Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Revelation.1

"The time is come 
that the Son of Man 
be revealed 
and glorified." 

The apostle Paul keenly observed this fact about the revelation of Jesus: 
"For while we were still weak, 
at the right time 
Christ died for the ungodly." 
Romans 5:6 [emphasis added]

Hugh Ross, anthropological astrophysicist and founder of Reasons To Believe, a ministry devoted to describing the harmony of scripture and science, demonstrates that the Creator of the Universe is the God of the "Just-Right Time!"

In his most recent book, Improbable Planet: How Earth Became Humanity's Home, Ross makes the case that amazing discoveries in astronomy, physics, biology, paleontology, chemistry, geology and mathematics take us further from a naturalistic explanation of the Universe and toward a growing concensus that the evidence points to a Designer who carefully and precisely prepared a planet capable of abundantly sustaining billions of life-forms.  

Throughout his account of the uniqueness of our Milky Way Galaxy, our own solar system, and our special planet, he frequently refers to the "just-right" conditions for each step in the development of a habitable planet. Are these "just-right" conditions merely coincidental or do they help us solve the bigger questions of "Why?"

"Ongoing research tells us that Earth has been shaped not only by an intricately orchestrated interplay of physical forces and conditions, but also by its vast abundance and diversity of life-forms. By means that no depth and breadth of scientific research can explain, life arose early in Earth’s history under anything but the benign conditions it would seem to require and somehow persisted through multiple mass extinction events, always appearing or reappearing at just-right times and in just-right forms to meet the needs and demands of the revised environment.
The more thoroughly researchers investigate the history of our planet, the more astonishing the story of our existence becomes. The number and complexity of the astronomical, geological, chemical, and biological features recognized as essential to human existence have expanded explosively within the past decade.
The importance of this new information cannot be overstated. An understanding of what is required to make possible a large human population and advanced civilization has raised profound questions about life, especially about our purpose and destiny. In other words, discovering at this level of detail why the history of Earth looks the way it does impacts all discussion of why you and I are here."  Ross, Hugh. Improbable Planet: How Earth Became Humanity's Home (Kindle Locations 134-143). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. [Emphasis added]

Hugh Ross believes, as he makes clear in his ministry, that God's work of creation is primarily redemptive. While humans debate whether driving their SUVs is destroying the planet, the scientific record (which includes effervescing data from the fossil record, core samples, radio isotopes, and solar telescopes) and the remarkable human beings who can interpret it, informs us that this planet has undergone regular cycles of creation, extinction and re-creation with each layer building up the foundation for future habitation.

Ponder that the formation of fossil fuels, metal ores, limestone, and even rock formations like granite - the building blocks of advanced civilization - required mass extinction of living organisms and their decay to pave the way for the technology enabling modern man to communicate the Good News of God's love to the masses of people this world sustains!

Now ponder this: if the God who fine-tuned the universe to prepare the way for your existence with just-right demonstrations of His power & devotion, will He not give you the just-right circumstances to help you realize your potential to love?

A friend was pondering the painful last days of his beloved father and questioning why God allowed this faithful man to leave this world in such a way. As his story unfolded revealing layers of family friction and long-term resentment, he was glad to be reminded that God always works in just right ways to heal wounds, deepen love and grow unity.  Our suffering and even death may be a just-right condition for achieving such great good!  A small price to pay for eternal joy and a reflection of the Just-Right Nature of our Creator's Perfect Will!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Return.13

"Be always watchful; for you do not know the day or the hour when the Son of Man will return. 

Live your life in a prepared manner, your lights burning brightly; like those servants who wait with expectancy for the sound of the Lord’s approaching.

It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away, than for one of these words to fail." 

After reading these words of Jesus, I turned on my Christmas tree lights...

Oh, so you don't think that's what He means by letting "your lights burn brightly?"

Silly you say?

Maybe. Maybe not.  The vast array of Christmas lights and decorations, whatever the motivation - commercialism, paganism or real reverence - is a cheerful reminder that humanity deeply longs for something science can never give: Hope in The Unseen Hand that Heals and Helps us Heavenward.

