Saturday, March 27, 2010

Bible Reading: Mark 10:23-26

And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!

And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answered again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?

Bible reading: Proverbs 21:1

The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

Bible Reading: Genesis 11:4-5, 8

And they said, Go to, let us build us a city, and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.

And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.

So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth, and they left off to build the city.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Do not be delusional about reality

I'm almost embarrassed to think some people are mislead enough (and/or plain stupid) to believe this delusion that I'm about to refute, but here goes anyways.

News flash:

If someone had died and gone to hell as punishment by God for their disbelief in him and/or their sins, that is a forever situation, period. Here's the part I can't believe my ears about that some of you believe. If you make a movie about that person and "write a different ending," where he or she "doesn't go to hell, or gets out, or there's an 'alternate reality'" that person is still damned and in hell, "incredible DUH." You can write all the movies, games, people play acting "alternate realities," or "Ground Hog Day (the movie)" or whatever all you want and the only thing you are doing is wasting oxygen on the earth and layering sin upon sin for YOURSELF.

The whole point about God is that nothing that human beings can do or will do or can even think of doing changes God and the reality that he has created one iota. Period.

Like I said, I'm embarrassed I have to explain that to certain people, but the truth is the truth. Try reality out sometime, it might actually save your life and your soul.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Care about people, however....

...1 Don't let them lead you to hell along with them, and this especially applies to those who claim they have "saved" anyone from hell.

2 Don't get too attached. Love and like, yes, but do not assume that you know how God will dispense another person's soul (including your own). Saying it so in someone's obituary does not make it so.

EVERYONE has plenty to worry about in their own salvation. Everyone has blood on their hands in this society. Beware of being smug and self satisfied.

Monday, March 22, 2010

My niece, tattling & her dad's beer can

Like every other generation before it I belong to a generation that bemoans what has happened to young people, and what they are doing to themselves.

I was reminded of this story from my life when listening to witness at church this weekend. The man bearing witness was struck by how several impoverished girls in an orphanage shared the remaining half bottle of his soda pop with a total of 15 other children, so each could get a sip. I observed the same type of thing with the Native American children I sponsored. But listen to what happened in my own family, back in the not so good old 1970's.

My brother and wife with their young child, my niece, was visiting grandma's house, where I still had a room. My brother being much older than I, when he went to college I moved into his room, had his furniture and the little knick knacks that he left for me. For example, he had a beautiful little ceramic of a fawn (that I still treasure, though I've not seen it in many years, as all my stuff is locked up in storage out of my reach). On the desk I had a beer can that my brother had used as a pencil cup, and I used it the same. It was cool, being of a brand of beer, Jaguar I think, with decoration of the same skin pattern.

My niece was fairly well grown, a child, not a toddler by any means. I was showing her around my room. In order to give her a feeling for how our family (small as it was) passed down the few things we had (we were poor and all my mom's stuff was lost in World War II), when we got to the pencil cup I told her how it was her dad's.

I was shocked, and still remember, how that little head whipped around to look at me with, to my amazement, dislike! Without a word she ran into the other room, squealing, "Dad! Dad! Aunt C has YOUR CAN!" running as fast as she could to, yep, you guessed it, "tattle" on me. Even when my bro came into the room and fondly reminisced about the can, she just glared at me, thinking only that I had stolen her precious dad's can.

Now, you might think that was funny, but it was quite a jolt for two reasons. One is that this was the first time I met a child that did not understand older sibling handing down to younger sibling his no longer wanted stuff. See, she had fine new bought things all her life. (She would later tell her grandmother that she didn't like staying in her house because she did not have a TV in every room). So I saw the first example of that very worrying and shallow, grasping trend in children, children who are old enough to know better. Second I had a premonition of where this mindset would lead her. And true, now she hangs out with celebrity tattle tales ha.

Parents, parents, parents... you are the generation that my niece belongs to. What are you teaching your children? If you were born into the way my niece was, how much worse is your children's generation? The Bible and good parenting teaches moderation, grace, good manners, appreciation, and being honorable (not tattlers) for a reason: it is not only the righteous and just way to be, but it is the way to avoid many physical and spiritual pitfalls in life. It is not healthy nor is it fair to not object when your little prince or princess has their fanny buffed constantly so that they think everyone else has "their stuff," where no matter what they have legitimately, they resent what others have, as small as it is.

So I'm glad there are still generous children who share rather than tattle, though according to the witness I heard on Sunday, I guess they are in Mongolia!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Catholic Church sex abuse scandal

I'm going to repeat what I've said before, and I will continue to say this every time that I am asked.

I believe that anyone who mishandled sexual abuse within the Church, sexual abuse being both a devastating crime and a sin, should resign their office, whether as a cardinal, bishop or parish priest. I don't really care about the circumstances of whether it was a "minor" or "major" involvement in the mishandling because all of that corrodes faith, whether by small bits of rust and tarnish or large egregious lack of good sense and/or integrity. If it was mishandling and not actual participation in the abuse, I believe that upon resigning the office that these cardinals, bishops and priests should dedicate themselves within religious orders that are contemplative and filled with prayer.

