Dec 7, 2009

When Christmas Calls

On that first "silent night" so long ago, two worlds gently touched. The unseen spiritual world bumped ever so tenderly against the one in which we live.  And, God reached out and laid a gift at our feet.

The gift was a Child. And the Child had great purpose attached to His life. And He fulfilled that purpose with perfect devotion. I wonder, could we, one more time, consider the beauty of that gift that was a Child...

Sometimes when we gaze upon the beauty, and innocence, and wonder of the Christ Child we simply see Him as that precious Babe of promise. Nothing wrong with that, obviously. But, it deepens our appreciation for the worth of the promise that lives in Him when we consider the vast depth of His condescension.

Just think about it. Jesus came to this world from an existence in which He was absolutely limitless. For example, time could impose no limit on him. A thousand years was as one day, and a day, as a thousand years. 

He existed before time; and He shall remain after it. He existed in eternity yesterday as tomorrow. To Him both were, and are, but the present, so that He would once say, "Before Abraham was, I am." Humanity has always been absolutely restricted to a life lived only in the present. But before this Baby came to our world, He never knew such menial restrictions.

Nor could limitations of space be imposed upon Him as the pre-incarnate God. He was everywhere in all places at once. He existed in all existence. Not in the pantheistic sense, but in the sense of His omniscience and power. He was everywhere in all of the universe, and yet, was distinct from it as its Creator. This Child, before he was a child, was in the universe while at the same time encompassing it. He filled all space and occupied none.

Before this Baby became a baby and put on a covering of human flesh, He knew no obstacles and no restraints to His will. Whatever He determined, he could effortlessly do. He was God Almighty.

Because that was true, His existence was without pain or injury. He was entirely immersed in the joy of absolute freedom. And, He lived an existence of unmingled goodness. 

He knew nothing of the anguish, or fear, or weakness. He knew nothing of tears born out of sorrow. He knew nothing of hunger or thirst. Before He became the Child of Christmas, He knew only the creative joy of unlimited power.

But, when the Father's redemptive call came, all of that changed. In order to become the Savior of the world, He had to lay down his Godly privilege and become, in every way, like us. And so, He did. 

He veiled Himself in the flesh of a little child and entered the world of his cherished creature to bring a message of love, forgiveness, and newness. In what was essentially only a moment of time, Jesus stepped from a throne of unlimited power to a lowly manger in order to reconcile two worlds.  And from that first moment of His humiliating birth, this once unlimited God began to experience the pain of all things human.

How unfamiliar and difficult that first breath of air must have been to a God who only a moment before had no need of air. But that was surely nothing compared to what was coming.

He who had, only yesterday, spanned the universe without effort or loss of time, now would spend years just to traverse the lengths of Galilee, Samaria, and Judea. He who created our sun, and a trillion more like it, and who flung them all into the Heavens with but a word, must now endure its disabling heat and feel the sweat born of laboring under it. 

Moreover, He must, every day, inhale the dust of the world that He created. He must endure the pain that He created the world without. He must taste the anguish of heart that He never intended humanity to know.

This Baby, who only a moment ago had governed the universe according to His graceful whim, must now taste the deep bitterness of disappointment and frustration and failure. And, though He had walked with the perfect Adam, He must presently experience the wounds that His now depraved creature would inflict upon Him.

This Baby, who, as God, knew no needs of any kind, must now know the throes of hunger, feel the need for sleep, and experience the weakness of exhaustion. And, this One who had cast an angry and defiant Satan from Heaven, must now, face his demonic treachery and wrath in the disabling limitations of His humanity. 

And finally, how horrible it must have been for the very Essence of Life to lie down in the dark void of death.  And, how hard pressed must His courageous have been to do so in response to the needs of the very ones who killed Him.

So obviously, it is one thing to simply gaze upon the beauty of this precious child, this Christmas Gift from God.  But, it is quite another to appreciate the depth of His condescension. 

Christmas is romanticized in many ways from jingling bells to roasting chestnuts, to white landscapes. But, here is the true romance of it all. It is the romance of a reconciliation - a true and very personal reconnection to our benevolent Creator.

The sad truth is that our world is full of people who are yet estranged from God's love and daily companionship. But, the joy is this.  Each Christmas calls us back.  This Child of the manger, through the nobility of His sacrifice, speaks to us in deep and primitive rhythms of the promise of forgiveness and the opportunity to start again.

