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Showing posts from 2009

Forgiveness…

Mark 11:25…“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."Matthew 6:15…“But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”Taken literally, these scriptures would not make much sense. Consider that God is love (1 John 4:16) and God directs us to forgive others….but then if we don’t….he doesn’t forgive us? Does that make sense to you? It sounds hypocritical to me, and I know God is not that. I’m convinced that these scriptures are really talking about fellowshipping with God, communing with God. You see, God doesn’t change (Mal 3:6). In Him is no shadow of turning (James 1:17). He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). For us to commune with God, we have to go where He is. You might say that God lives on that narrow road that Jesus speaks about in Matthew 7:14. Indeed, if we fail to forgive, hold grudges and ill will, etc, we cannot stay on tha…

Do you need to be loved…

…to love? In other words, can you truly love others, if you, yourself, did not receive that kind of love when you were growing up? Can it be formed in you without having learned it in that way?

Is God mad at you?

Everything going smooth in your life? No? Hmmm. Maybe God is mad at you? Have you been a good little boy or girl? Pretty good you say? Any ideas then why God would be punishing you? Let me think about that. Hmmm. Nothing really stands out, but I know I’m not perfect. I must have done something wrong that God is punishing me for. Ahhh. Maybe it’s not God. Maybe it’s just life? Maybe it’s the corruption of the flesh? Maybe it’s satan? I wonder, would great parents smack you in the face as a discipline but not explain to you what they are disciplining you for? No, you say? Interesting. Then I don’t think God would do that either, do you? I mean, if no one explains to you what you have done wrong, but only punishes you, how do you learn? You guess? You become neurotic? On the other hand, satan would love to confuse you, he would love for you to blame God for all the bad things that happen, wouldn’t he? We don’t need satan to explain his purposes, do we?On the one hand I hate to give satan…

Helping others…

What kind of help do people need the most? For instance, If you know someone that is really unattractive, what might be the best way to help them? Tell them that they need plastic surgery? Point out their flaws? How about loving them, being a true friend to them, just the way they are?If you know someone that is unhappy, what might be the best way to help them? How about telling them how stupid it is to be unhappy? Try to convince them that being happy is better? Or how about just loving them, being a true friend to them, just the way they are?If you know someone that is judgmental, what might be the best way to help them? Pointing out the error of their ways? Judging them for being judgmental? Or how about just loving them, being a true friend to them, just the way they are?What if a person is negative/pessimistic? What might be the best way to help them? Shoot them and put them out of their misery? Call them names? Insult them? Or how about just loving them, being a true friend t…

True motives?

First off, let me just say that I’m not a republican and I’m not a democrat.  I’m just an American.As you probably know by now, we lost our bid to host the 2016 Olympic games here in the USA. You may also know that, President Obama, got personally involved in an attempt to secure those games. Why? The Fox News channel, of course, is spinning the negative and saying that the president did so for all the wrong reasons…selfish and vain reasons. Of course, they are not quoting the president, just telling us what they ‘think’. I also have a thought. Maybe the President went out of his way to try to bring business here? Maybe he was willing to humble himself and make a plea to the IOC for the games for the benefit of Americans? After all, we all know that hosting the games creates jobs and increases tourism which helps our economy. Right?

The power of thought…

How much real power is there in thought? For instance, if people around you are coming down with a cold or the flu and the thought crosses your mind that you, too, may be in jeopardy of that same fate, does that actually improve your chances of catching that same sickness? Have you opened the door? Have you given sickness permission just by considering the possibility? Or is it more about whether or not your body has built up a resistance to whatever germ is infecting people at that time? Does it have more to do with whether you have been taking good care of your body by feeding it properly, getting enough rest, fluids, etc. Could it relate to genetics and how well you manage stress? How about good hygiene? Could it be about a combination of any or all of the above? Some people seem to think that if you get a cold it’s because your faith is weak. If you get cancer, it’s because your faith is weak. For me, that begs the question. Why did Paul have the affliction he had? Did Paul try to…

In Jesus’ name…

It’s no magic formula. Just tacking on ‘in Jesus’ name’ to the end of a prayer does not insure anything. There’s more to it than that.  Some of the scriptures below not only include the origins of the catch phrase, but an explanation of what’s required of us as well. Notice the conditions for receiving what you ask for: Faith in Him. Asking in His Name. Obeying His commands. Remaining in Him and His words remaining in you.  Doing what pleases Him. Loving one another.  But don’t be fooled!  Though your faithfulness testifies to your love for, faith in, and commitment to Christ, you still have no power.  The reason that you ask ‘in His Name’, is because He is the one doing the miracle!  When someone is healed in Jesus’ Name, it’s a confirmation, it’s a sign to the witnesses, that Jesus is who GOD said He was.  After all, there is salvation in no other name under heaven.  It’s pretty important that people know that.  John 14:12-15…I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do …