God With Us. 
God Like Us. 
We like God. 
Oneness in Sacrificial love and giving.

"If the joy that alone makes life worth living, the joy that God our Maker is just like Christ, if it be a true thing in my heart, how can I not believe in Christmas?"
(adapted from a quote by George MacDonald)

For unto us a child is given, to us a King with the heart of childlike obedience and love! Until we can celebrate His physical return, this world-wide yearly return to the celebration of His birth is a grand reminder that love is the greatest gift of all!

A Merry Light-Filled Christmas to you!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Light That Has Lighted The World.10

"That which you do in secret will eventually be revealed, and that which seems to be hidden will one day be broadcast far and wide. 

What I am telling you now in private, proclaim publicly, and what you hear whispered by the Spirit, shout aloud from the housetops." 

Image from
"The tales of heartlessness and ingratitude one must come across, compel one to see more and more clearly that humanity, without willed effort after righteousness, is mean enough to sink to any depth of disgrace. The judgments also of imagined superiority are hard to bear."

God is a God who reveals.  There is NOTHING hidden that cannot and will not be exposed by the light of truth. Recent events in the USA demonstrate the futility of trying to hide nefarious activity.  Asange, Snowden, Anonymous - the watchers are out there ready and willing to bring questionable actions out of the shadows and fog of concealment to the light of popular judgement.  The question then: is popular judgement guided by light or darkness? 

Followers of Jesus have a threefold responsibility to the Light:

First: Duty
   --to expose works of darkness to the light

...beginning with ourselves. 

The question: am I more or less of the light? Test yourself:

  • Is my conscience clear as the open heavens?
  • Is my heart pure and clean that I have no fear of the penetrating gaze of God, men and angels?
  • Do I so love the truth and the right, that I submit to an exposure of what in me is yet unknown to myself--an exposure that, by making me ashamed and humble, may bring glory to the truth?
  • Will I welcome any discovery, even if it work for the excuse of others, that will make me more true, by revealing what in me is false?
  • Am I willing to be made glad that I was wrong when I thought others were wrong?

"If you can with such submission face the revelation of things hid, then you are of the truth, and need not be afraid; for, whatever comes, it will and can only make you more true and humble and pure."

'Will all my weaknesses, all my evil habits, all my pettinesses, all the wrong thoughts which I cannot help--will all be set out before the universe?' Yes, if they so prevail as to constitute your character--that is, if they are you.
But if you have come out of the darkness, if you are fighting it, if you are honestly trying to walk in the light, you may hope in God your father that what he has cured, what he is curing, what he has forgiven, will be heard of no more, not now being a constituent part of you.
Or if indeed some of your evil things must yet be seen, the truth of them will be seen--that they are things you are at strife with, not things you are cherishing and brooding over.
God will be fair to you--so fair!--fair with the fairness of a father loving his own--who will have you clean, who will neither spare you any needful shame, nor leave you exposed to any that is not needful.
We may trust God with our past as heartily as with our future. It will not hurt us so long as we do not try to hide things, so long as we are ready to bow our heads in hearty shame where it is fit we should be ashamed.
For to be ashamed is a holy and blessed thing.

  • Shame is a thing to shame only those who want to appear or feel good, not those who want to be good. 
  • Shame is to shame those who want to pass their examination, not those who would be transformed to the core of their being. 
In the name of God let us henceforth have nothing to be ashamed of, and be ready to meet any shame on its way to meet us. For to be humbly ashamed is to be plunged in the cleansing bath of the truth.

Humble, Spirit-led examination produces cleansing and confidence that our judgment is sure! That what we mean by light is what God means by light.  That calling out hypocrisy because it is rooted in fearfulness and self-love, denying the Perfecting Love of Jesus, requires Oneness with the mind and heart of God. 

"Therefore this is what the LORD says: "If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me; if you utter worthy, not worthless, words, you will be my spokesman. Let this people turn to you, but you must not turn to them." Jeremiah 15:19

Second: Exposure
--to remonstrate against the destructiveness of sin and evil.

