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Archive for May, 2013

Responsible Gardening

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

No Water, no Crop

My church has been going nuts on the message of grace. It freaks me out every time I go. The head pastor keeps preaching things which repeat thoughts I’ve had, or things I’ve said, in the preceding day or week. It’s as if he has been bugging my house.

I thought I had been writing a lot about the concept of grace here, but it looks like most of it went to Facebook, so I’ll try to capture some of it.

Every good thing comes by revelation.

That’s a good place to start.

I tend to think of revelation as facts and ideas that come to me from the Holy Spirit, but that’s not the whole picture. Faith itself is a revelation.

Jesus told us that if we believed, we would receive. He said we could command things to happen, and if we did not doubt, they would occur. We are not limited to prayer. You can point at a tree and tell it to wither, if God is with you, and it will happen. Similarly, we have the power to bless.

For millennia, we have been teaching that belief is an effort. It’s something you have to do, in your own strength, in order to please God and get him to answer your prayers.

That’s so wrong it’s insane.

If you’ve ever prayed for something and tried to believe, you know how hard it is. You can keep it up for a certain amount of time, but eventually, you’ll fail. And your faith won’t be that strong to begin with. The only way to have strong, enduring faith is to have the Holy Spirit inside you, believing through you. “Grace” means things God does for you, without requiring you to earn them. People think they need faith to receive grace, but in reality, faith comes by grace. It’s a gift. Check 1 Corinthians 12:4.

Jude told us the way to get faith was to pray in tongues. Look it up. It’s a short book. We were given the key, right there, yet historically, we have tried to believe with our own minds.

Here’s a problem: Satan has “grace,” too, and he provides “faith.” So do unbelievers and doubters.

You are constantly surrounded by beings that put faith in you. Jesus called them birds in the parable of the sower. Spirits will give you faith that God is not real. They will give you faith that God does not love you, and that your prayers will not be answered. They will give you depression, which is faith that your life is going to get worse and worse. They will give you anxiety, which is faith that bad things are going to happen to you. They will give you discouragement, which is faith that you will fail.

You will believe these things in spite of what you see and know. In other words, you will walk by faith, not by sight! Unfortunately, it’s the wrong faith.

When I was 25, Jesus visited me. I was in a car, driving home from a drunken weekend, and suddenly I knew I was going to die that day. It was not an opinion. I KNEW it. And I also knew I had no reason to believe it. I now know this is what people call an “anxiety attack.” It was completely irrational, and I knew it, but I couldn’t do anything about it.

I prayed, and Jesus got in the car. I did not see him, but he was in the middle of the front seat. Love, peace, and reassurance radiated from him. The faith that I was going to die was gone, just as darkness is gone when you turn a light on. I felt wonderful.

Today I understand what happened. Spirits gave me negative faith, and another spirit–Jesus–came and gave me positive faith, which destroyed its opposite.

This type of assault takes place in your life every day. If you’re depressed, you believe irrational garbage injected into your mind by other beings. Some may come from people, and some may come from spirits, and you will even do it to yourself, because you’ll develop the habit. That’s “iniquity.” In any case, you already have faith, but it may be the wrong faith, from the wrong source.

Satan gives you this “faith” by “grace.” In other words, he doesn’t ask you to earn it. He seeks you out, and he drops it on you, free of charge. That’s unquestionably true.

If that’s true, then why don’t we realize that God does the same thing, in reverse? God seeks us out, and he gives us true faith. He tells us he loves us. He tells us he has saved us from hell. And if we build ourselves up with tongues, he will also tell us he gives us miracles, so convincingly that Satan’s puny false faith can’t stop it.

We may not realize it, but we think Satan is stronger and more “generous” than God. That isn’t true. Satan is pushier, but he is weak.

With all that said, here’s a major problem that prevents your faith, supernatural or otherwise, from working: you condemn yourself. In your heart, you feel that you don’t deserve what you ask for, and therefore you don’t believe, so you don’t receive.

