I believe and follow my Father – Don’t try and imitate the things I do – don’t try and be like me in the miracles I perform. Have a relationship with our Father! We are to listen to the Wonderful Counselor and walk with Him the same way Jesus walked with Him. He will help you do the things that you are to do – not the things that the Father had Jesus do.
Here is a verse in Proverbs we all should consider.
End Part 1
May 11, 2009 | Categories: Church Life, Disciples of Jesus Christ, Friends, House Church, Jesus Christ, Organic Church, Pagan Christianity, Reimagining Church, Truth, Wise Sayings | Tags: Disciples of Jesus, Following the Indwelling Spirit, Following your Bliss | Leave a comment
Death so ominous so overwhelming. Death is often viewed as the opposite of Life and yet what if death was not the opposite of life but simply a part of the process through which life finds greater and greater expression.
Is Darkness the absences of Light or simply the absence of the expression of Light. I guess it all depends on how we might view Light. When we view it through our natural eyes it is something that emanates from the sun or a light bulb. If we see Light as Jesus Christ, the Light of the world – Light
then is understood to be an internal reality and not simply an external expression.
These two words and concepts make up a part of one of the most famous Psalms. That being Psalms 23.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
The Valley of the Shadow of Death
In life, we have Mountain top experiences, Mountain climbing experiences, wilderness experiences and even green pasture experiences. A Valley is low places on this earth and it is in the valley sometimes that we must walk. I don’t want to talk about just any valley – I want to share about a particular valley – one that is referred to as the valley of the shadow of death.
a definite area of shade cast upon a surface by a body intercepting the light rays
the dark image made by such a body
the growing darkness after sunset
a mirrored image; reflection
- something without reality or substance; imaginary vision
In order for a shadow to exist it needs two things – One is light rays; the other something that can be in the way or obstruct the light rays.
This valley of the shadow is a low place on this earth where light is obstructed and it is here that we find one walking. In this particular valley of shadow, the obstruction of light is not unknown. The obstruction or object that keeps the light rays from illuminating this valley is called death. It is Death that lies between the one in the valley and the rays of light. It is in this shadow of death that one in this particular valley finds himself walking in. So, what then is this death that stands between the one walking and the light?
Genesis 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (KJV)
Death was first stated as the result of eating from Disobeying God and eating from the Tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil.
To take in the knowledge of good and evil is to take into oneself death. It is in the knowing of good and evil that the “thing” or object is produced that stands in between the one on the path and the light.
The thing that stands in the way of knowing the Lord is the knowledge of good and evil. How can knowing good and evil be the thing that stands in the way of knowing the Lord?
In having the knowledge of good and evil, man became “like God” (Gen.3:22). In other words they have taken the place or responsibility of God and become a judge unto themselves. It is man who now assess what is good and what is evil. Man is no longer dependent on the Lord as judge.
Lets look at Jesus words to the rich young ruler –
As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. Mk.10:17-18
Is Jesus saying that he is not good or that he is not the same as the Father? Or is Jesus making a comment about the Rich Ruler’s role as Judge of the “GOOD” Jesus. Who is to determine what is Good and what is Evil – Is this man’s part or is this the Father’s place?
In knowing Good and Evil I am then able to determine for myself what is right and what is wrong. I do not have to depend on a relationship with the Lord and his judgments. I have the ability to judge for myself. It is this very mindset that has become a hindrance to knowing the Lord.
Prov.3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.
How much does our knowledge of good and evil cause us to lean on our own understanding instead of trusting the Lord with all our heart? Dependence on our knowledge of Good and Evil is independence from God. Jesus spoke a lot about his complete and utter dependence on the Father for everything.
John 12:44-50 And Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me. He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me.
“I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.
“If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. “He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him;the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. “For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. “I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.”
I Will Fear No Evil
What does it mean to fear no evil? What is the opposite to fear? Love, what power does Love have over fear and evil? There is no fear in Love – There is no fear in God. If we have come to a place of accepting and believing in Jesus Christ as our All we will have no fear of punishment because we no longer live by the knowledge of Good and Evil also known as Death. We live by the Life; the knowing of the Father. This we call the life of Jesus Christ. The life of Jesus Christ is a life knowing the Father.
By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.
