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What’s up Quasi?

 

It is easy to be a friend to Christ when it does not cost you anything. It is romantic to study him in theology class and sing boldly about him in church, surrounded by people who agree with you. Or perhaps you isolate yourself among unbelievers because you like being the only “Christian”, a kind of token spiritual mascot. But the truth is, your real romance is with yourself. With the sound of your own voice. Friendship with the Lord requires much more heart than that. He is not some mystical fashion accessory that beautifies and spiritualizes your reflection. Do you love him? Really? Enough to talk about him where he is not welcome – especially there. Enough to not take it personally and make it about yourself when you are attacked? Enough to support other Christians who are in the trench, in the heart of darkness, day and night, tirelessly ministering to the rejected and broken hearted, while you mingle with those who slander your brethren? Do you love him? Really? Enough to admit that you have never, not really, honoured him. But instead have followed the vain imaginings of your own heart?

“Quasi Christians follow a quasi Christ. They want His help but not His interference. They will flatter Him but never obey Him”  - A.W Tozer

“And so the Lord says, “These people say they are mine. They draw near with their words and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules and traditions learned by tricks of memorization by repetition.” Isaiah 29:13


The Spirit Of Truth

THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH

By Jessie Penn-Lewis.

“When He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He shall guide you into all the truth . . .” said the Lord to His disciples. The name of this ‘Other’ who would come to them the Lord gives first as “The Comforter” – a Person as truly as He Himself was. Another who would “fill His place”, a “Paraclete” – meaning, Dr. Elder Cumming says, much more than the word “Comforter” conveys – “One called in to defend, support, advise, help, and comfort”. All this we rejoice in, for do we not need a “Comforter” in this world of sorrow, and One able to “defend, support, advise”, and “help” us?

But we are apt to forget that with the name “Comforter” an addition to that name is given by the Lord Himself, which defines and limits its meaning. He said, “He shall give you another Comforter. . . even the Spirit of Truth . . .” (John 14:16&17); “When the Comforter is come . . . even the Spirit of Truth . . .” (John 15:26); “When He, the Spirit of Truth, is come” (John 16:13).

The name “Comforter” therefore depicts His work, but His name “Spirit of Truth” describes His essential character; therefore, all that He does in and for men as the “Comforter” He must do in accordance with His character as the Spirit of Truth. If He is ‘called in’ by any believer, to ‘defend, support, advise, help, and comfort’, He can only act in all these ways as the “Spirit of Truth”, defending, supporting, advising, helping, comforting, in accordance with truth, and truth alone.

The essential character of the Spirit of God, as the Spirit of Truth, needs emphasizing at the present time, when we are disposed to think only of Him as the Spirit of Power, or of Love, in His working in the life of the believer. What is the supreme evidence of a man being filled with the Spirit? Some say ‘Power’, while others say ‘Love’; but if we carefully consider the question in the light of the Word of God, we shall see that truth is before Power, or even Love, and that for Power and Love to be truly of God in the believer, it is necessary to have Truth as the groundwork, because Love and Power can both be simulated by the evil one as an angel of light. Jukes points out that the marks of the Divine nature which distinguish it from all counterfeits are first Truth, and then Love. This is surely true of the Spirit of God, for He is Power, and He is Love, but He is first of all the “Spirit of Truth” proceeding from the Father, through the Son, into the world of men.

In the Lord’s last words to His disciples before His Cross He very clearly defined the work of the Spirit of Truth, when He should come to dwell among men. This may be briefly summarised as follows:

1. As the Spirit of Truth He makes disciples know the truth of a) the union of Christ with the Father – “I am in My Father”: b) The union of the believer with Christ – “Ye in Me”; and c) The indwelling of Christ in the believer – “I in you” (John 14:20).

