30 November 2015

Is God's Protection Limited?



Whomever desires harvesting a life sowed in the ways of this world only reaps this world's rewards.

These rewards usually carry adverse consequences.

The wayward are granted freedom of choice, some choosing to hurt and devastate the children of the Most High in chasing worldly rewards.

Since the flesh counts for nothing, the wayward's efforts only bring a case of judgment against them, while the children are vindicated.

Great is His mercy and love for His children!

The maledictions and malevolence against the children have no hold on the love, grace and mercy He's chosen to show His children, although they realize suffering.

He knows and allows His own to traverse pain in order to bring forth more than the imagination conceives.

Looking at Christ, notice how His murderers actually sealed their fate... according to His purpose.

His resurrection showed that, although the flesh is killed, the Spirit lives on and forever.

This reality propelled His first witnesses to spread this news.

God allows all things to happen for unfathomable reasons, revealing His bountiful grace and love for His children, despite their sufferings from the wayward's trespasses.

Consider how grateful the children are for grace despite the things done in their past, or the doubts their hearts regularly experience.

Yet they are not granted a license to trespass.

God's grace is one of the most misunderstood, underestimated, least explained spiritual phenomena.

God's grace is beyond conception, immeasurable by human means.

Men dare say who is or isn't in His grace, but this is merely arrogance and misaligned zealotry.

They reflect God's immeasurable love.

He redeems those who some people may label nonredeemable!

His chosen can absorb, as water does a grain of salt, the judgments and opinions of people, regardless of title or position in organized religions and secular circles.

29 November 2015

Always Finding The Good



I recently watched a movie I've heard about but never seen.

It's a comedy with quite a powerful story.

A reporter, who is very full of himself, desires to ascend to a more prestigious position.

His current assignment is to a small town covering an annual folk story of a weather predicting rodent.

If you're my age or older, you may have seen this movie or heard about it.

He dismisses and offends everyone around him, considering himself too great, too smart and too talented to be around them, seeing himself above the simple and humble people of this town.

But something quite unorthodox happens.

He is bound to repeat that same day over and over again.

He relives the same day every day, despite his efforts to alter his destiny, even to the point of killing himself, he continues awaking to the same day and always repeating events.

At first he has his fun, learning about people and their past to gain leverage over them, but his exploits never carry over into the next day, showing his deplorable efforts a fleeting waste of time.

Yet, as the same day repeats, his heart's desire comes to the surface; his love for a coworker.

His own attempts fails to win her heart.

When he 'predicts' all events of that day to her, this alienates him further from her and others.

Only when he confronts his own frail character, arrogance, unbridled pride and broken heart does he realize life's purpose and meaning.

One particular repeated day, he wastes no time serving everyone he can reach in town.

From the homeless man that will eventually die later in the evening, to the little old ladies in a car with a punctured tire, he pours himself out to serve everyone.

This lifts him to the status he has always desired, but finds himself not full of his old self, but with the love he so desired for himself from those around him.

He also wins the love of his coworker, again because he put himself last in lifting everyone else around him.

His earlier disrespect and distaste for this small town and people now turns to love and belonging.

I was touched by this movie in a great way, learning what the writers had woven into the comedy of a man bound to repeat a day he initially couldn't stand.

I laughed and cried.

28 November 2015

First Impressions



When you first meet someone, are your initial thoughts of them correct?

Assuming you build a friendship an acquaintance with them, are you always right in your assumptions?

Have you ever been wrong?

Have your perceptions change over time?

Have your first impressions lingered despite later realizing you were wrong?

If you were to meet someone, and at that moment you were not your best, it would be a shame they would hold that initial first meeting against you for the rest of your life.

Some of us had parents which did this to us.

We may have siblings who still view us as that brat, or blockhead child, and not the peer we are.

We've also been subject to such time-stamped judgments.

We've done this with food.

We've done this with places.

We've done this with ideas.

I used to be deathly afraid of sushi because of the opinions of others... who never had sushi.

It wasn't until I was practically coerced into trying some that I was able to overcome my fear, my false judgment and my belief of opinions.

I really like sushi today and can't get enough.

I've turned on others to sushi, helping them also overcome negative perceptions built upon opinions.

If we are to approach human beings with preconceived notions, judging them by their outer appearances, or what others have opined of them, how comfortable would we be if others would approach us with negative notions about ourselves?

I do acknowledge that people, like sheep, assimilate and identify with whichever ideology or identity they are grouped in, by default or design or desire.

If we can look at our past and realize change, growth and maturity, surely other human beings can change, grow and mature.

Can we put ourselves in their shoes and love?

26 November 2015

The Spirit's Image



Seeing Yeshua / Isa / Jesus is like seeing a cloud.

The elements that would make a cloud are ever present, but unseen by the human eye.

As men have measured and found out, a cloud becomes visible when temperature meets with certain elements.

And as some of us have noticed when looking at clouds, one could sometimes see certain shapes familiar to things we are familiar with.

