Thursday, June 29, 2006

Law or Grace?

"For no human being will be justified in his sight by works of the law, since through the law comes knowledge of sin." Romans 3:20 RSV

A baby knows nothing of wrong or right and we call this innocence. True innocence is a state of being that precedes knowledge, but quickly the 'ways of the world' impresses itself on that innocence. That impression is called knowledge.

Slowly the child learns either to trust when its needs or met or to distrust when they are not. A child learns love when it is loved and hatred and anger - either anger thrust outward or anger thrust inward - when it is not loved. As the child grows and experiments with its world, he is taught the rules in various, and at times, harsh ways. The world has made its impression on the child and the payment was innocence. The bill of sale is called Original Sin.

God created us, not for the world, but for the Garden; Paradise. By eating the apple, Adam and Eve invited the world into the Garden, and innocence was lost. Replacing innocence was hatred, anger, shame, guilt, criticism, blame and judgment.

The world cannot coexist in the same place as the Garden, and as Adam and Eve now carried the 'ways of the world' inside of them, it was necessary to remove them from the Garden. We each carry the Original Sin because we are each born into the world. There is no choice as the world will eventually impress itself upon us.

Jesus changed that. With his death and resurrection, we now have a choice. We can do nothing and continue to belong to the world, or we can choose Jesus and claim Paradise.

What would you choose?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Why Did God Let This Happen?

Most people travel through the days of our life with little or no consciousness of God. The God who created everything we touch, the space we occupy and the time we move through is either not real to us, or he is sitting passively on a throne in some distant place watching our struggles and accomplishments with a kingly apathy. Then, disaster strikes; either corporately or personally, and when that happens their first thought is why did God let that happen?

I shall tell you a secret - WE WERE NEVER MADE TO LIVE IN THE WORLD.

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Genesis 1:1 RSV. God created the heavens, they did not exists before God's creation. He also created the inhabitants of the heavens; the angels. Lucifer is included in the angel count, and was in fact one of the highest ranking angels. But he rebelled with the first sin ever recorded, pride. Jealousy and rebellion followed and with slander, Lucifer persuaded one-third of God's angels to follow him into revolt.

God could have destroyed Satan then, but remember, Satan was one of God's creations just as we are his creation. So, in mercy God allowed him a time for repentance, however, Satan could not remain in the heavens in this compromised state. So, he was banished to earth.

"...then, the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the LORD God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. " Genesis 2:7-9

God created man and placed him in the Garden of Eden, or Paradise. So you see, we were made to live forever in Paradise. Today, scientists are frustrated in their research on aging. By their own admission, it appears that our body cells were constructed to live forever, yet we are still aging and dying. Why?

There is another clue. Every evening, the Lord came into the Garden to commune with Adam and Eve. Genesis specifically says that the Lord would walk and talk with Adam and Eve in the evenings. This strongly suggests a face-to-face meeting.

Now we move to forward to Moses. He is on the mountain accepting the Law from God. Before Moses moves down the mountain, he makes a request.

"Moses said, "I pray thee, show me thy glory. And he said, "I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you my name 'The LORD'; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.

But," he said, "you cannot see my face; for man shall not see me and live."

And the LORD said, "Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand upon the rock; and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by; then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen." Exodus 33:18-23 RSV

Something happened to humankind between Creation and the Law. For in the Garden, Adam and Eve could behold the face of God and live, yet Moses was told by God that if he saw the face of the Lord, he would die.

The original sin changed us. It changed us so much that God had to banish us from the Garden - just as he banished Satan from the heavens. Now we both occupy the earth with its trials and tribulations; with its uncertainties and natural laws.

But remember, this is not our home.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

A Prayer For Husbands and Fathers

Dear Father God,

I pray that you will restore our men. Please restore their sense of responsibility to their wives, children and country. But most of all, Father, please restore them to their responsibility to you.

When you created man, you charged him with tilling and keeping the Garden. After the fall, you charged him with tilling and keeping the earth. You gave him dominion over the earth. These tasks were not an honor of entitlement, but a charge of responsibility and sacrifice.

I pray that the men of the world will once again embrace their charge of responsibility and sacrifice in love and humility. I pray that they will love their wives and cherish their children. Return their spirits - not to pride in themselves - but to acknowledgement to the one who created them.

I pray that they will once again protect all that you have placed in their hands. Father, we need their reverence for the responsibilities you have placed on them. Restore their spirits, Restore their strength and restore their resolve. Their wives and children are counting on them.

In Jesus' name - Amen.