Monday, August 29, 2011

The Problem is Me

Leave it mankind to screw things up. God creates a beautiful lush paradise, leaves a couple of simple directions and we screw it up. Adam had already accomplished the complicated stuff, he named all the living creatures. He was the original zoo-keeper. That job he could handle. The hands-off the tree job he is pretty lousy at. It was the same way with Jesus. He told us to be like a little child in our faith and love for him and his Dad. He wanted us to love our neighbors and love Him. Not much of a great expansion on that great theological nugget.

Love for God and neighbor was to be the litmus test of knowing Jesus. John tells it pretty clear in his gospel, people receiving Jesus get to be part of his family, adopted into the family of God with Jesus as a brother and God the father as their, Abba, daddy. The love of Jesus would fill the life of his brothers and sisters and everybody around them would know they are different, because of Jesus.

Jesus knew that we would try and muck things up so He even left us some easy to understand instructions. He told us to stay close, abide, in his love and presence. Stay close by praying a lot and reading about his life and love. Remember to K.I.S.S. keep it simply simple. I changed it. He demonstrated some really important lessons, forgiving, loving, sacrfice, faith, friendship, and a bunch more. Just before his death he gave us the greatest demonstration about love and light.

As the men he loved gathered around him for some food and to remember the passover, he took off his cloak and washed their feet. Now, how hard is that to understand? Serve the people around you, that will show to everybody that your love is not just a bunch of empty words, but real action with dirty feet. While he was being executed he forgave his killers and in words of a seemingly crazy kind of love, told a criminal he would be in Paradise with him.

After the resurrection Jesus continued to show in very simplistic ways his love and care. Well, simplistic in a couple of ways. I guess he may have scared the hell out of Thomas. Most of the time he talked with them and grilled fish on the beach. When he left them and returned to some place in the universe, anybody know where heaven is, he gave them final words of comfort. He told them, and us, that he would be with us until the end of the age.

We have all heard it said, "When the cat is away the mice will play". I hope this isn't offensive but, When Jesus went away people began to stray. The book of Acts gives us a pretty good record of the early church. The center of activity was in Jerusalem, as Jesus told the disciples to wait there for a while. He told them that God was really going to get their lights shining when the Holy Spirit invaded their spirit. Well, the impatient and the patient alike waited until, fire broke out and a wind blew through the house. About 120 men and women who loved Jesus started glowing.

The glowing Jesus followers began telling all of their friends and neighbors about their own life-change and what loving Jesus would do for them. Soon, all the streets of Jerusalem were filled with glowing Jesus lovers. So much so, the leaders of the Jewish Starched Shirts, proclaimed that the entire city was being over-run with glowing Jesus people. It didn't take long for the love of Jesus to begin invading foreign lands. Gentile people and pagans began listening to the words of the glowing Jesus people and soon they were glowing.

Now, some of the original glowing Jesus people didn't think it was right for the gentiles and pagans to be able to glow with Jesus. In their minds Jesus was only supposed to let Moses' people glow. After all, they were special people, God even told them so. Now, with their glow running low, they complained to the big glowers, Peter and his friends. The running low on their glow folks demanded that the gentiles and pagans face the flint knife and follow some rules that they had too, told to by the big Starched Shirts. Rules would be laid down for future glowing people.

More problems to come. Love your comments.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Light- The Source is God

Genesis is, The Book of Beginnings. It opens to us, in the first thoughts, the absence of presence, which is darkness, and the depth of darkness. The next thought is the presence of God moving and expelling darkness. The principle of Light over-taking darkness is an underlying truth in the spiritual world. The writer of Genesis, whom I believe to be Moses, begins the record of creation with, deep darkness, and a coming Presence.

The Gospel of John gives us many instances of the Light image. Jesus said that he was the light of the world. The gospel records in John 1: 3-4 In Him was Presence and presence was the Light. The Presence was illuminating the world and the darkness (absence) could not overpower the presence. Presence was the Light given to every paraphrase   Jesus spoke of his followers as being the light of the world. The epistles refer to believers as, "Children of Light".

