Location: New England, United States

Monday, February 27, 2006

Fun With Dick and Jane

I have learned that when God does something, he wastes no effort on just one thing. Everything he does serves on many different levels. These levels are probably more complex than we can discern - God is, after all, infinite - so it stands to reason that his works are infinite, as well.

Take the Bible, for instance. The Bible is God's word, but is it his only word? I believe the Bible, complex as it stands, is probably just the primer on who God is. The Bible is a glimpse of God - not the whole God. The Bible is the very first reader - or a Fun with Dick and Jane book - for humankind to learn the nature of God.

If this is true, then how do we learn more about God? The answer is simple - ask! During my morning prayers, I ask God to show me everything about him. Now, I know that as a human being wrapped in a body that belongs to the world, there is no way that I will ever know everything about the character of God. I am sure God knows this as well, but I can ask - can't I?

Of course I can ask. God told us to ask for everything. However, just as a youthful son may ask to drive the car on the driveway, or a young daughter would like to bake a cake solo, God will just chuckle and say - not yet - you need to grow up a little more before you can know that. But it never hurts to ask, for God may say - "I'll let you know part of what you want revealed for now. The rest I will give you when you have matured a little more." If we do not ask, we may miss even part of his charcter and wisdom.

Let us look at Solomon - the historical epitome of wisdom:" In that night God appeared to Solomon, and said to him, "Ask what I shall give you." And Solomon said to God, "Thou hast shown great and steadfast love to David my father, and hast made me king in his stead. O LORD God, let thy promise to David my father be now fulfilled, for thou hast made me king over a people as many as the dust of the earth. Give me now wisdom and knowledge to go out and come in before this people, for who can rule this thy people, that is so great?" God answered Solomon, "Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked possessions, wealth, honor, or the life of those who hate you, and have not even asked long life, but have asked wisdom and knowledge for yourself that you may rule my people over whom I have made you king, wisdom and knowledge are granted to you. I will also give you riches, possessions, and honor, such as none of the kings had who were before you, and none after you shall have the like." 2 Chronicles 1:7-12 RSV

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Check Your Compass

As I was driving the other day, I noticed a car in front of me displaying a popular bumper sticker -"God is my co-pilot". I had seen this bumper sticker many times before and agreed with its premise, but this day was different. I guess I was different this day.

I remembered with amazement and wonder that I could ask God for something and he would give it. God started my car when it would not start, and he found a parking space for me when the whole lot was full. He kept the snow away when I had a trip I needed to make, and he sent me money when there were repairs needed that I could not afford. I realized that during that time in my life, I was leading God around on a leash - like a little dog.

Then I remembered as time passed, instead of asking God for 'things', I started praying over my dreams and goals. "Please God show me which way to go to achieve.....". I had set the course for my life. I planned out each day with a to-do list and asked God to help me get to the end of my list. God was indeed my co-pilot.

However, once again things changed for me. No longer do I lead God around like a puppy on leash, and my lists are flexible and even disposable. Now when I wake in the morning, I ask God , "Which way should I go today?" God is now my compass.

When Jesus said "I came to give you freedom and peace" - this is what he meant. It is so liberating to turn your every thought, action and purpose over to God's authority; not as an automaton, but as a willing participant. It was my choice to follow wherever he leads, and that choice must be made many times each day - in every situation. It is humbling to submit to God in this way, but the benefits are freedom from worry and the enusing peace.

Also, when you allow the Creator of the entire universe to direct your every step - you are guaranteed success - for he knows the outcome!

"Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you girded yourself and walked where you would; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go." John 21:18 RSV

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Religion Has Failed Man.....And God

Relationship was created by God. He created man with the desire for relationships - not just with each other, but also with him.

Man created religion to facilitate the God/man relationship, however, as we have seen with splitting the atom or the combustion engine, man's inventions usually are a two-edged sword. For, religion inserts rituals between God and man, and those man-made rituals create a distance - a separation between the two. The more rituals a religion imposes on its adherents, the more that separation exists.

God wants us to be personal with him. Just talk to him - he will listen. Just listen and he will talk with you. Prayer is not a prescription of poetry. You cannot have a relationship with your spouse if your only dialogue consists of quotations from romantic movies. You must share yourself with your spouse to foster a deep personal relationship. The same is true of God.

If you are angry - let him know. If you are happy - let him know. Talk it over with him. Ask for his advice. Let him know the sunset you saw last night moved you, and thank him for creating such startling colors. Discuss current events with him. Discuss religion, politics and yes, even sex, with him.

If God knows everything already - then why are we hiding behind ritual?

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Evidence of Evil

Most will admit that there are two diametrically opposed forces in the world - good and evil. Some will call the good, God, and the evil, Satan. Others believe these opposing forces are ying and yang, positive and negative, light and dark or just the whole of the human condition. But, I think that all will agree that these two forces are in a struggle to wrest power and dominance over the other. For my purposes here, I will name these forces God and Satan. If Satan is indeed the enemy, and we are in an internal struggle with this enemy, then how do we fight?

Our first step is to identify the enemy; that is, where is he? If we cannot recognize the enemy, then we cannot fight him. Satan does not work against his own army. Those who are part of the world's evil already belong to him. "Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand; and if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand?" Matthew 12:25-26 RSV

Therefore, we can identify Satan by who is being attacked. For instance, the Old Testament states that the Hebrews are God's chosen people, and yet throughout history this group of people have been maligned, hated, attacked and ridiculed by nearly every nation and every other religion. If the Hebrew nation were evil - and therefore - of Satan, then how would Satan's kingdom stand? Think back to those nations and religions who persecuted God's purported people. Where were they then, where are they now and what are they still doing? This gives a macro perspective to evil, but the same yardstick can be used at a micro level. Who is being attacked?

