Foreword:

Ever wonder what God might have to say to YOU today? Here are things to ponder, and things to receive into your heart. If you have a question, put it in the comments. I respond as much as I can.

A note for all my readers: I've been experimenting with YouTube videos for Bible teaching for a while, and I'm working through Revelation here. My YouTube videos are currently short studies in Matthew, and at present I'm posting videos on Revelation as well. Both appear on the blog, which is turning into a Vlog. I encourage you to subscribe to my YouTube channel for better coverage.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Slapped by the Supernatural

Ever feel like you've been whacked right in the face?  OW! It really hurts.  It's an affront. It's almost always a surprise.
That's what happens when we really begin to read and understand the New Testament.  The supernatural just walks right up to us, and WHACK! Right in the face!
Healings. Resurrections.Supernatural knowledge.  Demons (weird, huh?). Deliverances. Miracles.  In fact, there is so much supernatural in the New Testament that removing it pretty much empties the New Testament of its content.  The preaching is left, of course, but removing the miraculous and supernatural also destroys the context of the preaching.
Yet it's the "theory" of some that the only way to truly see Jesus is to eliminate all the supernatural.
So let's understand this.  Jesus was a real person, and His disciples, realizing that people would never believe in Him if He was just a teacher, made up a pack of lies about Him to gain worshippers. On its face, that may be plausible, but the problem is that those supernatural events are part and parcel of every Christian's life.  They may not all be the same events, but they are supernatural. The true Christian knows this in his heart, because he's experienced the supernatural in his own life.  There's the immediate contact with God.  I don't know how many of the readers of this blog had my exact experience, but here's what it was like:
First, I KNEW.  When my friend presented Jesus Christ to me, I KNEW.  Second, I received what God had offered, and then, I experienced the presence of God.  It was real. I had never felt it before. His presence has never left me since. Thirdly, I felt-"light"-as in "floating." These experiences can all be explained away, but they were real.
See, psychologists often say, "Well, what you were experiencing was just subjective." Really.  Isn't ALL experience subjective? And does that make it less real?
The psychologist would reply, "Well, yes, since it occurs only in your mind." Problem is, it's like seeing the color blue (assuming you're not color blind). I may say, "I see blue," and someone else say, "I don't see anything," but then you have to account for all the other people who also see blue.  The psychologist then says, "Well, you are all having a common hallucination..." and so on.  But the problem with that is that it begs the question.  Making a series of statements which essentially say, "I don't believe you" is hardly answering the issue at hand, which is, "Is God real?"
I'd suggest you might want to try it yourself.
John 7:17:  "If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know whether my teaching is true or false, Whether or not what I speak comes from God."
So you can decide right now.  "Do I want to know??" And its corollary, "Am I willing to do what God wants, if He tells me?"
And if not now, I hope that the questions raised here will goad you into thought and action later.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Forgiveness...Love...Hate

The theme of me forgiving my brothers and sisters in the Lord (fellow Christians) reappears often in Jesus' teachings.
It's in the Lord's Prayer (Matt.6:12,14-15): "forgive us our debts, as we forgive those indebted to us..." It's in lots of other places in His teachings (Matthew 18:21 and following, for example).
It's also connected with other teachings: John 13:34-35: 34 A give you a new commandment: love one another; as I have loved you, you also love one another.
35 By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
Love and refusal to forgive are incompatible.  I can't love whom I won't forgive.
Love is the lubricant, if you will, that makes the Christian's associations work smoothly; it's the water that a thirsty friend needs; it's the relief of knowing that some people really do care.
Forgiveness is necessary for love to exist.
Love is necessary for other people to understand why the Christian faith is completely different from others.
In other words, If I was the devil, the ONE thing I'd want to do is to divide Christians and make them angry and hateful toward each other, because then the world will have a tough time believing that they are disciples of Jesus, and by extension, they will feel quite comfortable rejecting Christ Himself.
That person you refused to forgive could be the key to peace and happiness in your own soul--and when you do forgive him or her, and develop the love you are commanded, it could be the gateway for you to share that love with everyone you know.
So you have three responsibilities:
1. Forgive.
2. Love.
3. Show it.
The fruit in your life will be the blessing of God in what you are and do.
I didn't say it was easy.  It's often the hardest thing I'm called to do. But the Lord commands it.
As He said (Matthew 6:44):
"Love your enemies (tougher than loving your brothers and sisters, and forgiving them!). Bless the people who curse you. Do good to those who hate you. Pray for those who treat you badly and persecute you."
This is not easy.  It's well-nigh impossible.  It is still necessary.
One of the most compelling verses along this line is this one:
"Whoever says he loves God, yet hates his brother is a liar.  If he doesn't love his brother, whom he can see, how can he love God, whom he cannot see?"
It's almost as if my brother or sister is what's visible of God to me.
Will you work on this with me?