As born-again believers, we don’t live our faith once a week at a church service. We don’t save it up for special occasions like the annual commemoration celebrations of Jesus’ birth and resurrection. We live our faith day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, and second by second. Every breath we breathe is a gesture of faith. Every word we speak should reflect our faith. I don’t mean that we should be phony, like many religious people are prone to be, peppering their speech with phrases like “I love you with the love of the Lord”. I just mean we should choose our words to be kind and helpful, rather than rude and disparaging. Jesus says we’re judged by our words and will be held accountable for every single one of them, even those we use when we speak to our own personal Judas Iscariots.
There are those who believe that Jesus accomplished everything that needs to be done for our redemption on the cross and we don’t have to do anything else. We can live more or less however we want to live, as long as we claim to be “with Jesus” or to “believe in Jesus”. While it’s true beyond a doubt that Jesus accomplished the mission God sent him to do (pay humanity’s sin debt long owed from the fall of Adam), we still need to, as Paul puts it, work out our salvation with fear and trembling.
The works of the law weren’t sufficient to pay the sin debt, but they were required for a time. Similarly, as we now work out our salvation with fear and trembling, as we measure and weigh each and every one of our words before we let them slip out of our mouth or fingertips, those gestures are not enough on their own to pay for us to cover our own personal sins, but we still need to do them. We still need to treat others as we want to be treated, because Jesus told us we had to. We still need to keep the 10 Commandments and love our enemies, because Jesus told us we had to. We are not exempted from keeping our end of the bargain because Jesus kept his. He did the heavy lifting, but we’re still required to give it everything we’ve got. We’re still required to put in our best effort not once or twice a year, but every day, all day.
That means hour by hour, minute by minute, and second by second we are to live as if God is watching and taking notes of everything we do, because he is. He’s even taking notes of our thoughts. We don’t have to go out looking for good deeds to do; God will bring them to us. And they won’t be good deeds: they’ll be tests of our faith. They’ll be tests to see if we actually mean what we say or are just hypocrites and lipservers.
The rubber truly hits the road in our tests. That’s when we show our true colors, especially when we don’t have time to weigh and measure our words before they escape us. I get down on my face and thank God for his tests, because they show me where I am spiritually, not where I say I am or think I am or tell myself I am, to comfort myself. I need to know exactly where I am spiritually – in God’s eyes – so that I know what I need to improve (which, as it turns out, is pretty much everything lol).
Whether or not I actually succeed at improving what needs to be improved is not the point; the point is that I give everything I’ve got to do my best as I work towards improving what needs to be improved. It’s my humble acknowledgement that I fall far short of the bar even while I’m giving every ounce of my strength to reach up to it that God is looking for. That’s what God is looking for – that we give our best even while knowing it will never be enough. We don’t let our own perceived and unperceived inadequacies stop us. We give our all, all the time.
When Jesus tasked his disciples with leaving their homes and families and jobs, he was in effect asking them to give him their all. He was saying: Everything you are, everything you’ve built and accumulated in this world, I want you to walk away from, I want you to let go, even relationships. I absolve you from all responsibility towards them, but in return you have to invest everything in me. You have to give me everything you’ve got. Everything you previously invested in your possessions, your families and your work, you now need to invest in me.
Everything, holding nothing back.
In return, I will give you everything you need to survive, but it will come with persecutions and hardship. You will also likely die an outcast from society and a martyr: You will be killed for the sole reason that you gave me your all. But your reward will be great in Heaven.
Not a lot of people want to sign on to such a deal. Jesus, by God’s guidance, knew in advance who would, and so he hand-picked them, one by one.
He’s still hand-picking them.
If you’re a born-again believer, you’ve been hand-picked, plucked out the fires of your own self-induced sin conflagration. You’ve been given a second chance by none other than Jesus himself, with the blessings of God Almighty. Someone once asked me why I was born-again, why this happened to me, and I couldn’t answer at the time. I can answer now: I didn’t choose it; it chose me. I was hand-picked in the same way the disciples were hand-picked, not because I was better than anyone else or holier than anyone else, but because God knew when he directed Jesus to hand-pick me that I would (eventually) give everything I had to him, that I would hold nothing back. That I would be kicked in the teeth and keep smiling. That I would labor in obscurity and keep laboring. That I would live for the Truth and then (eventually) die for the Truth. God is looking for people like that. I pray he’s found it in me.
We do not live our faith once or twice a year or around other people, for show. We live it hour by hour, minute by minute, second by second, day in and day out. We give everything we’ve got to God, even knowing that everything isn’t enough to save our soul. We still give it, and while we’re giving it, we thank God for plucking us out of the fire and giving us a second chance.
Private revelation is deeply problematic for mainstream churchianity. In fact, many alleged Christian organizations refuse to accept any revelation that isn’t explicitly word-for-word backed up by scripture.
While I agree with this restriction to a certain extent, we also need to remember that Jesus told his disciples there were many things they needed to learn, but they weren’t ready to learn them yet; they would have to wait until the “Spirit of Truth” would inform them at a later date. These teachings would then obviously not be included in scripture and might even contradict some long-held truths, the way that Jesus’ seminal “love your enemies” seemingly contradicts the directive to love only your neighbour and hate your enemies. Should we then disregard as heretical Jesus’ commandment to love our enemies?
