Tag: faith

The Macro and Micro Plan: Free Will vs Predestination

There is a Macro Plan and a Micro Plan and both work together as one:

  • The Macro Plan is the overarching world-wide plan of God which includes things like nations fighting nations, kingdoms, spiritual warfare, weather disasters, armies, domination of one religion over the other, etc. Events of the Macro Plan not only have been prophesied in the Bible but every single one has come to pass and there is not one thing that a man can do in his power to stop the Macro Plan from completing
  • The Micro Plan is the intricate meandering journey of our life which starts with birth and ends in death. We make small decisions which affect the course of our life. For example we choose to buy a business and the plan fails – even though it seems like it shouldn’t have – which leads to brokenness and depression. Yet because of the brokenness and depression we call out to God for help and our lives start going yet a different direction. We are sure that failure was designed to crush us yet we discover, in hindsight the result of the horrible event was something beautiful. The heat from the fire produced pure gold. The pressure from the weight of the burden created valuable diamonds. Although it would appear outwardly that free will has been removed, it is not so. It is in fact free will which brings both the Macro and the Micro Plans to their ultimate fulfillment.

Imagine for a moment observing an ant hill from above. You are planning to stick a shovel under that hill and relocate it (or worse), but watching the ants for a minute shows that they remain quite focused on their work and their lives. Yet, standing above that ant hill is someone who knows more accurately how their future is going to unfold. But they still choose to carry that heavy load up the hill and down again in utter futility.

Imagine again that you walk over a few steps and notice that a few ants have begun to build their home and foundation – a brand new ant hill – in the middle of the gravel road, in a tire track in the road just an arms length in front of the truck that made it. The truck is facing forward and it is impossible for that truck to miss the ant hill when it starts moving. Because you love ants, you grab a big stick and every so gently scrape the ant hill out of the way of the tire. From the ants perspective, God has crushed them and ruined their lives. But we know the truth because we see more than their Micro Plan and have a much better understanding than those little ants. We see the Macro Plan and understand it. We made this Macro Plan.

Also, it is impossible to deny that the Micro Plan of our individual lives intertwine intimately with the Micro Plans of others. How else can we explain these people who pop in and out of our lives? It is undeniable that some seem to be there just to ruin our lives while others are like a life line of encouragement of hope. It is much like how two ants might meet on the way back to their ant hills one day. They were busy doing their busy work but then this random ant from another place and colony pops into their life; sometimes to attack and bite, other times to help carry the load.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose. (Romans 8:28)

It does not say ‘all good things’, but it says ‘all things’ which means both bad things and good things (and neutral things).

A wise man once said that predestination and free will is like this analogy:

A man walks towards the gates of heaven and written on the gate says “Knock and it shall be opened” and then after walking in and looking back at the gate it said on the other side “Predestined before the foundation of the world”

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God’s Slow-then-Quick (STQ) Style

I know.  The title sounds like a Kung Fu special move.  Well, it’s not.

First, watch this to get in the mood:

I’ve noticed the Lord God, being the God that He is has a certain ‘style’.  It seems somewhat disrespectful to say the Lord has ‘style’ but I can’t think of a better way to explain it.  He does certain things a certain way more than once in the Bible and one of them in particular caught my attention.

I was reading about brother Joseph who ended up in the slammer for a really long time for trying to do the right thing.  I mean, he avoided being trapped in adultery (or even the appearance of it) by fleeing the scene and ended up getting imprisoned for a false accusation.  Not cool at all.

But the drama continued.  One day the ol’ Baker, Cup Bearer and the Candlestick Maker (ok the last guy wasn’t there) show up in jail.  Brother Joe correctly interprets their dreams and the Cup Bearer is free to go and promised to promote Joseph to Pharaoh.  No dice.  The Cupster forgets.  And Joseph gets the joy of spending yet more time in the slammer for the same crime he didn’t commit. Very, very uncool.

I was thinking about how much bitterness towards God could have filled his heart and about how many hours he must have spent in sadness and depression over his never-ending jail sentence.

But then it happened.  He was probably sitting there zoned out staring at the wall thinking about how much he wished he could get out of his hopeless life when it happened (underline added):

Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved [himself], and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh. (Genesis 41:14)

I picture the episode looking somewhat like this:

The servants of Pharaoh storm in, yell for him, find him, drag him full speed upstairs, throw him in the bathtub, drag him while he’s still buttoning up his last button and toss him in front of Pharaoh where he promptly interprets his dream and becomes Pharaoh’s right hand man.  Just like that.  Boom.  Done.

Real slow…

SLOW

slow_golfer

then a lot of quick..

QUICK

quick_old_golfer

But that wasn’t the only example of the STQ style.

Right after Joseph we see it again when the entire Hebrew Krew get stuck in Egypt as slaves for over 60 years.  This is real slow if you were wondering.

SLOW

slow_golfer

Then, Moses shows up out of nowhere and over the course of a relative blink of an eye this happens:

And thus shall ye eat it; [with] your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it [is] the LORD’S passover. (Exodus 12:11)

Not even time to pack a lunch or shut off the gas valve or turn down the hot water tank and the Lord has them driven out of slavery and out of the land of slavery.

