January 31, 2015

How often we forget we are involved in spiritual warfare.  Situations will happen in our lives that will cause feelings within us and the other parties affected.  These reactions and feelings are totally valid and legitimate, or not.  Where the spiritual warfare happens is in the aftermath.  It is this reason we need to put on the full armor of Christ to fight this battle every minute of every day.  We need to renew our minds daily with scripture reading and prayer, and live devout lives totally dedicated to the Lord, including the mundane activities.  Paul mentions this in 1 Cor. 10, we ought to do all things to the glory of God.

We need to ever diligent in our Christians lives because Satan will take every opportunity to plant the seeds of doubt.  I was in a conversation with my ex-wife and she was talking about how she has most of the responsibility.  She said she wasn’t trying to make me feel guilty but that was what she was doing.  I am in a new relationship which I believe was brought about through the work God’s plan.  My ex-wife’s and my kids’ feelings are valid and real, and I acknowledge them but she has to move on.  The kids will take time to work through this.

When I fell asleep I felt fine about the situation.  When I woke the next morning I was having doubts about situation.  After an hour of chewing on it in my head I turned the doubt over to the Lord.  He revealed to me that I was under a spiritual attack and Satan and his minions were trying to knock me off the current path I am on.  Praise God and give all the Glory to Him for revealing this to me.  Who knows what would have happened if I continued to let these doubts fester in my mind.

The flip side to this is when we under a spiritual attack this only confirms that we are on the right track in the Father’s plan for us.  Satan cannot read our minds but he can hear what we are saying and make incredibly shrewd guesses in how to attack us to turn us aside from the narrow path to Glory.  We need to ensure we are grounded in a daily intake of scripture and a time of prayer to prepare us for these assaults on our faith.  We cannot do it with our power.  I know because I tried for years.  Turn it over to the Lord and He will enlighten on His path.

Actors in real life

Recently there has been a huge scandal in the news lately.  I’m sure when you read the rest of this you will know who I am referring to.  Allegedly, he had made some really bad decisions, decisions that could bankrupt him through civil suits and possible jail time if the statute of limitations has expires, back during the time he was portraying the ideal father on television.  He allegedly did some bad things that are kind of perverse and very wrong, if the allegations are true.

Now the character was a stand-up father, funny, hardly raised his voice at his children, was able to reason with them, so on and so forth.  He played the perfect father.  He handled his family like most fathers wish they could but kids are never that understanding in real life.  The family always seemed to figure it out at the end of the thirty minutes and every thing was fine until the next week.  He was one of the coolest fathers on television.

Now when we first heard about the allegations, I am sure we all thought the same thing, and pictured him as the father who had the ugly sweaters, but they were cool because he wore them.  There was no way that the allegations were true.  But we are picturing the wrong person.  We are picturing a fictional character, not a real person.  Off the screen, it seems he may have been a depraved pervert, allegedly.  It is a mistake we, as people who watch actors, always make.  We think of them in our favorite fictional character they played in front of the camera when they are more messed up than the people watching them on the screen.

We must remember that they are actors and who they are off the screen is probably the complete opposite of who they are in real life.  We should not be idolizing them for the characters they play.  They are people who are not any different than us who, more often than not, need to be famous, need the attention, whatever you may want to add to it.  They are people, sinners like the rest of us who need Jesus like the rest of us but believe they have found their savior in their fame.

We believe because they have achieved success that their lives are more fulfilling but in the end they just have more money to spend than we do.  And as they get older and the offers for the lead role start to dwindle, desperation will set in as they try maintain their status.  True fulfillment in life can only come when we give that life over to Jesus.  All this world has to offer is vanity and empty.  As the actor I alluded to above, he allegedly pursued fulfillment in his sexual perversities and it got him into a lot of trouble instead.

I wonder if he regrets his alleged actions today when he is alone.  But I am sure he is like most people, he probably regrets more that they went public than he does the alleged acts.

What is important

I had to stay in a hotel a few days ago.  We had a really bad blizzard and the place I work at asked if I would stay at the hotel and got to work the next day so that we would not be buried in work the day after the storm.  I work at a place that processes and mails statements for banks and other clients.  I did but only for the money.  I missed my wife’s birthday because of it, which made me sad and all you husbands can guess how she was.  The room was nice but the bed wrecked my back.  I don’t like hard mattresses.

Anyway, while I was there I could not help but think about how meaningless it seemed.  I am staying at a hotel so people can get their statements on time.  And this is not the only thing I believe, as people, we waste so much time and energy on.  I am talking about sports talk radio.  A local station’s afternoon show will spend sometimes up to a week talking about a topic.  And they end up in a cycle of redundancy because it is the same thing day after day.  And they make a nice salary doing it.  Or political talk show hosts.  They at least talk about something that impacts us as a nation but not that important.

We spend billions of dollars on things that don’t matter in the eternal perspective of life.  We have placed such a high importance of things that I cannot understand why they are important.  I care about doing a good job at work because I should and I get paid to.  As a recipient of that mail, I couldn’t care less what day I got my bank statement.  When are we going to spend billions on the things that matter to our Savior?

