We Don’t Know Jack!


Have you ever felt left out by all those religious experts who express their personal relationship with God?  Not only do they claim to have the inside on the big guy, but also know all the meaning behind the scriptures, generally as well, all of the omens that go with it.

Never mind the more powerful truth that we are to live by faith and are saved by faith and faith alone.  Faith involves a power by which we do NOT know, we believe in the absence of anything being there at all, believing in the unseen.

What I am saying is that no one has any more ability to see or be with God than either you or me. In a nutshell, we don’t know Jack.

I have yet to see anyone walk on water, clear out a hospital or even turn water into wine. Nothing as such.

Yet, I have seen the miracles of those who have experienced the changing of the heart as a result of trusting in faith.  How powerful!  This is where people trust, believe in the good, the love, the forgiveness and grace of God through his Son, the Christ simply because of FAITH!

No, I don’t know any more about God than you do or anyone else.  I gather my insight from reading the scriptures and by the testimony and example of other Christians the same as anyone else.

I don’t say I know all those things aside from faith because I don’t.  I don’t even have much faith, but the little I have is not a result of myself, but the scriptures proclaim is a gift of God.

Consequently, when feeling inadequate, know that even Moses had a limited experience with the person of God.  He wasn’t even permitted to see his face, only His passing Glory.

You and I aren’t Moses, and neither are all the others who claim so much.  The truth of the matter is that we simply don’t know.

In the meanwhile, in awaiting on the return of our Savior, Jesus, we are to love, forgive, serve, await in anticipation humbly and in obedience to the written words of Jesus as expressed in the Bible holding onto our faith.

Really, other than that, we really don’t know Jack!

The Least of These


This is easy enough. Thinking of our safety, while walking the streets or something as innocent as maneuvering the parking lot of a mall or convenience store, we attempt to navigate around the bums, the hobos, homeless, wine-os, minorities or anyone else that fails to look like us.
Matthew 25:40
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me
Of course, we exclude from the brethren, the dirty, the mangy, those who beg where we think they will use the money for drugs or alcohol. We rationalize that those around us are in their predicament because of their own sins and ails.
This includes the felons, the murderers, Sex offenders, Sex Predators, the arsonist, extortionist, burglar, common thief and a host of others. In some way, we don’t feel they are quite ‘good’ enough for our assistance.
Jesus had a reply to this:
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
These so-called scumbags are even possible angels. These dead-beats are always at least potential adoptees into God’s Kingdom. Many are even Christians already.
Sure, it is all the more likely that one of these beggers simply would like to have nothing more than a cold beer when they are actually in need of food. There is a good case to make that they would simply waste whatever it is that you give them.
Just as likely, or even more than likely, when you tell them you have nothing to give them, you sin by lying. You may have nothing more than some loose change, but you cling on to it, feeling you worked hard for your money and they should the same.
In short, we are all sinners. We have all fallen short of the Glory of God and should treat all people the same, with dignity and respect. Naturally, this is all but easy to do, but a goal in which we should strive.
So, the next time you see someone down and out, give them what you feel your heart will allow you. The person you give it to is none other than Christ himself.

No, No and Hell No!


From the first, beginning at the Garden of Eden, the serpent lied, convincing that eating the forbidden fruit would not result in death.  Yet, it is written that God had said, they could eat any fruit but the ‘apple’ tree.  Disobedience would result in death. “…You shall surely die…”

Thus, we see with the first man, Adam that Sin entered into the world, and so too death.

Jesus warned of the power of the father in: Matthew 10:28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. In this case, hell means the grave.

Whereas, it is often preached that the wicked are immediately taken off to hell and the good leap out to heaven, the bible does not teach this at all.

Proverbs explains that “…the dead know nothing.” Jesus himself, in his parable of the wheat and tares explains that on the last day angels will separate the good from the bad and throw the bad into the fire.

For the good, Paul explains that we lie asleep in our graves until called to be caught up in the air.

The point of this is:  there is no eternal punishment that permits man to live forever: Paul maintains this insomuch as: “the wages of sin is death.” This does not suggest man living forever, even if torment.

A consuming fire forever at best means closure to what existed prior, for example as described with Sodom and Gomorrah. The bible speaks of the fire that struck those cities as being eternal, but clearly those fires are not burning today.

Even John the revelator spoke of hell, at the end as being thrown into the Lake of Fire, Hence, the end of hell.

Sheol also is described as the place of the dead (the grave), Gehenna, the burning pit in Jerusalem, continues to burn, and in general speak exists as a garbage heap where the worm never dies as they keep recycling over and over again. We have also the Tartarus pit of the underworld described by the Greeks. With it, we also are provided with Hades, where once again, it signifies the grave.

