A Christmas Miracle

This is another piece I hammered out with a keyboard. Forgive me. I’ve been so busy recently I haven’t had the free time to myself as much to sit down and write the old fashioned way. First thing’s first: I was convicted by Proverbs 23:23 and Matthew 10:8 and realized I should not at all be charging a dime to people for them to access what I have written. If however THEY feel for whatever reason that they want to contribute to my life, I am leaving the patreon up (the same way you might see a paypal link on a twitch stream or something). At some near-future date I may also convert this wordpress domain into a “legitimate” one.

Anyway. I have had a tremendous battle going on for the greater part of five years concerning being diagnosed “Bipolar Type I” according to the wisdom and ways of man (and thus being treated in that same wisdom) and contending for the truth of the spiritual realities behind that diagnosis. I won’t go super into depth about it because it’s a topic a lot of people are very passionate about, but I will say that I was healed in the same way Yeshua would go about healing anyone.

I’ve been off my meds for about 7 months. I’ve been sort of “white” lying about it, to the VA and to some other people, just to avoid any number of things I had fears and worries about – ending up in the ward again, having my benefits cut off, all of those things. I realized I couldn’t go out and do the sorts of things I wanted to do nor accurately proclaim to the world that I am living in the Kingdom of YHWH and that the truth had set me free unless I rectified this situation.

The first thing to do was to honor the contractual agreement that I had with the VA, which I signed, which required me to “take medications as proscribed by my psychiatrist.” And so to honor that I contacted my assigned nurse and left a voice mail explaining that I was having symptoms in the natural that might lead a doctor who understands the theory of Bipolar Type I to be concerned that a “manic episode” was incoming. I said if I didn’t hear back from her, I’d check myself into the ER at the VA hospital after a church service last night (12/24).

She called me back a few hours later and we verbally re-negotiated my contract (with the understanding it was never legally binding in the first place) such that my treatment plan now includes no clause about needing to be on medications. Moreover, the VA understands my position that I do not think I am “disabled” nor that I should be the recipient of benefits afforded “disabled” persons, but has decided to continue to bless me with them for the time being.

There may come a day when I am found “0% disabled” and my benefits are cut off, and I have full faith in the father to provide for me no matter where I am or what I am doing (Proverbs 3), so I do not fear that day. In a way, I kind of look forward to it.

What was your Christmas Miracle this year?

Concerning Accuracy and Truth; It Is Written

30 KISLEV 5775 ::: 12/22/2014 0847 PST

I find myself writing more online than in this notebook, if only because I have mentally partitioned it as something to be used only to document daily happenings; especially as they are relevant to my travels or are related to the purpose behind my travels.

That unfortunately has led to some having an incomplete picture with which to assess my spiritual or “religious” convictions and dispositions. Moreover, it is somewhat difficult in any case to ascertain the sincerity of one’s actions through one’s own words. Also, I refuse to fall into the trap of justifying myself to men. All this being understood, there are some things I’d like to clarify.

“In the natural,” as a spiritual sort might say, I was trained to be a metrologist by the United States Marine Corps; metrology being the science of measurement. It was a task primarily concerned with accuracy. Most people do not think, as they are taking a measurement, “how can I trust that the device I am using is accurate?” For everyday purposes, a high degree of accuracy isn’t that necessary. How many times have you weighed yourself on your own scale in the morning and then shrugged off the realization you’d gained or lost 5-10 pounds between the morning weigh-in and the time it took for you to arrive at your doctor’s appointment for a weigh-in in the afternoon? We tend to trust that the doctor’s scale is probably more accurate, but for most, we are not overly concerned that our own scale is not as accurate. We just begin mentally compensating (“I am the weight my scale reads plus or minus 5 to 10 pounds), and that’s that.

