Mom & Dad – I Love You

Earlier this week I was blessed with having a little time to visit my folks in the Carolinas. I wanted to share a very special time that had I had with our Lord during that trip.

img_0752One of the side benefits of visiting my folks is that they live in the Blue Ridge Mountains. During the weeks leading up to my visit, I was excited about seeing my family and was also looking forward to taking a little bit of time to hike the Looking Glass Rock Trail in Pisgah National Forest. For those who have not been blessed with visiting Looking Glass Rock, it is a huge monolithic rock that sticks up over 1,700-feet from the forest floor. It is what I consider to be the Jewel of Pisgah National Forest.

The morning after my arrival I woke with the excitement of my morning hike. I ate breakfast with my mom and dad and headed out for the forest with the intentions of being back by noon, telling my mother that I would see her for lunch. I had hiked Looking Glass Rock Trail about 5-years ago and remembered that it was a fairly strenuous uphill trek, and I remembered it only being a couple of miles long.

On my way to the trail I calculated that if I spent an hour climbing the 2-mile ascent it would put me at the top at about 10:00, giving a 20 or 30 minutes to enjoy the view, and with a 45-minute return trip I would be back at the truck by 11:30 with time to spare, giving me 30 minutes to get back to my folks house for lunch – Piece of Cake!

looking-glass-rockWell, when I got to the trailhead, I learned that the trail was actually 3 miles long, all up hill. I almost decided to choose a different trail considering my time constraints, but something would not let me shrink from the challenge. On Florida flatland trails, 3 miles in one hour is not much of a personal challenge, but a 3-mile 1,700-hundred foot climb is something altogether different. I looked at the map on the trailhead kiosk and looked down at the clock on my phone and remember saying to myself, just before I commenced on my trek of insanity, “You got this!”

I scrambled to the top of the rock as fast as my body would take me, taking a few breaks here there just long enough to keep my heart from pounding out of my chest. One saving grace to this little trip was that it was only 25-degrees (Fahrenheit), but I still managed to soak a t-shirt, a long sleeved thermal shirt, sweatshirt and a jacket completely through. As anyone who has spent any time hiking in the mountains is well aware of from the beginning of this story, I had little chance of making it to the top in one hour, but I did make it in an hour and a half and my legs are still sore as I am writing this 3-days later.

img_0756I took a few pictures with my cell phone. It was an absolutely beautiful day, and I felt compelled to take 5 or 10-minits to sit and pray before heading back. As I was headed toward the truck, I had this overwhelming sense of urgency to get back. It wasn’t a sense that something was wrong, but a rather a sense that I needed to keep my word to my mother and father of being back in time for lunch. I found myself almost running at times. I wouldn’t doubt if some of the people passed who were coming up the trail may have been wondering why I was in such a hurry?

I was laughing to myself, “Here you are Bill, 51-years old and still having trouble getting home on time.” It brought me back to my teenage years, when I would stay out past my curfew, knowing all the way home that I would be in trouble and that there would be consequences. Typically I would lose my driving privileges or be grounded to the house for a week or two.

The reason for my hurry was something altogether different, however. I wasn’t anxious about getting back because I was afraid of being in trouble or somehow disappointing my parents; I was in a hurry to get back because I love my parents and I didn’t want to miss spending time with them. I enjoyed my time on the trail, but I wasn’t there to spend time in the woods. I was there to spend time with my parents.

As I get older, I am finding that there is nothing more important to me than spending time with the ones that I love. As I am sure many can relate, I am finding myself wanting to spend more time with my folks.

As a child, much of my concern in dealing with my parents was staying out of trouble and wanting to make them proud. Now I don’t view my parents as disciplinarians but as two people that I love more than I can express and honor them out of that love, not out of a fear of being trouble or somehow disappointing them.

My relationship with the Lord has changed in the same way. When I was younger, I viewed our Father in Heaven in as someone who I needed to please to keep out of the hot seat of Hell. Hell was very much the focus. I needed to straighten my life out and accept Jesus so I could go to Heaven.

Now that I am older I find chuckling to myself at how things have changed. I very seldom even think of Hell. I no longer spend time in prayer because I am worried that God will be mad at me if I don’t pray or out of a sense of obligation. I spend time with God because I want to spend time with the One I love more than anyone.

As we grow in the love of our Lord, Hell loses it grip on us, not because it has become any less serious, but because as we grow in the knowledge and understand of who God is we begin to understand that Hell has absolutely no place in our lives. We no longer strive to stay away from sin for fear of punishment, but because we no longer want there ever to be anything that will separate us from our Greatest Love.

Tree of Life – Chapter 3 of “cosmic christ”

 

The amazing thing about Sacred Scripture is that throughout, from the book Genesis to the book of Revelation the central unifying theme is Christ Jesus. He is the common thread that ties the Word of God into one cohesive message that we, all of humanity, have a Father Who passionately loves us and has made a way for us to return to Him through His Son Jesus Christ.

