Walking with the Spirit leads to revelation of the sort that exposes our fears and religious ideas. It startles me just how few words spoken by the Spirit have the power to throw down temples made by men and reduce them to rubble. Yet long after my own temple to man’s religious system was destroyed in my sight, there remain a number of buttresses and other fortifications within me that stand in opposition to the Spirit and Truth. As He pummels yet another of my religious relics, I’m reminded once more of Yeshua’s declaration in Matthew 24:2 “There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” Whether the physical temple in Jerusalem, or the ideological temples and high places within our minds and hearts, I believe He intends to throw them all down to ruin, that His Spirit and Truth would reign supreme.
It was in laying hands on my wife for healing from chronic leg pain and praying “… in Your name …” that He pummeled another of my religious notions, saying:
“You heal her.”
Say what?!? I have no power to heal anyone! Or do I?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with a separatist mind set in some things – me from Yeshua. Or perhaps I should say, there are ways in which I own the truth of being IN Him, and ways that I see myself as separate from Him. For example, with regard to salvation, I am IN Yeshua without a doubt. Where it comes to healing however, I often see myself on the outside, looking in. Thus on the one hand, I identify as a son of of the Most High; while on the other, my self view is that of a beggar. Continue reading
I was thinking about the “affinity” people have for their “church”, that place where they worship and have vested their faith. Like most believers, I too viewed “my church” with “rose colored” glasses, that is until the day God ambushed me with a single question, asked at 3 different times throughout the so-called “worship service”.
The workmanship of thy tabrets, and of thy pipes (Ezekiel 28:16)
God: My son, what do you see?
Me: I see a pipe organ, Lord.
When I’d answered Him, He replied in a shockingly truthful way.
God: That’s right, this church worships a pipe organ.
His answer left me cross-eyed, as if I’d just been hit across the forehead with a spiritual 4×4. It took years to receive that truth. In fact, my initial reaction was one of disbelief and questioning; “what do you mean they worship a pipe organ”, I protested. Continue reading
Revelation chapter 18 concerns the Lord calling His people out of spiritual Babylon and its ultimate destruction by fire. I believe one day spiritual Babylon will be destroyed, literally, but until then, each of us who have heard and responded to the Lord’s call to “come out of her, My people” (Revelation 18:4), must overcome the strongholds religious Babylon has within us. To that end, the Lord has often challenged me to examine what I believe and throw down to destruction that which is not of Him and His Truth.
One of the most unsettling things I’ve done to examine my beliefs, is to compare the 4 books of the gospel, with the rest of the new testament. Take for example the word “church”; Jesus used it just 3 times (Matthew 16:18 and 18:17), whereas it is used 113 times in Acts through Revelation (KJV translation). The Greek word “ekklesia”, which translators have rendered “church”, actually means “assembly”, yet it is translated “assembly” just 3 times out of 116 occurrences in the New Testament; Acts 19:32, :39 and :41. That passage refers to a gathering of the Ephesians in a civic hall to address the threat that The Way posed to their profitable business of making and selling silver shrines for the idol Artemis (Diana). Continue reading
Often I have pondered the spiritual meaning behind Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead and how symbolically it represents people stuck in a life-less institutional church awaiting the day Christ calls them forth from their religious tombs to enjoy life in the Spirit. Perhaps it’s because I’m a songwriter that I so appreciate the poetic metaphor and the symbolic meanings behind the miracles of Christ.
Consider some of the parallels between Lazarus, a dead man in a tomb with a stone over the entrance, wound in grave clothes and buried under a mountain of fragrant spices to mask his stink; and the unregenerate who are entombed in man’s church where the Spirit that gives life is shut out by tradition and only the spice of programs mask the stench of dead religion. One by one Christ calls out to them saying “COME FORTH” from the tomb, where the living in Christ are waiting to help remove their religious grave clothes and set them free to soar with the Holy Spirit. Continue reading
Jim over at DoneWithReligion.com posted about New Year’s resolutions and how as believers, we are already a new creation, so, what’s to resolve? His post was all the convincing I needed to abandon my resolution to exercise and lose weight in 2016! So thanks, Jim! 😉
Seriously, I had been thinking about a resolution for the new year; specifically, to focus more on Jesus and less on the religious system I left behind. In what I’m sure is the Lord’s leading, I’ve been considering Lot’s wife, who couldn’t keep her eyes on where she was going, but instead looked back and paid for it with her life. While there is no mention in scripture of why Lot’s wife looked back, the Hebrew word for “looked” (H5027*) means to “regard with pleasure, favor or care.” The simplest explanation is Continue reading
Before retiring a few years ago, I was an auditor and analyst. A successful auditor requires a well developed nose for error, i.e., we’re a suspicious lot, but hopefully not to the point of paranoia. Likewise, a good analyst is all about the facts and data. So I suppose it was only natural that my suspicions together with my need for fact-based truth, would compel me to sit down with a large stack of church bulletins spanning several years of worship services, to inventory and analyze the many scriptures that were read for the sermon. My “gut” strongly suspected us pew-warmers were not getting the whole story and so I set out to confirm my suspicions.
It was quickly apparent that the same scriptures were read year after year in the weeks preceding Passover, Easter, Pentecost and Christmas, while entire books and chapters of scripture were never read at all. The first time I attempted such an investigation back in the early 80’s, I discovered that the pastor read just 10 verses of scripture on average, before giving his sermon. A few minutes of number crunching demonstrated it would take almost 60 years** to preach through the Bible at that rate, assuming no scriptures were ever repeated. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking; “how anal” and I don’t deny that. It’s just one of those things us analyst and auditor types do for fun when we’re not digging through the freezer to sort TV dinners in order of the “best used by” date. Suffice it to say, the exercise showed me IF I wanted to know what was in the Bible, I would have to read it for myself. Continue reading
Among the things that continue to grieve me since the Lord first called me out of man’s traditional church, is the observation of how seldom believers ever question whether or not common church practices are even of the Spirit and the Word. For example, most churches refer to the Sunday service as a “worship service” and hold to the notion that “worship means singing” hymns and choruses. Rarely have I seen the idea challenged; believers simply accept the modern worship model as handed down from our forefathers as Biblical and correct.
For the sake of examining the modern “worship service” and in particular singing as worship, let’s lay a Biblical foundation for discussion.
- In the OT, the temple was a stone building in Jerusalem. In the NT, the temple is us (1 Cor. 3:16, 6:19, 1 Pet. 2:5).
- In the OT, the priests were the sons of Levi and Aaron. In the NT, the priesthood is us (1 Pet. 2:5, :9, Rev. 1:6, 5:10, 20:6).
- In the OT, the Spirit did not indwell the people, He resided in the Holy of Holies in the Temple in Jerusalem. In the NT, the Holy Spirit has made His home in us since the Resurrection and Pentecost (Jo. 20:22, Ac. 2:4)