A Dialog of Faith
by Bill Douglass

I: it seems to me that religious people are...  weak-minded and just use thier religion as a crutch to get through their life.  And there has been so many wierd, abusive things done in the name of God and Jesus, that its really sometimes hard to believe in the God they portray.  They don't support ther own witness very well.


J: I agree that many people have failed in their attempts to live by thier faith in God - just as many people fail in representing their country-by being a corrupt politician,  or thier company - by being a bad employee.  That doesn't necessarily invalidate what they are representing - it just says they arn't committing themselves fully to that representation: they arn't all what they say they are.  


I would like to say a few things about this.  Number one, a person who truly believes in God and who basis their whole life around that belief - namely a faith in Jesus Christ, in many ways appears out of the ordinary in todays world.  Wouldn't you agree that the majority of people today do not actively and openly demonstrate a sincere and hopeful faith in God by their lifestyle? Now the nature of faith - true faith, is that it is not just something a person puts on and off to perform a function at a certain time.  In other words, its not just a religious ritual which is performed once a week and then forgotten about the rest of the time. Do you get what I am saying?


I: Yeah, I guess..


J: If I have a firm conviction within me that our country is shortly going to be invaded by another - lets say I was privy to some information which indicated that this was going to happen - unless I'm an idiot - or I don't care about my life - I'm going to make preparations for this event.  I'm going to do whatever I think is necessary to protect me and my family, my neighbors, my possessions, etc.  RIght?


I: Yes, thats obvious.


J: Okay, so people who have faith in God and in what He says in the same way go about preparing and living according to the information they have - information which most people - at least by thier everyday actions, don't have or don't believe.  


I: So, what does this mean?


J: I said that to explain the point that those who believe in God will appear peculiar to the rest of the world.  If you have heard of Noah in the Bible, God told him to build a boat to save himself and his family because of the catastrophic flood which was going to come on the earth. 


I: Yeah, I remember that story


J: Noah looked very stupid building a boat since it had never rained on the earth - but he was operating from different information - he believed, or had faith in, what God had told him.


I: But there are a lot of people who say they are Christians who don't live much different than anyone else.


J: Thats true.  There are a lot of people who say they heard God, but only a few are building the ark.  Many people do this either because they know that its true but they get tempted or sidetracked or shipwrecked off their course by the forces in this world and their faith isn't strong enough to sustain them.  That doesn't mean the truth isn't true, it means they didn't hold to it. 


[And there are those who become decieved into using the truth to manipulate people and to gain material possessions for themselves.


But that doesn't mean that God  or his truth is invalidated, nor is the message of Christ.  But as it was back then, so it is today that people who bill themselves as the religious leadership - Gods chosen - have, through their hypocrisy and self-righteousness, cast a bad name on the God they supposedly represent.  The Bible says this "Gods name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you."(referring to those religious leaders who were more concerned with keeping the letter of the law and in recieveing accolades for themselves - who considered themselves teachers of the law yet by their lifestyle broke the law).  Does this discredit God?  In the eyes of many it does, and it hinders someone from finding God through "traditional " channels.  Jesus spoke of the Pharisees who travelled far and wide to make one convert and then made him "twice as much a child of hell as you." Jesus had little tolerance for religious bigotry.]  


[I: So why should I let anyone else tell me how to live, or that I better change because God's going to kill me?  You can't believe anyone today.  Everyones two-faced, manipulators, just out for number one.


J: I agree that we shouldn't innocently accept everything another person tells us just because he claims to be an authority on something.  To the degree that I do this, I am weakened in my own faith In God, and bound to that person.  Everyone knows about the lunatics who set themselves up as leaders (political, religious, etc.) in order to manipulate people toward the fulfillment of  thier cause - hitler, mao se tong, stalin, japanese emporers, etc - in this century alone millions have been decieved and destroyed by being decieved or coerced into putting their faith in another person and a destructive ideology.  But this is not like having a faith in the one true God which bring a positive hope to a person.  In the Bible it says this: "that he who comes to God must believe that he is, and that he rewards those who diligently seek him."  So true faith in God begins within someones own being, when one has faith that God exists and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him. My faith, or anyones faith, does not have to depend on another person. 


No one told Noah to build a boat - he heard it from God himself.  God does use people to speak for him - thats how its always has been - actually, people have wanted it that way.  God uses prophets to speak to people when people have gone so far away from him that they cannot discern him speaking any longer. 


Think about this: If God tells you to do something and you don't do it.  Who are you going to blame - God?  But if a man who calls himself a prophet - one who speaks for God - tells you that God wants you to do something and you don't want to do it, you'll just discredit the prophet somehow by saying he didn't hear from God or that he is a phony because of some inconsistency in his life. They are looking for excuses not to believe in order to live they way they want and be their own god. And there are a lot of people who would rather let someone else do their thinking for them - they would rather be led along.  People who are brainwashed may make good servants for a particular cause, and they may live in the comfort of their own delusions that they are serving God, but they will never truly be free to discern truth, and believe for themselves what Gods will is.


[move up]


I: So I can have my own faith in God - like I do now - without having to conform to someone else.


J: Its true that you can have your own faith in God without having to listen to anyone else - as long as that faith is based on the truth.  There is one God who has real attributes and who has a will for humanity and a way in which he speaks to humanity.  It is up to us to conform our ideas to Gods, not to form fit God to meet our ideas of who we want him to be.  Many people are living by their own ideas about what God requires of them without really seeking God to find out if their ideas are right- we all have done that at one time.  


Think about this.  All those people in Noah's day went about their business as usual - they probably all said the same things: "Why should i believe what Noah says ?  Why should I be a fanatic, and conform my lifestyle to his?  Noahs a lunatic, building a boat when there is no rain, I don't think Gods going to destroy the earth, why would he?  " In other words, they lived by their own ideas about God - which is what most people do - but those ideas wern't based on the truth.  The truth at that particular time in history was that God was going to destroy the earth.  Their willful ignorance cost them their lives. If there had been another person of that generation who was sincerely intent on hearing what God was saying, he would have heard God, just as clearly as Noah, warning him to ready himself for the impending disaster.


I: I just try to do whats right and mind my own business - whats wrong with that?  [I'm just tired of the same old routines and failing to get ahead.  I wish God would just give me what I wanted for one time.  I work hard.]


J:   Thats a good point.  You say that you have your own faith in God by which you work hard and mind your own business.  Thats fine.  But you think also that God is stifling you from getting ahead.  Do you think he is trying to divert your attention towards something other than what your plans are?


I: I don't see whats wrong with just trying to get ahead in life and get a few of the things which make life easier.


J: I'm not going to argue either way but I will say what I said before.  Most people in this world live by thier own ideas about God - most are firmly convinced of what they believe - but, and you must agree - the sincerity and fervor with which people believe doesn't mean they are right.  They might be going in the opposite direction of what God wants.(dictators, radical islamists, terrorists)  Think about Noah again.  The people of his day had reached such a level of violence and perversity that God was ready to wipe them off the face of the earth.  But to them, living in that time, I'm sure that it did not seem as if they were all that perverse and evil because they had grown accustomed to it as their normal way of life (and because we have a remarkable ability to justify our behaviors to ourselves). They had been raised by the behavioral standards of society which, though they were good enough to the people of that day, fell far short of Gods unchanging standards.  It was only Noah, whom the Bible says was truly a righteous man - one who obeyed Gods laws, not societys standards, who saw the need for recognizing and listening to the voice of God and who could see that the behavior of the society around him was bringing an inevitable judgement from the one just God.  But to anyone else of that period, they would probably say: "I don't see whats wrong with just trying to get ahead - I don't see whats wrong with just doing what everyone else is doing"  And yet the Bible records that “every inclination of mans heart was only evil all the time”.  They had fallen so far from Gods ideal for the way people should live, had grown so hardened to the voice of conscience and reason - generation by generation - that they had no clue, no reason to expect judgement to come.  They were beyond redemption. A pitiable and fearful state – one we are headed for in our own day and age. And God held them  accountable, as He will hold us.


I: If they didn't know any better, how could God judge them?


J: God did not arbitrarily one day decide to cruelly wipe them out in a fit of rage.  I believe that generation after generation men had become increasingly hardened to Gods ways, more and more evil, less sensitive in their discerning between right and wrong.  And God was speaking through the conscience of man, and through those who knew of Gods laws through written tradition, trying to persuade them to change their ways.  But as it happens, a man must internally make a choice to either soften his heart or harden it against the voice of God and against his conscience.  People are very adept at hearing something with their ears and yet pretending they don't, simply because they don't want to hear it.  Most people, in moments of honesty, know exactly what things are morally right and wrong - its because every person has been given a conscience and because the truth of God  is placed inside every person.  But when people continually ignore this guiding influence of right and wrong, they detach themselves from that truth inside them, and if they continue to do the opposite of what is right, they become dead to it, until it no longer exists in them. The vaccuum is filled with all kinds of evil. You can picture  a hardened criminal whose expressionless eyes are frozen in a permanent scowl as an example, but in truth, we can all become like this to some degree, if we don't continually seek to do what is truly right, remaining sensitive to our consciences, and resisting the flow of societys evil ways.  The Bible speaks of people becoming seared in thier consciences, and says that people "supress the truth in unrighteousness", meaning they continually deny the voice of right and wrong, of reason itself, and continue to do the things which bring destruction on themselves and those around them.   This accuratley describes the condition of the society we live in.  But when people go further, reaching the point of denying that there even is a voice of right and wrong, that there is no difference between the two, or that right and wrong are up to each person to decide for themselves, they have reached a point of choosing to live for their own destruction.  The Bible says that "since people did not think it worthy to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to all kinds of evil practices.” In other words, since they gradually yet consciously chose to ignore, then reject truth, he gave up trying to work with them, trying to convince them, trying to warn them to change... at this point it says that "they have become full of every kind of wickdness, evil, greed, depravity,- though they know that such things deserve punishment, they not only continue to do these things, but wholeheartedly approve of those who do them."   What I think of is the homosexual activists who, dieing of aids themselves, are violently militant in recruiting others to join them in wholehearted acceptance of this lifestyle. That this perversion has become accepted as an alternate lifestyle by many in america today shows that the natural reason of the senses themselves, apart from any traditional or "passed down" knowledge of God, has been discarded by many.  The consequences listed above occur when people do not value the knowledge of God - do not think his knowledge worthy of retention.  And so lies and all kinds of evil will come in to fill the void.


R: What about people who havn't heard about God or know what he requires?


