Tag: salvation

Learning To Love ISIS, Starting With The ISIS In You

Everything is spiritual.

We can mud-sling political views around. Debate historical data. All, painting each other into corners. We may feel a release, but there won’t be a resolution.

ISIS is a spiritual manifestation and a human problem.

On the surface, it reveals itself as terrorism, murder, hatred, war, and violence. Terrible realities, worthy of our anger and conversation. Yet underneath, there is a cancer much deeper, a catalyst much darker. Until this is healed, there will be no healing. It is beyond the reach of missiles, religion, sanctions, politics, rhetoric, ideologies, and war. All, perpetuating the cycle.

Everything is spiritual. Requiring spiritual evaluation and application. This is why we must talk about the root of all that is terror… condemnation.

It’s a simple story.

In the creation poem that opens its scroll at the front of the Christian Bible, God speaks the world into being. With hands coursing His artistic beard, He pauses between breathes to evaluate His living imagery. In rhythmic cadence, with each step He declares, “it is good.”

Soon after, the Tempter in serpent form, exploited the Garden of its goodness, playing his sole card of condemnation, the only one in hand. The first human ones bit the bluff, that God is holding out because of something they can’t handle. Convinced they lacked in some way, unworthy of the worthiness etched into their being. What was natural became naked, and the yarns of shame and guilt slithered their coil through the threads of inherent goodness. It is a complex weave. And we, are a complex people in the arduous journey of trying to unravel from condemnation’s relentless entanglement.

This is the story of every human being, bobbing and weaving, wrestling to come out from under condemnation believed. The genesis of all contortions, twisted personas, and justifications. It is the root of all sin. The birth of all religion. Compelling us into the dance to heal or conceal a shamed heart. All of us have a life that tells a unique, complicated story and reveals a personal shaping from our quest to be released from the lie we swallow as truth… condemnation.

This is the essence of all religion. The soul trying to heal its concluded unworthiness through efforts of appeasement and pleasing… people, self, Gods, standards, expectations. A never ending list.

Religion, it is a contrived system, all to place the conquering of condemnation in human hands and within human reach. It has names like Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity, but it’s reach is far greater, and origin far more universal. For it is first a human system, and then a human system falsely projected onto God. Starting from humans, and within all of humanity. Religion is not of God, it’s of us.

Living up to the Jones’ next door, or living up to a Diety in heaven, it is all equally religion. Striving to feel good about you, people feel good about you, a Being above to feel good about you. It’s all religion.

People pleasing, God pleasing. Earning self approval, God approval. Call it what you may, a path, a pursuit, a faith. Jesus calls it religion. Evil, from its beginning, especially in what it becomes at its fruition.

For the ultimate manifestation of condemnation is religion. The ultimate expression of religion is… violence.

Just ask Cain and Abel.

A mere stones throw from the Garden, the first act of terrorism. From condemnation’s stem, the religious barbs grow. Cain and Abel believe they must please God, offerings of show. Covering over guilt, justifying their concluded lack. Cain and Abel enter the sanctuary to perform their religious act.

Cain’s perception? God sees his offering as inferior compared to that of Abel. It’s lacking, unworthy. He is therefore, lacking and unworthy. Internalized condemnationSentenced to disapproval, the cell is too much. If only to break free. To even the score. To bring one down, to lift one’s self up.

Murder, terrorism, its origins the same. Cain bites the bluff and kills out of shame. All in attempt to clean, clear, lift, and better his name. To win at playing this religious game.

Be it Christianity, Islam, or ISIS, there is no difference. The root of terrorism is condemnation fully grown into religion.

Violence is born out of people who see the lowering, hurting, or death of another as a path to the validation or justification of self. It is born out of those seeking to perpetuate or defend the religious system they use to justify away concluded condemnation. For the death of their religion is the death of their self-justification, the self-healing of self, their very salvation.

All the way to believing they are better, instead of only different.

