mark's new blog space
(The importance of getting it right when you ask the tough questions.)
God I’ve got a difficult subject to discuss with you. People aren’t going to like it.
Welcome to the club. Anyone who tries to hear my voice, I mean hear it so clearly they could run their lives by it – they get in trouble.
Because hearing me that clearly threatens those who don’t.
God even that will get people’s backs up, make them think I’m saying that about myself.
Mark anyone can hear me as clearly as you, clearer if they want. It’s up to them. You’re nothing special in that regard. The other problem with listening to me is that I will tell you things no one’s ever heard before, and before you get too excited, that’s in the bible. I said it to Jeremiah – ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and mighty things that you don’t know anything about.’
That will worry people too God. Actually it will reeaally worry them. Us Christians like to stick with what we already know, we don’t like you saying stuff that doesn’t fit with what we already know.
Yes that’s what you Christians are like. But of course that’s not what the bible teaches. Read Paul’s letters and you’ll see that the things he heard from me were new to him. Although a great authority on scripture, I kept telling him things he knew nothing about.
Ok well I have a subject I need to ask you about God. Christians won’t like it, it’s tabu, they’ll think it’s not something one should ever ask you.
Mark every subject is one that you should ask me. The bible calls me ‘Mighty Counsellor’. So ask your question.
You already know what I’m going to ask God.
Yes, but I still ask Mark, it shows respect, starts a conversation. Remember what I said to Elijah when he ran from Jezebel; “What are you doing here Elijah?” I knew exactly what he was doing there, but I wanted to talk to him at his level.
God can you stop changing the subject, it’s as though you don’t want to discuss this.
Of course I do, but there’s time Mark. I love these conversations. I like poking subjects in the gaps when you take a breath, but fire away, ask your question.
(Smiling to myself) Man, I gotta like you God. OK here’s my question: I heard about a lady who came to hear Miriam and I teach at a church, we taught them how to have a conversation with you, and when she tried hers she thought she heard you say to leave her husband. So she did.
What’s the problem Mark?
GOD!!! You know what the problem is.
Yes of course, it’s a big problem, but I want to see if you know.
Well it’s huge God, I’m guessing her husband’s life has been completely destroyed, he’s probably even considered suicide, and I don’t know if there are any kids, but they’ll be scarred forever too.
God the wife will probably say the kids are happier now there’s no strife in the home, but that’s a cop out, any counsellor can tell you that. Everyone suffers huge damage in a marriage split. And then of course the Christians will say there is no way that you would ever tell someone to leave their husband. It’ll be a big mess. Although I imagine the wife is very happy, she’s out of a hurtful situation and probably telling herself you said she could.
And what do you say Mark?
Well I think it would be rare for you do so, that’s just me. The situation would have to be pretty terrible I think, but I’ve learned it’s dangerous to say “God would never say”…
I learned that years ago when a Pastor’s advisor told me I didn’t hear from God.
What happened to you is common Mark. Write it down. I want it recognised for what it is. It cripples you Christians. You live by rules and assumptions and forget to ask me.
Ok well our church had a big conference and the pastor urged us all to attend. So I planned to go, and as the conference approached I asked you if I should, and you said I should attend the first meeting…
Yes I did.
Ok good, but you said I should spend the rest of that weekend doing other things.
Ok well the pastor’s advisor said that proved I didn’t hear from God. He said the pastor is God’s voice to the church – so if the Pastor says go to conference, then that’s what God is saying, no questions asked.
Yes exactly what God??
Yes you were right to be horrified at such a comment.
Ok so God this lady thought you said to leave her husband – did you…actually no I don’t want to know!
Good. That’s not your place to ask, it’s her place to challenge me, to demand again and again to know whether she heard me right. And the longer she leaves it to do that, the more damage she will do.
But will she want to God?
That’s not your business either Mark. That’s between her and me too.
But God I feel like I need to explain a bit to people about how to hear you on tricky subjects like this. The potential to get it wrong is high if they’re in a marriage that’s hurting them and they feel they can’t go on.
It’s not your place to explain Mark, it’s mine.
Ok, well are you going to??
Here? Like right now??
Right now. Here’s how it works Mark. All those subjects – a woman who’s under pressure to abort her baby, a man who feels unloved by his wife and wants out, a teenager who wants to leave home, an old person who sees no hope and wants to end it all, a woman who thinks she’s gay and thinks I hate her.