But from another perspective, these shapes are not clear, only perhaps a cloud is seen, nothing more.

With Christ appearing, what has always been there was made visible for man to see.

Those who had the proper perspective sown into their hearts were able to see clearly who was before them.

Others simply saw a man.

Although a cloud rains down upon the land and makes the cycles of life work, arguably one of the most important components of life, it is sometimes dismissed because its effort is always ever present.

It is like forgetting the miracle of breathing; with every breath, your body is revitalized with the oxygen plants and trees produce.

It is like forgetting water is recycled and cycled through the ocean, evaporation, the clouds, mountain peaks, rivers and streams, underground aquifers, and other ways creation purifies water; what men have nothing to do with in bringing what passes through us back again.

It is like forgetting our body's intricate work; healing itself when injured, blood circulating throughout all places and being filtered while passing through other places, the air going into our lungs and passing to our cells, being fed with oxygen, sustaining life.

It is outstandingly amazing how we can forget the miracle of life we are!

It is amazingly amazing how these things happen without our effort!

It is a grand design.

Thank the Grand Designer.

25 November 2015

Translating The Message


For some, the Gospel speaks to and reflects the heart clearly...

...for others, the Gospel is quite unclear, the heart misunderstanding

The Gospel is a message, not a mathematical formula.

The earliest disciples of Christ did not have the written Gospel in-hand as they traveled about.

The message was carried in their hearts.
This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
- Hebrews 10: 16
And if you can believe, the Holy Spirit would speak through them whenever God desired.
But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come.
- John 16: 13
The King James Version (KJV) of the bible was penned in the early 17th century.

Remember, English didn't exist when the message manifested.

The message would be weaved through translations from Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, Latin, and other languages.

This message is still being translated Today into most known languages in the known world.

What are we to consider looking at all of those various English translations in the years prior to the favored KJV?

Shall we argue over specific words, or the use of a certain term instead of another term?

The Gospel (good news) is a message.

If the message doesn't speak to the heart, then no translation, nor proper order of words in whichever language, is going to speak to your heart.

It is God who opens the heart and plants His Word in the hearts of men.

Men in pride love to battle and argue over words, and as we see Today, over which compilation of the message is "right”.

They seem to worship the works and opinions of men instead of the One who inspired the message.

24 November 2015

Comforting Transcendence



We may sometimes experience things which bring comfort to our hearts.

These events may vary.

The following occurred in February, 2004.

About a week and a half after my maternal grandfather passed away, I was standing in my grandparent's living room watching my grandmother (his wife) as she watched television. She couldn't see me. I was pondering what may be going through her mind. She was married to this man for over 60 years, and now he was gone.

There was a cuckoo clock behind me, one that both of them would wind up every so often. He had made a small mark on the wall, to align the clock, near the bottom corner of the clock. But one day, I had also made a mark. I heard, according to the tick-tock syncopation, that his mark was a bit incorrect. The sound was not "in time" as a musician would say (I'm a musician).

Every so often, he would return the clock's alignment by sliding the bottom of the clock back to his mark. And I when I would notice this, I would return it to mine.... lol.

Well, that day as I stood there pondering my grandmother's thoughts and also pondering the current whereabouts of my grandfather, I heard the clock sliding. Turning around, I noticed it had moved from my mark to his! The syncopation also changed from my "in time" syncopation to his "off time" syncopation, like going from 1/4 notes to 1/8 notes and 1/2 notes!

I was very surprised, quite shocked and amazed at the same time.

My hair didn't stand up on the back of my neck as with another experience from another time. What this experience granted me was respite regarding my wondering of his whereabouts and my concern as to his state.

23 November 2015

Speaking From The Heart



Friends and family, you never know what impact the words from your heart will have on someone.

You think you're recalling a simple story, using simple words.

But your audience may be hearing an answer to their heart's questions, or suspicions, or pessimism, or doubts.

The other day I answered a friend's question.

His question: could you ever cheat on your wife?

I began to share the earliest challenges we faced.

It was this man who was challenged, for my wife-to-be did not have the difficulty.

Yet, since a unification is the coming together of two people, it was 'us' who faced the difficulty of my baggage.

I shared with him how my immaturity and doubt initially jeopardized our relationship.

He at first became quite upset, thinking my story was picture perfect or a fairy tale without blemish.

I then shared how my wife was patient, was kind and was forgiving.

The Author of Life was revealing to me things I had to accept.

I was faced with taking responsibility for my prior decisions made and recognizing His blessing given me despite those prior wayward actions.

My eyes were opened as never before, causing me to repent.

I also added that divorce is not an option.

Cheating on her would be like me committing suicide.

By the look in his eyes, the manner of his expressions, he was not only hearing my words, his heart was hearing the message being unlocked from within my heart.

By the time I finished sharing how God had answered my prayer clearly and absolutely, he was loudly exclaiming His praises!

And this is how God is glorified; from the lips of those responding to His awesomeness, His good gifts, His miracles, His grace, His promises, His forgiveness, His blessings and His love for us.

