The ROCK
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Rock Report by Pastor Paul

This is a blog that comes from my personal devotions each day. It will also include sermons as I have to delete them from the audio section of the website. This blog will also keep you up to date with what is happening at the Rock in Strathroy Ontario 

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                It can’t be both. You can’t have the mind of Christ and participate in mindfulness. Mindfulness has swept the country probably because most Christians have stopped seeking the mind of Christ. I became aware of this trend a few years ago and was astonished how it has infiltrated everywhere, even Christians. I read an article about all the businesses that had made it a part of their plan. I talked with someone who was pushing mindfulness / Buddhism but said God wasn’t something to be talked about. So I started researching. First you have to go back a little to see why mindfulness is so popular at least in the mental health arena. This will show you where this thinking came from and by no means is it new. Its like calling the “new age” new. It has been around for centuries. “Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a specific type of cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy developed in the late 1980s by psychologist Marsha M. Linehan to help better treat borderline personality disorder. Since its development, it has also been used for the treatment of other kinds of mental health disorders.” That may sound all well and fine but who was Marsha Linehan. Marsha M. Linehan (born May 5, 1943) is an American psychologist and author. She is the creator of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), a type of psychotherapy that combines behavioral science with Buddhist concepts like acceptance and mindfulness.” In 1967, while she prayed in a small Catholic chapel in Chicago. She said: “One night I was kneeling in there, looking up at the cross, and the whole place became gold – and suddenly I felt something coming toward me ... It was this shimmering experience, and I just ran back to my room and said, 'I love myself.' It was the first time I remembered talking to myself in the first person. I felt transformed.” (Just a reminder 2 Corinthians 11:14 “And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.) I realized that I had to learn acceptance to teach it to both therapists and patients and I knew I had to teach it. I had a background in Christian contemplative prayer, which also stresses acceptance. So I asked the people I knew in the spiritual direction field who would be a good teacher for me, so I could learn acceptance and then teach it. I had no idea what Zen was at that point. The two names that were sent to me by more than one person were a Catholic priest and a woman Zen master. I asked myself: Which was I, a Catholic or a woman? I went to the woman first for three months, at Shasta Abby (Buddhist monastery), and the Catholic priest second, for three months at a monastery in Germany. The priest, Willigis Jaeger, as it turned out, was also a Zen master.” “Linehan sometimes jokes that she could have named her treatment "Zen Behavior Therapy," but it wouldn't have been a good career move. Instead, she called it Dialectical Behavior Therapy.” Deception from the beginning!
                Some time ago I wrote down some information that I had gathered. “Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is an offspring of cognitive behavior therapy that incorporates Eastern meditative practices. The first of these modules is core mindfulness and, as the name implies, it is the foundation of DBT. Core mindfulness is based in Eastern Zen philosophy.” Here a few pieces of information show you what you are getting into. Here a few pieces of information show you what you are getting into. “Zen Buddhism: The practice of Zen meditation or Zazen is the core of Zen Buddhism: without it, there is no Zen. Zen meditation, is a way of vigilance and self-discovery which is practiced while sitting on a meditation cushion. It is the experience of living from moment to moment, in the here and now. - It is through the practice of Zazen that Gautama got enlightened and became the Buddha. (They say not a religion but they have temples.) - Buddhism is a religion that originated around 2500 years ago and is followed today by approximately 300 million people around the world, mainly in Asian countries. - Originally called the "Middle Way", Buddhism was established by a man named Siddhartha Gautama - later known as the Buddha - after he had a spiritual awakening at the age of 35. - Buddhism is a way of training and developing the mind toward Nirvana, a state of mind giving insight into the true nature of reality. - Buddhism is not a religion based on theism, there is no worship of a God or Gods or deification of the Buddha. Karma is the universal law of causation and is, with Samsara, a fundamental belief in Buddhism. - Zen does not seek to answer subjective questions because these are not important issues for Zen. What really matters is the here and now: not God, not the afterlife, but the present moment and the practice of meditation (zazen). - Moreover, Zen firmly believes that nobody knows the answers to those questions and that they are impossible to answer because of our limited condition. (Obviously not the mind of Christ) Life is a dream, a grand illusion that we perceive through the filter of our personality, our experiences, our ego. This is a great piece of theater in which we do not see all the actors and in which we barely understand the role of those that we see. - Zen gladly accepts the idea that men are only men and nothing more. Man, being what he is, cannot answer life's impossible questions without falling into the trap of illusion. No one knows the answers to the deep questions about life and death. (again not the mind of Christ) - What does Zen think of religions beliefs then? As a great Zen Master once said, "Faith is like painting the walls of your room with mud, then trying to convince yourself that it is beautiful, and it smells good". Faith is an illusion, a dream that we strongly consider real, but that in reality only impoverishes the true spirituality of man. - Religions feel compelled to give answers to everything as a sign of their "great wisdom", but for Zen, not giving any answer at all is actually the great wisdom. - A true religion shows man how to think and not what to think, therefore, we must learn to ask great questions rather than looking for great answers.” I trust you are seeing the danger here.
