Take a look at the picture in today's blog. it's not photoshopped or edited in any way. It's a picture of a common table fork. The fork is not bent, it simply appears to be bent because of the angle at which I took the picture. With this in mind I tackle today's topic of repentance.
Repentance is the reframing of your thought process and this is my main point today that I want you to take away from this. Repentance has absolutely nothing to do with your behaviour. Read that over once again and let it sink in. Repentance has nothing to do with your behaviour.
The reason this is so critical is because the church has made such a career of trying to get people to change their behaviour that we have missed the entire point of Grace. Jesus didn't die so you could spend your life trying to resist your flesh. Be delivered of that mess. Jesus died because His deep, real love for you drove Him to pay your price in your place. He gave His life in exchange for yours. To think you now have to somehow add to that by living in perpetual self denial is a mockery. (Gal 2:21)
I'm not a fan of using ancient words that have lost their meaning today. I try hard to pick and choose words that are relevant and make sense to my contemporaries. I would submit to you that the word repent has completely lost it's original meaning to us today in 2015. The original word "repent" would be much better translated today to "rethink", "reconsider" or to "factor in some new information".
Every time in scripture you see the word "repent" use my above definitions and watch what an amazing difference it makes in how the passage reads and in your overall opinion of God.
For many, the word repent represents the crazy street preacher standing on the corner screaming "Repent!" at the top of his lungs to everyone followed by the usual "the world is going to end" message. To most others the word "repent" is tied into a person's behaviour. For example, if you steal a candy bar from a store and you confess that to a leader in your life, they will often tell you to "repent" of being a thief. While that sounds all good and religious, what they are really telling you to do is to stop stealing. Of course that is sound council, but it is a misapplied usage of the word repent.
Back to our fork picture above for a moment. The angle I took the picture at makes the fork look like it is bent outwardly. Yet when you look at the fork from the exact same angle you see it as straight. Why does the camera and the human mind capture the exact same image differently? Because the camera is taking the image without the filtering process of the human mind. The human mind "repents" the image to our understanding and this is appears to our mind to be a normal, straight fork. The camera has not "repented" in the way it sees the fork. So it is when Jesus comes into our lives and the Holy Spirit begins to reveal Himself to us. In the 1600s that transforming process was best known as "repentance" but as I mentioned earlier, today that process would be better known as "reconsidering" or "rethinking" or "factoring in some new information".
My message to a lost and dying world is not that they should "repent", it's that they should take a moment and reconsider their fallen state in the light of the new information that Jesus represents. To the modern believer struggling with sin, my message is not to repent, my message is to rethink their own actions and reconsider their behaviour through a different lens.
Over the years I have been trapped in various sins. No one had to tell me it was wrong, I already knew it was wrong. I either just enjoyed it too much to stop or was demonized into not seeing my choices to stop. In either case, freedom didn't come when people told me to correct my behaviour. Freedom came to me when the Lord closed the mouths of those giving me grief about it all and then He Himself spoke to me asking me where my accusers were. Just like the woman caught in adultery I said "nowhere to be found". Once the accusers were gone.. and ONLY AFTER the accusers were gone... was I able to hear the quiet and gentle voice of the spirit nudge me to go and sin no more. Jesus wasn't trying to clean me up, He was trying to get me to reframe my own perception to see that I was always cleaned up because if what He had done in my place for me. Armed with that incredible revelation, I was free to walk away from what bound me previously.
I pray you reading today will not stop and settle for anything less. Stop trying to "repent" and instead see that you simply need to take a fresh look at it from a different perspective, free of the accusing voices, free of the condemnation. It's a personal invitation from God Himself to embrace who you really are. Come on up, higher and higher. Your fork really isn't bent, you have only thought it was.
Regular readers of mine know I often have a different opinion about things compared to the average Christian and with all of the to do about 50 Shades movie being made this weekend, I wanted to weigh in.
I often talk about the seven blind spots in the body of Christ. Well, one of the seven is SEX and that's what this film and thus this blog will center around. Let's face it, take away the sexual allure and this is a cheap romance that no one really cares about. Instead of joining with a chorus of outraged conservative Christian bloggers scalding the faithful for their thoughts of unfaithfulness, I see a wonderful opportunity to talk about the 800 pound elephant in the room, how sex within most marriages is tired, dull and boring.
