Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The rich treasures of Psalm 23

Wow! Once again, Psalm 23 has come to my rescue. Okay, we all know that Psalm 23 is used by folks as the kind of peace-while-dying and comfort-after-death Psalm. Sure, we all know it from childhood and we love Jesus as our Shepherd but that's basically how churches use it: on the back of a funeral notice.

But lately, God is really showing me how rich this psalm is. I haven't been keeping notes on it so I'll have to just wing it and try to remember all the times it's popped up to help me of late.

First there was the power of "thy rod and they staff they comfort me." A Shepherd's Rod is used to gently chastise and lead the straying lamb. Yes, we all know it. That tap from God on the spiritual shoulder, that sweet rebuke He gives us in a dream. A sheep knows and loves that rod. It's weird, but we do. I was so sick recently and then I got a dream of a dog lapping up its vomit and a voice said, "Haven't I told you not to eat anything with corn?" Well, yes, God has told me not to eat corn. About six or so years ago...but well, uh...er... I didn't really obey. Then suddenly this rod in my dream. I felt rebuke but loved at the same time. I knew God was there for me. Sure I was sick as heck but He had been there all along and He had to really give me a hard tap on my sheepish shoulder to remind me of what he had told me years ago. It was a dream where an angel showed me a plate and scraped off corn on the cob, hotdogs, and pork, from my plate. A week after the dream a friend appeared out of the blue. She had been at a party and had some extra food. And what was on the plate? Corn on the cob, mini-sausages, and pork. But did I listen with full committment to the dream and the coincidence? Nooo! (Okay, I would've been good about avoiding the corn but quite simply I didn't trust God. I didn't trust the dream from Him. I didn't think such a simple thing as avoiding corn (and it is NOT so simple to avoid all corn products nowadays) was going to help me against the sleeplessness. This second dream kinda was God's rod. He showed me that He was indeed with me, but I wasn't doing my part to listen to Him. God isn't going to tell you anything more if you don't do the first things He tells you.

Second Treasure: I had a dream in which someone said to me: "Don't you know that Psalm 23 is a warfare prayer?" That really helped me. And this affirmation and positive confession of God's care produced a miracle which paid for my breast lumpectomy. God is so good. If that thing hadn't been taken care of, I would be way more mentally wobbly than I am now. Imagine being sleepless, worried about finances, worried about younger son, AND worried about breast? God is good. Whenever I feel overwhelmed by bills, I shout out, "I will not lack! The Lord is my Shepherd."

So, last night: I was feeling very lost, lacking direction. What will we do re finances? Should we try to pay for the bills...although we're three months behind in some and six or nine months behind in others? Should we try to sell the house or let it slip into foreclosure or hope we can save it? I was feeling like someone who didn't know what road to take at an intersection and also like someone whose foot was hard to move and whose eyes couldn't see. So I lay there in the dark looking up and feeling lost. Then the Holy Spirit showed me the "guidance" aspect of this psalm. So much of it is about being led. But I've gotten so used to thinking of it as God standing beside us while we wait around to die...that sentimental death thing. But the power of its words really popped up. So many times the psalm shows God as guiding and leading. By "still waters." "In the path of righteousness." And yes, "by his rod and his staff."

This morning hubby and I said a prayer for repentance to God. About credit cards (assuming we would always have a job to pay them off.) About leaning to our own understanding (when we should have trusted God.) About rebellion (because God specifically tells his people not to borrow.)

God is so good. Waiting to see what other riches Psalm 23 brings to me.

Psalm 23

1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

4Yea, 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.

5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The song of the two princes: Praise for my savior the Lord Jesus Christ

Okay, we live in a world that doesn't have lords and ladies anymore. At least not viable ones. And the only kings we see on television are more fodder for celebrity gossip shows or UN reports on atrocities. But in the realm of fiction -- my particular realm-- kings still exist. Although a self-sacrificing king is pretty rare. Not that I'm picking but even if they sacrifice themselves, it's not to the death. And even if they die for someone, they usually do so for good people and not for the sins of evil folks who hate their guts. So let's begin:

A long time ago two princes were born on either side of the world. The northern prince lived in a great palace. He was dressed in silk and linen and had many servants to wait upon him while he dined on rich foods every day,

The prince of the south had no palace but lived among his people. He was born in a pig sty, became a refugee at his birth, and lived among the poor. He didn't eat the fancy foods the northern prince did. And no one bowed down daily to worship him. As was his habit, he dressed in common clothes and attended the births, deaths, and marriages of his friends. War had been waged against both these lands. An evil usurper bent on killing, stealing, and destroying.

The prince of the north lived in such pleasure and happiness that he didn't really realize that war had been waged against him or his people. But one day the northern prince stepped outside his palace. It was the first time he had done so, and he was very surprised at what he saw. He had not known how powerful the conqueror was. The people outside the palace didn’t eat as well as he did. Sometimes they didn’t eat at all. Their tattered clothing did not protect their bodies from snow and heat, their heads and feet were not covered with shoes and hats as his was.

The prince had always been kindhearted, but when he saw the suffering of his people he burst into tears. He had a nervous breakdown and got so upset he couldn't eat. Then he found enlightenment and realized that if he stopped worrying about the sorrows of his people and accepted their suffering...all would be well with his soul.

I swear, whenever I hear some Buddhist friend tell me about Buddha's enlightenment I have to resist rolling my eyes.

Give me a religion which teaches me to hope and not to merely stoicly endure. Praise for my Lord, born in a manger, poor, suffering, acquainted with grief who tells us that we CAN conquer evil.

I remember one day going to a festival/procession of our Lady of Guadaloupe at Graymoor monastery just up the road from me. The priest officiating was a teacher at Maryknoll, someone who had been to Latin America and whose aim was to bring more young men into the priesthood. I went up to him after the service and asked him to pray for a miraculous healing for my son. Instead, he lay his hand on my son's head and prayed for me to be given grace to accept my son's sufferings. What a crock! I said to him, "Sir, I didn't ask you to pray that God give me grace to accept suffering. I asked you to pray for my son's healing. Who am I to pray that I should accept the suffering of someone else? And who are you to ask me to do such a thing?"

