Archive for December, 2009

Internet Friends

December 30, 2009

Several of my younger friends have met their soul mates on the internet.  For them, the long process of getting to know each other had already taken place, and all that was left was meeting the person face to face.  For each of them, the face to face encounter was just a deeper experience of what they already knew, and they thoroughly enjoyed the day or evening spent together.  Although they greatly feared that first meeting, the fear was dispelled with the first mutual smile of recognition.

When we meet Jesus at our death, if we have had a relationship all along, our meeting will be the same thing.  We will look into the eyes of someone we have known all along.  There will be the thrill of recognition and the desire to never part again.  That is why it is so important to know Jesus now, in the spiritual realm, because those who don’t know Him will see Him in all His glory as someone to be greatly feared.  They will actually run away and want the caves to hide them, because to those who don’t know Him, awesome almighty God is terrifying to behold.

The Top of the Mountain

December 30, 2009

Once upon a time a young man was told by the wise man of his village that he was to receive a great gift.  Just outside his village was a beautiful, very tall mountain.  Every young man in the village climbed this mountain as a rite of passage into manhood.

The young man strained his eyes to see the mountain peak.  Some days it was covered with cloud, and other days the peak was very clear.  The day after he was told about the gift he would receive, he saw a glint upon the mountain top.  He got a pair of binoculars and looked.  There was a beautiful package on top of the mountain, wrapped in gold and silver and tied with gold and silver twine.  There was no gift tag he could see, but he was sure it was the gift that had been foretold for him.  As he started out to climb the mountain, he saw beside the road, a very large brown sack with his name on it.  He was sure someone was joking about his wonderful gift by leaving such a plain old bag, and he passed it by.

He climbed all day, and in the night he was hungry and thirsty and cold.  He wished he had thought to bring a blanket, water and food, but he remembered that the next day he would receive the great gift on top of the mountain and his discomfort wouldn’t matter then.

He didn’t sleep well for he was very cold.  In the morning he was very hungry and not a little thirsty, but he shrugged it off and began to climb again.  By noon he was very, very weak from hunger and thirst, but he anticipated reaching the package by late afternoon, and by then every need would be satisfied by his present.  By late afternoon, as he approached the gift,  he could see writing on the silver and gold wrapping paper.  The writing said: “wealth, fame, success, admiration”.  His heart beat a little faster as he was sure this package would contain everything his heart desired.  He became weaker and weaker, but at last he reached the package–a box bigger than he was.  He was nearly blinded by the glitter of it all.  He saw the written words, “wealth, fame, success and admiration”, were repeated many times all over the box.  With his last bit of strength, he opened the box, and to his great dismay, it was empty.  He nearly fainted from weariness, weakness, thirst and disappointment.  As he lay near the open box and all the glittering paper, a little creature came by.  Whether the creature was a fairy, an angel or a  human, he couldn’t tell.  The little creature said, “what good are wealth, fame, success and admiration now when you are now dying for what you really need? Nevertheless, I will give you food, water, and the warmth you will need to get back home.  You have climbed the mountain after all, and you are now a man in the eyes of your village”.  “But where is the present I was promised”, demanded the young man.  The creature struggled as it pulled out a large brown bag with the young man’s name on it.  It had a cask of water, food and a big, very warm blanket.  Without this present, he knew, he would never get back home.

The Letdown after Christmas

December 30, 2009

I imagine that this week many people are suffering a post Christmas letdown.  We let ourselves build up a sort of excitement, an anticipation that somehow this Christmas will be satisfying, and at the end of the day, something is still missing.  Not even Christmas satisfied us fully.

We humans are curious beings.  At some level, we know what we need, but we persist in chasing after something else for all the wrong reasons.  We are like desert dwellers who know we need water, yet persist in trying to get the biggest patch of sand.  The one with the most sand wins, and we are all still thirsty.

The only people who are truly satisfied at the end of Christmas are the ones who spent Christmas looking for the One whose birthday it is.  If we can celebrate His coming, thank Him for coming, and ask the one thing He delights in giving us, we will always be satisfied.  The one thing He delights in giving us is more of Himself.  If we go to bed on Christmas Eve asking Him to invade our minds and hearts as we sleep and truly change us to love Him more, we will be surprised at how different our Christmas will be.  Jesus himself is the water we need.  He said so.

A New Translation of a Bible Verse

December 6, 2009

A lot of Christians are familiar with Revelations 3:20  “Behold I stand at the door and knock.  If any man answer, I will come in and have fellowship with him and he with me.”

