Luke 17: 11-19
And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: And they lifted up [their] voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when he saw [them], he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on [his] face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where [are] the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.
I was reading this scripture to day and much jumped out. Allow me first to paint the picture that appeared in front of me as I read it a bit like a play-by-play:
- There were 10 lepers who were isolated, hurting, sick, down, suffering
- 9 out of 10 (presumably) were Jews whilst 1 out of 10 (presumably but not written) was a Samaritan – a heathen if you will
- Famous Healer Jesus comes nearby and the group of lepers cry out for the benefit of healing
- Faith Healer Jesus does not do a show, neither does he lay hands on them, neither does he even say ‘you’re healed’ but simply instructs them to show themselves to the priest to be healed [side point: At this point would a Samaritan have been allowed into the congregation of the Jews to even show himself to the priest? I’d like to know the answer to this question for full revelation on this scene.]
- En route to the priest, with the Samaritan with them, they are all physically healed from the horrible sickness of leprosy
- *Only* the Samaritan at this point:
1. Turned back towards Jesus
2. Loudly glorified God with no shame
3. Fell down on his face at the feet of Jesus (humility)
4. Gave thanks
- The others did… what? Kept walking to the priest? Did they even go to the priest? Did they get what they needed for life on earth and were now happy because they could fit in with the congregation again? How in the world could these 9 keep walking? How could they not run with the Samaritan back in joy and humility and fall on their faces?
They (the 9) were only healed on the outside, not the inside. And, note what Jesus then said to the Samaritan:
And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole. (Luk 17:19)
He didn’t say “go, catch up to the other 9 who are probably still on their way to the priests and show yourself to the priests’.
No, the Samaritan was complete. Jesus saw that this man, only, was truly healed both inside and outside. He was made *whole* – and it was his faith that made him whole, not his membership in or association with a religious organization.
This also shows you that even through sickness and suffering it is possible that you may not be healed *completely* by God or be made *whole*.
My presumption about the 9 is that they may have gone on to possibly lose their healing, or, face other tribulations by the grace of God that would finally bring them to the place where the Samaritan was: a place of humility and thanksgiving.
The Samaritan (the 1) passed the test.
The 9 failed.
The 1 was made whole.
The 9 were not.
“Arise, go your way [not the way the other 9 are going] as you are healed, my friend.” is my translation of verse 19.
For what good is the healing, really, if the person doesn’t come to a vibrant knowledge of Jesus Himself? As painful as this is to even write, it would be better to continue to suffer in leprosy until death and walk into the throne room of God knowing the true Jesus, than die without Jesus in perfect health.
I know that our loving God does not sit there and enjoy watching us suffer, but I also know that He did not enjoy sitting there watch His only begotten Son suffer on the cross for our sins either.
It may be torment for the parent of a drug addict to stop helping their child financially and watch them suffer so, but for the greater good of their child there is no other way.
The pit of suffering and torment – no matter what kind – seems to be where the human cries out to heaven.
I am torn because I know that God heals and He heals today.
But what good is a physical healing if the person doesn’t change once and for all and believe and be baptized and born again into the new and amazing life in Christ?
I repeat that I am torn because I know that God heals and He heals today.
But I also know that He does *not* heal 100% every time.
There are two camps that most people reside in:
Camp 1: God doesn’t heal today – that was for some other time.
Camp 2: God heals 100% of everyone, every time because it’s God’s will to heal – and if you don’t get healed it’s your faith’s fault.
In Camp 1, you can simply not worry about it and say ‘It’s God’s will’ when someone isn’t healed (and kind of bench the book of Acts) and in Camp 2 you can blame the humans’ lack of faith for the lack of God’s movement in your life.
Both camps are unappealing to me and very unbalanced and I don’t want to be in either of them.
I want to know God, hear his voice and live the exciting life in Christ – whatever that is for me.
“What do you expect? Sinners sin.” – Unnamed Pastor, 2001
Struggling with disappointment in others and in myself seems to be a never-ending theme in my life. Deep in my heart and in my mind has always been the very keen awareness that there does exist somewhere perfection.
The concept of perfection is set deep in all of our consciousness. We all know things were supposed to be perfect but they aren’t. Some people seem to be able to cope better in this imperfect world whereas people like myself take imperfection very personally (and sometimes hard).