The Fear of Punishment
There are times when the one passing through the valley of the shadow of death thinks that what is happening is a punishment from God. He has come to believe that God is punishing him for his evil actions or thoughts. This though in and of itself is “A fear of evil” We fear evil because we fear God’s response or punishment of the evil. When one plays with fire he can expect to be burned. But when one plays with fire he should not be expecting God to burn him because he is playing with fire. What I am saying is disease, misfortune, accidents are a part of this world and they happen because of man not because of a wrathful God who is out for payback. This type of thinking comes from one thing “Not knowing the Father.” One may have studied a lot about God and even be versed in God’s laws, but these are not the same as spending time with the Father.
The Ministry of Death
Paul in his letter to the church in Corinth makes reference to the “Ministry of Death.” The written law about good and evil was the ministry of death.
2 Cor.3:7 But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was,
Now the glory on Moses face did not come from beholding the law – it came from spending time with and beholding the Lord.
2Cor.3:14-16 But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
Reading the old covenant is a dead activity – To read and learn of good and evil is part of the death process. It does have its way of bringing us to the valley of the shadow of death – The veil is what obstructs the light the veil is called death it is from this that we turn away from a mindset on right and wrong/good and evil. Turning to the Lord is what frees us and brings us up from death into New Life. It is only in turning to the Lord that we can experience Life, Liberty and Transformation.
Death on the Cross
It is Jesus who defeated death or should I say death’s power over us. It is the fear of punishment after death that was defeated that day. You see at the death of Jesus the veil was taken away – man now has direct access to the Father who has been made known to Him in his heart. It was not at his resurrection that the veil was split – it was at his death. The old way was over at Jesus death on the cross!
Mark 15:37-38 And Jesus cried out a loud cry and expired. And the veil of the temple was split in two from top to bottom.
The final judgment of sin was dealt – The new covenant was established (Heb.10:15-17) I will impart my law upon their hearts and minds – What is the law of Jesus Christ? Love And who is Love? God the Father. Jesus gave us everything that was given to Him – That everything is Our Father!
The remnants of death’s way that remain in our mind and thoughts are just that – remnants. They have no real power over us. We have been set free and have clear and direct access to our Father. We go to him without any fear of punishment. There are times when those remnants of death’s way reveal themselves (in false beliefs) and veil our access to the Father. They veil us by judging good and evil in our actions and deeming us unworthy to stand before a Holy God. It is in these times that we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. As we walk toward the veiled light we by faith declare what we have seen and heard. We declare the truth of who Jesus says we are until we pass through the powerless veil called death. (I am not speaking of a death that ends the life of our physical body) It is here, beyond the veil and shadows that our faith is made real in the actual presences of the Father. It is here that we come face to face with our Father and we are transformed into His very image. It is here with our Father that a table has been prepared and we sit and look at our great enemy the powerless veil of our old false belief’s. Now that’s a feast with a lot of laughing!
April 24, 2009 | Categories: Church Life, Disciples of Jesus Christ, Friends, House Church, Jesus Christ, Organic Church, Pagan Christianity, Reimagining Church, Religion, Simple Church, Truth, Uncategorized, Wise Sayings | Leave a comment
The Way in which we Learn to Trust in our Walk Together
Before a horse can be of use to a man he must first be “broken”. Before a man can be of use to God he must be broken.
Horse breaking, sometimes called starting or gentling, refers to the process used by humans to get horses to let themselves be ridden or harnessed. Before such a
learning process is accomplished, a horse will normally reject attempts to ride it. Once a horse has accepted basic handling by humans, additional forms of horse training can be used to teach the horse any number of specialized skills. Wikipedia
As we read the stories in the Bible we read of the servants of God and the “breaking” process they went through to become useful to God.
The list is many – Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Jonah, Sampson, David, Jesus, Peter, Paul and the list goes on and on.