Crusades, planes, bombs. Christian or Islam, makes no difference. All is religion.

Isn’t that what most of Christianity has become, just another religion?

Isn’t that who we are as people, mostly religious in prescription?

Living to overcome condemnation through our performance, be it spiritual or secular, it makes no difference. Causing us to believe we are better than another, where in truth, we are only different.

All is spiritual, and most all, have simply become religious.

In doing so, terrorism is already here.

For we are a terrorist nation, because we are a religious nation. Our violence just looks different.

Infidels declared. Homosexuals, transgenders, all condemned. Those on the left, those on the right. Immigrants, refugees, or somewhere in between. Pro-life, pro-choice. Those who have, those who have not. All sighted as targets, candidates for open season. None, it seems are exempt from hate. We are a hating, violent country, because of our religions.

Where we are a religious person we are a terrorist person, our violence and evil nonetheless violent and evil.

Bringing people low to lift ourselves up, terrorizing with the planes of our disapproval. Crashing people to pieces to fabricate an affirmation of self and shame’s removal. Pushing people behind simply to get ahead. Pimping dreams that are merely schemes. Condemning, judging, isolating, labeling, all to win in this religious game. Ultimately, to believe we are better, instead of merely one in the same.

Missiles of marginalization, bombs of bigotry. Shrapnel-laced blog posts, and weaponized rants of ideology. Whether it’s a pen or a pipe-bomb, legislations, labels, or land-mines, they are nonetheless, mere extensions of a heart poisoned by religion. Purposed primarily on justifying ourselves, our faith system, or our position.

Even that we are better, instead of merely different.

Murdering people, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. All is terrorism, nonetheless.

Just ask Jesus.

For Jesus, to hate in heart is to murder in action. At the core, either choice changes not our position. To pray “thy Kingdom come,” to give Jesus your adoration. This diagnosis must become our admission. We all need Grace, and all equally. Non are better, only different.

There is ISIS in us all, because there is the religious in us all.

This is the true battle within and without. Where external or inner condemnation attempts to engage our performance, spiritual or otherwise, to cover over or rise above areas where one feels lack. Be it appeasing a God, living up to religious standards, using success to medicate inner insecurities, bringing another down to lift one’s self up, ISIS is within us all. To choose religion over Grace.

Grace is God’s best idea to show the heart that believes it’s condemned, that there is no condemnation to believe. Grace is based on the eternal truth, that through Jesus none are condemned, none are lacking, all our whole, righteous, complete, and without blemish, all because of Jesus’ performance, our only hope.

Religion is based on the lie from Satan, that all are condemned, lacking, incomplete, poisoned, and their only hope ultimately rests in some level of their performance to appease an angry, conditional-loving God who requires something of their actions to trigger His.

Where we choose religion over Grace, ISIS is not just them over there, it’s you and me, right here.

Until the world awakens to Grace and dies to religion, there will always be an ISIS within and without.

Until you can see the ISIS in the mirror, you will not see yourself in ISIS. We are all human, none are better, only different. This is the scandal and humbling of Grace.

Terrorism is a complex issue that needs many levels of response.

But until we believe within Grace lies the way, we really don’t believe Grace all the way, and we will forever miss its capacity to heal the true root of all that is terrorism, and rid our planet of its power.

Until ISIS is you, you will not believe you need the same enormity of Grace necessary to be given, for ISIS to be no more.

You can’t give what you don’t have, and you don’t have what you don’t believe you need.

Religion, retaliation, revenge, only serve to arm and rearm.

Only Grace, disarms.

Our only chance to find true healing, of the ISIS within and the ISIS without.

An Open Letter From Jesus to The World

Dear friend,

I want to speak to you personally, just you and me.

I could say a lot, but certain things overflow in my heart.

How I long for you to know… please know, that I am not who some might think or portray that I am.