Now, the question must be asked, Why is there still so much darkness in the world? If Christians are the light of the world and light expels darkness what has happened in our world? There are books galore about missions, church growth, evangelism, spiritual darkness and battles in the unseen world. All of those books have a place and use in our church world. I am not going to begin to pretend that I am any expert in regards to the topics listed. My opinion is very grass roots and basic. I believe there is evidence in scripture and history to support my opinion.

The battle against spiritual darkness has already been won. Christ defeated darkness when he was suspended on the cross. Remember the earthquake and darkness that covered the land, seemed in the spiritual domain that Christ was going to lose and evil would win. How can a dying man win? A dead man could not win, but the Risen Christ did win and the large battle has been decided. Presence expels darkness for all of eternity.

Where you and I live there are still many battles to be fought. Evil and darkness are all around us and it will be that way as long as man has a free will and God allows more time for people to turn to Christ. I do not need to speak of the unthinkable things we as humans are capable of. The media is overflowing with reports each day, at home and abroad. We fight the battles against darkness by our words and actions. On of the strongest weapons we have is love. Especially the way we love each other.

It seems that loving each other is rather difficult. We proclaim to be a people of grace yet we judge each other and wound each other in very deep ways. Our homes should be places of grace and peace. I have learned over the years that grace needs to have a place in our homes and then in neighborhood. Homes filled with judgement reveal the need for grace, for the judged and the judge. Many times the judge slams the gavel down on themselves as well as others. How can our light shine in the darkness when it is smothered in the living room? Let us be people of grace in our homes,  first.

We must allow Presence to expel darkness in our own hearts and this is a process that is joint, between you and the Holy Spirit. Presence will expel darkness to the extent that you allow. So many of us,(I) have a very acceptable form of Godliness. We worship God and really desire to live a life that is pleasing to Christ. Yet, how many of us have little spaces in our souls where we do not really want God poking around. We allow ourselves to have little closets without presence. Do you have issues with anger, pride, envy, jealousy, gossip, lust, power, money, habits. These may very well be closets without presence. Ask God, if you have the courage, He will tell you.

The next post will tick many of you off, so be it. It will deal with the church and how the church has in fact been used to make us a, Dim Lit.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Light Expells Darkness

Light fascinates me. I have watched the night skies for years. In fact, some of the very best times with my family have been watching lights that are billions of years old. When Ana was in the third grade she won a trampoline by playing in a basketball tournament. We used that trampoline summer after summer late at night watching the shooting stars. There was always an August meteor shower that we looked forward to. The light on the barn would be turned off and we would pile blankets and pillows on the trampoline and watch the marvelous lights shoot across the heavens until we all fell asleep.

Later the grand kids would enjoy the same display and I would try and explain how awesome God is, in that He created the vast universe that so big no man would ever be able to reach the end. The kids were awestruck that the light from the stars started traveling to get to us before Jesus was even born. It was, and is, pretty hard to understand. It seems to me that 186,000. miles per second, the speed of light, is pretty darn fast.

One dictionary defines light as the power that allows things to be seen. Another thought, the power that brings illumination. We all learned as kids that a flash light was a pretty fun thing to have. Place it under your chin and you could look like a ghoul, put it in your mouth and that was even a bit stranger. The best use for the, hand-held power, was to make sure there was nothing hiding under your bed. A couple of sweeps with the flash light and I was always assured that the only thing under my bed was a couple of socks, obvious the sock monster left them at some other time.

Light expels darkness. I learned very early that darkness must flee from the light. There was no battle, no tug of war, the light always won the battle. The creatures that traveled the paths of dark were always afraid of the light. Like a wild animal caught in the headlights, the creatures of the dark froze in the light, caught red handed, no where to go or place to hide. A bit later in life when I wanted to accomplish some prank, like TP a house, or a couple of eggs, it was always done in the dark.

Darkness is absence, absence of light. Darkness(absence) is overcome by presence. Think what would happen in our world if people did not have the cover of darkness to complete their deeds. Crime loves darkness, darkness of surroundings and darkness of souls.

Jesus was very emphatic in His self-proclamation as, Light of the World. The next part of this piece will reveal my own heart-felt opinion and written burden about the darkness in our world, country and communities.