1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2. He was in the beginning with God;
3. all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.
4. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
5. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

St. John 1:1-5

Let us consider the events that took place in the Garden at the very beginning of biblical history. God created Adam and Eve, purely innocent of evil; they had absolutely no understanding of the death and corruption that would take place because of their disobedience. The serpent (snake), who we understand to be the devil, deceived Eve into believing that she could be like God if she ate of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. He also convinced Eve that she would not “surely die” if she ate of the tree, as God told her would happen.

1. Now the serpent was more subtle than any other wild creature that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden’?”
2. And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden;
3. but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'”
4. But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die.
5. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6. So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate.
7. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.

Genesis 3:1-7

Did Adam and Eve die when they ate of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? The answer is yes. They died spiritually. Man is created for the purpose of living in perfect union with God. Adam and Eve were created to be loved by and to love God. There are two truths that we need to understand as we move along. First – Eve was, as we are aware, perfectly content in her relationship with God when the snake planted a seed of distrust within her mind. This is the way our adversary operates. He plants seeds of distrust and separation into the minds of the faithful; this is nothing new. We as believers have been given specific and very clear direction as to how we are to worship and approach God.

Throughout the Church age (Catholic, Protestant & Orthodox) there have been voices of deception drumming in the ears, hearts, and minds of the faithful making assertions such as – “There is more to spirituality than just being obedient to God”; “There is so much more, look at what the Hindus and Buddhists are doing”; “Did God really say that Jesus is the only way to Heaven?” We could ask the question – why wasn’t God enough for Adam and Eve? Likewise, we should ask the Church – why isn’t Jesus enough?

We as the Church have the Gospel message of Jesus Christ, a perfect plan for salvation laid out before us and for some reason many feel that it is not enough. Our mission that is very clearly communicated to us by the Head of His Church, Jesus, is very simple; share the gospel with those lost in darkness, feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, visit the prisoners, comfort the sick, care for the widows – you know! – To do the stuff!

When Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil they did die. They died immediately. We need to take a very close look at verse 6.

6. So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate.

Genesis 3:6

“The tree was to be desired to make one wise.” The human desire for wisdom! We as humans have this very strong desire to know a little more than another. Most even take pride in knowing something more than one another. Look at the beginning of the verse – “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes.”

15. Do not love the world or the things in the world. If any one loves the world, love for the Father is not in him.
16. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world.
17. And the world passes away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides for ever.

1 John 2:15-17

Eve, completely innocent, separated from Adam was exploring the Garden, and along comes the master of deception. Satan has had thousands of years to practice pretending to be something that he is not. Predators often hunt by separating their prey from the herd and quite often seek out the weakest (1 Peter 3:7). He has Eve right where he wants her. He entices her with a beautiful piece fruit and promises that if she eats of it that she will be as wise as God. He uses a partial truth, as deceivers do. They use part of a truth, or they twist what is right into something that looks very close to the real thing, but with close observation is nothing but a lie. We in our desire for what we want will jump right in with blinders, instead of being obedient to our Father because we think we know better.

The serpent told her in Genesis 3:5; “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” He left out the part about not having the wisdom to understand good and evil. Knowing good and evil is not a bad thing, but they were to learn about good and evil in God’s perfect time. This is why the majority of us find trouble in this life – we jump ahead of God in His perfect timing.

We are called to obedience in this life, not to seek for wisdom or knowledge. I understand that this statement will not sit well with many, but just hang on and listen to what God is telling us through His word. If we cannot be trusted with the small things how can God trust us with the greater (St. Luke 16:10-13)? I understand that Jesus calls us to be “wise as serpents”, but let’s take a closer look at what He says in St. Mathew.

16. “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.
17. Beware of men; for they will deliver you up to councils, and flog you in their synagogues,
18. and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony before them and the Gentiles.
19. When they deliver you up, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour;
20. for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

St. Matthew 10:16-20

Look at what Jesus is saying here. In verse 16 He tells the disciples that they are “as sheep.” What do we know about sheep? Yes – they are not very smart, nor are they known for their reasoning skills. Sheep need a Shepherd. He is not talking about wild mountain sheep here; He is talking about the type sheep that shepherds tend. Jesus is the Good Shepherd (St. John 10:11).

Simply understood, we are to be as sheep, not in seeking to outwit our advisory who is seeking to kill us like a wolf, but learn to listen to and follow our Shepherd in what He is doing. Jesus said of Himself; “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever he does, that the Son does likewise.”(St. John 5:19) Jesus leads by example. In St. John 3:14-15 Jesus compares Himself to the serpent that Moses lifted up in the wilderness. He is telling us to be wise like He is, not as the world. Jesus has not called us to be super spiritual or even super smart, but He is calling us to be completely faithful.

To understand how Jesus is referring to Himself as the serpent we need to take a look at the book of Numbers. The Children of Israel spoke against God and Moses, and against the Manna that God had provided for them as food (Numbers 21:5). God then sent “fiery serpents” to bite the Children of Israel as punishment for their sin of complaining against God. They then went to Moses and repented of their sins and God instructed Him to make a “bronze serpent” and lift it up upon a pole so that whoever looked upon the serpent would be saved from the death Numbers 7-9). The “bronze serpent” representing the sin of the Israelites was raised up, Just as Jesus became sin by taking upon Himself the sins of the world was lifted up upon the Cross taking the punishment for that sin of the world (2 Corinthians 2:21).

