Archive for August, 2015

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What is possible? What is impossible? If you were to ask these two questions many people would give you dozens of answers. I am here to explain in this article that nothing is impossible! I truly believe that the laws of physics are just man made labels given to our understanding of the working universe. While these labels are useful they can also prevent us from breaking the boundaries between science and faith. There was a time in history in which it was said that man could not travel faster than sound. A day will probably come when man will travel faster than light.

Take us out of this human shell and we will have the ability to travel faster than light. Everything that we think we know about existence now, we will one day realize that we knew nothing. I see this within the many Christianities that make up my faith. So many feel that they have the right theology and practice the proper doctrine. Truth is most of us are probably off center; this is another amazing example of God’s grace. One possibility that many would deem impossible would be the church being able to unite as one putting aside our differences and embrace our unity in Christ. This will probably not happen till Christ comes in glory but hey, anything is possible.

I am of the Pentecostal flavor of Christianity. That basically means that I am a continuist, I believe that all of the gifts of the Spirit that are found within the pages of the Bible are still readily available to people today. The same Spirit that hovered over the waters of the young earth found in the book of Genesis is within you. This Spirit and desires to help you accomplish the impossible in Christ. We need to believe that we possess what we know we have in God before manifest in our lives. Take hold of the things in our lives that you know that are attainable for you and go after it. Even if it doesn’t seem attainable at the present, start taking small steps towards it. One of the biggest things that holds us back from achieving the impossible is fear. Fear eats us alive, we must be fearless!  being fearless enough to know that you can do the impossible!

Do not listen to those that say it cannot be done. Or that you are not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, or strong enough. Do not let your past define you, let your actions today determine your future. Live in the now! I could go on and on but I am sure you get my point. What matters is if you are following God’s will for your life. God is a powerful, wonderful and amazing God, he desires us to do amazing things on the earth.

Some of us wish to have what we shouldn’t trying to attain what is outside of  God’s will. This in many cases is why miracles are not happening in our lives. When we are being led by the Spirit the laws of physics do not apply to us; they are just suggestions. You say you have not, I say you haven’t asked! God can and will make what is nothing into something. The Latin term used by theologians is “ex nihilo.” This is to create something out of nothing. This is what God does; it is his business. Start to believe that you are already a successful person. Your thoughts become reality when you place actions in front of them!

You may say how this is done? Let us look at the book of Hebrews the writer list many great people of faith, and how they believed God.

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Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  This is what the ancients were commended for.  By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.  By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.  And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.  By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.

 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.  By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise.  And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.  All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.  People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own.  If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.  Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.  By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”  Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.  By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future. By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.  By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones.  By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.  He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.  He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.  By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.  By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.  By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.  By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days.  By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient. And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.  Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection.  Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated  the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.  These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. – Hebrews Ch. 11, New International Version.

Now I wouldn’t normally place a whole chapter from scripture in my article but this is an exception. I have been inspired throughout my entire life from the verses above. These great people of faith did what seemed to be impossible. Yet through faith the impossible became possible!  They believed God, carried out the action and the results are seen. They were not out for themselves or their personal will, but for God’s will. “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.” This is how Jesus taught us to pray.  Not Nate’s kingdom come, Nate’s will be done. (You can add your own name).  We need to pray for the knowledge of God’s will in our lives. Most of the time we know already what God’s will is for us. Or at least we know what to do. We do what is right, what is good, and what lines up with scripture. Basically it is about doing the next right thing.  Keep it simple!

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Furthermore we cannot forget about God’s miracle working power in our lives. We may try to downplay God’s will and by doing so miss out. Remember Jesus fed the multitudes with just a small amount of food.  He healed those who were sick, he raised the dead. Jesus commanded evil spirits out of men, and silenced their lips. He walked on water, and guess what, he said we can do the same as him! Start believing in the supernatural and start making the supernatural natural in your life.

