Monday, June 30, 2008

U.S. to bomb Iran

From CNN online:

Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador in Baghdad, denied covert U.S. raids were being launched from Iraq into Iran. "I can tell you flatly that U.S. forces are not operating across the Iraqi border into Iran, in the south or anywhere else," Crocker said.

Translation - U.S. forces are sending covert operations across the Iragi border into southern Iran and everywhere else.

Good Grief - I’m Rich!!!

“All I’ve ever wanted was enough.”
“All I want is just a little bit more.”
“The one who dies with the most toys wins.”

All of these express common thoughts about various people’s beliefs regarding wealth. The last one, while a common cliche was actually said to me in a tone of fervent belief by someone whose marriage was falling apart because of his excessive spending. Well, I’m writing today with the purpose of promoting the attitude that wealth is great and I’m going to tell you how to get wealthy.

Fact: I am richer than Richard Branson, or Rupert Murdock or that American with the really goofy hairdo, ummm Trump, Donald Trump. I am in fact richer than any other multi billionaire that you can think of. I know that I’m richer than they are because:
. I have enough and they don’t.
. I’m contented and they aren’t.
. I’m at peace and they aren’t.
. All my needs are met and their’s aren’t.
. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, my future is secure
Theirs is not.

Fact: You can be just a wealthy as I am.

All it takes to be as rich as you can possibly get is a change of direction.

Fact: Everything that you can accumulate on this earth will rot, rust, decay, get lost, get stolen or in some way disappoint. No “thing” no “bling” that this world advertises as precious or important is able to live up to it’s billing as being able to satisfy. Even the best of relationships, over time, fail to meet our dreams and expectations.

Fact: There is an alternative that more than delivers on its promises. There is one relationship that gives more than we ever dream possible. Jesus brings a wealth of all that is important regardless of circumstance. Jesus is the secret of contentment in all situations.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Bible says - THAT ?

Science tells us that everything in the universe that begins has a Beginner
Just like the Bible says

Science tells us that the universe had a beginning -
Just like the Bible tells says

Science tells us that what is seen is made up of what is not seen -
Just like the Bible says
(How did the writers of that old book know this fact? Microscopes didn’t come into being until the 15th century.)

Science tells us that everything that is seen and unseen was brought into being by a force that is unseen -
Just like the Bible says

Science tells us that everything is held together by some force - yet unknown
Just like the Bible says, although the Bible goes on to Name that force

Science tells us that the laws of physics were brought into existence by some force that operates outside the laws of physics (our present day definition of a miracle) -
Just like that Bible says

Science tells us that early humans at some point were driven out of Africa to populate the rest of the world -
Just like the Bible says

Science tells us that early humans were vegetarian and only later became meat eaters -
Just like the Bible says

Science tells us that cultures from around the globe have an oral history of a catastrophic flood -
Just like the Bible says

Science tells us that climate change and warming of the oceans is the cause of deeply perplexing and fearful storms erupting around the globe -
Just like the Bible says

Science tells us that every human on the face of the earth is morally flawed
Just like the Bible says

As a Christian it’s more than a little ironic with just a pinch of amusing to watch as human “discoveries” expose the Truths of that Bronze Age Book.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Does it really matter?

I saw this comment on another blog
“those who push an exclusive brand of religion (meaning one way of salvation) do not speak for a majority of American Christians.”

I saw that and thought, Does it really matter what the majority of ANYONE thinks? If what Jesus said about salvation is true, then the only thing that matters is what He taught about salvation to His followers.

One of the biggest differences between what Jesus Christ taught, and what other religious leaders have taught, is that Jesus made it perfectly clear that there is nothing we can DO to merit salvation. John 6:28,29 - Then they asked Him, what must we do, to do the works God requires? Jesus answered, “The work of God is this, to believe in the one He has sent.”

All other religions, and even some cults that call themselves Christian, have at least some form of “Good Works” as a base for one’s entrance into paradise. Contrast that with the following teaching of Jesus the Christ:

Mark 16:16 - Jesus said, “Those who believe in Me and are baptized will be saved but those who refuse to believe in Me will be condemned.” (You would think, wouldn't you, that believing in Jesus would entail believing what He taught?)

John 1:12,13 - Jesus said, “Unless you are born again, you can never get into the kingdom of heaven.” There is no eternal doom awaiting those who trust Him save them. But those who don’t trust Him have already been tried and condemned for not believing in the only Son of God.

John 3:3 - “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”

John 3:16-18 - “God loves so much that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe in him stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

John 5:24 - Jesus said, “I say emphatically that anyone who listens to My message and believes in God who sent me has eternal life and will NEVER be damned for his sins. He has crossed from death into life.”