It is true that many choose resist the call of God's love. Perhaps they diffuse it away through preoccupation or "busy-ness."    Or, perhaps they allow the treachery of those other voices in their head to undermine the value of a truly redemptive encounter with God.

Nevertheless, He continues to calls. Every Christmas the Baby calls to us again. He calls to us from His innocence. He calls to us from His harmlessness. And this God - turned Child - calls to us from the pure beauty of what He has done and who He is. 

Always, He calls in the soft and lovely under tones of divine whispers:  "Be reconciled to Me.  Take my hand, and walk with Me; and, I will give you newness."

It is true, of course. We can resist this amazing invitation to experience God's life transforming friendship. But, the bigger question is this.  "Why would we?"  Rather, why would we not choose to completely give ourselves to the One who has so completely given Himself to us?  

May this be the Christmas that the call of God's love in Christ Jesus becomes completely irresistible to your heart.  May this be the Christmas that you fully embrace His values and His direction for your life.  In that moment, the true purpose of Christmas will be fulfilled.  And, the true promise of Christmas will come to life for you.

Nov 16, 2009

The Ugly Gospel

The Gospel that saved my own soul, and that of so many others, had what might be called, An Ugly Side. In other words, it had a dimension composed of things which simply did not fit well into my initial idea of a Beautiful Gospel.


I much preferred that idyllic Beautiful Gospel, of course.  It was a Gospel that I could easily appreciate, a Gospel of forgiveness, and grace, and compassion, and God's unconditional love. But nevertheless, I could not seem to escape those relentless intrusions from that Ugly Side.

For example, when I first encountered Christ through that more pleasant Gospel, the Ugly Gospel insisted that I take the time to actually survey and acknowledge the darkness of my own heart.  What bitter pill to swallow. 

Nevertheless, I was pressed by this more unpleasant Gospel to confront the real depths of my inner darkness. I didn't really like that process. But, as I looked, I was very humbled (the whole purpose of the exercise) to discover that, indeed, my inner darkness actually did run much deeper than I ever knew before.  

It was also this Ugly Gospel which brazenly declared that I could no longer be in charge.  I had interpreted the Beautiful Gospel to be merely a kind of do-over opportunity where my life schemes would now become God-blessed, and thus, much more successful.  

But, the Ugly Gospel was quite insistent on a complete reinterpretation of that childish thinking. That Ugly Gospel clearly stated that the way forward was not at all about my plans, but all about God's plans for me.  It presented as NON-NEGOTIABLE, the idea that I must be wholeheartedly willing to embrace, not only God's directions for my life, but also the entirety of His value system.  

Now, I ask you, what human being would ever want to give up their personal sovereignty in this way? Who would ever be willing to surrender their schemes, and their dreams, and their personal destiny to someone else - even to God? 

Well, wait. I guess, I would. Because, I did.  And really, now, it doesn't even seem like much of a thing - especially when you  consider how messed up my life was and what I got in return.  

I guess it was also the Ugly Gospel which demanded that I recognize my own limitations and my very real vulnerabilities (that humbling thing again). It was the pressure of that Gospel which helped me to finally take a realistic view of life. 

And, being forced to face up to my own frailties helped me to really see the overwhelming complexity of life's treacheries and just how vicious and heartless its randomness can be. And, that, in turn, helped me to see my own absolute inability to face up to and manage life's challenges without God's help. 

And, in truth, I guess it was also the Ugly Gospel which helped fashion my new idea of what I wanted for an outcome to my personal story.  Under the press of that Gospels larger view of things, I was able to see that what I really wanted and needed was a destiny which truly got beyond just the small, now stuff to the big, eternal stuff.  

But, when you wrap it all up in a sentence, what the Ugly Gospel ultimately taught me is this:  The way up is down. The way to rise is to truly bow in thorough humility before God. 

But, what a wonderful surprise to find complete victory and fulfillment through that humiliation.  To be sure, the process of my humiliation did seemed kind of harsh and unattractive at first - but now - not so much.

Now, after a million conversations, tender moments, and profound insights; after debating the issues, crying together, laughing together, and sorting through the complexities of life - I have now confirmed that it is true! A very durable and deeply fulfilling friendship with God does, indeed, grow out of this Ugly Gospel Process.  

So, by now, you probably see my dilemma. My Ugly Gospel is all mixed up with my Beautiful Gospel. And now, I can no longer tell the difference between the two. What is a boy to do?