I am far from a physicist, but I love hearing about the new discoveries that scientist in this field are finding. It has been brought to my attention that in Switzerland scientist at CERN were using the Hadron Collider and doing research into some of the smallest known particles. It turns out that they have identified particles that do not follow the “standard model” of how they should act. You can read about this here http://www.sciencealert.com/the-lhc-finds-evidence-of-particle-activity-beyond-the-standard-model

In my personal opinion science and faith can co-exist. The more science discovers the more they reveal the wonders of God. These scientists have found that certain particles do not follow the “standard model.” I do not think that we will ever be able to fully understand all of the mysteries of the universe even through modern science. Yet I am sure that we will continue to try. I bring up this article because the scientist found something that they did not think was possible. These particles basically did not follow the laws of physics in regards to gravity. The thing is our God does not follow the law of physics either. He doesn’t follow any law, he is the law. Whatever he does is law, and whatever he wills manifest. Ex nihilo takes place and we stand back in amazement and worship the God who created this universe and still cares enough to give the ultimate sacrifice for our sins, his son Jesus Christ. Today believe in the impossible, believe that there are no limits on what you can do in life. We will not always be able to understand it.  Listen to the voice of Christ and just believe!

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Do you speak in tongues? Yes I do, but do you and why? Being raised Pentecostal and choosing to continue in the Pentecostal tradition as an adult, speaking in tongues has never been a scary or foreign topic. I have spoken to many Christians outside of Pentecostalism who have a variety of opinions on this matter. Most of the opinions come from cessationist, those who believe that there was a gift of tongues given to the early Christians but that after the days of the Apostles it ceased along with the other spiritual abilities such as healing, and prophecy. Those of us of the Pentecostal persuasion are considered continuationist, because we believe all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit were given to the church on the day of Pentecost and have continued on up to the present day.

I love spirituality and the mystical nature of Christianity, I was born to be a Pentecostal. I always figured if God is alive in the world, he is speaking to us through spiritual means. God is spirit, he is doing miracles every day in each one of our lives; we just have to look for them. I believe he has also given you and me the ability to perform miracles for the kingdom of God. We are spiritual beings, this means we have spiritual abilities. This is awesome! Yet many conservative fundamentalist find it scary. Why, I really don’t know or understand. Jesus said himself, “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” (John 16:7, NIV) The NIV translates the Spirit as Advocate others say Comforter, basically the same thing. We know then that the Spirit of God is upon the earth. Jesus is no longer physically with us, but the Spirit is. Most Christian traditions believe in the Holy Trinity and would never deny this fact. But what about that gifts of the Spirit, specifically the gift of tongues also called glossolalia. Many Pentecostals believe that tongues is the evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. While my opinion differs from most mainline Pentecostals I understand why it is used. Spirit Baptism is another article. Today the focus is just tongues. So tongues it is. It is considered by some the least of the gifts, a personal gift, yet also a gift that can be used in the church under proper order. Such as when one may be able to interpret what the Spirit is speaking to the congregation. I have seen this take place many times in my life, although I speak in tongues daily I have never interpreted. Listening to a message in tongues and hearing the message interpreted is a holy experience to behold. It is part of the joy of being open to the Spirt of God and his gifts. It is also an amazing powerful experience to speak in tongues; but what is tongues you might ask?

Where did tongues come from?

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As a Pentecostal Christian, I might look to the Biblical text to find out where tongues came from and of course look to the day of Pentecost. (Acts 2). What about prior to Acts 2 was there tongues before the coming of the Holy Spirit? Possibly. Some would look to Saul the first king of Israel “He stripped off his garments, and he too prophesied in Samuel’s presence. He lay naked all that day and all that night. This is why people say, “Is Saul also among the prophets?” (1 Samuel 19:25, NIV) to put it in a better perspective the ISV states that Saul was “Caught up in prophetic ecstasy.” Scholars often define tongues as a “disjointed, highly pitched, ecstatic series of ejaculations, similar to tongues spoken in times of spiritual awakening.”1   The book of Samuel also says the people thought he was among the prophets. This is interesting. Did all the prophets experience the gift of tongues during ecstatic experiences? It is a good question, without a solid answer. The Holy Spirit of God is God, and is not limited by time and dates of man. He has the discretion to do what he wills among us.

What about other faiths pre Pentecost and even today? We do have knowledge that spiritual awakenings and ecstatic experiences take place in mystical traditions around the globe. Hindus, Buddhist, Muslims, various shamanic traditions and mystical religions incorporate speaking ecstatically. Yet this surely is not the Spirit of God? No it is not. The Spirit of God is only moving through those of the Christian tradition because the Spirit is only going to point us to Jesus Christ. Then what the heck is these other religions doing? Is it the devil? I don’t think it is the devil I have another answer. I believe it is within our biology and spirit to be mystical beings. We are spirit after all. We are only temporarily living in these earthly temples. It is no wonder that other faith traditions are able to be speak in tongues because it may just be an ability that is in all of us.