John 6:40 - “For my Father’s will is that every one who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”

John 8:24 - Jesus said, “For unless you believe that I am the Son of God, the Messiah, you will die in your sins.”

John 14:6 - “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Acts 13:38,39 - In this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins. Everyone who trusts in Him is freed from all guilt and declared righteous.

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.

Romans 9:32 - Because they were trying to be saved by keeping the law and being good instead of by depending on faith, they have stumbled over that great stumbling stone, Jesus.

Galatians 2:19 - It was through reading the Bible that I came to realize that I could never find God’s favour by trying and failing to obey the law. I came to realize that acceptance with God comes by believing in Christ.

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 (the majority of American christians). They will be punished in everlasting hell, forever separated from the Lord, never to see the glory of His power.

That verse is saying that the fate of atheists and apatheists ("those who do not wish to know God) as well as those who reject Jesus' plan of salvation will be identical. One group is no better off than the other. Both are guilty of thumbing their noses at the One who came to earth in an attempt to provide a means for their salvation. And He prophesied, "I and My teaching will be the great stumbling stone." These groups of people are fulfilling that prophecy.

You might be asking at this point, “How could something so negative as this last verse come from a loving God?” The fact is, God is completely Holy. Nothing less than complete Holiness can come into His presence. But we are separated from His Holiness by our sinful nature, and neither good works, nor religion, nor a moral life can fix that. Only the atoning work of God’s Son, who is also Holy, can do what we can not.

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 think of it this way. How many of the chef’s pubic hairs do you need to see on your order of food before you wouldn’t eat the meal?

You see, the size of or the amount of dirt is not the issue. The issue is the presence of dirt.

The question then IS NOT ‘why does God condemn some people’? The question is, ‘Why doesn’t He condemn all of us?’ Jesus warns us that all of us start out this life deserving of eternal separation from God? John 3:18 Yet because a survey suggests that "a majority of American christians" say that Jesus didn't know what He was talking about the rest of us should follow their lead? How stupid is that?

There are not many ways of resolving our sin problem. There is only one way. The Son of God was murdered - by you and by me. Washing your hands and praying a certain number of times per day will not serve as true justice for that horrendous act of violence. Placing food or fake money in front of an idol will not be a punishment that fits the crime. Promising to be as good as you can will not make things alright. Bathing in a certain river or pretending that Jesus doesn’t exist will not right this wrong. We all deserve condemnation, but He who was without sin became sin for our sake, for our salvation, and saying "So what?" or "His sacrificial death was meaningless" probably won’t help your situation any.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Intensely in love with Self

Do you see yourself as a better driver or a worse driver than most people?

When you see a group photo of which you are a part, what do you look at to judge whether it’s a good picture or not?

You’re backing out of a parking spot. Someone drives right behind you forcing you to slam on the brakes. Who do you believe should be yielding to the other? How about when you’re driving in a parking lot and someone else is backing out of their spot right in front of you?

When a relationship has ended, whose fault is it, yours or theirs?

That’s called self-love.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

“I Hate Divorce.” Malachi 2:16

It never fails to amaze me how Christian couples (I'm not talking about secular marriages) point to the Bible to justify breaking up their family through divorce. They are quick to point out that God (who said by the way, “I hate divorce"), allowed divorce in cases of adultery. What these people fail to add, or choose to ignore is that He allows divorce because such people have “hard and evil hearts.”

Good grief, what an admission! Wouldn’t you rather change your character than admit to such a fault? Wouldn’t you? Of course, neither partner in a struggling marriage see ourselves as the one with the hard heart. Do we? In our eyes it’s always the other spouse who is the despicable mate.

Even when you listen to a person who has become attracted to someone who’s been divorced, it never occurs to that person that maybe they’re being attracted to a real schmuck. So enthralled and flattered are we when someone is attracted to US that to think there might be something fundamentally wrong with that person is beyond comprehension. So, people believe the smooth words of the one to whom they’re attracted, the one who’s convincingly explaining that it was h/her spouse who was the reason for the divorce.

