The Journey Continues…

Photo by: Freedom Quotes

Photo by: Freedom Quotes

In October of last year, I wrote the following post on my Facebook wall:

When I made the decision to seek and follow truth, I gave up my right to be right…As a seeker of truth, I am willing to accept my wrongs, willing to be corrected and willing to surrender my opinions. Every time I am found to be wrong, I will celebrate the joy of my new found truth. It’s my window of opportunity for a new and richer life.

I never thought seeking truth would be such an awesome journey!

Humility
Nevertheless, seeking truth requires humility…above all things. Humility means lacking of vanity and pride.  It is the opposite of the feeling we have when we think we are right and that our personal thoughts, narratives, beliefs and ideologies are inerrant, more valuable, truthful or weighty than others’.

But humility is not a natural human trait: it’s a spiritual one. As I search deep inside; within the realm of the inner man of my heart; the Kingdom of Heaven within, I am beginning to discern it and live by it. This is the life source Jesus spoke of to the woman at the well: “…whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become IN HIM a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14).

My Spiritual DNA
Within this realm (I am discovering) there’s also an unquenchable source of love, joy,
peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, meekness and self-control.  Perhaps the greatest of my discoveries so far, is that I AM the sum total of all this traits.  They are not just feelings, emotions or fleeting traits that come and go.  They are permanent components of my spiritual “DNA.” Why?  “Because the person who is joined to the Lord, becomes one spirit with him” (1 Cor. 6:17). 

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Photo by: Freedom Quotes*

The Law of Genesis
The spiritual laws that govern our physical/spiritual worlds say that everything produces after its own kind (Gen. 1:24, 8:22).  Animals produce after their own kind.  So do plants and trees.  But we are so used to produce offspring in our own human resemblance that we have not stopped to think about its spiritual implications.  If we are going to take this truth to its ultimate conclusion, we are going to realize that we’ve been begotten from a spiritual source. Whether you call that spiritual source God, Jesus, Yahweh, Allah, Mother Nature, the Spirit Father, etc. As such, we live, we move and we have our been within the realm of the under- standing of our spiritual Parent.

I AM
In my personal experience, I continue discovering that the key to living in the abundance of this spiritual-life within, requires the shutting off all outside sources that compete for my time and devotion.  These outside sources can have any of the names of deities above.  As long as our deity is seen, worshiped or devoted as an outside figure that can be
measured with our physical human senses, it will always cripple our deity within; who is ONE with our the inner man of our hearts.  Jesus clearly said, “…we can’t serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other” (Matt. 6:24).  Our deity is either IN us or out there were we have to pursue him/her through our physical, reasoning and intellectual faculties.

However, and opposed to religious and scientific traditions, turning within is turning towards our deity, our Creator, our life-source.  If it’s true that our deity, Lord and Savior lives IN US, why are we seeking Him in the pages of a Book, it the meeting of the assembly or out in the sky?  Because we have not been transformed by the renewing of our minds. We read it, we hear it and we repeat it; but we are yet to come to believe it and live by it. Therefore, we continue seeking truth and our spiritual Parent within the outside physical cosmos and not within the Kingdom of Heaven shed abroad IN our hearts.

However, when I turn my life affairs, my focus and my attention to the inner man of my heart, this life starts flowing out of the abundance of my Creator who lives and abides IN me…until His/my life becomes a river of living water. Just as Jesus said: “…A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things…for out of the abundance of his/her heart their mouths speak” (Luke 6:45). What better treasure than the Spirit of Truth living and abiding in me; my hope of glory?

* Freedom Quotes

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What if…Religious Mindsets

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Photo by: Matthew Fearnley**

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”
(‭‭John‬ ‭8:32‬‬‬)

I’ve been attending AA meetings as part of my Master’s program. Listening to the stories told by the members of these groups, I was awestruck at the similarities between alcoholism as a mental illness and the religious mindset I held for many decades. For one, I could see that I am slowly recovering from a mental pathological condition. Secondly, I could see there’s much more work to be done…

Nevertheless, for quite some time I’ve been saying that religion is more than just belonging to a religious institution. Religion is a pervasive mental attitude that enslaves one to oppressive systems of ruling and control. I used it as a way to cope with the ugly reality of my choices, through which I pinned its consequences to a higher being who’s “controlling” my fate. It was also about drowning my sorrows. Not in a bottle of wine or beer, but in the relief I sensed as I shared common ground with other people.  Somehow I felt okay thinking, “so many people can’t be wrong.” Can we?