Many people follow me, but they are not me. Some with good intentions, some with not. They misunderstand and miscommunicate my heart and my message. I love them, but their love and understanding of my love, is not always true to mine.

“Church” is not me. The Bible is not me. Both of which, yes, I did create, but created to lead to me. They are not me. Each at times, missing my heart and my message. I always interpreted the Bible anew in light of myself, I designed the church as the manger of myself. They, are not me.

Honestly, I am heart-broken with much of what many of my followers have made of me, my message, and the life I desire. The cost has been great. Many who claim to know me the most, turn out to know me the least. Their lips sound so spiritual, but there hearts are far from me. So much that when I tell you who I am and how I feel about you, you probably won’t even recognize me.

I am Grace. Pure Grace.

I have nothing but love for you, unconditional love. Always have, always will. There has never been, nor will there ever be a moment or a person absent of my love, including you.

I am love. All I do is love.

There is no other love from me than unconditional love; from beginning to end, all the days of your life. Any other flavor of love portrayed from me unto you is a reduction, a fabrication, a mixture, a religious idol.

Love can be only unconditional or it is not love at all. That’s the one and only, original and eternal… unconditional love.

There are no conditions you could satisfy for my love, and because of my love, there are no conditions for you to satisfy.

You have been forgiven, all stains erased… past, present and future. Those secret thoughts, bloopers and blunders. The big, the little, the knowing, the unknowing. The ones you enjoyed, the ones you regret. The ones you meant, the ones you didn’t. Every one.

I don’t think about your mistakes and blemishes, but I know you do. I have forgotten what you remember. They are dead to me, even though alive to you. All that was, is, and will be, is forgiven and forgotten… completely. Sin and brokenness makes for a terrible mirror. Stop looking into it and believing the people who tell you to do so, it’s not who you are. My Grace is sufficient, it’s depth deep enough, it’s height, high enough, it’s healing, powerful enough. No choice chosen or unchosen can withstand it.

I have made you holy, sanctified, and justified. You are complete and whole and so is our relationship. There is nothing wrong with you, and nothing wrong between you and me. Everything that is right about me I have made right about. You are the image you see when you look into the mirror of Me.

This is what I accomplished for you and did to you on the cross. I brought you from death to life, from broken to whole. It’s what I do, it’s what I did.

That’s why I said “It is finished” while being crucified. I finished your salvation; your being made whole, and our being whole together. It is finished, never to be undone.

Despite what many of my followers have said, I am not angry, there is no condemnation for your life, there is no reason for guilt or shame to rule your heart and mind. And any suffering, struggle, or hardship in your life is not from me. I promise.

I am not the unstable white-bearded old man who loves you one moment and is throwing lightning bolts at you the next. I am not the bad parent who uses wrong to bring about right, punishment to bring about holiness, evil to bring about good, hardship to bring about significance, adversity to bring about growth. You are already right, holy, good, fully grown and significant. I finished that project. Now, I am just trying to convince you that you are a finished project. Stop working on what I have finished and start enjoying and being the workmanship you already are… please.

I accept you, as is. I delight in you, as is. I am proud of you, as is. Your picture has and always will be in my wallet.

I have seen your pain, I have felt your cry, I know your thoughts. You tears have been my tears, when you couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t sleep either. My heart breaks at the destruction condemnation, hopelessness, tragedy, inadequacy, guilt, and shame have unleashed in your life. I was there, and will be there in every moment. I run to you when life hurts most, when you stumble the greatest. The anguish is deep, the insecurities wide spread. Your daily struggle, one step in front of the other, is real. And, it’s really real to me.

I am sorry that many of my followers have fanned these wounds into flame. They judge, label, point fingers, look down noses and prescribe a life of religious performance as the cure, defending their doctrines, platforms, and their institutions while throwing the world under the bus and into their hell.

