When you can’t love yourself
and can’t seem to grasp
not the world at large
but the window before you-
find a safe little place
for some supernatural space
and wait for the appearance
I submit to you that that are many people out there who do not love anyone, not even themselves.
Recently, I read a short news article reporting about the multiple rape of a thirteen year old girl by a posse of illegal immigrants. It sickened me…however, I did not have the full story- not until a friend sent me a video of Glenn Beck.
I’m not a conservative, nor a liberal, I am a follower of Christ. My main concerns are not political, they are spiritual, and because of that, social. In fact, I don’t agree with Glenn Beck’s religious views either.
But what Beck revealed was, as Paul Harvey used to say, “the rest of the story.” And that left me even more perplexed, because when you reflect on such a horrific act- a thirteen year old raped by fourteen men, it is nauseating.
But what is more nauseating is when I ponder on what has happened in this sin-sick country. Great numbers of individuals are living like animals, so driven by sin that evil is glorified, and wrong celebrated.
And while innocents are raped and abused, egocentric women, vacuous in their thinking, arrange for the death of innocent babies God ordained to be created…a great proportion of wives leave their husbands, flaunting the sacred covenant of marriage in God’s face, because they are sexually depraved, narcissistic in their “beauty”- as Lucifer was before his fall (satan), and reject God…
…and then there are men, without wisdom, driven to act unnaturally because they reject the will of God and in rebellion rise up against the things of God…men who long to be wicked, violent, embracing death as a friend, and seeking to control and strangle life, not to love…
…and yet, there is a remnant. A small remnant. A chorus of people who seek the good, not what is evil. A group seeking to serve God and serve men, women, and all God’s children.
Today is the day of Salvation. Choose this day whom you shall serve…life or death.
For, as the great Bob Dylan sang, “you’re gonna have to serve somebody.”
Return to me, and I will return to you. That is the message in the first part of Malachi 3.
Way before the Lord speaks about the tithe in the latter part of Malachai 3, the Word speaks of Christ coming. This Messiah does not seem to be all cuddly here. In fact, it states quite plainly that He will refine, purify, those who seek to offer sacrifices so that they will be righteous before God.
When this happens, it states that God will act. But you have to go back to Isaiah 58 to understand how to get into this acceptable place of acceptable sacrifice.
True fasting is found in Isaiah 58. The definition of fasting has been obscured by traditions of men- just as God revealed through the prophet Isaiah. God desired that each of us walk humbly with God, and:
* Repent of sin (turn away from being in any state that keeps us from a close relationship with God. “God, I am sorry. I want to do things your way.”)
The next action requires complete submission to God as you need to be willing to be a spiritual warrior (if you are a follower of Christ, you will know what I mean).
* Loosen the bonds of wickedness (Now “wicked” is not good, it is cruel evil- when someone is attacked by a cruel evil, we are to help that person under attack. In fact, God tells us so many times not to be wicked. If you follow Christ, you are to do what you can – in action and in prayer. This is part of an acceptable sacrifice, part of an active fast)
*Break every bondage (Bondage is anything that has a hold on you- it might be drugs or another kind of addiction, but it may also be emotional bondage- baggage- or even mental bondage.)
*Free the oppressed.
*Divide your food with the hungry.
*Bring the homeless poor into the house. In fact, if you are homeless and your relatives ignore you, Isaiah 58 insinuates that your family members who turned you away are totally out of touch with God, therefore, in sin.
*Clothe the naked.
*Be available to family- do not turn them away. See above.
*Do not accuse anyone. If you accuse, you are doing the same thing that satan does. So, stop it. Yes, we are to reveal the works of evil…but not be an accuser.
*Satisfy the need of the afflicted.
So, it seems to me from this passage that we have a lot of work to do. If you say you are a Christian or a Messianic Jew, and you believe you have no time to act like this as you live out your daily life, check your pulse. You are alive. God gave you life again today. Are you ready to walk humbly with your God?
10. Too many movies based on an overuse of green screens.
9. No creativity, it has all been done before. Besides, I’m not into comic books, I’ve grown up.
8. Some stuff is so weird, you wonder what drugs they were on. What’s up with Johnny Depp’s Lokai-like face- Star Trek, 1969?
7. How bad can it be when Hollywood experts are calling “Pacific Rim” a potential blockbuster? It has all the characteristics of Godzilla Versus The Smog Monster.