Nov 2, 2009

The End

How do we keep the affairs of this life in check? How do we hold to the godly priority which the Apostle Paul gives us in Romans, chapter 2, where he says, "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."

How can we insure that our immersion in this physical / material world will not rob us of the pilgrimage attitude that the Hebrew writer speaks of regarding people of faith when he says, "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland."

How can we be sure that the divine imperative of Matthew 6:33, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness..." will not fade under the long abrasions of a busy life which demands so much?

Well, there are ways. There are some that you would probably expect me to mention: staying in the Word of God, maintaining the good habit of going to "the Garden," and remaining involve in the Church. 

But, beyond those things, I think one of the most effective ways to stay consistently motivated in Christ is simply to occasionally revisit, with some focus and intensity, the seriousness which surrounds the outcome of the human soul.  When it comes to the destiny of our soul, it really helps to regularly reconfirm to our self, this simple imperative: "I must not mess this up!"  

Indeed, there are no do-overs when it come to our ultimate end.  So we dare not let the Devil, or stupidity, or ignorance, or laziness, or bad theology, or any other thing keep us from our own true success story in Christ.

We must not inadvertently insulate ourselves from authentic truth with a bunch of half-baked, cobbled together, sound good religious clich├ęs. We must not excuse ourselves. We must not delude ourselves. And we must not be distracted by the siren song of the material attractions that are all around us. 

So, it really helps to occasionally focus on the importance of how our personal story will end.  And, it helps to remember that we are really only here to write that ending.

And, regarding this occasional reality check, here is what we know. We know (at least some in our species do) that God has given us a revelation of redemptive truth in Jesus Christ. And, indeed, He has taken a long time and extended great care to show us the correct redemptive path through Christ. But, we also know that this true path has become shrouded in confusion.

For various reasons and motives, human beings often misinterpret the redemptive truth or ignore it altogether. And when you add to those mistakes, the adversary's half truths and outright lies that have been inserted into the mix of our religious thought life, honestly, it's no wonder so many have trouble writing a successful ending to their story.

Nevertheless, it remain a fact of reality.  A large part of the responsibility for sorting out this informational mess is, indeed, "on us." It is up to us to decide our way through the fog of Satanic lies, ambiguous and phony religion, silly philosophies, and our own demanding "druthers" to arrive at authentic, divinely-given truth.

The decision to reject or embrace an idea, to pick and choose our devotions in life, and to set priorities is ultimately ours. Thus, while it is true that  the Holy Spirit constantly whispers guiding truth to each of us; in the final analysis, it remains our responsibility to pick out the ring of God's truth from the rest of life's discordant notes.

And if, indeed, we fail in this vetting task, so that we sort it all out badly, then the correlation is very direct.  In that case, our personal story will also end very badly.  And, no disaster could possibly be worse or more absolute than the final wreck of the human soul.

In that event, we are plunged into an abyss of unimaginable suffering. And worse yet, that suffering will never end. 

Thus, the crushing atmosphere of complete hopelessness will surround us. And we will forever become one of the nameless, faceless millions in a churning, screaming sea of failed humanity - all victims of their own bad calls in this life.

And, to be sure, there are, indeed, a lot of distractions in this life which would take our time and energy away from what is truly important. There is a lot of bad information which deceptively passes itself off as truth to take us in the wrong direction. And, there are many of us who just don't much care either way because we're too busy chasing the toys and trinkets of life. 

But, be assured, standing on that "forever brink," the burning questions will not involve money or hobbies or jobs or ownership. Rather, the questions which will then rise urgently to the top will be those of personal investment, and directions, and choices. But, in that last terrifying hour, there will no longer be any opportunity to improve our answers, and thus, our end.

So, it really does helps to occasionally reconfirm to our self, in strongest possible terms, that there actually is one issue which truly superceeds all others.  It is the issue of how our personal story ends.  And, we gain even more help when we add to that confirmation, one more:  the certainty that we are writing that ending every single day in the script of our every decision.

     "And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
     "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.  
     "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 
     "And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." - The Holy Bible: The Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ to St. John 

In Hope Of Goodness

Governing our behavior so that it is consistently good, seems to be humanity's biggest challenge, whether on a personal scale or some  larger one. How do we do it? How can we ever achieve consistently good behavior? 

Perhaps, if we make more rules? Maybe if we make the punishment for wrongdoing more harsh? Perhaps if we were ruled with an iron hand by some despot? 

