Sword of the Spirit

20180729_104851 It is a different path I teach, and like Jesus challenging the rich young ruler to give away his wealth, and inviting people to drink his blood, my words are not always easy to hear, or agree with. I’m realizing this more and more, and today is no exception. 

Per last article, where we made a trip to Georgia, performed a baptism, and bought grandson a Samurai sword. I have decided the “Sword of the Spirit” should be the next piece of our Armor of Light we examine. This armor is Christ Himself, whom we walk in.

I find it interesting the order of progression God has led us in our study of the spiritual armor. We began with the “Belt of Truth”, and considered it may be the most important piece because how can anything “not true” even begin to work? Truth is so vital to everything! That which is not true is not even real! But what is true?

From there we were led to the “Helmet of Salvation”, because the helmet covers our head, containing our brain, where we decide what is true and what we believe. We talked about the Matrix of our mind, our brain frame, and if we are living in REALITY, or not? And to this I might add, the “INVISIBLE” is more real than the “VISIBLE”. So says God. This is why God’s Word, our Sword, tells us to look at the INVISIBLE, not the VISIBLE. (II Cor. 4:18) But can we really live that way? Walking in the invisible?

Interesting, huh. This progression we have made. And why might God have us jump to the Sword next?

BECAUSE YOU CANNOT FAKE THE SWORD!

Anyone can put on armor, even hold a sword in their hand, and look like a warrior. However, let the enemy show up, let a real fight show up, and a warrior can no longer be FAKED! The Sword determines our REALNESS, or not! In a world loving virtual reality, the warrior still cannot be faked.

And let me ask this, What is a student who does not shine brighter, even unto the end?

You see, the Sword also demands a “student”. A person teachable. Learning the way of our Kingdom, our fighting style, spiritual warfare is a skill, and requires both a teacher and a student. Are we teachable? Are we creating disciples after Christ? Or are we living in a bunch of smoke and mirrors, a fake matrix of pretend, while seeking earthly things? Are we creating materialistic disciples in the name of Jesus?

“Endure suffering, along with me, as a good soldier (warrior) of Christ Jesus. Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer (Jesus) who enlisted them.” (II Tim. 2:3-4)

Are we tied up in civilian things? Endure hardness? Are we a civilian or warrior? We will not fake it for long. Our daily actions will always give us away. Our prayer life. Our priorities. Our daily study. Our actual skill level. The belt we wear, somewhere between white and black, or still just white? Do we have a blue-light special Jesus? A cheap sword from China? Or are we REAL? Are we TRUE? Have we been the STUDENT? Have we been tempered in fire? Are we TEACHABLE? Have we proven we really want to KNOW and GROW? Do we live as a Priest/ Servant of Christ? What is our discipleship?

They say never take a gun, or knife, unless you’re willing to use it. Do you claim to be a disciple of that Word? Do you find these questions uncomfortable, or hard to answer? What do you really want? Are we materialistic disciples when Jesus challenged the young rich man to give away his wealth? Will the real Jesus please stand up.

I’m not preaching to live in poverty. The Lord’s prayer asks God to give us our “daily” bread. We should have enough. But how much is enough? When is enough enough?

I’m learning more and more every day that part of my mission from God is to preach REALITY in a virtual loving world. This does not gain me friends. I’m well aware of this. I may be considered negative on “money”, but I’m very positive on “simplicity”! My Teepee is to be a place of REALITY. At my Teepee we learn to depend on money less, and God more. Yes, Jesus really did teach such things. Will the real Jesus please stand up.

For example, the other day, and Churches do this all the time, but the other day a church youth group was taken on a great adventure in another state. They went camping, white water rafting, a swimming pool with some inflated pyramid to climb, and were taught biblical spiritual lessons while camping and hiking in the woods. Now I suppose this sounds like a very good thing, and I know how negative this makes me sound, as if simply trying to find fault, or be a party pooper, but does that church realize they are also teaching their youth to love money, because if you have money you can have great adventures? Have a lot of fun? Turn mother nature into a great big play ground? Is that the reality of nature? Or even God? Will the real Jesus please stand up.

Is this the only way to have fun in nature, by spending a lot of money? How many parents had to strain their budget so their child could go, and they were too embarrassed to ask for charity, so they added a little more to the credit card? Am I not supposed to ask such questions?

I did camping trips with youth, and we had a great time, but it was actually very affordable. Almost nothing! We had a lot of poor kids, and not enough rich people to possibly pay for kids to have an expensive outing. And it wasn’t necessary anyway! So the poor kids are left out? No… I’m sure someone came up with the money, (I hope), but here again, it’s back to the money.

That is not what my grandson is learning at the Teepee when he is splitting wood. And we have a good time! A great workout! We don’t even have a wood splitter. I may get one someday, just for when I get behind on the wood, but I want to use axe, sledge, and wedge for as long as I can! It helps keep me strong! So I can endure hardness! Does anyone else see what I’m saying, or am I alone in such a brain frame? Are we all looking for our “Participation Trophy”? Or is God calling us to be true spiritual athletes?

I’m sorry to say this same church, when I was jobless after back surgery, kept taking me out for breakfast after the early morning prayer meeting. Pastor liked to eat out, and not cheap places. So they picked up my ticket, and the pastor’s, often, because if you were to continue the fellowship you just about had to go, or go home. (Which I did sometimes.) But their generosity sounds very Christian, right? Only problem was I did not want to eat out. I always had food. We had plenty of food at home. What I really needed was our main vehicle fixed. It was dead of winter, extreme cold, and my wife was freezing as she drove to work. They knew this, but they kept buying me a breakfast I didn’t need!

I felt God was giving them an opportunity, and if they failed, he would eventually provide another way. Our tax returns finally came in, and I did my own work as I would have done anyway, but it got fixed, I found work, and life went on. But while buying me breakfast, they were missing the real need. How many times I wished I just had the money they spent on my breakfast! Maybe this sounds crazy to you, but when you’re poor, or even just temporarily in a hard spot, you have a different perception. Jesus ALWAYS saw the poor from their perspective.

My simple life style has kept me strong enough to climb one of those “climbing walls”. This last week, my son took us on post to a gym where there was a “military” climbing wall. We had a good time! And this was no sissy wall! This was the military. There was no participation trophy. You could either climb the wall or not. No faking it! Your body either reached the top, or not, and mine did! At age 62! Am I bragging? I don’t know how to praise the benefits of simplicity without telling this story. But a lot of people cannot climb that wall at 62. Maybe that don’t mean much, or maybe it does, but God is good and his pleasures can be found without much money. Are we training materialistic disciples, or those who seek first the Kingdom of God? Can we think outside the money box?

The first thing God spoke to me as I began considering our Sword is that a Sword is meant to be used by a Warrior! And spiritual warriors must live in the REALITY of God’s battlefield, where a love for money is a real danger! They know they must train if they are going to survive. And on a spiritual battlefield you must be strong, strong in the Lord! So what makes us stronger, and what makes us weaker? The Apostle Paul spoke to Timothy about not being “tied up” or entangled in civilian affairs. Think like a Warrior! Again, we link our Sword to our Helmet and Belt. Be ye transformed (into a warrior of Christ), by the renewing of your mind! But a student >“studies”!

Ouch! I heard yelps clear over here. Reality check! Bursting the matrix bubble! I don’t care if you go to a modern church or not, the real question is, are we living as Jesus “DID”? If that modern church is working for you in that way, then keep it up!

What good is a student who does not shine brighter every day, even unto the end? How do we live an ancient way in our modern day? These are all challenges to a warrior, and also a challenge to any false reality. While we look not at that which is seen, but that which is not seen. Your brain will not automatically think in these ways. It must go through training, be born-again. Perhaps that youth outing was great discipleship in Christ, or perhaps it was teaching to love fun and money, but this was the same church that was blasting Micheal Jackson’s “Thriller” in their parking lot for a neighborhood outreach. Whaaat? I know this makes this church sound awful, but by today’s standards, it’s actually one of the better churches! But I’m sorry, I just can’t stay silent about our modern church ways.

