Saturday, December 30, 2006

Will I Ever Find A Partner Who's Good For Me? (Conclusion)

The fact is, healthy people run from unhealthy people, and unhealthy people find healthy people boring. The two are never attracted to each other. If you are newly out of a relationship and you haven’t had a HUGE awakening to the growth that needs to take place in you and if you have not done anything to bring about that growth, then you are not nearly ready for anything but more of the same.
This of course raises the question, "How do I change my character?" For those of you who aren’t Christians, I have wonderful news. Jesus Christ loves you. He died for you and if you let Him He will transform your life. For those of you who claim to be Christians, and the negative thoughts and behaviours in this post are something that you struggle with, then it’s time to get honest with yourself about the value of trying to live a lifestyle that Jesus never sanctioned. Either join the Baha’i or get serious about the One whose name you represent. Remember that Jesus said, "The one who loves Me is the one who obeys Me." For both groups I would ask you to remember this line. When you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is to stop digging.
The next thing to do is admit that you are wrong. There is no point in trying the same thing harder or longer if it isn’t working. A fact of life is, Jesus can do nothing in us as long as there is any hint of self-sufficiency. We are strangers on this earth. We don’t know the way. Virtually every decision that we make, that isn’t made with God / Bible as our road map, will take us down the wrong road. This is especially the case in the area of relationships. Look back over your life and you will see how true this is.
The next thing to remember is Hebrews 4:16 - "So now we can boldly and with confidence come to the throne of grace and receive mercy and find grace in our time of need." Jesus isn’t like your human parents. If you will simply humble yourself and tell Jesus that you are sorry for rebelling against Him, He will welcome you home with open arms. He loves you so much that he was willing to die for you. That’s the kind of love you can trust. 1st John 1:9 tells us that "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Your unrighteousness is what has gotten you into all this trouble. Let Jesus get rid of it for you and you will be free to make decisions that will benefit, instead of destroying you and those around you.
So, will you find a healthy partner? It’s totally up to you. If you are serious about not repeating past mistakes, don’t look for the right person. Let Jesus change you and when you become the right kind of person, the right kind of person for you will appear.

Will I Ever Find A Partner Who's Good For Me? (Part 2)

Remember - Wanting a healthy relationship is not the same as being ready to have a healthy relationship. That’s why the statement "I think he/she will be good for me" needs to be taken with a grain of salt. That person will be no better for you than you are for that person.
You might say at this point, but my boyfriend / girlfriend / husband / wife is worse than I am. And I will say, if that’s the case it is only because you have grown in maturity since you two met. When you met, you two were roughly the same.
And as a point of interest, let me ask you three simple questions.
(1) What do you look at when judging whether a group photograph, that you’re a part of, is good or not?
(2) Do you see yourself as being a better driver than most people you know? Or do you see yourself as being a worse driver than most people you know?
(3) Do you see yourself as being emotionally healthier and more mature than your partner or former partners? Or are you less healthy and less mature than your partner or former partners?
It is the very rare person for whom one’s perceived self-importance doesn’t show up in these questions. That is how out of touch we are with the reality of our corrupt nature. So what has this got to do with relationships? Well, it’s been my experience that most people who get a divorce are so blind to their own personality that they actually think that they’ll be good for someone else. The vast majority of divorced people think the marriage ended, not because they were miserable to live with, but that it’s the other person’s fault that the marriage ended. It’s human nature to not recognise our own corruption. The reason you don’t feel corrupt is the same reason a fish doesn’t feel wet. Because it is immersed. You won’t recognise your corruption until you find a way to step out of it and view it from a distance. You can’t know that you need to be rescued until you first recognise that you’re lost.
Getting back to relationships, let me give you an example of what I mean by "We are roughly the same as those we attract." I hear from clients on a fairly regular basis, "I’m not at all like my spouse. He/she had an affair and I would never do that." I can tell you that in virtually every case, with a little processing, it soon comes out that if given the opportunity to have some ‘payback sex’ soon after finding out about the affair, the person in my office would have jumped at the chance. You might counter with, "that’s different. That person had already been hurt." And I will say to you, "It is no different at all!"
What we are measuring here is the quality of character, and a healthy character is made of nothing less than emotional and spiritual health.
(1) An emotionally and spiritually healthy character is able to say "no" to emotionally damaging thoughts and behaviours no matter how badly that person wants what s/he wants.
(2) An emotionally and spiritually healthy character does not go looking for emotionally damaging thoughts and behaviours regardless of what’s happened to that person.
Let me continue with the example of sex. Lets assume that someone other than your spouse wants to have sex with you. If you are emotionally and spiritually healthy you would be asking yourself, "Why would I want to be with someone who is so cruel and so selfish that he/she would do that to my spouse?" On the other hand, if you as a married or c/l person are considering having sex with someone else (especially if that person is also married), then the question I would ask is, "Why would that person want to be with someone like you, who is so cruel that you would do that to either of your spouses?" What is it about you that is attracting such an unhealthy person to you?
If the answer for either of you is, "We find danger, cheating, and snubbing God and His desires for us appealing and exciting," or if you say that you don’t care about how your spouses feel, then I would also say that emotionally and spiritually you are both in a truly pitiful state. There is nothing in either of you from which you can build a healthy relationship. Don’t get me wrong. You may be able to have a relationship, but it will be no better than average, if that. Quality marriages don’t just happen by luck. It takes quality people to have a quality marriage. You don’t find the right person to have a good marriage. To have a good marriage each of you has to be the right person.
There are very few people who don’t know of someone, usually a woman, of whom it’s said, "if she could only find someone who would treat her right." And this is often said as she is dragging her children through the third or fourth lousy relationship with the next creep who is ready to move in with her.
I repeat, it is impossible for someone who is not good, to treat you good on a consistent long-term basis. That means that if you are not good, then even you do not know how to be good to yourself. Your character is rotting from the inside out and the stench of spiritual death hovers about you. That’s why you continue to choose self-harming behaviours, and that’s why you continue to reject healthy, life-nurturing behaviours, and beliefs; because you are unable to recognise them as such.
Consider the example of Actor / Comedian Groucho Marx. Mr. Marx recalls asking a woman, "Would you have sex with me for One Million dollars?"
She responded with, "Of Course!"
He then asked, "Would you have sex with me for One Dollar?"
To which she replied, "What kind of a person do you think I am?"
And his reply was, "We’ve already established what kind of a person you are. Now we’re just negotiating."
Who you are, counts!
Character and beliefs count!
Integrity counts!
What usually happens when two unhealthy people are attracted to each other, is that their sickness causes them to misinterpret the qualities that they think they see in the other person. As time wears on, their mistake becomes painfully obvious. What was once seen as fun-loving is now seen as irresponsible. Stable and structured becomes rigid and boring. Concerned becomes smothering. Caring becomes controlling. Outgoing becomes flirtatious. Carefree becomes undependable. What once attracted you to this person, now drives you away. But that isn’t his/her fault! When you grow tired of someone, or when that person hurts you, don’t blame that person for being the kind of person that you chose to be with. When you two met, it was your sickness that projected good qualities that were never there.
Let me give you an example that is extreme in number but typical in nature.
"I will never marry again." This was said by Barbara Hutton (who was at the time heiress to the multi million-dollar Woolworth fortune) after divorcing her second husband.
"I will never marry again. You can’t go on being a fool forever." This was said by Barbara Hutton after divorcing her third husband.
"This is positively my final marriage." This was said by Barbara Hutton after marrying her sixth husband.
"He is the composite of all my previous husbands’ good qualities, without any of their bad qualities. I have never been so happy in my life." This was said by Barbara Hutton after marrying her seventh husband. Two years later Barbara Hutton divorced her seventh husband.
End of Part 2

Will I Ever Find A Partner Who's Good For Me? (Part 1)

That depends on you. And here’s why.
. Emotional Sickness is attracted to Emotional Sickness.
. Emotional Health is attracted to Emotional Health.
. You will not ever attract a partner who is markedly healthier than you are.
. If you want to attract an emotionally and spiritually healthy partner, then you must become an emotionally and spiritually healthy person yourself.