January 30, 2015

Kids can be odd at times, especially when confronted with the fact that they lied.  My stepdaughter was eating a dinner that had crab legs.  I came home and she had one sticking out of her mouth.  About ten minutes later I came back to the kitchen and saw her with a crab leg sticking out of her mouth.  I asked if the that was the same leg and she said it was a different one.  And then I caught her trying to go back for more before her mother got home.

Then her mom got home and asked her how many pieces of crab she ate.  Her daughter said she only had one.  So I asked her why she told me she had two different legs.  She started off into this long explanation about why it wasn’t two but one.  I related the conversation we had had when I got home, and she still insisted that it was really only one leg, despite what she told me earlier, with a long nonsensical story that I am sure sounded reasonable to her.  I said it was a yes or no question.  They she still insisted that she only had one, started crying because we wouldn’t believer her, at which point I knew that she did have two (my son does the same trick).

So why am I telling this story?  Well, even after her mother told her she wasn’t in trouble she still insisted on telling her mother that she only had one leg and not two.  Even after she was off the hook she continued to lie.  We do the same thing before God.  Instead of just realizing we sinned, we cover it up like David did with Uriah and Bathsheba.  We always have a twisted, nonsensical explanation for why we did what we did, and it all sounds reasonable to us.  Why?  Because we love living in the shadows and in the gray areas, and we want to make what is a black and white issue gray, so we do not feel at fault for sin.

But we are forgiven.  The Father forgave our sins when He poured out His wrath on His Son on the cross.  We do not have to squirm and make up stories to explain our sin.  We only need to confess our sin with a broken and contrite heart.  And that is the problem, our pride will always be in the way.  Ask God to forgive and He is faithful to forgive.  Don’t waste time and effort to make up a story and hope God falls for it.  He knows it all already.

January 29, 2015

I grew up in a church where the service was very solemn.  The service was the same every week, just different message, different hymns, different songs from the choir and different soloists.  We had the occasional special speaker as well.  The service was an hour long, and was considered distasteful to go any longer than 12:05PM.  The sermons were thought provoking and caused an intellectual response.  What was missing was an emotional response.

The Word of God ought to bring out an emotional response every time we hear it.  An intellectual response has its place but it is not more important than the emotional response.  We should be reminded that God saved us from a lonely, dark and painful life in eternal hell by sending His Son as the ultimate and perfect sacrifice.  During the course of our life, we see something we covet, then we lust for it and then we sin after it.  Once realized, these actions should immediately provoke an intense feeling of guilt and shame.  Then it should bring us to repentance, a pouring out of our spirit before God asking for something we don’t deserve, forgiveness and mercy.  And it is there, always there when we ask for it.

This same intense feeling should be there every Sunday in the service, everyday in our private times, every Wednesday night and every other time we meet with the living and real God, alone or with others.  The intellectual response is good but it never goes beyond the brain.  The emotional response is good but it lacks direction at times.  The intellectual and emotional response must be together if one is to an effective servant of Christ.

God’s word is powerful and cuts to the core.  We need to remember we are here temporarily, and then we will be in Glory.  That thought alone, to be forever in the Presence of Jesus, should remove all worries and concerns, and give us strength to fight the sinful flesh and fiery darts of Satan.

January 28, 2015

I was watching America’s Funniest Home Videos (AFV if I reference it again) a long time ago.  It was under duress because I did not have control of the remote.  Anyway, as I watching a video came on of twin boys, about a year old, with their little plastic toys.  One had a plastic bat in one hand and a plastic golf club in the other.  His brother came over and took one of them.  The victim of the crime got mad and followed his brother and whacked him over the head.  His brother began crying and dropped the bat he stole.  The victorious victim picked up the dropped bat and walked away.  The audience laughed but I was kind of amazed.

What had happened spoke to the nature we are born with.  Humanists can go on about man being basically good in his base nature but it is hogwash.  All can agree that one year olds do not really have a firm grasp of right and wrong, sharing and what-not.  The one twin taking what his brother had and his brother retaliating with violence.  Where does this reaction come from if it is not already there in our very nature?  Up to this point everything they do is still cute, and I suppose the video might have been as well, but it is a really sad commentary on the true nature of man.

We are out for number one from the moment we take our first breath.  It doesn’t really change much from there.  We are born into sin and in sin we are conceived.  I am not saying we all bastard children.  I am saying that from birth our nature is set against our Creator.  We strive for what we believe is ours.  Now, it is possible to give unselfishly but does that necessarily mean we are good?  Being capable of good does not take diminish the fact that we are evil and sinners in the sight of God.

The video of the twins, if anything, shows us that our selfish tendencies are part of our nature.  In the end, stating that we are basically good and maintaining a worldview with that as a basis is asking to be made a fool.  There is only One who walked this earth who was good, and that was Jesus.  One day, we will recognize and acknowledge this, either in pure adoration and joy or in submission and sentencing to hell.  Jesus is the only way to move from being evil and going to good.  Don’t fall for the “man is basically good” line.  It’s a fast track to a place you do not want to go.  Just spend a little time watching children play and you will see my point.