Years ago I heard a preacher say something I have found to be very true. Before you are married the devil tries very hard to get you into bed with anyone he can. After you are married he tries very hard to keep you out of the same bed. See, it's really not about the sex for the enemy, it's about mocking God's covenant. Singles are taunted by Satan repeatedly that they "aren't allowed to enjoy sex yet" and then after you tie the knot the same devil lies and says "he/she isn't enough to truly satisfy you". There are of course hundreds of other lies he whispers, all focused around trying to redirect your focus off of one simple God based fact... Perfect, divine satisfaction and complete overwhelming sexual stimulation and gratification are waiting for you repeatedly within the beautiful freedom and flexibility of God's covenant of marriage.
Let's reestablish some basic facts here. No one is more passionate than God. We talk about shades of gray but God is so passionate He is black and white. He makes the rules and dictates than no one else is to ever be more important to us than Him. No one is more gentle with us yet at the same time no one is more challenging or "rough" as He knows exactly how and where to touch us to take us just past what we think we can take to bring results out of us that we didn't know we were capable of. No one has more depth to discover that God, no one searches your soul more deeply. If you have never been restrained or "tied down" by God, you have not walked close enough and given Him deep enough access to yourself yet. If you have not had the Spirit of God elicit indescribable emotions from the depths of who you are as of yet, you are simply not intimate enough with Him as of yet.
The reason so many people, and especially younger married women are so drawn to the 50 shades books and the new movie is because these are things that are not happening in their spiritual lives with the Holy Ghost and thus they are not happening in their bedrooms with their husbands either. Lori and I have had opportunity to help a lot of couples over the years with troubled marriages. WIthout fail, we have never met a couple heading for divorce that were having great sex on a regular basis. At the same time, in healthy thriving marriages, one thing that seems to be a constant is sexual play, trying new things, pushing some boundaries and making fresh, new and exciting discoveries with and about each other.
Sexuality is one of the most powerful things in the world. It instantly creates emotional bonding and soul ties with the people engaged in it. God created it to be that way and He knew it's abuse would be devastating so He very wisely set it apart to be unwrapped, discovered and thoroughly enjoyed within His life-long covenant of marriage between one man and one woman. Only in this protective chamber can the nuclear explosion of sexuality be contained properly so as to not harm anyone.
As a side note, same sex marriage divorce rates are approaching 60% now. I know, you don't hear that reported in the media as it doesn't fit the far left agenda, but it's true. This is because when you don't have a man and a woman in the covenant, it is too much to handle and creates too much emotional pain and confusion and ultimately destroys lives. God is not against the sexual pleasure of practicing homosexuals. he is against their lives being shortened and their hearts being broken and He knows to try and force that into His chamber of covenant will lead to those sad endings. That is why Homosexuality is an abomination before the Lord.
Ok, back on point now... God doesn't hate sexual pleasure. In fact, He's the one who wired your body to have nerve endings converging where and how they do. He is the one who genetically created you with a hunger for sensuality. As life happens, we all go thru a series of relationship and activities that contribute to our mental and emotional make up. These become part of our human personality and if the bad stuff goes untreated and unhealed, it opens the doors for demonic suggestion and can lead to a person being demonized. In these cases, the normal sexual piece of that person's sexual hungering is corrupted a bit and they develop what in our culture we would describe as a "kink". 50 shades deals with the specific kink of BDSM (a variety of erotic practices involving dominance and submission, roleplaying, restraint, and other interpersonal dynamics). While God did not create us to sexually function in these ways, within the powerful chamber of His marriage Covenant, these is room for all sorts of "kinks" as couples explore and discover themselves and each other.
I'm not saying it's ideal or even terribly healthy but I am saying your fallen mind isn't gonna come up with anything God hasn't seen a million times already. I believe God would rather a man and a woman enjoy themselves with these "kinks" in the bedroom than seeing them continue to emotionally drift apart and end up legally leaving His protective chamber. In short, there's a lot more Grace for those folks within God's covenant than most Christians believe is really there.
If you struggle with issues such as Rejection or Self Hatred, you will want to avoid sexuality because it brings you pleasure and Self Hatred says that you do not deserve to be pleasured. Rejection says if you open yourself emotionally to sexuality that you will be rejected and so its best to not do that. Both are errors of course but sadly they are believed by many. In summary, the reason this movie is such a lure for Christians is because it appears to offer what they are not experiencing for themselves and that is sad because you absolutely can have that and so much better if you get a little healing and begin to freshly explore the chamber of God's marriage Covenant.
Should you go and see it?
This is the big question so many are watching for me to answer. if I say no, I am lumped in with the stuffy, old and out of touch far right wingers and if I say yes I am thrown under the bus by Christians far and wide for supporting "pornography". So my answer is found in the pages of Holy Scripture (as yours should be as well)...