21 November 2015

You Get Wet, But He Does The Washing


Baptism in Long Beach, California


Looking at any topic from the recent conclusions of some people, without considering its inceptions and developments, is a disservice.

Early realities can be missed.

The early developments must be considered, or else a building upon the foundation may be missed.

The truth is simple.

The truth is very agreeable to those who can accept the truth's simplicity.

The truth isn't complicated.

The truth seems too simple to be believable sometimes.

The truth is simple, but people complicate simplicity.

Baptism is simple.

Many books have been written about this mystery.

Many opinions, doctrines and dogmas have been and continue to be developed around it.

How is one to learn what it is, how it works, and how far it has developed?

Has it been loosened to reflect the prior symbols, the prior physical examples, in the preceding covenant, in foreshadowing the new covenant's spiritual reality... which is unseen and easily misunderstood?

I would encourage you to read the many letters and testimonies written by those who followed the first disciples, and the period before the faith was adopted as a state religion.

Yeshua replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

Yeshua answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

- John 3: 3-8

- born of water and the Spirit

- everyone born of the Spirit is like hearing the wind but cannot tell where it comes and goes

Yeshua replied, “You do not realize now what I Am doing, but later you will understand.”

“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”

Yeshua answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with Me.”

- John 13: 7-8

- It is the Yeshua who does the real washing, not any man

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the Name of Yeshua Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

- Acts 2: 38-39

- repent (turn away from sin)

- receive the gift

- promised to all people, children included, and all who are far off

The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

They replied, “Believe in the Lord Yeshua, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Then they spoke the Word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.

- Acts 16: 29-34

- Question: "what must I do to be saved?"

- Answer: "believe in the Lord Yeshua"

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. After being made alive, He went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits—to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Yeshua Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to Him.

- 1 Peter 3: 18-22

- Christ suffered... to bring you to God

- we, like He was, are "made alive in the Spirit"

- Noah's family was "saved through water"

- that preceding water symbolized baptism that now saves you

- by the pledge of a clear conscience toward God (believing in the Lord Yeshua Christ)

- "saves you by the resurrection of Yeshua Christ"


Your part is to believe the Word of God; the message of the Gospel, and be led through the water.

God's part is to gift you His Spirit.

Man's part involves humility before others; being led into the water and having another man baptize you.

God's part is not within our power, for many have been washed yet never received His gift.

His salvation depends on His election, His choice, His appointment, not our human efforts.

This is why no man can boast about himself, nor his station in life, for no man can determine his salvation for himself, though he believes he is saved.

Humility, gratitude, working out one's salvation with fear and trembling, not taking His grace for granted, nor exploiting His grace and freedom to pursue wayward ways.

If someone would ask whether infant or adolescent baptism is valid, they would first have to ask: to what extent did the apostles loosen the Way?

They would also have to ask: do we have evidence in the first and second century of this loosening?

And thirdly they would have to ask: is the evidence already found in all the churches prior to the reformation / rebellion that shows infant baptism being applied for over 1500 years?

20 November 2015

Knock Off Brands



There is a brand of Christianity that doesn't resemble the popular definition of what Christianity is today.

I don't think it is fair to call it Christianity, so clearer terms need to be used to identify what this is.

Disciple is a term that better defines this idea.

When looking at a disciple of Christ, this term brings more clarity.

Phrases like “love your enemy” is a very distinguishing phrase, separating other brands of Christianity.

In loving your enemy, history has shown people branding themselves as Christians but failing to truly love their enemy.

We don't have to look too far back at times past to see how Christians still fail to love their enemy,

This brings confusion onto who Christ is and the term Christianity.

In my early twenties, I had a hard time believing that anybody on the earth was living according to the message of the Christ.

All of the mainstream examples that I could look at didn't resemble Christ much, but resembled poor examples of men trying to define Christianity for themselves and seemingly ignoring the example of Christ.

What it did take, and this was less my doing, and more-so something opening inside of me, in my heart, not so much my effort but by a greater effort; I was allowed to see examples.

Some here, some there.

I didn't need to see perfect examples, for no common human being can be or ever was perfect.

What I did need to see were glimpses of Christ.

I did find people who were loving their enemy.

Who, despite the poor examples, the faithless, the popular doctrines of Christianity which justify war and self defense, I found people who had put more faith in God and His providence and less faith in the common ways of mankind.

19 November 2015

The Money Tool



Some things to consider walking the fine line between money (for many, a false idol) and the Way, which is by faith.

The calling to follow Christ does not have poverty as a prerequisite.

However, it is a false notion to believe material increase is a manifest spiritual blessing.

Very few can handle wealth and not be captivated by it.

I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.

- Luke 16: 9

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

Yeshua said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.

- Luke 19: 8-9

Yeshua looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” He said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.”

At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Yeshua looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”

The disciples were amazed at His words. But Yeshua said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”

Yeshua looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”

“Truly I tell you,” Yeshua replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for Me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

- Mark 10: 21-31

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

- Acts 2: 42-47

Unlike so many, we do not peddle the Word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.

