Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Daniel Fast, Day 16: Lessons

Okay, here's something:  A fast within a fast.  How'd that happen?  Well, a visiting prophet wound up his second service Sunday night by asking us to do a "light fast" this morning until about midday in preparation for his final service tonight.  So breakfast was nothing at all.  Lunch was roasted and salted almonds with a Pink Lady apple, a break from the usual Red Delicious.  Supper was pintos.  Just that.  Now, I'm snacking on dry roasted and salted pistachios, a different nut altogether.  I'll also be crunching on another Pink Lady apple.

And, as quickly as he came, T has left again.  T's story is an example of why no one should ever take the attitude about anything they do, good or bad, that "I'm not hurting anybody".  Nothing, and I do mean nothing, happens in a vacuum.  For every action you take, there are consequences, to yourself and to other people.  And while you may choose your actions, you cannot choose the outcome of your actions.  Don't bother asking me what T did, I'm not telling you.  Ever.  But because of it, even though it happened way before I even knew he existed, he had to make a mad dash for safety back to a place he didn't want to be, and I'm left, once again, with no notion beyond tomorrow (because he has to return for some things he left) when I will see him again.

T's religious philosophy is also an example.  The power of positive thinking versus the presence of a powerful God.  With a notable exception, that being his lack of belief in the efficacy of prayer, which is based on his belief in an omni-permeative but non-relational god, T subscribes to the system of belief created by Ernest Shurtleff Holmes, creator and author of The Science of Mind, the name both of the philosophy and of the text that introduces and explains it.  A careful and thoughtful reading of their statement of "What We Believe" by anyone who is well-versed in the Bible will appear almost to be a modernized expression of certain Biblical concepts.  One might be lulled into thinking after awhile that there is not much of anything wrong with what it states.  It takes parsing what is said and digging deeper into what they say about key Christian concepts to spot the deception.  Also called Religious Science, and taught and practiced at places of worship called Centers of Spiritual Living, The Science of Mind affirms and teaches, among other things, that God lives in everybody; that God shows or demonstrates Itself (not Himself) in and through all creation but is separate from it, and the perceivable universe is the body of God; that heaven is experienced based on your life circumstances and hell does not exist, or only exists to the degree that your life is out of order; that because God is the only power, the devil cannot exist, and therefore anything for which we might blame him, or anyone else, is the result of our own faulty choices, and any negative or sinister experiences we have are simply the manifestation of superstition and faulty or primitive thinking or belief.  Jesus was a great "Master Teacher" who was the best expression of God.  Yes, He was a son of God, but so are we all; and yes, He was divine, but so are we all.  Sins are just mistakes we make, and we are punished by the consequences of those mistakes, not for making them.

By their teaching, one can influence one's circumstances by what one thinks, because the Universal Mind, aka the Law of God, is in direct contact with and influenced by thought.  This, combined with one's personal divinity and permeation by Spirit, would make it seem to me that, on a particular day he described, T should have been able to divine his purpose and thus dispel his feelings of aimlessness and being lost and without purpose simply by changing his thought.  Yet, for all his divinity of self, he spent a chunk of time driving around and going nowhere, feeling as though he had no reason to live.  He has many similar moments.  A true, right-thinking Christian would have known to take that to our Lord, to pray, to stand on faith in God, Who knows the plans He has for all of us.  At the end of the day, the power of positive thought, without being informed and transformed by the power of Holy Spirit and the Word of the true God, leads to nothing more than a vivid but ultimately vain imagination.

Because of T's choices, in action and in thinking, I'm left with God's response where I'm concerned.  God's ordinances are about protection of His children from the consequences of sin into which we might otherwise fall if we did not obey Him.  One of His ordinances is unity of spirit between any two people, especially relationally, as expressed in the First Letter to the Corinthians wherein Apostle Paul instructs, "Do not be unequally yoked with an unbeliever."  Granted, this is mainly thought to apply to marriage, but it can also apply to close friendships, which T and I had.  Because I am His child, and T and I clearly walk on different spiritual paths, which has profound implications for the rest of our relationship, God has determined to protect me, and so He does. Therefore, I do not seek to, let us say, "throw myself under the bus" by stubbornly persisting in trying to maintain our relationship beyond what boundaries God would allow, although I can and do still love T very much.  So what happens when, through no fault of my own, the "bus" comes crashing into my abode?  Well, the "Wrecker" much come and remove the "bus". So while T's departure is on one level the result of consequences of past actions, in the Spirit, the bus has now been towed away.