In chapter 3 of St. John’s Gospel, Jesus compares Himself to the serpent: “14. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, 15. that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.”

Now let’s us take a look at what Jesus is communicating when He is telling the listeners to be as innocent as doves in verse 16 of chapter 10 of St. Matthews Gospel. To read this verse out of context would make this statement sound contradictory, but understanding that His statement about being as wise a serpent is an admonishment to be as He is, likewise so is He when He makes this statement. What do we know about doves? A dove, of course, is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. A dove is also very gentle. If a dove perched on a branch next to a person, that person would most likely have a good feeling. Some may even reach out in words or even physically with a hand to communicate their pleasure at being visited by such a beautiful and tender creature. This would be very unlike our response if a vulture or hawk landed next to us, we may be intrigued, but we would most likely proceed with caution, if not shrink back with uncertainty.

Essential to understanding what Jesus was trying to communicate as He spoke of being as “innocent as doves” is that, in the mind of a Jew, a turtle dove, according to Old Testament Law (Leviticus 5:7), is one of the creatures that could be offered up as a sin offering; the dove being completely innocent of the sin for which it is being sacrificed. Jesus gave of Himself as the perfect sin offering. His blood was given, poured out as payment for the sins of all humanity, He being completely innocent.

We are to be like Jesus when the Jewish leaders accused him. He was not concerned with defending Himself, but in only speaking the Father’s words.

Jesus is filled with the Spirit of His Father in Heaven and is concerned only with being obedient to His will. This is the purpose for which God placed Jesus upon the Earth.

1. Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him, he will bring forth justice to the nations.
2. He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street;
3. a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice.
4. He will not fail or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his law.

Isaiah 42:1-4

Let’s look at this section of scripture below from Gospel account St. Matthew that is a reference to what Isaiah wrote in Isaiah chapter 42. This is a reference to Jesus. He had just healed a man on the Sabbath and knew that the Pharisees were taking counsel “against Him.” He did not stand and confront His accusers, but “withdrew” from the area. Matthew inserts the following verses into the text to explain the unnatural behavior of our Lord. Jesus’ concern was not in justifying Himself, but in the ultimate justification of others. Jesus focused on the Fathers will, not being distracted by the need to be right.

17. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah:
18. “Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he shall proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
19. He will not wrangle or cry aloud, nor will any one hear his voice in the streets;
20. he will not break a bruised reed or quench a smoldering wick, till he brings justice to victory; 21 and in his name will the Gentiles hope.”

St. Matthew 12:17-20

Notice that in verse 18 that the profit, speaking in the voice of God, says, “I will put my spirit upon Him.” It is by the spirit of God that Jesus is walking. Jesus is not concerned with proving that He is right. He is not puffed up with religious pride, but filled with the Holy Spirit.

Consider Eve as she walked through the Garden. Do you think she was as “gentle as a dove?” Of course, she was. She, up until that point had been walking in pure love with the Father. She knew nothing of religious pride or the deception of the enemy, but she was not as wise as a serpent. She did not first consider what her Father, God, would want her to do. She, being caught up in the moment of deception disregarded what her Father had instructed her so that she could fulfill the desires of her own will.

Let’s look at this deception compared to the “cosmic christ” deception. Satan offered Eve the ability to be like God. Those who offer the “cosmic christ” will tell you that God is in everything, that all we need to do is unlock our inner “god,” and that we are all Christ. They say that all of Creation is Christ.

1. Now the serpent was more subtle than any other wild creature that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden’?”
2. And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden;
3. but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'”
4. But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die.
5. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Genesis 3:1-5

Take a hard, honest look here; the voice is the same as the voice that calls the faithful to believe in the “cosmic christ.” “Did God really say that Jesus was The Christ, or is He a ‘christ?’” Did God, through His Word, really say that Jesus was the only way to Heaven? The answers have not changed either. Yes, Jesus is the Only Christ, a title that we can only claim as our own if we as believers are seated in Him as our Lord. Yes, Jesus is the only way to Heaven. And, Yes, God did say that Eve would die if she ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

1. If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
2. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
3. For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
4. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
5. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
6. On account of these the wrath of God is coming.

Colossians 3:1-6

Look at verse 4, the text plainly communicates that we who are in Christ will appear in Him. St. Paul communicates that this Christ “is our Life.” Who is “Him” in this verse? “Him” is Jesus, by whom all people are saved (Acts 4:12).

What is it to be spiritually dead? Do our spirits die? No – our spirits do not die, they live on forever. God created us as eternal beings as He is eternal. To live is to be with God in eternity – to enter into Glory which is the Father’s habitation. To die spiritually is to be separated from God.

Let’s take a look at the way that this separation is communicated in Scripture:

7. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.
8. And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

Genesis 3:7-8

They were naked, and once the eyes of their understanding of what they had done they became ashamed of themselves and hid from God.

We are created for espousal – to be married. When we are espoused to someone, we become one flesh. As the Church, we believe that there are only two vocations. One is a religious vocation in which a person is unmarried to another person, but is considered to be married to God In Christ. We live a “martyred” life, dead to the world but alive in Christ Jesus. Our other vocation is to be married to another person. When we are married to someone, we are considered to be one flesh in Christ (St. Mark 10:8). When married and in Christ, we are also considered to be dead to this life and espoused to God, but as one flesh.

