Prayer For Listening

Image result for abba father

How To Converse With God convicted me. Since God gave me everything, how little have I given to Him. Spurgeon asked how I respond when he calls me, but I can barely even hear Him.

I pray in Jesus name that when He speak to me, I may hear Him. Give me the determination to do what He asks of me.

Abba Father, I want to love You more, to stand in perfect reference, obeying His most silent words. Give me perfect obedience to Him.

Lee Daniels’ THE BUTLER (Movie Review and other thoughts)

Lee Daniels’ THE BUTLER clearly illustrates historical revisionism at its subtle best. The cast, a Who’s Who of Hollywood knee-jerk liberalism, performed brilliantly.

I say political revisionism because this film made President Obama’s election appear to vindicate the entire civil rights movement. In truth, his presidency only deepened the subjugation of the poor and minorities, for the single purpose of perpetuating the welfare state and the political party that supports it for its own political ends.

As I gaze into the past, I hate the fact that white America made the civil rights movement necessary, when respect for all is an expression of Christ’s love for all, and our responsibility as Christ-followers (1 Corinthians 13). I also hate the fact that left-wing politicians have co-opted the righteous quest for equal human rights, with President Obama standing at the pinnacle of that self-serving agenda.

God gave me a love for all of humanity, and that includes people of all races, even though I struggle to love those who pursue anti-Biblical ends. He loves militant atheists and secularists. God even loves racial, sexist, religious and sexually perverse bigots, just as much as He loves those who follow Him in love through Christ Jesus. He is not the Father of the faithful only, but of all creation. I, as a father, know something of His love for us. I know how my heart breaks when one of my children is in danger of pursuing a destructive path, and my love for that child holds as firmly as for the compliant one.

We focus on our concept of civil and human rights, and the list of those “rights” grows constantly as ungodly people insist on governmental and societal sanctions for their personal preferences. As Christ-followers, however, all of our rights derive from just one responsibility: to follow His commands, as best we can in our human frailty, without bowing to the world system. We have the right to be discriminated against, to be hated, and to be martyred. In Christ, our right to “freedom of speech” does not include the right to belly-ache about schools prohibiting prayer, gun control, abortion, or even the homosexual agenda. We must limit our speech to words of love and affirmation. In fact, such speech must be so proactive that our conspicuous love, and conversely, our lack of apathy, becomes the moral light in this dark world (Ephesians 5:6-12). Please note: I said, “proactive,” as opposed to passive. There is nothing passive about Godly love.

THE BUTLER mentions social heroes such as Gandhi, King and Kennedy, and in their own ways they were great men. But idealizing them is no substitute for loving and obeying our Lord Jesus Christ.

Proper Child Rearing

Proper child rearing? I’m sure they had good reason, but what happens when she needs a diaper changed?

Uh … yeah. “Proper Child Rearing,” if you’re Father God, ’cause he’s the only one who ever got it right, but look what happened to his first two kids. What does that make our chances of raising perfect little angels?

If you don’t yet have kids, get over the idea of being perfect parents or having perfect kids. It ain’t gonna happen! And if you currently have, or have had kids, you already know perfection is an impossible dream. All you can do is your best, and your best will be good enough if you understand Bible passages like Ephesians 6:4 and the fathers enrage not your children but train them up affixed in the Lord’s discipline and admonition. The Lord’s discipline means according to Biblical principles, and the Lord’s admonition means correction by his words. And all that means you have to know God’s word.

Thing is, even if you could do a perfect job you can’t make their decisions for them; you can only prepare them to make their own decisions. They will make mistakes, even stupid ones, and you will scratch your head wondering what happened to all that lovely Scripture you fed them. It’s still in those brilliant memory-banks, but regardless how you try, you can’t digest and internalize it for them.

This is where example comes in: You tell them stuff and they think, “Fine, show me what you’re talking about.” So they test you to see if you will practice what you preach. If you say, “Don’t hit,” but you slap them in anger, they think, “So much for that rule.” If you tell them, “Don’t gossip,” but you talk about other people’s problems … Well? Violating that principle will certainly cause them to dismiss everything you say.

Did you catch my drift here? To keep from confusing and exasperating your kids you will have to change. To have any chance of raising godly kids, you will have to model godliness.

Keep in mind, though, that living a good example does not guarantee their following it. Your ultimate example will be how you respond to their screwing up their lives. So, should you tenderly welcome them back into the fold if they’ve gone out and become alcoholics or dopers, or begat children, or robbed a convenience store, but refuse to repent? NO WAY! There’s a reason the pros who deal with such things call that, “enabling.” If you want to provide a godly example, remember how God responded when the children of Israel refused to honor him; he removed his protection from them and allowed their enemies to take them into captivity. And do you remember the outcome? Eventually they repented and he welcomed them back into his graces. And do you remember how many times they went through that cycle of apostasy and repentance? I don’t, but I do remember that he forgave them every time they truly repented. That’s how much he loved them, and that’s how much he loves us!

God’s grace is sufficient, even for us failures.