QUICK

quick_old_golfer

Get my point? That’s the STQ style.

I have not done an in depth study on this, but what I expect to find out in my own life and through the experience of others is that the ‘slow times’ make us aware that the fast thing is from the Lord.  Perhaps if the slow wasn’t slow enough, we wouldn’t appreciate the fast deliverance?  I’m not sure.

But what I do know is that the Lord definitely has the STQ style…

Please reply in the comments to add more biblical examples of the STQ style.

 

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Flat Earth: Why I Started Down This Path

(Audio Version at the bottom if you no like reading)

“I am a scientist and if I can’t back up a scientific fact with scripture, I question it’s validity” – Caroline Leaf

That quote just about sums it up.  No matter what way you slice it, if you believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, you will have to travel down this path with me because the Bible teaches a flat earth.

My position is simple in life these days.  My default position is this:

  • God is true
  • All men are liars

Now that we have that out of the way, here is the expanded list:

  • The Word of God is true
  • The Bible is the Word of God
  • The Bible describes the earth as geo-centric, not heliocentric
  • The Bible talks about the world as being an enemy of God
  • If the world is against God, then all of the worldly institutions that are in the business of teaching are also against God.
  • Public education is ‘in the world’ (and it has also infiltrated the church, of course, and all of its institutions).  Funny side note: it’s very funny to me that people complained when the Lord’s prayer was removed from school.  I was more shocked it was ever there!
  • The Bible teaches of a ‘great deception’ that will come at the end of the world where the whole world, and the weak Christians, will be deceived by the anti-christ in some kind of fraudulent (yet spectacular) world-wide show of pseudo-spirituality that looks somewhat divine.

And so that pretty much sums it up.  I have no basis in the Bible to believe anything that comes from these institutions, other than directly observable evidence.

I also have every good reason under the sun to disbelieve every foundational believe system they use to teach anything that in any wise contradicts the solid Word of God.  Some examples of these systems that I would question by default would be:

  • geologic time measurements
  • gravity
  • anything related to a heliocentric model of the earth
  • etc

This does not mean that I would never believe these things, but it does mean that my default position is 100% disbelief and I will start my journey from that position.

The dialogue about the globe earth would therefore go like this:

A: The earth is round

ME: But the Bible describes the earth predominantly as flat-like so therefore I believe it’s flat until proven otherwise.

A: But what about the pictures of the round earth?  that’s first hand evidence for you.

ME: I didn’t take those pictures, nor do I trust the institutions who did. All men are liars.  It may be part of a great deception.  NASA makes a lot of money to produce photos like those.

A:  But what about my friend who went to space himself?

ME: I didn’t go with him.  I don’t know your friend well.  And where does earth end and where does space begin?  And who decided that?

A: But scientists all believe the earth is round.

ME: All of these scientists came out of the same schools which all teach the same things about the world – much like how many theology students will come out of theology school with a bunch of knowledge about the Bible.  Just because you are taught something doesn’t mean that it’s true.  All men are liars.

A: But you can just take a telescope and look!

ME: Yes, and I have.  The moon appears to be round with craters indeed.  But I don’t believe a man has parked a 1960’s Volkswagen Beetle dressed up as a space ship on it.  All men are liars.

And so the dialogue goes.

The problem is that I don’t have a lot of time to go and do a bunch of science.  This leaves me in a position where I have to believe what is right for the amount of knowledge that I have, while slowly picking away at my own research.

As for me, I will believe God at His Word and I will enjoy the earth that way – in a child-like simplicity.  I will look at the cosmos the same way that Abraham did and rejoice greatly in the beauty of God’s handiwork.

As the stars turn around this incredible stage called our life – all designed by a loving God for our enjoyment in whatever short few seconds we have left here.

In this I rejoice greatly and have much peace.

The Audio Version of this Post

 

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Biblical Church Revealed During Break from Brick and Mortar

A letter written to my friend that I felt was worthy of sharing to the world as well:


Now brace yourself for the rest since you asked!

Interestingly, about this time last year we made a decision to pull out of church-church.  It’s a long story and had nothing to do with personality conflicts or even really theology, but it started with the fact that we could not find in the Bible any justification for Christmas and Easter but instead only proof that they were both pagan rituals brought into the church.  When this was brought up it was immediately shut down.  It started to make us really wonder because those outside of the church also shut us down in the same way.  So it was observed that the unbelievers and the church were in agreement that Christmas and Easter were a good thing – and this is highly troubling if you think about it because the world should be pretty much against all things Christian (except for our good works).  Satan is the prince of this world.  So why was Satan’s folks and the church in full agreement about Easter?  Even though perfect historical facts prove them to be based in paganism?  So that was the start of my questioning about the church-church.

