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Saved Again

sick, tired, worn out, discouraged, hopeless
At the end of your life you will groan, when your flesh and body are spent.
You will say, “How I hated discipline! 
How my heart spurned correction!
I would not obey my teachers or listen to my instructors.
I have
come to the brink of utter ruin in the midst of the whole assembly.”

Proverbs 5:11–14

The guy that usually had good answers for the situation didn’t.   I had come to the end of myself.  One day I turned around and realized that I was winded after causally walking on level ground for only a hundred feet or so.  I was about 35 pounds overweight but that wasn’t the only problem.  I had some other very significant, major symptoms as well.

Coming to the realization of this was daunting.  For the duration of my ministry I had preached that the spirit, soul and body were intimately connected so I knew that my physical problems were merely a symptom of my inner self.

These thoughts and conclusions set my path upon a journey that not only dramatically changed my life, but the lives of those around me as well.

A False Religion
I had been a Pastor and Bible teacher for years.  I felt that I had sincerely done my best.  I had spent countless sleepless nights preparing teachings and I had given an unimaginable amount of time to advance the Kingdom of God with little or no compensation.  Yet something was amiss.

These thoughts began a grueling process of tearing away a false religion and replacing it with something new and authentic.  Just to clarify, I was teaching the right things, I was saying the right words, I was communicating ideologically with my peers.  But without realizing it, I didn’t really have the relationship with Jesus / Yeshua that facilitates the abundant life that only He can give.  I was religious.

Not only was I religious but there was every indication that I had come to the end of my life, groaning, my flesh and body spent, at the brink of ruin in full public display (Prov 5:11-14).

Seek First the Kingdom of God
God seemed to have given me Matthew 6:33 as sort of a “life verse” when I was very young; “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness”.  It has always stuck with me.  But unfortunately I didn’t stick with it.  But now it was do or die – literally, so I did.

Stripping away decades and even generations of religion is time consuming and grueling.  Religion is a killer; the product of religious spirits.  Religious spirits are demons that appear to be righteous but are actually absent the Spirit of God. You might say they are excellent under cover agents that work for the enemy.  Someone with a  religious spirit is not necessarily evil; they are just influenced by religious “thought” rather than a genuine relationship with Jesus / Yeshua.

For me, I was truly a “nice guy”. I really wasn’t “hypocritical”.  I truly wanted the best for people, helped people, never tried to hurt or take advantage of anyone – ever, yet I was missing the mark.

So I had to learn anew what it meant to “Seek first the Kingdom of God and HIS righteousness”.

A lifetime endeavor
Like Apostle Paul, I am certainly not claiming to have arrived.  But praise God I am a whole lot farther down the trail then I used to be.  Now, after some years of asking God to strip away all that isn’t of Him and to replace it with His true light and love, He has answered my prayers and continues to do so.  I found that as I stripped away the religion and ungodly thoughts, my symptoms slowly faded away proportionately.  None of us will be 100% transformed this side of glory but I am so thankful for what He has done in my life.

Saved Again
I remember “accepting Jesus” when I was 7 years old.  Unfortunately I had no idea what that meant and no one ever discipled me.  As a result, I (mostly) grew up in church thinking that being right with God meant going to church and being involved in church activities.  For a Christian, being a part of a fellowship is critical; but it doesn’t make you a Christian any more than sitting in a garage makes you a car.

I am so thankful that in His loving mercy, the Creator of the universe reached into my heart and “saved me again”;  it’s better to wake up and smell the coffee late than never.  Praise God!  I saw the light, no more darkness and no more night.

Are you confident in your relationship with Jesus / Yeshua?  If not you can be.  “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.” Mt. 6:33

I’ll see you out in the field,
Parson Rayphe

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