The Christian experience of tongues that is still active today was initiated by the Spirit on the day of Pentecost. This ability to experience this awesome spiritual activity is available to you. All through the book of Acts one can see how tongues was passed from believer to believer, often through the laying on of hands. This leads us to examine how one can receive the gift of tongues.

How can I experience this gift?

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Pentecostal denominations usually have doctrine that shows the process leading to the experience of receiving tongues. Many Pentecostals and many within my own denomination look at tongues as the initial evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This is where I disagree. I believe that we receive the infilling of the Spirit at the time of salvation. All of the abilities that the Holy Spirit may give to us are already within us; it just needs turned on. While many Pentecostals like to look at speaking in tongues as evidence of Spirit baptism, it is not an absolute. It is impossible to theologically know for sure. Sure we can derive a doctrine from the biblical text but so has 10,000 other groups, movements and denominations.

In short the answer is faith. If you want to experience the gift of tongues, you must have faith that you already have the ability. Remember you’re a spiritual being. Also after you receive it you must be able to believe what you are speaking is the gift of tongues. Often times as in my experience it was through the laying on of hands by my pastor. I not only spoke in tongues I felt the power of God moving through my body like electricity, it was a powerful spiritual experience. You must to let go of doubt and believe. Some Pentecostals believe that one must first be water baptized, while this may be ideal. I know it is not necessary, I have seen unbaptized believers speak in tongues. Although I highly suggest all believers to be baptized in water as the Lord commanded. I want to add that speaking in tongues should not be a one and done experience. It should be the beginning of a life long journey into a powerful prayer life that is beyond natural. So step into the supernatural and enjoy!

So what are the benefits?

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Actually this could be one article in itself. There is many benefits for the Christian who have realized that they have been filled with the Spirit possessing the ability to perform spiritual acts such as tongues. Paul tells us that in 1 Corinthians 14 how people should speak in tongues. He tells us that we are speaking directly to God, that it is not the cognitive self which is praying but the minds or spirit; the true self. In my opinion, many of us do not know what to pray for in the body, tongues will allow your spirit to communicate to God’s Spirit and tells God exactly what needs to be spoken. This is supported by Paul’s letter to the Romans, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” (Romans 8:26, NIV) Tongues is a form of prayer that can be done all throughout your day in order to keep yourself better attuned to the Lord.

Paul states that we edify ourselves by speaking in tongues. Scientific research shows that speaking in tongues actually gives a boost to the immune system up to 40%. See for this and more medical benefits. https://beingunderthenewcovenant.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/medical-facts-about-speaking-in-tongues-%E2%80%93-carl-r-peterson-m-d/

Speaking in tongues brings one closer to God. It creates a shift in consciousness that allows the Spirit to speak to us in a way that ordinary prayer does not. Many receive a message in tongues for the church. Another brother or sister who is present may be able to interpret the message. Speaking in tongues allows you to be humble and not pray for your own interest but the interest of your true self. A person will receives peace of mind and better emotional stability. It allows us to pray without ceasing, to relieve ourselves of the stress of the day, and most importantly it is something I believe that God wants us to do. Jesus told his followers when he left to wait until they receive the Spirit. The first thing that they did after receiving the Spirit was to speak in other tongues.  This is the power that created the universe on the tip of your tongue we just need to have the faith to receive.

In my opinion my personal ability to speak in tongues, as well as being around the phenomena is a holy and powerful experience. It brings your walk with Christ to another level allowing you to experience God in a refreshing way. I know there are detractors who believe that this is “strange fire” yet like many things all I have to say is, if you don’t know I can’t explain it. Speaking in tongues is one of the best benefits of being Pentecostal and I encourage you to speak in tongues as much as possible. If you have not yet tapped into your ability, use your faith that God has given you and begin your new journey in the Spirit. Blessings!