I was thinking about Jesus’ promised future teachings today when I was listening to a pastor talk about the importance of confession. As born-again believers, we know that genuine confession in the form of repentance and submission to God not only kick-starts the conversion process, but keeps a soul sparkling clean along the Way. Embracing and practicing confession is like learning your ABCs, if you’re a follower of Jesus. Yet for many who attend Sunday church services and otherwise don’t give God or Jesus a second thought throughout the rest of the week, confession is a foreign concept that they have only a slight understanding of and sadly mostly dread.
Static churches (that is, congregations built around a building or a denomination rather than around a growing faith) tend to draw people who have only a vague notion of Christianity. In spiritual knowledge terms, they’re still in kindergarten or even pre-kindergarten and the majority of them are happy to remain there. They don’t want to grow in faith. If they did, they wouldn’t still be going to Sunday services. They would have outgrown them.
Jesus’ way of teaching his disciples is not the way of churchianity. Because they followed Jesus around throughout his ministry years, the disciples were not only able to grow and progress in their faith, they came to see growing and deepening faith as the norm. There was nothing static or stagnant in their progress. This expectation of progression is entirely missing from the static church experience, where pastors must teach and reteach A, B and C, because D and all the other letters beyond it would be too difficult for the parishioners to understand and/or accept. Paul touched on this briefly, berating the members of one of the churches for still being in the suckling stage when they should long ago have moved onto solid food.
We need to keep this in mind for two reasons: One, we should always be growing and deepening our faith and the growth should be obvious to us and those around us; and two, after a certain point, we’ll be relying almost exclusively on private revelation from God’s Spirit of Truth, as Jesus promised us. When we reach that point, what we learn will likely be dismissed or condemned by mainstream churchianity as ascriptural heresy, which should not be surprising to us, considering that most (if not all) professional priests and ministers are not born-again and are themselves still stuck spiritually in A, B or C. In other words, they’re in no position to judge what is heretical or not.
Remember that Jesus was condemned as a heretic guilty of blasphemy for claiming to be the prophesied Messiah. Despite this revelation being in scripture, those who condemned Jesus couldn’t make the jump from reading words on a page to applying them to an actual living breathing person. The problem wasn’t Jesus or even scripture; the problem was ignorance and spiritual blindness that kept the religious powers-that-be and those they lorded over operating at a spiritual kindergarten or pre-kindergarten level.
Without growth, faith shrivels and dies. Static faith is spiritual death. For us born-again believers, private revelation is one of the ways that our faith continues grow, and as such should never be dismissed out of hand. Along with mentioning that the Spirit of Truth would guide his followers in the Way they needed to go, Jesus also stated that what we hear in the ear, we need to shout from the rooftops. If that isn’t a clear reference to the validity of private revelation, I don’t what is. In fact, most of the Bible is based on private revelation – God revealed his Truth to his messengers, the prophets, who then relayed to others what God had told them. We born-agains are God’s prophets.
God, through his Holy Spirit, tells me many things “in the ear”, some of which I relay to others and some of which I keep to myself for the time being, according to God’s instructions. He’s been with me and guiding me since the day I was reborn nearly 23 years ago. Having God with us through his Holy Spirit is a promise given to us by Jesus: there is nothing heretical, blasphemous, ascriptural or crazy about it. It’s evidence of spiritual rebirth. And if God is with me all day every day through his Spirit, we’re not going to pass the time talking about the weather. We’re going to talk Truth. Or rather, God is going to talk Truth, and I’m going to soak it up and apply it. That’s how I grow in my faith.
I know there are some things that I’ve written about here over the years that have alienated readers of this blog, as they see it as contradicting scripture (or, better said, contradicting their churchianity teachings). There’s not much I can do about that. I’m not going to adjust what God tells me in order not to offend anyone or to support lies. For example, Jesus tells us to get a weapon, but he never tells us to hurt anyone with it. In fact, he very clearly demonstrates (by healing the wound inflicted on a soldier by his overzealous follower) that we’re not to hurt anyone with our weapon, and that it’s to be used for deterrence purposes only.
Many Americans are not a fan of this revelation. They read in scripture “sell your cloak and get a weapon” and they assume the directive to get a weapon implies permission to use it to hurt or kill people, and to do so with God’s and Jesus’ blessings. Nothing could be farther from the Truth. Christians don’t kill, full stop. Christians love their enemies, they don’t hurt them in any way. It doesn’t matter if the state gives you permission to kill under certain circumstances or if your pastor directs you to arm yourself with the intention to kill – God says “don’t do it”. I know he says “don’t do it” because he told me through private revelation.
Knowing that, who are you going to believe – the full weight of churchianity and the state, which gives you permission to arm yourself with the intention to kill, or little ol’ born-again me, who claims to have heard directly from God that we’re to use a weapon for deterrence purposes only?
Who you choose to believe is up to you. You have free will. But I would recommend that you choose to believe what aligns with the teachings of Jesus, even if it’s not explicitly stated in scripture. What aligns with the teachings of Jesus in this instance is that we’re to use our weapons for deterrence purposes only.