A few weeks back, I started feeling that I had to forgive myself during prayer. I resisted, because it sounded New-Agey. I am not Jesus. I can’t die for anyone’s sins. And it would be very wrong for me to deny the evil I’ve done, or to forget it. I was afraid I was having a Joel Osteen moment, denying guilt just for the sake of feeling good.

I went with it, though, and it brought me a big improvement in answered prayer. I said I forgave myself, and that I would not curse what God had blessed. I felt increased faith rushing through me. Things got better.

My church is holding a series of classes on the Holy Spirit, and they’re wonderful. Three or four weeks back, we were talking about the necessity of forgiveness, and I asked the instructor about forgiving ourselves. He was against it. I don’t think he understood what I meant. English is his second language.

After that, our pastor taught about grace on Sundays, and essentially, he said what I had said. Self-condemnation blocks grace. If you think you have to earn answers to prayer, you will not receive them, because you know perfectly well you can’t earn them. You deserve death and damnation, like everyone else. Only Jesus deserved the authority to receive answers to prayer.

The faith that rushed through me came through the same opening as the revelation I receive when I pray in tongues. That may sound weird, but if you’ve been there, you know what I mean. It’s as if there is a spring inside you, and all good things come from it. When God explains things to me, it’s revelation. But it’s also revelation when I have faith. It’s the Holy Spirit, saying, “YES.”

You should learn a few things from this. First, if you do something sinful, you are not going to hell for it, unless you’ve given up on God and his righteousness. And it will not prevent your prayers from being answered. You can kick your dog, and then a few minutes later, you can repent and pray, and God will hear you and answer. You should not think it’s okay to do bad things, but they will not keep God away from you, if you repent, forgive, and have faith.

Second: you need to pray in tongues. We are soil. The name “Adam” comes from the word for “dirt.” The word of God is seed, as Jesus said. Prayer in tongues is water, as Paul and Jesus said. If you have a seed, and you have dirt, you need water. It’s that simple. The kingdom of heaven will not grow inside you without water. You have to have revelation by grace, including faith.

Third, forgive EVERYONE when you pray, except for fallen angels and demons. Forgive yourself, expressly. And forgive out loud, so all your supernatural enemies hear it. They can’t read minds. Let them know they don’t have title to you.

This stuff has improved things greatly for me, and I know it will work for you. It’s all scriptural. It is the most hated message there is, because it’s so powerful and right. Satan still occupies this world, even though he lost the deed at Calvary, and he is enraged by tools that push him off his stolen throne. Religious people–Jews and Christians–will be furious at you for promoting this doctrine. But it still works, because it came from God.

Give it a shot. See if you can be the fertile ground that produced a hundredfold return. Water your seed every day.

Revelations From This Week

Saturday, May 25th, 2013

Run With It

Thought I’d post a few things I received this week.

First off, I got a better understanding of grace. I can’t say I learned anything new, but it became more real to me, which is a supernatural thing you can only get from the Holy Spirit.

I always tell people they should not doubt the message of tongues. I say God changes us through tongues and makes us more powerful and decrees things and puts blessings in our paths. People say that’s too easy. Then I point out that these same people believe they’re getting a home in heaven, plus eternal life, just for asking and repenting. If you can get infinite wealth and help by uttering one sentence, you should not be surprised that God will do great things for you because you spend time every day praying in tongues. It’s not “too easy.” It takes a lot more work than receiving salvation.

A day or two ago, God showed me that the same thing applies to the things we ask for with our understanding. If I can receive eternal life just for asking, while I am still a sinful mess, then surely I can receive an infinitely smaller blessing, such as a healing, by asking. I should not swallow a camel and strain at a gnat, as a very wise person once said.

I don’t merely know this now, but when I act on it, I feel supernatural faith rising up inside me, confirming it and making it work. This is a tremendous breakthrough.

