Monday, December 10, 2012

What if Hate were the Mark of the Beast?

We've all heard of the end times prophecy of people taking the mark of the beast to pledge allegiance to the anti-Christ. There are many good studies on this topic and this is not one of them.  I only am asking to consider the question, what if taking the mark was as simple as allowing yourself to hate someone or some group of people. What if being rallied by the popular hate of the day is all it takes to put you under the spell and control of the Devil? If hate is the mark, have you taken it?  Have you put it at the center of your head? Have you marked your hand with it?

It seems to me that, while the Holy Spirit is on the move in this world, so is Hate.  It has become so popular today to hate.  Hate the Christians. Hate the atheists. Hate the press. Hate talk radio.  Hate the Republicans. Hate the Democrats.  Hate the rich.  They have to pay! 

Take the last one for example. Why would so many insist on raising taxes on "the rich?"  Everyone who examines the issue knows it will not solve anything.  It will not increase revenue to the government. Even if it would defy all previous proofs in history and bring in money to the government, it would at best cover expenses of our government for only 8 days and will surely cost jobs with small business.  So why the insistence on getting everyone in Washington to join in with this destructive path?

Hate may not be the mark of the beast but it is most certainly a very powerful tool for manipulation and maybe it's only the first little hook or rallying flag for the armies of people who WILL take the mark when the time comes.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Why don't they listen to my good advice?

Something I have just learned about trying to share the truth with others, knowing what is true is only half the battle.  In fact if sharing the truth is the battle, knowing it only brings you to the battlefield and showing up is no guarantee of success.  There is a lot of good study out there on putting on the whole armor of God.  If I am going into battle with only truth than I am showing up on the battlefield in only a belt. Even if I bring a shield of Faith and a shining breastplate of righteousness I still have no means to engage anyone.

In a very practical sense, just having something to say does not mean those who need to hear it will listen. Even if I am a perfect sphere of knowledge, I will not be able to make anything more than a deflecting contact with any other body. Spheres do not stack nor connect in any way. In fact they are only able to stay still on the most level of surfaces.  What are the chances of finding someone who is that level?

To go at someone with only knowledge of what is right, even if well-intentioned, will only be perceived as an attack or challenge to fight or flee from.  If you tell a child in an urgent tone, "don't touch that, it is hot" you most often will cause that child to cry.  This response is part of our nature and does not go away as we get older. It only becomes more sophisticated.

So what then is the solution?  Continuing with what Ephesians tells us, there is no better tool to have than "the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God." So if I sharpen my knowledge of God's word, the bible, I will be more empowered to pierce the defenses other put up to resist hearing the truth.

However it was Ephesians 6:15 that spoke to me; "And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;" that is to say, recognize and apply the grace that God has shown me to allow me to be at peace with Him. We are all unworthy sinners incapable of making ourselves right with God but it is the gospel of peace, the way at which God gave us His Son as a new covenant, that cleared our debt.  This is what keeps us humble.  It grounds us to the reality of our own earthly origins and it is a direct connection with all of mankind.

A connection must be made before any sharing of truth and this is not just a connection with most people, it is the connection with everyone.  For sharing of information, a conversation, to take place both parties must be engaged otherwise I am alone on the battlefield.  I must first engage the other party, not with what I do know, but with what I don't know.  I am not a sphere of knowledge.  A sphere is only turned in on itself.  The truth I have cannot be changed but it also cannot be shared from within a sphere.  I must be open to new knowledge and new truths.  If new information challenges my truth, I will face that challenge with the full armor of God.

Recently I had been frustrated at my inability to share what I believe to be helpful information.  I asked myself why they avoided hearing what I had to say.  I wrongly focused on the other party.  I had learned a lesson a while back that I was stubbornly not applying to myself; "Therefore shall you lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul,..." (Deuteronomy 11:18)  In other words, God's word is for me, not the other party.  This should have been so obvious to me when I heard a sermon on Mathew 7:3, you know, "...the plank in your own eye..."  I remember pointing out the irony of that sermon; whenever it's given it is so well received that everyone who hears it can think of someone it their life it applies to.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

God doesn't answer "multiple choice" prayers

God doesn't answer "multiple choice" prayers.  Well that is to say He will answer the prayer, but it likely will not be one of the answers you had given Him to choose from.  This seems like a reasonable thing to say and I suspect most people would agree without even realizing that they themselves often give God a "multiple choice" prayer.

So could you be doing this without even knowing it?  Think about your prayers and the possible answers you are expecting.  Are they the kind of things God The Father would say?  Lets just put it in more simple terms.  Are they even the types of answers your father would give?  Okay, lets pretend your dad knows what you are talking about. My kids would tell you that is a stretch, but lets pretend.  Say for example you pray for an answer on what car to buy?  Would your father tell you Ford, Chevy, or Lexus or would he go on and on in excruciating detail about fuel economy, mechanical reliability, proper maintenance, and your budget.  And if your my kids you may also hear more than a few words about the good value of an old Volkswagen.  Now God may or may not have a preference for old VWs but He surely has little concern for the difference between Ford and Chevy (as hard as that is for some guys to hear.)

The point I am making, while rambling on in dad like fashion, is just like any dad, your Father in Heaven has certain things He is more concerned with and His answers tend to be centered around those things.  To better hear the answers to your prayers, get to know your Father a little better and listen for the kind of things He would say.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Why hide what you are doing?

Do all good work in the open light of day and do not fear what your enemies will use against you fore truth needs no shelter and lies need no foundation.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

God sends you Love this Valentine's Day

This is a time many are seeking Love. I know more than a few in my life that pray for it and maybe do so without understanding.  I have come to know that God does not wish us to be in the dark about anything especially something so dear and valuable as Love.  There are so many places in the Bible to learn about what Love but my favorite today is 2. Peter, chapter one begins speaking about what the knowledge of God brings us, including the ability to live more by "divine nature," that image of God were were made in, rather than the corrupt nature of this world, that clay of the earth of which we were made.  The path is spelled out to help us better know God and lead us exactly to where we all want to be.
But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 
2.Peter 1:5-7 

Saturday, February 11, 2012