Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Religion or Power?

The church building was familiar, yet not.
I had been there before, but it was not the same.

That was the setting of my dream.
And you know how dreams can be.
Common in a very uncommon way.

The pews were so close together that there was barely any leg room.

I slid into one of them and upon sitting down my knees touched the back of the next pew.
It felt very confining.

A number of priests sat in front of me.
I could tell that they were keeping an eye on me.

Suddenly my phone alarm rang startling me. 
I thought I had turned it off, as I usually do, before entering the building.
It wouldn't stop and I was growing frantic.

With that I awoke.
My phone's alarm was indeed ringing, as it does every morning....

Whenever I remember a dream I try to figure out whatever message it might hold.
It seemed pretty obvious to me.
Religion is restricting, confining.

Selwyn Hughes calls it religiosity.

That was the topic in today's reading.


I am back to reading Brennan Manning's Reflections for Ragamuffins
I just can't help it.
It had been my intention to skip this year, but I felt drawn back to it.

A comment made in today's reading spoke of the importance of who we are in Christ, not who we think we should be or whom somebody else wants us to be.

It seems Papa is making certain I am getting His message.

My bible study group has begun another book by Jim Cymbala.
It is entitled, Breakthrough Prayer.

His premise is that we need to set aside religion and go after God with all we've got.

It is crucial.

A verse from Scripture keeps showing up on my radar.
The Tenth chapter of John, the Tenth verse.
"The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly."
I wonder if one way the enemy works is to encourage us to settle for a lot less than the abundant life that Jesus offers.

The abundant life is full of God.
It is one marked by an intimate connection with Him.
The power of prayer is tapped into and things happen.

It is so easy to get into a routine that ends up lifeless.
Without power.

I have been praying for many of the same needs for quite a few years.
Slowly, but surely, it can become rote.

Yet, it doesn't have to be the case.

How does that happen?

Maybe by starting to look for man's approval....

Maybe by beginning to ride on the coattails of the last victory and forgetting the battle is still on.

Maybe by forgetting how dependent we are on the Spirit...
for everything.

Religion offers a long list of do's and don't's.
It is about externals.

Second Timothy, Chapter Three, verse Five says,
"...holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power..."
It finishes up by warning,
"avoid such men as these."
We need to avoid being such people ourselves!

How to tap into the power and not the religiosity?

Time on our knees at the feet of our God.

Jim Cymbala pointed out example after example of those who cried out to God and did not let go until He blessed them.

They rose to their feet empowered.
So will we.

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