Living Light

Stirring The Deep


2 Comments

Church Sedation

 Church Sedation

 

The other morning I was thinking . .  how many times do we hear from fellow believers or out of our own mouths wasn’t that a great teaching or a good sermon? But was it truth?  It may have been entertaining and made us feel good, but was it truth? They may have read a passage from the Bible, but their opinions, philosophies, interpretations of the scripture, but was it truth?  We are instructed to test all things preached, taught, or spoken of but now many of us honestly do that? If we do test what are actually testing it by; our intuition, gut, or someone else’s teaching?  True testing is done by the Word so that means we have to be consistently in the Word and put it above all others. The Bible is our foundation and not man’s words because it is the source of pure unadulterated truth.

1 Corinthians 14:29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge

1 Thessalonians 5:21 Test all things; hold fast what is good

1 John 4:1 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

 Before I spent one-on-one time with God, just His Word and me, I relied on my own discernment, not a good idea. But when I started to spend that time, layer by layer He started to unveil the real truth. I was amazed by all the lies I believed that I learned in a religious institution or setting. How could I have been so mislead? There are lots of reasons, but one stood out – the power of feeling good.

Sedating my guilt, putting my time in with God for the week, looking good to those around me, feeling like a good person, people accepting and liking me were a lot of the reasons why I went to church – when I am brutally honest with myself. Who doesn’t like to feel good about themselves? But all those are the wrong reasons first because no one is good, so why was I trying to prove I was and second focusing on these blinded me to the truth. My motives got in the way of taking time to be in God’s word and testing what I heard. Ultimately I was focusing on me instead of getting to know my God. Many things are good, until they are used or done for the wrong reasons. Then what was intended for good can become damaging.

Luke 18:19 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God

The other day, I read an article on the power of praise.  Praise of others and others making us feel good are very powerful and they can blind us if we aren’t careful. That’s why love can be so blinding. Nothing and no one is perfect but God and His Word, He is the source of truth and of our beliefs.  I think it is good practice to carefully examine our motives now and then so we stay clear headed to be discerning as we are called to be. Now, I often ask, why am I really doing this?

Proverbs 14:15 The simple believes every word, But the prudent considers well his steps

John 8:32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


10 Comments

Women and Men: Influencers & Leaders: Part II

Women and Men: Influencers and Leaders

Part II

Continuing on with my thoughts on women and men, below is the next part of the article I wrote. I jump right into women being influencers and men being leaders at their core (it doesn’t mean women can’t lead and men can’t influence, but it is how they do those things). If you take time to really mediate on this I think you will see what I am saying .  . . I believe it is important to seek out and understand the strengths that we were made with because then we can honor one another instead of overpower or abuse.

One core dynamic between women and men is in the complementary powers of influence and leadership. Women are influencers, representing the church. The men are leaders, representing Christ. We influence Christ’s heart toward us and others through respect and honoring His leadership. We depend on His leadership for the benefit of our lives.

Though marriage is the exemplar of this dynamic, these two qualities of influence and leadership underscore all aspects of life. Whether single, married or widowed, a woman’s power is in her influence and a man’s power is in his leadership. These attributes speak not so much to what we do but how we do it. They are the underlying force energizing our actions. Men influence and women lead, but how they carry out those roles is what makes them different and compliment one another, not create discord.

Among other traits, a woman manifests the qualities of beauty, compassion, sensitivity, and intuitiveness.  She possesses these attributes to accomplish her role of influencing the actions of others for good. Influence involves the ability to produce an effect without apparent exertion of force or direct exercise of command. Just about every woman in the Bible was an influencer to a leader; Eve to Adam, Ruth to Boaz, Esther to King Ahasuerus, Sarah to Abraham, Herodias to Herod, Rebecca to Jacob, Rachel to Jacob, Delilah and Samson, and Pilate’s wife to Pilate. These women modeled both the negative and positive outcomes of this role.  Remaining behind the scenes, their influence on history is astounding; they were the progenitors of significant events.  Influencers hold a powerful position, and women are accountable for the ability that has been given them. How a woman fulfills her role will determine whether she will be a positive or negative influence in the lives of others. In lacking understanding of her role, abusing or suppressing it, she will create mayhem. It is her responsibility to learn from God about her role and trust His working in her to execute it with confidence and humility. In a similar fashion, the church influences the body of Christ.