My matrix thinks a different way. Those who love money always seem to think in terms of money. It is hard for them to see outside that box. Nature has many lessons to offer, including survival. It also teaches simplicity, how to be content, how to thrive on less. Some people go into nature and die. Some manage to survive. But a few actually thrive! Because they have been a student, and they have proven themself teachable.

If you’re in a real contest with nature, money will mean nothing. You got what you can carry on your back. Beyond that, might as well leave the rest of your money at home. Mother nature does not care. But to be a part of this church outing, someone had to lay down cold hard cash. For these youth to experience that again, they will need more money. What is God’s church about? Will these kids be able to think outside the money box? Who in the church was struggling to pay their rent that week, while the youth went white water rafting?

Again, reality check. Is it our goal to disciple worldly Christians? Most churches would say “NO”. But what do their actions show? What does blasting “Thriller” on loud speakers say? I’m sorry if this sounds like a negative message, but you don’t play with Swords. They are sharp and will cut you. Warriors know this. I wish I could make truth more pleasant, but it’s only pleasant for those really seeking truth. And it’s only unpleasant for those who don’t want to know the truth. They want to stay in a false matrix, a lie. Is this true or not? Have I said anything that is not true according to the teachings of Christ? (Your Bible. Your Sword.)

Here’s another reality check: The Sword of the Spirit is a whole book on absolute truth, in which a true warrior can take such knowledge, train himself, apply it, and “thrive” on the battlefield. But thriving is not how big a pile of money you may have. Not on God’s battlefield. It’s more about the demons who lie defeated at your feet. That’s what a Sword is for. It’s about dispatching the enemy. We are not just the blessed, we are the bloody and blessed, covered in the blood of the Lamb. But will we study? Will we learn and change? Are we teachable?

I know this is warrior talk, and I have probably scared many away. Jesus did the same in his day, when he spoke of his blood. He scared many away with things he said. But we are talking about the Sword. Should I sugar coat a Sword? Will the real Jesus please stand up.

I have a saying of being Samurai for Christ. It’s an analogy, like Paul used the Roman Olympic games as an analogy. He spoke of an athlete training to win! The true Samurai lived for his Lord (Shogun), and by his sword. He lived and died by his sword. So do Christians. Jesus said those who live by the sword shall die by the sword. Was he saying not to have a sword? Or be wise in the Sword you choose to live and die by? (As the example he himself set, and many of our early church brothers and sisters.)

The knowledge contained in our Bible is about learning to thrive in the world we cannot see, a world that does not function according to flesh and blood, a world God says is more true than this physical mortality. We cannot afford to think like the world, because it simply will not work where we are going, nor where we already are. The ways of this world only lead to a wasted life in the Kingdom of God. This is truth. This is God’s reality. Be careful when your ways actually make sense to the world.

This is only the beginning of our look at the Sword, and our continued examination of REALITY. It seems God’s Armor has a whole lot to say about our perceived reality. But if we want to be free…seek truth. God’s Armor of Light is all about living FREE…unchained…untied…in the liberty of Spirit…as the eagle, not the sparrow.

This has been a long one, but there is much here to consider. Are we doing what Jesus did? Somehow, it just doesn’t look the same to me. Perhaps I’m chicken little crying that the sky is falling? Or perhaps not? As I warned at the beginning, my words are not always easy to hear, or agree with; but do they agree with what Jesus did? If so…?

warfare

 

Ezekiel 8 Matrix continued.

20171202_173614 I don’t usually put out two messages on a Sunday, but I’m feeling such an urgency in all this, so here we go…

“Matrix”: an environment or material in which something develops; a surrounding medium or structure, such as a womb. A “mold” in which something is cast or shaped.

Have you considered your Matrix? We all have one. How good would you say yours has been? And once you grew old enough to question the Matrix you were born into, that Matrix you were given no choice about, how well have you done in seeking TRUTH? Have you questioned your reality for yourself and sought to find what actually is? What sources have you put faith in? What teachers, what experts, and what inner voices?

Today’s message is difficult for me because I don’t want to sound like the crackpots I use to think others were. (LOL). So here’s the deal, I’m not a fanatic just trying to kick and scream about Easter and Christmas. It’s the way those two pagan holidays have affected other things in the Church that has me so alarmed, especially the Lord’s Table, the Lord’s Supper, and how far we have drifted from what the early Church fathers said was TRUTH, and even what the Apostle Paul described in I Corinthians 11.

Both Christmas and Easter are directly connected to the fork in the road the Church took around the time of Constantine. We Protestants rebelled against the Church which developed out of that, and we came out! But did we actually go back to that good thing the Church was prior to that fork in the road? Evidently, we did not.

Adam was told to “take care” of a garden that seemed to need no care. It was a perfect garden. No curses yet existed. But there was also a sacred atmosphere in that garden. In other words, there was a certain “Table Setting” for God. But that Table Setting began to change. How long had the Table been set for Satan to show up before he actually did? Have we changed the Table setting for the Passover, and the Lord’s Supper? Is Satan setting at that table smiling, because it is now suitable to him?

It appears Adam began loving Eve more than God. He listened to Eve that day more than God. He gave Eve’s wishes a higher priority than God’s. How long had Adam been in this spiritual condition, causing a change in the atmosphere, a change in the Table Setting more conducive to Satan, than God?

This is what Adam failed to maintain, and God has put man in charge of maintaining his Church. Hhmmm, I wonder how our Table Setting looks to God? I wonder how well our current shepherds are doing? In Ezekiel 8, once again, God is very upset at his people about the Table Setting! I fear it is happening again! Will we treat it as a small thing? It did not end up a small thing for Adam, nor for those Jews still in Jerusalem! It is not a small thing today either! It is not a small thing to God!

So today I simply want to set before you some history concerning the roots of both Christmas and Easter so you have that knowledge. It really is quite interesting. But please understand the spiritual threat hanging over the Church goes much deeper than two holidays that man has managed to turn into silliness. When it comes to Santa, we always told our children that Santa was a “game” adults like to play during Christmas, it’s just a “game”, but we also want you to know the TRUTH. So we ALWAYS have family devotions around God’s word on that day.

As far as the Easter Bunny? Well, I prefer hunting eggs at home and not mixing it with the Church. That would be my leadership, anyway, but I’m really more concerned about what Jesus taught Paul concerning his Lord’s Supper, than those silly eggs! However, when you see the details of how antichrist these holidays really are, it will convince you were treading on thin ice if we do not handle them with great care! Satan is the master of seduction, a matrix slowly shaping you into something, like an evil womb that feels warm and cozy when all the while you’re being misshapen!

So here is some history and you be the judge. Only question is, where to start?

We need to remember the early Church was still under the Roman Empire. They also still had very strong memories of Babylon. The Church has always been in a spiritual warfare with “evil empires”. John’s vision of the Book of Revelation reveals that these two empires are still very present and play a big part in what is to come upon the earth, and the Church, in the last days. So what are you saying here, Grandpa White Feather? I’m saying these worldly forms of antichrist, both Babylon and Rome, are like our major enemies! Don’t play with them! They want to rule you! Kill you! Chop your head off! And both Christmas and Easter are nothing more than “compromises” the Constantine Church made with those empires! And God takes compromising very seriously, as should we!

I guess I’ll start with Christmas. Remember, there are more details of all this in past articles, but when Constantine made it more popular to be a Christian, than not to be, and the Church was filling up with worldly fake Christians, the Church at that time was having a hard time explaining why so many of their people were still joining the Roman pagan holiday celebrations known as Winter Solstice. This was a Roman heathen holiday well established for many years, and the church was participating!