Truth is, there are only three reasons for divorce.
. Either you are a very poor judge of character
. Or you are poor marriage material.
. Or both

And that is why Jesus says, If you get a divorce (and you might have to because living with a hard and evil heart can be dangerous) don’t get married again - AND don’t marry someone who has been divorced. Jesus is trying to protect us from experiencing and/or inflicting more harm. He’s trying to protect our children from being dragged through other dysfunctional relationships, relationships upon which they will model their future relationships.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

God’s Love Crowds Out Evil Desires

Christianity isn't based on "doing" the right kinds of things. Christianity isn't based on "acting" like the right kind of person. Living the Christian life is an inside job. That’s where the Pharisees got it so wrong. It drove Jesus around the bend that they couldn’t get it through their heads (hearts actually) that keeping rules and adhering to do’s and don’t’s do not a Godly person make. Over and over and over Jesus said, “You have heard it said (names a rule) but I say (gives and example of a God driven nature or attitude).”

The Old and New Testaments are perfect examples of what counsellors do all the time. First, like the Old Testament, the counsellor highlights what isn’t working, hasn’t worked and never will work. If the client disagrees, the counsellor gets them to keep doing the current behaviours longer and harder until the truth begins to sink in.

God gave to people exactly what they wanted and thought they needed - lots and lots of rules or guidelines. Oh sure, many people say they hate rules. That's not true. What they mean is, they hate other people’s rules, but they go right out and make up a list of their own regarding how they should behave. And in reality, God’s Older Testament rules were unique for the time when compared to the societies that surrounded the Israelites. He said, “You want to please Me by keeping rules like all your pagan neighbours? Well here’s the set that I want you to keep. Knock yourselves out." As we know, they didn’t and couldn’t keep the rules and God wasn’t pleased.

The only thing that rules, or God’s law can do is show us how we can’t keep God’s law. The Law can only show us how far we are from where we need to be.

Once our failure to get what we want by doing what we’re doing is firmly entrenched, the counsellor or in this case, the New Testament God provides a better way; a way that will work.

It’s the same with changing our character. We can’t do it through hard work or discipline or coming up with our own set of rules. Of course these things will take us part way but they can never do the job the way it needs to be done. That’s why Jesus seems to be so irritated throughout the Old Testament. He can hardly believe that we don’t get it. Keeping rules, does not produce faith. Only faith in Creator God produces the ability to do what’s right. A changed heart produces a new character. Filling our souls with a love of God forces out our pride, arrogance, and corrupted self-love. These are the things that are forever making us stumble in our efforts to become better people. Love, God’s love crowds out evil.

George Carlin on Censorship

"Censorship that comes from the outside assumes about people an inability to make reasoned choices."

An inability to make reasoned choices. Hmm, you mean like the making, selling and buying of snuff movies, or child porn, or any porn or videos that demean women or sitcoms that mock healthy relationships or a pop culture that sexualizes our children for no other reason than to make money off their souls, and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on . . .

Carlin was such a loser idiot!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Jesus and Dreams

The beauty of having a healed relationship with and being a follower of Jesus is that when morning comes, my night dreams might end but the realisation of my life's dreams have just begun anew.

God Help Us!

There is something kind of interesting happening with the new generation of Christians that I see for counselling. The good news is, they know that we aren’t saved by being obedient to God. The bad, sad and down right weird news is that they can’t think of any other reason why they should be obedient to God. So how does this play out in real life? That too is very strange.

Using the example of a marriage that’s going south, the behaviours of the couple, a couple that self identifies as “Christian” remember, will be to: Hurt and be hurt, be Unkind, Impatient, Not forgiving, Easily angered, Self-seeking, Not trusting, Keeping a record of wrongs, Mocking and Sarcasm and then (Here’s the strange part) they’ll express anger toward God for not giving them a peaceful and happy marriage.

If this is how Christians act and react then God help us all.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Insanity? Could be.

This morning I smiled with pleasure to see that gas had dropped to $1.40 / litre. There is something wrong with this picture.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sacking Christianity in under 5 minutes

For awhile I believed that those 17 teenagers who all thought that getting pregnant at the same time would be a really great idea were the stupidest people on the planet. I guess not. I saw a YouTube post a couple days ago. It proves that there are at least two people who are even dumber. First, the atheist who showed off his "brilliance" on YouTube and second the person who tried to promote this nonsense on her blog. My impression of what the kid on YouTube had to say?

Spoken like a true intellectual infant. The thing about atheists who make these kinds of arguments, the thing that is so striking is their naivety, puerility and dulled thinking. Sure they're proud and arrogant. Show me an atheist who isn't. ("I'll do away with the idea of a Creator God in five minutes?" Paleez!!)

Regardless, it's their pride and arrogance in the face of overly simplistic thinking that makes the irony of all this so sweet. People like this kid are so confident in their intelligence that they fail to ask the most important question of all. It's a question that is sitting right under their noses and they can't even conceive of its existence.