A man represents the qualities of strength, protection, passion, provision and authority. All these attributes enable him to lead others. Christ set the perfect example.  God put us under His care. (John 17:9) Representing the head, men have been given others to care for, whether those “others” are families, businesses, or nations. Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon, Joseph, Jesus, and the Apostles are a few examples of leaders who provided, protected, and loved those they were responsible for. Follow a proficient leader and there will be provision, protection, organization, vision, and growth.  Leaders set the course, steer the ship and take command. The goal of their leadership is to benefit others. Their authority isn’t a dictatorship; it is a stewardship to those whom they lead. Being at the helm is a tremendous responsibility and requires courage and humility. (Mark 10:43) In a similar manner, Christ, as our leader, is our preeminent example.

As leaders, it is critical for men to see the situation from a fuller perspective and here is where oneness between man, the leader, and woman, the influencer, comes into play. Men bear the responsibility for the ones they lead. God has placed men at the helm and if they are negligent all will suffer. Using keen discernment, men profit when they take heed of the influencers whose role it is to help them. God gave women different strengths that benefit men. They see, feel, and experience what men don’t.  The combined wisdom and insight produces a better result. Alone all suffer, together all prevail. God created them to work together not in isolation.


2 Comments

Women and Men: Who’s Who

Women and Men: Who’s Who

Part I

Understanding the woman-man dynamic as God intended is a passion of mine. I have been exploring this topic for some time and I wanted to share with you some of my thoughts I wrote about it awhile ago. This blog is the first of four.

Nations, cultures, societies, and individuals are in a quandary over the ill-defined and uncertain roles of men and women.  In attempts to figure out who is who, the roles are becoming more entangled; men trying to be like women, women trying to be like men, men suppressing women, and women dominating men. What a conundrum we’ve created of God’s design; a design perfectly constructed to teach us about Him and His relationship with us. Through a lack of understanding His plan, thinking we know best, or a resistance to submit to a higher order, we have birthed chaos in our attitudes about the sexes. The devastating result is broken families, dysfunctional children, staggering divorce rates, unrealistic expectations, emotional abuse, and shattered souls.

The secret to understanding our intended roles is to focus on the Designer’s higher purpose; to teach us about Him. The Apostle Paul instructed us to be spiritually minded, not carnally minded. By narrowly focusing on the physical aspects, we miss the deeper enduring truth. The physical things, like genders and the roles we play, will pass away.  (Matthew 22:30) They are important but they are only a tool to teach and to direct our attention to the bigger picture. The big picture of the roles of men and women is that they are a model to educate us about our reciprocal relationship with God. If we lose sight of this bigger picture we lose sight of the truth.

Like two puzzle pieces, individual, harmonious, and complementary, woman was created to fit with man as we fit with Christ. Men represent Christ, the head. Women represent the church, the body, and together they are one. Ephesians 5:30-32 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Physically and emotionally women and men complete each other, and spiritually we are complete with God.

Observing how men and women relate to one another and the outcome of those interactions serves as a metaphor to teach us how we should relate to Christ. Witnessing the pain from separation, domination, suppression, and abuse between the genders signifies the damage done to our spirits if our relationship with God is askew. Dissention between men and women hurts because it is connected to the spiritual truth, our relation to God. Conversely, understanding what creates unity between a man and a woman points to what produces oneness with God.

The culture is confusing how we see ourselves as men and women. My desire is explore and learn God’s design for men and women in today’s world and we can’t examine one gender without looking at both because they work together. My goal is to learn more about God and His ways and to honor each other and Him by living in His truth.


Leave a comment

Beyond the Literal Meaning

Beyond the Literal Meaning

 

After I posted my blog on women and angels, I read a response by Monte Wolverton and Greg Albrecht at Plain Truth Magazine to a woman’s question about the same chapter, 1 Corinthians 11.

I enjoy many of their comments, but they stopped short on this issue. Though what they said may be true about the culture and beliefs at the time, I believe everything in the Word is for us today because I believe everything has an underlining spiritual meaning and purpose. If we don’t look beyond a cultural explanation we miss the deeper spiritual truths.