As profoundly explained by Paul, we had Adam as spoken above: through one man entered Sin and by one man entered Death.

In Jesus the greatest gift of all appeared: through this new Adam, we have the forgiveness of sins and He who also conquers death:  thus, the pathway for eternal life.

The good news of the gospel lies not in the announcement of death, but in the glorious news of Christ’s gift to us of Eternal Life!

By all accounts of the gospel, this is where we place our faith:  our faith rests on Jesus to defeat death and in one day reign as Lord and King.  Jesus himself that God was not the God of the dead, but of the living.  Believing in Jesus grants us the right to live on beyond the grave.  Those in hell are simply dead.  Consequently, I don’t preach on hell, but on the Gospel of Christ as the Son of the Living God.  Because of Him, we too shall live.

When the Cheering Stopped


One indelible fact of human nature is that we all love a winner.  When things are going good, it is easy to root for whoever we believe is the good-guy, a winner.  Christ was such a man.  On a Palm Sunday when Jesus was entering into Jerusalem, the crowds were plentiful, and many cheered Christ’s triumphal appearance as the true King that he was.

Soon, though, the cheering stopped. Adoration turned to fear and the crowd scattered.  Jesus even turned to his disciples and asked if they too, would turn away. Of course, eventually, they all did, leaving him to his self on his own.

You and I would like to think we are better.  We like to think since we believe in the resurrection, and eternal life we would fare much better. However, once we believe our ‘winner’ becomes a loser, we rationalize, then change course with our ever present sense of self preservation.

As with everything else, the cheering stops in times of conflict, times of agony, fear, under the sense of betrayal and many, many other excuses we offer as justified reason.

The cheering stops every time we refuse to introduce our friend, Jesus whenever we are around others:  when we feel nervous, inadequate and not in the midst of a cheering crowd that shares our values. At those critical moments, and we are all guilty, we turn our backs on our Lord and the gloating calls of the cheering crowd stop.

Truth is: there are times when we are good for our word and other times, when we bail out because we are cowards.

It’s a shame but for many of us, the only time the crowds will cheer for us will be upon our death.  At that time, they will lie, stating how so very good we are and how much they will miss us and all the good things we did on this earth.  But out of all of that, the only truth that will exist will be the fact that they all told a lie.  No, we weren’t good at all.  The man that was good was Jesus, and by our own account, we turned our back on him, the same as the crowd.

How horrible Jesus must have felt when even his best friends went another way.  How horrible too, it is whenever we do the same within our own life.  And of course, it only begins with our savior for we are equally guilty on turning our backs on our friends, family and neighbors.

And when the cheering stops for us, who then will be left to pick us up.  Who will be on the sidelines rooting for us out of the gutter?  The answer is an easy one:  it will be the same Jesus who was there in the beginning.  Jesus is who He is despite the cheers, the betrayals, and how we too attempt to bury him when convenience dictates to us that we are only there cheering by our self.  Simply one more time When the Cheering Stopped.

 

“I didn’t say all of the things I said.”


The above statement attributed to Yogism, funny statements from Yogi Berra are a testament to which most of us could wish was true.  In fact, more or less, the truth be known, we’ve actually said a whole lot MORE things than what we should have ever said.

The book of James warns us about the use of our tongue, declaring that none can tame it.  This is all so very true. When it comes to saying stupid things, or hurtful, defaming words, we humans are so darn good at it.

We are so very good at flying off the handle, speaking our mind and at times, also great for telling people off.

Most of us take great delight in meddling in gossip, getting the low-down or our neighbor or fellow worker or even church member.

At other times we speak absolute garbage in praising someone, knowing full well that we don’t mean a word of it.  This is what I call pious profanity, for we act so darn uppity-up whenever we do it as we are ever so eager to impress others, in this case even with lies.

We slander our friends, co-workers, neighbors, and others with glee, cursing everything about them with glee.  Even when our mouth is shut, we rudiment hateful thoughts, feeling as we take inventory of aughts we feel were performed against us.

At other times, we continue to sin by even holding back statements that would be uplifting to others.  Instead, we crawl into our internal comfort zone, apathetic to others and their circumstances. Silence as such freezes the soul and dulls the senses until later, we demand to be heard and our complaints.

Personally, I don’t really know any way out of our dilemma as we will perpetuate our fundamental nature in spite of our efforts.  Thank God, if we are faithful to confess our sins, God will forgive us.  This includes the necessary element to confess also to the person you also sinned against.  None of this will ever really be good enough.  No, for as humans we are flawed.  Yet, we can make attempts to bring our tongues, our thoughts under control.  And this can be accomplished by the saving grace of Christ Jesus and I am sure he meant to say all of the things he said.  I am so glad that he did.