Thursday, December 14, 2006
Is there a way to combat the mind-set and atmosphere of lies the enemy promotes? Visible reality in lives and community are valuable and important. They do produce the desired effect. But is it enough? There are so many voices in the world. Each one clamoring for attention. Each one is used by the enemy to distract people away form God's family. Each one claiming their legitimacy. How can we create a wind to blow away the smoke that clouds the heart of each person?
As mention earlier, each person stands at the intersection of two dimensions: the physical and the spiritual. A person communicates with the physical with his five senses. The person communicates with the spiritual with his heart. We interact with the spiritual by focusing our hearts on it.
There are many disciplines that strive to interact with the spiritual. Many forms of medication, magic, etc. They all focus their hearts into the spiritual realm, which often results in a response from the spiritual back into the physical.
Is there a method or means for God's family to project their hearts into the spiritual? God does favor some forms of mediation. But the most direct means for God's family to positively affect the spiritual world, and indirectly the hearts of mankind, is prayer.
Friday, December 08, 2006
And then there is warfare. There is an enemy; he does seek the destruction of your heart.
But this warfare is different. First, God’s family wages war, but it does not destroy anything. It wins the war by bringing more people into the family. By making hearts whole. By reversing the destruction of the enemy in society, in culture, and in the environment.
Second, a person can also fight by making sure his heart is whole. There are different aspects to this. One, we need to be disciplined to recognize the lies and not let them get a hold in the heart. Two, we need to be open to God’s influence. Even as ruler of all, having our allegiance, living in our hearts, he does not force our obedience. So, we need to invite his influence, and his work, in our hearts.A human being, living and becoming more what God made him to be, and attracting other human beings to live in allegiance with him, are strong blows against the enemy.
Another aspect of discipleship is healing. And I mean heart healing, in this case, not physical healing. Before we become a member of god’s family, we have no relationship with him. We have no communication. It is open season on our hearts. The enemy bombards it with lies, with the goal of distracting us from God.
If we hold lies in our hearts, we are not going to live as we should. We will have damaged hearts. So, God seeks to repair the damage. Bring the shards together and create a new heart.
There are a number of different healing methods He can use. Some are general, for everyone. Some are individual.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
If the enemy can get God's family to harbor lies in their hearts, it will detract from the effect God wants His children to have on the world. Steps should be taken to apply truth to hearts to counter-act the falsehoods.
We could use the word "counseling" to describe this application of truth. God is quite involved in counseling. This is one reason why He resides in the hearts of His children. This is why He regularly seeks out and speaks with His children. And this is why we need to engage in listening.
Monday, November 20, 2006
In all relationships, there is interaction. So, there must be communication between God and his family.
God has a unique position in our lives. He designed us and knows us. Each person’s heart vibrates at a different frequency. And God knows that frequency best of anyone.
Since, he knows our frequency, he knows what best resonates with us. So, he can communicate directions and actions which can feed and renew our hearts.
He can communicate conditions or practices that block renewal. He can warn of the enemy's plans which will harm us and squash our hearts.
Learning to live this love relationship is probably the main avenue of heart renewal.
Friday, November 10, 2006
Jesus knew that choosing allegiance with God, and beginning a love-relationship with Him, is a revolutionary experience. People develop different values and perspectives. They see God, people, right\wrong differently. There is a heart level, radical transformation.
Discipleship is the process of directing this heart transformation into appropriate lifestyle. When someone has a love relationship with a person, there are appropriate behaviors. One does not steal form them. One does not lie to, abuse or degrade them. Similarly, a love relationship with God involves learning practical steps in living out the love relationship. It involves relating with God and other people based on the heart change and love relationship.
It is a learning process because even though our heart have been radically transformed, our behavior is still etched into our minds, and bodies. Our hearts must be filtered through these other parts of us. So, we do not completely live as God's disciples, living in allegiance and a love relationship with Him.
So, this process is both wonderful and painful, liberating and difficult. It is something people want and strive for. It is something they avoid at all costs. It expresses who we really should be.
Friday, November 03, 2006
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Here we are in a war. Our greatest asset is being assaulted by an implacable enemy. And the prime question is “how do we repair the damage to this asset?” Or …
How do we heal, renew and give life to our hearts?
I think we need to realize that, in the same way we are given freedom to choose allegiance with God, we are given other freedoms as well. Freedom to:
- Participate in the war.
- Participate in the love relationship.
- Take healing, renewing action.
There seem to be things God does of His own volition. And there are things we do of our volitions. And there seems to be things we do in cooperation. Perhaps we begin alone and then join in a cooperative effort. But freedom brings us to a place where we need to take action.
So, how do we heal, renew and give life to our hearts?
Monday, October 23, 2006
Man lives from his heart. So, God wants to strengthen and renew it. The enemy wants to crush it. In the spiritual war, man’s heart becomes a very important strategic focal point.