The Word is living, complex, layer upon layer, symbolic and everlasting. It is not a just a book of historical events that we can learn from or a set of rules for good living – that’s the least of what it offers. It is alive and spirit that transforms our souls and deepens our communion with God. Hebrews 4:12

God’s Word isn’t straightforward. There are physical layers covering spiritual layers. It’s that way because what God says in the Word is not for the world but for those whom He has chosen to draw near. Matthew 13:11 The spiritual truths are hidden so that for His chosen they are revealed by the Spirit and to others they remain concealed. Symbolism is a tool that God uses to accomplish this purpose. When believers don’t seek beyond the illustration they not only miss out on the deeper truth but also can end up acting from a carnal mindset living by the law instead of a spiritual mindset living by grace.

It is the spiritual realm lying beneath the physical words that is the real treasure that brings freedom and life. Sometimes we have to wait for years to understand a passage because this deeper truth only comes by revelation of the Spirit. 1 Corinthians 2:14 But the truths are there to be discovered by you and me who have the Holy Spirit to teach us all things. Our part is to ask and to seek.

God’s Word is alive, pure, and eternal, so the question to any passage is why is it included? Why is it in His Word that lasts throughout the ages?

Isaiah 40:8 The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.”

Understanding the physical shadows the spiritual is especially pertinent when it comes to women, because over the years the illustration has been exploited. What was meant as a teaching tool has been used to dominate and oppress women to the harm of both women and men. When one is harmed both are.

The Word tells us not to get hung up on the illustrations. Like in 1 Corinthians 11:16 where it says that whether you have the customs of head coverings or not it doesn’t matter. What matters is if we understand the spiritual truth that we all need to be covered in Jesus’ righteousness. Ephesians 5:32-33 emphasizes a similar thing, be spiritually minded not carnal. Living out the spiritual truth should be our focus.

This manner of digging deeper is important for any passage. When we seek truth at this level we live in truth, faith, grace and love. Go deep into all passages and don’t give up, because that is where the treasures lie.

 


3 Comments

Women and Angels: Part 2

Women and Angels

Part II

 

The relationship between a woman and a man symbolizes the relationship between the church (true body of believers) and Christ. The first is designed to teach us about the second. It illustrates in a physical context the spiritual aspects of our relationship with Christ like unity and oneness, different yet complementary roles, respect, love, mercy, and so on.  Ephesians 5:23

I have been seeking the underling truth of 1 Corinthians 11, specifically verse 10 for some time.  I feel like I am finally getting somewhere, thanks to the Spirit of course. To understand any of that chapter, you have to replace women with church and men with Christ.  So before I jump to the verse in question, vs 10, I am going to work through a couple of verses so you can see how I ended up where I did with that particular verse.

In verse 3 we learn the head of a woman is man and the head of a man is Christ – decoding it we learn the head or authority of the church is Christ.

In verse 4-7, a woman’s head being covered symbolizes the church being covered in Christ’s righteousness. A man’s head, which represents Christ, isn’t covered because Christ is righteousness.

In verse 7, you can now understand why women are the glory of man because they represent the church and why men are the glory of God because they represent Christ.  See how this works? You have to use the symbolism to unlock the spiritual truths.

Then we come to verse 10. What confused me for years was the statement, because of the angels. It seemed to come out of nowhere and not make much sense. Why do women or the church need an authority (Christ) over her because of the angels who are God’s messengers and ministers in the spiritual realm?

1 Corinthians 11:10 For this cause ought the woman to have power (authority) on her head because of the angels. 

Looking at other verses that talk about angels, we learn that their role is to carry out God’s work. They are the reapers, the ones who gather the elect, and carry out God’s plans of judgment and deliverance.

Matthew 13:39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.

Matthew 13:41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;

Matthew 24:31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

When the angels do their work like gather the elect, how do they know who to gather?  They know by the authority on their heads, in other words, those who have Christ as their Lord. This idea of having an authority on the head is similar to being sealed that is talked about in The Revelation Chapter 7. Sealing is simply instilling the truth in someone’s mind determining what they believe.  Sealing the tribes is showing them the truth so that they believe in Christ as their Lord and Savior. Once they are sealed they are covered in Christ’s righteousness they are saved from God’s wrath, which is administered by the angels. Sealing, marking, and having an authority on our heads all share a similar meaning.

The way the angels are going to know to gather you to Christ is if He is your Lord. Therefore the women (church) require an authority (Christ as Lord) on her head so that when the time comes the angels will gather them to Christ.