Not only was this holiday the day of longest darkness and shortest light in our calendar year, but it started with a celebration called Saturnalia, or Saturn, a major god of Rome, and 6th planet from the sun. Any faithful witch still celebrates these holidays today, but of course, with different meaning than we do, but they had it first! And Jesus was probably not even born in December! But rather than stand our ground and disciple God’s people to be different, the Church joined them! But we put our own spin on it! Right? I’m sure that pleases God, especially when you read Ezekiel 8 and hear how angry God is at Jerusalem for Sun worship? Have we gone mad?

All year long the Romans looked forward to Saturn’s Festival, called Saturnalia. As a matter of fact, eight pillars of Saturn’s temple still stands today! It was originally celebrated on December 17th but later was expanded to seven days! It was a festival celebrating prosperity and wealth, as the sun god grew stronger each day. Saturnalia led into the pagan festival of Winter Solstice, aprox. December 21. Winter Solstice was worship of the Sun god! This marked increasing lengths of days! The unconquered sun god! Chief god of Roman Empire!

Under Roman Emperor Aurelian, his holiday is traditionally celebrated on December 25th as are several gods associated with Winter Solstice in many pagan traditions. This is the Roman Cult of “SOL”. Sol Invictus > The Unconquered Sun!

The Romans named Saturday after their beloved god, Saturn, (Saturn-day), some time before 2nd century CE, so the Church was well aware of these things! Both Babylon and Rome were involved in the naming of our days, so yes, OBVIOUSLY… SUN-day is SUN-day, and not SON-day! All symbolic of Roman god worship, not the great I AM! The Winter Solstice celebrates the “rebirth” of sun gods,  as in resurrection. It was known as the great “reversal” and carried a practice of the “King of Misrule”! In which roles were supposedly switched! And with Jesus resurrecting on a Sunday, the church should know to be extra cautious of anything to do with sun worship! But rather than set ourself apart, we joined the birth of Christ to it? Whaaat? And what of the Lord’s Supper and the Passover?

In the midst of Jesus instructing us to do this in remembrance of my “death”, a shadowy shift has taken place, a slight of hand, in which we put more emphasis on his “resurrection”, on the empty tomb, than his death and cross! And we put more emphasis on our own “overcoming” king theology, than our own cross and death to flesh! It is the king of misrule! The king has no clothes, but nobody is pointing it out! Christmas is a complete compromise of the Constantine Church embracing worldly ways and entering the festival of Saturnalia and the Sun gods! Now read Ezekiel 8 again and see if your “spidey senses” are tingling? The first Roman “Christian leaders” replaced Saturnalia with Christmas and carried over some practices, such as the King of Misrule. Once again, fact is stranger than fiction!

Odd coincidence is, the Church doesn’t have one holiday I can think of, directly related to Christ, that has not been affected by these pagan sun worship festivals. Most Churches do some kind of a “New Years” thing, but that really has nothing to do with Christ. Did Jesus want us making a holiday out of his birth? I don’t see it. The early Church did not! I see no scripture for it.

I DO SEE Paul, John, Polycarp, and others instructing us to maintain the Passover meal in the Christian way, the Lord’s Supper, his death, his cross. Now that relates to Easter, which we go against God’s word and no longer do an actual Passover meal, we do not teach the 7 Days of Unleavened Bread, but we do invite the Easter Bunny to hide eggs for our children to hunt. We have short-formed the Lord’s Supper, and this is a reflection of our modern church condition! This is where “Tammuz” (Ezek. 8: 14) comes in. Here it is in short form.

Babylonian worship of Tammuz, beloved of Ishtar (Easter) – the god of spring vegetation, coming to life, resurrection. Vegetation burned in the summer, died in the winter, and came back alive in the spring. The women mourned over the god’s demise in July and longed for her revival in the spring. This festival had the vilest of immoralities. Women tore out their hair and prostituted themselves. But once again we see a pagan holiday having emphasis on resurrection!

Does God copy the world? From what I can see, the early Church fathers did not believe your resurrection was a “done deal” until you resurrected! Until then, the path, and the emphasis is on what we do have, a CROSS, a death! And that CROSS is the path to that resurrection. Put the emphasis on celebrating your resurrection and you create a false security in which people lose the proper fear of God and also end up being seduced out of their resurrection! These are not small things! We have allowed them to have far reaching tentacles!

The Passover Lord’s Supper should happen 3 days prior to his resurrection. The Passover meal is not a quick trip to McDonalds! That meal begins 7 Days of Unleavened Bread, a message to get the sin out of our life. But what do we do? We cram the Lord’s Supper, which is no longer a supper, but we cram it into Sunday, and we celebrate his great resurrection when we should be in a mindset of 7 Days Unleavened Bread, get the sin out of our life! Shish, boom, bah! Good job everybody! Now let the kids hunt eggs!

As a side note, Wiccans (witchcraft) celebrate these same holidays, they have eight holidays (Sabats), which celebrate the journey of the earth around the “sun”. There you go. Seems the Church has some common ground with the Wiccans after all. Who knew?

In the next article I’ll give you a quote from Justin Martyr, early Church historian and theologian, in which he speaks of Christ in the grave on Saturday and rising on Sunday. You will be amazed at the stupidity of his statement from what is otherwise a very intelligent man! It will blow your mind!

If the Lord’s Supper is a master key, a pattern for church, a template; then we have drifted very far from that way. We have changed it, short-formed it, played with the Table Setting, mixed it with sun worship, and invited the devil! In short, by changing the master pattern we have set a pattern for everything we do! This is why it is no small thing. It’s more than just a couple holidays, and a couple days out of the year. It has become a reflection of everything the modern church has become. It is the table we set before our Lord.

Until then, this is Grandpa White Feather signing off and saying, “Seek out the old ways, wherein is the good path, a white path, walking in white with Christ. And seek fellowship with those who desire the white path of TRUTH, that which is actual reality. Examine the Matrix that has shaped you, and have the courage to call a spade a spade; and a heart a heart. Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, not man; and all these other things shall be added unto you. Amen. 

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“Doing Church”

20180626_141809 How many ways are there to “do church”? 

How did Jesus “do church”? How did the Apostles and early church fathers do it? Ever think about it? Ever study it? I have. And it’s a big part of what put me to this journey. It’s also a lot of what this blog site is about. Is being “in church” as important as “doing church”? What did Jesus do?

This last week I would consider myself to have been “doing church” a lot! There was the 12 hours on Saturday, when our little Fellowship made a trip to a Garden Shop 2 hours away and ended up praying for a lady whose 91 year old dad was passing away in hospital, and we also did some teaching of Jesus being a shift from Temples to Tables. I spent that whole day with Jason and we did many things, including his Flower Box. (Now finished and delivered.)

20180623_163524Then on Tuesday, my oldest grandson surprised us. I don’t get a lot of time with him, but when I do, Grandpa White Feather is ready to go to Teepee and do some “School in the Wilderness”! This is my opportunity to get grandson away from video games and into some nature and Bible! This is what all my grandkids know they can expect from their Grandpa White Feather.

We had a great day at the Teepee and I taught him how to split wood with an axe, wedges, and 12 pound sledge hammer. He loved it! I taught him how to work an axe a couple years ago, but he never split wood before. He’s fourteen now and able to do some real damage to a log. (LOL.) Of course I had to instruct him about the dangers of chopping wood and how to do it without chopping your leg. So far he has done well.

Teepee time also allowed us to roast hotdogs on the fire and talk Bible. (Doing church/ Disciplship). I showed him in the book of Ephesians where Paul writes about our spiritual armor. I read him the blog article previous to this one. We talked about how obsessed he is with the charge on his cell phone, but what about his spiritual armor? I spoke to him about taking time away from all the distractions and to get quiet before the Lord, to hear His voice. I asked him what he heard around us. He heard the crackling fire, rain hitting on the Teepee, but he failed to mention the wind blowing through the green cornstalks. I pointed that out to him. As a city kid, he’s not use to hearing the wind. ( I have given him the name, FireKeeper, as he helps me maintain the fire, even in chopping wood now.)

