So God speaks to you


 

For some Christians, their biggest claim is that God speaks to them.  Most common is the book of Joel that announces dreams and visions for distant future generations.  Job is big on God speaking in dreams and in visions and in similar manner, Habakkuk was forsworn to write and inscribe said dreams issued by the creator.

It is good if you say that God speaks to you.  I say that it is so much better if you speak to others through your actions. It is vis-a-vis your actions that permits God to speak to them.  Our living testament then becomes the mirror or at least the image an unbeliever learns from our Lord and Master. Thus, though our example, we as Christians become a living document, the same as the living spirit of God that dwells in us.

Once again, our word and our deeds as Christians should match.  Truthfully, there is nothing intellectual about this.  Either we are what we say we are, or we are not.

Non-Christians pick up on this in a heartbeat.

As sad as it is, there are even Christian groups for a stated deposit and for so much money over a period of months and at times, years will teach the normal activities that we Christians should be performing daily. This is horrible.  What is it that a Christian somehow is going to do so-called good and have their hand in your back pocket?

Christianity is NOT a product: it is not a goods and services.  Christianity is not package you can market, produce and sale for a fee.

Either you possess the power of the Holy Spirit or you don’t.  If one is going to teach it to you, they must teach by spiritual example, not by intellectual inquiry alone.

Finally, the message here is not that it is either or, that one activity is more important than the other.  Yet, this message addresses the idea of priority.  The priority is one that conveys edification to the church as a whole and to speak to the unbelievers.  To that effect, then the message of salvation becomes our chief responsibility for it places their needs ahead of our own.

The relationship with God, I believe is best met by service to the brethren.  It is in this way that God speaks to the entire world, by we, the Christian.

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Bad-Asses


So many today try to project themselves as the big cat machismo, he-man, or otherwise known as a bad-ass.  We see this both with men and women.  Even children now have gotten into the act, busying themselves with killing fellow classmates, parents; nothing is sacred or stone unturned.  Women drive by with their automobiles shooting fingers at the car ahead of them.  Children are defiant and tell their parents to f*** off, out of their lives.  However, after talking with veterans, and watching things like that on historical television documentaries, the Normandy Invasion, Viet Nam or in Iraq, you don’t see these images come across over there in those conflicts.  You don’t see cops, who over here don’t mind jumping on a 62 year old and beating the snot out of them.  No.  In fact, I’ve seen two videos where heads were being knifed off in Iraq and they didn’t strike me as being bad either.  In fact, none of these BAD people are bad when being confronted with an equal or greater force.  So then, if the bad-asses aren’t bad-asses–why the need for a mask?  What’s so baaaaaaaaaad about picking up girls, having sex, dumping them and getting another, or about walking around like it’s Muscle Beach, Ca. inside your living room? I suppose that’s being a REEEEEEEEAL man.   What’s so bad about these people … where what’s really being bad, i.e., means good is wiping those tears whenever a tottler cries, when faced with the fact that when undressed, we are alone and naked the same as when entering the world.  That the greatest fear is overcoming that enemy within, the one that stalks us night and day where all we are really looking for is peace.  Being a real man, showing real strength is turning aside from personal affronts, is forgiving, is taking something even though you know that you’re being wronged.  Being a man is walking within the aura of our spirit-man, an experience of real strength, because it is not afraid of all our imperfections and weaknesses.  In spite of all of this, if you think you’re bad, then God help you.  All you really want is not to feel so very, very fragile.  The fact is, you’re only a soft-boiled egg.  Not bad at all for a true bad-ass.

What we say, what we do


 

Psychologists have a term defining differing thoughts from our actions. In other words, if our behaviors, our actions are different from what is concurrent from our mind, we suffer from what is known as cognitive dissonance. The peril of this is the fact that after suffering from not being able to cope with our thoughts-actions, we, or at least our brain changes our attitude towards the action. In this way our mind is able to adapt to changing situations that are in conflict with basic values.

