December 29, 2007
Please pray for my mother, she was married to my father for 46 years. He was her life, and I do not know how she will deal with this. She dealt well with his stroke 8 years ago. But this is different, this is loss, this is saying good bye, forever. Pray that my mother can have a clear enough mind to determine what she would like to do from here on.
Also pray for my whole family. They were together for Christmas as always. This time, I could not make it. I had to work. I did not get to see him, or say good bye to him. That will always be a huge regret for me. Not fighting harder to go and see him. At least my last words to him are always, "I love you."
December 20, 2007
If God wanted you to be something other than what you are, he would have made you what he wanted. Oh, wait, He already did.
God does not screw up. God did not make a defective you. God made you as you are supposed to be. So, quit listening to people who tell you, that you are not good enough just the way you are. God wants you to be just who you are. He made you with certain talents. If you try to be someone else, then you won't be what he wants you to be. So, wear what you want to wear. Talk like you like to talk. Eat what you like to eat. Hang out where you like to hang out. Just be you. That is all God wants.
December 17, 2007
First the realization of the deadness of doctrine. Doctrine, is a destination, not a journey. Doctrines are a clearly defined set of beliefs based upon specifically chosen scriptures from the bible. The only real thing that I have learned about doctrines and the bible, is that by carefully choosing the passages for proof, almost any position on faith can be proven through scripture when interpreted through a specific filter. Meaning, in essence, I can basically prove almost anything biblically. Once realizing this, it made doctrines of any kind highly suspect. Then upon more research of the ordained leaders of our churchs, came to find out that a great number of them, about 98%, don't regularly study the bible. WHAT? You say. Oh yes, in seminary, they are taught all about their doctrine, what verses support it. How to use those verses to alleviate the fears of any who come with questions about doctrinal beliefs. Being so well armed, is a great disadvantage to them. Great for institutionalized church, but really bad the for pastor, father, priest, etc.. Since they have all of the answers to their questions, why look into the scriptures anymore? Anytime they do read the scriptures, they look at it through their doctrine filtered eyes and see confirmation of what they believe every time they do. So what really is the use of study, when all has already been revealed. Plus, doctrines don't change. The strictures of the faith were laid down hundreds of years ago, they have not changed, nor will they change. I liken it to a tree. The only time a tree does not change of it's own will, is when it is dead. I like to compare any organization to trees. Because if they are not growing, they are dead and rotting. Just like a doctrine. Like the rings of the dead tree, the rules of the doctrine are clearly defined. To go outside of those rules, is not allowed. So you must stay in one place, confined, unable to grow, or to move along the path that is already, oh so narrow.
Unlike doctrine, the path is something that stretches on to our deaths. It is something that we travel at God's direction, not our own. There are no limits on God, so there are no limits on our path. God will not lead us astray, he will not lead us into something that would be unpleasing to him. He will lead us where he needs us to be. Just like he led Jesus. Jesus was always criticized for the friends that he had and hung out with. If I were in a doctrinal organization, my deep friendships with homosexuals, drug users, adulterers, and the likes, would earn me scorn as well. I count that as blessing. To be so compared to the Christ. But being outside of those chains of the doctrinal rules, with an infinite horizon, with only God as my leader, is so incredibly freeing, that it can not be described in words. Only someone released from slavery or prison can truly begin to comprehend the feeling. The path is far harder than the decision to be doctrinal. God will put you through trials at each step of the path, and will not let you move on until you learn the lesson that he has to teach. That sucks, but, it is infinitely better than the chains of the other.
December 15, 2007
So without further adieu. Human Clay.
How do I become the person God wants me to be? How do I live in a way pleasing to him?
These are the two questions that have split more churchs and caused more problems to believers than anything else in all of spirituality. There are many and varied responses from those that believe in our God. If you ask the Muslims, they will give you one answer of how we should live to be pleasing to the same God we believe in. The Jews will give you another, and the christians another. All the same God, belief in how to be pleasing to God is the big difference. This is the biggest stumbling block to being who God wants us to be. We WANT SO BADLY TO PLEASE HIM, that we try to DO things that please him. It is this DOING, that keeps us from becoming what he wants us to be.
We try to change ourselves into what we think he would like. We stop smoking, drinking, cussing, laughing at certain jokes, and try to behave in ways that we think he wants us to behave. So we build a prison of rules, that when we break those rules, we feel horribly guilty. Like failures, unworthy, and to feel better, we indulge ourselves in behaviors that are questionable to those rules further proving our inadequacies. It does not fill us with contentment and peace or happiness.
What is the answer, quit trying. We are not supposed to make ourselves into anything, God is supposed to do that. That is why he is the potter and we are to be the clay. The thing about clay, is it just lays there doing nothing until the potter comes to make it into something. What happens to often is when we get an idea of what God would like us to do, we go as hard and fast in that direction as we can. To make God happy of course. But clay isn't supposed to move on it's own. That would make it very hard for the potter to do things with it. So quitting trying is the big revelation. Become clay, quit trying to become, and allow yourself to be made. Let God do the work. Works of men are flawed. The only person that can make you into the vessel he wants, can utilize the talents given, and put you on the path you are supposed to follow, is God. If we try to do it we WILL fail. So give up all control or your life to God, and follow where the Holy Spirit leads.
December 9, 2007
They start off by living how they think that they should. Part of that is almost always going to church and listening to that denominations version of God. If it does not match their own image close enough, they try different churchs until it matches close enough. Thus, solidifying their belief of God seen in a certain way. The problem comes, when they do too much of the right thing. For if they study and truly try to understand and comprehend the scriptures, the God they find there does not match that box they made early on.
Then I hear a statement like this, "I don't know if I can believe in a God like that?" Or, "why do bad things happen to me when I try to follow God the best that I can?" Or, "my God would never do that." This is what happens when the God of the Muslims, the Jews, and the Christians doesn't fit into the box that we created, and fell in love with long ago. It is then that we begin to doubt.
Since the God we find does not fit in to our box, we wonder what our faith is really based on. Do I really want to know an unchanging God that said adultery should be punished by stoning? What is God really like? Is he really triune? Are they all separate? How can it be the same God from the New Testament to the old? All these thoughts, doubts, and lots of other things creep in. Testing faith. Causing crisis of faith.
To me it comes down to one simple thing. Am I willing to do for God, what he did for me?
That is to love and accept God, just the way he is. Just as he loves and accepts us, just the way we are.
What do you think?
December 6, 2007
Just because of some of the reading I have done today about one person who would not touch, listen to, watch or be around anything secular becuase it was a way for Satan to enter your life. Another that mentioned that a particular thing allowed the Devil to gain a victory. Etc. etc. etc.
Then it hit me, some have made Satan their masters much more than God.
What you say? Yes, our actions in this regard are more often geared towards avoiding satan than they are of living for God. If we are doing something, or not soing something for fear of satan, then satan is dictating our actions, and he is then our master.
What say you?
December 5, 2007
This time it is different. I have found a couple of guys who have written about this Emerging thing, and what it is. The book is called So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore. They do a great job of explaining it, plus it is an easy read. Only 178 pages, with large print and large spacing. You can either buy it at Amazon if you like actual books, or you can download it for free here.
