Saturday, August 25, 2007

No room for pride...

Joh 6:37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."

Joh 6:44 "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day."

1 Cor 3:6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.

2 Tim 2:25 Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

Ex 33:19 And the LORD said, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

Gal 3:2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Have you suffered so much for nothing— if it really was for nothing? Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?

1 Cor 1:17 ¶ For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel— not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate." Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?  For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength. Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things— and the things that are not— to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God— that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."

Lu 18:17 I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." At that time Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure. "All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Personally, I find real wisdom in the way God has chosen to do things. He has effectively removed all room for pride, which surely is our greatest stumbling block. That is why it so often seems to require a complete breakdown, a humbling to the core, before we are able to receive Him. I wonder if the greater the pride, the greater the trauma that’s required to break it? When I look at the scripture about being ‘born again’ I can’t help but see that I, personally, had to suffer a form of death before that miracle born again experience occurred. In a way, you could say that I had to be ‘broken’, completely humbled, and then I had to cry out for Jesus before Jesus came in and laid that new foundation. I was born again at that moment, I was a new creature, old things had passed away, all things had become new (John 3:3, 2 Cor 5:17).

There are a few obvious issues that some people take exception with. First off, as a few of the scriptures above testifies to, God chooses. God has to choose you, has to draw you to Christ, has to ‘give the increase’ regarding believing faith. That can tick some people off. There is no room for them to glory in themselves. They aren’t in control. They see that as unfair. They aren’t willing to give God the credit for their salvation, but they are ready to blame God for not necessarily choosing everyone. They aren’t willing to accept that maybe…just maybe…God knows what He is doing and they don’t. That’s pride. I like God’s response to Job (38:1). Another issue people have is the defining of sin. God makes no bones about what is right and what is wrong. He defines morality. That can be confining, and/or convicting and uncomfortable, and people generally don't like that. Their general theme is 'I want to do what I want to do, and don't tell me I can't or that it's wrong'.

There are literally millions of people who can personally testify to the miracle of Jesus. Could they all be deceived? When they believed the report, when they accepted the gospel…truly accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior, a miracle occurred. That miracle validates the scriptures. Not just the words of Jesus, but the words of all the NT writers, and many of the old.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Reincarnation and Christianity...

Can the concept of reincarnation be reconciled with Christianity? That may seem like a silly question, but there are many new-agers and other sects that think so.

The concept of reincarnation (as I understand it) is that through a virtual unlimited number of incarnations (or as many as necessary) a person would be able to work their way into a place of perfection. But the bible says:

Ep 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith— and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.

Heb 9:27 Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

It seems to me that the basic principal of Christianity is that you are born into sin, that the base nature of man is sinful, and that the only way a person can be redeemed is through the sacrifice made by Jesus Christ. Hence, saved by grace…in the form of a gift.

Ge 8:21 The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.”

Acts 4:12 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."

Some people claim that John the Baptist was Elijah reincarnated. But what does John himself say about that?

John 1:21 They asked him, "Then who are you? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you the Prophet?" He answered, "No." Finally they said, "Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?" John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, "I am the voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’"

John was indeed similar to Elijah, though, in that God worked through him to cause many to turn back to Him. You might say that John was a ‘type’ of Elijah.

1Ki 18:37 “Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”

Some people even claim that Jesus was the result of reincarnation…that he had achieved perfection in that way. But what does the Bible say about Jesus?

Hebrews 1:1 ¶ In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.

Col 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

John 1:1 ¶ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

It would appear impossible to be perfected via multiple incarnations before the universe was created.

Therefore, my Christian interpretation is that reincarnation is NOT compatible with Christianity. You must choose between the two, but choose carefully, because only one is true.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Threats or manipulations?

As you may note, it was just a few days ago that I posted the ‘Iraq’ entry below. Since then, a video of Bin Laden that was apparently created sometime in 2002 has surfaced, and today  a report on CNN.com that goes like this has appeared: 

Report: Al Qaeda may use Iraq operatives to hit U.S.
Al Qaeda will try to tap its resources and capabilities in Iraq in its efforts to exact another terrorist attack on U.S. soil, according to a top government intelligence report released today.