No matter how difficult your situation, you can talk to me about it without fear of reprimand, or accusation. Don’t come to me and apologise, come and tell me how you feel. ‘No condemnation to those in Christ Jesus’ does NOT require sinless behaviour. If you’re in me, you’re in me, no matter what you just did or are planning to do. I talked to Cain before and after what he did.
So we just do whatever we like and you don’t mind??
Of course not Mark. I worry for you when you do things that harm you.
Will all those things you just listed harm a person?
Not all of them will harm, but all of them can.
God you’re supposed to be mad as hell about sin and operating a no-tolerance policy toward it. I’m at the top of the cult watch site in NZ because they say Miriam and I are heretics. Their blood boils when they hear the way you seem lenient when you talk to me.
What sort of God would I be if I couldn’t talk to people about those things? What sort of father would I be if I didn’t crouch down at their level, look them in the eye and ask how they were feeling - not tell them off, just put my arm around them and ask how they were feeling?
You Christians won’t let me be like that, you want me to be mad. Some of you even think I’ll send someone to hell if they take their own life. But if one of your kids were in any of those situations, you’d just want to sit with them. Maybe cry with them, maybe offer suggestions.
I wouldn’t be critical??
Not of your own kids no.
But I am of others God. Let’s be honest.
Yes. But with me there are no ‘others’ Mark. Everyone is my kid. So when they are in those situations I’m not that God you all want me to be. I’m not the judge. I’m the servant God.
So God are you saying if a person feels like you say to leave their partner, they should do it?
What then God?
If a woman thinks I’m saying to leave her husband she can just leave - or she can do something else.
What’s that God?
She can challenge me on it. Ask and ask. Like you teach people to do. It’s what the bible says in Matthew 7:7. She needs to test the spirits – what she’s hearing is either my Spirit or the enemy’s and she needs to test that – vigorously. She needs to have the wisdom to realise that the stakes are so high, the potential damage so vicious, that it’s critical she spend the time required to get this right.
She doesn’t have to. She can just fly the coup the moment she thinks I say to do so, or she can test the spirits. Ask, ask and ask again. It depends how serious she is about hearing my voice. Does she want to hear my voice, or is she just looking for an out and ready to jump the moment she thinks she has one?
But what do most do Mark?
Well the moment you say ‘they can’, they run with that. That’s all they wanted from you, permission. They don’t really want to know what you think.
So why would I say ‘they can’?
Because they can, Moses made that clear. And you never force your will on them. So they can, and you’ll tell them that if they ask, but that doesn’t mean you want them to. What you want is a conversation. You want them to ask. You want them to say “Yes, but shall I God?”
What did you do when Miriam left and you thought I said she’d be back?
I asked again and again to make sure.
About twice an hour. Sorry but I did.
No sorries Mark, I loved it. You know that already.
Ok so that’s about 32 times a day God. And I did it for five years before she came back, which is 58,400 times. It was a serious situation God, I wanted to be sure I’d heard you, it would hurt too many people if I got it wrong.
I wrote down the question and wrote back your answer in faith every time, and I could never get you to say anything else but that she would come back. It was driving me mad.
What else did I say?
That our separation was my doing and that I needed a whole lot of time to change and Miriam needed a whole bunch of time to heal from the damage I had done to her.
Mark the woman who thinks I say to leave, and the husband whose life is destroyed when she does, both need to hear this conversation you’re having with me. In a situation like this everyone is to blame. They both need to accept that.
Ok well the other thing you told me was that Miriam would come back, but that you weren’t going to make her.
How did you know for sure I had said those things Mark?
Well at first I wasn’t sure.
So how did you get sure?
I asked. Again and again and again. And then all over again. Eventually I realised that either I was totally deceived or you really had said that.
How long did that take?
Maybe the first three years God, of asking at least 32 times a day, probably more. And also, because the subject was such a biggie, I showed my conversations with you to others and asked their opinion. I wanted to hear you clearly on the subject.
So God are you saying that someone who thinks you’re saying to leave their husband or wife should ask you 36 times a day for three years?
No. I’m saying they should ask me until they could look me in the eye and say they are confident I am saying to do it, even with the damage their choice will do.
There aren’t any rules Mark. But if you wanted to make a rule for yourself it would be listen to me. If you want to live your life listening to me you’d better be prepared to ask and ask and ask until you know what I’ve said. Otherwise you should just get on with normal Christianity and only hear me from time to time in nudges and impressions.
I’m going to make you wince and whimper and wish I was never born.