He gave me an angry look but a few weeks later he wrote me a letter apologizing. Seems he had been a priest too long, healthy too long, without sickly family members he loved... he didn't know how to enter into the suffering of a child. All he knew was a platitude. I'm glad I brought him back to his Christian senses. Even if I was nasty about it. Praise ye the Lord.

That said, merry christmas. When you give and receive gifts today, remember a king who gave his life and died for you.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Dark Parables: A dream of a mental spiritual stronghold on my finances

It is very hard to get a prayer answered when one is double-minded. And double-mindedness often involves strongholds. We pray and pray and pray but something in us either wants the prayer answered for the wrong reason, or something in us fears to have the prayer answered.

Last night, I dreamed I was in our house --our house with more rooms. I generally don't have these extra unknown room dreams, but there you go. The house was like ours with all the damaged. Our beds were mattresses on the floor -- which they are now in real life unfortunately. And all the walls of the house were gouged out -- which they are now in real life as well.

We had rented out rooms to some other folks --artist types, actors, bohemians-- who wouldn't mind that kind of thing. And i was amazed that we had all that room to rent to them. Then I found two extra rooms. These rooms were so beautiful. The walls hadn't been gouged by younger son's tantrum kicking. The bathroom wasn't leaking onto everything. The beds were beautiful -- real beds, not the mattresses we now sleep on (because they were destroyed and we don't have money to fix them). It was just an utterly beautiful place.

One bedroom had a purple coverlet or quilt and the other had a blue one. And I said to Luke, "We could've been sleeping in these all this time! And the boys in the other one...and we didn't know!"

Then I saw a shelf inside one of the bedrooms. A shelf of shelves with all these pewter or metallic gray metal casts and busts or engravings of Americana people and things, famous icons or landmarks. The kind of stuff that would be made by a mint or some place that does hummels or other collectibles.

I said to Luke, "Oh, we can't have these in our bedroom! They're engraved things..and we
aren't allowed by the scriptures to have graven images." Because in real life, we don't have engraved things in our house because of the commandment.

So we decided to remove them from the bedroom. But because it was a scruple thing and not a matter of sin or no sin I decided I would sell them on ebay to folks who had no scruples about that kind of thing. I lifted one of them --might've been a bust of George Washington. It was empty inside, like an empty idol.


Anyway, here are Jessica's and my discussion of the dream this morning:


Butler: my first thought in it was that the house is symbolic of life
me: is it talking about us findign our true marriage with me getting rid of my false idols engraved in my mind?
Butler: and that you discovered those two new rooms that had not been savaged being the beginning of a new life, a discovery of wholeness even amidst the old brokenness but am not too sure what the images are since you would not be worshipping them and they could not have been that bad if you were going to sell them. I know that you would destroy them so that you would not tempt others.
me: it was a case where i thought: These are not right for me the christian because they go against the ten commandments, but i knew other folks collect such things. There are sinful things. i wouldn't give to them.
Butler: hmmmhmmm
me: but it's a scruple thing
Butler: yeah
me: if someone considers something a sin, to him it is a sin
Butler: I was going to say that it strikes me as a meat sacrificed to idols
ahh wow
me: and i don't have any engraved things in my house
Butler: that is just what I was typing, so I am trying to determine what it is specifically in your life since you already don't have idols/images
me: well, mentally i did
Butler: so it must be symbolic of something
ahhhhh
me: if it was korean hottie it would be understandable but it was pewter and americana
like the stuff one would buy in collector's stuff from the mint, not porcelain though
but pewter a grey metal and the one i lifted up was geoprge washington and when i looked inside it it was empty. it was heavy but inside there was nothing and i had thought they would be solid throughout and I thought of the dichotomy of the arty folks in one room and the normal americana in the other.
Butler: hmmm true
me: see what i mean?
Butler: yes
me: maybe i also have some idea about normalcy
Butler: they're hollow and cold in the one room, perhaps so
me: and i can have both or must decide what i want and how to balance the beautiful bedroom was the best of america and middle class values but too much too much with the americana pewter thing and the arty bohemian thing was like how one lives when one is just out of college
Butler: but they could be removed easily ...the pewter I mean
me: yes
Butler: so maybe it is that you can remove those things while still living in the fine and beauty
me: i'm not really that committed to pewter amaericana..although i do want to write a great cowboy book or lose my idea of what being all american would be and i had a big fight with the arty folks because they were a bit too much for me although they accepted me
oooh, btw,

So is the dislike of Americana a stronghold? And can God give me americana if in my heart my mind and imaginations are focused on the artistic life?
it's almost like God is saying, "Is this what you want? You are able to get it. Believe in it..and know you won't go overboard."
I was arguing with the arty lifestyle.
i think once one gets rid of a stronghold
one opens the door to the prayer being answered

Sunday, November 21, 2010

King Jesus (Navajo Lyrics)

I'm doing Bible studies on Examiner.com

I'm the new Bible verse person on examiner.com. My aim is to be able to get more exposure on my Bible study. So if anyone can facebook, tweet, digg or stumbleupon this for me (and tell their friends to do likewise) I'd be super-grateful.

Links to this post

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Psalm 105 vs Psalm 106

So there we were, hubby and I, reading our devotions and snickering all the way through Psalm 105. It's a lovely Psalm, Psalm 105; don't get me wrong. It tells about God's goodness to His people Israel. But it skirts some spiritual facts: namely, it shows all that God has done for Israel, from Abraham down. But it doesn't show the sins done by these folks. It's actually very funny to read, especially after one has read the Torah (five books of Moses) and the Histories (Joshua, Judges, I+II Samuel, I+II Kings, I+II Chronicles.)

For instance, this psalm mentions God rebuking kings for his prophet's sake and saying, "do my anointed no harm." But it neglects to mention that God's prophets were dead wrong -- Abraham and Isaac giving their wives to other men. It mentions water coming out of the rock but neglects mentioning that poor Moses got forbidden from entering the Promised land because of that very rock. It mentions God feeding people quail and neglects to mention that the people sinned and lusted and the quail was sent to punish them. It mentions God bringing them through the desert without mentioning that the people wandered about for 40 years because of disobedience.