In myself, I have a strong desire to live in a very perfect and systematized world where I go to the cupboard, open it, and find exactly what I need and instantly because it’s perfectly organized. When I leave the cupboard, it should close by itself because why would a cupboard that doesn’t close itself even exist in a perfect world? It simply wouldn’t. I desire also that the food items in the fridge would be in a perfect rotation (like what you would have in a retail environment) so that old food moves to the front so that food wastage is reduced to zero. My alarm would always work perfectly and I would always be up before 4am so that I could maximize the day – reading my Bible and spending time in prayer so that I would then have the strength to go to my wife and kids, and love them with all that I have – encouraging them and being a great inspiration to them.
I would then start my day and I would call people, leave them a message of value, and they would call me back when they got my message. The suppliers that I work with would supply everything on time and the communication would always be predictable. Inside the company, everyone would be on the same page and things would never have to be repeated twice because even children don’t require that kind of babysitting usually. One email sent would conclude the matter and I could move on. Balls would not get dropped because everyone else also wants a perfect world, surely. Surely it’s not just me who wants a perfect world and a world without fights and tension.
In all facets of life, when something is communicated transparently and clearly such as ‘this is very important to me’ then no person would throw that aside and do exactly what would upset or hurt me because I have clearly explained to them how to not upset or hurt me. I made it impossible for them to hurt me…
Yet everything and everyone is broken.
Broken, broken, broken.
Imperfect, screwed up and lost.
Yes. Including me – as much as I despise the thought of being ‘one of them’.
How can I possibly live like this?
How can I go on?
How can I not quit and get into despair and depression?
Everything is so, so broken.
Thankfully, there is hope and with this hope, I write the rest of this really to encourage myself. I hope that as I write this next part that someone else also benefits from what I believe will be deep revelation.
You can (and should) read about how there was a time when humans walked in the earth in perfection. They didn’t fight, they walked in the cool of the day with God and they had dominion over nature. Things were perfect.
But all men are sinners, thanks to Adam/Eve making a poor life choice. Here is exactly how bad it is. Read it. Soak it in. Really get a grasp on this reality:
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat [is] an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps [is] under their lips: Whose mouth [is] full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet [are] swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery [are] in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes. … For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:10-18, 23)
And so we have a pre-programmed hunger for that Garden of Eden perfection, yet we live in broken vessels full of wickedness. Here is how we live now:
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: (Romans 1:20)
We *know* God is out there. And we *know* He is perfect. His creation all around it *proves* it beyond the shadow of a doubt.
Even our own minds have gone dark:
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. (Rom 1:21)
And so this life remains a balance between grace and longing. We long to be with our Creator in perfect perfection forever, yet we need His grace to get there. Once we have this grace we can then possibly have the grace required to deal with others around us. Once we realize this incredible brokenness and weakness we are living in, it’s very difficult to expect others to be perfect. In fact, you would be downright surprised when they get anything right, or do anything good.
I’ll never forget this one time when I approached a pastor to vent my incredible disappointment towards someone. He asked me “Is he a believer?” I replied “No.” He then said the most simple thing that has helped me ever since when he replied back “Sinners sin. That’s what they do.”
He was perfectly right. Our very nature is full to the brim of sin. Our only desire is wickedness and selfishness and our programming code is so messed up that all we know to do is wickedness.
Lately, I have decided to make this whole thing much more simple for myself. When dealing with myself and all the disappointments I have in myself, I’m going to remind myself that I’m not perfect, and that although it’s ok to long for perfection, it’s not ok to expect it on earth. I’m also going to spend more time asking God to totally change my nature. I know that it is a biblical promise for this change, and I need it real bad. The more that God changes my nature to be like him, the more grace I will have towards myself and others. Here is the promise onto which I firmly grasp:
Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Until then, I’m going to simply one step further. I’m going to look at every person, no matter who they are and their background or current status in the world and say:
“Look at this poor, broken vessel. How much God loves this person and how much God wants to start the work of transformation him/her! But this person is broken and unable to do even the things they want to do. They, like me, fail themselves daily and others. When they fail you or disappoint you, never forget they are broken. God, help me to love them just as they are and help me, a broken vessel, deal with them the best I can with your strength.”
A to the MEN!
(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
- anything related to a heliocentric model of the earth
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
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:
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.
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!
Let us continue our journey towards truth – whether hard or easy.
