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When you just don’t want to Live anymore


For some of us, it gets like that.  During times like that, life sucks and it is hard.  Times like that are more than difficult:  they are impossible and during those periods there is a complete lack of joy.

In fact, all one sees during those times is bad.  All that one feels is pain.

For the Christian these are difficult to say the least.  Times can become so painful and overbearing we can get where we simply don’t want to live anymore.

We see life as horrible and our relations and accomplishments as nothing but failures.

These characterizations can be completely real and honest;  yet, once again, the Christian MUST see beyond the immediate or the elements in front of us or the barriers during the present.

For in all the cruelty and badness we are encompassed with, the GOOD is also there. The problem is:  at the moment, one cannot see the good for we are blinded with our own problems and with our own circumstances.

During those times, we need to buy time. During those days when you no longer want to live, one must force them self to see that exiting out of this world is selfish.  More importantly, one must know and realize that the world is not static and no matter how difficult or impossible our circumstances seem at the time, things will change.

No, I won’t lie and say everything will be alright.  They will NOT be alright.  But, what I am saying is that God is Good and life is worth living because of HIM.

And because of Him, there are many other people involved and they too are worth living for.

And so, when life is not worth living and we don’t want to live anymore, we must—–I repeat, we must look at others and climb out of the grief of self.

Once out of self we will see the good and when we see the good we will also see our Lord in the middle of it.  For no matter how bad things truly are:  Christ is there with us.  The important thing is for us to remain with HIM.

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When We are WWrongG


As it happens, being human and subject to available facts at the time, we are most often wrong as our judgments and perceptions are only built around whatever data is available to us at the time. This is not exactly a comforting thought as most people like to at least think our thoughts and behaviors are based on a sound and rational system of logic.

Even in interpreting the Bible, we are confined to the best interpretation available and must assign ourselves to distant our thoughts from our preconceived notions and ideas.

Regardless of our intentions, we nonetheless manage to mutilate our efforts as we piece together wisdom from one chapter or one book or another to formulate whatever of organized thought we had in mind.  In other words, we tend to piece together a series of actions to scope the information into one complete organism of action and sequence.  This is profound when we do it with the four synoptic gospels. In reality, we ‘force’ the information to fit our scheme of things and this is a distorted truth that is probably more wrong than correct.

In short, most things in our view with life and likely more wrong than right.  Thus, most of our precepts, our values are engrained with a loose system of faith and presumptions.

And as our perceptions change from day to day and from year to year, we also approach the universe differently than from previous days or ages.  And as we age, most of us believe our previous views were more or less immature or otherwise viewed as wrong.

Because of this, in the past we relied more on a system of elders to balance out the views of the youth.  A more well seasoned individual was supposedly wiser and possessed a knowledge more subject to time.

Today’s generations tend to move away from that concept and rely instead on more ‘instant’ information and thus, I think are subject to even more error than those of the past.

Nonetheless, the result will at least be the same:  we will continue to believe in wrong realities and now will not be checked by the knowledge of our progenitors and elders.

The real shame and crime here is that people will be content in being wrong and in being satisfied that the answers gleaned are sufficient and good enough to strive forward. However, we must remember that our wrongness can never be good enough for the large measure of truth we search for in life and in Scriptures.  In the end, our quest is for the truth and for the peace given as a result.  To all of this, the only answer that is succinct enough is that of our Lord, Jesus.  In him, we ferret out the truth and enjoy the peace given to us by the salvation of His grace.  And in that, He is never wrong.

The identity of Jesus (The man behind the Curtain)


Strangely enough the Bible illustrates the difficulty people had in identifying Jesus. In fact only one occasion where Jesus was correctly identified by the apostle Peter, Jesus announced that Peter had successfully recognized him not by flesh and blood but my spirit. As it may be, it seems that spirits, evil spirits recognized the new Jesus more so than anyone else. This was to the effect that the demons were quieted and forbidden to announce the presence of Christ.

After the crucifixion, the arisen Christ, found walking on the beach, again was not he immediately recognized. It took for Jesus to call out the disciples before they could gain awareness of who he was.

So then, we Jesus exiting this world, he promises lo I am with you you unto the end of the world. This brings us into an important truth.