A prayer for you: I hope you have a wonder-filled day. I hope you grow in faith today, and that the growth is obvious to you and those around you. I hope you hear directly from God and apply what you hear to your life. I hope that whatever you do, you do it as if you were doing it for God himself, and that you proudly do it in Jesus’ name. I hope that you never hide that you’re a follower of Jesus: there is never an occasion when it’s right to hide that. I hope you only ever do what’s right in God’s eyes, even if it contradicts what you learned in church or on a YouTube video.
I hope you choose to do what’s right in God’s eyes.
I’m always a little disconcerted when I hear people who call themselves Christians describe Heaven like it’s a Philadelphia Cream Cheese commercial – bored angels floating around on clouds and playing harps all day (and eating Philadelphia Cream Cheese). There is also a common misconception among some Christians that Heaven is a place of disembodied spirits, when in fact only evil spirits are disembodied. Those in Heaven have very real and perfected bodies that last forever.
God has blessed me with visions of Home, and I’m happy to report that you’re under no obligation to eat Philadelphia Cream Cheese there (unless you want to). The best way I can describe Heaven is that it’s Earth perfected, only infinitely larger. Imagine the best day you’ve ever lived on Earth, and then imagine living infinite variations of that day forever. Imagine that best day filtered for any unpleasantness and leaving only the good. Imagine all the happiest moments you’ve ever lived, and then imagine those moments perfected. Imagine being surrounded by all your favorite things – your favorite foods, your favorite flowers, your favorite trees, your favorite animals, your favorite insects, your favorite scenery, your favorite sounds, your favorite smells – your favorite everything, perfected, and forever. That’s Heaven.
There’s no ugliness in Heaven. There’s no jealousy or lying. There’s no backbiting or gossip. There are no regrets or bad memories. There’s nothing unpleasant or uncomfortable. There’s no pain and no death, and the good-byes in Heaven are always followed by “see you soon!”, because there are no final partings there.
All the animals in Heaven are tame, and you can talk and interact with them the same way as you can talk and interact with your best friends here on Earth. The same insects that are on Earth are in Heaven, too, but their capacity to sting or bite or stink has been removed. The bugs have been debugged.
While we’re yet on Earth, we have the ability to create our own piece of Heaven every day by storing up our visual, emotional and physical treasures there. Jesus advised us to do that, which means we can and should do it. We just ask God to put this or that in our piece of Heaven, and he does it. It’s that simple.
I mentioned a few days ago about a stand of birch and pine trees, hundreds of years old, that had been cut down. I was sad to see that happen, and I grieved with the birds who had lost their homes and nests (I saw one crow flying around and around one of the felled trees in obvious distress before the tree was chopped up and hauled away). But God comforted me (as he comforted the birds) by reminding me I could have those trees in Heaven, and that’s where they are now – on my land in Heaven, perfected. I’ll be able to enjoy them again and forever when I get Home. The birds will be there, too, happy and perfected.
This is how we build our own personal Heaven. We ask God to take the things we treasure here and put them there for safekeeping until we get Home.
We don’t, however, have any control over who gets to go to Heaven, including ourselves. The judgement of souls is God’s domain. I have an inkling of some people I know and love who might be in Heaven, sleeping until the Judgement, but I won’t know for sure who made it Home until I get there myself (if in fact I do get there).
The night before he was crucified, Jesus told us that he was going Home to prepare a place for us. I believe he’s done that. He’s allotted an area for me and is letting me fill it up, day by day. That’s one of the reasons I travel – to find new places and things to store up in Heaven. So when I have to say good-bye to places and things on Earth, it doesn’t make me sad for long because I know they’re Home waiting for me and that I’ll be able to enjoy them again someday and forever. That’s one of the biggest motivators for me to stay on the strait and narrow and to love my enemies come hell or high water.
I don’t like to think about what happens if I don’t make it Home, but I still need to know. We all need to know. God tells me that my stored-up treasures wouldn’t disappear in that case, but would be made available to everyone in Heaven to use and enjoy, like a public commons. I’m glad to hear that, but even so, I want to enjoy my treasures myself. I don’t want to be somewhere eternally in pain and eternally regretting all the stupid things I did that got me there. So I choose and act accordingly here on Earth while there’s still time, with an eye to my eternal reward rather than to any earthly ones.
Springtime in eastern Canada brings out the peepers – little “chorus frogs” that live in marshes and wetland areas and in the woodlands that fringe them. Having lived in cities most of my life, the first time I heard peepers was about 15 years ago, when I spent a few years in an apartment complex on a lake (the same lake that’s featured in my blog’s rainbow photo). The topography of the area around the lake and way the apartment buildings were situated next to the water body created an amphitheater effect, so the songs of the peepers reverberated and echoed around and around and around. It’s one of the most beautiful and almost unearthly sounds I’ve ever heard.
When I first heard the peepers singing, I thought they were sleigh bells. I remember thinking at the time that someone must be out on the lake at night ringing sleigh bells for some reason. (This is how the mind of a displaced urbanite tries to make sense of nature lol.) I enjoyed the peepers there for two springs, and then I moved. I’ve heard peepers since, but never to the same fullness of sound. It really was a unique and wondrous experience.
There are peepers outside my window now in Annapolis Royal. Judging by the sound level, there are only a few of them, but they brought to mind the peepers at Governors Lake. I’ve asked God and he’s graciously agreed to store up my Governors Lake peeper experience in Heaven with my other treasures. So if you do make it Home, be sure to drop by my place in the late evening and ask to hear the peepers. They’ll put on a performance just for you!
