Friday, June 22, 2012

26. The Dynamics of Spiritual Truth

While on a recent trip, I was out one morning and another gentleman insisted that I look up to the sky, specifically into the sun. Immediately, I thought it to be a strange demand coming from someone that I did not know, but his inquisitive smile and pleasant demeanor enabled me to concede to his polite demand.

As I looked up straight into the late morning sun, I was able to see what he saw, something that neither one of us had ever seen, and he, being much older than I, marveled at the sight. I gladfully marveled with him.

I am certain that it was something that science could easily explain, still I cannot, but all could see who chose to. There, surrounding the bright morning sun, was a perfect rainbow in a perfect circle completely surrounding the sun. I have seen many a rainbow in my time, and the sight of such does bring a sense of joy and awareness of the atmosphere around us with the mixture of light and water vapor. The elements of sunshine and rainfall are typically required for a rainbow, and the sight of the rainbow is typically away from the sun.

It had not rained, not in our locale, that is, and we were looking straight at the sun around 11 am that morning. The circle of rainbow around the sun dynamically was perfect. Although science could explain it, I believe that only God could create such a sight to behold. It was indeed majestic.

I speak about this event, not to conjure up some deep spiritual meaning to life, but to bring us to some type of realisation, an acknowledge of sorts, that not everyone saw what we saw that day. It was not in the television news, that I'm aware of; nor was it found as an explosive phenomenon on the internet news either. It was what it was and whoever saw it, saw it in its glory, and after an hour, it was gone. I still see it in my mind, as clear as it was in those moments.

What I do want us to see are facts, facts as we see facts, rather than illusions that others tell us what we see or don't see.

If that man had told me that he saw a rainbow around the sun that morning, and I, having not seen it, probably would have looked at him with a strange look of non-verbal retort and lifted eyebrow, stating, 'Why are you telling me this?' Or, 'Are you sure you saw what you saw?' Or, 'That's a little unusual, and the not so common thing to see, I've never seen that before...' and then go on my way with very little concern for his sighting of something that was so majestic, it was indescribable.

It was a scientific fact that we saw what we saw and can most probably be fully and easily explained by a meteorologist, or high school science teacher. It was there and no one can tell me that it wasn't.

As science facts are facts as gravity is as real as throwing a ball up into the air and expecting the law of gravity to exert itself onto the ball to bring it back to my hand, so are Biblical spiritual facts just as real and existent as science facts.

Biblical facts are based on faith, if you have the God kind of faith to believe that God is, that the Bible is the Word of God, then you believe that in faith. If you do not believe that God is, or that the Bible is the Word of God, then you simply do not believe that; I, nor anyone else can make that a fact for you, you simply do not believe. I have no argument with you.

Contrary to contemporary beliefs of apologetics, faith cannot be argued. The scriptures cannot be, nor do they need to be, defended to an unbeliever. If the unbeliever does not believe in God, does not have faith, does not believe that the Word of God is what it is, no human is going to convince that unbeliever of those 'faith facts' because the first requirement to believing the faith facts is faith. If you do not believe those foundational facts about God, Jesus, and the Word of God, you simply do not have the faith to believe. And because you do not have the faith to believe, does not mean that they do not exist, for they do, you simply do not believe it.

One may contend here based on their empirical knowledge that God does not exist, but any empirical knowledge would be skewed because one would have to believe the knowledge derived based on the faith that their knowledge is forthwith, undeniable and proven through experience and no such knowledge exists. Or, does it? Is there undeniable knowledge existing in our natural realm that proves the non-existence of someones mind, someone has the faith to not believe. But only in their mind.

God is Spirit and those who worship Him, worship Him in spirit and in truth. There is no other way to worship God, other than the way that He has said it in His Word. For someone to not adhere to the Word of God because they do not believe, is entirely believable and has been since its creation. However, even non belief is faith in the non belief order of things and sets the human on a course that is foretold in the Word of God.

Because it requires faith to believe faith facts, it would also require faith to believe in the absolute certainty of absolute truth. Everyone has an opinion, or a perspective, just as they have an armpit, or two. Value justification is as such. But, here, we are not talking about perspective, opinion, value, appraisal, or perception. Here, we seek after truth, and the truth that I know to be true is the Truth of God. He is certain. He is undeniable and unchanging. Jesus said that He is the Truth and the Life, I believe that to be true. And, it is True, whether you, or I believe it, or not.