One wonders about all this. Is it a kind of psalmist tongue-in-cheek historical worship psalm? Or is it something else?

Then up comes Psalm 106. Honestly, it was as if some extremely truthful legalistic person saw Psalm 105 and said, "Oh really??? Oh really??? I'm gonna set this straight." Then the writer of Psalm 106 listed exactly what Psalm 105 ignored.

There clearly is a heck of a lot of grace in Psalm 105. To me, it reminds me of the Day of Judgment and God putting away our sins forever in the sea of His forgetfulness. The sins of Israel are simply "remembered not." Imagine it: on the day of judgement, when God looks for our sins in . We will look on Him without shame because the blood of Jesus will have blotted out our sins.

Psalm 105
1O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.
2Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.

3Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.

4Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore.

5Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;

6O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen.

7He is the LORD our God: his judgments are in all the earth.

8He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations.

9Which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac;

10And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant:

11Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance:

12When they were but a few men in number; yea, very few, and strangers in it.

13When they went from one nation to another, from one kingdom to another people;

14He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes;

15Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.

16Moreover he called for a famine upon the land: he brake the whole staff of bread.

17He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant:

18Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron:

19Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.

20The king sent and loosed him; even the ruler of the people, and let him go free.

21He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his substance:

22To bind his princes at his pleasure; and teach his senators wisdom.

23Israel also came into Egypt; and Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham.

24And he increased his people greatly; and made them stronger than their enemies.

25He turned their heart to hate his people, to deal subtilly with his servants.

26He sent Moses his servant; and Aaron whom he had chosen.

27They shewed his signs among them, and wonders in the land of Ham.

28He sent darkness, and made it dark; and they rebelled not against his word.

29He turned their waters into blood, and slew their fish.

30Their land brought forth frogs in abundance, in the chambers of their kings.

31He spake, and there came divers sorts of flies, and lice in all their coasts.

32He gave them hail for rain, and flaming fire in their land.

33He smote their vines also and their fig trees; and brake the trees of their coasts.

34He spake, and the locusts came, and caterpillers, and that without number,

35And did eat up all the herbs in their land, and devoured the fruit of their ground.

36He smote also all the firstborn in their land, the chief of all their strength.

37He brought them forth also with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble person among their tribes.

38Egypt was glad when they departed: for the fear of them fell upon them.

39He spread a cloud for a covering; and fire to give light in the night.

40The people asked, and he brought quails, and satisfied them with the bread of heaven.

41He opened the rock, and the waters gushed out; they ran in the dry places like a river.

42For he remembered his holy promise, and Abraham his servant.

43And he brought forth his people with joy, and his chosen with gladness:

44And gave them the lands of the heathen: and they inherited the labour of the people;

45That they might observe his statutes, and keep his laws. Praise ye the LORD.





Psalm 106

1Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
2Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD? who can shew forth all his praise?

3Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all times.

4Remember me, O LORD, with the favour that thou bearest unto thy people: O visit me with thy salvation;

5That I may see the good of thy chosen, that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation, that I may glory with thine inheritance.

6We have sinned with our fathers, we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly.

7Our fathers understood not thy wonders in Egypt; they remembered not the multitude of thy mercies; but provoked him at the sea, even at the Red sea.

8Nevertheless he saved them for his name's sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known.

9He rebuked the Red sea also, and it was dried up: so he led them through the depths, as through the wilderness.

10And he saved them from the hand of him that hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy.

11And the waters covered their enemies: there was not one of them left.

12Then believed they his words; they sang his praise.

13They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel:

14But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert.

15And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.

16They envied Moses also in the camp, and Aaron the saint of the LORD.

17The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan, and covered the company of Abiram.

18And a fire was kindled in their company; the flame burned up the wicked.

19They made a calf in Horeb, and worshipped the molten image.

20Thus they changed their glory into the similitude of an ox that eateth grass.

21They forgat God their saviour, which had done great things in Egypt;

22Wondrous works in the land of Ham, and terrible things by the Red sea.

23Therefore he said that he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath, lest he should destroy them.

24Yea, they despised the pleasant land, they believed not his word:

25But murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the LORD.

26Therefore he lifted up his hand against them, to overthrow them in the wilderness:

27To overthrow their seed also among the nations, and to scatter them in the lands.

28They joined themselves also unto Baalpeor, and ate the sacrifices of the dead.

29Thus they provoked him to anger with their inventions: and the plague brake in upon them.

30Then stood up Phinehas, and executed judgment: and so the plague was stayed.

31And that was counted unto him for righteousness unto all generations for evermore.

32They angered him also at the waters of strife, so that it went ill with Moses for their sakes:

33Because they provoked his spirit, so that he spake unadvisedly with his lips.

34They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the LORD commanded them:

35But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works.

36And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them.

37Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils,

38And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood.

39Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions.

40Therefore was the wrath of the LORD kindled against his people, insomuch that he abhorred his own inheritance.

41And he gave them into the hand of the heathen; and they that hated them ruled over them.

42Their enemies also oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their hand.

43Many times did he deliver them; but they provoked him with their counsel, and were brought low for their iniquity.

44Nevertheless he regarded their affliction, when he heard their cry:

45And he remembered for them his covenant, and repented according to the multitude of his mercies.

46He made them also to be pitied of all those that carried them captives.

47Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the heathen, to give thanks unto thy holy name, and to triumph in thy praise.

48Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting: and let all the people say, Amen. Praise ye the LORD.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The "checks in one's spirit"

The Bible tells us that God's sheep hear his voice. PERIOD.

None of this talk about "Well, God doesn't talk to me." or "I keep asking God for guidance but he never listens" blah blah blah.

God is not a man that he should lie. Therefore if he says his sheep hear his voice and you don't hear, AND you say that you do not hear his voice.....then you are not his sheep. PERIOD.

Let's face it, there are a zillion guidances and wisdoms we get everyday where we simply do not listen, stuff we simply disregard. Then when something bad happens, we say to ourselves, "Darn it! I kept hearing something in the back of my mind but..."

