Archive for January, 2011

v4.24 The Big Picture – Part 7

The Big Picture – Part 7

The Clock is Ticking

So we have been separated from Love at birth and have turned our affections, desires and will toward Self. We do not readily or consciously know all that we have lost for when sin entered, we died. Death is a process though, and we are in the process of death until and unless He rescues us and we accept His Help.

Just as when a plant is pulled up from the ground and disconnected from the soil it does not wither and die immediately, so are we. Just as a fish when removed from the water does not die immediately, so are we. Just as when an animal is withheld food and water it does not die immediately, so are we. So it is that when you separate man from Life that he dies, yet not immediately. He has some strength within himself — strength to choose.

Yet if the plant does not get back to its life-source, it dies. If the fish does not get back to its life-source, it dies. If the animal does not get back to its life-source, it dies. So we, if we do not get back to our Life-Source, we die. So it is what we do with the strength that we have that will determine if we live or die.

Now we all realize by now that we have an enemy. His goal is to keep you from returning to the Source long enough to expend and expel your strength and to exhaust your opportunity to choose Him, Life, so that you indeed die separated.

How does he do it? The same way he always does it. He uses accusation, doubt and fear to get you to buy into his lies in order to get you and keep you from Him, the Source, wherein your Life is hid. It’s all about distraction and dissuasion from Love.

He doesn’t have to kill you, he just has to keep you occupied with the pursuit of Self long enough and you will die of natural causes, or otherwise. It is just a matter of squandering the opportunity of time. So how does he do it? Here are some examples of distractions although there are an endless number of strategies — a panoply for each of us:

Build a bigger tower.

One of the primary things lost in the Fall was protection. Remember, we exercised our will and lost the place where we belonged. We shared a house with our Father, called Eden, but now we have been kicked out of the home.

“Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” Gen. 3:23-24.

At each step of our disobedience we meet circumstances and consequences to encourage us to realize we have made the wrong choice. We are supposed to learn to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God. Instead we consult with Self and redouble our efforts to establish a workable lifestyle and refuse to admit our need of our Father.

To restore our need for relationship we joined together with others like ourselves that do not have a relationship with their Father and want to figure out a way to make a workable lifestyle. “I know, we can build a house for all of us and we won’t need Him. We will find our security in community and what we can do to provide for ourselves.”

“And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.  And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.  And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter.  And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” Gen. 11:1-4.

Good plan, bad idea. God wants us to know and we need to realize our need of Him. Too often we find our security in others and material things. Great sources but still just distractions. Here is another plan we often use:

Establishing Kingdoms

Men have instinctively known that there is security in power and might. If there is anyone who has more than you or has something you might need, take it, win it or buy it. With enough power and/or money you will not have to go without. There is great security in being able to command and manipulate people and resources to your own ends.

Most of the Old Testament is riddled with the historical account of the rise and fall of the kingdoms of men and what they did. Repeatedly and predictably there is the same cycle.

Men gain power through domination of others. In that position of strength and power they gain wealth and property. Once men have established their security they begin to rest, enjoy themselves and enjoy their new entitlements wrought by their efforts, especially the pleasures of sin. In short order they become weakened and diminish in the very things that got them there. A new power comes to emerge and dominate them. Watch the history channel of the Bible. It looks like an endless looping cycle of self-destruction.

If we have learned anything from history it is that history repeats itself. Todays models of establishing kingdoms and the power of men are manifested in our military, government, judicial, business, educational and scientific accomplishments and endeavors. We look for security in our ability to command and control our lives and outcomes. Lots of time is spent looking for security here.

Wearing Righteous Coverings

Our insecurities do not only lie in our need for protection and provision but in a fragile self a need for love and acceptance. We try with many methods to make ourselves acceptable. One of the first things Adam and Eve did was hide and then make some acceptable outer garments to cover their nakedness, the source of their insecurity. “They knew they were naked and hid.”

Since the very beginning men have sought for acceptance and love from both God and men. One of the greatest tools and methods is to do righteous acts. To change their outward presentation to something praiseworthy and lovable.

