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8.29.2005

On fearing God and not man


A Christian blogger recently wrote this:

I just can't spend all day trading barbs with a person who is free from the fear of men and only fears God -- whatever that means.

The three levels of understanding 'Fear God':

1st: tremble before God (the atheist thinks it means this).

2nd: reverence God, but also actually fear Him - as in tremble before Him - because He can kill your soul (the seminary type has this understanding, and thinks he's reached the summit of understanding when he learns that 'reverence' is part of fear).

3rd: fear God means #2 above, yet it further means don't fear man. Fear God, i.e. don't fear man. When you truly fear God you cease to fear man. Fearing man means fearing man's opinions and what man thinks about you. When you are asleep in the mass you fear man (and you don't fear God). You can't fear God and fear man at the same time. Once you truly fear God you cease being at the level where you fear man. And once you get to where you truly fear God you have true independence of mind and autonomy and no allegiance to anything regarding man. Only to God. (Many 'think' they are independent, yet look at the groups you are a part of and that you identify with and give your allegiance to.) Genuinely only fearing God enables you to then truly pursue wisdom. Fear God, it is the beginning of wisdom. Right now, you can't pursue wisdom because you aren't allowed to engage anything, any influence, that is not approved by the men whose opinion you fear. You are in a prison of fearing man, and you don't realize it. Notice you don't even actually read the Bible independently or in a way that those who truly value it read it (dedicated complete readings). You aren't allowed to by the men you fear (they even, often, mock such a thing): and you can say anything you want to that publically, but just recognize the truth of it to yourselves, alone, in silence, with yourselves. (To be at this 3rd level of understanding what "Fear God" means you have to be of a different level...a different order... And anybody can enter it. It's not for everybody, but it's available to anybody. Man will tell you differently, but God tells you what is true. Fear God, it is the beginning of wisdom.)

+ + +

(Now some of you that have read the subheading of this blog...admit that it bothers you. You read it and scratch your chin and get a half-grin on your face. You don't like what it says. It bothers you. But the more you look at it closely you know you can't attack it. You know if you do you will be putting the fear of man above the fear of God. O, mainstream, sleeping, lukewarm Christian; living in the nursery. Drooling over your sorry self. Calling yourself a Christian. You're no Christian when you fear man more than you fear God.

Oh, now, you weren't thinking of arguing that the fear of man has a legitimate place somewhere between a follower of Christ and Christ Himself were you? No... No, you don't want to go there, mainstream Christian. You definitely don't want to go there. Not if you don't want to go up against the Word of God itself. There is but one Mediator between God and man... Yeah, going down that road is not a good life turn. Many of you will, though! to defend your fear of man. A real Christian won't, though. A real follower of Christ doesn't fear man and has no desire to promote the fear of man...)

8.25.2005

Notes...


(Pssst... Yes, I know the comment thread below is written by one hydra-headed person...)

I havn't advertised this blog, thus the readership population is not Manhattan-esque...

What I write here - and will write - is very depressing to the mainstream level of Christianity. See this extract from a post below:

By the way: one of the strengths the devil has over his prisoners is once you start to awaken you are confronted with the reality of being in the devil's prison and that is a depressing, usually always an almost overwhelmingly depressing, realization; so the natural reaction is to go back asleep to it all. Many people experience this reaction when just being presented with anything Christian (the Bible, theology, etc.). It gives them black thoughts and depression and they want to get away from it. Even most committed Christians only go so far and have to medicate with their favorite worldly pastimes, so they never really awaken to the prison they are in.

The Christian blogosphere is a remarkably shallow domain. Endless small talk to the hospice. Endless laying of the foundation over and over to the hospice. Endless vain displays of philosophy and theory to the hospice. The practical level of the faith is nigh nonexistent and quickly repudiated when it makes any kind of rare appearance...

Liberal Christians and orthodox Christians have one unfortunate thing in common: the higher influences that form the foundation of one's necessary worldly understanding in life - history, imaginative literature, philosophy, art, music, science, religion - aren't contained in television shows, movies, video games, genre novels, and comic books.

A pure practice of the faith 2


Write a post about the practice of seeing in yourself what you dislike in others and 30 comments appear of "so and so's a pig! and dishonest! and self-absorbed!" Excellent material for observing in yourself what you dislike in others! Just see it. Use it.

8.24.2005

A pure practice of the faith


The pure way to begin to see things in and about yourself that you are currently blind to (and to awaken and develop more understanding generally) is to use the world as a mirror and to specifically make an effort to see in yourself what you dislike in others.

The Christian's foundational goal: read the Word of God 7 times complete


Every Christian should have the goal to read the Word of God complete, Genesis through Revelation, 7 times.

When I say read the Bible complete 7 times the voices of the devil mock. (I.e. the mainstream realm of Christianity that fears man more than they fear God.) Why do they mock? One even said, "That's not biblical!" It's not biblical to read the Bible complete 7 times? How so? Is it biblical when Jesus says "have ye not read" at least 10 times in the Gospels? Do you mock Jesus too for saying this?

Then they say, well, it's that number. The number '7'. That's not biblical. But is it not biblical? Does not the Bible use the number seven over and over to symbolize or represent a number of completion and perfection?

If one were to set a goal for reading the Bible complete one could do worse than setting the goal at seven times, no?

Let's state it stronger for the outraged man-fearers: you can't read the Word of God complete, Genesis through Revelation (unique, complete, dedicated Genesis through Revelation readings) 7 times and be the same after you do it. You simply can't. It is an effort that can not but make you more serious in your faith. It is an effort, when done humbly and dedicatedly and diligently, that can not but move you closer to God (and read in James 4 what happens when you do that).