You might be one of those people who got out of an unhealthy marriage, and then you said, "Never again!" But it did happen again. And maybe it happened again after that. So you wonder, "How could that have happened when I was so determined to never let another person into my life who didn’t respect me? And how could that have happened, when I fully intended to find someone healthy?" The reason it happens again and again is because it doesn’t matter what you intend to happen. If your character hasn’t changed significantly, and if your values and morals haven’t changed a great deal, then nothing else will ever change and you will be with an unhealthy person again. It can’t be any other way.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you have had, or that you will have the same types of problems as a former or future partner. What it means is that you are healthy or sick, to the same degree that someone who is attracted to you is healthy or sick. For example, lets say that a husband ignores his wife and is attracted to and flirts with teenage girls. I think we’d all agree that this person is emotionally unwell. However, I suggest to you, that the wife, who says nothing, rationalises away his behaviours and does nothing to protect her daughters, and their friends who have had to push off this man’s advances is just as unwell as her husband. It’s just that she is sick in a different way.
Or let’s take someone who is living with an alcoholic. People in the field of addictions have all heard that "the family gets sick along with the alcoholic." Well, the children will become sick, but the spouse of the alcoholic was sick to begin with. That is why s/he chose someone like that, usually with the goal of loving (read controlling) the alcoholic better.
I wish this could be a cheery little post that leaves you feeling all warm inside and confident about the future. But the reality of the situation is this. When you have rebelled due to sin in your life, and when you have ignored Jesus because it looked like a life without Him would be more fun, it is in your relationships that this damage, that this flaw, will show up most clearly. And the consequences can last a lifetime.
In order to keep your children from suffering any more than they already have, it’s time that you listen to Jesus’ commands about relationships, marriage and divorce, and don’t go down this road again.
The reason that I bring up divorce is that divorce and broken common-law relationships are a sign that something is terribly wrong in a person’s life. It’s a sign that there is something emotionally and spiritually wrong, certainly in one and probably in both people in the marriage. Divorce is a sign that either you have trouble judging character in others, and/or that your character isn’t suited to marriage. When God says don’t remarry after divorce, it’s because He is trying to protect you from more pain by asking you to not rely on the false god of relationships for your value, worth, security and belonging. Unfortunately, we think we know more than our Creator, and so we repeatedly try to prove that God is wrong.
By now you might be wondering what I’m talking about when I use the terms emotionally damaged, or emotional health. After all, you don’t feel damaged and you might even feel healthy. In fact some of your friends are much worse off than you are. Right? Despite how healthy you believe you are, based on the Bible and upon my observations from counselling, I view Emotional Health this way:
. You are able to have stability in relationships.
. You have honesty and integrity, ie. you don’t lie; not just ‘big’ lies, but any lie.
. You do not have to do what you want to do. In other words, you are able to say "no" to something wrong or harmful, no matter how much you want it. The opposite is just as true. Emotional health is when you’re able to make yourself do a good job at something that you don’t want to do.
. You are able to distinguish wrong, harmful, life-destroying behaviours from good, healthy, life-enhancing behaviours. For example, do you actually know whether living together before marriage is damaging or constructive for a future marriage? How about stealing a little bit from a big company? Is that always harmful or is it sometimes OK? Do you know the answer?
. Your inside matches your outside. Who you are in private is who you are in public.
. You abide by a Moral Code not of your own creation, ie. right and wrong are not relative to the situation.
. You don’t need to be in a relationship to feel whole and OK about yourself.
. You are responsible and mature in thought, word and deed.
A person with these qualities will not attract, nor will he/she be attracted to an emotionally unhealthy person. An emotionally, spiritually and psychologically unhealthy person will find the kind of person just described above to be boring and unattractive. Unhealthy people view kindness and goodness as being weak. For example, an unhealthy person will try to provoke an angry response or a rejecting response in her/his marriage partner. And when the negative response isn’t forthcoming, the unhealthy person will view the other as a wimp.
And before you say anything about the above list, YES these kinds of people do exist. If you don’t know any, then you need to change your circle of friends. The reason that these points are evidence of emotional health is because I never see these kinds of people in counselling for relationship issues. There is no need for them to come for help because they have peace in their lives; they know the Giver of peace on a personal level and they obey Him out of love and appreciation for what He has done in their lives.
When looking for a future partner, instead of looking for the quality characteristics listed above, an unhealthy person might say something like, "Can she dance?" "Is s/he cute?" "Does he like to party?" "What kind of a car does he have?" "Does she make a lot of money?" "Is he popular with others?" "He’s kind of wild and dangerous, I like that." They won’t care one bit if this is a person of integrity. Instead their lives display a philosophy of "show me some attention and I’m yours."
Developing a character of integrity is extremely important IF you want a quality relationship. On the other hand, developing a character of integrity is a side-benefit of receiving a healed, forgiven, personal relationship with Jesus Christ. History is filled with examples of the worst human beings having their character being completely turned around after giving their lives to Jesus.
Regardless of all that, the facts of relationships are these: -
. As far as you are from emotional health, so too will someone be who you are attracted to.
. As far as you are from emotional health, so too will someone be who is attracted to you.
. As far as you are from spiritual health, so too that person.

. As far as you are from being ready for a healthy relationship, so too that person.
End of Part 1

Friday, December 29, 2006

Jack Kevorkian Changes Course

In a blistering tirade, sent via text message to the Portland Herald, soon to be paroled Jack Kevorkian lambasted those who "are bound to start pestering me to kill them." Telling them to "bugger off" and to "get a life, er like you know what I mean," Kevorkian continued, "I’m sick of these people waiting until they are unable to even take a sip of water or wipe their ass before deciding to kill themselves. "These are not stupid people," Kevorkian ranted, "it's poor planning, plain and simple." "Give your head a shake folks. No matter how much I might want to do it, I'm supposed to try to not kill any more people once I get out of this place. If you know you aren’t going to want a natural death, don’t wait until you can’t use your hands, stick a gun in your mouth today and pull the trigger. Besides, do you think one more year of living is going to be that special? If you know your legs are going to give out on you by March, jump off a building this morning while you can still climb a flight of stairs. Do you think your children will experience any less pain, and guilt eight months from now than they would today? If you know that humans only have value while they can earn an income - if you know that life only counts when you’re attractive - if you know that experiencing pain shouldn’t have to be tolerated by anyone - if you know that only pleasant parts of life are worth experiencing - if you know that old age will give you the creeps, why even wait until you’re diagnosed with something, kill yourself tonight. Come to think of it this afternoon would be better. Who knows, you might be in a car accident tonight, and bump your head. Think about it! Tomorrow you might be incapable of killing yourself. Do it right after lunch. No - sooner! You might have a stroke within the next minute and drool for the next forty years. Grab the butter knife and slash your wrists. You can bleed to death while you finish reading these words of wisdom. And since only the beautiful, rich, and intelligent are worth having around, ask the folks next door, the ones who have that little girl with some kind of disability if they would mind you killing her while you’re in the mood." Quickly typing, "The pigs are at my cell door," Kevorkian ended his message with what he said would be his new moto: "Plan For Tomorrow - Kill Yourself Today."

Saturday, December 23, 2006

There's No Such Thing As Self-hate

"Clearly the greater a person’s self-esteem and self-love, the more disappointment there will be if abilities and performance are not comparable. No one hates himself, but he may hate his circumstances or appearance or lack of ability. The very fact that we dislike our appearance or lament our inability or become upset when people or circumstances cause us pain is proof that we do love ourselves. For if we did not esteem ourselves we should not care, and if we hated ourselves we would be glad when things go against us." Hunt and McMahon (1985)
I remember a client coming to a therapy group that I used to run. This was a young man who, until that day, consistently stated that he hated himself. The other people in the group would nod their heads in understanding, because we’ve all been taught that our problems arise from not loving or esteeming ourselves enough. Well, one day this young man came to group and stated, "I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love himself." The other men and women looked at him like he was nuts, and a couple of them said as much. But this very insightful person asked the legitimate question, "If I hated myself, or even disliked myself, what am I doing here, trying to make my life better?" As we continued to process this issue, the people in the group, with a high degree of self-honesty, began to discover things like, "If I disliked someone and his wife left him, I’d think, right on! The jerk deserves it. But when my wife left me I was devastated." And, "If I thought little of, or looked down on someone and she lost her job, I’d silently think to myself, good. I’m glad. But when I lost my job I felt like I was really treated unfairly, that I deserved better."
Of course some brought up the point that, people who harm themselves physically are proof positive that true self-hate exists. However if you explore the "whys" with people who have burned or cut, or gouged themselves, you will consistently find that they were (1) trying to distract themselves from emotional pain, or (2) find release from worry, or (3) find a sense of freedom from control, or (4) they derive a sense of pleasure from self-inflicted pain. It lets them know they’re alive.
This drive for happiness, or relief from emotional pain is present in every behaviour from eating your favourite cereal, to going to or, staying home from the movies, and yes even slashing your arms or drinking too much.
"Out of self-love we not only do good things, but all sorts of injurious things to ourselves and to others: We commit adultery, we lie, we steal, we eat too much, and even commit suicide" (Adams, 1986).
Blaise Pascal, one of the greatest thinkers of all time once said,
"All people seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end. The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it is the same desire in both, attended with a different view. The will never takes the least step but to this object. This is the motive of every action of every person, even of those who hang themselves."
Regardless of what happens to us, our core of self-love (self-protection) remains firmly intact. When challenged by abuse, or neglect, or rejection, the fundamental characteristic of self-protection will react. When challenged vigorously it will react dramatically, either aggressively or passively. Whether consciously, or subconsciously, we choose our behaviours in an effort to protect ourselves, because we love ourselves. I can think of no exceptions.
While trying to understand this concept, one person argued that he thought so little of himself as a teenager, that he would cross the street to avoid talking to some of the popular kids if he saw them coming. That sounds like a genuine case of low self-esteem. However the reason he crossed the street was to protect himself from possible or expected embarrassment. You do that for someone that you love, not for someone you dislike or hold in low esteem. And you sure don't do it for someone that you hate.
The fact is, it is just not human nature to protect those we dislike or especially those we hate. We always, always, always do those things that we believe, will protect us, because we love ourselves. That is why the statement, "I hate or I dislike myself," should be changed to a more accurate, "I hate or dislike what I do." And thank God for that, because we can change what we do." As well, the statement, "I don’t love myself" should be changed to, "I have never learned how to love myself in a way that doesn’t make my life worse than it already is."