We are at complete liberty to be naked before our wives or husbands, but we are not at liberty to be naked before any other of the opposite sex. Contrary to the understanding of the world we are to be modestly dressed in the presence of the opposite sex. After Adam and Eve sinned they were no longer espoused to God, therefore, having eaten from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, understood the shame of their actions. Their espousal was broken, and they were separated spiritually from God.

Sin always separates us from God. When we are walking in sin, we do not turn our eyes towards God in confident obedience.

17. Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

James 1:17

When we are alive in Christ, figuratively speaking, we are looking straight at God, heads lifted towards Heaven bathing in the light of His Love. When we are walking in sin, our eyes are diverted from Heaven, and our heads are “turned” from His gaze as our faces are cast in “shadow.”

God had mercy on their shame and made them skins from animals to cover their nakedness. Sin and death entered into the world. An animal was killed to cover the nakedness and shame of their sin.

21. And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins, and clothed them.

Genesis 3:21

St. Paul clearly ties Adam and Jesus together. Adam being the first physical son of God, and Jesus being the first spiritual (begotten – St. John 3:16)) Son of God.

45. Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam (Jesus) became a life-giving spirit.
46. But it is not the spiritual which is first but the physical, and then the spiritual.
47. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.

1 Corinthians 15:45-46

Lets take a few minutes to look into the way the scripture ties together Adam & Eve, and Jesus & Mary:

Disobedience & Obedience:

Eve was deceived by the serpent and gave Adam the forbidden fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Mary was obedient to God and gave to the world the Fruit of the Tree of Life.

Nakedness:

Adam was naked in the Garden when he sinned and ate of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and Jesus was naked upon a Cross and took upon Himself the sin of the world.

God Clothes Humanity:

God clothed Adam and Eve with the skins of animals to cover their nakedness. Blood was shed to cover the shame of their sin.

Jesus was sacrificed on a Cross so we could be cleansed by his blood and clothed in the spiritual garments of righteousness.

Access to the Tree of Life:

When Adam and Eve through disobedience ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil they were cut from access to the Garden of Eden where within grew the Tree of Life.

24. He drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.

Genesis 3:24

Jesus through obedience poured out his blood so we could freely eat of the fruit of the Tree of Life.

13. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
14. Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates.

Revelation 22:13-14

Notice that God brings us back to the Tree of Life in the very last chapter of his inerrant word. This is where we find the truth that dispels one of the biggest lies of the “cosmic christ” teaching. The folks who push this belief will tell you that the crucifixion of Jesus was unnecessary and that God would never have required that His Son be killed. They will go on to say that only a mean, hateful God would require death as payment for sin. Another way they will try to spin the argument is that they will say that Jesus gave His life out of love, but that God did not require His sacrifice.

16. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

St. John 3:16

The verse above is without question the most quoted verse by Christians in all of Scripture. God very clearly through the pen of St. John states that “He gave His only Son.” Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing (St. John 5:19).

Jesus was completely obedient to the will of His Father in Heaven.

 

41. And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed,
42. “Father, if thou art willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”
43. And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him.
44. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling upon the ground.

St. Luke 22:41-44

Do not ever let anyone minimize the pain and agony that Jesus went through for us through His obedience to our Father. Jesus was in agony at the thought of what He was about to go through on the Cross. He even asked the Father if there was any other way (St. Matthew 26:39). God sent Him an angel to strengthen Him (St. Luke 22:43). His sweat became “like great drops of blood (St. Luke 22:44).” Be very clear in your understanding that what Jesus went through was real, it was painful beyond comprehension, and it was only accomplished out of obedience.

Don’t let anybody tell you that the Blood of Jesus is not necessary for our salvation.

Available Soon 

cosmic-christ-cover-wordpress

Slight of Hand

Most have attended a “magic show” where a “magician” will make a coin or a small ball disappear and then re-appear in an odd spot like behind someone’s ear or in their pocket. Most are aware that the magicians performing these amazing tricks are not magicians at all, but slight of hand artists. They learn to make things disappear or reappear by using mirrors or with the art of using diversions to take the watcher’s eyes off of the subject.

This type of trickery is alive and well, and being practiced on the minds of the faithful. There is teaching that seems to be gaining ground amongst the faithful in the “cosmic christ”. As we discussed in the last post, this is a belief that Jesus was not “the” Christ but one who was evidence of “christ” being released on the earth. The teachers of this belief will say that Christ was not Jesus’ last name and that we are all Christ (the anointed of God). To further confuse the issue they proclaim Creation as being the first “christ.”

Fr. Richard Rohr, the founder of the “Center for Action and Contemplation” in an interview with Msgr. Walter Nolen, the pastor of St. Paul’s Church in Princeton, New Jersey had a few interesting things to say about Christ. This interview can be found on YouTube and appears to be produced by the Catholic Corner.

Fr. Rohr makes the following statements:

“The big bang was the birth of the ‘christ’.”

