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And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of [Babylon], my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.” Revelation 18:4

What is this Babylon of the Revelation? Some see it as a real city, the capital of the Antichrist’s new world order at the end of the age (the early church thought it was Rome). Others see Babylon as a symbol of sinful humanity and its capacity for self-delusion, pride, and depravity. This would include the systems of this world – government, education, entertainment, etc. – which war against the kingdom of God.

I am encouraged to ask a more important question: What is this Babylon to you?

What wars against the kingdom of God in your life?

The voice from God encourages us to come out of Babylon. The Holy Spirit draws us and stands by to guide us outside the camp to Jesus, to bear and share His reproach (Hebrews 13:13).

For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. Hebrews 13:14

This journey out of Babylon and into the city of God passes through a narrow gate and down a difficult road (Matthew 7:14). Jesus encourages us to strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many will seek to enter and will not be able (Luke 13:24).

As much as our carnal minds would like to convince us otherwise, we must at some point move from seeking to enter, to striving. Seeking and striving are not the same. The seeker-friendly church and its message may serve some purpose, but it alone will leave untold numbers standing at the gate, wondering if there is more or deceived and camped out, only to be surprised when the books are opened.

God has provided the means and methods for avoiding such a surprise. Psalm 37:5 holds the key. Read the rest of this entry »

The entire New Testament was written during a time of chaos. Indeed, God used each of the main characters as His instruments in creating the chaos that surrounded them. When God manifests Himself, chaos ensues. Chaos is not only normal for a Christian, it is a sign of God’s presence. In the chaos, the part of us that belongs to God has access to the peace of God that transcends all understanding. Still, we must allow the chaos to test and purify; we must allow it to shake out that which shall not remain (Hebrews 12:25-29).

When chaos finds its way into our lives, it creates a tension between our desire to maintain current normalcy and our finding the new normal which God is trying to work in us and through us (see Philippians 3:12 and 2Corinthians 3:18). Our carnal mind attempts to inhibit God’s work by distracting us and/or dissuading us of the notion that God is up to something. Those that notice themselves focused more on maintaining the status quo than on finding the next level of glory, should immediately suspect their carnal mind and invite the Holy Spirit to renew their thinking (Romans 2:12). Only then will we know the will of God in the chaos. Read the rest of this entry »

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:1-3

Knowing God is sovereign, we can confidently say that He creates or allows the chaos that finds its way into our lives. We also know that He works all things to the good of those who love Him and are called to His purpose (Romans 8:28). How we respond to chaos makes more difference in our lives, and the lives of those in our spheres of influence, than we might think or imagine.

Generally speaking, chaos either draws us away from the truth or it serves to focus our attention on what is fundamentally real (i.e., the heavenly perspective). The greater the chaos, the greater the impact in one of these two directions.

Chaos tests the set of our mind. Chaos also gives us the opportunity to practice our resistance to the enemy’s distraction and deception. By the way, the enemy I am referring to is our carnal mind – our number one enemy. Scripture makes it clear that neither Satan nor the world can influence a child of God (James 4:7, Galatians 6:14) … unless they are allowed to do so. Our carnal mind opens that door.

Most of us have been trained for much of our lives to turn to our carnal mind when chaos invades our lives. This is directly and exactly the opposite of God’s intention. When chaos comes, He would have us choose the influence and direction of Christ’s mind. Make no mistake about it: We are responsible for that choice. Read the rest of this entry »

The renewing of our mind exchanges dependence on our carnal mind with subjection to the mind of Christ. Consider that for a moment. Born with the mind of our flesh, we find ourselves at enmity with God; reborn of Christ, we now also have His mind (1Corinthians 2:16).

And the battle for our transformation begins!

We are being transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2), and the Holy Spirit is our transformer (2Corinthians 3:18). However, we cannot afford to be passive participants in this ongoing process. Based on personal experience and the testimony of others, I am confident that the renewal of our minds requires our cooperation.

We, born-again believers in Jesus Christ, are responsible for choosing the mind to which we turn. This is a continuous responsibility that particularly proves itself in the face of danger, confusion, offense, aggravation, etc.

This matter of the minds is challenging, to say the least. Thank goodness, God has given us an abundance of instruction. Here’s one I discovered just the other day.

Commit your works to the LORD,
And your thoughts will be established.
Proverbs 16:3

Does this verse strike you as odd (as it first did me)? Shouldn’t we have our thoughts established before we set out to work? Once again, we find that God’s ways and thoughts are above our own.

In Ephesians 2:10, we learn that God “created [us] in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Knowing the end from the beginning, God has carefully created and orchestrated our every good work.