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So here’s the deal. No, I was not in what would be considered a normal church service this last Sunday morning. Actually, I was writing our previous article about the spiritual armor. This too is church. I spend a lot of time “doing church” and not so much time in a church building, I am the church.

When I left the modern church building with all its agendas, I knew God’s word said I must still have “fellowship” in the body of Christ. So how do you do that? This was one of my first challenges to find a Biblical answer for. I had to find someone with a shepherd calling on their life who was doing something closer to the original church. I soon discovered this was not easy to do, but since I have always had a Pastor’s/ Teacher’s gifting, proven by many years of serving other Pastors and teaching God’s word, (I’m 62), I soon began realizing God was calling me to start such a fellowship, and we have.

In the early church, Pastors/Bishops were chosen by the other people who knew the godly life of the person they were choosing. These men were already proven in various ways. It wasn’t about a certificate from a Bible college hanging on the wall, but what did their works and words reveal about them, and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Either other people recognize the call on a person’s life, or they don’t. Since I’m old now, (sort of), I had many years of people knowing me and what I’m about. So we stepped out into God’s leading and “so far” he seems to have confirmed our path. I have no problem laying it down if God tells me to.

So we don’t have a certain “church building”. We use our house, Jason’s apartment, a food court in a mall, the Teepee, driving down the road in a car, almost anything can suddenly become “church”. We ask 2 questions a lot: When did Jesus have church? All the time! Where did Jesus have church? Everywhere he went!

I asked my grandson those 2 questions at the Teepee. He remembered both answers. It is my hope he will also begin to hear the Wind more than he did before, this is what I consider to be discipleship, for a person to become a mature sheep who also can hear The Shepherd’s voice for themself. A priority in our fellowship is “Family/Unity” (a common Table), and “Disciplship”. What kind of spiritual children are we raising unto God? God holds us accountable for the quality of our flock more than the number. The numbers are God’s responsibility.

So if you’re looking for a different way of doing church, you got to find a faithful shepherd first, one proven by years of service, not driven by money or pride, and don’t overlook the wisdom of those more aged. I never could have done this before I took early retirement. This is one of the big reasons I chose retiring early. Being the shepherd of a flock does require “the calling”, and a lot of time. Evidently God had this timed out for me, even though I had no suspicion of what he was doing.

If you happen to be an older person reading this, and if you have served the Lord in such ways most of your life, perhaps you don’t need to find such a shepherd? Perhaps you’re meant to be one!

What is God doing as we head into the last days? Is he doing the same old thing, or has the cloud moved, in order to test those who have an ear to hear, if they hear or not? Even as it was in the days of Noah, and with John the Baptist the first time Jesus was coming.

If you’re involved in the “normal” American church practice, then make sure you truly are “doing church”, not just “going to church” like some kind of a duty or obligation. Make sure you ARE the church. God looks for the cheerful heart, those who obey in love, joy, and peace. The simple truth is, there is more than one way to do church, and “be” the church. You simply got to think outside the box.

20180626_141820 “Fellowship of the White Path”/ Grandpa White Feather

 

White Wolf

“The Seven Deadly Sins and a War Path”

Captain-America-Winter-Soldier-Concept-Art

The transition of Winter Soldier into White Wolf is such a picture of salvation from inner torment to inner peace! I love this little sub-story and everything it entails. Bucky was originally a freedom fighter, but after the evil empire managed to so twist his brain, he became a very tormented soul, more deadly than a rattler snake and having no sense of conscience or remorse.

The real horror of this is that Bucky was not really that kind of person. Evil had turned him into something going against everything he ever wanted to be. Even after he begins to realize the truth and make an effort to do right again, the enemy was able to enter back in, and by saying certain code words, force him against his will to still be the rattle snake! How many people do we know, perhaps even ourself, because of an addiction or whatever, the enemy has his back door access to spark the monster in us, and then the battle is on, sometimes we win, and sometimes the monster wins. We hate the thing we do and yet find we have still done it. We do not want to be the monster within, and yet we just can’t seem to forever be rid of it.

To me, these are deadly sins, because they have a hook in us and seem to take over. But there is a White Path of peace in Christ. Just like Nomad took Bucky to Wakanda. In this place they were able to deliver his soul and his mind from the evil programming, to deprogram him into an inner peace you could actually see in his eyes. He was finally free! He was finally Bucky again, except he has also spiritually evolved into something more, and now he is, White Wolf.

As the White Wolf, he finds himself still in a fight. He fights with Nomad, not against him. He fights with Black Widow, whom he had once tried to kill as Winter Soldier. He fights against what may be an unbeatable foe, and yet he fights on the side of good. He has found there is a battle you can fight, and still have inner peace, even satisfaction.

Lets look at the Seven Deadly Sins again, and discuss how they manifest in today’s culture. In the Promise Land of God’s Word, we find there is a fight. The White Path is also a War Path against the enemy of our soul and the souls of our fellow man. Thanos, and his beautiful jewels of power hold deadly attraction for a mortal soul. Here is the list we are working from: Greed, Gluttony, Envy, Slothfulness, Wrath, Pride, and Lust. Which are the ones that most haunt you?

“O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Romans 7:24

And this is the fight we fight, this body of death, not only the mortality of it, but the “curse” of a “fallen” flesh we’re still trapped in. Jesus delivers us from this death and empowers us by his Holy Spirit to overcome. Scripture says the wages of sin is death. This is the salvation Christ has bought for us through his blood, and in this “Blood Covenant” we have entered peace with God. Praise our Lord forever. And then we find it is the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, and working in us towards our complete freedom, complete deliverance from slavery to sin. And in this process we also have the “Church”. In which God has given gifts: Prophets, Pastors, teachers, and so on, to equip us, and strengthen us in our spiritual walk with Christ; but what happens when too much of the snake has gotten into the Church? How does today’s Church compare to what Jesus did?

When Captain America originally rescued Winter Soldier and brought him into a safe place, supposedly. A place involving the “System”. The enemy penetrated the place. It was not safe. Winter Soldier was triggered again. From what we can tell, it was not till Nomad got Winter Soldier to Wakanda, that he was finally able to be helped, and find inner healing. In this analogy of ours, Wakanda becomes the picture of what Church is supposed to be. It is what Jesus did.

As our society becomes more and more ungodly and unbelieving, even as it was in the days of Noah, there is no safe place in our culture. Our culture has become the snake constantly trying to wrap us in its coils. God’s garden must be within us. The Kingdom of God is within us, and it must be strong enough to withstand the onslaught of a world spinning out of control in the pursuit of more and more pleasures. Eve believed the lie. Have we?

What of “Greed”, the first deadly sin in our list? It can truly be said that “money” has become the god of this world. And the love of money includes all the materialism that goes with it in its many many forms. Our country is saturated in a love of money and the pleasures and security it can “seem” to provide. Constant advertising and peer pressure telling us what we need to be happy, and what we can’t live without. Just give us your money, and we’ll hook you up. Yes, they “hook you up”, alright. Like a fish on a line.

Jesus was VERY specific when he said: “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matt. 6:24)

Notice Jesus said two “masters“. The love of money and materialism desires to “master” us. It is one of those powerful and deadly jewels constantly surrounding us in our current culture. This subject is taboo in America, and I wonder why? Don’t touch my sacred cow! Prosperity is the right of the child of God? To be the head and not the tail?

Well…here again we see the modern church clinging to the Old Testament, when tithing was a law, and it was an “eye for an eye”, and the Armor Bearer was expected to die with King Saul rather than King David, and the Holy Spirit did not indwell them. The O.T. is where we see most of the Prosperity message, but Jesus and the Apostles lived a very different way. Try to deny it all you want, but the evidence is literally overwhelming.

I see people every day, who claim to be Christians, and they are financially prospering, but where is God? Most of them are lucky if they even still give God one day a week. These are deadly sins. They lull us into a sleep while our life is quickly passing by and we’re missing the best things while we serve another master. Never mind eternity, I want mine now.

