Archive for the ‘God’ Category

Who is my Boss?

February 24, 2016

“We must obey God rather than men”  Acts 5:29

When should I ever disobey the laws of my government?  We are seeing, for the first time in the United States, civil laws which require obedience that violates the  conscience of some people.  For the first 200 years or so of this nation, laws were based, more or less on the Judeo-Christian tradition.  That was discarded by progressivism in favor of law based on majority rule.  Right and Wrong in a progressive democracy is decided by majority rule, and so is free to follow changing cultural mores, changing technology, changing ideas about science and changing ideas of what it means to be human.  The democratic majority is assumed to always get it right.

Speaking with a progressive, someone with traditional values is amazed at the utter lack of understanding about conscience.  Some progressives seem to feel that obeying the laws is always the right thing to do no matter what, and there is simply no higher authority to give anyone qualms about it.  Therefore some can be totally comfortable with the horrendous practices of late term abortions, if the law allows it.  Their mantra is:  your beliefs may be true for you, but not for me, and you can’t force your beliefs on the majority.  In other words, there is no absolute truth and no absolute morality.

Following such logic, it was totally correct for the Nazi officers to run the death camps.  The law was the law, and the Nazi party was democratically elected and authorized to make the laws of the land.  Individual conscience did not trump the law, and the party recognized no authority above their own.  Yet, when the allies conducted the Nuremberg war crimes trials, they did not recognize following legally justified  government orders as an excuse for what was done.  Why?

Don’t Be Afraid

January 26, 2016

“Not one sparrow (What do they cost? Two for a penny?) can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.  And the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So don’t worry!  You are more valuable to him than many sparrows.”  Matt 10:29-31

Its amazing that the God of the universe knows even when a sparrow falls from its nest.  And even more amazing that he knows every  hair I have.  Really, He knows every cell in my body and its health.  And I am valuable to Him.  Why should I be afraid?  If God knows every single thing that happens in my life down to the most minute detail, nothing can happen to harm me.  Anything that happens which frightens or worries me has already been approved by God.  Now if I am valuable to Him, He approves only those things which fulfill His purposes for me, and He loves me.  Really, I have nothing to fear.  If He takes me through hard places, He is with me, and He will lead me safely through.

 

No One Gets Away with Anything

January 26, 2016

But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you.  For the time is coming when the truth will be revealed; their secret plots will become public knowledge.  Matthew 10:26

In today’s culture, anyone who is at all open about their faith gets harassed sometimes by some people, and at times it seems the bullying occurs a lot of the time by a lot of people. Bullies usually aren’t open about what they are doing.  They harass others outside of the public eye.  They gossip, lie, slander, ruin reputations, start rumors, etc.  They do anything they can to diminish their prey, and do it without looking bad themselves.  If they can take your job, your position, your good name or your peace, they will try to do it, and very slyly and secretly.   But God says, do not fear.  He will one day see that justice is done.  They will be exposed for who they are and truth will be known.  Do not be afraid. God has your back.  Nothing ever goes on without His knowledge.  He knows those who are His, and He will never let this go so far as to defeat His plans and purposes for those He loves.  Again, do not be afraid.

 

Being Honest with God

January 24, 2016

“O Lord, how long will you forget me?  Forever?  How long will you look the other way?  How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day?  How long will my enemy have the upper hand?  Psalm 13:1,2

David was expressing something like exasperation to God, and it was almost exasperation with God.  He had been suffering, being cornered by enemies who sought to destroy him, and he was not seeing any action on God’s part.  He had a certain daring.  He dared complain to God, and yet he felt safe enough to do so.  God could have destroyed him.  God had punished the complainers among his people in the past.  But God didn’t punish David.  God actually called David “a man after my own heart.”  What was the difference?

David wasn’t taking God for granted.  He didn’t lack faith in God.  In this same psalm David said “But I trust in your unfailing love.  I will rejoice because you have rescued me.” (Verse 5)  David was just tired, heartbroken, and longing for some reassurance from the Lord, some movement on his behalf that would give him some hope.  He wasn’t distrusting God, but just being honest with God.

Sometimes it feels wonderful to just unburden ourselves, talking about our problems with someone who will listen without condemnation.  God knows how we are made, and He doesn’t mind at all that we ventilate our emotions before Him.   He is pleased that we trust Him like that.  It is good for us to be honest about our feelings, not acting as though we have to play some holy pretend game before God.  It is good for us to unburden ourselves to the only one who can do anything to help us.  And it is good when we then tell God we are willing to do what He wants.  It is good when we tell Him we trust Him to work out our problems for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28)

What Does God Want?