- 2 Corinthians 2: 17

Use your material wealth for good, as the tool it was made to be.

The service of the Lord is a service, not a wealth generating vocation.

18 November 2015

I Am ______ (Fill In Your Label)





Do you like being labeled?

How accurate have the labels you've received been about you?

Read the insightful definition of labeling prior to continuing, for it grants understanding.

Did you know there are actually no such 'things' as the following?

-Muslim

-Christian

-Jew

-Hindu

-Buddhist

-_________ (fill in the label you think you are)

-black

-white

-brown

-yellow

-orange

-green

-_________ (fill in the label you think you are)

-American

-Canadian

-African

-French

-Russian

-_________ (fill in the label you think you are)

-rich

-poor

-smart

-stupid

-good

-priest

-minister

-imam

-guru

-__________ (fill in the label you think you are)

What does exist are people, human beings.

We are all related whether your religion, your country, your identity or your "leader" agrees or not.

The religion of science also concedes to the fact of a single family genome.

People existed BEFORE any of the termed categories were made up.

Shall we be divided by the things that people make up for themselves?

What are we, then?

I am [a] _________. (what you label yourself unites or divides you)

Since we are in fact related, then we're family.

Unfortunately, some do not believe this, or have a difficult time looking past their specific identity and accepting the humanity of their distant relatives.

Yet, despite disbelief or refusal to accept another human being, we are in fact all children.

And though we are all children, sadly some of us, due to unbelief and resistance in joining a loving family, remove themselves from the family.

They cannot see past their pride.

Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His Name, He gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

- John 1: 12-13

17 November 2015

Eye Can See




When a migraine strikes it impairs my visual experience.

My activity comes to a standstill.

Out in public, I could close my eyes and wait out the 15 or 20 minutes until it passes.

But if I'm in public, like a coffee shop, having my eyes closed for that long a time can be uncomfortable for others.

My sight is replaced with squiggly pulsating black and white lines.

Initially, the blindness is the size of a small paperclip, while my periphery in all directions is still visible.

It begins as a slit of squiggly lines, and if reading, a few words across a page are missing.

The squiggly lines begin to move and grow, slowly drifting left during the waiting period.

In due time, one side of my periphery is unseen by my mind.

This has happened while driving and I have had to pull to the side of the road and wait it out.

When it happens, it causes me to consider things, like eye sight.

I take the basics for granted sometimes, as if eye sight can be considered a 'basic' for all people, which it isn't.

Things that we had no hand in to begin with, like our lives, or our sight in this instance, soon becomes well appreciated and highly valued.

I cannot imagine a world where I cannot see.

Many are the beautiful sights in this world; oceans, mountains, animals, people's faces, some things mankind has made.

The eye itself is such an amazing and intricate piece of creation.

Have you ever looked closely at people's eyes?

Search online for images and videos of the many different colors and patterns of the eye.

What is quite striking is that although the eye is the instrument to 'see,' there are some things the eye cannot see.

16 November 2015

Control Your Inner Dog



The carnal mind sees something and desires to physically take hold of it; men battling over land, power, women, wealth, etc..

The spiritual mind wonders why that desire is occurring.

It measures the heart in valuing what the eye sees.

It considers what must change to gain what is seen.

It also submits to that desire's unavailability.

When I was a single man, I would sometimes get jealous seeing a man and woman together.

Depending on my heart's condition and emotions, my mind might consider and desire that woman.

Two things would pass through my mind, among other things I won't mention:

I wanted to remove that man; be in that man's shoes.

I wondered how I can steal that woman from him.

I literally wanted to make her fall in love with me.

I realized later it was the situation between them, the relationship, which my heart yearned for, not any woman specifically.

I could only focus on what I was physically seeing and physically lonely for.

I pondered that perhaps the type of vehicle I drive, the clothes I wear, the attitude I projected would attract what I wanted.

But since these are superficial efforts, they would attract superficial situations.

If one only makes exterior adjustments without working on what actually keeps a relationship thriving, one shouldn't wonder why so many broken people, hearts and homes exist.

The outer and inner transformation comes hand in hand.

Haven't we all seen people become ultra religious, changing their hair (facial or head), their clothes, their speech patterns, only to reveal by their words and actions what is really stirring inside their hearts?

Haven't we also done this?

Our human effort is changing the obvious things (those exterior, the physical).

God's purpose is renewing our hearts.

Let Him transform your heart.

15 November 2015

To Italy With Love



Met a man from Italy yesterday.

He was walking out of the 7/11 with a pack of cigarettes.

I was sitting in my vehicle just outside the laundromat waiting for my clothes to finish drying.

We made eye contact as he approached the passenger side of the vehicle he was about to get into.

He complained to me how ridiculous it was having paid eight dollars for a pack of cigarettes.

We began an exchange about the self-inflicted damage of smoking.

We also meandered and weaved through several topics in quick fashion.

His Spanish was pretty good; it is a slight variant of his native Italian.