My, Me, and I…

How good are we at intercession? When someone sins against us personally, how often does that put us right on our knees asking God to please forgive them? I’m pretty certain that the collective answer would be ‘not often enough’. It would appear that the spirit of intercession is really quite foreign to us….as is loving our neighbor as ourselves, and yet that is the high calling. Indeed God’s ways are not our ways. Indeed God’s ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:9). None the less the command is to be holy (Leviticus 11:45). Note below a few biblical examples of an intercessory spirit and one in which I’m certain God loves. Also, note that in some of the examples, how the person interceding identifies with the sin…includes themselves! Not the traditional, forgive THEM…but rather forgive US!  My Christian Interpretation would be that none of these prayers are about my, me, and I, but rather about the collective good.  How does our prayer life stack up against these examples?Exodus…

Our, Us, and We…

OUR Father…Give US…OUR daily bread…Forgive US…OUR trespasses…As WE forgive…Those who trespass against USLead US not into temptation..Deliver US…Philippians 2:4…Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Sharing the blame…

It appears that a country is like a child. It develops, and as it develops, it’s forced to make some changes. What was appropriate when it was young may no longer be appropriate after it fully develops. The trick is transitioning. You see, rarely does anyone want to change. Of course, if the change is directly beneficial to you, then change is easy. But what if the ‘changes’ mean some sacrifices? Any volunteers? Yeah…not many will volunteer for that. In a democracy change can be even more difficult to attain….because it takes a majority to make changes. That’s where the topic…sharing the blame…comes in. In large part, I believe the government is responsible for getting us into this economic mess we find ourselves in. They didn’t react/respond quick enough to the hand writing on the wall (and I mean for the last 50 years). It seems they sat on their laurels…kind of like the American car manufacturers did back in the 70s when the Japanese starting building better automobiles then us. Th…

I read the news today…oh boy…

Things have changed. I remember when I was a kid, at some point it was just about every little boy’s dream to one day be the president. Remember those days? The president’s office was respected and revered. It was the highest office in the land and, for that matter, the world! Having the president stop by your school and give a speech was akin to the Beatles stopping by. Now, some parents are threatening to keep their kids home from school on the day the president is scheduled for a visit! Have things gotten out of control? You’d almost have to be crazy now to want to be president. What would you be volunteering for? Constant abuse? Continual attacks? Unrelenting scrutiny by the media?It’s a slippery slope. On the one hand, you want the office to be under scrutiny. A respectful scrutiny, though, might be good. Instead we have a media circus that is powered by ratings and greed while parading as the savior of the world.I guess I appreciate the ‘news’. But just give it to me…just give m…

To think or not to think…

Romans 11:33…Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!Indeed, God’s ways are beyond tracing out. I have tried, and continue to try tracing them out, and though I come up with a multitude of thoughts and angles, I’m never completely sure if any of them have merit. The question then becomes ‘is it worth attempting to understand’ the whys and wherefores of life and of God or would we be better served by just accepting whatever comes and not doing any probing for answers and/or understanding?When you read the book of Job, I guess you could say that everyone was trying to put reason to circumstances. In the end, God basically said ‘just trust me’. Right?I do think that the best case scenario would be that we ‘accept’ our circumstances gracefully and with humility, but it also seems appropriate that we should be introspective? How else might we uncover the error of our ways, if indeed whatever circumstan…

Just a reminder…

Luke 21:6-36 "As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down." "Teacher," they asked, "when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?" He replied: "Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away." Then he said to them: "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. "But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. T…

The ‘full’ gospel series…

Sometimes it seems that only half of the message is preached. I think it’s because in our human wisdom, sometimes we think that we may alienate someone by telling it like it is. We want to candy coat it, so it’s more palatable. I’m of the belief that God didn’t make a mistake when He provided us with the Word in it’s fullness. For instance:We’ve all heard that God is good. God is love. God is merciful.But how about the fear of God? Did that get lost in the translation? The teaching is definitely in both the old and new testaments, and yet you may not hear that preached from the pulpit much. Is that wise…or is that human wisdom getting in the way of God’s wisdom?Pr 9:10  "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.Lu 12:5  But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.

