Most people don’t think of the imagination as something that has any spiritual value. The western mentality is that what happens in our physical world is real and what happens in our imagination belongs to a realm we label as “fantasy” - meaning it’s not real.
I believe this way of thinking, to a big extent, has robbed us of the ability to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. Even though we may not say it, we have the idea that if God was to speak to someone, it would be more real if He spoke with an audible voice. If God was to give someone a vision, it would not be a real vision unless the person falls into some kind of trance and saw it as real as he sees the physical world.
A sign that you are worshipping something is that you turn to that when you are in trouble; like primitive turn to their various gods for help and protection.
But in our modern world, there is just as much worship of this kind. We have just exchanged the "Buddha statues" with the government, our pension, our bank accounts and so on.
There is nothing wrong in getting help from the government, having a pension or a big bank account. The question is "where do you have your security?".
It’s a wonderful thing when two can walk together agreeing to contribute to each others growth. Not only does it contribute to spiritual growth, but it also builds character faster then you could ever have done it alone. I would actually say that everybody should have someone to walk together with, because in life there will be many difficult situations. In these situations it’s impossible to have a totally neutral view of YOUR situation seen from YOUR eyes.
When God created man, He said that it was not good for the man to be alone (Gen. 2:18). So He created man with a companion. God instituted marriage, but He did not do it just so we could populate the earth. He created Eve because He saw that it was not good for Adam to be alone.
But it can be painful for two to walk together, because when somebody get close they also see the things we push under the surface. This can be humiliating and painful, but this is also the blessing of walking together with someone. It is in these situations we have the opportunity to grow and if we agree to walk together with someone, even the journey can be educational and exciting.
Growth is a wonderful thing and God has made it so that there are areas of our life that we can never grow in unless we are willing to agree to walk together with someone.
Finally we have arrived in Lublin after half a year of preparing to move, and some intense last months getting everything to fit together. Now we're here, we have arrived, but we're not done.
A wise man has once said: "When you think you're done; then you're done", and we are by no means done; on the contrary, now a new chapter is starting and we're excited to see what God has prepared.
We have more or less settled in the house even though there are still things we need to get in place. There are also some furniture we need to buy, but nothing urgent. But some days before we left Denmark we experienced some unexpected challenges...
There is a topic that has come up several times the last few months and since we have freedom of speech, I would like to share some of my thoughts on the subject.
First of all, I believe that the body of Christ is not divided into Protestants and Catholics and I believe there are born-again followers of Jesus in both camps. Paul makes it clear that this kind of division in the body of Christ is not good.
What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
We see that Paul, one of the main apostles of the Christian faith, is defending that unity. He actually goes so far as to claim that even those who say, “I follow Christ” are wrong if their statement excludes the others. Christ is not divided, there is still one body and the head of this body is Christ Jesus.
So can I have fellowship with someone who claims to be Catholic? If the person is born again and follows Jesus, it does not matter if he is Catholic or Protestant; we can enjoy spiritual fellowship. Why? Because we are part of the same body and under the same authority (head).
The issue to ask is not what kind of denomination people are from, but if they are part of the body of Christ; or in others words if they are Christian. Christianity is properly defined by certain doctrines that are revealed in the Bible and they are as follows:
So, someone who is a true Christian will believe these things. Catholics believe most of them, but not exactly the first and the fourth point. The clearest example is, for instance, that they practice prayer to Mary and other humans they have declared to be “saints”. In Roman Catholicism, they say that Mary is the mediatrix (Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 969); Mary made atonement for the sins of man (Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, page 213); Mary is the subject of preaching and worship (Vatican Council II, p. 420); etc.
What’s more, Catholicism violates the biblical doctrine of salvation by grace through faith alone. This was Martin Luther’s big revelation and we should not forget that he was martyred with condolence from the official church for having this view. The Catholic doctrine says:
"If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema (cursed)“ (Council of Trent, Canons on Justification, Canon 9).
But we are not that different
One might say that we are not that different, which is to some extent true. Most of the Catholic beliefs are the same as Christian beliefs, but if you want to have fellowship with Catholics, you need to ask yourself how important some points are to you.
If these are just minor points that do not hold an essential place in your doctrine, then you will have no problems working together with the Catholic church or viewing Catholics as Christians. But if you consider these points to be essential to the Christian faith, then you would have problems with the Catholic church; because they are not going to change their beliefs on these issues.
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
To be righteous means to have a right standing before God. It means that when you stand before God, you don’t have to feel embarrassed because you have not been able to live up to His standards.
One of the big difference between the Old and the New covenant is how righteousness is obtained.
Under the old covenant it was something you worked for by living right and offering sacrifices according to the law. The problem was that nobody could was able to do this as perfectly as a perfect God required.
“Making good choices consistently is the secret to success”
The reason why some are better than others is not only talent. Yes, there are specially gifted people with great talents, but if they don’t consistently develop their talent, it will be buried.
You might be exceptionally gifted when it comes to playing the piano, but if you never get to play, that gift will stay buried inside of you. There are without a doubt many people who could have developed their talent to a much higher level, but because they lack consistency when it comes to improving, they never reach their potential.
Consistency is contrary to human nature
Aldous Huxley once wrote “Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life. The only completely consistent people are the dead”. Huxley has a point here and I agree that consistency is contrary to human nature. I would actually say that most good habits are contrary to human nature, and I believe this is because we are living in a world suffering from the effect of sin. This is also why personal improvement has to be a conscious choice.
If you leave your garden to naturally grow as it wishes, you will quickly have a garden full of weeds and it will not be a beautiful sight. The same goes for you mind. Your mind is like a garden and if you leave the development up to chance, it will be full of weeds. Personal growth requires being conscious about making the right choices, and doing it consistently.
The priest and the gardener
There once was a priest that walked by a beautiful garden. He stopped to admire the beautiful sight and as he was standing there, the gardener walked by. The gardener greeted the priest and stopped to exchange a few words. As they were talking, the priest said to the gardener. “God has surely done a wonderful work with this garden”. The gardener was silent for a moment before answering back: “Yes, if it had not been for God, none of these flowers or trees would have grown, but you should have seen what this garden looked like when God had it for himself”.
I believe this is a good illustration when it comes to personal growth. Yes, God is the giver of life and without him everything would collapse. But our life is a garden given to us by God. What we do with the garden we have been given is our gift to God.
Some days ago I sat down at the piano and started to worship as I where recording. I have programed some rhythm and bass that added to the recording and if you would like you are free to download or listen to the result. You can download for free, but if you would like to donate that is of course also ok :-)
What separates us from the animals? The evolutionist will probably say nothing, but deep within I suspect that most people feel themselves to be superior to the animals. But why are we superior? Is it because we are smarter, stronger or more lovable?
There are many animals, that in their sphere of living, show great intelligence and I don’t think there are any humans that could claim to be stronger than an angry elephant.
Some might say that it is the ability of free will that makes us different, but I had a cat some years ago and I quickly learned that cats have free will. But what is it then that makes the human race to superior to the animals? After all we are not living on a planet controlled by apes (but the film was good).