Category Archives: Rebellion

Are You Too Busy?


Are you too busy?

Well…what kind of question is that you might be thinking? It’s a question that’s really worth answering if you find yourself pre-occupied with other things at your kid’s ballgame, incapable of sleeping because your mind won’t stop spinning, unwilling to go home because you’ll be by yourself, unable to complete anything yet totally exhausted, or fearful of the gentle voice of God.

Is your life a blur—run, run, run but nothing gets done? If you watched a replay of your day would you look like a hummingbird tanked up on Red Bull? Are you too busy?

I know! I know! We all have things we are responsible for and chores that must get done, but is what you are so frantically engaged in really worth the wear and tear, the exertion of energy, the stress or strain, or the investment of your precious time? Is it? Come on…really?

Only you can answer the question. The problem is most people don’t slow down enough to even consider this question. They are just a blur of frenetic energy—here, there, and everywhere!

You are likely dog-tried—worn out but unwilling to admit it. Hey! It’s O.K! Everyone around you already knows it. You’re really not hiding anything…except from yourself.

Busyness is Bondage!

Busyness is not next to godliness (and neither is cleanliness for that matter, but that’s a topic for another day). Busyness for the sake of being busy or to avoid facing reality is bondage. And bondage eventually results in death—of relationships, joy, health, etc. You name it and busyness will eventually kill it.

I’m not talking about working hard. Hard work is necessary and important. But staying busy to avoid something or someone is unhealthy—physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Perhaps your busyness is a choice you’ve made to avoid something God wants and intends to do in your life. Perhaps you don’t want whatever that is or perhaps you are terrified of it because it’s new to you and not something you are comfortable with. Perhaps your bondage has convinced you that anything new will create even more problems than you are equipped to handle at this moment. So you stay busy—content on enduring life rather than living and experiencing life to the fullest.

If that’s you—you’re far too busy! And busyness is one of the devil’s fundamental tools in drowning out the voice of God in your life. It’s the mindless chatter or the endless roar of static that deafens your ears to God’s  life-giving instructions. Busyness is nothing more than spiritual ear plugs in most cases.

What’s the solution?

Be Still!!!!!!!!!

God says, “Be still!” Simple, to the point, and amazingly effective. Stop moving! Stop talking! Stop doing! Just stop! “Be still” means exactly what you think—pause, intermission, time-out, take a breather, hiatus, or suspend all motion.

And listen! Silence is not your enemy—it’s the absence of your real enemy’s incessant condemnation and chatter. Hearing God’s voice is a choice. That choice results in a blessing out of the silence, rather than a capitulation to the noise of busyness.

The Forgiveness Factor (Part 8)

Curses tend to get worse with time. Unforgiveness smells of death, and its noxious aroma attracts dark creatures that traffic in death. Unforgiveness is an open invitation for all of hell to attend a grand party at your personal expense.

Nothing draws the devil like unforgiveness. It gives him a foothold in your life—a base of operations to work from within you. It is surrendered ground, given up when you refuse to do what God demands. He plants his flag in your soul and invites his forces to dig trenches in that conquered ground. He does not own the real estate, but he holds it due to the darkness of disobedience. In the vacuum created by your disobedience, he has slipped back across the border. He’s no longer forced to attack you from the outside. No—you’ve left your screen door wide open and invited him in. You’ve given him legal rights to be there as long as you refuse to forgive.

You may find this hard to believe. You may be thinking, “There’s no way!”  I propose you read something Jesus taught in Matthew 18:21-35 in your Bible before you proceed any farther. We will re-visit this story over the next few blogs because there is a tremendous amount of truth contained in these few verse about the blessings of forgiveness and the curse of unforgiveness. Please read it and pay close attention to what takes place in verses 34-35.

 “And his lord moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all was owed him. So shall my heavenly Father also do to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother (or sister) from your heart.”  I believe the “torturers” are demonic spirits. I also believe the sin of unforgiveness (a sin one refuses to turn from) causes God to gradually remove his hand of protection, which then allows the enemy to move in, set up shop, and bring torment. Death always resides in darkness, and unforgiveness is darkness of the worst kind. Where sin lingers—the devil lurks.