Too many times expensive possessions does a slave make, and its’ not a slave to God. White Wolf walks a different path now. He has been transformed. He is free from Winter Soldier. The cold of his previous life is over. He has found the fulfillment of simple pleasures. What are the true treasures of life? Is not your soul, your relationships, your peace of mind, your future in heaven, this present moment and what it has to offer? Thanos and his sparkly jewels desire to rob you of all these things, and put you on a treadmill in which God is on the underside. Can you say you really “love” God as you spend all your time making the money?

Here’s a good test: How much time do you spend thinking about God and seeking him, compared to how much time you spend thinking about money in one form or another?

For our analogy, White Wolf and Wakanda has become our picture of finding our white path in Christ. We need a church family, like Bucky found a family that was finally for his good, not to simply “use” him. We are just beginning this series of the deadly sins and “Infinity War” as a parable of sorts. I’d much rather know Bucky as White Wolf, rather than Winter Soldier. And my experience with materialistic Christians have been less than satisfying too. You CANNOT serve God and money. Who’s serving who? Beware the church that seems to be all about the money.

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And so Winter Soldier becomes White Wolf, but he finds there is still a fight. In a fallen world, filled with human nature, there will always be a fight in the garden. Much more to come on Infinity War/ Eternal War and the 7 Deadly Sins.

Captain America or Nomad?

hqdefault (5) Is Marvel Cinema accidentally painting a picture of the Church? Beware, this is a trip down the spiritual rabbit hole. I have for a long long time said the Marvel Hero movies are a good modern day parable of the Church. Over the years I have been amazed at the parallels. This rabbit hole actually started when I wrote the previous article last Sunday, and I said: “Infinity War has begun!” Infinity is another word for “eternity”. So… Eternity War has begun! (there may be a few “small” spoilers in here. A big one at the end, but there is a warning preceding it.)

For the next how many articles we devote to this rabbit hole, we will not be leaving our subject matter of “The Seven Deadly Sins”, or our scripture verses of “Romans 13: 8-14”, which we began to open last article. “Six Living Verses” to fight the “Seven Deadly Sins”. Check them out. This will all relate as the articles build.

But there is much to unravel to understand the insane world down this huge and dark hole, of which most of us have become accustomed to like a frog in boiling water. We have not identified the change that has occurred, like Captain America was slow to see and accept, but once he did, he made some serious change! The man who had devoted his life as a symbol of loyalty to an American “system”, finally realized something had gone wrong with the “system”, and found himself facing a fork in the road. The critical choice of whether to turn a blind-eye and stay in his comfort zone, or continue to be a man of “honor”, and take the high road, the hard path, and everything that would go with it, no matter what others would say or think.

What choice did a man like Steve Rogers have really? But I find many in the Church today who do not realize the system has changed, or…they simply are not willing to leave the comfort zone. Are you aware there has been a change? Do you realize Captain America has gone the route of Nomad? He who was so faithful, having to turn his back on the system he defended with his life. And what does that mean? Do you see how similar Cap’s choice is to anyone who leaves the Church system to be the Nomad?

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You see, I feel like I’ve faced this same fork in the road, and perhaps that is why it is so obvious to me. I had a life long friend in the Church I left. Things have not been the same between us since. He just doesn’t see it. Or at least he says he doesn’t, but it is so easy to turn a blind eye when you don’t “want” to see something. And when you don’t want to face hard changes. He won’t even read this blog site, not one article, and we’re talking best friend.

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Something has changed in our Government pleasing Church. I went all the way back to our early Church fathers to find the answers, but it’s amazing how few of my friends are interested in what I found. I tell them what I have researched but they ask no questions. They are not the least bit interested. Not willing to make the slightest effort. Wow, how disappointing.

As technology continues to enrapture a fresh generation, most of the Church seem to be more interested in Ironman’s path, that of an Armor Bearer, (an amazing coincidence), than the one of NOMAD, for it is a nomad’s path indeed. You become the outcast, the spiritual rebel, the one refusing the cookie-cutter system Church has become. Wow…did I say that? And so a divide, a spiritual civil war is underway. Captain America actually fighting Ironman? And yet we are family.

captain-america-desktop-wallpaper-iron-man-and-civil-war-movie-computer There is a split taking place. A sort of Church civil war. It has been slowly growing for many years now. I see the Church being attacked on two fronts, but the second attack has not yet started. The first front is a popularity with our government, much like in the days of Roman Emperor Constantine. Previous Emperors had attacked the Church blatantly. An in your face attack, no bones about it. Easy to see. But the Church actually excelled in those times. Thanos is an in your face attack, like the Antichrist would be.

However, when Constantine came along, and he and the Church were all buddy buddies. He did untold damage that has lasted centuries, as he was working from the inside. His was not a blatant attack. He probably even thought he was doing good, but he did not understand spiritual things, and he did more damage to the Church than can ever be estimated. Are we not back in bed with our government, as we hang on to our precious tax exemptions? We even have a President now who is considered a friend to the Church. Will Trump prove to be a Constantine?

So we see a Church Civil War of sorts, as the Government pleasing Churches divide from the God pleasing Churches, (GPC verses GPC), (Avengers versing Avengers), and as a result house Churches are springing up left and right. In the movie, I could not believe the parallel of stupidity! When Nomad shows up with help to fight the biggest baddest dude yet, all the government could think of was arrest them! I loved Nomad’s answer, “I’m way past asking permission.” (those days are over.) This is the stupidity of following man-made ways. Nomad realizes the king has no clothes. 

So which camp do we fit into? Are we with Ironman where the old Captain America fit into, or have we become the Nomad? I’ve lost friends over this fork in the road, and also picked up some new ones who see the change that has occurred.

There was a very strong teaching that went through the Church at one time, and even now would be considered a sacred cow. I mentioned it earlier. Dare I touch another sacred cow? Thanos told Thor, who came within inches of defeating him, that he should have gone for the head. Jesus crushed the “head” of the devil. I’m learning we can’t be afraid to crush heads in this war.

The teaching of the “Armor Bearer”. I’ll only say a few things. First of all, once again it is an Old Testament teaching. Which puts it in a time in which the average person did not have a personal leading of the Holy Spirit. Once again, the modern Church teaching O.T. stuff? Jesus offers us a higher level. Why live in the lower steps of where the O.T. was taking us?

Secondly, it puts the poor Armor Bearer following a “man”, not the Holy Spirit! Pastors are failing every day in our current spiritual climate! Men make mistakes, and lots of them. Why didn’t Jonathon follow David! He had even told David he was to be the next to sit on the throne of Israel! Jonathon understood all this! And yet chose to follow his prideful, power hungry, greedy, and people-fearing, people-favoring father! (Sounds like the Church today?) And so there goes the poor Armor Bearer to give his life for King Saul instead of King David! What a shame! But that was O.T. times.

Okay, I probably said too much, and probably should have been more nice about it, but Nomad is way past asking permission anymore. The king has no clothes and people are starting to wake up to that. We’ve been sold a “king theology” in the name of the One who lived his life as a servant to all. That boat just don’t float.

Big spoiler warning here. Do not read if you care. But by the end of the movie we are back to the original 6 Avengers. The others who fought in this particular battle have been neutralized, so to speak. But of those 6, only Ironman has chosen the path of loyalty to the system. (I think I’m right on that. Check for yourself.) The remaining 5 would all be with Nomad.

So this article has been a story of choosing the high road no matter what the cost, or the hardships it may bring. In the movie this has especially played out between Ironman, Captain America, and Winter Soldier, who appears to have a new name of “White Wolf”. Healing has come to the Winter Soldier, and so…a new name. It’s a good thing Captain America chose his friend over the system. Cap/Nomad is just that kind of guy.

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Stay tuned. Much more to come.

Signed: Grandpa White Feather.

“Making Passover Bread?”