Jesus said – “I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. Jn.5:30
Jesus was not a man who sought his own will or his own way. Its not that he abandoned his will: He simply did not exercise an independent will apart from the Father like both Adam and Eve had done. Another way of saying it was – he sought a life with His Father not apart from His Father like the prodigal son did. He sought a life together with His Father recognizing the fact – His Father had given Him everything and did not separate His Life from His Son. The Father’s will is not independent nor is it over and against the will of His Son. Jeffery Rolo describes the nature of horse breaking in this way:
“Rather than list the common errors committed during horse breaking I’ll cut straight to the chase since such errors pale in comparison to the overall fatal flaw inherent in breaking a horse: the act itself! Contrary to the belief of some, when preparing a horse for saddle our goal is not to break a horse’s spirit, but rather to create a willing and accepting partner. Ruling a horse via fear and abusive treatment is not only reprehensible by its very nature, it is also highly unnecessary as horses can easily become willing partners if shown kindness, patience and compassion.
Some people possess the belief that horses are willful beasts not capable of exhibiting loyalty or reasonable behavior. As such, they believe horses should be dealt with using extreme force until the human breaks and conquers the horse’s spirit. Frederico Grisone, a handler that lived in the mid-1500’s and has also been credited with laying the foundations of modern dressage, was one such individual. Although I do believe the horse world has become more enlightened in modern times, unfortunately there are those who still to this day adopt violent training techniques.”
I would use the same words as Jeffery has here in speaking about how God brings us to a place of partnership with Him. The process is called “Brokenness” and it is a painful one especially for the Bucking Bronco types. If we desire to be a useful partner to our Father, in other words a Son, we need our independent way of living life broken by a loving Father who desire to share His life together with us and not over us.
One thing said about Jesus: Though a Son, He learned obedience through what He suffered. Heb.5:8
Jesus had to learn obedience? This should be a comforting thought for us – Jesus, the Son of God HAD TO LEARN OBEDIENCE the same way we do. Jesus had to be broken.
Why do we fight our Father? Ultimately Fear – But specifically it is a fear of Enslavement.
The result of sin – Independence from the Father – Like sheep without a Shepard we become fearful of oppressive leaders.
Sons of Israel to Joseph
Gen. 37:8 Then his brothers said to him, “Are you actually going to reign over us? Or are you really going to rule over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.
Israelites to Moses
Ex. 2:14 But he said, “Who made you a prince or a judge over us? Are you intending to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid and said, “Surely the matter has become known.”
Pilate to the Jews
John 19:15 …. Pilate said to them, “Should I crucify your king?” “We have no king but Caesar!” the chief priests answered.
Because we are creatures created in the image and likeness of God we are also Creators and like our Father we do not want to be under any law. God needs no law – God is. In the same way because we are created in God’s image – we need no law. So why did God give us the law? He gave us the law to show us what we had chosen to be apart from Him. The law demonstrated to us that apart from God we could do nothing.
Jesus says: “I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me. Jn.15:5
Apart from God we are incomplete- the law was unable to be our partner and do what only a relationship with the Father could do. The law could only be our Master and never a partner. The image of God in creation is Adam and Eve – The Man and His Partner, his Counterpart – Not the man and his slave. The the image of God – God and His Counterpart taken from His side, Man!
Heb 7:19 (for the law perfected nothing), but a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.
Heb.10:1 Since the law has [only] a shadow of the good things to come, and not the actual form of those realities, it can never perfect the worshipers by the same sacrifices they continually offer year after year.
The Law could not display what only a man could demonstrate – A relationship with the Father!
Heb 12:2 keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.
It is the living out on earth the relationship that Jesus has with our Father that has given us hope. He showed us all that a man can know God, can fellowship with God and be accepted by Him. Jesus demonstrated that man does not need to fight for a good life. Man has nothing to fear – not even death can separate a man from the Love of His Father.
Heb 12:11 No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
It is the place of the Father/Servant to train His Sons in Life. And it is this Father/Servant who will train all of His Sons until they are all made perfect.
Heb 5:8-9 Though a Son, He learned obedience through what He suffered. After He was perfected, He became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.
What is Perfection?
It is talked about in the story of the Rich Young Ruler i.e. The Bucking Bronco!
Matt. 19:16-29 ….”Teacher, what good must I do to have eternal life?”
“Why do you ask Me about what is good?” He said to him. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
“Which ones?” he asked Him.
Jesus answered, Do not murder; do not commit adultery; do not steal; do not bear false witness; honor your father and your mother; and love your neighbor as yourself.
“I have kept all these,” the young man told Him. “What do I still lack?”