With this knowledge in hand, Read the rest of this entry »

Approximately twelve years ago I attended a lecture at a workplace leaders’ conference on the physiology of the brain. It was really quite unusual. What was I doing at such a lecture? What was such a lecture doing at a workplace leaders’ conference? Looking back, I now understand that God orchestrated that lecture, at that conference, for my edification and encouragement.

The presenter showed us how scientists observe physical changes in the brains of patients recovering from alcoholism; that new electronic pathways are created over time. It occurred to me that this research scientist was talking about the renewal of the mind. I came to understand that the renewal of the mind is as much a supernatural miracle at the physical level, as the healing of terminal cancer through prayer (something I have also witnessed). The notion captivated me.

This discovery connected well with my prior vocation: working with a team of enterprise architects to change the way banking executives thought about the use of technology. Our ultimate purpose was to transform their business with technology. We called this “changing their paradigm.” The equivalent Biblical term for “paradigm” is “mindset.” Others prefer “worldview.”

I spent more than a decade in the technology field proving that changing someone’s paradigm is much easier said than done. As promising as technology was to their bottom line, the executives I worked with resisted us religiously. Why? Because the implementation of technology required them to transform their thinking about work and to change the way they did business.

The ensuing twelve years of workplace ministry have proven that the mind’s resilience to change exists in every sphere, and no less with my brothers and sisters in Christ. This is lamentable, for our transformation into the image of the glory of the Lord requires the renewal of our minds (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 3:18). We must change the way we think!

Over the years, this matter of the mind has become increasingly important to me. I have tried to make it important to others. And so, we have come to the writing of An Enemy Lies Within to encourage and help Christians think about the way they think, and to empower them to think in line with God’s prescription for the renewing of our mind.

Ultimately, our hopes and prayers are for the transformation and reformation of the Western church.

Our Thesis

Read the rest of this entry »

An Enemy Lies Within and we need your help to overcome its influence in the Western church.

The time has finally come; in less than three weeks, An Enemy Lies Within will be available in print format. We can now work toward getting it into as many hands as possible. For this, we need your help.

The #1 enemy of God and all humanity lies within each one of us – yes, even Christians. That enemy is not the Devil; resist him, and he must flee (James 4:7). Our #1 enemy is not the world; for through Jesus Christ, the world has been crucified to us, and we to it (Galatians 6:14). Neither Satan nor the world have power over a born-again believer… unless we allow it.

Truly and indeed, our #1 enemy is our carnal mind!

When Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, mankind’s ability to reason was forever entangled with the sin of rebellion. Consequently, our carnal mind is at enmity with God and can be nothing else (Romans 8:7).

Christians in the 20th and 21st Centuries have fallen victim to the carnal mind’s deceit and destruction. We have been deceived into exchanging the mind of Christ for lesser and earthly ways of thinking. Collectively, our carnal minds are destroying the Western church from the inside out.

But all is not lost, for God has given us a process for overcoming the deceptions and distractions of our carnal mind; it is the process of faith. Exercising the disciplines of the faith process enables and empowers Christians to lay hold of the grace of God for the renewal of our minds and the transformation of our spheres of influence. Getting our minds right is key to the reformation of the Western church.

It would be naïve to suggest that An Enemy Lies Within is the magic pill for all that ails the church. However, our situation is certainly more dire than we imagine and pursuing God’s ways is the only way our circumstances are going to get better. We must find His ways for our participation with Him in restoring what has been lost.

To this end, An Enemy Lies Within exposes the carnal mind as our #1 enemy, and equips Christians to overcome it through the application of spiritual disciplines. It goes on to encourage the liberated, like soldiers freed from captivity, to help others break free from the deceptions and distractions which plague the Western church. Read the rest of this entry »

Neuroscientists have concluded that 80+ percent of our thinking occurs subconsciously. In other words, a lot of our thinking happens off the radar, below the surface of our attention and consideration. Think about that in light of Paul’s assertion that the normal Christian brings every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2Corinthians 10:5).

Of course, we are not sufficient for such things; our sufficiency is from God (2Corinthians 3:5). Lest we forget and become discouraged: we can do all things through Christ (Philippians 4:13). God has not commanded anything that He does not empower. He is working in us to will and do for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). We need only participate in the Holy Spirit’s transformative work (Romans 12:2; 2Corinthians 3:18)

Unfortunately, our subconscious is the playground and base of operations for our carnal mind. From there, it attempts to distract and deceive for its self-focused intentions. It does so by affirming the voices of Satan and the world, and by adding its own words of deception and destruction. Yes, the carnal mind speaks to us… continuously.