Like teenagers who think they alone have discovered the joys of sex, these narcissistic personality disordered individuals seem to think that they are the only ones who have grappled with these issues. Atheists trot out their thoughts on omnipotence and omniscience, justice and free-will choice as though no one else has sat up at night sorting these things out. And what these self-absorbed people really can't conceive of happening is that billions of people, considered by the atheist as h/her inferior have come upon an explanation to this pseudo dilemma. In sweet justice, it's those who are destined to die as God's enemies who will never understand this simple explanation; an explanation that makes perfect sense once you hear it.

For what it's worth, I'm certainly not going to push that particular pearl onto the individuals represented in that blog.

Beyond that, the beauty of being in an intimate, healed and forgiven relationship with Creator God is that He explains to anyone with the ability to hear:
- I will rescue those who are not looking for Me,
- I will love those who hate Me, and
- I will make peace with those who are My enemies while showing to them the enormity of My Grace and Mercy as contrasted by the destruction of those who deserve destruction. Romans 10:22,23.
- The rebellious cannot complain because they are in fact guilty of rebellion.
- The saved cannot boast because they have done nothing to deserve salvation.

Narrow minded atheists ask: "Why did God create billions of people who are destined to be eternally separated from Him?"

Open minded people ask: "Why did God, in the form of His Son Jesus forgive evil by taking His own punishment and suffering His 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? Why did God provide a path to forgiveness for every human being on earth since we are all guilty of participating in the murder of His Son Jesus? More than that: Why is God saving for eternity in paradise, Billions of people who should have been eternally separated from Him?

That is love!!!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Stop trying to produce peaches!

My goal as an peach tree is not to try to make peaches appear on my branches. My goal as an peach tree is to be the healthiest peach tree that I can be, and by doing that, I naturally and without effort produce peaches. By being a healthy peach tree, I don’t produce Strychnine. I don’t produce Marijuana. I don’t produce Poppy seeds and I don’t produce Thorns. By diligently taking in the water and nutrients that a peach tree needs I produce good fruit because that is my destiny. If I receive what I need to grow, I can do no other.

As a Christian, my goal is not to produce both a civil and religious law abiding person. It is not to produce someone who goes about the day doing good things. Being a Christian doesn’t mean that I set out each morning to sound and act like Jesus the Christ. Rather, by imbibing the nature of Jesus, by acknowledging and interacting with Jesus throughout the day, by walking and talking and breathing and existing “in Jesus name” I naturally produce an obedience to the laws of Jesus the Christ as well as the laws of the land. Taking in the former means that producing the latter requires no effort at all. In fact, I can do no other. It's become my destiny.

The only thing that the Law of God can do is point out where and in whom the nature of God is not present. It can do nothing more than that. Jesus and only Jesus is able to produce in us the kind of character that gives off the aroma of Jesus’ nature.

Focussing on having the right shape, colour, smell, size or texture will not allow just any tree to produce good peaches. One must first be a peach tree. Just the same, trying to appear to have the right thoughts, words and behaviours will not make you a Christian. Sooner or later what is really “in there” will leak out and let the truth be known. If you are not filled with the Spirit of your Creator, sooner or later your thorns will poke the innocent. Sooner or later your poison will kill those you love.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Jesus was brilliant!!!

You know the story. Some of the best thinkers of the day sat captivated and enthralled for three days by a twelve-year-old Jesus.

True, something similar happens every once in awhile down through history. You see it every so often in the headlines:
“Youngest professor ever.”
“Is this the new Einstein?”
“Graduate School completed by age 14,” and so on.

Jerusalem, at the time of Jesus was as cosmopolitan as any city in the world today. It was a major centre in the Roman empire and visitors from many lands flocked to Jerusalem for commerce, philosophical discussions, religious meetings, and to seek out the latest advances and discoveries in the known world. Brilliant minds were not in short supply.

When Jesus spoke, He didn’t reference His comments to other great thinkers. When our Creator graced the earth in human form, He spoke as one “who possessed authority.” It doesn’t matter whether the individual is a sceptic or a follower of Jesus, historical scholars of all stripes acknowledge the profound nature of the insights and comments of Jesus of Nazareth.

So, if He was so smart why didn't Jesus address society's greatest needs?

Actually He did. Our greatest need is not more pleasure or more money or more science or more technology. We don't need a better promoter or more education. While those things are fine and dandy, while none of those things are wrong in and of themselves, they are not our deepest need. Our deepest need is forgiveness. Our deepest need is an ability to transform the character with which we are born. We desperately need a Saviour. We need someone who can deal with our guilt and for that reason and that reason alone Jesus, our Creator, the most brilliant, enlightened, spiritual, and intellectually gifted person to ever exist walked planet earth. He came to brilliantly spread the good news of His gift of life eternal.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Who Needs Christianity?