A new translation for the 21st century (fictitious of course) would be:  “Behold I stand at the door and knock, but you are upstairs on the internet and don’t hear me, so I am left standing on the porch.”

Sad, but I think it aptly describes what is happening everywhere in the electronic age.

Decisions, decisions

December 6, 2009

Jesus helps those who are  helpless before Him.  When we have finally given up on ourselves, our strength, our ideas and our pride,  we let go and thats when we see His power at work.  The trouble is, a lot of us don’t have that kind of faith.  One of 3 things happen.  First, we don’t believe God will help us.  We believe He can, but we don’t believe He will.  Second, we really don’t want to totally depend on Him, and we keep a back door open, thinking we can come up with something ourselves.  Third, we ask Him for answers, and then don’t want to do what He reveals to us, so we keep asking, hoping to get another answer more to our liking.  If we really want His help, we have to let go once and for all and do it His way.  If we’re totally honest, we usually know exactly what that is;  we just don’t want to do it.  We’re scared, or we think we aren’t going to like it, or both.  To make room for God you have to clear the workbench of two occupants.  One is “I can’t do that”, and the other is ” I would never want to do that”.  Push those two occupants off the bench and God will have room to lay out His tools and begin to work.

The Dream

December 2, 2009

I had a dream early one morning.  In my dream I was writing.  What I was writing was this: “Why is it when my life is 99% good, my thoughts are continually drawn to the 1% that is not good?  Its like having a beautiful new carpet in the great room and it has a small wine stain.  My eyes are always drawn to the wine stain.  Why is that?  What should I do?  Move the furniture!”  I woke up wondering how I could ‘move the furniture’ in my situation.  I don’t have the answer yet, but I believe its worth thinking about.

Communication

December 2, 2009

Sometimes when traveling, my cell phone service is poor and cuts off on me.  Sometimes internet service is unavailable.  Sometimes I must not use the land line phone because someone is expecting a cell.

Thank you Lord, that your line is always available.  You are never busy and you never sleep.  I may talk to You day or night, from any location, and you are always listening.  Thank you for loving me that much.

Is the Bible Believable?

December 2, 2009

Its a miracle the ancient scriptures were preserved so well and faithfully.  No other culture has such a vast collection of its ancient literature.  To think that Jesus read these scriptures is amazing and even more astounding is the fact Jews everywhere read these same scriptures today, two thousand years later.  Jesus gave credence to the Old Testament.  He quoted from nearly every book of it.  When He spoke about it, He spoke with authority.  Those were His Father’s words, God’s truth.  Since Jesus proved his own credibility through his miracles, his Resurrection from the dead and final ascension into the heavens, we can accept His assessment of the veracity of Old Testament scripture.

Have You Ever Read Any of the Bible?

December 2, 2009

One of the more interesting questions you can ask a person is whether they have ever read the bible.  Most people haven’t read any of it.  You can follow up the question by asking why, but you probably won’t have to ask.  People will volunteer their reasons for not reading it.  You’ll get everything from “its too boring”, “its too hard to understand”, “its too long”, “its just a bunch of fables” to “its a waste of time”.  Ask if they can recall reading one book of the bible and which one it is.  They can’t remember.  They have written off the whole bible when it is, in reality, a library of 66 books.  There are books of poetry and history, collections of letters, prayers and visions. The history is more and more being proved reliable by archeological discoveries.  Why not just start with the book of Genesis?  Its anything but boring, or hard.  If a book seems boring, go onto the next one.  You’ll be a much wiser, more insightful person just for reading the books of the bible you find interesting.  In fact, you’ll be surprised how much it captures your interest, and how much of it you will read.  Just be sure to get a good translation.  We don’t speak King James English anymore, so reading that can be as difficult at times as reading Shakespeare.

Loving my Neighbor

December 2, 2009

I came across this poem recently:

Love has a hem to her garment

that trails in the very dust.

It can reach the stains of the streets and lanes

And because it can, it must.”

This anonymous poem really makes me stop and think.  I like to think of myself as a loving, compassionate person, but am I?  Do I mostly love the lovely, the cute, the helpless?  Do I love people who are really dirty and smelly, or do I cross the street to avoid them?  Do I love people who are loud and rude?  Do I love people who are demanding and unreasonable and act as though I somehow owe them help?  The dust and stains of the streets and lanes contain plenty of dirty, smelly, loud and obnoxious people.  Can I care for them as I would care for myself?