Sunday Walk 51 – From Witchcraft To Pornography

Derek Prince called witchcraft the “religion of fallen humanity” and associated it with rebellion, idolatry and the occult. Occult practices include the use of horoscopes, pendulums, or tarot cards. To give the devil his due, these practices work to some extent, but that’s just the bait, the demonic deception, the worm that makes the hook look attractive. When we take the bait we push the Holy Spirit aside.

When we yearn for the supernatural we should yearn for the real thing, not a demonic substitute. No fancy yoga position could ever replace repentance. No fortune teller could ever replace a real church.

Witchcraft can also be associated with activities that appear to have nothing to do with the occult such as watching pornography. People who think they are too smart to be fooled by fortune tellers are readily hooked by lust. If you are involved in this addiction, stop submitting to its demonic influence. If not, there’s a basket full of other addictions including gluttony, greed, fear and anger to avoid as well.

Lion of Judah, This Happens in the Unseen World When You Watch Pornography

Most of these ideas are relatively new for me and you are welcome to set me straight in the comments below.


Weekly Bible Reading:  Judges (Audio), Ruth (Audio), 1 Samuel (Audio), 2 Samuel (Audio)
Commentary: David Pawson, Judges and Ruth, Part 2 of 2, 1 and 2 Samuel, Part 1 of 2, Unlocking the Bible

Sunday Walk 50 – Good At Heart?

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

Psalm 51:10, King James Bible 1769

When I was a teenager my family and I watched the 1959 film The Diary of Anne Frank in our living room. Anne died in a Nazi concentration camp, but she left behind a diary of the events that occurred while her family was in hiding. A memorable part of the movie was when she expressed her belief that people were good at heart.

George Barna of the Cultural Research Center wrote recently that one of the top 10 most seductive unbiblical ideas embraced by Americans is ‘the idea that people are “basically good”’. That suggests that the memorable part of the movie about Anne Frank was seductively unbiblical.

The reason the idea that we are good at heart is wrong is because it is sentimental. It is a false form of consolation, because it looks for goodness in the wrong place. Rather than acknowledging that God is good, it claims that somewhere deep down inside of us we are.

To a society that rejects Jesus, we mythologize the Kingdom of God rather than preach it. To a society that blatantly intimidates with sexual addiction, we downplay the need for repentance. Alisa Childers wrote that one of the five signs that one’s church was becoming progressive is “[t]he heart of the gospel message shifts from sin and redemption to social justice”.

I’m still trying to figure this out. You are welcome to tell me what you think about people being good at heart.


I am grateful to Michael Wilson for presenting George Barna’s research and to Bruce Cooper for pointing out Alisa Childers’ criticism of progressive Christianity.

Final thought: After David impregnated Bathsheba, had her husband Uriah killed to avoid scandal, and was called out for it by Nathan (2 Samuel 11-12), he didn’t think much of his heart. He wanted God to create in him a clean one (Psalm 51).


Weekly Bible Reading:  Joshua (Audio), Judges (Audio), Ruth (Audio)
Commentary: David Pawson, Joshua, Part 2 of 2, Judges and Ruth, Part 1 of 2, Unlocking the Bible

View From the Top
View From the Top

Sunday Walk 48 – Independence Day

Happy Fourth of July! I am in the process of moving away from big tech. Here’s what I’ve done so far.

For browser and search engine, I switched from Google Chrome to Brave with DuckDuckGo.

For email, I purchased a subscription to ProtonMail. My Gmail account is nearly inactive.

For cloud services, I canceled my subscription to Google One’s storage plan using instead my own solid state drives.

For office tools, I switched from Google Docs and Sheets to Apache Open Office.

For those interested in doing something similar, Sven Taylor provides a list of alternatives for Google products at the Restore Privacy site. There are more alternatives than I initially realized.

For social media, although I am currently inactive on Facebook and Twitter, my accounts remain open. I think it is worthwhile to interact with others in such environments. The same goes for places like Stack Exchange and Quora where I also have open, but inactive accounts. At the moment my social media focus is on MeWe and this WordPress blog. I am also trying out GETTR.

