Sunday, October 21, 2018

Don't EVER say God does things for a reason

There are some bad Christians out there, false prophets, twisting theology to their own means, creating in society a hatred for what they believe are Christian practices.

I'm going to focus on one.


Don't ever tell a grieving parent that God needed their child as an angel.
Don't ever tell a depressed person that God is letting them suffer for a reason that we don't understand.
Don't ever tell a natural disaster survivor that their life was ripped apart as part of God's will.
Don't say that God LETS bad things happen.

Who are you to claim to know God's will??

"And we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

Does that mean the 'bad people' who 'don't love God' are exempt? That he turns his back on them and does nothing to help them? NO. He is working to change the hearts of ALL people to love. Some people are not changed yet.

I will point to the scripture that says: "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Gen 50:20" This is Joseph, grown up, forgiving his brothers for selling him into slavery at the age of 17.

It does not say GOD intended harm. GOD intended good. He took the bad situation, the negative consequences, and He found a way for His good to still happen.

So you might throw back at me Ecclesiastes chapter 3 "In everything there is a season, a time for... (vs 3) killing and a time for healing..." Does this mean God plans or allows bad things? NO. Killing was allowed as a punishment for some crimes under the Law of Moses, or in war, or in defending yourself.  There is a time for killing, but it is NOT God doing it in this scripture.

Stop pulling things out of context.

He works IN SPITE OF, THROUGH, AROUND, and IN THE MIDST OF our screw ups, our effects that we caused. He has a plan, a grand scheme, a goal, and it is good.

Listen, God is NOT the author, He is the master of reworking flaws. He is not creating situations in which His characters, His people, get hurt. He is not George R.R. Martin. He is a sculptor whose critical eye works with flaws to make something beautiful and good.

Tragedies happen and despite them, despite the evil in the world, God is there. He takes each hiccup we throw at him and he works it into the creation. Nothing we do can throw him off his goal.


In order to come into a spirit more closely aligned with God...

Let's be realistic. We are screwing things up in our lives if we personify God as having human qualities of jealousy, revenge, and a penchant for watching people fall down. The reality is that He sees it all and can predict certain outcomes based on our choices fueled by our emotional state. He knows us. He finds a way to bring us around that does not harm us.

Let's be forgiving, and not in the 'I'm sorry' kind of way. The word forgiveness means carrying the burden of sin for the other person. You don't let their actions have the intended effects. Work around, through, and in the midst of the issue, the drama, to heal. God forgives, not letting our causes have the effects we were heading towards.

Let's be trusting. Nothing is so evil it cannot be redeemed in the eyes of God. Even when EVERY instinct you have says the opposite, KNOW that God is good. Everything will work out for good. When every instinct says to hang on and not let go and let God take control, you have to give that burden over to Him. Or when every instinct says to give in and just forget living life, keep hope and trust in the power of God and good to win out.

Yes, life is unfair. There are consequences for actions that you have no control over that may affect you, blindside you, anger you, take you down. As long as you are still breathing, you can have faith that God is working through it to achieve good. Did he create the mess? No. He can make it work for good. Good for you, good for the world, good for your family, your life, your future.

Does that mean he has a 'reason' or 'lets things happen'? No. It means you have to trust that He has a goal and He is there working no matter what unfair thing happens to you as a result of some other cause. You are not in control and you cannot judge, nor ascribe traits to God who created everything. You have to trust. You have to believe. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Do you Grumble and Complain?

We all know someone who seems to complain about EVERYTHING, right?

Too hot, too cold, too nice, too ugly, too fat, too sweet, these complaints drive us crazy. We tend to think these people can never be pleased, and that they aren't happy at all.

Image result for grumpy old person

Perhaps they are not. Perhaps putting others and other things down makes them feel better about themselves. Perhaps they don't think about other's feelings and only their own, thus they are happy.

If your heart, your insides, are low enough that you think bringing others down to your level is a good idea, let me tell you something. Bringing others down doesn't raise you up, it leaves you in a stinking morass of bodies you drowned.

I took my son to the fair. It was hot. The rabbits and poultry were being judged so their barns were closed. It was dusty and he was thirsty. He began to complain about his thirst, then demand a bottle of water. He began to sit down on benches and wait for me to browse. When I moved on, he followed me and began complaining, "Why did you bring me? I didn't want to come!"

I grew frustrated with his whining. "Stop! I don't want to hear it!"

The problem is that this is cyclical. The sense of entitlement, that you deserve to be treated a certain way or have certain things is so pervasive, so ingrained in society that you can't stop doing it. You get roped in and mired down in this way of thinking.