Whereas it is truthful to say Jesus resides in heaven on the right hand of God, equally true is that the spirit of Jesus dwells here on earth. Thus, our quest for Jesus should not begin in heaven, but here on earth. And where do we find our living Lord?

Jesus made it clear: we find him physically, spiritually in the midst where at least two pray in his name. We discover the personality, the person of Jesus in the homeless, in the forgotten, among widowers, the imprisoned, the sick, the dejected, the hungry, the thirsty, the browbeaten and all the others who are downtrodden and desire peace and a call into serenity.

So aside from the esoteric, ethereal depiction of Jesus, his words declare his manifestation through his children, his brothers and sisters. As one who desires the presence of Jesus, the task only requires a reaching out to his church or and to those in need. There you will find Jesus.

Jesus is located not with a GPS but among the suffering, the poor those who hurt and those without hope—there you will find Jesus. Peculiar, in this venue, Jesus probably will not be wearing nice clothes. He might possess a stench or some dirty odor,unkempt and markedly different from others. More than likely you will not see Jesus with the rich, nor sporting a guitar, probably not growling through a microphone, nor surrounded within the magnificence of a huge cathedral in the background. In some respects in particular when it comes to the physical, Jesus will be remarkable to the respect of all the things he is without. Consequently, meeting Jesus in the flesh requires sacrifice: it requires the giving up, humility, extending oneself out to another. In short, it requires doing all the things of which Jesus said and commanded us to do. It is in this process of giving that we are in the process of dying—and in the process of dying the new process, the transformation of the rebirth occurs. In a word, finding Jesus means finding our brother and sister. The question remains… Are we willing to do what is necessary to walk with Jesus? Are we willing to put up with the people of whom Jesus says he is? Last, our walk with Jesus will not rest so much in terms of what we say, yet in what we do in reference to our words. More importantly is not even our words at all that you reflect our commitment to God, yet the words of the Lord himself in his commissioning and commands of all in which we do. During these moments of performing the will of God to the words of Jesus we become the spirit, the very spirit of Christ himself, for it is at that time that we no longer speak, but in our actions we allow our behavior just for us. And that is when our neighbors discover God through us: for it is in us that Christ lives.

When Theology doesn’t mean Jack


There he stood in shock; he was stunned and trembling and beyond denial that my friend, George’s newborn child was dead. And yet, yes, his child was indeed dead: dead to the touch, dead to the world and now lay cold and blue and lifeless and pitiful inside the maternity ward of the hospital. Compounding the demanding situation was now, another lady from another room who beckoned George to tend to her plight as her child too was motionless and was presently held by the hysterical mother who begged for God to answer the cry of disbelief.

Pray for my child.” she sobbed. “At least baptize my infant child so that he might enter heaven with our master.”

Of course, George knew this was ridiculous. There was no need to baptize a dead infant, and no, there was no theology to back it up: In fact,the opposite was true.

But in the wails of the desperate mother this made no difference and in search of anointing oil George made a dash to a nursing station and within seconds, was patting down the dead child with oil and water, even placing some on his own forehead for good measure.

And when it seemed all over, still another lady begged his indulgence and the futile gesture of baptism was repeated for the same reasons. In the end, George found he was praying and praying hard. He knew he wasn’t only short on answers, but overcome by emotion and pain and personal self-doubt.

And now in retrospect, it doesn’t seem to matter that he lacked for theology. All he knew at the time was terror and grief and cries and the urgent need for comfort. And yes, this is the type of stuff that goes beyond textbooks or common sense or theology. He had found others hurting the same as himself and discovered himself answering the only way he knew how.

The most obvious becomes clear: the obvious is in moments like that there are no good answers: there are no points of wisdom: all there is involves the need for presence and the sense of touch.

In moments like these, there is no good theology for we can only surmise no matter what our reply to those occasions is that we simply don’t know far enough. Neither theology nor words of comfort meet the task. In moments like those we are broken, subject to our Lord, weak and above all else, humble and vulnerable to any and all elements of the world. In those times, we are something just a little above and below simple codes of theology.