However, today I ran into these words from anarchist Jim Palmer,* that clearly portray my observations:

“It’s not enough to stop attending church, give up your Christian beliefs, and punt on organized religion. The reasoning and mindsets that are ruling us from within are sneaky and will persist in whatever path you take after religion. You can get rid of one belief system and roll in a new one and still be operating with the same faulty underlying premises” (Palmer, 2015, p. 77).

What if it’s true and I’ve been replacing one belief system for another?

What if it’s true and I’ve been deceiving myself thinking that I am no longer religious because I left organized religion?

What if the religious mindset is still controlling my life from my head?

What if…?

References
* Inner Anarchy: Dethroning God and Jesus to Save Ourselves and the World
** Matthew Fearnley

 

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Time for Introspection: 2-Year Journey & Counting…

Thoughtful

Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men”
(Philippians‬ ‭2:6-7*).

After talking with my good friends Kurt & Gilbert, I sensed the need to reflect on what has happened these last two years. I was reminded that today, November 9th is the second anniversary of my resignation from organized church and professional church ministry.  Can’t believe time has gone so fast!

Nevertheless, I started blogging in May of this year, but it wasn’t until July when I posted Betrothed to Christ, that I sensed the need to trust the life of Christ in me like I never had before.

Cliff Jump

Photo by: Daniel Flower

Cliff Diving
To verbalize this feeling, I felt as if I was standing at the edge of a cliff and I was being invited to jump off into the void, somehow expecting my newfound life to hold me and sustain me.  This was paramount for me as I had never trusted anything but the Bible and the religious Matrix to steer my ever clumsy spiritual walk.  I was now being challenge to trust God’s life IN me as a reliable and trustworthy compass for life and godliness. What a challenge!

At the time I still had some doubts that I had made the right choice of walking away from organized religion.  It was also during this time that I sensed God’s “still/small” voice from within telling me: “Trust my life IN you. I am reliable and trustworthy!” So I did; I jumped off!  I decided to trust the revelation I had received on February of 2014 when I had come to believe Colossians 1:27 with all my heart: “Christ lives in you, the hope of glory.” When I wrote that post in July, I made a stance to seek the life of Christ within as far as could.  Little I knew where this posture would take me.

In short, I started seeing that receiving the love of God and being sealed with the Holy Spirit was more than I had been led to believe up to that point.  I soon discovered that the Spirit was God’s actual promise to Abraham through which He has blessed all the families of the earth. It was more than having God’s Spirit taking up joint residence within my body, but the spirit being the very substance of my newly born self; the well of life of the inner man of my heart.

Divinely Human
I later realized that Peter had provided insight to this very life when he wrote his 2nd letter:  “…we have been given an exceedingly great and precious promises (the Spirit [John 7:37-39]), that through this (promises/spirit) you may be partakers of the divine nature…*” (1:4**). Been partakers*** (participate intake part inengage injoin inenter intoshare in; […joint heirs with Christ…Rom. 8:17]) in God’s divine nature, life and character…?  What a discovery!

Putting two and two together dawned on me that the plan of redemption was nothing short of humanity’s restoration to the original life as known in the Garden.  God’s plan of reconciling the world unto himself worked! Life without the hindrance or separation from God and his divine nature.   Allow me to expand…

Clay Vessels That Express His Glory
When God made Adam or (rather) when he carved his body from the dust of the earth, he was nothing more than a clay vessel or a dead clay sculpture; at least until God breathed his life through his nostrils. You see, it was God’s life (his spirit), the breath of His life-substance, what He put into this man’s body, and what gave this clay vessel his living substance. You could say that Adam became the glory of God in human form. In fact, Paul called Jesus the last Adam. In that sense, Jesus and Adam (up until Adam’s fall) were mirrors of each other. They were both the express image, the exact resemblance and the personification of the glory of God in human form.

Sweet Tea
I like to use the illustration of the Sweet Tea to unveil this truth. I boil water with tealeaves inside until the essence of the leaves is drawn out and mixes up with the water. I then add sugar while the water is still hot, so the sugar dissolves completely in the water. Adding these two ingredients changes the molecular composition of the water. That’s how these three elements, water, tea and sugar become one: Sweet Tea!