Such a laissez-faire appraoch doesn’t cut it for military grade electronics, aeronautics and applications. That is where metrology technicians come into play. We are trained to verify the accuracy of measurements taken by devices against known standards of measurements with higher degrees of accuracy, in an unbroken chain of standards leading directly back to the “gold” (i.e., national or international standard, generally dictated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology). If a device is found to be out of tolerance (i.e., not accurate enough), we’ve also received a crash course in electrical engineering and component level troubleshooting/repair in order to bring a device back into tolerance.

I don’t intend this as a boast, but I was considered very competent at my job. I was the honor graduate of my class, received several letters of endorsements from the top ranking Marines in my lab, and was appointed to positions of authority usually reserved for Marines of much more senior rank. I also received an individual commendation for my active duty service, which you may know was regrettably cut short. The point being, I found the concept of accuracy fascinating, having also been a lifelong lover (and, at that time, current student of) philosophy. In that context of philosophy, I had always pursued the truth (and whether there was an absolute truth), a pursuit in which accuracy is a critical component.

Why do I say all this as regards my spiritual activities? Well, after being forced into a spiritual competition/mystical experience through no desire of my own, I was left with essentially two choices: accept what (decent, compassionate) men were telling me or try to investigate and come to my own conclusions. At the time of my first ineffable experience with the eternal realm, I had essentially zero spiritual “standards” with which to evaluate my experience, let alone test the accuracy of my interpretations. Thus, it was easy to trust the conclusions of the Marine S[taff]N[on]C[ommissioned]O[fficers], warrant officers, commissioned officers, sailors, petty officers, and

18:47

That is the exact word I left off on at around 1000 PST, because [the friend I previously wrote about from college] reached out to me and needed my time. Even though I had my plans – errands, appointments, writing, prayer, study – I dropped everything to minister YHWH’s word to him in love for 6 straight hours. [Yeshua did not tell the people who needed him to “come back tomorrow” or wait on him – although I tried to do exactly this at first.] I will complete the thought left hanging and continue my thesis before, Adonai willing, writing about 1000-1847 PST. Exactly where we left off:

Naval commissioned officers who were generally motivated by shared bonds of philia love and wanted the best for my wellness as best they knew how to deliver it.

Their counsel was to completely repress and suppress all “religious delusions,” stay away from scriptures, and comply with medications. So I did exactly that for one year and had perhaps the most miserable year of my entire life. I could only cope by drinking 5-10 shots of scotch almost every night and was left often to cry alone as I fell out of touch and (seemingly) favor with my brothers – the Marines of CLR-35, 3rd Maintenance Battalion ELMACO 2009-2010. I also had to grapple with the complete destruction of my career and very identity.

As I was about to process out – and the anniversary of the date of onset for my illness (February 14 2010 being that date – the “day of love” in the Western world) approached, I decided to investigate what had happened to me and why it happened using the only tools I knew how to use – writing and deep introspection.

This caused me to relive the events and I accordingly had an even more powerful and severe mystical experience/psychotic break which landed me in a state psychiatric ward in Chicago beginning in early-mid March 2011.

Literally days prior to this, I first encountered (“by chance”) my spiritual father, Jim Teak II, among others.

After exiting the wards in Chicago and returning to San Diego, I began 3 earnest (sometimes more earnest, sometimes less earnest) years of studying and practically applying the Word. I had three more inpatient stays from June 2011-August 2012. I continually lost my zeal, joy, and quality of life as my medication regiment shifted and intensified. I bloated to 280 pounds (having been 180 pounds on active duty and rail thin my entire life prior).

There are pages and pages of details to write concerning all of this. The important part is that I was building my own spiritual “standard” by which not only could I verify the accuracy of my own experiences and interpretations, but also could verify the accuracy of other people’s words and deeds according to that standard.