Voices behind Bathroom Walls


Have you ever noticed the attention placed on messages scribbled on bathroom walls? Today even, here locally in Jacksonville, we have schools on lock-down and a red alert activated due to a bomb threat read off one of the bathrooms at a urban middle school.

With the alert comes shakedowns, metal detectors, bomb-sniffing dogs, many police,FBI, and it seems like the : Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Air Force and Swiss Border Patrol along with the Japanese Navy.

And of course, I exaggerate, but the point I am making here is that the danger and event is important, so thus, we pay attention to it.

Yet, as important as a bomb threat is to us, even more importantly is the Kingdom of God.

Imagine if we were to grant importance to Jesus the same as we do to earthy matters? Yes, I state that Jesus is more important to us than events around us: for faith has even greater power than the natural elements of the world.

Rather than treating Scriptures like toilet paper and bathroom graffiti as note of importance, God’s word should value MORE.

If anything should dress our laboratories, it should be endowed with Holy Statues, not obscenities nor mass threats to man.

We should not be witnessing distorted bodily images or random phone numbers to amuse, but engagements to the world as to the importance of God Almighty.

Truly, there should come a time when we can ignore trifles engraved in public commodities or other buildings we deem of consequence for Jesus is NOT a THREAT, but an opportune of Salvation. And it is salvation which possesses a far greater measurement of GOODNESS that rightfully belongs to our first alert mentality as with God we strive with eternity, forever. As Christians we avow that Christ holds the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven….for this we speak of as virtue.

Yet, today we attend to the lowly status of messages received in the toilet.

Our prayers should focus beyond sin and into the day when we receive freely messages not of threats, but the blessed message of Jesus as Lord forever.

MEETING JESUS ON HIS TERMS


 

There is nothing esoteric or mystical nor one requiring a guru or any form of wizardry in meeting Jesus. Whereas one might search their Scriptures and defining our Lord and Savior Jesus comes to reality and meeting face-to-face. That encounter is found on the streets of our society in the least of these…

Jesus is here and here and here.
One needn’t even come to their knees to locate Jesus and the least of these; they are our brothers and sisters, the least of these as represented by Jesus the son of the living God.

Is that you who extends her hand out? Is that you who feeds Jesus when he is hungry? When he is thirsty? Alone? Poor? Sick? In despair?

And the question grows… Who among you wants to meet, live and dwell with Jesus? Do we praise him for the way he comes and in the manner in which he appears: behold your brother and sister in Christ.

God’s Not Asking: He’s not saying, “Please…”


As benevolent as God may be, I can’t recall a single instance where he asks anyone to do something. In fact, if my memory is correct, he commands.

Thus, loving your neighbor is not really a request. He is NOT asking. If we are to be his disciples, then we are expected to obey his command and actually do it and not in name only.

As a matter of fact, it comes across to me that God doesn’t ask because…well, because HE is God and not us. That means HE knows what He is doing and more or less, we don’t.

So then: in obedience we demonstrate trust, and love, and commitment and reverence and many other things simply by our performance in doing things. On the less aspect of this equation is that we illustrate our loyalty and passion for God to the world: which in the end, should attract them to do the same.

Yet, my principle point here is that God is not up on His throne as some Mr. Nice Guy barking out requests. In fact, His requests are not requests at all as these are COMMANDS.

The quest here would be to examine how much we follow through with His commands…Will we measure up in obedience, or will we fail?

This is NOT rocket science and an examination is binary: if we pass it will be either a simple yes or no. In the end; we will answer Jesus’ plea…Do we love Him?

And if we love Him then we will comply to what he has asked. Here, there is no neutral ground. Remember, His commands are not merely a request. As disciples it is a MUST DO!

“Go Away from me Kid, you Bother Me.” W. C. Fields


Fields used to also say, “Anyone who hates children and animals can’t be all bad.

And I suppose many of us are like that. At least in the respect in the people department, no, we don’t like them and I guess it spills over to kids even and with today’s standards: we generally like animals more so than people.

In some respects we tend to love our neighbors more if we don’t live next door to them: A gated community is best, keeping the undesirables out.

And too, we can’t be at odds with our neighbors if we have no idea who they are: thus, we remain inside our air conditioning and video games and such. At any rate, we have no idea who lives among us.