Or, maybe if we hire more police officers, or work harder on personal discipline.   Or, maybe if we were better educated?

Oh wait. Actually, I think we've pretty much tried all of that. And still, humanity struggles to control itself on every stage of life. We simply cannot consistently do the right thing. Corruption and misbehavior seem always to creep into what ever we do, if we do it long enough. 

In fact, every attempt at human government, whether personal or corporate, has only ever confirmed the existence of this fatal flaw which plagues our species: chronic waywardness. Indeed, it would seem we are stained ndelibly with the stain of incorrigibility - even in the face of our own best efforts.

So, we find ourselves cheating on our diet, or our taxes, or our spouse. We find ourselves breaking the very laws that we enact to protect ourselves. We engage in the dangerous and the self destructive, even though we know better. 

 We cross the personal "lines" that we mentally establish for our own good. We renege on our most well intentioned promises. We transgress even our own conscience. 

 And, all of these things, we have done across the entire spectrum of the human experience. There simply is no denying it - left to ourselves, we lack the power to be consistently good and do the right thing.

The Apostle, Paul, makes this point very well in Romans, chapter 7, where he says, "For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do."

So, where is the human hope. Real hope necessarily anticipates enduring goodness, not the lack of it. And, it would seem this reality did not escape the mind of our loving and graceful God when He was formulating His redemptive plan. 

In fact, it seems He drew up the redemptive plan with that need in the foreground of His mind. His whole uncomplicated intention is to bring consistent goodness to the human heart. And His single "instrument" for doing so is the Living Christ.

At last, in the vitality of our resurrected Savior, there really is the possibility of a durable and consistent goodness within the human being. Paul speaks of the revelation of this New Testament remedy, in Colossians, chapter 1.  He says, "...the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."

In recent times, the Church has tended to make redemption mostly about forgiveness. It is not. It is only first about forgiveness. But ultimately, God's redemption is very much about, well...   redemption

The ultimate aim of God's redemptive plan is to thoroughly renew the believer, beginning with the creation of a good heart-government which actually works consistently. And this change to the human condition, effected through the Living Christ, changes everything.

But, to experience this change, we must get beyond the mind set which essentially reduces God's redemptive work to only a moment of forgiveness. There is a much larger redemptive design to be understood and experienced. 

And, at the center of that experience is the target event of the New Testament: our personal Spiritual merger with the Living Christ. The reality is, in the conversion moment, we are, indeed, forgiven, but we are still also very much immersed in our own brokenness. Our conscious person may now be more humble before God, but our subconscious person is still quite obstinate and wayward. 

 And so - as usual - we still struggle to consistently govern our behavior and fit ourselves into God's good plan for our life - even after our conscious embrace of the Lordship of Christ.  But, this is where the Living Christ enters the redemptive picture and everything changes.  

Through our personal Spiritual merger with Him, the believer is given access to the divine character essence of Christ. And, that access profoundly changes the believer in their core person.  

In short, this symbiotic connection to Christ reaches deeply into the believer's subconscious person and overwrites their old, self-centered value system with the new values of Christ.  And this value system overwrite is the very mechanism which changes everything else in life to ultimately makes of the believer a truly "new creature" in Christ from the inside out.

From the point of this very literal integration with the Living Savior, the vitality of Christ continues to effect an ever enlarging degree of change in the believer's character essence (heart) going forward.  And this profound inner change, in turn, expresses itself as a profound change in the believer's behavior and results in corresponding changes in his or her outward circumstance.    

In truth, consistent heart government is simply not a function of trying harder, or more education, or more experience.  It is a function of the vitality of the Living Christ living within the believer.  Our primary hope of consistency lies not in human initiative or improved religious practices, but in the reality of the Living Savior living expressively within in us.

If we would be consistently well governed by a good heart, then we must experience this Spiritual connection to His.  Because, our heart, disconnected from His, will never be up to that task.

As a minister in these modern times, I have come to understand a simple reality regarding the Church.  It is that the greater challenge, presently, is to elevate the gaze of the Church.  Our focus must get beyond the conversion moment to again see the true pinnacle of the Christian experience - the baptism of the Spirit.  

The truth is, while the idea of a personal Spiritual merger with Christ may remain in our theology books, yet, in the modern Church, we are, nevertheless, increasingly losing our experiential grip on that opportunity. We are, indeed, missing this ultimate intention of New Testament redemption:  an actual personal integration with the Living Christ.

