Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Honor Thy Mother and Father, Part Two

There are some thing which demand a sequel, such as Star Wars, Narnia, and Peanuts. Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride, and When Harry met Sally are undeserving of such sequels. One thing that does deserve a sequel deals with parents, by a vote of one.

This sequel is going to be a little harsher, but no less true. Exodus 20:12 puts it very succinctly "Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee." What does this mean? Especially from a book written long, long ago by a bunch of old Jews? (Can you see the sarcasm here?).

Well, I'll clue you in. This book, written by Jews, directed by the True Lord of this earth, not to mention Creator, knows the human condition better than humans do. So much so that He gave us the Ten Commandments (this in no way equates with suggestions). When you dishonor those who've participated in giving you life, you dishonor your Lord and King.

Mom and Dad are pretty basic in life, and what you do in life reflects on them. Regardless of what you feel like about them, remember that they are human and will make mistakes. I am qualified in making this statement as we're parenting two very special little boys. I want them to love and honor me and my wife, despite the mistakes we've made and will make, because of the effort necessary to raise them.

The fact that we can bring those two precious little boys to meet Grandma and Grandpa makes honoring all the more important, and delightful. I have more than enough reason to be thankful that they were there to make the mistakes in raising me. Even to this day, there are discussions, but the love and respect is always there. I want to build on what they've learned and be a better parent myself. This is truly the way to honor your parents.

Heavenly Father, I praise and thank You for my parents and my children. Life has been Your gift to me. When we honor our earthly parents, we honor You. Amen.

The Case...

A few days ago, filmmaker Roman Polanski was arrested in Switzerland while en route to the Zurich film festival for some lifetime achievement award. This was in connection with a rape he plead guilty to in 1977 involving a 13 year young girl in which he subsequently fled to France in which to avoid punishment. While some wonder why it took so long and even more wonder why it's even an issue at this point; after all, his accomplishments far outweigh that one little mistake, right?

Just a little disclaimer here. I am not out to defame or otherwise smear Mr. Polanski. Try as I could, I am not his judge, jury and jailer. What man has failed to do, the ultimate judge will in due time. The evidence will be damning, the trial swift, the judgement sure and the sentence final with no chance of appeal. The God of the Bible does not mess around, with anyone.

What I am going to point out is that sin is sin, regardless of who or what was involved. It could be anyone stealing a candy bar, lying, or committing genocide, the crime has the same punishment. What's more is that if you've given to charity, volunteered in the Peace Corps, tithed and even been good to your mother, but committed a felony (such as rape, murder or stock fraud). The state is going to punish you regardless of all the "good" things you did in your life. You will be tried and sentenced to the fullest extent of the law (especially with stock fraud, as property crimes are pursued much more aggressively nowadays).

In a way, the Lord is no different, only He's no respecter of persons or crimes. If an unrepentant sinner has to stand before Him, there is no hope, no appeal, no lawyer or publicity campaign to come to your rescue. Punishment is eternal and in my understanding, this means eternity in Hell. That's right, no disco or country club either, this means suffering in fire, sulfur and brimstone forever.

But everyone has sinned and deserves this punishment, including myself. The only thing, the only good things about me are the ones that Jesus Christ brings. He and only He was innocent enough to shed His precious blood for our sins. By His stripes we are healed from the disease of sin. He was crucified by Gentiles (such as myself, and I might as well have been holding the nails) died and rose again so that we may live eternally with Him as His bride. That's right, He's crazy in love with us, even Roman Polanski. Jesus will even forgive him of his sin if he would just repent.

How to do this? Pray to Him and admit that you're a sinner, you deserve punishment and that He died for you. Ask him to save you, in other words, accept His gift of salvation and start living the part. Read your Bible and talk to Him daily (I'm not always good at this). Preferably, surround yourself with other Christians. Heaven is not a bunch of people playing harps, but it is being in the eternal glory and yes, the love of a Most Perfect Master. I'll take this over a bad case of prickly heat any day. When it comes right down to it, the one thing that God cannot do is choose Heaven or Hell for us, it is the one thing that we do when we accept or reject Jesus' gift for us.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Chasing Rainbows

Today, despite the dreary, wet day that it has been, was an affirmation of life and service. Taking my older son to school is a case in point, as this is a high point in my day, as well as picking him up at the end of it all. This morning, it was drizzly and still bright enough outside, to see one the first promises the Lord made to us. A rainbow, a glorious arch of color, made its way across the northwestern sky in the 8 o'clock hour. It was truly a sight to behold and a reminder of His love for us. Even a few children and a teacher made their way outside to witness this spectacle of beauty.