Hell? This is hell… trying to earn or accomplish that which I have already freely given. To fall from Grace; rejecting it for yourself, turning to yourself, and restricting it from others. To be pursued and poured over by a Love you refuse to embrace, and therefore a Love you withhold. It’s an eternal party where everyone is dancing in Grace, all but the religious, with hands crossed, noses to the ground, backs up against the wall in protest, “what are they doing here?” It’s Grace to get you in the door, but rules, expectations, to-do lists, and spiritual gymnastics to keep the Light on. It’s confusing “walking in darkness” as disobedience, when it’s withholding and rejecting Grace that is the heart of all that is evil. It’s lukewarm; a mixture of love and condition, Grace and Law, Jesus and Jesus-plus-me. It’s clubs with crosses on tops. Slick services, with spiritual steps, to-do lists, and appeals to become more “successful for Jesus” at the front, and Grace, resting in Grace, and being Grace, in the back, if present at all.

So, you are a drunk, a liar, a thief, a gossip, a murderer, an adulterer, a glutton, a hater and on and on… all the same to me. All redeemed by me. Not offended, not altered, just concerned for what it’s stealing from your life and the lives of others.

They call you homosexual, transgender, bi-sexual, white, black, hispanic, asian, special needs, bi-polar, fat, skinny, smart, stupid, ugly, beautiful, successful, failure, rich, poor, male, female, child, adult, all the same to me. All label-free to me.

So, where are we now?  Well, you are done with church, fed up with Christians, confused by the chatter, searching for truth, looking for a better way, at times going through the motions, trying to make the most out of life.  Where am I? Well I am with you, reaching out to you now. Not through church, not through the Bible, not through a sign. Just me to you.

I love you. Without expectation. Before you could love me, I first and forever loved you. That’s my decision, that’s my verdict, that’s my heart. Case closed. Question answered. Debate solved. Unseen, now seen. Grace wins.

I have done it all. You have it all. From death to life, insecure to secure, hopeless to hope, broken to whole, sinner to saint, fear to faith. It’s a gift. All of it.

That’s Grace. Your part is to realize you have no part, only to believe.

Accept your acceptance. Awaken to your awakening. I am your Father, the Lover of your Soul, your Creator. It’s me, Jesus… Grace. Grace is a person, and that person is Me.

What is your life? Well, life… it’s not a test, it’s a rest. What are you to do? Rest in Grace. I’ll show you what to do.

Enjoy Me, and do what you love to do in ways that honor me. That’s my super duper, perfect will for you. Be you, be Grace. You are the revival, you are the miracle, you are the “big thing.” Everything is spiritual, everything you do is spiritual because you are doing it. Be you. You are the loveliness of Me on earth.

So relax, I got this, I have you. Go, believe, be free and enjoy!

I leave you with this thought.

You can always tell where Grace is, by the religious that gather to crucify it. The religious will crucify you as you embrace pure Grace and give pure Grace in your life. If they hated Grace when I was there, they will hate it in you as you are there.

Believe in Grace, be Grace anyways.

Grace won, Grace wins,

Jesus

The Religion of Nutrition?

Let me be clear as a glass of Veen bottled water, I am a firm believer in God’s desire for us to take care of our bodies, and eating well is a vital aspect of doing such!

There is growing evidence that many physical and emotional problems can be traced back to nutrition at some level or another. My wife and I and our 4 children have removed most process foods from our diet and are very health conscious about what we eat.  I have been known to juice two to three times a day and declare with firm conviction the benefits of doing so.  So, as you read further, you can refrain from sending me emails declaring my ignorance or resistance to nutritional health and the biblical admonitions to live a healthy lifestyle.  Furthermore, in a church/christian culture ladened with diet-caused obesity, I am very encouraged to see more Christians moving towards healthier eating lifestyles. We as Christians are so quick to point out sins like homosexuality in our culture, all while we stuff our overweight bodies after Sunday service at the church of Golden Corral. Christians who don’t eat responsibly with health in mind are moving away from the Grace of God that teaches us to live rightly, just as much as any other.

