A lot of stories, films and Television programmes have the theme of “good vs evil“, some of my favourites have story-lines where the evil person’s plans are yet to be discovered but are slowly uncovered as time goes on. This is true of “Once Upon A Time”, and is true of a real battle that not everyone is aware of or wants to even dwell on. There is evil in this world, there are people like Adolf Hitler, mass murderers, rapists, paedophiles and radicals who promote & encourage others to kill. There is also good, love and kindness in the world expressed by people like Mother Theresa, food banks, street pastors and guerrilla gardeners!
The thing that concerns me is how much the human race is oblivious to what is truly going on! You have groups like Anonymous and Wikileaks who are exposing and trying to fight against the tide of secrecy and corruption in the world, but like in the film “Men in Black” –
the only way these people can get on with their happy lives is that they DO NOT KNOW ABOUT IT!
The church should be a place to receive truths and be encouraged to bring light into the darkness of our own lives and those around us, but unfortunately some churches have allowed the deceiver to use small white lies to distract churches from the right path, so that they dwell on things that do not matter or things which are not completely true.
In my blog about “wanderlust and training camps” I compared some churches to communes where we allow Christians to serve one another and close themselves off to the world, the problem is “we are in the world not of it”, we are ambassadors for the Kingdom of God, Ambassadors do not just stay within the walls of the embassy (unless i am wildly mistaken) but they engage with the society around them, maintaining their status and role within that society.
There are two mistakes people can make about the Devil:-
- Giving him too much credit- banging your toe on a table leg isn’t the devil’s work it’s just an accident!
- Giving him too little credit- if we are doing God’s will and things seem against us they probably are, as the Devil does not want God’s will to be done!
I am really confused how “Christians” in churches can be so willing to believe that gems and gold dust, even feathers can fall from the ceiling, attributing it to “the glory of God” but as someone pointed out, how many people in the bible actually come into contact with the “glory of God” and survived? If they did meet the pure awesomeness of God, they were either forced to their knees with the realisation of their impurity compared to God’s nature or they were physically blinded by the pure white light, so how come these new “spiritual encounters” involve people being able to stand and hold their phones up to video it? God doesn’t change so what do they think has changed? The bible says:-
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
I watched a scene in a documentary, where a really passionate young man walked up to a group of guys playing basketball and asked “Wanna see a miracle?” Firstly, who does that?! (certainly Jesus never did) Secondly, the friends of the guy who was “healed” didn’t know what to do so just went back to playing basketball! So that “miracle” had a massive impact on those guys (not!) If the deaf guy was really healed, why did he not react in the way others have in the videos you see on Facebook where someone hears for the first time? If your hearing returned wouldn’t you be a little more pleased?
The times that I have felt God “speak to me” or “touch me“, I have not been holding my phone up taking selfies of the experience, I have been so overwhelmed that I could barely stand, I weep uncontrollably, my wife asks if I am ok, I nod and just cry at the depth God’s love and how unworthy I feel of it! My parents, my wife and I prayed for a friend of ours who was stressed and was struggling with the weight of work he was facing, when we laid our hands on him, i felt an overwhelming sadness, and felt all his concern leave him.
The problem I have is that i don’t want to limit God, but in all seriousness we are called to question everything (despite what some atheists think of us “Brainwashed” followers of some guy called Jesus). The bible says:-
Don’t be a stupid sheep, follow only the true shepherd and what in his word, which is as true today as it was when he walked this earth, our society may have changed the landscape but we are still followers who need to look up occasionally and check that we haven’t got lost in nice looking pasture which isn’t as beneficial as we thought it was.
If we are truly having encounters with God, our lives will be changed but our focus should always return to our true shepherd. When we are baptised we are reborn, but that doesn’t mean the false shepherd has given up trying to lead you in the wrong direction, he may not have stopped you publicly declaring that you are one of God’s flock, but the Devil won’t stop offering you temptations to lead you back to the old pastures or new places which seem good but have poor roots and are no good for your future.
Test everything you hear and see, even if it is in a church, Humans are fallible and weak, God is steadfast, trustworthy and faithful!