Chasing rainbows has never been "my thing". My long-standing, ingrained, dyed in the wool belief is that one must work to be fed, clothed and housed. If one desires the finer things in life, then he or she must work harder. It's a belief that many others share to an extent as some work many hours to afford stuff.

However, this belief brings me much worry because if there's no work, even through no fault of my own, then the consequences are bleak. This is the catch 22 of the temporal, corporeal lives in which we find ourselves in. I can attest to being off for nearly 7 months this year that this hurts because it's a situation that I have no control over. The economy is a big thing.

The Lord is "bigger" and more powerful than any economy, government, employer, bank or any other entity we may care to make mention of. When He talks, everyone listens (or should), even E.F. Hutton. He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Our prayers in Him are an investment that can only appreciate on so many levels. Single handedly, He is bigger than all of our problems combined and with a word, will nullify them all.

I am not worthy to be a page in His army. Yet He makes me worthy through His Son Jesus, to be among His bride. As worthy as I am to deserve Hell, He presents me faultless and robes of white linen. Even through all of the trials and tribulation in this life, it is of great comfort of the love He has for such a person as unworthy as myself.

Because of this, my Liege, I can endure the petty torments of this world. The things of this world that hold so fast to the lost have no latch on me. You're the reason for my being and the only reason for goodness in me. You and only You are deserving of glory and praise. Yes, yes, this is stating the obvious, but too many time have I forgotten these fundamental truths. I praise You and thank You for the blessings You have bestowed upon me and my family in trying times. Amen

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Still Crying Out.

Still hurting, but still praising You Father God. You are the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and end, the most perfect master, the highest potentate. I beseech You, as to what I can do which is most pleasing to You. Right now, there is nothing left but You and what you've blessed me with.

Please, whatever it is that You require from me, that You are quick in revealing it to me, Amen.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I'm Crying Out...

Father God, Rarely, do I post requests for me because I know you've blessed me abundantly. I have two boys and a wife who is the most loving one can imagine. When I pray, it is to confess that You are lord in my life, that I love You, and that You paid for my sin with Your precious Son Jesus, a name above all other names and to cover others in prayer. Because I write better than I speak, and some things are meant for posterity, this is going to be a written prayer...

I have been out of work for nearly 7 months and there is no earthly, worldly solution to the problems which have caused this. My off again, on again employer is probably just vying for short-term survival, let alone trying to bring everyone back to work. Capitol Area Michigan Works sees me as another statistic and from my limited understanding, everyone else is unwilling or unable to help.

The economy in Michigan is horrible, and in depression for 9 years. Few people want to hire a 39 year old with a family to support, and it seems, fewer want to do it long term. The odds are against me, Father God, from where I'm standing. I am completely dependent on You right now to take care of my family, and I praise You for taking care of us. Despite this, the blessing of unemployment compensation is limited and limiting. I want to be able to take care of my family financially as well as emotionally.

The fact is that I need to do what You want me to do, in a fashion pleasing to You. I've contemplated starting my own firm, but have no earthly means in which to start it. I have had little success in using social networking or other means to "get my foot in the door" much less gainful and dignified employment. I have faced all the obstacles and emotions that many in my shoes have faced, to which there is no relief other than through You.

In Matthew 19:26, You said that all things are possible and in another, if we stand with You, who can stand against us. I know Your Word is sharper than any two-edged sword and You alone deserve the glory. I also know You would not put two boys in my care without a design in Your perfect plan. I confess to You that You and You alone are Lord of my life and that of my family. You know no recession and complete power over my life and I am dependent on You. This isn't sarcasm or feeling that you are my genie, or subscribing to the prosperity gospel (which You loathe). However, I cannot see what You see and do not know Your plan for me and the family You have entrusted with me.

Father, I claim the victory You already gave to me and I will long after this is realized. The acts of the evil one are nullified in Your name. I am crying out to you the obvious. Praise to You, in yours and Jesus' name, Amen.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Holy Grail

It's not just the last three words to a Monty Python movie anymore. Even though I'm trying really hard to make light of this situation, I am deadly serious about the ramifications of heresy. Being a Christian for 30 years, there are some known truths which are not just self evident. I accept the Bible as the true word of the Word Himself, Jesus Christ, regardless of the vessels used to write same. We can read and study this book and use critical thinking to confirm these truths.