J:A person who never  heard of God should have enough sense by observing the world around him- the natural order of creation - [to realize that male was made for female and vice versa,  and that any other way is literally a perversion of that order. But because of the terrible insensitivity of our society, many don't have that sense within them.  ]


 This was the situation in Noahs day. 


R: So what about homosexuals - why did God make them that way.  And do you think you're the only "normal" person in the world?


J: First, I never said I was better than anyone else. Thats not the issue.  What I said was not a moral jugement (from me) but just a description of what is happening.  I am saying that there is a standard - not one I invented, or any person invented.  But it is Gods unchanging standard by which he decided men and women should act and behave which is truly "normal".  By the observance of nature, one should be able to discern the natural function of things e.g. women were made to have children, families were designed to live together for mutual benefit, fish were made to swim in the water etc.  and that these natural functions will never change. But because of the evil in the world mens perceptions have to varying degrees been clouded to this natural order and, the further they have followed the unnatural desires, the more out of touch with these functions he has become, and the more abnormal - meaning outside of the original, created plan - he is.   People can also hear about God through his written word, passed down traditions, etc. But it is because people do not wish to conform themselves to God’s ways but have rejected them, that judgement is brought down on them as a consequence.


Now no human has lived up to this standard one hundred per cent.  We have all failed in many points - some more than others - to live completely the way we were intended to.  This is the result of the presence of what the Bible calls "evil desires".  If one follows these evil desires, the result is death -  spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical.  This is not some new truth, it doesn't take a genius to observe the blunted expression and lack of desire of an alcoholic, the consumed, skeletal appearance of a drug addict, and other physical effects of destructive desires are well-known.  So when I speak of perversion, I'm not making a self-righteous moral judgement loaded with anger,  I am describing the act of going against Gods natural law and the natural cause/ effect relationship which exists when one breaks it - the Bible says "the wages of sin is death...". But we are talking about the history of mankind since the fall.  Since mans original disobedience, being decieved as he was, mankind has for the most part followed the destructive desires he was infected with when he chose to break with Gods ways, reaping the results of those pursuits.  At the time of Noah, as we said, God was so grieved at the state of humanity that his only recourse was to destroy it, except for the one upstanding man and his family, by which the race would be maintained.   


From the time of Noah onward, the inevitable cycle of humanity falling away from God's ways continued - yet it has been Gods desire and plan throughout history to preserve a remnant of humanity which would live right and which God would call his own.  This historically has been the nation of Israel, to  whom God entrusted the original law. Without going into too many details, Gods law - the 10 commandments and additional statutes given through Moses  in the Old Testament - laid out in writing what God considered acceptable behavior for his people, what was his original ideal for man.  But this was provided by God only as a "stop-gap" measure - an imperfect system instituted because of mans unwillingness to love Gods ways.  The Israelites, though chosen by God, chose continually, throughout their journey to the promised land and after, to ignore Gods ways and follow after evil desires, provoking Gods judgement on themselves. The Law was given as a concession - to keep humanity from killing themselves off, but it was always God's intent to give his people a life of peace and fulfillment, in unity and community with Himself. If the people had desired this themselves, there would have been no need for the Law. Because the Israelites had in written form the law of statutes and ordinances, they had no excuse for the fate which they suffered.  However, even to those nations who were not Gods chosen (by race), the consequences of breaking Gods law was still in effect - God is the God of the whole earth, not just Israel.  But it was to Israel whom He entrusted his law. 


B:  If the Law is imperfect, why was that Gods plan?


J:  To bring it down to a personal level, I can know in my mind what I should do, but something inside me wants to do otherwise.  And everyone can attest to the inner battles which we go through - resisting the impulse to do that which is harmful. (Paul writes about this conflict in Romans chapter seven.)  The overwhelming conclusion is that we are, as a race, all captives to our own carnal impulses which, if left unbridled, will destroy us. Though we desire and know what is right, something in our bodies fights against this urge, is destrucive in nature. Paul says this concerning the predicament "...Oh wretched man that I am, who will save me from this body of death?.."


B: So what is the answer?


J: Since a perfect God cannot have perfect fellowship with a mortal, destructive man, what can be done? Man, in this condition, cannot hope to ever attain to God, no matter how much he strives to fulfill the Law, or his own ideas about what God requires.  Our own mortality demonstrates that we are already in a state of judgement and separation from God - this was the result of the first mans disobedience to that Law - and this judgement infected the whole race. The predicament we are in is not that we may be separated from God but that we are already that way, at birth. 


Paul's conclusion from this revelation is that "no one will be justified in Gods sight through observing the law." In other words, I can't presume to be more acceptable to God by my own inherant goodness than anyone else, nor can I hope to attain Gods standard, since we all are born into the fate of being chained miserably to a mortal  body - one which will die, and in which resides desires which bring about destruction.   And to further this, the effect of introducing law on this body only intensifies the force with which it rebels.  There is no logic or reason which can save man from this predicament.


B: So what is the answer?


J: As I said, it was never Gods desire that humanity remain separated from him. The judgements which come on man are the necessary demonstration of Gods justice against the evil things he does, but God demonstrated, by the sending of Jesus, that his overwhelming attitude towards mankind was love - God sent Jesus to save the world, not to condemn it.


B: So how can Jesus save the world?


J: As I have shown, the true predicament of man is not necessarily that he doesn't know what he ought to do but that he doesn't, in his fallen condition, have the power to do it. 


The answer to this predicament is the infusion of another spirit within the bodies and minds of men - one which does not have the destructive inclinations of fallen man - one which gives life to the body, and one which does not desire to destroy itself.  This Spirit is the actual spirit of Jesus.


It is given supernaturally to all who confess his name and believe that he died on the cross and rose back to life.


B: I have heard that before - but what does it really mean?


J: Since the man Jesus never committed a transgression against Gods law, he did not suffer the judgement of death. He died a completely innocent man - it was necessary for him to do this and this death he freely chose to die. Since God is just, he must punish wrongdoing, his own justice demands that there must be atonement for guilt.  Everyone recognizes this - we don't let murderers go free, there must be a payment.  But God knew that man could never perfectly atone for his wrongs, so he devised a plan whereby Jesus would take the punishment of the world onto himself.  His death would then satisfy the requirement of Gods law for punishment of the evil of the human race, his blood would atone for each individual who puts there trust in what Jesus did.  Thus, a new system of attaining acceptance by God was instituted. This system was not based on mans imperfect strivings to attain a law which he could never hope to perfectly fulfill, being weakened, hampered by his sin-infected nature, but rather on an individuals personal faith in the complete work of the atonement of Christ, trusting in the true goodness of Jesus life and position with God.  Jesus then, became the one mediator between humanity and God. It is necessary then that anyone who comes to God, must come in the knowledge Jesus, trusting fully in Him to atone for all his individual wrongs.


B: So what does this mean in my life right now?


J: Since the death of Jesus satisfied Gods requirement for the removal of guilt against the human race, God could now live in man, the wall of separation was removed. A person individually comes to experience this when he makes a confession of his belief in Christ and is baptized - this is the way God made for this communion or reconciliation to take place.  What actually happens is that Gods own spirit, the holy spirit, comes to live inside the individual. This spirit cleanses his conscience with its power, and washes a person of all guilt of his past life.  The words of Christ contain the power of God, and that is why it is by a persons confession (speech) that this power is manifested.  A person who comes to believe in Christ then, is enabled to live productively, by the power of Christs words and of the Spirit of God which is given to him.  When a person has this spirit in them and is choosing to follow the inclinations of it by obeying the voice and directions which God speaks, he is no longer acting according to his natural, flesh-oriented desires which result in destruction and death. And he is not the same person he used to be.


B: I've heard  Christians say that we should strive to be more like Jesus - is that what you mean?


J: It is our goal to become like Jesus because Jesus was the only person who ever lived who did not suffer death or do evil, therefore he is the one whom God accepts, and God can accept no man except that He have Christ within him.  But it is not as much of a patterning of our actions and personality after an idea we have about who Jesus is or was - our goal is attainable because it is actually Jesus Himself who is inside us today by his spirit.  It isn't like we are seeing someone we admire from a distance and than mimicking him - but it is letting the actual spirit of Jesus himself in us control our actions so that he is living through our body and mind, and the self which we were becomes less and less in control.  The old desires and personality traits which defined us before are all instantaneously altered at our new birth, when we recieve the Spirit of God,  so that it is now Jesus himself living in us and it is the desires of Gods spirit in us which work in us so that we become pleasing to God,no longer in a position of estrangement with him, not by means of following laws whose effect only restricted and restrained our still-dominant destructive impulses, but by the means of the Spirit of God acting through our members - our minds, body, emotions.  This is the process which Jesus called being born-again. The concept of spiritual re-birth is strange to many people because they aren't used to accepting the reality of a man's spirit, of God's power, and of  spiritual things in general. We're not used to thinking in those terms - but they are nonetheless real.


Jesus is able to come and be inside of us in many different ways and situations, but by all respects, when one is aware of Jesus inside of him and is acting in step with the will of the spirit, he is miraculously transformed within himself -( I am repeating because it is important to realize that this infusion of Christs spirit within a person does not come about through ones attempts at adhering to a system of laws or religious commandments or traditions, nor is the lifestyle which leads to true life once one is born again lived again by the same method of striving in ones own destructive nature to live by a code of dos and don'ts.)  This is a profound supernatural reality which is so distant from a churchianity/ law mentality and is not understood except by ones faith and with Gods help.


 The Bible says that there is "no condemnation" for those who are in christ.  "In Christ " is the term which describes the condition of a person at a moment in time who, having recieved Christs Spirit through confessing his faith in the resurrection of Jesus, is acting in obedience to the voice of the Spirit which is in him.  This state of no condemnation is an instaneous transformation  - like one stepping in out of a downpour - lifting all guilt, oppression, and shame which is the lot of unreconciled man.  It is the feeling of coming to oneself - of knowing who you truly are, [and one is immediaty elevated in "self-esteem."]  What is actually happening is that Christ, manifesting himself in you at that moment, is, as the Bible says "seated high in heavenly realms, high above all principalities and rulers of this world - meaning invisible spirits who exercise their authority over the earth.  But for those in Christ, this authority is subjected to Him, and demonic spirits and principalities, as they are called, have no authority or power over the exercising believer.


[I: you believe in spirits and all that?


J: Yes.


People in this culture have a hard time accepting the existence of actual living spiritual forces - yet they can identify them by names such as depression, gloom, diseases, oppressions, mental illnesses, syndromes, epilepsy, etc.  Yet the power of God can rid one of all these things.]   




R: so what does faith mean anyway? I don't understand, is it just a matter of mentally psyching yourself up to get through the day? Why is it I can't experience the things you say I should?