We’ve all had a long hard couple of years. When uncertainty and fear dominate the public discourse, people tend to reduce their conversations to platitudes as a way to spoon-feed each other verbal comfort food. That’s not to say that platitudes don’t have their time and place (to soothe those in mourning, for instance), but the continued overuse of phrases like “Be safe!” has me screaming into the crook of my arm rather than sneezing into it.
I don’t even know what “be safe” means.
I get that people don’t want to get sick. No-one in their right mind wants to be sick. But what am I supposed to do when people constantly bray at me to “be safe”? What precisely is it that they want me to do or not to do?
I’ve scoured scripture for a phrase that is similar in meaning to “be safe”, but I’ve found nothing. The notion of moving through life with safety as a top priority doesn’t exist in the Bible. It certainly didn’t exist for Jesus during his time on Earth. Jesus was all about faith, which is generally the opposite of being safe. Faith, by its very nature, requires taking risks. Following Jesus requires taking risks. People used to exhort each other to “Go with God” in faith and boldness, knowing that being a believer in an unbelieving world implied danger right out of the gate. We were to face the danger head-on and deal with it by the help of God’s Holy Spirit, not run and hide from the bogeyman.
When we tell each other to “be safe” and prioritize safety over every other mode of being, we shut down that very thing that makes us alive – our innate desire to grow, expand our reach, and explore. We shroud ourselves in a dark heavy pall that muffles the sounds around us and restricts our vision. We can barely move from the weight of other people’s fears. It reminds me of David when he was being readied to fight Goliath. He was decked head to toe in heavy armour that was so cumbersome he could barely move. So he decided to throw it all off and go into battle armed only with a sling and a few stones. I doubt that as he stood facing Goliath, David was thinking about being safe. I think the notion of being safe was the farthest thing from his mind.
No-one conquers anything by prioritizing safety.
And there’s the crux of the matter – when you make safety a priority, you leave no room for the more noble human attributes of courage, self-sacrifice, fearlessness, and “get ‘er done”, the latter of which is my favourite of all human attributes and once upon a time characterized the region I grew up in.
Jesus was King of get ‘er done. Nothing swayed him from his mission. If there was a storm, he stilled it. If the sick thronged him, he healed them. If his enemies surrounded him, he calmly maneuvered through them and prayed for them on his way out. He didn’t run and hide to “be safe”; he didn’t avoid conflict to “be safe”. Where others cowered in fear against the demon-possessed chain-busting man in the cemetery, Jesus walked up to him, exorcised him, and then clothed and spent time with him. There was nothing that the world threw at him that Jesus didn’t simply respond to with “let’s get ‘er done”, including his crucifixion. If God puts a challenge in your path, he will surely help you through it. Jesus knew that, and we need to know that, too.
So I propose that we replace “be safe!” with “get ‘er done!”. I propose that instead of being afraid of everyone around us, we walk among them the way Jesus walked among the crowds, undeterred by their close proximity. I propose that instead of relying on the world for guidance, we rely on God, modeling our choices on the choices Jesus made during his time on Earth.
I propose that we face the world fearlessly, aware of its dangers, but choosing to be bold rather than cautious. We can be bold because we know that God has our back, and that whatever challenges he permits to come against us, he’ll help us to overcome, one way or another.
I propose prioritizing faith over being safe.
I propose prioritizing living life the way God intended us to live it – the way Jesus lived it.
I propose throwing off the shackles of “be safe” and moving forward in the spirit of “get ‘er done!”
And I propose we start doing that today – here and now – and continue doing it until the day we die.
Let’s get ‘er done!
I spend a lot of time on his blog talking about God’s Kingdom. That should be no surprise to anyone, as the Kingdom has been my spiritual home country since my rebirth 23 years ago. People like to talk about their home country. Mine just happens to be invisible.
But its lack of visibility doesn’t mean it isn’t there. As Jesus said, the Kingdom is within us and all around us. It forms the interface between the eternal realm and the mortal realm, that is, between timelessness/infinity and time/space, respectively. Born-again believers, while yet on Earth, live spiritually in the Kingdom and physically in the world.
On occasion, we mere mortals are blessed with very visible visitors from the eternal realm, like God’s holy angels or Moses and Elijah. These are interdimensional visits. Sometimes the visitors appear in physical form and sometimes as apparitions. The angels who visited Lot for the night and then dragged him out of Sodom just before its destruction the next day were not apparitions. They had physical form and were able to eat and drink. Jesus, after his resurrection, also appeared in physical form. In fact, because he appeared so suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere, the disciples initially thought he must be a ghost. He ate with them and drank with them, and even invited them to touch his wounds, so that they would know he had a physical body and was actually there with them.
I’ve had some dealings with interdimensional visitors from the eternal realm, though at the time God kept their identity from me. He knows I’m such a big-mouth, I’d be screaming to everyone “Look! It’s ANGELS!”, or alternatively I’d be so freaked out, I wouldn’t know what to do, no matter how many times the angels would try to reassure me with “Fear not! Fear not!” So he sends his angels to help me when I need a particular kind of help, but he only lets me know well after the fact that they’re angels.
