Living Free in the Spirit of Christ

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Is the Bible Your Idol? 0

Posted on June 22, 2017 by Alexander
worship bible.jpg

Do you substitute the Bible for God?

I first proposed this thought in a forum. I should not have been surprised at the out cry of some responses but I was also delighted by those who understood my intention: that is, not to diminish the wonder of the Bible but to point out how it can become an idol that replaces God.

That the Bible can become an idol should not surprise anyone who walks with Christ. Consider the Jews. They prance the scroll of the Torah around their synagogue service no different than Hindus carrying carved idols of Krishna. Even some of the Messianic Jews, who know the truth of Jesus, prance the scroll of the Torah around their congregation in like fashion. This is also true of some Protestants. One of the forum readers made this comment:

“Some of us are old enough to remember when the expectation was that the Bible be treated as sacred and holy. You washed your hands before you handled it. It was to be on the top of any stack of books. It was to be displayed and not hidden away in a drawer or cabinet. The pages were not to be soiled or smudged.”

Read the rest of this entry →

Why American Christians are Angry 0

Posted on December 09, 2012 by Alexander

Why are so many Christians angry?

The Foundation

I can not speak for everyone, but I can speak for myself.  I have been an angry Christian, and I have also walked in genuine peace and humility.   The first thing that needs to be understood is the emotion of anger, which I believe is misunderstood by many people.   Emotions are treated as some kind of independent part of our human nature as illustrated by the common definition of the soul – our mind, will and emotions.  This definition does a disservice to understanding our human nature, and I think (but do not know) that secular psychology is the cause of this misunderstanding.

The Mind

Emotions are the expressions of our thoughts, both in our mind and heart, or our conscience thoughts (mind) and sub-conscience thoughts (heart). In other words, our emotions are the result of what we think upon.  Film-makers and advertisers understand this and know how to create emotional roller coaster rides through their stories.  Emotions, therefore can be controlled by controlling our thoughts, which is the heart of true Christian discipleship. Consider these imperatives from Paul in 2 Corinthians.

(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)  Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;   And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.  (2 Cor. 10:4-6 KJV)

In other words we are to watch our thought life and think on those thoughts that agree with God and to stop thinking those thoughts that oppose the way of Christ.  Paul gives us more specific instruction in Philippians.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Php 4:8 KJV)

If we keep our thoughts on positive things, our emotions will express this.  Anger is not an expression of positive thoughts.  This control of our thought life is the meaning of Romans 12:

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Rom 12:2 KJV) Read the rest of this entry →

Spirituality and the Body 0

Posted on March 20, 2011 by Alexander

Editor’s Note: This post was written for the Stunt Gym blog, but I felt that it would be appreciated by a wider audience, therefore has been reprinted here, too.

Christian Dancer

I recently had a conversation from a dancer in California who found the school site and was surprised that I call my school a “Christian Gymnastics School.” She wanted to know how I could consider it a Christian school since she had been told that dancing was carnal. She desperately wants to dance before the Lord, but has been discouraged by her congregation.

For the sake of her privacy, I am going to call her, Sydnee. Sydnee seems to be a new believer and was very confused. The congregation she attends seems to be legalistic. She had questions about the Sabbath and other matters which hindered me from explaining how physical activity can be an expression of the spirit.

God has no interest or joy in religion. Religion did not come from God. It came from Adam and Eve who tried to cover their sin with fig leaves. That was the first religious act of mankind. Religion is inherent in our carnal nature, which is why most of the world is religious. The books of Romans and Hebrews explains God’s take on religion. He gave Moses the law to show the world that it was impossible to please God through religious effort. Through Jesus Christ He took away religion completely. But mankind hangs onto religion because the carnal nature wants to justify itself through religion, not to please God. Read the rest of this entry →

Integrity Amidst Corporate Evil 4

Posted on August 01, 2010 by Alexander

Making our job disconnected from the aftermath of the industry does not make us innocent.

Just Doing My Job

When I posted the last blog on the unethical monetary system that the government has forced upon us by federal law, I knew I was not finished on the topic. I addressed the theft of the Federal Reserve banking system of “loaning” money that they did not have and charging interest on non existent funds. My point was that we, the American people, do not owe this 14 trillion dollar debt, and that we should deny it and refuse to pay it. What I need to finish is our individual responsibility towards God to live ethically and not to participate in an unethical system, even though we are compelled by “law” to do so.

In a recent broadcast of the Katherine Albrecht show, Dr Marc Edwards shared how he had exposed the cover up of lead in the water of the Washington DC water supply by the CDC and EPA.     Dr. Albrecht asked him how they could try cover up the contamination of the water which poisons the people of DC?   His answer showed great compassion.   These bureaucracies are staffed with people whose jobs are compartmentalized and separated from one another.  Each person was just doing their job which did not reveal to them the big picture of the consequences of their job. His answer made me realize that atrocities over the world occur because of the multitude of people who are “just doing their jobs” without knowing what the ultimate consequence of their jobs are causing.

