Shield of God.

Using the pearls of His wisdom and the light of His truth to protect us in this world. Glory to the Father, to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Archive for the tag “Religion and Spirituality”

Generational Curse? Ancestral Memory? Is It In the DNA?

For some reason, this subject of generational curses came up a few times yesterday in different conversations, I saw it mentioned in an article yesterday and today I came across it again in a post on I Am Not Ashamed of the Gospel of Christ  and couldn’t resist reblogging it.   I never believed in “curses” such as negative events and behaviors being handed down, until I looked at it from a Biblical perspective and came to realize that this is a form of God’s punishment, but it is also a message and His perfect way to reform.

The  article that caught my attention yesterday was in the New York  Times. It was about a woman who had just discovered, and was uncovering, her Sephardic Jewish roots. There were a series of coincidences in her life that led her to this discovery. She mentions how the secret of their Jewish heritage was held and handed down from generation to generation – to be kept hidden and then given to safeguard by the next selected members of the following generation. She began to speculate about the effects of hidden secrets and of hidden experiences (such as persecution) on the following generations namely what we call “ancestral memory”. Can ancestral memory be inherited?  Are the experiences of our ancestors in our DNA?

There were some very interesting statements in the article about this.

…There are scientific studies exploring whether the history of our ancestors is somehow a part of us, inherited in unexpected ways through a vast chemical network in our cells that controls genes, switching them on and off. At the heart of the field, known as epigenetics, is the notion that genes have memory and that the lives of our grandparents — what they breathed, saw and ate — can directly affect us decades later.

Recent studies in Sweden explore the effects of famine and abundant harvests on the health of descendants four generations later. That is not exactly what I am looking for: I’m intrigued by the notion that generations pass on particular survival skills and an unconscious sense of identity that stands the test of centuries.

The French psychologist Anne Ancelin Schützenberger, now in her 90s, has spent decades studying what she calls the ancestor syndrome — that we are links in a chain of generations, unconsciously affected by their suffering or unfinished business until we acknowledge the past.

In the 1990s Dina Wardi, a psychotherapist in Jerusalem, worked with the children of Holocaust survivors and developed the theory that survivor parents often designated certain children as “memorial candles” who took on the mission of serving as a link to preserve the past and connect the future. The children of survivors who actively struggled against the Nazis, she found, had a compulsive ambition to achieve.  source

I noticed that the study mentioned above focused on the effects of famine/abundant harvest on the health of the descendants four generations later.

1 Then God said all these words: t 2 “I am ADONAI your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the abode of slavery. c 3″You are to have no other gods before me. 4 You are not to make for yourselves a carved image or any kind of representation of anything in heaven above, on the earth beneath or in the water below the shoreline.5 You are not to bow down to them or serve them; for I, ADONAI your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sins of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but displaying grace to the thousandth generation of those who love me and obey my mitzvot. d 7 “You are not to use lightly the name of ADONAI your God, because ADONAI will not leave unpunished someone who uses his name lightly. s 8 “Remember the day, Shabbat, to set it apart for God. 9 You have six days to labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Shabbat for ADONAI your God. On it, you are not to do any kind of work -not you, your son or your daughter, not your male or female slave, not your livestock, and not the for eigner staying with you inside the gates to your property. ( Exodus 20: 1-10 CJB)

Nothing is what it appears to be in our lives when we examine things in context from a “worldly perspective”.  What our ancestors experienced in their lives is all according to God’s plan.   We are constantly being tested by circumstances, both good and bad, in our lives.  Our ancestors were given their fair share of tests.  Only God knows how their hearts responded to these challenges, because its their inward responses, their faith, that is the issue.  Did they mishandle wealth?  Did they grow distant from God and lose faith during times of suffering?  Did they feel angry and resentful because of their poverty? Did they rebel and feel hatred because of persecution?  Did they create an inflated sense of self/ego because of their higher education, wealth and social status?  Did their respectable position in society cause them to lose their humility and to forget God?  Did they fall prey to the “world”?

Some of us may be the ancestors experiencing the punishment served by God on the future generations.

Is this a wrathful God that would do something like this, to punish the innocent?

NO!