How then can we love our neighbor as our self when we have no concept of our neighbors? Sure…everyone knows the motto: Out of Sight, out of Mind. It works for me.

Anyone can see my wake-up call here. For Christians I’m insisting that we must move out of our shell and meet and introduce ourselves and Jesus to those surrounding us. We must get off our comfort chairs and announce the gospel in person, face-to-face and love them as Jesus has commanded us to do.

And no, we haven’t earned any rights to distance ourselves from others. Retirement is NO excuse as retirement isn’t even mentioned in the bible. We are commanded to LOVE and love is in the doing and in the doing is the obedience. To that effect, W.C. Fields and those who join him are wrong and selfish and cruel.

We should not be inducing people to go away from us, but to come near, close to us and to know Jesus through us. Finally, it means one must like (love) people as a whole and to include their children. It also means there is no room for the belief systems such as W. C. Fields in the world of Jesus. He says to COME, not to go away.

Looking “Good” off the backs of others


For those of us Christians who like to come across as so mild and meek, have you ever considered the fact that we pay others to perform our dirty work under the guise of the police or our military?

Sure, for some of us go out of our way to tout non-violent behavior only to relax behind the efforts of others. This is only far too easy to do when we hide behind the ‘flaws’ of surrogates.

Sure we are gentle enough but don’t hesitate a second to call in the Calvary whenever we find ourselves in a physically confrontational predicament. In situations like those, don’t we look indeed so pious and humble? No, we wouldn’t harm a fly.

We witness similar in the area of national defense. On one hand, we advocate whereas we insist it is GOD who controls and who defends us and we avow these ‘truths’ while at the same time hiding behind the shield of nuclear weapons.

So which one is it: which one do we trust for security? Is it God, or is it our weapons and defense systems? The answer is clear enough: we trust God for our defense as long as we pour trillions into our national defense.

Yes, of course we justify all that we do by quoting a tenuous scripture supplied by Paul to rationalize how God has instituted governments, but really we cite this obscure passage to simply justify our position on war and killing.

In short, we don’t trust God to defend us and love the identity as passive subjects as citizens and as loyal Christians.

In trust, more or less we claim our passivity behind and off the backs of others as for the large part, we hide behind them and permit them to do the defending bit for us.

And truthfully, we should declare a spade to be a spade and admit our faults and that we are just as violent and fearful as all others.

In admitting our role in history, we reduce our ego and too, reduce how we wish to be perceived among others. Whereas we love to be admired as harmless to the world, we are actually raging wolves just like the rest of the world.

To that effect we should attest and then truthfully walk among other sinners in our strives to be like Christ. At least then, our walk with the Lord will be an honest one and one also that owes up to an image that is far less than perfect in the image of God and His son, Jesus our Christ.

Visibility of God(For those who desire an audience of our maker)


In many accounts in the New Testament, we see repeated statements where God made himself visible through the appearance of Christ. For as with most viewers in looking at something requires an active passivity, in the case of Jesus, the real active energy is not in looking but in God revealing. Therein we see the Transfiguration, and after the resurrection even see Jesus walking through locked doors. In these accounts, we are providing illustrations of God as Lord of the material and physical world and to include the spiritual.

Now in the absence of Jesus we are the Vanguard, his ambassadors, his church. As his church, and many aspects we are the surrogate Jesus for those living today who wish to experience Jesus in the flesh. For in Jesus be alive today, he is alive not as an esoteric spirit alone but in the flesh through us.

As the spirit of Christ dwells in us, and as we manifests the fruits of the spirit in obedience to our Lord, thus, the world is able to witness the spirit of Christ through our actions. Naturally, our actions are the substance of the fruit either good or bad. Whereas Jesus was perfect, clearly his church is not yet we are commanded into obedience or at least in striving toward perfect obedience: the obedience exemplified through love.

This means that for the unbelievers if Jesus is to be alive today to them it must be personify through us as living examples. Outside of the examples all that is left are empty words. The words are to encourage action not to be left alone by themselves. The written word might be compared to fertile seeds. If the seeds are not planted, then eventually they fall to waste. However, in planting the seeds, we discover an exact clone of the parent. Such is the case with Jesus to the Christian. Jesus via God is the seed and Christians are those who plant for the harvest. In the absence of sowing, there is a famine of Christians.