Monday, December 18, 2006

Jenna Jameson announces much anticipate followup to "How To Make Love Like A Porn Star" (satire)

Jenna Jameson announced today that she had completed the "natural sequel" to her runaway best seller "How To Make Love Like a Porn Star." In a press conference held this morning in L.A., Jameson stated that "How To Make Love Last Like a Porn Star" will be ready for January 15th release. With her latest boyfriend by her side Jameson cooed that this book would reveal the secrets of having a "really short long-term relationship." Whether you simply aren’t marriage material, or a really poor judge of character or just a whore who wants to make a lot of money, Jameson claimed these secrets can be applied by nearly everyone. "In fact I can’t even claim these tactics as my mine and mine alone. They’ve been taught to fans by almost everyone in the entertainment industry for decades. I’ve just compiled them in an easy to learn format." Jamison said that if people didn’t think she had the brains to write such a book they should just look to friends like, Britney, Jude, Kate, Brad and "a whole lot of other Jennifers who have been imitating my example for years. These people’s philosophy of life is proof positive that you can destroy relationships and promote oneself at the same time." When asked by one reporter, how people could know if they were in love, J.J. as she likes to be called replied, "Like, that’s easy. If the person that you want to fuck is cute, and rich and desired by others then, like, you’re in love." To make sure that it's true love and not just infatuation Jenna advised people to look for telltale signs of love like, possessive controlling behaviours, or the sometimes hard to recognise greed / need / lust combination. She cautioned that true love is jealous and obsessive and absent of the pseudo freedom promoted by amateurs. "Of course love is sex but most of all true love is based on impulse and defies all rational self-control. Really all you need to find love, especially in my business, is to be emotionally stunted, sexually disoriented, morally bankrupt, relationally retarded and spiritually deluded."
One Canadian reporter stated that he and his wife of 34 years didn’t agree with her beliefs nor with her lifestyle. He said he enjoyed something called the "1st Corinthians 13 Love." According to this reporter, he and his wife have the kind of marriage whereby they understand love as being patient and kind. He said that they had a love that does not envy or boast, that it isn’t proud or rude or self-seeking or easily angered. He said that he and his wife’s love keeps no record of wrongs and doesn’t delight in evil. "It always rejoices in the truth," he continued, "always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres." When he finished by saying that theirs was the kind of love that never fails, Jameson responded with, "Huh?"

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Science, God

Studying Science while excluding the topic of a Creator God, is like talking about the Theory of Relativity and not being allowed to mention Albert Einstein.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Government and Theocracy

There is a saying, "All that is needed for evil to succeed, is for Godly men and women to do nothing." That is absolutely true, except if it means that Godly women and men must gain power in government in an attempt to legislate morality. We don’t need Christians in positions of power to change our communities. We need powerful Christians living out their faith in their communities; loving their families and their neighbours as themselves. The Church has never needed a friendly government to expand God’s sphere of grace, and the Christian individual has never needed personal safety to know, experience and then absorb Jesus’ love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. This Fruit of the Spirit, which is present in every mature Christian, can be reflected to our unsaved neighbours so that they too might be drawn to the love and mercy and grace and salvation that comes only through our Lord and Saviour, Jesus the Christ.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Misunderstanding Jesus

People misunderstand Jesus in innumerable ways. One special way is in seeing Jesus as an unapproachable King. Jesus says obey Me. Jesus says worship Me. Jesus says serve Me, and people, those who do not know Jesus in the fullest sense, see Him as egotistical, demanding and aloof. What those people don’t understand however, is that Jesus tells us to do those things because having that kind of contact with our Creator is what makes us fully alive. Jesus is Love and because of His love He wants what’s best for us. Like a lightbulb lying on the counter, we do not begin to fully shine until we are screwed in to the socket of our Lord and Saviour. We were meant to fit into Jesus’ plan for us and when we do, when we treat Jesus with love, when we serve Him and obey Him, that is when we experience, really experience the qualities of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. The possession of these characteristics, often combined under the word "happiness," is determined by a spiritual law; a law as observable as gravity. This is not a fabricated happiness. This is not a happiness for which one needs to strive. It is not a happiness based on the absence of difficulty. It’s simply a fact that when Jesus is the most important aspect of one’s life, there will be the kind of joy whereby one can say with the apostle Paul, "I have learned the secret of contentment in all situations." Without an intimate, healed and forgiven relationship with Jesus, the only happiness that one can attain is one that is brought about by circumstance. What a sad and pitiful way to live.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Is There Anything Wrong With Slavery?

"all of the specific references to slavery in the Bible seem to sanction it.
This is a statement that you can read in a recent post. Either this person is Biblically illiterate and is simply throwing out statements about which he knows nothing at all. Or, I would have to suppose that he is deliberately trying to mislead those who would love to believe what he’s just said.
It’s true that slavery in New Testament times, and Old Testament times for that matter, was a fact of life. But it certainly wasn’t acceptable for Paul, Jesus or any of the other New Testament writers. So why didn’t Jesus spend His time on earth trying to rid the world of this despicable practice? Well, He did, in a way. In fact He brought freedom from the effects of slavery to any and to all who wanted that freedom. You see, Christianity is about a relationship with one’s Creator that brings freedom despite circumstance. Jesus says that a life of integrity, meaning, context and purpose can be had no matter what one’s station in life, no matter what one’s race, no matter what one’s nationality, no matter what one’s gender. In one particular passage, Paul is addressing slavery when he says, "Each one should remain in the situation which he was in when God called him. Were you a slave when you were called? Don't let it trouble you . . ."
I suppose that if you stop there, you could have the beginnings of a case that Jesus thought slavery was no big deal. However Paul goes on to say, "although if you can gain your freedom, do so" 1st Corinthians chapter 7. Paul is saying, ‘slavery is not good, escape it you can; but neither is slavery the most important thing in this life’. Paul is saying, ‘don’t be distracted from the most important thing in life, by something that is less important’.
‘There are no references in the Bible that don’t sanction slavery’? Hardly! In fact because of the way that slavery is usually carried out, Paul announces in 1st Timothy 1:10 that 'those who take part in the trading of slaves will deserve eternity in hell'. The reason I say, "The way that slavery is usually carried out," is because slavery in ancient Hebrew society served as an important social safety net. There wasn’t any welfare system. There wasn’t any unemployment insurance. Many times, the only way to feed oneself and one’s family was to sell oneself into slavery. Nevertheless, human nature led back then, and has led right up to the present day to horrendous abuses. This is the world that we have chosen to create for ourselves.
Since all people are desperately wicked, desperately wicked people are all God has to work with. That is why He laid down guidelines for the ‘given’ practice of slavery in ancient Hebrew culture. He is saying to those who lived in a society where slavery was normal practice, "Masters, treat your slaves in the same way [with respect]. Do not threaten them, since you know that He who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with Him, Ephesians 6:9. And Colossians 4:1 Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.
Is slavery as it is usually carried out supported or sanctioned in the Bible? Absolutely not. Is it accepted as a fact of life? Yes. God has accepted, for a time, the world that we have chosen for ourselves. And to that end, just like cancer, earthquakes, war and other events that bring difficulty in our lives, God provides a means of coping in a healthy manner with things that can’t be changed.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Moral Struggle

After working with thousands and thousands and thousands of clients, it's become obvious that when you find a Christian who is focussed on the negative behaviours of others, you will also find that there is a huge moral struggle going on inside that Christian. I can think of no exceptions.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Anger, Adultery and Stupid Christianity

I read on, an online confession site, about a person who was confessing his anger. The root of his anger, he claimed was Christianity with it’s "stupid teachings." What particularly irked this person was Jesus’ teaching on lust, or more specifically adultery. "If anyone has looked at a woman lustfully, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Being ignorant of how human beings function, the confessor described such a statement as being, among other things "Unhuman."
My first thought was, how can someone who sounds so dumb, get it so right? Not looking at women with lust, and seeing them instead as human beings with value and worth far beyond their exterior is indeed "unhuman." In fact it’s supernatural. It’s a supernatural gift, from God, given to those who believe in Jesus and trust Him for their daily walk. Based on simple observation of the men in our society, it’s easy to see that without the Holy Spirit to guide them, many if not most men see women, real or fantasised, as little more than a repository for their ejaculation. That is what’s considered normal by the writer of this email. And it’s not just him. In our society pornography is "normal" and accepted. Look at any magazine rack and you’ll see that because sex has been removed from the context of faithful relationship, all that is left for people to focus on is technique.
For men, fantasy relationships are often preferred over real one’s. As C. S. Lewis said, "When these men say that they "want" a woman, a woman is exactly what they don’t want." They are completely unable to relate to women in a real manner. A fantasy is as much as they can handle. What’s worse is that far too many women are willing to debase themselves in all manner of ways, simply in a desperate attempt to gain money and attention from men. And that too is normal human behaviour because left to our original state, we use others and allow others to use us. We demean and destroy the true character and worth of other human beings, particularly women, for no other reason than to feed our lust. Yes, this person was right-on about the teachings of Jesus coming from another dimension, a dimension of love, caring, and respect - a dimension where those who are created in the very image of God are deemed to be worth more, far more than their exterior appeal.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006


I have heard from so many clients who say something like, ‘I wish my husband would become the spiritual leader in our home.’ Not only is it a sad commentary on we Christian men, it’s an inaccurate commentary. It’s inaccurate because, whether for better or worse, we as Christian husbands are the spiritual leaders. It is not something we choose to do or not to do. We might be good leaders or bad leaders, but spiritual leadership is our God-given role and there is no escaping it.
In our home at this present time, there is myself and Wendy and five kids under six years old. It can be little chaotic. Let’s say I wake up in the morning and before getting out of bed I silently pray to God, thanking Him for the day etc. And then I ask Him to bring peace into our home that day. I ask Him to give us His love for one another. I ask Him to help us be kind and merciful and compassionate toward one another. And let’s say that while I’m praying, Wendy gets up and starts to get the kids ready for the day.
Remember, I’ve asked for God’s help in having a good family. Because God loves peace and kindness and mercy, this is a prayer that I know would be in God’s will for our lives. But what if, while Wendy is working with all these little ones, I stay in bed. Instead of getting up and pulling my share of the load I do nothing to help get the kids fed and clean up after. Instead, I roll over and tune out all the noise. Guess what? If God answers my prayer with a yes, it will only be out of sheer grace for Wendy and mercy for
me. And I know from experience (he says with guilt) that if I'm not there, there is more often war than peace.
The fact is, the man very often sets the tone for the day for the whole family. To want to be a Christian husband and father is a huge responsibility. To the extent that the man fails to fulfill his role in the Christian home, to that extent will his prayers fall on silence at the other end. This is not to say that the wife has no effect on how a family turns out. God has worked through millions and millions of women in the absence of responsible men. Generally though, as the husband goes in his spiritual walk to a large extent so goes the family.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Christianity is all about what you can't do! It takes away your freedom.