As Christians, we love to espouse the idea that we love all people. Naturally, we know this is a complete falsehood if not a down and out lie.  As Christians we may attempt to love all people, but when it comes right down to it, we love probably, only a few.

Evidence of our failures are reflected in divorce and the many dastardly misdeeds committed by Christians every day. Even in our daily walk on earth as we pass the homeless or the destitute, whenever we fail to reach out to them:  we rationalize the situation. We’ll lower their humanity by calling them drunks, or crack heads, or worthless bum who ought to get a job.

So then, it is clear that there are things we say as Christians and then again, things that we do.  How about this question?  When was the last time you sold everything you had and gave all to the poor?  Probably not often if ever.  Yet, we feel bad for the rich young ruler in the bible.

I suppose some would conclude that Christians are nothing more than mere hypocrites? I would contend that this is not the case at all.  All we see is an expression of love from a people who are less than perfect.  Christ was perfect on this earth and it is our claim, our aim to emulate Him.

In the pursuit of our emulation of our Lord, we forget how really mortal we are.  In every sense of the word we are frail, lacking and unable to accommodate what Christ asks us to do.  Moreover, it is my contention that all God really requires is for our willingness to serve people through his prescription of love.

And task then is first honesty.  We should admit our limitations as people and expose ourselves as sinners and only as a disciple who desires to serve Christ, but who many times fails in the process.

The need to rationalize should not be an option.  If we are honest to God and to our neighbor, then our thoughts will be in congruence with our actions.  At this point, our dualistic nature will harmonize and be in parallel operations. In this way, we serve God and his creation in truth, in love, in patience, yet in honesty.  The world then has no reason to point their finger at us in shame. Being real in our journey with Christ is important in order to reflect a testimony that is also real.  Thus, we have cognitive agreement with thought and action.

God’s last name is not Damn


 

Aside from the all too popular expression commonly attributed to God, the fact is:  God is not God’s name at all.  The word, God, is a position and not a name at all.  Must like here in America we have a president—the term, president is a position and not a name.  Even if we were to say, Mr. President—in this situation, the name is in reference to a position of honor as opposed to a name per se. This honorary name is reserved even for past presidents or say even: governors with titles such as: governor.  Idiomatically, we don’t say, Mr. Governor or Mrs. Governor, but simply as Governor either present or past.

Rather oddly, in the beginning as established with the relationship of the ancient Hebrews, people made reference to God as simply I Am.  In fact, God’s name was not to be spoken at all:  it was forbidden.

Without this article going into the more common names reserved for God, it should be pointed out that some websites reveal an extensive list of over 900 names that point to the name of God in his position in the scriptures.

Admittedly, one simple name for God would indeed seem to reduce His wonderful magnificence. Personally, I love the Hebrew name of Elohim as it seems to be a peaceful name: This name not only reflects a masculine name but also permits a plural form as well.

No, matter to most of us: as our Heavenly Father is special by any other name and whenever we call out to him, he knows our voice and our spirit. In like manner, God’s Son, Jesus possesses many wonderful names as well. And when it comes to Christians who call out to these positions:  these names provide, hope and comfort as we know we address the supreme authority of the universe.  We should speak and call out to them often.

 

The many conditions of unconditional love.


 

Many articles have been written expressing the unconditional love of God. This argument lacks consideration of the many conditions of unconditional love. The idea essentially is that the same as we as parents to our children love our children regardless- we also believe God eternally loves us.

The idea that God possesses a constant love for us is true enough, but is reserved for various conditions. The first condition is that we believe God and willing to accept his grace. And this is not to say that there are all things that God is willing to accept. Clearly God does not accepted the devil nor blasphemy.  He does not accept evil. In fact there are many things God does not accept. In order to receive his love, or at least the benefits of his love, God gives us conditions subject to our obedience to Him or his spirit. We are to come to him with a contrite heart. We are to possess humility. We are to subject ourselves to forgive and for forgiveness to include unselfish love. The truth of it is that God does not accept us anyway we come. In fact as the Bible expresses on one occasion: God even divorced Israel Jeremiah 3:8  his chosen people. The sin of Israel and Judah was the sin of adultery. As gentiles, in the absence of faith, we also as people are rejected and subject to isolation from God. Our status is divorced from God at least in physical and spiritual form because of unforgiven sin.