January 9, 2016

“I don’t want your sacrifices–I want your love; I don’t want your offerings–I want you to know me.”  Hosea 6:6

We usually think of sin as doing something harmful to someone, and that would necessarily be a sin against God as well, for He has commanded us to love one another.  But we don’t generally think of sin as failing in our relationship with God.  Yet we do fail.  We all do.  None of us spends enough time getting to know God, praying, and trying to serve Him to the very best of our knowledge and ability.  In the first commandment He asked us to love Him with our whole heart (commitment), our whole soul (emotion), our whole mind (intellect) and our whole strength (passion).  (Matthew 22:36-40).  None of us does that.  We are all half-hearted some of the time in some of these ways.  And that is the beginning of our sin.  If we were wholly committed to God, loving Him with every part of our being, then love for others would flow from that, for we would see others as created in God’s image, and precious to Him.

And some would say “I give God my tithe, and I give God my service.”  What would we think of a child who had been adopted out of desperate straits, loved and given every advantage, who in adulthood no longer has a relationship with his parent.  He may send cards for the requisite occasions, and even speak well of his parent publicly, but does not have anything resembling a relationship.  We would think of that child as a selfish, ungrateful, person.  Yet, far too many people are in that situation with God, going through the motions, giving money, but never talking to Him or seeking His will.

Many of us do not think of ourselves as sinners, only as people who make mistakes, or don’t live up to our own resolutions.  Not seeing ourselves as all that bad, we never fully appreciate God’s mercy or what Jesus did to redeem us.  We frankly don’t think we need much forgiveness, and ought to deserve a break for all the good things we do.  But when we think of our failure toward God in His desire for a real relationship with us, we are way past the time when we should be begging His forgiveness and grateful for His mercy.  We need to repent of our unloving attitude toward Him, and begin building a wholehearted relationship.

Yoga, Prayer and the difference.

January 6, 2012

“Yoga is about clearing away whatever is in us that prevents our living in the most full and whole way.  With Yoga we become aware of how and where we are restricted—in body, mind and heart—and how gradually to open and release these blockages.  As these blockages are cleared, our energy is freed.  We start to feel more harmonious, more at one with ourselves.  Our lives begin to flow—or we begin to flow more in our lives.”    quote by Cybele Tomlinson.

 I read this quote today on the facebook page of a friend who has been going through a lot of soul searching.  It sounds good, but its really so very, very limited.  Its ultimately all about self, and no one else.  The human condition is such that we are limited and we are lonely.  We can’t solve our problems all alone.   Our problems with our loneliness and limitedness can’t be solved by a limited, lonely self.  Someone once quipped they couldn’t run from their problems because “wherever I go, there I am.”  The self is so constant it becomes a pain.  “Otherness” is as necessary to us as the air we breathe.  Its not so much whats in us that prevents us living a full and whole life, its the need for more than what is in us.  We have to open up.

Rather than Yoga, prayer opens the heart, mind and emotion to the great Other.  The best part of that is this  Other is the only One who has the power and wisdom to truly help us.  No one understands us like God, for He knows us better than we know ourselves.  As we pour out our hearts in prayer, we not only see ourselves more clearly, but we see answers to what we are seeking.  By opening up to Him, we learn to appreciate and love Him back.  This gives us the energy to love others and to have compassion for them.   “We love because He first loved us.”  I John 4:19

A Prayer for Help to Forgive

March 12, 2011

Lord, I know unforgiveness blocks Your living water in my own soul.  It cuts off the flow in my spiritual arteries.  What am I to do?  I see things and hear things that stab my heart.  Immediately I must bring them to You.  You saw what I saw.  You know I feel what I feel.  I am to leave this in Your capable hands.  You know what I cannot know.  You see into the heart of the other person, and You will deal with them in love, as is necessary.  I am to let go and just love.  I can “just love” by praying for their good, and by saying and doing good to them if and where I am able.  I am to think their good by remembering that You love them and You are bringing about good in their life.  Help me have Your thoughts and an attitude that pleases You.

Good Friday

April 2, 2010

In the courts of the heavenlies, past the realm of time and in eternity, the Godhead sat enthroned, surrounded by thousands of angels.  These were the angels who had remained loyal after the great rebellion.  The angels were highly intelligent, highly sensitive creatures, who could have forgotten their place and fancied themselves as equals to God.  In fact a third of them did just that very thing, and were cast from heaven along with their leader, an angel named Lucifer.  Only Lucifer could still, at times, approach the throne of God when God allowed him to speak. 

The Godhead had created a cosmos.  It contained 300 billion galaxies, and in one of the galaxies, in a tiny solar system near the edge, on a tiny planet, the Godhead had created life.  There was vegetation, all kinds of animal, bird and reptile life, and an awesome creation called man.  The man was created plural, as the Godhead is.  Man had his mate, called woman.  God shared his life with the man and woman.  He walked and spoke with them in a way they could understand.  He made them a little lower than the angels, not so intelligent as the angels, and not so sensitive, yet intelligent enough that God could have partnership with them.  Yet, the man and woman had also rebelled against God.  They believed a lie of Lucifer instead of the truth of God, to whom they owed everything.  Why?  The lie was enticing.  They could become equal to God–the very thing Lucifer had tried to do.  Lucifer, who had spat out the words to his creator: “I will not serve you”, now tried to recruit followers and had been successful.  

