Monthly Archives: January 2019

Be Like gods

What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could “be like gods”—could set up on their own as if they had created themselves—be their own masters—invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.

— C. S. Lewis

God created us to be happy and free. He wanted us to enjoy the fruits of creation and live in harmony with Him in the garden He had prepared for us. Because we were created with a free will we chose to reject His will for us and launch off in an entirely different direction. In our ideal state we were exposed to evil, and evil won. Man fell and we still suffer the consequences of that fall.

What was the fall anyway? Simply put, we wanted to be God. The evil, Satan, told us that we could be gods and it was foolish for us to only obey God. Our egos told us that we could do anything. In fact, if we had the knowledge of good and evil we could rule the world. As a  matter of fact, we would then be our own god. That was the promise of the devil then and it still is his promise today. What are some results of that promise?

  • We miss the very best that God want to give us.
  • We spend our lives try to be what we can’t be.
  • We suffer untold heartaches trying to “do it ourselves.”
  • We live in a world of wars and rumors of war.
  • We fail to truly do what we want to do.
  • We labor for all that we attain.
  • We are not satisfied with what we attain.
  • We live shorter and more difficult lives.

Is there some relief from this? Yes! The relief is not complete but it offers promise. God saw our struggle and came to help us in spite of our sin. He came Jesus-Quote-1-30-19in the form of the man Jesus and offered to be our savior. Jesus gave us the great hope when he taught us to pray,”Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.” That simple statement is our hope. We live this present day in His grace and know that He will one day restore His creation.

We miss a lot but Jesus gives us a lot. Let us take advantage of the great gift of God.


Prayer

Lord, I want to trust you. I want to take Jesus as my Savior and Lord. Let Him dwell in me so I might dwell in Him. Teach me to value myself as a sacred creation of yours. Let me see ways of service to you and my community,

Amen

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Sorting it Out

I have been asked to tell you what Christians believe, and I am going to begin by telling you one thing that Christians do not need to believe. If you are a Christian you do not have to believe that all the other religions are simply wrong all through. If you are an atheist you do have to believe that the main point in all the religions of the whole world is simply one huge mistake. If you are a Christian, you are free to think that all these religions, even the queerest ones, contain at least some hint of the truth.

—- C. S.Lewis

In the past few years I have become a great fan of British television and movies.  In doing so, I have become aware of the different expressions that are used in the UK in the same manner that people from the UK become aware of American expressions when they view American television and movies. An expression I hear quite often is, “Let’s sort it out.” The expression clearly means that the truth is somewhere in the situation. The job of the detective or the teacher is to find it.

Our very diverse society offers many concepts of religion, God and truth. Lewis urges us not to curtly dismiss the ones who are not of our stripe but rather to engage them and even learn from them. Simply put, to sort them out. Unfortunately, we have a tendency to attempt to destroy those ideas that conflict with our own. Christians do not have to live and believe in a protective bubble. Such an attitude  makes us an isolated and judgmental group that spends its time fighting anyone who sees things differently. As Christians we are called to witness our faith, but that witness imperative requires that we do sort out some things.

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We must sort out truth from prejudice.

Many of us have grown  up in traditions that demand certainty of belief. Certainty does give us a level of comfort which we all desire. Comfort, certainty, in and of themselves, are good. However, when our certainty makes it necessary to condemn others we begin to walk on shaky ground. God never wanted us to go around judging the world and deciding who is worthy and unworthy. When we become judges we invariably have a set of prejudged standards that we impose on everyone. If we don’t watch ourselves we will begin to assess worthiness on sight based on some predetermined set of rules. There is never any search for real truth. Our only interest is if the person looks or sounds “right.” The search of the Christian is for truth.

We must sort out evangelism from crusade.

Evangelism is the sharing of the good news of the path to God. A crusade is organized campaign concerning a social, political, or religious issue. Your relationship to God is a gift,  not an issue. As Christians we share the good news as just that – GOOD NEWS! God’s message of peace and harmony is shared with love and kindness. The message is never to be shared in a semi military fashion. We share as we go. Sharing is done by multiple small acts of kindness. Evangelism is the giving of one’s self to the service of others. We are not on a crusade but a journey with the message of Christ. Make your journey count.

We must sort out our irreducible minimums.

I would be remiss if I did not point out some “I believe” statements.

  • I believe  that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world.
  • I believe that all salvation is through Him.
  • I believe that He is the son of God.
  • I believe that He had a special birth.
  • I believe that there is an afterlife.
  • I believe God’s kingdom will come on earth as it is in heaven.
  • I believe that God is still active in this world.

Those are the “irreducible minimums “ that guide my life. Far be it from me to force others to agree with me, but these are the basis of how I determine my walk with God. Once our minimums are thought out and established we are ready to share with others. We can be faith sharing Christians without being grand inquisitors of the world. Know what you think and be open to listen and share.


Prayer

Lord, help me to see the value in people who disagree with me about you. Let me see the light that you have given them. Teach me to go forward and make a difference with all people not just those who agree with me. Allow me to see your light in all that I encounter.

Amen

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The Spirit of Christ

It is not for us to say who, in the deepest sense, is or is not close to the spirit of Christ. We do not see into men’s hearts. We cannot judge, and are indeed forbidden to judge.

—- C S Lewis

How many times have you been confronted with the question, are you a Christian? Our first response is obvious, yes! For some, that response requires a great many qualifiers. Have you had a dramatic “born again” experience or , like John Wesley, has your heart been strangely warmed ? C S Lewis in his writing warns us of such qualifiers. He asserts that the spirit of Christ is far more powerful than our words and expressions. Our place as Christians is to share the love and freedom that comes from knowing that spirit to all who come our way. Anything other than that would be judging, and we are not to judge. That judging is, in my opinion, the unforgivable sin

Every Christian is called to ministry by their Baptism. Our Baptism is the coming of the spirit of Christ upon us by our personal affirmation of Christ or by the affirmation of our faith community. Through that we are called to share that faith and love to our community. Faith and love cannot be shared while we are judging others.

  • The spirit of Christ is a spirit of love.
  • The spirit of Christ is a spirit of forgiveness.
  • The spirit of Christ is a spirit of inclusion.
  • The spirit of Christ is a spirit of freedom.

When we allow His spirit to rule our lives, we possess those qualities and are equipped to share them with the world. Being Christ like is not a contest of holiness but a challenge to be the good news to those we encounter. Have you shared the true love of God with anyone lately? If you did then you saw the shear joy that appeared on their faces when they were touched by that love. We live in a world that is reeling with division and strife and seeking to find a peace that only God can offer. People who see and feel forgiveness, freedom and inclusion are changed in an instant. Let us offer that as often as we can.


Prayer

Lord, help me to truly live in the spirit of Christ. Allow me to see his love in me and share it with others. Take away my drive to judge and replace it with a drive to love and forgive. May that spirit be my way of living.

Amen


 

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