Truth Incorporated

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATruth is kind of a big deal to me. Maybe because knowing the truth has always been the best way for me to have peace of mind! It can be considered knowledge,and of course knowledge is power! Power needed to overcome the fear and anxieties which accompany it’s antithesis of lies and confusion. Over the year’s I’ve become frustrated with how unnecessary and manufactured that confusion often seems to be. Businesses use deceptively simple premises that sound good on the surface to entice people into becoming customers. Then when they’ve got you in the door they employ some form of a “bait and switch”. To my way of thinking, this sort of marketing strategy is little more than legalized falsehood…It seems as though you can lie in the large print if you tell the truth in the small!

That’s Corporate truth!

Over my lifetime I’ve been taken in many times by such tactics, which are, like any successful scam based on the greed of it’s intended victims. You have to present a “something for nothing” scenario in order to peak the selfishness of the intended “mark”. Because I’ve been burnt before, I’ve become quite sensitive and even resentful towards any institution or corporation that attempts to use this method to engage me. I’m leery of any offer which seems overly generous or “too good to be true” and rightly so I’d say!

Christianity can also be misrepresented to people. They’re told that after trusting in Jesus Christ as their Saviour they’re born again and that their burdens in life can be laid down there at the foot of the cross. Most people understand that to mean that life as they know it is going to get easier but if you’ve been “around” at all you know that’s not really true. I’m not saying that it never happens or even that it can’t happen, what I am saying is that it’s a process. One that requires a lot of hard work over time. One that you’ll need lots of help with! People who are mature in their faith know this is true. If you think that Satan is just going to stand by and watch while someone grows in Christ you’re dead wrong! Nope, he’ll attack anyone who’s moving in the opposite direction that he is! Truth is, if you’re not encountering his handiwork maybe you should consider which way you’re headed!

According to data I’ve looked at, Christianity is in decline in the United States. Why? I think it’s because we’ve totally underestimated our enemy! We don’t believe we’re in a spiritual battle and that lives are at stake. No, either we’ve somehow been convinced that half measures and playing Church is God’s purpose for us as His ambassadors or perhaps we just don’t care.

There’s a lot more to being a Christian then just walking down an aisle and saying a prayer! That’s just the start! But if you want to live a victorious Christian life there’s a lot more to it. I’m talking about discipleship,which can’t sail without relationship! Relationships that run much deeper than shaking someones hand on Sunday morning and that aren’t put off by the walls that people have built around their hearts.

2888670193_949c834e3aThis symbol appears through the Ancient Ephesus. This symbol, a code unknown to the Romans was used by the Christians to indicate they were followers of Christ

Somewhere along the way the church’s priorities have changed from operating in the five fold ministries they’ve been called to in Ephesians four to instead function more like a business whose goal is warm bodies in pews paying tithes. God’s Spirit won’t occupy and empower that…but without His Holy Spirit they’re selling a product that doesn’t really work! Maybe that explains the large number of dissatisfied Christian consumers who’ve left the church seeking something they perceive as being based more on integrity.

These types of marketing strategies don’t work on people who,because of their sense of integrity,see them for what they are. Who aren’t only interested in their personal gain or benefit but also in that of the other parties involved. They seek true value, to pay a fair price for any goods or services because they understand the interconnection that exists between all members of an economy and have an uncommon respect for what’s known as “parity”.

The last time I was in church the pastor made fun of people like me who write blogs critical of the church. He said it was like saying “Lord I love you, but Your bride? Not so much” I understood his point but maybe not all church’s deserve that title…

Gandhi didn’t think so!

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” – Mahatma Gandhi

I’m not just here trying to be critical or condemning, I freely admit that I’m struggling just as much as anyone to try and understand what we as the church should be doing.

When I ask myself that question it seems to become less about “what” and more a matter of how can we do it?

By what power?

Again, we know the answer…by the Holy Spirit!

Okay,how do we “get that”?

What does the Bible say?

Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

I read this quote the other day and it stopped me in my tracks…

 “I am Pentecostal by necessity, not by choice.” Dick Brougdan

I do know this much…LOVE is the answer!

The answer to any problem as I see it is to simply figure out a way to get closer to God, Who is love!

And then we won’t be able to not love others in a genuine way just as He loves us!

Now that sounds like the truth to me…

Not “Truth Incorporated”

I handle snakes!

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In the mountains of the southern Appalachians and eastern Tennessee some fundamentalist pentecostal congregations express their faith by occasionally handling deadly serpents during their services.
These verses below pertaining to serpents are taken by them as literal promises of protection, not from being bitten but from dying from it!
To them, the act of handling serpents is a great triumph of faith over fear. While under what they describe as the anointing of the Holy Spirit, the intent is to be obedient, to edify the church’s members and to glorify God.

Luke 10:19
Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

Mark 16:18
They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

One man lays down ten percent,another man trembles and shakes,I make my statement…

I say it with snakes!

“I handle snakes” by Ned (the band) from CD, “Little Vegas”

The Man on the left in the above picture is said to of been bitten some 80 times!

Once, directly on the forehead by a huge rattlesnake!

What I personally find so fascinating about all of this is that I see it as translating into my own life in some (until now) mysterious ways…

do you, handle snakes?

What, if anything… in your life or past do other Christian people seem to have an aversion to?

In my life, I see it as being my past history of drugs, and new age thinking. These are snakes I’ve handled that have bitten me quite savagely!

My familiarity with these things is a bit like the snake venom. Because of my past exposure to them, their “poison” now has little or no effect on me. No, I don’t use drugs anymore…but I do understand why other people do. And because of that, I can handle that snake, or be around it, without the fear of it killing me. I can walk into the midst of it and not be distracted from doing the will of The Father, to testify about Jesus!

Ophis (through the idea of sharpness of vision) ; A snake, fig. (as a type of sly cunning) an artful malicious person, especially Satan;– serpent. It then refers to the root word, Optomai which means to look at with wide open eyes, as at something extremely remarkable or fascinating.

Reminds me of being snake fascinated…

I wondered what was meant by the phrase, They shall take up serpents;

After some study in my concordance of the phrase “take up” I found that it means to apprehend, or perceive, to discern the “serpents” or the tricks of the enemy.

I “handle” snakes…

From the age of twelve I was indoctrinated into the world of drugs and into it’s close relative of “new age” thinking. They sort of feed off of each other, it’s all about the “enlightenment” attaining a higher state of consciousness, and it’s very much so a ” type of sly cunning”
I’ve written about this before in a blog called “Based on What?” Whats so cunning about it is that they talk about peace and serenity constantly, why? so that like a frog in a pot of water you won’t notice the rising temperature until it’s way too late! In practically every way it’s a perfect counterfeit of the actual truth. It’s a Utopian fantasy (lie) predicated upon the pretense that at his core, man is essentially good.

I understand that what I’m saying is controversial in some ways. I was compelled to write this because I’m saddened by the church’s and my own spirit of fear about so many things in this world. As Christians, we have the power to handle snakes (to come against sin) and not be harmed. We also have the power (in Christ) to lay hands upon the sick and see them recover. We are the children of the most high God, who owns the cattle on a thousand hills and the hills they graze upon! I’ve seen it in a lot of places, the phrase…

“What would you attempt for Christ if you knew you could not fail?”

1 John 4:17 (King James Version)

17Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
Ephesians 3:12 (King James Version)

12In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.

I’m pretty sure that my calling in life isn’t to handle actual snakes…

Instead, I see the snakes I handle as being the sin’s that other people are poisoned by that Christ has empowered me to defeat in myself. I have no fear of getting right into the midst of them!
My intent is to be obedient, to edify the church, and to glorify God!

To have no fear of the enemy, and to actually be “more than a conqueror”

through Christ who strengthens me!