The thousands of loyal angels were watching.  The rebellious angels had been driven from the heavenlies and from God’s presence.  What would God do to the man and woman?  Justice demanded the same treatment for the man and woman, spiritual death, unless justice could be satisfied in some other way.  The second person of the Godhead offered himself in place of the man and woman.     He would become human as they were, and enter life on the earth.  He would taste death so they would never have to.  The angels were satisfied and praised God for His great love, justice and mercy.  But Lucifer, now called Satan, wasn’t satisfied.  He hated God and he hated the humans.  He stepped forward and described the crucifixion.  It was a horrifying thing, and the gasp echoed through the courts of heaven.  It was satanically inspired cruelty.  And Satan threw down the challenge.  “You would never love them that much!”  The second person of the Godhead answered, “my love is infinite.  I will do this.  I will go.”  And he did go, as Jesus, all the way to the cross and endured it in all its hideousness.  It was literally the worst Satan could have devised.  Jesus died, so we will never have to experience death.  And the Father showed His acceptance.  The veil of the temple, which had always separated man and God was split in two from the top down.  Jesus was raised from death on Easter morning, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father to rule and reign over all the creation.  And Lucifer, now called Satan, lost.  He still wanders the earth, trying to deceive humans through pride (you are divine) or through lies about God’s character (God doesn’t exist, God doesn’t care, God doesn’t love you).  But Satan has lost the war.  Whatever he says can be refuted by God’s people using God’s words.  And he no longer has any power to harm us without our permission.  So, arise dear soul.   God won, and so have we.  Live for God’s glory and bask in His Love.

Hubble Telescope

March 26, 2010

Looking at pictures taken through the Hubble Telescope makes for a marvelous trip.  As the earth fades into the distance, our solar system fades into the distance, and eventually our galaxy fades into the distance.  Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is so fantastic in its beauty.  I thought it would be a milky white cloud on a black background, but it has color.  Amazing!  Then as the Milky Way fades into the distance, other galaxies appear, and they, too, have color.  As they fade into the distance, we see something like the electron cloud of an atom, as it is portrayed by artists.  Countless galaxies form a colorful cloud around something that appears to be in the middle of it, yet is invisible.   350 Billion galaxies are in this cloud!  Its just unfathomable.  Children would see it with wonder in their faces.  How many of us have any of that wonder left, or do we just say “ho hum, so all of this just happened, maybe someday scientists can tell us how.”  Children see the infinite mystery, and wonder Who did it.  That would explain why Jesus said unless we become like little children we will never enter the kingdom of Heaven.  Maybe the door to Heaven has a key called worship!!

Jesus in my Purse

March 26, 2010

Crazy Love by Francis Chan is one of the most profoundly life-changing books I have ever read.  It is truly counter-culture, both in terms of American culture and Christian culture.  Ultimately it asks, “How much do you love Jesus?”  How much do we think we love Jesus?  How much do we love the real Jesus?  How much of our love is devoted to a Jesus who fits our own image of what a God should be?

I think American women really want a Jesus they can fit into their purse.  If Jesus can fit into my purse, the convenience is amazing.  He’s small enough that I can carry him wherever I go, not a big God who (God forbid) carries me!  He’s  easily hidden so he doesn’t show up and embarrass me.  I take him when I please, and leave him home if he’s too much trouble to drag around wherever I’m going.  If  he’s with me, I want him to be sort of like a small spray can.  If I’m lacking confidence, poof!  I have it.  If I’m scared, poof!  I have  courage.  If I’m feeling weak, poof!  I have the Power!!  If I need money, the right words, a parking place, I name it and poof!  I have what I need instantly.  Oh yes, I’m grateful.  I’m always saying “Thank you Jesus!”  People think I’m really religious since they hear my thanks so often.  I even try to do things for Jesus to keep him happy there in my purse.  God forbid he should jump out and quit taking care of me.

Oh wait!  I have just broken the second commandment and broken it in a huge way.  I’ve made a Jesus in my image.  This is NOT the Jesus who came to earth to teach me who HE is and what HE wants of me.  This is not the Jesus who “set his face like flint” and headed to Calvary so He could die for me and the boatload of silly, selfish, foolish users just like me who treat the Lord of Heaven and Earth like my personal assistant.  This is not the Jesus who asked me if I would take up my cross and follow him.  This is not the Jesus who told me to love God with all my heart(passion), all my soul (emotion), all my mind (faith), and all my strength (commitment), and actually commanded me to love the other person (any other person in need) as much as I love myself.  No, the real Jesus won’t ever fit in my purse, and I have to ask if He will fit in my puny life.  My life is about keeping my shoes clean, looking good and not breaking a nail.  My life is the life of a “nice” lady who is only beginning to realize the depth of her sin and the enormity of the loving grace of Jesus.