When I make it my goal to place my faith in Jesus, to obey Jesus; and when I have a healed, forgiven, personal relationship with Jesus then I lose all my freedom:
. I can’t know how it feels to give in to thoughts and behaviours that make my life worse.
. I can’t know the confusion of living a life where right and wrong are relative to the situation; where I make my own rules based on a ‘wisdom’ that’s repeatedly failed me.
. I can’t know the uncertainty that comes with lying whenever it suits and having to remember my lies, and cover up my lies by telling more lies.
. I can’t know what it’s like to die with uncertainty over where I’ll spend eternity.
. I can’t live a life where I don’t experience and enjoy unconditional love - daily.
. I can’t know what it’s like to destroy my family by cheating on my spouse.
. I can’t become a bitter, angry, vengeful, complaining, unforgiving person.
. I can’t develop the cold heart that makes me take advantage of people.
. I can’t carry resentments toward those who have hurt me in the past.
. I can’t get caught up in worrying about what tomorrow might bring.
. I can’t feel frustration over how people aren’t treating me right.
. I can’t know what it’s like to not have hope for the future.
. I can’t know what it’s like to not have more than I need.
. I can’t know what it’s like to not have purpose in life.
. I can’t know what it’s like to not have joy in my soul.
. I can’t bring home sexually transmitted diseases.
. I can’t go through the heartache of failed affairs.
. I can’t have a lousy marriage or get divorced.
. I can’t lose my license for impaired driving.
. I can’t know what it’s like to be afraid.
. I can’t struggle with drug addiction.
. I can’t be an unspiritual person.
. I can’t feel alienated from God.
. I can’t carry a load of guilt.
. I can’t go to Hell!
. I can’t experience what it’s like to not know for certain that I have value and worth.
. I can't experience what it's like to not know for certain that I have security and belonging.
This value and worth, security and belonging are not based on who I am, or on what others think about me. They're based on a love so great that my Creator died for me to pay for my sins. That’s the kind of love I can trust. It will never leave me or fail me.
The freedom to experience all this earthly crud has been taken from me, not because of my goodness, but because of God’s grace. Because of that:
. I’m forced to bask in God’s love and mercy and peace and grace every day of my life
. I’m forced to enjoy the complete and total and eternal forgiveness for my sins
. I’m forced to become aware of, and enjoy new mercies each and every day
. I’m forced to know what it’s like to be free from guilt
. I’m forced to spend eternity in Heaven with my Creator

Are You On The Bus?

John knows that the bus is about to leave, but he refuses to step out of the shelter and into the rain to do what it takes to get on the bus. As the bus drives away, Bob, who’s just coming into the shelter, tries his hand at small talk. "I hope that wasn’t your bus" he says with more of a giggle than a laugh. John cheerfully and with surprising confidence says, "Actually that was my bus. I’m on my way."
"What do you mean you’re on your way? You’re still here."
"Nope. I’m on the bus," counters John.
"You sound very sincere in your beliefs," Bob says politely, "but how can you be here, and on the bus at the same time?"
"Well, I’m not sure," ponders John. "I just know that I must be on the bus because a loving bus driver would never leave me standing in hellish weather when he knows that I want to go to the Shopping Mall at the end of his route."
"Did you make any effort to accept the ride that was being offered by the bus driver?"
"No, not really. But I didn’t cause any trouble while I was standing in this shelter either. That’s why I get to be on the bus - because I’m an example of a respectful, decent bus passenger."
"But to be a bus passenger, even a decent bus passenger, you have to actually do what it takes to get on a bus!"
"You’re too narrow-minded Bob. In my belief system, if the bus driver loves me, he’ll ensure that I simply appear at the mall, even if I don’t want to ride with him."
It’s difficult to believe that anyone could be as deluded as John. On the other hand, you’ve probably heard someone comment - "A loving God would never allow a good person to go to hell when He knows that person would want to go to heaven." This thought process is more like childhood fantasy than adult reason.
The belief system of those who tell God what He can and cannot do, seems to go something like this. As long as I try to be a good person, and as long as I’m not as bad as some other people that I know, I can choose to worship any god of my own creation, or no god at all. I can decide whether God is right or wrong on any given topic, based on popular opinion. Not only can I dabble in Buddhism or Native religion, I can praise others for inventing their own ‘spirituality’, and still expect Jesus to say to me, "That’s OK. Even though you’ve rejected My offer of salvation, and encouraged your children to reject Me also, I’m going to ignore your desire to live without Me during your life on earth, and make you live with Me in heaven for eternity."
No doubt, this kind of wishful thinking is very appealing. The difficult reality is, heaven and hell are Christian (taught by Jesus) concepts. You cannot be a Christian and not be a Christian at the same time. And the fact is, trying to be a good person does not make someone a Christian. If that were the case, then there would be Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus and even atheists who were Christians. There is no logic to that kind of thinking.
A Christian is someone who believes and acts upon what Jesus Christ taught about Himself, about life, death, sin, forgiveness and the resurrection (His and ours). Jesus taught that a follower of His is a person who depends upon Jesus alone for salvation. He taught that a Christian is someone who depends upon what Jesus calls His Word (The Bible), and upon His Spirit for guidance and strength in daily living.
Beyond that definition, the single biggest difference between what Jesus taught and what other religious leaders have taught, is that Jesus made it perfectly clear that there is nothing that we can DO to merit salvation. If we could earn our salvation, then Jesus died for nothing!
All other religions, and even some cults that call themselves Christian, have "Good Works" and/or the observance of ritual as a base for one’s entrance into their concept of paradise. However, the Bible tells us in:
John 8:24 - Jesus said, "For unless you believe that I am the Son of God, the Messiah, you will die in your sins."
Romans 3:27, 28 - Our acquittal is not based on our good deeds, it is based on what Christ has done and our faith in Him. So it is we are saved, by faith in Christ and not by the good things we do.
1st Thessalonians 1:8,9 - The Lord Jesus will bring judgement on those who do not wish to know God and those who reject His plan to save them through our Lord Jesus Christ. They will be punished in everlasting hell, forever separated from the Lord, never to see the glory of His power.
These verses literally scream for our attention. The basis for what they say is this. God is completely Holy. Nothing less than complete Holiness can come into His presence. Jesus taught that we are separated from His Holiness by our sinful nature, and neither religion, nor a moral life, nor some concept of spirituality can fix that. In other words, we can never be ‘good enough’ to be good enough for heaven (Romans 3:22,23).
Think of it this way. A surgeon, will discard a scalpel that has a single, tiny blemish on it just as readily as she would discard a scalpel that is completely dirty. Or ask yourself, "How many pubic hairs would I have to find in my meal at a restaurant before I wouldn’t eat it?" You see, the size of the dirt is not the issue. The issue is the presence of dirt. We are always repulsed by dirt when we expect to find cleanliness. Just so, our sinful nature is unacceptable to God. It cannot come into His presence. Sin is intolerable in the presence of a perfectly Holy God. That’s why the Bible explains to us that the result of sin, the wages of sin, the consequences of sin, the cost of sin, is banishment from God. But there is good news folks! Out of His enormous love, Jesus paid the penalty of sin for us. Our part of the bargain is to step out of our self-created shelter and accept that payment on His terms.
To those of you who complain that religion is being rammed down your throat, ask yourself this, "Would I rather that Jesus warned me about Hell now, or after it’s too late?"
This is serious stuff! If what Jesus taught about eternity is true, then making the decision to accept Him or reject Him as our Saviour has got to be the single most important decision that you and I will ever make. And it’s urgent. Strokes, fires, heart attacks, falling, car accidents, violent storms; Statistics show that for most of us, our ability to make a decision for Jesus will end suddenly, with little or no warning.
As people reflect on the suddenness of death, we hear them say things like, "I was just talking with him yesterday," or "I just saw her this morning." That’s why we are told in the Bible "Seek the Lord while He may be found, call on Him while He is near. Turn to the Lord, and the Lord will have mercy on you"(Isaiah 55:6,7).
You can’t just stand in what you think to be a neutral position.
A decision is being made even as you read this.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

What Would You Do? Evangelise or Let'm Die?

I read over and over how it’s wrong to be evangelical in one’s beliefs. But everybody does it. "Oh man, you’ve got to see that movie." "You should stop eating meat!" "I think that people should take the bus instead of using their cars." "You should just accept that homosexuality is as normal as heterosexuality." "You should stop smoking cigarettes." You should try smoking pot." "Vote for this person and not for that person." And on and on it goes. People feel strongly about these issues and have no qualms voicing their opinions. Since I believe the claims of Jesus, why can’t I present what He taught without being thought of as doing something wrong? And while we're at it, ask yourself why listening to the case for Jesus feels like pressure and / or offensive while hearing about Buddha or Native Spirituality or anything else feels sophisticated. Regardless of that, here’s what I think is going on.
Let’s say there is a pond on my property. And let’s say that we’ve had a few really cold nights. While there is ice on the pond, it isn’t very thick. Along comes a guy and his little boy. They’re carrying skates and are heading toward my pond. I yell out to them that they shouldn’t even think of skating because the ice isn’t thick enough. The guy tells me, "This is my life and I’m free to do what I want to do. And for what it’s worth, I happen to believe that the ice is thick enough. So quit trying to shove your beliefs down my throat!"
"Yes, I understand that it’s your life" I reply. "But I know that the ice isn’t thick enough. You’ll fall through and drown."
Now I ask you. If I continue to caution him, am I being insensitive to his beliefs? If I put a hand on his shoulder and try to stop him, am I being narrow minded? After all, he's as certain that the ice is fine as I am certain that the ice is too thin. If I let him go and do what he believes is best, am I being this really cool open-minded free-thinker? Which course of action means that I love the person more?
You see, I believe with all my heart that Jesus is trustworthy and what He teaches needs to be taken seriously; more seriously than anything else in the world. So what should I and other Christians do? We believe that if you don’t heed Jesus’ warning, you are going to fall through the ice so to speak. What would you do if you were in my place?

