Friday, April 1, 2016

Mixed Messages

Just a passing observation or three here.

When people change, they take others on the ride with them...even if they don't want to go. Drunks join AA and start annoying their friends in new ways as they work the 12 steps. Former smokers become anti smoking zealots, making their smoking friends miserable. People that take up a faith become whatever they think their new faith requires and in the process disrupt the lives of those around them with their new found philosophies. They want everyone to enjoy the light of their truth.

Me? I just need enough light to avoid stubbing my toe on the way to the bathroom. And I've got a blog to annoy people with stuff that pops into my head.  I'm set. Can I get that light for you?


When people decide to make a change, it will always effect those around them in one way or another. Sometimes positive changes have positive effects. It can be good. Other times it is not. People in this process need to chill and offer the patience their friends gave them.

Another thought. What is the difference between justice and hate? Is it when justice becomes revenge?

God said, "Vengeance is Mine. I will repay." If we are created in God's image, then is an act of vengeance our way of being about our Father's business? Or is it just hate and revenge. I think God reserves real justice to Himself because only He knows the real truth of a given situation. Vengeance is the Lord's because only He can administer it fairly. Sometimes we just get tired of waiting for Him to act.

Why do I think about this stuff? It just gives me a headache. But you're glad I shared right? 

Are You Religious?

I hope not. I really do not like the words "religious" and "religion". They reek of superstition and the works of men designed to manipulate God. For example, "If I do this and this and this, God will do that" or the ever popular "I feel lead by (a circumstance or God) to do (whatever) or stop doing (whatever).

God is not a vending machine, a Ouija board or a pair of dice. Events of the day should not dictate some kind of ceremony. Simple prayer will do. Your answers may vary if you get one at all. Also, not praying may have yielded the same result. You may see the change you desired take place. You may not see that change or even the opposite result. It does not mean that God is or is not working. The important thing is to remain in communication with Him. Learn from whatever result comes and live accordingly. Above all, do not blame God for a lack of attentiveness or overreaction or anything else that may happen after your prayers. By this, I mean, saying this or that was His will. It may not have been.

Truly understanding God and how He works in our world requires minds much bigger than our own. Only Jesus ever truly knew His mind. We do not. We have insights from His Word, but that is the extent of it.

Someone says, "how can you stand such a dry faith?". It ain't dry Bubba. It is living and active. The fact that I do not use circumstance or feeling or an answering 8 Ball to dictate how I live out my faith, does not mean it's dry.

I have no doubt that spirits both good and bad are at work throughout the world. I can only see the result of their work. I cannot see them in action directly except through their human sponsors. The only influence I have is through prayer. God can do with my prayers what He wants. He is God after all. His picture is bigger than mine. He did bless me with 3.5 lb of brain. I suppose He expects me to use it and take responsibility when I do, not to act out of fleeting and self serving emotion that can mislead.

I know some of you think God is involved in the most minute details of you lives, shaping your reality to control it's outcome; that He uses circumstance and events to tell you what to do.

I think this is crazy. There is no proof of this. It is superstition. I know you believe it and you feel it, but how many times has it actually proven to be correct?

If God wants something to happen, it will. If He wants you to do something, it will be in the Bible. If you want to do something for God and there is nothing in scripture in opposition, then look to your reality and see if it's possible. It might well be God's Spirit leading you to do whatever. It might not be. It does not mean it is wrong or that God will not bless it. It just means you made a decision in faith to act. It may not go well. Be prepared for that. Above all, do not hold God responsible for failure. Many lives lead in faith end in tragedy and we do not understand why. In God's bigger picture it does not matter. If it brought Him glory, even for a moment, intention is everything. He will remember that.

Be faithful. Do not be religious. It's too dangerous.    

God's Specific Will For Your Life

A friend suggested the other day that I was uniquely placed to perform a certain function in God's church. This friend felt that it was my place and my calling. My response was, "If I am supposed to be doing this, why would God tell you about it and not me?"

My friend and I have not hashed this out yet and we may or may not do so. I overreacted to his presumption to volunteer me for this function and rightly apologized for it. I saw things in his motivations that were most likely not there. I am "gifted" with a conspiratorial view of reality. Perhaps that speaks way too much to my own motivations. Whatever. That's not what I want to talk about.

It is my thought that God has a general will for all of his people. It is laid out in scripture in the clearest possible terms. One of those "general will" things is finding something you are good at and doing it -  serving your church and others with whatever that is. I believe I have found this. I think it's teaching. I have been teaching adult classes in my church for over 17 years. I enjoy it. My students say they learn things and enjoy participating in my class. I think this is a good indicator that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing. God did not tell me to do this. Someone handed me a teacher's lesson guide one Sunday and asked me to fill in for them and it went on from there. I stumbled into something that I could do, enjoyed doing and have continued to do for many years. To say that I know God wants me to do this specifically, that is teach, is a stretch. To say that he blesses me and fills me while I do it comes more from a feeling than any empirical knowledge of what He specifically wants from me. And that brings me to this.

The only way I would know specifically what God wants me to do is if He would say so directly to me. God has a general will for everyone who calls upon His Name and it is outlined in scripture. Everything else is just opinion...until God speaks.

In the Bible, God had a specific will and plan for many people. Among other reasons, this is why they are in the Bible. The thing that all of these people had in common was that God spoke in some way DIRECTLY to them. It was not a matter of divining circumstances or assuming a specialness not otherwise indicated and so taking on the mantle of a mission for God.  

God would call them in a very personal and "in person" way. The last people in history called directly by God to His specific will were the apostles. To my knowledge, no one has received a personal visitation or revelation toward specific service since that time.  

In our time, only God's general will applies. His Word has been laid down. We are free to choose and try things in service to Him and His people. If we find something we are good at, we should do it. Worrying and hand ringing about "does God want me to do this" or "is God calling me to do that" is just stupid, egotistical and prideful. God wants you to serve. Find a way. Refine it with His help. Get good at it and do it.

There is no specific will from God for your life or mine. If there were, God would be talking to us. Instead, He speaks to us through His Word. He calls all of us to serve in some way. Let's just do it.

Let me close with this. There are things that you know you will not be good at. Think about those things and try to avoid them. Do not insert yourself into situations that you know will not work to God's glory or the growth of others. Stick to what you know and what you know you can do for others. You will not then fail.