If God’s family is God’s attracting force, some should be able to judge the heart of God’s family by evaluating how attractive it is. That is, are people motivated in becoming part of God’s family?
In some parts of the world, God’s family seems to be exploding. In the West, it sometimes seems to be imploding.
Some people who study these types of trends indicate that God’s family has remained static for several decades. Some indicate that God’s family is losing ground. And some indicate that it is shifting. That is, there are new and difficult to measure types of family. So, if progress is being made, it is through a visible, but basically underground movement. Otherwise it seems that the hearts of God’s children has been damaged and they are not healing.
We need to remember that it is an enemy who waging war on God’s family. The battleground is the heart. The objective is to infuse renewal and life into the hearts of God’s children.
Friday, October 20, 2006
Imagine that you are the enemy. You have undertaken to stop, as much as you can, any movement toward God. You want it as simple as possible. You want as much bang for the buck as possible. Just as God renews the heart, the enemy can halt renewal by attacking the heart, using the inside-out law to his advantage.
Given that God’s family is his attracting force and people live from their hearts, then the enemy could attack the heart and remove any attraction God’s family may have.
- God built the bridge between man and Himself. This issue of man’s rebellion had been dealt with. God still deals with moral failure. It still has the capacity to disrupt the love relationship. But now it cannot cancel the love relationship. Man needs to deal with the failure and repair the relationship. If the enemy can get God’s family to become pre-occupied with their failures, they lose their compelling nature. Guilt is not attractive. It ruins peace. Destroys joy and confidence. And self-preoccupation and love are just mutually exclusive.
- Man’s rebellion created alienation between all men. God put in man’s heart the need for true relationship. Since, God’s family is a picture of what true relationship should be, the enemy can attack the relationships within the family.
God intends His family to be a lighthouse, showing the correct ways to travel. The enemy stresses the problems, the drawbacks, and the dangers of being highly visible and fully engaged with those outside the family. So, God’s family tends to circle the wagons. And they perform family business in ways that make it very difficult to connect with outsiders. Simple lack of engagement robs those unaligned with God any light to see that allegiance with God is a viable option.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Before I get too far down the road, I should mention that this thinking process began after reading Waking the Dead by John Eckeard. I want to give credit where credit is due, but I don’t I am going to be able to clearly delineate where idea ends and another begins. So, if you want to give John credit for this whole mess, feel free.
God is trying to captivate people who have no allegiance to Him by drawing them with those who do. He creates interest by:
- Blessing them. That is, He does good in their lives. This could include miracles, healing, provision and guidance.
- Renewing them. That is, changing their hearts so they live closer to the original way God intended.
This renewal is by healing and recreating their hearts. God puts renewed life in their hearts, and them by the law of inside-out, man acts in a renewed way.
So, the enemy’s main threat is God’s family, living in renewed ways within themselves, with others in the family, and with people outside of the family.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
I am now getting to the point where I am beginning to cover new territory. Up to this point, I am merely getting everyone on the same page. (Basically, that means I’m getting on the same page with myself.)
To paraphrase Stephen Covey, anything man does is always created twice. It is created in his inner being; and it is created in the world as words or actions. This is the way man works — from the inside out.
Those who follow God often describe the innermost being as the heart. This is the term I am going to use. So, all of man’s life, all that takes place in the world originates in man’s heart.
When man chooses allegiance to God, God places part of His essence in man’s heart. It is in man’s heart that the love relationship takes place. It is in the heart that God initiates change. It is there that God gives help, support and renewal. It is all the things that give his family its extraordinary and compelling nature. One could say that after Jesus’ work, man’s heart becomes the focal point of God’s purpose.
Because man lives from his heart, to affect change at the heart level means the change will ripple out through the man’s life. Because man lives from his heart, empowering man’s heart is planting the seed of the Kingdom. Because man live from his heart, it is the main target of the enemy.
Friday, October 13, 2006
Of course, the enemy has a strategy too. And it’s pretty simple. Counteract God’s strategy. Try to keep people connected to the world system and separate from God.
The enemy tries to insulate people from moral failure. Popularize various types of relativism. And if anyone is confronted with moral failure, provide all sorts of excuses.
Encourage a focus on mediocre living. Promote excitement or entertainment. Introduce a flurry of ideas that promise peace, meaning and fulfillment. Above all, distract them from God’s solution.
If God wants to draw people’s attention to the extraordinary lives of his family, then crush God’s family. Throw every sort of temptation, trap and obstacle in their way. When they do stumble, wave that failure like a banner. Use sirens and klieg lights. Never let them forget it.
If they should demonstrate authentic living, stress any departure from that life. For example, God wants his people to show peace. Underline and highlight any instance of anxiety.
If God’s family should live in love and unity, stress any and all distinctions. Stress the most insignificant differences. Promote friction and grudge holding.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Negative influence seeks a separation from the world system. Positive influence seeks a connection with the God-system. Up to now, I have not discussed any of the mechanisms involved with these influences. With positive influences, we cannot ignore the mechanisms, because they are essential to the strategy.