Ok so God tell me what you want to say to me right now?
Mark I’ve had enough of religion too.
Ok but God I’m just totally fed up with it.
Yes. Me too.
Yeah but God you’re not listening! I just want to have a vent. I don’t want an official, nice-enough-to-publish conversation with you about it. I’ve had enough God!! I want to tell you what I think about these mealymouthed, anal, nitpicking religious types.
They spend their lives ranting about their rule-bound, scripture-only-focused Christianity to other people’s audiences because they don’t have their own. Their message is so lifeless and boring that no one wants to listen to them; so they come and annoy the thousands of people I’m talking to.
God what’s with that?? I just plain don’t get it. The thing that really makes me shake my head is that so many of them are young. When we were that age, we had a bit more life, we understood the excitement of a relationship with you, not with the bible. That’s what their relationship is with, it’s the blimmen bible. Sorry God, I know it’s your word and all, but it’s not supposed to take the place of hearing you direct.
Don’t be sorry Mark. Remember Satan quoted scripture at me.
Well God it used to be much older people, but just as lifeless as this new younger group of religious gripers – they’d stand up in church, and read from the bible and then look all pious and say rubbish like, “May God bless the reading of his most holy word.” For goodness sake, no wonder the un-churched can’t relate to us. Actually come to think of it, I think I said something stupid like that myself once after I read out loud from the bible. But I got over it quickly when I realised how religious it all was.
When we were young, thousands of us, actually millions on millions of us stood up and said “ENOUGH!!”, “Enough of your religion”, we demanded that God speak to us direct, and you were to comply. You welcomed it!! We refused to buy into Religion’s lie that we needed to spend half our lives reading our bibles and quoting verses.
And yet the crazy thing was that at the same time, we read our bibles probably more than the stuffed shirts whose religion we were rebelling against. Of course the bible is your word, but you’re not bound by it in relationship any more than a human can only speak to his friends through txting.
But now all these kids, our children’s generation, are acting like a whole bunch of pre-Charasmatics, like hell-bent lunatics, an apt description in this case, hell-bent on blocking their own and everyone else’s ears to what your Spirit is saying. They leave me speechless as they chant out their boring mantras.
They say stuff like, “To read, to study, to meditate upon the words of the Bible, prayerfully, intentionally, faithfully and humbly, is to enter into the most wonderful conversation with the Living God.” Spare me God!! The intention is good, but us humans don’t talk like that, Religious Automatons might, but real people don’t.
They pretend a conversation with you, but what they’re doing is reading the bible, remembering popular interpretation, and pretending that it’s direct revelation from you. They’re not demanding to hear you speak direct to their spirits.
They’re too scared they might get it wrong. They have no vision to know what you’re thinking and so they rail against anyone with the courage to do so. They’re leading themselves and so many others to darkness. It gets my goat God!!! I’m serious, I’ve had enough of them I really have. Our generation wouldn’t have put up with them.
And God the thing that really ticks me off is that their own knowledge of scripture is so sadly lacking. They trot out their popular understanding of scripture and pretend they’ve heard it as direct revelation when clearly they haven’t.
I have a young mate who’s seriously seeking more contact with you, but he is left dismayed at the rule-bound dementia these people, mostly young like him, display. I’m not sure whether I’m madder at the youngsters who should have the balls to demand more than their ‘bible book club Christianity’, as my friend calls it, or those few older Zeds Zeds who lead them astray.
They go on and on about checking everything with the bible, and they seem to miss that I probably have a better command of scripture than they do. Yes you speak through scripture. You always have and I’m guessing you always will. But what about the people who have no scripture and yet still hear you.
How come those religious busybodies don’t get excited when they hear those stories? How come they don’t think “Wow, God speaks even without the bible”? It just makes me shake my head God, I think they’re so bible-mad that if you turned up in person and were speaking down on the beach at Mission Bay that they’d prefer to stay at home and read their bibles in case you said something on the beach that didn’t fit with their knowledge of scripture.
And I would Mark.
Would what God?
Say things that disagreed with their narrow view of scripture.
God that’s not nice, they and plenty of the normal not so religious Christians will think I made that up, they’ll think I’m putting words in your mouth, suggesting that you think those religious ones, those nitpicking ones who are always griping about my conversations have a narrow view of scripture.
They have such a warped, over-zealous view of scripture, that such a comment will hit them right where it hurts God. So although I like the idea of hitting them there because they’re starting to tick me off, that still doesn’t seem very nice God. It’s one thing for me to want take a swipe at them, but naughty to suggest that you do.