It is a wake up call!  God put in this measure of punishment to wake us up.  God wants us to constantly examine and test.  That doesn’t apply solely to false teachings.  It also applies to our lives. We need to examine, test and reassess where we are – are we still on the narrow path?  Are we slipping?

In our reassessment and examination of our lives and circumstances, we can see if there is a familial situation going on.  Secular studies can show that there may be a DNA factor involved. I believe that ancestral memory can be something that is carried physically down the line.  That goes hand in hand with the Exodus passage above – God will hand down the “punishment” a few generations down the line.  Why shouldn’t this ancestral memory be “recorded” then in our DNA?  It is serving a purpose, it records a “trait” that has to be dealt with.

It is not punishing the innocent, it is calling them to action, to cleanse the whole family tree and the branches to come! And if you have to prune some branches – SO BE IT!

29 Aren’t sparrows sold for next to nothing, two for an assarion? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s consent. 30 As for you, every hair on your head has been counted. 31 So do not be afraid, you are worth more than many sparrows. 32 “Whoever acknowledges me in the presence of others I will also acknowledge in the presence of my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others I will disown before my Father in heaven. 34 “Don’t suppose that I have come to bring peace to the Land. It is not peace I have come to bring, but a sword! 35 For I have come to set 36 a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, so that a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household. 37 Whoever loves his father or mother more than he loves me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than he loves me is not worthy of me. 38 And anyone who does not take up his execution-stake and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his own life will lose it, but the person who loses his life for my sake will find it  (Matthew 10:29-39) CJB

All you need is a few family members to wake up to the call.  God is waiting for the special conversation with his children to address this problem and to clear up the problem! How loving is the Father that waits patiently for their child to see the problem for themselves, because only then are they ready to address what has been handed down and to clean up what went astray.  Sometimes the next generations are more able than the previous to do what is right.

Health Issue and Guiding Words from Jesus.

The previous post about the little girl and the message that she received in her heart from God inspired me to share this personal experience in a post.

I was praying to God for healing and guidance regarding a personal health issue that could have been very serious.  I asked for guidance and help as well as for healing.  Later on that day, I heard the Holy Spirit tell me loud and clear :

Fear Not, For The Body Seeks To Substantiate The Fear”.

Those were the most profound, powerful and comforting words.  I was able to release all the fear that I had, realizing that this fear  itself would have created the worst possible outcome.

My hope is that others who are facing health issues can be comforted with this message.

 

 

“but in your book all my days were already written!”

13 For you fashioned my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I thank you because I am awesomely made, wonderfully; your works are wonders -I know this very well. 15 My bones were not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16Your eyes could see me as an embryo, but in your book all my days were already written; my days had been shaped before any of them existed. 17 God, how I prize your thoughts! How many of them there are! 18 If I count them, there are more than grains of sand; if I finish the count, I am still with you. 19 God, if only you would kill off the wicked! Men of blood, get away from me! 20 They invoke your name for their crafty schemes; yes, your enemies misuse it. 21 ADONAI, how I hate those who hate you! I feel such disgust with those who defy you! 22 I hate them with unlimited hatred! They have become my enemies too. 23Examine me, God, and know my heart; test me, and know my thoughts.24 See if there is in me any hurtful way, and lead me along the eternal way.

Psalm 139 (13 – 24) CJB

 

Corrie Ten Boom

I am shocked right now…ready to cry actually, I am so moved.

I was doing some searching around the net about the man in sackcloth at the Vatican (previous posts). I came across a video about it, and watched it. It was 23 minutes long. I decided to share this video. That was my previous post.

Upon posting the video  regarding the possible witness at the vatican, my screen showed my blog with the post I just made – and it also showed another post, made just before my last one – a video post also,  called Corrie Ten Boom  – and it showed that it was posted just 5 minutes before the post that I had just made.

I never had posted this Corrie Ten Boom video at all!   I had never heard of Corrie Ten Boom, didn’t know what it was, felt sort of alarmed at a strange post on my blog – just posted, as a matter of fact, without me doing it.  And I really didn’t have any idea r who Corrie Ten Boom was! Without looking at the content of this mysterious post on my blog that I never made, I quickly removed it, not knowing what it was or how it got there. I must admit I felt a slight panic at the idea of seeing a post on my blog that I never posted!