J: Because we are talking about faith in God, namely in Jesus, who is the way through which God is accessed, it is not at all just a matter of will power, or positive thinking.  If that were the case, then the people with the strongest wills would be the most favored by Gods standards.  This is not true.  The fact is that our faith, or our internal sense of knowing leads us to one degree or another, to call upon God in some way, to make some sort of commitment to God, to be baptized.  It is through believing the simple message of the gospel - which is the truth of Jesus: that he was a real man who lived on this earth who was sent from God to die for the sin of the world, that he came back to life after three days, just as he said he would, and is now in heaven with God.  And anyone who puts their faith for living in Him and in what he said, will recieve the gift of Gods own spirit.  It is those who simply here and believe who recieve Gods gift of life.  This is not a blind faith, that is, it is not a faith which does not manifest itself in tangible ways. It was for this very reason Christ came, to give people life now on this earth.  Jesus appealed to the people of that day to believe on him simply because he perfomed supernatural signs which they saw and could not deny.  He said this because they refused or could not accept that he was who he said he was.  Since it is Gods way and intention to save mankind from his destructive impulses and from the just judgement of God against the evil in the world, he, through Jesus, supernaturlly intervenes in a persons life by infusing him with power and with the spirit of God himself.  This is the way in which people are rescued.  It isn't a blind determination on the part of mans will to not give up (at whatever cause he is attempting to fulfill)- this is a faith in ones own self, ones own abilities.   But as we spoke of earlier, man must align himself with Gods truth - his faith must be based on the truth and power of God not on the truth and power of man - I've already shown that man is destined to die, chained to a mortal body and full of destruction.  With this in mind, faith in man is truly the most blind faith there can be. But Gods way is better. The primary purpose of God since the coming of Jesus has been to rid man of the guilt of his transgressions against God.  This is accomplished through a persons acceptance of Jesus, by baptism, by accepting in his mind and will the words and truth of Jesus with the intent of redirecting his life purpose to live for Jesus and his will.  As I already said, a person is enabled to do this by the infusion of the direct power of God and his spirit which removes the guilt, and destructive effects of the accumulated wrong-doings of a life-time, and replaces it with the life of God in a persons mind, body, soul, and spirit.  These acts occur, in varyng degrees when a person turns himself to God in an act commonly called repentance.   To the degree that a person surrenders himself to God, in accordance with his ability to percieve and believe in him, God fills that person with the life and power of his spirit.  Some various effects of this cleansing are the  release from oppressive, demonic influences (understood today as the causes of depression, guilt feelings, gloom, etc.), release of shame asscoiated with memories of past offenses, freedom from demonic powers which take the form of recurring self-condeming though patterns, freedom from irrational fears, healing of all physical disease, change in perceptions and outlooks, removal of all destructive and abnormal desires, and replacing these dark powers is Gods holy spirit, which, as the Bible says is one of power, love, self-discipline.


So it is not at all a matter of a blind faith in something distant or unknowable, nor is it a determination to believe in oneself.  Faith is the meeting of God and man and the evidence of that meeting manifesting itself in the infusion of life in ones body, spirit, mind, and soul bringing about the renewal, regeneration, and empowerment to live a constructive life at peace with God through the spirit of Christ.  It is faith in the power of God to meet a persons need in the here and now. 


I:  yeah but how do you get all this great stuff you're talking about?  I pray and Pray and it dosen't work for me.


J: There is a saying which says faith isn't faith until its all you're hanging on to.   Sometimes, it takes a place of getting desparate enough and tired enough of the situation we are in - when we admit to ourselves that we can't do it on our own. When we are not hanging on to any illusions of our own self-reliance, any conditions we place on Gods authority over us.   We are the ones who limit Gods acting in our lives - he desires to release us and give us a full, real life.  But we settle for less, for mundane routines because something causes us not to believe the good news, but to believe instead that "life sucks" or that we've been given a bum rap and God doesn't care about us or that we're okay the way we are - and without realizing it, we become captured by dark forces - I know that sounds sinister - alls it means is that we live in fear, or bitterness, or addictions, or depression, or whatever.  But if we would listen and obey the voice of God  which he speaks, he would immediately tell us what to do - the thing which will break down those things which bind us and which will release His power in our lives.  Obedience is the evidence of true faith.  Its not something so hard to understand - God tells you to do something and you do it. If you don't do it, its because you didn't really believe it was him ( no faith) or because you weren't willing to do it, in which case God can't help you, at least to the degree you are limiting him.  Thats why it seems to some people that he doesn't hear them until they've reached that point of desparation - up to that point, they havn't been willing to listen and do what God has been telling them all along to do. I think many people have experieced this at some time in thier life.  At their point of brokeness and humility they call on God and God answers their prayer.  In a psalm 107 it says..."some denied all food and went out in ships ..."


The action of humbling oneself and calling on Gods mercy is an act of faith in itself "those who believe in God must believe he is and faithfully rewards those who call on him."


But often, after recieving ouranswer from God, we go right back to our ways of self-reliance and practicing atheism.  That doesn't mean God isn't there, but we are no longer looking for him - to obey what he would tell us to do. 


But if we would, God would tell us how to live in everyday power. 


I: how are you so much different?


J:  I  know what I'm talking about because I've experienced it, and on that basis, I have as much right to speak as anyone,  and because God has shown me things by his spirit, I have his authority and mandate to speak.  But you don't need me to tell you - if you are so skeptical of being captured by someone elses ideas, find out for yourself.  Give up your own lifestyle and commit yourself to Christ.  I can tell you what motions to go through but the act must be initiated from your own will.  You have to decide.  Don't get me wrong, we don't have to be perfect when we come to God, Gods spirit works in as much or as little as we let him.  But we must be honest with ourselves and with God, and if we are only doing it for someone else, we probably shouldn't do it in the first place.  Coercion by guilt doesn't have much staying power when it comes to a life commitment,( but some people will always percieve any attempt to sway their will as coercion). 


It isn't complicated until we start coming up with excuses why we can't or don't want to.  If anyone would commit himself fully to finding Gods will, he will find it.  The  first step is always a decision to change and to sincerely look for Gods will. 


J: what i would say to you is that you shouldn't take anything for granted.  what i mean by this is that you should come to recognize the value in the things you have - i don't mean this as some kind of guilt trip - thats not what I mean. But understand that you have life, health, abilities, you can think, reason, you can work, you have parents who brought you up and gave you things.  When I was your age I would have dismissed what I was saying or thought that someone was trying to make me feel guilty and ashamed.  But what I am saying is that, without God,  life has a tendency not to get better on its own.  People who are bitter usually get more bitter.  People who think that life will somehow manage to bring them the good things they want, usually are disappointed at finding that  things change, work is hard, or if they get what they want they are disillusioned to find it wasn't really that great. 


the jesus mind


dont follow down this road (books/ self-help)


obedience/ action


illusion of hearing and not doing


the jesus mind




its good to realize that God has his people all over the place.  Sometimes people can easily fall


into a hyper-religiousness which draws them back into a corner together with themselves - and,


without realizing it, they becoming entrapped into a thinking that only those of their little click


really have the truth - and they become unnecessarily separated from the rest of the world,


whom they may incresingly view as atheist sinners.  This is an oversimplified analysis.  But one


characteristic of a perosn with a healthy faith, I believe, is knowing, as an individual, who you


are, and in knowing within yourself that your faith is strong enough and real enough to get you


through life, wihtout  being greatly affected by anyone else, no matter what group you are in.  A


person who has character and integrity, will not feel threatened by being around people who do


not hold the same doctrinal beliefs or even around people who are "blatant sinners," and will not


feel so uncomfortable outside his "little world" of (supposed) like-minded people.


Often, this like-mindedness becomes, to some degree, a clinging to a common lie.    Too many


people are without a substantive root of integrity before they try to practice the weightier truths of


spiritual reality.  This is why sometimes, many people appear so flaky in thier exercising of


spritual gifts or supposed gifts.  Faith is not merely clinging to a common creed, not a litany of


doctrines, etc.  but it is what a persons life is built on.  Some people are blinded to the fact that


just because a person doesn't adhere to a particular doctrinal stance, or doesn't percieve things


in the way another person does, that that person can actually have a saving faith in Christ.


This paranoid  "chosen few" lie is fueled partly by some of the forces in this world, which would


have us think that Christians are a minority, an invention of 20th century simple-minded people


who are dogmatticaly narrow-minded in their thinking and range of  experience.  These forces


are lies of the dark spirits which are spread by cynical, unbelieving people who are bent on


destroying all faith and knowledge of God and in its place put a humanistic belief which makes


man the center of existence.  They do not perceive how the religion of Christianity could survive


in the "Real world ". They, in  thier cynicism , point out the hypocricies of many who profess


religion - to them this is evidence enough not only of the failure of Christianity but a reason (or


an excuse) to altogether disregard the existence of any supreme being who holds men


accountable for thier actions and who has a clear set of standards of behavior for humanity -


which is only what they wanted to believe in the first place.  Only a person who has some internal


ax to grind, some bitter personal experience which  propels him against the (once) commonly-


accepted knowledge that man is created and is in a state of obligation to an all-powerful God,


and towards his own foolish pursuits of self-exaltation, lust and greed - only this person will


readily accept the premise that God does not exist or exists in such a way that he does not hold


men accountable for their actions.   Unfortunately, there are a lot of these people today. But they


still constitute a minority, it is unfortunate that these few have gained control, through their


deception and whole-hearted commitment to thier ideology of many powerful instituions in our


society, though I believe that balance of power is shifting again.   It amazes me how arrogant


and stupid the so-called intellectuals of today - those who hold to this humanistic belief - sound in


their sweeping judgements and presumptuous preconceptions about how the world actually is, in


that they hold their own perceptions of physical reality as being the only way which there is to


percieve it, and so with this high-minded attitude, they dismiss, with one sentence, all faith in


God and "religion" (as they percieve it ) since they see it as irrelevant in the world of physical


reality - because, its "obvious" to any "open-minded, reasoned" person that it just doenst' work.


