Monthly Archives: October 2012

The Church of Me

In 1986, Shirley MacLaine wrote her acclaimed work Dancing in the Light, describing her personal spiritual journey. In her book she made one very interesting claim that sparked new thinking throughout a variety of Western Religious groups:

I am God, because all energy is plugged in to the same source. We are each aspects of that source. We are all part of God. We are individualized reflections of the God source. God is us and we are God.” (p. 339)

Maclaine’s conclusion is descriptive of the New Age religious movement which combines both Western and Eastern spiritual traditions. It tries to mold Christianity with Eastern Mysticism. Many professed Christians are starting to embrace various elements of the New Age movement saying that it grants them a deeper, more experiential spiritual connection. So we need to ask ourselves; is Christianity compatible with these New Age beliefs? God Himself posed this question to His people long ago:

To whom would you liken Me And make Me equal and compare Me, That we would be alike?” (Isaiah 46:5)

The Jews in Isaiah’s time have polluted themselves to the point that God has no choice but to send them into Babylonian captivity. But this punishment will only be temporary, and God foretells Babylon’s ultimate collapse (46:1-2). God wants to remind His children of His supremacy over the so-called “gods” of the Babylonians and so He asked them if there was anyone who even compared to Him. This was more of a rhetorical question, and God answers for them:

Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me.” (Isaiah 46:9)

God doesn’t simply reject Shirley Maclaine’s belief that she “is God,” He goes one step further to say that there is nobody who is even close to being “like” Him. According to God Himself, there is no way to combine Christianity and the New Age movement. We have a simple choice: we can forsake God to dabble in this man-invented false spirituality that claims that “God is in everything, and everything is a part of God”, or we can submit ourselves to the One Maker, Sustainer, Giver of Life and Judge. The New Age movement tries to degrade God to a sub-human level, worshiping the created rather than the Creator (Rom. 1:25). If we want to know the one true God, we must first know our place in the grand scheme of things.

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8–9) 

 

Check out this great article by my friend Jack.

Spare Some Time

In this fast-paced life we live it’s important every now and then that we stop and take some time to reflect on what’s been going on. If we are Christians that time of reflection is often spent in prayer. Prayer is how we communicate with God. It is in prayer that we can pour out all our anxieties, fears, and doubts. Prayer brings us comfort in our pain and gives us hope when we feel like there is no way out. Prayer is a beautiful thing.

Recently I got to thinking about prayer though. I thought about why I pray, how I pray and most recently, I’ve thought about if prayer even works. I’ve come to the conclusion that prayer does not always work. In fact, prayer does not work when…

It is said without faith. It has been said that a great example of a faithless prayer is a…

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Cold Leftovers for the Guest of Honor?

Have you ever had someone special in your home for dinner? If you could spend the evening hosting anyone in the world you wanted to, who would it be? What lengths would you go to in order to make the evening special for them? Would you have the meal catered by a professional chef? Would you slave all day to prepare a gourmet dinner? Or…would you just pull out a Tupperware of leftover spaghetti and slap it on a T.V. tray for them? Of course you’d never dream of doing that! If you had someone important over for dinner you’d go all out to show them how honored you were to share the evening with them. Unfortunately, even though we’d never feed someone important our old leftovers, a lot of times that’s what we give God. In fact the Bible talks about some Jews who were trying to offer Him the “leftovers” in their sacrifices:

You are presenting defiled food upon My altar. But you say, ‘How have we defiled You?’ In that you say, ‘The table of the Lord is to be despised.’ “But when you present the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you present the lame and sick, is it not evil? Why not offer it to your governor? Would he be pleased with you? Or would he receive you kindly?” says the Lord of hosts…But cursed be the swindler who has a male in his flock and vows it, but sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord, for I am a great King,” says the Lord of hosts, “and My name is feared among the nations.” (Malachi 1:7-8, 14)

Rather than offering God the very best of their flock (cf. Lev. 1:10), they were giving Him the weak and blind animals. These were the animals they didn’t want anyways, and they thought God would be pleased if they sacrificed them to Him. God rebukes them because they would never consider giving these animals to their earthly governors, yet they tried to pawn them off on the “great King” of the universe. God called these sacrifices “evil.” Since they weren’t offering God their very best not only did God reject their sacrifices, He cursed them. As Christian’s, God has called us to offer Him sacrifices too:

you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5)

God doesn’t accept just any old sacrifices from us;  He demands that they be “acceptable” by His standards. Just like in days of Malachi, God still requires our very best.

Do you typically:

Give more money to McDonald’s or your favorite clothing store than to God each week?

Devote more time raising awareness for an earthly charity than in winning souls to Christ?

Sing more passionately while listening to the radio than when you’re worshiping God?

Devote more time to a television program than to studying God’s word?

Spend more time talking about politics than you do talking to God in prayer?

Dress your best at work or on a date but come worship Him like you just rolled out of bed?

If that describes you…you may be committing the same “evil” that God rebuked the Jews for in Malachi’s day (cf. Mal. 1:8).

But someone might argue, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart (1 Sam. 16:7). Well, it’s true that just because something looks good on the outside, that doesn’t mean it’s pleasing to God on the inside.  However, Jesus says that whatever’s in our heart will be reflected in our outward actions/appearance (Matthew 15:18-20). If our heart is truly 100% dedicated to pleasing and glorifying God, then we’ll never offer Him anything but our very best. If we want God to be pleased with us, we must show Him He’s number One.

It Only Hurts Because I Love You

Have you ever seen a child try to barter with their parents when they’re being punished? We’ve all done this in one way or another growing up. The funny thing is that the only time a child begins to barter is when they know there’s no other way of escape. When I was in Kindergarten I called one of my female peers a “bad word.” Of course the school notified my parents and I knew I was in for it. When my dad got home, he went up to my room and took off his belt.I cried my eyes out, and I begged him not to spank me with that belt. I promised and I swore up and down that I’d never use that word again. He just looked at me and said, “I know you won’t…now turn around.” Despite my begging, he still punished me for my foul mouth.

What would I have done if my dad had simply put his belt back on without punishing me when I begged and promised him I wouldn’t do it again? I guarantee I would have called another one of my peers that same word! However, I remembered the sting of his belt, and he never had to use it again. That’s sort of like the scenario with the Jews near the end of the book of Jeremiah. In chapters 46-51 God foretells the destruction of various nations, and the severe punishment of the Jews who had rejected His will time after time. What is all this destruction supposed to teach those Jews, and why should it matter to us? CLICK HERE TO SEE FULL ARTICLE

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