For me, on a personal level, and at every church I’ve attended I’ve been quite troubled by the following:

  • existence of known and habitual sinning within the body of Christ (without rebuke or correction and ultimately excommunication – which is a clear directive in the Bible)
  • a very serious lack of Bible understanding individually
  • programmatic rituals which are not bad by themselves but when coupled with the above provide a perfect framework to spiritual death within the church (a feeling of godliness without the power)
  • the fact that churches meet in buildings called ‘churches’ and people, especially Koreans, will say ‘Do you go to church?” which has an implied meaning of ‘Do you believe that Jesus is Lord and have you received him as your Savior and live your life for Him?” the two questions of which – as you well know – often have no correlation within the church-church
  • the fact that ‘churches’ provide all their financial data, and the data of their members directly to the tax authorities strictly for a worldly benefit (tax numbers and tax benefits).  See this post here as well about that.
  • the bizarre reality of how people will drive all over their city commuting to ‘churches’ when their own backyards are spiritual graveyards and are ripe for the meeting of the believers together
  • and more

In addition to the above challenges with the church-system, I have also personally and very deeply struggled with the lack of teachings about and help towards those struggling with (and yes these are all biblical sins) the following sins:

  • homosexuality
  • fornication
  • divorce
  • pornography

And you can run a few quick tests to confirm:

1. When was the last time you heard a preacher educating about how the sin of homosexuality works (spiritually) and how we are supposed to help homosexuals? Have you ever heard a preacher preaching about how we should reach out to these lost and hurting children of God?

2. When have you heard anyone preaching to/teaching a pre-married couple about the need to abstain from sexual interactions until the covenant is legal?  Have you ever heard them preach/teach that perhaps it’s not even wise to do the worldly version of dating?

3. When have you heard anyone try to stop someone in their congregation from divorcing? Although I haven’t heard of it I’m sure there is a good chance this occurs regularly, but, when have you ever heard of a pastor boldly trying to stop them from committing adultery by re-marrying?  Not ever once have I heard of a pastor doing this yet Jesus Himself said this:


Every one who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery Luke 16:18).

4. When has anyone preached about how to help a pornography-addict, set up a course, etc?  Or have they just preached empty statistics about how many Christians are addicted to it?

You see?  A form of godliness without the power.  This was a big part of my struggle and even began to seriously bother my conscience as God opened my eyes.

A religious ritual void of the life-changing power of the Spirit is what I was seeing in so many traditional congregations around me.

In summary – a massive hypocritical lifestyle that stinks in the sight of God.

And that is just a piece of my spiritual situation.

There is another challenge I have with the church-church and that is that the pastors are doing the five-fold ministry by themselves. We have pastors who are supposed to shepherd the flock, but where are the apostles, the prophets and the evangelists?

And the proof of something being amiss in the way it’s going for the poor pastors around town is that pretty much every pastor I know is either stressed, sick, having marriage and family problems or all of the above. Seriously.  I joke not.  Yes, I’ve heard the argument that Satan is attacking them more, but I’ve started to shy away from that one over the last few years, although I don’t deny that Satan hates pastors.

The great news is that after pulling myself and the family out of the church-church for a while, and dedicating that time to home Bible studies with other couples and families and our kids, things massively started to change including, but not limited to:

  • a greater hunger for the Word of God
  • a greater hunger for and revelation of truth in general (ie. Christmas, Easter, flat earth versus globe earth, evolution vs creation, satanic influence in the school system, etc, etc, etc).
  • a much better understanding of the world around me such as world events
  • a much closer relationship with my direct family
  • an improved relationship with the unsaved members of my family and their circle
  • an increased excitement towards the things of God including holiness, righteousness, wisdom, hard work, diligence, etc, etc)
  • an increased confidence that God is with us individually, inside of us
  • an increased confidence that God is capable Himself, without the church-church to sustain our very life and stamp His seal of approval on me directly with His Spirit
  • an increased hunger to find others who are like-minded and hungry for God
  • an increased intimacy with the brothers and sisters we have found who love the Lord in a similar way
  • an increased desire to do the will of God instead of my own will or the will of others around me
  • more of God, less of us.

In short, we have been transformed through the experience.

We are daily seeking to build the small fellowship we have but we are not willing to compromise on the above for the vain benefit of telling someone which authorized church-church we are part of.  We find no basis in the Bible for this and so we are not going down that road again.

However, don’t misunderstand and think that we are ‘outside of the church’.  It’s quite the opposite.  We ARE the church now.  We are actually doing the stuff we see in the Bible and God is bringing (quite quickly) other believers around to share this with.

It’s good.

And hopefully something here was encouraging to your faith.

I expect that God will do a mighty thing in your life and the life of your new wife.

Be strong in the Lord and faint not.

Seek the Lord and ye shall find Him. Knock and the door shall be opened.

Blessings to you, brother!

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The Journey of Conscience

I was reading Watchman Nee’s Spiritual Man and finally got to the section about conscience.  What an excellent book, by the way, if you are really hungry to  know how spiritual stuff works for God’s people.

In this section, Nee explains the conscience as being a ‘monitor’ of God’s highest will for His children today.  He writes about how conscience will reveal things at different times for different people for different reasons.  While I was reading an analogy came to me which I jotted down.  This analogy really helped me bring the spiritual mechanism of the conscience to a more earthly level.