To put it bluntly, I'm so sick of the DaVinci Code I could vomit. Furthermore, when a TV show parades this around as a possible truth, it makes me physically ill. This isn't so much as it could ever change my mind because it is so blatantly contrary to the Bible that a discerning Christian could not accept it. What concerns and angers me is that so many are on the fence with giving their lives to Jesus that this might give them pause to reject Him altogether. I can see the argument these poor souls give the Lord at the Great White Throne, "But Lord, I read the DaVinci code and it was so convincing..." The Lord's answer, with great regret, is going to be "I never knew you, depart from me: Ye that work iniquity" (MT 7:23).

These are the words the damned will be hearing for all eternity. Being separated from Jesus is the worst thing I can imagine, all other "perquisites " aside. Denying others the truth with heresy is one of the most dastardly deeds possible. Even Jesus gives an analogy that it would be better for the perpetrator to have a millstone hung around their neck and thrown into the sea (MT 18:6, MK 9:42, LK 17:2). The Lord does not mess around.

First of all, whether or not the holy grail is a goblet, tumbler or beer stein is of little consequence. As Christians, we are not about things as much as we are about the One holding the glass. Our Lord is risen, leaving an empty tomb and cross. He is awesome and we should thank Him for the sacrifice He made to save us, not mulling over objects of antiquity. The picture the DaVinci Code gives is libelous and contrary to the loving, caring and father of truth I've known since 1979. I am glad He loves me, despite my many faults and shortcomings.

As Christians, we are all redeemed by His precious, innocent blood shed on the cross for us. All we need do is accept the price He paid, admit we're sinners and repent from sin. Then we need to have a dialogue with our savior. This means praying and reading His word. What's more is those redeemed by Him do not have to fear death. We will be in the arms of a loving god the next instant. This to me is far more exciting than any intrigue this world can offer. My prayer is that everyone reading this would come to Christ and accept His precious gift of eternal life if they haven't already. This is the best note I think to leave my ranting on. God Bless.

Friday, September 18, 2009

More Burning Questions

1. If nothing sticks to Teflon, how does the manufacturer make it stick to the pan?

2. If it's called a hot water heater, why is there a need to heat hot water?

3. Why is a square in the shape of an "L"?

4. Why is a stick with numbers on it called a ruler when it doesn't rule anything?

5. Why is it so hard for a man to read the instructions, or ask directions?

6. If a black box is so tough, why not make the plane out of the same material?

7. Who is the lead driver in a traffic jam?

8. Why is a computer screen called a monitor, when the person looking at it is doing the monitoring?

9. If smart bombs are so smart, why don't they run for office?

10. If Smart cars are so smart, why can't they carry more than two people, or a tool cabinet?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Facing Goliath

Right now, more and more has this handyman and his family depend on the Lord for our food, water, clothing and roof over our head. The recession has been His way of bring us back to what's important and this means trusting in Him implicitly. His eye is on the sparrow, after all and worth more to Him than a whole aviary full. So my money is on Him, literally. If He were to take us into His arms, the seemingly temporal issues we face would be instantly nullified. If we are asked to go through the fire, I will go willingly.

He has proven this to me time and again through His promise to us and there is nothing He will not do for us. He has blessed us abundantly in hard times. When we stand with the Lord, who or what, can stand against us? It is in this spirit and sense of urgency that we all need Him in our lives. Life for even the anointed and dressed in fine linen, cleaner and whiter than snow by His precious blood for our sins, is still not easy. We must learn to trust and obey our most perfect Master when faced with the taunts and jeers of the evil one, the lord of this earth, that old devil himself...

When the Israelites were faced with the Philistines, a people who worshipped Satan in the name of Dagon and their version of the terminator, Goliath; they were terrified. Here was a giant of a man who stood six cubits and a span (1 Samuel 17:4). He wasn't a weak giant, or the Israelites would have made short work of him. He was a human tank with his armor and arms. Goliath was uncircumcised in both body and spirit and profaned the holy name of the Lord and His chosen people.

Today, I faced a Goliath of my own and it dealt with unemployment benefits. After being off six months this year due to downsizing, my state benefits finally ran out. A call to Michigan's Automated Response Voice Interactive Network, or MARVIN; which is a household word in Michigan. It could have been cause for much angst while being on hold for nearly a half hour on Michigan UIA's customer service line (They are busy, after all).

The Lord was and still is with me. Not so much for the extension of benefits, but the fact that I kept my cool over the whole thing. Within minutes after getting through to a very compassionate and understanding UIA worker, I was given a Federal Benefit Extension for an additional 20 weeks. After a few tearful "thank you Jesus's," I realized that angst is fruitless and unnecessary as a child of the Lord.