I’m not sure what to make of this. I’m not sure I believe it. I want to believe it in a way, because I want to trust my country, I want to trust the current administration. On the other hand, this information could be seen as another attempt to prop up the war in Iraq and associated efforts. It just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me that Al-Qa'ida would start with the threats just as the American people and much of the American government are leaning toward getting out of Iraq. On the other hand, our current administration is on the ropes regarding the war and staying the course, and this kind of media could just cause the American people to take pause and reconsider ending the so-called war in Iraq.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A global economy...

It surely started out all about the money. Companies discovered that they could farm out their product manufacturing to third world countries and by getting the cheap labor etc, could make significantly more profit. That’s capitalism. Then comes greed and the desire to sell as much as you can and make as much money as possible as quickly as possible. Well, if Korea agrees to sell our products, then we are likely going to have to agree to sell theirs. Now we have international free trade and the competition is fierce. Now farming out things to be produced by other countries isn’t just for the money…it’s to survive. Now if we can’t get cheap labor…we can’t compete.

It kind of reminds me of an illicit drug user. At first, the drug maybe makes a person feel extra good. They want more. Eventually, though, they NEED the drug, and it doesn’t even feel as good anymore. They become dependent on it, and though it may become less desirable, there is no way around the fact that they are addicted.

Is it time for America to check into rehab or is it too far gone?

Iraq...

I don’t know what the best answer is concerning the ‘war’ in Iraq. I think I do know that those who are making the big decisions for al-Qa'ida may be pretty cunning. In the media, I’ve heard supporters of President Bush and proponents of the war use the fact that there have been no further attacks on USA soil as a sort of justification for continued support of the war. That’s only one angle, though. I think it’s quite likely that the primary reason we have had no other attacks on our soil is that al-Qa'ida knows that would just unify the American people and would cause them to be more committed than ever to staying the course in Iraq and wherever else necessary. You really don’t want to tick off a majority of Americans. I think the Taliban learned that lesson. So, al-Qa'ida seems to be trying to get us to lose our resolve primarily through what amounts to the murdering of innocent people. There have been many troop losses as well, but nowhere near as many as Iraqi citizens. al-Qa'ida’s statement seems to be, if you want us to stop murdering innocent people, or creating the chaos that is responsible, get out of Iraq and stay out of Muslim countries in general. al-Qa'ida’s methods seem to be working as many politicians and voters alike are losing their resolve.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The greatest gift...

Most parents love their children and want the very best for them. I once heard a preacher (Keith Daniels) ask the question…what is the greatest gift you can give your children? I found his answer to be simple logic and yet profound. Answer: That the parents have a happy marriage. Do you love your children that much?

Friday, June 8, 2007

Just how good is God?

For once in my life....I didn't ask the generic God for help...but rather...made a simple request..."Jesus, save me." Immediately I felt an infilling and knew something miraculous had just happened. That was followed by a vision. I found myself laying before a large light (100' or so tall)...shaped like a candle flame but not flickering. The light was not bright, but was an approachable light. I remember thinking...it's God. Then I thought...how do I feel...do I feel condemned? No. Don't ask me how...but at that moment I decided to reach out and touch Him. What I discovered was that God was indeed perfect love....there was no darkness in him. He was beautiful beyond words because of this love. I thought to myself...what would I do for a God like this? Anything. In His presence, my life was inconsequential. What mattered was that someone as absolutely precious as He was...would continue. I remember thinking during this vision...if God asked me to jump off of the empire state building...and told me that I would perish forever in doing so...that I would still happily do it for Him and without hesitation! Without even a second thought. At this juncture I was literally dancing and prancing around Him...with great joy and in sheer delight.

1Jo 1:5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.

Psalm 63:2 I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.

Ex 33:19 And the LORD said, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Musings on demon possession...

