“Deceived by religiousness” by T. Austin Sparks

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Just reading yesterday’s daily devotional by T. Austin Sparks, the introducing Bible verse somehow hit me. It says,

And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” (Rev 18:4 KJV)

I read the related article (partly, at least) and then went back to a chapter before which deals with “The Cross and Deception”. Even yesterday I had a talk with one woman who is still church bound, a fact that turns out to be a burden for her at times, and another woman who seems to love Jesus, too, yet who is still seeking for a place or a group where she feels spiritually at home. The only thing I can do for these two women is to pray that God gives them a hideaway where they cannot only rest before Him, but together with fellow believers IN Him also since it is so important that we “[b]ear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Gal 6:2 KJV). On our own, it is so much harder to keep walking uprightly before God, isn’t it? So, here is TAS with his apposite deliberations on the dangers of a mere outward religious life.

Deceived by religiousness. What more can be expected than the recognition of the fact of God and the giving to God of reverence, acknowledgment, and recognition: of taking active interest in things which relate to God, attending religious services, and being very busy in religious activities and interests, and finding your chief interest in religious things and the religious realm? What more can be expected? What is the matter with that? Be patient, bear with me if I say with very great emphasis: that may be one colossal delusion. So often that very thing obscures one fundamental thing, a true and living relationship with God. “Ye must be born again”, and religion very often obscures that issue. Oh, religion is no argument for salvation. Religion can be found in the darkest places of the earth. Universally there is religion; depraved and very low in many places, but universally there is the consciousness of standing in relationship to some supreme object of worship, demanding worship; and then men’s minds or imaginations get to work to give some kind of expression to that consciousness, of that supreme object of worship, and the imagination produces that sometimes out of a tree, a stone, or in the heavenly bodies; somehow it is expressed, but it is the thing that is there, behind all the forms of expression which is universal. All the highly civilised forms of that brought into the realm of Christendom are only the same thing developed. It does not say that Christendom’s more intelligent, civilised, educated interpretation of God, even though it gets its ideas from the Bible, is salvation. It may be a mighty delusion and very often is.

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Through Whom Does God speak Today?

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Like me you might know a few gracious people with whom it is always easy to have dealings with. At other times, we might be confronted with some rude persons who unexpectedly utter words of truth.  🙄 Nonetheless, neither the gracious nor the veracious person must necessarily be a Christian. There are pleasant-natured people who are able to enjoy life and to be thankful for that, too. However, if you start to wonder whom they might owe their blessings in life, they remain silent or they evade the issue. Maybe, they tell you they were thankful toward life itself, toward Mother Nature, toward the universe or they believe in angels, instead.

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How to water dry land spiritually

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Spiritual wildernesses do exist. Dry spells where you are tempted to believe you pray to a wall as nobody seems to hear your requests, they are real to the one who gets closer and closer to God. As illogical as it might seem, people who do not really seek more from God have less problems with prayer as they do not really expect God to answer them, either, when they keep clinging to pre-formulated prayers and hymns. However, can our relationship with our Creator ever be business as usual…?  🙄 In fact, if we truly want to feed on the living God, we must quit our comfort zone and cherished traditions because seeking God is always an adventure! An adventure that can be both exhausting and rewarding, unnerving and intriguing. Or as T. Austin Sparks put it so well,

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Under A Foreign Yoke

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Have you ever felt an increasing uneasiness as you pondered on the possibility to cave in to somebody’s pleading because you knew in your heart it would be the wrong thing to do? I do not know whether this is only a people pleaser problem, but I assume I am not the only one who is struggling with these thoughts and temptations.

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Getting Detached

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Is the following a mere assertion to you? I say,

Either we’re Christians or we jump on bandwagons.

