Archive for the ‘Society’ Category

Often when we think of Satan we think of a spiritual entity that is at war with God and humans. While I am not writing to dispute this, I am writing to dispute the idea the actual devil is around every corner, and or filling our heads with Satanic ideas. My argument is that we are Satan. We cannot remove Satan from our lives when we do not realize that we are the very driving force of his existence.
Let us look at why Jesus used the name Satan. In the Hebrew the word means “adversary, someone who resist” The Greek is similar although the writers of the New Testament give him more personality. He is known as the master of destruction, one who sends wrath to sinners, an accuser, someone who opposes the gospel of Jesus, ultimately Satan is found bound and thrown into an abyss in the book of Revelation.
Examining Satan esoterically we can certainly find within these quick definitions that we are our own Satan. Let us look at the basic definition again.
1. Adversary
2. Master of destruction
3. Accuser
4. Opposes the gospel
I argue that these four elements of Satan are found within each one of us. I believe
The key to living a victorious Christian life is to ultimately control Satan, binding him and sending him to the pit of the abyss. We must first understand what Christians call the sinful nature of man is Satan within us, the “flesh” so to speak. We are our own adversary, we create our own destruction, we accuse ourselves, and we reject the good news of Christ because that is the very thing that will send Satan, our egos to the abyss.
We have this major tendency to be hard on ourselves, to live a life as a defeatist, to self-destruct. We accuse ourselves, blame ourselves. When the guilt gets bad enough we pick up habits that often cause harm. We overeat, drink to much, indulge in drugs, sexual promiscuity, and any number of destructive behavior. In my opinion this is the ultimate cycle of destruction. First, we accuse ourselves, then we try to run from the self-accusations with destructive behavior. We are the enemy and the enemy is us. We pray to God to help us in our struggle without knowing who or what we are struggling against. The actual evil spiritual forces have an easy job when we do all the work for them. Or, maybe part of the test of spiritual growth in our lives is to face the Satan that is us, call him up, bind him, and cast him into the abyss.
Realization and acceptance. We must understand that our very satanic nature is cunning and baffling, we must let go of ourselves. This is the importance of the gospel of Christ. Through faith in Christ we let go of what is within and take on our divine nature through the advocate. We learn to see past the Satan and see the Christ within. We do as many say, “let go and let God.” I am also sorry to say that this is not a one and done. This is a journey of faith, a lengthy battle that we all share, some with more victory than others.
How exactly can one live a life of victory? The best answer is to examine how Jesus did it. The story of the temptation of Jesus found within Matthew 4:1-11 is a battle within his own mind, which is also our own battle. Jesus bathed himself in prayer, he used his knowledge of the scripture, and he then allowed God to comfort him. We too must bathe ourselves in prayer, we must understand the scriptures, this also involves understanding ourselves, and be humble enough to allow our divine nature to increase, gaining the knowledge of what some would call our Holy Guardian Angel and by doing so throw Satan into the Abyss which we then cross as we find who we really are within God.
On a final note as I mentioned this is a journey of faith. The book of Revelation is clear that Satan is thrown into the abyss, the text is also clear that he finds his way out of the abyss as well. Eventually we will leave this life finding our eternal victory, until then we will be “fighting the good fight of faith.”

 

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Jesus denied Satan’s offer of the kingdoms of the world.  Jesus reminded Satan he was to only worship God, he denied the world to eventually save it.
Later Jesus once again alludes to this. “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?”
I know as a Christian I have been tough on my fellow believers especially due to the political climate.  I feel based on observation many evangelicals and I count myself a modified version of one. That they are willing to give up Christian values for power.
Many have looked the other way despite Trump’s unrepentant actions, are supporting a very questionable candidate for Senate Roy Moore, even here in Iowa we have a Representative Mr. King who openly states “Diversity is a bad idea.”  The bottom line is many Christians especially those of the dominionist and absolute theological positions seem to say yes to corrupt power and deny the Kingdom, the people of Jesus.
Jesus did not come to create an earthly Kingdom. Not a Kingdom of earthly power at all cost.

