Saturday, November 25, 2017

OBEY = LOVE

When it comes to God, obedience is NOT about feelings or the forcing of our will. It's not about fear and punishment or do-this-get-that. It not about a when-all-else-fails-obey mentality or an attitude of "Well, I better do this or else..."
Obeying God is about something so profound, so beyond what one perceives and how they react that once fully embraced, it changes us, our now and our future forever. It becomes the forethought that guides all action and the reactions that arise out of the deepest love one can know. To obey Yahweh is to love Him with absolute abandonment. Abandonment of self, abandonment of the me, myself and I. It is not normal to the ways of this world or human thought. On the contrary, we all relish in rebellion to varying degrees which ultimately makes life all about us, not realizing it leads us away from God, not towards Him.
Everything inside of us rebels against the simplicity of this basic truth. "Do not love or cherish the world or the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh [craving for sensual gratification] and the lust of the eyes [greedy longings of the mind] and the pride of life [assurance in one's own resources or in the stability of earthly things]–these do not come from the Father but are from the world [itself]. And the world passes away and disappears, and with it the forbidden cravings (the passionate desires, the lust) of it; but he who does the will of God and carries out His purposes in his life abides (remains) forever." 1 John 2:15-17 
So then, love is action... it is by no means passive. "God so LOVED the world that He SENT..." Love compelled God to act. Therefore to obey God is love and to love is to obey. They are synonymous. They are inseparable. 
Obedience to God is BETTER THAN sacrifice; though sacrifice was a required response to a command; it was not definitively from the well of the heart but rather an act of the will. Religion sacrifices and says, "you see?" Love obeys out of love and says, "I know"! 
To God, obedience equals love... its just that simple. But as someone told me long ago... simple is the hardest thing to do.



© 2017 Steven Bliss

THE CONTENDING

This thought ran through my head this morning. I feel strongly that, like a baton, I'm to pass it on to you...
Every day is about contending... Whether it's over your physical body, whether it's over your mind, whether it's over your occupation or your personal needs or whether it's over just surviving this day; it is all about contending.
The faces may change, the circumstances may change but the fight is the fight. You are the boxer in the ring. It's you and whatever opponent you face. Every day is about contending. 
The war never ends. 
Therefore train. Know this, the one you face knows you, has studied you; has been in the war room strategizing and mapping out your defeat. Therefore train, learn and prepare. The best offense is a powerful defense. It is your fight, your battle to win. 
Never stop, never give up, never give in. You are greater than your opponent because God is greater in you! 
Whatever you do, no matter where you go, no matter how you feel at any given moment... YOU ARE NOT ALONE! 
Therefore, FIGHT the good fight of the faith. TAKE HOLD of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:12
Everything you will ever need is there. You are the conquering warrior whose hands are trained for war! 
If you read that right everything in it is about contending. Contending means you're fighting contending means sometimes you get punched hard and you don't know if you'll recover... you go to the corner and sit down, get your wind back, patch up the wound, regroup, have those who understand and stand over you and encourage you(pray over you and with you) to get back in the ring and fight... you strategize as you learn your opponents weaknesses... and then you wait for the bell to reenter the fight. 
to CONTEND - kənˈtend
struggle to surmount (a difficulty or danger).
synonyms: cope with, face, grapple with, deal with, take on, pit oneself against
to engage in a competition or campaign in order to win or achieve (something).
synonyms: compete, vie, contest, fight, battle, tussle, go head to head; strive, struggle
It's never-ending... you are breathing… alive... you may be weak, down; overwhelmed and afraid... but one thing you are not... and that is ALONE! You may lose today, but today is not tomorrow. You may bleed now, but the wound will heal. Why? Because you are MORE THAN A CONQUEROR... not JUST a conqueror... YOU ARE BEYOND! Why?
Because HE LIVES IN YOU!