For a man to say that he is a Christian is to say that he believes that Jesus is Lord, that the Word of God is True, and that man would also be saying that he walks in the Light as He is in the Light. These are all faith facts within the Word itself. Confession of Jesus Christ is not just an audible verbal opening of the mouth saying, 'I believe', oh no, it is far more than that. Confession means that every particle of my being not only believes, but lives in, abides in, that Truth, and so walks according to that belief system that is so very well descriptive in the scriptures.

A man who calls himself Christian is man who lives and abides in the Word, Jesus, out of love for His Father Who brought him into the Light. Obedience is wrought from love, the same love that He gave us. A Christian does not pick and choose his verses of obedience, for that is neither obedience, nor love, nor truthful. 

A man is not a Christian just because he says he grew up in a Christian household. The mere expression of that belief is an ignorant acknowledgement that he is unaware of what the Word of God says as well as expressing ignorance of the abiding relationship that ensues in the walk of a Christian walking in the Light of grace. If a man will, out of ignorance, or knowledge, lie about the allegiance that he is supposed to walk in, his life is a life of an actor, a hypocrite, who is incapable of knowing truth and walking in it.

Spiritual truths are believed by spiritual men who are led by the Spirit of God. These spiritual truths are spiritual facts believed in faith. Unbelief in the non-existence of these truths is unbelief indeed and that person is just as real as any spiritual man that ever walked the earth.

The person who does not believe has conscripted himself to the ranks of the unbelief and has wagered the bet that Pascal warned us of so many years ago, "If God does not exist, one will lose nothing by believing in Him, while if He does exist, one will lose everything by not believing."
(101 Great Philosophers, Madsen Pirie, MJF Books, page 74)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

25. The Love of a Father

As we approach another Father's Day, thoughts of being with my children together again bring forth an eruption of wellness and joyful excitement from within my being. It is my desire to be with them more than they could know for now, for now is today and the lingering moments of being alone in the present create a longing for the future days of being all together to have a fun time once again.

It is, indeed, my purely selfish desire to be with them, I am so very proud of them and their growth. They are all adults now. I love them so.

To feel deeply and sense longing are too real and exposed at times as they have matured and moved on to other homes and work. Although we have had some great and fun times as a family in the past, it is not the past the I desire, but a future of reciprocated loving desire to be with them and them with me...that I need the most.

As I have grown in my walk with my heavenly Father, I have been led down the roads of grace, suffering, love, mercy, unrelenting examination, trial, and opportunities of expression. My Father loves me, this I know, and the inherent love that my heavenly Father has for me, as I continue to learn, is that He so desires for me to return His love willingly and without reservation. He loves me to love Him. He doesn't love me just to love Him back, but He loves it when I love Him like He loves me.

Many things I have learned as a father of three, but this I desire the most: that my children would want to love me like I love them, and so desire to be with me as I desire to be with them. It is the opportunity of choice that we have been afforded in grace by a loving heavenly Father and it is that same choice that my own children are given to make contact, to love near and to so desire me that the joy unspeakable overwhelms my soul. Moments are few and precious in the giving and receiving of true love.

Moments...moments that are so fleeting, that the breath that I breathe is filled with the aroma of presence, it is so with Him, as it is with me. Is the love that I have loved with deserving of a love returned?

Could I have loved better? A resounding, yes, a better love not frought with despair and stress, worry and complaint. I could have loved better.

Honesty and truth will not let me go here, for it is in truth, that love loves best.
What is real, what is true, is the place of rest for true love.

The place that love loves best is as a treasure sought with much breath, the breath that seemingly eludes, that I now have to run and catch, but is there, captured and dwells within.

My true love for my children is real, is deep, and is inseparable. The love that loves best is not easy, but always is.

It is with this love that I could have loved better and to love better still in the moments to come is to love all the more with the moments I am given.

And so it is with this upcoming Father's Day, that the moment of the day begins even now. Love now is in the heart and the time spent is in the mind.

If you are in the military and are being forced to be away, may the time spent in the next few moments be real and true. Let love love its best. Love hard and don't let the moments elude as in a failing breath, but breathe all the more of the love of the Father Who loves you and love as He has loved as love has loved its best in Him. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

24. Apparent Contradictions

Have you ever been lied to by someone you trust, and you didn't know that you were being lied to?