We are supposed to walk in the light as He is in the light (1 John 1:7).  And since there weren’t cars then and walking was probably a pretty normal mode of transportation, we could say this walking is a journey.  And Jesus also made it clear that the journey will not be an easy one.  He said ‘strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life and few find it” (Matt 7:14).  Now, let’s convert this difficult journey of walking in the light into a road trip into a standard road trip.

Most people today use GPS.  Ironically, I don’t but that’s just an interesting aside.  Perhaps I don’t use it because I’ve observed the behaviour of its users… anyway.  The GPS shows our current position on the journey.  It’s a monitor that we are on the right path.  Let’s call the GPS our conscience.

Behold! A tree has fallen across the road that the Lord God Almighty has beforehand shown us we must travel.  Let us call this tree ‘sin’ because it is an obstacle to our great journey of walking in the light and enjoying perfect fellowship with God.

Note that this pesky tree was *not* shown us on our GPS just hours before.  Everything was bliss and clear sailing.  So far as we thought we were free like the proverbial seagull. Yet now we have halted and this tree must be dealt with.  Although difficult cutting, you have a pocket knife if your glove box and there is no question that with enough will you could cut through it.  You could also use your brain and reason and likely find other ways to remove this thing which is preventing you from staying on the right path.  Let’s call the removal of this tree as ‘dealing with sin by the blood of the lamb and the cross’.

But, lo!  What is that over yonder?  You look to the right and note a very well paved cement road. It’s very wide and a lot of cars seem to be driving down it.  It would only take a second and you will be moving again.  Then, since it’s going ‘roughly the same direction’, you’ll just find your way back to the path that God ordained a little later.  Yes.  Indeed this is a much easier way.

So you turn right.

Life is good.

You turn the stereo back on and start driving.  You are following a few nice cars and everyone in their cars seem like they are really doing well.  These people are the Sunday church people, you noticed, so surely they are on the right path!  But you noticed something else…. your GPS signal is dead.  Completely dead.  It just shows your car stopped back at the tree.

No problem. You are following these other church people so you keep going.  It starts getting dark and there are less and less people on this road.  Within a short time you are alone.  And it’s dark.

You cry out for help and no one responds.  Just a big, empty void.

Then you hear other cries for help.  Go figure… Those church people are lost in the dark too!  They must have been following each other just like you were.

Fear sets in.

How you long for the days when your GPS was assisting you and you had bold confidence that you were on the right path.

How badly you wished that you just dealt with that tree on the road.

 

 

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They Hate Truth and Love Their Fathers’ Lies

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. – John 8:44

I used to ask questions in biology and geology classes in high school.  I was shown the classic images about how we came from biological soup and ultimately evolved into humans.

monkey-man

Such imaginative stories!

But I had no other teachings about other theories.  Nothing.  I didn’t grow up with the creation story and I assumed that there was no chance that a public school would be allowed to teach lies because that would be unethical.

But I was wrong – very wrong.

A few years later someone explained the biblical story of creation which resonated so deeply in my soul as true that I could almost hear alarm bells ringing.  However, I was already deeply mis-educated.  I had already been brain-scummed (as opposed to brainwashed) with beefdirt (as opposed to hogwash) by the system.  The two theories, neither of which have physical proof that can be put into a test tube, can co-exist.  You cannot believe in one and believe the other.  The creation explanation comes from a Book that says ‘every word in here is true’ so to believe that some story outside of the Book can explain our creation is impossible.  Many well-meaning partial Bible believers have tried to mesh the two together only to be left with a watered down faith in the Book they claim to believe.  They take the position that if something in the Bible doesn’t mesh with what they have been taught as truth in school that the Bible is an old piece of literature with a bit of poetry and room for interpretation.  One gentleman, when I confronted him about his position of trying to believe both the Bible and evolution, proposed to me the idea that at the time of the Bible people were ‘more simple’ and so to teach these dense little archaic people about their origins, they had to ‘dumb it down a bit’.  It had to be put into simple stories like the creation story in the Bible.  You see, the people of that time were unable to understand ‘science’ and the very complicated idea that a monkey boy can become a human man if you just add enough zeros to the number of years it takes to do something like this…

???

HAHAHAHAHA!

Sorry, sometimes it just slips out…

The theory of evolution comes from unbelievers who say that we are meaningless dust floating in randomness heading nowhere fast and that God is just the by-product of humans evolving and becoming more self aware.

The two ideas are in stark contrast and cannot co-exist.  But this makes sense because one is a lie and the other is true.

The truth will always resonate as true in your heart.  But sometimes selfish forces will dominate our desire for truth.  For example, you might be working for a big, stale operating system software company and someone approaches you and says “Your company is going down forever.  They have failed to innovate.  They are past the point of no return. They are doomed.”  Deep in your heart, you know it’s true.  You know all the competitors are better, cheaper, hipper, etc.  But your job is so comfortable.  Your life is so stable.  You cannot believe this truth that the messenger is delivering.  Your selfish voices of the flesh cry out against the truth and say “I will not believe it! If I do, I will have to change!” And you continue in your lie until you are ultimately faced with the thing you knew to be true when everyone gets their pink slips.

