Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Enlightment Beyond the Confines of Scripture

Enlightenment beyond the confines of Scripture. These words buzz in my ear. I can't seem to shake them out. They are like that annoying mosquito that you keep swatting at but it never really goes away. We hear them from those "enlightened" prophets that espouse to "know" more than the average religious schmuck, from the world that has many "ways" to a god and heaven and from those who don't like the alternative.  Well, is this true? Is there "enlightenment" beyond what Jehovah and Messiah have inspired in Scripture? Can we know "more"? Does scripture really mean what we think, or are told, it means?

There are many buzz words that are batted around; many truths, many paths, freedom from judgement, spirituality vs religion. So, I decided to become "enlightened". I googled "many paths" and this is what I found in a nut shell:

            *All people should be allowed to walk their own path without control or judgement
            *Paths change and grow
            *You must open your mind to the limitless possibilities of your full potential and what the Universe is waiting to tell you
            *Everything you need to know is within yourself - you just need to let go and listen
            *If it feels good- go with it, allow yourself (the inner you) to flow
            *It doesn't matter what others think- this is Your path
            *Awakenings will occur when you reach a certain level in your spiritual development
            *There is no right or wrong and it varies from person to person
            *Heaven is what we create here and beyond
            *Hell is not a real place- it is a state of mind

This certainly sounds "enlightened".  If you listen to many folks in the spotlight (Oprah, Dr. Oz and even some Christian leaders) you will hear many of these same ideas. These basic tenants can be found throughout the Universalist's Creed- although they go by many names. I was raised singing a song called I am Good to Me.  When I met my husband he sang a song with the same tune called the Johnny Appleseed song.
My song:                                                                           
          I am good to me                                                            
          And so I thank myself                                                  
          For giving me the opportunity                                      
          To be myself and feel so free                                       
          Oh I am good to me                                                      
I was taught that I am the center of the universe and that my happiness was the priority. I was to help others because it felt good and that was the way that the Universe spoke to us- through our feelings. I was the one who controlled my destiny by my thought life and what I put out in the Universe was what I would receive.  True freedom was to be at one with the Universe and allow others to find their own path as they saw fit. All paths lead to the same Awakening.

This way of living is pointless. It is void of meaning, significance and direction. It teaches selfishness. it teaches you to rely on feelings instead of a constant set of absolutes to guide your behavior. Its reasoning is circular.  Its premise is that we are born basically good and that our initial desire is to do good. That it is the opposite of the observable evidence of human nature. How long do you have to watch a child before you realize that their first instinct is not concerned with the greater good?

Why should enlightenment stay within the confines of Scripture? Because, unlike an impersonal Universe, Jehovah (a very personal Creator) inspired the Scriptures to teach the opposite. The Scriptures were created to rid us of the chains of selfishness and embrace a yolk of righteousness. Scripture is NEVER about self it is ALWAYS about Him. It is NEVER about slavery but ALWAYS about freedom. It is NEVER about feeling good it is ALWAYS about doing good regardless of how we feel. It is NEVER about being me it is ALWAYS about becoming more like Him. Within these confines is true freedom.

Finally, I wanted to look up the Greek of John 14:6. I have heard many say that Christ never claimed to be the Only Way and that John 14:6 is misunderstood. So, let us look at how the Greeks translated this verse from the Hebrew.
                  I am the way (way is a verb that means a properly travelled way like a path) and the truth (truth is a noun that means in reality, in fact, the truth) and the life (life is a noun that means life); no one (no one means no one, not one) comes (comes is a verb that means to come) to the Father (Father is a masculine noun which means Father God) but through (through is a preposition that denotes an act of going through) me. In short, it means exactly what it says.

Jehovah is purposeful in His choice of words. He has a very personal message for each of us. His Way is the only Way and His Way is the best Way. I have lived on both sides and the joy I experience within the confines of Scripture is sustainable and immeasurable. It agrees with the natural and produces the supernatural. Messiah said that His yoke was easy and His burden was light. Messiah never lies.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Furious Love

As usual, something always comes up and keeps me from writing. Lately, it's been LIFE. Our youngest is now a year old and our oldest has turned 21! We have celebrated 3 of our kids birthdays in the last 3 months and have 3 more next 2 months. In addition, we are still homeschooling, helping with church's youth group, and I coupon full-time. (Which means I have way too much fun shopping while spending very little money)!

God has been working in our family as well. Praise the LORD! He is refining me as a wife and mother. Teaching me how far I am from His likeness. Wow, really? Well, I am sure grateful that He is gracious and merciful!

I have seen His hand working on my heart and softening it towards my husband (more on that in a later post) and fellow humans. That might sound weird but compassion and mercy are like last on my character traits list. I tend to shy away from"caring". Safer that way, I guess.  But it is VERY ineffective when one is called to LOVE like Christ. He NEVER did not care. He loved so furiously that he gave up ALL He was for those He loved. He redeemed the worst and loved the least.

Can I say that about my love? NO. Do I want to say that? (tentatively she answers) Yes.  I know in my head that that kind of Love frees the prisoner and unbinds the captive and my heart wants to go there-  but it's scary! I am so grateful to Him for loving me like that - grateful seems so pathetic of a word- I am though. However, does He really expect me to love like that too? I mean He can do it because He is the Creator, the Abba, the Ha-Shem (the Name). I am just unrighteous and unholy me. Can I really do that? Has He really called me to Love like that?

He tells us that "they will know us by our love". Not our human love but our Godly love. A Love that transcend our flesh and cuts right to the heart and soul. That Love is what saves, redeems and frees. That is the kind of furious Love that we have been given and that we are supposed to freely give. I can do none of this without His Holy Spirit. I am incapable of loving even the most lovable without Him. I must submit to His authority and allow Him to change me. To break me. To refine me. I must desire His way. His will above my own agenda; above my own "plans". His plans are perfect even when I don't get it. His way is best even when it makes no sense in the natural. His Love is perfect!

17In this [union and communion with Him] love is brought to completion and attains perfection with us, that we may have confidence for the day of judgment [with assurance and boldness to face Him], because as He is, so are we in this world.
    18There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love's complete perfection].
    19We love Him, because He first loved us. 1 John 4: 17-19 (Amplified Bible)
We love Him, because He first loved us. I have to camp on that one for a while.