I have been initiated into the company of those whose work is to rid the world of sin and evil. Living a life of obedience to Jesus results in His light in us exposing bad actions and attitudes in others. 

  • Excellent workmanship exposes slothfulness.  
  • Truth telling exposes duplicity.  
  • Honesty exposes corruption. 
  • Purity exposes debauchery.
  • Compassion exposes wantonness.
  • Forgiveness exposes bitterness.
  • Joy exposes emptiness.
  • Contentment exposes coveting.
  • Love exposes licentiousness.
  • Peace exposes anxiety.
  • Obedience exposes unbelief.
  • Kindness exposes rudeness.
  • Gentleness exposes cruelty.
  • Goodness exposes depravity.
  • Wisdom exposes profanity.
The response to the pain of exposure includes shunning, denial, indifference, attacks, repentance, salvation and freedom.

Third: Fearlessness   --to proclaim from the housetops the light in us.

"While men count themselves Christians on any other ground than that they are slaves of Jesus Christ, the children of God, and free from themselves, so long will they use the servants of the Master despitefully. 'Do not hesitate,' says the Lord, 'to speak the truth that is in you; never mind what they call you; proclaim from the housetop; fear nobody.'

Think what it must be for a man counting himself "a good person", religious, orthodox, exemplary, to perceive suddenly that there was no religion in him, only love of self; no love of the right, only a great love of being in the right!
What a discovery--that he was simply a hypocrite--one who loved to appear, and was not! 
Whose faith does your neighbor benefit most from?  Is it not from the faith of the one whose obedience to the Lord of Light, Life and Love serves, through word and deed, to expose how desperately short they fall to the potential for which they were created, the reason for their existence?

Only be strong and courageous follower of Jesus in living out the light in you!  The world needs you more than ever!

Adapted from The Final Unmasking by MacDonald, George. Unspoken Sermons Series III. (Kindle Locations 6011-6019). Public Domain Books. Kindle Edition.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Light That Has Lighted The World.9

"You do not light a candle and then conceal it beneath a vase, or place it under a bed; instead, you set it on a candlestick, so that you or your guests enter a house filled with light.

Do you not realize that you are called out to be lights in this world?

Your life is similar to a city built on a hill that cannot go unnoticed.

Let your light, therefore, shine brightly before all people, that they might see your good works and praise your Father, who is in heaven."

What qualities in a follower of Jesus give us the ability to 'light up a room' when we walk in?

Consider these:

  • Light: when there is nothing perverse, lewd or deceptive in our countenance or conversation
  • Hope: when we refuse to let circumstances dim our
    image by
    commitment to being better
  • Courage: when we are fearless in facing the difficulties we encounter
  • Faith: when we trust the goodness we see in others because we see them through the eyes of the Lover of souls.
  • Love: when we are ever growing in our capacity to love and be loveable.
  • Positive Attitude: when others see darkness we see light. When gossip and complaint threaten the company we're in, we focus on right and true.
  • Gentleness: when harshness and brutality are the order of the day, we offer the other cheek.
  • Kindness: when to be like Jesus in offering a drink of water to a thirsty child is the only reward large enough to satisfy our own thirsty souls.
  • Peace: when turmoil crashes in we calmly turn our eyes to the One who has overcome.
  • Patience: with inner strength marked by endurance we stand when others fall. 
  • Forgiveness: when others hold to the bitterness of grievances, real and imagined, we love to the working of repentance.
  • Goodness: when we know the Beauty that comes from living our lives like the One from Whom all Good flows.
  • Excellence: when we know the Blessing that comes from doing all things well.
Don't you wish everyone followed Jesus? 

Surely to become a disciple of Jesus is the reason every person is born!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Light That Has Lighted The World.8

"Be active while you have the light present with you, for darkness is rapidly falling. Those that walk in darkness are the lost, and if the blind are leading the blind, then both are destined to fall." 

Be active. 

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man
stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." Teddy Roosevelt

Lead, Follow Or Get Out Of The Way!

Have you ever noticed that critics don't make good leaders? What does make a person worthy of your commitment to follow? Jesus puts the impetus on you and me to first answer this question: do I want to walk in light or darkness?