Confusing Biblical Principles

Star Trek’s The Borg

You may be wondering how a science fiction special effects feast like the Borg collective relates to my title for this post. If you’re not a Star Trek fan, you may not even know what the Borg is … or are. Keep reading and find out.

When I hear some ignoramus (I nearly said “pinhead,” but Bill O’Rielly probably has a copyright on it.) spouting opinions about how the Bible contradicts itself, how it’s just some old religious white guys’ attempt to control people, and how science blows it out of the firmament, I get heart-sick, and maybe just a bit stomach-sick. Of course, everyone is entitled to his (or her) opinions, even if they bitterly hold and defend them in the face of strong contradictory reasoning. People who regard the Bible through the foggy shades of cynicism refuse to acknowledge any constructive content therein; even the “Golden Rule” becomes jaded in their biased eyes, as they allege that even if Jesus existed, all those thousands of folks couldn’t have heard him. Not to mention the “myth” of the loaves and fishes.

Jesus’ miracles, however, are small fish (excuse the pun) compared to the New Testament’s weightier principles. Teachings such as Jesus’ blood washing away sin truly violate some folks’ sensibilities. For one thing, “sin” is a four-letter word to them (shows what they know), and the Bible’s credibility just goes downhill from there.

I must admit that when you dig deeply into God’s Word, things can get confusing, even if you truly believe it. When I study God’s personal nature, I find anything but a high-resolution portrait of him—loads of symbolism, but nothing I can dig my eyes into. That includes the whole tri-une thing, where God is in three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Yet, the Bible says in many places that God is One. I’ve arrived at a peaceful reconciliation with the Trinity doctrine, and if you’re interested, here’s my rationale: Comparing God’s scope to that of man is a huge stretch, greater than comparing all the water over the whole earth to one molecule of the substance. But comparing just the words, “God,” and, “man,” is a bit easier. If I consider each of those words as representing a kind or beings, I see that man comprises billions of individual people, while God comprises only three. Yet, with all those human beings, we are truly one in nature, as all of us share numerous key genetic characteristics, or attributes. And similarly, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit share key divine attributes, but those three also share one mind.

Obama of Borg

Can you imagine what this world would be like if all human beings shared the same mind? Admittedly, my theory seems like the stuff of science fiction or fantasy, thus explaining the weird photo at the top of this post (The Borg of Star Trek supposedly shared one mind.). That’s the way all things spiritual seem to those invested in the materialistic world view, but no one, including scientists, can reasonably maintain that the material universe is absolutely all there is. As far as they’re concerned, until “science” officially discovers something, it doesn’t exist. Please keep in mind, I’m not saying my theory—emphasis on theory—holds any water, but like a canvass water bag, though it has plenty of leaks, at least it keeps me cool.

The Bible presents far too many difficult teachings for me to deal with them here, but Tough Questions with R.C. Sproul can certainly help those plagued by curiosity. If you have questions, especially of the nagging kind, don’t just sit on them. Our enemy loves to aggravate reservations of faith and outright doubts. And if you aren’t interested enough to look into the Bible for answers, maybe, just maybe, your master isn’t Jesus Christ.

Adoption: The Compassionate Option


Today’s Our Daily Bread by Dave Brannon … well maybe you should read it first.

Thanks, that saves me the trouble of telling you what he said. Speaking of adoption, though, my late wife Nancy was adopted into a loving family as an infant. She never had to face potential adoptive parents’ rejection as did the teenage student in Dave’s story. Unfortunately, I only met her adoptive father once before he died, but he impressed me as a man of deep, quiet conviction, full of love to the point of overflowing. Bruce Cunningham’s loving example taught Nancy to love, and in God’s perfect timing she came to love her heavenly Father. That’s not such a huge transition if you’ve known an earthly father’s love.

None of us are truly orphans or abandoned children of God’s creation. Our Father is still very much alive; always was, and always will be. He didn’t abandon us, but because of Adam’s bum deal with the serpent, we’re all born separated from our Father. When we reach the age of accountability and have to choose right or wrong, we invariably choose the wrong.

Galatians 4:4-7   But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.[a] Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba,[b] Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

As God created us to love and be loved by him, that separation from him leaves us wanting, rather like the aging orphan who never gets adopted. If we believe in God at all, we often feel that he has abandoned us. To assuage that feeling we look for love in all the wrong places (appologies to Johnny Lee), and settle for second best. Some of us fall for religion’s appeal, hoping to find God there, thinking if we can just “get it right,” God will reward us with his love. Others give up on God, bitterly denying his existence and hating anyone who “tries to shove religion down my throat.”

Even with all our thrashing around, trying different religions, philosophies, and political parties, we can never regain God’s peace by our own efforts, on our own terms. That’s why God’s Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). The first chapter of John’s gospel breaks it down into simple terms: 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. Most everyone has heard of John 3:3, where it tells us that we must be reborn, but vss. 1-21 give a more complete picture of this eternally essential truth.

Remember God’s compassion toward you, and rejoice in your adoption as his sons and daughters. Chances are good that I’m preaching to God’s adoptees, but no matter how long you’ve been walking with God in his Spirit, you will profit from reviewing the basics. After all, God commanded us to be ready to explain the hope we have in Christ (1 Peter 3:15).

