Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
I wish I could say I never do anything wrong and that my faith is therefore perfect and strong. I wish I could say God never has to discipline me.
I have to pray for more love, more power to obey and to minister, and more faith. And I wish I were a perfect example to emulate. I'm not.
But we're told to encourage each other, right? And this is something that worries me in the Church--the pleasure in the books and movie, Twilight.
Harry Potter and The
Shack , mixed emotions abound about Twilight, as this article attests:
(Click here:) Should Christian Teens Be Reading "Twilight?"
It concludes: So, what's the verdict?
There really is no verdict here, just a conscious choice. Like anything we see in the world today, you have to make a choice you can live with. As Christians, we need to be mindful of what we put in our minds and hearts.
Some Christians have read and seen a lot of books on witchcraft, sex, violence, and more without it ever even denting their faith.
However, a lot of other Christians are more vulnerable, and the smallest mention of something tempting can lure them away. You have to know where you are and what you can handle in order to choose wisely.
Sure, we should consider the weakness of some Christians.
But what about the feelings of our GOD?
He hates powers not from Him. He said in the Old Testament that anyone who dabbled in them could not go into the Promised Land!
Has He changed His mind today? We're under grace. But does it still hurt Him? Even if He won't keep us out of the Promised Land, will He have to discipline us?
The article does mention Deuteronomy 18:9-14
9 When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. 10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in [a] the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. 13 You must be blameless before the LORD your God.
14 The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the LORD your God has not permitted you to do so.
Whoa. Detestable. Not permitted you.
And consider: Leviticus 17:10. God said to Moses, "Any Israelite or any alien living among them who eats any blood-I will set my face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from his people."
To me, it's a matter of obedience.
Holding God in awe and reverence and holy fear of His loving discipline.
And even more, it's a matter of love and loyalty to the One who loves and protects us and gave His life for us--and to us.
Some would object that we're not under the Old Testament. Well, Galatians 5 in the New Testament lists sorcery as something that can keep someone out of the Kingdom. Of course, most people who watch these won't do sorcery. But vampires do; at least, they use powers not from God to do things God hates.
People will say vampires aren't real. ***But the concept of sorcery is real.*** It just seems disloyal to be entertained and amused by something God hates. I fear it will bring His discipline, too. He does discipline those He loves. Not to mention that we are in spiritual warfare.
(And I've recently read here that some teenagers are no longer just giving each other hickeys, but real bites, drawing blood.)
I just read a book of John Wesley's sermons, The Holy Spirit and Power. It reported that in Augustine of Hippo's church, SIX people were raised from the dead.
This was over two hundred years after the death of the last apostle.
Holy Spirit power did not diminish with the death of the last apostle, as some traditions teach.
But we recall that Jesus could do few miracles in Nazareth because of *their* unbelief. He did manage to heal a few!
Heal a few! Wouldn't we love to see a few healings!
Because of current events and prophecy, I suspect we are in the lukewarm Laodicean Church Age. And in the very last of the Last Days.
If so, we share a challenge:
Jesus questions whether He would find faith on the earth when He returns.
He also said in John 14:6 that those who love Him, obey Him, and He will love them, and show Himself to them. So I think obedience is key to more faith. Ephesians 5:18 tells us, Be (continually) filled with the Spirit.
And this plays out in part by not turning for entertainment to books about things God hates. Especially when He tells us so for our own well-being.
I'm no great example of an obedient one. I have temptations and strongholds of my own that I battle.
But I find it easy to resist these popular stories.
Because I've had so much fun seeing God move in my life and I want more. Praise God. I'd much rather have that than any fun I can get from a movie.
And I really, really long to see a few more loved ones healed! Not to put a guilt trip on people who have not been healed. But I suspect the whole church is missing out by allowing the world to distract us from our reasonable service--loving God more than anything else.
Posted by Margo Carmichael at 9:01 PM
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Occasionally, I volunteer to read a friend's book, they send it, and I recommend it if I like it. Tosca Lee sent me Havah, and I loved it from the moment Eve--Havah-- heard, Wake.
Suddenly, Havah's senses were filled with all the luscious sensations of a glorious world, a perfect man, all a perfect gift from God--to His creatures and to Himself.
Tosca Lee took a short and powerful Bible story we've all heard a thousand times, and with her anointed imagination and much research, she created a wonderful, moving novel.
She heightened emotions we all would feel in this setting, by showing the sinless purity of it all, the glory of the presence of God and the freshness of His perfect, untainted Creation. And she placed these emotions in this first woman so childlike in this heavenly place. Everything around Havah was more lovely than anything we could ever imagine. Including this amazing creature so like her, yet so different, her man.
Together, they explored and discovered that world and each other, the joy of sinless love, of gorgeous and functional plants, awesome and affectionate animals, and the regular, tangible presence of the Creator. All was love, beauty, discovery, astonishment, delight. Worship.
Then Havah encountered another beautiful and enticing creature--the Serpent. With the first question recorded in the Bible, he made her doubt. Yea, has God really said?...