It is the very foundational effort of a Christian because regeneration itself is effected, when it is, by the Word and the Spirit, and regeneration is the foundation of eternal life.

You put yourself in the very environment where regenenation is effected, and you put yourself there in a serious, non-desultory, non-nebulous, non-scattered way, when you set the concrete goal to read the Word of God 7 times complete and complete that goal.

Read the Bible complete, Genesis through Revelation, 7 times (or die in the effort). All other kinds of Bible reading and study will follow naturally (and more profitably) in the wake of those complete readings. It's a sound, practical, doable, foundational goal for all Christians.

One note: part of what the devil does is impersonate Christ and have his followers impersonate the followers of Christ. Muslims read their [un]holy book in a zealous manner and make noise about even memorizing it. The devil knows this gives a bad impression to the very notion of reading a holy book - any holy book - in a zealous manner. This is the devil's goal. Don't allow the devil to achieve this. Read the Bible as zealously as any muslim reads - or affects to read - his unholy Koran. God wants you to read His Word. He wants you to conquer His word (as Jacob tried to conquer the Angel). Read God's Word so that it is written - carved - on your heart. Seven times around Jericho, and the walls fell. Conquer the Word of God.

The Westminster Standards and the modern Bible versions


Do you hold to the Westminster Standards? Not if you read the NIV or the ESV or the NASB or the NLT or the ASV or the HCSB or any of the other modern versions based on the corrupt manuscripts. If you disdain to grant to God His Kingdom, His Power, and His Glory then you don't hold to the Westminster Standards (you don't even hold to the Word of God itself).

If your Bible (so-called Bible) has excised the second part of Matthew 6:13 then you don't hold to Question 196 in the Westminster Larger Catechism or Question 107 in the Westminster Shorter Catechism.

And if your version of God's Word based on the Satan-defiled Alexandrian manuscripts (satanicus/vaticanus) chooses to 'grant' to God some scare-brackets '[ ]' to contain the proclamation of his very Kingdom, Power, and Glory well, God bless your generous little soul. So generous to God you are! (No, sorry, pilgrim, scare-brackets don't count.)

The devil's attack on the Word of God began in the Garden.

It is progressive, continuing this very day. Come out of the devil's deception. Read the pure Word of God. (Here is a Reformed man who has seen the light.)

8.23.2005

What is being brought to the table here


What is being brought to the table here is, frankly, rather major. I was going to write a post on Intrusion Ethics, but...that's not my bailiwick. (If you have your covenant theology down look up some writings of or about Meredith Kline and learn some striking new things about God and His plan and sacred history and the Word of God and...)

What's my bailiwick? The very going out and coming back in of sanctification. The effort, the rhythm, the very breathing... What you do.

Understanding Kline's insights down to the last footnote won't effect inner development and awakening in you. The foundational activity and effort of a Christian is to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself. Actually do it. At the practical level. Do it like you breathe...

Yes, when you pray (I have to use biblical language like 'prayer') you are filled with the Holy Spirit. Peter prayed and was filled with the Holy Spirit. What does the Bible say is the relationship betweeen the Spirit and the flesh? Not a placid love relationship. A relationship of great conflict and friction. Constant battle. So what happens when you get filled with the Holy Spirit via the act of prayer? You set up a battle. A battle between your carnal self and the Spirit. And when the world and the devil see this battle taking place they rush to the scene and perform their part in it. So you have a three front war, in effect, internal and external: with your carnal self, with the world, and with the devil. This, though, is what you want.

It's what you want because it is how you extend your limits (which means it is how you increase your level of being defined by your ability to glorify God).

What does this mean, practically? It means you have to pray. Pray five times a day like muslims! Then pump your fists in the air shouting "Great Satan!" this and that, and go home and beat your wives... (Though there's some dispute on this matter they're probably praying to a 7th century moon god false idol representative of the devil. Though they 'may' be praying to El Elyon, Jehovah as He makes Himself known to the nations. Probably the ones who really believe their 'holy' book the Koran are the ones praying to the moon god...) Yet...the mechanics of it are similar, either way. You pray, then you experience a backlash from your carnal self (we Christians share having carnal selves with muslims). Anger, resentment, Koranic-approved wife-beating spasms. Anti-Jew rants. If you're James White you write your 803rd blog post saying Dave Hunt is a dishonest moron (and you can even be right!).

But you want this. You want this emotional energy caused by the praying. You just don't want to use it - waste it - negatively and mechanically. You want to use it to glorify God. That requires alot of effort and development. But you can only get this development by putting yourself in the heat of the battle. Which is why you have to pray. Pray ceaselessly. Pray seriously. Pray for duration, depth, and frequency. And I'm talking about prayer as a state of presence as if in the presence of God. A heightened state. An awake state. "I am here, Lord." A no-nonsense state where you are attentive physically, emotionally, and intellectually. A difficult state to maintain. When you are in this state and you communicate with God you get filled with the Holy Spirit. There's no better way of saying it because it is as the Bible says it. It's real. And then the Spirit in you wars with your carnal self. Not always immediately. In time. But inevitably. This is the battlefield. This is when you practice 'fasting' (I have to use a biblical term). This is when you struggle to glorify God by acting from God's will as revealed in His Word rather than from self-will as demanded by your vanity and worldly pride.

There's a post below about the 7 features of the carnal self that you have to struggle with in those backlash battles.