© 2017 Steven Bliss

THE OPENING

In the early morning of September 14, 2017 at 2:30 AM I had a vision… it was a vision though I was wide-awake… I want to preface it by saying I've had this same vision over the last two years at least four or five times. So I'll tell you about the previous ones which sets up the one I had last night.
The reason I know I'm awake and not sleeping and that this experience was not a dream is because I have, in each instance, just gotten up to go to the bathroom and then laid back down for maybe 10 or 15 minutes in an attempt to go back to sleep. 
As I'm lying there with my eyes closed I see light flashing in my eyes like somebody is flashing a bright flashlight only with colors from a distance towards my eyes. I open my eyes ever so slightly to see what it is I am seeing. In each instance I'm looking squinty eyed at a pinpoint of light the begins to almost burn open like a flame burning through paper is the best way to describe it. My room has dark curtains and is absolutely pitch black. As the point of light opens clouds surround its edges as bright color surround the outside of it. I'm so mesmerized each time I see it that I stare intently at it knowing I'm awake because I'm thinking consciously and I can see it consciously as well as things in my room like my bookcase. 
I'm only able to look at it for a few moments when it's fully opens and then begins to close and go away until I not longer see it.
So the first two times this happened there were just these beams of light that would expand into this beautiful openness behind the opening itself; an open sky with billowing clouds of this pure blue with colors flashing around its edges. 
The third and fourth time I experienced it a figure began to approach the opening. I could see what looked like a person moving towards the opening but I could not make out features. By the third and fourth time I was emotionally overwhelmed and so mesmerized by what I was seeing that my eyes would tear up and I’d begin to cry and feel overwhelmed, but I stayed with it till it closed each time.
Last night's was different. It's been close to a year since I've seen it last. Once again I had gotten up and gone to the bathroom then came back to bed and lay back down. As I got comfortable, suddenly the light began dancing on my eyelids, so I slowly opened my eyes and looked. I could see my bookcase in the background so I knew I was fully conscious. As the point of light began to open it looked more like flaming bright colors. I could see the sky as it opened behind it that looked like a liquid blue. This time the form began to take shape was not that of a human but that of a large head. As it came from a blur into vivid focus I could see its face... that of the likeness of a large male lion looking piercingly through the now emblazoned opening. As I stared intently my eyes began to tear up... He who was, and is and is to come rushed through my mind as I wept out loud… then suddenly, without warning the opening closed and everything disappeared.



© 2017 Steven Bliss

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

THE GATE

I recently had a long dream about God, Y'shua/Jesus and the Gate of Heaven. I can't explain it in absolute detail, but it was like watching a movie. In a nutshell the dream was about making it through The Gate. It was long... no idea how long exactly, but it was very detailed. I experienced a lot of emotions in the dream. I cried a lot and woke up saying, "Jesus, save me... heal me please... save me!" 
I was alone though there were others in the dream. The path I was on was traveled by me, me talking to Jesus. The path was fraught with many obstacles. The only way I made it, or got to where I was headed, was alone, by myself accompanied by what I can only describe as this constant conversation with someone...
At the beginning of the dream the Gate at a distant looked so far away that it was tiny. So small to the eye you could barely see it but I knew it was there the whole time. It was the direction I was headed, even pulled towards, though at times it seemed out of sight, even hidden. It was an arduous journey and all who were headed there were battle worn and scarred. 
The closer I got to The Gate the narrower the path got. The path became so small that I had to put one foot in front of the other as I held on for dear life. It was like going around the side of a mountain where one misstep and you plunge to your death. It required incredible balance. Things kept getting thrown in my path and I almost went off the edge several times but somehow I was saved... somehow I was spared. 
There were times I could see the face of who it was I was talking to, sort of like the mysterious appearances of the face of the Cheshire Cat in Alice Through The Looking Glass! But I had a deep knowing of Who it was I was speaking with. 
Ultimately I found myself at a short distance and within reach of The Gate. I crawled on my hands and knees towards The Gate, struggling as I almost dragged myself to the entrance. 
The Gate that seemed so small was now massive and strikingly beautiful and greatly protected. I was weeping as I struggled but suddenly, with one final push, I fell through its Great Doors.
The minute I was in and on the other side I stood to my feet. I looked behind me and there were others coming through The Gate as well. Suddenly there were many of us all standing in this wide-open space. Not one of us could remember anything about where we had been prior to going through The Gate. All of us stood in awe marveling at the beauty of this place that we strangely knew as though we had always been there. And peace rained down on my face.



© 2017 Steven Bliss

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

WHAT SENSE DOES NO SENSE MAKE?