Titus 1:15 - To the pure all things are pure: but to them that are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but both their mind and their conscience are defiled.
With that verse in mind, let me share something for men and women... and please understand I am talking in general terms here. I know every person/couple is a little bit different than the next.
I will not be condemning ANYONE for going to see this movie. Satan has so completely deluded this country about all things sexual..and the resulting curiosity is completely predictable.
The married MEN of the church for the most part have sat back and done nothing but lecture the world about how terrible lust is while their own wives are completely unsatisfied sexually and in many cases these same men of God consume porography themselves deadening themselves even futher to their wives cries for sexual exploration and intimacy.
The married WOMEN of the church for the most part are so caught in Self Hatred that they sexually sabotage their own marriages by forced abstinence or purposely being unresponsive limiting their view of themselves to being a "release valve" for their husbands instead of discovering and enjoying their sexual selves as God intended.
If you do decide to see this film, go as a couple. Nothing is served by simply watching something that titillates your flesh for 2 hours without your spouse. That is simply Satan tricking you out of two hours of your life. Instead go together and sit close, even cuddle as you watch. Pray before you go that God would recapture your imaginations and tie you together more deeply than ever before. You may find in praying that you don't even want to go see it any longer... or you may get half way thru it and both be convicted to leave the theater....or you may sit thru the entire thing together and God may deeply heal you both and ignite your curiosity about the other afresh. As is always the case, the proof will be in the fruit of how your marriage is AFTER the fact.
Closing thoughts on this very long blog...
It is a shame for us as a country that movies like this are made but porn like this has been around for centuries and the majority of Christian men and more and more Christian women are viewing it online on a regular basis anyway. It in no way makes it right or "ok" but it does give it proper context for us as a church to not point our finger at the world and scream about our moral high ground if our own back yards are full of the exact same stuff.
What comes up with stuff like this it is the obvious need for healing in our individual lives. Would Jesus go and see this movie? Probably not, but He did die for everyone involved in making it and for everyone who is about to go and see it. I believe Jesus is much more concerned about your heart and thought life the other 166 hours that week than he is about the 2 you will spend watching this movie.
To be extra clear, I do not believe single people should see this movie but traditionally married couples? Pray together and get the mind of the Lord on it. God used a Star Trek movie to save Lori and I's marriage almost 20 years ago so im not about to pronounce that God can't use it... just remember, the big point is whatever you do, do it together with the end goal in mind that God is healing you both so you can better love each other in every way imaginable.
I pride myself on being able to make the difficult things in life simple; in being able to take complex issues and summarize them so the average person can understand. My greatest challenge to date with that concept is found in talking about Common Core. To take one blog and explain Common core would be like taking one sentence to try and explain the entire bible. So, faced with this daunting task, I am going to attempt (as briefly as I can) to take a stab at it.
In it's simplest form, Common Core is the attempt to indoctrinate a left of center, "progressive", anti-conservative and ultimately anti-christ world view into the minds of this current generation of youth and to every generation coming behind them. It is literally ground zero for the culture war of the United States that has been brewing for the last 60 years or so.
Now that we have framed it properly, what is it exactly and how did it come to be?
For many decades now, everyone from presidents to officials at all levels of government have sought to somehow better the education process and bring in accountability into the schools. This began to get off-track with a program called "Race To The Top" where a set of common standards were set that each school had to achieve in order to get their share of over $4.3 Billion in grant money from the federal government. Originally authorized in 2009 as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, it encouraged states to develop and implement key reform strategies to get the cash. Part of what states had to agree to was to accept new standards to replace their existing standards and here is where the real problem is made known. 45 states plus DC all opted in for the grant money, agreeing ahead of time to adopt the new standards. These new standards were referred to as CCSS or Common Core State Standards.
Who wrote the standards?
Common Core's official website says "In 2009 two nonprofit, nongovernmental organizations called the National Governors Association (NGA) and Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), convened government officials and dozens of consultants to write, rewrite, and, in June 2010, finally publish Common Core."
This is partially true but for time's sake I'll leave that there. Common core was written primarily by 24 people. None identified himself or herself as a classroom teacher, although a few had taught in the past (not the recent past). There was one work group for English Language Arts (ELA) and another for Mathematics. The largest contingent were representatives of the testing industry which as you will see is who really benefits financially from CCSS.
From there these "standards" went to a review board. Even though the board was hand picked, five of them which included some very respected and well educated people could not in good conscience sign off of them finding them inferior to existing state standards such as those in Massachusetts and California. Those five which included a Stanford university mathematician were simply excused and the group was resized and approved the CCSS. Many of the remaining board members have strong ties to several big money groups in Washington.