Keeping the Law does not make us perfect. Even if a man keeps every law he still finds that his life is lacking, unfulfilled and in need of something more. Perfection is what we seek when we seek the Jesus Christ and His kingdom on earth.
“If you want to be perfect,” Jesus said to him, “go, sell your belongings and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.“
When the young man heard that command, he went away grieving, because he had many possessions.
IF YOU WANT PERFECTION COME FOLLOW ME!
…..Then Peter responded to Him, “Look, we have left everything and followed You. So what will there be for us?”
You got to love Peter he just speaks what he is thinking.
Jesus said to them, “I assure you: In the Messianic Age, when the Son of Man sits on His glorious throne, you who have followed Me will also sit on 12 thrones, judging the 12 tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses, brothers or sisters, father or mother, children, or fields because of My name will receive 100 times more and will inherit eternal life.
It was not to the one who keeps the law but to the one who hears the voice of the Lord and follows Him this is the man who will be blessed beyond measure.
Why was the rich young ruler unable to do as the Lord asked Him – Remember he kept all the commandments – Why was he unable upon hearing Jesus speak to follow what he said?
He had many possessions – In other words – It was harder for him to be aware of his aloneness, destitution and independence. It was not until the prodigal had spent everything and was in the pig pen that he became aware of what independence from His Father meant. Following the law has nothing to do with a relationship – following God’s words to you has everything to do with trust in a relationship.
He was not yet broken. Now these are broken men –
Num. 14:24 But since My servant Caleb has a different spirit and has followed Me completely,I will bring him into the land where he has gone, and his descendants will inherit it.
Lk 5:27 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the tax office, and He said to him, “Follow Me!”
Cor. 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. Paul
To follow someone you must keep your eyes and ears trained on Him and Him alone. Seeing Him, hearing Him and following Him wherever He leads you. Like two that become one – so we live our life
together with Christ. This is what fellowship in Christ is all about. Sharing with your brothers and sisters what you have seen with spiritual eyes and heard with spiritual ears of your daily life in Christ.
1 John 1:3 what we have seen and heard we also declare to you, so that you may have fellowship along with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.
To be broken is not to be broken in spirit or will it is to have your independent, individualistic selfish, self-centered way of thinking exposed for the harm that it has brought to you. It is to wake up and
realize that your way of thinking has brought you to the place of living and even eating with the pigs. You finally have a moment where you can see what is and realize that because of your way of thinking you are alone and alone you can do nothing but together with your Father, all things are possible!
The Prayer of the Broken
Prov. 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.
April 16, 2009 | Categories: Church Life, Disciples of Jesus Christ, Friends, House Church, Jesus Christ, Organic Church, Pagan Christianity, Reimagining Church, Religion, Simple Church, Truth, Wise Sayings | Tags: Discipleship, ears to hear, Organic Church, Reimagining Church, Simple Church, Transformation | Leave a comment
The Practice of Overcoming with Truth
Rev.21:7 “He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.
2 Corinthians 10:3-6 For although we are walking in the flesh, we do not wage war in a fleshly way, since the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. And we are ready to punish any disobedience, once your obedience is complete. (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
Spiritual Warfare is not a fleshly external activity it is a spiritual unseen war fought inside of each man between the thoughts of man and the spirit within man.
Dallas Willard makes this statement and asks this question in a article called- Spiritual Formation in Christ: A Perspective on What it is and How it Might be Done
Indeed, the ‘spirit’ or heart may even be eager (Matt. 26:41), but unless the flesh or embodied personality as a whole is trained to go with it and support it, the follow-through in action will not occur, or will not reliably happen, or may even be in direct conflict with the spirit or will: “What I hate I do!” (Rom. 7:17). While the spirit or heart is the ultimate source of life (Prov. 4:23), we do not live there. We live in our body and its world. Christian spiritual formation works from the spirit or will and from its new life “from above.” But its work is not done until we have put off the old person and put on the new (Eph. 4; Col. 3).
This is an active, not passive, process, one that requires our clear-headed and relentless participation. It will not be done for us; however, we cannot obey Christ, or even trust him, by direct effort. What, then, are the indirect means that allow us to cooperate in reshaping the personality—the feelings, ideas, mental processes and images, and the deep readinesses of soul and body—so that our whole being is poised to go with the movements of the regenerate heart that is in us by the impact of the Gospel Word under the direction and energizing of the Holy Spirit?