I had always wondered how a “Christian” nation such as Germany could allow the holocaust and World War II to devastate Europe.    There were notable exceptions, of course, such as the family of Anne Frank and Raoul Wallenberg, who defied the laws of the land by harboring and safeguarding Jews from the Nazi’s.   But the majority of Germans who called themselves Christians obeyed the “laws” of the land.   They may have objected to the atrocities that they knew about, but did nothing to resist it because they were not directly responsible for those atrocities.   Instead, they were good tax paying Germans who only were doing their jobs.   And from their point of view, their jobs were not harming anyone. Read the rest of this entry →

Live for Today for Tomorrow We Die 1

Posted on March 28, 2009 by Alexander

Death is the whirlpool at the end of life that makes all our works go down the drain

Death is the whirlpool at the end of life that makes all our works go down the drain

Ecclesiastes and the Dark Side of the Moon

In the last post and podcast I compared chapter 1 of Ecclesiastes with the first two songs of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, wherein both declare that the world system is vain and drives one mad.

Solomon declared, “Vanity of vanities all is vanity.” which is to say that everything is meaningless.   In the first two songs of the Dark Side of the Moon, the main character declares that he is mad in “Speak to Me” and we are given his sense of being overwhelmed by the world system as one drowning who struggles to come up for air in “Breathe.”

In chapter 2 of Ecclesiastes, Solomon begins his explanation of how he came to his conclusion in chapter 1 that all is vanity by recounting his quest to explore the fullness of life, which, as the king of Israel  he could do with his power and wealth.  Yet every endeavor left a sense of meaninglessness because he realized that he was still going to die and all his efforts would be forgotten.

In song number 3 called, “On the Run,” of the Dark Side of the Moon we are given an instrumental sound-scape with an airport announcer and street sounds to illustrate the sense of running on the treadmill of life that goes nowhere in truth.  The one statement in the song made by the protagonist is, “Live for today, gone tomorrow, that’s me, HaHaHaaaaaa!”   This is the ultimate philosophy of the world.  Grab the gusto while you can, for tomorrow you die.  The song ends with a crashing suggesting a car wreck at the end of his run.

Ecclesiastes Chapter 2

1 I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure”; but surely, this also was vanity.

2 I said of laughter—“Madness!”; and of mirth, “What does it accomplish?”

3 I searched in my heart how to gratify my flesh with wine, while guiding my heart with wisdom, and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the sons of men to do under heaven all the days of their lives.

4 I made my works great, I built myself houses, and planted myself    vineyards.

5 I made myself gardens and orchards, and I planted all kinds of fruit trees in them.

6 I made myself water pools from which to water the growing trees of the grove.

7 I acquired male and female servants, and had servants born in my house. Yes, I had greater possessions of herds and flocks than all who were in Jerusalem before me.

8 I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the special treasures of kings and of the provinces. I acquired male and female singers, the delights of the sons of men, and musical instruments of all kinds.

9 So I became great and excelled more than all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me.

10 Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, For my heart rejoiced in all my labor; And this was my reward from all my labor.

11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done  And on the labor in which I had toiled; And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun.

12 Then I turned myself to consider wisdom and madness and folly; For what can the man do who succeeds the king?— Only what he has already done.

13 Then I saw that wisdom excels folly As light excels darkness.

14 The wise man’s eyes are in his head, But the fool walks in darkness. Yet I myself perceived That the same event happens to them all.

15 So I said in my heart, “As it happens to the fool, It also happens to me, And why was I then more wise?” Then I said in my heart, “This also is vanity.”

16 For there is no more remembrance of the wise than of the fool forever, Since all that now is will be forgotten in the days to come. And how does a wise man die? As the fool!

17 Therefore I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind.

18 Then I hated all my labor in which I had toiled under the sun, because I must leave it to the man who will come after me.

19 And who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will rule over all my labor in which I toiled and in which I have shown myself wise under the sun. This also is vanity.

22 For what has man for all his labor, and for the striving of his heart with which he has toiled under the sun?

23 For all his days are sorrowful, and his work burdensome;
even in the night his heart takes no rest. This also is vanity.

Dark Side of the Moon 3. On The Run
(Gilmour, Waters) 3:32

[female announcer, announcing flights at airport, including ‘Rome’]
“Live for today, gone tomorrow, that’s me, HaHaHaaaaaa!”