From CNN online - "Police killed a 27-year-old man as he kicked, punched and stomped a toddler to death despite other people's attempts to stop him on a dark, country road, authorities said.

"It's been a long night of wondering, 'Why?' - not only for the officers and the passers-by who stopped and tried to help out, but for anyone. Why would somebody do this?" Singh said."

There are idiots out there who will say, “Incidents like this prove there isn’t any God.”

Incidents like this prove nothing of the kind. What they do prove is that God is willing to give us what we want and when we don’t want God involved in our lives, in our marriages, in our schools, in our communities and in our world THIS is what we get. Idiots would like to blame incidents like this on poverty or lack of education or on God Himself.

Because people don’t care about history, especially as it relates to the influence of Jesus, they cannot help but fail to note that even 50 years ago, our nation didn’t have kids going into schools with guns and killing their classmates. We didn’t have the majority of children living in homes where their parents either refused to or were incapable of getting along. We didn’t have millions of abortions because we didn’t have millions of people screwing around. We didn’t have road rage and we didn’t have child porn and we didn’t have high, high, high rates of depression and anxiety and we didn’t have high, high, rates of suicide. And what we mostly didn’t have 50 years ago was high percentage of the population who either didn’t believe in God or if they did believe in God they didn’t struggle with finding reasons to obey Him or make Him relevant in their lives.

Atheism is achieving it's goal and our children are reaping the consequences.

What we didn’t have 50 years ago was a high percentage of the population rejecting Christianity and thereby placing their allegiance with satan. When a large percentage of the population does that, what you see is what you get.

[The] couple saw the man beating the toddler behind his truck and throwing the child on the ground. He was punching, slapping, kicking, stomping, shaking," Singh said. "They tried to intervene and get involved, but their efforts really didn't have an effect. The suspect was engaged in what he was doing. He just pushed them off and went back to it."

Sunday, June 15, 2008

No one like Him

The teachings of Jesus are "the most powerful moral level that has ever been applied to the affairs of man." W.E.G. Lecky

Friday, June 13, 2008

Jesus Moves Among Us

Even today, Jesus is moving among the crowds dispensing grace to those who long for forgiveness, healing the wounds of the abused, washing the rejected with waves of mercy and giving the gift of His presence to those who long for emotional peace.

Jesus is doing today what He did while in physical form on earth 2,000 years ago. In the slums, in the poorest sections of the world, to the rejected, despised and to those whom the world considers least in the earthly kingdom, Jesus is spreading contentment and hope. He is giving strength to those the world considers not worth helping. He is spiritually feeding those whom the wealthy and powerful do not even notice. Jesus is showing those with eyes that see and telling those with ears that hear that no one is beyond His ability to bless. From now until He comes again, the doors of His Kingdom are open to all who wish to enter. Jesus welcomes those who are willing to admit they cannot help themselves.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Just a little backwards

"I’m going to provide a means for your forgiveness
- NOT when you ask for it
- NOT when you’ve proven yourself worthy of it
- NOT when you stop being my enemy,
But before you even know that you are in need of it."

. Who does that?
. Who loves us in spite of our raging against him?
. Who offers forgiveness to those who, by all worldly standards don’t deserve forgiveness?
. Who says “I will make it possible for you to be at peace with me,” even as the person is about to be killed by his enemy?

Only Creator God, that’s who.

Only Creator God offers, without condition, forgiveness to everyone. He does this knowing in advance that most people will abuse and reject this most awesome example of Grace. And why do some people reject God’s offer of forgiveness? Because in their minds, they don’t need it. They compare down to those whose behaviours are worse and pronounce themselves not guilty; or at least not very guilty.

If I think that I’ve done no wrong, if I’m offended by the mere suggestion that I am guilty, how can I possibly accept an offer of forgiveness? These type of people can’t think of any reason why God shouldn’t be thrilled to have them in heaven for eternity, even if it’s against their earthly wish.

Yet the offer remains.

All that’s needed to receive this forgiveness is for you to reach out an accept it. And with that acceptance comes freedom; freedom from real guilt, freedom from the power of evil, freedom to love as you have been loved.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Christianity gives to others.

The following is a quote from CNN online a couple weeks ago. It is describing the terrible penalties exacted by Hindus upon those of a lower cast.

