Helpful Articles: Spurgeon Meditation-Beyond Circumstances

Friday, April 08, 2011

This Evening’s Meditation

C. H. Spurgeon

http://www.spurgeon.org/daily.htm

BEHOLD, how independent of outward circumstances the Holy Ghost can make the Christian! What a bright light may shine within us when it is all dark without! How firm, how happy, how calm, how peaceful we may be, when the world shakes to and fro, and the pillars of the earth are removed! Even death itself, with all its terrible influences, has no power to suspend the music of a Christian’s heart, but rather makes that music become more sweet, more clear, more heavenly, till the last kind act which death can do is to let the earthly strain melt into the heavenly chorus, the temporal joy into the eternal bliss! Let us have confidence, then, in the blessed Spirit’s power to comfort us. Dear reader, are you looking forward to poverty? Fear not; the divine Spirit can give you, in your want, a greater plenty than the rich have in their abundance. You know not what joys may be stored up for you in the cottage around which grace will plant the roses of content. Are you conscious of a growing failure of your bodily powers? Do you expect to suffer long nights of languishing and days of pain? O be not sad! That bed may become a throne to you. You little know how every pang that shoots through your body may be a refining fire to consume your dross—a beam of glory to light up the secret parts of your soul. Are the eyes growing dim? Jesus will be your light. Do the ears fail you? Jesus’ name will be your soul’s best music, and His person your dear delight. Socrates used to say, “Philosophers can be happy without music;” and Christians can be happier than philosophers when all outward causes of rejoicing are withdrawn. In Thee, my God, my heart shall triumph, come what may of ills without! By thy power, O blessed Spirit, my heart shall be exceeding glad, though all things should fail me here below.

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Helpful Articles: The Best Decision I made this year by Mark Batterson

The Best Decision I Made This Year

By Mark Batterson

Bible

If you asked me: what is the best decision you made this year?  The answer is easy. The hands-down best decision was the decision to read through a one-year Bible. 

Let me come clean.  I didn’t read the Bible nearly as much as I could have or should have last year.  This is embarrassing to admit, but Bible reading had become synonymous with sermon prep.  I was reading it professionally instead of devotionally.  I was reading it for what God wanted to say through me instead of reading it for what God wanted to say to me.  And it took its toll. 

Then at the end of last year I stumbled across an interview with J.I. Packer, the renowned author and theologian.  He said, “Any Christian worth his salt ought to read the Bible from cover-to-cover every year.”  It stung at first.  But it made sense, so much sense that I decided to do it.  And it has proved to be the best decision I made this year.  Long story short, I’ve fallen in love with the Bible all over again. 

If you want to grow spiritually, you need a consistent diet of Scripture.  In fact, you will never outgrow your consumption of Scripture. There is no substitute. There is no supplement.  The poet, T.S. Eliot, once observed: “Everything we eat has some effect upon us. It affects us during the process of assimilation and digestion; and I believe exactly the same is true of anything we read.”  In other words, you are what you read.

I have a saying that I repeat to our congregation frequently: reading without meditating is like eating without digesting.  If you want to absorb the nutrients, you can’t just read it. You’ve got to chew on it. You’ve got to digest it. Meditation is the way we metabolize Scripture.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:2

A few years ago, researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health did a study that consisted of subjects performing a simple motor task. As subjects engaged in a finger-tapping exercise, the researchers conducted an MRI to identify what part of the brain was being activated. The subjects then practiced the finger-tapping exercise daily for four weeks. At the end of the four-week period, the brain scan was repeated. In each instance, it revealed that the area of the brain involved in the task had expanded. That simple task, a finger-tapping exercise, literally recruited new nerve cells and rewired neuronal connections.

That is what happens when we read Scripture.  We are recruiting new nerve cells and rewiring neuronal connections. In a sense, we are downloading a new operating system that reconfigures the mind.  We stop thinking human thoughts and start thinking God thoughts.  And our minds are literally renewed. 

Enough theory.  Let me get personal and practical.  Because I have a goal-oriented personality, I knew I needed to turn this spiritual discipline of reading, studying, and meditating Scripture into a spiritual goal.  So I made one New Year’s Resolution: read through a one-year Bible.  For what it’s worth, I choose The Daily Message.  Then I asked my son, Parker, if he would do it with me.  Honestly, I wasn’t sure if he was old enough to handle some of the real and raw passages.  You don’t have to read very far into Genesis before you encounter some kinky and unconscionable stories.  But I’d much rather discuss the dark side of human nature after reading the Bible than watching a random R-rated movie.  I also have to admit that I had ulterior motives.  I knew that if my son was doing it with me, it would help keep me accountable!