One thing about the Lord I know in my heart is that He's the provider of peace and prosperity. No government, employer, or policy is going to provide these for me or anyone else. Right now, the evil one is the lord of this earth by default, but when we allow our Heavenly Father authority in our lives and the Holy Spirit to indwell in us (not to mention Jesus to save us) He will take care of us. No, I'm not implying that we'll have a new Escalade in the driveway, or a Gulfstream at the airport, but He will carry us through the rough spots in life.


First Day of School

My older foster son has started on a journey with a new school, hopefully new friends and a new opportunity. Being seven years, plus 32 has taught me too much and not enough the nuances of life as a child. The most important years of learning aren't in college or graduate school, but in kindergarten through third grade. These are the years that for better or worse, have made me what I am to a great extent. My son has had a rough time in kindergarten and first grade; so much so that he's been blessed with the gift of another year.

As I led him to the gym, where a breakfast was waiting and I carrying our soon to be adopted 18 month old, the anxiety of the first day came and mercifully, went as quickly. It was if someone had put a reassuring hand on my shoulder "it's going to fine Walter, you can go home now." Despite my angst of making sure he knew where his classroom was, his account was paid up and we exchanged the obligatory hugs and goodbyes, it was all good.

After a very short day of playing with, feeding and changing our younger son, a quick trip to the school confirmed that our older son had in fact has a good day, despite his misgivings about making friends in a new school. It took everything in my own experience to reassure him that this too would pass and he too would make friends in due time. That and two warnings from his teacher about talking confirmed that he would be fine. Our son is a normal, typical seven year old, despite all he's been through.

But I like so much to tell him, and make him understand that life is a gift. Whether or not you have lots of friends or only a few is not a gauge of success in life, personal or otherwise. What will really make a difference in life is how we treat everyone, friend or enemy. I've resigned myself to the fact that this lesson may be beyond the comprehension of a seven year old. I know the Lord will give me the right words when the time is right.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Guess What's On the History Channel...

Normally and even abnormally, I'll watch the aforementioned channel on 120 between mandatory episodes of iCarly and Sponge bob, (or Penguins , for that matter). For the past week, I've seen programs about Antichrist, 2012, 2012 Nostradamus, and 2012 Nostradamus, the Antichrist (just kidding on the last one). There's another new one on this Wednesday called Nostradamus 2012 (surprise). The thing that really strikes me and has since I was old enough to understand Nostradamus, are the people making "sense" of his quatrains seem to do so after the fact. A real good example being the one supposedly concerning New Orleans and hurricane Katrina. It was a vague quatrain concerning crystals and a city by the swamp that can mean anything an interpreter wants it to mean.
While this can be said about any verse in the Bible, though said channel did attack it on the notion that the book of Thessalonians had predictions that never came true like they were supposed to in their time. I'll explain this later.
The show has used many references to astrology to try and explain the future and the present, but just like the show Antichrist, it gave so many viewpoints and credence to none. Even for me, it was all confusing.
God is the god of clarity, from my experience. He doesn't foster confusion or bewilderment and surely doesn't work in mysterious ways. The Bible is far from vague and especially with the King James Version, easy to understand and interpret. I never have to worry about confusing a person (Hitler) with a river (Hister, or the Danube) when reading God's word. If there is something not clear, we can pray to Him for clarity if the concordance doesn't clear things up. This is something not afforded by Nostradamus or his followers.
When reading 1 or 2 Thessalonians, for example, both are very short books which are after all, just letters. One prediction 1 Thes 4:16-18...

16. And the Lord will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump (trumpet) of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. 17. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall ever be with the Lord. 18. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

No wonder why they never even bothered to address which verses never came to pass. Well, not to rain on any one's parade, the reason is because it hasn't happened yet. The two words I've italicized should give the reader the reason, but the Greek word for caught up or snatched, is raptured (in fact, Blogger even has raptured as a typo) folks. This is probably going to put me on the receiving end of those who are against a rapture, or feel that this is the idea of a nineteenth century crackpot, but it isn't.

The mainstream media has an interest in discrediting Christian beliefs and will if such an event did happen. They will use every explanation possible, as a pre-tribulation rapture, as well as Bible prophesy, is a threat to the status quo. There are other predictions which haven't come to pass yet, but this is no reason to discredit the Bible or any book therof. Fact is, the Lord or His word is not mocked. This isn't to say that people won't try and refute either, but it does say that He's not the One who needs to prove anything to us. Every prophesy He's ever made has come to pass thus far, and the scoffers are going to really have to stretch the truth, or ignore it altogether.