A BORN-AGAIN BELIEVER

AS IF UNTO GOD

as if unto God

Imagine how different your life would be if you did everything as if unto God – if you looked after your things as if they were God’s, if you treated others as if they were God in the flesh, if you earned your daily bread as if you were doing it unto God – JUST IMAGINE HOW DIFFERENT YOUR LIFE WOULD BE!

And yet we, as born-agains, are supposed to be living our lives doing everything as if unto God already. That’s our job description. We shouldn’t have to imagine how different our lives would be; we’d know firsthand, because we’d be living it.

What would your life look like if you did everything as if unto God? I’ll tell you what it would look like: It would look like Jesus’ life.

Exactly like that.

Does your life look like Jesus’ life?

Be honest, now.

I know mine doesn’t. Can’t lie about that. Can’t quibble about that, not if I’m doing everything as if unto God, including self-examination. If I squint and turn the spiritual lights way down low, yes, I can say that my life somewhat resembles Jesus’ life, but there are big gaps where “putting God first in everything” and “treating other people as I would want to be treated” should be.

Huge gaps.

Unacceptable gaps.

How about you – are there gaps between your life and Jesus’ life? Does your life run more or less parallel to Jesus’ life, or are you on a different path altogether?

We tend to get caught up in life’s little problems and life’s little joys, forgetting the reason why we’re here in the flesh to begin with. We’re easily distracted. We’re easily rubbed the wrong way. We generally have a low pain threshold, whether for physical or emotional pain. We generally want everything to go our way, and when it doesn’t, we pout and complain. We point fingers. We hold grudges.

(Sound familiar?)

Is any of this – pouting, complaining, and pointing fingers – living our life like Jesus lived his?

Is any of this doing everything as if unto God?

I’m not accusing you. If anything, this is more a self-examination on my part. I wish I had lived my life, post-rebirth, doing everything as if unto God. I wish there were no gaps between my life and Jesus’ life. I wish, if I overlaid my life course with that of Jesus, they would match up, but the fact is they don’t.

We are still here in the flesh, as born-agains, because we still need to learn what it means to be a child of God, what it means to follow Jesus in everything we do. These are the learning and testing years. These are not the years of ease and plenty; these are the laboring years. Jesus laboured; in doing everything unto God, Jesus never stop labouring until his job was done on the cross. He rarely took days off, and then only to spend more time one-on-one with God.

He turned his back on the world – not on the people who were God’s in the world, but on the world’s systems. He lived entirely outside the world’s systems.

If you start with the premise that nothing in your life is a “coincidence”, that the pain you feel is the pain you’ve earned, that all things work for good for those who are the called according to God’s purposes, that where you are now is the best possible outcome of all your previous choices – if you start from there, here is a question for you: Are you happy with your life?

I’m pretty sure if Jesus had been asked that question back in his ministry days, he would have answered “Yes”, quietly, confidently, and without hesitation.

Our answer also needs to be “Yes”, without hesitation.

If it isn’t, we’ve still got work to do.

SPIRITUAL PORN

wink wink

No prophet sent from God hosts a YouTube channel.

Let me repeat that in case you missed it the first time: NO PROPHET SENT FROM GOD HOSTS A YOUTUBE CHANNEL. They are all – every one of them – false prophets. Most of their dreams and visions do not come from God, and the few that do come from God are tests of the so-called prophets’ abilities to discern truth from lies. Needless to say, the “prophets” fail the tests miserably.

The aim of YouTube prophets is not so much to inform as to titillate, so that you’ll hit subscribe and come back for more. YouTube prophecies are that particular kind of “tickling of the ears” mentioned in scripture. The goal is to keep you breathless with fear/excitement/longing over the catastrophic/miraculous/apocalyptic things that are about to happen. Note that these things are always just about to take place (usually within a month or two), but they never actually do take place. And the false prophets just move on to the next dream or vision without missing a beat, hoping you’ll forget about all the earlier ones that didn’t come to pass.

I admit that some of these YouTube prophets are very good at what they do (fooling people). Whether or not they set out to fool people is obvious in some cases but debatable in others. They all seem sincere enough, but so do sociopaths and psychopaths. Jesus warned us in Matthew 24 that many false prophets would come in his name during the tribulation/pre-tribulation years, and here they are, right on cue.