If social media has done anything it's created a powerful platform for critics!  I learned sometime ago that volume never makes truth truthier!  Whether a person uses all caps or shouts louder than his opponents, real virtue belongs to the one who lives his faith.

George MacDonald makes a startling observation about true faith and true men:
"I would rather have a man holding, as numbers of you do, what seem to me the most obnoxious untruths, opinions the most irreverent and gross, if at the same time he lived in the faith of the Son of God, that is, trusted in God as the Son of God trusted in him, than I would have a man with every one of whose formulas of belief I utterly coincided, but who knew nothing of a daily life and walk with God.
The one, holding doctrines of devils, is yet a child of God; the other, holding the doctrines of Christ and his Apostles, is of the world, yea, of the devil. 'How! a man hold the doctrine of devils, and yet be of God?' Yes; for to hold a thing with the intellect, is not to believe it.
A man's real belief is that which he lives by; and that which the man I mean lives by, is the love of God, and obedience to his law, so far as he has recognized it.
Those hideous doctrines are outside of him; he thinks they are inside, but no matter; they are not true, and they cannot really be inside any good man. They are sadly against him; for he cannot love to dwell upon any of those supposed characteristics of his God; he acts and lives nevertheless in a measure like the true God.
What a man believes, is the thing he does.
MacDonald, George. Unspoken Sermons Series II, The Truth In Jesus 
Walking In The Light

Question: How then do we know if a "leader" is blind or seeing? 
Answer: What is the evidence that they either love darkness or love light?  

Too often we choose the person we will follow (and, make no mistake, any personal leadership aspiration we entertain comes only by learning first to be a good follower) by the words they use.  Whatever template we feel comfortable with - whether political, social, or theological - we line up their words with what we are familiar with but neglect to examine how they actually our own hurt.

Here's a template we can use to examine a person's deeds: Romans 12

  • Don't just pretend to love others. Really love them. 
  • Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 
  • Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. 
  • Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. 
  • Rejoice in our confident hope. 
  • Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 
  • When God's people are in need, be ready to help them. 
  • Always be eager to practice hospitality. 
  • Bless those who persecute you. Don't curse them; pray that God will bless them. 
  • Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 
  • Live in harmony with each other. 
  • Don't be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. 
  • And don't think you know it all! 
  • Never pay back evil with more evil. 
  • Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 
  • Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. 
  • Never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. 
  • If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. 
  • Don't let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.
I'll follow anyone who demonstrates these qualities, how about you? 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Light That Has Lighted The World.7

"Are there not at least twelve hours of daylight? If you walk by day you do not stumble, because of the natural light around you. If, however, you walk by night, you will fall, because there is no daylight to guide you. Believe in the light that you may become "children of the light." 

No Daylight to Guide
The riots breaking out across the USA in response to police shootings have this in common: they are being guided by something that looks a lot like darkness!

Walking in the Light
If we could only harness the passion and anger against the "skin" problem and use it against the "sin" problem, as NFL football player and follower of Jesus, Benjamin Watson accurately describes! As for me, I have been initiated into the company of those whose work is to send sin out of the world...beginning with myself. Lord, make me child-like, not childish wanting only for myself or snatching what others have.  Let me in every nuance of gesture, word and deed demonstrate you abiding love for every human being I encounter.

"When we receive the child in the name of Christ, the very childhood that we receive to our arms is humanity. We love its humanity in its childhood, for childhood is the deepest heart of humanity--its divine heart;... If there is in heaven a picture of that wonderful teaching, doubtless we shall see represented in it a dim childhood shining from the faces of all that group of disciples of which the center is the Son of God with a child in his arms. The childhood, dim in the faces of the men, must be shining trustfully clear in the face of the child. But in the face of the Lord himself, the childhood will be triumphant--all his wisdom, all his truth upholding that radiant serenity of faith in his father. Verily, O Lord, this childhood is life. Verily, O Lord, when thy tenderness shall have made the world great, then, children like thee, will all men smile in the face of the great God."
MacDonald, George. Unspoken Sermons Series I., II., and II. 
(Kindle Locations 124-126). Public Domain Books. Kindle Edition.