I am speaking broadly here, but to clarify I will give examples of what I mean.  A hurricane or


drought or other natural disaster or series of them are explained by humanists purely in scientific


terms, as if this scientific understanding of environmental causes and effects somehow disproves


the hand of God in initiating it as a judgment or conversely, a blessing ( in the case of good


events), and, in essence denies any relation between such events and mans moral behavior


which would imply a standard for man and a God.  A mans deviant behavior is explained in


terms of psychological factors,by  which one may satisfactorily understand to a degree what is


going on, but this understanding to some, fuels the idea that mans intellectual knowledge has


negated the need for any "primeveil"or "superstitious" understanding of mans behavior based on


religious ideas or morality.   And some, with God out of the equation, proceed with an idiotic


analysis of history and science, all the while maintaining an air of objectiveity and open-


mindedness about their observations, never making the mistake of the simple-minded


superstitious (menaing religious).  But they,  make the most arrogant  of all presumptions by first


of all presuming that their is no God and, if there is, his existence is irrelevant to the study of the


natural elements around us.  When I see these smug, cynical, people so obviously so proud of


thier own intellects, I just want to kick them in the mouth and say "shut up you fool, why do you


talk as if you know something, when you are nothing but a stupid fool? By first of all considering


yourself an expert on some matter, you have made yourself a fool. " And even if they do know


something, they somehow twist that knowledge around to exalt themselves, or mankind in


general  - as if man actually created the thing we are observing and  learning about, as if man


was so so clever as to invent the intellect he is using.  Shouldn't the discovery of the complexity


and order of the universe lead a person to the conclusion that their is a superior being which


designed it?  But instead, they become self-exalting in the knowledge that they now know more


about the universe (or think they do) and somehow attribute the greatness and design of the


universe to mans ingenuity or just altogether overlook it as being  evidence for a grand designer


and greater intelligence to whom mans must necessarily be inferior, (since he is part of that


design and not apart from or above it).  What is equally amazing is that these people have


gained some amount of authority within the world of today.  People actually believe them - even


people who should know better. Namely, those who have an experiential faith in God and in the


knowledge of him.  People everywhere look to the psychologists to explain the behavior of a


"sociopathic person", without thinking (or perhaps caring) that this psychologist is most likesly


explaining things in terms of his humanistic (meaning atheistic) understanding of the world and


will therefore prescribe methods for a persons rehabilitation ( for example) based on this (faulty)


understanding.  Society looks to politicians, community leaders, athletes, special interests, news


media or anyone on tv, or anyone with a mouth unafraid to speak without realizing that people


who consider themselves wise and who don't consider God are truly foolish, and therefore,


becasue they are blind to Gods wisdom, they must also be blind to every other area in which


they speak with confidence.


Yet it is not my intention to make a sweeping judgment against all who adhere to humanistic


explanations, saying they are all bitter atheists, out to push thier agenda on the world  Many use


psychological knowledge in thier sincere attempts at understanding and helping those who suffer


from abnormal behaviors, and many likely believe in the existience of God.  Yet knowledge not


based on truth is not beneficial, regardless of intentions. And while many people function to


alleviate the pain and suffering of other people, and through thier love and care, people are


helped in their suffering.  And this is not averse to God (obviously).  So my point here, is not that


all who use psychology are atheists, nor is it that all who profess faith in God are living in his will


- I have already spent much time pointing out inconsistencies in the lies Christians believe.  And,


assing to that,  it is my observation that, though some Christians may see themselves as very


different from atheists or those who do not outrightly profess a faith in God, and would describe


their situations, views, and ideas in language different enough (in terms relating to their


perceptions  about God) from "worldly " people, it is my view that the ideas, excuses, and views


are indeed the same.  I have shown how lies are often used to shift responsibility from an


individual to God, thereby excusing  the individuals actions as being out of his control.  We


obviously should recognize the proliferationof this idea in one form or another as we are


increasingly seeing ourselves as a society of victims.  But these lies can be formed from either


side of the fence, from a humanist, who rather than name God as the source of malady, may


look to blame mans greed, or societal forces, or upbringing, or other, but would not "get hung on"


worrying about the consequences of mans inherant predicament as much as a person who


professes a belief in God.  In other words, an athiest has no reason to excuse his behavior as


much as a person who believes in God.  But people who profess God


What I am arguing against is those who use thier observations to dismiss all faith in God - those


who want no responsiblity for thier obligations to God and who seek to destroy all faith in GOd at


any turn.  A man once told me how preposterous it was when a certian man, a Christian, ran for


public office and lost the election.  He pointed out how absurd it was for the man to think he


could represent an all-powerful God and lose the election.  He reasoned that if he truly was Gods


representative he surely would have won, since God must be all-powerful.  And he used this to


ridicule those who propose a faith in God as being simple-minded and deluded, as he did many


other events in history which demonstrated abuses and distortions of spiritual principles and in


mans ability to pursue reckless ends in Gods name.  But that is all it proved, nothing more.  To


say that man has the ability to be decieved in thinking he is doing Gods will when he is not will


not be argued by anyone, including Christians - the New Testament is full of warnings agianst


people who will deliberately distort the truth, and of warnings against falling prey to false


doctirnes.  Does one conclude then, that all faith in God is a crock?  Only if thats the conclusion


he wanted to reach in the first place.  By saying that since this man is a Christian, and lost an


election, Christians must not be the true representatives of the all-powerful God is making a


mistake in his conclusion


Some Christians and other believers in God have believed the lie that faith in God must be


cnfined to a limited realm of practice. But by so doing, faith is actually invalidated, falsified, and


weakened.  People say "religion is fine, as long as we keep it in our churches, and to ourselves".


In other words, it has no practical bearing on real-world circumstances and problems and so


those who espouse such views should be invalidated from participating in the search for


solutions to the problems of our time.  From their view, this seems right.  But their view is wrong.


One view of the world sees God at the center of all, the opposite sees man as the center,  Yet


they do not see (or admit) that the ideas of both sides represent two opposing views of reality


from which all ideas about politics, society, family structures, moral values, or anything else


spring.  They see, instead, their own view which is so much a part of their being that they do not


even question their being another view - whether stated or not, it is a practicing atheism - and


becasue they do not consider this a "religious" belief, they see others who openly profess thier


belief in God, not as an equally separate vie of the world - which it is not ( it is the true one) - but


as a separate set of personal beliefs which should be confined to its realm - away from society,


political, public policy or whatever you want to call them.  If they are running for public office, for


instance, they see those who openly profess faith in God as a relevant starting point for a


platform on issues as a threat and attack them as being inappropraite and out of thier element in


the political arena.  Such people are tagged as intolerant and biggoted because we say there is a


God with a standard for society and we are right - not because we say so, but because we are.


This is more than the humanist mind can handle, who cannot accept there being an ultimate


truth to which all men must conform.  It is because they espouse a humanist view of relaity which


places man as the supreme being above all with no man imposing his will or beliefs on another.


Since there is no objective overridng ultimate truth, no man is obliged to conform his thinking to


any standard one - all views of reality are equally valid - since there is no right one, who is to


decide what is "right" and what is "not right?"    But if their own platform on issues is built on this


(erroneous) premise that all views are equally good, this cannot mean that those who believe in


God and in an objective set of standards are on equal footing with everyone else.  This cannot


be so since the two views are naturally at odds with each other.   The statement "all views are


equally valid" may seem fair and tolerant except to the person who says "all views are not


equally valid - only one view, the right view, is valid."  So, to the person who accepts the first


statement, the second persons statement must necessarily be invalid and he is declared invalid


because he did not accept the premise "all views are equally valid." But this premise is just a


view itself, not an underlying objective principle which everyone must agree with.  But thats


precisely what the first person is trying to establish, an objective truth, which in reality is only his


own view.  So since this first position is in truth, just another view, people who espouse this view


have no authority in propogating this view or in invalidating other views such as "there is only


one view - the right view." And a person with the first view, by his assertion that his view is


correct, is not only maintaining that all views are valid, but in saying this, he can only accept that


those who also believe that all views are valid, are themselves valid to offer a view. In other


words, your views are valid as long as you accept that everyone elses is equally valid.   But this


is obiously not the case with a person who believes that only one view is valid, so he, by the first


view is invalid, and by this invalidation, the first view itself is invalid. But this is then excluding


some views, specifically those who do not accept the premise.  So we can see, through this


merry -go -round of reasoning, that one cannot honestly offer any view as authoratative which


does not claim to be an objective over-riding truth, binding on all people.  And the foundation of


any objective truth is what one believes about God.  They, though they do not admit it, or


becasue they do not see the inconsistencies in their thinking, have indeed formed their own


platform from their own personal beliefs about God.


A person who appears objective by stating "all views are valid" has overlooked the fact that he


has set his view as being binding on all - as being the general  rule.  So, is it not he who is being


arrogant and authoratative by claiming he has the authority to set this rule?  He would say that a


person who says 'all views are not valid" is being intolerant and narrow-minded.  But by whose


standard does he make this judgement?  By his own rule that "all views are valid".  So he is the


one making value judgements, imposing his views, and setting himself against anyone who


would not accept this premise.  And a person who says "all views are not valid, only one view is -


the right view" likely does not say that this one view originated from him.  He does not claim to


be the author for ultimate truth, but he makes no pretense of his view that this one truth is an


ultimate, overriding truth, which all men, including himself, are obliged to conform to, whereas


the first person, while pretending that he does not subscribe to any one overriding view, by


presuming to have the right to make the statement " all views are equal" is being more


presumptuous and more imposing because he presuming himself, as a man, to be the ultimate


authority, whereas the second man is claiming there is a truth higher than all men, and that is the


authority by which he speaks.


This is all may seem very headish without practical importance, but these are the reasonings


upon which our current society and all institutions cantained in it are standing, crumbling, or


falling.  How many times do you hear the words " well, its up to you to decide whats best for you"


or  " I have no right to judge anyone" or " thats fine for you but everyone has the right to choose


thier own way" - how many laws have been made protecting peoples rights  - which are rights


only because they or the government has declared them to be rights.


God as some unknown force - which we find out which behavior pleases him - appeasement of


anger But through the spirit of God in us he makes his thoughts and intents and reasons known


to us - no mystery- He does things which we come to understand when we trust and obey.


We lose our knowledge of him when we become detached from ourselves - Christ pours out his


love into our hearts and  we feel his presence, life and joy, but if we are still resisting at some


point of our behavior, we cannot fully touch and know him - we are trying to focus our thoughts


and actions on what our bodily desires want - which is the opposite of what the spirit wants.


Integrity is living by what you profess.  By speaking the truth and not taking your words back at


any time.  Living in consistency with what you say and are publicly known as and identifying with.