Most people just endure the negative talk wishing for the person to move on, because move on they will, to drag someone else down.

How do you stop grumbling and complaining?

Of course you can start appreciating what you have, but this goes deeper than just counting blessings.
You have to learn to see things from another person's point of view. You have to accept when you are wrong. You have to amend your thinking all the way down to the core of your being where you think you are not worthy.

Let me tell you. You are. You are worthy of good things. Let that sink in.

Image result for you are worthy

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Is Jesus Real to You? Sunday Thoughts

I normally do not comment upon religious or spiritual things except to promote spiritual health. I'm not one to rock boats. Today's question, however, comes with a few caveats.

Is Jesus real to you?

This question was posed to early Methodists, Lutherans, and Wesleyans by John Wesley. He wants your honesty deep within yourself. Yes or no?

Firstly, in a culture that knows ABOUT Him through stories from the Bible - the ark, the apple and the serpent, parting the waters, and the death and resurrection of Jesus - we have a stunted relationship WITH Him.

Many people grow up 'in the church' and never understand in their hearts what it is they hear. They don't feel it. Then all the questions are hedged and routines done just to keep people thinking you are a follower. My little nieces could tell you at two years old "Jesus!" or "God!" as the answer to every question in church. Some feel this is indoctrination, and it is. This practice, whether you find it foul or devout, is common. Yet you can recite, be indoctrinated, and STILL not believe.

Why? Because it takes a fall from pride, admitting you have failed, and allowing yourself to be subservient and lowly to accept that you need God. People have a lot of pride.  They cannot open themselves up to scrutiny. If it's a test, how will it feel to fail?

It feels like taking a pre-test over information you haven't learned yet and then feeling dumb. You come completely unprepared. You feel defeated when you come seeking answers and get questions in response. There is a lot of mystery and vaguely worded scriptures do not always soothe.

Then there are some tough situations we find ourselves in before we seek spiritual guidance. When you bring a belief to the altar and find that others shun you for it, or that you don't get the answer you want, you stop wanting to know more. That feels like having sex before dating. You tried it but it didn't work. You met up, felt some desire, some need, but afterwards you left unfulfilled and full of regrets.

The Church, as a body of people, of sinners, invites you to take a pretty big step - to make a decision to believe and have a relationship with an omnipotent being. No one wants to do that after a let down. Neither do we want to do that without knowing what the reward will be. Is there instant gratification?

So they date their religion, never committing. Yes, a religion is like a marriage. You do have to commit. That is daunting. So you listen and participate, sing and volunteer, ask questions and try to find answers. Sometimes you date forever and people ask you if you are ever going to get married. Sometimes you leave and get back together and leave and get back together.

The second part of this is: How can the world know unless someone explains it to them?

We all learn through teachers. Watching someone take communion and hearing the language isn't enough to understand it. Reading the Bible may help you know the stories, but not enough to understand the meaning in the message.

In the old days, the days of the book of Acts, the early Christians did not have access to books. Having a scroll meant you were rich. Stories were passed by word of mouth. They didn't know ABOUT many things. When a new story came along, they had one chance, while the church leader was still there before he moved on to another village, to make a decision. Someone explained it all to them and they either got it or they didn't.

We are similar, except we are bombarded with information. We have to sift through it daily. We hear lots of stories, opinions, most of them contradictory. How do we know what is true and right? Who do you listen to?

For those who choose to believe that life ends at death, I hope you are able to be spiritually healthy enjoying nature, quiet time, or self-reflection. When you stop believing in Santa, you still get gifts, you just lose that innocent magical wonder. Perhaps the world is just a cynical place and you are one of the few bright spots - be kind, do good, and love others even if they seem unlovable.

Lastly, if Jesus is Real to You, and you have the Holy Spirit, it guides you through scriptures to the answers. You just KNOW things, intents, interpretations, by feeling them. How can I describe it? Your conscious feels similar, and your heart or gut instinct, to the Spirit. There is no other way to put it but it allows you to assimilate the information and just know what is meant. This is not a gift that Santa can give, nor is it instant gratification after accepting and believing. If you believe in alternate dimensions or realms, think about the Spirit as permeating your being. It's around you and in you like air and water vapor. It's just there. It's a 4-D thing in a 3-D world.

It also feels clean, fresh, and new. Like pure happiness, there is a cool breath that enters your lungs and sweeps out the bad and leaves behind the good. It's almost like being in love. If you can accept that as instant gratification, then that's what it is. A fleeting feeling. It's like the high of doing good things to help others. It's not pride in yourself, it's knowing you were a good person.