You’re not suggesting anything Mark. I am. And they’re not the only ones with a pitifully narrow view of scripture, you all have that. You Christians have an increasingly narrow view of scripture. You don’t have any real idea what it means, you just quote the well known verses and satisfy yourselves with the popular understanding of what they mean.
Ok. Yes you’re probably right God.
Very right Mark. You are personally friends with four doctors of theology, experts, far more expert than your nitpickers as you call them. And yet each of your friends, experts, doctors in scripture, admit that their views are way too narrow.
Oh man God!!! I like my expert mates, those doctors of theology and divinity buddies. They’re brainy and inspiring people. They know how to think, not like these predictably, boringly religious types I’m telling you off about.
Yes. I like them too. A lot. Mark they themselves admit that their views are narrow. That’s part of what drives their study. They know they’re only just getting started, which is why they don’t grandstand and tout their knowledge like the people you’re up against. They’re too busy trying to learn more.022
Okaaay. What’s your point God. I want to just vent, grumble, tell you I’m ticked off with these people who grizzle, who want to grandstand on my facebook page, and annoy my readers with their nasty narrow minded comments about how you’re not really God, because you don’t say what they think the bible says you say.
Because I’m annoyed, just want to ‘have a go’ I guess.
It’s more than that Mark.
What do you mean?
You’re perplexed. Unsure.
You know about what. You can’t figure out how these young people are so religious in their view of me.
Yeah, what’s with that God??? When we were kids, there was a whole generation of us encouraged by people like Loren Cunningham of YWAM, the Garratts of Scripture in Song, Winkie Pratney, Larry Norman, Keith Green, Barry McGuire. They did so much to encourage millions of us to discover that we could hear you. Just hear you. And now here are all these kids, our children’s generation, convinced they can only hear you if they read the bible. What on earth is that about???
And those who acknowledge it’s possible to hear you direct, still have to check everything that anyone, me included, hears from you against scripture. That’s a great idea, but without your Spirit to teach them they misconstrue scripture. And most of them don’t know enough of it anyway. They don’t realise that what they think scripture means is not necessarily what it means at all. They seem to have missed the idea that anything written down needs to be interpreted, and interpretations differ. These Zed Zeds and others mischievous busybodies are pretending to 'disciple' these well meaning youngsters, but are actually destroying what a generation of your greats did to set people free from Religion.
As I have often said Mark, Religion is the most powerful demonic force. It masquerades as truth while leading so many down to misery in my name.
I’m not a flirt, or a show off, I want relationship, not compulsive adoration.
God I don’t know any more if I hear you when you say stuff about my business. I was sure you said that new client was going to come on board, but they haven’t. Not yet anyway.
Is not yet, not good enough Mark?
Well no, I guess it’s not. I thought you said it was going to happen this week, so now I feel like I got the whole thing wrong.
Actually you got part of the thing right, it is going to happen.
But not this week?
Not for a while.
Sounds like a cop out God. It’s easy for me to relax when you say that, but how do I know it will happen, if it doesn’t happen straight away?
How do you know it will happen when a human promises you something?
Depends on how reliable I’ve found them to be God.
Mark you understand that things don’t happen overnight when a human promises them. You don’t evaluate the truth of what they’ve said based on how quickly the thing happens – if you think they’re reliable you’re prepared to trust what they said said will come to pass.
So are you having issues with how reliable you think I am Mark?
Oh man God!! I guess this more about trusting you like a good Christian should? What does that even mean?
No. Making a choice to trust someone, a human or me, is a different matter – related, but different. What I’m talking about is how reliable you’ve found that someone, a human or me, to be. I’m not asking ‘will you trust me’, but rather ‘have you found me to be trustworthy?’
So how reliable have you found me to be Mark? I’m not asking you to trust something you don’t know about, you and I have had a fair amount of dealings, done a lot of the down and dirty aspects of life together. I don’t want to know if you will trust me Mark, I can see you’re trying. I’m just asking a plain old question; how reliable have you found me to be?
Pretty good God.
Well you said that my son would be cured of Leukaemia, and years later you said my baby daughter would live even though she was dying a number of times every day, and then you told me my wife would come back when she left me.
And OK everything you said would happen did. It took 14 years for the picture you gave me about my daughter to come to pass, and five years before my wife came back, and two years before the doctors said my son was out of danger, but ok, yes it happened. So yes, I guess you’re reliable.