November 28, 2007
Our faith is like that. Many do not realize that, and that causes a lot of problems. Think back to the time you first embarked on the journey of faith. Do you believe the exact same thing now as you did then? Or, have you learned a lot and changed your views on some things? When were you right? Or, better yet, when were you wrong? So, whether you were right or were wrong about things in your beliefs, were you ever in danger of losing your salvation in the search of those truths?
That is the crux of it there. Many do not see it that way. In their pride, in showing how much they have achieved for God, trying to show how much they know, try putting their beliefs onto others. Then if those others do not take their beliefs, they condemn them. Saying that they are in danger of going to hell if they do not believe what they believe. Crap, all of that is crap.
You were never in danger of losing your salvation. You were doing what God asks us to do. Seek him with all of our strength, soul, mind, and heart. You have to be able to grow. No living tree is ever the same year to year. Only dead trees remain the same. Oh wait, they rot away. Same as those who stay the same in Christ, they are dead and rotting away. No one LIVING in Christ is the same year to year. Not if we hide his word in our hearts. It will change us whether we will it or not. So, to this end, we are all right, or all wrong, every one of us. Because none of us believe exactly the same no matter what. Are we all but one of us going to be kept out of the kingdom. Or is God smart enough to make a system that allows any of those that seek him to enter? Rhetorical question, but necessary that it be ask.
November 5, 2007
Each type of service meticulously preplanned, or engineered not to just get people to come back. But to attract future people to attend. I like the word attract. Like an amusement park has roller coasters as attractions. Churches have award winning praise teams. Everything designed to make people feel as if all of their spiritual needs are being met. If they are not, we can teach you about your finances, your marriage, other faiths, softball, basketball, and many other distractions to keep you interested in coming to us. All of this is wonderful, is it not. So American. Catering to just the right demographic.
But Jesus said "GO", not get them to come to you. Also it is a personal faith, and an individual quest, not a package.
October 10, 2007
For fifteen years, we have been married. We have been through great times and hard times. But through all of it, there was one thing that kept me going, it was you.
I cannot tell you through words how much you mean to me, I try to express it through actions, even those fail me sometimes. The depths of my love are so deep I do not even know where they stop. I remember when I first knew you had trapped me. There was no way to get away. There was no anger or frustration, just happiness. Then upon coming back home, it took me weeks to get up the nerve, and then finally, lamely, asked you to marry me. From that day on, my life has become as rich as any person’s can be.
The spirit that you have for love amazes me. It is what I love best in you. The way you struggled through the pregnancy and birth of our daughter. The way you deal every day with dialysis, and still make sure we are all cared for. The way you have dealt with all of the sickness and trouble you have had, with such grace. So much grace that you inspire those around you that hear the story. You are so intelligent, kind, giving, caring, loving, and wonderful to all of those around you that you love. You love many. You take care of many. Your thoughtfulness amazes people. Such as the lady that does your appointments at Dr. Knowlton’s office. She was flabbergasted that you remembered that she loved Smokey Bones Broccoli. Even MORE flabbergasted that you bought it for her. That is the loving, sharing, caring, wonderful person that I love. Everything for everyone else.
There are a few regrets about our life together, and they are all mine. I feel sometimes that I fail you by being unable to deal with situations at work that really I should just gut through. That my decisions have brought us to bankruptcy. That my decisions have erased our retirement savings. That my decisions have left us a ton of debt. That my decisions have not allowed us to be the best family we could be. My decisions have put us in a situation that your Fifteenth Anniversary wish could not be granted. For that, I am truly sorry. For you have talked of it for years. But I have tried my best. We still have a great home. (Made that way by a wonderful mother and wife.) Really, we have two great kids. We are still together and ridiculously happy with one another. In short, other than your health issues, I don’t know that I would change a thing. The hardships have made us value one another more so than any other couple I know. Have made us love one another more than any other couple that I know. So I have been blessed.
I know this letter is not what you deserve, you deserve so much. You have earned it through pain and effort. For all that you do, you are the person that I admire most in the world, Love best, and am wonderfully proud of. Thank you for tolerating this unworthy man. I only try to live every day to be worthy of your love.
Your devoted loving husband,
September 26, 2007
This got me to thinking about the acceptance in our churches. The reason Gay people like me and get along with me so well, is I am so comfortable with my own heterosexuality, that their choice of sexual orientation does not bother me in the least. I treat them just like everyone else, period. I actually had a good gay friend of mine the other day say, "if you were gay, I would be all over you." I just laughed and gave him a hug. Why can he say this to me, and I react like that. Because we both know, I am not gay, and he will never have a chance with me, but we are still good friends.
That got me to thinking about why churches often times rail against certain things. Because that is what they are most susceptible to.For me, I used to be on an Eight Ball pool league. We would play in a different bar every Monday. The biker bar, I must say, was by far the funnest. They have the best dirty jokes in the world. They were our favorite team to play, and we were their favorite team to play. Why, because we just treated them like everyone else. In those situations, I could go in, and come out with my faith intact at all times. Why, because I am comfortable in my Faith. I know I am saved, there is no chance that I am not. So I can go where others would not go, for fear of falling. Because I am comfortable with my faith.
September 25, 2007
He is not a distant God. He is not a vengeful God. He is a God that guides me through life, by putting me in situations that I hate, so that I learn what I need to learn to get better. Yes, I so believe there are better methods than just throwing me in the pool, saying, "If he wants to live, he will learn to swim." OK, that is not what happens, but sometimes it feels like it. But in all things he loves me. I know it, because I have seen the miracles that he has performed in my life. I am lucky, I have PROOF he exists. Bank records even. So to me he isn't believing in things unseen. I have seen his handiwork, so it makes it easier for me to wholeheartedly believe, without even the smallest shred of doubt about his existence.
Also he is my best friend and confidant. I talk to him everyday, many times a day. Many people ask me why I am always in such a good mood at work. I had to think about it, a lot. Then finally decided, because God has made me secure in my future. That has set me free now. No more worries mate.
September 19, 2007
The next was reading the comments. They were joyous at the demise of another. Still balsting away. Again, what would Jesus do?
Then the most disturbing of all, was the farewell letter in its entirety. This person had a GREAT passion for God. They were driven by that passion to action. However much I disagreed with the sentements of the site, I should have recognized the love of God this person had. How could I have been blind to that. Seething in my own righteous indignation over the attack I saw on my people, blinded me to the passion that the other has for God. Then convicted by my own words from the post It's My Path. How could I have judged that person as I did?
I did not look for the good. I saw my own hurt from the words. I saw haw angry it made me. I, I, I, I.....
Selfishly I looked at the situation, and put it in my box, labeled it how I wanted to, and put the box away.
I have to say, that God has convicted me horribly today. I talk about how I should not be judged, and people should respect me and my beliefs. Why do I not give the same courtesy?
September 15, 2007
OK, maybe a little background is in order. I grew up in church. Became that little judgemental asshole that most people in church become. Then, when a senior in high school, I got a crush on a girl. She was a partier, and I was not. Being almost desperate to see her, I knew she was going to a party, and where it was. Many were very surprised to see me there, but after a while, and a couple of drinks, no one cared any more. I had more fun than at any time in my life up to that point. She, never showed, but I had a gotten new mistress, partying.