In like manner, God’s spirit, his essence or life-sustaining/life-giving substance “mixes” up with us and we both become ONE with him! We also become the glory of God in human form. In practicality, I won’t stop being José, but become God’s glory personified as me, just like Adam and Jesus were. I came to believe this is what Paul was trying to convey when he said, “But he who is joined to the Lord is ONE spirit with Him” (1 Corinthians 6:17) and further when he said, “…I no longer live but Christ lives in me…” (Gal. 2:20).

New Birth
When this realization hit me, it felt as if something new had happened inside of me. Is as if the separation that existed (only in my mind) between God was suddenly erased. In essence, every cell in my spiritual inner-being was now energized or vitalized by a new light, power or energy. That light and power is God’s lifeblood: His Spirit…His Love…His Nature: Christ IN me, my hope of glory!

Ever since this realization I could no longer see myself as a mere mortal. Though I won’t deny the fleeting state of my humanity, I realize I am more than a body; more than a mere flesh and blood human. I am God’s glory personified as me: José.  Like Father; like Sons!

Good News!
This experience came to me as Great News, as I grew to see myself as a despicable person in the eyes of God. During my transient time through the Christian religion, my focus was always on the limitations of my physical/sinful nature of my fallen humanity.  Only hoping to be undressed from this corruption once in heaven.  I could now see why Jesus emphasized the Kingdom of Heaven being at hand and in our midst.

If the words heresy and blasphemy are crossing your mind, don’t fret. I considered those myself at first. I often quote Morpheus from, The Matrix, to illustrate this, “there’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.” I used to call myself Christian (little Christ), but I didn’t walk it out because I was never told I could. I just tried my best to emulate him out from my humanity.  I was told that the Spirit would strengthen my humanity to be able to fulfill God’s laws and live a holy life.

Instead, I became the biggest of hypocrites, as I was never good enough to keep up with the “Christian-sens.” But once I realized God had already made me His image and resemblance, whether my body showed it or not, my body have started following suit. As Jesus said, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good…for out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). What greater treasure than Jesus, the Word of God, being the life-substance of my being…?

The Story Repeats
Thinking about it, these were the very things that got Jesus killed: heresy and blasphemy: calling himself a divine human was the unpardonable sin the religious establishment of his day could not swallow.  The religious people of his days could not bear the thought of a person claiming equality with God.

However, if you think about it, that’s the way the story began at the Garden…that’s the way the story ends IN Christ… Sooner or later we will have to come to the realization that God has put this blessing IN us, and we are going to have to take up our crosses and follow Him…from within.

If you are afraid to acknowledge God’s divine nature in you thinking it will exalt pride and a sense of grandeur in your humanity, I invite you to consider it twice.  The beauty of Christ’s indwelling life is that it comes with Christ’s own mindset in which, being in the image, likeness and equality with Him is a humbling experience that gains one no good reputation within the world system, much less within the religious matrix.  It actually puts us in-line for the religious chopping block.  But also makes us willing and obedient bondservants to our fellow humans in whom God’s glory also reside (Phil 2:5-7).

…Namaste…!

Ps.
*- Nature: the basic or inherent features of something, especially when seen as characteristic of it. New Oxford American Dictionary. Oxford University Press***.

**- Parentheses and emphasis mines.

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What if…Equal Footing…

2970121833_f9aac84d18_zPhoto by: Ray Dumas

Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men” (Philippians‬ ‭2:6-7*).

Equality with God? This is an unfathomable thought for my religious paradigm.  Heresy for all I care! It indeed scared the hell out of me! How can I, a human being, claim equal footing with God? Despicable me, of all God’s creation…!?

But the more I look at scripture, the more I see it all over…the imprints of our divinity.

Don’t get me wrong…I am no saying we are Gods: just having equal nature with him. Let me explain…

I have two siblings. We all have the same parents, therefore, we all share our parents DNA and genetic make-up. Yet none of us is our father or mother and could never claim headship over our parent’s household. We just share an origin; one that makes us all equal members of the same family or class.

When I think about it, that’s the way the Story began…Giving it a second thought…that’s the way the Story ends: all God’s children sharing into his glory: “So now Jesus and the ones he makes holy have the same Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters” (Hebrews‬ ‭2:11‬).

God is giving eternal life (Zoe= the quality of life’s substance as possessed by the One who gives it) to those who keep on doing good; (meaning…) those who are earnestly seeking after the glory and honor, and the immortality God is generously and graciously offering (Romans‬ ‭2:7‬*).

I Ponder…
What if it’s true and my new self has been fearfully and wonderfully crafted after God/Christ’s own?