I have always tried to figure out why some people - myself mostly- do not seem sometimes to be


able to grasp the lifechanging gospel in a positve way.  I know that when I act on some spiritual


concept which I suspect to be true, then I come to understand it.  But it is required that I am in a


proper state of receptivity to it - I can't just formulize a routine so that I am ready to recieve - I


must have my senses open and my heart and mind in a stae of openness.  But I think, from what


I have seen,  that people who continually find themselves in a place of not being able to


comprehend or recieve actual spiritual enlightnement are not, many times, people who are never


doing good things or never avtively pursuing Gods truth, in fact, the opposite is true.  I and many


people I have seen, in my mind and will seek to please God through our actions and thoughts but


there seems to be something wrong with the way in which we go about doing this.  There seems


to be some point of stumbling over which, though we may go through intense periods of doing


good things, going out of our way to fulfill our idea of what god desires of us through being


involoved in good activites, saying prayers, etc. we do not recieve any good benefit from our


labor - only find ourselves exhausted and at the end of ourselves, and without even a good


sense of accomplishment or fulfillment at the completion of a worthy task well done.  We have,


instead only the looming feeling that there is so much more to be done, and which we cannot


possible do in our condition, that the temptation is just to throw in the towel altogether and not


even try to please God.  Sometimes this is what we need to do to get a fresh perspective on our


presnet state of living, if in fact, we see that we arn't doing anyone any good.  But I think I have


seen part of the reason that we have this in ourselves and I will try to explain what I have seen.


Some people have, through their lives, built an image of themselves as being a step above the


rest - they demand of themselves a standard higher than the rest, and whether or not they realize


it, this is so much a part of them that, though they perform all sorts of good deeds and know all


scriptures and may develop a sort of alter-personality which puts on an air of humility and


sincerity, within their true heart, at thier core, is this self image which still thinks itself more


intelligent, more right in its own formed ideas and perceptions of the world, than anything nely


introduced to it - such as ideas about God and what it is that actually please him.  The person


may in fact believe he or she is accepting this new knowledge and changing their actions and


attitudes accordingly by "talking the talk" and even (form appearances) "walking the walk."  But


in their heart, though they may not realize it, is a core of bitter unbelief which, in actuality, rules


the persons true attitudes, and this keeps the person in a state of futile self-division, where, on


one hand, they are "doing" so much, trying to prove to God ( they suppose) but to themselves


mostly, that they truly are a good person, and in thier heart they are bitterly rejecting or


condeming themselves  for what they are doing - a voice which is saying " why are you doing


this? why do you have to be the goody two shoes all the time? God better appreciate what I am


doing for him."  But because the person is not willing to accept that this voice exists within them


or cannot accept it as part of themselves, since it goes against their idea that they are changing


positively in accordance with Gods desires and knowledge, they may compensate in some way


by continuing to do more things and by developing the idea that they must just somehow be


more submissive and they continue in this dual personality of extremes, speaking words of


humility and cheer and good will but inside they are rebelling bitterly against all these self-


induced requirements.  All the while this person is becoming less aware of what is going on,


because of the idea that these bad elements do not fit into the good ideas about who he or she


is, cannot be accepted, so the person continues to deny it, until it becomes so evident to the


person that this "hypocrisy" is going on, that he or she calls out to God in repentance - but may


be so overwhelmed in this cycle of self-condemnation - even over being a "hypocrite" - that he or


she is not able to accept the true grace of God, which does not demand the continual pursuit of


perfection (as we envision it), or the continual performance of good acts of service to mankind -


he wants us to believe in him and he wants to let that belief change our lives through his spirit.


To those who are already wise, and intelligent, and who believe, in their hearts, they truly


"already know ", this truth cannot permeate.  Becaue all new learning then becomes an


intellectual exercise, filtered to confirm the persons already-formed ideas about themselves, not


approached with a receptive heart, willing ot change.  These ideas prevent the reception of truth


without adding to it, or perverting it, or filtering it.  Its like a son  who is trying to please his father


by doing things he think his father would like.  The father may say, come in and sit with me for a


while so we can talk and be together.  The son instead paints his fathers house, or buys things


for the father, or becomes successful in order to make his father proud.  Yet the father is saying


come and be with me - but the son is reluctant to do this because, in his heart, he is afraid of


changing his lifestyle - he has clinged to the perceptions throughout his life that his good deeds


have built a basis for acceptance by his father.  His ideas would be suddenly threatened - his


ideas of himself and of his father.  Because, he has built his life, in reality, at a comfortbale


distance from his father, maintaining his own identity, and individual will - but he did this because


he was afraid of the father,


anyway... you can go around doing all sorts of things which christians do, but that doesn't make


you a christian.  you can put on a uniform and practice with the team but that doesn't make you a


football player, one of the team.  And it is easy to get caught up in playing the church game that


you lose sight of your true level of faith in God, and become convinced that it is perhaps higher


or stronger than it is.  It is easy enough to start out doing something in faith and then lapse into a


"religious " way of thinking in which you are again - in your mind- doing things to try to please


God by your own good works.  Its terrible to wear yourself into a grave by good works done


merely from a sense of obligaition or fear.  It isn't wrong to do this, better to do something good


out of a less-than persfect motivation than to give up completely on the good and do nothing, or


do only bad.  But if one is continually stiving to attain Gods acceptance and love or approval by


going around doing lot of things to which the person may or may not be suited to doing, and may


be dong them in place of actually doing what God desires of that person, e.g. like mary and


martha in Jesus' time, then it is a sad thing, because the person is not doing what he wants to do


(only fearfully driven to do what he thinks he should do), and he is not doing what God wants him


to, so he is truly indffective in doing it.  A person may do things but if he is unable to


comprehend the goodness and grace of God, or has lost sight of it somehow, he is always trying


to merit faovr from GOd or form someone else, he may easily forfiet all of hmself in the process


- all of his own desires, will, even his own ability to percieve what God is actually saying to him,


his own sense. A person may fathom deep mysteries about God, may be involved in a lot of


positive activites for his fellow man, may be well-disciplined and clear of conscience, but if, at his


core, he believes that he is unworthy to recieve Gods love and forgiveness, still at a mistrustful


distance from God in his heart, and in truth, not willing to give up his own ideas about what God


requires of him,  he is very likely blind to the fact that it is not just more of the same which will


cure his inner feelings of emptiness at it all, just trying harder, putting more of his nose to the


grindstone, making one more committment of his time and his will, give up one more pleasure,


God looks at the heart, and is concerned with the reality of that condition.  Since he already


knows what that condition is, it is best for us if we maintain an honesty with ourselves, and not try


to decieve ourselves in anyway into thinking we are more committed than we are, that we are


doing things from pure motives when we are doing them from selfish motives, that we are


something that we are not - at least at that moment in time.  I think of two scriptures: one where


Jesus said "the work of God is this: to believe in the one He sent" and also of the passage where


Paul describes his fellow Israelites who had a zeal for God, but one which was not based on


knowledge.  They were caught up in fulfilling the law and believed that becasue they did this (or


thought they did), and were chosen by race, as Gods people, that they had attained Gods favor.


To some of them Christ had said he required mercy not sacrifice.


That doesn't negate, however, the equal reality that Christ is in us and we therefore have the


potential at any moment to be all that Christ is by odeience to his spirit.  But if we are, at some


level resisting that voice, we may cover ourselves with a false illusion of who we are, we may




This is all very negative.  I find that thats all I seem to do anymore, is see the negative,


perceiveing nothing but false motives and ferretting them out.   I do this becasue I've seen so


much fasleity and becasue ther are so many lies which people put on in the name of religion to


justify there present mediocre lifestyle - and these lies do damage to people who believe them


and are entrapped by them, and led away from the truth, which brings freedom.  Yet sometimes I


am oversuspicious I think and do not act in love which "believes all things".  I don't hold myself


up as the standard of righteiousness - that would be the ultimate delusion - but I have come to


recognize the smell of certain lies which are, as I said, cloked in religious language, the twisting


of Scriptures to mean a thing it doesn't really mean.  These little distortions of truth propogate


mindsets or perceptions which people who are not careful, fall into and live by.  These lead to


chained up patterns of living.  I will just name a few as examples I have seen.  But first I have to


say that I don't always immediately judge a person by his words or what I may percieve to be his


mindset, even if I think he may be clinging to one of the popular religious lies, because, one


person may actually say all the right things yet be clinging to a lie without realizing it - like people


who live by some sort of religious mindset like I spoke of above. They may, for instance, think


that simple affirmation and appearing confident in what they are saying are the same as actually


believing and understanding the principle in a way in which they are appropriating it in thier own


lives.  I don't want to be overly negative here because there is some truth to it.  But it is true that


there are a lot of brainwashed people also.  Brainwashing happens  when a persons own


judgement is usurped by another who has real control over that persons thoughts and actions.


People can give up their judgement willingly or let it gradually be taken over.  I think of


perceptions and ideas as spiritual forces which invade a persons thinking.  The more a person


aligns his thinking and actons with the truth, the more he has control over his actions and


freedom to do as he truly wants to.  But people forfeti thier own thinking, thier own minds, souls,


and wills to lies which they at some level of their being, wish to believe.  People cling to lies


because they have been raised with them, have invested their lives on them, and even though


experience and truth reveal the lies for what they are, still people cling to them - and so they live


by excuses.  And so they become dependant on anyone who tells them this lie, or perhaps on


someone through whom they can vicariously cling to as their model of goodness, as their object


of adoration.  People continually look for someone to believe in and in whom to put thier worship.


I was going to name a few examples of "religious lies" which people live by. These are random


and in no particular order:


1) God's will for an individual is always a mystery - one which can never be perfectly understood


since "his ways are higher than our own" and " He works in mysterious ways".  Faith, according


to this understanding of God is merely an idea people have that they must just keep on blindly


continuing in thier present course of action, even though they do not see any good from it or are


not directly benefitting themselves in any way.  This notion of faith is a form of unquestioning


allegiance to the, of blind submission to a pattern of reality denial. It  presumes that God is


stacking up all answers to prayer, all rewards for service, all deliverance form pain and disease


to some time in the future, or after death, when all will be rewarded, and all will be then known.


it is Gods desire, until that time to keep people in the dark, to keep himself a mystery, and those


who perservere in thier present course of action ( or inaction), even though they do not see why


or what for.  This mindset incorporates a lot of ideas which are based on the notion that God is


solely responsible for the outcome of an individuals life and the circumstances  Because of his


insensitivity, he has gradually become near-sightedly focused, and sees God only within the


realm of his little world of operation. In other words, he only sees and hears what he wants to


see, so that he may have become unable to see and hear.  He may, for instance, percieve that


he is operating in Gods favor when good things happen to him, and percieve that God is against


hi when bad things happen.  This isn't to say that this is not how God operates, but rather the


scope in which a person perceives this operation.   He may be operating solely on his own ideas


about what pleases God which may or may not be true.  He may have lost partial connection with


his senses, not being able to percieve the life around him or remember his past.  He may be


caught in a such a narrowly-defined web of existing, that he percieves God only within this realm.