Prayer, as we know it today, especially our corporate prayers, are not prayer at all, but facsimiles of imitations from past religious observances.

God loves the aroma of a good bar-b-q, it certainly is not the smell of unclean flesh.

To talk about isolated spiritual experiences reveals that is all you have in your spiritual walk and may not even be on the pathway of God.

On imitation: We have been told to 'Be like Jesus', or 'What would Jesus Do?', or 'A Christian would not act that way...'

Have you ever known anyone that acted like Jesus Christ? How deep is that thought? With no intention on being nefarious, the church has to look at itself by the truth of the word of God and not the opinion of man. I, personally, have to examine myself by the word of God, and I know, very personally, that I do not live up to that standard.

In times past, the church has been told that the world looks at the church and if the church doesn't live up to Jesus' commands there, the world has the right to judge the church for not living up to the Word.

Although this does happen, is this the truth? No one has the 'right' to judge the church save God Himself and the church, itself. The church, for centuries, has been told to 'be good', to do what Jesus says, and the world certainly does look at the church in judgement knowing that the church has not lived up to its own expectations. Outsiders look at the failures of the church and call it antiquated, dogmatic, unloving, and hateful. If someone inside the church talks about the Truth of the Gospel to the outside world, it is received with bitterness and derogatory thought. The church has perpetuated the self-inflicted judgement from the world because of its apparent lack of the knowledge of the Word of God and its own inability to live up to the standards of a Holy God, called holiness. I am not holy as the world sees me, but as God in Christ has delivered me unto Himself, He is holy in me. The problem comes to the world when what they see and hear is the dark side of me, rather than the Holiness of the Lord dwelling in me. I, like Paul, in Romans 7:24, find myself saying, 'O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?' It is His nature in me that has to grow in me, by submission, by prayer, by obedience, and most of all, by love.

"But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one."  (1 Corinthians 2:15).

"I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner - not even to eat with such a person. For what do I have to do with judging those who are outside? Do you not judge those who are on the inside? But those who are on the outside God judges. Therefore 'put away from yourselves the evil person.'"  
(1 Corinthians 5:9-13).

Has this critical thought regarding the fellowship of believers justified, or is it just the world looking back at the church as unrepentant?

If a child is not getting what he thinks he deserves because he has done wrong and another child has received a reward for doing good, doesn't human nature kick in a some point with a plethora of emotions and have the errant child portray some type of negativity towards the goodness of the rewarded child?

For centuries, many of the leaders of the church have not expounded in total truth to their followers for so many reasons, they cannot all be listed here. The main reasons would be lack of knowledge of the Word, forced traditions, buildings and architecture, power, self-aggrandisement, fame, duplicitous teachings, money, money, and more money. The world looks at this and says, 'Hypocrite!', or 'There's not much difference between them and us.'

The foremost problem with the church believing the lie that the world has the right to judge them because they are not like Jesus Christ, 'Jesus wouldn't act that way, etc...' is this: What does the world know about acting like Jesus? The world is not the church's judge, a judge has knowledge and authority over the one being judged. The world has no such knowledge of the Word of God, and it never has had the authority to judge the church and it never will. Jesus said that the church would be persecuted, and the church has been judged by the world, but without any authority to do so.

If you are called by His name to name the name of Christ for yourself, it is He Who does the saving, and it is He Who has done the work, it is He Who keeps you saved from your sin, and it is all about Him, not you. The world is after killing the Son of God in you, and if it can make you believe that you're not worthy of the Name, then the task has been accomplished.

As a Christian, the world has no right to defame you, judge you, ridicule you, or persecute you. They will do those things, but they have no inherent right to.

God, Himself, will judge the world, that is one less item to put onto the Christian's 'to do list'.

If you call yourself Christian, stand up, with a backbone and deny yourself before Him, not the world...and in His Holy love, learn what it means to deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Him; love in Spirit and in Truth. The world is looking for someone to take advantage of, it might be me, or you, but vengeance is of the Lord and in the denial of the self, that's a pill that must be swallowed.

Please read some of my essays on the Kingdom of God, it will eventually be clear what the Kingdom is all about and what Jesus was really saying regarding life in Him.