What if it’s true and my spiritual brethren and I are God’s under-rulers (his embodiments, his Ekklesia) ruling and reigning in life through God’s own Life; his divine nature?

What if it’s true and I (along 7 billion others) have an equal footing with God yet to be unburied from the depths of our new born inner selves?

What if the gospel news are about earnestly seeking after this LIFE, not in the Book, the Building, the Assembly or out there in the sky somewhere, but deep inside, beneath our skins: the inner man of the heart?

“Dear friends, we are already God’s children, yet he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ is revealed. But we do know that when He does, we will be like him for we will see him as he really is” (1 John 3:2*).

What if…?

Eye Opening Scriptures to Ponder on:
“And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews (all humanity) who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of the blessing because they all belong to Christ Jesus…When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God” (Eph. 3:6; 14-19*)

Praise to The Father:
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen” (Eph. 3:20-21*).

 

*- Parentheses and emphasis mines.

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“…Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us…So God created human beings to be like him, to whom he said, “BE! Fruitful, multiplying, filling and GOVERNING the earth. REIGNING over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground” ” (Genesis‬ ‭1:26-28‬, emphasis mine).

On the one hand, God says he gave us the earth and the authority to rule and over it.

Religion, on the other hand, persists in us adopting the attitude of, “…If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that” (James‬ ‭4:15‬). “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Pro. ‭3:5‬). In other words, God is sovereign and he alone has the final say so on what we can and cannot do: He Rules!

Questions:
Which way is it? Whose word has final authority? God’s who says we rule or religion’s who says God does?

At any rate, Does it have to be one way or the other? Is this an oxymoron or a paradox? Or, is there an even playing field in which both statements can be true?

Furthermore, if Christ lives IN us; if God indwells  us through his Spirit; if God has made his abode IN us; if Christ lives IN us by faith; if we’ve been made partakers of God’s divine nature; if we are joint heirs of God with Christ; if we are seated IN heavenly places (of joint authority) with Christ; if as Jesus IS, so are WE in this world; if we’ve become one in spirit with him; if we’ve been begotten from Jesus (the Living Incorruptible Word of God); if we are God’s image and resemblance (you get the idea?), then, isn’t it God who’s ruling and reining by proxy when we rule and reign in this life? Isn’t God ruling and reigning out of the abundance of his very own Life IN us? Continue reading

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What if…The Word…

“For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from (Jesus) the eternal, living word of God” (1 Peter‬ ‭1:23‬‬‬, parenthesis mine).

I believe both Peter and John understood the concept of the logos being more than just an utterance from God, but being the Breath, the Spirit, the essence, and the substance of His Life personified as Jesus (John 1:14; 1 John 1:1-3).

What if the Logos is more than life personified as Jesus and us, born again believers, are also personified expressions of the of the Logos of God?

What if Peter is right and being born from an incorruptible word does not mean being a sprout from a “living book”, but a living Person?

What if it’s true and we are not mere human beings but also divine sprouts from Christ?

What if beneath our physical human shells we are truly divine; the brightness of Christ’s glory and the exact representations of his person?

Furthermore, What if being made in the image and likeness of God is more than just being a craft from the dust of the earth, but being the Breath, the Spirit, the essence, and the substance of His Life personified as You, Me, Us?

What if…?

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What if…Divine Nature…

“Once again the people picked up stones to kill him. Jesus said, “At my Father’s direction I have done many good works. For which one are you going to stone me?” They replied, “We’re stoning you not for any good work, but for blasphemy! You, a mere man, claiming to be God.” Jesus replied, “It is written in your own Scriptures that God said to certain leaders of the people, ‘I say, you are gods!’ And you know that the Scriptures cannot be altered. So if God called those people ‘gods,’ why do you call it blasphemy when I say, ‘I am the Son of God?”” (John‬ ‭10:31-37‬‬‬).

I think Peter understood this concept of Christ’s indwelling life better than we give him credit for and better than we are willing to believe and act upon: “…we have been given exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these (promises [the Spirit]), you may be partakers of the divine nature…” (‭II Peter‬ ‭1:4‬, parenthesis mine).

What if it’s true and our lives are sprouts of Christ’s life?

What if Peter is right and salvation is not merely a free ticket to heaven but the participation in Christ’s life as lived through us, his clay vessels?

What if we are not just mere humans but the brightness of Christ’s glory and the exact representations of his person?

What if…?

What if…?

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