 “The first ‘body of christ’ was creation itself.”

 “God is liberating and loving through everything that God created.”

What he is asserting is that salvation is handed down through a divine spark that travels through the collective energy of creation.

The following paragraph is taken from the Vatican document “Jesus Christ The Bearer Of The Water Of Life,” 2.3.4.1. …the human person. The Vatican released this document in 2003, addressing the issue of “New Age Spirituality” being wrongly promoted from within the Church, and was published as a 90-page booklet titled “A Christian Reflection of the New Age.”

“In what might be termed a classical New Age account, people are born with a divine spark, in a sense which is reminiscent of ancient Gnosticism; this links them into the unity of the Whole. So they are seen as essentially divine, although they participate in this cosmic divinity at different levels of consciousness. We are co- creators, and we create our own reality. Many New Age authors maintain that we choose the circumstances of our lives (even our own illness and health), in a vision where every individual is considered the creative source of the universe. But we need to make a journey in order fully to understand where we fit into the unity of the cosmos. The journey is psychotherapy, and the recognition of universal consciousness is salvation. There is no sin; there is only imperfect knowledge. The identity of every human being is diluted in the universal being and in the process of successive incarnations. People are subject to the determining influences of the stars, but can be opened to the divinity which lives within them, in their continual search (by means of appropriate techniques) for an ever greater harmony between the self and divine cosmic energy. There is no need for Revelation or Salvation which would come to people from outside themselves, but simply a need to experience the salvation hidden within themselves (self-salvation), by mastering psycho- physical techniques which lead to definitive enlightenment.”

This belief in a “cosmic Christ” is nothing new; it is akin to Gnosticism and has been around for thousands of years. The statement that Christ is not the last name of Jesus is absolutely true. This is where deception is most dangerous – when truth is used with a twist. When a counterfeiter replicates currency they reproduce that currency as close to the real thing as possible. They do not place a picture of Daffy Duck on a twenty-dolor bill. No, they make it as close to the real thing as possible.

Christ is not the last name of Jesus, and most people shake their heads in an up and down motion of affirmation when they hear this being said. The “cosmic christ” proponents say that the word Christ signifies that God’s anointing rests on Jesus. Of course, this is true because Christ means “The Anointed One”, and if that is the definition, we must all be Christ because all that are saved are anointed by God. Also very true – all who are in Christ are anointed by God and can rightfully claim the title of Christ.

The following paragraph is taken from the Vatican document “Jesus Christ The Bearer Of The Water Of Life,” 2.3.4.2 …God?:

“When it is consciously received by men and women, “divine energy” is often described as “Christic energy”. There is also talk of Christ, but this does not mean Jesus of Nazareth. “Christ” is a title applied to someone who has arrived at a state of consciousness where he or she perceives him- or herself to be divine and can thus claim to be a “universal Master”. Jesus of Nazareth was not the Christ, but simply one among many historical figures in whom this “Christic” nature is revealed, as is the case with Buddha and others. Every historical realisation of the Christ shows clearly that all human beings are heavenly and divine, and leads them towards this realisation.”

Here is the twist, or should I say, the untwisting. Christ is not just the description of the anointing that rests on Jesus. It is His title! He is “The Christ”, the Anointed One. This title is singular – He is the only Christ. We are saved by the name of Jesus who is “the” Christ. Jesus was not just another person anointed by God. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit directly within the womb of the Virgin Mary. Some will try to say that Jesus did not receive the anointing of God before John the Baptist, baptized Him. Remember that John the Baptist leaped while He was still in the womb of Elizabeth, when our mother Mary came into Elizabeth’s presence. John did not leap because of Mary, but because Jesus was present within her womb (Luke 1:44).

“I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, 

the Only Begotten Son of God,

born of the Father before all ages.

God from God, Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;

through him all things were made.

For us men and for our salvation

he came down from heaven,

and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,

and became man.”

 Paragraph 2 – The Nicene Creed

Look that the quote above. This is the second paragraph of the Nicene Creed typically recited during the Catholic mass. “We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God.” When I first became a Catholic, this part of the creed would get stuck in my throat. As a Protestant, I understood that I was in Jesus Christ in my mind. It took reciting this statement many times before this truth began to settle in my heart. When I first read this statement, I actually would think “where does that leave us if Jesus is the only Son of God.” Yes, the answer is obvious, that leaves us “in Christ.” I knew the answer to the question, in my mind, the first time I read this statement, but for some reason, it just bothered me. I am sure that many Protestants grasp this truth; I was just not one of them.

When I think back to my being uncomfortable with this statement, my issue may have been because it somehow made me feel very vulnerable. I think most people like to think of themselves as being independent – able to take care of themselves. We are completely dependent on Jesus. He is the Christ. Many say that Christians use Jesus as a crutch. This truth makes Jesus much more than a crutch; it makes Him our very life. Without Jesus we are nothing more than like a blade of grass that grows for a very short period, dies, and is forgotten forever in the wind (1 Peter 1:24).

This section of the creed also describes Jesus as being “light from light.” In the interview discussed above, Fr. Richard Rohr asserts that that in Genesis chapter 1, verse 3, when it reads, “And God said ‘let there be light,’” that God is referring to the first “christ.”