I would tell you to act on it, but there’s a catch. You need supernatural faith. Simply trying to believe it is not enough. The Bible makes it very clear that real faith isn’t something we manufacture. It comes from the Holy Spirit, and we develop it by praying in tongues consistently, as a daily thing. See Jude. As Andrew Wommack says, you can’t cram to get a harvest. Sometimes God will just drop a gift on you, but generally, you are going to have to walk with him consistently in order to see fruit.

If you’re not praying in tongues every day, maybe you can make this work, but you probably can’t. You should be praying in tongues or at least seeking the gift.

There are people who can pray in tongues, yet who choose not to, because they don’t want to get too close to God and give up their silly carnal fun. Today God showed me that these people are cheating the rest of us. They’re a burden. They’re like babies who refuse to learn to walk. They’re big, fat, lazy adult papooses. When they have problems, instead of getting connected to the power, they run to their pastors for prayer. As a result, many pastors are heavily burdened, changing the spiritual diapers of lazy individuals who should be growing, prospering, and helping others.

That’s crazy. That’s disgraceful.

I was in that situation for over a decade, so I can’t brag.

Anyway, you don’t have to be perfect to have miraculous power work through you. You should try to behave, and you should never ACCEPT a sin or iniquity and quit fighting, but don’t think God is going to disappear just because you had a weak moment and looked at your neighbor’s wife at the beach. If he did things like that, grace would not be grace.

God is also giving me a good understanding of things like gates and doors. Today I wrote this:

In ancient times, a city gate was more than a door. It was a place where legal judgments were made, and decisions were recorded there.

When Jesus talked about the gates of hell, he was talking about our souls, where we make decisions and decide what goes in and out. If the revelation of the Holy Spirit is inside us, then the things that try to enter through our souls will not prevail. This is the “rock” Jesus referred to. It is also mentioned in Psalm 40.

Psalm 127 says: “As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”

Surely this applies to God’s children as well as ours. We are continually at the gate, speaking defeat to our enemies.

A wall can surround a small place where we are protected from our enemies, or it can surround a small place in which our enemies are confined, while we are free outside. When you are the head and not the tail, you don’t have to hide. When your enemy is the head, it’s another story. These days in America, people who used to hide are out in the open, roaring like lions, and Christians are hiding in little walled areas, afraid to speak.

The Holy Spirit was on Samson when he stole the gates of Gaza and took them away. He carried the authority of Gaza off and made it his. We should be doing the same thing.

Samson did this on the day after he slept with a Gazan prostitute, so clearly, it was grace and not his own righteousness that gave him power.

The Stephen Hawking Piano Method

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Study Music in Spinning Class

My musical studies are as exciting as ever.

The more I learn about the importance of timing (or “rhythm,” depending on your favored term), the more I realize conventional music teachers are blind. In fact, the musical world, generally, is blind. They’re obsessed with pitch and harmony. They have it all backward. Timing and dynamics, for most musicians, are more important, and a failure to master them is the main reason musicians fail to progress. I’m sure of it.

If you read about famous pianists, you’ll see a lot of bragging about absolute pitch, which is the correct term for what people refer to as “perfect pitch.” A person with absolute pitch will be able to listen to a chord on the piano and tell you every note. In fact, if someone drops a tray of dishes, a person with absolute pitch may be able to tell you the note every dish sounded when it hit the floor. Musicians get very excited about this ability, because they think pitch is what it’s all about. But very often, you will also run into statements by musicians, saying absolute pitch was of no value to them, or that it actually caused problems. And many great musicians don’t have it. Schumann didn’t.

Oddly, there seem to be no accounts in which famous musicians brag about their rhythmic talent. I suppose you would run into stories like that if you read about drummers, but I’ve never seen a biographer brag about a pianist’s ability to handle difficult rhythms. Sometimes they compliment a pianist’s rubato, but that’s not really the same thing. In fact, “rubato” can actually be a fancy way of excusing a musician who can’t keep regular time. Classical pianists are often overrated as technicians. Some of the best played sloppily.

