Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Depravity of Devices

I’ll probably get flamed by some of my readers, but I woke up this morning with these thoughts draining out of my ear onto my pillow. That’s usually an indication that something inside should actually be outside. But then again, I’ll let you run with that analogy.

Anyway, I was thinking about the latest iPhone craze. It’s nothing particularly new you know; the frenzy associated with a highly anticipated or desired product. Anyone still have their Cabbage Patch doll stuffed in a closet somewhere?

The Bible tells us, “with all thy getting, get understanding.” (Proverbs 4:7b KJV) Not just another shiny object or device. If you dig just below the surface of Genesis 3:1, you’ll find that the serpent at the heart of that narrative was far more than just a snake. As a matter of fact, if you exegete the Hebrew word historically translated as serpent (noun) as serpent (adjective), you’ll find it’s meaning to be the shiny one.

Kind of odd how when fishermen are looking for their next big catch, they employ their best shiny lure to snag their prey, but surely there’s no analogical connection to Genesis 3:1, right?

My thinking is we are so desperate for the next shiny device in life; we’ve lost our desire and maybe even our ability to pursue understanding. We just seem to want the things that twinkle in our eye. And since genuine understanding is the love child of wisdom, it’s no wonder understanding is a rare commodity these days. (Proverbs 1)

If we reject wisdom there is no way we will be able to get genuine understanding. Oh you may develop a mental or even emotional storehouse of strategic schematics on how things function, but you will never really have genuine understanding of purpose beyond the simple or the obvious.

For us to live in the pursuit of genuine understanding we must agree with the premise that devices can alter our ability to understand and thereby further compound our real problem; lack of wisdom.

As a Pentecostal Christian, I believe in the empowering work of the Holy Spirit in the life of believers; even beyond the empowerment one typically envisions for the work of evangelism. For genuine outreach and bridge building to occur, I must know and understand God’s purpose in the earth. From the macro perspective of outer space to the micro perspective of the inner man; understanding the purpose behind those mysteries is paramount to my survival and my active employment in the advance of the Kingdom of God.

So what do I mean by The Depravity of Devices? What I don’t mean is that someone shouldn’t own a new iPhone, or plasma TV, or any number of other new shiny things in life. On the contrary; live within your means and enjoy the things of this life, but just keep them in perspective.

Devices are NOT the answer to the advance of His will and purpose in the earth. At best they are feeble tools we may use FOLLOWING a revelation of wisdom and understanding gained only in and through His presence. At worst they become the devilish focus of our pursuit in life and ministry; falsely believing that if we can lay hold of the next big cool shiny thing, we’ll catch more and bigger fish.

Our advances in this world for the sake of His Kingdom are not predicated upon our ability to find the next new shiny device (or business plan) to carry this ancient message of hope, but our advances are 100% predicated upon our ability to gain understanding of Him and from Him. And that understanding comes as we enter into deep and mysterious discourse with and through His Spirit. (Romans 8:26-27)

Could I be so bold as to say we’ve been deceived by The Depravity of Devices and we’ve abandoned the genuine source of wisdom and understanding: praying in tongues and worshiping Him for extensive periods of time until the Spirit reveals the needed wisdom, understanding and purpose for our very existence as sons and daughters of God? I guess I just did.

What we need is a divorce from devices and a marriage to the mysteries of God. For as we are baptized in the darkness of His mysteries through the intercession of the Spirit (and I do mean praying in tongues); revelation comes. Answers come; strange and wonderful understanding of previously confusing issues arrives.

In short, we finally realize the POWER is NOT in devices or plans or even the mechanisms we USE to accomplish His will and purpose in the earth, but the POWER COMES supernaturally through our literal and bilateral communication with Him. Not some book on what the next big shiny marketing procedures others are using in some locale or another, but simple, pure, raw power and understanding. Only received as time is spent letting the Spirit pray (breathe) into and through us. His Shiny Devices in this lost and dying world are US. Not things made by the hands of man.

So the next time you hit an impasse in life or ministry (they’re synonymous), don’t reach for the latest best selling book, but get on your knees and pray in tongues and worship God until you get an understanding that clearly and only comes from above. Not from below.

In all you’re getting, GET UNDERSTANDING and don’t be deceived by The Depravity of Devices. Because you will never have enough time or money to amass shiny stuff to attract the fish God’s sent you to catch. Let God IN YOU become the lure that sets the hook, not some human device or idea.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Doctrines of Devils?