When I started partying, it was for the sake of partying. I would hang out with the "cool" kids until their curfew at 11PM or so, then hang out with the losers until their curfew of 2AM or so, then hang out with the people from work until 5AM or so. After high school, people and parties everywhere. When I hit 21, I went to any bar anywhere, I did not care. Bikers are the best people to party with in my opinion, they go after life with abandon, and know a lot of jokes.
Also I went to work. Those were my two main things. When my daughter was born the partying kind of died down, and the responsibility took over. With Domino's Pizza, I worked in the inner city a lot. Met people from tons of different backgrounds, and called many unique people friends. These people included lesbians, gays, bikers, druggies, drunks, perverts, Muslims, gang members, homeless people, thieves, poor, black, white, Asian, Indian, native American, prostitutes, transvestites, cross dressers, OK you get the picture. You meet a LOT of interesting people working in the inner city of a major metropolitan city.
From all of this exposure to people though, I learned how to treat people. I learned how to judge by the content of their character, not the package on the outside. From them, that had so little, I learned the true meaning of charity, when they were willing to help with the very little that they had. I found a nobility of spirit in the strangest places. This has defined the way people should be treated for me. It is the most Christ like way of all. With open arms and love.
Strange that the best teachers of such a philosophy were not found in a church.
September 4, 2007
Pastor, if a woman came to you, and told you that she cheated on her husband, what would you do?
Why choose this question, because we have a perfect example of how this should be dealt with. Jesus gave it to us. This is the abridged version of course. The pharisees brought a woman to Jesus caught in the act of adultery. They said by the law of Moses, she should be stoned, and ask Jesus to pass judgement on her. He knelt down to write in the dirt. Then stood and ask, "He who is without sin, cast the first stone." Then being convicted of their own consciences, left one by one. Then he stood, and "saw none but the woman" and ask,"Woman, where are your accusers?Hath no man condemned thee?" She said "No man, Lord." Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn thee; go and sin no more." Would your church, and pastor be that way. Would you be that way. Could we really accept a prodigal son home. One that went on his own into sex, drugs, and rock and roll, only to come home when he ran out of money. Would we with our "christian" reputation go where the sinners are. Would we be able to stand up to the establishment that has changed our faith in God, into our "God" being the faith they stand for. Would we do what our father asks, no matter the consequence to us.
The example of Jesus has left many with the question, "If Jesus is the example that we aspire to, why don't I see it ANYWHERE? Why don't I see it where it is supposed to be?" That is the troubling thing of our time. If we don't see it, how do we get it. Through the bible. Watch what Jesus DID, not what our faith is based on. Let me take you through the example above.
When the pharisees brought the woman to Jesus, he understood a few things. One, the woman obviously knew that what she did was wrong. So he did not need to tell that it was wrong, that would have been redundant. He knew that the men bringing her to him were not pure, that did not need to be said either. What he did know, was that he was not her judge yet. John 8:15, after the incident, Jesus said, "Ye judge after the flesh, I judge no man." Since he was not the judge, he sent her away without judgement. "Go, and sin no more." Did she really need the "adultery is bad lecture. The "you should be punished lecture." He just gave her the opportunity to do better, and went on his way. He knew she did not need it, and that the people who were not clean, should not judge. He taught them both something.
How many times in life do we act as the pharisees. I do it with my children all of the time. They are hiding something from me that they knew what they did was wrong. When I find out about it, I give them a lecture about how wrong it is. Then continue to bring it up for the next few hours or days. I am going to go back, and read the gospels with a new eye. Watching what Jesus did and why. Then I think I can understand him better. Then I think I will begin to know what he expects of me.
August 29, 2007
That was me, almost 25 years ago. Oh man, am I really that old. Anyway, I ended up walking away from church, not from God, but church, for 12 years. I went sporadically until 2002. Then I started going regularly. I am not a very good church member. My wife wanted to join the church. I said, this is a direct quote, "Why? What are the benefits, do we get a secret decoder ring or something?" Always the cynic. Then after going for 2 years, I was just done. There was nothing there for me anymore. I had learned all that I could from them, and still wanted, no, NEEDED more, SOMETHING ELSE. When I left, I knew that I had to continue my education. I had read the bible a couple of times, and did not feel lead to go that way again. So I dipped into my birthright, or inheritance from my Grandfather, Fred Kenison. God had lead him to study the bible for 50+ years now, and to write a number of those studies up. They are slowly being turned into books, as the editor has time to edit them. these studies are unique, why? Because they do not prove anything. They do not come to a doctrinal conclusion. They do not prove the rightness of chatholicism, calvinism, lutheranism, etc... etc... They just translate the bible, back into it's essence, and tells what it says. It more disproves things than proves them. This is where I started my REAL biblical education.
Do I agree with everything my grandfather says, no. Will you, you should not. With all of the learning I have done, and during all of that learning, I have come to discover something, that at the time was perplexing, but now, is truly amazing in it's scope and breadth. This is what I have found. That each of us goes through our journey on the path with God, in God's own time. We do not control it. How did I find this out? By seeing people with troubles, knowing the answer that they needed. Shared the answer with them, and they refused it. They were good people, really trying their best to follow God, had the answer right there laid bare in front of them, and they COULD NOT see it. It reminds me of the disciples that saw many works and wonders at Jesus feet, and yet their hearts were hardened so that they would not accept it. (Mark somewhere) How could they not? They themselves cast out demons. They themselves healed the sick, and yet they did not believe. Not truly. How can that be? God made it so. God knew that the timing of the revelation, was as important as the revelation itself. The disciples were to have their revelation on the day of Pentecost, and not before. This is my theory. But to have the revelation before, and have thirteen people preaching the word of God, would have taken away from Jesus and his work. He would no longer have been the only focal point of the revolution taking place. He might not have been killed in the way he was. It would have screwed everything up. So, he had the disciples store up all of the wonders and things they had seen, to be used at the right time to make God' Kingdom grow to the fullest extent. God's plan worked. The movement started that day, has survived 2,000 years, and is growing. What has this to do with us today?
Simple. It means that we cannot judge another by what they do and do not see within the bible. We are each in our separate place along the straight and narrow path. God knows where we are, and will not allow us to take the next step until it is time. Often times, we sit at crossroads, looking at the other possibilities of life. When we have gone through what we need to go through, God allows the revelation to come, along with his blessings. This is repeated again and again. Trials and tribulations, blessings and understanding. It also means that no one doctrine, or set of beliefs is right, ever. Because God will not allow it. No one will reach the enlightenment of the next level without proper preparation. So which religion is right, none of them. Not even mine. Because their is so much more to learn, and I will not be allowed to learn it, until God deems, the time is right.
August 13, 2007
His name was not revealed to me, but he got in contact with my Gdad cause he wanted to thank him for his book "The Truth Revealed In Romans." It saved his life, not spiritually, but literally. He had decided to commit suicide, but for some reason, this book caught his eye on Amazon. He bought it, read it, and realized, "Hey, God loves me just the way I am." And God does. (No he did not commit suicide, otherwise he could never have called my Gdad.)