Did Jesus clearly ‘know about time zones’ and ‘talk about time zones’? Let’s take a look at the Bible in Matthew 24:36-42 and Luke 17:33-36 (pasted at the bottom for your convenience):
The argument against the flat earth model with these scriptures is that Jesus is ‘clearly talking about time zones’ which therefore implies that Jesus knew about time zones and therefore was heliocentric in his cosmology (that was a partial joke). I believe this argument is very weak and assumes on scripture that isn’t there because Jesus did not say ‘time zones’ or refer to them at all. The bullet points of what he is saying in these scriptures are:
- some people will be in the middle of what they are doing (sleeping, working, whatever) when it happens
- it is a unified event at one point in time
- no one knows the day or the hour
- In Matthew it doesn’t specify daylight or dark hours but calls it ‘day’ which has both light and dark hours in a 24 hour day
- In Luke it specifies both day (Luke 17:30) and then a few verses later night (verse 34)
Instead of assuming that God is talking about a globe earth time zone it would be better to assume only what is written which is that the coming of Jesus will occur while people are going about their daily lives.
In addition, when these scriptures were presented to a few people unbiased on the helio/geocentric models) around me as ‘proof for a time zone globe earth’ they immediately said “Well how do they know that the women aren’t grinding at the mill on a night shift?”
The answer is ‘we don’t’ and ‘they could have been’.
Because Jesus isn’t focused on cosmology in these scriptures but instead warning us to be ready wherever we are and in the middle of whatever we are doing.
Plus, these scriptures work just fine on both a globe earth and a flat earth model. In the globe earth it’s a time zone but on the flat earth the sun has simply moved away so it’s dark on one part and light on the other.
36 But of that day and hour knoweth no [man], no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. 37 But as the days of Noe [were], so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 41 Two [women shall be] grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. 34 I tell you, in that night there shall be two [men] in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. 35 Two [women] shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 36 Two [men] shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
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.
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.
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…
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:
- 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:
- Every observation from my senses say ‘it’s flat’
- The Bible says it’s flat and the focal point of God’s creation
- 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.
Music – it’s just so personal.
Musical Theory Crash Course – What is Music?
Let’s, for a second talk about music on a secular (wordly) level. It’s composed of melody, harmony and rhythm. Theoretically, then, a computer can write a song by adding all of these elements in some way and create ‘music’. And computers can and do this. On a secular level, it’s actually pretty good. So let’s be clear that music can also be 100% impersonal.
Genres are really just a ‘tendency’ of one or more of the three components above to follow similar patterns. I happen to really like reggae as a genre and the reason is syncopation or ‘off beat’ rhythms. Instead of a typical rock beat which goes:
So ‘reggae’ would follow a ‘tendency’ to do that or similar rhythm and would therefore be considered a ‘reggae rhythm’. There are, of course, other elements like the place where the bass comes in which is so different from standard rock as well.
And don’t think that church music is without genres and this is part of the discussion of this blog post. But if you were to step back there are two major ‘church genres’: the hymn and what Koreans call ‘CCM’ or what English speaking countries tend to call ‘Praise & Worship Music’. Now, on that topic, let’s start this blog with some FUN! Because I’m all about fun whenever possible, even if people get upset.
Note before clicking: do *NOT* go to the red URL because it seems to go to some very potentially *bad* places, although I haven’t researched nor will I.
Is it possible to make worse music for God? It’s music like this that has turned a lot of people away from Jesus I think! What the heaven genre is this? “Mullet Praise”? Dear God have mercy…
Let’s stick with this fun theme and watch another one, shall we?
Note before clicking: Based on my own research I cannot support Amazon (who owns Audible) or Facebook, so please do not support what he is selling until you have done your own due diligence.
How to write a perfect “Praise and Worship Song” (CCM):
This same guy made this similarly funny video.
The Problem with Christian Bands
But this topic of music is not actually that ‘funny’ in the church. I heard a statistic that I have never been willing to research myself but that I believed immediately upon hearing which went like this: “Music is the number one cause of all church splits”. As soon as I heard it, I believed.
When I became a disciple of Jesus I was coming from a rock and roll garage band kind of background. I was the typical teen with the guitar and amp and even made a little headway with our little band. Although music was, before I met Jesus, my god and idol, when I came to the church I realized that music was still important. Ever since then, and it has been over 20 years now, I have wanted to take a deeper look at what music is, what it should be, and why it’s so impacting. This blog post is supposed to just whet the whistle on the topic and hopefully spur some comments from people around me and out there so that I can build on the study and leave something useful out there for the body of Christ.