          In a perfect world, whatever that is, there would be no need to determine what behaviors are good or bad because if we lived in a perfect world those things would be non-issues as the rule of law would be LOVE. But that’s not world we live in now is it?
Though people talk idealistically and from time to time make serious attempts to aspire to higher thinking and acts of kindness towards others, we are ruled by the drive to feel. For most, feelings are more important than truth. We are propagandized and brainwashed into believing we should think of ourselves: what we need, what makes us happy and the importance of “more” as the priority though we will deny it to a faults. We strive to be our highest selves! But the problem with all that is, as good as it may sound, the higher we go the less caring, less concerned, less involved and ultimately less loving we become. Substituting quantity for quality we have devolved in our perception and dysfunctional in our ability to be intimate. The old saying “if it feels good do it” captures a generation consumed with pleasure and seduced by advertising that says we need more, youth is superior to the wisdom and experience of age, the mirror is our guide, how much we have and how hip we are is everything. We have become like Narcissus who was seduced by his arch-enemy Nemesis into staring at his image in the water until he became so enamored with his reflection that lost his will to live and died. Not we call it SELFIE not realizing what it’s doing to us. We have become a culture of visually sedated zombies that thrive on the delusional, seduced by what we think we need becoming severely addicted to absolute mindlessness. In other words, we are seriously selfish and radically stupid! Year after year, generation after generation we have rebranded ourselves as blind narcissists. Worst of all… we have created God in our own image.
Can someone help me make sense of what sense the nonsensical machinations of the unenviable senseless sensualists makes? A mouthful huh? But it’s a very pertinent question to ask of a clueless culture. All we like sheep have lost our way. We’ve become lovers of SELF and money. It’s ok to be arrogant and proud. We scoff at and mock God. Children are radically disobedient to their parents and are rebelliously ungrateful. Nothing is sacred. We are unloving, unforgiving and we heartlessly slander each other at the drop of a hat. There is no self-control. We have become a culture of the cruel; oppressive bully’s and haters of what is good. We are so self absorbed that we think good is evil and evil is the new good! Loyalty? Out the window! Betrayal is easy whether it’s family, our friends, our spouses, and our employers. Our conscience has been unplugged. We are reckless and arrogant. We encourage boasting and self-promotion. We love pleasure more anything… even more than God. We can act religious but it ends there because we either deny or reject the very power that could make us whole. We live in a world called ME!
You know the interesting thing about what I just said? It is verbatim a direct quote from a book that is 2000 years old. The interesting thing is the words that precede that 2000 year old statement. It all hangs on this… “Mark my words Timothy; in the last days, PERILOUS TIMES WILL COME...” Though this warning seems harsh and far-fetched, it is a pinpoint accurate definition of what will take place in the last moments of time; which will be like no other just before the end of all things. We’re not getting better friends, we are drastically worse. Our views are skewed, our ability to discern almost nonexistent, and our sensitivity, NUMB. We are deaf, dumb and blind though we imagine we hear; we think we are smarter and our vision irreversibly impaired.
Tragically, we don’t realize just how bad it actually is. After all, who wants to hear or know negative things, right? We just want positive. We like safe zones. It’s so funny how we decry the evils of humanity for abusing humans, animals, the environment, a person’s right to sexual preference; yet the whole time we are clueless about the unseen world that drives the beast of our self indulgence. We are deaf to the whispers of those voices from the dark that incite our minds and enslave our souls. We are bewilderingly ignorant to the objectives of a militant malevolent being who hates the very air we breathe and does all within his power to pollute our minds and keep the truth of who he is and who we really are far from our sight. Especially those who are supposed to understand; know their position and wield a power so radical it can cut through all he does and demand his unfeigned obedience. Amazing! Those who are supposed to don’t really know who they are or the power they possess thereby allowing him to mercilessly punish the masses.
Remember that great scene in the Wizard of Oz where Dorothy, the Tin Man, Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion are all in the great hall of the Emerald City before the Great and Terrible Oz, shaking in their boots? He had them trembling with fear and bowing before him. Suddenly Dorothy’s little dog Toto runs into a strange little booth were a curtain hides this ordinary man rattling throttles and making balls of fire rise to the ceiling where a large screen projects a fierce and ominous face which, as we come to find out, is the exact opposite of the man behind the curtain. Once the old side show magician realizes what Toto has done he attempts to pull the curtain back and hide himself and his powerlessness. He announces to the terrified four who have suddenly taken notice of what Toto has done, “PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN” in a thunderous voice and dramatic display. The jig is up. The beauty of this little moment in the movie is that they realize they have been duped. There is no great and powerful Oz. They are no longer fooled. The result: they find out that they actually had the power all along to change things.