He mentioned the recent massacre in Paris and told me he feels sad for that and for his children's future.

I told him it shows how people truly have no clue of who God is.

Many religious fanatics of any religion are clueless to the reality that we are all brothers and sisters, called to love one another, like Yeshua Christ exemplified.

He agreed.

He showed me his airline ticket for his return to Italy on Air France.

He's a perfume wholesaler and mentioned how the samples he still has will be unable to return with him on the flight.

I caught an amazing glimpse into his person and his culture by the choice of words he used.

He joked how the airline representative he spoke to on the phone regarding the perfume said he'll have to leave his perfume.

He suggested dropping their off at their house.

I laughed.

We touched on many subjects and got to know one another in a very short time.

It is interesting how two strangers can speak, share their thoughts, and even if we did have different view points, the differences were less important than our likeness.

14 November 2015

Confessions Of A Sleeper Cell



I am a sleeper cell, but not the kind your mind thinks of when reading the term sleeper cell.

The sleeper cell I am exudes light when darkness is confronted.

What seems to be asleep within me never actually sleeps, but acts on its own; myself simply being an instrument.

To some, I am a light, to others, their death nail.

An identity can be a dangerous thing and also a good thing.

Identity can be arbitrary for some people while being empty of much meaning for other people.

For some people, when holding onto a particular identity, they have forsaken themselves for the sake of others.

For others, their identity has taught them to violently or spitefully eliminate foreign identities.

History's telling narrative shows how people, united under a popular identity, have worked together to reach certain ends, some noble, others ignoble.

Consider your heritage, your lineage, your culture, your religious leanings, your understanding of the world, your nation's history and even your family tree.

For some of you, the story is one of great triumph in the face of overwhelming obstacles.

For some others, you are on the side of the Victor.

For others, it may be obscure and unclear.

And for some of you, it may be embarrassing, but you're not embarrassed, not aware.

Yet isn't it interesting how values have been formulated out of an identity.

The ways governments have been ruled depends on the accepted identity of any given people.

The manner a foreign people is dealt with depends on the identity of both sides; mostly how that foreigner is perceived.

I am an identity which isn't popular, although many claim it along with me.

My identity, my sleeper cell, is this:

But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of Him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task? Unlike so many, we do not peddle the Word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.

- 2 Corinthians 2: 14-17

Nature's Lessons & Inspirations



Mankind has learned many things, quite many the things 'made' by man's hands, from observing the world around them.

Rappelling; maybe from watching a spider let out silk to slow its descent.

Flying; watching birds glide in flight.

Scuba diving gear; fins resembling those of a seal.

Auto mechanized robot; the legs of an animal, like a deer.

Velcro; burdock burrs (arctium).

Riblets on surfaces to reduce drag; shark skin.

Check out some nature inspired inventions.

There is much more man can learn when observing nature, its order, symbiotic relationships and how some animals depend on others for existence.

13 November 2015

Victory Is His Story



History.

Whose story?

His Story.

There exists popular narratives, stories, and perspectives portraying and projecting particular views of the past.

Ever hear/read the phrase: “history is written by the victors”?

Those who conquer retell past events at their leisure.

They highlight certain things, ignore others, forwarding what seems right to them while placing themselves above conquered ideologies and peoples.

Archaeological evidence shows ancient Egypt had erased unpopular kings and embarrassing events from its historical account.

Almost all organizations of men have done this; conquered people's history being erased, destroyed, retold and recast according to the victor's perception.

In formulating my perspective of the past, deciphering between popular and fringe narratives as I search for truth, I take into consideration the retelling of past events from all sides.

Yet I too have a retelling according to bias.

But am I a victor-- recounting the past according to my prerogative?

Answering yes-- answering no.

Interestingly, pre-Christian Jewish history holds unflattering accounts about Hebrew people and the community as a whole.

When looking at what transpired after Israel's eviction by the Romans shortly after Christ, I've considered a viable narrative outside the typical popular record:

When the gospel of Christ appeared, God's knowledge traveled beyond the paths prior Jewish communities had traversed.

Although Judaism is somewhat a closed religion (not evangelical), it has influenced laws and business practices the world over.

The gospel infiltrated peoples and places, absorbing individual secular cultures, forming a new unifying ideology.

The ancient idea of a man being called a god came to pass, accepted from the most unlikely of places; a small and seemingly insignificant people.

According to popular historical narratives, 'shouldn't' the God-man have been an Egyptian, Persian, Babylonian, Greek, Roman, Arabian, Englishman or a German?

Ancient Egypt had its 'son of God' ideal in their kings, but where are they now?

The Roman state also had raised its Augustus to 'god' status, yet what came of them?

Why has Yeshua, called Christ (Anointed), a Jewish man from a very small and typically marginalized people, grown to became the most influential and worshiped man ever?

Why is Yeshua hailed by the world as the One in Presence when most believers have no connection with Him in terms of nationality or ancestry?

