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195 Power of Two

 Why Does God Sometimes Take Apart What He Himself Seems to Have Put Together?

Why Does God Sometimes Take Apart What He Himself Seems to Have Put Together?

I’ve always believed in the power of two. Well, nearly always. Sometimes you’re actually better off alone than with the wrong company. But basically, when you’ve got 2 souls with more or less the same vision and goals, according to the Old Testament, it quintuples a person’s strength in battle.

The problem is that when you’ve gotten used to this modus operandi of two-by-two, when one of your “motors” flunks out, and you’re stuck again on your own, it reduces your power back to one fifth of what by then you might have gotten used to. So, you feel pretty much reduced to a sausage. Folks who’ve undergone separation will know what I’m talking about. The others won’t have a clue, just as I didn’t until it happened to me.

The power of two is great, but don’t necessarily rely on it as infallible, because as long as there’s another human involved, you simply need to take into consideration that this is only a temporary arrangement, even if you happen to be as lucky to have found someone who meant what they said when they swore, “Till death do us part.” – There is still that uncontrollable death factor. But even that is probably not as painful as when someone you’ve fought life’s battles with for many a season deliberately makes the choice to turn their back on you.

Christ was supposed to have been tempted in all things as we are. Unfortunately we don’t know enough about His 30 years of life prior to His public ministry to tell whether there was ever physically anybody in His life whom He loved so much that they broke His heart when they decided to live their life without Him. All we know is that throughout history He’s had a wife (also referred to as His Bride) that probably put Him through the same thing time and again, which is vividly illustrated in the act of God commanding His prophet Hosea to take a prostitute for a wife as a metaphor of the unfaithfulness of His own Old Testament wife.

Later in the Book of Revelation we find similar metaphors of whores and churches who “sit like a queen,” apparently lacking nothing, and yet not knowing that in God’s eyes they’re naked and destitute of the things that apparently really count to Him.

So, to which degree we as God’s wife and bride have broken His heart is hard to tell. One thing is for sure: when you’ve gone through such pain yourself, you wouldn’t ever want to inflict it on anybody else again. Loyalty all of a sudden becomes paramount, when previously it may have been quite irrelevant. Not only the loyalty of others toward ourselves, but also our own toward others and especially God.

How loyal have we really been?

The only explanation for God putting us through the wringer at times like that, where it seems as though He deliberately devastates us by simply withdrawing the person that meant most to us in the world is that we don’t really have a clue about loyalty, especially not our own, as far as He’s concerned. It’s simply not enough of an issue until we learn to appreciate it by the excruciating pain that can be caused by the absence of it. Only once we realize what pain can be caused by broken loyalty are we able to begin to relate to what it means to God, and do we even begin to realize how often we haphazardly switched loyalties for the sake of some advantage, some shiny fruit on a tree, some compromise for the sake of our personal welfare or benefit, some temptation we couldn’t resist…

Perhaps that’s why it often takes quite long for the pain of betrayal and desertion to linger on: It’s only the beginning of our personal lesson on loyalty. We’re only just starting to see how guilty we have been of the same crime that now we feel we can’t forgive someone else for, and not just once, but probably innumerable times.

Loyalty, like so many other values that used to mean something before our society was taken over by the universally accepted as politically correct Western do-your-own- thing dogma, has gone down the drain in this strange new world order, where the only loyalty that counts is to make sure that you don’t move an inch from the place you’re assigned in the Machine. The System needs to continue to function, and that is your foremost responsibility. Human relations, by comparison, are irrelevant.

“Rubbish!” you say – (Or, if you’re American, you might be prone to use another word that starts with “bull….!”)? Well, good for you, if that’s your reality, and if human relationships still mean enough to you to value them above your personal rank, position or economic advantage. But realistically, you’re part of a shrinking minority. And if you’ve got loyalty and you know what it means, for the sake of God and all that is dear to your own soul, hold on to it with all your might and never underestimate it for a moment. In the end, it may be all that determines whether you lost or won your personal battle in this war.

Or, as the Eagles put it in their song “In A New York Minute” which so aptly portrays what can be the fate of all of us at any time:

“If you find somebody to love in this world, you better hang on tooth and nail!”