Where then will the nonbeliever and believer alike witness the experience of Christ if not through us? This is all in the visibility and here the visibility is by virtue of Christ through our obedience to him in service to others. This is simple enough: The visibility and realness of God to others is nothing magical or surreal. It is by live action and interaction through our dynamics to others. In all of this, it makes the difference if God had ever made an appearance to the world. Outside of this,there are only empty words and only the patience, if any for the true visibility of God.

Will you also go away?


One can almost imagine the pain in Jesus’s voice when asking this most horrifying question to his most loyal of disciples. Of course we all know now, that yes all eventually turned away from him at the cross.

In some ways the disciples were similar to us. It’s not so much that they turned away from him but like us we were never with him to begin with.

Don’t we find the most similar types of circumstances in our life? Are there moments in our life when we struggle with issues, with circumstances, only to discover we are in that episode completely alone? In times like that we have no friends. And desolate predicaments as such we are out there by ourselves.

For all of those who yell hurrah, who avow to be with us always, there are trials in life which contradict the affirmations of our most committed partners in life and in faith. We see this daily in America in divorce, and sickness, and most prevalent in financial calamities.

Jesus experienced this in the ultimate: for Jesus was there in the singular, hanging on the cross in abandonment. Retched with agony, our Savior pivoted in isolation.

So then in our own day-to-day activities, we ask that penetrating question to society to the world and to our friends: when things get tough will they to go away?

Of course the answer is rather simple. Of course, more than likely they will all not only go away but turned against us just as he did our Lord, just as we did our Lord.? And there lies the separation between man and God. God through Jesus, will never cast us aside only to go his own way without us. While this might be with groups, the question falls also on one by one. So then I ask you, will you too go away?

Insomuch you say that you love me, and this is good, you will fail because you were born among men. It is only through Jesus that our imperfections are made whole. Eternity then does not reside with man but is propagated by God. As Christians we should recognize our callow weakness, our failures expressed as sin.

Until that recognition arises we are still trapped in the void and the chasm of darkness. Standing in the gap, is the extension of God’s hand to his son Jesus who is the light. And to that life there is no measurement of man that can stand against his stature. For not only will we go away over and over again, at other times we were never even there.

Discovering the God, the Christ who is alive


Popular among religious folks is to tell people in particular when referring to the masses: to return to God.

All this is good enough however where or how are these people to return to God?

I believe the general consensus on this consists of a two-pronged approach; the first approach obviously entails the person on their knees. And second, is in referring the person to the Scriptures.

The Scriptures however explain it a little differently. With Jesus explaining to the disciples how to pray – – – Jesus is not on his knees, he is standing, his head lifted up toward the heavens. Here we see a relationship between the person and his maker. This is not esoteric, nor essentially intellectual, only a simple relationship that involves father and son. We see consistently where Jesus refers himself and his miracles in reference to the father. Even Jesus’ own existence is an relationship to the father.

The discovery process, the lively process is expressed in terms of relationships. This is true also of the extension of his own body, the church. Christ showed and demonstrated to the world that his father not only existed but loved his creation. And Jesus illustrated this by means of his relationship to people while here on earth.

Hence, witnessing the evidence of God to others – – – showcasing the evidence of God is now performed through his disciples known as his church. God is alive through Jesus. Jesus is alive through his spirit manifested by us. In pointing to God and his realness we should be pointing the fingers to us. For if there is a God, today we as Christians are his evidence.

Think about it. If Jesus is real to the world then his words are also real or else it is a farce. As Jesus said he dwells in us or else he doesn’t. There can be no two ways about this. We are either speaking the truth or else we lie.

In searching for God one should turn to the brethren. His church is his word: his pledge: his legacy: his body: his spirit: his help: his kinship: inheritance and much much more.

If God is alive then he must be discovered through us, the Christian. The truth resides in the manifestation of the evidence. The question is not whether the truth resides in God yet if the truth dwells in the Christian. This separates whether the world will discover God through Jesus.