Guest Commentary: The Gate called Beautiful by Meg

Recently one of the contributors on the forum made a post that is challenging. This post points toward the looking toward appearance and failing to get to the heart of those hurting  and lost in darkness.  These words should be challenging to us all. Also remember it is Jesus who went after those outside this gate, the prostitutes and tax collectors.  So take time and read the commentary and let the Holy Spirit speak to you regarding the content.

It seems to me there is a gate on the American church called Beautiful. Its a gate gilded with money and success. It is all too easy to hide behind that gate and pretend that nothing on the outside of that gate matters. It seems to me that everything outside the gate called Beautiful is either too dangerous or too unattractive to look at closely. Or maybe its just too expensive; after all, these days time is money.
I knew a woman in 2006 whose daughter died of a drug overdose right here in the Bible Belt. That young woman was just outside the gate called Beautiful! Right outside!!! Her mother knew it, but there was nothing she could do to stop it, because she too was trapped outside the gate called Beautiful. My best friend died outside the gate called Beautiful. He never knew he had a choice. He thought God was a slot machine, nothing but random chance, and he got dealt the losing hand, he really thought that, and that horrifically mistaken impression killed him — slowly. I had the front row seat in that horror movie. That was one of the wounds I never thought could heal… It literally took an act of God to heal that one.

It seems to me that the church has decided that unless someone is getting paid to do something that nothing is going to get done. Since money is so important, they spend quite a bit of it to build impressive sanctuaries that attract money to pay the staff to “do something”, then they build a gate called “Beautiful” to keep the ugliness tightly shut out. Its safe in there, and it is beautiful; the money insists on that, because everybody knows that poverty kills, so therefore the lie becomes true, and the prosperity gospel becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy with a great deal of credibility.

Doesn’t the dying matter??? I see it every day, the people who live behind the gate called Beautiful singing “Blessed To Be A Blessing” while they turn their backs on everything they don’t want to see. And its so convenient how everyone they don’t want to see find somewhere else to die. Cemeteries are very quiet places by nature, where death is hidden under the soil easily forgotten. The wealthy are so easy to look at that it is equally easy to turn away from anything that doesn’t fit inside the gate called “Beautiful”. They justify themselves with ministries to the homeless, who they cannot ignore, but its the people trapped behind the gate called “Almost” who are doing the real dying. They are the people who are easily ignored. They are the people who are pointedly ignored. They would rather work than steal, they work cheap and are easily replaced, and easily exploited as well. They neither cost much money nor cause much trouble, so the existence of the working underclass is both useful and easily taken for granted.

Turning your back is effortless. Nothing could be more visibly important than success, so it makes perfect sense to pour all their time and energy into creating more success. Nothing could be easier than failure, all they haver to do is stop trying, and since anything easy is cheap, and anything cheap is plentiful, hell is filling up fast, and anyone who doesn’t measure up is expendable. Right outside the gate called “Beautiful”…

News Commentary: Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich arrested for corruption including sale of Senate seat.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Federal authorities arrested Rod Blagojevich and his aide John Harris for .  They apparently have charged them both with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and solicitation of bribery.  Even in a state such as Illinois with a long history of political corruption including the voting of the dead, this is a low day.  The federal authorities have a 78 page affidavit of evidence with lots of direct quotes based on evidence from wire tapping.

    When I read of this news, what comes to mind is here we have a foolish man.  He had a attained a position of influence, a position of power and what did allegedly do with it? Use it for his own gain by selling government contracts, state jobs, regulatory favors, and definitely sought gain from the pending open Senate seat.  Such actions fit the Biblical definitions of foolishness.  The book of Proverbs is filled with comparisons of the righteous and the foolish and wicked and paints the picture that the latter follows a path to destruction, the former a path to  reward and blessing.   Here we have a man who allegedly engaged in foolish actions to enrich himself at the expense of those he was seeking to serve. 