"Dalits are seen to pollute higher caste people if they come in touch with them, hence the 'untouchables,'" the group says on its Web site. "If a higher caste Hindu is touched by, or even had a Dalit's shadow fall across them, they consider themselves to be polluted and have to go through a rigorous series of rituals to be cleansed."

What a difference between Hindu dogma and Christianity!
. Those who love Jesus go to India to meet the desperate needs of Dalits.
. Those who love Jesus give to those whom Hinduism rejects.
. Those who love Jesus give to those whom Islam rejects.
. Those who love Jesus give to those whom Buddhists reject because in Buddhism, If it isn’t my problem, then, well, it isn’t my problem.
. Those who love Jesus give to those who hate Christians.
. Those who love Jesus give of themselves.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

What? No life on Mars?

“It is likely that conditions were not favourable to life evolving on Mars.” That seems to be an increasingly common stream of thought on blogs about Mars. Too bad these scientists haven’t asked the opinion of Richard Dawkins. He, for one, would take exception to such nonsense. As Ricky and his pals have stated, if the conditions on earth had been different, then a different type of life would have evolved on earth. That is why, according to Dawkins, there are "billions" of planets throughout the universe where life has evolved from non life, and billions more where such an event is about to take place even as we speak. That is why it’s nonsense to say that there isn’t any life on Mars. In fact, to atheists like Richard Dawkins, life evolving from non-life is such a ubiquitous occurrence that there cannot NOT be life on Mars. As one blogger stated today, Now that we’re on Mars “Imagine the possibilities!”

Or for those of us who choose to live in reality, and shun the blind faith of Richard Dawkins and his ilk, Landing at any spot on Mars and scooping up evidence of life is like landing at any spot on earth and not scooping up evidence of life.

Of course it's possible that our Creator began life on more than just our planet. It is possible. Nevertheless, it would be great if we could put resources toward ending hunger and fighting HIV here on earth. Instead, spending trillions to prove abiogenesis is far more important to a certain segment of earth's population.

Truth is Jesus, I don’t get it!

All of us are trying to figure out our existence on earth. All of us are trying to figure out how to make this life work to our advantage. There’s nothing wrong with that. We’d have to be dead to not do that. Whether you’re into astrology, Christianity, atheism, religion or disorganised spirituality, survival of the species (self) is the name of the game.

What’s really weird about Christianity is that we don’t have to look out for ourselves in order to survive. We don’t have to put ourselves first in order to succeed. We don’t have to do it our way in order to win at this game. God’s blessings are given regardless of our “doings.” In fact, the only things that we need to focus on to win in life is “Love God and Love others.” Jesus said, “Do that and everything else will be given to you.”

“Ya but,” someone will say, “that’s doing something in order to get something.”

No actually it isn’t. Our doing for God and for others is not to get something from God but out of gratitude for what He has already done for us.

. Out of His love for us He has already provided for our salvation.

. Out of His love for us He has already provided for our eternity in heaven.

. Out of His love for us He has already provided a means of rescue from eternity in Hell.

. Out of His love for us He has already provided a means for our transformation in character.

This concept is seen in Jesus’ most famous teaching, the Sermon on the Mount. Here we clearly see that God’s blessings of Himself and His kingdom are anything but a reward or a result of being poor in spirit, and meek, and peacemakers and humble or for those seeking God. The presence of Jesus, and the acceptance into His kingdom is offered to anyone and everyone. Especially, His gift of grace is bestowed on those of us most unlikely to be seen as worthy. Just because that's who God is.

It is only upon realising, “You, God, did that for me?!!!” it is only when we are blown away by the reality that we are loved beyond imagination or desire that we abdicate the throne of our lives and turn our lives over to our Creator. We accept His leading, His direction, His concern, His love.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Monday, June 9, 2008

We Don’t Mourn As Those Who Have No Hope

I’m not going to die.

In fact, I can’t die and neither can you. Oh sure, this body will die. At the time of your death however, you will simply transit into the next stage of life. In 2nd Corinthians, Paul explains that at the moment of death, we who are disciples of Jesus “will be away from our body and at home with our Lord.” Of course this means that those who hate the very thought of God ‘will be away from their body and at home with lucifer or satan - for eternity.’ Matthew 25:46.

Where did Paul get the idea that we’d never die? From the Master Himself. In John 11:26 Jesus is recorded as saying, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though his body dies. Whoever lives and believes in Me will never die.” And in John 8:51 Jesus taught, “I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps My word, he will never see death.” The most famous verse of course is John 3:16 - “God loves people so much that He sent His one and only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not die but have every lasting life.”

Not bad huh? “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs all our troubles.” 2nd Corinthians 4:16,17.

Mmm, God is good.

