Thursday, August 28, 2008

Lost Identity

Sometimes I just feel 'out of my element'.
I feel like the real me would just prefer to be somewhere else !
Those of you who know me will probably smile and think .. Hmm... she must be going on her yearly camping trip !!
While I love the outdoors, and the fellowship around a campfire, the beauty and stillness of nature around me -- I just don't like being without those creature comforts I have become accustomed to. I really like indoor plumbing, running water, electricity - simple basic things!
So yes, tomorrow I leave for a few days.
But I will be back with a smile that says .. "I survived camping yet another year !!"

Speaking of feeling out of your element - I'd like to tell you about a certain owl.
The photo of the White-breasted Barn Owl below was taken by my daughter this summer when she and my granddaughter went on an interpretive tour that included seeing up close several varieties of owls.

The Barn Owl is a nocturnal animal that feeds on mice.
This particular owl pictured above has lost his identity !! Not only is he afraid of the dark , he is also afraid of mice!!
At night in his enclosure , his handlers have to leave a night light on for him. If they don't, the person who opens the door in the morning gets scolded with screeching shrieks which he keeps up all day in retribution. His is not a quick forgiver.
And he will not catch his own mice. He is afraid of them ! The hunter afraid of his prey ! What fun the mice could have if they just recognized this owl's fear !!

When my daughter showed me her photos and told me about this owl - I laughed, of course !
But then I thought of how this silly owl quite accurately portrays many people !!
Man was created to live in the light .... but he prefers to do his sinful deeds in the dark.
He was created to glorify God... but instead he glorifies himself.
He was created to fear God and have power over the enemy. But superstitiously man fears the enemy and denies the existence of God.

Man searches for meaning and purpose in life and finds that nothing seems to satisfy.
He is out of his element.
If he would return to that which he was created to do ... Life would suddenly become all he could hope it to be. And not only in this life .... but forever in the life to come !!

"I have come that they might have life ...and that they might have it more abundantly!"
John 10:10

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Heavenly Mother ?

One of my new readers, Betty, from Paraguay, commented on my previous post. She said ..”And also we need to know exactly WHAT we believe in and why!”
Her comment was the perfect lead in to a post I have been struggling to write for a couple of weeks. The words just didn’t want to flow. Writer’s cramp? Or the enemy’s cramp !! I am thinking it was the latter !
I had an experience a few weeks ago that I have wanted to tell you about.

It all started with my friend, Lori, answering the ring of her doorbell.
There stood two smiling young Korean women eager to engage Lori in conversation. They were coming to spread the good news of the heavenly mother and the second coming christ.
Lori tried to put them off but they weren’t easily dissuaded and so Lori invited them to come to our bible study… They were more than willing and said they would bring their pastor.
They came. Their pastor , Isaac, was neatly dressed in suit and tie and all three were VERY polite and friendly. Even though they had only arrived in Canada in December their English was very good ,although we did have to listen carefully as their accent was very strong.
They were very insistent that what they believed was not out of their head but only based on the bible and they only wanted the truth.
They were very eager to dialogue with us and seemed sincerely interested in hearing what we believed.
The first evening we spent with them was rather confusing since we had no idea who they were. My husband and I consider ourselves fairly up to date on all the deviations from the gospel that are out there, but these young Koreans were definitely teaching something we had not yet heard. What we gathered was that the foundation of their beliefs was based on the second coming christ and the heavenly mother, the Trinity, and Jesus’ death for our sins.
We ended the first evening pleasantly enough with Isaac eager to come back next week promising to listen to what we believed the bible teaching to be.

As soon as we arrived home that night I hit the internet to find out what these people were all about.
I found out that our ‘friends’ were representing the World Mission Society of Church of God. The cult originates with a group that broke away from the Seventh Day Adventists in 1969, so they legalistically observe the Sabbath, the feasts, no Christmas or Easter and all Christian symbols, including the cross are idolatry.
But then it gets really bizarre. Their second coming Christ is Ahnsanghong. They believe that Ahnsanghon is Jesus’ new name , the name of the holy spirit who has returned to give salvation to anyone who believes on his new name.
Ahnsanghan was a simple Korean man, who died in 1985 and their heavenly mother is still alive in Korea. At some point in the future (probably 2012) the second coming Christ will return to earth and marry the heavenly mother.