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Are You Serious?

While I’ve never had a very refined concept of hell, I’ve known enough to be embarrassed for those who have said profoundly stupid things like, "I’d rather be in hell than heaven ‘cause hell is where all the parties will be." Ya right. On the other hand, I’ve usually thought of hell ‘simply’ as a place where people are forever separated from the presence of God for eternity. And the Bible says that is a true statement. However, hell is so much more than that. Jesus taught "If you do not believe that I am who I say that I am, you will die in your sins." He taught that someday very soon, all of those who have refused to acknowledge Jesus as Lord during their life-time on earth will live in:
. The unrelieved absence of Love
. The complete absence of Good
. The total, all pervasive presence of evil
People who have chosen Hell over Heaven will spend eternity in:
. Absolute fear
. Unmitigated hatred
. Total darkness
. Unrelieved sorrow
. Unequivocal alone-ness
. Absolute shame
. Unbounded regret
. Undiluted violence
. Sheer panic
. Unrelenting dissatisfaction
. All encompassing meanness
. Overwhelming stench
. Total betrayal
. There will be no freedom from pain, only total, all consuming, overwhelming pain.
The worst conditions on earth don’t come close.
Hell is for people who have not kept the first and greatest commandment to Love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, and mind. Hell is for people who loudly proclaim their right to every vile act imaginable.
Right now, even as I write this, millions of souls are suffering a special kind of torment as they are in a hell that they refused to believe in. Their special torment is that they convinced spouses, children, friends, students and other ‘open-minded’ people that hell didn’t exist. And now there is no way to turn back the clock. There is no way to warn their loved-ones about the horrendous consequences of following that error. On the other hand, Jesus himself said, that even the evidence of Him rising from the dead would not be enough to convince most people to stop living as though God and eternity did not exist.
Why is that seen as wrong to warn people about this fact of life?

Friday, December 1, 2006

God's Mercy

Isn’t mercy a wonderful thing? Before we’re Christians, we think that the reason God shows Himself to us and the reason that He seems to be pursuing us is so He can catch us doing something wrong and then punish us. In reality, and this is something that we only find out after asking Jesus to become Lord of our lives, God pursues us so relentlessly because He loves us so much. He wants to pour out His love, and His blessings on us and He can’t do that to the degree that He wants when we’re busy running from Him. In fact, any punishment that we receive in this life comes to us during the act of running from God. The ultimate gift comes from allowing ourselves to be caught and the ultimate punishment comes from running all the way to hell in an attempt to avoid a relationship with our Creator.


Why is it that anarchists, or at least the ones that make themselves heard, always live in stable democracies? And why can’t you pay them enough money to go a live in the utopia they preach, those countries where anarchy is a daily reality?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I Love You Too Dad

As of this writing, my youngest son, Riley, is 3 ½ years old. Like his older brother David, Riley is kind, thoughtful of other’s needs, gentle and loving. From time to time, when I tell Riley that I love him, he says, "I love you too dad." But sometimes, without my saying anything, he's looked up from what he's doing and said, "I love you too dad." I smile thinking that he simply has not learned sentence structure yet. Until yesterday. Yesterday is when I noticed that he says "I love you too," when we go for a walk; just Riley and I. He says it when I put my arm around him. When I watch him swing or watch him play in the sandbox, it’s then that Riley, hearing my actions as loud as words, replies to my undivided attention with, "I love you too dad." Isn’t that just the most awesome thing? And isn’t that how we should respond to Jesus as we remember that we have His undivided attention? "I love you too Lord."

Better Than I Ever Dreamed Possible

I am so tremendously blessed by God. Not only has He revealed Himself to me, not only has he given to me salvation through my faith in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God has given to me, in enormous amounts, the Fruit of abiding in His Holy Spirit. It is sooo good to be a Christian. It is so good to be able to enjoy who I’m becoming, and to know that I am loved by my Creator.
Before I was a Christian, I thought I was a pretty great individual. In reality, I was filled with rage, bitterness, resentments, selfishness, self-centeredness, self-righteousness, unfaithfulness and so on. Now, with no credit going to myself, I am experiencing huge amounts of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. Since becoming a Christian, 25 years ago, every year has been better than the year before, and this is in the midst of difficulties. In fact I've probably had far more difficulties in my life since becoming a Christian than before I made that change. Yet God, in His grace and mercy has granted me enough faith to actually live by verses that tell me to "not be anxious about anything," and "don’t worry," and "in all things be thankful," and "rejoice always, I say it again, rejoice." Here's what really makes that wonderful.
I’m sick day in and day out. I've lived with arthritis for 45 of my 55 years and I have huge amounts of pain all day every day. I’m on disability, probably for the rest of my life. And yet I experience God as being so incredibly good. I experience Jesus as being so close that my every pore is infused with His presence. His creation is so awesome. His mercies truly are new every morning.
I am free to enjoy my Lord, my Saviour, my Creator because I know for a fact that I can trust Him. He has never left me nor will He ever leave me. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. I can have more and more of His blessings and more and more of the Fruit of His Spirit. Thank you so much Heavenly Father for helping me to focus just on us.

Wealth Beyond Imagination

It is so good to be richer than the wealthiest people people in the world. While, at first glance I might not appear wealthier than they are, I must be because I have enough, and they don’t.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Why Jesus and not Buddha?

Why Jesus and not Buddha?
Some people say that all religious leaders are the same. They say that all paths lead to the same God. They say that all religions worship the same God and so on. I would like to begin with the thought that ‘All religious leaders are roughly the same’. Let’s compare just two of them - Jesus and Siddhartha Gautama a.k.a. Buddha.
. Jesus - When a person asked Jesus where he lived Jesus answered, "Even foxes have holes, but I the Son of God have no place to live." Jesus was born into poverty and spent his entire life on earth ministering to and serving the impoverished, the downtrodden and those on the fringes of society like prostitutes and criminals (both wealthy and street criminals). He made a point of associating with the kinds of people that the rest of us would rather ignore.
. Buddha was born into a rich family. He spent his youth living in luxury in the palace of his father, the warrior prince Suddhodhana.
. Jesus upheld the family unit, but he gave up many opportunities to marry so that he could more fully devote himself to his ministry of serving others. Jesus emphasised the importance of staying in a marriage and working out one’s issues. In no uncertain terms, Jesus stated, "I hate divorce." Jesus sacrificed his desires for intimacy to better provide for the good of others.
. Buddha - When Gautama was about 20 years old, he married the princess Yasodhara. He later abandoned his wife and infant son to seek personal spiritual enlightenment. His focus was on bringing himself a sense of peace.
. Jesus’ message of peace is totally radical when compared to any other religious leader. For example, he says, "Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Pray for those who persecute you. If you only love those who love you, what good is that? Even the pagans do that much. If someone demands your shirt, give him your coat as well. If someone demands that you carry a load one mile, carry it two."
. Buddha, like all other religious leaders promoted peace, ‘where it makes sense to do so’.
. Jesus - The list of radical differences between what Jesus teaches (Christianity) and all other religions go on and on. One great difference occurs over the issue of choice and how that affects our after death experience. If Jesus is right in what He taught, the choices involved with rejecting or accepting Him will result, at the end of this life, in something either beautiful beyond description or catastrophic beyond imagination. Beyond eternal consequences, Jesus teaches that if we accept him and his message he will provide for us, during this one life on earth, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, value and worth, security and belonging, fulfilment, direction, meaning and purpose.
. Buddha’s followers, for thousands of years have correctly interpreted his life-view to promote a stoic attitude during "an endless cycle of rebirth and suffering." This is because bad karma reproduces much faster than good karma. Only in the west with our arrogant and corrupted self-love, do we believe that we are always progressing to a higher state.
. Jesus teaches that as God, he is worthy of worship, yet most people do not worship him.
. Buddha, being only a man, begged people to not worship him, yet many do.
. Jesus teaches his followers to go into the world to create peace among people.
. Buddha taught that people need to withdraw from the world to find peace in one’s self.-
. Jesus - Details of his life, from the town he would be born in, to the race he would be born into, to the type of ministry he would have, to the type of death he would suffer were described before he was even born. His birth, life and death were intricately documented by those who lived with him during his thirty years on earth.
. Buddha - Almost no authentic information exists about the details of Buddha's life. What we do know is not very flattering.
. Jesus was steeped in the religion of his forefathers from and early age. He was intimately associated with the poor, sick and spiritually needy. He didn’t seek enlightenment, he brought enlightenment. He did not, like a monk, withdraw from the world. Rather, he entered deeply into the world to minister to it. Jesus was a model of emotional, spiritual, social and mental stability.
. Buddha abandoned his family and walked away from the needy people of the world to become a monk. For six years, he sought enlightenment by practising extreme forms of self_denial and self_torture. He lived in filth and many days ate only a grain of rice. At one point he pulled out all the hairs of his beard, one by one. Today his family probably would have had him committed to a psychiatric unit in a desperate attempt to get help for him.
. Jesus teaches that there is nothing that we can DO to earn salvation. Rather, through pure grace he provides freedom and salvation for us by counting us as righteous since we cannot make ourselves righteous. He tells us in Romans 3:22 - "This righteousness comes from God through faith in Jesus Christ, to all who believe, for there is no difference. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Jesus promised us an assurance of salvation based on faith in what he has done for us.
. Buddha taught that to achieve nothingness (that’s the best that he could envision), people had to free themselves of all desires and worldly things. He is quoted as saying on his deathbed, "continue to work for salvation." All man-made religions are based on working for salvation. Those who follow their teachings can never be sure if they are doing enough.
. Jesus teaches that he came so that on earth we might have life and have it abundantly. He teaches that when we are in a healed, forgiven relationship with him, everything that we experience has meaning and context and purpose. When this life is over, for those who believe, Jesus promises to bring us to full awareness of ourselves spiritually, to bring us into absolute perfect peace in the presence of our Creator.
. Buddha’s vision of paradise is to one day achieve nothingness, emptiness, non existence. . Jesus allowed himself to be killed for our sins, and rose again from the dead. After His resurrection, Jesus was seen by at least five hundred different people on one occasion. On other occasions, over a period of forty days, he laughed, ate, and talked with his followers. This proved His victory over death.
.The grave of Abraham (Judaism) contains the body of Abraham.
.The grave of Mohamad (Islam) contains the body of Mohamad.
.The grave of Siddhartha Gautama, a.k.a. Buddha (Buddhism) contains his ashes.
.The grave of Jesus (Christianity) is empty. The proofs that Jesus has risen are indisputable to anyone who is honestly searching. The evidence of Jesus’ resurrection demands a decision of acceptance or rejection of the facts. It’s that simple.
. Buddha became ill and died. His ashes lie in a jar.
. Jesus teaches that the condition of your life now is based on the choices you make, including the choice to believe in him or to reject him.
. Buddha taught that the condition of your life now is determined by how someone lived in a life before you. You are rewarded for their good behaviour, and punished for their bad or selfish behaviour.
. Jesus teaches that we can find complete and total freedom in the midst of pain and suffering.
. Buddha taught that individuals can only be completely free from pain and suffering upon achieving nothingness after millions of, not years of living, but after millions of reincarnations and working and working and working towards being a better human being or whatever creature or thing that you are in the next life.
. Jesus teaches that there is an absolute code of right and wrong, based on the nature and character of God. He taught that life is very real and needs to be taken seriously.
. Buddha said that right and wrong are relative to the situation and all that we encounter in life is an illusion. Not to be too sarcastic, I suspect that if someone were to have poured boiling water on Buddha’s hand, or if someone cleaned out the bank account of one of his followers today, a concept of right and wrong would quickly emerge and what was once thought to be an illusion would take on brilliant reality.
Now, there is no doubt that Buddha presented a message with many good points. But as for me, if I’m going to ‘follow’ someone as my spiritual leader, I want someone with the character, integrity and solid history of Jesus.