1Sa 16:14 ¶ Now the Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD tormented him.
1Sa 16:15 Saul’s attendants said to him, "See, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you.
1Sa 16:16 Let our lord command his servants here to search for someone who can play the harp. He will play when the evil spirit from God comes upon you, and you will feel better."

1Sa 16:23 Whenever the spirit from God came upon Saul, David would take his harp and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.

1Sa 18:10 The next day an evil spirit from God came forcefully upon Saul. He was prophesying in his house, while David was playing the harp, as he usually did. Saul had a spear in his hand
1Sa 18:11 and he hurled it, saying to himself, "I’ll pin David to the wall." But David eluded him twice.

Mt 12:43 "When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it.
Mt 12:44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order.
Mt 12:45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation."

Luke 8:29 For Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places.

Luke 9:39 A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying him.

Eph 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
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I’ve been trying to understand the whole demon possession routine. From the above scriptures, it would appear that at least some of the time, they come and go. They don’t necessarily take up permanent residence.

In the natural world, the strong survive, and the weak are the ones that are preyed upon. I’m considering that it might work similarly in the spiritual realm. Possibly, evil spirits target and possess (even temporarily), the weak. Those that can’t reason well, have let bitterness have it’s way, or have other limitations or temptations that make them more susceptible and/or receptive.

I’ve pondered that these evil spirits possess individuals quite possibly for a number of reasons.
  1. It could be that they like to torment the individual…that they enjoy causing grief or even destroying the one they inhabit.
  2. It could be that they possess an individual so that they can attack others through the one possessed (whether physically or verbally). It could be that they (the spirits) target certain individuals in an effort to deter them in their prayers and/or efforts….to attempt to weaken their resolve or faith.
  3. For other forms of pleasure.
  4. All of the above.
I’ve considered that the best approach in dealing with someone that appears to be possessed would be to temporarily place them in seclusion (ie a safe/padded quiet room of some sort). It would seem that removing interaction would be beneficial to both parties...or all concerned. The spirit would be limited in it's ability to attack others that way (whether verbally, physically, or spiritually), and would not be able to cause as much damage to the one possessed (as there would be very little physical contact or need for physical restraint).

Monday, May 21, 2007

Sheer speculation...

After the events of 9/11 there was a time when I was prompted to consider this scripture:

Lu 21:20 “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near.”

Now I realize that most biblical scholars associate this scripture with the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD. I do, too. I have found, though, that it may also point to another event. Depending on your exegesis of all the scriptures that relate, it would appear that other major events, including the second coming of Jesus would/could follow shortly thereafter. Those other events didn’t happen in 70 AD or soon after. Therefore, I’ve had to consider other scenarios.

After 9/11, the USA was bombing Afghanistan and going after the Taliban and al-Qa'ida. At some point, it looked as if Israel might follow the USA’s lead and start doing its own bombing of its enemies. I don’t think the USA was too thrilled by that proposition. At that point, a thought came to mind. What if Israel offended the USA by its actions, and lost its support? An extreme example might be that Israel used a nuclear bomb. That might effectively polarize the nations is such a way that indeed, all nations would be against Israel. Pretty scarey stuff.

I have a healthy fear of God. I don’t plan on being part of the ‘against’ Israel group. I can see living in a nation that takes a stand against Israel…but not me personally. Am I in favor of the use of nuclear weapons? Not at all. Could I condone such an action? It wouldn’t be easy. Could you?

Monday, May 14, 2007

Chronic homelessness...