There are some instruments that require good relative pitch. This is the ability to compare notes. If you play a horn or a fretless string instrument, you’ll need to be able to identify and produce accurate pitches, the way a singer does. But this is not a rare gift. In fact, just about everyone has it. And if you play the piano or a fretted instrument, it means almost nothing. You can’t play a sour note on a piano. The pitches are predetermined at regular tunings. And you can use a machine to tune a guitar, and after that, any note you fret will be in tune.

If you want to write or play music with real skill and understanding, you will have to be able to read, hear, and feel complex timings. That’s just how it is. If you can’t do these things, you will always be confined to the shallow end of the pool.

I’ve managed to get to the point where I can reliably tap out any rhythm I read, from 2/4 to 12/8, syncopated or not. On my teacher’s advice, I haven’t fooled with rhythms that contain 32nd notes. But everything up to that point, I can read. I hear the rhythms in my head before I tap them out. And I can write rhythms that I hear. This is a tremendous advance. If I head music in my head, and I want to write it down, the rhythm is the hard part. The pitches, I can figure out later. A monkey could do that.

The other day I went to church, and I ran into a friend who teaches piano. We talk about music a lot. He had a rhythm assignment he had written for a student who hadn’t shown up. He said I could have it. I took a look at it, and I could read it instantly. I leaned back and tapped the whole page out on the wall. No problem. It was a one-handed exercise, which made it easy, but it still shows how much I’ve improved.

I don’t care about absolute pitch, and there is precious little hope of developing it at my age, but now that I have rhythm under control, I realize I need to program intervals and harmony into my brain. I can identify any interval between unison and an octave (my fridge’s icemaker plays a major 6th), but I still have trouble identifying fast intervals in songs, and I can only identify about 60% of the harmonic intervals I hear. A harmonic interval is two notes played simultaneously. I haven’t been taught much about them, but it seems evident that if you can identify harmonic intervals, you are well on your way to hearing chords in your head, and that will be helpful with composing. I have always had the ability to write one staff of music and then automatically come up with harmony in the other staff, but I need to go beyond that.

More and more, I am realizing that music is a thing of the mind, or maybe of the mind and spirit. It is not a thing of the body. Glenn Gould said we play the piano with our minds, not our fingers, and that was just the tip of the iceberg. The truth is, you don’t need an instrument to be a musician, and in fact, it may slow you down at first, because it will distract you from the process of getting music into your head.

I’m not using the piano as much as I was a few weeks back. I’ve realized I do my best work away from it. When I develop the mind of a musician, THEN I’ll be ready to work on the hands. I can now practice music while driving or showering; I don’t have to be anywhere near an instrument. I simply do mental exercises, like a physicist doing a gedankenexperiment.

Arthur Rubinstein said that he could perform pieces he had never practiced. He would get the score for a piece and read it over and over without an instrument handy, and by the time he got to the piano, he was able to play it. I think that says it all. He got inside the music, to the point where playing it was almost an afterthought.

It has always bothered me that my parents made no effort to get me musical instruction. People commonly believe that you can’t become a really good musician unless you learn early, and I have bought into it. But now I think that’s not quite true. It may be that an older student will have a hard time mastering an instrument, but the progress I’ve made lately shows that we can learn the other stuff very quickly. I’ve learned rhythm in a few months. I beat intervals in a few weeks. I’m sure I’ll beat harmonic intervals in a short time. My age is not slowing me down. I don’t see myself becoming the next Horowitz. There are some things you can’t fix. But if I can write music as well as someone who started young, I still have something very valuable, and it’s what I was after in the first place.