In my experience, we either take a stand for Christ or we remain neutral toward whatever people might suggest to us. Imagine someone, let’s say a worldly person, approaches you by presenting a hair-raising conspiracy theory to you. Actually, that happened to me two times lately. One person was convinced that her child had become severely sick due to kerosene emission by aircraft… 🙄 Conclusion: this person finally found someone on the internet who not only sold grossly overpriced (and overdosed!) dietary supplement, but who also offered bloodcurdling nonsense to prove his theory. Since no doctor could help her in the past, as she said, yet this person on the net eventually could, she now seems to take everything this man utters at face value. Sigh.

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The importance of Oneness with Christ for fellowshipping with one another

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My favorite public pool currently (Bibert Bad, Zirndorf)
– Picture taken from http://www.romantisches-franken.de

Strange… during the last two or three weeks I thought about writing another blog, but I was either too busy with visiting our family members who live scattered in Bavaria or I felt no inclination to start writing on the computer because of summer time. Many plants (about 130) on our two balconies and inside our flat need to be cared for, too. Honestly, I like gardening more than being on the internet and swimming in the outdoor public pool (s. picture above) was more attractive to me as well. It is only in water when several body pains disappear and therefore I swam more than I walked lately. 😉 In Germany we experienced a first heat wave in April, which was VERY unusual, and it seemed hot summer did not want to take a break in May, either. Eventually, today it began to rain a bit which has been much needed by nature and so I sat down in front of the computer, wondering what I was doing here. 🙄 Again, no inclination to write. As I checked the latest file on my thumb drive which is called “New Post”, I saw that I had written this very thing beneath on May 25th already. Forgetful Susanne! 😊 So, now here you are… the rest of it at least… which means I deleted some details that did not speak to me today any more.

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Two Kinds of Rest

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To be honest with you, sometimes I would rather write theoretically about any topic I have only heard of than always sharing what I have just experienced with God. If I could talk about another great revelation of sorts, okay, everybody would like to share or read such stories. But another lesson learned through worries, doubts, fears, stress and suffering? Therefore, what I ask myself often is this, ‘Who really wants to read my testimonies about the latter anyway?’… Only those who can relate, I guess.

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Are we indwelt by the Holy Spirit … or not (yet)?

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This question is not meant as an offense to anyone. Instead, I want to make sure that nobody misses out on something that would be theirs in Christ by their spiritual nature. So many struggles as to ‘keeping the law’ by living according to what is written in the Bible WITHOUT the power of the Holy Spirit could be avoided, I believe. T. Austin Sparks offers some very practical and helpful explanations on how we could discern whether the Holy Spirit is acting in and through us all the time or whether we might detect a lack of spiritual guidance in our everyday life. We do not need to worry if we cannot fully understand what TAS was talking about below. However, we might ask God to fill us with this divine life if we have not known it the way it has been described ourselves. Jesus affirmed this promise here as He said,

“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Lk 11:13 ESV)

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The Secret Fundament of Being Useful for God

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Roger T. Forster, whose article “Making History with God” I found in T. Austin Sparks’ library online, would write,

“God is writing history, but He is drawing men into fellowship with Himself as He does so, making them the occasion for a chapter in His book of the story of humanity. There is a chapter for Noah, a chapter for Abraham, a chapter for Moses and many others, and a chapter for you and me. He calls us to share in His great declaration, ‘I am bringing to pass what I am bringing to pass’, encouraging us to be like Moses, a hole in the ground filled with His living water, or a common bush, aflame with the unquenchable fire of His love, so that He can use us in His great movement of liberation.”

https://www.austin-sparks.net/mags/ttm01-5.html

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What Really Counts in Life

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If someone nurtures soaring hopes and plans, we might tell them to stay more grounded or earthed instead. But have you ever heard someone suggest to you to get more ‘heavened’? 🙄 If you, like me, often times wonder about the seeming hopelessness of our existence as we cannot sense the presence of God while (sometimes ridiculous) everyday troubles keep preying on our minds, you might have also observed non-Christians who can seemingly live their lives confronted with less problems and difficulties than we can. Yet, in the long run, that is not the truth. The Book of Ecclesiastes tells us some sobering facts.

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