Crazy, right ? But the difficult thing is that their deception is iron clad. They have been soo thoroughly indoctrinated with the scriptural interpretation to fit their beliefs that you cannot argue effectively against them. Their belief system is obviously crafted by a very clever mind.
By the time I had thoroughly searched out their belief system I knew arguing would not work, only the supernatural power of God could penetrate their deception. We had hoped at first that we could perhaps persuade them, because they were so adamant that everything one believed had to be based on the bible.

So we went prayerfully to the second meeting, hoping for a miracle breakthrough. It did not come. I’m not sure what the purpose of this experience was except to be made aware of who they were in order to put out a warning.

Here is one example of how their teaching went to prove the heavenly mother. First Isaac took us through the scriptures showing that Adam was a copy of the coming second Adam who was Christ. Through Adam all men died, but through Christ man could once again have life. Then they showed us how Jesus was going to be coming back again for the wedding feast .. the marriage of the Lamb and His bride. They showed how the Lamb was Jesus… then the question was .. who is the bride?

They took us back again to Genesis , showing Adam being a copy of Christ .. therefore Eve was a copy of the bride, who was the heavenly mother . They proved the heavenly mother was pictured in Eve because - as they had proved - all men born of Adam were ‘dead men’. Eve was NOT the mother of dead men because it says that she was the 'mother of all living'. Therefore Eve is not the mother of the physical race but rather the mother of the ‘living’ spiritual children of god.
This made perfect sense in their minds !! and though we tried to show them the true gospel their minds were closed and deceived and they were not willing to hear anything contrary to their teaching. They just waited until we took a breath and they would just go down their own one track reasoning thread again.

Always they kept insisting… “Can I show you ? in the bible?” Isaac had spent four years in school being indoctrinated into his belief system and only God’s Spirit could break through that iron wall around his mind.

In the end, they were very difficult to get rid of and they cornered Lori , who had been the most quiet perceiving her to be the weakest link in our group. I know they will be back to try to talk to her alone, as they said, to do a bible study with her !

I was shaken by the end of the second evening with them. I would not have thought such a bizarre belief system could be built using only the bible. I was shaken, not by any measure in my own faith, but by the cleverness of the enemy.

I share this experience with you to warn you and arm you in case any of you have a knock on your door …. The words heavenly mother or second coming christ will definitely be spoken of in their initial presentation . Turn them away, there is no way that you will be able to speak truth into their thinking, except that by trying you only confirm to them that they are right and you are wrong. This is a cult that is spreading its missionaries all over the world in their zeal to win enough converts so that the wedding can take place before 2012.

I believe that we are living in end times. Deception is everywhere and what is allowing this deception to flourish is that studying the scriptures and KNOWING and understanding what they say and mean is becoming less and less a priority in Christians’ lives and even in churches. Books like The Shack, presenting God in a false light are being eagerly embraced, with respected leaders endorsing its content. We live in our spiritual lives as we live our earthly lives --- under a ‘feel good’ umbrella. Quick fixes, excuses, easy mercy, live-and-let-live philosophy are really the order of the day - and the enemy rubs his hands in glee!

If ever there was a time we needed to know what we believe and why .. it is today !!!
Mat 24:24 "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. "

“Deception” -- a very real sign of the end ! There is only one way to avoid it. Know what you believe and why !! and stand strong on the Word of God which is your sword to pierce the most deceptive ruse of the enemy.

And I believe that the warning in II John 9,10 is very applicable for today.
"If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine (the true doctrine of Christ) do not receive him into your house nor greet him."

(There was another reason I believe that God sent these people to our bible study. It had to do with a young man in our bible study.
Charlotte , in her comment on my last post asked if I had any advice about witnessing to non-Christians. I will happily offer what I have learned through my experiences in my next post.)

And I would just like to add a note here to ALL of you who comment on my blog.... I do really appreciate each and every one of you and your comments are important to me ! THANK-YOU!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Why are You Called 'Christian' ?

The answer lies hidden in the story of a city. An ancient city called Antioch.