Jesus teaches us of a major condition to receive God’s kingdom in: John 3:1-21. This condition states that a man must be born again, a spiritual rebirth in order to enter the kingdom of heaven.  The gift is free, but does require a belief and acceptance of the terms.

 

If God requests no conditions for his love, why then do most preachers sermonize fire and hell as penalty forever? Certainly here we see the condition of belief as a requirement to receive God’s love. No matter how you express this, there are conditions to receive God’s love. Truly, God is good. Truly, God is patient, forgiving, willing to accept, begging to accept, yet we must heed his word to receive the blessings of his love. Finally, as with all, there is a finality, an end in ever enduring requests for us to heed His request, words. These are the conditions, the many conditions of God’s love.

By Any Other Name


 

Cussing, cursing or swear words, by any other name is a subjective expression that changes over time and culture.

Some of us might even remember the days when saying the words, ‘swell’ or ‘darn’ or ‘drat’ was considered swearing. Long gone are those days and in with the new.

In fact, while some words and expressions might be uncomfortable, most of what we hear daily has nothing to do with swearing or cursing whatsoever.  Today and for a long time, most people do not invoke the wrath of God to another person or object in a fit of anger as in the past.  Most people are not thinking of a curse on someone when spitting out wild adjectives on a situation.

Once even, I remember the suggestion to a teenager who was known for her lively mouth.  She was asked to yell out ‘sugar’ whenever in a wrathful fit, substituting a so called worse word.

Come on, now.  Can you see a carpenter smashing his finger with a powerful blow of a hammer and yelling out, “ah sugar!”?  Moreover, isn’t the intent what really dictates whether or not a word is really a swear word? And if the intent is the same, does it really matter what word one utilizes?

I maintain that by any other name, a swear word is a swear word.  It is based on intent.  In fact, I’d state that the word, any word doesn’t even really have to be said, as long as it is thought, even silently to oneself. The intent remains the same.

In the end, more or less, a real curse or an oath for swearing probably is not what you are saying:  however, it is nothing more than a worthless adjective by any other name.

So you think you are a loser


 

Chances are you probably think this is going to be another pep talk about how to get back on the road to being a winner.  Nope.

Truthfully, I haven’t much to say to someone who has already given up.  But, by and large many people haven’t given up, but they do in fact get beaten down time and time again.  Most people are not rich and famous and many are only common ordinary men and women.

Too, most people are not geniuses, not exceptionally gifted nor are they headed for greatness by any standards of this world.  In fact, most will do good to pay their bills, raise a family and struggle with day to day living.

Out of all of this, people become broken:  people become tired, sick:  they lose a loved one:  we fail and more often than not, we become side-tracked.

Often, with struggling with our failures we sin-we do things for the simple reason not to feel any more.  We castigate ourselves, down our self and mope around within a pit of guilt and lack of hope, purpose or goodness.

The good news is that Jesus came to earth for people just like this.  He came here for you.  He came here for me to let us know in spite of our weaknesses, he loves us.

This is powerful:  The Son of God loves us when mostly we find that we don’t even love ourselves. Despite our bitterness, our guilt, our lack, our hopelessness-the fact we become pathetic, God, through Christ loves us.

Are you a loser?  God loves you.  Are you a failure?  God loves you.  Have you been sidetracked?  God loves you.

Turn to Jesus and ask Him to bring you up, to lift you up out of your sea of despair.

At the end of all of this:  will you become a winner?  Probably not by the standards of this world.  Yet, by the saving grace of Jesus, you’ll become a member of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Thus, the call is for the loser.  The call is for the broken hearted.  The call is for those who are in dire straits and have no way to go but up-with the help of God.