We’ve had some laughs, we’ve drunk some milk, but now let’s get into the meat (even though I’m trying to be a vegetarian). A Korean sister in the Lord found this video. I searched both high and low trying to find it in English because a) I want to know who this dude is so I can give him some credit and b) I desperately want to watch part 2 of this series. Anyway, if you speak either English or Korea, this video should be amazingly beneficial to you on this topic. If you know who this guy is, please throw some comments below and let me know:
Details about music, genres, right, wrong, harmony, melody, rhythm as it pertains to the church and worship
But for me, it didn’t stop there. There is more to discuss. Here is a good video to watch where a hip hop reggae Christian artist dude asks a very important and personal question: Why do some churches reject his music? Please watch especially the response from Ravi Zacharias at the end.
Why do some churches reject my music genre?
The first speaker answers with a very bold and, in my opinion overly generalized way when he said ‘If you reject a certain kind of music there is something wrong with you.” I totally disagree. There may be very good reasons to reject a certain kind or genre of music as we shall hopefully study over the next few months as I find time.
He also mentions the idea that ‘you can reach people with music’ and his implication is therefore ‘so you should use music as a tool to reach people’. I am now of the opinion that this is a very dangerous position to take because I agree that music is, at the very roots, a tool: a tool of expression of the soul, a motivation tool, a tool of influence, a tool of worship, and many more applications. But if a tool is powerful, the person using the tool must understand what the tool is, the benefits and dangers of the tool, the right and wrong time to use the tool, and essentially be well grounded in the usage of said tool. To just throw a ‘Christian band’ in front of your church and ask people to participate in whatever they lead you to do is, in my opinion, opening yourself up to some problems. Refer to the ‘Problems with Christian Bands’ video above.
I believe that Ravi’s answer was more grounded and has within it the core issues that need to be addressed when discussing music.
Music is the Language of the Soul
Ravi said ‘Music is the language of the soul’ – and how correct he is. But this brings us to the most fundamental problem in the church today: no one knows what the soul is, let alone that there is a difference between the soul and the spirit! To get immediately educated on the topic, I recommend that you go and buy Watchman Nee’s “The Spiritual Man”. I regret so deeply that I had this book on my shelf for nearly 20 years and never opened it until now. Now and only now things are starting to make sense in the world as this teaching of body, soul, and spirit comes alive.
What is the Soul?
As a quick snap shot, the soul is composed of the mind, the will, and the emotions. Simple as that. But as it pertains to music, you will note that *unsaved sinners* all have a mind, a will and emotions! And herein lies the greatest danger – what is the *spirit* behind the music? Is the person leading you into worship even saved? Are they born again? Are you sure? Or, are they leading you down a pathway to *their soul*? And who is the master of their soul? Is it Jesus? Do you know? Are you sure?
I’m not going to pretend to scratch the surface of this topic but I hope that up to now I have spurned some ideas and that we will be able to walk down a very deep path towards truth on this topic of music in the church and in worship.
I’ve been a professing disciple of Jesus for about 20 years. Prior to meeting Jesus personally, I had seen an Anglican version of Him. It was a ritualistic cookie cutter machine of religious gymnastics. I realized I didn’t have what it took to become good at this sport so I left. When I really met Jesus it was through a group who preached that I had to be ‘born again’ to be saved. Now this was different. This had something that stirred my very soul. This had some truth that my soul knew was right. And so I got born again according to the playbook of many other folks who got born again. Anyway, enough of my background. I mention it only to say that I’ve seen the very ritualistic form of religion as well as the more evangelical form of it. And here’s the part that’s going to ruffle some feathers and backstroke some cats (just made that up):
The Jesus preached to me since my birth is *not* the Jesus I see in the Bible.
And now let me make this a bit more personal for you:
The Jesus you think you know may be a form of dead religious gymnastics, not Jesus the God-Person-Saviour-Christ of the Bible.
or, let me put it a bit more cool-jazz style (start slow trumpet in dark urban alley):
Whatever religious ‘thing’ you’re doing, might actually be *preventing* you from truly knowing our Heavenly Father.
