Secular Drift

A bank teller handles lots of money everyday….how do we think they learn how to tell a counterfeit from the real thing? Is it by handling a lot of fake bills? Actually, no, they learn to recognize the counterfeit bills by handling the real thing, and the more they handle the real thing, the more obvious the counterfeit is. Are we any different when it comes to the Word of God and hearing His voice? We learn to know His voice and understand scripture, not by looking at the lies, but by looking at the truth, and the more we handle the truth, the more obvious the lies get. In the same vein, we recognize spirit-killing-religiousness, not be being part of super religious churches of that type, immersing ourselves in all that’s dead, but by being part of what’s alive where the presence of God is….and the farther we get from religiousness, the more obvious and unattractive it is.

Secular Drift…. how the world has invaded the church and we’ve allowed it…. and The Weight of Secrets – there is a relief which comes when we stop participating in lies, stop propagating wrongness of character and hiding it in front of our peers so we appear righteous but, honestly the weight of our secrets keep us bowed to the ground. There are two kinds of secrets: the ones i hide from you, and the ones i hide from myself.

What do i mean by secular drift? In your mind, what do you imagine by that term? Take a moment and imagine with me….see yourself standing by a calm lake in the early morning before the sun comes up. It’s just getting light…there is a stillness over everything that is intoxicating. From the lake begins to rise an ever so faint mist and the air starts to move every so slowly from the lake to the shore. As you’re standing there, drawn in by the serene beauty of the landscape you don’t really give attention to the mist which has gotten thicker around you. Suddenly, your eyes see that the landscape has become obscured and now all you can see is a few yards in any direction because the once faint mist has gotten thicker, you are in the midst of it, and by now it is thick enough that your skin even feels damp. Before you know it, the mist has drifted in and you’re in the thick of it.

The world and it’s godless ideas have invaded the church in a similar fashion. We are often swept away by lesser problems, a mere crumb tossed to us by the enemy of our souls in order that we don’t address our own permissiveness, we don’t read God’s word but prefer to read a book about the book, the Bible which is God’s exclusive counsel and revelation of righteous life, hope, and salvation….we don’t notice the heart postures we have adopted in order to just “get along” in society, there by losing our grip on what is right and wrong and where our real focus should be. Secular drift has clouded our reasoning and thinking, and many no longer see a clear path to Christ like they use to.

Secularism says that the world, especially past and current human existence, is without any objective meaning, purpose, or essential value. To have secular thinking annunciates that all we do goes no where and does nothing. Yea, isn’t that ugly? What has invaded the church is this subtly invasive idea, almost running parallel to the gospel, that there is no reasonable proof of the existence of a higher ruler or creator, no need of God or “right morality”, therefore, life has no truth, and no one action is known to be preferable to any other.
All too often, especially in the younger generation, when you can get a straight answer, on one hand comes this socially acceptable church-ianity answer, filled with all the right Christian-eze, just sticky sweet and all about Jesus. But if you continue the conversation, asking some potentially pokey questions, suddenly there starts appearing a very opposing viewpoint from the same people which says “You can believe what you want and it’s correct for you, and if you really believe eating tuna everyday is what gets you into Heaven, then, for you, it probably will get you into the presence of God forever more, eating tuna and being happy.”

James 3:11, “Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water?” Think about it. A while back, in a couple programs, i asked the question, “Who’s side are you on? God or the devil?” i didn’t ask that question for nothing. It was asked for us to carefully consider and come to a conclusion, are you going left or right? One way leads to Christ and the other leads to hell….how do you choose? …and choose you must.

I have come to the conclusion that there are believers in the church who say they are Christians, while, at the same time, upholding and even defending value systems that are secular. Friends, there is no such thing as “secular Christianity”, it is totally contradictory. It is like saying “righteously evil”, or “positively negative”….both are a total contradiction, like “secular Christian” is completely contradictory. To be a “secular Christian” is to be sugar-coated with spirituality and outward peace but have foundations that reflect we don’t need God and we are sufficient in ourselves.
The secular view says we are our own beginning and end, our own mother’s and father’s, and this “secular drift” which has invaded the mind and heart of the church, is slow moving like a morning fog, just drifting along, appearing innocuous, inspiring people to become passive sheep being led to the slaughter, all the while loving their getting along, being nice and agreeable ad naseum, or till the stomach turns. The church suffers from “false-consensus” which is derived from our desire to conform and be liked by others, and within our own church group, because no one disputes our perception, we tend to think everybody thinks the same way. We’re watered down, clouds with no rain, we’ve become real milk toast about God, deceived about the enemy of our souls. Wake up! Wake up! Wake up! Wake up! Jude 1:12-13, “These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.” Does that sound like someone you want to be? Who in their right mind actually wants to be “twice dead” with no fruit, pulled up by the roots? Nobody, not even the worst of us! Let us turn back to the word of God and take Him at His word. There is nothing God says which is an idle word which just fills space while He thinks of something else to say.

