What Do We Mean When We Say We Believe?

The Power of Beliefalaska-eagle-caufgt-fish

Author: Michael Dewar
Executive Director/Dwelling Place Cleansing

The word “believe” could be a very tricky word; lately, it is creating a lot of confusion for some in the public square, government, and the media. So, I decided to take a look at it with the following three use of the word believe:

Hi John, are you going to the concert this Saturday? John gives his answer, “I believe so.” Regardless of his facial expression, this colloquial use of the word expresses uncertainty. John is not quite sure that he will attend the Saturday concert. If he had a strong sense of certainty, he would have used others words like, most definitely! Or, without question!

I believe in Jesus and He forgave me of my sins. Here believe presupposes three things: Knowledge about Jesus, accent or agreement that He is able to forgive, and appropriation (that is personally accepting Him as Savior, so He could do the forgiving). To do all this a person must accept the historical fact of His Virgin Birth, His death, and His resurrection. Upon these foundational truths rooted in factual, historical evidence, people say–you are a believer.

I believe five million undocumented persons voted illegally in the recent election. In this context believe is a notion in my head that has to be substantiated by quantifiable, factual evidence outside of my head. Let me illustrate with the following experience:

I did one year internship (Social Work) in a major psychiatric hospital in Queens, New York. On the first day, I was told to present my credentials to the resident psychiatrist; he supposed to be somewhere on the ward. The first man I saw with a white coat and a stethoscope around his neck I presumed to be the doctor. As I was getting ready to talk to him, a nurse came out and said, “Not him! He is a patient.” He just believes he is a doctor. Later, another patient told we with much conviction that she was the Virgin Mary. She believed that she was. The fact is, the man was not a doctor and the woman was neither Mary or a virgin (she had children). Even faith requires evidence (Heb. 11:1).

We cannot take what is in a person’s head as truth unless we have factual, historical data that is quantifiable. It does not matter whose head the belief finds residence in. I am beginning to think that a psychiatric evaluation should be part of the requirement to run for public office.

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MAKE 2017 A YEAR OF PEACE AND CELEBRATION

Lifestyles

Michael Dewar, author
Director/Dwelling Place Cleansing 

A Time to Celebrate

The wise King Solomon reminds us that there is a time and a season for everything, and we have the power to bring that season about (Eccl. 3:1-8). Christmas and the New Year are times of peace and joyful celebration. Christmas is the season when the Creator of the Universe clothed Himself in a human body as the Prince of peace, and pitched His tent among us as our Savior and Lord (John 1:14). According to Luke (2:8-20), His first crib was the feeding trough in a manger. That’s certainly not the red carpet welcome.

Most of us would prefer being born at the downtown Cosmopolitan Hospital, rather than a manger under the curious gaze of sheep and donkeys. These animals were no doubt wondering, what in the world was going on! The manger is a birthplace we would rather keep quiet about. Middle school and high school friends could be mighty cruel had they gotten wind of it. Our little secret would be all over social media. But in spite of such lowly birth, the baby grew up to change the world and divide history into BC and AD.

We may not be proud of our grand entrance into this world, but we are not to be blamed for that, nor should we allow it to rob us of the joys of life. Perhaps, our parents did the best with the cards they were dealt, so don’t be too quick to fault them either. The manger story tells us we can overcome the circumstances of our birth and make good of  life.

Celebrate Life

Life is a gift to celebrate, even if all you can afford is one cupcake and a mini candle. It is your attitude that the divine looks at. Trust me, celebration of life is better than being bitter and angry. Celebration not only generates endorphin in your body, making you feel better, it will turn things around beyond your wildest dream. It is the kind of thing heaven takes notice of and rewards.

Every people group on earth has at least one event that they celebrate each year. In ancient Israel, the Jews had seven feasts they celebrated each year; just about all seven feasts were divinely appointed. They were directed to celebrate joyfully before the Lord. That says, a lot about God. He is not this mean, sad, bearded, old man who is read to get you for stepping out of line. He likes a good party! May be that’s why the first miracle Jesus did was at a wedding feast, where he turned water into wine and kept the celebration going (John 2:1-11). He was fun to be around. Religious folks didn’t care much for Him and the feeling was mutual. They thought He celebrated too much, that He hang out with the wrong crowd. They called Him a glutton and a wine lover.