2. This being established by His indwelling, the Spirit of Truth then teaches believers the truth as embodied in the words of Christ (John 14:26);

3. Bears witness to Christ (John 15:26), and

4. Guides the believer into “all the truth” (John 16:13).

Not only truth about God, but truth concerning all things as they are seen from the viewpoint of God – the condition of man, the exceeding sinfulness of sin; the truth concerning the arch-foe of the Son of God – in short, the truth around us and in us as seen by the God of Truth. Man in his lost condition is permeated with the spirit of untruth – the spirit of Satan – who once knew the truth, but did not stand in it (John 8:44).

We generally think of a ‘lie’ as an act of speaking what is untrue, and have not fully understood that Satan’s nature is the embodiment of untruth as Christ Himself, not only in act and in word, but in nature, was, and is, TRUTH. The Lord made this clear in His words to the Pharisees when He said of Satan: “There is no truth in him” ; therefore, “when he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own – nature -, for he is a liar, and the father thereof”. If the whole world lieth in the evil one, then the world of men breathe in, so to speak, the very AIR OF UNTRUTH IN THOUGHT CONCERNING ALL THINGS AROUND THEM, and particularly concerning themselves. “What is truth?” said Pilate, and “What is truth?” men continue to cry, whilst they are still blinded by the fallen life of Adam, full of the poison of the enemy of God, as he blinds the minds of them that do not believe the truth of God. Hence the world is full of men believing untruths about God, themselves, and Satan – even believing untruth to be truth, by the subtle blinding of the foe.

The Spirit of God, therefore, comes into a world enveloped in a miasma of untruth, as the “Spirit of Truth” to reveal the truth and bear witness to the truth, which in its widest meaning we may describe as seeing things as God sees them – for this alone is truth.

In Him Alone

Self-love is not the cure for shame. Amplifying your good qualities is not the antidote to low self esteem. Selectively repeating Bible verses about your worth like a mantra will not release you from the pain and self loathing of your inner world. You can waste a lot of your time fighting this forest fire with your garden hose. Or you can stop looking for the solution in yourself. It isn’t there.

It’s in God alone. Love Him. Love His people. Live for Him. Live for others. I’m not saying that it’s about ignoring your pain or distracting yourself from pursuing healing. But pursuing healing rather than pursuing the Great Physician is futile. Your pain and shame and brokenness will never be fixed and healed in the manner that you think it will or want it to. It won’t.

Pray and seek sincerely to know God and by coming to know HIM you will find that He is the only one who truly knows you inside and out and what He says about you will become law. What He says is final. No further research or affirmations needed. But you must train to hear and know the voice and the word of the Lord.

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” – Jesus

Losing An Argument

Tuesday, March 25, 2014
“I have been found by those who did not seek me;
I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.”

I remember one of the last major arguments I had -  a major battle. I pulled out all the stops. I hit below the belt, I got nasty, I did everything in my power to win. I pleaded, threatened, manipulated, I laid it on thick. But I lost. Big time. By the way, if you’re wondering who my big blow out was with, my argument was with myself.

You see, I had spent about 30 years carefully developing my liberal identity and beliefs. I wouldn’t have called them that, “liberal” was too cheesy and political a word for me to associate myself with. What I was – what I believed –  was so much more…organic than that. My identity was not some childish rebellion against my parent’s conservative religious upbringing. It wasn’t a reaction to anything or anyone, it was truly an identity that saw things the way they were supposed to be. Free. Equal. Inclusive.

You see, I truly believed in what I believed in. I was pro choice – I believed whole heartedly in a woman’s right to choose what she did with her body and I defended her reproductive rights vehemently. I believed that God had no preference in how people lived and loved, God was so above all the trivial human opinion on sexuality and marriage. In fact, I believed that if God broke his Buddha pose long enough to really have an opinion, it would most definitely not be what all these religious folk were speaking on his behalf.