“Secular drift” turns our “God said” into something which isn’t all that important; it turns our “God did” into “maybe not”; our “never leave you” into merely “probably never leave you” and our “always with you” into just “mostly with you”. It turns God’s “I will give you rest” into “I might give you some relief”, and our promise of tomorrow into only a wisp of possibility.
In our “selfie” obsessed culture…. appearance, status, and popularity with friends is often chased after more than understanding the heart and fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom. Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
When we care more about what people think of us than respecting the ways of God, then we are secular. Often we harbor perceptual errors that lead to biased interpretations of the Bible, allowing public opinion to validate us, causing us to cease trusting our internal, Holy Spirit inspired moral compass….once we start down that path, devaluing ourselves quickly becomes our constant default position, and then we over-value ourselves to compensate …..we play “wish-craft” games, assuming we are more powerful than we are. Oh, and heaven forbid anyone should disagree with “secular Christianity”…oh man, then the claws come out and the vicious comments just roll, many seeming to automatically assume that if someone disagree’s with them, they, yes, they must be defective somehow. i think more than a few church folks suffer from two phobias: Atychiphobia, which is a fear of failure or of being wrong … which is absolutely pervasive in our society, and Socialphobia, fear of being closely watched, judged, and criticized by others. Those two invasive fears are instant gateways for the “secular drift” to just ease on in and find room and board in your ever so available mind. This ought not to be.

The Cornerstone, Keystone, and Champion

Without Christ in our lives, we are like once beautiful stars which are no longer part of the sky, eclipsed by the movement of time and a world which doesn’t care.
Without Christ in our lives it’s as if we are repeatedly slapped down by the violence of circumstance, and there, left bleeding in a sad lonely place, we are trying desperately to get a little recognition to validate us in hopes someone will hear ….it’s like trying to catch the tail of a comet.
Without Christ in our lives, we are left as only an image with no reflection, no longer a light, glimmering like a beacon of hope in the dark, but only a weightless inkling, a faint shadow, lost in lightless gloom.
We need a cornerstone in our lives, without which we are part of a crooked building whose walls tip, sag, and lean, out of plumb and out of level from it’s beginning, destined to collapse under the weight of it’s own wrongness. We need right definitions for words like prosperity and peace, by which only come from the standard of the Cornerstone, the Keystone, and the Champion, Jesus Christ, the Lord God from whom all blessings flow.
We can all think a lot of thoughts and walk a lot of paths and pavements between sun up and sun down. There’s a whole lotta thinking going on. For many of us who remember the God-moments of our lives, in those moments, memory, once again, becomes reality, and for those of us who have come home and rejoined the stars in the sky, our resolve to continue our relentless pursuit of Jesus can instantly be as clear as stars on a warm summer night.
Without Christ, life is built on the fading and passing away. God invented the idea of a corner and the nail. Had He not created the concept of a corner, all lines would just run into the distance, unswerving; had He not created the idea of a nail, our hopes and dreams would find no purchase to grip and remain. On Calvary’s hill, the blood of Jesus ran into every corner of the cross, and with each nail in His limbs, our salvation was made possible. The corners were small but they gave us something to brace against, and the nails, the littles that held much, paved the road for us to come home.
God, in His wisdom and kindness, saw that mankind needed the idea of a corner to brace against, and that of a nail, the little which holds much….His being our cornerstone means those who are the fallen sparks can come home and be part of the sky again, we can stop and breath and smell and listen again, all in the presence of the Lord who makes all things new as spoken of in Rev21:5. The cornerstone says to write His words down because they are trustworthy and true…. and to “write them down” doesn’t mean we jot them out on a scrap of paper to come back at some imaginary time in the future and ponder them….it means to “think on these things”, study what is trustworthy and true to understand and get the words of our Keystone and Champion down in our heart and head.
Upon becoming part of the sky again, our feet are settled on stone, squared by the standard, made plumb and level by One who is higher than ourselves, we stand no longer on shifting sands of wishful thinking, no longer swept away by some distant, laughing ghost of a fading dream without God.”

c

Be Kind To Yourself

Be kind to yourself…..the Lord not only calls us to be kind to our neighbor, but also to ourselves. Think about it: if you had a friend who spoke to you the same way you speak to yourself, how long would you allow that person to be your friend? So many of us are very unkind to ourselves…..we condemn ourselves in the mirror with demeaning names which no one hears but us. God doesn’t talk to you that way, so, why do you? Maybe some of us have an attitude that says, “if i were God, i wouldn’t like me either”….but that’s not what the Lord does….He is kind and His kindness changes us.

He Rains Love On Us

Jesus is the completion of redemption, and the balance of reconciliation, He has been speaking to you before you knew it was Him speaking to you. He is the One who gives us images to familiarize us with Himself. He is God who whispers us to sleep when we are restless, then rustles His God-fingers against the earth until it rains love in our lives, making wet parched hearts to sing again, even in the moments when we would have preferred to stop living.

i got a phrase of this from somewhere, don’t know where, i just jotted down the rhyming rhythm on a slip of paper.

We Shall Know Him

Even in all our mundane ways, we shall know God. His whispers invite us in closer to Him, hearing with greater exactness, to not be satisfied sitting at a distance from Him….He whispers, words low to the ground which are our resolution to key decisions, little words which nudge our rescue from dark nights of the soul, promptings which inspire us to grow up…..they echo down the long hall between the shadow of conflict and peace, uncovering and healing our disgraces which are felt but rarely expressed.

Happy vs. Joy

Both “joy” and “happy” have a fire in them. Happy is a blessedness in our head, meaning it is a subjective word. Happy has to do with intent and posture, and depends on external circumstances.
“Joy” also has a flame, but it’s a word of internal life and grace, divine breath, and light. It is an internal blessedness which rises from our insides. Nehemiah 8:10, “…joy of the Lord”.

Arrogance And Pride

When arrogance and pride step in the room, it’s like saying someone armed and willing to draw blood is in our company. Withing the main Hebrew word for pride is that it comes to the table weaponized and willing to get gain by struggle. Pride says, “Play fair!”, God says, “Don’t play fair, do more than fair.”