Dam Busters

8 01 2012

“So what church denomination do you belong to?” This is a question that floors me every time I am asked it. My brain literally stalls and I cannot speak for lack of an answer. I used to say ‘’pentecostal’’ but deep inside me my heart churned and was not at peace with this answer. For years I did not understand why I felt so uncomfortable when I tried to put God into a neat little package of what I call ‘denomination-ism’. Whatever way I tried to package Him, did not work and I was left perplexed to say the least at my efforts. Another question that is frequently asked is “so what do you believe?” This question reveals the division that exists in different ‘church’s ’and denominations. To cut a long story short, every Christian denomination, whether it be Catholic, Charismatic, Anglican, Pentecostal, Baptist etc etc, has its own ‘’special collection of scriptures’’ that it is founded on. Let me explain, all Christian denominations believe the Bible is true and base their teachings on the Bible. What separates and defines each denomination from each other is their own special collection of scriptures that they teach and preach. A serious word of warning on this point: anyone who compiles their own set of scriptures to suit their needs, is in very dangerous territory spiritually speaking. Using scripture does not make you right, in fact Satan himself used scripture to ‘’tempt’’ Jesus. Satan’s words were, Mat_4:6  …… for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

Just because it is ‘’written’’ it does not give us a blank cheque to use the scriptures to suit our personal agendas. Each Denomination has their special collection of scriptures that makes up their ‘’faith statement’’ which outlines their belief system. These faith statements differ from denomination to denomination and their faith statement is what separates them, and the ironic thing about these faith statements is that all of them are scripturally correct! But more on that at another time.

Man has a habit of wanting to control, which comes from our old nature inherited from Satan. Let’s look at a very simple illustration of a man-made reservoir for instance. Man has been building dams on rivers for centuries in his quest to control water supply and distribution. How it works is a dam wall is constructed which blocks the flow of the river,  forming a dam. The river water rises to the height of the dam wall and then spills over into the original river course. Dams provide a year round water supply but there are also drawbacks involved: Some of these drawbacks are as follows; the water temperature in a dam is higher than that of the river in winter and the reverse is true in summer, and because of this foreign organisms flourish. Bio-diversity is severely affected. Species like the wild salmon cannot migrate up the rivers and spawn due to the high man-made dam walls and other species of fish thrive because of the lack of predatory salmon putting severe pressure on the altered eco-system. Dam water is stagnant and bacterial diseases flourish in the water. This is especially true is tropical areas where disease carriers flourish in the warmer water, like water snails which carry bilharzia. Malaria carrying mosquitoes are hatched in the stagnant dam water, which cannot live in flowing river water. Algae flourish in the warm water and if left unchecked will completely choke up and strangle all the other water plants, releasing poisonous carbon dioxide into the water causing the fish to die. Dams that are not constantly maintained by man, end up being a cesspool and the water becomes undrinkable to animals and humans. Eventually a dam that is built on a river that is not correctly maintained will silt up due to the sediment flowing into it from the river. Water storage capacity is exchanged for silt. Dams hold back useful minerals that would benefit downstream eco-systems.  So much for man wanting to control his environment?

Man’s desire to control his environment by building dams is not limited to the natural world, it is rife in the ‘man-made church’ as well. All denominational-ism basically is, man’s effort to dam up ‘the River flowing from God’s thrown. These ‘’dams’’ are constructed out of a special collection of scriptures’. They build high dam walls using the ‘’written word’’. These denominational dams are man’s ‘feeble way of packaging and marketing God within the context of their denomination.

The  problem with these dams, is just like the man-made dam water becomes toxic to humans, so does the man-made ‘spiritual dam’. Whoever drinks the water in the dam eventually gets sick. Just as a man-made dam is an unnatural environment, so a denomination is an unnatural environment for the believer, and sickness and disease will surely follow.

If we liken believers to wild salmon, and Jesus taught that we would be fishers of men, then we will understand the gravity of denominationalism dams.

This is a very interesting article from Wikipedia in the light of the subject:

“The creation of many dams along the Snake and Columbia Rivers have blocked Salmon access to some of the most pristine habitats available, preventing them for being able to spawn effectively as they would’ve done without the dams being in their way. If the dams were to be removed, this would allow for wild salmon to return to pristine habitats in which they could lay eggs that would more likely hatch and grow into substantial wild salmon and also provide nutrients to the already pristine habitat that will make it an even better salmon breeding area. In 2000, the Oregon Chapter of the American Fisheries Society — representing hundreds of fishery professionals — passed a resolution that “The four lower Snake River dams are a significant threat to the continued existence of remaining Snake River salmon and steelhead stocks; and if society wishes to restore these salmonids to sustainable, fishable levels, a significant portion of the lower Snake River must be returned to a free-flowing condition by breaching the four lower Snake River dams, and this action must happen soon” [13]. It is vital to salmon conservation that the remaining wild salmon be able to spawn in safe, quality habitats so that the populations of salmon can rise again.”

For the Body of Christ who is the true church of God, to be healthy, there has to be a major shift in our thinking of what church is. God is breaking down dam walls which are hindering His flow of Living water from the River of life. The truth is that you can’t package and box the Holy Spirit. You can’t legalize Him into a denominational dam. God cannot be harnessed and led like a dog to serve our own selfish ends!!!

Joh 3:8 KJV  The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

In closing: God cannot be limited to a special collection of scriptures that are packaged together to form a denomination. This is what Jesus spoke to the Jews about – that He is Life. What he was saying in today’s terms is that if they didn’t see Him in the scriptures that they were reading, searching, and quoting, then they were basically wasting their time.

Joh 5:39-40 KJV  Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.  (40)  And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

God sent His Living Word Jesus so that He would live in us, and He is so much more than a special collection of scriptures – He is the River of Living Water in us flowing out of our bellies.

So we enter into a blessedly simple and living relationship; not a relationship with a set of scriptures or a relationship with a man-made ‘’dam’’ called Pentecostalism, or a dam called Catholicism, nor Holiness, Sanctification, not even a dam called perfect love, or anything else, no matter how good it looks or sounds. We are called into relationship with The Lover within us and we love by His love within us! He is the Living Word and the River of Life. Christianity is all about Him, it is knowing the River within us with nothing and no one added.

That is why the Psalmist wrote:

Psa_1:3  And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Emphasis on ‘’river’’ not on an artificial manmade dam.

A prophetic word for us today:

Eze 47:1-23 KJV  Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar.  (2)  Then brought he me out of the way of the gate northward, and led me about the way without unto the utter gate by the way that looketh eastward; and, behold, there ran out waters on the right side.  (3)  And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ankles.  (4)  Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins.  (5)  Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over.  (6)  And he said unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen this? Then he brought me, and caused me to return to the brink of the river.  (7)  Now when I had returned, behold, at the bank of the river were very many trees on the one side and on the other.  (8)  Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed.  (9)  And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh.  (10)  And it shall come to pass, that the fishers shall stand upon it from Engedi even unto Eneglaim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many.  (11)  But the miry places thereof and the marishes thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given to salt.  (12)  And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine. 

Amen


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