If you’re old, and you want to become a musician, my advice is to learn to tap out rhythms at sight, then worry about sight-reading pitches, and then concern yourself with pitch and harmony. THEN think about buying an instrument. You should be able to do these things in six months, and then when you hire a teacher, you should be able to zip past a lot of the truly tedious stuff. In fact, these are good things to do even if you have no desire to play or compose, because they’ll enable you to understand the music other people make. And EVERY kid should have to do these things. I can understand choosing not to force a kid to spend years playing an instrument, but if the little goofs can sit through math and history, they can sit through music class and train their ears and learn theory. It won’t kill them.

God really does restore. More things are possible than you think.

Keep Your Hands and Feet Inside the Car

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Death Imitates Space Mountain

For a long time, I’ve believed that celebrities often have a sick attachment to this life. To become a rich celebrity, you have to overcome great odds. Most of the people you know in the beginning of your career won’t make it. You’ll know hundreds of people who failed where you succeeded, so you will feel very lucky or very special. Naturally, this means you’re likely to want to hold on to what you have, no matter what.

I thought about this when I read about Angelina Jolie’s voluntary double mastectomy. Is it healthy to be willing to do something like that, at the age of 37, instead of taking your chances with constant monitoring, when you can afford it easily? I have to wonder. Her actions may reflect a desperate desire to cling to her highly unusual earthly existence.

This lady is very wealthy. She is admired. She married one of the most coveted men on earth, after taking him from his wife. It seems only natural that she would do anything to hold onto this life. Is that the reason she was willing to submit to disfiguring mutilation on such a large scale? Was her decision brave or shallow? And if her husband left his first wife because of her beauty, will he stay now that she has lost it? Has he suddenly developed character? He’s still desired by women the world over. He can leave whenever he wants. He did it once. Men like that will usually do it again.

Look at people like Madonna and Cher. These old women dress like teenagers. They do everything they can to look young. They sing music more fitting for performers in their teens and twenties. They even get involved with younger men. As a result, they don’t age gracefully. They begin to look ridiculous. They appear with wrinkled faces and hair that lacks grey and has unnaturally bold color. Madonna bared her aging rear end at an audience when she was well into her fifties, apparently thinking people still wanted to see it. The men she wanted to tantalize were disgusted. What an error in self-perception.

The Christian way is so much better. We don’t peak in this life. God blesses us on earth, but if you’re poor or homely or deformed in this life, and you can’t seem to get delivered, you don’t have to worry. The next life will be here before you know it, and in that life, everyone is what celebrities want to be: beautiful, healthy, powerful, rich, safe, and loved. Meanwhile, many of our celebrities will be burning in hell, because they thought they didn’t need God. They will be like rich men who saw no need to try to get through the eye of the needle.

It’s better to be blessed in heaven than on earth. We don’t always have to make that choice, because God blesses us here, but any problem we can’t fix here will disappear when we are transformed. His path is truly wonderful.

Personally, I don’t fear death at all. Sometimes during prayer I feel as though I’m about to leave my body, and I always tell God I’m ready. I definitely don’t want to go through injuries or disease, but the actual moment of dying isn’t scary at all. I’ve had a number of dreams in which I died, and I believed my experiences were real. I wasn’t afraid. I felt like my annoying earthly problems were over, and that a great adventure was starting. I felt like I had just gotten on a roller coaster, and the safety bar had just come down.

When I was young, I used to worry about not getting the things I wanted in life. I’m not exactly immune to that now, but the older I get, the more I think of myself as holding out until I can get out of this place. God has something magnificent waiting for me. All I have to do is hang on for another twenty to forty years.

Saved by Syncopation

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

Keep Your Knees Bent

I’m on fire today. Two whole blog pieces.

I thought I’d write a little about my music studies.

I haven’t written any music in a while. I’ve become obsessed with learning to read rhythms, as I’ve said earlier. Quarter-note triplets have been driving me nuts. They’re so slow, it’s hard to get a feel for them. I made a lot of progress with an exercise my teacher taught me. You beat out “Carol of the Bells” with two hands. One hand plays quarter-notes, and the other plays quarter-note-triplets. You switch hands. You use your feet. Eventually, you start to hear both rhythms, and that helps.