What defines development is the degree you can pray and be filled with the Holy Spirit and the degree that you can contain that Spirit without wasting it negatively in the usual human, all to human ways. When you can contain that Spirit without having your carnal self throw it out of you you connect with - reconnect with, speaking Adamically - functions that human beings have but that were lost contact with in the Fall. What these functions are have to do with the fact of being a prophet, a priest, and a king. Basically these functions have to do with communication with God (what prayer is in even the plainest sense and level of practice); with ability to sacrifice suffering (a strange phrase I know, but as a priest this is how you glorify God in the second of Jesus' two great commandments: to love your neighbor as yourself); with ability to exercise command...inner command, inner unity, inner order.

Or, you can be lazy and drift off into the theoretical and philosophical realms of the Faith solely and never disturb your comfort with the demands of the practical level.

You know Spurgeon said Gurnall's Christian in Complete Armour was, in his estimation, the most valuable book other than the Bible. Well, what was Gurnall's subject? And note his connecting of watching with prayer (i.e. Gurnall connected state of being with prayer). In that massive book Gurnall hit on all the themes of the practical level of the faith. It's still written at a devotional level (as opposed to a very practical level), yet it's a treasure house of insight. It's the best I know for a recommendation of a book on this subect I discourse on. I mean, Gurnall's book is the closest to the subject at the practical level without getting into 'scary' non-Christian books, which I wouldn't want to disturb anyone's world with. Man-fearers have their limits...even if they are reading this post...

Zacharias' little book called The Embattled Christian is a very, very good, concise and understanding intro to Gurnall's book and the Puritan's experimental approach to the faith in general...

8.22.2005

Hebrews 6:1



Hebrews 6:1

1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,

2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

3 And this will we do, if God permit.


John Calvin's commentary on this passage:


Therefore, leaving, etc. To his reproof he joins this exhortation, -- that leaving first principles they were to proceed forward to the goal. For by the word of beginning he understands the first rudiments, taught to the ignorant when received into the Church. Now, he bids them to leave these rudiments, not that the faithful are ever to forget them, but that they are not to remain in them; and this idea appears more clear from what follows, the comparison of a foundation; for in building a house we must never leave the foundation; and yet to be always engaged in laying it, would be ridiculous. For as the foundation is laid for the sake of what is built on it, he who is occupied in laying it and proceeds not to the superstruction, wearies himself with foolish and useless labor. In short, as the builder must begin with the foundation, so must he go on with his work that the house may be built. Similar is the case as to Christianity; we have the first principles as the foundation, but the higher doctrine ought immediately to follow which is to complete the building. They then act most unreasonably who remain in the first elements, for they propose to themselves no end, as though a builder spent all his labor on the foundation, and neglected to build up the house. So then he would have our faith to be at first so founded as afterwards to rise upwards, until by daily progress it be at length completed.

8.21.2005

The goal


What is the goal a regenerate, saved Christian sets in front of him?

To assault heaven is the goal; yet to assault heaven is obviously not literally to be as Bunyan's knight (in The Pilgrim's Progress) who literally fights the guards at the gates of heaven and forces his entry (to cheering from those inside heaven, and to the embarassment of those sitting docilely outside the gates of heaven waiting to be let in in what they consider to be the 'correct' way) though that is, figuratively, what must be done. That - heaven - is the ultimate destination. The immediate, practical goal, though, is to glorify God. This is sort of the classical definition of the goal (made famous in the first question and answer in the Westminster Shorter Catechism). I prefer, though, to use another way to define the goal (similar but slightly different) which is: to attain the full recovery of the Image of God. This contains the goal to glorify God, but it also introduces scale, or an ascent that defines the effort one makes in sanctification. This latter is needed to introduce the necessary element of provoking limits and extending limits, and developing and cultivating and connecting with functions and abilities that were lost in the Garden. You can only extend your limits by first provoking your limits, and this requires effort.

The Image of God is best defined as becoming a prophet, priest, and king. A prophet is able to communicate with God. A priest sacrifices suffering and does it gratefully. A king has inner command (command of his kingly domain). Jesus is the Prophet, Priest, and King. He is the King of kings. Yet an heir of God is also a prophet, a priest, and a king. Jesus is our example and pattern and forerunner.

Note on effort and sanctification: the process of sanctification is both the Work of the Spirit in you and your own effort. Once regenerate you have the ability to make real efforts to develop in a real way. Check your Reformed systematic theologies. Sanctification is not merely something done to you while you sit around doing nothing. If that were the case Christian need never have left home (another Pilgrim's Progress reference).

Defining the goal as recovering the full Image of God is better than defining the goal as glorifying God because the former contains the latter, and the latter doesn't carry with it, necessarily, the command to increase that which God has given you. God gives you talents (silver), and He doesn't want you to bury them in the ground. He wants you to make more from what you've been given. One can glorify God from a stagnant, non-developing state (or one can easily think they are). God wants you to glorify Him and to increase and develop.

It requires effort to recover the Image of God. It requires effort to be able to be in communication with God and to sacrifice suffering with gratitude and to possess the command of a king within your inner domain, your inner being.

To do this you need to provoke your limits and then extend your limits, in all these areas. This is the battle of the Christian; to be in conflict with your carnal self, the world, and the devil.

How do you increase your talents? By prayer, and fasting, and then by struggle when you get on the battlefield (as described in the post on prayer, real prayer fills you with the Holy Spirit; the Spirit and the flesh, then, will be in conflict; this conflict also pulls the world and the devil into conflict with you as well). You struggle then to glorify God in your conflict with your carnal self, the world, and the devil. This struggle is what potentially extends your limits and increases and develops your very being (your very ability to glorify God). Getting to the battlefield is provoking your limits. Being on the battlefield and struggling to glorify God in the midst of the storm and thunder of attacks and temptations and noise and dust is how you extend your limits.

Your goal is to attain to the full recovery of the Image of God. To be a prophet, a priest, and a king.