I recently posted this article that proposed the idea that the earth may in fact be flat.  I was very intrigued by the reactions I would receive from people when I simply presented the idea.  For a few months I was somewhat bothered by how people would begin (and usually end) the discussion with ridicule, but I am no longer bothered.  In fact, I would be surprised if they did not react this way because most people are children of the father of lies – Satan.  That’s right.  I said it.  I didn’t water it down.  Most people are on the wide and easy path to eternal destruction.  They refuse to follow the narrow path presented by Jesus which is the path of truth.  Not that I have actually focused on this yet, but I don’t recall whether or not Jesus referenced the flat or globular earth in his earthly ministry, but if He did, it surely would have been rejected, because the recipients of His truth were of their father the devil and hated the truth.  Think about it. He opened the blind eyes, healed the sick, cast out devils, raised the dead and to thank Him for these blessings in their community they tried to kill the guy he raised from the dead and then whipped him and stuck him on a cross to bleed to death.

People of the world hate the truth.

People of God love the truth.

There you have it. Simple.

Don’t be so frustrated any more when you find something that is true and people reject it.  They have selfish reasons to reject it.  They have much to lose in this world and by even considering most truths they are forced to take a long, hard look at their depleted and empty lives and feel the shakiness of the sandy foundation upon which they have built their lives.

The truth is painfully hard to bear.  It always has been.  It always will be.

And so it is via lies that Satan operates and keeps his children in full submission and obedience even unto death and eternal damnation.  It is via strong lies that the anti-Christ will establish his throne in the earthly system as written in this letter to the saints (underline added):

Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth [will let], until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: [Even him], whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2: 5-12)

Yep, suck it up buttercup.  Not only can you have the lies that you already believe in, but God is going to throw you a little cherry on top to make sure that your insatiable love for lies is satisfied at the Lie Buffet with a big ol’ rich piece of tiramisu lie cake.

So what is this strong delusion?  The Bible predicts in no secret language that a strong deception will be set up for truth-haters to consume as a spiritual nail in their coffin.  So what is on the menu?  What lies have been perpetrated throughout the earth on a global scale which are in clear contrast with the God of the Bible?  I believe there are three major ones and the last one only recently did I discover:

  1. Evolution
  2. Aliens
  3. Globular earth

As I continue to do my due diligence on the round/flat earth discussionN (I’m fairly new), it would seem shocking to me if the flat earth were *not* true based just on the following fundamental reasons:

  1. Every observation from my senses say ‘it’s flat’
  2. The Bible says it’s flat and the focal point of God’s creation
  3. There is incredibly strong opposition to the very discussion of it (much like the Creation story)

All three of these ideas/lies work in synergy.

All three of these work diligently to erode faith in the written word of God.

Observe the symbiosis:

-You cannot have aliens without space, planets, galaxies, NASA, etc

-You cannot (easily) have space, without the globular, heliocentric earth model

-You cannot explain our existence without evolution (or aliens), if you believe in the current heliocentric floating-through-random-space model

If you believe the Biblical creation story:

-You cannot believe in aliens if you believe in the creation story (there is no mention of any other life but ours)

-You cannot believe that we are randomly floating through space because uncountable scriptures show that the earth is a flat circle with foundations at the centre of all creation, with the sun and moon in motion over the earth, and with humans at the centre of the drama.

-You cannot believe in evolution while believing in the God of the Bible because God said He created it all with seeds already in each type of creation – a total contrast from survival of the fittest concept

And so I begin the journey for truth.

I love the truth far too much to simply join the masses for the sake of comfort.

I would rather be lonely in truth then with many people in deception.

Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Light/Life.

Join me in my pursuit of truth.

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A Timely Word to the Church: No Bed of Roses

Of course, many people know the gem that is Watchman Nee’s ‘the Spiritual man’ but sometimes when you are reading parts they jump out as full-on prophecy.  Like any other sceptical 21st century believer, I am very hesitant to call something prophecy but read this and tell me that God wasn’t speaking to Nee:

A Christian must be delivered from every misconception with respect to spiritual life. He often surmises, before he enters the spiritual sphere, that if only he could be as spiritual as his brother how happy he would be! He visualizes the spiritual odyssey as a most happy affair; and so he contemplates spending his days in perfect joy. Little does he know that the opposite is the truth. The spiritual path does not yield any enjoyment to the person himself; it is instead a life of daily fighting. To remove warfare from a spiritual life is to render it unspiritual. Life in the spirit is a suffering way, filled with watching and laboring, burdened by weariness and trial, punctuated by heartbreak and conflict. It is a life utterly outpoured entirely for the kingdom of God and lived in complete disregard for one’s personal happiness. When a Christian is carnal he lives towards himself and for his own 11 spiritual” enjoyment. Of little real value is he in God’s hand. Only as he dies to sin and to his personal life shall he be able to be used by God.  (http://www.worldinvisible.com/library/nee/sprtmnv2/1969c4p4.htm)

Is this not what most believers believe?  Is this not loaded with such timely truth?