There is supposed to be no "ego" in serving the Lord God, and thus any cardinal, bishop or priest should be gratified to relinquish their offices and in turn become one hundred percent dedicated to the life of prayer, particularly addressing prayer for both the victims of the abuse and for renewal of the priesthood.

People, listen to me carefully, whatever your faith (or not) or beliefs. For decades humanity has teetered on the brink of a total meltdown into depravity. These priest sex abuse cases are, in the sense of showing the incurable addiction of lust and depravity, no different from what we are seeing in society as a whole. I know you want to say, "Hold on, how can that be? Priests are supposed to be different!" Yes, in an ideal world they are supposed to be different, but look at the world today. Are not mothers "supposed to be different?" Yet every week we read about mothers who sell and trade the sexual innocence of even their infants for money, car payments, access to drugs, or some other trivial transaction. Are not teachers supposed to be "different?" Yet every week we read about teachers with child pornography and those who seduce and/or molest children they have access to, in that position of "trust." Are not "those who have been abused themselves" supposed to be "making sure what happened to them never happens to other children?" Yet we know that many of the most violent criminals use the excuse of their own, often horrifying, suffering of child abuse, and far from being protective, they enact their rage on other innocent adults and children. Are not police supposed to be "better than that?" Yet pressuring sex trade workers is a long going problem among police, so long that it has even been the stuff of jokes.

EVERYONE is supposed to be "better than that" but NO ONE IS anymore.

Catholic priests are just as subject to falling into the pit of depravity and vice as anyone else. I know that it seems out of proportion, but hear me now and believe me later. If you start looking at how many children have been molested by their own parents, or baby mama's "boyfriend," and by purveyors of porn, soon we will have a population that has more saying "yes" they've been abused than "no." Abuse has become the "new normal."

You'd have to be living under a rock to not realize that this society has fallen further and further into filth and depravity, and no "group" is "should be better at being pure" than anyone. I've seen some think that married priests or "more women" in the "church hierarchy" will "help." I'd laugh if this was not such a dire, world and soul killing problem. Yeah, women, such pillars of virtue, as they teach their kids to pole dance, wear thongs, offer them for sex to get themselves money or drugs, seduce their male students, etc. So please do not trivialize a worldwide soul destroying crisis of monumental proportion by suggesting this is a "celibate male" problem.

I marvel that God has not burned down this filthy depraved world already. Then I guess you would not have to worry about those priests, huh?

Victims, I know what you have been through as I've been abused, but not by priests, but by those who mettle with sorcery. But victims, I urge you to not be victimized twice. Do not let the outrageous scandal of the Catholic priest sex abuse problem cause you to also lose faith in the Church and in God. If you do, you will be victimized twice and God will not, I repeat, not understand your abandonment of God and his church.

I am not being harsh but realistic. What do you think was done to the early Christians of the Church? Do you think they were not abused and tormented in every way possible, including children? Yet they hung on to their faith to the end. God and the Church remain, no matter what individuals do, both within and outside of the Church. Running away does not make God go away, nor does it invalidate the Church. You can deny all you want but remember, human beings put to death the only pure and sinless man, Jesus Christ, and he proclaimed God with his last breath on the cross.

I will give you an analogy to help. Suppose you read in the paper that someone drowned while swimming in the ocean. Bad ocean, bad water. We no longer believe in water because it drowned someone. Stop bathing and showering. Stop drinking water. Tell everyone you know that water is "bad" and you "no longer believe in water." What will happen? You die of thirst in a matter of days.

No matter what the pain of life it is simply insane and not at all "understandable" that someone "lose their faith in God or the church." It's an unhealthy coping mechanism to think that because one is a victim of bad human behavior that suddenly the overall truth of the world (God and the Church) "no longer mean anything to you." That, my children, is being victimized twice. God will not nod his head in your meeting with him at personal judgment when you perish and say, "Hey, I know, a really bad thing happened to you, so it's A-OK with me that you 'lost your faith' and 'stopped believing in Me' or 'decided my Church was invalid.' Sure, I know that I, God, and my Church are not worth staying and fighting for, even through the pain."

Children, God is pure Truth. If you get only one thing about God in this particular message, understand that God is pure and total truth. God cannot be anything but the sum total of all that is true, that ever will be true, and ever could be true. When you grasp that you realize that God never changes and that while he cares very much for each person, when a person denies God no matter what the reason, they are in danger of not entering heaven at all, because being God's dwelling place, heaven is also pure truth.

The way to healing and to sanity is by embracing more truth, not less.

I hope that you find this helpful.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Friday, March 5, 2010

Jack Chick & company should repent

I know people want my opinion about Jack Chick and his company of religious "tracts."

Here is my opinion.

Jack Chick and his employees ought to get tattoos, each of which says "Mark 9:38-41."

And then they all ought to take a life long vow of silence against criticizing ANY faith of the children of Abraham: Jews, Muslims, Christians (especially Catholics.)