The gospel did not conquer the kingdoms of men by the sword, but by love, service and bloodshed on the saints part.

Imagine this again!

12 November 2015

Perceive New Walks In Life



Read this article.

Do the choices companies make in hiring either domestic or foreign employees have anything to do with making more money?

Of course.

In a world where economic interests dictate decision making, can employees be blamed for the choices employers make?

Why then does media and political hacks blame immigration?

Why continue obfuscating (hiding) the decisions both governments and large companies make?

The article shared speaks volumes to the reality that, in our international world, national allegiance means very little to people whose interest is making more money.

So, is it wise to blame the commodity (labor) and not the managers of commodity?

Consider what happens to people and organizations who put too much emphasis on making money instead of considering the outcome of their narrow decisions.

For some, losing a job is sometimes the push they needed to go work for themselves.

For others, it was the final straw that broke their psyche.

Sadly, the methods of those in more secured positions to increase their incomes are made at any expense: lay-offs, firing, or paying lower wages.

This is the world's reality; greed blinds all involved.

No wonder there is so much mental illness, regardless of income.

The solutions are uncomfortable, seemingly impossible and are dependent on your individual responsibility.

Cease consuming:

Every holiday or trip to the store is a reason to feed the trash heap and fleece your pocket book.

Eliminate debts and/or don't go into debt:

Interest is an allowed scheme, a justified greed that sifts you slowly; don't participate in it at either end.

Work at something that has meaning to you:

We are all subjects of someone, either seen or unseen, so make sure your subjugation is meaningful.

Place value in the eternal and things of the heart:

The material passes away.

11 November 2015

Fall Into Loving Others




This is a message to those who still view the world and people as if God needs you to forgo being a loving example and ignore extending His grace to others as it has been extended to you.

Some would argue that not mentioning to people their sins (those not in the church / not claiming to know and follow Christ) is not loving them, and forwarding a passive and watered-down Gospel message.

Is this true?

Are we to judge those inside the church or those outside?

How did Christ deal with the sin of others?

Considering the parables about seeds, seasons and a harvest, and looking at ourselves and our past, do people become "perfect" from one day to the next? (aside from God's grace perfecting the believer, but I'm speaking of the human perspective in keeping a perfect record)

Or is it a process, first something has to die, then something else growing in its place... and then a life of certain irremovable thorns to keep God's children humble?

Here we understand grace despite our nature.

We can view the list of sins (a-b) which prevent entrance into the kingdom of God, but shall we begin speaking of sin lists to people who know not Christ?

Shouldn't we speak firstly of His love, His grace, His kingdom (as is taught in the Gospel message) and when their hearts respond, to further help them search their hearts and see what needs repenting from?

Didn't Christ build relationships with those who accepted Him or eventually would?

Why do people today follow the concepts and doctrines of men when Christ exemplified something quite unique and different?

The entire message is love.

If one does not start with love, why would they expect to end with love?

Love covers a multitude of sin.

10 November 2015

American Christian Identity In Crisis



Would the American Christian, coming from a small town in America's south, who sees Christ through the lens of a particular Protestant denomination, for example, be able to recognize his brother in Christ who is culturally Arab?

Aside from outer appearances, if only words were heard (the Arabic language heard by the American), what are the chances that the American may think their Arab brother in Christ was a terrorist?

The same could be seen in reverse, with the Arab Christian perceiving their American counterpart as being hostile to the Arab culture, or whatever the negative perception of American Christians is in an Arab culture.

I don't like using labels or categories (Arab, American, Christian), but I do so in this instance to make the point that outer appearances, and their attached labels, can be deceiving.

Our initial judgment of someone by outer appearance can be very wrong.

What is sad, but needs to be pointed out, is how certain groups of “Christians” are suspicious and judgmental of other groups of Christians, even those who walk the very same streets but attend a different Christian group, or explain their faith using different terms.

Yet, no man can clearly see the heart of another man, neither what the future holds for both themselves and others.

Sadly, an individual can be easily judged according to their clothes, their ethnicity, their group affiliation, or their group's doctrinal points, instead of being measured according to a relationship.

Yet, this human shortcoming isn't only common to the Christian circles.

This same shortcoming is evident in practically all people, whether religious or secular.

How can someone overcome such a shortcoming of their human condition?

We can see a great example in a man named Paul:

Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

- 1 Corinthians 9: 19-23

Imagine the American Christian (whatever that is), for the sake of loving and saving their perceived “enemy,” would adopt their enemy's culture, as an act of love and service, in order to reach them? We read the quoted example how Paul became what ever was necessary to embrace, reach, relate to and absorb into Christ those who were destined to hear the good news of Christ's kingdom.

09 November 2015

Metaphysical Master


Thoughts Dawning At Twilight

I had the notion of sharing just a thought, or two, or a few.

I like sharing some things on social media, whether it's my thoughts, my heart, things that I see through my journeys as I walk around this town of Long Beach where I currently reside.

One thing that came to mind when I was walking home from the coffee shop was “metaphysical Master.”

