Archive for March, 2014

Oh Paul, So Stuck In Your Ways

I have been working through the daunting task of reading the writings of Paul.  He was used to spread the gospel to so many, and so far, but I have to say, that he should have set himself aside and his deeply engrained ways aside so he could simple preach Christ and Christ alone.  If he were just to echo all that Jesus said and did, if only.  But he does not, in fact for some reason in his writings he is often speaking things in direct contrast to what God said in Genesis, where God said “it is not good for man to be alone”, and indirectly, “Go forth and multiply”.

Specifically I am reading through 1 Corintians 7, and there is much said that I can not get on board with.  I understand that there is much that can be inferred into writings that is not there in the first place, but I can not help but get the feeling that there is a measure of arrogance as Paul speaks of marriage.  In 1 Corinthians 7:1 he starts by saying “Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman”.  Now maybe I am reading it wrong, maybe Paul is saying that they wrote to him saying it is good for a man not to touch a woman, and then he was addressing that, but without the quotes, it is left looking like Paul is saying this to them in response to the letter Paul received.  But here comes the touch of arrogance that starts weaving in; 1 Corinthians 7:5-9:

Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.  But I say this as a concession, not as a commandment.  For I wish that all men were even as I myself. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that.

But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am;  but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

I see parts of this as completely reasonable, and who am I to say that being able to be alone without issue is not a gift from God, but to say that it is only the lack of self-control that is a reason for a man and a woman to be married, that is not truth, as God himself said “it is not good for man to be alone” and then He created Eve for Adam as a helpmate.  Now people joke that in the garden, perhaps it was because Adam was looking at the animals a little funny (read, burning with passion), that God decided to create Eve, but that is not what is said.  I believe there are many reasons that it is good for a man to be married to a woman.  Just as God said, a helpmate, yes, I can absolutely say that my wife is the biggest human helper I know in my life.  She takes care of so many things, and with us working together so much more can be accomplished, yes, even so much more can be accomplished for God.

I was accepting of being alone for the rest of my life, but God knew better.  He knew I needed someone, even though it was not apparent yet.  I had not gotten seriously sick before, been without work before, bought a house before, or had a child before.  God knew what He had in store for me, and he knew I could not do it alone, and so He chose the perfect match for me, a self proclaimed freak, an oddball, so unique I could not relate with others.  I think differently, I act differently, I relate to people differently, and I see things differently than the majority of people I have met in this world.  He found a beautiful woman who would stand by me and support me no matter what.

I guess my main point is, people are not perfect, no matter if they have writings in the bible or not.  Paul was far from perfect, in fact, I have referred to him as a pompous ass at times, and other things.  He is human, God touched his life, but he is still him.  He has to fight against who he was brought up to be, and God used him and his strengths for much good, but it did not mean he did not have a bunch of worldly funk still attached to him that he has to fight against to keep God’s word and heart flowing without being over colored by him, a legalistic, hard, emotional guy.  This is a powerful lesson for all of us as we walk with God.  Never think anyone is perfect, except for God and Jesus Christ.  I am not saying to not trust anyone, but I am saying never get to the point where you treat everything that a person says as 100% perfect, unless you are talking directly to God or Jesus.  You must weigh what you hear, with the character of Christ, you must know Jesus that well, the heart of God.  If you don’t, then you risk being tossed by the waves, no matter who is making the waves.

The concept that the bible is infallible, is in itself a powerful deceptive tool.  It was written by men, God is reflected in there, but so are the ways of men, and written on the pages of the bible are the historical accounts of the horrible concessions God had to make, when there were only bad concessions open.  God’s plan was not genocide, murder, theft and death.  It was to make a place for a people who were to be a light on a hill, showing God’s love to the world and teaching people, ushering them into God’s way of living, the way He created His people to live, and ushering them into the knowledge of who God is, and how He wants the best for every one of His children on the face of the planet, the entire human race.