Forgive? Ya right!

Father forgive them.
I was thinking today about the comment, "Father forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing." The identifier "Father" is easy to understand. It means our Heavenly Father. "Forgive them," while difficult to do is also easy to understand. We then have the comment, "They don’t know what they are doing?" Jesus said this in response to those who were killing Him. Stephen said this as people were in the process of killing him. Countless martyrs have said this as they were being burned at the stake or otherwise killed for their belief in Jesus.
The questions I have are these:
What is it that people don’t know that they are doing? and
Are there occasions when we should be saying, or at least thinking the same thing, while ‘bad’ things are being done to us?
A clue to the answer for the first question is found when Jesus said to Paul, shortly before Paul’s conversion, "Paul why are you persecuting me?" Persecuting Jesus? Jesus had already been tortured to death by the time Paul heard that voice. Paul was focussed on torturing and killing followers of Jesus. He didn’t care about Jesus the person. So what did Jesus mean that Paul was doing something to Him? Well, Jesus was not and is not dead. He is risen. He is alive! What’s more, Jesus has said emphatically that what we do to others, we are doing to Him. Jesus said that when we do something as ‘small’ as giving a glass of water to a little child, we are being kind to Him. When we withhold kindness from someone we are withholding kindness from Him. When we look down on others, we are looking down on Jesus.
The answer to the first question then, is that very few people are aware of what they are doing to Jesus as they berate a small child, refuse to forgive others, cheat on their spouses, lie to their friends, steal from their employers, view others as though they were nothing more than a sexual object etc..
The answer to the second question would be yes, indeed, on all occasions we need to be forgiving people who harm us. We should do this not only because were commanded to, but because they really don’t know what they are doing or to whom they are doing it when they hurt us.

Monday, November 27, 2006

You're Missing The Show

Our DNA, our cells, our bodies, our earth, our solar system, the surrounding cosmos, presents to us a show of stupendous quality, meaning and awe inspiring spirituality. In the meantime, most of the audience spends it’s time scouring the bottom of the popcorn box searching for a kernel with just the right amount of butter on it.

Oh NO! I Killed Him!

"They will look on Me whom they have pierced." Those are the words of Jesus, describing His second coming. I find it interesting first of all that Jesus took ‘home’ with Him something memorable from His trip to earth. And second, it’s significant that what He took home with Him are the wounds inflicted upon Him during His death on the cross. From a human standpoint, being tortured to death is something He hasn’t forgotten. When He comes back, Jesus says that He’s going to remind us of the terrible price that He paid.
Can you imagine the difference there will be in the reaction between those who have followed Jesus as their Lord and Saviour and those who have rejected and cursed Jesus throughout their lives.
Picture it. Jesus says He is going to return in such a manner that the whole world will see Him in an instant. It will be like He is coming back for each person on an individual basis. Imagine Him coming back for you so that you may answer for the life you’ve lived during your time on earth. He’s returning with His wounds on display. No words will be needed.
To His followers His wounds will say, Here is what I did for you, because I loved you more than I love myself. To those who hate Him or deny His divinity / existence His wounds will say, Here is what you did to Me. Here is what you did to the most Holy God, the Creator of Heaven and earth. Here is what you did to the One who loved you with perfect love.
For everyone, it will drive us to our knees in a confession that Jesus truly is the Lord of Lords and the King of kings. For disciples / followers of Jesus, the sight of His wounds will bring overwhelming humility and joy, gladness and relief, amazement and gratefulness and praise. For those who have rejected Jesus and taught others to despise and blaspheme Him, there will be terror and grief, overwhelming terror and grief.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Freedom - Glorious Freedom!