I’ve never been much of a cook. I mostly just don’t like taking the time for it. Especially when you add “clean-up” in. My specialty has always been breakfast foods. My second specialty is taking cheap can soup and adding celery, mushrooms, onions, cucumber, and rice to make it not so cheap soup. But in this journey of Early Church discovery, I have learned of the “Christian Passover Meal”, also known as the “Welcoming Table”, and my wife and I plan to conduct our first Christian Passover Meal this 30th of March.

None of the Churches I have spent my life going to, holds such a meal. So I guess I got to do it myself. Why our churches are not concerned that Bishop Polycarp, disciple of the Apostle John, defended this practice as a matter of importance, I do not know. Why we are taught so little about the practices of the early church fathers, I do not know and I find it highly suspect! I have learned so much in these studies! Why I am having to do this myself, I do not know.

Therefore, I have chosen to join Bishop Polycarp, and the Church of Smyrna in this practice. Even though I’m sure my knowledge is limited, I believe God is pleased that I’m making such an effort with the knowledge I have been able to glean. And just like God planted the “Tree of Life” and the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil” close together in the Garden of Eden; I am doing my best to keep the “Tree of Life” very close too, as I learn this new knowledge.

It turned out to be quite an adventure. Yes, this is a picture of my wife with flour on her nose. I don’t know how she got it there, but it was a good laugh. I thought this was going to be easy to make. It’s basically just flour and water with some olive oil and salt added at the end. But not being much of a cook myself, I did not realize you only have so many minutes to mix and knead the dough, and get it spread out! It ended up being like a race on one of those cooking shows! And I lost! I did not make the time! But I must have been close enough because it still cooked up, thank the Lord!

Part of the Christian Passover Meal is all about family; both personal family, and church. So we decided we would try our first effort at my mom and dad’s, in order to add some variety to their day. They got a kick out my wife and I racing around the kitchen trying to make the time limit, but miserably failing. We had my mom working the timer clock. But all is well that ends well they say, and the Matzah bread came out excellent! Especially the ones we kept the olive oil just a light coating, (like the instructions said). But I like olive oil and tried a heavier coating on a few. The bread lost some of its crispiness and was not as good.

So we continue on our Early Church Journey and with our seven days of unleavened bread we will not starve in the wilderness, although I must admit it’s not real filling. I think my cheap soup will be excellent with it! Yes! Country boy will survive!

However, it still bugs me that I see so little concern from our modern Pastors as to how far we have drifted from the church Jesus started. Have we progressed, found a more excellent way than those directly taught by the Master himself? (I seriously doubt it.) Not when I look around at how much our modern church has in common with the ways of our modern world. I’m not even a Pastor, and it greatly concerns me, so much so I decided to explore on my own if need be. I hope you’re with me on this journey. I hope you’re learning things too. We are ships at sea, powered by the Wind, seeking Treasure Islands, and when we find them, we dig up the treasure and enjoy. May God’s Wind always be in your sails. Amen.

samuel-zeller-34761-unsplash“Fellowship of the White Path” / Grandpa White Feather.

Church History & The MAZE III

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This is the best picture I could get of this diagram. I’ll try to explain it some as we do a quick review of some major points before we dig into the Lord’s Supper itself. Starting at far left center, this diagram shows 2 House Churches, the one at Smyrna under Bishop Polycarp who trained under Apostle John. 2nd church, the House Church at Rome which they trace back to Apostle Peter. We see these 2 churches begin flowing forward in time, and they are in unity, “one church” as far as theology goes. At this time there is no High Pope or Holy See in Rome. Each House Church has their own Bishop, and that Bishop’s flock answers to, and follows him, as he follows Christ, the Word of God.

The word “catholic” itself was a word that meant “all-inclusive” or “universal”. It was not the name of the church! It simply meant anyone could get saved. It did not matter if you were slave or free, male or female, Gentile or Jew, any color, any language, salvation was for one and all. They were originally called “The Way”, and then “Christians”. But calling the church “The Catholic Church” comes way later. And then the “Orthodox” split away at 1054 A.D., so you could say the one title didn’t last long.

Now during this time persecutions pop up here and there, some worse than others, but as far as church unity, things seem to flow pretty good until the 6th Bishop of Rome. He puts out a few new rules and seems to be trying to flex some muscle. He seems to refer to himself as Holy See, and we quoted his writing on this in the previous article if you like to see it. But the churches desire unity almost above all else, and the Bishop of Smyrna, still being Polycarp, who had a very long life, goes along with things until a change to Passover/Easter/Lord’s Supper is spoken of by Rome. That seems to be a bridge too far for Polycarp!

It first appears with Bishop Telespuorus (125-136 A.D.). At this point Bishop Polycarp begins his defense of how they were taught by the Apostles to do it this way, and they would not be changing. Churches developing in the area of Smyrna agree with Polycarp, and they become the Asia Minor Churches. So the battle has begun, starting around 125-136 A.D.. Obviously, Rome is not the Holy See, the say all to end all to Polycarp, or the other Asia Minor Churches.

Bishop Polycarp is martyred around 155 A.D., and all this time the Bishops of Rome have still wanted all the churches to change to their way. However, for the sake of unity, they allow it. Until, Bishop Victor I. He puts his foot down in a big way! He wants to force the issue! He cuts communication with the Asia Minor Churches! This is somewhere in 189-199 A.D., and there is still no title of Pope, and he still can’t pull it off. And note, we are still in House Churches.

But early 3rd century, (205 A.D.?), for some odd reason, “ALL” the Bishops can be referred to as Pope! Not just Rome Bishops, but all Bishops. I don’t know the details on this, but now the title is coming into use.

It appears that House Churches under their own personal Bishop, with no Holy See they recognize, is the rule until at least 250 A.D., and probably even later. But past that point, things begin to change. At end of 3rd century, somehow, the title Pope now “only” applies to the Bishop at Rome. And somewhere as time goes along, they decide to “back date” that title of Pope to all the earlier Bishops of Rome, even unto Peter! How convenient for them. Did they ask the Apostle Peter if he wanted such a title?

Next big event is Roman Emperor Constantine gives favor to the Christian Church. The influence of this pagan Emperor causes huge change in the church. No “pagan” should be allowed such influence in God’s House! The Bishop of Rome gains even more power and is now able to force his way. House Churches become a thing of the past. Easter is all about Sunday. The Lord’s Supper has become something far from the simple home table, to all kinds of ritual, ceremony, and pomp. And as they say, the rest is history, folks. Now here we are today. And how much of the way your church does the Lord’s Supper has been affected by these Catholic decisions? You say none? You might be very surprised.

When I left my last modern day church, I became very curious about the early church, and I began to wonder why my many Pastors had never taught much on them? Were they afraid to? Did they think it might cause more problems than good? Were they afraid of questions concerning changes that have been made? Are they trying to hide something? Or are they just ignorant, like I was? All good questions. You choose the one you like best. But now, if you will forgive me for once again going way beyond 1000 words, I’ll try to at least open up this issue concerning the Lord’s Supper.

Apparently, various forms of fasting had been developed leading up to the Easter or Passover event. Polycarp had been specifically instructed by the Apostles to end the fasting on the same day the Jews did, in order to have the Passover meal, just as Christ did in that upper room. And for some reason, he had been taught this was very important. Do not change!

Evidently, Rome did not know that reason, or disagreed on the point, because obviously the Jews do not celebrate any resurrection of Christ, but we do. So Rome decided the fasting needed to continue till Sunday. The resurrection/ Easter, was to always be celebrated on Sunday. This was the important day and important event. Hhmmm. Wow. Yes…how can you have a Passover meal if you’re still fasting?