                Do Buddhist believe in God? by Ven. S. Dhammika  He said “No, we do not. There are several reasons for this. The Buddha, like modern sociologists and psychologists, believed that religious ideas and especially the god idea have their origin in fear. The second reason the Buddha did not believe in a god is because there does not seem to be any evidence to support this idea. The third reason the Buddha did not believe in a god is that the belief is not necessary. Some claim that the belief in a god is necessary in order to explain the origin on the universe. But this is not so. Science has very convincingly explained how the universe came into being without having to introduce the god-idea. Some claim that belief in god is necessary to have a happy, meaningful life. Again we can see that this is not so. Some claim that god is necessary in order to give man salvation. But this argument only holds good if you accept the theological concept of salvation and Buddhists do not accept such a concept. Based on his own experience, the Buddha saw that each human being had the capacity to purify the mind, develop infinite love and compassion and perfect understanding. He shifted attention from the heavens to the heart and encouraged us to find solutions to our problems through self-understanding.”
                So now you have some background. First of all Christianity and Buddhism do not mix; they cannot mix. So therefore mindfulness is really mindlessness because it basically denies God. Psalm 14:1 “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” If this is the case how is this mindlessness supposed to help you? If it is not God guiding you, then it is satan. Mindfulness has swept the nation but don’t take my word for it. Oddly in the last few weeks or so I have seen three articles talking about the downside of mindfulness.
                Here is what one writer said about it. “I first heard the word “mindfulness” about five years ago, and it feels like I haven’t stopped hearing it since. At the time, it seemed like a harmless new trend, even an interesting thought exercise. I considered giving it an honest shot but ultimately decided it wasn’t for me. I’ve never been the meditation type anyway. Somehow in those five years, however, “mindfulness” has taken on an almost cult-like status, becoming nearly inescapable in conversations about mental health and personal well-being, especially within the tech world. As the Buddhist meditation practice has morphed into a billion-dollar industry, it’s become the go-to solution for everything from depression to weight gain. Now I find myself the subject of criticism (at least in certain circles) when I reveal that I don’t think mindfulness is the cure-all it’s been sold as.While mindfulness is very effective for some, it does absolutely nothing for others, and pushing it on them won’t change that.”
                The second writer said, “During the past decade or so, mindfulness meditation has become remarkably popular and has taken our society by storm. It seems to be everywhere! It is taught in preschools, elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, hospitals, health clinics, health spas, posh hotels, most companies, and just about any organization that you can name. And some large companies, such as Aetna, even have a Chief Mindfulness Officer. While mindfulness is a meditative and contemplative practice that I support and even have conducted and published randomized clinical trial research on, there are several important problems with the mindfulness craze. Here are the top three problems that seem the most compelling to me. 1 Mindfulness is oversold, 2. Too many mindfulness researchers, clinicians, and teachers are advocates and not really scientists. 3. Too many people use mindfulness for narcissistic reasons.
                Now speaking of oversold, the third writer called it “McMindfulness.” He talks about how capitalism has captured the mindfulness industry. “While the term McMindfulness had been used before, Ron Purser’s and David Loy’s article, Beyond McMindfulness, published online in 2013, caused a defensive stir. The authors argued that a “stripped down, secular technique” of mindfulness originating in Buddhism not just fails to serve to awaken people and organizations from “the unwholesome roots of greed, ill will and delusion, it is usually being refashioned into a banal, therapeutic, self-help technique that can actually reinforce those roots”.
                Okay so four writers. This writer said, “Suddenly mindfulness meditation has become mainstream, making its way into schools, corporations, prisons, and government agencies including the U.S. military. The booming popularity of the mindfulness movement has also turned it into a lucrative cottage industry. Business savvy consultants pushing mindfulness training promise that it will improve work efficiency, reduce absenteeism, and enhance the “soft skills” that are crucial to career success. Some even assert that mindfulness training can act as a “disruptive technology,” reforming even the most dysfunctional companies into kinder, more compassionate and sustainable organizations. So far, however, no empirical studies have been published that support these claims.”
                Okay so five writers. This was taken from a Buddhist site; Zen for everyday life. “Mindfulness, at its roots an originally Buddhist meditation technique, has exploded in popularity over the past decade. What was once exclusively a practice for Buddhists has now become a phenomenon in the West. And while this is truly amazing, unfortunately, it’s been spread mostly disconnected from it’s original roots, so the accompanying wisdom that should guide the practice is unknown to many actively practicing it today. This was necessary for it to spread to a larger audience, but unfortunate because without its supporting wisdom, while still beautiful and powerful, the practice is only a shadow of its true self.” The same happened to Christianity which is why many started looking for help elsewhere.