Friday, June 6, 2008

I’ll Trade Heaven For Sex?

Many years ago I was working with a couple people who were very new to Christianity. They were also involved in a type of relationship that they knew to be spoken against in the Bible. This of course was not the only sin that these two people were into but it was the most obvious and the most troublesome for them. We went back and forth about God, His love for us, the whys of His guidelines, His acceptance of who us but not of all our behaviours etc. We talked about what Jesus taught regarding sexuality and they agreed that they would not be able to justify or defend their relationship before Him. Nevertheless, they were not about to quit that part of their friendship.

Their main point seemed to be that our sexual longings can be held in check only at the risk of losing a life worth living. At one point I asked them, “If something happened to my wife through illness or accident whereby she would no longer be able to function sexually, what should I do? Would I be justified to go out and find “sexual fulfilment” with someone else? Doesn’t your understanding of what Jesus taught show that He might very well ask me to forgo that area of my life while I’m in that kind of relationship?”

“Well, yes,” they allowed.

“Well, isn’t that what He is asking you as well?”

Instantly and in unison they loudly whined, “But that’s not fair?”

Understand that these two people came to me because their understanding of the Bible led them to believe that Jesus did not sanction, more than that, He forbade the type of relationship to which they were committed. They were looking for another opinion and I agreed that they had read and interpreted the teachings of Jesus correctly.
Both of these people left the Church. They left their relationship with Jesus. They left, at least according to Jesus, any chance of spending eternity with Him. All for a few years of third-rate relationships here on earth. They decided to trade one thing for another. Both have had several other relationships come and go since that time.

If my counselling practise is any indication, I would have to say that what is perceived to be freedom, in general, and “sexual freedom” specifically is the main reason for people turning their backs on eternity in Paradise. Of course they delude themselves into believing that as long as they’re as good as they can be in other areas of their lives, or at least not as bad as some people, God will look the other way while they thumb their noses at Him in this area.

While sex may be the most common area of rebellion, “trading down” can and does fall into almost any aspect of life. Some do it because they long to be wealthy and can only envision becoming rich through dishonest means. Some turn away from God because they want to leave their spouse and begin living with someone else’s husband or wife. Most people leave behind the chance of salvation under the broad heading of “I’m not going to be accountable to anyone, up to and including my Creator.”
I find that profoundly sad. Reality is, sin makes us stupid. It blinds us to the future. It makes us almost incapable of weighing the consequences of our actions. This is what usually happens when trying to compute whether we should or should not do something in the face of dire warnings. We think:

1) It won’t happen.

2) If it does happen, it won’t happen to me.

3) If it does happen to me it won’t be as bad as they say.

4) If it does happen to me and it’s as bad as they say, there wasn’t anything that I could have done about it anyway.

. We can see examples of this in people who begin or continue to smoke in the face of overwhelming evidence that it’s harmful to us and to those who must live with us.

. We can see examples of this in people who have unprotected sex in an age of skyrocketing rates of STD’s.

. We can see examples of this in our extravagant consumption of non renewable resources.

. We can see examples of this in how we allow, encourage and support the sexualization of our children.

Something that is common in the lives of those who have chosen to dabble in Christianity is that they say, “Lord I love you. I’ll follow you anywhere. I’ll do whatever you ask of me.”

And God says, “Oh really?”

That is when He opens our eyes to the astonishing reality that what we currently long for and count on are more important to us than eternity in Paradise. Jesus says, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:13,14.

The small gate and narrow road symbolise a willingness and a desire to obey Jesus, who said, “The one who loves me is the one who obeys me.”

The choice is placed before us, and as Matthew 7:13 tells us, most people choose this blink of existence on earth over eternity with Jesus.

Are you that foolish? Will you trade eternity in Paradise for relationships that are destined for failure anyway?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

I Had To Do It

“I was driven to prostitution.”

“There was no option but to steal.”

“I had no choice. It was him or me.”

“It was deal drugs or let my babies starve to death.”

“I didn’t want to treat her like that, but she made me angry.”

All these and more are common reasons for the criminal and destructive ways in which we destroy ourselves, our families and our communities. People are convinced that they must do things that break the law and break the lives of those around them. Like a drunk who believes that he “fell off the wagon” because he lost his job, or got a job, lost his money or found some money, because his favourite team lost, or won, or because . . .

Well, no. He drinks because he has alcoholism.