The thinking is that if I look good, act good and appear good them I am good. A person can spend a lot of time and energy on the right outward appearance. This is where beauty, fame, and religion come in. They all seek to gain approval and acceptance because of outward presentations.

Throughout all time men have used these methods to gain the love and security that was lost in the relationship that they had with their Father in the Garden. Yet none of these can come anywhere close to restoring the security we lost and the Love we separated from. These are all cheap imitations and distractions to eat up the valuable time you have been given.

The clock is ticking.

Quote Title Quotation Source
Working On a Completed Project Though they had been justified by faith, they were seeking to be sanctified by works. They were looking for the maintenance and growth of their Christian life in the observance of the law. They have not understood that the progress of the divine life is by faith alone…. Almost every believer makes the same mistake as the Galatian Christians. Very few learn at conversion that it is only by faith that we stand, walk, and live…. they consider themselves prepared and equipped by conversion to take up the fulfillment of the law as a natural duty…. They cannot understand that it is not to the law but to a living Person that we are now bound. Our obedience and holiness are possible only by the unceasing faith in His power ever working in us. It is only when this is seen that we are truly prepared to live in the New Covenant. Andrew Murray – Covenants and Blessings, circa 1880
Don t Just Get In By the Skin of Your Teeth Again, let the gentleman of birth and fortune but have this intention, and you will see how it will carry him from every appearance of evil to every instance of piety and goodness. He cannot live by chance, or as humor and fancy carry him, because he knows that nothing can please God but a wise and regular course of life. He cannot live in idleness and indulgence, in sports and gaming, in pleasures and intemperance, in vain expenses and high living, because these things cannot be turned into means of piety and holiness, or made so many parts of a wise ad religious life. As he thus removes from all appearance of evil, so he hastens and aspires after every instance of goodness. He does not ask what is allowable and pardonable, but what is commendable and praiseworthy. He does not ask whether God will forgive the folly of our lives, the madness of our pleasures, the vanity of our expenses, the richness of our equipage, and the careless consumption of our time; but he asks whether God is pleased with these things, or whether these are the appointed ways of gaining His favor. He does not inquire whether it be pardonable to hoard up money, to adorn ourselves with diamonds, and gild our chariots whilst the widow and the orphan, the sick and the prisoner want to be relieved. But he asks whether God has required these things at our hands, whether we shall be called to account at the last day for the neglect of them; because it is not his intent to live in such ways as, for aught we know, God may perhaps pardon, but to be diligent in such ways as we know God will infallibly reward.
He will not therefore look at the lives of Christians to learn how he ought to spend his estate, but he will look into the Scriptures, and make every doctrine, parable, precept, or instruction that relates to rich men a law to himself in the use of his estate.
William Law – A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, circa 1728; Random House Inc. © 2002
Consider It Pure Joy My Brothers When… It does not follow because a man has lost belief in his beliefs that therefore he has lost faith in God. Many a man has been led to the frontiers of despair by being told he has backslidden, whereas what he has gone through has revealed that his belief in his beliefs is not God. Men have found God by going through hell, and it is the men who have been face to face with these things who can understand what Job went through. Oswald Chambers – The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers
Love, My True Character To say that I am made in the image of God is to say that love is the reason for my existence, for God is love. Love is my true identity. Selflessness is my true self. Love is my true character. Love is my name. Thomas Merton – New Seeds of Contemplation, ©1961 by the Abbey of Gethsemani, Inc.
For a Full View, Remove the Blinders You do not yet see the lovely side of following Christ. You see what He takes away, but you do not see what He gives. You exaggerate the sacrifices and ignore the blessings. Fenelon – The Seeking Heart, circa 1690, copyright Christian Books Publishing House
Don t be Sympathetic toward Sympathies The modern church is producing sympathetic Christians by the multitudes, Christians who are warm and tender toward the things of God and His Kingdom. Their hearts are the only thing moved toward His purposes. These are leanings and inclinations toward the purposes of God. This is not enough — There is no power in an inclination. What we lack is a true fear of God, a final smashing of our sympathies so that true conviction can be released and empower us to submissive yieldedness toward God’s purpose. Sympathies mingle the emotions of man with the purpose of God, while conviction cuts straight through the soul and it’s purposes to align mans purpose with the purposes of God. Tom Van Hoogen
Faith the Overcomes the World That man is perfect in faith who can come to God in the utter dearth of his feelings and desires, with the weight of lowly thoughts, failures, neglect, and wandering forgetfulness, and say to Him, “You are my refuge because You are my home.” Such a faith will not lead to presumption. The man who can pray such a prayer will know better than another that God is not mocked; that tears and entreaties will not work on Him to the breach of one of His laws; that forgot to give a man because he asked for that which was not in harmony with His laws of truth and right would be to damn that man — to cast him into the outer darkness. And he knows that out of that prison the just, imperturbable God will let no man come until he has paid every cent. George MacDonald – The Best of George MacDonald © 2006 Cook Communications Ministries.
The Cause for Pause and Applause That is why the Christian is in a different position from other people who are trying to be good. They hope, by being good, to please God if there is one; or — if they think there is not — at least they hope to deserve approval from good men. But the Christian thinks any good he does comes from the Christ-life inside him. He does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us; just as the roof of a greenhouse does not attract the sun because it is bright, but becomes bright because the sun shines on it. C. S. Lewis – Mere Christianity, copyright 1952, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd.