The Word of God needs to be in you and hence with you in this struggle. To glorify God is to act from God's will rather than from self-will. You learn God's will from the Word of God. The complete readings is what puts the Word of God into you. Ultimately it needs to be written on your heart.

Seven elements of the carnal self (to observe, do battle with, and overcome)


[Note to mainstream Christians: these are not little arrows for your quivers to fire off as moralizing accusations. These seven elements are in everybody living in the flesh. The moment you use such knowledge merely to accuse others you tighten the chains the devil has on you and you cement your status as an unconscious prisoner in the devil's kingdom.]

Seven Elements of the Carnal Self (to observe, do battle with, and overcome)


  1. Fascinated (captured) by the illusion of the world, the flesh, and the devil
  2. Cultivates and indulges resentment
  3. Glorifies anger and depression
  4. Unconscious Lying
  5. Uncontrolled Tongue
  6. Blind to self
  7. Controlled by vanity, pride, self-will, and the fear (and reverence) of man


ANTITHESES OF THE ABOVE:

  • Self-watchful regarding and contained from the illusion of the world, the flesh, and the devil
  • Cultivates and manifests gratitude
  • Manifests inner command
  • Is awake to lying via awakened conscience
  • Controls tongue (makes the tongue a pure fountain)
  • Uses the world as a mirror; sees in himself what he dislikes in others
  • Knows its own smell, is repentant, acts from God's will, and fears only God

8.20.2005

Reading the Word of God 7 times complete as a central practice of the faith



God wants you to conquer His Word. The Word of God doesn't give up understanding promiscuously, but it does reward humble and bold and zealous effort - real effort - to understand it. To see the parts in relation to the whole, to indeed see the whole itself.

To conquer the Bible, to develop understanding of it, to see the parts in relation to the whole, you need to read it complete, Genesis through Revelation. Once, three times, ultimately seven times. (When you set a concrete aim your effort is a contained effort and is able to accumulate more force of understanding.)

All the other kinds of Bible reading and study will occur naturally and more profitably in the wake of the unique, dedicated, complete readings.

The Bible is higher visual language. It is Living Language. You first need to simply download it complete into you (that means just simply reading every word, verse, chapter, book). Just read it. Don't demand that it come down to your level, but just read it. Meet it at its level. It then gives you language that you use in your inner being at levels you can't even detect with your waking mind. It puts things in you that enable you to see new things in yourself, in the world, and in what is above you.

Regeneration is effected, when it is effected in you, by the Word and the Spirit. That is a rather big fact and event. (It's the foundation of eternal life.) Reading the Bible complete puts you in the environment where regeneration can potentially take place. This is how you move close to God when James says move close to God and God will move close to you. Beyond that complete readings of the Word of God is what separates the real followers of Christ from those more concerned with fearing man and conforming to the world.

The Word of God challenges your level of being. It challenges your carnal self. It tests, as well, your valuation for the pursuit and attainment of the Kingdom of God as opposed to the possession of, and easy indulging in, the comforts and distractions of this world.

Reading the Word of God complete is also the supreme example of an effort that pays off in time. It's like planting a field that will yield new wealth in a future season. This means: just read the Bible and don't expect immediate results. Just read it. Read it with aim. Read it complete. Understanding will develop in time. Make the effort, and then wait on the Lord...

Prayer as a central practice of the faith


If you're not in conflict with your carnal self; if you're not in conflict with the world; if you're not in conflict with the devil: then you're in conformity with the devil's kingdom, and you're not seen as a threat.

You are no threat. You're a tame prisoner of the devil. Living in unmolested comfort, God bless your little soul.

The element of prayer the ministers of the devil don't want Christians to know about is the state of being of the Christian in prayer. The battle stance of the Christian in prayer. The presence of the Christian in prayer. (You're in the presence of God, pilgrim, act it.) When prayer is taught by the mainstream teachers and professors it's presented as a moral ritual that your fellow man demands that you do or you won't be considered a correct-thinking and behaving Christian.

A Christian who is assaulting heaven knows prayer is more. Prayer is communication with God Himself. That puts you in the presence of God. Not the presence of the policing-eyes and opinions of your fellow man. You may also be in the presence of your fellow man, but in true prayer a Christian is oriented in his attention vertically.

This true prayer involves the presence of the Holy Spirit. Being filled with the Holy Spirit is a result of true prayer. Man will tell you that that is some dancing around like a filthy male prostitute in a temple and man will tell you this either to praise it or to condemn it, but man's goal either way is to get you to associate true prayer with the filthy, devil activity of those who conform to the devil and refuse to fear God.

A Christian is a warrior. A Christian who is not in conflict with his carnal self, the world, and the devil is not a Christian who is engaged in assaulting heaven. No, he's a Christian who is engaged in fearing man and conforming to the devil's kingdom.

When you become filled with the Holy Spirit you step onto the battlefield. Your carnal nature attacks you, the world attacks you, and the devil himself attacks you. You have become a threat. Why? Because you are doing what a Christian does who is assaulting heaven. You are rising above the crowd and becoming a target. You are putting yourself in conflict with your carnal nature, and the world, and the devil, and in the process you are developing into a true man of God as you deal with the temptations and fears and threats and attacks of the enemy. As you repulse the enemy using the armor of God.

When in God's Word an individual comes into the very presence of God he says "I am here." "Here I am." He is in the presence of God, communicating with God. This is prayer. This is attaining a separation from the carnal self (being in the spirit) and from the world and being present in will, in mind, in emotion, in the very presence of God. This is an intentional heightening of presence. It requires effort and attention. When you are in the presence of God Himself you are circumspect and attentive to a degree than you would be in any other circumstance or situation or event in life. Well, in prayer you are in the presence of God. You're talking to God? Know that you are in the presence of God.