I am in no way implying what many would call “possession.” This is not possession versus oppression. The Greek text of the New Testament uses neither word. In some translations, the term “possession” was supplied in an attempt to explain what was meant. In other words it was added to clarify by the translators, not by the Holy Spirit or the men who penned the original words of Scripture. That attempt to clarify has clouded this issue and coined a whole genre of inappropriate language and bogus beliefs concerning the work of both the devil and his demons. The New Testament primarily uses two descriptions: 1) to have a demon (ekw), or 2)to be demonized (daimonizomai). The issue is not ownership or whether a believer can be possessed or not. They may be issues to you, but they are arguments developed from silence or bad theology, not from the plain truth of Scripture. Both Greek words mean “to have a demon—to be under the influence or power of a demon in certain areas.” Don’t allow movie makers, bogus theology, or blind ignorance to influence your doctrine in these areas. Just allow the plain truth of the Bible to speak.

 Now, back to the issue at hand! If you struggle with the above paragraph, I invite you to do some study on your own. Don’t naively accept what you have been taught or even what I say. The tools you need are accessible even if you don’t have a mastery of biblical Greek. Check them out and allow the words of God to speak for themselves.

If forgiveness is not granted fairly quickly, the enemy expands his territory. That wound perpetrated on you may become a stronghold in your life. Many people who have been hurt in a particular manner eventually hurt others the very same way. Hurting people hurt people! The wound inflicted on you may eventually become a generational curse. Things like sexual abuse, emotional abuse, drug abuse, unfaithfulness in marital relationships, immorality, pornography, and alcoholism are all examples of generational curses that seem to follow families. I am not implying that if you were wounded, hurt, or offended you will automatically end up doing one of the above listed things. But if you don’t deal with whatever your wound is by forgiving the offender, you may do to someone else what was done to you. The sin perpetrated on you will affect you if you don’t forgive, and if it affects you, it will affect your children in some form or fashion. That is, unless someone breaks the pattern.

Sometimes a person who has been wounded becomes a control freak. Unforgiveness is often an attempt to get control of the chaos one has encountered. It’s your choice, but attempting to exercise control over everything and everyone will never heal the hurt or make you safer. Only forgiveness can do that.

Often people who are hurt become bitter, harsh, cold, uncaring, or unfeeling. Perhaps numb is the best word to describe this condition. They often turn to drugs or alcohol to insure the numbness, or to death-defying activities and life-on-the edge adventures to feeling something—anything to remind them that they are still alive.

Physical illness can be the result of the curse of unforgiveness. Stress triggers a domino effect of disaster in our physical bodies. I have witnessed people who were experiencing all kinds of physical conditions find healing once they offered forgiveness. God reversed the work of the tormenters in their case.

There is a curse that accompanies unforgiveness. It destroys the person from the inside out. Unforgiveness is the playground of Satan. As long as unforgiveness reigns, the devil will run roughshod through every area of your life. He cannot not get your soul if you know Christ, but if you refuse to extend forgiveness—he will eventually destroy you and possibly those you truly love.

The Forgiveness Factor (Part 7)

It was never God’s plan for people to hurt one another, but our sinfulness changed all that. We do have choices. Choice, or the ability to use our personal will, is a gift from God, given so that we might also have the ability to love. Love is an act of the will. It can never be coerced; it is always a choice. So, for each of us, forgiveness is a choice—an opportunity to show God how much we love him. Sadly, many choose not to forgive, and in doing so, they open the proverbial Pandora’s Box that releases the curse that perpetually escorts unforgiveness where ever it goes.

Curse, what curse? Direct disobedience of God’s commandments opens a person up to the direct attack of the devil. Salvation destroys the chains of bondage, but when you refuse to forgive, thinking you will somehow get even, get justice, or see that other person hurt like you hurt, you re-forge the chains of a bondage called unforgiveness. You may think you have that person right where you want them, but you are the only person behind the eight ball of bondage.