v322 Praying Through the Valleys

Praying Through the Valleys

Have you ever had one of those days where you just felt like praying? I doubt it. We never “feel” like it unless it is the religious spirit that has arisen to pray in the street corners to be seen by men.

Now I don’t feel like praying but God, in Christ, sure does! He is situated right at the throne ever interceding for us! He loves to ask the Father. And when we are in Him, we love it too! This desire to commune with God can be a kind of litmus test to show the color of your devotion. Is it blue and cold or fiery red and flaming hot?

When you are hot from the fire of devotion you just can’t help yourself. You want to pray. It is your devotion thats been ignited by drawing nigh unto Him. Our coldness comes in our turning away and failing to draw near.

“I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach unto me: for who is this that engaged his heart to approach unto me? saith the LORD.” Jer. 30:21. Therefore, “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” Heb. 10:22.

Now this drawing near is essential and necessary to strengthen our spirit. For it is in the battle, as our God fights and wins the victory over our enemies that we are encouraged and emboldened. As we lean on Him and depend on Him and trust in Him and desire Him and yield to Him to be our very Life and Strength that we are the Overcomers that we are designed to be.

So what would be an effective strategy of our enemy? Would he not work and toil to discourage us? to deter us? to keep us from the mighty weapon of prayer? Would he not fear most of all our summoning of God in the battle against him? I submit that this is why you do not feel like praying.

The Accuser has come and made feel you are weak and fearful, unworthy and dirty. You just don’t “feel” like you want to talk to God right now. Why would you not want to talk to your Father? You know He loves you and is interested in every detail of your life to the very number of your hairs on your head.

So the enemy is looking to keep the Sun from shining in your heart and to fill your skies with gloom and doom. He brings up the things you have done and said that cause you shame and guilt. He makes your body weak and feeble in energy and might. He drains all the resources of faith and courage. Now of course you don’t “feel” like praying.

Yet it is in these very valleys that you must work and climb and overcome the height of your discouragements and downtroddeness. You have been beaten down and made to not “feel” like seeing and talking to your Father today for good reason. The enemy will have your day for his purposes and his enjoyment. He loves to see you wallow in the muck of your fear and pain.

So what must you do? You must arise O Sleeper and take heart. You must grab the war gear. Get dressed for success.

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” Eph. 6:11-18.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4.

You know that whatever the enemy meant for bad, that God has allowed for good. All things work together… This valley walking is to get us to the end of trusting our Self and to die so that we might be risen again. So when you are in the valley, go ahead and die (i.e. bring weakness to its utter conclusion) then arise to your Father. Tell Him you do not have the strength, that the Old Man is listening to old programming and lies. That you trust Him and that you will act in faith and come to Him.