Prayer is communication with God in a state of worship. A heightened state. An attentive state. A reverent state. A fearful state. A state that is conscious of being in the very presence of God.

This state is the element of prayer that a Christian who is assaulting heaven attains when in prayer, and seeks to make a permanent state.

The Word of God tells you to pray fervantly, often, and continuously. This is effort. This is the foundational act of assaulting heaven. Attaining this presence and engaging in prayer in the very presence of God, for increased duration and depth and frequency. This is the act of a Christian who has counted his days and who knows his goal. This prayer combined with fasting from the carnal self, from the world, and from the devil, once on the battlefield, is the process of sanctification itself. This is assaulting heaven. Engaging the Word of God - conquering the Word of God - is the other act that makes your lines of effort complete.

How do you attain this heightened state and presence in prayer? By simply knowing you are in the presence of God. If God appeared to you right now your demeanor would change, would it not? You would be more awake in the moment would you not? The lesser thoughts and daydreams that occupy your mind when in an average state would be silenced would they not? You would have a heightened feeling of your surroundings and yourself situated in your surroundings. When you read in God's Word the words "I am here" you are reading words that sum up this heightened state of prayer. You pull back and separate from the impressions and influences surrounding you and awaken and establish your presence in the moment. Then you direct your attention upward to God. This state requires effort to get into and effort to stay in. Being in it for ever increasing duration and depth and frequency is part of the effort to assault heaven. The result of this state manifests in time when you find yourself in battle with your carnal self and with the world and with the devil himself. This is the battlefield. The result of being filled with the Holy Spirit.

This heightened state of presence fills you with the Holy Spirit and hence puts you on the battlefield where you then proceed to practice all the elements of Jesus' teaching in real time, in real life situations and circumstances and moments and events.

This is where your limits will be provoked, but where you can only extend your limits (you can only extend your limits by having your limits provoked).

Your carnal self will want to engage in violence and depression and will want to feel resentment towards the world as the world provokes you and tests you, and will want to give in to the temptations of the devil. This is where you develop yourself as a man of God, in doing battle against all of this and carrying out the two great commandments of Jesus Christ: to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself. To be awake and to love your enemy. You do this by separating, internally from your carnal self, and externally from the world (which is what the process of sanctification is, in act and in goal); by fasting, if you will (see post below).

Nothing happens if you don't get on the battlefield, and you can only get on the battlefield by the act of prayer and being filled with the Holy Spirit.

All the elements of prayer involving petition and so on anybody can read about in any good systematic theology. I'll just highlight one thing: the very act of (other than what I talked about above) simple, plain, meaningful prayer, which often seems even silly to many Christians, is a powerful and meaningful act in just this one way: the simple act to humble yourself before God forces you to recognize something higher than your vain, prideful, self-willed self. And it forces you to admit dependence on God. So even if you are not eloquent in what you say to God in simple prayer, or are not yet quite sure how prayer works, just the act of humbling yourself before God in that plain and meaningful and most simple act of prayer is a powerful act.

8.19.2005

Fasting as a central practice of the faith


Since the modern Bible versions based on the corrupt Alexandrian manuscripts (such as the NIV, ESV, NASB, etc.) excise the word fasting from the Word of God it will follow that there is little knowledge or understanding of the central practice of fasting among the mainstream that so devotedly champions the defiled Bibles.

Check the King James Version against your favorite modern version to see how the word - and hence the central Biblical practice of - fasting has been deleted from Matthew 17:21, Mark 9:29, Acts 10:30, and 1Corinthians 7:5.

Prayer and fasting and engaging the Word of God are the primary practices of a Christian. On a foundation of regeneration and faith and repentance. All other Christian practices are contained in the engaging of the Word of God, prayer, and fasting (prayer and fasting correspond, for instance, in practical ways to the two great commandments of Jesus to love God and love your neighbor as yourself). Notice these are the three practices that mainstream Christians have the most difficulty with? Some have even come to mock the notion of reading the Bible. Prayer is not even understood by Christians, really to any degree; and they get little to zero help from their teachers on this subject. They just sort of maintain a quiet, confused or sceptical state on the subject and practice of prayer (and even when they do do it in it's meaningful and plain sense they don't know why it is something that is real and meaningful). Fasting isn't even on the radar of mainstream Christians. I'll write about prayer later.

Fasting...

That means...going without food for a certain amount of time?

Yes.

And that's it?

No.

Physically, fasting is a practice that involves control. Control of physical desires, period. Food, sex, laziness (and throw in out-of-control talking). You either have control over these things or they have control over you. Observing an amount of time where you take in no food; or provoking no orgasm; or practicing silence of the tongue is all the act of fasting, regarding your physical nature.

It's about inner command. Do you have control of something or does it have control of you? Fasting from physical indulgences also achieves other things. It takes you out of your mechanical habits and patterns of activity and forces you to confront yourself and reality - emotionally and intellectually - in ways that the average person would just rather avoid.

Other kinds of fasting...

Fasting from indulging in common, negative emotional behaviour such as the indulging of resentment or indignation or anger or even annoyance. (This is a difficult type of fasting.) Most Christians have never even been made acquainted with the very idea that not all emotions are of equal value. Resentment is 'just what humans feel'. In fact, the world wants you to indulge resentment. It encourages you to be resentful. It's noble to be resentful! All the actors in the movies and television programs are being resentful about something most of the time. It's human! It's weird not to be resentful...