Many of the enemies of Christ, in fact the very ones who nailed him to the cross claimed to be moved by the laws of God.  They were the religious leaders.  Today many Christians support very questionable people only because they pray and mention God.
Let us not find ourselves giving into Satan’s temptation of gaining the world only to lose our souls.

Watching Breaking The Cycle on Netflix and how differently we treat inmates in the United States versus that of Norway as well as a prison in North Dakota which is working on changing their policies on how inmates are treated.
What struck me the most is inmates in Norway are treated like human beings. They did not have cells with bars but private bathrooms and refrigerators in their rooms. This was maximum security by the way.
Why do we handle inmates like animals only for the inmate now to respond like animals in return?  We Americans live in a society of revenge.
Of course if someone does something terrible to you or your family you would not be happy the offender was living in a comfortable, positive, and real rehabilitative environment.  Yes, we should be mad if that is the case.  Yet as one warden said “we are in the business of correction and rehabilitation, not revenge.”
Most inmates in America will be released, they will be your neighbors. Do you want an inmate who is oppressed and treated like an animal? Or do you want a rehabilitated member of society who has the ability to give back?
I think if we want to become a better society, a safe society, and one who cares about people we can start by looking how we treat inmates.
I believe most offenders given the right opportunities will become better people.  The warden from the United States also made good points, he was very sympathetic to the views of the warden from Norway. He stated many inmates return to society with no homes, no jobs, and little hope.
In the United States we create felons for life. Employers do not rush to hire felons many large corporations have strict guidelines against it. Instead the felon is stuck doing menial work, or they go back to crime.  What a waste of talent.
I say this all because it is near to my heart I am a felon. I never have been in prison, but I do face the stigma of being labeled. While it has been over 7 years of trying to develop myself and give back to society I have had to work very hard.  At first no one would hire me. I am thankful I am a veteran and had thousands of dollars for school. I earned a Bachelors, Masters and next year will be working on a Doctorate.  I also have had an amazing support system. My family has been amazing. I have had a powerful drive to get ahead and make a difference in the world. In some ways for me being a felon has created a better me.
This is not the case for most returning inmates. We need to do so much more as a society.  Hopefully I will be in a position to do more myself.

In America it is popular to say we “earned” something. Yes, 99% of the country are earning at the same time getting ripped off. 
Do you ever get that feeling driving home from work that you should be getting paid more? That you agreed to work for what you did because you really were not given much of a choice? You should, and probably did. 
The thing is you are not going to get paid equal to what you produce. You will always be paid less than your worth in order for the employer to take the rest. So yes, you earned your portion. Yet did the employer earn the extra money you created for him? No, it was collectively earned by the workers for the owner. 
In a capitalist society generally you must either inherit, or be an entrepreneur to become very wealthy. Most people do not inherit, and most do not manage to create something like “Facebook” for example. Most of us are workers. 
What I am suggesting is a complete restructuring of society. One in which the money and power is centralized in the people. 
At this moment a new tax bill is soon to sit on the Presidents desk.  This bill will only help the rich get richer. The 1% of Americans will only help themselves, while their misguided followers believe that the 1% will actually “trickle down” the wealth. 
This brings me to my final thought. Growing up as a conservative Christian I was led to believe that Capitalism was created by Jesus and socialism or communism was created in the heart of hell.  This is in part due to social programming by the United States government.  But, what if any system would Jesus follow?  One which enslaves, or one that shares?  Why is it that so many evengelical Christians love capitalism and were so ready to elect a billionare Donald Trump and disregard Bernie Sanders?  
I do not dislike capitalism the drive for profit has created a remarkable world. I do not dislike socialism it is a system of the people. There is good and bad in both. Can we have the best of both worlds?
Maybe we should start by simply treating people better, paying people closer to what they are worth, and truly care about them. A little bit more always goes along way.

Nate talks about the huge increase in pay that corporations in America will receive if all goes as planned for the Republican party, in their efforts to pass a new tax bill.  The old trickle down scam!  Do you really think that corporations are going to increase your wage?