If you’re hooked on one or more “Christian” YouTube channels, you need to wean yourself off, or better still go cold turkey. YouTube prophecies are spiritual porn and it’s leading you down the broad path to perdition. You need to unsubscribe. You need to take the time that you would normally spend on spiritual porn and invest it instead in reading the Bible and talking to God (prayer). That is how you grow in faith. Having someone recite scripture at you and then misapply the scripture to world events will not help you grow in faith; it will, however, help you grow in confusion.

If confusion is your aim, then by all means continue with the YouTube prophets. But if being more like Jesus is your aim, ditch the false prophets, read your Bible, and spend more one-on-one time with God.

THE DEAD

the dead

“But let me first go bury my father.”

“Let the dead bury their dead. Come follow me.”

I remember reading those lines when I was first converted from atheism and thinking how cold Jesus sounded. I mean, the guy just wanted to bury his father! That couldn’t take any more than a day or two. And wasn’t burying his father a form of “honoring” him? Was Jesus not only being cruel here but also breaking a Commandment by telling the guy to forget about his father? (more…)

ARE YOU AFRAID?

Is this you?

Jesus was afraid of nothing and no-one. He was prudent in leaving places where he wasn’t welcome or where there was an arrest warrant for him, but being afraid was never part of who he was or is.

The only fear that Jesus had during his time on Earth was fear of the Lord, which wasn’t fear in the sense of being afraid of God but respecting and acknowledging God’s power. Jesus feared God, he wasn’t afraid of God. Scripture tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and so we, like Jesus, should also fear God.

Jesus was afraid of nothing and no-one. As his followers, we should likewise be afraid of nothing and no-one. If you fear something or someone other than God, you are letting the spirit of fear lord over you. The spirit of fear is not from God.

The world is under the power of the spirit of fear, which is why the world is now so deeply afraid. For the world, the pursuit of safety has become the highest good. Where people used to say “Good bye!”, they now say “Stay safe!” Where people used to open their letters and emails with “I hope you’re doing well”, they now open with “I hope you’re staying safe”. The desire to be safe from whatever it is that is prompting their fears is driving the world to take drastic measures that are destroying whole economies and cultures. Some would say this is a controlled demolition that has been conceived as such (and there is ample evidence to support that theory), but still none of this would be possible if people had not given in so completely to the spirit of fear.

Followers of Jesus have no cause to fear what the world fears. In one of his final recorded prayers in the book of John, Jesus asks God to protect those who are his in the world. He doesn’t ask God to remove them from the world; he asks God to protect them. Jesus made that request to God out loud for the sake of his followers – for the sake of us – so that we would know that we are protected.

We are not to fear what the world fears. We are to fear God and God only. We are not to be afraid of those things that make the world afraid. We are to stand before God with our faces uncovered, certain of God’s protection. Born-again believers are ALWAYS before God. There is no time when they are not. We are not to cover our faces, not for any edict or mandate or policy or rule or threat or law or doctrine of man. Jesus died so that we could again stand before God without a covering veil between us. When you cover your face in response to the world’s fears, you nullify what Jesus accomplished for you.

We are not to live as the world lives or to fear what the world fears. God is protecting us to live as Jesus lived. If you are prohibited or forcefully prevented from living as Jesus lived, then you are to leave that place and shake the dust off the bottom of your feet as you go, as a sign against them.

We followers of Jesus have no excuse not to live as Jesus lived, no excuse not to live free from the spirit of fear that is deceiving the world. Through Jesus’ prayer, God has empowered us to live as Jesus lived, certain in our protection. We should be afraid of nothing and no-one.

Let the Spirit of God – not the spirit of fear – be your guide.

…WHEN YOU’RE NOT LOOKING

lostandfoundIt’s surprising what you find when you’re not looking.”

Any time I’ve found money on the street or a four-leaf clover, I wasn’t looking for them. They found me. It’s like a light shines on them, separating them from their surroundings. The last time that happened was a few months ago – two glistening 20-dollar bills lay side by side, waving to me from a hotel parking lot, saying: “Here we are! Come get us!”, and I did.