It’s time to take a step back and evaluate where we really are in our relationship with our Heavenly Father and I’m going to help ignite the process by showing some things about Jesus in the Bible that might surprise you.
Jesus Never Fits the Religious Gynmastic Programs
1. Jesus pardoned sins while walking the earth
When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. (Mark 2:5)
Everyone knows that Jesus healed people. This is exciting and fine. But Jesus, in front of the ‘church of his day’ (the synagogue) declared that He had the power of God when he forgave the man his sins. Shocking would have been an understatement for anyone standing nearby – much more shocking, if you think about it, than the fact the paralysed man stood up and walked. The healing was merely proof of his former shocking words. How many times has your church preached this part of Jesus?
Jesus spent time with sinners
And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? (Mark 2: 16)
It would have been considered extremely poor religious behaviour for Jesus to be spending time with the unclean heathen. But for this reason did Jesus come – to heal the sick. Healing the sick offended the religious folks. This Jesus was offending them.
Disciples of Jesus didn’t fast
And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast: and they come and say unto him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not? (Mark 2:18)
The Pharisees fasted. Even the disciples of John the baptist fasted. Anyone who was part of any religious team fasted! But not Jesus’ team. They walked to a different beat. This Jesus simply didn’t feel the need to fit in with what was going on. This Jesus knew who He was and didn’t derive his identity from approval of religious teams and their coaches and their board of directors.
Jesus worked on the Sabbath
And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn. And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful? (Mark 2:23-24)
According to their rules and regulations, one wasn’t supposed to work on the Sabbath. And here is Jesus ‘breaking the rules’. Or…. was He? Is it possible for the one who made the game and its rules to break the rules? Jesus was declaring that He was not part of the religious game but instead the Maker of the game. Surely, this rocked their religious boat.
Jesus healed on the Sabbath
And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched [it] out: and his hand was restored whole as the other. (Mark 3:5)
The religious teams considered an act of healing to be ‘work’. They were so addicted to the comfort of their religious systems that they were unable to even desire to see a man with a withered hand healed. Their desire to see the cold rules of the law followed to a tee was stronger than the desire to see a suffering person’s pain and burden healed.
The above five events pulled from the Gospel of Mark really require us to sit back and take a look at our own lives. Pretend just for a moment that you are part of a synagogue of Jesus time. Let’s pretend that the ‘synagogue’ is called a ‘church’ for fun (it’s just a name of a gathering after all…).
You find out that a certain miracle-worker named Jesus has showed up to town and really offending the churches. Some are calling him a blasphemer, some are calling him a heretic and a cult leader. This Sunday he and his crew show up to your church meeting and walk in. In the middle of the well-planned sermon Jesus puts his hand up and asks why 80% of the males in the group are in bondage to pornography.
An uncomfortable silence follows and the males squirm in their chairs.
Then Jesus asks why there is over a 50% divorce rate amongst you.
Further awkward silence.
Then he asks why there are those participating in holy communion who have wicked lives behind the scene.
Now here is the question I want you to really think about. If the above were to happen today, do you think the Shepherds and the Sheep of your group would:
a) repent in bitter sorrow and weep over their condition or
b) kick this preacher out the back door for rudely speaking out of turn and mucking up their flow
I want you to think about this. Really.
But it doesn’t stop there. The Jesus that I see in my Bible also said this:
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. (Matthew 10:34-35)
He also said this:
But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and [that] he were drowned in the depth of the sea. (Matthew 18:6)
And the list goes on.
I hope that I’m mistaken, but I’m guessing that the Jesus above doesn’t match up with the Jesus being preached to you. And that’s why you are in permanent bondage and your life is dark and dreary. Don’t think I haven’t been there before nor think that I’m fully out of the religious forest.
But great news, folks. Jesus is not a religious cross-fit program. He is a Person – and the most amazing, loving, forgiving, life-changing, freedom-providing One I have ever met.
Do not accept spiritual mediocrity.
Do not accept a program to substitute a relationship.
Do not accept a ‘form of godliness’ and deny the power of God.
Decide today that you will *know* your Heavenly Father by knowing His Word yourself.
Turn off the TV.
Turn off the news.
Turn off your cell phone.
Bow the knee.
Our Saviour has come.
He awaits at the door.
He is knocking.
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.
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!
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’.
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.
- 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
- 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 )