Good, glad to hear it Mark (smile). So if you’ve been wondering whether you can hear me talk about your business, wondering if you get that stuff wrong, what sort of things do you think you can hear me about?
I don’t actually know anymore God. It makes me doubt everything when you say something, then it doesn’t seem to happen. And then to make it even more confusing, I think I heard you say yesterday that when listening to you, words like ‘will be’, can be mistaken for ‘can be’, or ‘has been’?
You think Mark?
Well ok, I’m pretty sure you said that.
Yes. I’ll explain. Words can be mistaken when talking to anyone. How often do you get the wrong impression when talking to a human? It makes you want to stop talking to them, but most of the time you have no real choice, you have to keep talking to them. With me it’s different, I am the easiest friend to shut down on, I’ve designed it that way. You can easily send me away, easily drop and forget me
Feeling bad God.
Don’t. I’ve designed it that way. It has to be easy to block me out, otherwise we couldn’t have a relationship.
What God? I don’t understand that.
Yes you do. The only reason we can have a proper sort of relationship, a friendship, not a ‘mighty God with overawed human’ religious sort of relationship, is that I don’t make myself overpoweringly obvious.
Okaaaay. Just thinking that through God.
Good. Do. Mark, you can’t have a friendship sort of relationship when the other person is overpowering. If Bob Dylan phoned you up and said he just wanted to be your mate you’d find it difficult. You’d be so overwhelmed if that happened that you’d not be able to relate to him like one of your real friends. Bob would have to ‘make himself small and un-Dylanish’. If Bob wanted to have a proper friendship with you, he’d have to disguise himself as someone else. It’s the same for me – I have to hide a lot of myself, disguise it. If you could see me in all my glory you wouldn’t have a chance of shutting down on me.
Sometimes I think that would be good God.
Actually it wouldn’t. You’d be an adoring fan, not a friend – a slave, not a buddy. You think it’s my Holy Spirit reminding you of my glory, it has to be right? But actually no. When my Spirit gets involved I come as an illegitimate baby in a stinky barn. When the Spirit gets involved you’ll always find me ‘making myself a little lower than the angels’, washing feet, arriving on a donkey. I’m not invisible because of your sin Mark, I’m invisible because I’m invisible.
God hang on! There are too many big concepts here, all coming at me at once.
You’re understanding them all Mark. Don’t panic. Here’s what I’m saying; Satan reminds you of my power and glory, my overwhelmingness and you think it has to be me saying those things, surely Satan wouldn’t?? But yes he would. Having scared you a bit with my tremendousness, a tremendousness that I hide from you – argue with that if you want Mark - but it’s obvious in nature and in scripture. I HIDE MYSELF! I don’t run around making a big show of myself. Almost never.
Alright true enough God, carry on.
Ok so having given you a warped picture of me as God the wonderfully, overwhelmingly glorious and mighty one, and told you that you are unworthy, just a worm and oh so lucky to be forgiven by me, Satan then plants thoughts you think are your own, like ‘why don’t you show yourself God??’ He does that because it is completely contrary to my nature. That’s what a lie is like. Contrary. He paints me as tremendous, glorious, ever-powerful, and of course I am all that, but I am invisible to the human eye, clearly visible to the spirit, but not to the eye. Always hiding myself (in plain sight) on purpose.
On purpose God?
On purpose. I’m like a woman. Wonderful. Mysterious, ever-powerfully able to change so much in your life. But a true woman hides all that, you have to find it, search for it. Prostitution and pornography is the overt display of that which is meant to be uncovered by a true lover, not displayed to all.
Satan prostitutes my glory, pretends I want to display it like some mad cosmic flirt. He lies. I keep my power hidden so that it is only seen by those who want to see it. Why? Is it yet another of Christianity’s tests? No, that again is a lie of his about my nature. I hide myself so as not to overwhelm you, so as to allow a relationship. You can’t have a relationship with a prostitute, everything hidden is too much on display. There’s no pursuit, no unfolding, no discovery, it’s all there already. It’s no different with me. I want you to discover, unfold, get to know me. I have no interest in bowling you flat with my glory. I’m not a flirt, a show off, a prostitute, I want relationship, not compulsive adoration.
My marriage came crashing down and me with it. The devastation began sinking in and me with it. Nothing I knew was the same anymore. It was horrible and I was terrified. I threw my pride to the wind and screamed (literally) to God.