Now there are probably more layers of truth to this passage, but I think this is one.


Leave a comment

Women and Angels

Women and Angels

I feel like I finally get the verse 1 Corinthians 11:10 For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. (NKJV) !!!! I have been asking about this verse for years. Of course there are probably layers upon layers of truth in this one verse, but the part, because of the angels, always puzzled me, so I can’t wait to share with you what I learned in my next post on Monday.


4 Comments

Leaving Organized Religion

Leaving Organized Religion

Part II

 

Why outside the church system? Because it has become something other than what it was intended to be. Starting out with a pure motive and purpose, two thousand years later the church has grown into a host of things that it wasn’t meant to be like it did with the Pharisees when Jesus walked this earth. At the core, it has become man’s trusted haven instead of God. It is depended upon to nourish the soul, comfort the spirit, provide truth, and protect the soul among other things. Yet beneath the smiles, hugs, and jovial community, in general it has become a business that feeds on the souls of those who enter its doors, which I think many leaders are blind to. Those inside are spiritually starving, hurting, sick and depraved. Isaiah 1:6-9, Jeremiah 8:10-11, Jeremiah 5. With hearts deceptively wicked we have an incredible ability to justify and rationalize what is going on. Jeremiah 17:9 It is hard to see clearly when you are in the midst of the fog.

As I read the Old and New Testament, one thing is clear; God does not tolerate idolatry, putting our trust in something other than Him. No one perfectly trusts God, but as His children we should be moving toward trusting Him alone. Faith without works is dead. If we want to trust Him then our actions will be; abiding in His pure truth, making time in His Word a top priority, putting His Word above others, and relying on Him as our teacher not man – all the actions that take us to our goal. Our actions reveal where our faith is, in man or God. It isn’t about having all the right answers, but about putting God first. Only God and His Word is pure unadulterated truth. The rest of us are mere men trying to figure it all out. I want to rely on the One who knows, how about you?

Psalm 9:10 And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.

Our trust comes from knowing Him and knowing comes from abiding and drawing near to God.

When it comes down to it, what most people in the church believe is based on some man’s philosophy and interpretation of the Word. This is exactly what I did and I knew many just like me. We didn’t fully agree with any one leader but we combine a host of them together and that formed our truth. Having been solely in the Word now for several years the difference is clear. I use to rely on others to tell me what I believed, which they supported by a couple of verses. I wasn’t abiding in the Word so there was no way to test what they said, as the Word instructs us. I trusted what I felt my deceptively wicked heart resonated with. Let me tell you, it was off on many accounts. It matters what comes first, the Word of God or the word of man.

I thought I trusted God, but when I honestly examined what I believed and why, I found most of it originated with man. But I was doing what the masses did and believed so it must be true, right? How about the masses that killed Christ? Masses are known for being deceived and easily misled. With the numerous warnings from Christ and Paul about false prophets, teachers, angels of light, and that many will be lead astray we are in a dire situation if we are relying on any man. Where are the priests, prophets, teachers and ministers? In the churches. It is interesting how the Word is available to just about all nations when we need it the most because deception increases with time. God always provides. He has given us everything we need, His Spirit, His Truth, and Him. We are called to trust Him above all others.

Having once trusted man, I see where that road leads and it isn’t good. I grew up in the church. According to each preacher I heard I was living the life of a Christian. The only thing that mattered is that I had accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. But one problem, He wasn’t Lord I was. Jesus can’t be divided. If He was my Lord, I would have put my trust in Him. As a result, for years I lived in lack, not experiencing abundant life, trapped in afflictions, without God, without power, yet with all that I never questioned my walk. After all, my life looked like everyone else’s. The church provided me with a false comfort. It led me to believe I had life when I didn’t. Therefore, it stole my life. Isaiah 5:7, Jeremiah 6:6 With the church and man’s words as the foundation of my truth, my house was built on the sand.

As a whole the church system has brought distance between the believer and God rather than closeness. And because most tie the church to God they don’t see what is happening nor question it. My heart pains me because I see many on the road that I once was on. They are living in depravity when the fountain of life is right before their eyes. Their trust is in the wrong place.

We need to take an honest look at ourselves and not be afraid of what we might see because that is the first step to finding the truth.