A winner or loser means nothing to God.  The first one now shall later be last, so it means it is important only that Christ knows your name and your name is written in the Book of Life.

Join the flock of losers who transcend the elements of defeat.  Listen to the beckon call of God through his Son, the Christ to be Saved.  The past is forgiven.  Today and tomorrow belong to you in the kingdom of god.

 

 

Approachability


 

In the Old Testament days, one day a year the high priest who was a person chosen from the tribe of Levi was allowed to go into the temple, the holy of holies and petition God. The average ordinary person was not permitted to approach God personally.

 

With the advent of Jesus, through the son of God, and because of his perfect sacrifice, no longer were mere mortals subjugated to the lineage of the priesthood-except now Jesus was the high priest. Consequently, believers could one on one, approach God because Jesus stood in the gap.

 

When Jesus walked on the face of the earth, his presence permitted the face-to-face approach of man to God. Jesus acted as the intermediary of man to God. Aside from Jesus who is here today in spirit, we come to know that his spirit is expressed through his church. The approachability of both the saved and unsaved is logically connected through the brethren. If then, the inner spirit man of the Christian fails to illuminate its true nature of Christ how then is the believer or unbeliever to profit?

 

In the absence of Jesus in the flesh on this earth in the here and now, how else is the world to know the true evidence of God. Clearly, Christians are here as ambassadors of God and are to reveal their spirit in like manner as Christ himself. This being’s birth we should be approachable. Approachability should be exhibited in frailty as well as in strength. It is through these interactions of approachability that our true testament is revealed. Hence, if were not approachable, there is no reality to our testament. Part of this reality, is indicative through our testament. If we are who we say we are then the honesty of our spirit speaks for itself. It does not mean we are perfect. It does not mean that we are holy. It does mean, our attempts are to be so to include our brother on equal terms. It involves not only sacrifice, but inclusion. Involve separation of behavior, but inclusion of spirit. The inclusion of spirit is the acceptance of all people good and bad. This acceptance involves all aspects of Christian love. Here we are speaking of the totality of the fruit of the spirit.

 

Modern psychology prides itself in reference to people that states the obligation, the fulfillment of a person is full self-actualization. An actualized Christian is a mature Christian: one who is a giver rather than a receiver. I approachability means giving of self in that the other person can acquire our attention, our love, our patience, and a listening ear.

 

God loves us so much he not only permitted his son to be crucified but to accept us into his kingdom. Insomuch we are accepted into the kingdom, we should also accept others to be with us here on earth. Our actions should speak for itself: do we listen as we want God to listen to us? Do we forgive as we want God to forgive us? Do we expand our personalities to empathize with others? In short, are others able to come to us with their problems, their needs?

 

Upon confessing of sins, the Christian then proceeds with a clean slate from God.  How much more so then does our brother possess a clean background among us?  Was not Peter a denier?  Was not Paul a murderer?  Was not even Moses also a murderer but accepted as one of Christ’s very own?  So then, as hard as it might be: we are to accept murderers, rapist, drug dealers, terrorists, liars, thieves among many others.  Naturally, we come to Christ in filthy rags, guilty of it all-but we should also expect change. We should not continue to be who we are at the moment, much less who we were.  We are expected to become a new creature in Christ which brings us down to discipleship. A disciple then becomes a follower of Christ and a leader of men.  Our leadership is expressed best by service to others.

 

Are we willing to live or die for our neighbors? This is the expression in living or dying for Christ. Most people are probably willing to die for others, but perhaps the hardest part is to live for others. Carrying the cross is an active present-tense vocation. It is a true sense of the location for indeed it is of the living and the true statement of our testament.

A face only a mother could love


 

We have all heard the expression that someone could have a face that only a mother could love. Of course this is expression reduced to people who are not exactly handsome or perhaps downright homely or ugly.

The truth be known, we as people have the personalities, the defects, the character, only God could love. Admittedly, there are many times when we honestly don’t love other people, and other times we don’t even love ourselves.