Notes

  1. Elwell, Walter A. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1984. 1137.

  

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The last few articles I have written have been about issues related to society and how we handle these issues as Christians. Yet I think that there is an ecumenical way in which the body of believers can handle the issues of today. The answer, a spiritual awakening. I have been fascinated with spiritual awakenings since I was a teenager. I had a spiritual awaking when I was 16 and it has continued to affect my life. Two words come to mind from scripture saved and perfect. Saved in the Greek is very similar to what we would think it would mean when in the context of salvation, “to save” “to heal” “to restore to health” and so on. Truly having a “saved” experience will start to change our consciousness, the Spirit of God is given to us and by grace we receive. Without this impartation it is difficult to impossible for an outsider to understand Christianity, especially in its inner most works. As Jesus many times spoke of having eyes that see and ears that hear.

Now anyone can say the sinner’s prayer, as preachers often end their sermons with the famous alter call; but does that make them saved? I am not God so I don’t know, yet if some shift in consciousness does not take place I would doubt the person’s salvation. Again I am not an expert or care to be in soteriology, only God truly knows the heart of man. Yet, salvation is a spiritual awakening process. It is the beginning of being made perfect in Christ through the work of the cross. Perfect means essentially reaching the end. Like the Apostle spoke, I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. Christians believe this final perfection takes place upon death. For us death is not the end but the beginning. So death in itself is the ultimate spiritual awakening. For we will see him as he truly is.

Many times Christians wonder why some people just do not get it. Why can’t they just believe in God? The scriptures speak of faith being a gift of God. It is also impossible to please God without faith. Just as Abraham was made righteous through faith, so are we. There is no works or good deeds, just faith. Once faith has been used to sincerely believe, and surrender we will have  awakened to the spiritual. Now we see, now we hear. All things become new, we see the world in a different light and the scriptures become alive. Since my spiritual awakening I have done what many Christians call, to backslide. This for me is to set aside my consciousness and indulge in my base or profane self. I believe that for the most part our salvation is secure although I am not a complete determinist I ponder how much God effects our destiny outside of ourselves. Being a good Arminian I believe that God has given all humans faith, it is our choice to use it or not. While God may know our destiny we determine it. Many Christians backslide in life before leveling off into a maintenance stage of Christ consciousness. Peter himself betrayed Jesus and digressed to his base self. We are a work in progress towards ultimate perfection. We can have an awakenings continually throughout life. Awakenings are actually much closer than we may think.

While few will have the awakening experience given to those such as the apostle Paul who had a direct encounter with the Lord; who also later was taken up into the third heaven. Why not seek out the deepest spiritual experiences possible. I know I do. I also know that we can stir up awakenings, I believe God desires it. The answer I believe is contained in the act of surrendering. True surrender to God’s will brings about a spiritual awaking. I believe that surrender and salvation are next door neighbors. It takes faith to surrender our will to God. It is probably one of the hardest things in life to do. It is scary, it is uncomfortable, it goes against human nature, but when God’s grace allows us through faith to surrender the results are a life altering spiritual awakening that will last an eternity. For the Christian who is already saved what are some ways which will lead to continued spiritual awakenings? I will mention and explain a few. These are prayer, meditation and giving.

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First prayer. Prayer is essential for the Christian. I actually do not know if one can be a Christian without a regular prayer life. In fact I will be so bold as to say no, you cannot be a Christian without a prayer life. We are to be one with the father as Jesus was one. That is at least what the master wished for us. Jesus was a man of great prayer. His life revolved around prayer and the master would spend entire nights in solitude and prayer. We cannot have a conscious contact with God without prayer. God also connects with us through prayer. We are spiritual beings who are designed by the creator to pray. Praying should be as normal as speaking. The desired outcome of prayer is union with God. This is what theologian Friedrich Heiler called mystical prayer. Heiler also considered mystical prayer to be the highest form of prayer.1 (see Das Gebet by Heiler for his work on prayer) This is the elevation of the mind from the earthly to the heavenly. During prayer we will often petition, intercede, praise, and give ourselves to God’s will. Prayer creates a conscious shift in our minds toward God. We begin to see the big picture, it eases our souls. Prayer changes things, and most importantly it changes us. Prayer will also change the world around us. All of us who have had any type of a prayer life will be able to testify to at least one noticeable miracle that has taken place due to our prayers. Do not limit your miracles! If you are looking for a spiritual awakening pray and watch it happen. Let me remind you that prayer is a discipline, and like any discipline it must be worked to see results. While you may have a life altering event the first time you pray, this is not often the case. Quantity and longevity will work in your favor.