Part of alt tech is to learn how to wear the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6). It is not just using open source software to protect one’s privacy or new platforms to avoid censorship. The user needs to get his act together. Without that armor I could still become corrupted and unwittingly corrupt others in turn.

By the next Fourth of July, God willing, I hope to be on Linux and know better how to wear that armor.


Weekly Bible Reading:  Numbers (Audio) Deuteronomy (Audio)
Commentary: David Pawson, Numbers, Part 2 of 2, Deuteronomy, Part 1 of 2, Unlocking the Bible

Blue and Yellow Flowers
Blue and Yellow Flowers

Happiness

Holy? Happy? Take your pick.
“Give me both!” That was quick.


Eugenia offers the word “happiness” for this week’s Thursday Prompt.

I was listening to David Pawson’s second lecture on Leviticus this morning where he made the comment at about 8:20 in the video, “The only way to be really happy is to be really holy.” So that’s what I was thinking of when writing this poem.

Eugenia’s Prompt Image
Underneath a Willow Tree
Underneath a Willow Tree

Sunday Walk 46 – Salt and Light

I am grateful to Cassa Bassa for a reference to a lecture by David Pawson on salt and light as mentioned in Matthew 5:13-16. I found a version of it which I am linking below.

As Pawson says, we live in “a world of dirt and disease and darkness” without salt and without light (about 21:20).

We are the salt that fertilizes the dirt. We are the salt that prevents disease from spreading. We are the light showing the way through the darkness. We are the light pointing out the ways of the world to avoid.

If the salt becomes contaminated with the ways of the world, of what use is it? If the lamp refuses to shine for those who have lost their way, why light it?

Weekly Bible Reading: Exodus (Audio: King James Version read by Alexander Scourby) Leviticus (Audio: King James Version read by Alexander Scourby)
Commentary: David Pawson, Exodus, Part 2 of 2Leviticus, Part 1 of 2, Unlocking the Bible

Sunday Walk 44 – Bible Reading

Jim Lee asked his readers when during the day we read the Bible? I could say I was following a yearly Bible reading plan with a small group and read the verses of the day when the notice arrived.

However, I thought why not start my own plan in addition to this focusing on each book in succession with a commentary as a guide?

I started this two weeks ago using David Pawson’s one hundred lecture series Unlocking the Bible. This commentary covers the whole Bible at an introductory level. I divided those one hundred lectures into two videos per week to make the plan last about a year.

This week I am continuing with Genesis. On each of these Sunday Walks I will link to an audio of the book I’m reading along with links to two of Pawson’s lectures.


Weekly Bible Reading: Genesis (Audio: King James Version read by Alexander Scourby)
Commentary: David Pawson, Genesis Part 5 of 7 and Part 6 of 7, Unlocking the Bible


Columbine

Sunday Walk 43 – Fruits of the Spirit

ο δε καρπος του πνευματος εστιν αγαπη χαρα ειρηνη μακροθυμια χρηστοτης αγαθωσυνη πιστις
πραοτης εγκρατεια κατα των τοιουτων ουκ εστιν νομος

Galatians 5:22 and 23 with various translations

It is not merely that I can know them by the way they express, or don’t, the fruits of the Holy Spirit, but I can know myself by the way I express those fruits as well.

These fruits do not come from consuming therapies, taking drugs or following self-help programs to not behave badly. They are not my fruits, but the fruits of the Spirit, the Holy Spirit.

There is nothing easier than expressing them in stillness. There is nothing harder than giving up the addiction to my own spoiled fruits since faithlessness suggests that’s all there is.

For more on this, see The Brew Is A Musing’s Spirit-Led Lifestyle.

Keith and Kristyn Getty – Still, My Soul Be Still

Weekly Bible Readings: Genesis (Audio: King James Version read by Alexander Scourby)
Commentary: David Pawson, Genesis Part 3 of 7 and Part 4 of 7Unlocking the Bible


Flower-Lined Stone Path

Sunday Walk 42 – Greek Influence On Christianity

I used to find Plotinus, a 3rd century Platonist, interesting. His idea of the One suggested a kind of naturalistic or pantheistic spirituality. To the extent I understood any of this, the One was like a force field having the attributes philosophers might assign to a deity.