Resentment is a word and feeling that, more than any other, collects most all of what glorifies the world, the flesh, and the devil in terms of emotional behaviour. To fast from indulging resentment is a very real, and Christian, kind of fasting. Christian because as a Christian your aim is to glorify God, not the world, the flesh, and the devil. Gratitude is the opposite of resentment, and it is gratitude that glorifies God. It is gratitude that is involved in being able to turn the other cheek, or to give your shirt as well when your coat is demanded of you. Gratitude that you are an heir of the Living God, in the Kingdom of God, a stranger in this world, and you are experiencing both what you deserve (everything that happens to us we deserve) and what your King told you you would experience if you followed Him. (Always needed disclaimor: self and national defense is very Christian too because God didn't tell you to turn your neighbor's cheek; and Christianity is not a suicide pact...)

The deeper aspect of this kind of fasting is defined in the word separation. Sanctification is separation. Inner separation from indulging self-will to acting from God's will, and external separation from the world.

I could use more practical and closely defined language to describe this, but not in this venue. I just state that to let anyone reading this know that this teaching exists and it's not contained in systematic theology but it is contained in practical theology (and Practical Theology is not, as the academics and book publishers will tell you, about how a pastor should deal with a church member who is exibiting a drinking problem, and other problems of pastoral care)...

The other kind of fasting deals with the intellect. The devil's kingdom is powerful because it is a vast palace of illusion. It's a dank, dark prison, and if it didn't cast a fascinating flood of illusions into its subjects people might catch on to it. The devil's kingdom also numbs its prisoners with various drugs (see 'physical fasting' above).

By the way: one of the strengths the devil has over his prisoners is once you start to awaken you are confronted with the reality of being in the devil's prison and that is a depressing, usually always an almost overwhelmingly depressing, realization; so the natural reaction is to go back asleep to it all. Many people experience this reaction when just being presented with anything Christian (the Bible, theology, etc.). It gives them black thoughts and depression and they want to get away from it. Even most committed Christians only go so far and have to medicate with their favorite worldly pastimes, so they never really awaken to the prison they are in.

Fasting is for warriors who can and willingly do face the dark reality of their situation; and overcome. This is part of assaulting heaven. (And assaulting self and the devil...which is why the devil wants mention of fasting out of the Word of God...)

But back to the intellectual kind of fasting... It's the most difficult to describe. Let me just give one example from the activity of reading: when you read a genre novel, let's say a thriller, it is pulling you in. You don't have to make much effort at all to read it. You are fascinated with it. It moves fast and keeps your interest in a shallow way. Now pick up Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War. Suddenly the pages aren't turning so fast. Now you have to provide the incentive to read each word and sentence and agonizing page. You have to concentrate and hold your attention to a degree that the thriller just doesn't demand. It's like intellectually going from reclining on a couch to running a mile.

When you were reading the thriller you were 'lost' in it. It 'captured' you. This is what a good movie will do too. You lose yourself in it and in the story and characters. (I mean 'good movie' in terms of the popular notion of what a good movie is.)

To fast from the world intellectually is to not allow yourself to be in a state of being captured by the impressions and influences - and illusion - of the world. It's a pulling back, and being contained, and being conscious of a sort of double attention: attention on what you are experiencing with your senses, and attention directed back at yourself and being awake to the fact of what you're experiencing with your senses. Thoughts as well.

Being the one person in the movie theatre that sees the screen. As opposed to being lost in the moving images and lights on the screen.

The above is not enough for a person to understand these practices fully, yet they are enough to get a good sense that there is more to fasting than the mainstream currently suspects, if indeed the practice of fasting has ever even been on the radar of mainstream Christians...

For biblical documention of these inner, practical level teaching of the Faith you just have to begin to practice it and to see that it is in the very heart of what Jesus Himself teaches throughout the Gospels. When Jesus tells you to be watchful, you will know at a deeper level - a practical level - what He is saying. When He tells you to love your enemy, you see that at more than a shallow, moralizing level. Even when Paul tells you in Romans to awaken out of sleep, you'll be bold enough to recognize he is not talking about head-on-pillow sleep...

Two kingdoms


The basic fact of reality: there are two kingdoms. The Kingdom of Satan, and the Kingdom of Christ. The Kingdom of Darkness and the Kingdom of Light. The Kingdom of This World and the Kingdom of God. If you're not in the one then you're in the other. There is no in-between. In-between means you are still in the Kingdom of Satan. If you are indifferent to the fact of the two kingdoms then you are in the Kingdom of Satan; a slave and prisoner to the Devil and death. If you laugh at this reality you are a slave of the Devil in his kingdom. You can't be 'not included' in any way. You are, by default, a subject of Satan and his kingdom of death from birth; and you either remain there or you enter the Kingdom of God through regeneration by the Word and the Spirit and by faith in the only Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the King of the Kingdom of God. Two Kingdoms.

This stark fact of reality of Two Kingdoms, God's and Satan's, is blunted by theologians who adopt the phrase 'two kingdoms' to apply it to that that is God's and that that is the magistrate's. See in this how doctrine is blunted by the devil working through unknowing (or sometimes conscious) human beings. Two Kingdoms refers to the stark reality of there only being the Kingdom of Satan and the Kingdom of God and the hard fact that if you're not in one you are in the other. No exception, no in-between.

8.18.2005

Something difficult to see


Here is a site with a work by Tyndale titled A Pathway to the Holy Scriptures.