He doesn’t care who you sleep with. He doesn’t care if you have sex outside of marriage – because marriage wasn’t his idea. If however, you think that it’s his idea, then he will bless you with a sacred relationship, he will bless you as you gather 200 of your friends and max out your credit cards to create a ceremony that says this is God’s idea. But it won’t be contradicted by the fact that you’ve been sleeping together for the last 6 years…because God doesn’t care.

He doesn’t care if you have an abortion. He only cares if you care. If you decide to have the baby, then suddenly God will make it sacred. A holy gift of motherhood. But only if we initiate that thought process. If, on the other hand, we decide to abort the baby, then God cares so little, he isn’t even involved in the whole process. But it was most definitely him who sent you that dog or cat you adopted. For sure. He sent you the dog, but not the baby. Unless of course, you think he did, then he did.

He doesn’t care what name you call him. God is too “big” to be contained by any one name. He is above that! There are many ways up the mountain…God is not confused abut his identity, but he is more than happy to let you be. He will reassure you that it’s not confusion, it’s actually spiritual growth – this idea that there are many paths to God. That is in fact godly. Spiritual. Open minded.

God doesn’t care if you mess up repeatedly, or get things wrong about him, because there are no consequences. He is not some petty bully who keeps score, in fact, sin and hell are things that don’t even enter into his mind, they are human constructs, designed to oppress and terrorize the people you happen to be trying to control at the time. God just wants you to do better, try harder and strive for grander, because you would have a much better time on this planet doing so!

But it’s not a choice between right and wrong…as right/wrong don’t exist – he certainly did not create them, it’s really about what do you consider right and wrong? What works and doesn’t work for you? Because at the end of the day…this life, this world, is all just an elaborate Star Trek holodeck – a simulated reality facility or program, a place to experiment, and work out our issues until we get it right. And then we will all wake up to a real reality.

And that is really at the heart of the matter, whether being an atheist or a religious new ager – we can all get along and have this wonderful unity…cough cough….assimilation – because at the end of the day, nothing is hanging in the balance. Nothing eternal anyway. Sure, the ozone’s hairline is receding….the earth is at jeopardy, human suffering is on the increase, tyranny and inequality seem resistant to any of our political antibiotics – but nothing eternal is hanging in the balance. When we die, there are a myriad of possibilities - do overs, oblivion, floating away into a dimension that will not remember the petty lessons of this life….but there will most definitely not be some kind of judgment!! No accounting for yourself. Ok, maybe your life will flash before you and at worst, God will allow you to “feel” the pain you caused…kind of like a final montage of what you could’ve done better and then poof…you’re off into the light.

But – and this where that argument I told you about started! It started with a “but”. But what if there are no do overs? What if there are real consequences to ignoring real truths that a real God has set down. What if he does care? What – if – you’re – wrong?

That was the question that started the war between me and myself. Listen, I’ve argued with a lot of people – but arguing with myself is on another level – there are no breaks and the silent treatment doesn’t work. I get so many letters and messages on a daily basis with people trying to argue with me and insult me and it’s almost like, it’s never occurred to them that I’ve already had this argument.

They think it’s sad that I’ve become this biblical ‘zealot’. They call me a bigot. A homophobe. Closed minded. They stomp their little cyber feet and click away on their keyboards ranting at my brainwashed beliefs.

I get it! I am so down with the people..lol! Really. And I don’t mean this in any condescending or trivial way. I really do get it. I saw things their way. For a long time. I even pursued Christ with that mindset. And there were many teachings floating around out there that neatly suited this mindset.

This world can offer you a Christ sterilized of the Bible. This world can offer you a morality and a spirituality custom made to neatly evade all concepts of Sin, punishment, hell, sacrifice, repentance, salvation and all the things that turn your stomach. This world can offer you a Bible free of the guilt and judgments on your sexuality. You can Google and attend a church tonight that will preach to you about Christ accepting your homosexuality as something not to be repented of and struggled against. This world and the power that runs it can offer you any custom made theology and belief system that will neatly fit into your life as if you thought it all up yourself and live it based on your “experience”. There is no limit to a man’s vanity.