Near the end of the book of Isaiah, God says through the prophet: “I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not” (65:1). I wasn’t looking for God the day I was born-again. He found me. People say: “I found God”, but it’s God who finds us (his lost sheep) as much as we find him. It’s a mutual finding. (more…)

GOD’S TREASURE

As you can probably tell by the bad quality of the photography (lol), the picture of the rainbow was taken by me and is the real deal. It has not, as they say, been altered in any way. I really did stand at the end of the rainbow and I really did take a photo of it.

I wasn’t looking for a rainbow that day, let alone for the fabled end of one. It found me, about 10 years ago, on a chilly December morning a few weeks before Christmas.  I was living at the time in an apartment building next to Governor Lake in Halifax. The lake is bordered on one side by a few small buildings and on the other side by a rails-to-trails hiking path and extensive wilderness. At night, I would hear the coyotes howling, and occasionally I would find bear scat behind my building, next to the garbage dumpster.

The morning I took the rainbow photo was like any other morning on the lake. It had rained hard earlier, but heavy rain wasn’t unusual for that time of year. I stepped out on my balcony to get a breath of fresh air, and that’s when I saw the rainbow. I ran inside, grabbed my trusty old second-hand camera, and started snapping.

God does these things occasionally – gives us signs that have meaning mainly only to us but also sometimes to other people as well. It’s his way of saying – on a larger scale than usual – that he’s here, he loves us, and to keep going.

The rainbow landed on the part of the backyard that was marshy and all but impassible except for ducks, and there were quite a few of those living on the lake. Every May, long parades of ducklings, marshalled by their proud mamas, would fan across the water in solemn bobbing processions that sadly grew shorter and shorter as the spring warmed into summer and the ducklings succumbed, one by one, to their many natural predators. Duck families of 12 or more would end up as families of 4, 3, 2, or just mama duck.

On the July preceding the December of the rainbow landing, I was buried under a mountain of work. I was doing text editing for my daily bread, and that summer I had taken on too many assignments for the allotted time. One oppressively hot dull afternoon, I was so frustrated by the heat and by the deadlines I knew I could not possibly meet, I took an unscheduled break and ran outdoors to spend a few minutes by the lake. Cool water lapping against rocks always soothes me.

I flopped down on an outcropping of rocks next to the “rainbow landing” and suddenly started to cry. I hadn’t gone outside intending to cry, but there I was, blubbering away. The tears streamed down in a hot rush and the sobs came thick and loud. As I sat there gasping and snuffling and bemoaning my frustration to some startled dragonflies, a mama duck and her one remaining duckling bobbed into blurry view. The mama stayed a ways from shore, but the little duckling swam closer and closer until finally hopping out of the water and waddling a few steps over to me. To my utter surprise, the little thing plopped itself down next to me. The mama stayed where she was.

By that point, my tears of frustration had turned into tears of joy. I started to laugh, but softly so as not to scare the little one. The duckling just sat there, less than an arm’s length away, watching me. We sat together like that for about three minutes, quietly and companionably, while my breathing returned to normal and my tears dried up. Then the little duckling, its mission accomplished, waddled back to the water, hopped in, and swam out to its mama. Off they both bobbed across the lake.

God does these things occasionally to tell us that he’s here, he loves us, and to keep going. Six months later, in part as a tribute to the little duckling (and its mama), God sent the rainbow to land exactly next to where they had so graciously and unexpectedly comforted me that warm summer afternoon.

God does these things to tell us that he’s here, he loves us, and to keep going.

May your day be blessed with rainbows, ducklings, a trusty old camera, and other priceless treasures from God!

DISCERNING THE JUDASES FROM THE PAULS

Remember that Judas Iscariot was one of the 12.

He was part of Jesus’ inner circle of disciples.

That meant he preached and taught the Word. He followed in Jesus’ entourage wherever Jesus went. He was present at many of the miracles. He lived as a follower of Jesus throughout the entire duration of Jesus’ ministry. All of the disciples and other followers accepted him as a fellow believer. No-one doubted his faith. He was among the chorus of voices that claimed they would rather die than betray Jesus.

Remember also that when Jesus said that someone among them would betray him, all of the disciples (except for Judas) were confused as to who that could be. They each, one by one, even considered themselves as possible betrayers (“Is it I?”) rather than point the finger at Judas. He really had them all fooled.