"While much of America seems to be getting more and more divisive, I'm going to be holding doors for strangers, letting people cut in front of me in traffic, greeting all I meet, exercising patience with others, and smiling at strangers.  I'll do this as often as I have the opportunity.  I will not stand idly by and let children live in a world where unconditional love is invisible and being rude is acceptable.  Join me in showing love and respect to others.
Find your way to swing the pendulum in the direction of love. Because today, sadly, hate is gaining ground. Love must begin somewhere and love will overcome hate. Imagine the difference if we all love a little more." 
--Author anonymous, Posted to Facebook, September 25, 2016

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Light That Has Lighted The World.6

The lamp of the body is the eye: if your eye is sound, your whole life will be filled with light, but if your eye be preoccupied with evil, your whole life will be obscured with darkness. 

If what illuminates your life is darkness, how great and terrible is that darkness! 

A recent episode of a popular network television show opens with the cast dressed in formal attire at a beautifully elaborate gathering.  There is a sense of great anticipation when the camera turns to reveal a very attractive woman dressed in a wedding gown walking down the aisle toward...another attractive woman dressed in a wedding gown!  The two women say their vows to one another, kiss and wave gloriously to the approval of their supportive well-wishers. The celebration continues at the reception where the two "brides" glow in the revelry encouraging their bold entrance into the new world!

In a stroke of artistic brilliance CBS uses a popular tv series with respected characters to intersect the old and new world meaning of the word gay! actually makes a generational distinction of meaning:

  • of, relating to, or exhibiting sexual desire or behavior directed toward a person or persons of one's own sex; homosexual: a gay couple.
  • of, indicating, or supporting homosexual interests or issues: a gay organization.
  • Older Use. having or showing a merry, lively mood: gay spirits; gay music.
  • Older Use. bright or showy: gay colors; gay ornaments.
  • Older Use. given to or abounding in social or other pleasures: a gay social season; the Gay Nineties.
Unbeknownst, most certainly, to the writers of this episode, they would be illustrating exactly what Jesus, Lord of Light, meant when He said: If what illuminates your life
image from
is darkness, how great and terrible is that darkness! 

Preoccupied with evil, the purveyors of social change are attempting to use noble and time-honored social constructs, like marriage and family, to gain wide spread acceptance of what have been seen, historically, as vile practices. By "illuminating" vileness, casting it in the glow of heartwarming shared experience, they hope to bypass the natural filters protecting the conscience of a nation.  Any protest against the practice is met with accusations of intolerance, discrimination and phobia.

If there is wide-spread social acceptance (even that is debatable) for these things, then surely our "eye" is no longer sound.  Understanding what Jesus meant is, of course, the business of Life. Let us refer once again to the idea of soundness:
  • free from injury, damage, defect, disease, etc.; 
  • in good condition; healthy; robust: a sound heart; a sound mind.
  • financially strong, secure, or reliable: a sound business; sound investments.
  • competent, sensible, or valid: sound judgment.
  • having no defect as to truth, justice, wisdom, or reason: sound advice.
  • of substantial or enduring character: sound moral values.
  • following in a systematic pattern without any apparent defect in logic: sound reasoning.
  • uninterrupted and untroubled; deep: sound sleep.
  • vigorous, thorough, or severe: a sound thrashing.
  • free from moral defect or weakness; upright,honest, or good; honorable; loyal.
  • having no legal defect: a sound title to property.
  • theologically correct or orthodox, as doctrines or a theologian.
The daunting question of our day is: What can the righteous do when the foundations are being destroyed, when there is no soundness in what we can depend on in our social institutions?  Let me suggest these things:
  • Be sound in yourself.  Put into practice the words of Jesus.  Ask yourself each day, "what one thing have I done or not done because Jesus said to do it or not do it?" Let the wisdom of God be evident in your speech, conduct, love, faith and purity.
  • Insist on soundness in others.  Don't get caught up in foolish arguments over trivial things. Be active, not in social media sites, but in places like school boards, and other local, county, state and national governance.  Let the wisdom of God be evident in your speech, conduct, love, faith and purity.
  • Point others to the light of the Word of God -- Jesus, the perfect revelation of all that is good and true.  Never apologize for or waiver in your commitment to timeless truth. Let the wisdom of God be evident in your speech, conduct, love, faith and purity!
  • Let the wisdom of God be evident in your speech, conduct, love, faith and purity.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Light That Has Lighted The World.5