Yet, I do not forget one last thing:  The impact of hitting the bottom.  I know that for every prodigal, there is a pigpen.  The prodigal who looks at the husks, remembers the father's bread, and humbly returns seeking only to serve experiences the father's grace and restoration to sonship.  And God is a most gracious Father.  And most able by the Holy Spirit to convict through the revelation of the husks and the remembrance of the Bread of life.  He it is, the only One, Who can bring this about in T.  And He has promised, as surely as T repents and returns, to restore him to sonship also.  The bus can be restored.

And what are my lessons while all this is happening?  Well, there's faith, and discipline, and patience . . . .


  1. "T's religious philosophy is also an example. 'The power of positive thinking versus the presence of a powerful God.'"

    As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations, before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.
    (Rom. 4:17)

    "Faith calls those things that be not as though they were. After teaching on the subject of faith for the past sixty-five years, I have learned that there is nothing quite so hard for Christians as calling those things that be not as though they were.

    Many honest, sincere, good people think they would be lying if they did this, so they fail to do it. But I want you to consider for a moment that the Bible tells us that God cannot lie (Num. 23:19). And God calls those things that be not as though they were!

    I've had people say to me, "That's all right for God to do that." Well, if it's all right for God to do it, it's all right for you to do it! The children of God should act like God (Eph. 5:1). And God calls those things that be not as though they were, because He is a faith God. We are faith children of a faith God. We should act like God.

    Romans 4:17 says that God made Abraham a father of many nations. You see, Abraham had to call those things that be not as though they were. And God tells us to follow in the footsteps of Abraham (see Romans 4:12).

    Because God calls those things that be not as though they were and because He tells us to do it, then it's impossible for it to be wrong in the least degree.

    I call those things that be not as though they were. In the face of sickness, I call my body healed. I call my body well. I say that I am able to do things I couldn't do before! Praise God!

    Don't knock it till you try it!


    1. Hello, Lee!

      I just read your comment. Good points all, and if T's faith were the the kind you reference by the scriptures you indicated, I wouldn't be "knocking" it. As a true Christian, I also believe in calling things that "be not as though they were."

      However, the Bible also says, "Let every man be a liar and let God's word be true." Where faith is concerned, I believe that the things I call into existence must line up with Divine order, and they can't contradict what God says or does. God's faithfulness begins at His own Word. Any faith placed in anything that contradicts or violates God's Word is useless and is, as I described, nothing more than vain imagination, however vivid; it is, in fact, a lie.

      Since you quoted the Bible, and since my worldview is greatly informed and influenced by it, I'm going to refer to it, as I believe what Apostle Paul told Timothy about it, which is that all scripture is inspired, God-breathed, if you will, and profitable for reproof and for all the other beneficial things for which reason we are exhorted to study it. Since you're a long-time teacher of faith, and (I'm again inferring) you teach it from the Bible, then you surely have am excellent working knowledge of what else it contains. So I can speak to you as a good student to an adept, and you should understand me.

      The Bible, because of all that has been said about scripture, why we have it, and what we ought to do with it, is widely held to be the Word of God given to us. I believe this. So I believe that what is written in the Bible is the textual representation of God's Word and His Divine order to the fullest extent that we can comprehend it. One scripture I'm sure you've used many times says that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. If God's Word is true, and if the Bible is the textual representation of that Word, then we can and should base our faith on what the Bible says about God. We can also believe everything God is recorded therein as saying, whatever it is. So anything that is not in agreement with what the Bible says about God and His Word is a lie, and we ought not to put faith in it, correct?

      T's faith is NOT in the Bible. He does not believe that it is the Word of God. Therefore, he puts no faith in it, neither does he feel compelled to accept anything contained in it. T's basis for his religious philosophy is NOT the Bible, but something called Science of Mind, a belief system which in some particulars looks a lot like Hinduism. For that, one should not be surprised, since Science of Mind draws from many belief systems, including Christianity. According to something I read about his intent, I believe this was to make it palatable to Christians by those parts with which a Christian might have no argument, while enticing those who are lazy, newly converted, undiscipled, nominal, misinformed, or otherwise untutored or ungrounded in the teachings of the Bible generally and the tenets of Christianity more specifically to accept what is in reality an apostate doctrine, which Science of Mind is in some significant areas, to which the right-thinking Christian ought to pay close attention. Because Science of Mind is in contradiction with the Bible, and thus, with the Word of God, and his faith is based on Science of Mind, then those things he "calls as though they were" that are in disagreement with the Word of God will continue to "be not", and his faith is vain. Moreover, by having faith in them, he believes in a lie and thereby puts himself out of alignment with God's Word. It is on that basis that I "knock" his faith. Please go back and re-read that portion of my blog entry that deals with this. Also check the FAQ on the link I provided, "What We Believe" and compare it point by point to the Bible.