Tag Archives: christanity

Subtle Thought Patterns that are Stumbling Blocks to God being Involved in Your Life

Sometimes in our everyday lives we can get so used to our every day habits, emotions, diets, etc. that we don’t really stop and question why and where they came from. Do our habits and thinking come from our own source of original thought, or are we influenced somehow to beleive “this is the right way to do it”? A common phrase is, “Well, that’s how I’ve always been taught.” Whether it be how we think, how we stay fit, what foods we eat, what emotions or words we express, or our expectations. Most often, though not with every single aspect, there is at least one area of our life that we do based on traditions – whether it be cultural tradition, societal tradition, or family tradition – that influences the way we do certain things. And so, whether we know it or not, sometimes the traditions may be more detrimental than helpful to us. Let’s explore a few common subtle traditions or thought patterns that are stumbling blocks to knowing the truth about God.

Subtle Stumbling Block #1 – Thinking we can save ourselves

Sometimes, especially for a non-believer, one might say – “Well, whenever I decide to, I can just pull myself up by my bootstraps.” in an effort to give oneself the credit of success and the flexibility and freedom to save one’s self. This is an old phrase basically meaning that one can succeed or elevate themselves without any outside help. The problem with that way of thinking is that it is limited. Yes, we may be able to help ourselves become better to a certain extent, but we cannot ultimately save ourselves from ourselves – we need an outside force. The same can be said about the physical realm, from something as simple as observing Newton’s first law of motion. “Newton’s first law states that if a body is at rest or moving at a constant speed in a straight line, it will remain at rest or keep moving in a straight line at constant speed unless it is acted upon by a force. ” So why do we think that the spiritual realm is any different? The spiritual realm has many of the same laws as the physical realm, even if we do not realize it or cannot see it with our own eyes. So let’s stop falling for the cultural lie that we don’t need to be saved or don’t need God’s help because you’ve adopted the common thinking of “well, I’m a good person and that’s all that matters.” That itself is a societal thinking norm that is totally false. Even if you ask people in jail, many of them might even say the same thing. So needless to say, saying “I’m a good person,” is solely based on each person’s own thinking and not based on God’s thinking. For scriptures even say, “My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. ” So let’s make The Word of God and Jesus our point of reference for being saved and for our thoughts, instead of relying on our conscience which is unreliable according to scriptures. Even in the physical realm, ” In Aristotelian mechanics and in ordinary experience, objects that are not being pushed tend to come to rest.” Similarly in the spiritual realm, spirits that are not being pushed (by God) tend to come to rest (die). So let’s not follow the new age religion of self gratification and instead pull ourselves up to rely on Jesus to save us and help us. He is the best counselor for our success and saving.

Stumbling Block #2 – Misunderstanding the goodness of God

Many often question if God is real or if He is a good God because of all the evil things He “allows” to happen. Imagine if someone was watching a baby in a pool drowning and did not use their power to pick them up to save them from drowning. Of course, that is not good. In fact, I’m sure that kind of person would go to jail. Oftentimes, people think of God in a similar way – but it is a misconception. God is not involved in the evil of the world. That is Satan’s work – the prince of the air. So, we know that there is another entity in charge of worldly evil wrong-doing, yet somehow some people still blame God for the evil? The Misconception is that people forget that God is inside of us. He resides within human beings on earth and we must declare his power and presence in order for God to work in that situation. Thus, it is humans that are responsible for any evil that happens or does not happen. We live in a corrupt fallen world that is bound to have evil things happen. Our world is cursed by sin – what does one expect? God resides in heaven, and God also resides within people for helping us on earth. Thus, we cannot blame God for evil. For God is only in the goodness of the earth. He wants goodness, peace, healing and light more than we want it. “Now yes, yes creation sometimes screams a confusing message – fear, pain, grief,. Fire burns, rivers food, winds go hurricane, the earth shudders so hard it levels cities. But you must remember – this was not so in Eden. Mankind fell, surrendering this earth to the evil one. St Paul says that creation groans for the day of its restoration, making it clear that everything is not as it was meant to be. People come to terrible conclusions when they assume that this world is exactly as God intended. (An assumption that has wrought havoc in the sciences.) The earth is broken. Which only makes the beauty that does flow so generously that much more astounding. And reassuring. ”

Do you know any other important or noteworthy stumbling block thought patterns believers should avoid? Let us know in the comments below!

Why Cults are So Believable and Hard to Leave

Why are cults so believable and hard to leave or get out of? This question is loaded with many different perspectives, lenses, and opinions. I am exploring this through the perspective of a current non-denominational Christian.