The reason I know this, is God sees us in our most embarrassing situations. My favorite is thinking of him watching when I run out of toilet paper in the kids bathroom. No one home to help, and me walking half naked, through the house, with a poopy butt, in search of paper. I have to look like a real genius about that time. But he loves me in spite of all of the dumb things I do.
Also, he likes people that don't lie to him. Like the liars that think God only watches them when they go to church. That all of the less attractive things they do, don't get noticed by God because it wasn't Sunday, or they weren't in church. My favorite saying from them is, "God deserves your best." Referring to the way they dress and act at church. My response is, "But doesn't he deserve your best always, just not on Sunday?" Then I get that queer look, and they conveniently find someone else to talk to. So be yourself, be honest with God and yourself. Do not worry at what others think. They are not the Judge, Jesus is.
The biggest thing to understand is. God does not only love you, but he likes you. As you are. Don't try to be anything that you don't want to be. Don't be ashamed of the things you like. Have a couple of drinks now and then, I do. Go and see a concert of head banging metal guys, I do. One ticket, Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, and Metalicca. Great show. Don't worry, I did no fornication, did not become possessed by demons, and my head never spun around once. And God still blessed me afterword. Just be who you are and have fun with it. My brother likes to think that the Kingdom of God will be one big party. Well then, bring yourself, and God will let you in.
August 9, 2007
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoeverbelieveth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16. Oh how we know this verse. How many times have you read it, or said it, or heard it. But I got a perspective on it that I could not have gotten, until I became a parent.
If God came to me, and ask me to do what Jesus did, in the same way, with the same results, I could without a doubt. That is not blowing my own horn. I just know myself, and if that situation arose, no problem. I saw Passion of the Christ, I saw what he went through, I know the pain that would be suffered. Not just here on earth, but in the hands of the devil as well. I would do it.
But, if God came to me, and told me to give up my son for that. I really do not know that I could.
But another father did. Another father sent his son through that. Not so that we would be saved. But so that we could be saved. He did it, knowing we had free will, and it all could be for nothing. No one may have chosen the way of salvation. He would have done that to his son for nothing. He loved us so much, that he did that to his SON, so we would just have a chance, just a chance, at salvation. I sit here crying, trying to imagine God's pain, as he watched his son become so repugnent with the world's sin, that even with his love, he couldn't look at him anymore, and left his son to die on the cross alone.
I could not do that to my son. Yet, "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, so that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life."
August 4, 2007
Recently we have been talking about labels that we could use to describe ourselves. I am the only person that I am aware of that says I follow God. All others are Christ followers. (Though what they will do when the Christ is gone after the thousand year reign I don't know) Ooops, there it goes again. I will explain later. Some say they are Jesus followers. Why would they follow the son of God, who on his own has absolutely no power at all. OOOPS, there I go again.
Then it hit me. Not believing in the trinity, makes me think absolutely differently from a large group of believers. Fundamentally think different. My perception and paradigms are completely different. This comes across in the words we choose to use. Such as, I call him Christ Jesus, or Jesus the Christ. Because Christ is an office, not his last name. That is why when I call myself a servant of God, no one wants to follow me in that because they think that following Jesus is following God. So in essence, the part that is important to God, we are both following the same thing. But refuse, because of our passion for this, to be called the other.
Did you know, that the trinity was never mentioned in the bible? I don't know anywhere that the bible equates the Holy Spirit as being the same as God. I know that the number of times that the bible clearly states Jesus and God as two separate entities way out numbers the times that they mention them being in common. Were you aware that someone in the catholic church in 360 AD came up with the idea? "In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God." John 1.1 is the verse thrown out the most to show that this is true. But if correctly translated to be understood by modern english from the greek manuscripts, it would read, "In the beginning was the word, and the Word was facing God, and the Word was Godlike." In the Greek, and specifier is placed in front of the proper person to signify it is THAT person. So for Jesus in that verse to actually be God, the phrase would have to be "and the Word was THE God." The specifier is not there. So it is just a descriptor, not a noun. (anyone that would like to argue with my grandpas 45+ years of greek, let me know. He would love to debate it with you.)
But this also just makes me realize that "no human can know God." He is incomprehensible to us. So trying to define him is useless. So I gave up on it. I will just love God no matter what he is. Even accept those who do try to define him. It will not let it separate myself from others.
August 2, 2007
This make me happy. I felt a sort of betrayal by refusing to be called a christian. But when I look at it in this light. It makes complete sense to me.
Jesus the Christ, or Christ Jesus. Just like Queen Elizabeth, or Elizabeth the Queen.
July 26, 2007
From something so simple as making bread that was a complex and difficult thing to do, we have simplified it to something a machine can do if we just give it the right ingredients. How is progress made, by building on the knowledge and foundations of others. All of this progress is considered good for humanity by giving more time for people to do other things, like study the bible on their own, instead of allowing the clergy to do it for them, and telling them what to think about it. This is the crux of the problem for many of us that have chosen to leave organized religions. In our desire to learn more of God, we search the scriptures, and read books that offer many thoughts about God and religion, that have scriptural basis. Because of our own studies and books in the christian bookstores we find a wide range of thoughts and beliefs that differ from the teachings of our chosen churches. The knowledge contained in the bible and books sometimes lead us to differing points of belief than our pastors or reverends or priests. We are basically building on the knowledge of the past, to increase our understanding in the present. We are making progress because the knowledge of the past is finally available to all.
Finally available? What do you mean? Well, how many christian bookstores were around twenty-five years ago. Very few. How many now? More, though certainly not as many as secular bookstores. But even those secular bookstores carry books on religion. Our ability to learn has exponentially increased very recently in historical terms. This is causing a crisis of faith to many. As God speaks to people in their studies, they find verses that completely contradict what they have always been taught, the conviction of the truth of the thought, stays with them irrefutably. To keep things like this from happening, some faiths have forbidden reading to their congregations except for specifically authorized books. That is ridiculous you say, well the catholics started that practice long ago. Keep people stupid, and they will believe what is told from the pulpit.
The crisis of faith mentioned above, is then taken to the leader of the church, and talked about. The person you talk to shows you the same old tired drivel that you have seen many times before and is no help in solving the crisis. Why? Because of doctrine. Doctrines are basically a way of thinking about The God, but area accepted as complete, and in no need of revision. Since there is no need of revision, your spiritual leader, no longer studies or hides the word of God in their heart, and no longer matures in the faith. Because they learned all they needed to learn in seminary. More on this in "To Be A Servant" December 28, 2006. So if you truly desire God, and daily hide the word in your heart, you quickly, within 2 to 3 years, become more knowledgeable about the bible than you spiritual leader. Then he can no longer answer any of your questions, and becomes useless to you. That is when the decision to leave church for many is reached, because they receive no hope there. Not only that, but the pastor/reverend/priest (PRP) our of concern for you spiritual well being, talks to others in the church to try and help,"Guide you back to the path." This normally means pressure being put on you to take those irrefutable truths you have been guided to by God, and rejecting them. Knowing that if you do, you are rejecting God. Your love for God being much stronger than your love of the people that are pressuring and cajoling you, you leave. Becoming a servant of God, rather than someone of a christian faith.