There seems to be no other evidence or testimony of a metaphysical master other than Christ.

And it seems the vast majority of what you would consider a miracle to have been derived from people invoke His Name or set their hearts on Him, His Person, who He is.

The aspect of love, how love has been defined by that Person, the Person of Christ, by His actions, by His words and by the imitation of His actions and His words.

What I've seen in my short time here on this planet, now in my 41st year, is that simply because people describe their experience with the un-explainable... because we can use the words of the bible, but people still do not understand.

They can use those very words, but it is still inexplicable something as vast as God.

But thank God that we do have a glimpse in Christ!

I think the only way that others, speaking to you who desire to forward the message of Christ, to exemplify His love, to be like Christ:

I would suggest try not putting so many road blocks, so many stumbling blocks in the way of others, but meet them where they're at.

Consider where you have been, as I consider where I have been, in how others have reached me.

How God has used others to reach me.

It has usually been though a loving way; a smile, a friendship, a kind word, service.

Not through condemnation, not through judgment, but through grace.

Extending grace to those who have yet to find out what grace is all about.

I think that a lot of people who would call themselves Christians also do not understand grace.

I think if they did, they wouldn't be so imitating of the prophets of old.

They wouldn't be so harsh.

I used to be like that, I used to be very legalistic in that way.

I used to be: “you gotta be hard line on sin.”

And sometimes I was just reflecting my own battle with my sin.

But was Christ really like that?

I think Christ, if we read, clearly He responded in a tough way when He was being attacked, when He was being called evil.

But when He would approach or be approached by those who were considered sinful and outside the scope of a 'good person,' He was inviting, He was gracious, He showed mercy, He loved them.
And that is one thing that the religious... they not only couldn't stand it, they attacked Him for it!

So... love people!!

Learn the amazing ways that God reveals Himself through other people and other ways of they explaining their small view of God.

We all have a small view of God.

I recently shared a scientific guy's testimony, a neurosurgeon, who used to see the world through a mechanical way; thinking that the brain is like a machine.

His experience of coming near death opened up his eyes in a way that now his language is 'not scientific' as far as not being accepted by those who hold to the religion of science.

People are quick to criticize him, his testimony of his experience, and how he puts it into his words, his language.

They're quick to condemn him instead of just taking the good of what is presented.

And isn't that what life is all about?

Taking what's good, rejecting what is bad.

07 November 2015

Becoming One Every Day



If the two become one, how important it truly must be making sure the other half is happy, secure, comfortable and protected.

Being a husband, I protect my wife.

She is my body, my heart and the litmus test showing how I am doing.

I remember hearing a man say: your wife is the reflection of how well you are doing... if she is glowing, you're doing a good job (with her), if she isn't, then it is your fault as to why she is not aglow.

I was a young man when I heard that message through him.

Those words rang true and reverberated deeply within my heart.

Sometimes when I share with my buddies some of the conversations I have with my wife, or some of the things I do for her (like vacuuming or doing the laundry), they look at me as if I've lost my manhood.

I think I understand gender roles and the order between a man and woman in holy unity.

But where is it written that certain activities are the sole realm of a woman... or of a man?

Am I less of a man if I was to clean up the house to surprise my wife?

Would I be 'weak' or a 'wimp' if I was to perform some of what a wife would be 'expected' to do around the house?

These things I have learned, firstly hearing the lesson and secondly by experience:

When my wife's heart is happy, my heart is happy.

When my wife is secure, I feel like the strongest man on the planet.

When my wife is growing in her understanding of how the Almighty works (my vocation is washing her with the Word), I see the possible come out of the impossible.

Men:

Your wife and the condition of her heart, her mind and her security being with you is vitally important to the revelation of the living Word, let alone to the health of your relationship.

I can understand why some societies, cultures and religions elevate women to a higher place than men: mysteries can be revealed when a man's humility is exercised.

I can also understand why some societies, cultures and religions stifle and defeat the woman's role: proud men fearful of losing control.

Yet, Christ removed the barrier between men and women without removing the order of service one has to the other.

06 November 2015

Traversing The Forgiving Bridge



If humans existed in water as fish do, would humans know what it would be like to walk the ground and breathe the air?

Would the water-born human understand a description of life on land?

Would words be sufficient for the human to gain a glimpse of what it is like to breathe in air?

If the water-breathing human communicates not by words, but with sound and sight as do many fish today, could audible words carried by the air be a possibility?

The notion of this chasm between life on land and life in water seems vastly different enough, yet why do certain individual human beings consider other humans in an indifferent manner?

Is the barrier between a water life and an air life so different between humans Today?

Why then do some humans act as if two or more species of creation are attempting to communicate?

If two people from the same family, being raised together as siblings, can sadly hold bitterness and rivalry in their hearts for a lifetime, why is it that strangers can build a friendship that resembles a family unit?

Is it the lack of baggage between strangers what doesn't complicate a relationship?

Wouldn't the long history between relatives be a good reason to further build that relationship?