Now the Day Star will arise in your heart, your clouds of doubt and fear will flee and you will run toward your Father and walk through the day in victory and faith. Resist the devil and he will flee. Its a promise.

So never forget, pray through the valleys.

The Power of Dependence, The Authority of Submission

Why are we so dull? Why do we insist on using the tactics and strategies of men and this world‘s cultural system to accomplish what needs the power and authority of God to do?

Have we not known? Have we not heard? Has Christ not been an example to us that every way of man is futile and that the way to everything we need is His way?

He has taught us that to lower ourselves in service is a promotion in the heavens. He has taught us that giving yields great profit. He has shown us that love, not self-advancement wins every battle. He has shown us that waiting is the fastest way to progress.

I want to focus on two powerful weapons we have that spawn great results in the Kingdom. Dependence and submission yield power and authority.

Your child has at his or her disposal an immense armory of tools and power in their father. They only need to come and ask for help or guidance or assistance. Will not the father spend his stores on the child’s welfare to help and guide and assist? Asking is depending.

Children (those who have not yet developed a sense of pride) do it all day. They are not thinking of themselves — what others will think or that they should be ashamed — they shamelessly ask for things repeatedly. Sadly as children grow older they begin to develop a self conscience (dwell on those two words for a minute) that will no longer allow them to operate in dependence. They fill their heart with the pride of that, “I did it all by myself”.

I, for one, would like to tap into my Father’s stores of resources as they are beyond anything I might think or imagine. I like the concept of dependence. It puts the expectation on Him and off me.

“For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” Luke 11:10-13.

Dependence opens the floodgates of power — His powerhouse.

The other spiritual position that deserves a second look is submission. How many think that by asserting their own will and thereby their own authority they will accomplish more than if we submit to an authority over us. It just isn’t so, nor does it make sense to believe it would be.

When you submit to an authority you are adding what little strength you may have to the authority of one who is greater (in authority) than yourself, thus compounding your effectiveness. To strike out on your own is a weak position.

If you act under the authority of one in authority you gain the strength of the whole chain of authority right to the top of the chain.

When you submit to the authority of the policeman you are not only protected under him but also avoid the potential consequence of the policeman, the local court, the state court, the national judicial system and the government, and even God (for all authority is from God and he is at the top of every chain of authority).

The Roman centurion had this right and Jesus was amazed at his faith.

“The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.” Matt. 8:8-10.

I think the centurion noticed something we do not, the evidence of things not seen. Submission is authority.

So when you find yourself in need, remember, there is power in dependence and authority in submission.

A White-washed Sepulcher is Still a Sepulcher

I have recently become reconnected to a childhood friend (thanks to Facebook) which has become instrumental in bringing to light and correcting a long hidden misconception in thinking. It is amazing how God can still teach an old dog new tricks (sometimes daily). It is this transformation by the renewing of the mind that allows us to prove what is that good, acceptable and perfect will of our Father (Rom. 12:2).

My memories of my friend have always been good and wholesome, in fact probably overly wholesome. My memories have always led me to believe that he lived in a perfect home, with a perfect family and that he always did the right things and was a “good person”. I have never been aware of any wrong behaviors or actions. He was and has remained a “good guy” in my mind.

These are major misconceptions brought on by our faulty perceptions and evaluations looking on the outside. Yet we all do it. We look on the outside and think we know some things. I can say with certainty now that he did not live in a perfect home, did not have a perfect family nor was he or is he good. For there is none good but God.

Yet we do this all the time. We look on the outside and judge a person or a matter by our own reason. My friend and I became acquainted in grade school and I remember going to his home on “the other side of town”, which, by the way, was “the good side of town”. Sadly, when we began our Middle School years we went different directions thanks to the bussing and desegregation laws of the early 70’s.

That was tragic and traumatic, being bussed to the other side of town, “the bad side of town”, and losing touch with a good friend in the transaction. Yet I always remembered Mark and our brief friendship.

