Location: New England, United States

Monday, January 30, 2006

Weapons of Mass Construction

At this writing, my heart is heavy with the images of hatred, misunderstanding, anger, bias and the violence of the world around us. It comes on in waves of desperation and tears. What can one person do to change the headlong descent to human depravity? What can stop the downhill descent of Destruction? God answered me.

First and foremost - remember who you are fighting against. "For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:12 RSV The world rulers are not men - even men of power. The ruler of this world are the spiritual hosts of wickedness. God told me, "You cannot fight this present darkness with their tools; you must fight with mine."

So, what are the tools that will defeat these powers?

  • Prayer - our first line of defense in prayer. It is the strongest arrow in our quiver. I am not speaking of beseeching God for protection against our earthly enemies - remember we are not fighting against men; but principalities. I am saying that we should pray for their salvation. Pray that their hearts and souls will be softened to accept God into their hearts. Pray that they will choose His path. "And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, "Why could we not cast it out?" And he said to them, "This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer." Mark 9:28-29 RSV
  • Love - Now that we have set up a defense of prayer, we need to go on the offensive with Love. We may not ever meet or have the opportunity to speak to those who hate us, but in honor of God, Our Father, we can speak of our enemies in lovingkindness to God. Those enemies who have caused chaos and destruction in our lives and the lives of others, those enemies whose very name strike terror - yes, even those - we should set our hearts to love. If not for them, then for God. Our loving thoughts can implode the darkness with light and understanding. "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:43-48 RSV
  • Humility - We need to treat our enemies with humility. This is probably the hardest weapon to utilize. When we have been hurt, our first response is setting up a defense. But, as we have seen - only prayer shall be our defense - not the actions of our own hands. Remember, we are not fighting the person, but who is inside the person and in the spirit world, humility is offensive. Humility shows that we will not change our behavior based on the actions of our enemies. We will not become as them, but will remain steadfast in our Christian humility. The principalities of darkness were able to operate through this person because they already felt inferior. If we increase this inferiority by our actions, the darkness will obtain a greater stronghold. We can only dispel these feelings with edification. "So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any incentive of love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:1-11 RSV

Our victory is insured if we use the weapons that Jesus used - prayer, love and humility. These are the weapons of light - use them whenever confronted by darkness.

Monday, January 23, 2006

A Scientist of Faith

My son frequently watches the evening news, and the other day he plopped down next to me on the couch and asked if I believed in Intelligent Design. "Of course I do," I replied. "Don't you?" He affirmed that he too believed in Intelligent Design, "But," he continued, "Do you believe that Intelligent Design should be taught in school?"

Our children's science classes are composed and taught based on someone's truth, and if this truth is confined to one person or a whole committee, it is still a relative truth because it does not allow for debate of other ideas. Darwin's Theory of Evolution is just that - a theory. I believe every scientist will agree that evolution has not yet been proven and still remains one theory - just as Einstein's Theory of Relatively or as the innovative String Theory.

We all have seen the borders of science expand and contract even in our own lifetimes. Just this morning it was reported that soy products, so long the little darling of health and natural food advocates, may contribute to heart problems. So, if Intelligent Design is also a theory, then why the censorship?

If those in charge of our childrens' curriculum allow equal time to the teaching of Intelligent Design, questions will arise from their students. Let's try to imagine the questions:

Does this mean there is a God?
Which God is it - Buddha, Allah or Jesus?
Who created God?
Why did he create us?
Where does God live?

As Christians, do we really want questions from our children addressed by the public schools or worse, The Board of Education? This person of 'authority' may be agnostic or an atheist; they may be a wiccan or satanist. Worse still, they may be someone of no faith whatsoever, a scientist.

On the other hand, doesn't an undying belief in Darwin's Theory also require an ounce of faith?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Fear of Appearing Foolish

"But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD." Jonah 1:3 Why did Jonah flee from the presence of the Lord?

Jonah was the son of a prophet. He had witnessed edicts coming from the Lord through his prophets to the Hebrews charging them to change their ways; to repent. When Israel repented the Lord would withhold the punishment and all would be forgiven. So Jonah knew God to be merciful and good, and this is why he fled to Tarshish.

God had charged Jonah to warn Nin'eveh that if they did not change their ways, destruction would surely come. Jonah's fear was that Nin'eveh would change their ways and subsequently, God would restrain his hand against this nation. If Nin'eveh was not destroyed, then Jonah would appear foolish.

Fear of appearing foolish to others is a sin of pride, placing more importance over self and peer esteem than the esteem of God. In the case of Jonah, he preferred Nin'eveh's destruction rather than face allegations of a false prophet if Nin'eveh was not destroyed. Remember, Jonah was the son of a prophet, so he had a legacy to protect.

As Christians, when we do not share our faith with others, we are in the sin of pride just as Jonah. We trade another's destruction (eternal damnation) for our self or peer esteem.

Will you go to Nin'eveh?

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Queen Esther

In the Old Testament, there is a story about a Jewish maiden who is taken out of her known world and placed in the King's palace as a possible wife. Her name is Hadassah (Hebrew) or Esther (Persian) meaning hidden.