The second standard for measuring evil is - what tools or weapons are being utilized? What are the weapons of evil and what are the weapons of good? Which side would utilize weapons of fear, terror, hatred, blame, prejudice and destruction? Conversely, which side would utilize peace, outreach, responsibility, love, kindness, construction and mercy? "You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? So, every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit. A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits." Matthew 7:16-20 RSV

These two measurement provide a test of evidence of evil. It does exist and his name is Satan.

Friday, February 17, 2006

I Am A God of the Heart

At the beginning of time - God created Adam and Eve, and he was a God of individuals. Sadly, after the first sin, God became a God of nations and peoples. Whole nations were lost to the Flood. A whole race was captured and enslaved by Egypt, Babylon and Persia.

Then came Jesus. He reconciled the individual to God. Once again God was a God of individuals. When we accept Jesus into our hearts, our whole being is reconciled with God regardless of your nationality, race, religion or gender. We will be judged on whether our hearts, our minds and our souls are reconciled through Jesus.

We will no longer be judged as a nation or a people, for we will be responsible only for our own actions, words and thoughts. We will become reconciled.

How do you become reconciled? You become reconciled by making a decision; using your will. Why do you think God gave each of us a will? He gave us a will so each of us will have the opportunity to decide for ourselves whether to follow in his ways or the ways of the world.

Say: Father, I am a sinner. I know that the penalty for even one sin is death, therefore, it is beyond my power to reconcile myself to you. I accept that Jesus is your Son and that he died for all my sins - past, present and future. I accept his blood sacrifice. I accept that I am forgiven through Jesus. Thank you.

"On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.' "Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it." And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes. Matthew 7:22-29 RSV

You decide - will you be judge along with your nation, or will you be judged based on your heart?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Evangelism Starts With A Prayer

If you are interested in seeing the power and results of prayer, then pray for someone's salvation. Immediately, the object of your prayer will experience strife, sorrow, anger, bitterness and resentment. These are the necessary labor pains of a new birth.

Whenever Jesus spoke to a group of people, the Bible tells us that he went away to pray alone. He prayed that the seed he just planted would take hold and create a pregnancy of the Holy Spirit. While the spirit grows the person will become uncomfortable, irritable and possibly even depressed - just as a woman who is pregnant. These emotions are a necessary part of salvation because there is now a war going on inside this person. The old -self is fighting to maintain hold over the new, developing self. The dark spirit is fighting to maintain control over the spirit of light. It is a war and the prize is the person's eternal life.

"For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: If any one will not work, let him not eat. For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work in quietness and to earn their own living. Brethren, do not be weary in well-doing. If any one refuses to obey what we say in this letter, note that man, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. Do not look on him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother." 2Thessalonians 3:10-15 RSV

For those who are brothers and sisters in Christ, Paul is not speaking about spiritual food here.
We are all commanded to witness and give testimony to God's plan of salvation through the death and resurrection of his son, Jesus. Not only must we earn our own spiritual living by reading the Word and praying, but we must evangelize the world. Those who are not doing the work of the Lord - as commanded - should be ashamed. Time is running out.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Opening the Gates of Paradise

"And I will utter my judgments against them, for all their wickedness in forsaking me; they have burned incense to other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands." Jeremiah 1:16

According to the Word of God, how can we measure the compliance of our beliefs? The key is what do you worship? Yes, I know that many say they worship God, but we know that what is spoken and what is acted are usually two different things.

What do you honor most in your quest for a relationship with God. Do you honor what you have done or will do - or do you honor what God does? Will paradise be obtained by the work of your hand or by the hand of God?

Think about the religions of the world - which teach reward for the works of the adherents hand? "Ah, yes." you will say. "But the works of my hands are for the good of humankind. That other religion teaches that death and destruction will open the doors to paradise."

I tell you now - arrogance and self-pride are evident in both the do-gooder and the follower of destruction. The gates of paradise will not open for our hands or our mouths as these are part of our body, and we do not take our bodies into paradise.

Only God can open the gates of paradise to us. So who does God allow into paradise?
"One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!" But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong." And he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise." Luke 23:39-43 RSV

When God created us - he gave us free will. Our will is the Key to Paradise.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Clash of the Titans

It is the eve of the Superbowl and once again what has been played throughout the world will be played out on the football field. Warriors will compete for the prize of being right; being the best. False chests and shoulders will replace the puffed up chests we see on the nightly news. The big head will be made larger with helmets. The disguise of manly facial hair will be replaced by those face "do-hickeys" on the the front of the helmets while the family jewels will be more evident under the guise of protection.

This testosteronic event will be mirrored in the stands with whoops and hollers and echoed in homes across this country in front of larger than life televisions. Meanwhile - as usual - most women will try to find a way to escape. We have been trying to escape for generations, and frankly I am tired of waiting.

  • I am tired of waiting while men try to inherit the earth by violence. "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." Matthew 5:5
  • I am tired of the persecution of women on this earth. "Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Matthew 5:11
  • I am tired of men hiding the light of this world. "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. 15 Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Matthew 5:14-15
  • I am tired of the aggression and murder. "You have heard that it was said to the men of old, 'You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.' 22 But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, 'You fool!' shall be liable to the hell of fire. Matthew 5:21-22

It was for this day, this time that Jesus came as a man and not a woman. For - can you imagine Jesus riding in a fighter jet dropping bombs? Would Jesus ride in an army tank? What would you say to a cartoon of Jesus carrying an AK-40? For that matter - would Jesus carry a football?

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