First, we need to know what a cult is. Many often associate cults in a negative perspective. A cult by definition is ” a small religious group that is not part of a larger and more accepted religion and that has beliefs regarded by many people as extreme or dangerous”. You may find definitions worded a bit differently, but they all have the same general meaning. It is basically a group of people or a club in which people become a little too obsessed with the thing in which they are devoted to. It’s not always religious. Though in modern times, cults are often formed in religions because they take an idea too far or too literally. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, the church or religion make certain ideas or rules the object of worship which inadvertently is the slippery slope into a cult that uses mind control on its members to keep them.

So we must ask ourselves, at what point does a group or club become a cult? Are all churches cults? What is the difference between a cult and a good church?

Let’s be honest, when the average person thinks of a cult, they may often think of a certain church or religion, and honestly that’s where a majority of cults are at. This is not to say that church is bad. Or that religion is bad. I think it really has alot to do with each individual church. What are they teaching you? Does it apply to modern day age? Is it backed by historical text (The Bible)? Is the church gaslighting you in a negative way? (I’ll explain later). Is the church growing? These, and more, are all factors to consider when figuring out if you’re going to a healthy church versus if you’re a part of a cult. Like many already know, sometimes it’s hard to know the difference. Let me help by explaining the many subtle differences between what goes on in a cult versus what goes on in a genuinely good and healthy church.

1. A cult gaslights you and keeps you in a cycle.

If a church gaslighting you sounds crazy, you may want to think again about what exactly they’re telling you. Are they telling you you’re worthy? For women- that you’re beautiful inside and out? For men- that you’re strong and courageous, etc. That you’re made in God’s image, capable of great things like following your dreams or starting that business? That you’re worthy both as a single person and as a married person?

Or, are they like businesses that create consumers by hypothetically creating the problem? (Like almost half of companies that exist) Similarly, in a church that operates like a cult, they might try to convince you or directly tell you “you’re a sinner” (contrary to telling you you’re worthy), and then they treat this word like it’s a disease. Next they explain how to “cure” this disease. They create the problem and then offer the solution. But wait, you can’t get the cure all at once, no no, you need to come back again and again, at least once a week – for the rest of your life. I’m not saying that going to church every week is bad. What I’m saying is that if that’s you’re mindset for going to church every week (to get rid of your sin “disease”), then you are going to church for all the wrong reasons. You’ve been bamboozled into a very convincing and false cycle of lies. Let me explain this further.

First off, the church should not continually be calling you a sinner. Though it is hard to wrap our minds around, even if we do sin, we are not sinners because Jesus already successfully did his part to remove that chain and identity from us. When I say “us,” I am referencing those who beleive Jesus is the savior. We call Jesus the Savior, not the ultimate guilt trip, yet for some reason why do some churches often feel like that? The church will tell you that you’re a sinner and then tell you not to sin. That doesn’t even logically make sense. Its like telling a dog they’re a dog but not to do dog things. The church instead needs to tell you you’re not a sinner. That you’re worthy and wise and spiritually competent to take on life. So, what does your church do? Does it give sound and true uplifting words of truth into your life for you to be the best version of yourself & the best citizen of society? Or does it make you take a guilt trip almost every time and create a cycle of repentance from the “church”?, like a business that just received a customer and uses ethos pathos and logos to keep them coming back for the product. Furthermore, the church might even try to convince you that your salvation is dependent on going to that church, when in reality, once a person receives God into their life, salvation and God are within us and not a far-away object needed to be continually obtained our entire life. The purpose of church is for the holy spirit to be present, fellowship, worship and teaching. The church facilitates salvation but it itself is not salvation. So if you’re having a hard time figuring out if you go to a good church or if you’re unknowingly part of a cult, the first step is to simply examine the verbiage used. What are they telling you about you? Are they creating a hypothetical problem within you, telling you you’re such a rascal and you need to repent every time you sin? Or, are they giving uplifting words of encouragement or truth to elevate your spiritual grounding and wellbeing?

2. A cult uses black and white language or thinking, often with little to no explanation.

Black and white language fits well with cults because they like to portray things as an extreme. For example, if you grew up going to church, you may have been told in a sermon that “sex is bad.” (Just an example of many of a plethora of topics). Here’s the thing, sure maybe premarital sex is not okay. But even more so, I do not know of one friend who had a pastor explain the why behind this. As if teenagers are supposed to know why it’s bad. I think the church should be more open about those topics. Like, instead of saying a black and white blanket statement like “sex is bad”, “the devil makes you lust,” or “if you sin youre going to hell if you dont repent” which invoke guilt, how about explaining it a bit better, in a more human way rather than in a religious way. Like – wait till marriage to have sex because physical touch or intimacy creates chemistry, which can mess up and dramatically alter one’s perspective of their partner. It can deceive you to think that someone who obviously isn’t the one for you, is the one for you, because the physical touch (the feel good feelings) messes up your ability to really see them for who they are. When a church uses such vague blanket statements as the one’s previously stated as examples, without explaining them, they leave a big gap for false teaching and is a red flag for being a cult.

