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.