I hate to see anybody homeless. Though I have never personally experienced it, it sounds absolutely horrible to me. I don’t know what the answer for it is, though. It’s complicated because the reasons for chronic homelessness are so diverse. Some of the homeless are truly and obviously disabled and society should provide for their needs. Some of the homeless are disabled but not so obviously. Some disorders are hard to recognize/diagnose even when they exist. Some of the homeless are obvious drunks and drug addicts. How should society deal with that? Some of the homeless may just be undisciplined and lazy. The list could go on and on. The dilemma is that if the typical homeless lifestyle wasn’t pretty uncomfortable, how many more people would give up on convention (because it can be extremely hard) and jump on the wagon? I’ve heard people say that there should be government provided private housing for the homeless. I mean…if being unwilling to care for and provide for yourself just meant someone else would do it for you…that would sure take some of the drama out of the equation. I can only imagine that the homeless numbers, as well as the cost to society, would rise.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Opportunities...

When you really get down to it, life is an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to invest. You can invest in the temporal and you can invest in the eternal. Self indulgence might be an example of investing in the temporal. Selflessness might be an example of investing in the eternal. Parents find themselves investing in providing for their family. This can be either temporal or eternal…depending on what they teach those children. If they teach their children the importance of investing in love and selflessness, if they teach them the importance of being a light in this dark world, then they are investing in the eternal.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Gas prices...

Caught between a rock and a hard place. Currently, we need fossil fuels. There is only so much of it and it’s located wherever it’s located. Its quantity is finite. In a capitalistic society, if you own a piece of it, you will want to make as much money as you can from it. That’s the way you do business. If the consumer uses less, the owners will just charge more for less. It’s a win/win for them. If you use lots of gas, they will make lots of money, if you use less gas, they will make even more money. Bottom line, if they can get you to conserve, they can make the most from their finite supply.

I remember the ‘energy crisis’ some years back. Lots of people cut back on electricity. Lots of people bought energy efficient lighting, heating, refrigeration, increased their insulation, etc. What happened? The cost of energy went up. Your bill went up even though you conserved. Same thing will apply with oil. For the consumer, it’s a lose/lose.

There is a balancing act, though. The oil industry has to find out just what the market will bear and still stay healthy. They wouldn’t want the bottom to fall out of the economy. If they get too greedy, that could come back to bite them. If they are smart, they also wouldn’t want to upset the powers that be. That could also come back to bite them. An economy is like a circulatory system. If that circulation is impaired, the life [style] that economy provides is impacted. Some countries might get aggressive to preserve a ‘way of life’. I can think of a few ways that countries could get aggressive. They could impose new regulations, the government could take control (like Chavez is doing in Venezuela), they could wage war against a country that is controlling oil pricing, or they could attempt to assassinate the key players.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

A shunt in the circuitry pt2...

Okay…I believe we have established that there is a definite shunt in the collective circuitry when it comes to intercommunication (understanding one another). I have speculated that that shunt may have gone deeper than just intercommunication and affected our very thought processes and abilities to understand generally. But there is another shunt. The individual shunt. We all have limitations of one sort or another. These can be viewed as shunts in the circuitry as well. On a scientific level you might say that the DNA is the circuitry and it’s not all optimized the same for everyone. This is again…what I do best…stating the obvious. Some people are born prodigies and other people have a hard time learning how to tell time or tie their shoes. Not their fault. It’s in the circuitry. Do you ever wonder why?

Thursday, May 3, 2007

A shunt in the circuitry...

I’ve spent a large portion of my life trying to understand the big questions. What is the purpose of life? Who are we? Since God knows the end from the beginning, why did He put Satan in the garden of Eden to begin with? What exactly is God’s plan for us? What happens after we die? What truly motivates human beings? The list goes on and on. What I’ve discovered is that no matter how hard I try, my little pea brain cannot fathom, cannot pierce through the veil and truly understand any of these things. I can speculate, but I can’t ‘know’ for certain. That can put a person in a place of insecurity, or it can put them in a place of faith. I find myself in a place of faith for a number of reasons. As you may have read in previous posts on this blog, the magnitude of the glory of life on this planet alone, to me, speaks volumes of a creator. My little pea brain cannot fathom how life could possibly be an accident. It’s too complex, too diverse. Personally, I think it takes more faith to believe it was an accident than it does to believe it was created.

This brings up my main topic…the shunt in the circuitry. I keep looking at this scripture:

Genesis 11:7…Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.

