Thursday, December 06, 2007
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Saturday, September 15, 2007
We curse the driver who cut us off on the way to work. Pent up stress from our workday will unload on our spouse or children in a verbal tirade. Internet surfing or late lunches steal precious time from our employer. Procrastination and the care of our material possessions steal our time. Envy rises when our neighbor has installed a pool, and jealously rises when someone pays too much attention to our spouse. There are family members we only tolerate because of a past hurt, and our ‘white’ lies stack up like building blocks around our souls. Comparatively, we are good people, but we are not the person God created.
Sometime ago, I volunteered to lead a Bible Study for a small group of women. They were a diverse group with empty nesters, young adults, established and new Christians, along with unbelievers. The Bible study followed national events that had turned our security into horror, our trust into fear and our love into questioning. In addition, my inner life paralleled the nation with turmoil, misunderstanding and long buried pain. After prayerful consideration, I chose spiritual warfare as my topic.
I wanted to better understand the existence of evil, how it works, how it affects each of us and more importantly, how can we combat the evil we see around us each day. I questioned why God gave us a free will knowing that we would use that will to turn away from him. I examined the disparity between living under the laws of God and living under his grace. I was confused by the letdown felt by new Christians after the first joyous flush of salvation had mysteriously left them. I could not understand the difference between judgment and discernment or the conflict between forgiveness and self-protection. Although I had witnessed the power of prayer in my life, I wanted to move beyond the ‘genie in the bottle’ type of prayer, and finally, why did God place so much emphasis on praise and worship?
There is a difference between knowledge and wisdom for knowledge can be learned, but wisdom must be earned. Although I had chosen the topic for my Bible study, God had imparted the knowledge and the wisdom. Each week as I studied the scriptures in preparation for my class he revealed to me meanings that I had not before perceived. God also brought me through experiences during that time, and since, that only clarified and confirmed what he was trying to show me.
So again I say the knowledge and the wisdom belong to God and so does the title; for they are God’s Weapons of Mass Construction.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
and my experience has taught me that your two year old cherub can become a nightmare of emotion without warning.
"Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, 'My master is staying away a long time,' and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Matthew 24:45-51 NIV
A person accepts God's plan of salvation through the death and resurrection of his Son, Jesus, and just as a newborn baby, ecstasy follows as they are held fast by loving arms. The whole world looks and feels different, and that person knows true love for the very first time in their lives. This is not just the type of love the world offers - "If you look, act or think as I, I will love you" - but more akin to a motherly love - "I will love you no matter what."
Just as a baby is coddled, held close and cherished, the new Christian is the focus of the church and/or other Christians. Unfortunately, this period of being loved and cherished may pass quickly in some churches, and just as the baby grows to a toddler, the 'baby' Christian starts to mature. Some churches may begin the "Don't do that." phase of their training, and as a toddler who now hears one 'NO' after another, this period can instill anxiety, fear and depression in a new Christian. This most critical time may be when most Christians fall away from the church believing that Christian life is too hard to bear.
"Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. " Philippians 2:12-13 NIV
God's plan of salvation was always about his holiness - not yours. Just as he saved us by his plan of salvation, so too, he will work out your salvation under his plan. Do not succumb to men's idea of who you should be for only God knows your destiny and what you will need to learn before fulfilling that destiny.
As for the rest - "In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." I John 4:17-18 NIV
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
God's covenant with Noah, symbolized by the rainbow, promised that God would never again destroy the earth by water.
God's covenant with Moses, symbolized by the Torah, promised that God's laws would be written on the hearts of his people.
God's covenant with Peter, symbolized by the tongues of fire, promised that we would achieve salvation by grace.
Three different events for three different economies separated by hundreds of years - yet - THEY ALL OCCURRED ON EXACTLY THE SAME DAY.
That day is called Pentecost by Christians and Shavuot by Jews. It is the Feast of the First Fruits. It is also called the Feast of Weeks because it is seven weeks (49 days) from Passover, and the Festival of Reaping because the first of the new wheat is harvested on this day.
Shavuot is also called the Festival of the Matchmaker. Homes and temples are decorated with a canopy of greenery and flowers hung over a large banquet as for a wedding. During the festivities, The Book of Ruth is read recounting Ruth's desire to become a member of the Jewish community. The reading is ended with Ruth's genealogy stating that David is Ruth's great-grandson.