That was useful, but I went beyond that. I made a Youtube video with a soundtrack featuring this rhythm. I made the triplets higher in pitch than the quarter notes. When you play the rhythm with your hands, the pitches are the same, so the rhythms are not as distinct.

My Musition software is trying to push me to a new level full of 32nd notes, but my teacher told me to forget it. It’s more important to get a grip on 16th notes and rhythm figures made of them.

A rhythm figure is a four-beat fragment of music which takes up the space of one quarter note. You can have a quarter note, or you can have a mixture of eighth notes, rests, and sixteenth notes. There are about 15 of these things, because the combinations are limited. When you can read these fluently, you will understand written music a lot better.

He has me studying the slash notation versions of these things. Slash notation consists of rhythm figures with slashes and X’s instead of note heads. Each 16th note is a strum. A slash is a fretted string or chord. An X is a deadened string or chord. It’s musical shorthand. Practicing reading these things will get common rhythms into your head. I was supposed to start doing this yesterday, but I was really busy, and I discovered something very distracting: syncopation.

As you may know, “syncopation” refers to unusual rhythms. It means rhythms a classically trained ear won’t expect. We are used to hearing waltz timing and 4/4, with the emphasis on the first beat, but you can also emphasize any other beat. A jazz musician named Buddy Bolden is famous for popularizing “Big Four” rhythm, which emphasizes the second and fourth beats in 4/4 time. I think. Anyway, there is a lot of syncopation in American popular music. It’s mesmerizing, because it teases your ear. It makes you wait for things instead of getting them when you expect them. It’s hard to describe, but if you listen to some syncopated music, you’ll see what I mean.

My software will provide syncopated exercises, but I tried it a while back, and I was hopeless, so I dropped it. This week I decided to try it again, leaving out the quarter-note triplets. I’m using 4/4 time, but you can do it with other timings, like 3/4 and 2/4. If you can do 4/4, you can do the others. You don’t have to exhaust the possibilities.

This stuff is amazing. It sounds like real music. Compared to non-syncopated rhythm, straight timing (my term) sounds like really bad marching band music, or Muzak. It sounds primitive and simple. I’m no expert, but my experience so far suggests that studying syncopated rhythms is about a thousand times as effective as studying straight timing. It keeps you off your balance. It familiarizes you with more fragments of rhythmic “vocabulary.” Studying straight timing is like studying formal French or Spanish. It will not prepare you to deal with real people using real rhythms. Just as a student of French will be hopelessly confused when he hears slang, a person who studies straight timing will be helpless when those weird beats show up. And they don’t just show up in jazz and the blues. They pop up in other types of music, even though music teachers don’t focus on them.

05 03 13 musition syncopated rhythm exercise

This is probably why you can sight-read the crap in the books your teacher supplies, but you can’t get anywhere with the music you want to play. That’s my suspicion.

So now I can’t quit doing these exercises. They make me hear music in my head. Even though they have no pitches, I hear the beats in my head, and pitches sort of show up on their own, because the beats imply them. I think this is the way to go.

I’ve reached the point where I can imagine rhythm measures in my head and hear them. That’s very nice. If I can get this under control, pitch and harmony should follow. Then I’ll be Mozart.

Well, maybe not. But I won’t be totally lost. I’ll be musically literate. This should open the door to real sight-reading, which should open the door to faster improvement.

Born Again v. Stillborn

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

You Can go Further

Sorry for staying away so long, but it’s not like I’m disappointing a big crowd!

Life continues to improve, and I keep getting new revelation.