And isn’t it true that we do crime or treat people badly or use people for our personal gain because we have a corrupt soul? We don’t have to do it. It's not because of what they did. It's because of who we are. We’d rather do the wrong thing than risk doing the right thing. Do you really believe that everyone who is out of work “has” to turn to crime? Surely not. Do you really believe that one’s only option is to take the life of another person in order to find freedom? What we are saying when we do wrong is that we’d rather take part in this destructive behaviour because that is who we've become. Our actions betray our hearts.

One of the most amazing things about putting Jesus first in one’s life is the discovery that pain and suffering and loss no longer have the power to rule out or negate the presence of joy and peace. One of the most amazing things about putting Jesus first in one’s life is the discovery that suffering and loss no longer have the ability to drive us to do wrong things. Putting Jesus first in one’s life means that the dreaded “what if” no longer controls us.

There is a saying that I heard long ago, “Maturity is when you no longer have to do what you want to do.” Living as a friend of Jesus opens one’s eyes to the realisation that you no longer have to do wrong things in order to succeed in life. Doing good, being good, experiencing good, being immersed in the goodness of your Creator is always an option when you know beyond a shadow of doubt that you are loved by God.

When you know that you’re loved by God, you don’t have to do it.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I'm very Spiritual

“I’m a spiritual person,” says one. “I’m a VERY spiritual person,” says another. Mistaking sensuality for spirituality, yet another person describes how lying in a warm tub of water with candles all around “feels so spiritual.”

Reality is, we don’t just feel spiritual or conjure up spirituality. We ARE spiritual beings and nothing or no one can change that, not now, not for eternity. We are souls inhabiting physical bodies; souls that are no less real than our bodies. Our souls are as real and as imperceptible to our senses as a thought or a wish, yet more powerful than either. Nothing that we experience in our daily lives has come about in the absence of someone’s thought or desire. Our soul or our will provides the power to make it so. Our freedom of expression, our creativity, our self-determination drives our physical bodies. Nothing in life is more admired than that which comes from our soul, from who we are and what we create.

God is a self-determined Creating Soul, who dwells in a Trinitarian community from which all other souls have their origin.

Our soul, our will, our self-determinism is what separates us from all other living things. We can determine to destroy our selves and everyone else, or we can determine to live and to nurture life in everyone else. No other species does this or is capable of doing this. Our soul, our will, our spiritual nature is what makes us human. It’s what makes us determined to go beyond survival in our daily activities. It is the soul that determines our relationship with God and it is the will, the nature of our soul that is either acceptable to God, or unacceptable to Him.

You are spiritual. What you are doing with that spirituality is the crucial question. Are you moving in concert with your Creator? Is your soul anchored in a relationship with your Creator? Or have you turned away from your Creator so that you’re dancing with demons. Or perhaps your soul has set yourself up as a god? According to Jesus, the Creator of your soul, the One who’s own Soul or Spirit indwells believers in Him, He is the one who will determine your eternal destination based on either your allegiance to Him or your rebellion to and your turning away from Him.

Good luck on your journey.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Niacin Death Reignites Old Controversy

Saskatoon (Reuters)
"The unusual death of a Saskatchewan resident offers conclusive proof of spontaneous combustion." So says Duncan Saskatchewan Fire Chief Cheryl Nutter. "Apparently he was lying on this bed moaning about how hot he was when he just went up in a puff of smoke."

“All we know at this point,” declared fire investigator Chuck (Chucky) Abercrombie, “is that the cause of this unfortunate fire was pretty much natural in nature.”

Coroner Cindy Fisher stated at a hastily held press conference, “Apparently Mr. Holmgren burst into flames three to four minutes after consuming 1 (one) 100mg. tablet of Niacin. While it would have taken three to five minutes for Mr. Holmgren to die, he was heard shouting in a loud voice, “At least I won’t have to be taking that crap anymore.”

When asked for comment, Holmgren’s wife Wendy said, “I don’t understand. He loved hot sauce, especially with Dim Sum, but this Niacin brought out no end of complaining in that man. Guess it was hotter than I thought. Well, it’s good I got insurance. Even before Rod melted all over it, that bedroom carpet was real ugly.”

Five year old Jaida, who lives three doors down from the deceased, described Mr. Holmgren as a nice man, “but he looked real scary after taking his Niacin. My dad said that when Mr. Holmgren had taken his Niacin, he looked like he’d just been staked out naked in the desert sun for five days. He was just as red as this here tomato for a whole hour after taking his pills. That’s why we kids all called him Mr. Tomato Face. I even bet my friend Walker that old man Holmgren would start on fire one day. Now I wished I’d bet him more than just one ice-cream cone.”

While taking Niacin won't explain all cases of spontaneous combustion, we now know that in at least some cases, one tiny pill is all that it takes.