So, after deleting that post, I remembered its title and looked up the ‘mystery’ video that I had never posted and just deleted.  The post that mysteriously appeared on my blog was called Corrie Ten Boom and the video on the post was called Corrie Ten Boom speaks about the tribulation and the rapture. Having quickly deleted this mystery post, I went to Google and looked up Corrie Ten Boom and tribulation. Right in front of me  was the video that mysteriously appeared on my blog and that I had just deleted. I watched the video and I had to catch my breath. It was beautiful.

How did this originally get on my blog? This Corrie Ten Boom post that I had deleted, in shock, was posted onto my blog just 5 minutes before the last post I made.  The last post I made (the video about the possible witness at the Vatican) was a 23 minute long video – and I was watching that with interest before posting it.  I wasn’t creating another post at the same time.  And lo and behold, as I was watching the video about the witness of the vatican (which by the way also described an experience they had with a video and the Holy Spirit today!!!!), a beautiful video mysteriously appeared on my blog. Yes, I deleted it before examining it. But I put it right back on! It is here below.

The original appearance of this video on my blog a few minutes ago was a move from the Holy Spirit. Having watched it, I was moved.  Asking for confirmation if the Holy Spirit sent the video to the blog, I was filled with such awe from a sense of magnificence and felt God’s grace just pour everywhere….This is a message that is meant to be heard, by the Grace of God.

 

The Word of God is Alive !

12 See, the Word of God is alive! It is at work and is sharper than any double-edged sword – it cuts right through to where soul meets spirit and joints meet marrow, and it is quick to judge the inner reflections and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4 : 12 CJB)

 

Beauty and Grace

In this darkening and turbulent world we are surrounded by vulgar music and corrupt and vile works.  We often lose sight of works that flow with Grace.

God created us with talents  and we express them through so many ways including music, art, film, dance, writing, cooking, gardening, homemaking.  We should enjoy what is beautiful.  We can see the Grace of God flow through beautiful works, made by His creation and inspired by Him through His gifts of the different and unique talents that He gave us.

A “Rood” Awakening

Fellow blogger Pete Rambo, from natsab, recommended  some videos in one of his comments on this site.  The videos are a series of presentations by Michael Rood. They are absolutely fantastic – biblical history, Jewish history and Rood also brings the “gentile” Christian into the true Jewish perspective and foundation of Christianity.

This video is about Sodom and Gomorrah. A compelling and fascinating journey to the ruins of the brimstone.

Michael Rood also created a wonderful presentation about the Temple of Solomon.  This was truly an eye opener…I never realized how immersed in a pagan infrastructure we (modern-day Christians) are.  Please watch! They are extremely informative, presenting many extremely important facts and intricacies about the foundations of the apostles and the followers of Christ, the very first Christians, that are not normally “available” to the  Western “Gentile” believers that are unfortunately and unknowingly caught in the “Christian system” that has established itself in the west.

Christian Doctrine twisted in the New Age Movement

This is a brief list of some New Age traps that are meant to deceive and sway a believer off the Way of Christ.

1. Ascension/Ascension symptoms –  New Agers feel that there is a dimensional change going on and that the planet is entering into a new phase of existence, into a new dimension. They feel that those that are receiving the higher frequency positive light energy of the universe are in tune to this change and thus they are undergoing a series of physical symptoms that is causing them pain and discomfort – as the earth is evolving into the next dimension.  Some new agers feel that the ones who are ‘ascending’ into higher dimensions are to live on another earth that is being born out of the old, while other new agers feel that those who will have ascended  to a higher dimensional state will be living on the same planet with those that are too toxic to ascend yet. But they will be experiencing another reality, having gone past the third dimensional mode of existence. (Just  do a brief internet search on ascension symptoms to see what is happening with so many people).

Note the twisting of Christian doctrine and the deceitful message :  First of all they are using the term ‘ascension’ to describe the changes in their energy bodies.  This creates the subliminal connection with the Biblical meaning of ascension .

Christ ascended, and  His message of Salvation states that those that believe in Christ and that have repented and been saved will ascend into heaven.