Permission to speak frankly? 

One of the common complaints people make when leaving a church is this: I’m not being fed.  As a preacher, my goal is to nourish our congregation via a well-rounded diet of sermons. And I try to preach every sermon like it’s my last, but let me push back.  My kids learned to feed themselves when they were toddlers.  If you’re not being fed, that’s your fault.  I’m afraid we’ve unintentionally fostered a subtle form of spiritual codependency in our churches.  It is so easy to let others take responsibility for what should be our responsibility. So we let our pastors study the Bible for us.  Here’s a news flash: the Bible was unchained from the pulpit nearly five hundred years ago during an era of history called the Middle Ages. 

If you are relying on a preacher to be fed, I fear for you.  Listening to a sermon is second-hand knowledge.  It is learning based on someone else’s words or experiences. A sermon is no replacement for first-hand knowledge.  You’ve got to see it and hear it and experience it for yourself.  It’s not enough to hear the truth. You have to own it. Or more accurately, it has to own you. Honestly, I’d rather have people hear one word from the Lord than a thousand of my sermons.  And that happens when you open your Bible and start reading.

Mark Batterson is the pastor of National Community Church in Washington DC. He also the author of Wild Goose Chase, and In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day. Check-out his blog at www.evotional.com.

Guest Movie Commentary: Knowing

A frequent contributer to the comments section at Constance Cumby’s blog who goes by Bella wrote this commentary on the movie Knowing.  Personally I haven’t watched the film but found what Bella had to share about what observed in the movie to be sobering.

The Movie “Knowing”
by Bella

The movie is quite well done and I can see why it is popular. It is an edge-of-your-seat kind of film. Dealing with some underlining fears we have and questions we ask.

Some film critics have called “Knowing” a merger of the occult and sci-fi.

I have seen Knowing. It was suggested to me by some of my fellow anti-occult researchers. They advised me to see it based on its twisting religion into the occult.

This movie is a good preparation to understand occult concepts.

Let me start with this. This entire story I have already read about in various different occult books in different forms. I could tell from the first few minutes what was going to happen in the entire movie, because I have heard this same story many times within the new age/occult. The basis of this idea of this story comes from a popular concept that humans were brought here by aliens from another dying planet and that Adam and Eve were placed here by them. The aliens keep watch over us to help us evolve through our reincarnations. Other occult teachings say we just evolved here, but with the help of these same entities.

Angels/Aliens/Space Brothers/Spirit Guides

I want to clarify what whispering entities were. They represented aliens (better describe in the occult as “space brothers” or spirit guides). They are angels that are the watchers of this planet and its evolution. The space brothers/angels/aliens help the earth evolve. They act as spirit guides to those in the occult. We know them as demons. They call them angels and admit they are fallen angels and include Lucifer as the leader. The difference is the occult teaches they are good and misunderstood by man. They say major religions have wrongly twisted the Morning star, the Illuminated One or Lucifer into a source of evil. They only want what is best for us to live in a one-world-order of peace. They teach we as a planet are going to destroy ourselves but they will come forth and guide us to how to become a united loving world. It is also taught they can remove a select few to a new planet if necessary. The space brothers can appear just as the movie showed, very Aryan. This is the common description of how they take form. When they shed their false skins you can see they are just spirits that even have wings. This is a symbol of the fallen angels that guide this planet. They glowed with light, as Lucifer can appear as an angel of light so can his other followers.

Picture of Ezekiel:

The picture or story of Ezekiel is very common among those occultists that hold this view like Shirley McClain as proof of extraterrestrial life. But as you did deeper this extra terrestrial life in the deep occult teachings they explain them as truly the angels that guide this planet and call them by name Lucifer and the fallen angels. They say their fall was a sacrifice for man, because they are higher evolved beings then humans. They travel by space ships. Maitreya the supposed “Christ” that will come with the “space brothers” is said to arrive in a space ship. This has been my great concern that we will see the false “aliens” at some point to help unite the world for our good. They are our “saviors”. Bringing us truth and knowledge.