He may wonder why God doesn't anwer his prayers when his prayers stem from his own narrowly


focused vision.  For instance, he prays and prays for a new job so he can make more money.


SInce he sees that more money is the solution to his problems.  But an objective observor may


be able to see that it is not more money which truly will give him peace, but it is, maybe that his


focus is off - more money may temporarily appease a crisis but without a change in the root of


the problem, the crises will just happen again and again.  Yet people settle for this lifestyle and


thier relationship with God becomes nothing more than a wrestling match - a striving against the


inner voice of reason, which would direcet a person to the root cause, until a crisis is reached


and the person breaks or changes (temporarily) and God often provides the relief. But instead of


seeing the true problem, the person only sees the answer to the temporal crisis and plunges back


into the web of behavior which will only repeat the same cycle.   God obviously wants to be more


than our bail-out man, the guy we call to spring us out of a jam so that we can immediately get


back to our affairs of near-sighted and selfish pursuits.  God is concerned with root causes, and


the root causes are usually us -  our very hearts, minds, souls, thinking, pursuits, etc.  These are


the things God wishes to change in us, and they are the things that, if we let him change, will


lead to the ordering of our temporal lives in its proper place.  We see only the temporal and the


immediate, but this, (which we all truly know deep inside) are not the real issues.  We often


make them so much more important in our lives in order to actually avoid dealing with the things


we know are the real issues, the ones Gods voice within us is always speaking to. We have not


fully aligned our values with Gods and so we are off pursuing what we think are admirable


pursuits, expecting God to bless us because we call on him.  The people of this world who do not


profess faith in God are less deluded than us in that respect ( if we think that God will bless us for


pursuing our own desires) because they make no pretense about living for God - they are


unabashedly whole-hearted in pursuing thier own goals.  When I say "us", I mean those who


have recieved some measure of  a knowledge of Gods will by the holy spirit and whose only


excuse for not knowing Gods will is that we are insensitive and not listening and acting by daily


faith to what he is saying to us.


When I got out of college, I was dead determined to become financially independent.  I sent out


my resumes and did everything which I though I should do to get a job.  I was so angry and


frustrated at not being able to find one in what I thought was ample time. I went on a fast and


prayed to God.  During this time he showed me many areas that I needed to change within


myself.  This wasn't what I was looking for - I was looking for God to relent and give me a job.  I


had the notion - that many people do - that God was up there holding back on me,  playing like a


carrot and stick routine - like I had to jump through enough hoops to prove my dedication to him -


and then he would see that I meant business and would give me a job.  But this is a delusion.


This is a false idea of works based religion which denies the cause-effect relationship of our


sprititual condition and actions.  What I wanted was to somehow buy favor from a God who was


reluctant to give it to me (in the form of a job).  The way I bought this favor was through self-


denial, arousing God to sympathy, or through just trying harder, working more, so God would be


proud of me.  I explained failure as "just all part of the testing process which God is putting me


throughIts true that testing does come, but it is not a sort of game show where we recieve a


certain amount of points for each act of self-degradation and humiliation we put ourselves


through, after which we cash in our points to God for the prizes we want. This is works again, and


as such, is based on false human ideas about God.  But if I had listened to what God was really


showing me - that there were things within me which were actually clouding my vision and ruling


my life, keeping me locked into this state of mad competition to meet my own standards and


expectations about who I should be in order to please God. These things were anger,


impatience, inability to deal with people, unwillingness to trust in God and what he was saying.


These were heart attitudes which I couldn't deal with facing - or I wasn't willing to deal with.


And later I formed other bad spirits and attitudes which I already touched on as the root of many


others - unforgivness and bitterness.  But it was not that God was unconcerned with my lack of a


job, it was that He saw the real problem, that of a heart attitude towards him.  If I would have


taken care of these things, I would have been able to see more clearly what it is God wanted me


to do to support myself, and I would have had the inner confidence to do it.  As it was, I failed at


every job I did get becasue I chose to follow my own ideas about what I should do do be


"approved".  It wasn't that I was lazy either, (and I was hypersensitive to this accusation ) - I woke


up at 4 am to go swimming in order to stay in shape, went to my bank teller job and for awhile


also worked as a waiter a few nights a week and on weekends.  But God never told me to do


this.  I did it because I was driven to be financially independent as I concieved it , and able to


make it in the "real world.'  To do this I had ( subconsciously ) departed from Gods will and from


regularly seeking it - I had broke fellowship with those in the church I went to, and became


increasingly isolated. I still have this tendency.


As a result of this, the person (usually gradually) gives up the idea that he is responsible for his


present circumstance and, in a pretense of humility ( or in genuine ignorance), the person


accepts his present life circumstance as being Gods will.  The person may be going through the


motions of fulfilling his religious obligations but may be merely playing games within himself.


All this logic and reason becomes such a mental burden which does not help in everyday life.  I


have not at all lived up to any standard, and all my mental reasoning has not helped me in life.  I


know this. I can clearly see the inconsistencies and the false premises by which people live, yet I


am not so above it all that I can somehow rid my life of the same inconsistencies and false


premisesIts worse to see and know the false and to come under your own bitter judgment - but


it is my bitter judgement which torments me -"judge not lest you be judged" was meant, as most


of the sayings of Jesus, as a present reality description of how Gods spiritual laws operate. A


person who magnifies the faults in a person, who always sees bad intents in people will never


feel any more than a failure himself, one with twisted motives.   I am speaking only of myself -


for I know what it is like to be in this state.  Often, people in this condition cannot see past their


own perverse and antagonistic spirits which follow the person around.  People who are always


critical, bitter, seeing the bad in people are never able to enjoy anyones company, or thier own.


They need to be delivered from these bad spirits which distort the persons vision, attacking his


mind so that every sensory input is distorted and effected by these antagonistic spirits.  Once


these are removed, the world looks very different - the person is at peace, can begin to see the


good in people, he sees sincerity where he once saw cruelness or perversness.  Yet people live


their lives affected by these spirits, these bad attitudes, all the while building a web for


themselves.   There is power in the name of the one who died and came back to life.  And the


outcome of following this truth is totally different than trying to live by a system of mental


reasoning, logic and law.  Nobody can do it.  But when I have stood and acted on my belief in


Christ, I was immediately transformed in my thinking and in myself.  I wasn't debating in my


mind, I wasn't trying to live by a standard, judging someone else - the antagonism left and I was


"inside " myself, like I should be, experiencing life instead of thinking about it in my mind.  I was


at peace and confident with myself, and I have realized that at different times when I am in this


mode, that Christ is totally different than trying to live by religious standards which only


condemn, judge, and antagonize, as the Bible says "Christ is the end of the law for those who


believe." Its cool - its new life.  I can only describe its, or his effects. It is the actualization of


Christ inside me.  I see as Christ sees, and Christ did not condemn sinners but loved them, and


he does not judge by the worlds standards, seeing people in certian classes and categories.  In


fact, it is the simple, the uneducated, the lower class (by the worlds standards) who are chosen


by GOd to believe in the simplicity of Christ.  Because knowing God and being saved does not


come through ones worldly status and intellect, (by the contrary, those who believe this were the


Pharisee types to whom the good news of believing was hidden from), but it is the everyday


people who struggle through life, who do not presume to deserve a higher status or pretend to be


someone they are not, who realize their need for God who are able to receive the simple


message of faith in Christ.  Those who are already esteemed in the eyes of themselves and the


world system cannot see their own need for salvation - yet God calls them spiritually poor.


Those who are already intelligent by the worlds standards, cannot grasp the simplicity of faith,


since it is not through superior intelligence or mere intellectual grasp of principles that a man


receives from God but through believing the message and acting on it.  Those with high intellect


are always questioning, always trying to figure out, always looking for something greater and


grander.  THe Bible says that "those who are wise should become fools so that they could


become wise" and "that though the world, through its wisdom did not know God"    and the


kingdom of God is not about words but about power.  People who are wise by the worlds


standards cannot accept the reality of spiritual things, specifically, the power of God, because


the worlds wisdom is based on the (false) premise that God does not exist, is not relevant in


todays world, or that they (the "wise" by worldy standards) are already in a position of favor with


God through their present achievements and lifestyle.  And this wisdom cannot coexist with the


mind of Christ which is "lowly and meek".  Christ was not a hypothetical intellectual debater type.


He was a man who "went around doing good" People who intellectualize and debate are more


like the greek philosophers of the day who were always asking high-minded questions which was


insignificant to how they lived their lives - it was all done merely for mental exercise, all done in


the hypothetical realm, not in the here and now world of today which is where Christ lived and


still lives today.  He said "follow me" - his words elicited action, demanded a response, were not


left as questions or ideals merely to be pondered - his words cut to the heart of peoples


defenses. When he did argue, it was only to destroy the false ideas of the hypocrites - the


religious biggots.  He spoke what he was and he was what he spoke.


But back to my experiences .


RIght now I live day to day and honestly I am not vigorously pursuing the will of Christ or


listening for his voice.  I have been through a lot and I know a lot about how God works which a


lot of people don't know.  I know all my excuses becasue God has exposed them all. I know


when I'm lieing to myself yet sometimes I still do it.  But God has pulled the rug from every thing


I ever stood on to show me I couldn't stand on it.  People today are trying to stand on things that


won't stand,


At one point I was tempted to read some books classified along the lines of "self-help" / spiritual


of which there are scads.  But I have a resentment within me for that route since I know, within


myself that God has shown me so much knowledge.  I have found it for myself, because I looked


and sought and saw that my life was a shambles and I needed God.  I found out that nothing


happens by reading a book - if it is read and not acted on.  When things changed in my life, for


the better was when I activated my courage and my feet and my mouth - when I took a stand for


Jesus and identified myself as one who believed in the reality of the man Jesus and in the truth


of what he did, came back to life from the grave.  And when I realized, at least partly, that this


truth is more important than any other truth, and its very nature demands that it be placed either


as first  and foremost reality in my life or rejected totally as a fairy tale.  When I saw that I had


nothing else, I stood up for Jesus and I found that it didn't matter that I had nothing else, I had


the hope of eternal life, the surging power of God rushing through my body confirming the


message I was clinging to.  The message is just this: Jesus is the light of the world - he died and


came back to life so that we can also have life.  And because this is true, my ideas about God


can no longer be segregated to some back corner of my mind, a near compartment of ideas


which I refer to once a week as I partake in a ritual, when crisis arises and I call on these ideas to


give me peace or a false sense of security, when someone asks me about my religion and I pull


out my correct phrases of doctrine which I never really understood, just accepted as they were


handed to me.  When I stood alone for Jesus, I found myself.


