When we were little kids, we learned simple songs. The songs had at most a dozen notes in an easy-to-reach range, a simple and catchy tune, and lyrics that didn’t always make sense but were easy to remember. Think “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” or “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”. We sang these songs at daycare or at school or with our mother at home. Sometimes we’d sing them quietly to ourselves if we were sad or scared, as a way to recall happier times and comfort ourselves. They were as much a part of our lives as play time, snack time, and bedtime. They became part of us and still are part of us today.
I mention these childhood songs because, as born-again believers, we need to learn a new song. We’re old enough now to choose the notes ourselves, but the lyrics should go like this: (more…)
Jesus said: “If it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.”
Jesus said: “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”
Jesus also said: “My kingdom is not of this world.”
Without a doubt, and from the evidence of Jesus’ own words, God’s prophesied Kingdom has come. It was heralded by Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah, who is now ruling over the Kingdom from the right hand of the Father. God’s Kingdom – the Age of the Messiah – is here and now and has been for the past nearly 2000 years. Those of us who are born again are priests and prophets in the Kingdom. We are protected from our spiritual enemies. We live in profound peace that the world cannot match. The Kingdom cannot be taken away, as it is an eternal Kingdom and our enemies are under our feet. They must steer clear of us and have no jurisdiction over us. We truly are free in that we live free of fear within God’s perfect protection. These are promises made by God through his Old Testament prophets, and all these promises have come true in Jesus and through Jesus in the very present Messianic Age. (more…)
So where are we now, as Christians? Where is Christianity in the great continuum of belief systems?
I’ll tell you where it is – it’s exactly where Judaism was when Jesus showed up to destroy it for being a pile of hogwash that had no connection to God’s Word and was based on “doctrines of man” rather than God’s principles. That’s where Christianity is today – based on doctrines of man. And just like the Jews in Jesus’ day thought that being Jewish (that is, being children of Abraham) was enough to give them entrance to God’s Kingdom, most Christians today also think that being Christian and “having faith” is enough to win them a one-way all-expenses-paid forever holiday in Paradise. They believe this because that’s what they’ve been taught to believe, even though it’s not in the Bible.
I know most of you don’t want to hear this, but nearly everything you’ve been told in mainstream Christian churches is a lie. You’ve been lied to by people who are not born again, don’t know God as their Father, aren’t filled with God’s Holy Spirit, and don’t follow Jesus as their example. How can they possibly teach you God’s Truth if they don’t know God and don’t have God’s Spirit to guide them? (more…)
One of the most perplexing (to me) statements made by Christians is “God needs me”. They usually use it within the context of God needing them to do something for the Kingdom, such as street ministry work or going on an overseas mission or doing volunteer work at a local church. Yes, God invites us to help him with his ongoing work of saving souls, but he doesn’t need us. We need him. (more…)
When Jesus invites all those who are “heavily burdened” to come to him, he is talking about more than just the burdens of this world. Yes, everyday life can be a heavy burden in itself, with increasing debts and expenses, difficult relationships, and too many things to do within too short a time, but Jesus was also and perhaps more specifically referring to heavy spiritual burdens, as things of the spirit were his specialty. In most cases, if we resolve our spiritual burdens, our worldly burdens are also resolved.
One aspect of a heavy spiritual burden can be found quite literally in the heavy weight of demonic oppression that occurs during sleep paralysis. I have not personally experienced it myself since being born-again 20 years ago, but prior to that, sleep paralysis was nearly a nightly event. The demons that attended on me had a field day all night. (more…)
Jesus taught. He didn’t preach, he taught.
He went from synagogue to synagogue teaching people about the Kingdom.
With his own disciples, he answered their questions and explained his teachings more in-depth.
Most Christians have lost sight of this fact, that Jesus was first and foremost a teacher and that those who follow him must likewise learn to teach as he did. All Christians should be aiming to teach like Jesus.
Teaching is not preaching. Teaching is connecting with and feeding the listener, whereas preaching is presenting, like a performance. Teaching builds a bridge between the teacher and the learner that enables knowledge transfer. Performing builds a wall that separates the performer from the audience. (more…)
I was baptized a Catholic when I was about a month old. I went on to “receive” my First Holy Communion (at age 7, wearing a red mini-dress and fishnet stockings), after which I declared myself an atheist, and that was that. I was pulled from weekly religion classes and didn’t darken a church doorway again for decades.
Fast-forward nearly 30 years. I was born again on a deserted beach in South Australia. Knowing next to nothing about Christianity, I figured I was still somehow a Catholic, so I started attending Catholic mass every day (twice on Sundays) and was “confirmed” (a Catholic rite of passage) a few years later. I even considered becoming a nun.
Then one day while I was sitting all alone in a church after mass, God opened my eyes to the truth about Catholicism (that it’s not Christianity), and within a minute I was out the door. That was 16 years ago and haven’t been back since.
Here’s what God showed me that day: (more…)
I’ve been doing a deep reading of the book of Jeremiah over the past week, along with supplementary historical information.
It is very sobering stuff.
Jeremiah is the Old Testament prophet who spent his life warning his people that they had strayed far from God’s ways and in so doing were setting themselves up for God’s unique, inescapable, perfect and perfectly timed brand of punishment.
Most of the people not only did not heed Jeremiah’s warnings, but some even went so far as to imprison him and try to kill him, just to shut him up.
Jeremiah survived the imprisonments and attempts on his life, and then went on to see his warnings come true in the form of a great slaughter of his people at the hands of the Babylonians (modern-day Iraqis) and the total destruction of Jerusalem, including the first temple. Nearly 600 years later, a few decades after Jesus’ crucifixion, there was another great slaughter and destruction, this time at the hands of the Romans, who also razed the second temple to the ground. God had warned, through Jeremiah: “If they will not obey, I will utterly pluck up and destroy that nation.”
That he did, and that he has done. (more…)
I can imagine that if Jesus went to the pubs today, he wouldn’t go there on Friday or Saturday nights, when they’re loud and crowded with people having a few rounds with their buddies and relaxing after a long week of work or classes. No, Jesus would go to the pubs on Sunday nights or Monday nights or Tuesday nights, when they’re deathly quiet and the real drinkers are there, propped up on the bar or hidden in far corners, alone, and nursing pint after pint.
Pubs are dreary places on “off nights”. As an atheist, I used to work in bars, and no-one wanted to take the “off-night” shifts. A pall hangs over the place, no matter how loud or lively the music. It echoes around the empty space and back at you as you keep yourself busy wiping tables and stocking the fridge, praying for the front door to swing open and a massive crowd to sweep in. That prayer was never answered. (more…)
Being a Christian living in a non-Christian world surrounded by people doing non-Christian things can be quite appalling at times. Try telling an unbeliever not to do something because it’s wrong, and watch the initial look of surprise turn into a snarl and the snarl turn into a spiritual lunge.
I remember snarling and lunging when I was an atheist. I took great pride in doing what I knew was wrong. Sometimes I did it deviously, so that no-one knew, and sometimes I did it “loud and proud” so that everyone would know. Then, when I was born again, all of the advice that I used to snarl at became my default position. No-one had to teach me that abortion or homosexuality or promiscuity were wrong; I just knew it, from one second to the next. Jesus tells us that we won’t have to go to believers and tell them “don’t do this” and “don’t do that”, because they will all be taught by God.
Telling unbelievers that abortion is murder or that living with someone you’re not married to is wrong is essentially swatting at spiritual flies. You tend to make yourself more of a fly target when you swat at them. They don’t go away, and they call in reinforcements to harass you. You accomplish nothing except to make yourself frustrated and fly-ridden. (more…)