"So," they say, "nobody's perfect!"
But the Vinedresser won't buy that.
Given the opportunity, He will trim the unproductive suckers and shape the branches so each one will bask in Sonlight.

Friday, August 13, 2010

More On Oxymorons 

      "CAUTION; blonde thinking," shouted the bumper sticker. My mind, though not situated under a blonde head of hair, began thinking, "Hey, that's a classic oxymoron." Any comedian will tell you that much, and Lord knows comedians never lie.
      Of course that thought led me to other, spiritual, oxymorons. "Die to live," doesn't make much sense. Neither does "give to receive," "serve to be great," "God man," or "tri-unity." Here's a doozy: "Christian Humanist." That leads to a spiritual law whose violation can be stated as an oxymoron: "Human Spirituality," declared by the following Scripture passages:
1Co 2:12-16  Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.  (13)  And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.  (14)  The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.  (15)  The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one.  (16)  "For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ. 
1Co 1:20-21  Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?  (21)  For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.
      A word(or a few) of explanation: Since Adam sold our birthright for a lie, we are no longer born as Sons of God, created in God's own image. All humans are born spiritually handicapped. Yes, similar to God, we can create, illuminate, enunciate, extricate, articulate, arbitrate, initiate, conciliate, illuminate, animate, liberate, incubate, appreciate, expiate, alleviate, and about a thousand other *ates, but unlike God, we also hate, berate, fornicate, prevaricate, fixate, annihilate, beatificate, flatulate, exfoliate, ingratiate, affiliate, circumstantiate, inoculate, hereticate, defecate, instigate, frustrate, deprecate, federate, urinate, and about a thousand different *ates.
      But the one thing we can't do in the least like God is cogitate(consider carefully and deeply; reflect upon; turn over in one's mind). That's because God's thought process considers all knowledge—from all time, past, present, and future—not just the smidgen of knowledge we have stored in our pea-brains. Yet, we bitterly complain about God's work in our lives and in the world.
      If we saw the least glimmer of His infinite wisdom we would fall on our faces in grateful, reverent adoration for His grace, love, patience and kindness to this ungrateful race, instead of complaining about circumstances or denying God even exists. God alone is worthy of praise, and only by living for His glory will we fulfill our purpose for existing and our eternal destiny. Any other outcome will be pure hell.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tolerance is a virtue? 

If Islamic fundamentalism is dangerous, it is because The West is so imbued with relativism that it is unable to appreciate the raw, amoral power of religious fundamentalism. For example, ask the typical American, and he/she would tell you Evangelical Christianity is fundamentalist in the same sense as Islam. That's the power of the popular news and entertainment media; what they say must be true. And therein lies the extreme danger of Islam.

      Talk about fundamentalism, pop-culture is as fundamentalist as any religion. "If you're not cool, you're dangerous, and must be kept quiet." Madison Avenue controls the West, and its influence is spreading throughout the world. But Big Money and Hollywood jointly own Madison Avenue.

      Only one thing can be said for this system: It works, even if corrupt. Most of us plug along our daily paths gratefully receiving what the System deems necessary to keep us complacent, never challenging the status quo because rocking boats tend to capsize.

      Is that wrong? Yes. Can we change it? No, because the system has factored in the small minority of lemmings who object. Well-intended grass root organizations such as the Tea Party Movement make participants feel like they're doing something proactive to change the System, but if they were to make a real difference, they would soon quietly disappear.

      The World System has existed far too long for transient jitters to seriously challenge it. And it's managed to confine the only factor it can't control: Spiritual revival! 

      Christ-followers have allowed themselves to be reduced to irrelevant, safe, comfortable, religious folks through the infusion of worldly values and the resultant, public toleration. If members of Christendom were truly Christians(little Christs), the World System could not ignore us, and God's church would advance through persecution as in earlier centuries. But we aren't, and we won't, because we're too comfortable as we are.

      All that sounds pessimistic because we want to believe goodness will triumph. But it won't, because we sold the world to The Prince of the Power of the Air, and it's his to misuse as he chooses. Our only recourse is to exist apart from the World System, even as we are subjugated by it. And how can we do that?
1Jn 2:15-17  Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  (16)  For all that is in the world--the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions--is not from the Father but is from the world.  (17)  And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
It's as simple, and as impossible as that. Impossible in the natural flesh, but in Christ, all things are possible.

      The World System controls religions, and indeed, religions are part of the World System. But the way of Christ is not a religion, even if Christ-followers live His way religiously. Confusing?
1Co 2:14-16  The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.  (15)  The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one.  (16)  "For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ.
      Though Bible passages like that earn Bible-believers the rap of being intolerant, a major faux pas in our society, we must remain so. If we were to tolerate corruption in our food, we'd soon succumb to food poisoning. If we were to tolerate lawlessness in our streets, we'd soon cower before complete anarchy. If we were to tolerate personal laziness ... well ... we'd soon join the welfare rolls. 

      Despite our cultural indoctrination, tolerance is the social equivalent of the physical law of entropy. But it will never lead to the homogenized, worldwide culture liberals everywhere crave. Rather, it will produce the very Armageddon that they are trying to avoid. For, "If a man stands for nothing, he'll soon fall for anything."