And the voice of the spirit would speak plainly to me as he always does.  I think he speaks to


everyone but we clutter our minds with other voices so he is drowned out.  But when we seek, we


find.  He would tell me to do something and I would do it - and when I did, I became free.  And I


discovered - like waking up in a batlle zone, that there is a war going on with real stakes, real


enemies, which demanded real decisions to be made - by me.  Religion denies this battle by


saying its okay, we've made it - now we're just here waiting to die and go to heaven.  The truth is


that ist up to us.  The truth is that Jesus did save the world when he died and rose again, but ohly


those who fight to live in this truth, will realize thier salvation.


So God told what to do and I would do it and recieve freedom but I wasn't strong enough to


maintain my position of freedom and the enemy forces would fight back and gain back ground -


this battle rages today with every person - active Christians know its real and live in such a way


as to be winners.  What are the enemies? Well, not to draw undue attention to them, they are


spiritual forces of the enemy who presently exercise their deception over the world - a random


sample are spirits of accusation, depression, evil desires, cravings, all kinds of lies, death,


destruction, disease, anger, isolation, etc. People who deny that there is a battle going on are


merely captives of the enemy. They are captured by something which they either deny or have


accepted as part of life.  But Christ came to conquer these things which, since the fall of man,


have enslaved the human race.  So when I began fighting back against these things through my


obedience to the voice of the spirit, I realized that I had been enslaved by these things all my life


to one degree or another and the power of the spirit I was now experiencing thrust me to the


awareness that Jesus was now (to me) suddenly relevant to my life.  It was no longer a dead


creed whose personal relevance I had wrestled with for years - religious ideas are irrelevant and


are used by the enemy to decieve peope by giving them false hope- while the forces of evil


continue esercise their control over the person.  When one begins to exercise a newly acquired


faith in the reality of Jesus Christ, he will encounter a resistance and begin to see, as his own


eyes are opened, that people he thought he knew are not who they seem to be, that people live


by lies and excuses, and that the realm of spiritual forces is very real.


I realized also, in the midst of this - and I don't speak as if this battle is over, it is ongoing, I am


only eferring to one particular time in my "initiation and rude awakening" - that it is action by a


personal whole-hearted faith in Chist, and through obeying the voice of the spirit in the "here and


now" which releases the power of God to obliterate the spiritual dark forces which had held me in


thier control. For me, these forces were fear, depression, doubts, senseless addictions, rage, and


strongholds which had built up in my mind when I was led away to believe lies contrary to Gods


truth (which I'll mention later).  One weapon which God told me to use was praise.  Vocal, public


affirmation of Gods goodness and worthiness, and ( though I don't categorize these two things as


necessarily being separate things ) speaking messages from God to specific people.  These


messages - things to say to people I knew - he would give me  as I praised him and sought for


his will.  It took me an amount of courage to stand and say these things because my faith was


very weak and I was afraid, first of all of what people thought of me, especially those to whom I


was told to speak.  But when I did face my fear ( of ridicule, of scorn, of being rejected, and of


just being wrong  in my perception of Gods instructions) I received the power of the Holy Spirit by which I was immediatly released from fears and internal opressions  which had held me for


years, and I knew that I had heard right.  I came to my true senses, I felt instantly matured in


years, fearless, and alive.  I felt free to do anything. And the more I obeyed what the spirit was


telling me, not letting myself slip back into my own will and desires, the more free and powerful I


became.  But I let eventually let myself be overcome by the backlash of evil attacks which


always follows a vicotry.  If a person continues in humble obedience to the voice of the spirit,


nothing evil can touch him - no accusation, no fear, no doubt - but this requires a wholehearted


commitment to keep on forcefully moving forward in faith, and not looking back or to the sides.


God is able to help us time after time, even when we slip back and fail - he has no interest in


condemning us for our failures, hes on our side and wants us to succeed - and he is able to


powerfully supply what we need when we seek his will and do it.


During this time I came to realize that one of the temptations to fall back away from courageous


acting in faith, was, for me, to mentally analyze - even as I am doing now - what was happening,


as if I was a spectator in this battle, instead of an active participant whose decisions determined


the outcome of my life circumstance,  and to entertain my mind by the new knowledge I was


recieving instead of acting on it,  much in the same way people decieve themselves by going to


church and hearing the sermon and afterward talk about how good it was or how people mentally


masturbate themselves with some biblical doctrine which in reality has no acitvating influences


on their lifestyle, thinking all the while that they are doing Gods will.  "James says very clearly


that to hear and not do is a self-deception."  I remember how vividly I say this one night when I


felt led by the spirit to go and pray with my neighbor whose wife was in the hospital.  As always,


it took courage even for me to do this simple thing, (whenever a person tries to do what is right,


he will counter resistance - it is easy to do the wrong thing - even if it sounds like the right thing).


The enemy uses certain thoughts against me (" he'll think you're weird... he'll be offended... it will


appear so awkward... you hardly know him...you're psychotic for thinking you actually heard the


voice of God...what business do you have pretending to be "mr. spiritual" (included with


memories of past sins)... or, if that doesn't work, "you are some kind of courageious person for


doing this, you are a great prophet of God, a righteous and humble servant" ( trying to build a


delsuion of false piety in me ), But when I got back from the mans house, I felt joyful and at


peace with knowing it was Gods will.  But the point I was making was that what I realized right


after this visit was how delluded Christians are by thier spectator approach to Christianity, and


that it is like being so close to the truth but not appropriating it for themselves - this is how most


people live thier lives - and that it would be better not to make any bones about ones reluctance


to obey Gods voice - at least you know where you stand - rather than being lulled into this


dreamy deception of going through the religious motions but not doing anything.  Whether its


watching Billy Graham, or reading the newest book on relationships, or habitually reading your


bible, or even speaking (what you think are) prayers - "without faith it is impossible to please


God", which means that if you don't do anything with what you read or hear or know that God has


heard your prayers, it all may be great entertainment and make you feel like you've done


something good, but it is a delusion. But I didn't fully realize the truth of this until I activated my


faith.  That is what our life in God must be - a continual, daily exercise of our faith through


obedience.  And I don't mean to pick on Christians - people in the world live by lies to - anyone


not living by faith is living in lies.


But to one person, living by faith may mean doing his job well and raising his family - this he


does by faith - to another it is preaching in a church - but no one is called to do nothing.


The motivations which people are driven by all depend on what a person puts his hope and trust


in.  Some people put thier hope and trust in becoming rich and successful in this life and are


thereby driven in that pursuit in everything they do.  But because a goal in the future is


sometimes elusive and becasue this pursuit is fraught with hardships, many people trade off part


of their future hope for a degree of pleasure and comfort today.  In fact many people live for thier


pleasures - this is what moitvates them through the day to day.  And though they may tell


themselves they still have hope and plans for a future, thier present lifestyle is one of settling for


an uncomfortable, impoverished esistence with a few comforts and pleasures.


Getting back to one effect of double-mindednes, one who seems unable to grasp the grace and


truth of the gospel fully and who, instead clings on to their own ideas about how to be accepted


by God (keeping in mind that these ideas are spiritual strongholds -nuerosis if you like - and are


not easily discarded, having been entrenched in a person for years, forming the basis of the


persons life and personality).  These people filter information through this screen so that


everythign they here is only that which confirms their particular (erroneous) view of the world,


specifically, what they think about God and thier relaiton ot him.   So someone may tell them


God is love and wnats to heal the person, yet to a person hearing this through some filter of a


religious mindset, it may mean something like "yes, I just have to try harder, or I just have to be


a better witness, or give up some sin."  All of these may be true, may entail part of the solution,


but the person is so heartily invested in their present view, and so blind to the fact that they are


operating within a reality which defines God, the world, and themselves in thier own narrow-


sighted vision that it is not just a matter of changing one of those terms but in doing away with


the view altogether.  Only the power of Christ can do this in a person truly willing to change.  But


most people are actually satisfied with thier lies, taking some comfort in them.  On one hand a


person can where this religious persona, with an air of humility, but inside be so full of bitterness


and ravenous desires which they live by most of the week.  But it is these very desires and inner


evils which God is truly interested in changing in us.  He is not interested in our words, our


facades, our services - if there is hatred, disunity, etc. inside.  All these flesh impulses have


formed the fuel for a persons life actinos and pursuits, even religious ones.  Yet it is impossible


to please God by acting within these fleshly drives.  It is only through the strength of the spirit by


which we can effectively pleae God.  Many people speak in Gods name to perform thier own


desires and beleive they are doing Gods will, yet they are acting by their own fleshly, visceral


drives and from the ideas which they have formed about what God desires.  These activities may


appear good from a human standpoint or they may be way off base.   But the person who is


caught in some web of religious thinking and acting (brainwashed) will have a difficult time


reaching a point of objectivity so that they percieve the absurdity of their pursuits.  Only through


obeying Gods tru voice can a person step out of this.  Many people have fought wars in Gods


name, many people have took up arms and killed in Gods name, the apostly Paul believed he


was acting for God when he zealously persecuted the Christians - yet he soon found out that he


was in direct opposition to Gods will.  Paul, after his experience at Damascus, did not just say,


"okay God I won't kill as many Christians, just a few." or " okay God, I'll go back and tell all the


leaders of the Pharisees (whose authority he was under) that we are a little off, and try to change


their policy." No, that would have been ridiculous.  Paul recognized that his experience with the


living God demanded a whole change in his being, a whole change in his perceptions and


actions because  he now realized that they were all false, all viewed through distorted


perceptions, all self-righteous distortions of Gods laws which he had always accepted as true,


since he knew no other. And this foundation of religious instruction was not just a little off, it


needed to be discarded altogether - actually the revelation of Christ effectively smashed this


foundation.   To try to cling on to his old ideas while trying to fit his new spiritual experience in


with these ideas would have been impossible without further deluding himself.  But as Paul said,


"I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision."  And he determined not to cling to any of his old


ideas, resolving "to know nothing except Chrsit, and him crucified." Though he had authority in


mans systems, the authority of being a learned Jew, he did not rely on that authority in preaching


Christ since he recognized that all those old ideas were built on distortions of Gods laws, so


much so  that those who propogated them actually were the ones who sentenced Christ, the


embodiment of those laws, to die on the cross.   He realized that the reality of Christ, his death


and resurrection needed to be the foundation for all his life pursuits, from which all other ideas


and perceptions would align in thier true position. Paul said that the power of God enabled him to


"take captive every idea which exalts itself above the knowledge of Christ" and said that "no one


can build a foundation other than the one which is already laid, that is Christ."  In other words,