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In the search of the deeper meaning of everything, I have found that similar to a soccer game, our lives are usually somewhat divided into two half-times:
There is that first, perhaps more energetic, but somewhat less mature half during which we’re prone to act a lot on our impulses and make a bunch of mistakes accordingly, and there’s the latter half, during which we mature into a ripened personality and hopefully have learned some lessons from the former and tend to do things differently than we used to.
Oddly enough, the same principle seems to apply to God’s church, body, or, as it has also been referred to, His bride. There’s an Old Testament way during which God’s people tended to call down fire and brimstone upon their opponents, sometimes drowning them in a universal flood and at others devouring them with fire, and then there’s the New Testament approach of love.

Sometimes you can tell that a movement really is anointed by God when it shows those same signs of maturation.

While folks are often criticized for their opinions, it is usually so, that those opinions are really only the result of the input those folks have been fed. Once the opinions of the folks at grassroots level become too embarrassing for their leaders to want to be associated with them, some serious brainstorming takes place (in movements that are alive and flexible enough to do so, that is), about how best to avoid unwanted politically incorrect attitudes spread from among the followers.

Thus it can happen, that a once “radical,” “white-hot,” “revolutionary” and somewhat militant movement can mature into a wiser, more diplomatic one, just as it can happen that a once young and perhaps slightly overly zealous hot-head can finally come to his senses and calm down a wee bit and realize that it might be better to just live and let live instead of being a constant prick in everyone’s side.
Of course, it helps if the leadership makes the first step and adjusts its own approach first and makes it clear that, “That is the way we used to do things, and this is the way we do them now.”

Well, after one half-hearted attempt earlier this year to roll a new, more politically correct leaf over that sort of petered out, I’m happy to announce that I hereby officially will bury all my differences of opinion I may have had with my fellow believers around the world, and I shall carefully try not to utter any more criticisms of any of them any longer.

There’s a thin line between being not of this world, as Jesus told His disciples they were, and the fact that God so loved that world that He gave His own Son for it, not to condemn the world, but to save it. Perhaps even God Himself has gone through a process that made Him change methods and approaches somewhere along the line…

In any case, you won’t hear anymore rants about “lukewarmness,” “half-heartedness” or proneness to materialism or any other sicknesses of society on this blog, nor any other judgmental statements that might only create further barriers between parties, instead of eradicating them.

Sometimes God gives us more relevant things to worry about than trying to figure out how we can take on and challenge the whole world at once.

It’s not as if the entire experience would have been useless. After all, we still do read the Old Testament. But the New One is a whole lot more relevant, and when it’s time for a change and a new direction, it’s just simply that. Sometimes it takes half a life-time to get there. Sometimes more.

193 Race of Addicts

In the science fiction TV series Deep Space 9, one of the offshoots of the Star Trek saga, one of the most significant parties in the plot is a mysterious master race of shapeshifters called the Dominion, also referred to as the Founders, who all live together in a great sea called the Great Link in their liquid state, making up one collective conscience, except when they happen to be on some mission to suppress and dominate their quadrant and its inhabitants, for which purpose they can take on whichever form and shape they like.

In order to protect themselves the Dominion created a genetically engineered race of warriors who live for nothing else but to fight and die to protect the Founders, their creators. In order to ensure their loyalty, the Founders equip their specially created species of bodyguards with an addiction to a drug which is provided by them and their henchmen, another race of diplomats who do most of their political dirty work for them.

It’s interesting to what extent some of these stories represent our reality, many times without our even being faintly aware of it.

An increasing number of people are becoming aware of the fact that we are indeed, manipulated, dominated, exploited and enslaved by a diabolical group of people – who are themselves subject to the demonic powers which the apostle Paul said are governing our world (Eph.6:12) – and in order to ensure our “loyalty” to them, they have artificially equipped us with addictions that have been enhanced scientifically to get us to a point where we will only ever break free from their grip by nothing short of a miracle.

While we have all been equipped from birth with certain needs and appetites by our creator: we all need food, clothing, shelter, and are driven to some degree by our natural urges to procreate, our modern society has enhanced these needs to a degree where what once used to be natural desires, have morphed into downright full-fledged destructive addictions.

Our once natural appetite for food for many people has been transformed into addictions to artificially altered foods, “enriched” with chemical substances, refined sugars and flavours that cause them to crave them to the point of obesity, which is rapidly becoming a natioanl disease in some of our “developed” countries.