Hurt quickly turns into anger, and anger turned inward becomes the poison of revenge, wrath, and murder that screams “I want justice! I want them to pay for what they’ve done to me! I want them to hurt like I hurt or feel the way I feel!—I! I! I! Something is terribly wrong when “I” becomes the center of one’s world and revenge becomes one’s supreme purpose for existence. The reality is that no one can feel precisely what you feel and no one will hurt in exactly the same way you are hurting. What you desperately desire in unforgiveness is therefore not even possible. Yet…you refuse to let it go. Can you feel the cold dead weight of those chains of unforgiveness as they envelope you in their hellish power? The curse has been loosed.

That seed of anger soon turns into a root of bitterness that will, in a short time, produce all kinds of toxic fruit in your spirit, soul, and body. According to the apostle Paul in Hebrews 12:15, this root of bitterness causes us to fall short of God’s grace, while defiling us at the same time. We step back under the curse of sin, rather than experience the full blessing of salvation. (No, we don’t lose our salvation, but neither do we enjoy its benefits.) That root spreads like a cancer sucking the life’s blood out a person throughout your heart and soul. And, whatever is in your heart comes forth in your life. The root soon becomes a fatal fruit tree producing the putrid fruit of death in your ability to love, to feel, to make right choices, to have intimacy, to build relationships, and to be a parent, a spouse, or a friend

The bitterness—that need to get even—produces a rot, whose venom is deadly to every part of your being. It paralyzes and pollutes your personality, your emotions, and turns you into something you were never designed to become. It’s like a super-charged staph infection running wild inside your body. Yet…on the outside you smile and act as though nothing is wrong.

That hidden wound in your soul and spirit coupled with your refusal to forgive (this refusal, by the way, is called sin) creates a darkness within you that has a specific smell that invites even more destructive forces into this scenario you call you.

Now the curse starts picking up both steam and speed. But…the worse is still yet to come.

Musings from a Madman: The Reality of Relationship (Part 17)

Over the past several weeks we have explored what it means to have an intimate relationship with God. Sadly, most believers are not experiencing these things. They are convinced that salvation is enough and one day they will see Jesus in heaven. But there is a big gap between the two and that distance is called life. Convinced they have all they need, they have seized the religious bait of Satan rather than an intimate relationship with God.

Religion allows us to measure our spirituality and compare it with others around us. Relationship forces us to realize we have nothing to offer and the best we can do is simply not enough. God does not need us! Period! And yet—God wants us! He has chosen us for relationship.

Sadly, most Christians have settled for the empty expressions of religion—the do’s and the don’ts—because we are too lazy to pursue relationship. We have turned it into an empty legalistic expression will all kinds of rules, rituals, and regulations. Most have given up, living lives of silent desperation.

Jesus came to restore and model this intimacy, this relationship of the heart with the Father. He also came to demonstrate what this relationship was capable of producing. His own relationship with the Father produced the fruit of love expressed by joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Everything Jesus did or said was the fruit-filled result of his intimate, ongoing relationship with God.

Every intimate relationship produces fruit. The deeper the relationship, the more powerful the fruit will be. That fruit also produces seeds and those seeds are sown producing even more fruit. Relationship reproduces itself again and again.

As we come to the end of this series, examine your own fruit. Take a long look at what is being produced in you. Is it active? Is it alive? Is it passionate? Or is it sterile, stagnant, or lifeless? Fruit is the evidence of whether or not one has a real relationship with God. A name on a church roll, a stroll down an aisle, a prayer with a pastor, or submerged in a baptismal pool has no validity if there is no fruit. The reality of what you may have done does not prove the fruit, but the fruit is proof of the reality.  If there is no fruit, it is likely there is no connection to the root who is Jesus Christ.

Is your relationship with Jesus producing fruit? Is your faith growing—are you willing to step out and into the promises of God? Faith is never developed without trust and trust is a by-product of relationship. Are you obedient or disobedient to the guidance of the Holy Spirit? Jesus said if we love him we will do what he commands. True obedience is the result of love. If you love someone you will desire to please that person.

Relationship is a privilege every believer can access. Jesus bought and paid for it on the cross. It was purchased by the breaking of his body and the spilling of his blood. Therefore failure to experience this depth of relationship, this intimate friendship, is due to our lack of desire—we simply don’t want it.