The new age message takes Christ out of the picture – the salvation of the individual out of the toxic three dimensional dualistic world takes place from believing that you are one with the universe, and that having received the cosmic energy of the universe you can cleanse, harmonize and resonate with the cosmic vibrations to a higher tune, to the next higher dimension.

Those that are too toxic, according to new agers, can not ascend into this new earth as they are not vibrating at the higher frequencies. This is the twisted parallel concept mirroring the Christian belief that those who do not repent and live their lives in Christ can not go into heaven.

The ascension symptoms that new agers suffer from during their ascension process are the opposite counterparts of the pain and anguish that believers in Christ go through when they laboriously follow the doctrine of Christ on earth.  As Christ suffered beyond measure for us here on earth, we also must suffer if we are to follow on His path.  For to follow Christ’s doctrine means to cleanse the body of addictions, to let go of many of our dependencies and life styles.  Following Christ’s doctrine also means enduring the pain and suffering of  ” not belonging”, having to live among, yet apart, from others in the same society who don’t understand, don’t believe and thus mock , hate and persecute.

New agers don’t have those spiritual struggles, but they perceive physical symptoms in their “ascension struggle”.  They believe that they experience physical disorders as their energy bodies change to accommodate their new higher cosmic frequencies.  What they don’t realize is that those symptoms that they experience are merely symptoms of spiritual corruption that have manifested physically.  Christ leads the way for any spiritual growth.  If you seek to ascend spiritually through any other means – through cosmic energy and light energy, etc.. – then you are “ascending” into the unseen world of the dominions and principalities of the dark.

Jesus guides us, who believe in Him, through the unseen worlds, and safely delivers us into His kingdom, where He sits on the throne at the right hand of the Father.

Any other travels into the unseen realms means traveling alone into the realms of Satan.

11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Ephesians 6:11 -13 NIV)

Note the parallels and how the new age movement twisted certain Christian principles in their idea of ascension :

A. Ascension.  Christ ascended and we, His children who believe in Him and live according to his teachings and have repented, will ascend to heaven when He takes us there.  The new agers believe that they all ascend, energetically, and they do not enter heaven but “another higher dimension” .  And this happens during their lifetime, not after their death. They are not led there by Christ, but from their own reception of higher frequencies from the cosmos. So they want to attain a ‘heaven on earth’ scenario without Christ – via spiritual growth through higher cosmic energy that is pouring in from the universe.

B. Pain and Suffering. All Christians know that it is a narrow path and a narrow gate that leads us to heaven.  There is much pain and suffering in order to get there. It is intense spiritual growth and suffering that marks the lifetime of a Christian believer on earth.  The new age followers have accepted a deliberate twisting of this concept.

In their “cosmic ascension” they too must suffer. And they all assume these incredible discomforts and ailments- unexplainable pain, visual disturbances, and other symptoms which they must endure as their bodies try to accomodate the higher frequencies (the dark parallel to our spiritual growth in Christ) so they can ascend into life in a higher dimension (the dark parallel of heaven).  New agers don’t really know when they “get there”, they seek to arrive to this higher state while they are alive, not after they are dead.  This “higher dimensional existence” is a type of heaven on earth concept where veils part and they see and hear things previously unseen and unheard.  This is certainly a dark and twisted parallel to the concept of arriving to heaven.  They have moved heaven to earth, and have made it accessible not through Christ, but through unexplainable cosmic frequencies.

 

2. Christ Consciousness and Enlightened Expanded Consciousness.  This is another area where the new agers believe a twisted and corrupted version of the truth.  They believe that we all have a  Christ self within us.  That we can all be Christ-like individuals, as the divine is a spark within us all.  We are all capable of experiencing our Christ Consciousness – which is what liberates us from the less evolved human spiritual state.

They believe that we are all gods in our own right and can create our own reality.  This is taught in very subtle ways.  Think of the different books such as  The Secret, and so many others that have peddled this concept in one way or another. Creating your own reality is a very new age concept.  Being one with the universe is another one of their concepts.

We can not become “one with the universe” (which they also call expanded consciousness), because we are but a creation within the vast creation.  There are two types of humans, those who can believe in Christ and humble themselves to realize that the human is not the creator. And there are those who exalt and worship the human. But how can the human be worshiped as a creator, exalted as being one with the cosmos?  We can’t create a star, we can’t make a nebula, how can we assume to have Christ Consciousness if we are not creators?