1 Timothy 4:1-2 “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; (KJV)

I fully understand that proper exegesis of scripture must be context inclusive. I also understand that the Apostle Paul was often in conflict with Judaizers who foisted their historic doctrines and practices upon newly converted Christian saints. So as one reads further down into Paul’s letter to Timothy regarding the doctrinal struggles that will ensue in the last days, it would be easy to presume that a Jewish foot print from the first century might be what we will be contending with in our last days experience. But I would suggest that the “seducing spirits and doctrines of devils” will look far less Jewish than they will Post-Christian.

Let me explain. I believe that the greatest challenge to genuine believers in Jesus Christ and His gospel in these our last days will be an alignment with a post-Christian society. The reason being; post-Christian culture tends to WORK and IS GAINING a beachhead as accepted doctrine and practice for the modern church.

So either we get on board or we begin to loose market share like a sinking ship looses buoyancy as it goes down. Therein lays the challenge to the genuine Church of Jesus Christ.

Because we live in a seductive age most of us are accustom to being seduced and we don’t even realize it. Check the label or logo on your clothes? Take note of the vehicle you drive or the neighborhood you live in? What brand of PC or phone do you own? Is it the latest and greatest? Check out the food in your cupboard and refrigerator; is it brand name or generic?

Now granted, there is little harm in having things we like in our lives, but I would ask why we live and move at the beck-an-call of Detroit, Madison Avenue, Silicone Valley, Hollywood and even Washington D.C.? My contention is that we are seduced into believing that our current condition is less than satisfactory so we need change and we need lots of it. But very often NOT in the way that God would ordain.

And that insatiable appetite for more and different has crept into the ranks of our once held dear sound Bible doctrines. All in the seductive name of post-Christian progress and outreach. That’s right, progress and outreach.

Because we’ve failed to understand the gravity and dynamics of a last days falling away from the faith, we end up believing that our historic doctrines once held dear and to the death, may now be up for interpretation and change. All in the name of continuing the progress and outreach that we so desperately need to hold market share.

Take a look at what we are fighting about in these United (tongue in cheek) States. Is something Constitutional or not? Is the action of a state or judicial bench or congressional committee in alignment with the HISTORIC INTERPRETATION of the Constitution? History is being revised and rewritten faster than any of us could ever imagine; and so too with our biblical history; possibly even altered to the point of no return.

In an age that is more than willing to rewrite many of the historic accounts of Christ and the doctrines of the Apostles we must be ever vigilant to persevere in the faith once held dear to first century believers; belief that would not sway in the tide of popular opinion or demand.

So what might doctrines of devils look like? I believe one must study the language and conversation of Satan himself.

Check out the following examples. Albeit, the first literary mention of Satan is in Genesis, we’ll first go to the portion of scripture where Lucifer (Satan) attempts his devilish coup on the throne of God.

Isaiah 14:12-14 “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.”

Don’t miss the KEY which opens the connection to our post-Christian era crisis. Take note of the words “For thou hast said in THINE HEART… I WILL.” Forget the projected locale for Lucifer’s aspirations (heaven, throne, mountain, clouds, divine likeness), the corruption is found in the heart originated desire stated as I WILL. I will ascend, I will exalt (me), I will sit, I will ascend, and I will be.

That’s right, his way, NOT God’s. And that desire within the heart is what we are warring against in this very day.

Or how about noting the dialogue in Genesis 3 between the serpent and Eve regarding the one thing God had commanded her. What did the enemy do, but seduce the ME FACTOR inside of Eve’s heart to the point of motivating her to violate God’s one and only command.

The enemy’s ploy was to get Eve to believe her desires would take her to bigger and better places than anything God had afforded her. And that ploy is still in use today in the form of seducing spirits and doctrines of devils.

This seduction is based upon genuine desires for change, progress and even outreach in the name of evangelism, but at what expense? Maybe the TRUTH?

Monday, June 7, 2010


This morning in my devotions I was reading from John 15 and once again came across that oh so familiar verse 7: “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.”

I like that verse, but for years it’s been an enigma to me. An enigma, because I’ve thought that I’ve remained in Him and I know I’ve memorized scripture, so as to keep His words in me, yet when I ask for certain things, they don’t always come; ergo the enigma of the verse to me the believer.