Where to draw the line…

1 Peter 4:12 ¶ “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.”Have you ever been persecuted for who knows what? I mean…it may be public knowledge that you are a Bible believing Christian, but you aren’t the type that is forcing your beliefs on everyone around you. You are just living your life, trying to keep a good attitude, and being the best person you can be. It’s not like you are living in the days of the early church where you could be seen as a threat or heretic to other established belief systems. It’s not like you are a missionary in a foreign land that is known to be hostile toward Christianity. You are in your own backyard, so to speak, a predominantly Christian country. But…the persecution comes and it’s ‘strange’ because it’s hard to identify why you are being persecuted and attacked. Ever been there?In 2 Timothy 3:12-13 he says: “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus…

Rush and Hannity…

In my opinion, ‘conservative’ talk radio is damaging the Republican party. People like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and others, that do nothing beyond complaining and spewing negativity and hate speech will ultimately turn people away from the party. I can say that, because it’s happening to me. I personally have tired of their incessant critical, judgmental, and negative comments to the point where I turn to a different channel/station when I hear their voices. They are utterly predictable at this point. My Christian Interpretation would be that they have gone off the deep end, that satan has taken them captive. The Bible says that a tree is known by its fruit. The fruit of their lips appears to have little in common with the fruits of the Spirit.It seems kind of ironic that these folks that see themselves as the saviors of the Republican party are actually putting the nails in the coffin.

Prayer…

I once heard a joke of sorts….that went something like this: A Jewish man goes into the synagogue and prays. "O Lord, you know the mess I'm in, please let me win the lottery."The next week, he's back again, and this time he's complaining. "O Lord, didn't you hear my prayer last week? I'll lose everything I hold dear unless I win the lottery."The third week, he comes back to the synagogue, and this time he's desperate. "O Lord, this is the third time I've prayed to you to let me win the lottery! I ask and I plead and still you don't help me!"Suddenly a booming voice sounds from heaven. "Benny, Benny, be reasonable. Meet me half way. Buy a lottery ticket!"Which brings up the question…when you are praying…are you meeting God half way? If you are obese and pray that God will help you lose weight and yet don’t diet or exercise, what are you expecting? If you are unemployed and pray that God will open a door for you to …

Social Security…

I think most Americans know that the government has totally mismanaged the social security funds. After all, the baby boomers have been paying in tons of money for many years now. Any intelligent, responsible organization/business, would have been investing those funds so that they grew. Instead, the government tapped those funds and used them in other areas. Now that the baby boomers are (finally) getting close to retirement, we are hearing more and more comments about how the whole social security system is bankrupt (or close to bankrupt) and something needs to be done. One suggestion I’ve been hearing is raising the retirement age.My personal opinion is that if the government wants to raise the retirement age, then that should only apply to the people who sign up for social security after that new contract is put into effect. In other words, those new to social security would be signing a different contract. They would know the new rules, what to expect from the start, and have tim…

God couldn’t be more obvious…

I’m amazed at just how obvious God is in creation. There is a design to it all, and a ‘design’ speaks of a designer. Therefore, I’m even more amazed when people deny Him. This begs the question, what causes a person to deny God? Scripture speaks of men loving darkness more than light. I guess that would be one reason. They love sin more than they love God. They choose between the two and attempt to justify themselves by denying the choice even exists. Then there is the lack of humility. Sometimes people get mad at God and reject Him because He isn’t playing by their rules. I say ‘lack of humility’ because when you exalt yourself to the point of judging God, you surely are lacking in humility. It’s the old…if you are going to be that way…then forget you!In pointing to a creator, I’ve been known to use the simple example of human hair. For instance, why do we have eyebrows? The obvious answer is to keep liquid (perspiration, rain, etc) from rolling right into our eyes. Why do we have ey…

The issue of torture…

Noun: torture1. The deliberate, systematic, or wanton infliction of physical or mental suffering by one or more persons in an attempt to force another person to yield information or to make a confession or for any other reason2. Extreme mental distress3. Unbearable physical pain4. Intense feelings of suffering; acute mental or physical pain5. The act of distorting something so it seems to mean something it was not intended to meanVerb: torture1. Torment emotionally or mentally2. Subject to tortureSo, using the definitions above, would water boarding be considered torture? Seems like it to me.I have to admit, in a perfect world, torture of any kind would seem totally unacceptable. It’s a no-brainer. No one wants to be tortured, and therefore, if you don’t want to be tortured yourself, then you shouldn’t torture others. It does seem a bit contradictory, though, that in war…you can kill the enemy, but you can’t torture that same enemy to get information that might save others. Killing th…