One interdimensional rescue mission took place a few years ago when I was traveling across Canada for two months on the train. I was nearing the end of my journey and was frankly worn out. I was in Toronto and wanted to get back to Halifax ASAP, but time and the train schedule were against me (or so I thought). Here’s an account of the encounter the day after it happened. I still didn’t know at the time of writing the article that I’d just had an interdimensional intervention:
God leaves breadcrumbs for us throughout the Bible and in our own lives about the reality of interdimensional visitations. It doesn’t require knowledge of quantum physics to figure out: we just have to open our eyes and ears and heart; to see, hear and feel. God interfaces with me every day, all day, through his Spirit, and Jesus comes along for the ride. That was Jesus’ promise to us in the book of John – that he and God would come to live with us, through God’s Spirit. And like God, Jesus always keeps his promises.
Bilocation and appearing/disappearing are also evidence of interdimensionality in the Bible. Even before his resurrection, Jesus had a habit of appearing or disappearing, depending on the circumstances. When he made a sudden appearance, it was usually to help someone; when he suddenly disappeared, it was usually a form of escape.
My helper at the train station both appeared out of nowhere and disappeared into thin air. I should have realized at the time who I was dealing with, but God hid my understanding until later.
Interdimensional visitations are sometimes confused with time travelling. I am not a believer in time travel, and in fact I don’t think it exists, unless by “time travel” you mean interdimensional travel between the eternal and the mortal realms – that is, from the realm of timelessness to the realm of time. Having knowledge of the future can easily be explained by the difference between these two realms. Jesus (and other prophets in scripture) knew what would happen in the future either because God told them, or God sent someone from the eternal realm to tell them. Neither Jesus nor the prophets time-traveled or had any reason to do so; they simply received information, either directly from source (God) or indirectly (through messages or visions, also sent from God). This process continues today. It’s called revelation.
As welcoming as I am to God’s holy interdimensional visitors on Earth, I have no desire to try to break the time and space barrier and return their visit. I’m happy to wait until it’s my time and I get my one-way ticket home, if and when I do. I think that people who attempt to bridge the interface on their own volition (that is, without God’s grace) end up communicating with demonic spirits, who are only too happy to give them the illusion that they’ve somehow managed to time travel.
A lot of fringe and even mainstream films and books are based on the premise of time travel and alien contact. There is a profound lack of knowledge about God and interdimensionality in these works of science fiction, so much so that obvious demonic entities are framed as friendly beings who are here to help. (Satan’s tactics, as he first debuted them in the Garden with Eve, haven’t changed a whit over the millennia.) While time-travel remains elusive, contact with interdimensional beings can be made from the mortal realm, and sadly quite easily. I’m not going to go into details about how to do that, other than to say you’re best to stay far, far away from it all. Nothing good can come from communicating with evil.
As a final note to this topic for today, it’s useful to remember that the entire Bible itself is evidence of God’s interdimensional communication with his people through revelation. Without interdimensional communication occurring between the eternal and mortal realms, there would be no Bible. It’s the revelations from God that make scripture holy; otherwise, the Bible is just a history of a certain people at a certain time, and we know that the Bible is much more than that. We know it’s God’s Word. But God lives in eternity and we don’t, so he needs to communicate with us across the dimensions, through his Spirit directly to us, or through his Spirit acting on his prophets and messengers.
I hope you take some time to think about interdimensionality and how you experience it in your everyday life. Because you do experience and engage in it every day, whether you’re aware of it or not. Paul says that we in the mortal realm can see into the eternal realm as “through a glass darkly”, but the eternal realm can see into ours quite clearly, like a one-way mirror looking into an interrogation room. The more aware you become of the constant interdimensionality of everyday life, the more likely you’ll be to act accordingly.
Knowing that God’s always looking over my shoulder (and taking notes) sure keeps me on the strait and narrow.
May your day be blessed by the presence of the Holy Spirit of God and his holy messengers.
What choices will you make today?
You’ll choose what time to get up.
You’ll choose what to wear.
You’ll choose what to eat for breakfast (or to skip breakfast).
In between these choices, there will be others that involve your hygiene, your message monitoring, your information gathering.
If you work outside where you’re living, you’ll choose how to get there and how to interact with anyone you meet during your commute.
When you get to your place of work, you’ll choose how much effort you’ll put into your work today.
And all along the way, you’ll choose which thoughts to entertain, which plans to solidify or to dismiss, which information to gather or to ignore.
Our lives, even sometimes during our sleep, are a series of choices. Jesus tells us that everything we do, say, and think we’ll be held accountable for at the judgement. Most of us, although aware of that line in scripture, put that information to the back of our mind. How can we live always conscious that everything we do, say and even think is being recorded, perhaps to our ultimate condemnation?
How can we live knowing we’re always under a microscope?
If you love God, you love that your every waking and sleeping moment is being monitored and weighed. It keeps you on the strait and narrow. It helps you make the right choices, knowing that in order to get the consequences you want, you’ll have to make the right choices – that is, the choices that are right in God’s eyes. God’s constant monitoring presence, through his Spirit, is a gift. You hold it tight and thank God for it.
