Have you been ever been programmed? Hey, isn’t that something cults do? Are Christians programmed? I say we are, more than we realize.
Personal experience example:
- Pastor says, “God is good.”
- Congregational rote response, “All the time God is good.”
- In some churches there will even be applause after these statements. Like a ‘yay God’ additional rote response.
Now these are true statements, and there can be sincerity in the interaction. However, there is a problem.
How many of those in their programmed response really believe those words?
If the majority of Christians could be honest, they would hesitatingly and fearfully share their belief that, God is NOT so good all the time. In fact, they would say, He can be mean, demanding, and even heartless.
The result of such scary honesty – guilt and condemnation. God doesn’t bring this on. Religion does. Programmed religion does.
Can “God is good” become trite? You bet. Rote has a way of making things lack luster, even annoying. It’s kind of like “Polly wants a cracker. Polly wants a cracker. Polly wants a cracker.” Polly was programmed. We would do well to pause and consider where else in our Christianity have we been programmed.
God does not want parrots, He wants reflections.
The Lord is not programmed in His responses toward us – they are fresh, genuine, and new every morning. How do we reflect that?
First, get free from ‘programmed’ Christianity and churchianity! ‘Stop going through the motions, stop following the crowd. “Programmed’ sucks the joy right of you. Opt for fresh and new every day in your relationship with Him.
Startled by fireworks
In the spirit, I was startled to see fireworks. They were “wow!” visions from the Lord. Now I am fully grasping what He was showing me, after several years. The one true God is like fireworks going off all the time!
Those fireworks are all about us!
He lights up every time He thinks about
each one of us.
Remember, David said His thoughts towards us are more numerous than the sand.(Ps 139:17-18) Now that is a lot of thoughts and that means a lot of fireworks!
Fireworks are fun and celebratory. I’ve seen them bring bright-eyed joy and smiles to my grandchildren. Shoot, I’ve even seen that happen with adults. Fireworks are hugely spontaneous because when they are lit we don’t know exactly when they are going off. Also, fireworks can be used to make a big statement about something.
God has a big statement to make about us – fun, spontaneous, and celebratory! There is absolutely no dull rote stuff going on with Him in how He feels about us. With absolute confidence I can declare – God’s fireworks over us explode with joy!
“The Lord your God is in your midst, The Mighty One , will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephania 3:17)
Okay, I know, there is no reference to fireworks in Zephania. Go figure, they didn’t have them back then.
But let’s check out a few Hebrew meanings in this passage to see if there are any hints of symbolic fireworks.
First, where is this happening?
- …in your midst (Heb. qereb – inward part, in the middle)
Secondly, what is God doing in you?
- The Mighty One, will save (Heb. ‘yasha’ – deliver, endow, gain the victory, help, preserve, keep safe)
- He will rejoice over you (Heb. ‘sus’ – delight, delighted, exult, glad, rejoice greatly)
- with gladness (Heb. ‘simchah’ -delight, exceeding joy, festival, gladness, happiness, joy, mirth, pleasure, rejoicing)
- He will quiet you with His love (Heb. charash – silent, speechless, rest, engrave)
- He will rejoice over you (Heb. gil – cry, exult, glad, rejoices, joy)
- with singing – (Heb. rinnah – cry, joy, joyful shouting, joyful singing, shouts of joy, shrieks of joy)
Here is my elaborated translation of Zeph 3:17 –
The Mighty Warrior, God, inside you, is exulting and rejoicing greatly with delight, gladness, mirth, pleasure, and happiness. He is speechless with love for you, and has engraved His love in you. He exults, rejoices, cries out with joyful singing, joyful shouting, and shrieks of joy in and over you!
Sure looks like something spontaneous, sparkly, vivid, expressive, celebratory, and colorful. Seriously fun fireworks of joy over you!
By the way, would any mighty warrior look so foolish or even have such effusive joy? Who is this God?!
Please notice these key things about His joy over you:
- no time limits to it
- no preconditions to be met
- no maintenance required on your part
- no restrictions on His quantity or quality
- no special location needed
May He grace us with the revelation of His joy over us. Then we can really start indulging in His joy. He sure wants us to do that. He wants us free of the lies and misunderstanding where we think He is mean, demanding, or heartless.
Get it! His joy is contagious!
- Ask God to deprogram you from all the rote stuff in religion. He doesn’t program anyone. He wants us being His little spontaneous fireworks of joy. My, what a display of fullness!
- You will know when your “God is good” statement is no longer trite or rote. Those words will burst forth with inner and outer expressions of wondrous joy and delight.
- Can you imagine, when we get this revelation of His joy over ALL mankind – a big facet of the true Gospel – how we would each shriek out with joy,
God is joyful! All the time God is joyful!