The universe, the heavenly bodies and the energies that abound in it are so vast – they are incomprehensible to us.  No matter how many NASAs we can have on earth, we will never know and understand the vast complexities of the universe.  We have no idea if there is life there and what kind of life there is.  We have no idea what resides in our very “space” here on this planet in unseen realms.  How, then, can we become “one” with the universe when we don’t know what we are ‘taking into our consciousness” by doing this?

We were created to reside within the universe, in a tiny speck of God’s immense, perfect and infinite creation.  And its obvious that we were not meant to venture out beyond this planet, so how can we claim to be of one expansive consciousness with the universe, taking in all that is there, if it is ‘forbidden territory’?

Having a Christ consciousness is a new age concept that has twisted the Christian premise of having the Holy Ghost reside within us.  The expanded consciousness and heightened awareness is the corrupted version of the Christian experience of a born again Christian who lives their life with the Holy Ghost in their heart – a truly different experience than life without the Spirit.

3. Meditation/Yoga.  The most dangerous thing about these practices is the contemplative, blank , still state that is created.  No matter what kind of bliss and serenity they claim to achieve, the truth of the matter is quite dark.  When one is in that state, they are prey to demonic forces.

The constant repetitive chanting of Om or whatever other mantra creates an altered state of consciousness.  This altered state, just like any other altered state of being such as that which arises from being drunk or from drug use corrupts our being.  It puts us on some other earthly plateau which allows for demonic intervention. We don’t realize it but the threat is there.

This is why Christ warned us not to use repeated words as  a mode of prayer. It induces an altered passive state. Prayer should be an active and alert communication.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. Peter 5:8-9  NIV

34 “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. 35 For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Luke 21:33-35

But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. Matthew 6:7-8 KJV

4. Crystals.  Crystals to cleanse, heal and alter conditions in the room/area are just forms of earth worship. When one does not have Christ in their life – or rather, when one doesn’t live their life in Christ, there is no source for healing and protection.  So new agers have turned to the earth.

The earth is God’s creation.  Within this creation God has provided us with our bounty, our daily bread in physical terms, and our pharmacy.  However, we take these things with thanks to God, the Provider and the Creator of both us and the bounty/remedy. We do not worship the chamomile for its healing.  New agers don’t realize that it is a form of worship when they attribute certain properties to crystals and gems.  We worship God who has created us and we do not divert that worship to any other created item.

Those are some basic new age traps which everyone should be aware of.  There is one more thing which is very unusual about the new agers.  It seems that quite a few new agers get very critical, touchy and even hostile when you mention Christ and His teachings.  They can not accept the truth as it is.  Many new agers think that they are Christian even though they engage in all new age practices.  They don’t realize that by engaging in these practices they abandon Christ’s teachings without realizing it.

There is a strong affinity among new agers with all things Buddhist and Hindu.  There is also a strong affinity to the “ascended masters”.  These are spirits that speak to them, advise them and guide them.  It is the twisted and corrupted version of the angelic advice that is sent by God.  Most new agers have quietly included Jesus as an ascended master, and have given Him other names as well (sananda, michael…).

Many new agers believe very strongly in aliens and their presence here, and that they are good and they will save us. New agers feel that they are the good guys, doing good deeds, breathing in love and peace. And they wanted to be saved from the dark – but all in a Christ- less world. Again, this is a twisting and perversion of the Second Coming.

In general, the biggest danger of the new age movement is their relationship with the unseen world.  This includes messages from beings, “channeled messages” which are meant to direct and inform people.  This is a twisted corruption of the prophesying declared by Christ.  They also believe that archangels directly speak to them and give them messages about the world.

But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8 NKJV)

New agers feel that there movement is filled with light. They think that this is good, divine, cosmic light energy.  They don’t realize that it is a guise of Lucifer.  Lucifer means “the carrier of light”.  But he is not light.  He is darkness.