God's next economy will remove the Holy Spirit from the world. This economy will be symbolized by the Rapture. Will his next economy occur on the same day as the previous economies? This year Shavuot will begin at sundown on May 22nd, and will end at sundown on May 23rd.
"For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel's call and with the sound of God's trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 RSV
Thursday, February 15, 2007
The Torah names Satan, Azazel, which means Accuser and we see a product of his accusations in the Book of Job both in the Torah and the Old Testament. "The LORD said to Satan, "Whence have you come?" Satan answered the LORD, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it." And the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?" Then Satan answered the LORD, "Does Job fear God for nought? Hast thou not put a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But put forth thy hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse thee to thy face." Job 1: 7-11 RSV
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Man-made laws set a standard for acceptable behavior within society. Deviation from that behavior requires societal judgement and sometimes punishment. However, problems arise when what is perceived acceptable by one group is unlawful to another group, or what was once unlawful now becomes lawful. Does truth waiver? Are the boundaries between good and evil black and white, or are they ever-changing shades of gray?
Most people will concur that evil exists. There are those whose actions are so heinous, so remarkable, they prompt a consensus of aversion around the world. This is the face of evil. Evil is organic; it lives and left unchecked, it grows. As evil grows it blurs our perception of the boundaries between good and evil by creating confusion.
In the Garden of Eden, Satan asked Eve a question - "Now the serpent was more subtle than any other wild creature that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God say, 'You shall not eat of any tree of the garden'?" Genesis 3:1 RSV His question intended to cause confusion; a stirring up of Eve's inner peace about what is right and what is wrong. It is the same way he operates today.
People today are confused about what is right and what is wrong for the rules to the game continue to change. What was wrong fifty years ago is embraced today, and what was correct then is now condemned. We live in a world where animals have more rights than our own children. Outrageous hatred is given a wide berth by appeasement, and an act of kindness is returned with opportunistic violence. Humanists have lost their humanity and theists are demonized. Democracy has silenced our voices with political correctness, and socialism has made us all slaves for the first five months of every working year. Something must change.
Thursday, February 01, 2007
The God of war worshipped by the Ammonites requires a sacrifice to combat chaos and provide victory to his worshippers. The Ammonites, people living east of the Dead Sea, named this god Moloch. The Assyrians named this god Ashur. They fashioned their god from metal, and it was hollow inside. A fire set at the feet of the statue would heat the entire metal structure. Then, an infant wold be placed on the outstretched arms of the statue as a sacrifice. While the infant screamed and cried, the priests would chant and sing to their god. Finally, at the end of the ceremony, a lever would raise the arms of the statue dispatching the infant into the fire.
During the Iraq-Iran war, the Ayatollah purchased 500,000 plastic keys from Taiwan. Children as young as six years old were given the gaily colored keys and told that they are the keys to Paradise. The children would then be forced to walk ahead of the Iranian army to act as human triggers for the Iraqi laid land mines. The small stature of the children were a convenient trigger as the explosion usually left little to bury.
The holy day of Ashoura was celebrated by the Muslim world. This is the day that the Islamic saint, Inman Huessein was decapitated. In remembrance, Shite infants, children and adults slash their foreheads three times with razors or knives. While the children undergo this procedure, the adults break out into a chant commemorating the venerated saint. The children are then given juice and cookies to quiet their cries.
Monday, January 29, 2007
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Humans are fickle about their heroes. Favored heroes are applauded for their single-mindedness and self-involvement. Unfavorable heroes are criticized for those same traits.
If you watched Lady in the Water and believed that its author is self confident, you would be wrong. If, however, after watching Lady in the Water, you believe that the author is arrogant, you would be correct, for this work of M. Night's is truly autobiographical.
A bedtime story or not - this movie is a cry of fear from an author who has been both celebrated and vilified. Criticism, or even worse, apathy, are the constant fear of each writer, and Lady in the Water portrays the frightened soul of it's creator.
The author portrays himself in the movie as a writer incapacitated by rejection. Yet, a hovering movie critic delivers a tirade of criticism while lacking the courage to face the person of his disdain.
So why am I commenting on this movie here? When we watch this movie we see what was intended; a tent of arrogance covering a desperate fear. When we can discern the fear beneath the arrogance, then we can love the hero.