Millennia ago, Alexander the Great had just ended the battle in which he defeated the Persian king , Darius III. He immediately continued on his way to lay siege against Tyre.
On his way he passed a spring from which he quenched his thirst. The water was so refreshing he stayed long enough to order a temple built for the god Zeus and claim the site on which to build a city!
When Alexander the Great lay on his deathbed shortly after in 325 BC , before his 33 birthday, he was asked to name his successor . His answer ? “The strongest.”
One of Alexander’s noted generals Seluecus proved himself the ‘strongest’ and took the reins to rule the Roman kingdom.

In 300 BC Seluecus planned and built a city on the site chosen by Alexander the Great, naming the well planned city, Antioch, after his father.
The city was laid out in such a way that it took advantage of the shade in summer and the sun in winter. The main roads were positioned to catch the breezes that blew up the valley from the sea.
Lying along the banks of the Orontes river, made Antioch ideally located to maximize commerce opportunities with the rest of the world.
Antioch was also very beautiful. Its cypress trees, mountains and waterfalls as well as the Temple of Apollo made it a popular resort for the rich and famous.
An Olympic stadium was built and its games rivalled that of Greece.
Rome added colonnades, fountains, public buildings and a basilica built by Julius Caesar which he named Kaisarion – after himself. Roman statues of emperors and gods lined the streets and an amphitheatre housed the gladiator fights.
A theatre, private baths, ‘houses of pleasure’ , worship of false gods all contributed to the gradual slide into degradation, turning Antioch into a city known for its immorality and vile reputation.

Antioch was shaken by a strong earthquake in AD 37. The Roman Emperor at the time was Caligula , son of Julius Caesar, who immediately ordered the repair of the buildings that were damaged and spared no funds, not only for necessary repair but also many new buildings.
At this same time Jesus Christ was crucified some 300 miles to the south. Antioch had no idea that they would most be remembered because of this man hanging on the cross , crucified as a common criminal. I'm sure they gave Him no thought!

From this time on… Antioch is woven through the pages of our New Testament scripture.
When the seven deacons were chosen in Jerusalem , one of them was Nicolas who was from Antioch.
It was to Antioch that some of the believers fled when Stephen was stoned. Luke tells of the great number of people who turned to faith in Jesus there... one of them a close friend of Herod the Tetrach.
Barnabas called to teach the new and thriving church in Antioch, went first to Tarsus to find Paul and take him along.
It was also in Antioch that Paul openly rebuked Peter for not eating with the Gentile Christians.
And it was in Antioch that Paul was called to be a missionary !

But Antioch is not remembered for her early church. She is not remembered for the great emperors of Rome who made her famous in her day. They have long faded into historical memory.
The lasting mark Antioch left on the world is the word "CHRISTIAN".
It was in Antioch that believers were first called Christians.

It is not the Jews who coined the name .. they used the name Nazarene to refer to Jesus … and the followers of Jesus called themselves brethren or believers.
The only ones who could have first applied the name would have been the Greeks or Romans who were called to settle the conflicts when Orthodox Jews attacked the new sect.
Romans were familiar with calling followers after the name of him they followed - followers of Caesar were called Caesarini, followers of Pompey, Pompeiani.
And so it entirely possible that a Roman police called out yet again to break up a mob may have exclaimed in annoyance. .. “It is those Christians again!”

And the name stuck…. Thousands of years later we are still called Christians – followers of Jesus Christ. But sadly the name has lost its rich meaning. How many people who take on the name are really hardly aware of what it means to be a follower of the man/God who walked this earth and died and rose again !!

“And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” (Acts 11:26)

(credits - historical facts taken from Charles Ludwig's Handbook of New Testament Rulers and Cities. )

Sunday, August 10, 2008

God's Word in the Sky

Last night Vic and I went for a walk in our complex to watch the evening summer sky. I never tire of the sky, how beautifully it displays God's glory and splendor.
And how fitting are God's words.