Perhaps you’ve gorged yourself on religious garbage and you are still empty. Perhaps the time has come to feast on the delights of an intimate relationship with God. What you choose will determine whether or not you experience satisfaction or starvation.

Which will it be?

It really is your choice.

How Long?

How much longer will we, as the body of Christ, hide like ostriches with our heads buried in the sands ignoring the systematic destruction of our nation? How many more catastrophes like the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre will we allow to happen on our watch and do nothing? How much longer will we shed a tear, feel sorry for those involved, duck our heads, and then forget and go on with life, thankful it did not happen where we live or affect our family? How much longer will we do nothing? How long indeed!


How long will be refuse to pray—to cry out for the heart and the soul of this nation? Oh, we can debate how the world did not want God in the schools, but the world did not shut the door. The body of Christ turned the knob and slammed it in retreat, unwilling to stand up and contend for what is right. We abandoned the schools, the government, entertainment, music, and everything else now swirling around the bowl and headed for disaster with our feelings hurt because they did not want us. We—the body of Jesus Christ—have abandoned the walls of that fair city on a hill (a Puritan description of America), and allowed pure evil to scale her walls and stalk her streets. We are the watchmen, the last line of defense for the helpless, the hopeless, and those who have no chance apart from a relationship with Christ. We are the thin line of defense (not the police, the military, or the government) that stands between this nation and the anarchy of her utter destruction. We have not been put here based on whether or not others want us or our God. We have been put here to protect them, to love them, and to show them Christ. We have been put here to stand firm! We have been put here to pray—to cry out for mercy for those who don’t even know they need it. Our responsibility has been given to us by Almighty God. And…we have abandoned our post!


How long will we run and hide? How long will we pack into our cloistered little communities as hell engulfs the world around us and act as though nothing is happening? During the height of the atrocities of the holocaust in Germany, the Christians whose churches were located along the railways sang louder in their  worship to drown out the cries of the Jews, the Poles, the Czechs, and the Gypsies as the trains carried them to the gas chambers of the concentration camps. How long will we ignore the calamity and think it will not swallow us up as well? How long will we avoid our responsibility? Perhaps—until that same evil comes for us?


How long will we not pray? Not cry out in desperation and fasting for God to move? How long will we withhold what is within our power, privilege, and responsibility to do? Or do we really believe the promise of 2 Chronicles 7:14? How long will we, those who have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ and forgiven of our sins—who are called by God’s name—not humble themselves, instead of arrogantly acting like the world around us is getting exactly what they deserve? How long will we refuse to pray for those who choose not to think like us? How long will we sit back on our hypocritical hunches thinking those around us are surely getting what they deserve and not seek on their behalf, the face of a merciful and grace-filled God we claim to love and serve? How long will we refuse to repent for the wickedness of refusing to love as Christ loved, to turn the other cheek as Jesus did on the way to the cross, or to die to self, and if necessary in our physical bodies—to spare others who have as yet not come to know Christ? We talk a lot about hell, but we really don’t believe in its horrors or our attitudes and actions would be far different. How long will we sit idly by and not pray? For as sure as God sits on his throne in heaven and his word is true—until the church moves and obeys the commands of her head—God will not hear, the effects of rampant sin will run wild, and our land will die, unhealed. How long will we do nothing and expect anything to change?


How long do we think we can continue to act like this and call ourselves the church? How long indeed?

The Goose is Loose

Some things never cease to amaze me no matter how many times I witness it. One of those is the actions of a white male goose that lives along the route I take to work. This old bird thinks he is invincible, and to prove it, he will strut his stuff right out into the middle of the highway without any warning. Now, that wouldn’t be so bad if he stayed near the side of the road, but he insists on standing smack dab in the middle—perfectly balanced between the twin yellow lines. Not only that, if you come near him or try to ease by him, he will stretch out his neck, cock his head just a little to the right, and then he spews out a stream of expletives in his particular dialect of goose (or least that’s what all those noises sound like).