Because of my relationship with Jesus, I have the freedom to have wonderful, deep and abiding peace. I have the freedom to have peace in the thick of adversity, peace in the midst of conflict, peace in the face of opposition, peace beneath the weight of every burden. I have the freedom to lie down and sleep in peace knowing that the Creator of the Universe provides for my safety.
Besides all that, I have freedom to experience joy. I have found that, no matter what the circumstance, no matter how filled with gloom the prospect, no matter how discouraging or disconcerting the difficulty - I can nevertheless tap that reservoir of joy which God has placed into every human heart that has come to Him through Christ. The assurance of His pardon, His power, His presence in every scene of life, has emptied my life of gloom and sadness and filled it with a high and holy gladness. Jesus came to earth to proclaim, in part, a religion of joy. Wherever He went, throughout His earthly life, He brought joy to the sorrowing, cheer to the downcast, and gladness to those who were sitting in the shadow of death. His earthly ministry restored joy to human hearts which had been languishing in the shackles of sin and sadness. He came to do that for me! Jesus says to His followers, "These things I have spoken to you that My joy might remain in you and that your joy might be full." Jesus has given me a joy that is so deep, so firm, so sure that the trials of life are but as the ripples on the surface of the sea.
Because of my relationship with Jesus, I have freedom from worry. I have freedom to be filled with passion for the most worthy cause on earth, that of furthering the kingdom of God. I have freedom from slavery to sin, freedom to obey my Creator, freedom to have patience in the face of frustration, freedom to know the will of God, and freedom from guilt.
Besides all that, I have freedom to become more spiritual than any seeker of worldly spirituality, for my soul, encased in this earthly shell is now the residence of God’s Holy Spirit. He uplifts my troubled soul. He is my unfailing comforter. He corrects me. He counsels me. He is my teacher who sanctifies me. I thank the Spirit of the Living God for the assurance He brings me on a daily basis. He brings me blessed and holy quietness. He revives me with life and with power. He cleanses and renews me. He bends me and remakes me. He gives me faith and I live an abundant life because of that faith. I am so very thankful for the Holy Spirit, for He has kindled a flame of sacred love in this once cold, cold heart of mine.
Because of my relationship with Jesus, I have freedom to know that God is pleased with me, freedom to sacrifice for others without feeling used, freedom to have a clear conscience, freedom to actually become a good person in the eyes of God, freedom from bitterness, freedom to be gentle toward those who are hostile toward me. I have freedom to submit to others from a position of inner strength and confidence, and I have the freedom to not only experience grace from God, but the freedom to extend that grace to others.
Because of my relationship with Jesus, I have freedom to love others, freedom to take a one-down position and not lose one iota of value or worth, freedom from anxiety, freedom from the fear of death, freedom from the fear of other people, freedom from the fear of anything that life wants to bring my way. I have the freedom to serve Jesus, freedom to be kind toward those who are not kind toward me, and freedom to do the right thing even when I’m strongly tempted to do the wrong thing.
Besides all that, I have freedom to have an inexhaustible Source of spiritual and moral power. By simply trusting Jesus, He has promised me pardon for my sin, peace for my soul, strength in the hour of trouble, courage in the face of difficulty, power in the moment of temptation - and I receive this pardon, peace, and power simply by trusting that He will keep His promise.
Because of my relationship with Jesus, I have freedom from resentments, freedom to look forward to eternity, freedom to become a man of integrity, freedom from self-centeredness, and freedom to be thankful, wonderfully, wonderfully thankful. I have the freedom to admit that everything that I have is from God and from Him alone, freedom from the need to be rich, freedom to be wronged without it becoming a big deal and I have found the freedom to learn and to grow into Christ-likeness in every single situation.
Besides all that, I have the freedom to hope. The New Testament is filled with messages of hope. I have "the hope of the gospel," "the hope of the promise," "the hope of His calling," "the hope which is laid up for me in heaven," "our hope of glory," "hope in our Lord Jesus Christ," "that blessed hope," "the hope of eternal life," "the full assurance of hope," "the hope we have as an anchor," "a lively hope" and on and on it goes. This is not some pious wish, but a hope in the sense of a sure confidence. The Christian’s hope, since it is rooted in the person of Jesus Christ is a hope of which I am not ashamed, a hope that is as sure as Jesus Christ Himself is sure. The future holds for me more good that I cold ever hope for.
Because of my relationship with Jesus, I have freedom from my past, freedom from anger, freedom from seeking self-worth in possessions, freedom from the need for popularity, and freedom to love and to be loved without reservation or self-protection.
Besides all that, I have freedom to experience new mercies from God every single day. They are countless, constant, and sure. They greet me in the morning and gladden my heart at noon. They follow me into the shades of night. Because of God’s mercies, there is never a sorrow that I experience that Jesus does not come into with His presence, power and comfort. Neither is there a burden that He doesn’t bear. Jesus’ mercies shall follow me all the days of my life; they endure forever and ever.
Because of my relationship with Jesus, I have freedom to admit that I need to change, freedom to revel in the new song of righteousness, freedom from the need for power, freedom from spiritual darkness, freedom to first identify and then to have healthy, kind, generous, and loving friends. I have freedom from shame, freedom from having to be ‘right,’ and the freedom to trade the lessor and unstable god of self-esteem, for the glorious and solid provision of Christ-esteem. Besides all that, I have genuine happiness. Not happiness as the world understands it, based on one pleasure inducing event after another. No, I have the real deal, because there is only one place where we find real happiness, and that is down at the feet of the crucified Saviour, because only there can we be freed from our sins.
Because of my relationship with Jesus, I have freedom to know the difference between life-giving and life-destroying behaviours, freedom from insecurity, freedom to not feel constrained by the rules of our society, freedom to have a life of meaning and context and purpose, freedom to know the difference between right and wrong, freedom to rejoice in being alive, freedom from the trap of bigotry, freedom from greed, freedom from envy and freedom to come to God with boldness and confidence because I’m shielded by His mercy and grace.
Besides all that, I have been given the freedom to know, to really know the person of Truth. He has revealed to me truth about God, truth about man, truth about life, truth about death, truth about myself, truth about heaven and the truth about hell. Because of my relationship with Jesus, I have freedom to know what it’s like to have enough no matter the circumstance, freedom to find pure rest for my soul, freedom to know with certainty that because of my faith, every morning I can put on the breast-plate of God’s approval and to know that God will never leave me or give up on me.
Besides all that, I have freedom to have God either lighten my burden to match my strength, or increase my strength to match the burden. And without fail I have received His strength: strength to stand in the midst of the storm, strength to outlast the bombardment of pain, strength to bear the burden of the cross, strength to resist the onslaught of sin - or having fallen, to tread the path of the prodigal back to the Father’s house and to be assured of full and free forgiveness. These victories are by no means mine. Left to myself, to my own puny powers of resistance or endurance, I will fall short every single time. "Not that I am sufficient in myself, but my sufficiency is of God."
Because of my relationship with Jesus, I have freedom from making huge life-decision mistakes, freedom to have a good marriage, freedom from confusion and second guessing, freedom from pride, freedom to give justice, but not to seek it, and I have the freedom to understand that all the good that happens in my life is like a stream that is leading me directly back to the Source. Besides all that, I have freedom to be a brand new creation. His power has displaced hate with love, sorrow with joy, relational war with peace. His power took this man who was morally rotten and transformed me into a trophy of grace. Halleluiah - God be praised!
Because of my relationship with Jesus, I have freedom from condemnation, freedom to have mercy lavished upon me, freedom from fake and shallow friendships, freedom to NOT say, "Lord, come into my life and change my pain," but, "Lord, come into my pain and change me." I have freedom to suffer with and for Jesus, and freedom to forgive.
Besides all that, I have freedom from judgment. He has blotted out my wrongs. He has cleansed me from sin. He is only interested in my broken and contrite heart and today I can praise God because Calvary covers all my sins, past, present, and future. How amazing! How incredible! How wonderful!
Because of my relationship with Jesus, I have freedom from the need to achieve, freedom to look forward to tomorrow, freedom from God’s wrath, freedom from putting me first, freedom from the need for position, freedom from the feeling of alienation, freedom to be bathed in the soothing warmth of God’s enormous Love, freedom from dependence on false gods, freedom to have patience in the midst of suffering, and I have the freedom to become more than a conqueror.
Besides all that, I have the freedom to know Who to thank when I’m grateful, for every good and perfect gift is from God. He is the righteous One. I celebrate His glory. I acknowledge His sovereignty. I rejoice and sing the wonders of His grace. How great is my Lord and my Saviour!
Because of my relationship with Jesus, I have freedom to inherit all of God’s riches, freedom to understand the Gospel message, freedom to know that I’m a disciple that Jesus loves. Great God of wonders, I proclaim your majesty! I exalt your deity! Your eyes are upon the righteous. Your ears are open to their cry. You are near to those whose hearts are breaking. You save those who have a contrite spirit. You are perfect in power, in love, and in purity. May You alone be exalted!
Because of my relationship with Jesus, I have freedom to have total assurance in God’s promises for forgiveness, for strength and for eternity. Is faith in this God, as the world sees it, a crutch? Yes, and more than that. Jesus is my stretcher, my chariot, my sole support in each and every circumstance. After all, to what would we look to for help if not to that which is stronger than ourselves? Jesus has tested me and I now know that in every scene of life - in joy and sorrow, in success and failure, in health and in sickness, in moments of crisis when all lesser gods give way, I have trusted Jesus and have found that He is able to carry both me and my burden and bring me safely to the other side. With Paul and with believers of all ages I can say: "I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him until the Day when He returns." I and all other Christians have the Divine assurance of comfort in sorrow, strength in sickness, solace in bereavement, help in distress, and ultimate triumph in the midst of dire calamity. And this assurance is signed and sealed in the blood of the Son of God Himself. The world has known no higher guarantee.
Because of my relationship with Jesus, I have the freedom to do something valuable until my dying breath, freedom to not only accept, but to enjoy my weaknesses, and I have the freedom to give away my time, my money and my self.
Because of my relationship with Jesus, I have the freedom to counter my culture, and the freedom to find contentment in every single situation. This contentment comes from knowing beyond any doubt that, "He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" "My God will supply ALL my needs."
Finally, because of my relationship with Jesus, I have the freedom to say to life,
"Rain on, I will not drown, for I am standing on higher ground!"
None of these freedoms were mine prior to my healed relationship with Jesus. I was like a ship in the middle of the ocean with no navigational system. I could go any direction I chose, but I had no idea how to find a safe harbour for my soul. Do I experience all of these freedoms at all times with perfect regularity? No. But this I know. While I’m not who I should be. And I’m not who I’m going to be. Thanks to God alone, I’m not who I used to be. I adapted this from a book I found at a rummage sale. I can't find the book and I can't remember the Title or the Author.

All that I was, my sin, my guilt,
My death, was all mine own;
All that I am, I owe to Thee,
My gracious God, alone.
The evil of my former state
Was mine, and only mine;
The good in which I now rejoice
Is Thine, and only Thine.
The darkness of my former state,
The bondage, all was mine;
The light of life in which I walk,
The liberty, is Thine.
Thy Word first made me feel my sin,
It taught me to believe;
Then, in believing, peace I found,
And now I Live! I Live!!
Horatius Bonar

Tolerate You?