6. Can we get some real actors, please (other than Depp, who got through it somehow)
5. Morals? What morals?
4. Politically correct. “The Jerk” (1979) was a funny movie and classic, today “they” would be terrified to release such a picture.
3. I can watch over 70% of every Doctor Who episode…the classic ones with comic genius Tom Baker are still so much fun after the third or fourth viewing. You can’t say that about much of anything made in the past year (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was the last decent movie I have seen)
2. The Hobbit- Desolation of Smaug- isn’t out yet
1. Life is so much more interesting than this current crop of epic fails. Maybe if Hollywood produced more stuff like “I am Gabriel,” “End of the Spear,” and “The Hobbit,” we’d have something worth going to see.
So…apparently only one person liked my off-the-wall humor. Sad. We live in a sad little world today.
Get on the news and all you see is racism plastered across the screens. Black and white. How absurd! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we are all colored people. It is sin that makes people focus on a person’s worth based on skin color.
Some of the ruling establishment is attempting to stir up racism as a means to an end. A divided house or divided country is weak, and putty in the hands of men and women seeking control over it. If you seek the truth, it is time to turn off the fixated lawsuit happy/court room television crazy waste and get into the Word of God…it is only there that you will find purpose, be uplifted, and be just.
I struggle with diabetes. Many years ago, I worked in a high stress, high performance, high profile career that contributed to a food and health lifestyle that lead to the development of that diabetes. It didn’t help that I made my own bread, pasta, and pancakes. Or started the morning with a mountain dew and a couple of candy bars.
When I came into the office in the morning, before we went out to work, everybody else was sleepy, waking up. I was zigging one liners, feeling totally off-the-wall. And, sometimes, I felt out of control, like I couldn’t stop being goofy. I had no idea I had high sugar levels. No one in the family had it…
I say all of this to say that this morning I have an A1C test, a particular blood sugar test diabetics would quickly recognize. I had been doing better, but a diet high in vegetables, low fat, and some fruit, with occasional forages with lean meat, is very difficult for a guy who grew up eating hamburgers, pasta, and potatoes nearly everyday for years.
So, I have listened to the doctor, studied on my own, and read the Word. It is the latter that I now know is the place to start in fighting this disease. The Word speaks of living a life that is not fast-paced, not high-stress, and requires vigilance.
It is not just what we eat that brings on diabetes. It is also how we think, how we live, where we live, what we do for work…so many factors effect health. In light of my present circumstances, I have more time to contemplate that Word. In essence, I am fighting diabetes, but also need to be sure of God’s direction- I am job searching.
How then shall we live?
What is required of us is this: to do justice, love kindness (some versions say “mercy”), and walk humbly with God. (Micah 6:8)
*You cannot work in a high stressed job where people want you to manipulate people and “do justice.”
*Mercy (or kindness) does not include a job where we treat the poor with contempt. Being kind and merciful, walking humbly with God, would quickly bring a conflict there.
*A job that encourages senseless wealth accumulation at the expense of others cannot conform to this Word.
I would appreciate your thoughts, comments, and reflections.
I gotta admit, I’m not too worried about it. Oh sure, the US government is culling scads of private information from citizens, including telephone calls, emails, and what I am writing right now. But, hey, in all fairness to our president and our fellow comrades, the lowly government worker (who enjoys modest $4 million dollar parties) has a job that is just no fun without spying on friends, fanatics, and fearful peasants….
Besides, you gotta love them. Anyway, who cares about your rights? I mean, when do you ever exercise them? You don’t…if you go vote what the controlled media tells you to vote, if you believe Big Brother (B.O. for short) every time he speaks, or if you consistently believe everything you hear on the radio or television- especially advertisements (the latter is a little like soaking your head in a flushing toilet-bowl- you feel something kinda swirly and realize you’ve just lost part of your brain cells) No…no…no. That would be too difficult. You might actually have to get up off the sofa and do something. God forbid it interrupts Family Guy, Glee, or the latest version of Xbox.
But some of you- out in the DSA, are not all that happy about B.O. and his Gang of Four (oh, sorry, I forgot what country I was in…for a minute there, I was thinking of communist China) …and his Gang of Thugs. You look around and see a meth-oxycodone-murder-enriched culture spreading out from the cesspools of a dysfunctional society (I need not name names of cities here) and you are alarmed. You have been so alarmed that you have taken measures that no one in their right mind twenty years ago would have dreamed of doing here in the DSA. And, you have been labelled a fanatic…even if you own no gun, know no tea parties (except with the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland), and couldn’t distinguish between a picture of Ted Cruz and Ted Nugent.