My standard is, very simply, the written word of YHWH. When Yeshua was tempted after 40 days of of fasting in the desert by the enemy, He rebuked the enemy each time by simply stating “IT IS WRITTEN,” and then prophesying the Word of YHWH. Yeshua was literally the LIVING, BREATHING WORD OF YHWH MADE FLESH (John 1), yet He chose to rebuke, resist, and put to his heel Satan in this specific manner. He did this so that we who are not (yet) the Word made flesh could understand how to do the same – by using the written, established, tried, tested and found true WORD of YHWH. Which, I would remind you, was read by Yeshua in Hebrew and most certainly spoken by Yeshua in that or any other situation in Hebrew – NOT in King James English.

Selah.

Honestly, selah on that for a long time. It is so imperative to selah on that that I do not yet need to write and share about what happened to my friend and myself between 1000-1847 PST today.

Not my words, but His WORD. Amen.

Metaphysics and Mystical Experiences

Continuing the train of thought from my earlier post on metaphysics:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4T_P14JjMcM]
The video speaks for itself, so I won’t waste your time repeating its content.

Another topic I consider metaphysical – though some might not – is the topic of the make up of the spiritual realm. I encounter many people who seem happy to believe in Elohim – the Creator – and that a man named Yeshua (Jesus) existed some 2000 years ago. They may or may not believe in the miracles. They may or may not believe in the resurrection. They emphatically agree that loving God and loving your neighbors are the right way to live. But, often because of the history of the Bible or misunderstandings concerning how ancient texts are analyzed and translated, these well meaning people conclude we don’t need the scriptures to tell us how to pursue a relationship with God. When push comes to shove, they often cite their own “spiritual experiences” to back up their assertions.

Now, when I said I considered this topic somewhat metaphysical, it’s because it has to do with the nature of reality that is in fact much more real than observable reality. It kind of goes back to the difference between temporal reality and eternal reality – the spiritual realm is where angels, both righteous and fallen, reside. The Bible clearly affirms the existence of angels, as well as demonic spirits, and the spiritual realm. But if you are one to throw out the scriptures, you may argue that there are no such things as demons, or that Satan is just a metaphor for human misconduct, or there is no such thing as “evil.” And you might be arguing this because – and listen carefully – a demon disguised as an angel of light whispered sweet things in your ear about tolerance and respecting all paths to God and so on and you – being untrained in the scriptures; not believing in the scriptures; not recognizing Yeshua as King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the way, the truth, and the life – are now living according to doctrines of demons!

But what really are “spiritual experiences,” especially if people who don’t prescribe to a certain religion can claim to have had such experiences from God? I think William James did a pretty good job summing it up in 1902, though he called them mystical experiences. To summarize, mystical experiences are defined by two major and two minor qualities – in the major, they (1) defy expression, (2) are authoritative as providing insight into truth; in the minor, they (1) are transient (cannot be maintained for a long time) and (2) are passive (i.e. cannot be voluntarily induced).

Don’t believe the what I said 2 paragraphs ago? Despite being exactly one of the people I describe (having succumbed to my own spiritual experiences, and consequently coming to some odd conclusions), the scriptures testify of these matters. In 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 (NKJV), Paul warns the church about false apostles but also expounds on Satan’s power to deceive:

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

Paul also warns Timothy – and by extension Church leadership – about doctrines of demons in 1 Timothy 4:1 (NKJV):

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons…”

Not every sweet voice that whispers to you good sounding things is of God! 1 John 4:1-3 NKJV:

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Yeshua HaMashiach has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Yeshua HaMashiach has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

Why is it so critical we place our trust and faith – pledge our fealty and sacrifice our lives – to Christ? In large part because Christ is truth and everything else is a lie! John 18:37 (NKJV):

Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?”

Yeshua answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

John 14:6 (NKJV) reads:

Yeshua said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

John 8:31-32 (NKJV) reads:

Then Yeshua said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in my word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Most people remember verse 32, but not verse 31, which instructs us to abide in Yeshua’s words, to be disciples (disciplined ones) of Him! We can see clearly from the scriptures above that a chief aim (or even THE chief aim) of Yeshua’s earthly ministry was to prove there is an absolute truth and to lead people to that truth! Ever notice how Paul frames spiritual warfare almost in the terms of a debate in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5? The scripture reads:

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…

Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to Christ – the mind is central to spiritual warfare, and truth is central to obtaining the mind of Christ!