What was once a generally natural drive to ensure the procreation of the human race has over the past 6 decades turned into every kind of perversion thinkable under the sun by means of bombarding us from the cradle to the grave with imagery aiming at triggering and feeding our lust, brainwashing us from pre-school age into accepting sexual perversions as the norm and getting us all to think that sex is the most important thing in the world, right after money, of course, that is.

Probably most of us never even realize that we are addicts until we get to the point where the object of our affection is being taken from us, and only then do we begin to realize how subtly but thoroughly the “Dominion” has performed their work on us. The deadly, venomous and highly addictive substabce has been pumped into our veins practically from the cradle, so that none of us would dare to veer from the straight and narrow path of obedience, obeisance and slavery to their cause.

Every now and then, one of us is awakened to the graveness of their state, and when it happens, we’re usually shocked and anything but ready to deal with it. It’s certainly helpful then to have Somebody by your side to help you combat the demons that pull your strings, and – if possible – to cut them loose. The withdrawals will be hard and painful, but still better than a continued life on the planet of the race of addicts much of the developed world presently constitutes.

Think about the “Dominion” and their addict warrior race and ponder whether you’d want that to be your fate, or whether you shouldn’t rather develop the strength of resistance and the ability to say “no” when temptation threatens to get you hooked.

Everybody else around you may be a junkie, too, and it may look normal that everyone’s addicted to something. But, by God, it isn’t.

192 Jesus Anonymous

Through a close friend, I’ve recently been allowed a glimpse into world of the Anonymous Recovery Groups, and while it is one of these groups’ principles not to rely on advertisement to flourish, I would like to share some thoughts and lessons I’ve gleaned from my acquaintance with them, and from my many discussions with my friend about them.

As Christians, it has been drilled into us that it is expedient to do whatever we do in the name of Christ, and it is my belief that salvation from our sins and death is found in no other, as the Bible states.
Yet here is a program that seems to be accomplishing a world of good, yet without calling it “Christian” or associating it with Jesus, even accomplishing the salvation of tens of thousands from physical addictions, but also what one might call spiritual problems, even if this may be a slightly different matter than the spiritual Salvation the Bible refers to.

The honesty, openness and depth of conversation within these groups is something I don’t think I’ve ever experienced in a church or even during Home gatherings, meetings or in Bible groups. After all, Christians are usually people who have their act somewhat together, at least more, on a general scale, than those that attend Anonymous groups. Having a common problem that provides a common basis for Anonymous group members to come together presents – from my point of view – an advantage that many churches and Christian movements don’t: the humility, the readiness to open themselves concerning a weakness, thus ready to attack sin head on in a way one will hardly ever find in a church where people often play a masquerade for years, one hardly ever gets to know their brethren on a truly personal level, and all that connects one another is the fact that they just listened to the same sermon, sang a few of the same songs, etc.

The question I’ve had to ask myself as a Christian was, is it possible that God instigates movements on earth that may not be able to be defined clearly as Christian? Apparently, yes. Is it possible that these non-Christian movements can sometimes bring forth more and somewhat even perhaps better fruit than some obvious Christian movement or church? Apparently, yes.
It reminded me of the passage in which Jesus talks about those who prophesied in His name, cast out devils in His name, etc., (and mind you, one has to be a Spirit-filled and born again Christian, in order to cast out devils!), and yet telling them, “I never knew you.” Yet in another passage welcoming those who all they ever did was visit the prisoners, care for the sick, feed the hungry, no matter in whose name.
Apparently Jesus does not mind whether what we do we do in His name as much as whether what we do is the right thing to do.
Obviously, a lot of wrongs have already been committed in His name, as it is. Apparently God is more concerned about genuinely helping people than He is about the advertisement, and whether it was done on His behalf or not.

Imagine you were God and had to watch how people slaughtered each other by the millions for millennia on His behalf… Wouldn’t you be glad if someone eventually came around who gave you a break and just did something good, no matter in whose name, or in no one’s name in particular?

Yes, the name of Jesus is important and powerful, and it is our duty to spread the good news that He indeed saves. But apparently there is something even more important in God’s eyes than what we say and preach, and that is what we do.
God seems to avail Himself of any program that works, and the 12-Steps programs have proven to work in millions of changed lives around the world, and God doesn’t seem to care much whether this has been accomplished under the flag of Christianity.
If a program works, you’ll use it. You install it, run it and enjoy the benefits. Totally regardless of whatever it says on the package, or what brand name it is.