What is there really to be thankful for?  Holiday stress, family with happy fake smiles living in homes they can not afford thankful for the bank to give out a loan.  It seems like the most thankful people are the people with the least.  Holidays are a high point in our lives.  Days of remembrance in which should carry over all year long.  Listen as Nate talks about Thanksgiving and much more!

 A major difference between successful people and the 9-5ers is successful people do not spend much time complaining and maintain a positive optimistic attitude.  

This means just like you at the moment I work a “regular” job.  But, I am always looking for the come up. Always ready to jump on opportunity. Always ready to take risk and know I may not be rewarded. Always ready to work hard chassing my passions. Yes we do what we have to in order to put food on the table. But do not settle. 

Understand and know that something is on the way. Do not just sit by and think that success will never happen to me. How did those who have what you desire get there anyway?  Live with unshakeable faith, dream big, remain humble and when you make it, give back to the people.

 I have heard it said “Be the hero”  Joe Rogan talks of your life being like a movie. If your life was a movie, be the hero of your movie.

The great Joseph Campbell states:  

“Furthermore, we have not even to risk the adventure alone, for the heros of all time have gone before us. The labyrinth is thoroughly known.  We have only to follow the thread of the hero path, and where we had thought to find an abomination we shall find a god.  And where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves.  Where we had thought to travel outward, we will come to the center of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone, we will be with all the world.”

Take a moment and read through this profound paragraph a few times. Let it sink in to your soul.

See here is the deal.  You are not alone on your quest. Billions of people have gone before you. It does not matter your position in life.  It does not matter if yesterday you lived your life as a dirtbag, or that you are lazy, unmotivated, filled with resentments, and just plain tired of life.

If today you woke up in poverty, out of shape and unhealthy, have addictions that are destroying your life. It just does not matter.

We love a good movie about someone who is down and out, then through their journey find greatness! Stop being down on yourself, stop saying I can’t, and realize you can!  As the great Joe Rogan said if your life was a movie, what kind of movie would you want it to be?

You have the power to change who you are. You can be the hero!

 Do not be the one. 

 When your days are done and your hands can no longer function, do not be the one who followed the rules, did everything you are told, and forget God gave you a brain to think for yourself.  Don’t do it!  Yes, being an obediant cog is probably the most safe way to navigate through life; only to end up just another gravemarker with little meaning.  

They say better to be safe than sorry. That’s a lie. It has always been the risk takers who have  made the greatest impact on our world.  As a Christian I can read the Bible and find it was the risk takers who God used. 

In human understanding faith and risk are very synonymous.  So what I am I trying to say?  I am saying chase whimsies, follow your bliss, don’t let anyone tell you “NO” if it is the desire of your heart. Seek it, keep knocking, make life happen. Do not let life happen to you!  

At the end of the day you may still become just an unknown gravestone. Yet you will be one who tried to defy the norm, who said the moon is to close, I am shooting for stars. On your death bed there will be no disappointment, only hope that those you leave behind follow the same path.  
The Backyard Preacher

Many popular authors have reintroduced the practice of “living in the now”  This is not something new it is a practice of the wise, dating back to time immemorial.
It is a blessing every generation we find wise men and women to remind us of an often forgotten discipline.  It is needed now more than ever in our current society; which in my opinion is far too materialist, fast, and profane.
Everyperson is a star,  everyperson needs a place within themselves where all becomes nothing, and everything, complimenting one another in a dance of divine unity.
A place in which there is no knowledge of the daily agendas, no news, no obligations, stress does not exists, and only breath and divinity remain. It was the breath of God that created man.  So man was created in a state of divine meditation.
Today find a sacred place. A prayer room. A place to be alone. A place in which within its abode nothing matters.  Allow God to speak to you. Walk with God in the cool of the day.  Lay bare to Him who you believe you are, and find who you truly are.
Make this a practice everyday.

Have a blessed Tuesday my friends!

The Backyard Preacher