We now know that we cannot come to the Father, except through Yeshua. But are we allowed to worship our Father in just any way? Well, the answer has some depth. While Abba – YHWH our Father – is absolutely a loving God (1 John 4:8 NKJV: He who does not love does not know God, for God is love), he is also absolutely a Holy God – Jehovah Tsidkenu, the LORD of righteousness. (Leviticus 19:2 NKJV: “Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘You shall be holy, for I YHWH your Elohim am holy.”) In our Father, there isn’t even the slightest hint of evil – James 1:17 NKJV: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

In the Old Covenant, there were many rituals and laws designed to protect people from YHWH’s holiness. You might be saying – say that again? Because the people were sinful – and because the only mediator between YHWH and man was the Law, which was perfect but unattainable for man – YHWH had to protect the people from Himself lest he obliterate them with his holiness. Take for example the story of the profane fire from Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10 1-3 NKJV):

Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before YHWH, which He had not commanded them. So fire went out from YHWH and devoured them, and they died before YHWH. And Moses said to Aaron, “This is what YHWH spoke, saying:
‘By those who come near Me
I must be regarded as holy;
And before all the people
I must be glorified.'”
So Aaron held his peace.

Nadab and Abihu offered profane fire in a manner not instructed according to YHWH’s righteousness and were consumed by his holiness.

Now, Yeshua has come, and stated in John 4:24 (NKJV) “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” Moreover, by His death and resurrection, He tore the veil between God and man, pouring out His Spirit and serving as Mediator of a new covenant that grants direct access to our Father (Hebrews 9:11-15 NKJV):

But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason He is Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

Yet this still doesn’t mean “worship any which way you please!” As 1 John 2:3-4 states:

Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

Yeshua had many commandments – such as the one above, “abide in My word.” Or the whole Sermon on the Mount. But it’s about time to wrap this post up.

The take away I’m getting at is, you can’t just trust your emotions when it comes to spiritual encounters. Satan is deceitful. Most people aren’t going to knowingly worship something evil, but they might be duped into abandoning the truth for a sweet sounding lie. (This is sometimes called COMPROMISING!) Make sure you know the truth. Pray that the Holy Spirit aid you in living the truth.

Metaphysics and Mystical Experiences

Continuing the train of thought from my earlier post on metaphysics:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4T_P14JjMcM]
The video speaks for itself, so I won’t waste your time repeating its content.

Another topic I consider metaphysical – though some might not – is the topic of the make up of the spiritual realm. I encounter many people who seem happy to believe in Elohim – the Creator – and that a man named Yeshua (Jesus) existed some 2000 years ago. They may or may not believe in the miracles. They may or may not believe in the resurrection. They emphatically agree that loving God and loving your neighbors are the right way to live. But, often because of the history of the Bible or misunderstandings concerning how ancient texts are analyzed and translated, these well meaning people conclude we don’t need the scriptures to tell us how to pursue a relationship with God. When push comes to shove, they often cite their own “spiritual experiences” to back up their assertions.

Now, when I said I considered this topic somewhat metaphysical, it’s because it has to do with the nature of reality that is in fact much more real than observable reality. It kind of goes back to the difference between temporal reality and eternal reality – the spiritual realm is where angels, both righteous and fallen, reside. The Bible clearly affirms the existence of angels, as well as demonic spirits, and the spiritual realm. But if you are one to throw out the scriptures, you may argue that there are no such things as demons, or that Satan is just a metaphor for human misconduct, or there is no such thing as “evil.” And you might be arguing this because – and listen carefully – a demon disguised as an angel of light whispered sweet things in your ear about tolerance and respecting all paths to God and so on and you – being untrained in the scriptures; not believing in the scriptures; not recognizing Yeshua as King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the way, the truth, and the life – are now living according to doctrines of demons!