When I write my blog, I often ask myself, "What the heck will I write today?" And then I search what's in the back of my mind... just to see what's "in the back of my mind." When I edit, I check to see "what's at the back of my mind." When I decided to call someone, it's often because the person suddenly popped up "in the back of my mind" and I think God is calling me to pray for them. When I decide to suddenly do a certain thing it's because something was prompting me at "the back of my mind." Sometimes, discernment and guidance is merely about mindfulness, merely allowing one's self to be guided by intuition and that nagging thought. Yes, God has a still small voice. But we hear it anyway.

Oh, not everything in the back of our minds is God's guidance. Heck, there are a lot of nutty stuff in the back of my mind. But I'm aware that I'm a suspicious person... so I watch myself. Still, we dismiss a lot more of God's promptings than we should. Red Flags, are gifts from God... nagging feelings, sudden thoughts about folks we haven't thought about in a while... And the holy spirit never tells us to harm anyone. So the nagging thought at the back of our head...(if we're sanctified Children of God) is often powerful guidance, warnign us or leading us.

A classic example is what happened with David and his kids. (I'm sure David heard the still small voice in the whole Bathsheba debacle and didn't listen...but let's not get into that.)

Here is the situation. Amnon wants to rape his half-sister and does the following:

6So Amnon lay down, and made himself sick: and when the king was come to see him, Amnon said unto the king, I pray thee, let Tamar my sister come, and make me a couple of cakes in my sight, that I may eat at her hand.
7Then David sent home to Tamar, saying, Go now to thy brother Amnon's house, and dress him meat. 2 Samuel 13 6-7


NOTE: David didn't say, "Why should your half-sister bring you food?" Why didn't he ask this question? Oh, because it didn't occur to his rational mind that his son wanted to rape his daughter. But the still small voice doesn't tell you what's rational, it tells you what's true. So if David got a check in his spirit -- as we Christians call it-- he probably didn't allow the check to go too far. He just said to himself: (probably, cause...you know.. I wasn't there) Amnon likes Tamar's cooking. She's the best cook of all his sisters. Yeah, let him do it.

But later, after Tamar is raped by Amnon, up comes another problem. Absalom is royally pissed with his brother. He doesn't go around looking angry but he gives his brother the silent treatment for two or so years. Then he decides to have a party and he asks his dad, David, to let Amnon come to the feast.


26Then said Absalom, If not, I pray thee, let my brother Amnon go with us. And the king said unto him, Why should he go with thee? 27But Absalom pressed him, that he let Amnon and all the king's sons go with him. 2 Samuel 13

Seriously? No, really...seriously? David gets a check in his spirit about this whole party business. And what does he do? He allows himself to be talked out of it. Mind you, David should've done something to Amnon long before this...and probably got a check in his spirit about that as well. But noooooooooo

Anyway, upshot: God gives wisdom to those who asks and does not upbraid!
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. James 1:5

If someone comes up to God and asks God for wisdom, God does not say to that person, "What an idiot you are! You should know better!"

No, God speaks once, yes, twice...

Job 33:12-33

Behold, in this thou art not just: I will answer thee, that God is greater than man.

13Why dost thou strive against him? for he giveth not account of any of his matters.

14For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not.

15In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed;

16Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction,

17That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man.

18He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword.

19He is chastened also with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain:

20So that his life abhorreth bread, and his soul dainty meat.

21His flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen; and his bones that were not seen stick out.

22Yea, his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers.

23If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness:

24Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom.

25His flesh shall be fresher than a child's: he shall return to the days of his youth:

26He shall pray unto God, and he will be favourable unto him: and he shall see his face with joy: for he will render unto man his righteousness.

27He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not;

28He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light.

29Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man,

30To bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living.

31Mark well, O Job, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I will speak.

32If thou hast any thing to say, answer me: speak, for I desire to justify thee.

33If not, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I shall teach thee wisdom.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Sistahfaith: True Stories of Hope and Healing.



Sistahfaith: True Stories of Hope and Healing

Compiled by Marilynn Griffith

  • Pub. Date: February 2010
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
  • Format: Paperback, 211pp
  • Sales Rank: 281,074







ABOUT THE BOOK

Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people? (Jeremiah 8:22, NIV)
Twenty-five women, including Bunny Debarge, Sharon Ewell Foster, Stanice Anderson, Claudia Mair Burney and Marilynn Griffith, tell their stories of coming full circle from tragedy to triumph. Each contributor keeps it holy, keeping it real in these raw, relevant tales of redemption and restoration. Think of it as Prozac for the Christian Woman’s Soul!
A twelve week study is included for churches and book clubs. Instructions provided on gathering your own SistahFaith circle.

ABOUT SISTAHFAITH, INC.

imageSistahFaith™ is a revolution of restoration, bringing hope and healing to the brokenhearted and those who love them. Our goal is to communicate Christ personally, practically and powerfully, bringing women full circle in faith, arts and life. Each of our books, conferences, events and multimedia projects address the problems facing today’s women in a raw and relevant way.
Join the network of sistahs at http://sistahfaith.ning.com/.

VIRTUAL TOUR SCHEDULE

RADIO SCHEDULE

February  9. 2010
The Sharvette Mitchell Show (6:00 pm EST )
http://www.BlogTalkRadio.com/Mitchell-Productions
(347) 945-5907
February 10, 2010
Abundant Solutions
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/asemotivation
9:00 pm EST
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February 11, 2010 
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Saturday, November 06, 2010

The Only Time We Should Pray for the Dead

When I was younger I saw a ghost of a little boy in my bedroom. I had seen demons as well. The thing, though, is that demons and ghosts (or restless souls) often feel differently. Demons are downright evil and creepy. Ghosts often seem locked in, bitter, depressed, lost. The trouble is one really cannot tell one from another. A demon who has been hanging out with a particular family (sometimes called a familiar spirit) or a demon that was inside the person when the person was alive can mimic the dearly departed. So, whether in a dream, vision, or real life, just because someone looks like the dearly departed doesn't mean the being standing before one in the middle of the night creeping one out is actually that person.

But...dang! how can one be sure it's not one's dead grandma, mother, or brother?