Could this be where it all began? Now don’t take this the wrong way, I’d never insult God purposefully. But, did God dumb us down so that we couldn’t understand? He surely did when it came to intercommunication. Could this scripture go deeper than just intercommunication, though? Did this confusing the language affect our internal language as well so that we would have difficulty with understanding and conceptualizing?

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Submit yourselves…

1 Peter 2:13…¶ Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.

Romans 13:1…¶ Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

Who is our ‘authority’? Obviously, from the above scriptures…kings, governors, and governing authorities that are 'instituted' for sure. But what about your pastor, or your boss? Are we to submit to them for the Lord’s sake? And what exactly does that mean…to submit to them? What if your pastor tells you to do something that you don’t agree with? Do you have to submit to them to be a good Christian? I don’t think so. I think a good Christian is going to do what they think is right, not necessarily what their pastor tells them to do. If you find that your boss is unfair, unreasonable, makes lousy decisions, is a jerk, or whatever, are you commanded by the Lord to submit to them? Not really. You have choices. You are not a slave per se. You can choose to confront the boss and address the issues. You can quit. Of course, if you confront your boss, you risk offending them and suffering the consequences. That is your choice, though. Imo you are not being a bad Christian in doing so. There is no law that says you can’t confront your worldly boss, or quit a job.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

A man reaps what he sows...

I used to see this as a simple and black and white concept. If you did good things, you would reap good things. If you did bad things, you would reap bad things. But, it’s really not that simple. First off, there are two occasions of reaping…the here and now, and the hereafter. Secondly, what is good in the here and now is subjective. I think Christianity is good, but if I tried preaching the gospel in a Muslim country, I might reap a beheading. I think speaking against injustice can be a good thing…but you could reap some dire consequences for that. So, ultimately, you do reap what you sow, but if you want to reap only good things in the here and now, you need to carefully consider if what you are sowing would be universally recognized as good.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Something I may have learned...

I think I’ve learned that my prayers can’t change someone else’s mind. That my prayers can’t circumvent someone else’s free will.

I think I’ve learned that God doesn’t always come through. That’s a hard one for me. Sometimes, He appears to leave one to their own devices. I know I have beseeched God on a number of issues over the years and have never felt that I got a clear answer.

I think I’ve learned that people put a lot of words in God’s mouth that He never uttered. I’ve seen that over and over again in my life. If it rains tomorrow, I’ll know God doesn’t want me to take that trip.  I’m going to flip a coin, and If it’s heads, that’s a ‘yes’ from God.   If I apply for this job and get it…I’ll know it’s God’s will. If she says ‘yes’, I’ll know it’s God’s will.  If I fail this test, I’ll know God wants me to quit school.

I think I’ve learned that God protects us from the knowledge and full understanding and insight into the depth of our corruption. I think if we could see it, we’d be horrified.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

God's will be done...

Yes! Amen to that brothers/sisters! Who wouldn’t want God’s will to be done in their lives? I know I do. The question becomes, though, how can we be sure that what is happening in our lives is actually God’s will? Where does human will, and the corruption of the flesh come into the equation? If you ask a friend for a favor and they refuse, is that necessarily God’s will? If you ask your boss for a raise and are refused, is that necessarily God’s will? If you are passed up for a promotion, is that necessarily God’s will? You get my point? I’d love to rest in God’s will…but I’m not always sure He is the one that I’m dealing with. I’ve seen corruption in high places. My observation is that just because someone is ‘in charge’ doesn’t mean they are right or fair, show good judgment, or are doing God’s will. I always think of Hitler. He was in charge, but he was a maniac. I think of King Saul, he was God’s anointed, and yet he did his best to kill David. Can God’s anointed act out of envy? Guess so. I guess anybody can then. So when is what is happening to us God’s will then?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Stating the obvious...

I know I do that a lot. I’m sure that most of my observations are not revelations to those that hear or read them. They’ve probably heard them already, and/or thought of them before themselves. Nonetheless, I have another to share. :-) Please bear with me.