But what really are “spiritual experiences,” especially if people who don’t prescribe to a certain religion can claim to have had such experiences from God? I think William James did a pretty good job summing it up in 1902, though he called them mystical experiences. To summarize, mystical experiences are defined by two major and two minor qualities – in the major, they (1) defy expression, (2) are authoritative as providing insight into truth; in the minor, they (1) are transient (cannot be maintained for a long time) and (2) are passive (i.e. cannot be voluntarily induced).

Don’t believe the what I said 2 paragraphs ago? Despite being exactly one of the people I describe (having succumbed to my own spiritual experiences, and consequently coming to some odd conclusions), the scriptures testify of these matters. In 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 (NKJV), Paul warns the church about false apostles but also expounds on Satan’s power to deceive:

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

Paul also warns Timothy – and by extension Church leadership – about doctrines of demons in 1 Timothy 4:1 (NKJV):

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons…”

Not every sweet voice that whispers to you good sounding things is of God! 1 John 4:1-3 NKJV:

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Yeshua HaMashiach has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Yeshua HaMashiach has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

Why is it so critical we place our trust and faith – pledge our fealty and sacrifice our lives – to Christ? In large part because Christ is truth and everything else is a lie! John 18:37 (NKJV):

Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?”

Yeshua answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

John 14:6 (NKJV) reads:

Yeshua said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

John 8:31-32 (NKJV) reads:

Then Yeshua said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in my word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Most people remember verse 32, but not verse 31, which instructs us to abide in Yeshua’s words, to be disciples (disciplined ones) of Him! We can see clearly from the scriptures above that a chief aim (or even THE chief aim) of Yeshua’s earthly ministry was to prove there is an absolute truth and to lead people to that truth! Ever notice how Paul frames spiritual warfare almost in the terms of a debate in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5? The scripture reads:

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…

Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to Christ – the mind is central to spiritual warfare, and truth is central to obtaining the mind of Christ!

We now know that we cannot come to the Father, except through Yeshua. But are we allowed to worship our Father in just any way? Well, the answer has some depth. While Abba – YHWH our Father – is absolutely a loving God (1 John 4:8 NKJV: He who does not love does not know God, for God is love), he is also absolutely a Holy God – Jehovah Tsidkenu, the LORD of righteousness. (Leviticus 19:2 NKJV: “Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘You shall be holy, for I YHWH your Elohim am holy.”) In our Father, there isn’t even the slightest hint of evil – James 1:17 NKJV: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

In the Old Covenant, there were many rituals and laws designed to protect people from YHWH’s holiness. You might be saying – say that again? Because the people were sinful – and because the only mediator between YHWH and man was the Law, which was perfect but unattainable for man – YHWH had to protect the people from Himself lest he obliterate them with his holiness. Take for example the story of the profane fire from Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10 1-3 NKJV):

Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before YHWH, which He had not commanded them. So fire went out from YHWH and devoured them, and they died before YHWH. And Moses said to Aaron, “This is what YHWH spoke, saying:
‘By those who come near Me
I must be regarded as holy;
And before all the people
I must be glorified.'”
So Aaron held his peace.

Nadab and Abihu offered profane fire in a manner not instructed according to YHWH’s righteousness and were consumed by his holiness.

Now, Yeshua has come, and stated in John 4:24 (NKJV) “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” Moreover, by His death and resurrection, He tore the veil between God and man, pouring out His Spirit and serving as Mediator of a new covenant that grants direct access to our Father (Hebrews 9:11-15 NKJV):

But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason He is Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

Yet this still doesn’t mean “worship any which way you please!” As 1 John 2:3-4 states:

Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

Yeshua had many commandments – such as the one above, “abide in My word.” Or the whole Sermon on the Mount. But it’s about time to wrap this post up.