Modern preaching, if well-intentioned, has, nevertheless, in practical terms, mistakenly reduced the scope of redemption to simply be about the Cross and forgiveness.  But redemption is not just about the Cross. It is about the Cross and the the personal renewal which flows out of the Resurrection and the Living Savior. 

The authentic Gospel is not just about the Dying Christ and forgiveness. It is also about the Living Christ and His shared vitality within the believer. This is the completing means by which the profound redemptive changes which God envisions for every believer are effected. That is why Christ would say in John, chapter 15, "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing."

That first moment when we feel the cleanness of God's forgiveness wash over us is a wonderful thing. But, there is another moment after that one, on which everything also depends. 

It, too, is a moment which is absolutely indespensible to our redemption and to our true newness.  It is that mystical moment of our personal Spiritual merger with Christ.  In that merger resides our only hope of the true and thorough personal renewal and a consistently good heart government which God envisions for every believer.

"Therefore, brethren, we are debtors--not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God." - The Apostle, Paul from the Book of Romans

Sep 27, 2009

Classic Evil

There is a reason why the Darkness continues to use the same old tired, tattered, and torn tactics against a gullible and/or uninformed humanity. It is because they continue to work well. The simple truth is - we just never seem to "get it." So, generation after generation we "get it" in the neck.

Satan's treachery is not hard to spot, really, as it has been around since Adam and Eve. And it is very well exposed in the book of Genesis. When we read, with godly enlightenment, the account of the adversary's subversion of the first couple in chapter 3 (NKJV), we can easily see what we should be on guard against. Consider what the verses say there...

Genesis 3:1. "Now the serpent was more cunning [subtle] than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, 'Has God indeed said, You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?'' (Brackets added)

There are actually four of his favorite tactics revealed in this first verse alone. The first is Subtlety. The adversary's approach is never, never, never straight forward. Always there is a hidden agenda that he begins to pursue from an oblique direction. 

Have you ever met an alcoholic or a drug addict that started out to be one, to ruin his or her life through substance abuse. Probably not. Rather the dark voice simply promised them a "good time" or "relief from the pain" or some other angular enticement from which to begin to move slowly toward his real agenda - the destruction of another human life and soul.

The adversary knows that the gullible will always go for an easy lie over a hard truth.  And, he knows that we are prone not to question personal benefit. So typically, that is the point where his subtlety originates. 

He usually offers the easy, the fun, the gratifying, the immediate, without ever showing the real or extended cost. He always shows the "bait." He never shows the "hook." That is the substance of subtlety; and it still works well on humanity, even today.

The second tactic revealed in this verse is the Characterization of God as "intrusive" to the human existence. The taunting tone in the verse is that of someone greatly offended. It’s more like, "Surely God did not dare to say that you could not eat of all of the trees in the Garden!" 

The idea is to make God appear restrictive rather than protective, which was the real circumstance. So God was made to seem evil instead of good because He imposed restriction. That tactic, to plant the idea that "God is somehow holding us back" has always been very effective and still works quite well on a clueless humanity today.

The third tactic revealed in this verse is Superfluous Dialog. He simply got Eve to talking about something which needed no discussion at all. The adversary has known from the beginning that "truth can be talked literally to death." 

So he merely gets us to talking, for example, the moral tenets of God's word.  It goes something like this. "Well, now let’s talk about this for a minute. Is homosexuality really wrong? Is morality, itself, really all that necessary to the well being of society. Couldn't we have a better and more inclusive society if we were not so inhibited by these archaic ideas. Let’s at least open a dialog on the subject. That is only reasonable." 

Thus, he robs a susceptible individual or society of moral direction and fortitude by simply talking away clarity. So good principles simply die the slow death of "stupid and superfluous dialog."

Finally, the fourth tactic of the adversary that is revealed in this verse is what we would, today, call "Spin."  To add Spin is to present the truth in a way that flatters your purpose and hides any contrary indications. 

The mis-characterization of God that we discussed earlier is a good example of Satanic spin. The benevolent restriction that God placed on the first couple was presented in such a way that it appeared to be a bad thing instead of a good thing. The adversary did not technically misquote the idea, he just used wording and voice inflection to color is presentation in a way that gratified his subversive purposes.  Hello spin.

Verses 2-3. "And the woman said to the serpent, 'We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, `You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die'''

So the woman, now caught up in the superfluous dialog, continues the conversation. She starts to clarify the truth for the adversary, believing that she can correct his misconception with good information. 