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Talking To People

Meet with them where they are at, walk with them, or ask if they would like to walk with you.  If they don’t want to walk, ask if it would be ok if you were to sit with them, etc.  The worst that could happen is they say no, or say yes and not mean it, or resent it.  Be open and honest.  Have a goal, but don’t think you can convince or coerce them into thinking or believing anything.  Be willing to share perspectives, but meet them where they are at in their minds and hearts.  Do your best to not override their perspectives, but search them out, find out why they think that way or believe what they do, and ask if you can present a different perspective, but not too aggressively.  Harmless or innocent as doves, but wise as serpents, which I believe also includes patience.

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Who Is This Jesus Guy

Shortly before I was baptized God gave me a gift, a vision, a dialogue, more than I could have even imagined could happen. He showed me who Jesus was in an intense, direct, complete, and special way. It all started with a question, a question I had because of how my mind works, and how I had a hard time believing in something fully without understanding how it was possible. I simply could not wrap my mind around the creator of the universe, a non human being, having a human son through a woman on earth. How does that work? How can a reasonable, logical, methodical, scientific, and extremely skeptical person, actually accept something like that in this physical world. The unspoken scientific way is that anything that is real can be explained, and it can be explained by what we already understand. I had no foundation of knowledge that could render the possibility of Jesus, as the Son of God.

I believed in God. I knew that as fact. He had been moving in my life strongly in ways I could not understand, and I observed the reality of it. Things were changing and happening in ways that could only be reasonably explained by a higher power responding to me, a simple arrogant man. God answered prayers quickly, powerfully, and in ways that it would be foolish to think were a coincidence. God is there, and I knew it, no question. All creation does not make sense without God. That was my foundation, and a strong one. I was reading the Bible, and I was seeing the same character revealed in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, throughout all of the history recorded in the Old Testament. But this Jesus guy, the Son of God as a man — how does that work? I believed that it had to be so, but how? It didn’t make sense.

I started to pray, asking God, “who is this Jesus guy?”. He was clearly a big part of the picture. I read what the Bible says he is, but it does not make sense. I can’t have such a big gap in understanding. God surely could help me make sense of this nonsensical reality. I mean really, if Jesus is so important, why would God not help me understand it? So I prayed, and continued to pray. I knew God could do all kinds of things I did not expect or think possible. I didn’t let up.

One day I was talking to God, as I had grown accustomed to, while I was getting ready in the morning. The shower had become a sort of holy place for me, as I felt it was how I wanted to be before God, nothing to hide. I believe anything that needs to be worked out, any darkness in me, He is faithful to reveal it to me and while constantly forgiving, he will help me right any wrong. I know I have nothing to fear from God, simply by his character.

I did not believe the lie that the Jews did at Mt. Sinai (Exodus 19-20), where they feared death from God because they did not know Him. I asked God that same question, happy, but pleading, my spirit crying out with whatever words came to mind at the time, basically, “who is this guy, how does he fit in the picture, how does it make sense?”. As I got into the shower, He showed me who Jesus was. It was unlike any experience I have had before in my life, one I am sure my words can only poorly render. You could say it was a vision, a vision of the beginning of human history all the way through to the end of time, but strictly with regard to who Jesus is. Calling it a vision is really a horribly incomplete way of describing the situation. It was more like an open dialogue, not with words, but with raw expressions of a person, being instantly understood and responded to, in a full memory transfer, but clearer than a man’s memory of the most vivid part of his life. When I say memory transfer, it is much like you might have seen on a sci-fi movie, where a higher intelligence has just downloaded memories into a human’s mind. If you have watched the Star Gate series, then you get the idea. But it was fully interactive, I was communing with God. Every question and every concern was immediately responded to with an understanding given to me. In that dialogue, I knew what I was seeing could not possibly fit in my mind. There was too much to remember, and too much to see. Maybe before the fall [of Adam and Eve], a human’s mind could take that information in with stride and remember it, but not a human in our current state. So we agreed that it was good enough to walk away from this experience with a shadow of a memory, if I could just know that knowing who Jesus is could be understood. In those moments of dialogue, it was made clear to me that there is much more than I had ever understood in this world. In this existence, there is the spirit realm, which is as real as matter, and it works with its own set of laws, just like the physical world’s laws (gravity, relativity, etc.). God is spirit, and He extended Himself into the flesh of Jesus here on earth. God was not the flesh, but God bound himself to flesh to form Jesus, this is why Jesus really blurs the boundaries between Himself and God the Father. This is how it is true to say that Jesus is God, and yet Jesus, the combination of God’s spirit and flesh, still prays to God the Father. In that dialogue, in my memory I came up with a reference to a scene in a movie, just to see if that was a good enough idea, if I understood correctly, that the concept of God extended into flesh was sort of like in the movie “The Abyss”, where the deep sea creature extended itself in this watery tendril and interacted with people in a deep sea vessel. I knew it was rough, and an incomplete parallel, but at least an idea, and we settled that this concept in the movie was as close as I would find on earth to being like how God was extended into the flesh of a man named Jesus. Throughout the entire dialogue with God, I was shown the history line, event after event, a complete accounting of Jesus through history, from before He was rendered in the flesh, to after, all the way to the end of time when He comes back to call his people home, and to put an end to all things that cause sin. And then it was done. All I could express at the time was something like “Wow, wow, Jesus IS the way!” Even then, saying those words seemed odd for who I know I used to be, and where I came from.  I used to scoff at such a commonly said, and seemingly meaningless cliche phrase.