Sometimes it's easy, the person pops up to save the house from burning down. (This once happened in our family.) So...the person could be the dearly departed or an angel in disguise. If the person hangs out and wants to talk a lot and give large spiritual discussions, then it's probably not an angel or the departed. Angels are not commissioned to preach the gospel, nor are the dead commissioned to. Many false christs are gone out into the world having doctrines of demon. So it's best to assume evil.

The Bible divides up Death and Hell, a strange division. In the Book of Revelations, we read that death and hell gave up their dead. Jesus also talks about people cast into outer darkness.

But big question: Who knows whether it's the actual spirit of the person?
Most Christians living a righteous life go to heaven. But many Christians are not living a righteous life. Yes, I know... the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sins... but remember who are not allowed to enter into the New Jerusalem. So, a person could be a solid believer in Jesus but if that person is a pimp, a "seducer of himself with mankind," a coward, a liar, "Fearful and unbelieving"...then that person is not going to heaven. The only other choices: Death and Hell and Outer Darkness.

Of course when one is seeing a ghost or a demon, one doesn't have the time or the mental wherewithal to formulate one's theology about this kind of thing. When one goes on vacation and ends up sleeping in a house that turns out to be "haunted" (and there is some angry looking being standing over one's bed) one simply is not going to say, "Uhm, is this a demon? is this my imagination? is this the spirit of a dead person? Is this the projection of a witch? Is this some powerful thought from the deceased that continues to live on? (Thoughts are things in the spirit realm. They have energy.) One really has to have some idea of how to deal with the phenomenon.

If it's a demon, well we can tell it to go in Jesus' name. They might not leave, of course. Because they might have some legal spiritual right to be there. If one is a murderer or an adulterer, and one has a demon bothering one...chances are the demon's gonna laugh at your attempt to cast it away from you. Honestly, what authority does a lying, unforgiving, non-Bible-reading Christian have over a demon? The demons' gonna stay put. But chances are, if you repent of sins and ancestral sins, the demon will listen to you.

But what are we to do when there's a possibility that some other spirit -- living, dead, or demonic-- is intruding on our lives?

First identify them:

Living intruders: Witches who have cast some spell on one's life. Relatives we have a soul tie to. Bullying parents who don't follow the first law of marriage that says a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, someone we had sex with with whom we shared a sexual soul tie.

Dead intruders: A parent who was known to bully and has died, when an unsaved person in the family has had a traumatic sudden death and was too involved in the world, someone with whom you shared a soul tie and whose spirit is knitted with yours to the point where soul needs to be divided from spirit...especially if that person was bullying.

Then deal with them by sending them to the feet of Jesus. Yes, I know... some exorcists and deliverance folks say we're supposed to send these people to the pit. From my own confused experience and from some books I've read by missionaries and old-timey deliverers, I;m agreed that although we Christians have been given the spiritual authority to cast demons into hell, if we're in a situation where we don't know who the heck this demonic entity is....then it's best that we send the spirit to the foot of Jesus. Heck, we don't want to send a human soul to hell, do we?

Sometimes one can see the effect of the unburied dead and lost souls on the family line.
A child whose mother has had many abortions might be troubled. So it's best to have a communion -- the eucharist-- for the dead child. The Catholic Church has a service for dead and aborted children. Often, giving the aborted child a name and a spiritual farewell or funeral and saying the eucharist has relieved many an ill living child.

If one suspects the trouble comes from some departed person who is walking around in outer darkness or in death, then do a eucharist, preach to the soul about the salvation of God, and send the person to the foot of Jesus. I'm not saying someone can be saved after death but in case this is a Christian who is lost or a person who is fated to go to hell anyway, at least you've done your part. And your oppressed family member will be delivered. I know this theology is a bit odd but it is based on experience. Let's just say the "influence" of my very strong-willed mother affected our family long after she died. Then my husband and I did a eucharist and told her to leave. The next day, my son -- who knew nothing about what we did-- told us he had a dream that he "saw Grandma cooking for us in the kitchen and she said she had to go." Things improved a lot in our lives after that.

Since I'm talking about something that sounds flaky, I might as well push my luck here. I will also mention animals. My mother hated animals. To leave a pet with her was to pretty much seal its fate. But among all the pets we had, only one returned to say good bye. (Yeah, I think it was him...ut for all I know it was a demon.) Anyway, we had a dog named Resin and we went to college. When we returned, Resin was nowhere to be found. (Resin had also saved us from burning as well. Yeah, i know... so many fiery encounters in my life.) Mama said she had given him away. So there were were. Some days later, not sure how long after we had returned, my sister and I were in bed. What did we hear?The patter of doggy feet running through the house. What did we feel? The doggy jumping on the bed and snuggling in between us. Yeah, I know. I suppose I could've said, "You are nothing but a demon in disguise." But I didn't. I was just happy that he was there. Okay, I know better now. But that wasn't a particularly scary encounter. But dogs who have been treated harshly by humans have been known to cause spiritual trouble in houses. So, just giving you the heads-up on that. So yeah i do believe I will see all my pets in heaven. But I would balk if I saw another one on earth. . . unless it approached to save my life.

In all times, it doesn't hurt to bring out the bread and wine and do a communion eucharist. It is a healing service for the living as much as for the dead. And it certainly won't hurt.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Psalm 39: Seething desperate self-silencing

When one reads a Psalm, one must first ask why the psalmist wrote it.
Sometimes, as in Psalm 51, one knows: David was feeling guilty about  murdering Uriah so he wrote Psalm 51.
Other psalms have enough references and clues within their verses to make us know what they're referring to. Some are historical, some are prophetic, some are messianic, some are worship songs. But then there are some psalms which makes a reader wonder.... uhmmmmm

Okay, Psalm 39 is one of those. (I have a gut feeling this psalm was written about Joab. Yeah, there is absolutely no reason why I should think so. But hey this is my blog...so I'll take my premise and run with it. Because...yeah, that's how I roll.)

So David writes this song and gives it to Jeduthun (also known as Ethan, the choir master.) And it's a song about silence. A bitter praise song. YES!!!! Communal praise songs to God can be bitter.