And soon the story turned dark. Eve went from complete, carefree joy to desperate despair, blame, guilt, terror. She called God's name and He did not answer.
I love Bible prophecy, and have concluded that we are in the very last days before the Second Coming of Christ. Revelation 3 shows seven churches, and the last one before the voice says Come up here is the Laodicean Church. Among the interpretations of this is the belief that this is a literal time period. And it follows that that would be now. If so, much of today's church is poor, wretched, miserable, blind, and naked. People suffer because of it, and so do animals.
The Bible says Creation waits.
And of course, it started with Adam and Eve.
With her beautiful prose and deep emotion, Tosca made it all so real, my heart broke. Tosca did not overplay this. But when Havah found sweet animals suffering and dead and swarms of flies, after all that beauty, joy and perfection, I had to put the book down for a long time.
The exquisite beauty of the Garden of Eden was polluted. All because Eve had to have her way and eat that fruit. And Adam did not stop her. She was deceived. He disobeyed. He joined her. Then he blamed God:
That woman you gave me.
Because the Serpent hated them so. (You can read more about the feelings of the Fallen Angels in Tosca Lee's amazing Demon.)
Finally, months later, I had to know how Tosca handled the rest of the 900 years of Eve's life.
And I was captivated by her depiction of the joys and challenges of family relationships--what was it like to be married to Adam? Of love and (necessary) incest, survival skills, practical arts, and new homesteads for offspring, and finally, new cities and foreign, false gods. All from venerated Mother Eve.
I rejoiced for her at the end. An end we all desire.
I do recommend this amazing book for mature youth on up.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
I am blessed to attend a church where the choir leads worship.
We have a praise band and a worship team of soloists on the front row. And the choir is there the whole time, encouraging the congregation to enjoy the Lord and give back enjoyment to Him. Sometimes it's one hundred people in choir enjoying the opportunity to minister to the church and to the Lord.
Recently we cut our second CD. Lots of Christmas presents, LOL
What goes through our minds as we worship there?
Of course, the lyrics of whatever wonderful song we're singing at the moment. Total Praise. Revelation Song. Wednesday--Days of Elijah, Jesus Paid it All, You Humble Me.
And also, obviously, the One we're singing to. And about. Our audience of One.
And a desire to help bring listeners to the Throne Room and prepare their hearts to receive the Word of God presented in truth and love.
And finally, and very important to me, I think of God's heart. He spelled it out--how He likes to be worshipped.
We've all read Be still and know that I am God. A lot of time we are to be still and receive, or just be still because that is appropriate.
I also think about other things He likes and therefore are are appropriate. He says a lot more about that.
For one thing, He wishes people everwhere would pray lifting holy hands without anger or doubting.
He says to lift up our hands in the sanctuary and make him happy!
He inhabits the praises of His people.
He says to make a joyful noise. (He probably said that knowing I'd be "singing" one day.)
He also said to shout, clap hands, play all kinds of instruments, and do creative movement.
No, wait, I can say it: dance!
LOL Like in that great Leon Patillo song from back in the '70s, Dance, Children, Dance!
Because He says He takes delight in His people. He wants to party hearty with us! Doesn't that touch your heart? To be delightful to God in our worship!
I know this from a little word study on hands at Biblegateway.com, and also in the last two Psalms by that man after God's own heart, that dancin' King David.
Years ago at a Jesus Festival in Orlando, the late, great Jamie Buckingham taught us to dance under the stars, just a step and a kick, and a step and a kick and a little persuasion, and soon, we were dancing. Next night, no persuasion necessary. This was not part of the staid tradition I grew up or was in then. But now it was part of my tradition. We, thousands of us, were dancing before the Lord and loving it.
Think about when that darlin' Gator QB Tim Tebow charges down the field, turning, raising his hands to catch the ball, and take off, staggering under one tackle, pushing away another, dodging yet another, gaining yard upon yard, finally crossing the goal line to victory. We cheer and dance and get all free and exuberant celebrating his crossing the goal.
Why not do the same for our Lord and Savior?
Imagine how Satan watched Jesus suffer torture and slowly die and be placed in a cold tomb. You know Satan was all ready to make that victory dance, when wait a minute, the stone was rolled away and the Son of the Most High was not dead, He was alive again, and came forth from the tomb, radiant, glorious, triumphant, escorted by joyful angels!
You know Jesus must have danced! They all must have danced!
Jesus reached His goal!
All for us! For those we love. For those we haven't met yet.
I cannot sit still for long when I think of that! Can you?
The least I can do for Him is what He asked for in His house on His day--Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and make the Lord happy! What a privilege!
Living, He loved me. Dying He saved me. Buried, He carried my sins far away. And rising, He justified, freed me forever, one day He's coming back, glorious day! Oh, glory hallelujah... to the risen King!
That's what's in my spirit as I sing in the Worship Choir.
And once in a while, just a little, I dance!