Last night I went to a class my church provided. They’re doing an eight-week series on the Holy Spirit. My old church, Trinity, was pretty useless when it came to teaching. They taught a lot of outright lies, and they didn’t bother giving people basic guidance. People I know think astrology is fine. They don’t understand the baptism with the Holy Spirit. They think Steve Munsey’s lies are sound doctrine. Very sad. New Dawn Ministries is giving people the fundamentals they need.

The text of the booklet my class is using was written by a man named Maldonado, who runs a church called El Rey Jesus down in Kendall. It’s very good. They say his church is wonderful. My pastor canceled our own Tuesday service one week and told us to go to Maldonado’s church, but that church had some kind of emergency, so there was no service. One day I’ll make it.

I disagreed with something the teacher said last night. He was teaching about the need to change the soul (mind, emotions, will) as well as the spirit. When we accept salvation, our minds aren’t transformed instantly, and we need to be renewed so we have hearts like God’s. We read the passage where Jesus told Nicodemus he had to be born again. My teacher said all Christians are born again when they receive salvation.

Here is what I believe. There is a difference between “saved” and “born again.”

The crucifixion was clearly a conception, not a birth. The Temple symbolized the body of a woman, and the holier areas represent the private parts and womb. When Jesus died, the bloody veil, which represents the hymen, was torn. The crown of thorns represented circumcision. The tearing of a hymen and the cutting of the foreskin represent covenants with God; a man who represented God circumcised Jewish males, and when they married, they “circumcised” their virgin wives on the wedding night through sex, and then the seed passed through two cuts on its way to the womb.

When he died, Jesus provided for our impregnation with God’s seed, which is the baptism with the Holy Spirit. He also provided for our salvation.

Jesus told Nicodemus he had to be born again in order to enter “the kingdom of God.” He did not say “heaven.” Heaven is heaven, and the kingdom of God is the kingdom of God. While you’re here on earth, the kingdom should be in you, and you should be in the kingdom. God should rule inside you and in your immediate vicinity, as America rules an ambassador and embassy in another country. Even if you don’t live in the kingdom of God while you’re on earth, you can receive salvation and go to paradise.

Nicodemus asked if a man could re-enter his mother’s womb. He did not understand. Rebirth doesn’t mean re-entering a womb of flesh. It means entering God’s womb. You are to come into God’s presence, as it was in the Holy of Holies. God lives in you (a temple), and you live in him.

It’s very clear that there are Christians who are not born again. There are crooks out there who perform legitimate healings, for example. Turn on TBN, and you’ll see them. They don’t have the character of God, so it can’t be said that God rules inside them. They’re greedy, arrogant, obnoxious, selfish, and sometimes sex-crazed. But they are definitely Christians, and God does things through them.

Unbelievers love to ask why Christians do such awful things and have so many problems if we’re born again. We make up excuses, saying Satan is really strong, or it’s persecution. That’s not right. We have the same problems unsaved people have, because most of us are not really born again. We’re like embryos that haven’t grown. We’ve been fertilized, but that’s where our growth ended.

The Temple had areas of differing significance. The closer you got to the Holy of Holies, the fewer people were eligible to enter, and the closer they were to God. Any idiot could walk around in the outer area. You had to be a priest to go farther in. Only the high priest could enter the holiest place. He went in once a year, on Yom Kippur, to take away Israel’s sins. It’s still this way now. Any carnal person who is afraid of hell can become a Christian. Some will draw closer to God and experience growth. A few will get very, very close and see great power and blessings in their life.

Jesus said you had to be born of water and the Spirit. Many Christians think “water” means immersion. I don’t think so. We still do that, as a way of expressing our commitment, but it’s very clear that you can be saved without being baptized. It’s also obvious that baptized people are often nasty and sinful. If Jesus had been referring to water baptism, then we would expect quick results from immersion, and we don’t usually get them.

Paul stated unequivocally that “living water” (the kind of water Jews use for immersion, which is what we imitate when we baptize) was the Holy Spirit, flowing inside us. To enter the kingdom of God here on earth, you have to be baptized with the Holy Spirit, and that water has to cleanse you from within, not from the outside, as the mikvehs cleansed.