However, anything can become an idol, work, legalist standard, religion, or self-righteous ritual, including nutritional health.

The word salvation (sozo) in the New Testament actually refers to the redemption/salvation of the whole person (physically, emotionally, and spiritually). Salvation is not just about getting out of hell and into heaven, it’s about the healing of the entire person, including their bodies. God has provided the supply to our every need, through His son Jesus. Every impact of sin on our life was remedied on the cross, as Jesus bore it all on our behalf. Faith is what applies the entirety of the work of Jesus on cross into our lives and living.

Yet, until we enjoy a new heaven and new earth upon the second coming of Christ, the truth is, as organic and anti-processed as you might like to become, the Garden of Eden is not available to us.  Everything of creation on earth is still yet tainted with sin. Even the best of what creation has to offer is fallen. Are there some foods that are better than others? Absolutely! Should we be consuming those better foods rather than the junk that is popularly offered? Absolutely! But nutritional health cannot save you, increase the favor of God on your life, nor make you more of a genuine Christian than another person. Oops, I think I hear few bubbles bursting.

Creation cannot redeem us nor sanctify us, only trusting in the Creator can. In fact, there can even be more clinical connection between stress and disease than there is to nutrition and disease. I would venture to say that some people are so stressed out about their nutritional life that any benefit they might enjoy from eating well is eclipsed by it. They have turned nutrition into a religion, even to the point of posturing themselves as a more faithful breed of Christian. Look at me and what I eat, now that’s what a real-deal Christian does!

Satan is always looking for things to entice the believer to look (and to get others to look) at their own performance for their legitimacy with God and their Christian living. For some, Satan has successfully dangled “nutrition” on a string swinging back and forth in front of their eyes, putting them in a trance of legalistic, nutritional rule keeping. Think I am exaggerating? If you haven’t already, it won’t be long until you run into a Christian who has become a nutritional Nazi, not out of a healthy, humble expression of their own freedom in Christ, but with a desire to project their freedom into yours with a sure sense that if you aren’t living like them, you aren’t as good as them. There is a whole new brand of Christian emerging that will not only thumb the Bible over your head, but a grocery list as well.

Nothing in creation can be your redemption nor salvation supply, only the Creator.  We are saved by Grace, not by gluten-free. And perhaps more importantly, we are to live by Grace from Grace, with the freedom to be gluten-free or not. Our identity in Christ is to Christ, not to what we eat or don’t eat. We are not what we eat, nor how we appear, we are what we believe and receive through faith. Jesus makes us who we are, not our diets.

It is more important to believe right than to eat right. The first gives birth to the second. It is more important to rest in Jesus and trust Him to be our every supply, (spiritually, emotionally, and physically) than it is to put your trust in nutrition for your health, value, legitimacy, and identity.  Food does not save you nor sanctify you, faith in Jesus, the true Bread of Life does. What would it do to gain the world’s best nutritional offerings and forfeit your soul, rest, and trust in God’s supply for your life?  Does God work through the wisdom of nutrition and better eating to benefit, bless, and even give physical healing in our lives? You bet. The same is true with medicine. But the Christian should never work to God from the wisdom of nutrition. God uses Christ to save us and sanctify us, not His creation.

Let’s not give up on faith and chase after the allure of a religion of food. Eat well, be health minded, exercise, but trust in Jesus more. Worship Jesus, not nutrition.

The Spirit makes it clear that as time goes on, some are going to give up on the faith and chase after demonic illusions put forth by professional liars. These liars have lied so well and for so long that they’ve lost their capacity for truth. They will tell you not to get married. They’ll tell you not to eat this or that food—perfectly good food God created to be eaten heartily and with thanksgiving by believers who know better! Everything God created is good, and to be received with thanks. Nothing is to be sneered at and thrown out. God’s Word and our prayers make every item in creation holy.   1 Timothy 4:1-5 (The Message)

© 2019 Chris Kratzer

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