Now get this: We are responsible for rejecting what the carnal mind is attempting to speak over us. Here is an example to illustrate the sinister and destructive consequences awaiting those who shirk this solemn responsibility. Read the rest of this entry »

The three R’s we have in mind are responsibility, rebellion, and rights. There is a relationship between these three which we plan to expose in the next few hundred words to better prepare you for the battle against your carnal mind.

Let’s begin with something on which most of us agree: Rebellion corrupts everything.

Yes, everything! And the seed of it is in every one of us. As the Scriptures assert, every human being is born with the sin. Not just “sin”, but “the sin” (i.e., our rebellious nature). Adam and Eve’s fateful decision to eat from the forbidden tree was more than an act of disobedience, it was the evidence of their treason against God.

For His own good reasons, God does not free us from the influences of our rebellious nature when we are born again. Instead, He has given us the responsibility and the grace to overcome it. This is an ongoing battle. Those that choose to ignore their responsibility suffer the consequences. Responsible warriors enjoy alliance with the Holy Spirit.

That enemy – our #1 enemy – is our carnal mind. Our carnal mind, hiding away in our subconscious, encourages rebellion in subtle and destructive ways. The carnal mind is at enmity with God, working to turn what God intends for good into some of the worse kinds of evil. Take responsibility for example. Read the rest of this entry »

Thoughts fly in and out of our subconscious like bats from a cave. This wouldn’t be such a concern if our subconscious were not the base of operation for our carnal mind. Given that 95% of our thinking is off the radar of our conscious awareness, it is important that we force ourselves to make conscious decisions regarding the ways of this world which potentially contradict the principles of the kingdom and the commands of Christ.

Many times, reasoning drives us to compromise, and we find ourselves trying to live from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil – a poor substitute for the Tree of Life. When Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden tree, mankind’s ability to reason was forever tied to the rebellion which separated us from God.

Each one of us is born into this rebellion and its result, our incredible self-centeredness. Just ask any parent. We are subsequently trained – through grammar school, middle school, and high school – to rely on our reasoning capabilities. In college, we are convinced that mankind’s ability to reason is worthy of worship. We have grown up into the Age of Reason and its doctrines.

Thankfully, 95% is not a fixed number. In fact, Christians are commanded to actively expose what naturally remains hidden. We are commanded to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2Corinthians 10:5) – a discipline required for the renewing of our minds.

There are several methods of capture, each with their own measure of effectiveness. Most attempt to capture thoughts with a butterfly net, as they fly by our consciousness like bats. We eventually learn that method is not very effective. Others try securing a net over the cave opening, attempting to trap their carnal thoughts before they get out. But nets tear and those pesky bats have a way of finding other openings. All the while, Satan and the world are busy digging new ones. Read the rest of this entry »

Choosing the right words to say can be a challenge. I often find myself attempting to communicate beyond the words that are readily available in my mind. Failure to “find” the right word makes me feel ignorant, dumb, even foolish. Choosing the wrong word can be confusing to the listener, and frustrating to the speaker. This is one reason I prefer writing over public speaking.

Listening and reading are also more complicated exercises that we might think. Much of our comprehension occurs at the subconscious level; there is more going on in our minds that we consciously recognize. With familiar words, we assume we know the meaning. Even words with multiple meanings are sorted out by the context of their use. The mind truly is a remarkably powerful instrument.

But what if the word doesn’t mean what our subconscious determines it to mean? What if the writer intended something entirely different? What if the word we assume to understand was translated from a language that gave richer meaning to the original? Could we misunderstand the author’s meaning and not know we have committed the error?

Let’s consider one example.

…teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen. Matthew 28:20 (NKJV)

…and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:20 (NIV)

As you can see, the New International Version (NIV) uses the word “obey” whereas the New King James Version (NKJV) translates to “observe”. According to Merriam-Webster, to obey is to follow the directions or commands of another. To observe can mean much the same thing (with less intensity), or it can mean to inspect or take note of (again, a less intense meaning).

What are we to do with these differences in meaning? Well, our subconscious picks one.

Should we trust our subconscious to make the appropriate determination? Perhaps, but keep in mind that our subconscious is the operations base and playground of our carnal mind.

How about consciously considering which meaning is closer to God’s intention? After all, He created the Greek language to communicate the richer meaning and mysteries of His kingdom. Perhaps there is a mystery here.

What might we discover with a little searching? It is the glory of God to hide a matter, and the glory of kings to search them out (Proverbs 25:2). What might God be hiding for His glory and ours? Read the rest of this entry »

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