I am amazed, not at the fact the goose is in the road, but that he is convinced he owns the road simply because he’s standing in it. Did I mention the road is a paved county road—a main thoroughfare for traffic in this part of the world? This is not some unpaved farm road out in the middle of a pasture near a duck pond on the backside of nowhere. Did I mention I’m in a truck that outweighs the goose at least a thousand times? Did I mention the goose always chooses to take his stroll in the middle of the intersection to declare his ownership of the road during the morning commute for work, at which time most of us who travel that way are already late?

You can toot your horn. You can race your engine. You can roll your window down and yell. You can do whatever you want, but that foul fowl just stares back at you with that blank “how dare you” look. He thinks the road belongs to him and you are nothing more than a hindrance—a pain in his tail feathers—as he takes his daily promenade on the asphalt pavement.

Each morning, I fully expect to see piles of ruffled feathers and tiny puddles of goose grease scattered all across that intersection, where someone has finally put an end to the habit of his sorry carcass waltzing against the flow of traffic. Let’s face it the goose is selfish, self-absorbed, arrogant, and conceited, and he deserves whatever happens to him. But alas, judgment day has yet to dawn. Perhaps the goose is invincible or the drivers too tolerable. Perhaps it amazes everybody else as much as it amazes me. Or…perhaps the goose is like looking in the mirror, and serves as a daily reminder of our own intolerable levels selfishness and stupidity. Perhaps it’s God’s clever yet humorous way of telling each of us to slow down and shape up.

But, for whatever the reason, if you happen take this route, please slow down. That goose is still loose.

Check the Fire

“Meanwhile, the fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must never go out. Each morning the priest will add fresh wood on the fire… Remember, the fire must be kept burning on the altar at all times. It must never go out.”

                                                                                                                Leviticus 6:12a-13

How long has it been since you checked the fire on the altar in your own personal temple? Is it burning, blazing, smoldering, or has it gone completely out? Your responsibility as a New Testament priest (which by the way is your eternal vocation no matter the location according to 1 Peter 2:9) is to maintain the fire of God on the altar of God so that the aroma of the sacrifice of God can continually draw men and women to God as they come in contact with you, the temple of God.

The sons of Aaron were responsible for maintaining the wood that was used on the Altar of sacrifice. Each morning they would clean away the ashes of yesterday and meticulously prepare the wood by stacking it in a manner that would insure the consumption of the sacrifice and also guarantee a fire that would last throughout the day. The flame of the altar was to be a perpetual reminder of God’s holy presence at this place where sin met grace and death gave way to life.

A fire of that magnitude required a great deal of wood. Wood was rare and thus the cost of maintaining a perpetual flame was expensive. The scrub bushes and vineyard clippings of Palestine were insufficient to produce a lasting flame with sufficient heat, therefore it had to be harvested, split to fit, transported great distances, and stored with great care. In essence, a great deal of planning and preparation was required.

Skill was required in preparing a fire that would burn at a high temperature to quickly consume a bull, a goat, or a lamb. The priest did not just pile the wood on the altar; instead he carefully arranged it in a careful order. It took time, effort, and great skill to achieve the desired results of a hot but lasting fire. It was costly!

The arranging of the wood also required dedication. Every day no matter how hot or cold, no matter the aches or the pains, no matter who got the glory, the priests in charge of the wood went quietly about their job and carried it out with precision and professionalism. Their God required it and their nation expected it. Their job description was simple: “The fire must be kept burning on the altar at all times. It must never go out.”

Our job is very similar. Although we no longer arrange wood on an earthen altar, we are still called to maintain the fire of God in our heart, which is the temple of God. The wood of passion, intimacy, obedience, sacrifice, and love is fuel worthy of our God’s holy flame. But too often we attempt to burn the spindly sticks of worldliness and the vines of vainglory on God’s altar and expect a great blaze to erupt. Instead the fire dwindles, smothers, and ultimately goes out.

Maintaining the fire of God exacts a cost and demands skill and dedication. An empty altar will never attract the fire of God and most of the individual temples (believers) that make up the corporate temple (the Church) have little or no wood on them. No wood – no flame. No flame – no fire! No fire – no power! No power – no presence! No presence – no God! No God – no life! No life – no hope!

Has the fire gone out? Then re-arrange the wood and ask the Lord to ignite it!