In conflict…

Is it me, or is it the country working against itself? You have this flawed two party system wherein currently the democrats, led by President Obama, are desperately trying to raise confidence levels and thereby hopefully stimulate an economy that appears on the brink of complete collapse. Then along comes the freedom of the press/speech wherein the media and the republicans undermine any gain in confidence that the public might have realized. Under normal circumstances, this would all seem just fine. But what about under dire circumstances where time is of the essence? My Christian Interpretation would be that it would appear that human nature could interfere with the necessity of a quick response.

Not to be an alarmist, but…

I suspect that throughout the ages, there have been many occasions wherein people considered that the times they were living in were Biblical.  As the world economy staggers and talk of doom and gloom increase, it would be a good time to take stock of our lives and our relationship with our Creator.  I don’t think doing so is ever a bad idea no matter what the underlying motivation.  In that spirit, I present to you the following scriptures:Revelation 18:1 ¶  After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven. He had great authority, and the earth was illuminated by his splendour.
2  With a mighty voice he shouted: "Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! She has become a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit, a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird.
3  For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries."
4  The…

Stimulating the economy…

I touched on a version of this issue many posts ago, but it comes to mind again.  I’m wondering if every time the President mentions the word catastrophe, he isn’t also accomplishing more than just motivating politicians to get off the pot.  Is the mere mention of the word ‘catastrophe’ also stimulating people to start buying things to help them survive in case of an economic collapse?  Wouldn’t that, in itself, temporarily stimulate the economy to some degree?  Of course, that kind of buying would not signify confidence…though I suppose it could be misrepresented or misunderstood as such.

Inflation

Maybe it’s just me…but amidst all the rhetoric concerning the current economic crisis, the one word that I am not hearing is inflation.  I don’t know about you, but my dollars don’t go as far primarily due to the fact that EVERYTHING costs more than it used to, and quite frankly, my wages have not kept up.  I have less money to spend.  Now, what strikes me as odd, is the government’s remedy for our ailing economy is to throw some money on top, the very thing, mind you, that causes inflation.  Once again, it would appear that this remedy is nothing more than a desperate attempt to delay the inevitable.  Not a cure, but rather a bandage.  Which brings up the big question.  What is the cure?  How do you bring the costs down on everything?  How do you level the playing field?  Does anybody really know where to begin?  I sure don’t.  I keep hearing the S-word (socialism) mentioned.  Is that where we are heading?  Would that help in the long run?  I really don’t know.  I’ve never lived anyw…

Corporate America

These are interesting times.  It would appear that corporate America is holding all Americans hostage?  They’ve got their hands out asking for bailout money…but if the government doesn’t appease them, they threaten to close their doors.  Closing their doors would put many people out of work and puts the country at greater risk of falling into a depression.  Now, I wouldn’t necessarily be thinking that these huge corporations are trying to take advantage of us, but when I hear they are buying new jets, or giving out billions of dollars in bonuses, then I’m thinking….bonuses for what?  Running the company into the ground?  Either these companies are really, really, stupid (which could explain why they are failing)….or they are really, really, bold.  It appears to me to be the latter, and they are, in essence, extorting money from all of us.  If one of these large companies did fail, I imagine the CEOs still walk away filthy rich.  Therein lies their leverage.  They have little to lose p…

Do you ever wonder why...

Do you ever ask yourself why? Why this…or why that? Why is my boss so challenging…why is my co-worker so challenging…why is my marriage so challenging…why is my job so challenging…why are my kids so challenging, why is life so challenging? The list could go on. Today, I’m considering that it is all about erosion. Huh? Yeah…environmental conditions that bring about some sort of wearing away of something or other. In time, even the most pointed peaks can be worn down to ground level. A sharp shard of glass tossed in a stream or the ocean ends up all rounded and smooth. Is that the reason for strife? Is it the shaping of our souls via abrasion, resistance, trial, conflict? It would seem likely. I think of Moses and the commentary about him…the meekest man in all the earth. Hmm. What makes a person meek? By trying, can you become meek, or is genuine meekness the result of environmental conditions, through experiences? I don’t believe it’s an accident that the majority of us start out youn…