The progress you have made as a follower of God, has or will make you an outcast of your church. Making progress bad in the eyes of the established doctrinal organizations. But does not God want you to grow? Does he not want you to move on to meat, rather than remain suckling at the breast? Of course he wants you to grow. But the growth process for a servant of God is not much different than it is for a small child. It goes in spurts. At the appropriate time, a child will have a growth spurt. Also for us servants, God will reveal truths to us at the appropriate time. Leaving many of us at different levels of growth, and differing paths, even though we study together. More on this at an old post "On Our Own" January 5th, 2007. So through our progress, we out grow our chosen places of faith, by being a servant, and obeying God by hiding the word in our hearts. Progressing in the faith is a good thing, but seen as bad by organized religion, because in their rigidity, they lose followers.
So what do you do now that you have no spiritual home. Create one. Learning lessons from the early church, "Where two or more are gathered together in my name, there I will be also." We have the ability to be together over huge distances. Cyberly this is possible. This is the charge God has laid on my heart, To gather together unto him, those who are his true servants, and have outgrown their earthly place of worship. To try to get them to connect and build a community on line so that they will have companionship, worship, fellowship, understanding and acceptance. That they can discuss the questions that they have without fear of reprisals from the other members of the sect. I have set up a blog called Just Wondering @justwonderingfaith.blogspot.com. Here you can comment on questions, get a question posted, or just read responses and form your own opinions. But where ever you are. Try to connect to one other person however you can, to strart. Then go on from there. Continue to progress in your faith, becasue it is a good thing.
July 6, 2007
FROM MY CREATOR
YOU GAVE ME LIFE
NOW SHOW ME HOW TO LIVE
-Chris Cornell, Audioslave
God has laid this thing on me for weeks, yet he chooses now to lay the inspiration on me. Two sheets to the wind, because obviously, three would be one too many. But on my way home from having a couple of drinks from my brother's home, God hits me with the Audioslave in the CD player. He says to me, "This is what the people want." This chorus of the song I am listening to. "This is why the law is so attractive. This is the seduction that subverts everything else. The attraction that is so undeniable, as to almost be an addiction. Wait, not almost, but actually an addiction, that when broken, causes great distress and anxiety to the reformed addict." It is the crux of human nature, "Show me how to live" could be the anthem for almost any self help book that wanted to be a success. That is what humanity cries out for!! "SHOW ME HOW TO LIVE!!!
That is the pivotal issue in the Law vs Grace Debate. The humanity cries forth. "Show me how to LIVE!!!" There is no shortage of people telling you how to live your life. Don't Smoke, don't drink, don't eat red meat, exercise regularly, get plenty of fiber, drink milk, don't drink milk, pay your taxes, only a fool would pay taxes, get all you can while on earth because you can't take it with you, only a fool thinks that material possessions make them happy, etc...etc...etc... For every school of thought on the planet, there is a school of thought against it. Learning to read and understand the bible has taught me that I can prove any theology that I want to prove if I pick the right verses. Using my bible snippets to my advantage, I can show anything in any light that I want. I can prove the Jehovah's Witness point of view, the Baptist point of view, the Vatican point of view, the etc... etc... etc... Too many arguments, too much crap.
This is where the issue comes to for me in Grace vs. Law, or Works vs. Faith. The established and accepted religious doctrines of our time, are Law and Works based. If you do this, you will be saved, and then once you are saved, you must act like this. EASY. Grace, says, that Jesus has already forgiven you, so sin no longer separates you from God. All you have to do is five things. They are Repent, Confess, Believe that Jesus made the Gift Of Grace Possible, Faith In God, and Obedience. Easy, right. No. That is harder than anything that law could possibly have. Why, because something is "Telling You How To Live" in the law based Faith. But in Grace based faith. The law is not there. It does not exist. The ten commandments, GONE. NO MORE. So how do you live with a Grace based faith? Well let's understand them each a ittle better before we get into that.
The similarities of the two are so close that, many do not really see the distinction. Because both teach that you must have those five things for salvation. Faith in "The God" is a given if you want his Grace. Belief that Jesus made Grace possible and available. Without this belief, you cannot believe in The God's Grace. Repent and Confess, are two that I believe cannot be separated. They are like peanut butter and jelly. Different, but go so well together. Repent, means to change one's mind, or have a paradigm shift. A paradigm is the way you see the world around you and perceive it. We are to change how we look at the world, and see it through The God's eyes. Confess means to agree with. Now that we see things through The God's eyes, we then must agree that what he wants, is what we will do. So to confess a sin is to agree with The God, that yes, what I am doing I believe to be a sin in your eyes, and that it is bad. The you must repent again, changing your mind that you will not do that again. This obviously will go on again and again. Last is obey, the stepchild of Repent and Confess. So as we change our minds, and agree with The God, then we must do as he asks. That is the crux of the difference between Grace and the Law. Obedience to The God.
Grace based faith does not believe that a physical act, or prayer, especially the sinner's prayer, has to be done to have salvation achieved, or maintained. My daughter has said the sinners prayer, she is no more a servant of God right now than a rock. Actually, the rock I am sure is a much better servant of God than she. For will they not cry out to the Savior when he returns? I digress, my point being, the intent of the heart was not there. Even though she went through the act, she did not go through the transformation of the heart where these changes must be made. So, in the law based faith, my daughter is SAVED and is going to HEAVEN. In Grace based faith, she is not saved, and may be going to the lake of fire. The crux of the difference being in the act, not the intent. To illustrate my point completely. A man confesses of a heinous crime. So the act of the confession is enough to make it a capital offense and a death sentence can be claimed. By the law, that man would be put to death. But if the man was tortured till he would confess anything, then the true intent was not confession of guilt, but the alleviation of pain, so the confession is invalid. It is not the act, but the intent that is being measured. Why you ask?
Real simple. God created a works based faith. The law and sacrifice system. This system said that if you did something wrong, then you had to sacrifice something truly valuable to God to have the sin forgiven so that you could go to heaven. Problem is, there was a loophole. No requirement of obedience, just absolution for sin. So the people knew that for the sacrifice to be accepted, it had to be of their best. So once a year, they would bring their best to the Temple to be placed upon the alter for forgiveness of their sins in the past year. Then they would go and sin as much as they wanted, knowing a reprieve was just a year away. The sinning at the time consisted of worshipping other Gods. Not cool. A broken commandment, but forgivable with the sacrifice. So the sacrifice system did not work. Now, the definitive "Show me how to live" was made by God, Given to Moses, and then given to the people. After a while, the law became greater than God. Because keeping the laws in service to God was no longer the important thing. The important thing became the laws themselves. They became the God of the people. People followed the laws, not because they wanted to, but because they had to, to keep from being stoned. So they did what they were told, but the intent behind it was resentment and fear of what would happen if anyone in the Temple found out. Sound familiar to anyone going to a church. That is why the intent is important. Acquiescence is not what God is after. It is complete and utter devotion. Freely given to him. Laws cause resentment and create intimidation, thus destroying the true intent of the believer. Contorting the actions from good works, to things of hatred and resentment.