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Youth Springs Eternal(or something like that)

            If you've ever found yourself in the midst of Christian young people, you've surely heard one agonized question: "What is God's will for my life?"
            That, my friend, is a noble question over which a Christ-follower might agonize. As it turns out, Jesus anticipated that question and answered it quite directly, in Paul's first letter to the believers in Thessalonica, the third chapter, verse eighteen:
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
            "Too simple," you say? Yes, simple ... but incredibly powerful
            Since gratitude is God's will for us in every circumstance, obeying that universal command will open the door for us to know His will in more specific circumstances. It's a principle Jesus Himself declared, as recorded in Luke 16:10:
The one who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and the one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.(NET Bible)
This principle applies in many circumstances, and not just for money, which is the context of this verse. Think about it; if we go through life dissatisfied or grousing, how could we expect God to give us even more responsibility? First, we must make good with what He's already placed in our paths. Then, once we've demonstrated our faithfulness in that little, He will be faithful to give us something bigger to do.
            In other words, if we find ourselves in the position of encouraging someone—even someone we may not like—and do it without reservation, He may give us the opportunity to show just how clean the church bathrooms can be.
            We may never expect more responsibility than we've already muffed.
Is That An Elephant Joke?

            Two of 'em, to tell the truth. Of course y'all have heard the one asking how you eat an elephant. Answer: One bite at a time.
            Here's the other one: What does an elephant look like to people without sight? Answer: Depends on what part of the elephant they touch(or smell).
            Alright, I'll admit the first one was old as a mastodon, and the second was just plain lame. But isn't a bad joke okay to make a point? In this case, two bad jokes to make two points?
            Point number one: God is spirit, so we can't see Him directly. And He is so big He could use planet Earth for a footstool. At least that's how the Bible put it so we beetle-brains could visualize it. A more accurate scale would make planet Earth—our entire solar system for that matter—just one itsy-bitsy atom in His footstool.
            Of course we won't attempt to eat Him, or His footstool, but we can see and touch the tiniest bits of this speck of His creation we call Earth. To one, God looks, smells and feels like a magnificent forest. To another, the wonders of the sea. To still another, the vast, visible cosmos. Yet, each of these grand creations is infinitesimal compared to its Creator who is both infinite and eternal. So, fellow Beetle-Brains unite! Praise the LORD(The Eternal One) our God! Worship before his footstool! He is holy! (Ps 99:5)

Monday, August 02, 2010

Father Don't Cry

            Avraham Fried composed a tender song titled Father Don't Cry©. Here are the lyrics for the last verse:
Father in heaven
there's no reason at all
Your precious children
still are so far from home
we've done all we can
now it's in Your hands
let it end, oh, let it end,
the whole world is waiting for You
Touching, is it not? And tragic.
            Tragic, yes, but not for the obvious reason given in the song. What's most tragic is the Jews' passionate vigil for the coming of Moshiach, when He's already come and established His kingdom. And not only did they miss His coming, but they murdered Him for identifying Himself as God's Anointed King.
            Why didn't they believe He was Moshiach? No one can say He failed to prove His identity with wondrous miracles, ranging from multiplying box lunches to feed huge crowds of adults and children, to healing the blind and lame, even to bringing the dead back to life. Local folks flocked to Him for the food, healings and wisdom he provided. He even fulfilled all of the Hebrew prophesies concerning His appearance. Yet, when push came to shove, the Jewish religious leaders held an illegal trial, formed a lynch mob and had Him crucified.
            What more could He have done to prove Himself? At first, the Jewish religious establishment saw Yeshua as simply a nuisance who branded them hypocrites and whitewashed sepulchers. When the Roman conquerors heard reports of someone calling Himself The King of the Jews, however, the Jewish leadership had to take care of this upstart before the Romans kicked them out of their cushy offices of power.
            Perhaps he should have come into the world with great fanfare, instead of being born in a stable to working-class folks. Surely they would have believed Him if He had raised a mighty army to overthrow the Roman occupation, rather than gathering only twelve common men to follow Him on foot through the countryside.
            Never mind that those uneducated disciples healed the sick and cast out demons in the name of their Master. Never mind that the young carpenter from Nazareth routinely stumped and impressed the theologians and law professors.
            Even today, Jews — religious and secular alike — ignore the overwhelming evidence supporting Yeshua's identity as God's only Son after His own kind, the expected Messiah, Savior of not just Jews, but the whole world.
            Of course, the Jews have their reasons for continuing to reject Yeshua's messiahship. Though the Romans no longer occupy the Holy Land, the Roman Catholic Church has for centuries officially discriminated against Jews as the ones responsible for the Savior's grizzly death. Only recently has the Catholic Church summoned the grace to forgive the Jews. Sorry, Christendom, too little too late.
            Will the Jews ever come to accept Meshiach Yeshua? As a nation, no. Honest individuals, however, have objectively sought out the Scriptural evidence to the point where they could no longer deny Him. These "Messianic Jews" often risk ostracism from family and state, "counting it all joy" to suffer for their Messiah.
            If God can use his Holy Scriptures to convince Jews that Yeshua — Jesus, to the Goyim(gentiles) — is indeed His Anointed One, why does the rest of mankind continue resisting Him? Hard to tell; what's your excuse?