For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. (2 Corinthians 11:14 NKJV)

12 “How you are fallen from heaven,
O Lucifer, son of the morning!
How you are cut down to the ground,
You who weakened the nations!
13 For you have said in your heart:
‘I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation
On the farthest sides of the north; (Isaiah 14:11-13 NKJV)

Lucifer is the son of the morning – and he fell to his cursed state.  He is not “the morning”‘ .   There is only one morning.  There is only one morning star. And that is Jesus Christ.

12 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”

14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.

16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”

17 And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.

A Warning

18 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.  (Revelations 22 : 12-19 NKJV)

New age is a movement devised by satan to lead people away from the truth of Christ. It directs its believers to conform and commune with an unseen world, with unseen and unknown energies, with unknown entities.  Very dangerous and demonic indeed.

I used to be a new ager.  I was an energy practitioner. From first hand experience I can tell you  that there is a tremendous unseen world about us and we really do not have any idea what lurks there.  I know that Jesus saves us from this unseen world through His teachings.  We are warned that the battle is with the unseen.

The unseen world reaches out to us in ways that are not blatant satan worshiping.  It can reach out in seemingly innocent things or innocuousness.

New age works with the unseen.  It professes light and love as a movement, but it sources all of its guidance and its healing/results from the unseen world.  Cosmic energy and channeled messages can not be “seen” and “witnessed”.  This movement is a movement of false light and false teachings.  It is an illusion that is brilliantly put together from demonic inspiration to keep people under a light filled illusion, and far from the Truth.

Jesus Christ saved me.  I saw and felt His absence from all of these “light filled” beliefs.  Christ forgave me and saved me.  I have been born again and was baptized in fire.  I will always proclaim His Truth and His Way to Salvation.

Peace of the Lord be with us all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the web of astarte and mammon

This morning was something of an eye opener for me.  I realized something that probably never “sunk in” before.

I always heard, since I was a little girl, that man is with sin, corrupt and by his very nature sinful.  Fine.  I assumed that this was describing what man would be like if he was left “unbridled”.  So I understood that to mean that if there were no laws, no guidelines, no parameters, no principles and values – and of course no families, churches and schools  to enforce them – that man would steal, cheat, kill and “be sinful”.

Later on, as I grew older, I saw first hand the disastrous works of hate, envy, jealousy and greed.  So my understanding grew of what “sinful” meant and my big challenge was to be able to handle living among those sentiments.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I wasn’t a “holier than thou’ person.  It’s just that I lived in a very close-knit community where those sentiments were running rampant, with all the hypocrisy that goes with it.  I never recognized these sins in people, I lived alongside them.  I just felt the wounds, without understanding that there is envy or greed.

It wasn’t in my nature to be hateful, not just because I knew it was a sin. I really didn’t “know” it.  I was told these things, like most kids were then, but the message never really reached me. Why?  Because we never really knew how to distinguish hatred, envy, jealousy and greed – because we were living in it. Only the extreme cases were recognizable to us, not the subtle every day workings of these things in our community.

The American Dream, New Jersey 1991

The American Dream, New Jersey 1991 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My community was made up of hard-working immigrant families in the US, trying to assimilate, trying to achieve the American Dream, trying to provide for, and yet trying to amass all that they had been deprived of in their war-torn, impoverished country. They were religious, hard-working and family oriented.  There were no issues of stealing, killing or coveting another man’s wife back then in this group. Yet we all fell prey to other sins.

Life in this community, now that I look back, was experiencing living  on a Monopoly board for the first time. You can buy property! You can buy a house, houses, buildings! You can do all these things! Riches and comfort that were only for the elite in the old country were now within our reach. From a life of hopeless poverty and war, now they had a chance to secure their family, and with comforts and things unimaginable.  This was the message. And this message permeated the very  core of the community, church, schools, homes.  Which home would be the finest? Who would reach the finer neighborhoods first? Who would have the most successful business? Which church would be the most elaborate?  Designer clothes, expensive cars, small luxuries – that was the trap for thousands of families that came to the US from war-torn places.  You quickly get over the “basic needs” requirement and forget how hard it was where you came from when you are dazzled by the vast, elaborate and mind-boggling temple of consumerism.

You begin to live your life worshiping in that temple. You don’t realize that you are worshiping, but the more you strive to acquire, the more time you spend honoring mammon and you starve your spiritual self.  And lo and behold, greed and envy became part of many people’s nature as they sought to acquire all that they saw, thinking that once you reach luxury level, you have attained the proverbial house on the hill- you “made it” – you “succeeded”.