3. A cult tries to make their imagination your reality.

So what do we mean by making someone else’s imagination a reality? In a church this can often be seen when a preacher talks about a dream, or if there is a prophetic word in prayer. Let’s explore these in more detail. When a preacher talks about a personal dream, they are explaining their own subconscious world. It is one thing to talk about a dream, which is totally fine. However it is another thing to say that one’s dream represents what is happening or will happen to the church. Sure, dreams may have been predictions in biblical times. However, today we cannot rely on dreams to tell someone else or a group of people their future. Dreams are not from God, they are simply programming’s of each person’s inner world. We should not be projecting our dreams onto others. The second one is when there is a prophetic word during a prayer. Members of churches often take these very seriously, yet often times we do not even know if the person saying them has been reading the word and in prayer. What if they just had an impulse to say what is on their heart? That is not from God, that is simply a word from that person – yet people think that they are hearing from God. If a preacher’s dreams are being interpreted as the future of the church or the world, or if prophetic words are being told from someone who was not prepared, you may want to rethink if you’re in a healthy church or in a cult.

Again, it really all comes down to the verbiage used and the lack of explanation of things in cultish churches. This is because if you feel you’re on the good side of the spectrum, members of the cult often feel very entitled or holier than thou, wanting to stay in that mindset. This is the sign that it’s too extreme. Nobody can be perfect. So the next time you visit a new church or even just at your own church, at least take note and examine these three things, 1. Does the church gaslight you and make you feel like you’re in a constant cycle? 2. Does the church use black and white language with often little to no explanation? 3. Does the church try to make an individual imagination everyone’s reality? Life is too short to get trapped in a mind game of lies within a cult. My hope in sharing this is that you take the time to find a genuinely good church that stays clear of all of those previously noted points, and instead uses God’s word to encourage you be the best version of yourself and the best citizen within society by looking towards Jesus.

Talk is Cheap

This Sunday the preacher’s sermon was powerful. I can probably say that about every sermon, but I just loved the simplicity behind the sermon. In my own words, I’d name the topic is “Talk is cheap.” This is a common phrase that is used – in songs, in quotes, a saying in conversations. Although I wonder if we know what it actually means. It seems like this is a universal saying, though not many know there is also a spiritual Interpretation behind this saying when it comes to God’s Kingdom. We can even find it in scripture.

“I will come soon, if the Lord let’s me, and I will find out whether these arrogant people just give pretentious speeches or whether they really have God’s power. For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power”

1 Corinthians 4:18

I mean, Wow. I think that was the first time I’ve really noticed this verse. Some people might see the Bible as a historical book about our ancestors,, but honestly it is far more that that. It indeed contains the blueprint for spiritual living. It’s so amazing how many golden nuggets scriptures contain. Revisiting the previous verse, we can see how irrelevant our talk is if we lack the substance of God in our life- God’s power and God’s love. Having God’s power and using it means we are confident in Him and confident in using Jesus’ name for both big or small problems in our life. These two are far more important than becoming a scholar in Theology and being able to refute points in a speech or argue. Knowledge can puff us up, but God’s love will edify and soften us. Sometimes we can get so caught up in the semantics of theology, that we need to go back to the basics and simplicity of God and the calling of God’s children: To love others, live by God’s power, and share it by being a living example of that.

Tim Tebow: Mission Possible

This is an excerpt from Tim Tebow’s recently released book called Mission Possible. I think he has created so much enlightenment in his writing for those who are trying to figure out God’s purpose for their lives. His words of wisdom bring more clarity for those on their journey to figuring out their vocation or calling in life.