This paragraph is the aspect of our situation we just have to see and that is most difficult to see...or see and accept:

"By nature, through the fall of Adam, are we the children of wrath, heirs of the vengeance of God by birth, yes, and from our conception. And we have our fellowship with the damned devils, under the power of darkness and rule of Satan, while we are yet in our mother's wombs; and though we show not forth the fruits of sin as soon as we are born, yet are we full of the natural poison, whereof all sinful deeds spring, and cannot but sin outwards, (be we never so young,) as soon as we be able to work, if occasion be given: for our nature is to do sin, as is the nature of a serpent to sting. And as a serpent, yet young, or yet unbrought forth, is full of poison, and cannot afterward (when the time is come, and occasion given) but bring forth the fruits thereof; and as an adder, a toad, or a snake, is hated of man, not for the evil that it hath done, but for the poison that is in it, and hurt which it cannot but do: so are we hated of God, for that natural poison, which is conceived and born with us, before we do any outward evil. And as the evil, which venomous worm doth, maketh it not a serpent; but because it is a venomous worm, doth it evil and poisoneth: and as the fruit maketh not the tree evil; but because it is an evil tree, therefore bringeth it forth evil fruit, when the season of the fruit is: even so do not our evil deeds make us first evil, though ignorance and blindness, through evil working, hardeneth us in evil, and maketh us worse and worse; but because that of nature we are evil, therefore we both think and do evil, and are under vengeance under the law, convict to eternal damnation by the law, and are contrary to the will of God in all our will, and in all things consent to the will of the fiend."

Human beings tend to think of themselves as some kind of special prize that God must convince and lure to His camp, but that is not our situation... The Bible doesn't exist to convince but to convict (and after convicting to give the good news of the Way)...

There is an especially good passage in the above paragraph: "...and as an adder, a toad, or a snake, is hated of man, not for the evil that it hath done, but for the poison that is in it, and hurt which it cannot but do: so are we hated of God, for that natural poison, which is conceived and born with us, before we do any outward evil."

Even if we think that because we don't do any (we think) outward evil it is still in us and God is holy and we can't be in His presence with that poison of sin in us. We are to God like what a poisonous snake or a slimy frog is to us.

The message in the quoted paragraph above would be an example of 'the law' that convicts. There is another part of the Bible called 'the Gospel'. The Gospel gives the good news of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ. He washes our poisonous nature away (by His sacrifice) and makes us able to approach God. Literally makes us holy. Without that sacrifice (without that High Priest and Mediator) we can't approach God; and more than that we are condemned by God. Yet the way out of the prison of death and the devil is there. Seeing ourselves as being not holy is the difficult part, because vanity and worldly pride and self-will don't buy it or else they refuse to admit it or else they fight the reality of it tooth and nail...(or using another tactic, they get you to affect seeing it in yourself when it is still not yet a real conviction in you)...

The devil hates the Word of God, like he hates innocence


Why does the NIV (and other versions of the Bible based on the corrupt Alexandrian manuscripts) just excise verse 21 from Matthew chapter 17? Because it references directly central practices taught in the Word of God, namely: prayer and fasting. This is the most important thing for the devil to excise from the Word of God because it is practical efforts based on a foundation of regeneration that separates the serious Christians from the Christians who are merely 'playing church' or just screwing around.

The word 'fasting' is also excised in Mark 9:29 by the versions based on the same corrupt Alexandrian manuscripts.

Just as the two great commandments of Jesus have deep and practical application prayer and fasting are the same. In fact, they correspond in foundational ways to the two great commandments to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself.

Just as the Bible presents the act of prayer as having large and diverse meaning in practice the same is true for fasting. Fasting is a primary act with which physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually a Christian is separated from the world, the flesh, and the devil. The devil wants you neither knowing about nor practicing either. What better way to effect that goal than to just erase the words from the Word of God altogether, justifying the act by the sudden 'finding' of 'better manuscripts' in the era of the birth of the atheist 'higher critics'?

Here's another correspondence to think about: Protestants who have it shown to them how the devil has defiled and raped the precious Word of God and who just take it are similar to Roman Catholics who know their priests molest and rape their children...and just take it.

[For a list of doctrine changed by Bible versions based on the corrupt manuscripts - Bible versions such as the NIV, ESV, NASB, NLT, ASV - see here.]

8.17.2005

Faith as recognition (and acceptance) of chain-of-command


From A. A. Hodge's Outlines of Theology

Pg. 431:

8. What are the conditions of admission into Christ's kingdom?

Simply practical recognition of the authority of the sovereign.

(For biblical illustrations of faith as recognition and acceptance of hierarchical chain-of-command - with God as Commander-in-Chief - see the Poor Woman of Canaan [Matthew 15:22-28], and see the Centurion [Matthew 8:5-13].)

Vanity, worldly pride, and self-will refuse to recognize anything higher than them.

How to freak out a...


How to freak out the seminary/mainstream level of Christians:

Depart from the philosophical and the theoretical realms of the faith and talk about the practical level of the faith. They get convicted and challenged, and their usual response is to denounce you as a [insert current popular anathema label] then run off to a quick back-slapping festival with 'their own kind'. (CenturiOn, Pendantic Protestant, and Steve Hays, maybe you can slather some sunscreen on each other while you're at it...)

ps- All three of the Christian bloggers mentioned above would be in that category of people I've vowed not to attack, they being 98.7, at least, percent on-the-mark. Hays is a theonomist of sorts, but perhaps not a fire-breathing fool of one. PP thinks meth-amphetamine should be legalized, though I suspect he could probably be convinced otherwise with a little dose of real-world slap-up-side-the-headism. CenturiOn is one of those scary milk-bread mainstream Reformed types who you have to walk on egg shells around or he freaks out thinking Jane Fonda just tapped at his window (actually that would be scary at this point). But all three can carry on a vigorous and on-the-mark defense of the faith in the face of the usual suspects...that I've seen...

A practical, concrete example of acting from God's will


Here is a practical, concrete example of what it is to act from God's will rather than from self-will:

Feeling gratitude in place of resentment.