In spite of what the Jews have suffered throughout their history, they still celebrate most of the ancient feasts today. They take time for meaningful celebration. They work hard, they celebrate before God, and they prosper. Rather than hating them, perhaps, there is something other people groups can learn from them. And don’t forget that Mary and Joseph were Jewish, and the Son that was born in a manger grew up to become the Master Teacher, a rabbi.

Add A New Celebration

Beyond work for peace, I want to invite you to do something different at your house with your family in 2017.  Add a new celebration to your calendar. Lets call it, my dwelling place anniversary celebration. Do it and watch things turn around for you and your family for the better. Conduct this celebration anytime in 2017 but before December. My reasons and instructions for this new celebration is in the book, Dwelling Place Spiritual Cleansing. Get it here or Amazon or Barns and Noble.

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A BREACH OF SECURITY

“Except the LORD keeps the city, the watchman wakes but in vain.” – Psalm 127:1

twin-towers

Every tragedy has a spiritual side to it, 9/11 is no exception. It was a breach of security in the most powerful nation on earth.  Supersonic F-15 fighter-jets were scrambled, but in vain. The towers fell, lives were lost, and lessons learned, I hope. The tragedies that took place on that fateful day were pure evil, yet much good happened on that day. The heroic actions of first responders, firefighter, police officer, EMS workers, and ordinary people helping each other in extraordinary ways. Amidst unspeakable evil, our better angels pushed us beyond the call duty to be our brother’s keeper, which in fact is our spiritual duty of “love thy neighbor.”

There are two kinds of spirituality that hold sway in this world: one finds its origin in personified good (God), and the other most often springs out of personified evil. This is true but simplistic, for it does not fully explain the mystery of evil. Some things are evil, but they serve as instruments to bring about the good. This does not mean perpetrator (s) go unpunished. Let me illustrate this point.

Joseph’s eleven brothers were wickedly jealous of him and his dream of leadership over them. They got rid of him by selling him into slavery. They brought his bloody coat home to convince their parents that a ravenous wild beast devoured their son. They had their parents believing the lie for twenty plus years. That’s evil! But God used that act of cruelty to fast track Joseph to Prime Minister over Egypt.

In the end, Joseph saved all Egypt and his own family, including his rascal brothers, from death by starvation. He told them, “You intended to harm me but God intended it for good” (Gen.50:20). Yes, 9/11 was evil with human faces; they intended to harm us, and the nation was a sitting duck in the face of this security breach. Powerful but helpless.

Our schools, our shopping malls, and even our churches have already suffered a breach of security. In as-much-as some families have already suffered home invasion, our homes are still the last security frontier, and we need divine help to keep it safe. Every family should make their stand here. But remember, there are many evils making its assault on home and family: the high divorce rate, drugs and alcohol addiction, pornography, economic deprivation, foreclosure, flood and fire. The threat of evil to home and family is from within as well as from without. Every one of us is capable of being the very agent of evil that destroy our own home and family.

By now you must sense that I am not just talking about life insurance, firearms, and electronic home security, to name a few. These conventional security measures are important, but they can give you a false sense of security. I am talking about a level of security that many people are just too quick to dismiss. But I want to emphasize that there is a spiritual side to all security breach and that includes any assault upon home and family. Even if the assault is foreclosure, wild-fire, or flood, it can be avoided, but only with advanced preparation.

Rabbi Jesus once contrasted the security He provides to that provided by personified evil with these words: “The thief [Satan] comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I [Jesus] have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

Personified evil is Satan. Note that he is call a “thief” who not only wants to steal from you. He wants to kill and destroy you. He wants to take your health, your family, your money, your self-worth and your life on top of it all. He watches for your unguarded hour to move in on you for the kill. But there is someone much stronger than your enemy who wants you to have life and live it to the full. He is the best home and family security for evil cannot breach where He camps out. But you have to intentionally activate this security protection at your house. I have written a book to help you do just that. Get your paperback copy today.