If, on the other hand, you don’t love God, the thought of being constantly monitored by him (or those he delegates to do so) is anathema. You loathe that there is nowhere to run and nowhere to hide from what you see as his all-seeing eye. You loathe that even your thoughts are known. None of this is a comfort to you; on the contrary, you feel violated. You feel powerless. It makes you angry. You might even deny that it’s happening or even possible.
I love God. I thank him every day, all day, that he and Jesus are right here with me through his Spirit. I want all my words and actions to be weighed by him, I want my thoughts to be known to him, because then he can guide me away from the words and actions and thoughts that will lead me away from my heavenly reward. My whole purpose in doing what I do here on Earth is to solidify my plan to make it home to Heaven. God delegates us, his born-again children, to learn about him and his Way so that we can teach others about his Way, who will then in turn teach others, and so on and so on to the end of time.
Along with being the Messiah, Jesus also had the mission to teach others about God’s Way during his ministry years. We don’t have to be the Messiah (that mission is over and done and fully accomplished), but we do have to teach others about God’s Way.
What choices will you make today, knowing that you’re being watched and recorded? How will that thought affect your thoughts? What will you do to teach others about God’s Way?
I hope you’ll make good (godly) choices and enjoy the good consequences that come from them.
I hope you’ll do what’s right in God’s eyes.
I hope, that when it’s your time, your choices will be weighed in your favour and you’ll get to go Home.
And I hope that if you make it home and I make it home, we’ll meet up in Heaven and share in each other’s rewards.
Mine is full of my grandmother’s brown sugar fudge, as a start. You can have as much brown sugar fudge as you want when you come for a visit, because there’s a never-ending supply, and it always tastes perfect.
What rewards are waiting for you? Did you know that as much as you get to choose your words, thoughts and actions on Earth, you also get to choose your rewards in Heaven, bearing in mind that nothing evil can get into Heaven?
If you haven’t yet started to choose your rewards, I recommend that you do so. Choose your favourite scenery, your favourite food, your favourite trees and flowers and animals – make it personal. Make it entirely you. Make it all the things you love and treasure. Make it things that have had a hard life here but give them a better place in your heavenly home. Jesus tells us to store up our treasures in Heaven, so store them up. Be generous. There’s no limit to what Heaven can hold.
Yesterday, I saw a stand of trees hundreds of years old be cut down. With them, went the homes of generations of birds and other wildlife. Some of the trees even had nests in them. I couldn’t stop the destruction, but I could pray to God for the trees and all the lives they had sheltered to be part of my place in Heaven, and that’s where they are now, waiting for me. My heavenly home has gained a beautiful stand of birch and pine trees, along with innumerable birds and squirrels and foxes and deer and insects. This is how we choose our Heaven.
What choices will you make today?
I pray that you make the right ones.
Jesus was an itinerant teacher and preacher during his ministry years.
Most people tend to leave out the itinerant aspect when they talk about Jesus’ ministry, as if being itinerant were something undesirable. But I think the fact that Jesus wasn’t rooted in a single location is one of the reasons for his success. His itinerancy was integral to the work he needed to do.
Moving around is good for your soul: it keeps you mentally, physically and spiritually on your toes. We know, as born-again believers, that Earth is not our home; Heaven is our home. Jesus told us that he’s going there to prepare a place for us, and the place he prepares will be our permanent address. On Earth, we have no permanent address, just a series of places that we move through on our way home.
When you’re NFA (no fixed address) on Earth, it frees you to move around. It’s not a limitation to be NFA as a born-again believer; it’s a blessing and a freedom. It’s also, I believe, a necessary freedom.
When you move from place to place, you stay mentally and spiritually mobile. You’re adaptable. You’re flexible. You make do. You get more creative with your resources. You meet more people. And most importantly – you rely 100% on God. Being itinerant is good for faith-building, and we know that without strong faith, we’ll get nowhere, least of all Heaven.
Certainly, it was only logical that Jesus would be an itinerant preacher, as moving around was the only way he could reach most people – by making himself physically available in their location. But his itinerancy, I would argue, was baked into his success. I don’t think if Jesus set himself up in one location and made everyone come to him that he would have succeeded in his mission. In fact, I think he would have failed spectacularly.
One of the biggest flaws of mainstream Christianity is its near total lack of itinerancy. A building is considered the church, rather than the people who attend it. And so the flock flocks (or doesn’t flock) to the immovable building, week after week, wondering why they’re not getting much out of it. “Going to church” becomes a duty or obligation rather than an ongoing state of being.
When you’re born-again, you’re always in church, meaning that you’re always before God through the presence of his Spirit in you. You don’t have to go to a certain place to “be in church”. Jesus said that we would no longer have to go to the temple in Jerusalem to worship God, as we could worship him in Spirit and in Truth, which is the kind of worshipers God’s looking for. That’s how Jesus worshiped, and that’s how we worship, as his born-again followers. We don’t need to go into a building or build an altar to worship God; we can worship him anywhere and at any time, because our body in the temple of God’s Holy Spirit, and collectively we are the church.
I know a woman who, during the pandemic lockdown, would drive her car to the church building that she usually attended on Sundays and sit in the car in front of the locked doors, praying. I don’t say this to ridicule her; I say this in sadness. Many people have the same misguided notion – that they have to go into a building to be near or talk to God or, worse, talk to him only through a priest or minister. This is not God’s doing, this level of misinformation; this is the devil’s doing.