All of them, that is, except for Jesus.

The same spirit that worked through Judas Iscariot is still active among us today, still in the inner and outer sanctums of Christianity, and still deceiving people into believing that everyone who claims to be a Christian is actually a Christian. We need to use discernment if we are to tell the Judases from the real disciples. We need to use the same Spirit that Jesus used.

I have written in earlier blogs about the Judases I have met over the past 21 years as a born-again believer. Most of these were priests, preachers and ministers. They were no shrinking violets; they didn’t sit in pews and let other people carry the burden of ministry. No, they were active and popular and hard-working and engaging. People liked them and responded positively to them, just as, I’m sure, people (including the disciples) liked and responded positively to Judas Iscariot during most of Jesus’ ministry. If they hadn’t liked Judas, surely that would have been a red flag to Jesus’ other disciples that something was “off” about Judas, but no red flags appeared.

The other side of this coin is Paul’s conversion to Christianity. When he first came out as a follower of Jesus, very few of Jesus’ followers believed him. Most of them doubted his conversion and nearly all of them were afraid of him, as he was on record swearing that he would incarcerate and kill any followers of The Way. In fact, it was Paul himself who many of Jesus’ followers were fleeing from.

Paul had a major uphill battle to convince Jesus’ followers that his conversion was genuine and that he was now one of them.

I mention these two sides of the same coin – falsely believing that Judas Iscariot was a genuine follower of Jesus and refusing to believe that Paul was a genuine follower – because we live in an age of profound deception. Every one of us is either being tempted (tested) or will be tempted (tested) into believing lies and delusions, and the lies and delusions will only be discernible as such through the lens of God’s Spirit. We cannot rely on our own intellect or reasoning powers to tell who/what is really from God and who/what is not. We need God’s help with that.

At the same time, remember that Jesus entrusted Judas with preaching and teaching the Word, just as God entrusted the teaching of scripture to the same hypocritical Pharisees and Sadducees who had Jesus executed. We are not to reject God’s teachings because of the people who teach them; scripture shows us that even unschooled children and donkeys can be used by God to reveal his Truth. In other words, we are not to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

At the same time, when it comes to choosing what is personally right or wrong for ourselves, we must 100% rely on God’s Spirit for guidance. There is no way, without God’s Spirit, that you will be able to outwit the spirit that inhabited Judas Iscariot.

Finally, remember that God’s Way is not considered “wise” in the eyes of the worldly. To those who hate or disbelieve in God, the Spirit-guided choices made by born-again followers of Jesus look very foolish indeed. You will be attacked and even harshly penalized for not following “the science”, but your job is to ignore the attacks and pray for your attackers. Even that response will be considered further evidence of your stupidity, but let the unbelievers believe what they want. The only opinion of you that really matters is God’s.

I LOVE YOU, DADDY

One of the hallmarks of organized religion, including organized mainstream churchianity, is to make God hazy and confusing. He is framed in terms of being so far above us that we cannot possibly understand him, and the only way we can catch his attention is through ritualistic, pompous, and occasionally downright boring ceremonies. Churchianity in particular likes to drone on and on about “the Great Mystery of God”, as if God were a Great Whodunnit and we’re all little spiritual Sherlock Holmeses trying to figure him out.

God my Father is definitely great, but he’s no mystery to me. He’s my Dad. He loves me and I love him. Our relationship is very simple: he protects and guides me, and I follow his advice as best I can. There is nothing confusing or pompous about how we interact. We just do. No ceremony or ritual required.

Jesus’ ministry was all about the simple and close relationship we can have with God. He said that God is looking for worshipers to come to him in Spirit and in Truth, and that going into a building or into the Holy of Holies or to a specific geographic location is no longer required. We just have to go to God with a willing heart, and he takes it from there.

I mention this because along with making God a “Great Mystery”, churchianity and other organized religions like to muddy the water when it comes to God’s will. This is another one of those “great mysteries” that we just have to take on faith, according to the wolves in sheep’s clothing. The truth of the matter is, though, that God’s will is very accessible. All you have to do is ask him what the best choice is, and he will always show and/or tell you, even if you might not like the answer.