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THANKSGIVING

    To whom then shall we give thanks and for what?

thanksgiving

Author: Michael Dewar
Executive Director/Dwelling Place Cleansing

It is self-evident that “thanksgiving” is a combination of two verbs (the act of “thanks” and the act of “giving”) to form the noun, Thanksgiving (Day). A national day of thanksgiving is a good thing! But to whom do we give thanks? Do we go outside a hug the trees? Or, do we sit in silence on the banks of our favorite river?

For me the question is easy to answer, because I am a firm believer in the transcendent. King David, the second king over ancient Israel and the writer of most of the psalms had the habit of saying, “O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good” (Psalm 107:1). Like David, I make the Lord the person to whom my first act of thanks is directed. Perhaps, some of you will make him the first of your thanksgiving as well.

Throughout this year, out of the clear blue, certain people have gone beyond the call of duty to render unbelievable acts of kindness to me. They are the second target or recipients of my giving of thanks this thanksgiving.

The third people group in the cross-hairs of my thanksgiving are my Facebook friends and my blog site readers. These two groups overlap because several FB friends are also blog site readers. I want to shout, a happy and blessed thanksgiving to all of you! I read your serious stuff and your funny stuff as well. Of course, I don’t always respond to everything I read. I try to make my articles informative and at times funny, I hope you enjoy them.

My fourth and final thanksgiving target group is my family. They have seen me at my best and at my worst throughout this year, so this is a good time to express my gratitude.

But for what do you give thanks?
I hardly believe there is one living person out there that cannot find anything to be thankful for. But just in case there is one, let me help you out a little bit a few starter:
Give thanks for the gift of life.
Give thanks for a reasonable portion of health.
Give thanks for family and friends
Give thanks for the ability to earn your keep.

A happy and blessed Thanksgiving everybody!

 

Beware of Religious Propaganda

prophet

A Post-election Warning

Propaganda is false publicity, misinformation, or false advertisement. People of faith should be forewarned on this matter: all prophecies about Donald Trump being God sent or devil sent should be taken with a tablespoon of salt. His election should not be taken as answer or non-answer to prayer, or be regarded that anyone is a true or false prophet, prognosticator, or astrological soothsayer. Don’t be too quick to embrace or reject any elected political personality as a messianic or anti-messianic figure. Here are three reasons for me taking this position.

1. His election does not prove anyone to be a true or false prophet unless such prophetic utterance was made years ahead of Trump entering the race. When there are two candidates, one must win, so any prophetic utterance would only be fifty percent right. You don’t need a prophet to tell you that one out of two will win. Beware therefore of anyone claiming to be a true prophet by reason of making the right choice. People of faith sometimes could be a little too gullible.

2.The time of the end will produce all kinds of characters, some good and some evil. People of faith are sometimes a little too dependent on miracles. God is not the magician we are trying to make Him out to be. As a result of this popular magic mentality, some people are easily deceived. Our Lord told the religious people of his day who wanted miracles to prove that he was the Messiah that his resurrection would be the only sign (typified by Jonah’s submarine experience). Speaking of the time of the end in which we now live, he warned against religious and political deception (Matt.24:4-12).

I hate saying this, but people of faith are prone to fall quickly for religious deception, especially utterances given by big name, celebrity religious leaders with a wide reach.

3. People of faith have a duty to pray for the ministers of state; they are called ministers of God (Rom.13:1-8). This does not mean they are necessarily inclined to God will. But it is our duty to pray for them, nonetheless. Saint Paul the writer of Romans, was not ignorant about the government leaders of the Roman Empire that persecuted Christians and eventually had him beheaded. Yet, he exhorts us of our Christian duty to pray for those in authority. This is the first vote and third vote that Christians must register with heaven. In other words, pray for guidance before you choose a leader, use that guidance to vote, and whoever wins pray for that person whether he/she is the one you wanted or not.

So, beware of spiritual propaganda, people coming out of the wood-works claiming Trump’s election is a fulfillment their prophetic utterances, and this now prove they are true prophets, and you need to buy their new prophetic merchandise. Be sure they have credibility on a more solid footing with a proven lifestyle far beyond this election outcome.

Author: Michael Dewar
Executive Director/Dwelling Place Cleansing

 

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