 

 

 


12 Comments

Leaving Organized Religion: Part 1

Leaving Organized Religion

Part 1

 

This post and the next one are longer than most, but I wanted to share with you part of my journey that got me where I am today.

Several years ago, something in my husband’s spirit and mine wasn’t resonating with the church we were attending. After volleying back and forth about what we were feeling, we decided to take break. We needed to see clearly. We resolved to dwell in God’s pure truth away from the doctrines of man, his opinions, philosophies and cares and explore what we were sensing.

In the quiet away from the opinions of man we probed God’s heart . . .what is going on? Why are we feeling this way? We had been deeply integrated into the church; participating in Bible studies, home groups, and helping out at the church. We had built friendships and had become a part of their lives as they had ours. Over the next couple of months, God moved things more into focus. After we were gone for a couple of months, we decided to return to see if the Spirit would confirm once more what we felt. How patient He is with us. It was clear, leave. The break ended up being an exodus from the church system.

In the following months, the questioning looks and tone of disapproval from my previous pew pals revealed what was in their thoughts, I had fallen to the wayside. And rightly so, many who leave the church leave God too. They think the two are one, which is a grave travesty. It was difficult knowing the opposite was true. It felt strange to be the odd man out, but I knew I was doing what God wanted and that is what mattered most.

With no one else to depend on, the Spirit became my trusted teacher. With the Bible and a piece of paper, I poured out my heart and began to listen for the first time. I wrote down my thoughts, fears, prayers, and questions. I read, sought, asked, and waited on the answers. God started to unfold the truth before my eyes. My trust in Him was tested, refined and strengthen and in time my relationship with Him grew into something I had never imagined, something wonderful, real, powerful and amazing. He taught me percept upon percept and started to put together His truths into a perfect puzzle of understanding. It was like someone had lifted the veil from His Word and the truth started pouring out.

As for the church, I continued to seek for understanding to why God didn’t want me in the church. When I say church I am speaking of the Institutional church, the church system, not the true body of believers who hold the spirit of God. They are two different things. Churches are full of believers and not. I wondered if other believers where experiencing a similar thing.  After some searching around, I found other believers were feeling a similar thing. One in particular that resonated with how I felt was Len Hjalmarson. Then I thought something is going on and I dug deeper.

At dubious moments, I wondered if I had heard God correctly. Is the church that far off that I shouldn’t be there? The church has always had major flaws, it is made up of humans after all. And I haven’t met a perfect one yet. Those flaws are what kept Paul so busy as he tried to keep things straight. So what is the difference now? But every time I asked, the answer was the same. Piece by piece the answers started to come and He is still putting the pieces together.

To get a better perspective of any situation you have to pull back to get a bird’s eye view. Having been out of the system for about four years now, I see a change happening. In general, the church is moving further away from its original purpose, it has become corrupt and overgrown with weeds of lies. Lies that steal life instead of give it. What is good has become profane, a cherished relationship has become a set of rules for moral living, and freedom is traded for bondage.

As a result of what is occurring in the church, a shift is happening. God is moving and becoming our sanctuary, not a system corrupted by man’s doctrine. Just as He said He would in Ezekiel. (Chapter 34) The church is no longer the one to feed, nourish, provide and protect His people. He is calling His people to Himself to be their Rock. With the wide spread availability of the Word and the Spirit residing in the souls of His people, God has moved in as the Good Shepherd, Teacher, Provider, and Protector. He is opening up the scriptures to laymen, like me, and is revealing Himself in mighty ways, outside of the church system.

To be continued . . .


5 Comments

Beginning the Journey

Beginning the Journey

I am glad you came. My purpose in writing this blog is to dive into the truths of God and encourage others to do the same, what I call stirring the deep. We are on this earth to learn about God, His truth, and His love with the ultimate purpose of being one with Him in heart, soul and mind. John 17:23 We only know in part with much to learn, but I believe it is our work to seek out the truth. John 6:29 What we believe affects everything else.  This journey can entail facing issues that are hard, but to find truth we have to be willing to go wherever God leads.

God has instilled in me a strong desire to search out His truth.  I have so much to learn but I have tasted the freedom it brings and it is beyond amazing. I see tremendous bondage in and outside the Christian community and my passion is to compel others to dive into His truth because that is the only way to true freedom. When we live in truth we live free.  John 8:32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”