The following paragraph is taken from the Vatican document “Jesus Christ The Bearer Of The Water Of Salvation,” 2.3.4.3 …the world?:

“The move from a mechanistic model of classical physics to the “holistic” one of modern atomic and sub-atomic physics, based on the concept of matter as waves or energy rather than particles, is central to much New Age thinking. The universe is an ocean of energy, which is a single whole or a network of links. The energy animating the single organism which is the universe is “spirit”. There is no alterity between God and the world.”

Richard Rohr furthers displays that he misunderstands the Scripture by asserting that this is that same light that St. John is referring to in the first chapter of his gospel. The “New Age” crowd equates the “christ” as being the life energy of creation. Their eyes are blinded to the truth that St. John is referring to the light as our “hope” not the life force of the planet. Let’s compare these two sections of Scripture.

3. And God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

 4. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.

5. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.

 Genesis 1:3-5

 1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2. He was in the beginning with God;

 3. all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.

 4. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

 5. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

 6. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

 7. He came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him.

 8. He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light.

 9. The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world.

 St. John 1:1-9

In verse 3 of the first chapter of the Gospel of St. John above the Apostle very clearly states, “all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” Christ is coeternal with the Father. God did not create Christ on the first day. In Genesis when God says “let there be light” God is referring to physical light that He spoke into existence through the Christ, as Scripture so plainly states. I don’t claim to understand how God created the Earth and all that it contains through His Son the Christ. Nobody understands this mystery. That’s what makes it a mystery. This is one of those things that we need to believe by faith.

Let’s take a look at what St. Peter said when being questioned by the Sanhedrin (Jewish Leaders). This was soon after the Apostles were filled with the anointing of the Holy Spirit in the Upper Room.

8. Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, answered them, “Leaders of the people and elders:

9. If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a cripple, namely, by what means he was saved,

 10. then all of you and all the people of Israel should know that it was in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead; in his name this man stands before you healed.

 11. He is ‘the stone rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.’

 12. There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.”

 Acts 4:8-12

Not only does St. Peter use the name “Christ”, he narrows it down to say that “of Jesus Christ the Nazorean whom you crucified.” St. Peter could not get much more specific.

Now that we are clear on how St. Peter felt about Jesus being “the” Christ, let us take a look at what St. Paul has to say on the subject.

17. For if, by the transgression of one person, death came to reign through that one, how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of justification come to reign in life through the one person Jesus Christ.

 Romans 5:17

St. Paul is very clear that he believes that “justification” comes through “one person Jesus Christ.” This sounds very different from what the folks teaching about the “cosmic christ” would like for us to believe. They would like for us to believe that creation was the first “christ.” No – the Earth was created “in” Christ.

13. He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,

 14. in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

 15.He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

 16. For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created through him and for him.

 17. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

 18. He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead that in all things he himself might be preeminent.

19. For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell,

20. and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of his cross [through him], whether those on earth or those in heaven.

 Colossians 1:13-20

Again, Jesus was not just a man who received the anointing of God; He is the Anointing of God. When we receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we receive Him. He is the anointing. “All things were created through Him and for Him.” (Colossians 1:16)

Let’s now see what Jesus says about Himself:

6. Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

 St. John 14:6

5. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.

 6. Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned.

 St. John 15:5-6

48. I am the bread of life.

 49. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.

 50. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die.

 51. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

 52. The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

 53. So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you;

 54. he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

 55. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.

 56. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.

 57. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.

 58. This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever.”

 59. This he said in the synagogue, as he taught at Caperna-um.

 St. John 6:48-59

The Apostle John gives very clear testimony in his gospel that Jesus proclaimed that He is the only way to Heaven. Not only does St. John record that Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father except through Me”, but further on in Chapter 6 he writes that “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.”

Jesus gives a further explanation during the Last Supper of His claim of being the Bread of Life (Luke 22:19). We will work through this claim in much further detail in as we move along. Understanding that Jesus as the Bread of Life will help us to see the “cosmic christ” deception more clearly.

Jesus is the only way to Heaven:

3. This is good and pleasing to God our savior,

 4. who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.

 5. For there is one God. There is also one mediator between God and the human race, Christ Jesus, himself human,

 6. who gave himself as ransom for all.

1 Timothy 2:3-6

 

 

A Voice Cries Out

There is one voice upon the earth that unites humanity and utters its lonely cry through many tongues. This voice comes forth from the depths of the souls all people, from hearts that long to know the answers to two questions. The first being “God are you out there”? The second being predicated on the answer to the first being yes, is “do you love me”? In other words, “am I okay, and do I dare to hope”? Many who cry this prayer know that the answer is yes and others dare not believe for fear of one more disappointment. They fear that it would undoubtedly be fatal rejection, like the schoolboy who never asks the girl he fancies to dance. Acknowledged or not, the cry is the same from every heart on earth.

We are created by a loving God who displays evidence of His existence in every direction that we look; in the warmth of the sun; in the beauty of a women or man; in the water He provides for us to drink; in the wheat of the field that we eat; in the amazing workmanship of a single flower; the miracle of sight; or the birth of a child. The heart that can look upon the beauty and complexity of the created world and deny that God exists is a heart that is afraid to believe, for the evidence is undeniable.