” Lately, I’ve
heard a lot of questions like, “What is God’s will for my life?” Or some-
times it’s phrased differently, like, “How can I find my calling?” or “What
is my purpose?”
I’ve often wondered what those words even mean when we use them
like that. I know what Merriam and Webster have decided, but how
often have you heard those words dropped as a cliché in conversation?
What do they really mean? When people ask these kinds of questions,
what kind of answer are they looking for? Are they hoping for a general
answer: “to love and serve God and others”? Or a specific answer about
career: “You should become a doctor”? Or just an answer about making
a difference: “helping the poor or those who are underprivileged”? Or
are they looking for something more glamorous, like becoming a best-
selling author or winning an Emmy?
Am I asking too many questions when you’re hoping to find some
answers?
All these questions about purpose remind me of a comedic conver-
sation in The Hobbit. After finishing his breakfast, Bilbo Baggins is stand-
ing by his front door, when none other than Gandalf comes waltzing by.
Bilbo nods at the old wizard and says, “Good morning” It’s a typical early-day greeting that requires nothing more than a nod and a smile.
But Gandalf is too deep for that.
He says to Bilbo, “Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is
a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this
morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?”1
I suppose we each have a little Gandalf in us. We can get hung up on
questions or confused by semantics instead of taking action, even just
one little step. “

I love how transparent Tebow is being here – we all ask these questions and on one hand we may know what we’re talking about, and on the other hand, we may also have a vague idea of what “calling” is referring to. Is it our jobs? Our roles as parents or spouses? Our contribution to charities? Our contribution to our local church? Our impact on others? We may all have a different perception of what a calling is. Are we overcomplicating and overthinking this just like Gandalf was overthinking the phrase “good morning”? As we read on, Tebow reminds us how clear the Bible is on what our (a beleiver’s) calling is.

” Scripture gives us one shared and big-picture purpose: to glorify
God. As believers, we honor and serve Him with our lives, our natural
gifts, our resources, our bodies, our worship, and our decisions. The list
is vast, but the goal is clear. In His last instructions to His disciples, Jesus
commanded them to “go, therefore, and make disciples of all the na-
tions, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the
Holy Spirit, teaching them to follow all that I commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19–20) Now, this scriptural charge doesn’t mean that you have to become a missionary or plant yourself on the other side of the world. Nor does it
mean that you have to sing worship songs during every waking hour
(though if you feel a tug on your heart to do that, go for it!). But it does
mean that your big-picture purpose is to bring glory to God wherever
you are.
After, and only after, you latch on to that God-given, big-picture purpose, there’s a way to identify what your personal purpose might be.
Within that greater purpose of glorifying God, you find your purpose in what you do every day. Simply put, purpose is about being mission driven in your ordinary life.”

It’s hard to live mission possible when we don’t fully believe that we are made in God’s image, hand-chosen by Him and fully equipped to carry out works of eternal significance. It’s actually impossible. You will never come to believe that your life counts if you think you are here by accident or you’re stuck in a space where you’re just going through the motions.

God has designed you so that you don’t have to bumble your way
through life. I believe He wants you to find your purpose. There are times we’re already walking in our purpose and we might not even know it! Sometimes God makes it clear, and sometimes it might not feel that way. That’s why it’s called living by faith, not by sight.

Tim Tebow

Don’t live with the goal of just getting by. Live with a greater significance
than achievements, accolades, or an impressive bio. With purpose, your
life overflows with meaning. You are alive because you are connected to
the source of all creation. God has a plan for you to love and care for
people. You honor Him through that mission.

Meditating about a Kingdom Lifestyle

God has really been pressing information about His Kingdom to the church lately. Isn’t funny how most of us haven’t even been a part of a kingdom on earth, so naturally we just assume God’s Kingdom will be like a country? (Because that’s what we’re used to) Yet, surely we should know that a Kingdom is far different from a country in how it operates. It’s worth thinking about and preparing for a Kingdom-like lifestyle, because ultimately we will one day be ushered into the new heaven/new earth where we will live with the King (God) and all His people. Sometimes we get so caught up in earthly things that we forget about this reality and new earth and lifestyle that will sooner or later come to be✨ (and is already in our midst in the unseen world)

We know that many kingdoms function similarly, so maybe perhaps we can expect The Kingdom of God to have similar qualities, which are:

All kingdoms have:

  • A king and lord–a sovereign ruler
  • A territory–a domain
  • A constitution–a royal covenant
  • A citizenry–a community of subjects
  • The law–acceptable principles
  • Privileges–rights and benefits
  • A code of ethics–acceptable lifestyles and conducts
  • An army–security
  • A commonwealth–economic security, and
  • A social culture–traditions, protocol and procedures

And so, although we have the ability to enjoy a variety of experiences and enjoy pushing ourselves in different endeavors in this lifetime, we should also remember we have a different life ahead of us. “Remind us how brief our time on earth will be. Remind us that our days are numbered- how fleeting life is. You have made our life no longer than the width of our hand. Our entire lifetime is just is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath. We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing…”
Psalm 39🌸