I pray that God would open our eyes and remind us that we do not belong here and this is not our home.  After all… We are aliens.

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Should Yoga be Taught in BC Public Schools?

UPDATES: RESPONSES below added

 

 

The following is a real dialogue between a British Columbia parent who didn’t like the idea of their child doing yoga without their permission in what they thought was a secular school.  Note that the parent received no further communication after sending their time-consuming response below:

Original Email written by Teacher to Parent

Mrs. “Grade One Teacher” has expressed that you are concerned about ‘yoga’ done during Physical Education/ movement classes that I teach to the grade ones.

I want to assure you that there is absolutely no religious/nor any teaching of where ‘yoga’ has come from.  Instead, as per what the B.C. curriculum asks teachers to teach, ‘yoga’ or ‘stretching’ as we often  call it, is focuses on stretching our bodies safely to prevent injury. Some of the stretches are a little harder to do than others, and the students are always told and reassured to try out the stretches but to listen to their bodies and not do anything that will hurt themselves.

Part of the curriculum for Physical Education is to talk about ‘healthy living’ and students often talk about stretches that they do when they play soccer, baseball etc.  The terms ‘yoga’ and ‘stretching’ have been
used in class interchangeably, as many students practice yoga outside of school and recognize some of these stretches mimic yoga moves and stretches.

Please let me know if you have any further questions,

Response from Parent to Teacher

Hello “Teacher”

Sorry for the late reply.

Thanks for your email and for taking the time to send us an email in regards to our concerns.  You are correct that we are concerned.

Here is a quick link to show that we are not alone in our concern about the introduction of yoga into the public school system:
http://bismarcktribune.com/lifestyles/health-med-fit/school-adds-yoga-to-physical-education-curriculum/article_824bc80e-4807-11e2-8f30-001a4bcf887a.html

Although I’m sure the Minister of Education wholeheartedly believes what you explain about yoga being ‘non religious’ a basic search will reveal that Yoga is absolutely rooted in Hinduism and eastern religious
practices.  We did not have any participation in the decision to implement yoga in the public school curriculum, nor do I recall being notified that this practice would be included in the curriculum, but I’m
also very busy so it’s absolutely possible that we missed the memo – and it’s not like I’m on the PAC even though I really wish I was.

For us it’s not about whether or not the the historical teachings of the religions are taught or not with yoga that concerns us. In fact, a neutral, unbiased course on all world religions could be quite
beneficial in helping kids understand more about the religious backgrounds of the students in their class and the world around them.t teach about different world religions at home for this very reason.  We have several friends who have turbans, for example, so we explain about the turban and Guru Nanak before we go to their home so they are not without understanding and can even engage in meaningful
cultural-crossing conversations.

However, what is happening here at Gray Elementary is not the teaching about yoga, but instead the *participation in* the physical movements of yoga, which is a spiritual activity involving the union of mind, spirit, and body which is even deemed dangerous by people who practice yoga at
the highest levels.

Simply put, to ask a child to *participate* in yoga, which in its very name comes from Hinduism and such practices, should not be included in a secular school system curriculum. Incidentally, I have several Indo-Canadian friends of said religions who agree with my position, even though they deem the practice to be beneficial to themselves.  They understand and agree that it comes from these eastern religions and are also confused as to its presence in the public school.

Our position is that because we enrolled our daughter in a *secular* school and we are not comfortable with our child participating in non-secular activities such as Yoga without our consent.  This would include Tai Chi, and other similarly rooted activities.  Stretching, inbthe way that a runner would stretch before a track meet, is absolutely fine, of course.  That is, unlike Yoga, is “just stretching”.

We thank you in advance for understanding our position as it pertains to parenting in relation to our daughters participation in school activities.

In a similar way, do not hesitate to let me know if you have any further questions and thank you so much for your hard work teaching our child.

Sincerely,

Parent

Response from School Principal cc’d to ‘unknown other recipients’

Good afternoon Mr. Parent,

Ms. Yoga-Teacher informed me of your concerns regarding the movement class.

Please be assured that if you choose for your daughter not to participate in the stretching class, an alternate activity will be found for her. Please inform either Ms. Yoga-Teacher or Mrs. GradeOne-Teacher if that is your wish.

Regards,

Response from Parent back to Expanding Party

Hello “Principal”,

Thank you very much for your attention to this matter.  I’m very pleased with all the professional response we have received.  “Nice” Elementary is undoubtedly a great school and we are very thankful for all of you and your hard work.

We are still slightly confused, though.  Is it a stretching class “Daughter” will be doing, or will she be doing yoga?

As we have stated, we are fine with stretching (ie. track-and-field).

However, we are *not* fine with yoga. (ie. rooted in eastern religion(s))

It seems as though the two terms are now being used interchangeably as if ‘yoga = stretching’.  But yoga does not equal stretching.  Yoga is yoga. If we say ‘it’s fine for her to do stretching’ and then she ends up doing yoga, this would be a ‘challenge’.