To set the stage, the Jewish people had been conquered by the Persians and taken as captives. The King of Persia had just rid himself of his former queen for her disobedience and requested that his servants assemble the most beautiful maidens from the land, so he could choose another wife. Esther was chosen as one of these maidens. She was taken from her home where she lived with her cousin/guardian, Mordecai. Neither the servants nor the King realized that Esther was Jewish, and fearing for her safety, Mordecai admonished Esther to keep her heritage a secret.

From all the selected maidens, the King chose Esther as his new queen citing her extraordinary beauty and grace. Now enters Haman. Not only is he the King's prime minister, but he is also a trusted friend of the King. He hates the Jewish people and systematically fills the King's ear with bad reports about the captives. When Haman feels that the King is 'well-oiled', Haman suggests that the all the people of Israel be put to death so as to rid Persia of there cunning and deceit. The King consents.

Terrified for her people, Esther secretly reports to Mordecai Haman's plot and asks that all her people fast and pray for the next three days. After the fast, Queen Esther appears in the King's throne room. Courtly regulations forbid anyone appearing before the King without an invitation; even the Queen, but the King is pleased that Esther has come to him and invites her to speak.

Esther invites the King and Haman to a banquet in their honor. Pleased the King accepts. At the end of this banquet, Queen Esther invites both the King and Haman to another banquet the following day, and it is at this banquet that the Queen reveals her heritage and the manipulative plot of Haman.

The King immediately orders that Haman be put to death. Her people are given favor in Persia and live in peace and prosperity in Persia.

The two Queens, Vashti and Esther, represent the two most important women of the Bible. Vashti represents the fallen woman, Eve, and Esther represents the redemptive woman, Mary. Satan, represented by Haman is still whispering in the King's ear - Ladies. But his time is short. We shall prevail.

" And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; she was with child and she cried out in her pangs of birth, in anguish for delivery. And another portent appeared in heaven; behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems upon his heads. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, that he might devour her child when she brought it forth; she brought forth a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which to be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days." Revelation 1:1-6 RSV

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Seed

The new life of spring is mirrored in the purple splendor
of the field of Cosmos, and the branches of the peach tree
bowing low with its flowering snow.
She comes to the field her eyes drawn to the violent violet,
plucking flowers to provide sweet smells and
soothing color to her dining table.
As the season passes, a cold wind fades the field,
and the evangelical wind blows the seed of the Cosmos
over rock, thorns and lake.
She shivers in need of warmth and sustenance from the cold.
The color of the peach tree captures her notice,
and she plucks its fruit for her table.
The ministering juice of the peach strengthens and sustains.
She is revived and prospers by its meaty fruit.
Then she plants the seed.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Son of Perdition

"While I was with them, I kept them in thy name, which thou hast given me; I have guarded them, and none of them is lost but the son of perdition, that the scripture might be fulfilled." John 17:12 RSV

Experience in God has taught me that He almost never works through just one layer. When God does something, it permeates so many layers my feeble mind cannot grasp all of His glory. So when I was led to John 17 this morning, the term "son of perdition" leapt off the page and revelation into one more layer occurred. Of course, the commentaries assign Judas as the son of perdition - and they are correct, however, Judas is the first layer of the meaning. Whatever is done here on earth is "mirrored" in the spiritual, as well.

Of all the disciples, it seemed that Judas recognized the character of Jesus most fully. Unfortunately, although Judas recognized that Jesus was probably the long-awaited Messiah, Judas misunderstood the purpose of Jesus. Placing his own needs for deliverance from the Roman occupation, Judas was anticipating a great battle and victory over mere men, when in fact, Jesus was sent here for a great battle and victory over Satan - the son of perdition.

In the shadows of time, God created the angels - all the angels - including Lucifer. Just as God has a good relationship with the angels Gabriel and Michael, God had a good relationship with Lucifer. So too, Jesus had a good relationship with Judas. As Lucifer was cognizant of God's power and majesty, Judas recognized the power and majesty of Jesus.

Now to address the betrayal. We know that Jesus will come again, and it is at his second coming that the earthly battle (mirroring the spiritual battle won at first coming) will ensue and be won. Judas was not out of Jesus' purpose when he betrayed him for Jesus is charged with fighting and earthly battle at some point. Judas was out of Jesus' timing. Of course, this is as much of a sin against God as being out of his purpose. God, knowing all, used Judas' sin against his timing to facilitate his intended purpose of salvation - the death and resurrection of his Son.

So, now to address Lucifer's rebellion. Was his rebellion a sin against God's purpose or a sin against God's timing? Did God intend to elevate Lucifer even further - in due season, or give him charge of the earth at some point in time, and if so, was Lucifer's sin one of pride or impatience? Did God intend all along to allow man and woman the discernment of good and evil and Lucifer just forced the hand of God? Or, as evil never existed prior to Lucifer's rebellion did he force the hand of God to provide this discernment to his next creation- Man?

I have no answers to these questions, but I do know that what happens in the natural world is mirrored in the spiritual world. "Jesus answered, "It is he to whom I shall give this morsel when I have dipped it." So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot." John 13:26 RSV It was at this point that Jesus offered Judas a way to turn away from sin. Jesus gave Judas the bread or body that had been covered by the wine or blood as a way to salvation. Had Judas taken this offer of forgiveness, he would have been forgiven. I believe that God is still waiting for Lucifer to take the dipped bread of salvation as well.

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