God uses positive influences to motivate people to desire a relationship with Him. So, He has chosen to display His relationship with his family. People who choose an allegiance with God are described in a number of ways. Family is one of them.
He uses his family as the attracting force. He uses individual lives and spiritual communities to draw vivid comparisons to what he intended life to be like and what it is like.
He blesses his family to show his commitment to them. He helps them live in integrity with His life governing principles. He helps them walk authentically in whole, life-giving ways. He puts these people into spiritual communities so his main principles — love and unity — can be visibly carried out.
While these individuals and communities are not perfect, they are growing and living in ways that are visible and compelling. These demonstrated lifestyles should attract and motivate others to seek whatever it is that enables these people to live this way.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
There seems to be two main ways that God uses. God confronts people with their moral failure. And He accentuates the existential dissonance between the ideals people seek and the reality they live.
The goal is the same in both. To get man to wake up to the fact that there is something wrong with life. And with their life in particular.
Each way applies a different type of pressure. In the first, everyone understands that there is a right and a wrong. If they try to live morally and become aware that their choices embrace the wrong too often, they may seek a solution that only God can provide. The way that Jesus provided. And that way requires a change of allegiance.
In the second, we need to realize that God has made man to live a fulfilled life. Songs, stories and commercials all show man is looking for that fulfilled life, but does not seem to find it. That's because man was designed to live in a love relationship with God, and any attempt to find fulfillment that does not include this relationship is doomed to failure. So, God uses life experiences to draw attention to the dissonance man feel in his longings for fulfillment and the reality he lives. Man will seek to bring harmony to his internal dissonance. So, he will be drawn back to allegiance with God, and the life he is meant to live.
Monday, October 09, 2006
Friday, October 06, 2006
God’s strategy falls into two parts. The first part deals with satisfying God’s holiness. Holiness is a large integral part of God’s nature. If God ceases to be holy, he ceases to be God.
Holiness is an uncompromising separation and resistance to sin. When man rebelled, he broke his allegiance with God, and now they were separated. Because of his holy nature, God could not have a relationship with man, which was part of God’s purpose for creating man. Man had broken the possibility for experiencing a love relationship with the Creator of the Universe. Now, God looked for a way to overcome this separation and renew the relationship with man, without compromising his holiness.
God’s law of justice meant that man needed to satisfy God’s requirement. He was the rebellious one. But, man broke a relationship he was not big enough to fix. Only God was big enough. So, God became a man. And God became the sacrifice that satisfied God’s holiness.
Now, there was a bridge between God and man. There was now a possibility of renewing the relationship between God and mankind. Crossing the bridge meant man going to God, restoring the original relationship – Creator and created, King and subject, Father and son.
Since, each person was given the opportunity to cross this bridge, and the freedom to choose to cross or not, the second part of the strategy must deal with showing people that crossing the bridge was worthwhile, advantageous and the right decision to make.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Once upon a time, God created the world. It was a perfect paradise. No sickness. No pain. No lack. And God put people in the world. He intended to have a love relationship with them.
Then, an enemy crept in. He deceived the inhabitants of the world and convinced them to disobey God.
There has been a lot of fallout from this one act. Because people rebelled:
- The relationship between God and man is destroyed.
- Man is condemned for his part.
- Disobedience seems to get locked into man’s DNA.
- Man fell into an unintentional agreement with the enemy, giving him a hold over them.
- The enemy becomes the de facto ruler of the world.
- Man is alienated from God, other men, himself and nature.
- All the problems in the world result from the ever-growing ripple effects of this deed.
God’s creation has been warped to its core. And God thinks that it is wrong for the world to be this way. So, He begins executing a plan that will restore the world to the way He created it to be, reverse all the “fallout” and bring it back as part of His kingdom.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
I am not too sure I even like the word "christian" anymore. In the first century, I get the feeling that the word was originally used as an insult. As it was used more, it became more accepted. Now however, in a large part of the world, the word conjures up an image of a way of life, that I don't think Jesus would be pleased with. It doesn't mean that everyone lives that life. There are many wonderful people who call themselves christian. But a lot of people view christians badly, because some people who call themselves christian live in a less than love, gracious, Jesus pleasing way.
I created the blog, so that I could have a place to write down what I am learning. About God, people, realationships, change, prayer, community, growth. You could call it a diary or a journal, but I don't intend to review my day. If I am the only one who reads what is written here, that's ok. Just the fact of writing something down makes it more real. Psychologists talk about using more centers of the brain (reading, speaking, writing, listening) carving an idea deeper into a person's brain. I know that the simple fact of putting "words to paper" has the effect of making it clearer to me anyway.
Hopefully, I will learn more from it. Which is the point. And hopefully, I won't be so totally serious. That's another part of life.