Is this really an important point? Well, I have become convinced it is, and for many reasons. Some of these reasons I would even blame for the lack of sacrifice in our modern churches today. Consider this scripture>

“For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come.” (I Cor. 11:26)

Okay, why is this so important? This only “begins” to open the importance of the Lord’s Supper. It touches on everything from the fact we left the Table Setting in the Home, and our form of the Supper misses the opportunity for “family”, and an opportunity for “giving to the poor”, and it puts the emphasis on His resurrection more than His “death”! It brings us together to the empty tomb, more than His Cross! And the fact the modern church has become so materialistic and worldly, we do not even know what it means to embrace a cross the way our brothers and sisters in hostile lands do. IT IS THAT CROSS WE NEED TO SEE IF WE EVER HOPE TO ACHIEVE THE RESURRECTION IN OUR OWN LIFE! THE RESURRECTION HAS NO BENEFIT TO ME IF I FAIL TO EMBRACE MY OWN CROSS! IF YOU PRAY ABOUT THIS, I BELIEVE YOU WILL BEGIN TO SEE IT IS NOT A SMALL THING, AND HOW IMPORTANT IT REALLY IS. (And this is only the beginning of opening this up. The Lord’s Supper in the early church was special in many many many ways. Details that will need to wait for the next article.)

As we have said, taking the emphasis off a Home Table and into a stone Temple, and removing the emphasis of the Cross to the resurrection and colored eggs. The Cross is a picture of God’s love for us, and a picture of our love for Him, but we have shifted from Cross (Rom. 12:1-2) to empty grave, and from Table to Temple. Unless we are willing to have an open mind and truly ponder these things, we do not realize how big the effect has been on us. Jesus himself said, do this in remembrance of my “death”. It’s not meant to be a party, until after his death has been truly remembered. The early church knew how to do that. Then it becomes a celebration at the resurrection.

(Special note: I’m still exploring this, but some things I have read seem to indicate the early church fathers did not consider a person truly born-again until the day of resurrection. If that is the case, then truly, like Paul did not want to end up a “castaway”, we should not count our chickens before they are hatched! In other words, embrace the Cross for all it means, for we do not yet know if we will be faithful until the end! Just more food for thought.)

So…I have one last diagram for you. Maybe it will help you to see things even more clear. But logically speaking, I see the point Rome was trying to make. For us, the Passover is different than for the Jews, in that we have a grave and a resurrection. However, in the Spirit, many things have to be more spiritually discerned than logically. When viewed from the perspective of the Kingdom of God, many times these things do make logical sense, but only when viewed from there. So here is the diagram, and more coming soon.

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“Refining our def. of Christian Mystic”

20171109_131414 I have found it of necessity to speak more of our definition of Christian Mystic, which is stated in our previous article. In my study of the early church fathers, my mind has been strongly challenged and impressed by their willingness to be martyred. I think I’m only beginning to truly see what is the “Passion of Christ” so  often spoken of.

The “Passion of Christ”, as I understand it, specifically speaks of his suffering leading up to the cross, the acceptance of that cross, the suffering on the cross, and his death. The way I understand it, it is all about that day leading to, and ending in the cross. How he did not defend himself, the beatings he suffered, and the suffering on that cross even unto death. It’s all about complete obedience to the Father, a will that has been completely surrendered, even unto embracing your cross. It’s about “THE LOVE OF GOD FOR US”, in that he was willing to suffer that much in order to rescue his Bride from a fate worse than death. Is there a love in us so strong to enable us to such feats when called for?

The early church fathers saw that such a surrender was the ultimate proof and life style of a fully formed, fully Holy Spirit filled, follower of Christ. But how do you get to such a tremendous degree of surrender and ONENESS with the Father? Well… I think they knew it had to be the supernatural working of God in us, through his grace, growing us, whether quickly, or slowly, to such a divine place. So what does this mean?

It means these church fathers spent much time diligently seeking this inner work that only God could do! How many of us can really say we have embraced the Passion of Christ for ourself? You see, it reveals itself in little ways first. Self denial for the benefit of another, or for seeking a deeper relationship with God, preferring your brother before yourself, the embracing of our personal cross, identifying ourself with the Passion of our Lord, comes in many forms and fashions before we are ever ready to be literally nailed to a cross. As a matter-of-fact, our ultimate goal should be to reach such a place with our Lord spiritually, even though we hope we would never have to be literally nailed like our Lord. Let me say, our early church fathers had that same Passion of Christ! (And they proved it.)

That same richness of Spirit enabled Jesus to live such a cross-life every day, his whole life! And I believe if you’re already trying to think of ways to have that same mindset yourself, by hard discipline, you’re already on the wrong track! All we can do is pray for it. All we can do is admit it is right and desire it. But it will take God mortifying our flesh BY THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT, even as Romans 8:13 says.

So in simple terms, even though I think our longer definition is very useful in helping us to understand, but in really simple terms, I think the Christian Mystic is one who is seeking for Romans 12:1-2 to be actually fulfilled in their daily living. If you study those two verses closely, you will see it is all about becoming this living sacrifice. A life that embraces the Passion of Christ every minute of every day, a form of praying without ceasing. This is a work only God can do in us, BUT WE CAN SEEK IT! This is the Christian Mystic I want to be, and the definition thereof, and the goal every follower of Christ should have. This is meant to be NORMAL CHRISTIANITY! How does Romans say it? THIS IS YOUR REASONABLE SERVICE? (Lord help us see and agree with our whole heart, soul, strength, and mind.) But this is a mystical work only God can do.

So I’ve written all this to say, if you want my definition of Christian Mystic in its most simple form, combine a Seeker of God’s Mysteries, with Romans 12:1-2, and you have it. Or, just study intently, closely, veraciously, whole heartedly, and honestly Romans 12:1-2. (LOL)

And then always sincerely seek and pray to our Father, in Jesus name, for such a fire to be birthed in you. It is God’s fire! No strange fire! (Which brought death upon priest in the O.T.. Big NO-NO!) (Lev. 10:1-2)!

 

“Christian Mystic & Church History” P-5

20171021_171413 And so the plot thickens and the mystery continues. As I have been self-educating on this subject of Church History, a couple of questions have caught my curiosity, and this also pertains to Christian Mystics. As I have said, as I studied the Mystics I saw a need for knowledge of the history. It all ties together.

Question #1.) Why have none of my Protestant churches educated me on early church history, especially those first 200 years when transition from the Apostles, who actually walked with Christ, was changing to those who had only walked with the Apostles, and then to those who had not even had that privilege. In my humble opinion, this would be an extremely important time period of the evolution of the church. After all, if these early church fathers changed things from what Christ had started, then why? And would Christ have been in agreement with such a change? And how does the church of that first 200 years compare to what I experience today? (Hhmmm.)

And if this is as important as I think it is, then why haven’t I been taught of it? Are they trying to hide something? I’m not saying our preachers never mention the early church and give an impression of teaching the subject, but in my experience, very little details have ever been given. Is it a subject only for Bible College? I think not. It’s too important! It’s foundational! It reveals if we have been faithful to the early church fathers, OR NOT.

Question #2.) The main church history book I was using, was written by a Catholic Priest, but it was supposed to cover from Pentecost to the year 2000. Well, it sort of did, and it sort of did not. As I searched other sources I began to notice 3 names not mentioned in my book. Upon further examination, I discover these 3 Bishops were of “major” importance during those first 200 years! Why would such important Bishops fail to be mentioned by this Catholic Priest? Was not the church one church at that time? Would they not be a part of the history leading to the Roman Catholic Church? How do you miss speaking of : Bishop Clement of Rome, Bishop Ignatius of Antioch, and Bishop Polycarp of Smyrna? Three major players! Again, is someone trying to hide something? A personal agenda? A personal bias?

Well, I don’t know yet, but I have bought more books and am studying like crazy. One book is aprox 1,350 pages long! Thank God for Amazon! But we need to look at our first Mystic! Believe me, more will be said on these other guys when I have a little better handle on this. Little by little it is coming. I’m like a spiritual hound dog on a hot trail! I’m a Retriever trying to “bring back” (fetch) something hidden in time, but not lost!