You can’t obey two gods.  Mammon drives people away from God.

You can drive up to your elaborate and expensively built church in your best clothes, in your “good” car, but chances are you may be worshiping Mammon and chances are that the “church” itself may be worshiping Mammon too.

But why did I go into this song and dance about my past?

To elaborate on a point. We don’t see ‘sins’ if we live among and within them.  And I realized that this morning.

I was watching television. I hardly watch television.  It was the role that TV played in dumbing down the population and the shallow values that turned me off quite a while ago.  I’m not claiming to be the virtuous one. I am a well seasoned traveler in this life. I have done many things I am not proud of.  However, I have come to an understanding that I must live in this world, and this world is constructed with twisted values. It’s very fibers are twisted.  ( My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. John 18:36)  We have reached the point where what is essentially good is portrayed as bad, and what is bad and evil is portrayed and presented as good.  So I work on “being in this world but not of it”.

Which brings me to the TV.   Here I am, after so long, sitting in front of the TV.    I put on a channel that focuses on travel.  What did I see? I saw a program that shows people who pack up their belongings from the “biggie”  countries (US, UK, Canada, Australia) and go to impoverished third world nations or to remote countries quite far away to start up a new life, building a new venture.  And the show focuses on their choice of homes in their new country – and we watch as they tour the different homes that are available – along with their real estate agent, and we see different homes all within their budget,of course.

And I saw a couple that dropped their life in one of the “big nations” to take up life in a Himalayan country, as they were establishing some sort of school/foundation/orphanage there, in conjunction with an already functioning school there.  I thought that this looked interesting, so I sat down with my tea interested to see their work there.  But that was hardly mentioned.  The show was focusing on the home the couple would choose to live in.  It was like a tiny one episode reality type of show.

So we see them touring homes and these homes were beyond luxurious compared to the horrid living conditions of the area.  Nestled in the squalor , perfectly hidden behind the street walls were beautiful homes in lush gardens with all of the amenities of the west.  And this seemed to be the  theme of the show, not “said” but “understood” : that there were little palaces to be had, in these terribly desperate and poor cities, hidden behind street walls, and quite inexpensive for westerners.  So, the desired subliminal message is : “With an investment much less than you could imagine, you can have a gorgeous home like this, in these countries.  How exotic.” An ode to mammon really, showing how the palace on earth is accessible, and that is what matters.  If you can live like royalty, blind to reality, how can you look up to the Kingdom of Heaven? You can’t see it from there!

I was watching them trying to make up their minds which house to settle for…and their issues were ‘spaciousness”, the guest bathroom is quite small, the pool is small, etc…  And then it hit me. If I were watching this a few years ago, I too would have been looking at those homes in the program, oohing and aahing at their beauty from the comfort of my couch – and interested to see which they would choose because that is how polluted I was then.

I don’t have an issue with big homes! On the contrary, there is nothing nicer than having spacious room for a family to grow…but it’s one thing to meet your needs, and another thing to need the excessive. Mammon creates needs, its part of the package.

I put my tea cup down, and realized that the show glossed over the squalor. It glossed over the fact that the people outside the walls of the villa have nothing to eat.  It was all about the pool and the bathrooms the size of a living room, when the people just around the corner have no sewers, no food, hardly a roof over their head. What deserved attention: the work that the couple were doing there helping others in the orphanage or the size of their bathroom and if the pool has jets? Okay. I was disgusted. I saw that we are marveling the luxury.  This morning I saw that the success and the allure of the program was just a manifestation of  the temple of vanity and the idols they worship there are astarte and mammon. Unknowingly we watch, applaud, marvel and live in this mindset, victims of this web of deceit.

I changed the channel and there was an “entertainment” channel, full of gossip and who is who.  I would have watched it years ago – and in half an hour I would have been a well versed expert about so and so’s tremendous party, where and when so and so was seen with her children and what they wore, so and so after her baby and she lost all the extra weight…these kind of things.   Today I saw similar things, but the glitterati involved were even more shallow than ever, and some appeared almost deranged.

