Monday, February 14, 2011
by Jon J. Cardwell
“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.” —Psalm 46:10-11
In the past few years there has been an increasing desire to “experience” God. As a result, there has been an increased production of books, videos, and audio recordings instructing the passionate saint on the methods he or she might use to “know God.”
Many of these instructors are giving us new methods to pray, attempting to tell us how many steps we must take to enter into the intimate presence of God. Yet others would try to tell us that we must go back to an ancient form of prayer and worship, silencing our inner thoughts and vainly repeating a small portion of Scripture under the breath. BUNK! All these unscriptural methods blaspheme the cross of Jesus Christ!The salvation that God has provided through the atoning death of Jesus Christ has given every believer access, immediate access, to the presence of God. It is written in Ephesians 2:18,
For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
Even our text from the Old Testament speaks of that immediate access to God because Jesus Christ is called, Immanuel; that is, “God with us,”
The LORD of hosts is with us. —Psalm 46:11
To “be still” as God commands is not some attempt at trying to “quiet” the inner thoughts by some altered state of consciousness. That would be a kind of self-hypnosis that was practiced by pagan priests, which would be an abomination to God. Further, it robs the believer of the joy of Christ’s triumph over all in His sufferings at the cross.“Being still” is translated from the Hebrew word, raphah. It means: abate, cease, slacken, let go, leave, let alone, idle, &etc. In other words, raphah is God telling us to CEASE from all these methods that we are trying to manufacture through our own efforts in order to know Him.Psalm 46 speaks of war; and most particularly, it is that which is waged upon the people of God by God’s enemies. In this psalm God tell us not to trouble ourselves because of the turmoil that surrounds us. Cease! Be still, for the LORD of hosts is with us; and a very present help in times of trouble.
To know God is important. He wants us to know Him. He specifically tells us to know Him in Psalm 46:10. In our joyous journey of discovering the awesome wonder of the majesty of God, let us keep the atoning death of Jesus Christ upon Calvary’s tree at the center of all He reveals, as it is written in John 12:32 of the Lord’s own words,And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
Empty your brain and open it to demons
Barbara Bradley Hagerty, the award-winning National Public Radio religion reporter, participated in a peyote ceremony in Arizona, meditated while wearing a brain scanner at the University of Wisconsin and donned a "God helmet" in a neuroscientist's lab in Canada in her quest to discover the secrets of prayer and, possibly, proof of God.
In her book, "Fingerprints of God," Hagerty tries to answer a question that has plagued her for years: Is there more than this? She couldn't accept mainstream science's answer that we are "a collection of molecules with no greater purpose than to eke out a few decades." Instead, she sought out spiritual virtuosos (people who practice prayer, religiously), as well as neurologists, geneticists, physicists and medical researchers who are using the newest tools of science to discern the circumstantial evidence of God.
Her research led to some startling conclusions that have caused no small amount of Sturm und Drang among those who believe theirs is the one true way. She found that whether one is a Sikh, a Catholic nun, a Buddhist monk or a Sufi Muslim, the brain reacts to focused prayer and meditation much in the same way. The same parts light up and the same parts go dark during deep meditation.
Apparently, we have a "God spot" and "God genes." And though some are more generously endowed than others, spiritual experience is a human phenomenon, not a religious one. Different routes to the same destination.
Understandably, these are not glad tidings to some. Centuries of blood have been shed for the sake of religious certitude. But transcending the notion that only some prayers are the right ones might get us closer to the enlightenment we purportedly seek.
Hagerty is optimistic that science eventually will demonstrate that we are more than mere matter. In the meantime, it would seem eminently rational to presume in our public affairs that God does not play political favorites with His creation.
Professing to be wise, they became fools!!