Cultural Deceptions

I had previously explored the cultural deception revealed through common use of language that would have one think of herself as primarily identifying with the physical self in the physical realm
and the need to think biblically instead of through the lens of cultural deceptions.
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
“May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.”
I think about what it means to be sanctified, and how it occurs. It seems the answer is right here. It is God who does it, through and through. Then we are told how He does it – within one’s spirit, soul, and body- from the innermost to the outermost. And it is done more and more thoroughly and progressively in a manner in accordance with achieving the fullness of God’s work from the point that we receive Christ and surrender each evolving domain of life to the work of the Holy Spirit.
It is God, as the God of Peace, doing it. The process seems to be one that is intended to bring peace, beginning with peace with God in one’s spirit.  God’s omnipresence is made known to us and we become aware of His love and desire for fellowship. One may say yes immediately; one may hold God at a distance or even run from God. Or one may receive the Holy Spirit of God into her own spirit, which, having been created in the image of God, initiates the spiritual transformation toward one becoming all that she was intended by God to be.
Then this second part, as the innermost Spirit-spirit union enlarges through cooperation of a person with God, begins the sanctifying of the soul.  It is accomplished as one grows in understanding of and faith in Jesus Christ who, as the incarnation of God,  bears the fullness of God’s Holy Spirit, and as one continues to pursue knowledge, understanding, and wisdom in her soul by inviting the Holy Spirit to mold one into the likeness of Jesus Christ using Word and Spirit, the sanctifying transformation continues through the renewing of the mind into the increasing likeness of the mind of Christ, subduing one’s emotions to the authority of her mind and will, refining the personality, and sharpening the conscience of the person.  Peace within one’s soul results as one is more and more aware of and attuned with God as revealed in Christ, identifying herself in the manner in which God sees her and becoming at peace with one’s past and present and comfortable in knowing that it is God who guides one into the future.
As that process is advanced, one’s very body becomes a comfortable habitation for the fullness of God. Obedience to God becomes lived out in the thoughts, words, actions, and availability to serve God’s will instead of one’s own desires.  And the resulting change in one’s approach to life gives her the ability to live more peaceably with others.
One’s entire self becomes an increasingly evidenced wholly sanctified ambassador for God in the image of Christ through cooperation with the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit.
As this process began to be evident to me through God’s Word and by its work within me, God spoke to me words of comfort, invitation, caution, instruction, direction, and correction.  He continues to do so with great patience, love, and mercy as I am led to discover more and more of what God desires to do in me and through me.  It is a maturing of discernment and an ever greater refining, molding, and whittling away of what does not conform to and reflect God’s plan and His desire to have His image reflected through me.
Recently, I have revisited how God impressed on my mind one way He shows me things as He instructs my soul. It is the way in which God reveals certain patterns or principles through numbers and the way I am to learn to follow His lead in understanding the patterns and principles.
A child spoke to me and his daddy in an impromptu session of family counseling one day in my office at church about the number 11 being “magic,”  when he observed the numerals on a digital clock at the moment reflecting the time as 11:11, telling us that it is a good omen and if you embrace it and make a wish on it when it appears in your life, you will be rewarded. In his eight-year-old mind, that meant getting money or gifts. I was curious about where he got this understanding.  He said he just knew it and that it is true.  I researched current cultural interpretations of the number 11, knowing that his description did not accurately reflect my understanding of it but that it had to have arisen from somewhere.  I found that 11 is, in fact understood as having a strong influence in one’s life when present and is one of three master numbers, along with 22 and 33.  This, however, is an attempt to use knowledge derived through numerology to interpret and manipulate fate, such as how numerology is used in psychic readings, witchcraft, and astrology.  Sadly, many have gotten caught in false teachings through such means.  Some refer to use of numerology as “angel numbers” and believe they are being led by spirits. The lure of numerology is that if one knows how to read the numbers, all wisdom and, in particular, the future can be known.
That is not how I have been instructed by the Spirit to understand numbers.  Rather, observing them can reveal patterns in the positions and relationships that exist between God and mankind and how those positions and  relations change with time and circumstances in the present moment. In a sense, it may be one way  of “observing the signs” for understanding but it is definitely not a means of predicting the future through them.   Actually, it’s a little like quantum physics in that with the awareness of being observed the positions can actually change due to the fact of being observed. So any attempt to characterize through observation of a “snapshot” of the moment and extrapolate to future predictions can be a rapidly changing and slippery slope.
Observing is one thing.  Attempting to gain personally through extrapolating forward for personal knowledge to gain an advantage is an altogether different matter.  The negative influences including one’s own desires within the physical or spiritual realms  may lure one into such dangerous games, fostering delusions, and ultimately controlling such numerological players through deception and manipulation, giving them the idea that they themselves have the power to control events and persons beyond themselves.  It is a tempting lure and it is a lie.
For some background reading, here is one article on cultural interpretation of numbers:
Here’s my further thought on the matter.
“11”  Who’s Your Daddy?
As God has instructed me, what this article calls the “master numbers”, 11, 22, and 33 can have alternative meanings depending on the heart condition of the observer.  For instance, 11 expresses a position and  relationship of two entities to one another.  The 1 in the second position represents a human person, the seeker or observer.  The 1 in the first position may represent either God the Almighty Creator or any idol or other influencer to which the person has moved into a position of trust and dependence on. That “11” relationship represents one’s primary attachment and reveals the desires of her heart. If one is a believer in God and her heart is transparent and authentic before God, in right standing and “pure” in motives and action,  (a result of repentance and forgiveness), the “11” indicates a favorable condition of intimate fellowship with God in which one feels close, secure, loved and protected. Arising from that kind of posture in relation to God “11” is capable of providing a source of joy, peace, blessing, and well-being, even supernatural provision that results from intimacy with God.
If, however, the person represented by the 1 in position two is self-focused, seeking things of the world (wealth, power, fame, stature, etc. ) and ignorant or dismissive of the Divine’s presence and desires for him, it is probable that the entity in position 1 is none other than a person’s own image of his exalted self which is the idol he pursues.
Even worse, if the person represented in the second position has sold out to the things of the world completely, disdains God, and has chosen to pursue a life obsessed with fulfilling every physical realm desire and pleasure, no matter how vile, it is likely that the entity represented in position one is a demonic spiritual being that has the individual under deception that will likely be eventually revealed as oppression.
So, the interpretation of the number “11” that is a snapshot of the moment in light of present circumstances is dependent on the honesty and  desire for righteousness of the person in how one views himself and what one knows and believes and expects of God.  
God bringing an image of “11” before an individual in a moment of seeking inderstanding is like a litmus test, checking the nature of one’s heart and awareness of the entity to which he has attached himself.  Or, as Jesus said to the Pharisees in

