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Posts Tagged ‘Freedom’

It’s pretty much a given that most of us are aware of what second hand smoke has done in contributing to serious health conditions in non-smokers but, I want to take a look at something that is far more destructive than blowing smoke; fear.

We’ve all been born into a world that has imprisoned us and tries to keep us from seeing and knowing that there is a life beyond living and acting out of fear.
Much like a pedophile who grooms his nest victim, we have all been meticulously groomed in fear. Fear permeates everything we do, think and feel; there’s no escape apart from knowing the truth of God’s love and even then it’s a continuing ongoing battle.

Some of the most fear-filled people I know unfortunately are Christians, although most would adamantly deny their inner entanglement; and I haven’t escaped or gone unscathed from this internal mental and emotional steeple hurdling either.
Words no matter how right, good, and true they might be, be they coming from the mouth of a Christian, a Buddhist, a Hindu or whomever, our actions often will make null and void what we’re trying to say, what we’re trying to teach our children or even, one another.
This is in no way an indictment of blaming, shaming or heaping guilt upon anyone at all, simply pointing out that what we have been so badly infected with can be wonderfully turned around.

In getting to experience the power of God’s perfect and totally unconditional love, there is set into motion inner dynamics that are seismic in nature in my opinion. It talks about perfect love (in the scriptures) casting out all fear in a persons life, establishing a way of life and a way of living that becomes less and less of a knee-jerking sad saga. The love of God is an ongoing integration that wants to envelope us at the core of our being deeply infecting us, spirit soul and body, mind will and emotions.
From my experience, in over coming fear in so many ways, I am discovering what some have discovered long ago, that the world is not flat; fear produces flat minded thinking and reasoning that becomes the accepted dogma that begins to weave an ever constricting straightjacket of immobility.

There’s so much I could share on fear and how it’s poisoned and crippled me in so many ways, but I’d rather share a few examples of how love is daily transforming my everyday living.
There was a time when I would never give the time of day to reading anything without the holy and sacred seal of the literature being “Christian”. Over the recent years not only with literature but also with conversations via pod casts etc that do not qualify as being scared, I am discovering I am not reaching for my holy water or silver crucifix to ward of any polluting or corrupting infections. I am truly in awe with amazement and wonder of a world that is inviting me to experience, that was always there but obscured from my senses because of fear.

Relationally I am growing more secure and confident as a person, and this is spilling out in so many ways, at home with my wife, with my grown up children and with my co-workers and in general, the fellow humans I engage on a daily basis.
It is my personal belief that as the life and love of God becomes integrated into all aspects of our physical, emotional and spiritual components, our lives transmit an aroma and a soundness of wonder and beauty that appears to have been lost so very long ago. Without trying to prove anything, without trying to solicit or proselytize anyone we live and move unobtrusively and yet and in most cases unbeknownst to us others are drawn to the oasis of our lives that somehow speak of there being a living and loving place of solace, acceptance and affirmation.

Rich

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Personality

This is another part of an ongoing article by my friend Art Licursi.

Rich

Part 5 of 10 – “The Law” Empowers the Sin Nature

I believe by now in this series we’ve established that “Sin” as a personality and nature that indwells “the flesh” body of all men SO long as they live on earth – both the saved and the unsaved.

Let’s now look more closely at the response of the “Sin-nature” when we attempt to live under “the Law” during this day of the “dispensation of the grace of God.” Paul plainly states below that the activating force behind “Sin in the flesh” (Rom 8:3), giving its power, is “the Law.” This is the case for anyone who is trying to live under “the Law.”

1 Corinthians 15:56 … the STRENGTH (dunamis, power) OF SIN is THE LAW.

These verses here below are from Romans 7 where Paul describes the dilemma of a man trying to live righteously while living under or according to “the Law.” Note the repeated linkage between “the commandment” (the Law) and the “Sin” nature; it’s undeniable.

Romans 7:8 But SIN taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence (illicit desires). For without the law sin was dead.

9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.

10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.

11 For SIN, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.

12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.

13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But SIN, that it might appear sin, WORKING DEATH IN ME by that which is good; (so) that SIN by THE COMMANDMENT might become exceeding sinful.

In these verses it certainly sounds like “Sin” is a personality, when we read of “SIN taking occasion,” deceiving,” and “working” (verses 8, 11, and 13). “Sin” sounds like a personality with a consciousness that acts and reacts in the believer who weighs his self-worth by his self-effort to conform to “the Law.”

In Galatians Paul explains the matter of “the Law’s” impotence to contribute to genuine righteous living. Paul reveals how “the Law” is intended to make men see their absolute need to trust Christ for their righteous standing and His life for living righteously. If we live by the law we bear “the curse,” which is the requirement too then keep ALL the law.

Galatians 3:10 For AS MANY AS ARE OF THE WORKS OF THE LAW (THOSE WHO DEPEND UPON THE LAW) ARE UNDER THE CURSE: for it is written, CURSED IS EVERY ONE THAT CONTINUETH NOT IN ALL THINGS WHICH ARE WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW TO DO THEM.

Also in Galatians 3 Paul explains how “the Law” acts as a “schoolmaster” for the unbeliever in pushing Him to Christ, and that after faith (in Christ) has come to that person then they are no longer under “the Law.”