I Love You Too Much To Simply Tolerate You
True to form the worldly wise are promoting the latest offering, in a long list of failed attempts to bring peace to our communities and serenity for our tortured souls. Past examples are too numerous to mention in total, but some classic blunders include:
- "Only the advance of science can save our species!" It’s been so long since that lie was first promoted that most people don’t even remember the original sermon. However, the belief still influences our thinking. For example, we have enough resources to supply food, clothing and shelter for everyone in the whole world, but we’d rather spend trillions to finance a mission to Mars and beyond to look for evidence that life spontaneously came from non life. And while we’re doing that, just in North America we’ll spend 5 billion a year on anti-aging creams, 10 billion on Mother’s day flowers and gifts, 30 billion on pornography, and 50 billion a year on lotteries. Perhaps our problems lie a bit deeper than what advances in science can address.
- We were told that the combination of wide-spread, higher education and stupendous wealth, would bring us emotional health and relational well-being. Skyrocketing depression and rampant anxiety among the educated and wealthy have proven the lie in that claim as well.
- Then it was sex without the perceived confinement of marriage. Remember the freedom that was promised with that lie? Only the perpetually gullible see bliss on the other side of this looming disaster. Two main consequences have come with the coerced celebration of the sexually disoriented. 1. The first consequence is an outright delusion regarding the epidemic of STD’s including HIV. One educated but misled columnist actually wrote that it’s not screwing around with strangers, or taking part in the death culture of IV drug use that’s spreading AIDS, it’s "ignorance and poverty." That comment is an insult to the informationally and financially impoverished! 2. The second consequence, is that everyone, even those who are opposed to it, are forced to financially support the extermination of the most defenceless people in our society, all in an attempt to hide the guilt, fear and corrupt self-love of the more powerful segment. Don’t get me wrong. I’m strongly pro-choice. Dear God how I wish that other people would exercise, not their right, but their obligation to choose, before conception, not after. But, being responsible would kill the romance of the affair, or the drunken sexual encounter, so we kill the babies instead.
- Or how about easy divorce? That too hasn’t been the miracle cure that the worldly wise and famous promised that it would be. There has however been one benefit of mass divorce. The benefit has been to show the hypocrisy in our claims that we love our children. We love ourselves, PERIOD! Let the kids fend for themselves.
- Oh, and don’t forget the pursuit of everything. Do you remember when you first believed that the busier you were the more value you’d have? Try standing in front of the mirror and then brag about how busy you are. It doesn’t have quite the same appeal as when you’re getting approving nods from your equally deceived friends, does it?
- No list of failures would be complete without disorganised religion - aka - individual spirituality. Not much needs to be said here since the only change is that some people now feel more self-righteous while still remaining impossible to live with.
Sadly, none of these things have brought us any closer to peace and contentment. In fact the level of anger in society seems to be greater than ever, with outright hatred seething just below the surface. The kids are indeed learning to fend for themselves. This brings us to the latest instalment of failure-by-design.
The latest solution is to indoctrinate us with the condescending attitude of tolerance.
"I will tolerate you." Doesn’t that make you feel all warm, and fuzzy inside? Sophisticates brag, "I tolerate everyone, no matter how diseased, dysfunctional and damaging to themselves and to society their behaviours may be." What they’re really saying is, "I have so little genuine love for you, that you can go straight to hell for all I care." So there you sit, surrounded by your sophisticated friends, yet utterly alone in the very dim awareness that others care as little about you as you care about them. Oh sure, you cluck your tongue at the famine in Africa and worry about the whale on the beach. But loving the next door neighbour or your partner is another matter altogether.
All of the above failures have sounded wise to the worldly, but this kind of thinking is repugnant in the extreme to those of us who know the love of Jesus. Why? Jesus loves us too much to just tolerate our miserable state. He refuses to tolerate the fact that the path we are following is leading to a disaster of eternal proportions. Rather than sitting back in smug tolerance, Jesus left His throne in paradise to venture into our slum-living, futile, enslaving, squalor. He did this to show us the way to victory and to freedom. This is a freedom from real guilt, freedom from slavery to self-destructive behaviours, freedom to make choices that will bring contentment into our lives despite circumstance. For Jesus’ love is a love that pursues relentlessly. It’s a love that continues, even when it’s called judgmental. Jesus’ love doesn’t just tolerate one’s acquaintances or even one’s enemies. Jesus’ love looks past the ugliness of your hidden thoughts, and the sanctimonious posturing about your tolerance. Jesus flat out rejects human plans that are destined for failure and says, ‘Come to me, all of you who are loaded down with life’s cares, and I will give you rest for your weary souls. I will give you peace beyond comprehension. I will guard your hearts and your minds and I will liberate you from anxiety’. And so, followers of Jesus are able to say, "I love you too much to merely tolerate you. You’re far too important to God, for me to just accept your sin in the hope that you will extend the same degree of cold-hearted, self-serving hypocrisy to me."
Jesus’ love stands up to the bullying playground tactics of fear that says, "If you don’t think exactly like ‘us’, then we’ll encircle you and exclude you and ridicule you." Jesus’ love doesn’t paste on a phony smile in the hope that you’ll stay at a tolerable distance. It invites you to come in from the cold. In response to jeering and mocking, Jesus’ love says, "I will go beyond tolerance. I will be good to you. I will passionately seek the best for you even if you see me as your enemy and hate me, simply because you don’t like to hear what I’m saying." The best part about all this is that unlike those who are wise in their own eyes, Jesus is able to deliver on His promise to bring to you love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Isn’t it time that you find the courage to counter your culture and get on board with your Lord and Creator? Accept His offer of love and forgiveness, so that you might then extend His authentic love and kindness to others.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Prayers of Millions

Prayers of Millions
I used to "throw my prayers up toward heaven" hoping that somehow, in due time they would wiggle their way to my desired destination. It might take time to get there because they would have to wiggle through billions of other prayers being sent at the same time. Impossible and ridiculous are only two words that would come to mind after such immature thoughts. Well, that isn’t a problem any more. It isn’t a problem because I realised that God isn’t listening to billions of prayers, or even thousands of prayers at the same time. When I’m praying, there is only one prayer commanding God’s attention, mine. When you are praying, there is only one prayer being offered to God at that particular time, yours. The only prayer that God is listening to at any given time is that of your child’s, or the person about to be martyred, or the mother grieving the loss of her child, or the father asking that his child return to the Lord. God only hears one prayer at a time even as millions of people are praying to Him. You see, God is a deeply personal God. Because He operates outside of time, He can love you on an individual basis. As adoring parents study every line and curve of their newborn child, God loves you so intensely that the very hairs on your head are numbered. Like the parent of an only child, God is watching you and only you as you play, work, worship and yes, even as you pray. He loves you with an enduring and everlasting love, and when you pray to Him you have His undivided attention. So enjoy His love. Relax. Don’t rush. He’s got all the time in the world, so you aren't interrupting anything. He wants to hear what you have to say throughout the day. He wants to hear what you’ve just learned. He wants to watch as you grow. And guess what? When you come to Him with your praise and concerns, He's smiling 'cause He loves you.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Is God Insane?

Why Has God Created Hundreds of
Millions of People
Who Are Destined for Eternal

Separation From Him?
. I Am God.
. I Am before anything else.
. I Am above and beyond anything else.
. I Am perfectly Pure, Holy and Righteous. There is nothing imperfect or "wrong" in Me.
. Anything that is in rebellion to My perfect Purity, Holiness and Righteousness can never come into My presence.
. I Am completely and utterly just.
. I Am slow to anger; filled with great patience. I Am merciful and filled with grace.
. I Am Love.
. Just as there cannot be the perception of up without a down, in without an out, hot without cold and light without darkness, there cannot be Love without evil. This is a spiritual reality or law.
. Because I Am Love, there is evil rebellion against My love.
. This evil has been allowed to exist first in the presence of rebellious angels.
. I Am One and I Am plural with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
. In My Spirit, I love My Son.
. Love is the greatest entity to ever exist. As a gift and a blessing, I want something special for My Son to love and I want that special something to love My Son.
. That something, like the angels, must be created by Me.
. It is My right to declare and uphold the terms and conditions of My creation.
. The special part of My creation will be human beings. They will be made in My image, possessing portions and degrees of My attributes and My characteristics.
. I will make My justice and mercy known in and through human beings.
. I want humans to love (Obey) My Son because in doing so, humans will enjoy their highest state of being.
. I want to reward that love with eternity in paradise, ie. eternity in My presence.
. For their love to be real, I know that humans must have the choice to not love My Son.
. For their love to be real, I must allow humans to rebel against My love.
. If the first humans that I create love and obey Me, that love will be passed on to their offspring. That love will be inherited. It will not be a choice. ‘love’ will be robotic.
. If the first humans that I create, rebel against My love by disobeying Me, then that spirit of rebellion will be passed on to their offspring.
. In order for any humans to find fulfilment in truly loving Me, I must accept that all humans must first refuse to love Me.
. No one will be able to love My Son without the help of My grace and mercy.
. I will provide those of my choosing with an opportunity to love Me and to obey Me.
. Through this plan I will demonstrate that I Am Love and that I Am Just.
. Because of who I Am, I cannot create in humans a spirit of Love and then draw them to evil to create real choice. I can only allow rebellion / evil to enter the human race in order to create real choice, and then save those who wish to be delivered from evil.
. I will draw back my hand of protection and allow this course of history to unfold.
. It is My right to declare and uphold the terms and conditions of My creation.
. Love causes growth. Evil and rebellion cause death and destruction.
. Because I love humans, I hate the rebellion that causes their destruction.
. Those who continue in a spirit of rebellion will be objects of My anger.
. Objects of My anger cannot and will not be tolerated in My presence.
. For the very survival of the gift to My Son, My justice, mercy, grace, love and patience, MUST be clearly displayed to humans (a) So they will know that they should repent of their rebellion and (b) To show them that they have a place to turn to for rescue from their rebellion.
- Humans will know My Justice because they know in their hearts that rebellion against Me is wrong. Those who continue in their rebellion will die spiritually and eternally.
- Because all will be born into a state of rebellion, it is only My Grace that will ensure that some humans get what they don’t deserve (life in eternal paradise) while My Mercy will ensure that those same humans don’t get what they do deserve (eternal separation from Me).
- They will know My Patience because I will persist in blessing those who continue in evil, until all those who are going to receive My merciful salvation have turned from their rebellion.
- They will know My Love in that I, in the form of My Son, will forgive evil by taking my own punishment and suffering my own wrath for the horrible act of continued rebellion against a Creator God who is perfectly pure, holy, righteous, just, merciful, slow to anger, filled with great patience, filled with grace and abounding in Love.
. I will rescue those who are not looking for Me, love those who hate Me, and make peace with those who are My enemies.
. The rebellious cannot complain because they are in fact guilty of rebellion. The saved cannot boast because they have done nothing to deserve salvation.
. It is My right to declare and uphold the terms and conditions of My creation.
The real question then is not, "Why did God create hundreds of millions of people who are destined to be eternally separated from Him?" The real question to be asked is:
Why Did God Create and Then Save For Eternity in Paradise,
Hundreds of Millions of People
Who Should Have Been Eternally Separated From Him.