"I must do the work of him who sent me while it is day: because the night is fast approaching when no one will be able to work." 
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"Every morning when he went out ere it was day, every evening when he lingered on the night-lapt mountain after his friends were gone, he was offering himself to his Father in the communion
       of loving words,
       of high thoughts,
       of speechless feelings;
and, between, he turned to do the same thing in deed, namely,
      in loving word,
      in helping thought,
      in healing action towards his fellows;
for the way to worship God while the daylight lasts is to work; the service of God, the only "divine service," is the helping of our fellows."
--George MacDonald. 
In a recent sermon the speaker admonished the flock to remember that what we are doing and why we are here is a reflection of the purpose God created into us. Today let us show the world what Jesus would look like cutting hair, harvesting crops, building houses, teaching children, driving school bus, crunching numbers, arresting criminals, reporting the news, caring for the infirm, repairing cars, sewing clothes, playing sports, selling goods, cleaning homes, handling money, watching children, and blessing others with the life we've been blessed to give!
For a troubled world let us be more like Jesus!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Light That Has Lighted The World.4

"If I do not the works of my Father, then you are free to turn away. But, if I do his works, even if you don't believe in me, believe in the works that I do; 

that you may 
know and believe
that the Father is in me and I in him."

When twelve year old Jesus told his frantic parents that "I
must be about my Father's things," little could they know that of all the fears for his safety, from the violent to the beastly, the greatest threat to his life would eventually be from the very men he engaged in the temple!

The kind of men who, to this day, elevate Intellect over Spirit, Self-Will over Perfect Will, Hypocrisy over Purity, Power over Poverty, Ambition over Aspiration, Doctrine over Doing, Mammon over Ministry, Status over Service, and Politics over Propriety.

The Power Worshipers of Jesus' day tried in vain to engage Him on doctrinal grounds.  Jesus' response was to point to the works He performed giving all the evidence they needed to explain His origin and center.  His entire life was a testament to this fact: faith is obedience to the Perfect Will.  Our own proof of discipleship is not in what we believe about God or Jesus, it is the works born of loving trust and obedience that show we believe. 

  • Can the Love of God be expressed in any other way than by connecting to His heart through obedience to the things He says?
  • How is it that supposed "cultural leaders" cannot or will not recognize true works that demonstrate the love of God? 
  • What monstrous darkness that responds to genuine compassion with violent intent to put out the light that exposes falseness?
  • What happens to a society when its foundational institutions (historical, educational, spiritual, political and commercial), designed to emulate and encourage true faith, become the instruments of destruction?
  • Which is the greater power: those who use death as a weapon of intimidation or the One who conquered death?

For followers of Jesus, the cross and empty tomb remind us that not believing in Jesus is the most dangerous thing!  Rather than seeing human struggle as an opportunity to score political points, faith in Jesus calls us to act in mercy to help, heal and save! Let us then in these troubling times, when credentials, permits and titles supplant genuine service and accomplishment, continue to do the things He did, the things the Father always does, demonstrating to a dark world the light in us.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Light That Has Lighted The World.3

"Once, you journeyed into the wilderness to listen to John, the prophet you called, the Baptiser. He spoke to you of the truth. 

He was a burning and shining light: and you were willing, at least for a while, to follow him. 

Now, one has come with a greater demonstration of power than John, for the work that my Father has given me to accomplish, the very acts which I perform now in your presence, prove that I am sent from God." 