      And reading this, it is real easy to pontificate and judge what is clearly wrong. The obvious and blatant corruption and foolishness bring anger, wrath, judgement and triggers self-righteousness and pride.   Yet, in some ways each of us are similar. Each of us at some level have made choices for are own benefit and regardless of cost or consequence.  We all falter.  It is the obvious and apparent corruption and foolishness but it is the secret, hidden, and unexposed that  are even more dangerous. Yet, even all that is not exposed, will sooner or later be brought to into this come, either now or at judgement day.  But you know what, there is good news! No matter what anyone has done, God has grace.  The righteousness of God can become our own through the grace of the Cross and the sacrifice of Jesus.  Jesus took our sin so that we take on His righteousness.  The worst most vile evil is covered through Jesus by acceptance and a turning from self, it truly is that simple. So will you continue to walk the path of foolish, seeking after crooked gain, walking a path leading to destruction, or will you turn around and walk a different way?  The offer is always there, it is what we choose the path of wisdom or the path of the fool. The difference is clear as protrayed in Proverbs 9.   Please take time to think on this, the other option is to ignore it and pontificate on the evil corruption of fools.


Proverbs 9 (NIV) :

1 Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn out its seven pillars. 2 She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine; she has also set her table. 3 She has sent out her maids, and she calls from the highest point of the city. 4 “Let all who are simple come in here!” she says to those who lack judgment. 5 “Come, eat my food and drink the wine I have mixed. 6 Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of understanding. 7 “Whoever corrects a mocker invites insult; whoever rebukes a wicked man incurs abuse. 8 Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you. 9 Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning. 10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. 11 For through me your days will be many, and years will be added to your life. 12 If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you; if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer.”

13 The woman Folly is loud; she is undisciplined and without knowledge. 14 She sits at the door of her house, on a seat at the highest point of the city, 15 calling out to those who pass by, who go straight on their way. 16 “Let all who are simple come in here!” she says to those who lack judgment. 17 “Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious!” 18 But little do they know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of the grave.

News commentary: Annointing Oil and Prayer over American Automobile Industry?

Recently took a stop by and learned of a news article describing an event at a local Detroit church. The article is Titled, “SUVs at altar, Detroit church prays for a bailout.” After reading the article provokes sadness and incredulity.  In reading of the event there are two areas worth commenting on.

     The first area to comment about is that the event  seems to be a turning to God and begging for help in times of trouble approach. Economic times are tough, and the American automotive industry is in peril.  Yet, in the plea for help, there is no turning to God in repentance. There is no self-examination of sin. There is only begging God.   There is a recognition of failed self-effort but it becomes  “so lets turn to God to get what I want since I cannot.” This is demonstrated in this quote from General Holiefield, “We have done all we can do in this union, so I’m going to turn it over to the Lord.”   So apparently the idea is to turn to God to ask for help with what you want from the American government because of an inability to accomplish in own effort.  God is not about granting prayer because we cannot expand or fix things by own effort.  God blesses and helps to bring Glory to His Kingdom, not our own.

Another concern is that these people while exhibiting some hope, are placing hope in the wrong place.  The hope expressed is that God will change the hearts and minds of members of Congress.  Reverend Charles Ellis stated “It’s all about hope. You can’t dictate how people will think, how they will respond, how they will vote. But you can look to God. We believe he can change the minds and hearts of men and women in power, and that’s what we tried to do today.”  When God changes the minds and hearts of people, it is to change their heart and mind toward Him.   Biblically it is clear that when a nation is in times of struggle, that people of God need to do two things, humble themselves and pray  (2 Chronicles 7: 13-14).  Now, Reverend Ellis states “I pray in good times and in bad times, but I pray these days because it’s something that directly affects our lives. Politicians forgot autoworkers for ages. You can’t just forget them. We’re also part of the country.” And I ask, where is the humility in the statement?  Where is the surrender to the King of Kings. The appearance here is one of missing the humility part.  The asking is apparent but James 4:3 is relevant: “When you ask, you do not receive,because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” 

     The thing that really cause head shaking, is that when Congress sees fit to put together a package to assist the automotive industry, this prayer session and anointing SUV’s with oil will seem pivotal.  God though is more interested in what is going on with each individual and desire a turning for our own self-seeking and a turning to Him in humility and surrender, not in demands for him to fix what we broke.