Hatred and resentment you say. Oh yeah. One more time singing Christmas carols in the nasty stinking old folks home by my house, would have made me puke. Put me off of ever wanting to ever have any charitable feeling for the elderly ever again. A lot of good that did. I not only hated it, but resented the people that made me do it. This is where a lot of the people today turn away from the church. Away from God. Because the law based faith people, demand that you do things to be part of the church. And as they force you to do these things that you do not feel lead of God to do. You will become angrier and angrier until you finally take action. Most times it is just saying "To hell with God, if he is this much trouble I want nothing to do with him." That is truly sad, because many cannot separate the church from God. If they understand that the humans in the church are the problem not God, then they stay with God, but have not spiritual place to go to any more.
Now what is the law that they say you have to follow. Is it the one that says you should stone, adulterers, homosexuals, rapists and all kinds of other sinners. The one that has you following the sacrifice system. The one that has you going out to the mission field to convert and make disciples of all men. The problem with the law based faith, no one can agree on what the laws are, and if we do not know what they are, how can we follow them? "Well", they say, "follow the spirit of the laws." Well, the phrase "The Letter Of The Law" is there for a reason. And if we follow the spirit of the law, then we open ourselves up to the interpretations of the laws. That is why we now have so many different denominations. And why that moron who calls himself Pope just told the rest of the world that Catholicism is the only true religion, and that all others are false. Truly remarkable. The only faith that is a half a step away from paganism saying the rest are crap. Those spiritual lawyers are a bunch of quacks. So if the law isn't the ticket. How am I supposed to live?
By faith, is the answer. Faith is a really hard thing. Trust is a synonym of Faith. I trust you, and I have faith in you, are almost exactly the same thing. The people that we have to trust in a Grace based faith, is God and Ourselves. That is what makes Grace so tough. God has proven his faithfulness to man again, and again, and again. So trusting him is easier, than trusting the person that has let you down again and again and again by doing really stupid things. Yourself.
Why, because living without laws, but by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we have to trust ourselves to get his guidance right. That is what makes Grace so hard. Living by faith, and faith alone. Without any tangible proof that we are bonded to The God through the Holy Spirit and the Sacrifice of our Lord Jesus the Christ. Except, the things that he brings to bear in our own lives. We want to believe in the works based faith, then we can say I did this, or I did that, so I deserve to go to Heaven. I did what I was supposed to do. That is so easy to hang your hat on. It is solid and real. But real faith is belief in things unseen.
The really wonderful part is though. If you live your life, in a true desire to please God. If you consider all of the things that you do through the Repented paradigm. You will not screw up, and do things wrong. That is how you can trust yourself, knowing that if you are truly acting with a servants heart, and trying to do what you can for God through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, The God will judge the intent behind the actions, and see it for the worship that it is. The completely devoted servant doing their best to make their master happy. In his eyes, it will be good. If you are always trying to do the things that please God, and follow his will at all times, you will be able to say. "Lord, when were you in prison and I visited you? When were you hungry and I gave you Food? When were you naked and I clothed You?" Because you walk in his will so much, and bear so much fruit, that you will not be able to remember it all. When it comes time for judgement, Jesus will say,"In so much as you did it to the least of these, you have done it unto me. Welcome into my Kingdom, my servant in whom I am well pleased."
May 2, 2007
The things that cause splits in churches are as numerous as verses in the bible. Why? Why does God have all of this divisiveness in his churches? Why do the churches keep arguing and splitting? Why wasn't God more clear on what he wanted from us like he did in the old testament? What is the purpose that God has in store for me? On and On and ON..... Isn't it great. Look at all of the debate that is had from the deliberate ambiguity. The puritans took themselves to a new continent because of their beliefs. Thus spreading the word of God. The dissension is not just a good thing, but a great thing.
After God divided the promised land among the eleven tribes of Israel. "Weren't there twelve?" Yes there were, please stop interrupting. The twelfth got no land. They got to be priests. Boy, I bet they were all thrilled with that decision about their future. Probably why they were so crappy at it. A portion of these priests were to go out unto the world and make converts of the other nations. Didn't happen. They sat around eating the food that was given in tithe and got fat. Only doing small portions of the job they were supposed to do, because they all stuck around instead of going out and spreading the word of God. Wow, what an effective use of manpower. (OK, you can't see it, but that statement is dripping in sarcasm.) So guess what, this system of choosing priests and giving exact direction got me what. A new false idol, every couple of years, a new god to be worshipped, and no one going out to be a missionary. Why not? Because they were told they had to.
The new way. Don't give direction, just give the prize at the end of the race. What does this do that the other way did not? Instead of it being demanded of you in the old way, in the new way it is freely given of the believer. Let me put it in the Blood Diamond way. "You, go dig for diamonds, but you can't have any." Not much fun, or very desired. But the new way is, "go out there and make me happy, and I will give you diamonds." What should I do to make you happy?", comes the reply. "You figure it out is the response." So what do we do to figure it out? We study the person the statement comes from to decide what will and what will not make them happy. Luckily there was a book written especially about them, telling their likes and dislikes. They discuss this with other people that want the diamonds. Some people argue about the best way to make their benefactor happy. They break into factions and separate themselves from others. They go out and ask advice of other people that they know and respect. They draw conclusions, and then go out and do what they think will get them the diamonds based on their interpretation of the book about the person giving the diamonds away.
Which way gets the commitment of the participant, being ordered about, or giving them something that they truly want as a result? Which gets more effort? Which gets more action? Which will accomplish the aim of God more readily?
The answer obviously is the new way. People are flat out inventing crap that makes God happy with us. They keep right on studying the word to find some new revelation that will give them the complete picture. But God didn't give it. So people argue over what it is, then split up. Spreading the word farther and farther and farther out across the world. Accomplishing exactly what God was trying to accomplish with the Levites. The people are committed on their own, not because they are forced to. Making the bonding even more permanent.
But down to the actual question. Who is right? The answer, most of them. "God protects his words". With this in mind, most churches have the big stuff right. How to allow God to save you? The five prerequisites, Repentance, Confession, Obedience, Belief in Jesus Sacrifice, and Faith in God, those are pretty much all taught in all churches. That is the important stuff, the rest of it is fluff. (In my opinion.) But those five prerequisites are more than enough to keep us occupied for a lifetime. So why does God make it so hard? To make it work the right way.
April 10, 2007
The biggest challenge that I see to this is separating omniscience from predestination and seeing the future. The basis of my belief stems from the fact that time is a man made invention. It is not a fourth dimension in which there is a physical reality. Man just made time up. For example, a day is 24 hours long, divided into 60 minute segments that are again separated into 60 second segments. This constitutes a photo period, (when the sun comes up to the time it sets and rises again) so a day is a photo period, or one rotation of the Earth. Where as Venus has one rotation every 243 Earth days. So their day has 5832 hours? Nope, time on earth is just something people decided on together, based on the Earth's revolutions around the sun. Way back in the day, it was mainly used to know when it was time to plant, so people did not starve. Seeds that were saved away from the food planted too early were killed if a hard freeze came. On lean years, the seed only had one chance, if it did not survive, there was no more to plant with, and people would starve in the winter. So knowing planting times, was very important, and where following the times of the year started. Not on any true scientific principle. Since time is a man made fiction, then their can be no flow of time into which the future actually exists, or is.
Omniscience by definition is knowing everything there IS to know. Since there is no future, it IS not, and cannot be known. Thus free will. Knowing the past is easy, these events have already taken place. Thus they ARE and can be known.