One would have to ask themselves to what extent Christ Himself would consider Himself a Christian, if He were to walk among us today. Maybe in the light of all that’s being said and done in His name, He might even prefer to remain anonymous.

“Salvation is of the Lord!” Those were the magic words that got Jonah out of the belly of the whale (Jonah 2.9).

Jesus prophetically compared Jonah’s experience inside the whale to the three days he would spend in Hades between His crucifixion and resurrection.

He also invited His followers to take up their cross upon themselves and follow Him.

In other words, every true believer is going to go through their own experience in the “belly of the whale” at one time or another, experience their own “3 days in hell.” And it’s usually not until we realize that salvation is truly of the Lord, that we emerge from it.

What’s so special about that revelation, that salvation is of the Lord? Because before we find out, we try to save ourselves by any thinkable and possible means. The Lord is always our last resort, after all else has failed. Usually, anyway.

We first expect our own wits, strengths and efforts to save us, and if they won’t do, then at least some tangible, visible and audible person of flesh and blood to pull us out, and sometimes, God in His mercy will send such a person along. But if He’s been trying to teach you to rely on Him and Him alone, and you have any sort of rank or validity as a prophet, even a disobedient prophet like Jonah, you can be pretty sure there’ll be no other hand pulling you out of that whale except God’s.

When God has become truly all that you have got left, then that’s where you can probably safely say, “Welcome to Rock Bottom Club!

When everyone else is gone, every other crutch kicked away, those people who have made you depend on them like a drug only stand by and watch you go through your withdrawals from afar while getting the next junkie in line hooked on them, then it’s time to find out whether God is really enough or not.

It will prove whether your faith was merely a pretty bubble that popped at the introduction of the needle, reduced to a little splash in the face, or whether it was something solid, something your life can depend on.

If we’re honest, the role to which we often restrict God in our lives is not much more than a slap in His face.

It’s those belly-of-the-whale experiences that restore Him to His proper position in our life as our only hope, our only true Savior.

When the fakes are gone and have faded away, it’s time for the true Savior to step in and show that it is in His power alone to save, and “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man and maketh flesh his arm” (Jer.17:5).

Down there, in the belly of the whale, you find out who your friends really are.

And once the fish has vomited you out, back on dry land, you may not feel like much more than just that: a pile of fish vomit, but at least you’ve got a much clearer perspective now of your world around you and who and what you can really rely on, without all the deceiving appearances and delusions that blurred your vision previously.

You may have tried to figure out every possible way, tactic and maneuver out of the dark, going through all the possible tricks, measures or merely lucky events that might save you out of your fix, but in the end, the sum of your wisdom boiled down to this: “Salvation is of the Lord.” No one and nothing else will ever cut the cake or do the trick. No one.

190 Love Is Forever

Another passage from the Scriptures that never made quite sense to me was Matthew 6:22-23: “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” – Especially the last bit, “If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness…”

I know, all the humanists and believers in the good in mankind will howl at me, but I think I figured out what it means.

If you’ve ever been betrayed by someone you believed in, forsaken by someone you fully trusted in and relied on, someone who was like a light in your life, and they drop you so abruptly that you suddenly realize that the light you confided in for so long was only an illusion, then you’ll know what this passage means.

Darkness is the absence of light. In other words, the light wasn’t ever really there, you mistook it for the real thing, and the person in question may have believed in it as the real thing, but what determines whether it’s real or not is whether it lasts.

Because one thing I have always believed is that love is forever. If it isn’t forever, then it wasn’t real love in the first place.

The level of emotion will not always remain the same, naturally, but there is one ingredient that will make all the difference in the world, between real love and the fake: faithfulness.

The Bible says that if you’ve been put in charge of anything by God, there is only one thing that is required of you: to be faithful.

You may not have a lot of strength, you may not have a lot of gifts, you may not be nothing much at all, but you are one thing, and that is faithful.

That is the one tiny spark that makes all the difference in the universe between the real light and the fake, between true love and that which many people may mistake for love. It may not seem like much at all, but apparently, that’s what makes the difference.

After the love has gone, what is there left to believe in? Apparently far less people have that real, lasting kind of love in them in our world today than we may think, which is why there is so much heartache, disappointment and so many broken relationships and marriages. Too many shiny fake versions of love that promise happiness in exchange for that seemingly insignificant ingredient we despise, that has almost vanished from our vocabulary:

that tiny little factor of faithfulness.