As I pondered and studied this verse, I began to come into a fresh understanding of this truth. Remaining in Him or abiding in Him has not really been an issue for me. I’m saved and I know it. I set my mind on things above and keep my eyes fixed on Him. For nearly 30 years I’ve read my Bible and prayed with consistent frequency and have all my life been in church. So from the standpoint of abiding in or remaining in Him, I think I’ve kept myself immersed in the things of God. My guess is there are many of you out there like me, having a similar faith journey and record.

But, the part of that verse emerging as most vital (that I’ve faithfully deposited in me as Bible memory verses) goes way beyond simple chapter and verse memorization.

The Apostle Paul wrote the following in 1 Corinthians 14:11 (in essence); if people cannot nor will not understand “the meaning of the voice” behind words spoken, communication breaks down and it becomes like two different languages being spoken to one another; i.e. confusion and lack of understanding being the end result.

Granted, the context is tongues and prophetic messages within the church, but I believe we can embrace a broader scope to the Spirit’s intent of this revelation.

Abiding in Him and having Bible verses committed to memory is all well and good. These are healthy Christian disciplines, but I believe many Christ followers find themselves in ANSWER GRIDLOCK, because they’ve not UNDERSTOOD the meaning behind the voice. The Power of the Spirit behind the very words (intent) recorded in scripture, and MOST OF ALL the words spoken to the heart of those willing to follow.

So why might there be a lack of understanding or spirit perception on the part of one who has sought to abide in Him and keep Bible verses in their memory?

Let’s go to Matthew 24:12 and discover one of the enigmatic connections to the ANSWER GRIDLOCK and our lack of understanding.

“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,” (NIV)

If you’ve ever read this passage before, it’s likely you read it from an objective stand point, meaning you’re looking out at the world assuming it’s their condition and not ours (Christians). But I would tend to be more inclusive in the indictment. I would include those who call themselves Christians or Christ followers.

In Matthew 24:12 the word translated as “wickedness” or “iniquity” is from the Greek word anomia which means basically what we might imagine: 1) the condition of without law; a) because ignorant of it; b) because of violating it; 2) contempt and violation of law; iniquity, wickedness. That seems simple enough, right?

Most of us Christians would in no way desire to act out this definition and thereby find ourselves engaged in wickedness or iniquity. But, if one digs just below the surface for the broader meaning or implication of this word, you find another synonym for anomia. That synonym (παρκοή) means the disobedience to a voice. Another synonym found in a few other places of scripture, where the text used is: (παρακοή) or parakoē (Romans 5:19; 2 Corinthians 10:6; Hebrews 2:2) actually means to hear amiss (disobedience). Hearing amiss or could we say ignoring the voice of God or even hearing what YOU WANT to hear is at the heart of wickedness.

Maybe in these last days you wouldn’t go out and engage in classic sins of the flesh. Some examples would be found in Galatians 5:19-21 “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

But, how many of us just might find ourselves IGNORING the voice or the meaning of what God is saying or even hearing what we want to hear in any given moment as the Spirit speaks to our heart? That’s right, ignoring or hearing amiss or disobeying the VOICE of the Spirit.

For if and when we find ourselves in that position; we in turn will find ourselves increasing in wickedness and the ultimate end WILL BE a decrease of LOVE.

So why is this important? Because, Jesus told us if we keep an open channel from His lips to our heart, and we hold to and obey the things He is immediately prescribing, half of the component of ANSWER GRIDLOCK will be reversed.

Which leads us back to what James tells us about asking things from God when we have wrong, unloving or actually very sick motives. James 4:3 indicates that sick motives or selfish motives produce ANSWER GRIDLOCK.

So how did we get from John 15 to James 4? By the path of turning a deaf ear to the inner voice of God. Oh we can do all the churchy Christian things that make for a prudent life while being saved and in Him, BUT are we listening to and obeying THE VOICE of God in our moment by moment life situations?

My contention is WE ARE NOT. But my conviction is WE CAN. We can by simply opening up a common dialog with Jesus. Revelation 3:20 tells us; “If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” That doesn’t sound very complicated. It sounds more like a casual meal and a friendly conversation.

When was the last time you spoke, listened, and obeyed? Give it a try; you just might see ANSWER GRIDLOCK disappear before your very eyes.