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Next meditation or contemplation. For myself personally I feel that meditation is the next best thing to prayer. In my own daily routine I spend time in prayer then I spend a time in meditation. I meditate as they do in the East. I sit in silence, using my breath as a guide into the unknown. Not only is it great self-care for your body and mind, it is an opportunity for God to connect with us. It is a time for you to shut up and empty your mind so that God may fill it up. Many have had great revelations as the result of meditation. What are these revelations, well they were conscious shift that create what we call an awakening. Some Christians cringe at the idea of meditation yet I find this foolish.  Christians dislike meditation because it is a practice of the East, associated with religions such as Buddhism. Prayer is also a practice of the East and of the Pagans yet they somehow find it beneficial.

Do I believe that Jesus mediated? I would assume he probably did some type of mediation. Okay I will be bold again and say yes I am sure that Jesus meditated especially during his 40 days in the wilderness. Individuals who meditate have been known to go for long periods of time without food or water. They become one with themselves and God. They awake to new insight and a stronger spirituality. I would love to have the time to meditate for such lengths. America would be a much nicer place if everyone prayed and meditated on a daily basis.

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My third key to a spiritual awakening is giving. No, and not to the televangelist, they already have fancy suits and cars. Actually when you think about giving in this article let’s just leave money out of it. Yes I believe in giving money to your local church and to charitable organizations but in many ways that is an easy fix. It is easy to write a check it is often more difficult to give of your time out of love. We all have different abilities we can use in order to give to society. Remember Jesus said even if you give a cup of water in my name. The scriptures also say freely you have been given freely give. Read Luke 10:25-37 about the Good Samaritan. I could list literally hundreds of ways in which a person can give. You could be a medical doctor, a lawyer, teacher, mechanic, elected official, business owner, all of these and more. I think you see what I am saying. You have talents worthy of giving. Most importantly in your giving do it out of love. Don’t feel that you must give, give because that’s what you want to do. Love in giving will make all the difference. So how does giving create a spiritual awakening as I have defined it, as a conscious shift in our minds? First it takes you out of yourself and brings you closer to your fellow. You realize that you are not the only person on the planet and the world doesn’t revolve around you. For those that have given it creates a sense of joy and peace. Giving activates the mind. When I speak of the mind I am talking about the spirit of man, not our physical brain. Most importantly giving is what God first did for man. We were created to be like God so we should act like God and give. It is better to give than receive. You will only understand this from giving.

These are not the only paths to a spiritual awakening there is so many more.  I will give a few honorable mentions that I wish to write about more in the future.

Alcoholics Anonymous, many look at this self-help group as a way in which a person can stop using alcohol. This is true and is also their stated primary purpose. AA is also so much more than that. I am going to list the 12 steps of this group.

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.2

I am not going to get into details yet for more information read the AA book.   If you notice, the steps focus on God, prayer, releasing self, meditation, and giving. These same steps or variations of them have been used to help treat people in addiction all around the world. Those in the know understand that alcohol and most drugs hinder our relationship with God. The spiritual person is most of the time a sober person.

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On the flip side I will give one last mention and that is the use of drugs, specifically psychedelics. This is not a new concept, but one that has probably been around from the beginning of time. I sometimes wonder if the tree of good and evil mentioned in Genesis was not of the psychedelic nature opening the eyes of man. I am not advocating for the use of drugs yet it is an undeniable fact that if not abused there can be great benefits from psychedelics. Evidence based research is starting to show these benefits in treating certain mental illnesses and addiction. People around the world have been using psychedelics to interact with the spiritual world for thousands of years. This is fascinating and why I give it mention. God certainly created all the plants of the earth. God being God knew of their nature and potential. It is man who abuses and disrespects what God has created for good. Surprisingly the federal government is allowing research into some psychedelics for the treatment of PTSD. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/18/dea-mdma-study_n_6888972.html

Some doctors such as Dr. Dan Engle who practices outside of the United States uses psychedelics to create a spiritual awakening that is needed for the treatment of addiction. http://www.maps.org/research/ibogaine-therapy

Bill Wilson the co-founder of AA was interested in LSD as a possible miracle drug that would bring about a conscious shift to help the alcoholic.

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2012/aug/23/lsd-help-alcoholics-theory

The point to this is not to abuse a drugs, but use drugs such as psychedelics for a better life. Through a spiritual awakening.