Love is forever. Everything else is only a fake.

Jesus knew that there were people who believed themselves to be benefactors of mankind, oh, and they can be radiant, and that light in their eyes may sparkle deceivingly real. But when their light is gone, just as quickly as you turn off a light switch, then you know it was only an artificial fake after all, no real love, real light.

The sad thing is that it usually takes time to find this out. – Sometimes quite a long time, in fact. Time is the great tester, and it certainly is the factor that will prove our degree of faithfulness, and thus, the degree of authenticity of our love. Some actually have it, and some actually don’t.

It’s shocking when you realize that that light was never really there, and you find out in shock what Jesus meant… “If the light in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!”

This type of people can wreak quite a bit of devastation in one’s life. For all they give, they subtly demand more in return, more dependence, more devotion, almost like an addiction, like a drug.

You may think you’re receiving their light, but since it isn’t really real, but only a fake, it doesn’t bear fruit, you’ve only invested in darkness, poured your life into a vessel with holes and are ultimately left empty, sucked dry and devastated…

They’re probably the closest thing to vampires in the real world. They may not suck your blood, but drain your life’s energy out of you, and the hollow shell they leave behind will be a sad reminder that it pays to put your trust in Someone Greater than frail flesh and blood, and blessed are they who do, indeed.

I used to wonder about this passage in Matthew 24: “But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Mt.24:37-39).

I used to wonder, “Why, Jesus, what’s so bad about eating, drinking, marrying and giving in marriage? Why should that merit the end of the world?”

But if you take a closer look at people’s eating, drinking and mating habits, you get the point.

While 40.000 starve daily in one part of the world, obesity is becoming a major disease in another.

While in one place people don’t even have enough drinking water to survive, in another they drink themselves to death.

It’s the imbalance, the selfishness that matters and makes it so ugly… the unwillingness of the rich to share, and their sickening, self-indulging indifference.

And then there’s the mating game. A whole nuther story.

Have you ever frequented a dating site? Like – in a “civilized,” Western country?

I once wrote an entry about the devaluation of human life in reference to what some nations are willing to pay for the corpse of a butcher as compared to what they’re willing to eke out for the corpse of his victim…

Well, you’ll see the devaluation of human life (along with the sheer absence of human intelligence) nowhere as blatantly as on a dating site.

Here they present themselves like merchandise in a supermarket, and mind you, the customers are picky. “Looking for Mr. Right” or “the perfect man” … or woman, the “girl of my dreams, ” etc.

Whereas members of less “developed” countries are a lot more modest. Perhaps one day the world will see the difference between so-called civilization and truly civilized people, among whom respect is still a given, and courtesy not a “Huh, what’s that?”

Not to mention that in the entire process of feverishly trying to obtain the objects of their affection that might quench their burning needs (or lusts?), the most important Factor is – as usual – left out of the equation almost entirely: the Giver of all things in the first place.

Maybe that’s why Jesus said not labour for the meat which perisheth… although everybody of course, keeps doing it, even the most devout of His followers.

Of course, it would be a sacriliege and the epitome of political incorrectness to preach anything different, for man’s greatest religion and god has become the work of his own hands. After all, the work of his own hands is what will earn him those most desired shreds of paper in the universe, which Jesus said we couldn’t serve, if we served God,;and those, in return, will by us foood, drrrink, and will help us to impress the other sex (either by means of taunting our apparel and plastic surgery, or our vehicles, houses and yachts). In short: materialism.

Since everything begins (evolution) and ends (lifeless corpse in coffin) with mere lifeless matter which is supposed to have brought forth itself, the space between the beginning and the end, that which we refer to as life, revolves around the same: lifeless matter. In other words, not really life at all, since the one thing that gives life, as Jesus said, is Spirit (John 6:63), coincidentally, the same stuff that God Himself is made of (John 4:24).

It’s not that I don’t like to eat, drink or am not totally amazed by the opposite sex. Nor do I try to pretend to come across as some sort of spiritual wonder child, since I’m subject to the same desires and needs as everybody else.

It’s just that the way we go about it and still have the nerve to call “civilized,” to me comes across as rather barbaric.

If that’s what brought on the flood (along with many other evils that find their modern counterparts), then let it rain, Lord, let it rain!