We know that this celebrity lifestyle  displayed through the media is actually completely dysfunctional, scripted, full of substance abuse and riddled with psychological trauma. Yet they present it on the programs as glittering, alluring, they just show what they want you to see – bits and pieces of the celebrity life style delivered out of context from the rest of those people’s troubled lives.

Beautiful, Dirty, Rich

Beautiful, Dirty, Rich (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And young people are drawn to these celebrities as a result of the shrewd marketing, listening to them, copying them, following them, interested in everything they say and do.  They model their behavior and ideals after them, these celebrities literally have entered into the lives of the young people.  I realized that this is idol worship. We haven’t escaped the sins of the Old Testament at all.

You don’t need to visit a temple with idols like they did in the past, you just need to put on the TV  or read a gossip magazine.  You don’t need to worship the idols with sacrifices at the temple like they did in the past, all you have to do is follow their lead, copy them and try to model yourself after them – that is sacrifice enough! You have successfully pleased the god behind the idol.

Bloggers should never write long-winded posts. I apologize. I’m getting to the point!

. You sacrifice the sanctity of your very creation by copying much of the sordid values and lifestyles that prevail today.  You don’t need to visit the temple of mammon to worship it. All you have to do is put your energies toward seeking to get more, to have more,and to show that you have more,and  to feel the need for these things.

Children and teenagers are especially vulnerable to these pitfalls.  They easily fall into the traps of wanting to dress like celebrities, acting like them.  And the market (mammon’s high priests)  has cashed in on this vulnerability, conditioned these children and teens to think that they “need ” all different things that are being promoted, so we have little children with cell phones and teenagers that are more active in their virtual world than in their physical world, because the computer and online market (gaming, as an example) are tremendous.  The virtual world however is filled with many dangers.

So we are sinning constantly.

The majority of the population don’t view themselves as sinners.  Yet we visit the temples of mammon and worship idols throughout our day, like it or not.  We are being served glossy versions of something that is actually corrupt in nature.  It’s one thing to buy what you need, and it is another thing to fall prey to the conditioning that you “need” something more, something better – which you really don’t.  Greed hides behind consumerism.  You think you need things, but you really don’t, it’s an illusion.  Ask me how many designer pocketbooks I accumulated.  Seriously. I had a store a few years ago that sold makeup and accessories.  I, like so many other merchants,  was keeping the proverbial oil burning in vanity’s temple.  And I kept mammon happy too, making money off of the vanity of the women.

Think of the effort, time and thought that people put behind getting their hair done, their face and nails done, their wrinkles fixed, their suntans constant, achieving a certain “look”, getting into a certain social circle, being in the right places, trying to have influence, driving the “right” car, living in the ‘right’ neighborhood, or doing anything else that in their mind builds status.

All of that time to get these things was time WASTED.  All that time, they could have found God, they could have found His Son Jesus.  The road that leads to the temple of mammon doesn’t intersect at all with the road that leads to God. We are blessed though because Jesus is patient, and waits for us to get off the wrong road and to get on the right one.  But time is now short.

If you aren’t sure if you are on the right road, take a look around you. Is your road wide and easy to travel? Is it paved, smooth and is your ride just fun and games, with no worries? Is life a joy ride?

If it is, I suggest you turn around and head back the way you came. Until you reach an intersection with a really narrow road. This narrow road is bumpy, full of challenges, and the ride isn’t easy.

That is The Road. The Way.

Stop there. Find Jesus. Knock, He will answer.  Repent. (you may have never killed, stolen or cheated anyone – but we all have committed idol worship and mammon worship because it is the very fiber of this world). Forgive others. And keep on repenting, and keep on forgiving others.

You will then find yourself on the narrow road heading for the narrow gate!

Now, the challenge is staying on it and helping others find the road.

No one said it’s easy.

The Story of Jesus. (a radio/theatre style dramatization from the Geneva Bible)

A 1581 edition of the Geneva Bible.

A 1581 edition of the Geneva Bible. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Story of Jesus.

Witness the Bible

http://www.biblegateway.com/audio/devotional/story-of-jesus/

Walk through the Bible with your children in this action-packed, radio theatre-style dramatization from the 1599 Geneva Bible.

via BibleGateway.com- Audio Bibles.

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