Now, here is the odd thing. We are all told that a religious person knows how to hold his/her tongue and that control of the tongue is one of the high marks of spirituality. But there are also instances in the Bible where some holy person tries to hold his tongue and ends up in this situation. They seethe and seethe and get desperate. The words they don't speak become like fire in their bones. Either they have to let it out in some way or they end up like David in this psalm. And, hey, David finally let it out in the psalm didn't he. Sure he didn't come right out and say "I am supremely pissed because I am stuck with Joab (or someone equally wicked) beside me ...but he managed to get his anger said.

It starts out with this resolve: I'm gonna watch myself and I'm gonna be really good because God is doing something odd in my life. So am gonna watch this tongue of mine. Even when wicked people are near me, I am simply not gonna say anything. No blaming of others, no blaming of myself, no praising of others, no praising of myself, no complaining or murmuring about God to God in prayer, no complaining to others about God. No jesting, arguing, defending, self-defending, asking for anything, demanding. Just major silence.

May I say this is a very dangerous way to go?

(ESV) Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,

(KJV) Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

(LITV) "Be angry but do not sin;" do not let the sun go down on your wrath.

(NASB) BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger,

(NLT) And "don't sin by letting anger control you." Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry,


But apparently, fasting from speech (without being angry) is something a religious person should go through once in a while. A fasting from words so to speak.

So what does this self-silencing do? First it makes him so angry that the fire inside his bones got worse and worse and at last it leads to him pondering death. Isn't that always the way?

Silencing one's self is a scary thing. The urge to speak -- about one's sorrows, about one's sins, about the stupidity of other people, about one's own stupidity -- is a hard one to overcome.  And when the self-silencing occurs because God has rebuked you!!! Oh my! Dear Lord! What to do?

It's a bit like Job when God spoke to him out of the whirlwind: "I cover myself with ashes and dust. If I spoke I won't speak anymore."

Perhaps James, Peter, and John felt the same way when God spoke to them on the mount of transfiguration: "This is my beloved son, hear him!"

Perhaps this is the way Ezekiel felt when he was silent for seven (or was it ten? I forgot)days after he saw the vision of the living creatures and got his commission.

There is a painful harrowing when one sees man's evil, our own evil, other folks' evil, God's goodness. And if one adds an inability to speak or a committment to not speak...one can only reflect on one's mortality. Sure, one wants God to rend the heavens and come down. But one is also aware that if God tears the heavens, one also must be broken as well.

Somehow, being able to speak makes us fool ourselves as to our own importance and influence. But what can one do when one realizes one's human words are valueless in the large scheme of things. Others can do your work. Your words are not that powerful and insightful. Your defense of God is not needed. Your self-defense against God ain't gonna work.

I think one of these days -- not anytime soon, of course-- I'm gonna attempt to keep a fast of silence. I will not challenge stupid folks on the internet. I will not ask God to forgive me for my sins. I will not praise friend or insult foe. I will endure this silence and see how I come out of it. No navel-gazing, mind you. I will just go around the world being silent. Will see what happens.

Honestly, I do not like King David at all. But his psalms always show such insight. (Perhaps cause the holy spirit was helping him.) God bless, all. -C



<< Psalm 39 >>
King James Version

1<even to Jeduthun, A Psalm of David.>> 

I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.2I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred.
3My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue,
4LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am.
5Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.
6Surely every man walketh in a vain shew: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth upriches, and knoweth not who shall gather them.
7And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee.
8Deliver me from all my transgressions: make me not the reproach of the foolish.
9I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; because thou didst it.
10Remove thy stroke away from me: I am consumed by the blow of thine hand.
11When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity, thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth: surely every man is vanity. Selah.
12Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears: for I ama stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.
13O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more.



Thursday, October 28, 2010

My Halloween Post: Those Awesome Cherubim

Yep, it's that time of the year again when folks celebrate dead creatures and stuff that terrify. But since hubby and I finished Revelations last week, I figured I'd do something on Living Creatures who terrify. (Honestly, who fears dead stuff? Maybe corpses bring diseases and contamination but other than that...the dead are not particularly troublesome.) And no I'm not gonna talk about demons either. True, they're living creatures in their own way because they have immortal life. But they are evil. What I want to right about is Terrifying holiness.

With God is terrible majesty! With God is terrifying majesty!

God made many type of creatures, creatures who can live in the three-dimensional world and in other dimensionalities. And he also made the Cherubim. The Cherubim live in heaven...in fact they live in God's throne room and are never out of the presence of God. God rides on the Cherubim, He is seated above the Cherubim. (Satan himself was the cherubim that covered the throne while the other cherubs surrounded it or were under it. But I digress.)

The weird thing is that as heavenly as Cherubim are, they are weirdly intertwined in human affairs. What their purpose is God alone (and great Bible students) know. They are carved over the mercy seat...which represents their place in heaven. They represent life forms on earth: tame animals, wild animals, humans, and birds. (No fish or creeping thing, but again, I digress.)

So this is what I want to talk about the Cherubim. Now, on earth we have one way of being: we are spirit, body, mind, but we are all in one visible package. Because God is above and beyond the third dimension, God can see our bodies, our minds, and our spirits.  But we humans can only see each other's bodies. (Okay, if we have a gift we can see into spirits but I digress.)  Back to the Cherubim.

As we see them in the Book of Ezekiel, (the first time I believe in the Bible) we are told they all have one likeness:

The appearance of the wheels and their workings was like the color of beryl, and all four had the same likeness.  The appearance of their workings was, as it were, a wheel in the middle of a wheel. " (Ezekiel 1:1, 4-5,15-16, NKJV)

That is: they all look alike.


Under each of their four wings I could see human hands. So each of the four beings had four faces and four wings. 9The wings of each living being touched the wings of the beings beside it. Each one moved straight forward in any direction without turning around.
10Each had a human face in the front, the face of a lion on the right side, the face of an ox on the left side, and the face of an eagle at the back. 11Each had two pairs of outstretched wings—one pair stretched out to touch the wings of the living beings on either side of it, and the other pair covered its body. 12They went in whatever direction the spirit chose, and they moved straight forward in any direction without turning around.  Ezekiel 1: 8-12



Okay, so we accept this. One being has four faces, feet straight down so they don't ever turn their face from God, and eyes everywhere just in case...so they don't miss anything. And then there's that pesky wheel-within-the-wheel which hints at all kinds of things.