Shortly thereafter, with that confirmation and direct communication from God, I was baptized. I did not tell anyone about this for a long time. Eventually, many months later, I came to a reckoning, where I would have to decide how I would take what had happened. I could either let the memory fade and eventually discount it, writing it off like it was nothing, a fluke, a brain glitch, or I could be logical and embrace the real tangible experience that I had, where I observed first hand, God communicating with me, and responding to me telling me who Jesus is. I chose to let the experience change me. Dealing with the fact that as a person gets older, memories fade, what was clear becomes muddied, and maybe eventually lost, I decided it was time to record this event that would forever change my life and the lives of those around me. I cannot let something this important slip away. It is a talent,
and I am looking to invest.

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Life Is Complicated, Writing Helps

From so many directions God is saying to write.  There are so many reasons to do it, but finding the time, and dropping the procrastination is hard.

Work and life in general is a lot more work than I expected, it is a lot more complicated, and a lot more stressful than I could have imagined.  Anyone who has bought their first home and gone through all the processes involved in that life event can attest, things are not simple anymore.  I can only imagine what having children would be like on top of all of this.  I can’t help but relate to Billy Madison:

If I only knew.  Now medical issues, mysterious ones with no known root cause.  Intestinal troubles so bad that I was suffering for years, seems to have gotten better now, but maybe I am just used to the changes that came from it.  Then a UEDVT, really?  Is life really so stressful that after a really hard day, or a scary orthodontist appointment will cause the blood to clot in my body, risking my life?

For all the complications and stresses of this life, I think I need to write.  I think that is just how my mind works, if I write about it, the stress and worry, and maybe even emotional aspects of all this will be reduced or eliminated.  I have used it in the past, and it has really helped me through the worst situations I have ran into in life.  But now I think I may even have something worth saying.  In fact I know I do.

God is real and he has done some things in my life that are really worth writing about.  I have experienced these things and it is very unscientific to dismiss what you have experienced with your own being and senses, as that is how all things are learned.  Why should some observations be dismissed while others kept, are we really letting political correctness dictate what actual observations we can share and which we can not?  Being that this is my personal blog on my domain, on my server, political correctness can go to hell.  I will not let PC dull my communications.


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Egypt Is Calling

Let me not turn back to Egypt, the old ways that I am used to, but let me fully embrace your ways.  I hear you.  I need your help.  Every bit of the world screams a way that is not yours, how can I blot it out.  How can I plug my ears so I can hear clearly only the right way, the true way which you have laid out!  Thank you for your grace, let your staff guide me.  The force which brought me here, let it keep my path strait.  You brought me here for a reason, I know this, but work is killing me away from it.

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