Category Archives: STUFF JESUS WANTS

Every Christian for Himself!  

black friday fight

Come over here, Jesus, and bless me first! My brother can’t wait his turn!

Who would pray a prayer like that?! Most people wouldn’t have the audacity to say it out loud or say it in just those words, but I’ve heard a lot of prayers and observed a bunch of “Christians’” lifestyles that say just that. They seem more devoted to the philosophy of Ayn Rand than the teaching of Jesus, and are so interested in getting “theirs” they couldn’t care less if it comes at the expense of those who couldn’t reach theirs with a fireman’s ladder! Under the auspices of the American Dream, they retranslated the Golden Rule: Do to others before they do it to you.

It’s: Every Christian for himself (and herself)!

The first shall be first and the last shall be last! Continue reading

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Demons and the Divided Soul (Part 1)

demons

I’ve experienced an uptick of spiritual assaults lately. It might not be more than usual. Maybe I’ve just been more aware of it or more vulnerable to it by token of my own divided heart. It’s well known that hell has committed a sizeable legion to my city, some are of Satan’s foot soldiers rage out in the open and others, more subtle, do their best work in more secretive ways. Since I doubt that San Francisco hosts the only satanic military base in America I thought I might share a few thoughts about spiritual battle from one particular passage that has appeared on my radar recently.

The point of these few posts is not to say everything you wanted to know about demons or to reveal some special prayer to pray to get rid of them. I don’t claim any sort of expertise on the matter of the mechanics of deliverance or taking down territorial spirits. Instead, I want to share about the danger of divided soul and how the adversary is skilled at taking advantage of a “house divided against itself.” Continue reading

The Deepening Quality of Suffering (Avoiding Superficial Spirituality Part 10)

Suffering-Servant

“No soul will ever grow deep in the spiritual life unless God works in that soul by means of the dark night.”

This is a line from the famous poem called, The Dark Night of the Soul, which Saint John of the Cross wrote from his ten-by-six feet prison cell in which he was imprisoned for his faith. They fed him bread, water and scraps of salt fish, and brought him out to lash him publicly at least once a week. Through his sufferings, instead of waning, his passion for Christ, grew deeper.

I offer this as another piece of advice about one may go deeper in their life in Jesus.

To go deeper we have to be willing to suffer well

Recently my forty-fifth spiritual birthday came and went. On August 20, 1972 I gave as much of what I knew of myself to as much of God as I knew of him. Frankly, at that point I knew very little about myself and much much less about him. Since then, with the Spirit’s help, I’ve learned a few more things about the both of us. Much of which has come kicking and screaming, put more subtly, through trial and error. Continue reading

Opening to New Experiences (Avoiding Superficial Spirituality Part 9)

Summer Water Drop WaLP tangledwing

“Do not measure yourself by how much road you have covered thus far; rather measure with your eyes set on how much more there is in front of you.” (Jeanne Guyon wrote this to her cousin François Fénelon)

For the last few weeks we’ve been talking about things that influence our spiritual depth: a sense of wonder, widening the parameters of what we believe, letting go of the familiar, assessing the actual “spiritual” nature of our faith as opposed to “soulish,” etc. Here I’d like to propose that…

To go deeper in God we have to be open to new experiences with God.

Fear is not a good reason to stay in the shallow end of your faith. Remember how you feared to even try the water at first? Thank God you overcame your fear and took the risk. Now I encourage you to venture out into deeper water and let the Spirit teach you how to swim. Continue reading

Just Wondering (Avoiding Superficial Spirituality Part 8) 

 wondering

“God himself works in our souls, in their deepest depths, taking increasing control as we are progressively willing to be prepared for his wonder.” Thomas Kelly

Speaking of “wonder,” I wonder a lot––mostly about God. I used to wonder if he existed, but since I got that settled to my complete satisfaction forty-five years ago, my wonder is now of a different sort.

“Wonder” itself has a number of connotations. There’s the wonder that involves frustration, another is more of a curious sort, and then there’s the kind that connotes unreserved marvel. My wondering about God includes all three at different times. Continue reading

Widening our Doctrinal Definitions (Avoiding Superficial Spirituality Part 7) 

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“Theological reflection is a pilgrimage in which change should be celebrated, not feared.” Clark Pinnock

We’ve been talking about deepening our walk with the Almighty, and certain attitudes we must cultivate if we want to explore “the deep things of God.” (See at the bottom of this post links to previous ones on the subject.) Here’s my next recommendation to that end:

To go deeper we have to be willing to expand our doctrinal definitions

I realize that considering making revisions about what they believe is frightening for some people. For many, their entire relationship with him is wrapped around their doctrinal statement, that list of irreducible minimum beliefs that identify them as “true Christians.”

Don’t get me wrong, there are non-negotiables in our faith, and I wouldn’t think of trying to wrest any of them out of your white-knuckle grip. I’m not recommending that you toss everything out and start over. What I propose is that if you haven’t ventured into deeper waters for quite a while, you might want to take a fresh look at the width, if not the length, of the things you believe. Is it possible that your list of givens is too short or too long or too narrow or too wide to take you to a more profound place in Jesus?

Could it be that what you believe is fundamentally correct in and of itself, yet you’re not flexible enough in your thinking to tweak it if the Spirit were to bring fresh revelation to light? If the very thought of adjusting your theology makes you hyperventilate, you probably suffer from a fixation, if not a mild addiction, to the strictures of your spiritual beliefs. If you wish to have a more profound experience with him, you might do well to ask yourself if you love your beliefs about God more than you love God! Continue reading

Releasing Our Attachment to the Familiar (Avoiding Superficial Spirituality Part 6)

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Last time I concluded with a promise to share some of the human factors involved for us to live more deeply in Jesus. I propose these neither as some sort of sure-fire formula or a bullet-point list in the order of importance. They’re just some of my own observations and aspirations about how to have a deeper walk with God.

I begin with a profound Thomas Merton quote:

“Contemplation does not simply “find” a clear idea of God and confine Him within the limits of that idea, and hold Him there as a prisoner to Whom it can always return. On the contrary, contemplation is being carried away by Him into His own realism, His own mystery and His own freedom. It is a pure and a virginal knowledge, poor in concepts, poorer still in reasoning, but able, by its very poverty and purity, to follow the Word “wherever He may go.”

Continue reading