The Renewed Mind is not an overnight event – It is the process of victory through the many battles of a the great war that is waged within our belief system and bodies.
We see this story told in the images of Joshua and the children of Israel taking Jericho and the Promised land.
Each Battle that is waged in the promised land represents a stronghold in a persons beliefs. These strongholds of the enemy are simply your belief in a LIE. It is only in believing the TRUTH that our belief’s can change and we can be set free.
Jericho means – City of the Moon. The Moon respresents the seat of our feelings and emotions. One of the first battles a person who is bringing their mind into Christ is the battle to bring our emotions in line with what is really TRUE and not simply what we perceive as truth. Fear is the emotion that must be overcome in all its forms. It is Fear that keeps us from a relationship with the Lord – and it is only in a relationship with the Lord that we will be able to do battle. That is why the First battle is fought by simple faith in Him.
Here is the report that the spies return with after spying out the land God had promised them.
Num.13:25-33 – 25 After exploring the land for forty days….. indeed a bountiful country—a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is the kind of fruit it produces. 28 But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak! …..
The spies report that the land is just as the Lord has said “BUT” – BUT let me tell what God didn’t tell us – BUT let me tell you my reasoning and opinion on what I saw – BUT let me tell you why WE CAN’T DO THIS.
Caleb believes the Lord – plain and simple – He trusted the Lord above what his own understanding might of reasoned.
31 But the other men who had explored the land with him disagreed. “We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!” So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites: “The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!”
BUT – Let me tell you about what I perceive with my eyes…….my reasoning….my understanding. Do we have the perspective that the Lord has? Can we see from His vantage point?
The Enemy is a Liar (Jn.8:44) and therefore what we fight are Lies that are often based on what we think we see and not based on what God has said. We trust our natural eyes and the understanding that is perceived from what we see above God’s word.
We can’t go up against them! Lie – Can’t or Won’t
They are stronger than we are! Lie – Stronger how?
All the people we saw were huge! Lie – Everyone was huge?
We felt like grasshoppers and that’s what they thought too! Lie – Mind readers now
The Truth said –
Num.13:1 “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the children of Israel
The same way God brought the people out of Egypt He was now going to give the people this land. Because God has given you new life in the Spirit – This spirit is to be used to renew your mind and give you the freedom and rest from struggle, pain and sin.
When the people were led out of Egypt they declared these things and sang this song to the Lord. What they had just experienced and seen they expressed but over the next few months they would have time to RETHINK and see things in a different way – a more practical way. They had time to “not believe” what the Lord said “I am giving” The enemies lies are subtle and powerful to cause us to not stand with the Lord.
He has become my salvation;
The LORD is a man of war;
….O LORD, has dashed the enemy in pieces. And in the greatness of Your excellence You have overthrown those who rose against You;
“The people will hear and be afraid; Sorrow will take hold of the inhabitants of Philistia. Then the chiefs of Edom will be dismayed; The mighty men of Moab, Trembling will take hold of them; All the inhabitants of Canaan will melt away.
You will bring them in and plant them In the mountain of Your inheritance, In the place, O LORD, which You have made For Your own dwelling, The sanctuary, O Lord, which Your hands have established.
When they came out they believed the Lord would bring them into the Land – they believed it by faith until they saw it with their own eyes and took what they saw and began to perceive and reason with their thoughts and minds. Through this process the people came to believe something different than what the Lord had said.
The Response of People who are captured by the enemy (in their minds) and believe the lies they are told is to excuse and blame. They excuse and blame because they have allowed their thinking to cause them to FEAR. –
Num.14:1-4 Then the whole community began weeping aloud, and they cried all night. Their voices rose in a great chorus of protest against Moses and Aaron. “If only we had died in Egypt, or even here in the wilderness!” they complained. 3 “Why is the Lord taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and our little ones will be carried off as plunder! Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?” 4 Then they plotted among themselves, “Let’s choose a new leader and go back to Egypt!”