(Instrumental)

The lesson for the Church today is that the pursuit of material wealth and security that is taught by the Prosperity Preachers is madness and folly. We are called to “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousnes” (Matt. 6:33) and to “look upon the eternal, and not the temporal” (2 Cor. 4:18).  To seek worldly wealth and power is unbelief in God.  It is the destruction of personal contentment. It darkens the light of Christ in you and causes your salt to lose its savor.  Your end will be to be trampled under foot in your own personal car crash.  Church, lets get off the worldly treadmill and seek life!

Ecclesiastes and the Dark Side of the Moon 2

Posted on March 27, 2009 by Alexander

In 2005 I put on a show at the gym where I used to work called,  “Cirque du Lune.”   Since we were not as good as Cirque du Solei, (Circus of the Sun), I called the show “Circus of the Moon” (Cirque du Lune) instead.  I used the Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd as my music for the opening act.

Later on I realized that the Pink Floyd band members of Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Sid Barrett, Nick Mason and Richard Wright had written the same topic that is addressed in the book of Ecclesiastes: pursuing the world system will drive you mad.   When I compared the chapters of Ecclesiastes I was surprised to find that the song order of The Dark Side of the Moon roughly corresponded to the same order as the book of Ecclesiastes.

I do not know if they had consciously followed this book, or even if they were aware of the book, but the parallel between the two is uncanny.

So I am taking the liberty of reading from the book of Ecclesiastes followed by the Pink Floyd songs for comparison.  It should be noted, however, that the two works have completely different endings.  In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon is saved from his despair by embracing God, whereas in the Dark Side of the Moon, the main character gives in to the despair ending his conscious life  with a lobotomy.  The Bible examines the truth of the evil in this world, but gives hope.  To look at the evil of this world without leaning on God results in despair.

Listen to the podcast and read the verses that I read from Ecclesiastes along with me and read the lyrics of the Dark Side of the Moon that follows and think about it.  This first podcast is only parts of Chapter 1 of Ecclesiastes and the two songs, “Speak to Me” with “Breathe”.  Here are the verses and lyrics.

Ecclesiastes

Chapter 1

1 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
2    “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher;
“Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”
3    What profit has a man from all his labor
In which he toils under the sun?

8    All things are full of labor;
Man cannot express it.
The eye is not satisfied with seeing,
Nor the ear filled with hearing.
9    That which has been is what will be,
That which is done is what will be done,

12  I, the Preacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem.
13 And I set my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven; this burdensome task God has given to the sons of man, by which they may be exercised.
14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind.
15    What is crooked cannot be made straight,
And what is lacking cannot be numbered.
16  I communed with my heart, saying, “Look, I have attained greatness, and have gained more wisdom than all who were before me in Jerusalem. My heart has understood great wisdom and knowledge.”
17 And I set my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is grasping for the wind.
18    For in much wisdom is much grief,
And he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.

Dark Side of the Moon

1. Speak to Me
(Mason) 1:16

“I’ve been mad for fucking years, absolutely years, been over the edge for yonks, been working me buns off for bands…”

“I’ve always been mad, I know I’ve been mad, like the
most of us…very hard to explain why you’re mad, even if you’re not mad…”

(Instrumental)

2. Breathe
(Waters, Gilmour, Wright) 2:44

Breathe, breathe in the air.
Don’t be afraid to care.
Leave but don’t leave me.
Look around and choose your own ground.

Long you live and high you fly
And smiles you’ll give and tears you’ll cry
And all you touch and all you see
Is all your life will ever be.

Run, rabbit run.
Dig that hole, forget the sun,
And when at last the work is done
Don’t sit down it’s time to dig another one.

For long you live and high you fly
But only if you ride the tide
And balanced on the biggest wave
You race towards an early grave.

The primary lesson to be learned from Ecclesiastes is that we must trust God.   But there is also a vital secondary lesson that the Church needs to understand.  We can not change the world.  To try and change the world is to have the world change us.   Jesus did not call us to change the world but to be changed by Him, and to preach the Kingdom of God to all the world, for only God can change people, which is the world.

The church is infiltrated by the world.  The world is the lust of the flesh, the pride of life, and the lust of  the eyes (1 John 2:16).  It is time that we come out of the world’s endeavor as seen in the culture war.  The world at large will not be changed in this life even by God.  He has called us to share the gospel so that hearts may be changed one by one.  But even then, we should not think that we are going to change the world by sharing the gospel.  We are only bringing into the Kingdom those whose hearts are turned towards God.  The vast multitude of people will reject Christ.

As I have said to my beautiful wife, “Sin is insanity.”  All the world is gripped by insanity.  Sanity comes to the individual heart by Jesus Christ.  Let us keep our eyes on the Kingdom, and not the world.

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