I wonder if there could be anything more beautiful to God than the soul that reaches towards Him in love. The soul that responds to His loving touch in worship, the soul that weighs the evidence and in his or her heart and cries, “thank you” for the life that it has been given. God not only displays the evidence of His existence through His creation, but He also speaks to the hearts of humanity through His Spirit. People throughout the ages and in every corner of the Earth have responded to the beckoning call of God’s love to His creation. The response to this call can be seen in the evidence uncovered by archaeologists as they discover the ruins of ancient civilizations throughout the world. We can plainly see this response in or modern world. The cry is the same, “We hear you God and desire a relationship with You.” Our expressions are quite different, however, but the cry is the same. In Tibet they fly colorful flags in the wind, Native Americans call out to the Great Spirit, Muslims cry out daily in their mosques, Christians in their churches or cathedrals, and countless other expressions of love towards God are carried out daily throughout the world.

God has responded and continues to respond to every cry from every soul who has ever existed. He came to us in perfect humility in the form of a helpless baby named Jesus (Emmanuel). He came as a light into a dark and needful world. He stepped off of His throne and walked amongst His creation, knowing full well that the ones He loved would turn on Him in anger. He suffered and agonizing, shameful, death that He did not consider shameful, but as the way to redeem a fallen world unto Himself.

16. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.

17. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

John 3:16-17

Jesus laid down His life in perfect humility. Who would say to a man “Tie me to that post and whip my back until my flesh is torn from my bones because this is the way that I will heal you?” Who would say “Drive spikes through my hands and my feet because I want you to spend eternity with me?” Who would say “Hang me upon a cross until I die because I so desperately want to forgive you of all of your sins?” The answer is One Who loves deeper than humanly possible.

Every human who has ever existed or ever will exist has shared in crucifying our Savior through our sin. We are all guilty of the Blood of Jesus Christ. The Good News is that we are all saved through His sacrifice if we humble ourselves and meet him at the foot of the cross and accept our part, by repenting of our sins, and accepting Him as Lord and become washed by the Blood of His suffering.

This is the Good News of the Gospel – A great light of hope has come into the world and has offered humanity a way of salvation. Those of us who have accepted Jesus at the foot of The Cross and who are washed by His Blood have become bearers of the Light. Our part now is to go throughout the world and share this “Good News” of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, illuminating a hurting world with Hope.

Jesus is the Truth the Life and the Way, and it is by no other that access to Heaven will be granted (Ephesians 14:16 paraphrased). No other has given enough, or could ever to pay our debt: the innocent blood for the wretched souls of humanity, the humble for the proud, the Creator for His creation. There could be no way to Heaven other than through this Door that our loving Father in Heaven opened in love, yet there are those who seek another way.

Why do many seek another way? Why isn’t Jesus enough? The answer is simple. Sin! Sin is what separates man from his or her loving Creator. The lie that separated humanity from our Father in the Garden of Eden is still being perpetuated to this day. The lie that we can be like God. The lie that has been whispered in the ears of humanity throughout the ages – saying “God is trying to keep you from all of the goodness that this life has to offer.” The lie that comes from the enemy of our souls that says, “Just look around at all of the fun that everyone else in the world is having. Why shouldn’t you have that everything you want right now?”

How do we walk in sin and still find our way to Heaven when we die? There are some who believe that the answer to this question is the “cosmic christ.” The teachers of the “cosmic christ” claim that the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus were unnecessary. They assert that a loving God would not require the death of His Son as payment for the sins of humanity. The problem of sin has been solved by these teachers (Yes, this is absurd). They will tell you that “christ” was released into the earth at creation, that creation itself was the first “christ,” and that God released this “christ” back into the earth at the incarnation of Jesus.

Does this “cosmic christ” story sound familiar? For those who are students of the Bible, it should sound very familiar. Let’s take a look at the first time this story of deception was told by the father of lies.

1. Now the serpent was more subtle than any other wild creature that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden’?”

2. And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden;

3. but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'”

4. But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die.

5. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

6. So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate.

7. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.

Genesis 3:1-7

Herein lies that most disturbing part of this deception. Adam and Eve walked in perfect union with God, and yet they fell for the lying tongue of the serpent. This lie has been whispered into the hearts and minds of humanity throughout the ages. This deception was originally perpetuated through Adam and Eve, the first to walk with God, and is now being perpetuated by those who are walking with God, through the Church.

God redeemed humanity from the effects of following after the lie of deception perpetuated in the Garden. God sent us His son Jesus out of Love. The way of salvation is so simply laid out before us, yet there are those who chose a lie over the truth.

22. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, The dog turns back to his own vomit, and the sow is washed only to wallow in the mire.

2 Peter 2:22

~

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“Wellspring of Life”

There was a time when I was absolutely convinced that a belief in a place called Purgatory was foolishness. I was sure of the fact that I would never be convinced of anything different. I quite often shake my head and smile as I consider that this doctrinal belief that I at one time so adamantly opposed has become a wellspring of life within my spirit.