Our first Mystic I have chosen is a man known as, “Origen”. He lived aprox A.D. 185-254, and he is an amazing story. But I want to give you a juicy part first, so you will want to know him. In Origen, I see the heart of a Christian Mystic. We ask our self, “Just what makes a Christian Mystic?” I’m looking for the “simple” answer to that, and I think, without knowing it, Origen may have expressed it when he was explaining the 3 different levels of meaning to scripture.

Origen was the first Christian translator of the Old Testament Book: “Song of Song” (Solomon). He used it to explain these three different levels of meaning to any given scripture. He explained, on the first level the Song of Songs is simply a wedding poem showing the intimate love between a rustic bride and a royal bridegroom. On the second level it represents Christ’s love for his church. On the third, mystical, level it expresses the deep yearning of the soul to be made one with the divine Word. (WOW!)

My simple understanding of a C.M. is someone who is totally in love with Christ, the church, and his Word! Origen’s example of level 3 is such an expression of such a person. The Mystic is a Mary, not a Martha. But most Mystics also believed their private contemplations in solitude should also lead to godly actions in public. Most Mystics were not hermits hiding in a cave somewhere. They may have had their cave moments, and trips into the desert, but those deep places with God were meant to also bear fruit in the physical world of hurting mankind.

Mystics have a deep love for all things Spirit, and as such they often lived ascetic lives which simply means “self-denial for spiritual reasons”. Fasting would be an example of such. Putting a brother before yourself. Keeping things simple, to be non-materialistic. (Of course, there are different levels of such things.) One might think of our Lord’s words when he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.” (Luke 9:23-24 NLT)

Asceticism is sometimes referred to as spiritual training, or to be a spiritual athlete. Christian Mystics pursued such paths, but again, the training was supposed to also bear fruit that would bring glory to God, hence, not just a hermit sitting in a cave. I believe the goal was to be more like Christ.

How far down this road a person must go to be considered a Christian Mystic would be hard to define. I’m sure in most of our lives it is a growing process. Most of us do not leave everything behind, become a monk and run for that mark, but if we are a C.M. in our heart, we can still get there, even with all the responsibilities of family and work. We can still fall so in love with our Lord, that everything we do, even washing the dishes becomes an act of worship to God. There is so much to say here, but I must control myself, so here are some quick facts on Origen, and if you want to know more, it can be found.

He was born to Christian parents in Alexandria, Egypt. His father was beheaded during the persecution under Roman Emperor Lucius Severus (193-211), when Origen was about twelve. The beginnings of Christian Mysticism began second century, in North Africa, of which Alexandria was a city of, and part of the thriving culture of Rome. An important Catechetical  school was developed there, and Origen became a student of Clement of Alexandria. It should be noted this teacher was also influenced by Greek philosophy; Platonist in orientation. What effect that had on scripture, I’m not sure, but Origen eventually became the head of the school.

Origen became a great teacher, wrote a lot of stuff, and was sometimes described as a “Master Mystic”. He learned Hebrew and became a translator of Hebrew scripture, such as Song of Songs. He also traveled about preaching and teaching. He had a great influence on church doctrine in his day. About 250 A.D., he was imprisoned and tortured. He survived and was released in 251, but was so weakened physically that he died shortly thereafter, in 254. There is much more to his story and material he wrote to be read if you so desire to research.

I don’t know how many Christian Mystics we will look at, or which ones, but Origen has been our first, and don’t forget his teaching concerning that third level: The deep yearning of the soul to be made one with the divine Word. May we all aspire to such things.

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Until the next time…

 

 

“Christian Mystic & Church History” P-2

20170430_132246 I am so excited about this journey we are on! It’s rich, rich, rich! What should the church be today? What Jesus was then! (Of course.) And Jesus showed us a God who was focused on the Tables in people’s homes so he could create Temples in their hearts!

“…and he said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at your house.” (Luke 19:5b)

(Verse 7) “And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.”

For the first 200 years the church remained focused on Table more than Temple, and then a certain Roman Emperor came to power (Constantine), and things began changing back towards Temple. Slowly the church was seduced back to fancy Temples and ceremonies, leaving Tables like Zacchaeus’s outside the four walls of a man made structure. (We will look at this in more detail, but for now, this is the basic insight we need.)

As I considered the challenge of teaching about Christian Mysticism, it seemed to go hand in hand with church history. Indeed, it does not seem possible, (in my opinion), to understand a Christian Mystic without understanding the difference between Temple and Table. You see, Jesus showed us the true heart of God. A closeness represented by a Table, not a Temple. And this is also the heart of a true Mystic, this hard to explain closeness to God we can all have, if we desire Him enough.

After reading some material of Robert Nowell, I determined this to be a good place to start with our understanding of a Christian Mystic. For he says, what the Mystic is trying to describe is “what no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived” ( I Cor. 2:9); he is trying to tell of “things that cannot be told, which man may not utter.” (II Cor. 12:4). To this I add, we need such people! May we all desire to be such people.

He goes on to make the point that if it cannot be put to words and understood, if it is basically beyond explaining and understanding, then does it have any value in attempting to communicate? (Good question.) He goes on to say it is well to understand that other modes of discourse beyond the purely “scientific” have their own validity; to which he speaks of “music” as an example.  Music can stand as a type or example of mystical utterance, something that is undoubtedly meaningful and significant while at the same time resisting translation into the verbal language of every day life.

We have all experienced what it is like to have a song, a piece of music, affect us in unexplainable, perhaps mystic ways very hard to put to words, even impossible, and yet the effect is there, it is real, and it has value. Herein perhaps lies our challenge with understanding the Mystics of our church history. Perhaps we only catch a glimpse of what they are saying, but it is a glimpse well worth catching. It affects us in a good way. Even as the focus of Christianity is the promise of the future, but it is a future we cannot yet fully perceive. Even as we speak of God, a Being we cannot yet fully comprehend. It is not unusual for this to be part of the challenge of all things spiritual.

Here’s my last point on this mystical journey for today. The father of our faith, Abraham, was told of God to go and live in a land he did not yet possess, and yet by the command and decree of God, owner of all creation, he did now possess, because God said so. Only problem was, the Amorites and so on, did not know about this new arrangement. But by faith and obedience Abraham entered and was already enjoying the land of fat grapes and milk and honey even before he could actually prove his ownership. In other words, he brought God’s future to his present, and was enjoying his future in his NOW! This is mystical in concept, yet Abraham lived in it like the bumble bee flies because I guess he doesn’t know he can’t! (LOL). (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.)

In many ways Christianity deals in things one could say “is not yet”. But the Mystic is someone for whom the “not yet” has momentarily at least become the “here and now”. I know this may be bending your brain like Morpheus and Neo, but it’s true. This is also what I refer to as “Living in the 7th Day” (L7D).

Hebrews 11 says Abraham did it by faith, and he looked for a Temple not made with hands but whose builder and maker was God! Here we are back to a Temple of people’s heart, not brick and mortar. The Pharisee’s hearts had become brick and mortar just like their Temples. This is a mistake we do not want to be.

We can see time periods in church history when innocent people were burned at stakes, or their property seized in heartless and cruel ways hard to explain by people professing to be followers of Jesus. Their hearts had become brick and mortar. The Mystic loves the Lord’s Table of fellowship not in a pompous way, but in a way like unto the upper room that night with his disciples. A Table of friendship, family, love, self sacrificing, and personable.

Jesus had such a Table with Zacchaeus and it totally changed him into a new creation. Old things passed away. The heart of stone became the heart of God. God took possession. God tells His people, I am your possession, not the things of this world. In me you possess all things. If you believe these things, if you are drawn to this kind of thing, then there is a Mystic in you just waiting to grow. This is why here at “Path Without End”, we are pursuing these things. I left the modern church asking where is the God of Elijah? That question seems to have led to here, as we continue to explore and learn.

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Yes, that is a sword you see there, and that is an area known as “White Butte” in the background.