What I’m saying is that God’s will is no mystery. He never meant for it to be a mystery. That’s why he always sent us prophets to give us scripture, and he gave us the Commandments. If we don’t know enough to go to him directly in prayer, then we can refer to the prophets and the Commandments. On top of that, as Christians, we also have the examples set by Jesus. We can know God’s will in general by seeing the kinds of choices Jesus made in his life. To know God’s will in particular for each of us, all we have to do is ask him.

God’s will can be defined simply as the best way forward from any given point in time. This applies to everyone in general and to each of us as individuals. Note that God’s plan and God’s will are not the same thing. God’s plan has already been revealed to us through the prophets, including the one who wrote the book of Revelation. God’s plan refers to a set outcome that will not change. His will, on the other hand, is living and fluid and changes according to the situation. Jesus never knew more than a few days in advance what God’s will was, and neither should we know.

God’s will cannot be a mystery to us because aligning our will with God’s is the foundation for building a strong faith. Without aligning our will with God’s, our faith cannot grow. Every time we choose to do God’s will (that is, every time we choose to do what God shows us is the best way forward, even and especially if it doesn’t look like the best way forward to us or to others), our faith grows. Jesus had tremendous faith – the strongest of anyone who ever lived on Earth – because he always did God’s will. He told us he did. Jesus couldn’t have done God’s will if it were a “mystery” to him.

Don’t let the churchians make God hazy or confusing or out of reach to you. Know that God is your Dad and that he’s even more accessible than dialing “0” for the operator or “911” in an emergency. If you want to know what God’s will (advice) is, ask him. His will will never deviate from the prophets, the Commandments, or Jesus’ teachings.

God especially loves it when you tell him that you love him, when you come to him for no other reason than to say “I love you, Daddy”. In those moments, your will and God’s will are perfectly aligned.

LIVE LIKE JESUS AND DIE LIKE JESUS: THE TIME TO STAND UP IS NOW

The early church gathered to worship God as followers of Jesus on pain of death. They faced the threat of torture and death simply for being Christians, but that didn’t stop them from following Jesus. They chose torture and death rather than be separated from God. Contrast this with today’s alleged Christians who willingly and without any pushback agree to have their places of worship shut down, who agree to be dictated to by the state regarding the number of people who can worship together, and who agree to cover their faces before God, which is a complete and total denial of what Jesus accomplished on the cross. These are not Christians; they are snivelling cowards who bow to the puppets of the synagogue of Satan.

Are you a synagogue of Satan-worshiping coward, too? Are you allowing the government to intrude on your worship of God? If so, shame on you and give your head a shake! Nothing should come between you and God and your worship of God. No earthly authority has any power to come between you and God and your worship of God. THAT’S WHY JESUS DIED – TO PAY THE SIN DEBT AND ENABLE YOU TO HAVE A ONE-ON-ONE RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD AND POWER OVER THE EVIL SPIRITS THAT CONTROL THE WORLD. If you willingly allow the state to intrude on your relationship with God, you are nullifying Jesus’ sacrifice. If the threat of a fine or imprisonment is stopping you from being a Christian and worshiping God, then you are no follower of Jesus: you are a follower of Satan, even though you might not know it. God put the world under the authority of Satan, so if you if bow to government decrees regarding when and where and how you can worship God, you are bowing to Satan.

Jesus preached and taught the Word on pain of death. The early Christians likewise preached and taught the Word on pain of death. Christians today in Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia are being imprisoned, tortured and killed for professing Jesus. It is now our time here in the formerly Christian Western world to be persecuted for being Christians.

Any government decree that comes between you and your public worship of God is a form of persecution. Jesus warned his followers that they would be persecuted, imprisoned and killed simply for being his followers, so we should expect imprisonment and death to follow our non-compliance with government decrees regarding our worship of God and preaching of the Word. Again: WE SHOULD EXPECT IMPRISONMENT AND DEATH TO FOLLOW OUR NON-COMPLIANCE WITH GOVERNMENT DECREES REGARDING OUR WORSHIP OF GOD AND PREACHING OF THE WORD.