More tragic than that I went through some major changes quickly. My parents became divorced (they fought continually, even physically) and my world of security, what little I managed to hold to, was destroyed. It was a very, very difficult time for me. I was very sensitive and this crushed me, particularly the loss of a relationship with my father who remained absent for the next five years (ages 12-17) of my life.

To put it lightly, I went to the “Dark Side” to find comfort and solace. It’s amazing how our enemy always wants to present himself as our comforter in our pains. It seems like that is supposed to be Another’s place. Anyway, I got myself way off track from the innocence I had shared with my friend in grade school. In fact so much so that when we were brought together once again in high school years we never reconnected.

I realized that I had become a different person, a person defined by the culture as a “bad” person while he remained a “good” person in my eyes. We definitely ran in different circles.

Now, just in the last few weeks we have reconnected thanks to the internet and Facebook. I am excited to learn that he has become a pastor in the area of central Florida and that he too writes and posts to a blog with a spiritual message. So here is where the story begins that brought the hammers to my strongholds.

He visited my blog and I visited his. He sent me a comment stating, “It would have been cool to have known as friends in 4th grade that we would be writing about God stuff many, many years later.” To which I replied, “I am not so surprised to see you writing about God, but I am surprised to find myself there. I think it would have surprised God too if that were possible. ;).”

Now here is the question that sent me soul-searching and discovering a big fat stronghold right in the middle of my thinking. He replied: “What evidence was there that I might someday write about God? I guess I reflect on my high school and college days and my faith is a surprise. But when I was younger? Thats kinda fuzzy. Fill me in.”

So what was it that made me think he was an easy prospect for writing about God and I was not? It was this business of looking on the outside. I made a judgment, a religious judgment based on what I perceived on the outside. I equated what looked like peace, contentment, happiness and loving family bonding as righteousness. I saw these flowing robes and assumed that because they were white that what was within them was white too.

If you are honest, I think you will admit that you might do this too. When you see a family that is smiling, happy, functional and friendly towards one another it is easy to assume that they know God and are probably “good people”. This is the trap of Religion — the idol of external goodness.

And let me tell you it works. It works very well. It remains the greatest threat to the Real Kingdom. It is a parallel kingdom that sits alongside the true Church and entices those who want to be righteous to find out how to get their own robes and wear them prominently.

I hope that this revelation for me has been a benefit to you. I had placed my friend and his family in a place of righteousness (albeit by works and external measuring sticks) and my own family in a place of unrighteousness. Both are wrong. That is looking on the outside (religion). God looks on the heart (relationship) to determine righteousness.

Now we can better understand the statements that Jesus made concerning the Pharisees.

“For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Matt. 5:20.

This appears to be a commendation of their righteousness, but it is not. It is a condemnation of the of type of righteousness which was built on external observance and religious ritualistic traditions of men (sound familiar?). He is saying that the Pharisees have a righteousness which is contrived by their religious practices and not an internal righteousness which is by faith in Christ.

This is why he in another transaction says, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.” Matt. 23:27.

For those who are not familiar with the concept of washing the sepulchers of the dead, it was a practice here described in Matthew Henry’s commentary:

“They [scribes and Pharisees] were fair without, like sepulchers, which appear beautiful outward. Some make it to refer to the custom of the Jews to whiten graves, only for the notifying of them, especially if they were in unusual places, that people might avoid them, because of the ceremonial pollution contracted by the touch of a grave.

And this from Barnes’ commentary: “Sepulchers were therefore often whitewashed, that they might be distinctly seen. Thus “whited,” they appeared beautiful; but within they contained the bones and corrupting bodies of the dead. So the Pharisees. Their outward conduct appeared well; but their hearts were full of hypocrisy, envy, pride, lust, and malice–fitly represented by the corruption within a whited tomb.”

So the lesson is that even though things look righteous on the outside, a white-washed sepulcher is still a sepulcher.

Or as another has put it. Whether it is USDA prime flesh or yucky flesh, it is still flesh. We all must, by an act of faith choose to die to our Self, take up our cross and follow Him. There are no things we can do that make us righteous. It is by faith alone – not of works.