In short, it would be illegal and unconstitutional for the federal government to force one set of standards down upon all of the states but with the help of these private groups, and thru the coercion of billions of dollars in what amounted to be bribe money, they forced the states to agree blindly to accept these "standards".
This is what you as a reader here need to make sure you understand clearly. These standards are not just "standards". They are in fact a giant wedge, a financial crow bar by which the federal government tricked the states into what they did not realize was a lemon. Now, stuck with it as state law, the department of education of the various states are now using the same bullying tactics against the local school districts. While they claim the district has local control to do whatever they wish, in fact if the district doesn't comply with CCSS, they get their grant money taken away and their district grade reduced. it can even lead to them being fired so to claim the district is free to do what they want is a ruse. A canard designed to fool the uninformed.
Education is not the goal of CCSS, The TESTING is the goal of CCSS.
There are billions of dollars in state contracts for developing curriculum and testing that lines up with CCSS. Watch how innocent this next statement sounds... "Testing is how they keep the districts accountable to the standards." What that really means to the teachers is this... you no longer can actually teach your kids, your job is no longer to teach but your new job under CCSS is to prepare young minds for the coming tests and assessments. In many cases dozens of hours each week are no longer spent on learning how to do actual math or reading but instead in preparing for high stakes testing. You tube is packed with personal examples of children in tears of frustration and even teachers resigning over their job descriptions being changed. One Rhode Island teacher even reported that she was made to sign a confidentiality agreement to not talk to parents about these changes.
Data mining of the children
Part of what the states agreed to was creating a sweeping and exhaustive data collection system that tracks kids from prekindergarten thru collage creating a permanent record that follows them their entire life. This record is then accessible to anyone willing to buy it. It is perhaps the greatest overreach and abuse into the private lives of the citizens of this country ever devised.
The cat is out of the bag
As more and more of this gross intrusion began to be made public, parents predictably have been furious. Opt out notices have been rolling in all over the country from concerned parents removing their kids from the ill fated system. They are dumbfounded when they are told by their districts that they are not allowed to opt out and that they are mandated by state law to administer these tests. Read what I am about to say very carefully...
The law says the school must offer the test to every student. That is black letter law. However, there is NO LAW that makes it illegal for a parent to opt out or even to refuse for their child to take the test.. and this is the bright hope that parents and grandparents everywhere have. It is the crack in the door to stand up and protect your child by refusing them to participate in PARCC or other related CCSS testing.
School districts desperate for a high grade and more state money will tell you that you are not allowed to refuse. That is wrong. Just as Ronald doesn't become their father when they eat at McDonalds, the school district does not become their parent just because they attend public school there. You are still the legal guardian over your child and the Supreme Court has held repeatedly for parents rights in matters such as this over the years so the standing and precedence is indeed with you as the parent.
In Ohio, The ODE will push you to the district you live in saying they have freedom to receive your opt out if they wish. The districts will point you to the ODE and claim the ODE won't let them accept an opt out. Both positions are entirely irrelevant as there is no law anywhere mandating your child takes these tests! Keep them home those days or shadow them at school those days and do not let the, test. They are YOUR CHILD, not the government's ..and until a giant uprising at the grassroots level stands up and refuses this nonsense, it will keep right on going.
I will be writing more later, in the meantime, remember that you are the parent and if anyone tries to undermine that, offer to call the local police and have the law enforcement officer explain that to the school or the ODE to bring some much needed clarity. Remember you have the law on your side as it relates to refusing to test.
While searching for a good picture to help me make my points today I came across this little gem. It simply addresses a very serious misconception the general population has about health and weight loss, that being that they have to workout.. very hard.. every day.. in the gym to really make an impact or see results. Believe me when I tell you, nothing could be farther from the truth.
I'm going to share with you one of seven master keys to weight loss today. Here is it... You do not lose weight in the gym, you lose weight in the kitchen. I will go you one better and tell you that you cannot out exercise a bad diet no matter how hard you try.
So let's deal with some real...
Health is the absence of disease but fitness refers to the level of efficiency your body functions at. You can be very healthy (free of all disease) but yet not be very physically fit at all. At the same time you can have any number of diseases yet be very physically fit. Ideally you are after being BOTH healthy and physically fit.
You achieve your health thru your diet, you achieve your fitness through your activity.