A couple of days ago I went to the store to buy supplies. One of the food stuffs that I purchase regularly is Newman’s Own Sockarooni sauce (I love this stuff). Once I returned home and put the bottles on my shelf I thought I noticed a difference in the size of the bottles. You see, I still had a bottle that I had purchased previously. Upon closer inspection, sure enough, though the new bottle was slightly taller…it was also narrower. The bottom line is the new bottle was 24 ounces, and the old bottle was 26 ounces. In other words, the cost went up 7+ % (if my math is correct). That’s quite a rise. That seems to be the ‘common’ practice these days. The cost of the item stays the same, but there is not as much of it. I don’t care for this practice….it seems cheap and deceptive to me. I wonder if there should be some sort of law against it? I think if you are going to, or need to, raise the price of your product, there shouldn’t be any attempt to hide that from the consumer. Why not just be honest? Tell it like it is. If the consumer is more knowledgeable about what is going on regarding inflation, maybe an outcry will have some effect? Maybe the politicians will be forced to address it instead of their typical routine of postponing the inevitable? I get the feeling that one of these days the bottom is going to fall out of our economy and it’s going to crash…only this time, with our economy being part of a global economy, it’s going to wreck world-wide havoc.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Here’s a paranoid thought...

Fear can stimulate the economy. For instance, let’s just say that robbery is on the rise in your neighborhood. What would you do? Many people would buy things to help protect themselves and their belongings. Some would move. Either way, you are spending more money than you would be otherwise. If you hear that a hurricane is on it’s way…you go buy things. If you hear that a product is going to be in short supply and the price will likely be rising…you might go and stock up. If you hear that an enemy is threatening to attack, you might build a bomb shelter, purchase arms, ammunition, and other supplies. If you hear that the climate is being impacted by the use of fossil fuels, you might go out and buy a green car or a bicycle. Any time cataclysm is proclaimed, it likely stimulates the economy.

I’ve also heard that war stimulates the economy. Obviously, when a country wages war it uses more war related things. That means production has to be increased. That means more people are employed. That means more people have money to buy things.

The paranoid part of this thought is that someone might use fear just to stimulate the economy. A healthy (I’m not sure healthy is really the right word) economy can mean security for the politicians that are in power, as well as for businesses in general.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Judge not that ye be not judged...

I find this scripture is frequently misused these days. Many that quote it seem to do so in an attempt to neutralize any negative thought, perception, or comment one might have regarding a behavior. The problem with that, of course, is that the Bible makes it quite plain that certain behaviors are considered inappropriate and to be avoided. So, if you see a person engaging in a behavior that the Bible describes as inappropriate, you obviously can only come to that conclusion by using some ‘judgment’. Judgment is not necessarily condemnation. Just because I notice someone engaging in inappropriate behaviors does not mean I have sentenced them to hell. It just means that I have noticed that what is being done is frowned upon biblically. God is the Judge.

On another level, I see this scripture as very logical. If, indeed, you ‘judge’ someone negatively, expect them to do the same to you. If you dislike someone and they know it, expect them to dislike you. If you are loving and kind to people, most of those people are going to love you in return. It’s sort of a basic principle. Often times you get back what you give out. As was mentioned in a previous post, though, this is not always the case. Those that learn to love and forgive their enemies, for instance, can neutralize this process of reciprocity.

There is one more level. God’s level. There is a scripture that says that unless you forgive others, God will not forgive you. It’s this judgment from God that I, personally, hope to avoid. Thankfully, I see so many flaws in myself that I don’t see how I could possibly condemn someone else.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

And the hot question is....