Spiritual awakenings have always fascinated me and always will. As I said above I had one when I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ as a teenager. It has totally changed my life. I encourage you to pray, meditate and give, and have a spiritual awakening of your own. If the world was awake which I believe is starting to happen at an accelerated rate we will experience a better world. A kingdom of heaven on earth. Blessings!

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SOURCES

  1. Elwell, Walter A. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker

Book House, 1984. 946.

  1. Alcoholics Anonymous. 4th ed. New York, New York: A. A. World Services, 1976. 59-60.

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Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Matthew 19:21 NIV.

Lawyers, sometimes you love them most of the time you hate them. That being said the legal profession is essential to the United States. They help balance our society, yet just as society is imperfect so are the lawyers. Many in whom seek to reach their legal tentacles into every part of everyday life. This can mean many live in poverty along with others not being able to achieve advancement because corporate America is afraid of being sued. We live in a lawsuit happy nation, with money being the motivator. Of course it doesn’t help that “we the people” play along when it is in our interest. The cycle of greed continues and I suppose we are all guilty at some point or another. This article is not one that is designed to bash lawyers; I had an amazing attorney fight for me when I needed it. This is an article that will go down many paths from felons seeking employment, individuals trying to better themselves through references, as well as illegals within the country who cannot find work because of their status.

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One of the biggest problems facing HR managers today is the fear of being sued for negligent hiring. Like most rules on the books they start out with good intentions, but oh that love of money. Paul spoke to Timothy telling him “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” (1 Timothy 6:10, NIV). It goes both ways business desire to hire the best employees to profit their company and rightfully so, yet companies are intimidated by lawyers. Lawyers who will sue a business if said employee commits and act on the job in which negligent hiring can be proven. So these bully lawyers keep people out of work and entrapped in poverty. I have known many good companies who would hire reformed felons if it wasn’t for negligent hiring lawsuits. This is not just effecting people with felonies such as myself it is also effecting those with misdemeanors. We literally have millions of disenfranchised individuals in America. A new slavery of sorts. Oh of course you could say well you break the law you do the time. Except in the United States many times the time that is served is life. We live in a country in which draconian and puritanical laws are still in existence and once you are convicted of a crime it is a sentence of a scarlet letter for life. Rehabilitation is only a copout and the desire to keep a social class of slaves is fueled by the criminal justice system. Background checks are the norm for hiring in most companies and often the major intention is the fear of a negligent hiring lawsuits. What in the world did the country do before background checks? Well if history tells us anything it was doing a lot better than it is now. I know many people including myself who have a desire to work are unable to secure gainful employment. We are constantly turned down because of a criminal background. I like the quote from one of my favorite movies “The Kingdom of Heaven” The son comes to the father and says “I have committed murder” the father responds “haven’t we all.” Jesus spoke of murder taking place in the heart of man through hateful thoughts towards one another. I am mentioning murder it is obviously a hyperbole. Most people convicted of murder are sent to prison for life and most of the time it is justified. I am speaking about individuals such as myself who have never been to prison but still have a criminal history. Yes I have done wrong, I have paid for my choices, but should it be for life? Many companies have good hearts and would give many people second chances yet because of the possibility of negligent hiring they cannot take any chances. So what do we do? We cannot find work and we are not in prison. Many of us eventually do find some sort of manual labor after a duration of years, many just get fed up and end up back committing crime. Heck if society isn’t going to give you a chance then what’s the sense right? Wrong that is not the way to go about it. I decided to go back to school and completed a Bachelor’s degree and have almost completed a Masters. I actually have a goal of continuing if accepted into doctoral studies of religion. I find that academia being fairly liberal is also very accepting.

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Why can’t a person better themselves and actually get a good job? Who said we cannot be the societal changers of the world? We can be the catalyst for change in the coming years! I urge anyone who is feeling hopeless to take up the call of right living. Jesus has accepted you even when no one else will.  The God who has created the universe is the same God that can open the doors and make the impossible possible. Jesus said “believe.” My brothers and sisters who have a background do not give up hope. Do not go back to crime. I know society does not understand but as our numbers grow so does our power.  We serve a God who reached out to the likes of us.  He didn’t come to those who are well, but to the sick.