Remember what Jesus said. He criticized Jews who were clean on the outside but not the inside. He was referring to a cleansing they could not perform without God’s help. You may be able to obey God, but you have limited power to change your heart so the compulsion to disobey (what we call “iniquity”) leaves. Through the baptism with the Holy Spirit, and prayer in tongues, you will, over time, be cleansed. Not by willpower, but by supernatural means for which you can’t take credit.

A Christian on earth is like a baby in the womb, who is helped by blood from the umbilical cord and the water of the amniotic fluid. You’re supposed to grow and develop, like an unborn baby. But most of us don’t get very far. Satan loves contraception, abortion, miscarriages, stillbirths, and infanticides, not just in the literal sense, but in the spiritual sense. He finds ways to hold us back, and often, he uses bad doctrine which sounds good because we don’t have the Holy Spirit’s gift of wisdom.

Satan’s mindset is revealed in his obsession with preventing reproduction and killing off the young. In Jacob’s time, men murdered their firstborn sons, cut off their heads, mummified them, and used them as oracles. Satan gave people information, so they could achieve their carnal goals, in exchange for their children. In Canaan, people murdered their firstborn sons and put them in jars in the walls of their homes, to bring good fortune. In Judea, Jews murdered their children by sacrificing them to Moloch. Satan went after Abel to prevent him from giving rise to a righteous people. He murdered the Jewish firstborn in Egypt to prevent Moses from defeating him. He murdered the babies in Bethlehem to prevent Jesus from being born. Today he pushes contraception and abortion, and we’ve even reached the point where blind morons refer to the killing of live, viable babies–outside the womb–as “abortion” and not “murder.”

When the Babylonians conquered the Jews, they took the best young men and castrated them. Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had their testicles cut out. These were men of nobility. They would presumably have given rise to powerful Hebrew leaders. For that reason, Satan castrated them. If you can destroy the seed, you will never have to cut down the trees.

I think the material I’m being taught is very good, but I can’t agree that people like Steve Munsey are born again. If this is the end result of the crucifixion, what was the point? Did Jesus die solely so slavedrivers and pimps could go to heaven without changing their ways? If that were true, he would not have talked to us so much about our behavior and our desires.

It’s not hard to get into heaven. The thief who was saved on the cross got in just by calling Jesus “Lord” and believing he would save him. But the path to the KINGDOM of heaven is “tight” and the gate is “narrow,” according to Jesus himself. The difference is obvious.

The farther you go into the kingdom, the more power you have. You will have persecution, but you won’t live in defeat, unless God is a liar. Look at Jesus. He had all sorts of persecution, but he was unscathed until he chose to lay down his life. They tried to kill him in Nazareth, and he walked through the angry crowd unseen. The Holy Spirit guided his parents to Egypt before the Bethlehem massacre. He was guided away from enemies on other occasions. We don’t have any stories about Jesus being beaten, jailed, tortured, or afflicted with disease. He was a winner, until he chose to move on.

I keep seeing things happening, as a result of telling people about the Holy Spirit. God used me to get Ward Brewer going on it, and he says he talked to a leader of three Baptist churches about it the other day, and now these three churches are rethinking things and heading for a major shift. Obviously, that’s not my doing, but I was part of the pipeline, so I can say I’m bearing fruit. I have friends who are having wonderful breakthroughs from praying in the Spirit. No one ever comes back to me and says it doesn’t work. They always have a glowing testimony, or they admit they quit.

Don’t die in the womb. Be washed with the water. Grow and become strong. Don’t be afraid of the enemy, because he will never have the power you will have. He is temporary. He is sterile. If you’re going to be afraid, be afraid of the all-powerful God who created our weak, mortal enemy. Don’t mistake Satan’s PR for the relatively puny reality. If he was as strong as you think, you would never have been born.