But what about prophecy? God says thing will happen, and they happen. Doesn't that mean he knows the future. No, it does not. It just means that he is so powerful, He can make anything happen anytime He wants. Let us put it in real terms that each of us will understand. I will make a prophecy that I will eat pizza in the future. A prophecy is a foretelling of events to come. They normally do not have any dates attached to them, meaning they can happen when God says, "OK, now is the time for such and such to happen, let it be done now." Through his power, they are done. Predestination is a little more specific, but still not definite. I have an appointment to go see the Doctor next Wednesday. That is a predestination. Now can unforeseen things happen that cause predestination to change dates. Absolutely. But since my wife wants me to go, you bet it is going to happen. So, prophecy and predestination are just ways of God stating his intentions.
This means that what we do now matters, because it actually has an effect on free will. Some will tell you that all is predetermined by God, because since he knows all, he knows the future. So no matter what you do, it has already been determined that it will happen. Sorry, no. The thing that I really like about the bible, is that again and again science proves it to be a correct and accurate statement of history. Science proves the bible. So since science can't prove time exists, it does not prove out this theory. But people will say that he predestined the "called out ones." OK, called out for what? Many people have many theories, but there is no real statement of who the called out ones were, are, or will be. So anyone eluding to this as a special thing that you should want, can not make it so, since God is the only one that can. If you were predestined before the beginning of the world, congratulations. Me I am not a called out one, just a servant of God.
So what does God know? Everything that was, is, and what he will do.
March 28, 2007
February 27, 2007
When looking at the Old Testament prophets, before there was a bible, how was it that they followed God? How were they to know what to do? How could they be in God's will if the be all and end all bible were not there? The answer is simple. They listened to the Holy Spirit. For in the bible, many times, it says that God told so and so to go here and there, and they went. Who was speaking to them actually? Very few times did God send an angel to show themselves to even the prophets. God did not actually show up, because as the bible says, no one on this earth can look on God and survive. The bible does not say that a being physically took form next to them and spoke words to them, it just says God spoke to them. Before the day of Pentecost, God gave the Holy Spirit to some, and at a measured amount. They were the chosen of God, and he used the HS to communicate to them. Sometimes audibly, and sometimes in compulsions, but he did communicate with them.
If God is unchanging as the bible says, then would he stop communicating to the people that he has given the HS to? No he would not. So when I say that I try to listen to the HS in all things all of the time, would I then be outside of God's will by listening to the HS even though what I am asked to do is not in the bible? NO, I would not. Law based faith was replaced by Grace based faith. Grace based faith is basically listening to the HS and obeying God in all that he asks us to do. Will God then ask us to do something outside of his law? NO. So by obeying the HS and God in all things, I then keep all of God's laws, and do his bidding at the same time, no matter what it is. Amazing. The best part about it is, I do not have to learn one law, do not have to worry if I am doing it right, and the freedom felt from that is AMAZING. It is truly just something else. That is the only way to describe the feeling. The great liberty that is in that feeling is terrific.
As Paul admonished, do not allow your liberty to cause others to fall. Just because God will forgive when you go outside of his will and his laws, does not mean you use your liberty to feel comfortable to do so. This is why the law based faith is no longer there. Men would just do what they pleased, then once a year, do what was necessary to earn forgiveness. But with no real repentance in their heart. That is why Jesus will judge the intent of the actions. If the intent was to follow God, then the action was within his will. If the intent was anything else, you are outside of his will, and will be judged accordingly. Intent of the heart, is what God replaced the law with. Because it is the only true measure of which to judge the character of the action. Again, even though the people would do the action to gain forgiveness, they were not doing it in humble repentance, but in resentment. They resented having to do these actions to get their reward later. But since they wanted the reward, they did the action. That is clearly outside of the will of God.
So, following God through the Holy Spirit, because it is what you want to do with all of your heart will keep you in his will, and within his laws. When I stand before Jesus, I do to want to say, "Lord, I knew where the Holy Spirit was leading, but what would my pastor think if I did such a thing." I want to say, "Lord, I followed you the best I knew how, and you blessed me more than I deserved. Thank You." And Jesus will say, "Yes, I know you have. Welcome into the Kingdom of Heaven. For here you will serve me still, until the end of time."
February 11, 2007
Well in my rejection of the Doctrinal Organizations I set out to just obey God in all things.
Through study I have found that all Jesus did in his time on earth, was obey God in all things.
I have become closer to the ideal by rejecting the organized religions, than by embracing them.
That should make me feel vindicated and proud.
It only makes me sad.
As to where no one will really listen to me, they will listen to the Big Organization, and never reach as close to the ideal as possible because of all of the stumbling blocks there. The ignorance will continue unabated.
For all of the life I spent in a church. I was constantly told how horrible of a person I was. I was a sinner. Always was and always will be. You will never be good enough for God, you are soooooooo lucky he is merciful, otherwise he would let you lie in the gutter like the piece of trash you are. WOW what motivational, uplifting, positive feelings these sermons invoke. My favorite is, you are not worthy. YOU ARE NOT WORTHY. I think the most damaging statement of ALL, is that statement right there. It plays upon almost all peoples small fears of their self esteem. Those with self esteem issues will never be lifted up, and those without them, will develop them in the face of not being able to be the ideal. Thus the oppression that most people feel when going to church.
Now, unless I have a completely different God from the rest of the universe, mine is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. Omniscient means that he knows all, so he isn't dumb. So If he isn't dumb, why would he give up his most prize possession to save me? Because I am worthy.
The next thing that I want to talk about is our nature. It is said that the nature of all humans is evil. Mine is not. So, since mine is not. That statement is not true. There are some who are so innocent and wonderful, that anyone that make a stupid statement like that, does not look for the good in the world, just the bad. That person may be bad, but that doesn't make everyone like them.
What is the point of all of this. It is about GUILT. We are taught to be ashamed of who we are, what we do, what we think, what we say, what we eat, who we speak to, what we laugh at, who we are seen with, where we are seen, what we are seen doing, what we wear, how we cut our hair, etc........ No matter what doctrine, they ALL have a prescribed behavioral pattern that is accepted, and not accepted. Then, if you step outside of that, someone some to you and says, "Because I love you, I need to tell you...." and then they proceed to tell you why you suck. But the worst part of the guilt, is not because they told you this. Maybe you do suck. But, from the fact that you let down someone you love, so much. God. The feeling that you are not making him happy is devastating. That is used against us way more than it should be. Trying to keep us on the straight and narrow. Basically, following the Doctrinal Organizations behavior pattern. But not Martin Luther, Billy Graham, The Pope, Pat Robertson, Oral Roberts, or anyone is going to be standing with me on judgement day. Just me. So it is between me and my God. If this is so, their opinions of me DO NOT MATTER AT ALL. I can brush off a pastor telling me I am going to hell, a priest excommunicating me,(that one actually makes me laugh, a dumbass little priest telling God who he can and cannot accept, that is hilarious) anyone telling me I won't go to heaven, that I am a blasphemer, heretic, sinner or a devil. Why can I brush this off, because God's opinion is the only one that matters to me, so screw 'em. Yeah there is a little venom there, but DOs are the only place you will find people knifing their wounded. knifing the healthy, knifing the young in Christ, the Old in Christ, hell, they knife everybody. Ridiculous.