I pursued this. I lived it. I believed it. In the midst of this, something in me and around me haunted and pursued me with this single idea, a question actually: “What – if – you’re – wrong?” That may not bother a lot of people – but it bothered me. I wasn’t satisfied being right “for me”. It wasn’t enough to have “my own truth”.  I wasn’t convinced anymore that there is no such thing as absolute truth - because if I really believed that, I would not have been so haunted by the idea of being wrong. Most of the people who have such a passionate problem with me see it as just my need to be absolutely right. Some perverse power hungry desire to be God, but the truth is, I became haunted by the simple question of “Is there such a thing as ‘truth’?” Can something be definitively true or false?

Ya ya…we all have a right to believe what we want to, but is it true? God doesn’t care what we do – but is that true? There is no such thing as Sin and hell – but is that true? At the time that I was asking these questions, arguing with myself, hoping that I could just sort this stuff out and just move on - getting busy being busy – I did something insanely dangerous - in the midst of my self-argument, against my better judgment, I took the advice of a friend and began praying for this “God” to reveal to me the truth – if there was such a thing. Unfortunately for me, I could not settle on anything temporarily resolved just to quiet the nag in my spirit. I read the Bible, I watched endless podcasts that either validated my beliefs, challenged me or enraged me. I researched. I prayed. I talked with many different pastors, I heard the Gospel, again and again. It wasn’t repetition or self induced hypnosis that did anything for me. I had become immune to brainwashing tactics.

What happened was so ridiculously simple and yet impossible without God’s supernatural divine intervention. It was grace that created the conflict in me to begin with. Grace that allowed me to see that perhaps I was blind. There is absolutely nothing and no one in this world that can show you or convince you that in fact you are completely wrong in almost 100% of what you believe, see and know, without God’s grace.

One day as I was walking down the street, the Holy spirit told me in my spirit that I in fact knew I was wrong – and in the distance and time it took to take another step on the street – I knew. And I cannot un-know. The fight was over, not by being strong armed into some theology or because I got tired of thinking my thoughts, the fight was over because I could clearly see what I had been unable to.

Not one pastor, podcast or blog post can create an opening in you that is sealed shut by the spiritual deadness that you exist in.

Without the Holy Spirit everything that you read in the Bible or study in your spiritual community will produce nothing more than a ritualistic religiosity, or it will produce more ammo in your atheistic worldview. Without the Holy Spirit there can be no life changing, soul saving truth applied.

AND yet- any experience with the Holy Spirit that does not lead you to the word of God, to faith in Jesus, to an inner conflict and conviction of sin and a desire and power to conform to God’s ways – is not an experience with the Holy Spirit.

I heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I heard the call to repentance, I was given an understanding of Sin and Salvation, and nothing happened. I didn’t believe. And then one day, I heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I heard the call to repentance, I was given an understanding of Sin and Salvation and I believed. I heard it and I believed it.

Against all odds, prejudices and resistance – I heard the Gospel and it had the power to save me. I was saved by hearing and believing. Through faith in Christ alone.

The message was not changed, or compromised or pumped up and sugar coated. Changing the Gospel to “win” anyone over is demonic. You will not be winning them over to Christ. As only the Holy Spirit can do that. What you can do is persevere to the end by holding to the truth, the undiluted, uncorrupted Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is foolishness and archaic ridiculousness to those who are headed for destruction, but to those who are being saved, it is the power of God.

I am happy to be the fool I thought believers were. That is one argument I have been incredibly happy to lose. I lost the argument and gained eternal life.

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
    the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” 1Corinthihans 1:18-25

“But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for

“Their voice has gone out to all the earth,
and their words to the ends of the world.”

But I ask, did Israel not understand? First Moses says,

“I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation;
with a foolish nation I will make you angry.”

Then Isaiah is so bold as to say,

“I have been found by those who did not seek me;
I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.”