"The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm from the Government and I'm here to help.'"
-Ronald Reagan  
One of my fondest memories of interacting with the government was having to obtain sign permits from the kind people at the District of Columbia licensing bureau.  Since one could count on using up all the available hours in a work day it was always wise to take a picnic lunch and some good reading material!  No matter what kind of sign to be installed I was required to stand in line at all nine stations
image from
for the approval and signature of the official on duty.  Soil and erosion, environmental impact, city beautification, mayor's vacation fund... If you happened in on a day when all nine officials were in a relatively good mood things went least that's what I was told, I'm pretty sure I was never there on one of those days.  Rather, the closer you got to your turn for the coveted signature, the longer you held your breath that it wasn't approaching some scheduled 
break (or non-scheduled, it all paid the same) or that you failed to dot an "i" or cross a "t" properly and would be sent back to the end of the line to pay penance.  On one successful occasion managing the maze I asked the cashier if "they" got a bonus for reducing citizens to weeping infants lying helplessly on the floor?!  She wasn't amused...

Oops, remembered another remarkable encounter with government.  A son, living in LA, had his car impounded, due to a registration failure on the part of the lending institution through which he bought the car.  It took three months to get the proper information on how to get the car out of impound!  I called everyone from the State DMV office in Sacramento to the impound city's mayor's office to try to figure out what we had to do to get his car back.  My wife and I flew out there with $3,000 in hand to pay the accumulated fees and fines only to find out that the local DMV didn't know what we were talking about.  It was only the grace of God that we found a person --who also had teenagers-- and took us under her wings to work us through the "system."

Life is hard.  There are problems that are so complicated and difficult they appear overwhelming and are far beyond our own ability to solve. The struggles we face as individuals are, in fact, common to man. We form societies to address and solve many of them.  But too often the societies end up becoming as much a part of the problem as the original issue. Those who advocate for government to be the primary caregiver and solve all our problems forget that government is made up of people with their own
struggles. (I do have to admit, though, that government people seem to think and behave so differently than the rest of the population its tempting to think they are a different species altogether!)

Much of Jesus' time on earth, of course, was spent solving people's problems.  We refer to the work he did in restoring individuals eyesight, healing lame, diseased and demon-infested people, feeding thousands with a few fish and bread, even raising dead relatives, as "miracles" because the time span in which the healing, feeding, or raising occurred was nearly instantaneous.

But the truth of the matter is that Jesus did what God the Father is doing all the time!  The real miracle is in igniting faith and love for his Father-God by letting people experience the intensity of His loving touch in a moment of time!

Rather than letting the intensity and pain of the problem steal all our hope and joy, Jesus' message to humanity is: There is a God who loves you vigorously! I'm your proof that there is nothing more powerful than the Love of God in overcoming life and reaching your potential!

Jesus is everything I want my God to be!
"he is simply and altogether our friend, our father— our more than friend, father, and mother— our infinite love-perfect God. Grand and strong beyond all that human imagination can conceive of poet-thinking and kingly action, he is delicate beyond all
that human tenderness can conceive of husband or wife, homely beyond all that human heart can conceive of father or mother. He has not two thoughts about us. With him all is simplicity of purpose and meaning and effort and end— namely, that we should be as he is, think the same thoughts, mean the same things, possess the same blessedness. It is so plain that any one may see it, every one ought to see it, every one shall see it. It must be so. He is utterly true and good to us, nor shall anything withstand his will.
How terribly, then, have the theologians misrepresented God in the measures of the low and showy, not the lofty and simple humanities! Nearly all of them represent him as a great King on a grand throne, thinking how grand he is, and making it the business of his being and the end of his universe to keep up his glory, wielding the bolts of a Jupiter against them that take his name in vain...
Brothers, have you found our king? There he is, kissing little children and saying they are like God. There he is at table with the head of a fisherman lying on his bosom, and somewhat heavy at heart that even he, the beloved disciple, cannot yet understand him well."
MacDonald, George. The Collected Works of George MacDonald: The Complete Works PergamonMedia (Highlights of World Literature) (Kindle Locations 26194-26198). PergamonMedia. Kindle Edition. 
As His followers, may we continue to demonstrate the profound power of His love in helping ignite faith and love for the Father to those He appoints us to touch!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Light That Has Lighted the World.2

"And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.

