How I (finally) forgave

If there were a meter by which to measure introversion, I’d register in the hermit zone. That means few people other than my wife and father know me well. While I prefer it that way, it’s often frustrating, especially where sharing my faith and talents are concerned. Not surprising then that I blog, journal, and post my original tunes on the web.

From time to time the Father has given me a friend with whom to break bread real and spiritual; someone to listen, offer wise counsel and encouragement. A friend is one of God’s greatest gifts as we make this pilgrimage through life.

The wounds from a friend can be trusted; but an enemy will smother you with kisses (Proverbs 27:6).

lovecoverssin

Love covers a multitude of sin (1 Peter 4:8)

A true friend will point out an issue, that on my own I’m blind to or simply refuse to deal with. Anger is one such issue. Decades ago, a friend observed when it comes to dealing with anger, I do a “slow boil”. Eventually that simmering pot of upset within me would boil over and I became “hell on wheels” in dealing with every unjust situation or person who had wronged me.

Upon that familiar battlefield, the grace and peace of Yeshua takes a stand against the scars and injuries I’ve accumulated over a life time and the wearisome struggle to forgive those who inflicted them. These issues, together with the all too frequent Continue reading

Literal or spiritual

In the gospels, the word “stone” is used literally and spiritually. For example, Matthew 7:9 appears to be a literal use of the word.

“Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?” Matthew 7:9

rock-pile-ivan-slosarLikewise, Matthew 28:2.

“And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it.” Matthew 28:2

Matthew 21:42 and 44 on the other hand, use the word “stone” as a spiritual metaphor, in reference to Yeshua.

Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:” ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? Matthew 21:42

And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.” Matthew 21:44

Continue reading

Stop and ask directions

eastwesti80Driving west on I-80 in Iowa, we followed another car for about half an hour before we both exited for the rest stop. Gesturing at road signs, the passengers shot looks at each other several times, but I thought nothing of it. After using the facilities, my wife and I observed the foursome huddled around the map with bold red “you are here” arrow, arguing among themselves. The driver stopped me to ask for directions, explaining they’d come from Davenport and were on their way to Peoria, where in less than an hour, the girl was scheduled to open an important social event as Queen. “Oh my”, I replied; “Peoria is about 3 hours back that-a-way”.

So how does a driver miss the mile markers posted every mile or the large green and white traffic signs that count down the miles to the next city or interchange? You’d think that first sign “Iowa City 40 miles” would have told the driver they were headed in the wrong direction. Surely “Iowa City 30 miles” would have Continue reading

Light of the world

For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ. Colossians 1:19 NLT

For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. Colossians 2:9 NLT

friendofsinners

Friend of sinners

That scene where Peter makes his enlightened confession of Christ leads me to ponder. As I recall from scripture, only 3 disciples witnessed the transfiguration. Before that, the 12, just like everyone else, saw the natural man Yeshua, son of Yosef, with their natural eyes. Asked “Who do people say I am?”, there was no risk (per se) for the disciples to answer Yeshua’s question; they simply repeated what they’d heard. Not once did Yeshua say “BZZT! Wrong!” Even when some of the answers were preposterous. “John the Baptist? Someone thought I was John the Baptist? He baptized Me! How could I be him?!?” No, Yeshua just listened. But then He asks the $64,000 question; one fraught with risk of humiliation for the disciples. Did fear of speaking foolishly make for complete silence? How long did the proverbial crickets chirp?

Once again, it was Peter who got out of the boat and declared what man can see only with eyes opened by God: Continue reading

Repentance

Since posting “Choices”, I’ve been pondering the nature of repentance, particularly since with every election, Christians renew the call for America to repent. Asked to elaborate, most cite abortion and homosexuality as their primary complaints. War, divorce, removing prayer from schools, and pornography are also cited, though typically with less revulsion than is reserved for abortion and homosexuality.

'Hit him again Martha he still hasn't repented...'How I wish I could claim I’ve never been caught up in one of Christianity’s campaigns to stamp out sin in the world. Frankly, the world has every right to sin; a right granted by the Father. But when has scripture – the Word of Truth – ever stopped a religious person who was hell bent on doing a vain religious work? Certainly scripture never stopped me when I was headstrong to carry out some self-righteous work “for God”.

Let the one who does what is evil continue to do what is evil. Let the filthy person continue to be filthy. Let the righteous person continue to do what is right. And let the holy person continue to be holy.” (Revelation 22:11 ISV)

The operative words above? “Let them.” Regretfully, my youthful zeal was easily exploited by those who rail against sin and one day I found myself Continue reading

Choices

Every 4 years, the people elect a new king. Christians, Evangelicals in particular, look for their candidate to be a kind of King David archetype. Then there’s the neo-Apostolic-Prophetic camp and their so-called words of “prophecy” proclaiming God’s “anointed” choice, who will help stem the tide of sin, usher in revival and restore America to its constitutional and (ahem) Biblical roots. Often such “prophecies” carry with them a broad call for America to repent, for which “prayer warriors” and “intercessors” labor in prayer, while hedonistic Americans go right on living as if there were no God at all.

dungheapAs often as America has managed instead to elect a King Saul rather than a King David, I see little point in voting for a man or woman to rule over the people. Certainly in my lifetime, every president has been a disappointment insofar as bringing peace and advancing the Kingdom of God is concerned. And yet every 4 years, regardless how poor the choices, Christians clamor to vote, admonishing one another to ignore the candidate and vote the issues or party platform, all the while claiming it is a Christian’s civic duty to vote. Frankly, I bristle at the notion that choosing between the “lesser of 2 evils” is my civic duty.

So what does scripture have to say about the matter? Continue reading

All good gifts

hillbillyfishingThere’s this vague recollection I have of a comedy skit where Adam is in the garden with God and names the animals. The Adam character is a trifle lazy and, as memory serves, hillbilly-ish. In between laughs from the audience, Adam makes quick work of naming the animals; e.g., all birds are “flappers”, fish are “swimmers”, waterfowl are “paddlers”, and so on. I half expected God to point out that waterfowl are both paddlers and flappers, but He must have figured hillbilly Adam couldn’t handle such profound revelation. I thought maybe it was a scene from the musical comedy Cotton Patch Gospel but Adam wasn’t a character in that one. Anyhow, the way my mind works, I can’t help but remember that skit and chuckle to myself whenever I read the account of creation in Genesis.

Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field… (Genesis 2:19-20 ESV)

It’s one of many passages in scripture that leads me to Continue reading