Okay...here's a hot question that's been on everybody's mind. Can spiders be retarded? ;-) You know those little stocky fuzzy/hairy looking ones...I call them...jumping spiders? Well, I have one that keeps hanging around my desk area. He/she cruises around on the walls...and on my desk...and today...hanging by a thread under my desk. One day, a couple of weeks ago, I lofted something in it's direction. I didn't try to hit it...just give it the impression that it was in jeapardy. Did that deter it? Nah. The next day...there it was again...cruising along...halfway up the wall. This time, though, when I looked up at it...it appeared to rear up and look at me. Then it dropped straight down the wall and under my desk somewhere. The next day...there it was again. Today....on my desk....and then later...under my desk. I'm not too quick to kill things...so I captured it and took it outside and released it out there. I'm not sure it will survive long out there, though. So, can bugs be retarded? My guess is that if humans can be...so can bugs. In all my years, though, I don't think I've heard this one debated. haha!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Be fruitful and multiply...

There was a time when I saw those words as a command…as in ‘do what I tell you to do’. Now I see them as good council. It’s obvious that we were/are built to reproduce. We are designed to be attracted to members of the opposite sex. Sex was designed to be pleasurable and therefore…desired. We were designed to multiply. That was the plan. What I have discovered is that besides all that physical stuff, the children themselves fulfill different kinds of needs in us. For example, a need for purpose. So when God said to be fruitful and multiply, He was blessing us with good council. He wasn’t just being a dictator…He was trying to help us to have the best life possible. Ignore God’s council at your own risk.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Where have all the flowers gone...

Where have all the flowers gone? For those of you who don’t know, those are lyrics from a sad song. They come to mind because I’m a little sad today myself. I had to say goodbye to someone that I cared for like a son and had invested in. No, they didn’t die, but they did move away.

It’s probably not a good day to post…I mean…I don’t want to depress anyone or cause people to feel sorry for me. There’s no value in that. On the other hand, one of the benefits of anonymous blogging is that you can be honest with the way you are feeling. Today I am feeling depressed. I’ll get over it, though. Tomorrow is a new day.

Monday, April 9, 2007

The real battle...

Eph 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (NIV)

I’ve often pondered this scripture and find it to be very challenging. If, for instance, you are being mistreated…you might look at the one who is mistreating you as someone that is being influenced or controlled by outside forces. With this interpretation, one might feel compassion instead of loathing toward the one that is mistreating you. One might be more likely to forgive them, and possibly even pray for them and/or do good to them. This is, of course, what Jesus commanded (Luke 6:27). On the other hand, you may choose to blame the individual through whom the trial comes and fail the spiritual test/challenge completely.

For you see, it would appear that the real battle is ultimately an inner one. No matter that the fiery darts appear to originate from a physical form. The object (flesh and blood) that introduces the struggle is not the culprit per se, only a vehicle that imparts the spiritual challenge. Whether you win or lose this battle depends on the choices you make during the struggle. If someone makes you angry, what is your typical response? Quite likely, your first reaction will be visceral….a desire to defend, protect, retaliate. We can do so in numerous ways. We may do so outwardly and directly, as in face to face confrontations. Or, we may do so inwardly, as in private conscious justifications. Our anger may even be turned inward and manifest itself in depression. If, though, we can see these conflicts for what they are…spiritual battles that present choices…whether to hate and retaliate in some way…or love and forgive…we have a chance to really win the battle that counts.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Online and all alone...

Well, I have a blog and it’s online.  I’m the only one who apparently knows it’s online at this point, though.  I've built websites before and I'm familiar with the whole search engine and exposure routine.  For me, at this point, the questions become…are my opinions, perspectives, and thoughts worth the trouble of attempting to gain an audience?  And what exactly would my motive be for doing so?  To help other people?  To entertain?  To (hopefully) be encouraged/affirmed?  I do know that initially I wanted an unencumbered (anonymous) outlet for my thoughts.  I also know that I was interested in feedback.  Hmmm.  Sounds like I need something.  Probably the same thing everyone else needs, huh?

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Magnificence and horror...