The Hooked Goose: A picture with spiritual signifigance

Take a moment and prayerfully consider this picture.  Ask God to reveal to you the spiritual significance of this picture, then come back and read my thoughts.  Please feel free to share your thoughts and what God speaks to you in the comment section. 
Notice the lure

Notice the lure





Okay, hopefully you have taken time to prayerfully consider the picture.  My first reaction to the picture was first it being a symbol of being yoked. Yet, with the lure being stuck in the goose it didn’t seem to quite fully fit.   Then my attention shifted to the nature of sin being a trap and that the Enemy has many for of bait sitting there to trap and entangle people.  There is no shortage of ways a person can get ensnared including the range of sexuality, drugs, entertainment, food, money, power, and so on.  Once we get drawn and hooked by a particular lure, there is always temptation to return.  The variety of sins are much like this lure.  We get used to them, not even notice, but every once and while feel the pull and get led off course.  This picture to me represents a typical Christian.  We are infilled with the Holy Spirit (goose is a symbol of Holy Spirit in Celtic Christianity) yet we have various sins that we have been hooked by that pull on us to lead us astray. We can have those hooks removed.  We can be delivered from the snares but there are specific steps, just as there would be steps to remove the lure in this picture.   Biblically the steps involve repentance, submission, forgiveness, reconciliation, and faith and probably others. At some point on this blog further examination on the steps to freedom over the snares of sin while occur.  Take some time to think for yourself about the snares you have that may pull at you, what keeps you from moving in the direction God has for you.

The beginning, finally.

Hello and welcome. This blog has been a long time coming. I have been felt read to start sharing and writing thoughts about the Church, the world, and whatever God puts on my heart for some time.  I have been negligent in following through with this call until now.

I have been negligent because I have been to wrapped up in distractions and self-pity over events in my life.  I put myself above what God was calling.  I had many excuses and many reasons why not.  I did not surrender fully to God.  And yet now I start.  Finally! Time to surrender!

So what brought me to this point of surrender?  Well, it was a wake-up call from God.  There has always been a part of me that has wanted to see God actively moving in people’s lives.  I yearn to see people healed of deep wounds and set free from bondage.  I want to see people brought into True peace.  In that  yearning, I ultimately was made aware of what is called the “Florida Outpouring.”

                When I first learned of it I tuned in, watched it for the duration.  First, I was glad to see people seeking after Christ.  However, as I watched I had several checks in my spirit.  I observed the “laughter” Mr. Bentley was exhibiting and it seemed to me a faked forced, laugh.  I watched Mr. Bentley take testimonies of miracles and saw him fishing and twisting for connection to the “Lakeland outpouring.”  The third thing of concern was he made a comment stating flat out “You’re going to give me all your money.”  It was a disjointed statement at the time, and I wondered about it. I believe soon after that he began speaking on “seeds of faith” giving, always a red flag for me.  His teaching that night talked about four levels of healing. Nothing seemed off regarding that teaching at the time.  However, in retrospect, it was all about receiving the “healing” and very little about surrender to Jesus, the Messiah.

                I had failed at the time to attend to the red flags. Sent emails out to some family and friends pointing out the revival and initially made some posts defending Mr. Bentley on a Christian forum.  I sadly sent a prayer request for my wife’s health to a pastor of the church sponsoring the event, because I hate how my wife has suffered and want to see her set free.   Well, I went to bed that night and woke up with a heavy feeling in my spirit.  I prayed to God about Mr. Bentley and what was happening and began to research further.  What I found was that Mr. Bentley was not serving Christ and was deceiving many. 

                In making me aware of the deception, God also made me aware that I had put much ahead of Him.  The chief of which is my own entertainment and pleasure. How I had not placed God at the top and that I needed to wake up and surrender to Him.  I needed to take my eyes off the things of this world and focus on Christ.  There were other parts of the wake-up call but in this initial post it is not the time to go into such matters, but God made it perfectly clear .

                In think God’s move in my heart is best summed up in the verses in Ephesians 5:13-16 “13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14 for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” 15 Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”

            So now that you are a little aware of what finally got me here, blogging, let me share with you what I hope my posts on this blog will do.  First of all and most important is to bring glory to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God come in the flesh and bring others to a place where they submit wholly to Him.  The second thing I hope to do on this blog is to shed light. I haven’t totally fleshed out what that means, but a key verse God has been directing my life with is “Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and Glorify God in heaven.” Matthew 5:16  In time I will expand more on what shedding light means.  The important thing is for me to start posting and let God draw to the sight, those that we will. 

May God’s Grace and Peace illuminate your heart and may you be drawn in surrender to Him.

Timothy G. Blake, Peacebringer.