Little of this is attractive to me today, but that earlier exposure has kept me wary of Platonic or even Aristotelian influences. When I hear discussions of God that do not lead to repentance, salvation or a personal relationship with Jesus grounded in the special revelation of the Bible I wonder if there aren’t hidden presuppositions underlying the arguments that might be coming from ancient Greek, rather than Jewish or Christian, sources.

I’ve noticed these hidden ideas within various Christian traditions going back to Augustine or earlier. Some of them are fine, but it’s easy to forget that even the acceptable ones are cultural additions. So, I try to distinguish what is in the Bible from what is outside trying to get in. Then I put scripture over tradition should a conflict arise between the Word of God and that other stuff.

For those who wish more information on this especially as it pertains to questionable Greek cultural influence, see David Pawson’s lecture on “de-Greecing” the church:

David Pawson, De-Greecing the Church

Weekly Bible Readings: Genesis (Audio: King James Version read by Alexander Scourby)
Commentary: David Pawson, Genesis Part 1 of 7 and Part 2 of 7, Unlocking the Bible


Japanese Peony

Sunday Walk 38 – Predestination

ου βραδυνει ο κυριος της επαγγελιας ως τινες βραδυτητα ηγουνται αλλα μακροθυμει εις ημας μη βουλομενος τινας απολεσθαι αλλα παντας εις μετανοιαν χωρησαι

2 Peter 3:9 Textus Receptus with various translations

Predestination is God’s plan for us for responsible service as slaves of Jesus and yet children of God (Matthew 6:9, 1 John 3:2). There is nothing more meaningful or fulfilling in one’s life than coming to repentance and accepting that destiny. He wills it for all of us (2 Peter 3:9, 1 Timothy 2:4).

However, predestination is overshadowed within some traditions by adding on the notion of predeterminism. These traditions contain conceptions of the nature of God that pit our free will against God’s glory.

Starting at 28:00 for about 13 minutes David Pawson described two views of predestination, the Arminian and the Calvinist (Reformed) views.

David Pawson, Unlocking the New Testament Part 15 – Ephesians

This video is part of Pawson’s introduction to the Bible covering the books from Genesis to Revelation. After going through this series I began to see myself and those around me as living within an historical drama leading to a wedding the significance of which I had not appreciated before. The Christian worldview came to life. It is from within that worldview revealed by the Bible that I now consider issues such as predestination.

In section D6 of Election and Reprobation at Monergism, Wayne Grudem made summary observations that I agree with: “So in a Reformed system God’s highest value is his own glory, and in an Arminian system God’s highest value is the free will of man. These are two distinctly different conceptions of the nature of God….”

Given these two distinctly different conceptions of the nature of God, I ask myself: If God’s highest value were really his own glory, why the crucifixion? If God’s highest value were not the free will of man, how did sin and the resulting evil enter the historical narrative of the Christian worldview as revealed by the Bible?

The Reformed conception of God leaves me with too many unanswered questions. Thankfully there are alternatives to it. For more on these alternatives, Mike Winger provides a biblical argument clarifying what hardening of hearts means and why faith is not a work. He also provides an overview of Calvinism and Arminianism.

What do you think? You are welcome to set me straight or present your own views on predestination in the comments below.

Life Between the Rocks

Sunday Walk 23

David Pawson claimed (Book of Revelation, Part 1, about 8:30) that there are two books of the Bible that Satan particularly doesn’t like: Genesis and Revelation. In Genesis Satan’s deceptive practices are exposed. In Revelation his downfall is prophesied – Jesus wins; Satan loses. In particular the first few chapters of Genesis and the last ones of Revelation cause Satan the most grief.

Pawson also suggested that we read Scripture aloud. I have noticed that when I hear myself reading something aloud, it becomes clearer. At the very least reading something aloud makes it difficult for me to skim over the words.  I don’t want to skim over those parts of Genesis and Revelation that annoy Satan the most.

Sandwriting