Perhaps in a perfect world both strangers and relatives can get along, right?

Perhaps rivalries dating back centuries between individuals, clans, tribes, countries and certain groups could be resolved if all parties were to have a case of amnesia, yes?

Isn't forgiveness a precursor to the symptom of amnesia?

Although forgiveness is believed to be a two party effort (forgiver and forgiven), have you noticed the heart's resolve experienced by both parties?

Did you also know that the forgiver is the party needing the greater resolve?

05 November 2015

Let Yourself "Be" And Be Amazed



We never know the deeper impact we have in speaking with others.

What we may perceive to be common conversation can cause another person's heart to reverberate with love, hope and faith.

We are not keen to the hidden ways a timely word can move someone, so long as we speak in and through love.

Today I was once again reminded how, to what may seem to us a passive conversation, God's good purpose is forwarded through us.

There is always something to learn, or something to be reminded of, when we take the time to listen to another human being.

It is when our patience is tested, when we may desire to dismiss someone's ramblings as others would do, that we realize a greater definition of kindness as explained by the experience of listening beyond the point of our typical patience.

Wouldn't we want someone to listen intently to us?

Don't we see our detailed expressions of even the most mundane meanderings of life important, at least to ourselves?

A listening ear can do wonders to the person who has something to say.

And when the agenda in listening is not to forward your religion, but love, people's hearts can respond.

When your aim is to treat the other person as you would like to be treated, all hearts can be edified.

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Yeshua Christ.

- 2 Peter 1: 3-8

04 November 2015

The 139th Psalm



You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.

You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.

You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.

Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.

You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your Presence?

If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,

even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”

even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.

How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
    How vast is the sum of them!

Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.

If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
    Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!

They speak of you with evil intent;
    your adversaries misuse your Name.

Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
    and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?

I have nothing but hatred for them;
    I count them my enemies.

Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.

See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.

03 November 2015

Responding To Bart Ehrman: "Suffering"



Life is fluid. All of the terms men make up to label something, like a way of thinking, is also fluid, but people begin to follow a definition instead of the fluidity of this life.

It is like the dilemma of categorizing people politically... as if people, again being fluid; growing, changing, learning, etc., are one type of person or political viewpoint their entire lives.

If science explains that energy does not die, but simply changes state, consider where the energy currently running in your body will go when your body eventually breaks down and ceases functioning. 

Regarding suffering: If there is a God (the Power, Infinite Wisdom, Allah, Elohim, Shiva, etc.), and some people believe the spirit/energy of life continues after the material passes away (death), then was it a "loss" or a "shame" or an "injustice" the manner in which people lived, or died, or suffered, when the flesh returns to the earth while the spirit/energy continues to exist in the spirit/energy realm?

This is the hope and expectation the people who believe in the risen Christ have always had. Regardless of all the turmoil and madness in life, after all is said and done, those with faith believe in what science has slowly been defining and explaining, yet labels in different terms.

Imagine an upside world where the wicked enjoy the carnal existence to the fullest for as long as they exist on earth, but will not enjoy where their spirit/energy goes forever. Contrast that notion with the kind, peace seeking and humble people who get out of the way of the wicked, allowing them to have their cake and eat it too, and these peacekeepers inheriting a place of peace, light and love; a place their heart currently reflects. This is the simple message of the Gospel.

The Gospel message is logical.

02 November 2015

Judge Correctly, Beloved



Anything in this world can be seen as evil. We have law and order, which is good, but we also have some people who implement law and order corruptly. Is law and order evil because of the actions of the corrupt? I think 'how' any thing is used determines the intention. The internet, for example, can be used for good. Money can be used for good. But we can see many examples of how the internet and money is used for bad things. The judgment depends on the heart behind whomever is making the judgment call and the actual actions, use and message (in the case of this blog post).

I recently had a social media friend opine and suggest I was lacking in my love for God after I shared about watching a particular movie. They shared that my promotion of this movie was like being an enemy of God. This movie is one of my favorites. It's a comedy. It's quite ridiculous, and at times stupid. It's supposed to be ridiculous. I find it humorous and a classic. It weaves life lessons within the humor. I am always brought to tears at the end. I can't help but see the hope written into the story. I see faith portrayed by the main character, as well as the struggle to do what is right while being internally challenged by life's temptations and his calling to be an example for others. There's a miracle portrayed at the end.

So, I was troubled when a virtual friend I've never met nor communicated with before shares his judgment regarding my post. I have to take the view's of others into consideration. I wouldn't want to be found either disrespecting or hurting others by things I share, forward or promote.

Perhaps they are not a fan of this particular movie.

Perhaps they view all movies as evil.

Perhaps they are simply going through a judgmental religious phase, as I once did, where they can't see hope and faith weaved into life's fabric.

But I shall not be limited and judged by the nearsightedness of others.

If my freedom is being used as a cover for evil, that is one thing (the suggestion of the strong judgmental opinion), but if my freedom means searching and seeing the world through the eyes of faith, grace, love and mercy, then I am free from ignorant judgment.