Being healthy (not to be confused with being fit) is best summarized in this one word. if you learn it, tie it to your mind and live your life with this word burned into your decision making process, you will do very well. That one word is PREVENTION. For Christians especially, this word is a cus word of sorts because it infers that you can't just shovel whatever you want into your face at any time and a call to personal responsibility is not a popular one. What is popular? Telling someone there is a magic cure or fix is popular... of course that is a lie but it is such an enticing lie that people spend billions of dollars a year on stuff they know won't work just to leave the lie in place so they don't have to look in the spiritual mirror and take up some personal dominion.
You need to actually eat the right way to PREVENT most sickness and disease. i tell people when i minister out that I believe in miracles and I will happily lay hands on you and believe God to rebuke that desease off of you... but here's a thought.. wouldn't it be wonderful if you walked in some authority over your own life, ate the right way as the Holy spirit leads you and by doing so you PREVENTED the disease in the first place? I mean, praise God that He heals cancer today.. but how much louder do you praise Him that thru His wisdom in eating right you could never get it in the first place!
You can't go to the gym and exercise off disease but your activity can certainly help your body become more fit. The science behind reasons for regular exercise is undeniable and agreed to across all credible scientific sources... which in and of itself is a pretty amazing thing as in scientific circles, broad or mass agreement on a given topic can tend to be somewhat rare.. but it goes to show you how undeniable it is. Even a brisk walk a few times a week for say, 30 minutes can have a dramatic impact for the good on your overall level of fitness which again is how efficient your body operates.
Like so many things in this life, there is a lot of incorrect and / or outdated information floating around out there today. So much information related to food is emotionally or politically driven that it can be hard for the average person to know who or what to believe. For many years we heard that milk was very good for you, then we heard it was bad. Same with eggs, same with grains, wheat gluten, dairy, artificial sweeteners and the list goes on and on.
Here is what you need to know. The vast majority of what you read online is just opinion, not scientific fact.
WIse people such as myself learn early on to not get caught up in trends or fads, even trends or fads about food. This certain diet or that certain diet... I am living proof that you can be led by the Holy Spirit into great health and fitness so don't let the enemy come in using fear to mess with you about it. Out of a posture of peace you need to step away from Google and start to check out valid research points such as university trials, blind and double blind clinical studies, peer reviewed medical journals and the like. The good and proven information is out there, its just eclipsed by the tens of thousands of personal blogs all claiming truth and proof but having none.
This is why after being approached and offered several thousands of dollars on more than one occasion by so called "work from home" companies to push their products, I have told them all no. When I looked at real scientific evidence, most didn't have ANY.. and the little that was available actually proved their products ineffective. Same with vitamins and minerals that are mass produced by manufacturers all over the world. There is really no accountability for manufacturing and even if there was, the science proves that you only absorb roughly 5% of a multivitamin tablet.
This brought me to 2009 and a discovery that changed my entire life nutritionally speaking. A company that had patented a mineral delivery method that underwent rigorous scientific study and had agreement backing it in real peer reviewed medical journals. I had to try these vitamins!!! .. So try them I did and I was not disappointed. For the last six years they are the only Vitamin and mineral supplement I trust for myself and my family. In addition they manufacture hundreds of other normal, everyday products that we all use all the time..but here's the difference.. all of their products are exclusive, many with protected formulas and patents, some with unbelievable results for better health and weight loss. As I tried more products, I continued to get healthier and lose more weight.
I so enjoyed these products that I contacted the company and signed a marketing agreement with them to market their products and that includes authority to help others set up their own direct shopping account so they can do exactly what i currently do... buy stuff for myself each and every month. See, I don't have the time or desire to do one of those MLM deals because not only are the products not proven, no one makes any money with those. In fact, many lives have been ruined by those over the years. instead this is a real business.. a debt free, scientifically driven pharmaceutical and nutraceutical company and while I could talk all day about the science behind our stuff, this picture is probably the best "proof" I can offer you on my blog.
So you see my friends... it pays to not get in such a hurry and buy into all the hype out there today. Remember again, you lose weight in the kitchen, you get more fit in the gym. That is the foundation block of where you begin. From there you will naturally do just what I did, look for honest nutrition to give your body what it really needs. That search will lead you right to me so I can share with you what I have discovered.
Stop wasting money on magic juices, body wraps, special diets and such that simply do not work. They only keep the lie alive for you while separating you from your money. Instead let me share with you a risk free way to open your own month to month trial shopping account so you can be the judge for yourself. It's simple at the core really... if you want results like mine, you simply do the same things I did and do. It's not anymore complicated than that.
Send me an email and include your phone number and the best time to call. I will personally help you.. and thanks for reading my blog today... I'll have more soon!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.