Trying

Trying to be thankful for what You are doing,
Though at times it is so hard to bear.
Giving You credit for blessings hard to see,
Though I know the price You paid to care.

Trying to be patient with Your perfect labor,
As You’ve shown Your patience endlessly.
Always flesh blaming You for lying,
As the real liar accuses shamelessly.

Trying to be faithful in this life You gave me,
From your endless store of perfect love.
Hope not seen makes hope more pure,
When Your perfect timing makes You move.

Father, I don’t understand Your true, infinite nature;
All I have to give is incomplete.
When your Word reveals His glorified flesh,
I’ll be there to see Him, perfect when we meet.

Of Shepherds and Sheep

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John 10:14-15 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.

At the time of Jesus, Jewish shepherds kept their flocks in communal sheepfolds—normally stone-walled enclosures. These sheepfolds would house many flocks overnight. In the morning, the shepherd was allowed to enter the sheepfold. As he walked and called among the mixed flocks, only his own sheep would respond to him. Hearing and recognizing the shepherd’s voice, his sheep would follow him out of the sheepfold to the pasture. (Our Daily Bread)

This obviously speaks of the sheep’s response, developed by months or years of operant conditioning, as the shepherd consistently leads them to food and water when he calls them by name. It prompts them to run from thieves and predators because they are not that one shepherd the sheep trust. It functions the same way in the church; those who know Jesus, and through him the Father, will be far less likely to fall for false teachers, or the lies they propagate.

The old platitude, “to know him is to love him,” applies to Christians’ relationship with God. His Holy Spirit guides the process, beginning with conviction of our sin—it only takes one—and that “mustard seed” of faith that can grow to move our mountains of self-will toward his purposes. Knowing the Good Shepherd intimately, and enjoying his love and protection, is really a beautiful thing.

Two Men

Saw a father and son ride by,
Near the hospitals on Pill Hill,
Grinning stupidly as they rode,
Charging along with a will.

Father of mine grins at me,
Love shining from his smile,
As I try to follow him,
Mile after life’s grueling mile.

I’m his adopted son, you see,
Makes no difference to him;
Even his natural Son loves me,
I’m his little brother Jim.

What more could a man want
In this cold and cruel life,
Than a Father who chooses to love,
and free me from deadly strife?

As I watched that man ride by,
Loving, and being loved by his boy,
I reveled in my own Father’s love,
And wept from unspeakable joy.

She Knows

An Afternoon Walk

Feeling burdened with unspecified, “personal issues,” I headed out for a brisk, springtime afternoon walk. Within the first block I began gazing at the blue sky and wispy clouds while taking in great gulps of Northwest Montana’s pristine, springtime air. And my self-pity began to slip off my back as I began a prayer of gratitude.

Within a few energetic paces, a praise litany of my Father’s love-stained attributes and works started coursing through my mind and spirit, but soon I realized that what I know about him isn’t even a thimbleful out of the ocean of his infinite reality. A feeling of frustration and inadequacy began to overtake me as once again I realized my gross ignorance of the universe’s most hard won knowledge, but what would have soon became a runaway elevator of emotional baggage stopped its plunge and shot straight to the Son.
My Lord Jesus bought me a place before the Throne of Grace, where I will bask, unprotected, in God’s glorious radiance, gazing forever at his infinite light in full knowledge of who he really is. What thrills me the most is I’ll never run short of things to praise him for, my voice will never crack from the singing, and my arms will never wear out from keeping them uplifted before him. It’ll be like an anointed camp meeting to the nth degree and forever.
But wait! There’s more. Not only will I share in the infinite joy of worshiping him among the multitude of the redeemed, but I’ll have personal access to the eternal, self-existent Father and his Word incarnate, Jesus, his glorified Son. I’ll walk with him in the cool, golden radiance of the New Jerusalem, even as the first Adam walked with him in the cool of Eden’s evenings. I will no longer cringe in the shame of his fully knowing my inner darkness because I’ll know better. I’ll completely understand his perfect love, and finally know how he could love and die for me, even with my many imperfections.
I felt like the Apostle Paul’s description of a man “caught up unto the third heaven.” Though my “vision” was certainly not that vivid or out-of-body, the Lord edified me nonetheless.
My cool, Montana afternoon’s walk had become a stroll through paradise with my loving, Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The one thing I deserve least in this world had become the most real experience ever.

Need to Share

While I was bursting with joy and the need to share it, I thought of Nancy, and wished she were still at home so I could hurry back and tell her of my enlightening time in the Lord. But after all these months I began crying anew with her loss. My emotional elevator began plummeting back toward earth like a space capsule near to burning up on reentry.
As the heat of despair threatened to penetrate my emotional shield, another realization arrested my fall quicker than a parachute. And this thought really turned on my emotional faucet.
Nancy loved two things in this world more than all else: Her Savior. And hugs. At this moment, wherever heaven is, Nancy is enjoying a King-size bear hug in her Savior’s arms, and if possible, squeezing the air out of his lungs as well.
I don’t have to tell her about heaven’s wonders. She already knows!