On another note, please rest assured that we are not trying to be a pain.  My dad was a teacher and I know you don’t need extra admin added to your jobs.  However, I think we’ve presented a pretty good case here
on the topic of secular vs faith-based activities.

I should also state that I would not be whatsoever offended if Christmas activities were removed from the menu as well, and diwali.  all for the same reasons.

A kind of ‘solution’ that I was thinking about is to keep this kind of simple that would be permissible:  When “Yoga-Teacher” is doing yoga-related activities, “Daughter” (and anyone else who wasn’t comfortable doing yoga) could be instructed to do “standard track-and-field stretches”.  We would be fine with that.  We don’t want to make this annoying.

And on a final note, how does a parent get involved in the decision-making processes that lead to activities like these being introduced into the curriculum?

I won’t deny that I was pretty shocked that yoga had landed in my daughter’s grade one curriculum without even a consent form…

Thanks again for all of your feedback and response.

Sincerely,

Parent

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Manna: What is it? It is this.

UPDATE: I’ve included a response from a friend to this post in the body of the post below under these neato little == markings, removing some personal identifying items.

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I could feel the heavy burden on my back when I woke up.  It was also on my chest.  I could also feel it pushing on my temples (both sides).  I was being slowly crushed under it – again.  How did this happen?  How did I end up back here again – back under the horrible weight of stress and worry?

Maybe I should have just gone the way of other men.

Maybe the wide road of comfort, ease and abundance is the better way.

Maybe pushing papers for the government or a big company isn’t so bad because there at least I’ll know that my mortgage and bills will be paid and by whom: me!

STOP THE PRESS!

WOAHHHHHH, NELLY!

CONDUCTOR, STOP THIS TRAIN! I NEED TO GO VISIT CAPTAIN JESUS!

And so I went into the Holy of Holies to pray (I call it that because I have curtains that go between my home office and the place where I find myself crying out to God on the floor).

I stopped talking and thinking and got down on my knees and started worshipping.  Within less than three seconds (sometimes He’s fast) He said ‘Manna’.

Manna?

What is it? (Exodus 16)

And what does it have to do with this burden of stress that is slowly sucking my will to live?

Although I don’t have the entire revelation, here is what was shown me in convenient bullet point form for millenial encouragement:

  • no matter how many hours of the day I work I cannot provide more
  • if I sweat all day long and all night long and gather storehouses full of it, it rots leaving me with exactly what I need when the delivery arrives the next day
  • it’s about being in God’s will, not about the easy life that matters
  • the wilderness might not be pretty, but it’s there where faith grows
  • no matter how poor I am, no matter how empty my basket is, no matter how hungry I am, the amount I need always seems to show up – but not always exactly when my stomach growls.

and, the key take away point for me, for today, when I could feel the burden lifting off of my chest, temples and shoulders was this:

  • no matter how much I worry, I cannot add or subtract to the amount of Manna provided because God Almighty knows what’s best for my soul.

Jesus asked this ( Matt 6:27, NLT version):

Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

I write this today in hopes that someone out there who is in my shoes is encouraged.  I’m thinking of one particular friend in Ottawa with whom, although we rarely have time to chat these days, has also chosen the path of most resistance for many years and found himself with humbled and asking for continual help.  He, like I, know that there is something so important to learn on the journey that we have, for many years gone without, worked countless hours more than our neighbours and friends and have ended up with just enough Manna for today.  I’ve always wanted to ask him if his heart, like mine, has become so thankful for the small things in life.  I’ve always wanted to ask him if his relationship with God, like mine, has become so much closer through the journey of learning to trust our Heavenly Father.

And so, brother, I hope that this short post has boosted your faith in Christ, multiplied your thankfulness, encouraged you for the day, and given you hope for tomorrow.

Manna.  It is this.