It is amazing that anyone can keep up with the scandals coming out of Washington. It reads like an Alex Jones monologue- without the psycotic episodes (oh, I’m sorry- those are psychotic episodes). It’s almost impossible to keep up with it all. That is why I am proposing that someone- not me, I have very little free time- create a website listing every scandal and a brief overview…to keep up with the times…
To everything…there is a season…Ecclesiastes claims, the Birds (not the angry ones) sang, and ’tis true. The trees, the leaves, the plants of the field, all change with time. And, so too, the ages of a man or a woman. And this we all know by a particular age- or will one day know. But life is so much more complicated than that, as Plan D changes into Plan E, so far removed from the Plan A we dreamed about when we were still wearing teenage haircuts and sporting waistlines that somehow elude the present evolving pull of gravity. Life is a complicated stretch of seasons, and often those seasons do not come into complete focus until they pass on…
So I sit by my computer contemplating how it has taken me three years to discover the principal spiritual purpose of this particular season, and why, after all this time, I failed to see the season for what it was- only a season. In our great intelligence we believe that somehow this season will last so much longer than the previous one…but often that is not true.
Seasons, like an old bookshelf or bookcase, have bookends. Today, I rarely see the portable bookends, but the analogy should be recalled in order to understand how a life’s season is set. Chapters of each seasonal saga form books in our lives, and these are set off by the bookends- a beginning one and an ending one. Most of the time a dramatic event marks a solid bookend, and we know then that a transition stage- the blank space on the shelf between the sections of books- will take over until we are firmly established again in a pattern of books that make another season.
It is to this blank section on the shelf that I have jumped, not finding a bookend nearby yet, and hoping I do find that solid bronze or metal reminder, identifying the beginning of the next season. I do not fear this space, it is neither purgatory nor limbo, it is simply a space. I pray it remains blank until I can plainly see the other bookend. Meanwhile, I can watch the other leaves of books accumulate around me, as each person collects more seasons between shelves of this library. And soon it will be my turn to set the bookend against a new book, a new chapter, a new season in the continuing sage of life.
I’ve heard enough preachers in my day to do a full two hour stand-up routine with about every variety and denomination featured. I’ve heard some great phrases, one liners, and simple truths in those sermons too. I’ve boogied for Jesus with the grooviest dudes in Hackensack, and have sung a nasal chorus with Brother Moses the cross-eyed preacher, in a building so deep in the black hole of Nowhere, it lacked a sign, a heating source, and indoor plumbing. I’ve watched a deranged man coo at his congregation until one man nearly fell off his seat in laughter. And I have heard such a powerful sermon that throngs of people were affected. I’ve sat under the best, and I’ve heard the worst. You could say I have seen and heard a mighty big crowd of witnesses in my time.
So when I say I have been on that “detour on the way to destiny, more than once,” I am hoping I’m not using another preacher’s sacred sermon phrase. That detour on the way to destiny has caused a lot of problems in life. I have seen it in my own, when I missed a road sign from heaven and ended up in the second best football field ever. Now, I’m heading for that best football field ever. Too bad the fog was too thick to see the gate entrance until now…
But now I have my ticket…
It seems strange to the world, but God does work in such unusual ways that it confuses those who do not know Him. They’ll think that they are running the show, they are destroying their enemy, but in reality…..God will take their evil and twist it around for our good- for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose. The Imposters, and the ones following their own selfish desires….think they have a victory when everything seems to be going their way. But then something impossible will happen- the one following after God’s heart will suddenly come through the mess on the other side with a better job, better living conditions, a better group of people to work with, a better home, a better wife or husband, a better day to day existence, and even a better reputation, You can count on those poor unrepentant sinners scratching their heads till Judgment day…unless something changes.
I’m going through what seems like an impossible situation…but God has already promised me a victory and a new situation better than what I have had before now. If He will do it for me, He will do it for you. You have to “put all your chips on the table,” telling God “you’re all in.” When you move all of your trust over to God, like in poker when you put all those chips on the table, it is no longer you trying figure it out.
Think about it…then go do something about it….and you’ll be blessed…(no, no pastor’s quote there, just yer man from the mountains).
PS I don’t play poker, but when I was younger…