The other thing we have to note is that these Cherubim move about in groups of four. Each four is one entity: a singular entity made up of four sub-entities who all look alike. This is something we can't even begin to figure out. I mean, on earth a marriage is an entity but the hubby and the woman are not really alike to such an extreme.




Anyway, we accept this...and ponder and ponder. But then what happens when we arrive in Revelations?

In the center and around the throne were four living beings, each covered with eyes, front and back. 7The first of these living beings was like a lion; the second was like an ox; the third had a human face; and the fourth was like an eagle in flight.8Each of these living beings had six wings, and their wings were covered all over with eyes, inside and out. Day after day and night after night they keep on saying,  Rev  4: 6-8



There are two changes here:
The first: the number of wings: two pairs each in Ezekiel's vision, and 6 wings (not said if they come in pairs) in Revelations.
The second: The cherubim are now separate, kinda. . .and fully themselves but still a unity of four.

They're still unified but one is fully human with six wings, one is fully a bird (with six wings), one is fully a lion (with six wings) and one is fully an ox (with six wings.

Again, they have all the eyes.  Now if there is any confusion here about these creatures: Ezekiel calls these living creatures "Cherubim" and John calls them "living creatures."

Ezekiel 10:20 These were the living creatures I had seen beneath the God of Israel by the Kebar River, and I realized that they were cherubim.
Revelation 4:6 Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back.


But, what's interesting here is how these cherubim are part of each other and a unity. Not a trinity but a Quatrinity (I just invented that word, I think.) On earth we can't begin to understand beings who are part of each other and who can dismantle and reassemble themselves in different patterns....but wow! this is heaven! A spiritual sphere! A world of dimensionalities we cannot begin to understand. Question: do they really "look" like this? Or is the way they look the only way our human minds with its limited understanding of what a "person" is can understand? 


And may I say, these are terrifying. I have never seen a cherubim -- especially when it/they is in their one from column a, one from column b, one from column c, one from column D ---and yet one-single-entity mode  And know what? I do not want to see them.


In Daniel, the angel Gabriel is often called "The man Gabriel." He stands before God, in the presence of God. Just like the cherubim are always before God. And honestly, if God wants to send anyone to talk to humans, I think he knows enough of human fear to send someone who looks like one of us: Gabriel.


How terrifying and majestic holiness is! I imagine the eyes of the cherubim, always seeing God and yet possibly seeing all on the earth, seeing through the eyes of all on the earth, seeing the evil being done on the earth. 


Yeah, no ghost or demon matches the terrifying majesty of God. 



Monday, October 25, 2010

WTF Moment in Bible Study: Jesus' Dogs

Yeah, I know...another WTF moment in Bible study.

So, hubby and I have finished Revelations and now we're back in Psalms! YAY!! A triumphant return in less than a year.

So anyway, I haven't done a WTF moment in Bible Study in a while although I've come up across some interesting doozies. But it is fitting that at the end of the Bible, a dramatic one should present itself.

Now, going from the gospels, the epistles, and what all in the New Testament, Jesus called folks "dogs" twice.   Dog apparently was a slang used back in the day (In Jesus' day) which means, "Strangers, foreigners, folks not like us."

This was the term Jesus used when a foreign woman came up to him asking healing for her daughter:
He replied, "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs." Matthew 15:26

It's the kinda thing that makes little ethnic me a bit antzy...and depending on how spiritual I'm being, I pretty much accepted it as Jesus (the son of God) just testing the woman and urging her on to faith. Or Jesus (the son of Man) having a little more growing in favor to do and working out his provincial kinks. After all, this is the Saviour of the world who when he heard the Greeks say, "We want to see Jesus" heard the call that "the world wants to see me, so I must prepare myself to die for the world. So, yeah, he loved people...all people.

But then, up comes this:
For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and fornicators, and murderers, and idolaters, and whoever loves and makes a lie. Rev 22:15


Aargh, YES, the Lord of all life has not gotten rid of the old slang. John the Revelator has Jesus -- white hair, sword coming out of his mouth, sitting on a throne-- using an epithet for stranger. 


Dang! That's scary! Okay, I can deal with folks being called fornicators, sorcerers, idolatoers.
I can deal with the cowardly and unbelieving and all liars having their part in the lake of fire.
I can even deal with the question of why are there gates to a city if no one is outside it or wait a second why are there trees for healing if no one gets sick so there really must be some kind of person not quite saved enough to get into heaven. (Won't go into detail about the priests in Ezekiel's vision who can't see the Prince's face although they serve him forever. Won't go into detail about what exactly does God do with all those people who were born in the millenium but not under the holy spirit and who joined Satan during the 1000 year Little Season because although Satan hadn't been loosed to tempt them, they still had the unredeemed human spirit that was at war with God.)


But this dogs thing! ??? Wow, what an insult to be outside the kingdom! Now it's a spiritual kingdom and folks are still the "strangers"...well, in a spiritual non-ethnic way, you're not Jewish and not in the Chosen People kinda way. True, I don't think folks in heaven will always be talking about the "dogs" outside the gates (Not even sure if they're outside the gates or in hell. One of those annoying places where the Greek punctuation isn't really known) But the fact that Jesus was so harsh here, that even in his spiritual ascended self he uses this phrase.


So who are these dogs? Well, I'm still gonna go with the stranger hypothesis. But they might be saved dogs, if you know what I mean. People who knew Jesus but who kept indulging in their sins and returning to their sin like a dog returns to his vomit. 


Either way, it certainly is a shocker when one ponders it. All the tribes of the world are in heaven in Revelations  -- and Jesus is grown up, the lamb of God (for the world) the lion of Judah and son of David (for Jews) and yet, the wounding comment he had used against the Syro-Phenician woman to show her non-belongingness still exists...and is one of the last words on his lips.... Well, near to "And the Spirit says, 'Come.'"


Yeah, it blows the mind. Well, it blows MY mind. I've never liked being an outsider, you know. Strive to enter, folks. Don't want Jesus calling us "dogs" now, do we? 

