"False Promises" 4-25-98 It has often occured to me that one of the greatest enemies of organized Religion today are those "leaders" who will stand before a congregation and make THE false promise: If you will just put your whole life into God's hands, all will be well, all will be perfect (you'll have no problems). I know in my heart of hearts, that that promise is not only non- Biblical, but extremely dangerous. If a person accepts this promise, and does their best to put God at the head of their life, and yet their life remains hard, it is both possible and understandable that they will begin to lose Faith to become "disappointed" in God. I also know I would not want to stand before The Maker on the last day with that promise still on my lips, and the eternal lives of those who listened to me, on my Books. We need only to look upon the "cup" from which Jesus had to drink, and the fate's of his most faithful followers, to realize that our promised Paradise is not to be here on Earth. The greatness of Christianity is built on worldly suffering, and eternal perfection. In the end, no matter how strong our faith, or how fervent our prayers, it is God's will not ours that will be done. In our earthly lives we may never understand why we have to struggle, but the day will come when "we shall see as face to face". So rather than make that false promise, we should help each other with our "yokes", and still Pray hard, but be aware of the simple fact that sometimes...the answer is NO. ____________________________________________________________________________________________ "Masters of Nothing" 4-30-98 In all truth, we are masters of nothing. Our hands are empty all of our lives, and we leave as we came, naked, frightened, and going from our comfortable known "world" into an unknown place which terrifies us. I have friends who deny the exsistance of any god, or "heaven", I have never had nerve enough to ask them how they can stand living this life if this is as good as it can ever be. I know my life has it's ups and downs, and the downs have sometimes caused me to question the use of going on with this life. But at my lowest points, there has always come some help, a still small voice, the voice of God. Most often spoken through the lips of someone I love, someone here on Earth. I could never flatter myself to think I have earned any eternal rewards, for I all too easily fall away, I wander off and am lost. Not to be found again 'til I am broken again. So very often I am the lamb, who causes the Shepherd to leave the ninety and nine, to search for this one. And Jesus finds me, with his Loving kindness, and his healing strength. Again, in all truth we are masters of nothing, we borrow our lives from God, and what we choose to do with them must be very painful for him to watch. So when the time comes that I must stand before the Lord's throne, I will only be able to say, "I have been the master of nothing, especially not of myself, And I know that I have earned no place here with you, nor was it a thing I could have earned. For your own Son payed my debts, and only through him can I hope to be given the gift of your forgiveness, and the present of living forever in your presence. For I have earned only that which I was master of,... nothing ! ____________________________________________________________________________________________ "Faithful Confusion" 4-30-98 I have heard, tasted, touched, smelled, and imagined so many things in this life; painful and joyous, sordid and holy. My curiosity has proven to be both a Blessing, and a snare to me, it has caused me much confusion in my life. I want new experiences, even those which prove unwise, or even dangerous to me as a whole person. I questioned and scratched away at things which, I later discover, are best accepted at "faith"-value. Faith, I have discovered is a thing more easily disscussed than lived. Can all things be rationalized or explained? NO, I am realizing they cannot! "for now we see as in a glass darkly, then shall we see as face to face...". One day God, The Father, will reveal to us the totality of his vision, to us, his children. For now, it is only for us to accept that it is his will being done, inspite of how hard it maybe to imagine there can be a reason for so many tragedies and losses. But still God has given us these questioning, exploring, egotistical minds, so that we can grow and achieve great things, because these things are needed for His will to be done. And so that we can have the choice to come to him, through Jesus, or not, for Love and Faith can only be given by free-will. So in the face of knowledge and science, always remember that the "Laws of Nature", and all the other laws and constants, are constant only because God wills it so. And continue to have Faith in the One great Constant, the Holy Trinity. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ "The Cussing Curse" 7-10-98 When the day comes when one accepts Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour, exactly what happens?? Is it a sudden and a dramatic change, or is it a new birth, with all the growing pains that one would expect from maturing? I have seen both occur in people, I have seen people spring up with what seems to be a rich, fully developed spiritual life: I am also acquainted with those who struggle and fight, day after day to achieve a fully Christian lifestyle. I count myself among the latter, and this is a little story about one of my toughest opponents in that fight. I count myself lucky to have been raised in a very "good" home, I was cared about and for. I attended Sunday School and recieved awards for learning the lessons and the memory verses, But there lurked in the background something that I never even thought about as a child, or into my young adulthood. Simply put, my parents (as I also am), were the result of countless generations of middle- class working lifetimes, and they would both "cuss". Now that dosen't sound too terrible, but now I find that cussing is an awfully hard habit to break. The place where I work is also filled with this "conversational" cursing which only serves to be a crutch for my bad-habit. By the way, we are not talking heck or darn, we are discussing the big-boys, including the "F"-word. Shameful as that is. Now what you should also be aware of is that 90% of this cussing is not done in anger, it is done without any real bad intent, it is done in a matter-of-fact way, purely a "normal" part of conversation. Now don't think I am trying to excuse my behaviour, I am not. However I often wonder if there aren't degrees of wrongness to this swearing, I am quite sure that swearing in anger, in a purposely hurtful way, is more sinnful that cussing without the bad intent. I realize that I should do neither, but I work hardest at not swearing in anger, I think that by beating that, I will be more than halfway to beating my whole swearing problem. I have gone for fairly long periods of time being able to control my foul mouth. But as soon as my guard comes down a little, out comes some word I did not want to utter, and I am ashamed of myself. I have even apologized for such things, only to be asked what I said that was wrong. As I said, it is, in many places, quite acceptable in even "polite" conversation. This cussing is a continuing problem for me, but it never makes me doubt my faith, I KNOW that the Trinity is active in my daily life. And I know that I struggle for "His" reason, perhaps so that I can better accept weakness in others. But even to have to struggle in Jesus' name is a wonderful Blessing, and one I can learn from. I lay this out before the world, just to remind everyone, including myself, that the flesh is indeed weak, and that all have sinned and fallen short. Also to recall that the "price" of our Salvation was paid long ago, by Jesus on that wonderous Cross. Thank-you God for giving me the "Gift" of your Son, and through him the awesome gift of your Grace and forgiveness!!! _____________________________________________________________________________________________
"A Christmas Thought" 12-97 In the quiet stillness of a desert night, a group of shepherds kept watch over their flocks. They felt every bit as restless as the sheep seemed to be feeling. As they sat around their small fire, they made small talk amongst themselves, not for the words, but only to reassure each other that they were not alone. One of them was a billion miles away, his thoughts were focused only on the new star that had come to stand in the night sky so recently. Even he, simple a man as he was knew that such things were omens of great happenings. But tonight he worried, would this star bring a great good, or a great evil? He spoke a thought outloud, not to have it heard, but solely to break the silence he felt hanging all around him, "My friends, what will this new star bring to us, or will we ever come to know?". The last syllable had yet to cease to resonate in his throat, when his group was engulfed in an un-worldly light, so bright that several moments past before they felt able to uncover their eyes. When they did they stood looking up at a truly gloious sight, a shining perfect Angel. They were terrified, for they all knew this was as likely to be the" Angel of Death", as any good messenger. And the Angel spoke to them, in a voice which seemed to come from everywhere, saying,"Fear not, for I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ, the Lord!!" And the fears left them,then the Angel continued,"And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the Babe, wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger!". And as suddenly as the Angel had come, he was joined by a countless number more of Angels, and this Heavenly Host emitted a song, more glorious than heard on the Earth, before or since, a song of praise to God, and to his newborn Son, and also a song of Blessing to all the peoples of the world. As the Host of Angels faded from their view, the shepherds knew that for once in their lives they had to shirk their responsibilities, and go to Bethlehem to see this lauded Babe. This their long awaited Messiah. Soon they found the little stable, and they saw this simple family, this simple baby, and yet they knew in their hearts and in their Souls that what they beheld was so far from simple that none of them could even dream of understanding. They knew that none such as this Baby had ever been born, nor would any such Baby be born again. They went about the darkened streets of Bethlehem that night, spreading the "Good News" to any and all that would listen (I am sure that many laughed them off that night,) .And one by one they returned to see the Babe again, before returning to their, now forever changed, everyday lives, back to the simple rhythms of the flocks and the seasons. But forever after they would have the story of a lifetime to share with strangers that would sometimes sit by their fires at night. a story about a new world coming , anew world world shining in a Baby's eyes. How marvelous it is that even though Wise Men read portents better, and High Priests understand Prophesy more fully, it was not to them, but to simple working people, that God sent the news of his Son's birth. So remember that God's gifts are as much for the sinner as for the Saints, or the Clergy.