Gratitude especially in the face of undeserved negativity glorifies God. Resentment never glorifies God. Resentment glorifies the flesh and the world and the devil. (Seeing in yourself what you dislike in others is a big way in how you start to really see yourself and to awaken. So, in other words, you're never innocent, even when you seem the most innocent. The world acts as a mirror, use it. Everything that happens to you is your fault. Everything. Meet it all with gratitude.)

Our self-will demands to feel resentment and indignation at everything. (The juvenile use of the words 'social justice' or 'respect' and similar words and slogans justifies this demand of self-will.) To be able to replace resentment with a feeling of genuine gratitude in a difficult moment or event, or when remembering something we perceive as unpleasant, is a difficult thing to do, but it is more difficult to act from God's will rather than from self-will. How is it God's will to feel gratitude in place of resentment? See the Words of Jesus throughout the Gospels. The key is to understand why you should love your enemy (or perceived enemy). There is self-interest in it. If you make it a moralizing legality you might as well just act as the world acts. You're looking for inner command and awakening. You're looking to develop. You're looking to assault heaven and you don't get there by being tied as if by chains to the level of the world as when you indulge the emotions and reactions of the world such as resentment. You're not looking to accuse yourself or anybody else (that's what the devil and the world do).

It's a form of fasting to not indulge resentment towards another human being. You set your boundaries and contain yourself. You close up the breaches where you had formerly been being promiscuous with the world. You begin to develop yourself into a contained microcosmos, achieving by degree the full image of God. (And if 'microcosmos' is a scary word - new age! - just know Calvin uses it, and Thomas Watson even uses it in his Body of Divinity.)

There's a practical level teaching of the faith that can only be made contact with via serious, dedicated, efforts to read the Word of God complete.

All the above requires new thinking (one aspect of repentance).

A foundational, practical aim and activity of the Faith


Here is the most foundational, practical aim you can accomplish in the Faith; it's the most foundational because it's the necessary foundation:

Read the Bible complete, Genesis through Revelation, every jot and tittle, every genealogy, pronouncing every hard to pronounce name, every book, every chapter, every verse. Every 1,189 chapters, one after another, one foot after another until you trek across the great, diverse continent that is the complete Word of God the Old and New Testaments.

Do this once. That is the only practical aim if you've never done it. Do it twice if you've already done it once. Ultimately, three times is the first level of getting serious with the foundational aim of reading the Word of God. Three unique, dedicated, complete, Genesis through Revelation readings. Seven times is the complete mark. But doing it once is the biggest step in this aim.

Other kinds of Bible reading and study will take place in and around and in the wake of the foundational effort to read the Bible complete in unique, dedicated efforts.

You can't be desultory and scattered in your reading of the Bible and get what it potentially gives. You have to be serious with it. You have to download it complete into you to get the complete Living Language into your inner being... Regeneration is effected by the Word and the Spirit, and beyond that rather big fact and event the Bible is a living language once inside you that effects you in ways you can't know prior to making the serious, real effort to engage it complete.

[Read the KJV, or, second best, the NKJV.]

Getting serious with the faith


A commentor said...
Witch.. heretic.. blah blah blah. Damn you, etc.

August 16, 2005 5:26 PM


(This commentor is impersonating me.) Mr. Commentor, people start dying all around me and it DOES focus my mind...but it doesn't focus my mind towards bad doctrine. It focuses my mind towards practical doing of the faith. Practical meditating upon God and the promises of God. Practical awakening in the Old Testament formula "I am here"/"Here I am" way. Practical fasting which is not just controlling promiscuity of physical desires but also promiscuity of emotional and intellectual behaviour. Basically, becoming more contained and filling myself up with the Word of God and the Spirit of God. The two great commandments done at the practical level. Daily. Visualizing glorification and heaven and living as if death were a moment away.

If you're not developing in (to use Augustine's terminology) memory (i.e. consciousness, awakening), will (i.e. real will, or, God's will as opposed to self-will), and understanding (which derives from both engaging and acting from the Word of God) then sanctification in you is stagnant if not non-existent.

People know no better than to turn the above kind of statements into moralizing and accusing of others; or self-flagellating nonsense. Read the Bible in a real, dedicated way (complete readings) and you'll become serious in the faith. You'll be led by the Spirit to come into understanding of the practical level. It requires effort. Not always (but also not never) effort that comes from yourself (in the way we usually think of effort), but the more subtle effort that is acting from what is above us...from God's will rather than from self-will...

8.16.2005

First post


This blog will never be one you will link to on your own blog. That's because I don't fear man. I fear only God. And I speak with the discernment of the Spirit of Truth, and speak not in a lukewarm manner.

Use this blog to get a dose of the elect of God. To get oriented, or reoriented, on the King's Highway...and the practical level.

And read your Bible complete, Genesis through Revelation. It is an act that makes you a serious Christian. You can't know how it effects you and develops you and awakens you, until you just do it. Even then the development - vertical development - is subtle, and you get acclimated to your new level as well, yet just know the effort has effect. Unique, dedicated, complete readings that require effort and time. A long arc of time riding over each of your average days. Complete the arc. It's a bridge that takes you to a destination you can't know about until you arrive there.

The Bible is Living Language. Among the other things it does is once you read it, just simply read it complete, download it complete into you, humbly, not demanding it conform to your level but meeting it at its level, it puts inside you what you need to have to be able to see new things in yourself and in the world around you and in the world above you. It is higher visual language and also communicates via the very underlying structure of the books - and overall Book - itself.

Regeneration is everything because it's the foundation of eternal life. No conversion, no faith, no nothing without regeneration, and regeneration is effected, when it is effected, by the Word and the Spirit. Put yourself in the environment where the Spirit works. Move close to God and God will move close to you (James chapter 4).