But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.” Romans 10:8-21

 

holodeck

 

 

Friday, March 21, 2014

“On November 26, 2008, a gang of terrorists stormed the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai, India. After the carnage had left 200 people dead, a reporter interviewed a guest who had been at the hotel for dinner that night. The guest described how he and his friends were eating dinner when they heard gunshots. Someone grabbed him and pulled him under the table. The assassins came striding through the restaurant, shooting at will, until everyone (or so they thought) had been killed. Miraculously, this man survived. When the interviewer asked the guest how he lived when everyone else at his table had been killed, he replied, “I suppose because I was covered in someone else’s blood, and they took me for dead.”
- Ravi Zacharias (From his book ‘Has Christianity failed you?’ p.42)

“For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matthew 26:28

Monday, March 17, 2014

I love God’s sovereignty! All the trolling and stalking by my hater fan base (as well as my lovely readership’s support) has increased this blog’s exposure and visibility to help us reach a new audience worldwide. They’ve helped in my mission….to spread the word about The Word!! Thanks guys. You know who you are! :)

In all seriousness though, just think about that for a moment – really think about the fact that no matter who or what is against you, if God is truly for you – if what you are pursuing, standing for, preaching about is truly His Will…then all the forces of hell combined with all the odds of the world could conspire to stand against you…and not only will it come to nothing, God will actually TURN them around and use them to bless you…oh yes he will!! As He is the sovereign King. All things are under his power and control. All things, good, bad and indifferent are available to Him. And he has a knack for flipping things upside down, for grabbing a curse mid air that was being hurled against you and transforming it into a blessing, so that you and everyone around you can see the goodness, mercy and glory of our God!

“Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it.” 1 Peter 3:9

“If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans 8:18-39

The Path To Freedom

“There is no deliverance from ‘deception’ but by the acknowledgment and acceptance of truth. And this facing of truth in regard to certain spiritual and ‘supernatural’ experiences, means a keen edged knife to the man in his self-respect, and pride.” – Jessie Penn-Lewis

https://www.facebook.com/jessie.penn.lewis

“It has been thought almost universally that the only way to deal with demon-possession is by the casting out of the evil spirit, by some Divinely equipped believer. But facts prove that this method is not always successful, for though the diagnosis of the intruder’s presence may be correct, yet the ground that gave it occupation cannot be cast out; and unless the ground is dealt with, no full relief can be obtained, or change seen, in the majority of cases. In others, when the evil spirit apparently departs, it must not be concluded that the person is entirely free, for it may be that what has occurred is only that a particular manifestation has ceased, and it is not unlikely that another manifestation may appear; possibly not a visible one, or one easily perceived or detected, but recognizable by any who have learned to discriminate between the workings of evil spirits, and those which are human or Divine.

It is possible also to suppress a certain manifestation for a time, and not entirely get rid of it; and the same manifestation may return again and again in different guise, unless the ground is dealt with. In some instances, where the possession is so manifest that the true inner personality of the victim is almost entirely lost sight of, the relief may be immediate: but where the intruder hides himself so subtly in the mind, or body, as to be indistinguishable from the operations, or actions of the person – hidden in some state, or form, apparently natural or physical – the deliverance will not be obtained by “casting out” only, but by the truth being given to the mind, and the volition of the person actively refusing and disowning the ground.

The very first step to freedom is the knowledge of the truth as to the source and nature of experiences the believer may have had since his entrance into the spiritual life, which possibly may have been perplexing, or else thought with deepest assurance to be of God. There is NO DELIVERANCE FROM “DECEPTION” BUT BY THE ACKNOWLEDGMENT AND ACCEPTANCE OF TRUTH. And this facing of truth in regard to certain spiritual and “supernatural” experiences, means a keen edged knife to the man in his self-respect, and pride.” – An excerpt from Chapter 8: The Path To Freedom, from the book War On The Saints.

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