My second issue with the negligent hiring lawsuits is that companies are even afraid of giving out a professional reference to a perspective employers. I have recently dealt with this in my own life as well. I find it very disturbing that lawyers are even going after companies who give professional references. They will sue companies that provide a reference if he or she turns out to be a “negligent hire.” So now everyone is scared to speak to each other because of lawsuits. While lawyers many times help people receive freedom it is the blood sucking brood of vipers who plague us with their lawsuits who are destroying the fabric of society. The EEOC says that a previous employer must give dates of hire, and must tell the perspective employer if they would hire again. I guess that is something, but the EEOC has much more work to do. Congress has much more work to do. Yet I don’t know if they work? Hmm. Legislation must be passed to end negligent hiring lawsuits. The end of negligent hiring and background checks for most jobs must take place. I understand that there are careers that because of my poor choices I cannot do. I accept that but I will not accept being a slave. Such legislation if passed would literally put an end to most disenfranchisement of felons, and help the advancement of citizens in the workforce.

My third issue is not one that has much to do with negligent hiring but with illegals trying to find work. Yes I am liberal on this issue. We cry and complain that illegals are sucking the social services dry, yet we will not let them work. We say that they are taking “our” jobs but they do the jobs nobody else wants for very low pay. So who are the true criminals? Well if we let them work they would be paying taxes and would not need social services. Easy answer to a big problem, yet in all honestly the three situations that I am addressing money is the major factor; just don’t love it. If people can take pride in what they do and earn a living wage business would boom. Buying and selling would go through the roof. The so called American dream could still be had. Yet the lawyers and bankers have been getting in the way so long by stuffing their pockets most people do not even know what the American dream is anymore.

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The early church prior to the 3rd century had it together. The book of Acts gives a small window into what life was like. People gave to each other holding nothing as their own. They lived in community and the Christ consciousness was alive in them. I believe that we are in a time of awakening on the earth, and also within the body of Christ. Jesus loves his church and desires his church to be one. The elimination of denominations and divisions that keep us from being united are being torn down and a free range church is rising. There will be those left in the walls of buildings and institutions clinging to human fundamentalism instead of the way of the Spirit. Most of the modern Protestant doctrines were created by men in the last couple hundred years who at the time seemed radical. Yet many of us perceive them as biblical fact. John Darby Nelson who gave us dispensationalism basically a hypothesis that cannot be proven nor disproven. Dispensationalism and eschatology go hand in hand Darby divides time into periods both past and future based on biblical text. A cool idea but not necessarily true, and was a radical idea at the time. Also the rapture, also an idea based on biblical text whom many attribute to Cotton Mather. While the orthodox and catholic church dismiss the rapture it is popular in my breed of Christianity. I am not trying to knock these theories, I am saying they were radical during the early 1800’s. They are now common place and often taken as fact by some. Now we have new ideas that are alive in the church. I believe it is because of the global consciousness that is leading the world into Christ consciousness. Part of this is being Jesus to each other, living out the scriptures in our lives, not out of fear of damnation but out of love. Being a Jesus follower and living life as Jesus lived his.

I know that I have gotten off track. Yet I think that it all comes together when we live in community as Christians. I have been wanting to address the evils of negligent hiring practices along with the idea that change while scary can be a good thing. I believe that everything is spiritual in some way, everything is divine. It is okay to mix social issues with our faith.

We can try to keep people out, people who are created in the image of God. People who just didn’t have the moral luck that maybe some of you had. You may be wishing to advance yourself in the country and find yourself unable to because of the evils of the love of money. This sin which has bound and chained our country. From my article “No Borders in Paradise” you will know that I don’t believe in borders or illegal immigrants because we are all people of the earth united under Christ. All people should be given a chance to be a part of society despite their mistakes, legal status, and social class. We should all have the ability through hard work to advance ourselves in this world. Yet for this to be possible I think a complete restructuring of society is what is needed. I do not really know what this looks like, but I am working on it.

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Finally I want you to be positive. No that Jesus loves you. He is with you. His will is only in your best interest. Life is tough, it really wasn’t meant to be easy. We need to take the path of least resistance and follow the Spirit of God and not the spirit of humanism. The Spirit that says that all things are possible. The Spirit that cries out that there is no limits, no ceiling. That even when we have barriers in society they can be removed. Rules can be broken, don’t break the law but rules always have exceptions. Whether you’re a person like me with a past, someone trying to advance their career or here illegally and desiring to cut out a life for yourself. It is possible like our master said “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26 NIV). Blessings!