These tribulations are tests.  God wants to know if we mean what we say or are just lip-servers. God wants us to prove that we choose him over Satan. God wants to know if we will remain loyal to him under torture and pain of death and will die with blessings and not curses on our lips, like Jesus did. These are not idle words; this is the price that must be paid by all Christians during the time of tribulation if they are to get the reward of Heaven. Jesus warned us as much, but Satan has lulled us into a half-sleep where we believe that being a follower of Jesus just means saying we’re Christians, being “nice” and “tolerant”, showing up at “church” for an hour on Sundays, and throwing a few bucks into the collection basket.

The time to stand up is now. The time to defy government mandates is now. NOTHING SHOULD COME BETWEEN YOU AND GOD AND YOUR WORSHIP OF GOD. NOTHING SHOULD STOP YOU FROM PREACHING AND TEACHING THE WORD. If you are threatened with imprisonment in one area, you move to another, but you DON’T STOP WORSHIPING GOD OR PREACHING THE WORD. NEVER stop worshiping God or preaching the Word, not on pain of a fine, not on pain of imprisonment, and not on pain of death. If you are killed for choosing to obey God rather than the satanic state, then you die in good company. But remember to die with blessings rather than curses on your lips.

Remember to die with blessings rather than curses on your lips.

I cannot stress that enough.

Live like Jesus and die like Jesus.

Then you get to go home.

JESUS: THE KING OF NON-COMPLIANCE

During his ministry years, Jesus was compliant to very few government or religious decrees. Only those that were in accordance with God’s will did Jesus follow, such as being baptized by his cousin John (when John insisted that he should be baptized by Jesus) or paying a tax (which Jesus argued did not need to be paid). And his compliance was solely to reveal God’s miracles, namely the Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus in the form of a dove as a sign to John that Jesus was the Messiah, and the gold coin being found in the fish’s mouth to pay the wrongly demanded tax.

I mention Jesus’ famous non-compliance to government and religious dictates because we currently live in an age of profound and disturbing compliance. Even those who consider themselves Christians are marching in lockstep with government mandates of questionable validity, agreeing to have their places of worship locked down and/or the number of people who can attend worship services drastically reduced. CAN YOU IMAGINE JESUS AGREEING TO STATE INTRUSION ON HIS WORSHIP OF GOD? No, I cannot imagine Jesus ever agreeing to the state intruding on his worship of God. And if Jesus would never have allowed the state to intrude on his worship of God, then neither should his followers.  All Christians are allegedly his followers, so NO CHRISTIAN SHOULD BE PERMITTING THE STATE TO DICTATE WHEN AND WHERE AND IN WHAT NUMBERS THEY CAN WORSHIP GOD.

The government should also not be mandating face coverings while worshiping God, because God’s people are to come before him with their faces uncovered, hiding nothing, and with nothing coming between them and God. THIS IS WHY JESUS DIED, so that nothing could ever again come between us and God – not other people, not evil spirits, and certainly not something as inconsequential  as a government-issued mandate. As born-agains we should NEVER willingly let something come between us and God.

Who should we fear more – God or the government?

Jesus tells us to fear God only, as he is the one who has ultimate power over our body and soul. The government has authority over our body only, and only if and when God permits it.

Jesus was famously non-compliant to government decrees. He spoke when he was commanded to be silent and silent when he was commanded to speak; he walked freely where he was threatened with arrest and refused to go where he was expected to attend; he preached what he was ordered not to preach, taught what he was ordered not to teach, healed when he was ordered not to heal. He thumbed his nose at the unjust and frankly illogical dictates of the temple elders who were complicit with the corrupt Roman occupying forces, and he did his Father’s will rather than that of the rulers. And in so doing, he was blessed and protected by the Father.

We, as followers of Jesus, are to live our lives as Jesus lived his during his ministry years. We should allow nothing to come between us and God, or between us and our worship of God, or between us and our preaching and teaching of the Word. If the state decrees that we cannot assemble to worship God, we do it anyway. If the state decrees that we cannot exceed a certain number of worshipers, we ignore the rule. And if the state mandates we cover our faces when we come before God, we refuse to comply: NOTHING SHOULD COME BETWEEN US AND GOD AND OUR WORSHIP OF GOD, or Jesus died in vain and our rebirth is annulled.