For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.

But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God." 

It is easy to forget, overlook, or, shockingly, to deny the
destructive nature of darkness. Darkness can't draw people together, it can only leave empty groping souls bumping, fearfully and angrily, into one another.

The world is reeling from the effects of darkness.  Its ultimate impact is in driving people away from each other!
Politicians polarize, terrorists terrorize, refugees flee, media manipulates, racists rant, militants foment, socialists demonize, bureaucrats botch, abortionists destroy, perverts prey, rich rule, poverty plunders.

It's also easy to forget OR hard to comprehend that there are those who love darkness and it's debilitating destruction. Wolves in sheep's clothing, mentored children of hell's ambition, vipers, snakes, deadly serpents seeking their own glory and power. 

How then should we - followers of Jesus - live in response to the darkness? Be true to the light!
"Every disciple of the Lord must be a preacher of righteousness.In the darkness each soul is alone; in the light the souls are a family. The lamp that the Lord kindles is a lamp that can will to shine, a soul that must shine. Its true relation to the spirits around it—to God and its fellows, is its light. Then only does it fully shine, when its love, which is its light, shows it to all the souls within its scope, and all those souls to each other, and so does its part to bring all together toward one." (MacDonald, see below)
On social media:
-provoke, not to insult and anger, but to love and good deeds.

At work:
--be excellent in speech, conduct, love and purity. Love the light you see in others, don't condemn the darkness.

In public:
--be honest & trustworthy. Lead, follow or get out of the way.

In private:
--live with a conscience as open & clear as the skies above. Be a tenderhearted considerate roommate, husband, wife, parent, son or daughter. Bear burdens, share blessings.

Always remember that the work of Light & Love in and through you is to draw all men to Jesus and the great family of God!

"Take heed to your light that it be such, that it so shine, that in you men may see the Father—may see your works so good, so plainly his, that they recognize his presence in you, and thank him for you.' 
MacDonald, George. Hope of the Gospel (p. 65). 
Public Domain Books. Kindle Edition.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Light That Has Lighted The World.1

"I have come to be a light to the world, that whoever believes in me should not remain in darkness

I am the light that has lighted the world; they that follow me will never again walk in darkness, but live their lives in the light." 

On his first day of kindergarten, nephew Sam declared: 
"I'm Sam Eberhart. 
I'm a John Deere man 
and that's all you need to know!"

Imagine the Lord of all Creation introducing Himself to this dark world with little Sam's certainty: 
"I'm Jesus Christ. 
I am the Light
and that's all you need to know!"

Such perplexing times: living our lives by the light of televisions and computer screens we watch the world get darker! How easy to get caught up in the collective anxiety of the world's worries: Brexit, Market fluctuations, ISIS attacks, Presidential elections, Protests, Gun Control, Gas Prices, Milk Prices, Inflation, Deflation, Wild Weather, Wild Horses, Persecution, Human Trafficking, Drug Trafficking, Refugees, Regulations, 1%er's, Political Plunder, Political Correctness, Corruption, Racism, Phobias in all their Forms, Global Climate Change, and (if that weren't enough) Indian Nickname Change.

So however tempting it may be to try to explain the complexities of this world by this or that eschatology, doctrine or theology, the call is simple: 
believe in the Light
Hold on to the Man who Is the Light!
Light gives hope; 
Light gives meaning; 
Light shows the way; 
Light conquers darkness!

"God means us to be jubilant in the fact that he is Light--that he is what his children, made in his image, mean when
image from
they say light; that what in him is dark to them, is dark by excellent glory, by too much cause of jubilation; that, however dark it may be to their eyes, it is light even as they mean it, light for their eyes and souls and hearts to take in the moment they are enough of eyes, enough of souls, enough of hearts, to receive it in its very being.

Living Light, thou wilt not have me believe anything dark of thee!"
 MacDonald, George. Unspoken Sermons Series I., II., and III. 
(Kindle locations 5458-5461). Public Domain Books. Kindle Edition.