How blind are you? How gullible? Can you hear something and know whether what you are hearing is the truth or a lie? Can you discern? What about love? Do you find it on EHarmony, Match.com, or even worse, Tinder? What is your God? That’s right I said what, not who. Is it food, television, money, sex, drugs, things, a person, status? We are upside down folks. Evil is good and good, evil. The truth is now a lie and even worse; we make absurd statements like “whatever your truth is” as if there are no absolutes, no conclusions. Whatever you want to believe is OK! Even our religion is dry and stale like an old piece of bread that has been left out on the counter for months. Our wineskins are cracked and brittle. Our wine has turned to vinegar and spilled out on the ground. We try to put new wine in old skins, which can no longer expand only to burst, destroying the new wine completely.
What sense does it make to call what we are doing “life” when we are like lemmings jumping off the cliff in pursuit of what we imagine will please us. How long will it please us? Death has unusual timing. It shows up when we least expect it. No one leaves this planet alive. We are an insatiable lot. We can never get enough. There is always something bigger, better, more, more, more! What sense does it make to surrender? After all only quitters do that. What sense does it make to believe in a God that can’t be seen or allows such horrible things to happen to people? No sense at all, right? What sense does “you must lose your life in order to find it” mean? These are the exact opposite of everything we are bombarded with from every direction, every day. Right?
The greatest lie ever told is the longest lie ever believed. Call it myth, call it metaphor; but consider this… in the story of Adam and Eve in the book of Genesis is one story that deserves serious attention. In it, a talking serpent (aka fallen Lucifer the archangel who, until man, was God’s greatest creation) suggests to Eve (the first woman created) that she eat from a tree at the center of the garden known as the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Eve responds to the suggestion by repeating what the One who created the garden and the trees (God) had said to her when He instructed her not to eat from the one the serpent was trying to get her to. God told Eve that something bad would happen to her if she did; something she was completely unfamiliar with but that the serpent knew very well… she would die. Little did Eve know that the one who was seducing her had himself partaken of that tree long before. Eve was very special to the Creator and the serpent knew it well. The serpent knew exactly who she was and why she had been created. His response to her recollection of God’s words to her was the greatest lie ever told. Make her blind to who she was! Lucifer himself is a bit of a creator in his own right. His greatest creation is one we all know well and one time or another all do, its called “the lie”. He replied to Eve, “That's not true; you won’t die. God said that because He knows that when you eat it, you will be just like Him”. There is much in this moment that we could talk about, but this is the ultimate deception and the very one that has been passed on person-to-person, generation after generation to every man, woman and child since the original. It’s that God doesn’t want you to be like Him! But the truth is, being like Him is exactly what He wants you to be. In other words, “Look Eve, God just doesn’t want you to enjoy the things that will please you. I mean, after all everything He does pleases Him right? He’s so selfish. Why shouldn’t you enjoy pleasure too, Eve? He’s not telling you the truth. He just wants to scare you. There is no such thing as dying, Eve… I promise!”
Why did Lucifer want Eve to eat? Because he knew well in advance where his own demise was going to come from. Knowing that, he devised a devious plan to deceive and kill the very womb from which his Judge, jury and Executioner would come! He has never stopped seeking to kill what is in the womb that could potentially cause his plans to be thwarted. He hates God and he hates those who are created greater than he was because they were created in the image of God and designed to blot out Lucifer’s memory forever.
Knowing that let me ask you a question. What is abortion? Do you really understand it or its implications? In light of this story, I don’t believe we do because if we did, we would never participate. It is an Orthodox Jewish belief that a piece of the Divine is each human soul. If that is the case, what are we actually killing? Like all choices that are about self, it goes hand in hand with not only the reality of the level of deception humanity grovels under; it causes us to agree with the robber of souls himself. The fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is self-centeredness because it blinds our eyes, closes our ears and causes our minds to believe the lie.
What sense does it make to live for ourselves, gain all the things the world says we need, yet in all actuality God says separate us from Him and ultimately produce not just death here, but one that never ends? No sense whatsoever to me. Yet the hardest thing we will ever do is come to the understanding that what we think is good is not what God says is good.
We are in the world but not of it. Make sense? No! He says that if we love the world and the things of it, we are diametrically opposed to everything that He is and that He calls good. Why? Someone else is ruling this planet. Makes no sense to a rational mind whatsoever. The world is at enmity to God. We can only shove that so far down; usually not past our ME button. The word enmity means the state or feeling of being actively opposed or hostile towards someone or something; in other words, we are enemies with God. And what sense does that make? If you truly believe in God the answer is, none.
If love was the rule of law and the only judge and jury were its attributes, mercy and grace, then the appeal would be for us to choose the only thing that makes sense... life! He who loses his life will find it…
Make sense?


© 2017 Steven Bliss