Galatians 3:22-26 But the scripture hath concluded all (men are) under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

Note from verse 23 that “before faith came, we were kept under the law,” and in verse 24 we see that “the Law” was as our “schoolmaster” to teach us our need of Christ – to “bring us unto Christ (in faith).” And then, “after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster” (verse 25). So after the condemnation of “the Law” does its job – to push us to trust Christ as our only righteousness.

It’s impossible for any human, except Jesus. Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but (JESUS) WAS IN ALL POINTS TEMPTED LIKE AS WE ARE, YET WITHOUT SIN. The burden of this curse is upon those who think we are still under “the Law.” Our failure under “The Law” is intended to reveal to us our utter need of a capable righteous life, to push us to receive Christ and His righteous “Spirit of life,” whereby we are not under “the Law.” Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for (because) YE ARE NOT UNDER THE LAW, BUT UNDER GRACE.

Thankfully we were never meant to keep the external dead “Law of Moses,” which was fittingly written on lifeless stone. It has no power except to reveal our Sin to us. Now under grace, “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (Romans 10:4). The believer’s worth and righteousness is not based on their performance, neither before nor after they are converted by faith in Christ as their Savior.

We as grace believers live under an entirely new paradigm in this age of “the dispensation of the grace of God” (Eph 3:2); it’s a new way of living. We are not under any external “law” (except man’s civil law), thus we enjoy that now we are under “no condemnation” (Rom 8:1 below).

Romans 8:1-2 THERE IS THEREFORE NOW NO CONDEMNATION TO THEM WHICH ARE IN CHRIST JESUS,

Nevertheless, we do have within our spirit “the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” to regulate us now from within. This new way of inner regulation is the living “law of the Sprit of life in Christ Jesus.”

2 For THE LAW (operative regulating power) OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS HATH MADE ME FREE FROM THE LAW (operative regulating power) OF SIN AND DEATH.

As recipients of Christ’s “Spirit of life” are free to live spontaneously. Nevertheless, we have His permanent presence within us to guide and regulate us by either His prompting or restricting. Here we see a couple examples of the Lord’s inner prompting and restricting in the life of Paul and his co-workers.

Acts 18:5 And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.

Acts 16:6-7 6 Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, 7 After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.
We can learn to practice the presence of the Lord, to trusting Him to guide us. Actually, we must learn to follow the inner sense we have by His “Spirit of life” within us. Paul writes in Ephesians 4:20 But ye have not so learned Christ; Christ will guide us in all our doings; e.g., He will lead or restrict us in what or if we should buy some particular thing that we are considering; or, He may move us to change lanes on the highway, etc. He is ever-present in us and desires to be the Lord of our life in every aspect.

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“What if you’re trapped in the wrong space and don’t know it? Blindness is always hard to deal with. After all, how can you discover what you don’t even realize you don’t know? As an imaginative leader, your basic stance should be that there is always something you are blind to that is both a threat and an opportunity.”

I wanted to share a post that my friend Pete posted on his blog. It had to do with a link I sent to him regarding a new book that came out and this is what he had to say.

Rich

Christianity After Religion

Christianity after Religion – The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening – by Diana Butler-Bass – reviewed by Bill Dahl

I received this review yesterday, and subsequently read Bill’s interview with Diana. It was the final paragraph of that interview that struck me as being so significant. I’ve picked out a few highlights of the review and put my own thoughts on them.

Diana has been observing, questioning, probing the history and mystery of the practice of the human pursuit of the divine by those who diversely believe, belong and behave rather passionately. A story that at times makes us angry, confused, perplexed, disgusted and embarrassed. The story of where institutional religion came from and a look ahead to the current challenge.

So many are asleep and may be unaware that they are trapped in the wrong space. How do people discover what they don’t even realise that they don’t know? People are uncomfortable when what they thought they knew is challenged! The institutional approach to facilitating true faith is seriously misguided!

More and more people are willing to express their anger towards religion in general and Christianity (or churchianity?) in particular – understandably! A suggestion that maybe Christianity was never meant to be a structured belief system. How many are captive to creeds, dogma and traditions? Some are still trying to build walls while others are trying to build bridges.

Who am I and who do I belong to? Are we willing to move beyond our own comfort zone- a pilgrimage and/or exile? Are we ready to take a counter intuitive approach and allow new doors to be opened to us – that give us the chance of making a difference (which might simply be to encourage others to question their own thinking)?

Where is the great awakening – a creative and innovative openness, a sense of hope-filling realism, an interconnectedness that comes from experiencing the divine in the here and now?

That was an interesting review – and reinforced my own thoughts – until we get to the idea of the great awakening.

Where is that great awakening going to come from? Is it ever going to come from ‘the churches’? Is it the job of ‘the churches’ to do God’s work for him?

I found the interview extremely interesting, especially after reading ‘First Pages‘ of the book on Amazon. This painted a picture for me of the influence of the Charismatic movement that I have never experienced. It reminded me of the influence of Billy Graham in the 1960′s – an enormous ground swell that lasted for a season – with just a few people even today putting their calling down to one of those rallies. I’ve also had significant contact with people who were involved with the Jesus Army in those days.

For me the last few sentences of the interview say it all. ‘Seminaries can’t change until denominational policies do; denominational policies won’t change until seminaries nurture new vision; and nothing can change until grassroots churches demand change. And for churches to demand change, they must change themselves’.

That I suggest is never going to happen – the ‘old school’ understandably will not respond to change – and ‘the churches’ as we have known them will fade and die – just like empires.

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