Perhaps it may turn out a sang,
Perhaps turn out a sermon.

-- R. Burns Epistle to a Young Friend

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Navigating the Mind Field

Then he touched their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it done to you. -- Matthew 9:29

I think Jesus knew what He was talking about.  I am not going to go all New-agey deepaking on you, but I do believe my life has unfurled according to the things I believe, whether I was always fully aware of those beliefs or not.  I am in the Way, and the Way is in me, and He is working all this out. 

We can have toxic beliefs hiding back there out of sight -- booby-trap beliefs.  They are lying there quietly and unnoticed until we do, think, feel, or experience something that trips the trigger and BOOM!  We have no idea where that came from.  Wouldn’t it be good if we could sweep our subconscious minds to find those tripwires and mines?  How do you suppose we would go about that? 

There is a positive way in that as we embrace more and more of the truth of the Bible and traditional Christian teaching.  We study the Word and that exposes and disarms some of those booby-trap beliefs.  We replace bad ideas and bad theology with good theology and a right understanding of who God is and of His infinite love for us. 

Another way is through prayer.  We have talked about this from time to time.  Suppose you knew someone who came to you for advice.  He or she started talking about the problem and all the issues around it, all the bad outcomes, and everything that is wrong.  Then when the person finished he simply got up and left.  You might not have the answer or you might.  The person is never going to know because you never got to a chance to say anything.   Too often for too many of us, that’s the prayer model we follow.  That is one belief we need to get right.  A lot of us do not expect God to speak to us so we never bother to listen. 

What if we went to God and said, “Open the eyes of my heart, Lord.  Open my ears to hear Your Voice.”? If we wait before the Lord, listening and meditating upon His Word, it could be that He would, in some way, expose some of the erroneous beliefs and axioms the world has built into our thinking.  I am pretty confident that He will, that He, in fact, longs to deliver us from the potential destruction of lies and disbelief. 

The world is going to believe in its idols.  Right now, Caesar seems to be the obsession of those who are conformed to the fashions of the flesh and the fleshly mind.  Government will create heaven on earth.  This is especially true during this political season.  Some leader has the answer to all our problems if we can just vote the right person into office.  Except it never happens.  The mark of our insanity is plain:  we keep trying again and again, every two or four years. 

Believing the truth about ourselves and reality delivers us from the alluring delusion of a utopian society.  Strangely enough, though, if we were to, as individuals, live righteously and responsibly by biblical truth and biblical principles in our everyday lives, we would find ourselves a lot closer to heaven while on this earthly journey.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

One TOE Three

By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. -- Hebrews 11:3

When you think about it, the 1st Century writer of Hebrews is making an insightful statement for the time and place.  Atomic theory goes back at least as far as the Greek philosopher Democritus around 400 B.C., but it wasn’t something generally considered or thought upon.  Democritus postulated an ultimate particle, something that has gone out of fashion as physicists continually find more particles with more bizarre labels.  I seek an ultimate Person who cannot be divided beyond the Trinity. 

My TOE (Theory of Everything) holds that spirit and consciousness created energy, matter, and all that we see, that the cosmos came into existence by the Word.  All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made (John 1:3).  I believe all that is solid and material emanates from Life -- In him was life, and the life was the light of men (John 1:4) – and not the other way around.  I believe the universe makes sense to humanity, that its underlying laws and principles can be discovered, understood, and put to use by humans because it was created by the Mind in whose image and likeness we are made. 

Jesus confronted some of His accusers and attackers in John 8:14 with this statement:    I know where I came from and where I am going ….  Though the Son is uniquely part of the Divine, like Him, we, too, have an origin in the heart of God and a destination in the presence of God.  Jesus is the only begotten Son, but we, too, are children of God and part of His family.  The material world is real but derived, and, as we very real people are reflections and images of the Lord, it, too, is a reflection of the ultimate spiritual reality.   

The big challenge in life is learning that what we can’t see with the natural eye and experience by the senses is what matters.  It is seeing the apparent emptiness of space as the matrix of material stars and planets and understanding all are one.  It is recognizing the Way in which we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28) and realizing we are one.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Saints and Cynics

All your allies have driven you to your border; those at peace with you have deceived you; they have prevailed against you; those who eat your bread have set a trap beneath you— you have no understanding. -- Obadiah 1:7

We want to trust the people, believing that our friends and family have our best interests at heart, as they sometimes do.  The only Person we can trust fully and completely without exception, without reservation is God.  He is enough.  If I trust God then the weaknesses and betrayals of allies and companions can be handed over to Him.  It is a great comfort and takes the pressure off us, as well as off our friends.

Relationships suffer when one or more of the parties ask others in the relationship to be as strong, dependable, steadfast, and giving as God is.  This is especially true if the person so depended upon doesn’t have the right connection to the Lord.  We can be a channel of God’s love, mercy, power, and faithfulness, but we can never be a source.

By submitting ourselves to God we can transcend the limitations of our self-life.  The self-life of even the best of us will fall short in satisfying the yearnings of another’s heart.  In ourselves, we will disappoint, stumble, fail, and sometimes fall.  But in Christ, my heart becomes a funnel for the love of God, and the more I let out the more He will pour in. 

If we are living life according to the flesh, more often than not, we are going to be caught up in dramas, schemes, deception, and treachery.  People we thought we knew, thought we could rely on, will let us down, turn on us, stab us in the back.  As a natural cynic, I am never terribly surprised by this, but I would rather be a born-from-above “cynic” like Jesus: 

Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing.  But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man (John 2:23-25).

Jesus knew that we can’t be trusted, that we have our own agendas and ulterior motives, yet He never let that stop Him from doing good and doing what was best for each of us.  It never made Him stop loving us.  Maybe it made Him love us more for He saw how alone and helpless we are apart from Him.  He knew His Father would take care of Him.  He wants us to know it, too, and to follow in His path of pouring our lives out for love.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Rave On

Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? -- Psalms 2:1

The answer to that is, whatever the world may claim, they do not believe.  James 2:19 says, “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!”  The demons believe that God exists for they must do battle with Him.  What they do not believe is that God is good, that His will is good for them and for all of creation.  They believe they know better than God what is going to please them. 

We witness this all around us today.  Politicians commonly pay lip-service to God to reassure voters while failing to live by the most basic of His precepts.  Many who call themselves Christians -- because they believe that God exists, have created for themselves a mental version of the golden calf.  Those Israelites who handed Aaron their jewelry and danced before the idol were not atheists.  They simply believed they could worship and serve the creation and the creature rather than the Creator, that some attributes of the creature were greater than the God who had brought them out of bondage.

Many believe in the divinity of human reason which, according to their beliefs, arose from dead, thoughtless matter.  Meanwhile, the ability to plot and rage against the Divine, to question God’s wisdom and His righteousness comes from Him for we are made in His image and likeness.  Something tells me this will not work out the way the world expects. 

We are not on the verge of some great humanistic triumph.  We are about to discover, in blood and terror, the limits of human understanding and the corruption of the human soul from which, alone, faith in Christ can deliver us.  Believing something about God, Jesus, and the Bible will not be enough.  Believe in; believe on; believe through. 

As Buddy Holly said:
Well, rave on, it's a crazy feelin' and
I know, it's got me reelin'
I'm so glad that you're revealin'
Your love for me
Rave on, rave on and tell me
Tell me, not to be lonely
Tell me, you love me only
Rave on to me