Jesus’ itinerancy was a way for him to get close to people – not to impose himself on people, but to make himself available. It also elevated the sense of urgency around his message, the sense of “now or never”, because Jesus was always on the move; if you didn’t say “yes” to him when he passed through your village, you might never get that chance again.
Born-again ministers and pastors preaching and teaching the Word today need to turn their ministry into an itinerant one. They need to blast out of their comfort zone of a “home church” and get on the road permanently. Paul’s ministry was, in large part, as successful as it was because Paul was also an itinerant preacher and teacher, modeled after Jesus. If you sit, week after week, in the same location preaching more or less to the same people who are likewise sitting in the same place, week after week, you’re all just spinning your wheels. You’re accomplishing nothing but putting a smile on the devil’s face.
I’m speaking to born-again believers here. Christians who are happy to have their faith only as a Sunday morning pastime can keep doing whatever they want. They aren’t our concern. (We’ll use their buildings as a resource tool, thank you very much.) But born-again believers need to get moving and keep moving. They need to look carefully at the itineracy aspect of Jesus’ ministry. Being itinerant wasn’t something Jesus was forced into because he couldn’t afford his own building; being itinerant was what Jesus had to be in his ministry, and so it’s also what we need to be in ours.
If you’re a born-again believer, the only purpose of your life is either to prepare to preach and teach the Word (like Jesus was doing in Nazareth), or to be preaching and teaching the Word (like Jesus was doing in his ministry years). There is no other reason why you’re here.
The devil will do everything he can to prevent you from doing this. In particular, he’ll work through people to sidetrack you and keep you from your mission. He does this first by not letting you realize your purpose in life, and then by throwing temptation after temptation after temptation at you. These come in the form of jobs, relationships, money, ambitions, hobbies, and other “cares of this world”. God’s mission is to get us to come to him and rely on him and to equip us to guide others to him, while the devil’s mission is to get us to reject or sideline God, to rely on the world, and to get us into a state where we’ll be unable to guide others to God.
Look at your life now. Are you either preparing to teach and preach the Word or actually doing it? If not, why not? Who or what is stopping you?
The truth is, if you’re neither preparing to preach and teach the Word nor actually doing it, the only one stopping you is yourself. The devil can only tempt you; he can’t force you to do one thing or another.
Time can either be your best friend or worst enemy. If it’s your friend, it’s working on your side to support your efforts either to prepare to carry out your sole purpose in life or to actually do it. You’ll know time is working on your side when you don’t have a sense of panic that you’re running out of time. You’ll instead have a sense that everything is right where it needs to be, that you’re right where you need to be, and that everything is unfolding as it should, in God’s time.
When time is your enemy, you live in a perpetual state of panic, always feeling as if the day is too short and the mountain of tasks ahead of you too high. You can’t see over it. Your panic usually manifests as a sense of frustration. Think Martha, when she was petulantly demanding Jesus to tell Mary to help her with the housework.
Think Jesus’ response.
We have only one mission in our lives as born-again believers – nothing else should matter to us, and nothing else should take our time. Either we should be like Mary, sitting at Jesus’ feet and learning about the Kingdom, or we should be like Jesus, preaching and teaching the Word.
Which are you?
I have to laugh a bit at Christian preppers.
They’re usually the same people who stand every Sunday with arms outstretched, palms upward, loudly reciting the so-called Lord’s Prayer, which includes the line “Give us this day our daily bread”.
And then they go out and buy a 5-year supply of MREs at Walmart, and they don’t see the irony in it.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Prepping is anti-christ. Jesus never prepped, other than for his spiritual tests. He was King not only of Israel, but also of the quick get-away and traveling light. When he taught us to pray to God to give us our bread daily (that is, our food), it was because that’s how he lived. He didn’t say one thing and then do something else; he was no hypocrite. He taught us to pray to God to give us our bread daily because that’s how he lived and how he knew we should live.
But Christian preppers appear to know better than Jesus when it comes to food. Even as they pray to God to give them their bread on a daily basis, they hoard enough beans and rice and Spam to last into the next millennium. And they don’t see any contradiction there, because the words they mouth at church don’t really mean anything to them.
It’s classic lip service.
Did you know that when you buy more than what you need at any given time, someone else won’t have enough?
The fear-driven food hoarding that’s been going on for the past few years is not from God. The recent spike in fear mongering over a forecasted famine is also not from God. All you need to ask is “Who benefits?”, and then you’ll see who’s pushing the panic button to get you to spend all of your disposable income on food and other preps.
I don’t need to show you statistics about how the globalist businesses have made off like bandits since the start of the “pandemic”. You can see it for yourself. Meanwhile, small and micro-businesses are daily dying the death. It’s almost as if the lockdowns and restrictions were imposed solely to destroy the Mom & Pops and further enrich the globalists. But they wouldn’t do that, now, would they? ;D
We born-again believers need to ignore the siren call of prepping. We need to follow Jesus not just spiritually but also in physical matters. When he told us not to worry about what we’ll eat or what we’ll drink, he meant it. When he said that unbelievers worry about those things but we shouldn’t, he meant it. He wasn’t just filling up his followers’ heads with words; he was teaching them how to live. And what he taught them was that God will provide for his children in ways that we cannot even imagine, as long as his children remain faithful to him.