Paralyzing thoughts

I am sitting here looking at the blank space where my blog is supposed to go.  During the day I have a thousand ideas as to what to write about.  Then I sit down and my mind goes blank.  I cannot grasp onto any of the thoughts I had racing through my mind up to that point when I open the page to blog.  Why are our brains so fickle at times?  We get into our own heads sometimes and we end becoming paralyzed because we are unable to initiate motion.

I have an ongoing issue at the moment.  I worry about the time when I am in the moment will I fail miserably.  I worry so much that I end up failing because I have psyched myself out.  It does not happen all the time but often enough that it is incredibly frustrating.  I know that some of you experience the same situation.  This is aggravating beyond belief.

Now, this blog does not really have a point.  I am more or less venting a frustration of mine.  I just wish there was a way to get around it.  I mean, we all have stage fright.  The most common fear of most people is giving a speech in public, in any forum.  I am not too bad when speaking in front of people.  I don’t know.  Just a random thought today.

January 27, 2015

I have a hypothetical situation.  There are two people in a church.  In the same week they are diagnosed with the same type of cancer in stage three.  The church gathered together at the front of the church and prayed for these two people separately, by laying hands on them and turning it over to the Lord.  After this they both started a treatment regimen that had the usual side affects and terrible weakness.  After several months of therapy, one is healed of their cancer.  The person is left without a trace of it in their body.  In fact, the x-rays are such that the doctor wouldn’t be able to tell if the person had cancer in the first place.  The other person continued in treatment and did not get better.  This person had a constant battle back and forth with the cancer for several years before the Lord took that person home.

Now here is where it becomes sticky.  Some would argue that the latter did not have as much faith as the one who was healed.  The one who was healed had sufficient faith to be healed.  The other perhaps did not and that is why the cancer won the battle.  But what if God’s purpose was that His power would be seen through both.  What if the latter actually had more faith than the former and that is why they lost the battle because through that battle they would bring more glory to the Lord, never wavering in their faith and always praising God throughout the ordeal.  While the former’s faith may have been weaker and a shorter battle is what they needed to become stronger in their faith and share their story with others about the wonder and grace of God.

To accuse someone of not having enough faith to be healed of a sickness is pure arrogance and ignorance.  We are not able to judge another person’s level of faith.  Faith is misunderstood, misused and abused in part of today’s church.  In some places there is not enough focus on faith.  Our faith needs to be that of Daniel’s three friends, who defied the most powerful man on earth so as not to deny their God.  And their statement should be ours,  17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.[d] 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” (from Daniel 3).

I pray that I will be able to stand firm in my faith as they did before Nebuchadnezzar.

Feeling Inadequate

Dear Jesus,

I have been writing this blog for a little over a month now.  Somehow I don’t feel like what I write makes sense, is easy to understand.  Some of what I write seems scatter-brained to me.  I do this because I know it is what I should be doing and must be doing, but I just would like to seem like I am writing stuff that is interesting.  I mean it is difficult to judge because most of the comments are spam comments,  which are annoying don’t mean anything.

And I am tired.  People misunderstand You, Your message, and that You are the only true way to heaven.  Truth is not something that is easily understood nor is something people want to face.  As I write I feel like am confronting a truth I don’t to acknowledge but Your truth is the truth that is relevant.  Please inspire me and encourage me to continue blogging.

Mike

January 26, 2015

I was having a conversation with someone about Jesus’ life.  He said explained to me that the Jewish religion during the time of Jesus was split up into different sects.  He believed that was Jesus was a part of one sect and was trying to reform all the other sects.  He spent His time going against the other sects.  Then the more powerful sects got tired of Jesus and decided that they would plot to have Him killed by the Romans.  This is a great misconception of the purpose of Jesus’ coming here to earth.

Jesus’ primary mission when He was born was to die.  He was not meant to die like the rest of us, through and by a slow decay of our sin.  He was meant to die on the cross.  He was destined to be the true and final Passover Lamb.  This is something He knew all along.  He knew this fact since He began His ministry, maybe even before.  He was sent to earth, born as a human so He could feel and know what we feel and be able to die for us,

Jesus’ secondary mission was to train His twelve disciples.  He had them around Him for the three years of His ministry.  They saw, heard, felt and participated in all that He did.  They saw the way He related to the sick.  They heard His sermons to the crowds that followed Him.  They felt the power of His Spirit and participated in some of the miracles He did.  They were being prepared to carry on His message after He ascended into Heaven.

Jesus didn’t come to fix what was wrong with Judaism.  He came to fix what was wrong with all of mankind.  His mission was primarily focused on the Jews but the mission of His chosen disciples was the rest of the world.  He didn’t come to restore the Kingdom.  He came to start a revolution and revival.  He came to take the world He created and turn it upside down.