The Blame game is another way of saying “My thinking and reasoning is fine it is “fill in the blank” who caused me to do the wrong thing. Look at Adam – Gen.3:12 “It was the woman you put here with me,” the man said. “She gave me some of the fruit, and I ate it.” Its the same as saying to God “I know what you said BUT!!!” But let me explain – But let me tell you why – But I trust in my way of thinking above your words. How do we combat our thinking that leads us to blame and BUT’S!
Our Weaponry and what we fight with is God as our armor. We put on Christ!
Eph.6: 10-17…….Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
……. putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
(NEVER ALONE – WE CAN HAVE A REAL RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS – SPEAKING TO HIM AND HEARING FROM HIM) Putting on the armor of God is putting on a close relationship with Christ. What is a close relationship with Jesus Christ? Well lets just say that you spend a lot of time together and you talk a lot together.
Stand your Ground – Together with Christ
Putting on the Belt of Truth – The Truth of Christ is what holds things close to you.
Body Armor of Righteousness – Faith without works The external expression of inward holiness
Shoes of Peace (from the Good News) – Being trained in the WAY of your going.
Shield of Faith – Believe without Seeing or Understanding (You need this for the Dark Nights)
Helmet of Salvation – The Mind of Christ
Sword of the Spirit the Word of God. – Speaking Truth in Love
Speaking the Truth in Love
Our form of fighting is something that many Christians have simply lost. Learning doctrine has taken over the “putting on of Christ”.
Eph.4:13-15 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son,[growing] into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching,by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head—Christ. (HCSB)
Unity in Faith (Hearing and believing without seeing) and knowledge (understanding without experience)
Mature Man – One who walks in Wisdom (The experience of living out your knowledge)
We all come from a place of being Enslaved to Elemental Forces – The Arrangement of the World.
Col.2:8-10 Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elemental forces of the world, and not based on Christ. For in Him the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily, and you have been filled by Him, who is the head…….
Col.2:18-23 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on ascetic practices and the worship of angels, claiming access to a visionary realm and inflated without cause by his fleshly mind. He doesn’t hold on to the head, from whom the whole body, nourished and held together by its ligaments and tendons, develops with growth from God.
If you died with Christ to the elemental forces of this world, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world? Why do you submit to regulations: “Don’t handle, don’t taste, don’t touch”? All these [regulations] refer to what is destroyed by being used up; they are human commands and doctrines. Although these have a reputation of wisdom by promoting ascetic practices, humility, and severe treatment of the body, they are not of any value against fleshly indulgence.
Gal 4:8-10 But in the past, when you didn’t know God, you were enslaved to things that by nature are not gods. But now, since you know God, or rather have become known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and bankrupt elemental forces? Do you want to be enslaved to them all over again?
Egypt – Elemental Forces- Enslavement to law – Enslavement to right and wrong
Wilderness – We learn to hear and recognize His voice – the Word of God – and He tells us who we are. He whispers in our ears you are holy because I AM holy.
Promised Land – We believe who we are and begin to live who we are “Sons of God”.
Jesus engaged in Spiritual Warfare
Matt.4:1-11 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil. After He had fasted 40 days and 40 nights, He was hungry. Then the tempter approached Him and said, “If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
But He answered,”It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. “
Then the Devil took Him to the holy city, had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:
He will give His angels orders concerning you and, they will support you with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. “
Jesus told him,”It is also written: Do not test the Lord your God. “
Again, the Devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. And he said to Him, “I will give You all these things if You will fall down and worship me.”
#1 Challenge – Question God’s Word as He has spoken to Identity – (To Doubt) The Father had just said at Baptism “This is my beloved Son.
Response of Jesus – I live on the words that come from God’s mouth
#2 Challenge –Question Identity in relation to God promises and care for you.. (To Doubt)
Response of Jesus – I won’t test my Father to prove what I already know to be true.
#3 Challenge – A short cut in the mission. Makes things easier.
Response of Jesus – I serve and worship my Father only – Go away Satan!
Spiritual Battle Over – Victory Jesus
What might a spiritual battle look like? (this is very generic – a response can only be generated from that which each individual knows to be true from within themselves)
Challenge – You are a Sinner! I see you Sin all the time.
Response – I am a child of God who my Father calls Beloved and Holy one.