=========================

Hey bud,

Thanks again for sharing that blog post.
To be honest, I see things a bit differently. Bear with me as I go through some of the things you wrote and offer a different point of view 🙂
The Lord Provides
Full transparency here, and forgive me if I’m repeating stuff I already shared.
A few years back I was pretty fed up with my employment. I had spent a lot of time studying and earning certifications so I could work my way up the ladder and actually help people. Well… when I got there it was just more sales.
As my dissatisfaction grew, my desire to be independently wealthy grew, too, so I made the decision to resign and go it alone.
That was the first in a long series of bad decisions.
In those first few months of unemployment (self employment) I tried various investments and even online marketing.
My wife and I met the Lord in Dec 2011. Shortly after things got to their lowest. We nearly had to sell the house to pay off all the debt I had got us into. Fortunately we were able to work out a debt repayment plan through a government agency here, and as long as we were able to pay X amount back to our creditors each month, we could keep our house.
After that our monthly obligations were more burdensome than ever, and I was still too stubborn to get a job. I was determined to be self employed and had myself convinced that I was very close to having a breakthrough.
I went through many many sleepless nights, crying out to God for help. Every new win encouraged me, so I kept going despite the irrefutable reality that I couldn’t afford to take care of my family.
We were “borrowing” money from my parents on a very regular basis. I was working very long hours. And we just couldn’t get ahead.
There actually were a few times I nearly caved to get a job. My wife kept reminding me to trust the Lord. So I did, and kept going.
Now My Comments:
Maybe pushing papers for the government or a big company isn’t so bad because there at least I’ll know that my mortgage and bills will be paid and by whom: me!
The point you seem to be making here is that if you’re self employed you’re relying on the Lord to provide, but if you were to get a job you’d somehow be relying on your own strength.
I think the danger of relying on your own strength is just as great in either case, but I think that is beside a much greater issue:
In My Case:
I now firmly believe that I was missing a greater commandment and mistakenly thought that I was somehow trusting God more by sticking with self employment.
Here was the reality when I was self employed
  • I was often stressed
  • I wasn’t able to provide for my family
  • I was a great burden to my parents
  • I had very little time with my children and my wife
  • When I DID have time with my family, I was often preoccupied with the demands that come with running my own business
  • I felt like a failure, but didn’t want to admit that I couldn’t do it
  • I wanted to succeed
Here are some truths I have come to understand better in the last year:
  • The professional path I choose does not define my level of trust in the Lord ( Col 3:23-24 )
  • The Lord commands me to train up my children and have a great quantity of time with them (not just ‘quality’ time) ( Deut 11:19, Prov 22:6 )
  • The Lord commands me to be the head of my wife, ministering to her faithfully ( Eph 5:25-30 )
  • The Lord expects that I will make wise decisions and provide for my family. ( 1 Tim 3:5, 5:8 )
I Was Very Wrong
I came to the conclusion that I was no more pious in working for myself, nor would I be any less pious for getting a job.
I realize that my understanding of what it meant to “trust The Lord” was flawed.
I realize that The Lord gives us a very long leash – even enough with which to hang ourselves.
We are expected to be wise. We are commanded to make good decisions. I was using my “trust” in The Lord as a cover all for poor planning and poor decisions. Not intentionally, mind you, but that was what was happening.
With all due respect, love and tenderness, brother, I think you’re missing something when you equate getting a job with seeking a road of comfort, ease and abundance. I don’t think they are the same thing, at all. If you were guilty of that, you’d be guilty of it as a self employed entrepreneur or an office worker.
Rather, could getting a job not be a means to obeying a great commandment? If you were to get a job (and it can be one with purpose, that you enjoy), how much more time would you be able to spend with your family? How much more effective would you be in ministering to the wife and daughters the Lord has entrusted to your care?
“Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.”
What a promise!!
I’m not saying you are NOT doing these things, but I’m just asking how much MORE could you be doing them were you not preoccupied with work? That was certainly the case with me.
Things Have Changed
Last year I decided to finally get a job, and one that I could enjoy. I decided on a field that I was interested in, and thank The Lord I have a lot of fun doing it.
Last June I started to study, and the Lord connected me with all the right people and opportunities to really grow in this field I enjoy so much.
I was looking for work, but I still had much I needed to learn before I could be an effective team member on a team in this field.
Praise God, through a very unlikely turn of events I landed a job at a startup just 5 minutes from home.
Things are still a bit tight financially, and I get up very early most mornings to study, but we’re making it, and it’s getting better all the time. I have no doubt that The Lord has provided all of this.
I get to spend each lunch hour with my family. I have had the opportunity to share Christ with my young coworker, and I sit next to a woman who recently fled her native country to provide a better life for her sons.
My Point
 
Your post did indeed resonate with me, brother. I saw so much of myself in your struggles, and I find it no accident that we share so much in common.
To answer your questions. Yes, I have been humbled, and continue to be most days ;). Yes, I am very grateful for everything. Yes, I love The Lord so much more than before. But none of those things had to come from the poor decisions I made before.
Now I’m not saying you are guilty of the same things I was. But maybe something in my experience matches your own.
I just urge you to reconsider your assumptions. You are NOT being unfaithful by seeking employment if doing so means more time with your family.
============================================
Thanks Brother. This response will help countless people as it has and will myself.  I wholeheartedly agree with 100% of your points and I ask God to rebuke me sharply if I am on the wrong path.  I want to also add that there is a very good book (I have no idea about his faith) called Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki that talks about becoming an entrepreneur within a company.  There is a cool term for it that I forget but if I could do it again, I would probably go this route for the first round: get a nice paycheque every month, win the hearts of the ownership/directors, and then get their permission to start a new venture under the financial power of that company.  What an easier path than the painful path I have taken my family through, as my friend described above.  That said, God is very gracious.  He speaks to us through friends like this and through His word and if we’re listening He quickly shows us whether we are on track or need to readjust our trajectory.  Thanks again for taking the time to respond, brother.  Next time spare me the pain of editing and just post the comment yourself! 😉
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The Most Relevant Documentary of Our Age

I’ve seen a lot of documentaries, a lot of conspiracies, a lot of interesting things.

Nothing comes close to the importance and relevance of this one.

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