 

It is obvious anyone can love the lovable. The cute, the attractive, the adorable, the rich, the famous, are groups all easy to love.

It is interesting to note, that Christ Roamed with sinners, stating those that are well are not in need of a physician. Jesus love the detestable, the dejected, the poor, the wounded, the sick, the downtrodden, those who are without hope and in need of salvation. This does not mean we have the face as the character who starred in PREDATOR, but it is close.

 

Most of us in modern America despise the homeless, the beggars, the dirty, the filthy, often blaming victims for their own circumstance. On one hand we praise God for our riches, ask for mercy for forgiveness, yet fail to love others who are less fortunate than ourselves.

 

While hanging on the cross at Calvary, Jesus had a face that only his father would love. Everyone, all had forsaken him as it was too perilous to love him in front of others. Everyone had gone away. Everyone was in denial. At the moment Jesus became sin, unlovable. In God’s good grace, he forgiveness all even though we nailed him to a cross.

 

Truly, if our sins were exposed if people upon examination could inspect our motives our deeds and lack of deeds-if they could examine our conscience-if all our imperfections could be examined and transparent the true nature sin would paint the full ugliness of our face. At that point our mothers, even our mothers could not love the reality of our face.

 

Because of Christ’s suffering and death on the cross-by the shedding of his innocent blood on the cross those who believe in him as a son of God are made unto righteousness, God our heavenly father. Our sins then become erased, and we become acceptable to God because of Christ’s intervention. Christ states we are not guilty and beautiful because of the cleansing agent of the Holy Spirit.

 

At this point, we have not only a face, but a full body-a character this is loveable to God and his church This facet as provided by Christ is lovable both to the world and to the kingdom of heaven.

Non-Practicing Person


 

 

We have all heard the nonsensible term “Non-practicing Jew“.  I guess then there is also a thing as ‘Non-practicing Christian.’  I was never sure though about the actual meaning of the terms.  I think WWII proved that being a Jew was not in the dna but actually a religion. In like manner, there is no such thing as a race of Jews. The Nazis were forever wrong about identifying who was and who wasn’t a Jew with their practice of eugenics.  The same is true with being a Christian.  How in the world can you be a Christian but not actually practice it?  Is it something you actually practice?  Or is it something you believe and then do without practice?  I know. It’s confusing.

I think the bottom line is a non-practicing Christian is a Christian when things are bad and then they want God to do them a favor.  It means they don’t want to deny who they are at the time, but fail to live up to what they say they believe.

As a practicing Christian is a Christian who has the opportunity to participate in the kingdom of God and fails to. A non-practicing Christian is a Christian who fails to feel when there is an opportunity to empathize when there is an abundant opportunity to feel and identify with a fellow human who was either suffering or in an ecstatic state of joy.

 

Think about it for a moment-

 

How can a godly person not respond to human suffering? How can a godly person not feel natural affection for our fellow neighbors? How can a godly person placed petitions, supplications, prayers for either gifts or forgiveness if we fail to respond to God’s creatures, our fellow brethren closest to us?

I suppose by definition to practice would be to ascribe; to practice would be a habit, yet not a meaningless ritual. To practice being a Christian would first involve practicing being a genuine real person. A real person admits that’s all they are-a person-a person who first is guilty of sin, who has been retained by the grace of Christ, and now seeks unification with God by joining of the rather: Christ’s Church.

 

In that sense, we are all a non-practicing ‘something’ for we are all short of what it is we say we believe or do.

 

Of all things, if you are a Christian, though, believe it and then do it.  Saying it without doing it is horrible.  Not saying it and not doing it is just as bad.  There is no way a person can be at peace with himself if our true self is hidden, locked up and denied. Our common practice is nothing more than being a genuine human subject to the laws of God as revealed by Christ. The absence of our faithful expression of who we are a genuine form that should be transform by compassion and patience is the practice of being nothing more than you. This final phase should be one of the virtues of being a Christian. To this effect we should attempt that they whoever we are called to be and who we are.