Holy Ghost Whispers:

The Holy Ghost whispers but not in this evil way this movie portrays. Remember the demons whisper too. Lucinda took her own life because of these entities. The Holy Ghost does not torture us in this way by forcing His whispers on us. The whisperings were from evil sprits. The proof is that they were terrifying everyone and only creating fear and darkness until the end when the characters submitted to them their free will. Then is when they appeared good…

Auto writing:

The scenes in the movie where two children were hearing whispers that changed to auto writing. Auto writing is a trance like state or semi trance state in which the writer has no idea what they are writing. This state is often reached by meditation but sometimes is spontaneous or has to be developed over time, depending on the individual. There hands are forced to write down what they are being told to write. In the movie the children were so over-taken by these entities that they were forced to write these numbers to the point of even carving them with their fingers till they bled. This is again a very good example of possession of demons and not the Holy Ghost. This is a common occurrence in the occult. A high amount of their books are written via auto writings where the author has no idea what they are writing down. One examples of today, Neal Donald Walsh’s “Conversations With God” series. Demons communicate via auto writing as commonly as they do with inner voices as they did in writing the book “The Course in Miracles” by Helen Schucman. It was written via the inner voice dictation.( this is the course Oprah is pushing) The original writings of the occult when it was brought out of the public all the books were written through channeling of these “space brothers” that dictated what was to be written. This includes the authors Helen Blavatsky and Alice Bailey.

Spiritual Stones:

Polished basalt stones appear to have been used in the film to amplify the voice of the “whisper people”. They also helped the characters recognize the location where the aliens would land and know that the “whisper people” had been in a location, as they would drop them off. Stones and crystals are used heavily by occultists and are believed to have various spiritual powers and associations. Basalt is associated with the underworld being black and volcanic in origin, making it an obvious symbol of Satan. The film twists this symbolism into something good and symbolic of salvation.

Indigo/Crystal children:

It is taught now in the occult about the amount of children being born with psychic gifts. These children have gifts of prophecy, auto writing, channeling spirits, hearing voices, seeing visions etc. They are considered to be the ones that will follow the doctrines of the occult and help create a world of peace following the “space brothers” and what they teach. There are books that show you how to help them. What is interesting is that fact that they admit these children are strong willed and will not listen to authority. They say this is a good thing. They run to a beat of a different drummer and will tear down the old religions and build the new one-world spirituality.

Destruction by fire:

The occult teaches that the world was destroyed by a flood by the “Space brothers” now it will potentially be destroyed by fire. But we have a means of escape if we listen to them. They are teaching us now through writers that are teaching these things to the mass public even on Oprah. They teach we can avoid Armageddon if we listen to the space brothers and follow their advice.

The Locket:

The locket is given to the Father of the boy from his dead wife. It was inscribed with a statement about being together forever. This could be taken that they will see each other in Heaven. I wonder though if the meaning was occult in nature. The occult does teach that families do stay together within the occult for they keep reincarnating with loved ones. You are drawn to each others as soul mates and family relations continue just in different forms. Some times the parent becomes the child or grand child the spirits change from male to female in different incarnations etc. These souls keep working things out together life after life in groups. I think that may have been what was implied over seeing their family in Heaven.

Gospel Doctrines in the Movie:

In the movie there is Zero teachings of God except by the Pastor’s family and it is weak in doctrines so it leaves a gapping hole of the intent of what they really believed. Many Christian Pastors are teaching occult concepts now. So the wording was ambiguous New age/occult are replacing atheist views, so it is hard to tell what the lead character’s Father really believed anyway. Nor does it matter, for the intent of the movie was not to bring you closer to God as we know Him but to make you more acquainted with the doctrines of the occult, which it did very well.

Garden of Eden end:

The two children were dropped of on one of the many worlds that was talked about in the beginning of the movie that can hold life. The tree in the end was the symbol of the tree in the Garden of Eden. If you noticed there were many space ships dropping off children. They would not take adults. Why? Children are the occult’s future. They are waiting for the old ways and views to die off and only have the new teachings of the “ways” of the space brothers, their doctrines and teachings. The only ones they saved were the ones that hear the “call” this again is an occult use. The call is the awakening to hearing and understanding the entities whispers and if you notice they could only go “if” it was their free agency. It is taught in the occult you must submit your free agency to these entities for them to have control. Lucifer is bound by that law. They did not take a whole righteous civilization only children that heard the call and that were teachable by them.

This movie is a great indoctrination into many of the teachings that are becoming popular today. The merging of angels, demons into aliens seems to be a big goal at this time. They want us to look at demons as wise more advanced entities from other planets. It may appear as sci-fi and just a fun movie and have religions symbolisms, but that is the great deception. This is how they are slowing boiling us as frogs, introducing us to these concepts via an fictional film, yet much of the data is not fiction but doctrines preached and already written down by demons within occult writings. They are taking all we know as good and calling it evil and all we know as evil and calling it good, then twisting and redefining everything to fit their own meaning. They are merging Christian teachings with the occult. That is why so many recognize truths in this film. They are just twisted into a new meaning preparing us for what is to come and what is going on now.

Bella