The take away I’m getting at is, you can’t just trust your emotions when it comes to spiritual encounters. Satan is deceitful. Most people aren’t going to knowingly worship something evil, but they might be duped into abandoning the truth for a sweet sounding lie. (This is sometimes called COMPROMISING!) Make sure you know the truth. Pray that the Holy Spirit aid you in living the truth.

Why did Yeshua come into the world?

Grace and peace to you,

Why did Yeshua (Jesus) come into this world? This is a profound question with a profound answer. Many would say that He came to save us, to die for our sins, to fulfill the Law and the Prophets, and he certainly did come for these reasons. But what reason does He Himself give for coming? It can be found in John 18:37: “For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

This is a very important statement. Yeshua is asserting that there is an absolute truth, and that his entire purpose in coming into the world was to bear witness to (or testify of, depending upon your translation) that truth. Elsewhere in the Gospel of John (8:32) is that famous quotation, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” The cosmic spiritual battle is a battle of truth versus lies. Being caught up in sin is being caught up in deception. The battle for your soul begins with the battle in your own mind.

Elsewhere I have written about how the stoic philosophers taught that our thoughts were the only things we truly had control over. The primacy of thought in the Christian life is found all over the Bible, from the Old Testament and binding the Law to one’s head to the New Testament and calls to repentance. To repent litearlly means to change one’s thinking. The thoughts we think in our head control the motives and intents of our heart which in turn influence the words we speak with our mouth, and this trinity describes our soul life (our soul being our mind, will and emotions).

In truth, no one is an addict. No one has a chronic mental illness which requires life long medication. These are deceptions by the enemy designed to keep us in bondage and to keep us in fear. The enemy loves to keep us in fear because fear breeds worry and doubt, and from these he can gain an even greater foothold in our lives. From worry and doubt proceed depression and even suicide. If he can get a toehold in your mind he’ll take it all the way.

This is why spiritual warfare, according to the scriptures, is framed almost entirely in the language of debates. Take for instance this passage from 2 Corinthians 10:3-5: “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…” The goal of spiritual warfare is to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ – obedience of Christ being the truth. We are to cast down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself above the knowledge of God. Pay attention to the verbage in that passage – it is speaking clearly of a debate we must all partake in.

Be vigilant. Pay attention to your thoughts and question where they are coming from. Your thoughts inform your heart which informs your tongue. Are you holding every thought captive to Christ, so that the intents of your heart are pure and the words you speak are words of truth and love? Or are you listening to deceptions and lies – holding yourself in condemnation, judging others, believing yourself to be in bondage to sins that are impossible to break free from, and so on? Remember, Yeshua said that “you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” Get to know the truth by pursuing a personal relationship with Yeshua, and by renewing your mind through the reading and washing of the word.

With love,

JWD

Why You Should Distrust Anything Popular

Only in the West would we call this a "lady."

For as long as I can remember, I have been extremely skeptical of popular things. For every Lady Gaga, there is a Kevin Gilbert writing beautiful magnum opuses no one will hear; for every WalMart there’s a mom and pop store treating their employees right and providing competitive prices; for every Transformers there’s an underrated 25th Hour; so on and so forth. At first it was just an unbridled elitism that led me towards alternative tastes, but disconnecting from the hive mind has been good for me for much of my life. Moreover, these sorts of choices you may view as meaningless (spending your dollars on the next iMbetterthanu rather than a technically superior alternative) have real world impacts – sometimes quite grave and ugly.

Our modern age is rife with the fallacy known as argumentum ad populum; the idea that because something is popular that is proof enough that it is good. Success in the West has typically been associated with a disgusting infatuation with value – value defined not by intrinsic quality, but by how much money something can generate. “Good” music is not necessarily well composed, performed, or emotionally stirring – “good” music is that which generates a lot of sales. Good writing is not necessarily perceptive, striking, or insightful – good writing generates sales (or hits). Public discourse over the value of things often boils down to this line of reasoning; Transformers 2 is superior to 25th Hour because Transformers 2 outperformed 25th Hour at the box office. Continue reading