How naive we sometimes are when it comes to spiritual treachery of Satan's Hidden Agendas. She had no clue as to what was really in play here - as is ofter the case with most of humanity when it comes to the adversary’s destructive plotting.

Verses 4 -5. "And the serpent said to the woman, 'You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it [the forbidden fruit] your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil'  [Brackets added]

The adversary knows that to achieve his hidden agenda he must remove the idea of consequence. And, in doing so he reveals his another classic tactic of his subversion. It is to Confront  divine truth and paint it as ridiculous." 

So here, in a brazen confrontation of the God's truth, he completely reverses what Eve has been told. He says, in effect, without presenting any real basis for his statement, It just isn't so. You will not die if you do as I say.  It would seem that Satan's idea is that - if you say it with enough confidence, they'll believe it. And so often, that is, indeed, the case.

Also, in these verses, we see another classic tactics of the Darkness:  the use of entirely lie-based promises.  When the Devil says to Eve, "You will be like God," he is actually using that lie as the means to assure her of a false promise.  He is indicating that  she will no longer have to be dependent on God.  Rather, she can become her own god, and thus, the master of her own destiny. And, apparently, the glitter of that promise blinded her to its baseless nature. 

And, this first lie-based promise was quickly followed by the second one that Knowledge is the key to that end.  Satan says, "You will be like God, knowing good and evil." 

The truth that he does not tell Eve is that the knowledge that he is encouraging her to trust in is not an objective knowledge which is rooted in God’s all knowing wisdom. It is an entirely subjective knowledge. In other words, good and evil will then center entirely around what seems good or evil to her, and for her.

 And the knowledge that Adam gains from that same forbidden fruit will be exactly the same:  what seems good or evil to him and for him. And on and on it will go throughout the ranks of humanity. Welcome to the source of all human conflict and the bane of the human experience - a subjective, a very personalized view of good and evil.

So, Satan brazenly lied to Eve to awaken a false sense of promise in her. Sometimes he lies by omission. Sometime he lies by using partial truths. And sometimes his lies are absolutely brazen, as were these.  

But lying is the very backbone of his classic behavior.  And he is good at it. So much so, that literally countless souls have perished on the rocks of the siren call of his pleasant lies.

Verse 6-8  "So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden."

Finally, we note the outcome of the great treachery when it’s finished. "...And Adam and Eve hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God..."  The outcome is always the same.  It is a lonely and guilty isolation from a loving God. 

Adam and Eve turned their back on God’s love and, instead, chose a deluded course of self-determination. It was a foolish choice based in lies and subtle deception with no substantial promise at all.

And sadly, even in this late hour of history, humanity still goes for that same old tattered and torn treachery. And even when Christ clearly exposes this devilish deception for what it is and offers a the better way, still, many choose delusion over God's liberating truth. 

Perhaps the best thing we can do for ourselves  is to simply return to the Program and refresh our memory as to who the Players are:  

     The Good Guy ....................God
     The Bad Guy ......................Satan
     The Child in the Room ......Humanity

Maybe if each generation could simply master this much as they enter the theater, it would make it easier for them to then follow and correctly interpret the true plot of The Redemptive Drama.  

Sep 7, 2009

Circles

The Apostle John said, "My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth."  Love is always at least as much what you do, as it is what you feel. And sometimes it is entirely what you do as opposed to what you feel.  

In any case, love, as an action, must never become dependent on emotion to survive or to express itself. And, in all cases, love must always habor its basic identity as a vibrant sense of moral responsibility for the well being of others.

The simplist concept of sin that I know is merely this: Selfishness, And, active love is both the absolute antithesis and the perfect remedy for that flaw. 

Thus, very basic to the new character that we are given in Christ is the reality of a love which acts in devotion to the well-being of others on all of the commons of life: in the family, the workplace, the school etc.   And, it does so always - in harmony with divine truth.

Circles

How long prevails the darkness Lord
That snares our dreams
And rears the head of the ugliest things.

We weep and fight and struggle and kill
To have, and to horde,
Only to find that we weep the more.

We crush the dreams of others
To mortar the tower of our own
And still it does not rise.

On any scale, the circle of one
Is always far too small.
Enduring joy only lives in the broader circle of all.

And though we emerge from the human sea,
One, alone, to scoff at the rest,
Yet time, and wisdom, and the judgment of God will put us to the test.

And finally, far too late we'll see,
That all along, we were but trapped,
In the circle that was Me.