                Okay enough of that. Mindfulness / Buddhism has made its way into … everywhere! Yet Christianity is frowned upon. You can talk about mindfulness but not God or Jesus Christ. It is okay to talk about something that rejects God but you can’t talk about God Himself. The problem is they are right, as our prayers are not being answered. So people have turned away from God instead of turning to him and repenting. Like yoga, many Christians have adapted mindfulness into their daily routines. Many have prayed but have given up, thinking God is the problem but we are. Isaiah 1:15 “When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood!” Yes many will say it is just yoga or acupuncture or mindfulness, what’s the harm as it has been westernized as one person described it but has it really. Why try so hard to de-spiritualize Buddhism so that you can adapt it to Christianity. Why don’t you just do what the bible says? None of these teachings are founded on the word of God. Why strive after something founded by other gods of the land. We were told not to do that. Luke 11:20 “But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 21 “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe. 22 But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up his plunder. 23 “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. 24 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ 25 When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. 26 Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.” Be careful!
                It is just like when Samaria was resettled. 2 Kings 17:24 “The king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Kuthah, Avva, Hamath and Sepharvaim and settled them in the towns of Samaria to replace the Israelites. They took over Samaria and lived in its towns. 26 It was reported to the king of Assyria: “The people you deported and resettled in the towns of Samaria do not know what the god of that country requires. He has sent lions among them, which are killing them off, because the people do not know what he requires. 27 Then the king of Assyria gave this order: “Have one of the priests you took captive from Samaria go back to live there and teach the people what the god of the land requires.” 28 So one of the priests who had been exiled from Samaria came to live in Bethel and taught them how to worship the Lord. 29 Nevertheless, each national group made its own gods in the several towns where they settled, and set them up in the shrines the people of Samaria had made at the high places. 33 They worshiped the Lord, but they also served their own gods in accordance with the customs of the nations from which they had been brought. 34 To this day they persist in their former practices. They neither worship the Lord nor adhere to the decrees and regulations, the laws and commands that the Lord gave the descendants of Jacob, whom he named Israel. 35 When the Lord made a covenant with the Israelites, he commanded them: “Do not worship any other gods or bow down to them, serve them or sacrifice to them. 36 But the Lord, who brought you up out of Egypt with mighty power and outstretched arm, is the one you must worship. To him you shall bow down and to him offer sacrifices. 37 You must always be careful to keep the decrees and regulations, the laws and commands he wrote for you. Do not worship other gods. 38 Do not forget the covenant I have made with you, and do not worship other gods. 39 Rather, worship the Lord your God; it is he who will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies.” 40 They would not listen, however, but persisted in their former practices. 41 Even while these people were worshiping the Lord, they were serving their idols. To this day their children and grandchildren continue to do as their ancestors did.”
                Today many in the church say they worship God but they also participate in many Eastern religions and have incorporated them into their daily walks. No yoga is not an option, nor is acupuncture, nor is mindfulness no matter how much you want it to be a contemplation so that there is peace of the mind. Instead of looking at what Budha had to say as he is dead or any of the others who are all dead; why not turn to the one who died but lives. Mark 16:6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.”
    Acts 1:11 “This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” No one else will be able to do that, no matter how enlightened they are in Nirvana.
                I realize I have taken some time to get here but we must submit ourselves to God and follow his commands. Scriptural meditation is not mindfulness and they are not interchangeable simply because of its origin. It did not come from the word of God. Joshua 1:8 “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Psalm 119:99 “I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes.” If this were happening, Christians would be running from these things but there is strong naivety among most Christians as they lack discernment. We have been told to be like Jesus. We have been told we would have his authority. We have been told we would have his power and do the things he did. Yes we have looked at what a few writers have said but what does the writer of the number one selling book in the world have to say. What does the giver of life teach us about life? Deuteronomy 32:39 “See now that I myself am he! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand.” If we would just return to God’s word and stop looking for anything but scripture to guide us we would be set free from the very things mindfulness cannot set you free from.
                So I leave you this verse to meditate on. 1 Corinthians 2:6 “We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love him—(John 14:15 “if you love me keep my commandments) 10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. (Remember the one writer describing Zen said “Zen firmly believes that nobody knows the answers to those questions and that they are impossible to answer because of our limited condition) 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” This is what you should be focusing on, not some broken down Buddhist teaching.
                This is a warning for those who have participated. Ask God for forgiveness. Some don’t know while others willfully reject the truth. Don’t play with fire. Yes many will say there is no harm but you are dealing with the spiritual world so how do you know there is no harm. What will happen to your children or their children? Israel followed the ways of the world and it cost them. They were told, Leviticus 18:3 “You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices.” Deuteronomy 12:8 “You are not to do as we do here today, everyone doing as they see fit.” 2 Kings 21:9 “But the people did not listen. Manasseh led them astray, so that they did more evil than the nations the Lord had destroyed before the Israelites.” Don’t be those people but if you repent, God is gracious if you have been part of these teachings. 2 Chronicles 33:10 “The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention. 11 So the Lord brought against them the army commanders of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh prisoner, put a hook in his nose, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon. 12 In his distress he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his ancestors. 13 And when he prayed to him, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God.”