I've avoided saying anything about them because unlike them I actually understand the scriptures, so I just ignore them. However, they have done damage, continual damage, eroding people's faith, and this is why they sure could use a daily dose of looking at their tats "Mark 9:38-41."

Here is the scripture, by the way. And Mr. Chick, I won't even "charge you a cookie" for an English language translation of this passage (I don't know if perhaps you have an alien version of the Bible that YOU use, huh?)

Mark 9:38-41

John said to Him, "Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in Your name, and we tried to stop him because he wasn't following us."

"Don't stop him," said Jesus, "because there is no one who will perform a miracle in My name who can soon afterwards speak evil of Me. For whoever is not against us is for us. And whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because of My name, since you belong to the Messiah-I assure you: He will never lose his reward."

Well gosh, if Jesus says anyone who gives a cup of water in His Name will NEVER lose his reward, I guess it's sure all right with Jesus to give a "magic cookie" (reverent people refer to it as the Communion wafer, unlike Chick & company) or consecrated wine in his name too.

Are not enough people misguided and suffering in this world? Jack Chick and company, please shut up with your total FAIL trash talk of Catholics, Muslims and whoever else you take a dump on because of your lack of faith and understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Message over!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Chile aid donors

Before you give, especially you young people, read this article. Look up the AP story Chile military delivers aid but 1st to their own.

Read the whole thing, especially where gov't is refusing deliveries to desperate poor neighborhoods because they broke into stores to "loot" food, while they are delivering to people who have had food since the earthquake.


(And nothing like those "compassionate women who make better leaders" huh?)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Understanding hell

As a follow up to the previous post, about recognizing the consequences of disbelief and sin.

You can lead someone to hell.
You can be followed by someone to hell.
You can walk side by side with others to hell.
Whatever your companionship or "excuse," the result is always the same.

There is not a single person in hell who thinks that he or she "can handle it" and it's "not so bad."

It is the painful unbearable reality forever.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The three simple steps to God and faith

This is the plainest and simplest way to understand the direct path toward faith in God.

1. Truth: knowledge that he exists

This is supposed to be presented to children at the youngest age, at the same time that they understand who they are, who their parents and other relatives are, and identity of people in general. Children need to be told that God exists, but cannot be seen. When children ask how do we know God exists, explain that many people have seen and spoken with him a long time ago and they left the book (the Bible) that states that he is there and what happened. Children of Islam, the same understanding is given to children about God's existence and the book of the Qur'an. As Christian children grow older they start to understand that God proved his existence in latter years by sending his Son Jesus Christ.

You see, you cannot have faith or reach God if you don't accept that people a lot closer to God than you have testified to his existence and left records of that in the Bible and the Qur'an. If you try to "have faith" or "understand if God exists" you are unlikely to succeed because you are starting with the unspoken assumption that you are smarter or closer to the truth than the authors of the Bible and the Qur'an, and you most certainly are not. This is why you cannot "logic" or "faith" your way to God. You have to first understand that impeccable witness has been given through thousands of years by people who know and saw with their own eyes. No one can duplicate or surpass that; you simply have to accept the facts of the written Word.

2. Love and goodness: You understand that all love and goodness comes ultimately from God, not humans, plants, animals or imaginary beings.

Thus immediately upon accepting the facts, the truth, that God exists, one understands, accepts and embraces that God IS love, that God is all the goodness that ever existed and could ever exist. This is where the child (and those late to finding God) accept the gift of love and give all glory and credit to God for the goodness of creation, the goodness of life, and any blessings. In other words, one understands God's true being, his identity. One can therefore start to develop one's own personal relationship with God. Children start by accompanying their parents in prayer and worship.

3. Consequences of disbelief and sin: You understand that achieving heaven and being with God in eternity is by no means guaranteed, and that sin displeases God mightily and he will react accordingly.

This is something that teenagers, young adults and often extended to middle age adults grapple with but absolutely must not deny or dodge. Children start to learn this from parents and also their worship community, as they recognize right from wrong in general, and what sin is and how it aggrieves God specifically. Sin is understood to be not only an offense against God but also working in opposition and contradiction to what God alone understands is good for each person and for humanity in general. That understanding often comes with age, but no one is guaranteed the time to "find that out in one's own time" so again, children when they reach appropriate ages of understanding must be taught the balance between a loving and forgiving God, but the grave error in taking that for granted and indeed jeopardizing one's relationship with God.

That third stage is the first of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, "Fear of the Lord."

Notice that this foundational gift, which is needed before other gifts can truly be received from the Holy Spirit, is thus the first step in the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, but the third step in having faith in God. Faith in God requires: acceptance of his truth of existence, acceptance of his love and goodness, and knowledge of the consequences of sin and disbelief. When you have that "package" of those three steps, you have faith in God, and you are ready to start receiving the unmerited grace of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the first of which is "Fear of the Lord."

I hope this has been helpful to parents, children, young people, caregivers, preachers, those responsible for faith formation, and those who are patching and repairing their faith journey, which they may have been deprived of in total, or had missteps along the way.