Luckily I am a good person, so I refrain from all of that stuff by ignoring those fine established religions.
In the end, it comes to this. We are all basically Good people, Decent people, who love our families and try to do what is right. This makes us something that is valuable, not just to those around us, but to God as well. So valuable in fact, that he gave to us, his most valued thing, his son. Not only did he deem us worthy enough to give us his son, but to allow him to be sacrificed, on earth, and tortured in hell. For me that is a lot of worthiness to live up to, and I strive everyday to live up to God's expectations of my worthiness.
January 23, 2007
How many times as a believer have you heard the lines above to describe what becoming or being a "christian" is all about. I call it the "Christian Lottery" line that is given to non-believers in order to get them to convert. Why does the mainstream evangelical complex lie to gain converts. Because to them, the end justifies the means. To me, it means that being a believer and a servant of God, is the biggest let down that there is.
He will purify us by throwing us in the fire, as a goldsmith purifies Gold. This means, that God will continually be throwing us things that we do not like. Things that burn away anything that we hold onto in this life. Things that we truly hold dear, and do not want to let go. He will take away our pride, our love of material possessions like clothes, cars and houses. He will take away anything that gets in the way of our relationship with him. Why, to make us into the vessel he would like us to be, not the one we want to be. All God asks, is utter-complete-total surrender, absolute obedience, and implicit reliance on him. Isn't that great, we get nothing to call our own. But we do get to be one of God's Children. Being a believer is the same as being a servant, for eternity. That is why it is the hardest thing ever.
When we have no control over our lives, we have to live by faith. True faith is the hardest road to follow. The path is straight and narrow, and few can stay on it. People normally stray because of comfort. "Hey this job pays a ton!" Or, "this little lie will get me out of so much hot water." Or, "They didn't charge me for it, why should I tell them they made a mistake." Or, "No one saw me hit the car, I'm not leaving a note." All to your benefit and comfort. Doing the right thing in all of those situations is really hard. Others stray for tangible security. Money in the bank. Medical insurance at this job. Retirement planning. But God asks us just to rely on him. That is why it is the hardest thing ever, it is very hard to trust everything to faith.
My grandfather loves to talk about LMDs, last minute deliveries. Meaning God delivers us from our troubles at the last possible moment. Why, because by then we KNOW we are helpless to control the situation, and that deliverance can only have come from God. Even putting it this mildly, it does not even begin to describe the difficulty of the situations we as servants face, and face often. God systematically runs us through his boot camp, by tearing down any structured belief we had about ourselves, and replacing it with Himself. Where we once had self reliance, we now only have God. The ripping of those things away from us is EXTREMELY painful. That is why it is the hardest thing ever.
Why with all of this trouble should we become Believers and life long Servants. It is obviously the benefits. If God is in control of everything, and he is, he will always take care of you and give you what you need. Not what you want, what you need. He will give you the Liberty of spirit, peace, comfort, the feeling of security, love, and wisdom. None of these has a monetary value really, but spiritually, they are priceless. When Grace finally descends upon your spirit, there is no better feeling in the world. Nothing more free or wonderful. Nothing better than knowing that I don't have to worry, because at the last minute, God will take care of me. Yes it is the hardest thing ever, but the most rewarding thing ever.
January 17, 2007
I have spoken of Core Beliefs in other posts, and these go to the heart of the matter in obedience to God. Not once, have I ever heard of any DO anywhere, explaining why, when the sheep look at God and say, "When did we feed, cloth, take you in, or give you drink?" To me, this is the most important part of the WHOLE parable. The why, is that they did not know they were doing it. You say "How is it possible not to know you are doing those things?" Because of Core Beliefs. What CBs do is cause you to act automatically, and without thought. When a situation arises that needs immediate reaction, CBs take over, and you act according to what you believe. For example, you find yourself in a situation with a person that looks likely to beat you up almost immediately. Based on CBs, you can choose to do certain things. If you do not believe in violence, you may try to reason, or find a way out of the situation. If you believe that what the person is upset about important enough not to back down, you may stand your ground and prepare to fight. Or you believe yourself to be stronger than the other person and attack. Same situation, and three very different responses. But, not uncommon responses, only unconscious reactions. This is why people do not know that they help the least of these. Because they do it without thinking about it, since it is no big deal, they do not remember it. That is what being a servant of God is all about. Following like a sheep, no questions, no doubts, no worries, no what about me's, no HESITATION. Just OBEDIENCE. Obedience so ingrained, that you do not even notice when you are doing it. This is going to sound crude, but it gets the point across. Do you remember the details of wiping your butt two weeks ago? It is something that to most of us is important. It is something that I truly believe is a good thing. Something I do everyday, well pretty much everyday. But it does not leave a lasting impression on me. It is a learned behavior, one that I had to be taught. One that I believed important enough to continue my whole life. It is a Core Belief of mine, and I always act upon it, even though it does not leave an impression. Were our beliefs in God as strong as our belief in wiping our own butts, the world would truly be a better place. Sorry, stray thought. But powerful none the less.
Now to the DOs versions of works. This is where the Goats say, "But Lord, I did visit the least of these in prison, gave them food, and took them in!" "ON December 17th, 2003 our church group went to the prison for a visit. On Thanksgiving the next year, we volunteered in a soup kitchen. For Easter Seals we formed up a clothing drive every year." Listing the good works they had done on and on. Why now would these things be remembered. Because they were out of the ordinary. They stood out. They were not the norm. It was something that the person had to tell themselves that, "Hey, this is what Jesus says we should do, so I am going to make myself do it to show Jesus that I am good enough for heaven." So they teach Sunday School, even though they really do not like doing it. They do daily devotions, so they can talk about what they have read in church later that week. They can spout of all of the things they do to make sure Jesus is happy with them. But it is not automatic, it is not a core belief, and it does not please the one that gave Jesus the authority to be the Judge. God. God gave the Holy Spirit to each and every one of us, to help us discern his will for us. When we listen to what the DOs tell us to do to get Jesus notice and approval, we have already lost the battle. Because we are not to listen to what the DO told us to do, we are supposed to listen to what God tells us to do through the Holy Spirit.
That is why the Goats are in with the Sheep in the story. I believe the story is about the "church". The Goats and the Sheep the different people in the church, and what God thinks about them. Most people remember Dana Carvey's character the Church Lady. Anyone who has been in a DO very long, knows people like the church lady. They are definitely the Goats. And there are many who are. But the only reassuring thing is Grace. Jesus will be able to see through the why of the act, and get to the intent of the act. Was it to show Jesus you are good enough for him? Or was it because the belief was so strong, you did it with out conscious thought, and just obeyed God. Jesus will judge, with God's authority behind him, how well you listened to the Holy Spirit.
The works that bear fruit come because of listening to the Holy Spirit. The works come because they are born of Faith that created the Core Beliefs that guide everyday actions. The works come because, you can not stop them. But no person on the planet, PERIOD, can tell you what the mind of GOD is expecting of you. NO ONE. Not you Pastor, Priest, Rabbi, or Reverend can tell you what God wants you to do. Why, because only God knows his plan for you, and only the Holy Spirit can tell it to you. No one else can, PERIOD, END OF STORY.