"Look to the heavens and see; And behold the clouds— They are higher than you." (Job 25:5)

"It (Jesus throne) shall be established forever like the moon, Even like the faithful witness in the sky." Selah ...(Psa.89:37)

He answered and said to them, "When it is evening you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red" (Matt.16:2)

"Sing to God, sing praises to His name; Extol Him who rides on the clouds, By His name YAH, And rejoice before Him." (Psa. 68:4)

" Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory."
(Mark 13:26)

"There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, Who rides the heavens to help you, and in His excellency on the clouds." (Duet.33:26)


Friday, August 8, 2008

Darwin is Dead - Let The Truth Reign

Charles Darwin had no idea ! Or - maybe he DID have a sneaking doubt when he said…
“If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous successive slight modifications my theory would absolutely break down.”

His own mouth would judge him if he lived today. He would have to admit that in the light of modern scientific discoveries his theory has absolutely, completely broken down!! Although science has proven his evolution theories to be impossible, his followers are not as willing as Darwin to admit defeat!

Darwin’s Evolution Theory is only 150 years old but has already fallen into the scrap heap of disproved assumptions. God’s science , written into His Word, is 6000 years old and has yet to be proven false in one small detail !! I LOVE for God to be right .. and I LOVE for man’s science to have to bow the knee to His Truth !!!!

For Darwin’s theory to stand -on even one shaky leg- the cell, which is the primal building block of all life , would have to stay very simple. Science has proved that the cell is anything but simple, but is instead a very complex and complicated factory full of machines , all in miniscule scale. Every tiny intricate part of these machines is necessary for the whole to work.

The cell was once thought to be "a simple little lump of albuminous combination of carbon." To Ernest Haeckel (who coined the phrase ‘simple cell’) it seemed that such simple life, with no internal organs, could easily be produced from inanimate material.
Haeckel’s mistake was that he looked only on the surface. Had he had the advantages of today’s technology he would never have come to the same conclusion.

Nothing God does is ‘simple’. His intelligence is far beyond the comprehension of man’s small brain. I doubt that comparing our human brain to that of an ant… would be a fair analogy of our intelligence compared to God’s. His ways and thoughts are far beyond our limited human grasp !!

And yet God has allowed us to have enough intelligence to be impressed, amazed, overwhelmed and perfectly awed by Who He is !!!

I fear that in our modern ‘magic’ age of technology we are so enthralled by what man has accomplished that we have unreasonably elevated ourselves to a perceived level of cleverness that allows us to delegate God into a little box called ‘religion’ and leave Him out of our normal thinking or day to day activities or our observations of His world.

There is nothing you can look at, nothing you can experience, nothing you can conceive of, where God is not present in some very real way !

If you are interested at all in science there is a fascinating documentary about the cell and it’s amazing ‘machines’ – each machine put together following detailed instructions and fulfilling its predesigned function without fail. Find the documentary on line here… Scroll down the list of categories on the left to Religion, then over to Creationism and then click on Intellegent Design- Unlocking the Mysteries of Life
While this documentary is anti-evolution it does not mention God. It is left completely to the listener to conclude what the alternative to Darwin’s theory could be.

"The fool has said in his heart,'There is no God.' " (Ps. 14:1)


Monday, August 4, 2008

God's Garden

Mt. Outram is my favorite mountain. It stands 8,000 ft above sea level with an elevation gain of 5,900 ft. It is the highest summit in the Cascade Mt. range - not an easy climb but worth the effort!

I have climbed it twice...once a long day hike and once overnight camping in August when we awoke to the mountain covered in snow.
My husband climbed it last week with a friend and brought back some beautiful photos of the mountains meadows of flowers.

The winters on Mt. Outram are harsh, covering the mountain with snow most of the year. In the two months or so that the ground is exposed to the warming rays of the sun, a profusion of flowers make their appearance. Their life is short but their beauty unsurpassed.

I love to give God glory for the amazing wonder of His floral garden displays that outdo any human gardener. Only God can make a mountain.. and only God can speak the flowers into bloom!

Enjoy the photos !
The lake we camped beside.

The day was cloudy so the views were hindered ... but on a clear day from the peak of Outram the mountain vistas stretch into the distance as far as you can see !

Psa 72:3 "The mountains shall bring peace to the people." There is a sense of peace that is undeniable on a mountain. Enjoying the stillness of the mountain heights far above the madding crowd of the earth somewhere far below and far away is an awesome feeling. The presence of the Lord is so real !

"The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come." Son 2:12