If you’re a born-again believer and you’ve prepped beyond having a few things in the cupboard that you could leave behind without a second thought, you need to stop. You need to refocus on God’s Word and actually listen to what Jesus is teaching you. You cannot call yourself a Christian and at the same time have months’ or years’ worth of food squirreled away. That makes you a hypocrite.
What you do with all the food and supplies you’ve prepped thus far is between you and God. But if you’re reading this and you still go out tomorrow or the next day or the next and buy more than what you reasonably need over the short-term (that is, until your next anticipated grocery shopping trip), you’ve got some serious soul-searching to do.
And don’t get me started about the “Christians” who are stockpiling years’ worth of bullets to put in their guns to use against anyone who tries to take their food. This is reaching absurdity levels of hypocrisy that I’m sure even Jesus hadn’t thought possible.
The only kind of prepping that is Christian is spiritual prepping.
Everything else comes from the devil.
Passover is the most exciting time of the year. As well as celebrating the exodus from Egypt, it commemorates the two most celebrated miracles of all time – the parting of the Red Sea and the resurrection of Jesus the Christ.
Both miracles show the strong hand of God directly intervening in human history.
We read about these miracles in scripture, but for many people, they are just a story, perhaps even just misinterpreted natural events that through primitive eyes took on a supernatural hue. For these people, the story never leaves the pages it’s written on. It never comes to life.
But for me, as a born-again believer, I not only celebrate and commemorate these miracles, I pray to God for a deeper understanding of them, to see them through the eyes of the people who witnessed them first-hand.
Because have no doubt – it was people just like you and me who were there and lived them.
I have experienced many miraculous escapes and rescues in my life that were for me like my own personal parting of the Red Sea. At the time, I didn’t recognize them as miracles because I wasn’t a believer. It was only after I was born-again that I understood God’s direct intervention in my life.
I also had my own personal resurrection – my spiritual rebirth. I died on a beach an atheist, and I came back to life a born-again believer. If that wasn’t a resurrection, I don’t know what is.
The parting of the Red Sea was an escape miracle. The children of Israel were hemmed in by the sea on one side and the full force of the advancing Egyptian army on the other. They could see no way out because there was no way out, not in the natural order of things. They hadn’t gotten themselves into the predicament on purpose; God had led them into it.
When God leads you into situations that put your life in danger, he does so to give you a miraculous escape. He gives you the miraculous escape for two reasons: one, so that you’ll know he exists, and two, so that you’ll fear him. There can be no genuine faith without fear of the Lord, and no one-on-one relationship with God without faith. The parting of the Red Sea was God kick-starting a one-on-one relationship with the children of Israel, so that they would trust him and heed Moses, his designated minister, for the 40 years of their wanderings.
When God performed his miracles for me, as an atheist, rescuing me from what seemed like impossible situations, I was like Jesus’ mother Mary, tucking all these mind-boggling experiences away for another day, as I couldn’t at the time explain how or why they’d happened.
I’m sure the parting of the Red Sea affected the Hebrews the same way – they had no idea how it could be; they just knew that it was.
Jesus’ miraculous resurrection had the same effect. Although no human (that we know of) was present when Jesus rose from the dead, several of his followers arrived at the gravesite soon after and witnessed that it had indeed happened. They saw him alive and well and walking around. He spoke with them. And then, over the next 40 days and nights, he walked and ate and spoke with them some more on several occasions and at several different locations.
Of course, he didn’t look like Jesus anymore (his body was in the process of being glorified, which means he was in the process of being physically perfected) and he had the unnerving habit of showing up out of the blue or disappearing into it, which made some of his followers initially doubt it was even him. But as soon as he spoke familiar words to them, they knew beyond a doubt that he was Jesus.
We all experience miracles every day of our lives. God is with us all the time through his Spirit. He also sends his angels and other ministers to help and guide us and direct our course. He sends me to you and you to me; he uses each of us according to our willingness to be used: Most of the time he uses us without our even knowing it.
We are surrounded by miracles because we are surrounded by God. As a believer, I look back on my impossible escapes as an atheist and they don’t seem impossible anymore, because I know (Jesus told me) that nothing is impossible with God.
I have no doubt that the Red Sea parted as described in scripture, and I have no doubt that Jesus rose from the dead. I have no doubt that the miracles described throughout the Bible happened not only because I have myself experienced miracles, but I am one. Spiritual rebirth is a miracle, and the being that emerges from the rebirth experience is a walking, talking miracle, like Jesus was.
I am a walking, talking miracle. I don’t speak my own words; I speak God’s Word. Anyone who knew me prior to my rebirth and knows me now, knows that words like these never left my lips before, and that the only time that I spoke the names of God or Jesus were as part of a curse. Some think I’ve gone crazy, while others think it’s just a phase that will pass, yet here I am, 23 years a believer, and still going strong.
But underneath, they’re not really sure what to think. I can see it in their eyes. They’re squirreling me away for later, as they cannot process who or what I am: it doesn’t fit into any of their understandings. They’re doing to me what I did to God’s miracles when I was an atheist: putting them to the back of their mind, filed under “???!!!”.
And like Jesus, I will just keep on walking and talking until my time is up, until the parting that divides this world from the next one opens up before me, and I can go home.