My friend was just as lost as I was and had to receive Christ the same as I did, by an act of his will, by grace through faith. So, whether your life before Christ was characterized by continual onslaughts by demons or by an abundant affluence and happiness, you are still dead and need Christ. Lost is lost and dead to God is dead to God.

So take off your robes and put on Christ!

v4.23 The Big Picture – Part 6

The Big Picture – Part 6

The Breakdown of the Family Unit

God is Spirit and God is Love. Simple math deduces that the Spirit (of God) is Love. When Adam chose to disobey God he made a moral choice affecting Love. You see, love is others oriented, it does not seek its own. Love looks for another in which to lavish and expend itself. The original sin was not just disobedience but Self-seeking (e.g. rebellion). Adam could no longer abide in God because he no longer acted in love. He became separated from God, the Spirit and Love.

To be one with Love one must be love. “God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” 1 John 4:4. When you are not loving (e.g. doing love) you are not one with Love (e.g. being Love). At once, upon his exit or Fall from Love, Adam “felt” things, fearful things. He felt ashamed. “I was afraid, because I was naked.” Gen. 3:10. He also “realized” things. “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked.” Gen. 3:7.

Welcome to Self, one of your new best friends. It is a package deal. When you left the Love-place of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you entered the Fear-place of the Devil, Self and the World. Whereas you used to abide in the space between the Father and the Spirit as a son, you now live in fear between the Devil and the World as Self.

This was not a fun place to be but it is what Self chose. Self wanted to “be like God”. That was the appeal, the lure to get us and keep us from Love, from God. And we took the bait, hook-line-and-sinker as the saying goes. The irony is that we were free in Christ, free indeed. Yet, we wanted to exercise our will to have authority over ourSelf, to establish our independence of God and in the very act of striking out against our Father we ended up a captive to the worst enemy we could imagine.

So what is the first thing you do with new converts who have defected to your side? You begin immediately to indoctrinate them to your beliefs, to make them like you. To introduce them to your culture and way of thinking. Man is continually and incessantly bombarded with messages through the senses (the body) and to the mind and heart (the soul) in order to keep him in chains by his own will.

The messages are not so much anti-God (although that is the underlying objective of every message) as pro-Self. The messages are continually about You! Your favorite subject. They are about how you do not need Him, you can do it “all by mySelf”. They speak of your intrinsic value and worth (apart from Him), “I am a good person” — again to keep you from ever sensing and knowing your real need.

They have to do with self-esteem, self-assurance, self-worth, self-satisfaction, self-worth. Essentially everything that focuses your attention on your Self and keeps you from realizing your need of Him.

Then there is the training in methods of self-protection and self-provision. How do I get what I need (since I don’t want to go to Him)? The methods are endless but all have to do with strategies of self-effort, self-confidence, self-reliance, self-service, self-pleasure, self-gratification, self-indulgence, self-promotion. Any and all forms of self-centered activity.

The goal of the serpent was to get us separated from Him and to break our dependence on Him and to relocate our newfound independence in our dependence on him. We were told that we could be like Him, our heavenly Father, (which we already were) and instead we became like him, Satan, the Father of lies, the Self-appointed god, who said, “I will be like the most High God”. Pretty good twist, huh?

So now we are all born on the wrong side of the tracks as it were. We are immediately immersed in a culture that keeps us from trusting God and keeps us trusting Self being led by the father of lies. We learn very early to rely on our Self and to not trust others, especially our earthly father.

The intensity of the battle directed at the breakdown of the Father-son relationship is unimaginable. Most, if not all, the enemies efforts and strategies are directed at the destruction of the nuclear home and especially toward a fathers relationship with their children.

Here is the strategy: Get the child to distrust their father, through feelings and thoughts of rejection. Create a division in their relationship such that the child will always turn to self for its own provision and protection. Build up this me against them (especially my father) mentality so as to isolate the little lamb from their shepherd. Then its dinner time. He is always seeking whom he may devour.

So what does the child do to find love and acceptance in a world (perceived) without love? Build a bigger tower, establish kingdoms, wear righteous coverings and the like.

We will talk about these in the next message.

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