Paul recognized that the reality of Christ trancends every human instituion, that it is universal


truth, not an invention of any man, nor subject to provincial distortions.  This is all relevant


because it is inevetable for people who consider themselves good, or religious to fall into some


sort of provincial, religous thinking, if they are not activley pursuing faith in Christ.  And even if


they are, it is bound to happen. Peter, for instance, having seen and performed many miracles


and proving himself as an apostle, at one point fell back to some of his religious ideas which


were in accordance with the Jewish traditions but contrary to Christs idea of salvation by faith


alone.  I say this because the same thing happens today with people who have been raised in


church all thier lives and who subsequently learn a form of tradition and works-based religion and


have developed a mindset, worldview, set of perceptions or whatever you want to call it, which


incorporate some truth but which, in reality, support a lifestyle which is not based on the


foundation of Christ's ressurrection alone, which is formed from a personal revelation and


personal obedience to the spirit of God.   A person may profess the truth yet in their


understanding be detached from it, separated by a wall of unbelief "ever seeing but not


percieveing," and in their day to day living, they cling to ideas likely patterned after a system of


religious ideas and interpretations of scripture which have been handed down as the norm, which


may be in direct opposition to the truth, or by which a person is thinking he is in the truth by


hearing it, and affirming it and reading it, yet all this is viewed through the past ideas, or


indoctrination, upon which the person truly stands and acts in his day to day living.  This action is


okay because my parents have done it, and they are Christians, therefore, this action is


approved by Christ.  This is the way I've always done it so it must be right, since I am a


Christian.  I am a Baptist (or Catholic, or Presbyterian, etc) and Baptists are christians, so thier


particualar doctrines and traditions are approved by God.  This reasoning has dangerous


extremes as we have seen through history, if a person uses his associations or presumed


approval as Gods spokesman to validate ideas and behaviors which are clearly wrong.  I am not


throwing stones at denominations or associations, I am making the point that God does not look


at these man-made labels and if we are to come into his truth, we cannot either.  I mean that a


person who calls himself a Pentacostal may have the same inner "heart diseases" as a person


who calls himself a Baptist, or a Catholic, or a liberal democrat. It isn't the affirmed doctrines


which are truly important, it is the heart diseases which truly effect how a person is related to


God, wether he is approved as one able to contribute or one who is disabled and controlled by


destructive impulses. Without all the labels which people hide behind, all men are the same.


We may profess a different brand of expressing our views, different language etc., but we all


have the same mechanisms inside us which seek to alternately defend, then condemn our


fleshly drives from what we know to be true from our mind and conscience.  And we waste time


exalting the irrelevant points of docrine and denominational differences, thinking that these are


the things which differenctiae us ( exalting us above ) others.  Yet when we discover we are


doing this, we may condemn ourselves in our minds for doing it.  But this cycle of irrelevant


ideas which fuel condemnation and defense can be broken through the power of Christ in us, so


that we are no longer at enmity with God and others around us in our minds.  Religious reasoning


breeds judgement.  Actually, the word of God, the truth of the law without mercy, brings its own


wrath and judgement agianst anything which is contrary in thought, attitude or action.  One way


to rid oneself of this judgement is to say there is no law,   or perhaps people are ignorant of the


laws of God becaseu they have never been taught.  Another condition is that people have been


deconditioned against there own conscience throught the philosophies of this age, that they do


not discern between good and bad.  To them, everything is acceptable, even those thisngs which


are against Gods law.  But, as I have already shown, the consequences of breaking the laws of


God which is simply the natural order of creation, is the same for both those who are ignoratn of


the correct way, and those who are aware of it and choose to go against it.  In the latter case, the


person will "die under the law" as Paul says, meaning he will suffer the condemnation and guilt


from knowing he is going against the truth as well as the death which the sin brings.  That both


the ignorant and the knowledgable suffer the consequences of their destructive behavior is


obvious.  A child who is not aware of the effects of heat on human skin will burn just as much


when he puts his hand on the stove, as a person who knows about it but still does it.  In this case,


ignorance of the law - a physical law of heat generation in this case - brings about harm to the


person who unknowingly acts against it to his own harm.  In the same way, those who are


ignorant of the correct course of behavior, (willingly or not), will suffer from thier ignorance.


However, one cannot scold an ignorant child for touching a hot stove when he was not aware


what it would do to him.  One can only remedy the consequence and educate him for the future.


But to a person who knows and still does it, scolding, or guilt and condemnation for going against


his knowledge of what heat does to skin, is appropriate, since the person should have known


better.  This is the natural effect of the law on the human mind - it condemns people when they


go against it.  But as I have said, everyone is to some degree under this condemnation because


all have done wrong.  But Jesus as I said, can break this cycle of mental condemnation since the


way of Jesus is one of his spirit living in a person, acting through him, and this spirit brings peace


to the mind and removes a person from the curse of having to live by the law through human


effort.  And this way of life comes through acting on good faith in Gods existence, goodness, and


willingess to forgive and help those who go faithfully towards him.  But this is the way God has


always wanted it.  It is not Gods way to give man an impossible system of literal regualtions,


tradions, menaingless rituals to perform.  People who do these things establish thier own form of


goodness which serves only themselves and thier own ideas.  But common sense will tell a


person that a loving creator God does not benefit from mans striving to perfection and the


laboring under an oppression of trivial ideas or rituals which the person has no real heart desire


to perform. "It was not to me that you offered sacrifices of animals in the desert was it Israel?" It


says in the Psalms.  And "I will give thanks to the Lord - this will please him more than an ox..."


In other words God is more concerned with a persons heart attitude - one of humilility, faith and


thankfulness, instead of  bitterness, cynicism, and/or the false humility and self-serving pride of


religious rituals which could never make ones heart or conscience clear but only appease ones


one ideas which in truth deny God's reality or percieve him in some perverse fashion.  "What is it


that your God requires but that you love mercy, and justice, and walk humbly with your God?".


Having an honest heart is by far more important to God than fulfilling some routine rituals.  And


having love for others is consistent with a life that God considers acceptable, and this love


follows from the faith one has in God - this person is in a position of right standing with God.  It is


not a person who strives for perfection in following rules and who subsequently cannot accept his


own shortcomings and failings or those of his neighbor.  Anyone who is not at all religious can


tell by their own common sense, a person who is being two-faced or hypocritical.


Is this how it has always been, or just since Jesus?  Has God never required one to learn a


system of rituals or religious systems in order to be acceptable to him?  First of all, what I mean


by religious rituals and traditions are those systems which started out based on Gods laws but


which were perverted by mans cold-heartedness and disbelief in the God they were supposedly


serving so that the literal performance of these traditions and rituals took precedence over the


obviously more important qualities of human respect for one another, mercy to those less


fortunate - these are the very qualities which God exudes and desires his people to have.  But


because of these perversions of importance by those who considered themselves Gods chosen,


God came to be viewed in a mysterious, perverse way.  What kind of God would require a burnt


offering yet not care that a poor person was suffering and the rich were expoliting them.  But this


is not what God is like - it is becasue of mans perverseness and wilfull ignorance of Gods words


that God came to be viewed in this way.  Ezekial "To the perverse, he is seen as perverse"


Throughout the old testament, God continually spoke to the people to take care of the poor, to


have mercy - yet they did not "hear" this and continued in thier ways, in order to fulfill their own


lust and greed.  But one who is right-standing with God will live his life by his belief in God - the


true God - the one who is, and who rewards those who call on him in earnest. Not one who


people set up in their minds, to play games with.  It is the God who people call on when they are


about to die in a disaster, it is the God who people call on when they are trying to make a great


decision in thier life, it is the God people call on when they realize what a mess their life has


become and they have reached the end of thier own futile planning and scheming  (Ps 109).  It is


the God they call on when they are angered at some injustice done against them or someone


else.  It is the real God, one who is heard only when people are real in their petition to him. God


looks at the heart, and "reauires truth in the inward parts" and so will not hear us if we are playing


games - trying to manipulate God or make him fell pity for us - things swe try on other people -


but he is not like that.  But if literal fulfillment of the mental law is not what GOd requires, what is


it, and is thier a positve motivating force in this?  Faith is a postive force, one which motivates


the person of a good heart and true intents onward in life, having a confidence in his good


consceince.  But their is more - a person who unashamadely lives by his belief in Gods


existence, and knows of his goodness, will boldly declare, in a world of doubters and atheists,


and those who vie God as cruel or beyond knowing, this truth without taking back his words


against pressure.  It is in this declat\ration of his faith that Gods power and presence is.  It is this


actual presence of God, in the midst of a person who praises him and declares his faith in Gods


reality and goodness to act on mans behalf, by which a person is given the power to overcome


his situation and it is this person who is not relying on his own goodness to be accepted by God


but by his faith in Gods goodness.  David says "I will declare your name among the gentiles" and


"I have not witheld your ritghteousness within my heart" and " I have decalred your name in the


congregation and in the presence of my brothers" In other words, David would have been labeled


by some to be a religious fanatic today.  But he was not.  He had integrity in that he believed in


his God all the time, he lived by his faith - it wasn't just a meaningless routine which he went


through once a week, what he said "in the great congregation" he said at home "among his


brothers" and these were not just nice religious words which he learned from some religious


teachers which made him ashamed and cloistered back into his own little self-righteous click of


like-minded people, by his faith in God he killed a lion, a bear, and on the battle field he defeated


Golith couragiously, standing on the "name of the Lord"- which was his confidence in knowing


that He believed in the real God, one who controlled the outcomes of all events in the universe,


and the one who would give victory to the good and strike down the evil, no matter what the


apparent odds were.  David did not subscribe to some stiff, inhuman doctrines which ignored


human emotions, the Psalms are full of complaints, grievious appeals to God, angry petitions to


for God to kill his enemies, and joyful songs of deliverance and thanksgiving.  David went


through these things, yet he knew the end and the beginning of all things was his relationship to


God.   I said all this to demonstrate true faith and to illustrate that the goodness which God


requires is one which is unafraid and unashamed to declare Gods existence, his goodness and


justice in overcoming evil and for giving strenth to those who believe in him.  How does one get


this faith?


When one accepts Christ and takes a stand as a believer, he will soon come to find out the reality of the spirit world. It is easy to get carried away with learning about all kinds of things which really only serve to stimulate a bad interest in dark knowledge, merely for the sake of learning.  This really only serves to elevate the satanic realm beyond which it should be.  If one is truly interested in being productive for God, he may become aware of these things, but if he is obedient to the voice of the spirit, he will learn that he, by the authority of Jesus, has power over them.  It is a grave error for a person to dabble in such things merely out of curiosity.  What you dln't believe in can hurt you, if you arn't serious about your faith.