Thanksgiving...and pondering the freedom to eat whatever

Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes. For ye are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance, which the LORD your God giveth you. Deuteronomy 12:8,9

You are not to do things then in the way in which we now do them here, every man as it seems right to him: For you have not come to the rest and the heritage which the Lord your God is giving you. Deuteronomy 12:8,9

Of course in Judges, that's all the people do.
Therefore I swore in My anger, Truly they shall not enter into My rest."


"Notwithstanding thou mayest kill and eat flesh in all thy gates, whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee: the unclean and the clean may eat thereof, as of the roebuck, and as of the hart. Only ye shall not eat the blood; ye shall pour it upon the earth as water." Deuteronomy 12:15-16


Uhm... St Paul speaks to Christians (those who have finally entered into God's rest) that everything of God is holy if it be prayed for with thanksgiving. The apostles in ACTS 15: didn't put all the law onto the new gentile Christians but said, "Eat anything but not with the blood."

But still...this seems to apply only to stuff caught in hunting. Not to pigs and shellfish. Aaargh.



"Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise." Deuteronomy 12:30

Okay, so no..."let me go exploring other cultural spirituality" crap.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

In Search of the True Light



In Search of the True Light 

by Mike Shreve



  • Paperback: 334 pages

  • Publisher: Pivotal Publications (July 2003)

  • ISBN-10: 094250738X

  • ISBN-13: 978-0942507386


  • During a time of deep introspection, Mike Shreve turned to Far Eastern religions seeking the true experience of God. Eventually, he became a teacher of Kundalini Yoga at four universities. Then a dramatic revelation of Ultimate Reality changed the course of his life. This pivotal experience caused him to re-examine concepts foundational to his worldview, such as: the origin of the universe, the true nature of God, pantheism and monism, karma and reincarnation, the path to enlightenment, plans of existence man’s divinity and ultimate destiny, universal cycles and ages and more.
    This book is the product of profound spiritual insights received over a period of thirty years. Read it, absorb it, mediate on it – and you, too will be guided into the "True Light."








    Thursday, October 14, 2010

    Believe not every spirit but Try The Spirits

    Okay, so hubby and I were in 1 John as we wend our way through the Bible and we come upon this:

    "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1"


    Now, what a world! John actually expects us to be seeing spirits. Oh sure, some folks will say that he meant "the spirit of the prophet" but I don't think so. If one reads the verse plain and simple, it seems as if John is actually believing that part of the Christian life is to live under an open heaven where folks will see spirits. And not only will believers in Christ -- who are the sons of God-- see spirits (and angels going up and down into heaven) but we will see them so often that we have to know how to deal with what he seems to be implying is a common experience. (Strange that the supernatural side of Christianity has been robbed from us) 


    But then he tells us that although we'll be seeing spirits, we have to try them. Okay, this requires a bit of boldness. I mean we are trained by modern Christianity to reverence any old spirit or angel who just happens to walk by. But here John tells us to be bold and to try the spirits. Really? Oh sure an angel puts one in awe and the typical angel says, "Don't be afraid, don't worship me" etc. But really...if one sees a spirit, will one have the Biblical knowledge, the gumption, the wherewithal, the strength to actually test it. 


    This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 1 John 4:2


    Okay, so what does that mean? I mean at face value it seems to say "Was there a historical Jesus?" And even the antichrist might attest to that. So if one is bold enough to challenge an angel of light, one should know what one is saying. Looking back at the passage, I think John is saying we should ask the spirit something like this: "Did God send His son Jesus to earth as a human being to live and die as a human being so that through Jesus all the world would be saved? And do you believe that the blood of Jesus covers me and testifies to that truth? Do you believe the Word of God testifies to this truth? Do you believe the Spirit of God testifies to this truth? Do you believe they testify to this truth on earth and in heaven?"  


    Mohammed didn't test the spirit, I think. The angel said it was Gabriel and he believed it. Joseph Smith didn't test the spirit, I think. The angel said it was Moroni, and Joseph Smith believed it.  And if it's not a spirit that passes the test, then it's a spirit of antiChrist whose purpose is to deceive and to create deceiving prophets. But how exactly are we to test it? John tells us this:




    Islam                                                                               Mormonism


    One God                                                                         Many Gods


    The Bible is corrupted                                                    The Bible is corrupted/badly translated


    Only the Koran has truth                                                 Only the Book of Mormon has truth


    Polygamist                                                                      Polygamist


    In Heaven, women used for sex                                      In Heaven, women used for sex


    Mohammed is God's prophet                                          Joseph Smith is God's prophet


    One goes to heaven by Works                                       One goes to heaven by Works


    As for the God of Islam and the God of the Mormon Church: 


    The Creator God of Islam is unapproachable, holy, distant. But He is not Love. He cannot even be described as a father because even that is insulting to the Moslem.         


    The Creator God of Mormonism is unknown because he is either way back in a long line of Gods who created gods who created gods who created gods. Ultimately, the immediate Creator God (of planet earth) is not the uncaused causer of all things...so He is unapproachable.   Plus He isn't beyond sexuality. 



    Okay, I'll admit it: I once pulled this on a spirit. Not one I actually say though. I was too flabbergasted by the angel I saw to do anything but look at him shellshocked. But if he had said anything, I think I would've been annoying enough to actually try him. And I think he would have allowed it. But there was a time I tried it. My friend Tiina was table-tipping and I was sitting across the table from her. Table-tipping and certain other flaky activities never worked through me and I am glad. God was protecting this little idiot from all sorts of troubles. But they worked through Tiina and she could tell all sorts of things... well, the spirit would tell her stuff and she would know it. Anyway, one day a spirit comes and starts up with, "Peace, Love, and Truth to you all." Something like that. I forget the exact greeting, but I thought.. "Well, that is all very nice but...." Then I launched into the test. And what did the spirit do? It stopped talking. The table stopped tipping. Then Tiina turned around and glared at me: "You offended it!" Yes, alas, little old 19 year old me had hurt the feelings of a thousand year old spirit. The spirit never came back. Am I sorry? Heck no!

    The upshot: 


    But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! Galatians 1:8

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