Challenge – If you are Holy why don’t you act like it? The Bible says 1 Jn.3:6 No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. Are you claiming that you don’t sin?
Response – I am a new creature born from above. I know my Father through my spirit. My body is still in the process of being purified – my spirit is sinless and it is within my spirit that I abide with my Father.
Challenge – If that’s the case and you are free why don’t you let your body do whatever it feels like doing?
Response – I am free and my body and mind are being set free – You will find no home in me – Go away from me you liar. I will not entertain your lies anymore!
Gal 4:8-10 But in the past, when you didn’t know God, you were enslaved to things that by nature are not gods. But now, since you know God, or rather have become known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and bankrupt elemental forces? Do you want to be enslaved to them all over again?
Get to your Lord – Spend time with Him – Present your thoughts to Him – Let Him get to know you. Your Father wants to know you. The warrior that is prepared for spiritual battle is the one who has allowed Himself to be known by His Lord. The Lord does not get to know you while you just study or read about Him – The Lord gets to know you as you spend time with Him meditating and talking with Him. In is in these times that your mind is renewed. Not allowing the Lord to get to know you is called a lawless life.
Matt.7:22-23 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?'” And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’
April 3, 2009 | Categories: Church Life, Disciples of Jesus Christ, Friends, House Church, Jesus Christ, Organic Church, Pagan Christianity, Reimagining Church, Religion, Simple Church, Truth, Wise Sayings | Leave a comment
You are not your thoughts. Your thoughts are something that your brain presents before you to accept or reject. An accepted thought may become a belief or simply is a passing thought. A thought that has be accepted and becomes a belief directs the way in which we live. The question then is “What or Who is the source for the thoughts you have come the believe?”
Isa.55:7-8 Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts;………. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.
If a person is his thoughts then Isaiah would be asking some people to forsake their very beings.
Gen.3:4-11 The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked?
To say “Who told you” is the same as saying “Who presented you with this thought”
In the Genesis story Eve is said to have the thought that “the tree was desirable to make one wise.” Where does this thought come from? The serpent said “you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” It was the serpent who presented the thought that Eve accepted, believed and then acted upon. The fact that the thought passed through her mind was the result of hearing the serpent – but no sin took place at by having the thought. Sin was a result of accepting and believing the thought. It is the belief in the thought that was the sin, and that sin led to eating from the tree.
“Who told you that you were naked” God asked. It was the serpent who said “your eyes will be opened” in this the serpent was cunning in his presentation of the thought that their eyes were closed. In accepting this thought presented by the serpent, and believing that their eyes were in fact closed, they then had the thought that what they had accepted from God’s word as real and true was in fact a lie because they were naked (having eyes that were closed and unable to see the reality of what is).
Divine Perception is Reality
Mental Perception is Limited and Therefore Unreliable
Our connection and relationship with Divine Perception (aka Spirit) takes place within a our spirits. It is in the spirit that what is true is able to be perceived and then presented before the mind. In this process the mind is then renewed by understanding the truth that the spirit perceived.
As Paul says in his letter to Corinth
2 Cor.10:5,7 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, You are looking at things as they are outwardly. ……. (NASB)
René Descartes – I think therefore I am And so something which I thought I was seeing with my eyes is in fact grasped solely by the faculty of judgment which is in my mind. In this manner, Descartes proceeds to construct a system of knowledge, discarding perception as unreliable and instead admitting only deduction as a method. end
I Am because I AM and I think because I Am. I Am is above my thinking and even without thought I Am perceived by the Divine I AM, therefore, I Am.
I like what Einstein says here although I wish he had used the name God instead of Universe but the truth remains the same.
“A human being is part of a whole, called by us the Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” Albert Einstein
I am not my thoughts and Christ has no desire for me to identify with them or be imprisoned by them. I will capture them instead, bind them and present them before Christ in Spirit – If he accepts them then I will – but those thoughts that find no place in Him I will reject as lies and death.
The thought I have accepted and believe is Life in Jesus Christ and it is here that I will rest.
March 28, 2009 | Categories: Church Life, Disciples of Jesus Christ, House Church, Jesus Christ, Organic Church, Pagan Christianity, Reimagining Church, Religion, Simple Church, Truth, Uncategorized, Wise Sayings | 1 Comment