Some of my observations can be a little intense. I mean…as I mentioned in a previous post, this is a fantastic universe we live in. My goodness…the magnitude of its glory is beyond comprehension. The diversity of life is mind boggling. Our little pea brains really cannot fathom it. And yet we are here. We can take a stroll through Yosemite Valley and be awestruck by the sheer beauty. We can stand on the rim of the Grand Canyon and be stunned. We can watch a tornado wreck havoc and be humbled by its power. We can look up into the sky at night and feel both great and insignificant at the same time as the expanse of it takes our breath away. We can peer up at the sun and be amazed that this apparent ball of fire hangs there and gives light and heat to this planet, and without which there would be no life on earth. But at the same time we are pondering the magnitude and glory of creation…millions of things are being eaten alive. There is drama here….as well as glory.  The point in all this is that though life is wonderful in ways, it is also a life of uncertainty and should elicit a degree of fear and respect from those privileged to be part of it.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Hidden motives...

Hidden motives. Do each of us have motives that even we aren’t completely aware of and don’t grasp? Does our ‘base nature’ have it’s own agenda, and does it work underneath of our conscious thoughts? What would make up our base nature? Selfishness? Dominance? Survival? Pride? If these are some of the traits of this base nature….just how ugly is it? Yikes! Do we have a monster within? Is our job here on planet earth to attempt to contain it? Surely we fight against it each day. Can we ever win, or is this base nature just a sparring partner…one through which we can exercise our conscious will and possibly become stronger? Does this base nature ever die while we are in this body? Is this base nature integral with the body and are we the soul that cohabitates with it? What do you think the ultimate purpose of such a plan might be?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The slings and the arrows...

Well, it’s another day in this fantastic universe and it’s almost time to head out the door to work. Soon, the challenges will begin! Am I up to it? I just never know. Some days I seem like Superman, and the slings and the arrows just bounce off. Other days, they make it through and find their mark and leave wounds. Sometimes the pain of those wounds cause me to throw an arrow or two. It’s the arrows that I throw that seem to hurt me more, though.

Monday, March 26, 2007

It's all good?

In our day and age, you hear people say “it’s all good”. But it’s not all good. Hate isn’t good. Murder isn’t good. Suicide isn’t good. Incest isn’t good. Heroin addiction isn’t good. Car accidents aren’t good. There are too many things to list that aren’t good. So, in that, we have determined that everything that happens to us, or around us…isn’t necessarily good.

Sometimes how we handle the things that happen to us or around us isn’t good either. We can become bitter, we can seek vengeance, we can hate, we can become apathetic, we can lose hope, we can lose faith, etc. There are too many things to list here as well.

So, how are we to view and understand life?

On the one hand, we aren’t in complete control of our destiny. Someone could crash into our car and it be totally their fault. We could end up maimed for life, and be totally innocent. Or, we could be born into a family that has lousy genes…and suffer with a disease that we had absolutely no choice about. We could be born handicapped, etc. Again the list could go on and on.

Though we don’t have complete control over what we go through in life, we do have choices in how we respond to our experiences. As noted above, we can do so negatively…by becoming bitter, etc. Or, we can do our best to choose a positive perspective. What a challenge!

We can speculate about things until the cows come home. For instance, we could say that by being maimed in a car accident that left us paralyzed, we were given an opportunity to trust God more…since we could no longer care for ourselves. After all, God is in the business of shaping souls…and what in the world do we know about that? Maybe in heaven we will find we made great progress in some soul developmental department because of that challenge here? Maybe those people that suffer the most here, and do so gracefully, will be higher up the ladder in heaven? That makes some sense to me. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily make it true….or false.

Something else that makes sense is that in this world, love feels better than hate and joy feels better than bitterness. So, from a logical perspective, choosing a positive attitude makes better sense for our own well being. Bitterness is ugly and hurts the person that is bitter. Hate does the same thing. Who wants that? That’s like punishing ourselves. We may already feel like we are being punished, why take over the job?

Hopefully, though, we don’t feel like we are being punished because I really don’t think that’s it. Though life is not ‘all good’, it can be an exciting and challenging adventure. After all, we get to be awake and alive…in a fantastic universe.