Read The First Two Chapters Free – Click Here!

Purgatory CoverMy hope is that “Purgatory – Heaven’s Healing Waters” will minister to your spirit. I wrote this book as a resource to help all believers come to a better understanding of this place of our Lord’s healing.

The following is from the chapter titled “The Suffering of Purgatory.”

I picture our journey toward God as a progressive state of purification—God being this “all consuming fire” that we are walking toward. As we walk closer to the fire the “stuff of this world” starts to burn away: the hurts, resentment, jealousy, hatred, and shame, just to name some of the “stuff.” We stop to take breaks along the path because the heat is too much for us to handle, but as we allow this “stuff” to be burned away, we are able to move closer. When we reach the end of our journey, we will be standing in front of God, this all consuming fire, and the flames will not hurt us in any way; they will actually, become our habitation, the place where we live. We will be living in Glory with God in His habitation.

It is when we move closer to God that we start feeling the pain of the “stuff” beginning to burn away. We are being purged of the sin and pain of this life. Purgatory is a place of purging, just like the word sounds. When I speak of Purgatory as a place, I am not speaking of a specific place. Purgatory is not a huge pit of torment as described by so many throughout history. Purgatory is a place in the heart. We often hear people say, “I am in a good place right now in my faith” or conversely “He or she does not seem to be in a good place right now.” Being in the place of Purgatory is the same thing, positional in our walk with the Lord. I have also heard people say that our experience here on Earth is part of Purgatory. If we are drawing closer to God and allowing Him to cleanse us of our hurts and faults, I would agree. Quite often as people draw closer to God, and the pain of Purgatory becomes too great, they pull back. I know I have pulled back. The danger is when we pull back for too long a period of time. Most of us know people who have pulled back never to return. They are just not going to deal with the pain. They retreat instead into the bottle, drugs, or even bad relationships.

One of the things that really got my attention when I was going through my “big breakdown” was when I would wake up out of a sound sleep sobbing or when I would break out in tears for no apparent reason. Although we might not be aware of the pain in our earthly consciousness, the pain is affecting our spirit just the same. I often wonder what people’s spirits would look like if we could see past our earthly facades? Would we see the pain that sits so very close to the surface of our consciousness?
St. John of the Cross, in his poem and commentary, The Dark Night of the Soul, explains this condition of our beings in great detail. He describes the condition of our soul and spirits as being hidden within this “Dark Night.” This is one of those books that I would encourage any person to read at least once a year. The writer’s perception of God’s interaction with our soul has been a great comfort to me through my personal healing process. This work, however, is one of the most misquoted within the church. Please read the writing for yourself. You will not regret the insight and richness that it adds to your walk with our loving Father. St. John details the steps that take place as God heals our fallen souls and spirits during this life. This healing is very painful at times and causes much suffering; however, this suffering is not the reason St. John titles his work The Dark Night of the Soul. When he refers to the “Dark Night” or “Dark Nights of purgation,” he is communicating a state or states of healing in which God places us during this life. The inference is that during this life God has separated our consciousness from being aware of the movements of God as He interacts with our soul and spirit. St. John of the Cross is not describing a really bad depressing period of time in one’s life, although many of these periods of emotion are inevitable during this Dark Night. Our consciousness is separated into darkness from our soul or spirit as it is being ministered to by God in His light.

*                                *                             *

The e-book is being offered on Amazon. It is our hope that you will enjoy the book and bless us with a review on Amazon. Positive reviews will help this message reach the folks for whom it is intended.

Read The First Two Chapters Free – Click Here!

Purgatory – Heaven’s Healing Waters

Read TheFirst Two Chapters Free – Click Here.

The word “Purgatory” all too often invokes images of suffering, tormented souls. The word never appears in the Bible but has nevertheless become a major bone of contention within the Church. Beginning my faith journey as a Protestant, Purgatory was presented to me as a Catholic teaching that proves that Catholics do not understand the saving grace of the message of Jesus Christ—that Catholics somehow believe that they will be made to pay for their sins in torment after they pass from this life. The sad truth, though, is that is exactly Purgatory Coverwhat many Catholics have been taught through the age of the Church regardless of the truth of what the Bible communicates and what official Church doctrine states. During my conversion process into the Catholic Church, I began to come to the understanding that this doctrine was not a Catholic fabrication, but a beautiful truth so very clearly illustrated throughout Scripture. God is our loving healer, and once the scales begin to fall from the eyes of our understanding and we learn to read scripture, not through Protestant or Catholic lenses, but through lenses of how much God loves us, we will begin to see clearly how much our loving Father desires to heal us from the filth of this life. What we need to understand is that God is not a vindictive spirit that gets some type of sick feeling of satisfaction out of watching those whom He created suffer. The truth is that Purgatory is a place where our loving Lord brings us to wash us free from the wounds suffered in this life. It is not a place of punishment for sin, but a place where we will learn to wade out into deep places of the healing waters of Heaven. Once we truly understand this truth within our hearts, we will begin to thirst for this place of existence that we call Purgatory.

The e-book is being offered on Amazon. It is our hope that you will enjoy the book and bless us with a review. Positive reviews will help this message reach the folks for whom it is intended.