John 8:36-47,

“I speak of what I have seen with my Father and you do what you have heard from your father. 39 They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s childrenyou would be doing the works Abraham did,40 but now  you seek to kill mea man who has told you the truth that I heard from GodThis is not what Abraham did.41 You are doing the works your father did.” They said to himqWe were not born of sexual immoralityWe have  one Father—even God.”42 Jesus said to them, If  you were children of God you would love me, for I came from God.  I am here. I came not of my own accordbut he sent me. Why do you not understand what I sayIt is because you cannot bear to hear my word.44  You are of your father the deviland your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truthbecause there is no truth in him. When he lieshe speaks out of his own characterfor he is a liar and the fatherof lies.45 But because I tell the truthyou do not believe me.46 Which one of you convicts me of sinIf I tell the truthwhy do you not believe me?47  Whoever is of God hears the words of GodeThe reason why you do not hear them is that  you are not of God.”

“22”   “Who is Jesus to you?”
This number pairing represents a similar association between a human person in the second position and Jesus Christ in the first position.  Does the person walking with Jesus really know Christ’s true identity, His story, His teaching, and what moving in harmony with Christ requires? Does it result from a commitment to walk humbly with Jesus wherever the path goes?  Or, is it a matter of not recognizing Him when He joins us in our journey and seeing Him as simply another traveler with the same foibles and challenges we have. Or more sinisterly, is He seen as simply another along the road from whom one can gain advantage and use to get their own desires or needs met?
So, again, the interpretation of the number “22” that is a snapshot of the moment in light of present circumstances is dependent on the honesty and  desire for  righteousness of the person in how one views himself and what one knows and believes and expects of Jesus Christ. Or, as Christ asked Peter and the other disciples at Caesarea Philippi, “Who do you say that I am?”  God in Christ knows, but God also wants us to be self-aware and thoroughly sure of whose we are and with whom we walk.
“33”  “Is your conscience its own guide or is it guided by the abiding Holy Spirit?”
Lastly, in dealing with interpreting the presence of “33” in a particular set of circumstances, the second position 3 is defined by the spirit of the human person, how walled off or open and hospitable one’s spirit is.  The spirit to which a person is attached, in position one,  may be one of three spirits…. the Holy Spirit of God received by grace through faith in Jesus Christ or it may be the image of one’s self as inherently good and therefore worthy of one’s own worship and adoration, or it may be a deceptive spirit offering a person what the spirit believes will secure the person to itself and move the person toward dependence on and worship of the Deceiver.
What one brings of oneself to a relationship in the spiritual realm and what is known about, expected from and believed about the other party to the relationship determines whether the snapshot of that moment in present circumstances will reveal joy and blessing or hardship and woes.
An excerpt from:
Cultivating Attentiveness to God’s Presence

“God is in our midst and we are often unaware of His presence. In the first article of this series, (4 articles by this author), I presented a biblical foundation for growing in intimacy with God. Scripture reveals God’s deep desire to be in fellowship with us and the hunger of the human soul for a relationship with Him. God always takes the initiative by His grace and seeks to draw us back into a personal friendship. Central to this relationship is understanding the dynamics of knowing God. Since God has already revealed Himself to us, we need to be alert to recognize that God is indeed present and active in our world today.

And yet our language can distort the process of perceiving Him. Sometimes people make statements such as “God really showed up in worship today.” Or, when God appears to be absent, “If we pray harder, maybe the Holy Spirit will show up.” I think I know what they mean, but I am concerned that this communicates an unhealthy theology.

This language fails to grasp the central truth of God’s omnipresence. It more resembles Elijah’s experience on Mount Carmel with the prophets of Baal. After their initial failed efforts, including shouting to Baal, “Elijah began to taunt them. ‘Shout louder!’ he said. ‘Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened’” (1 Kgs. 18:27).

This unbiblical view is too common among many believers today. God’s presence is not something we create by our efforts. It is always God’s gift to us totally independent of what we do. For, in reality, God is already present; it is we who need to be awakened to God’s presence. The biblical truth and resulting comfort that we must remember is that God is always with us.”


A further thought on numbers and fortune telling…..

There are professing Christians who read daily horoscopes for their astrological signs.

Micah 5:12
“I will cut off sorceries from your hand, and you will have fortunetellers no more.”
Galatians 5:20 reminds us that sorcery is among the deeds of the flesh.
Playing around with the occult is not harmless entertainment.  It gives a gateway into the soul by which the devil’s influence may insinuate itself.