Christian Crab Claws
The one thing I really hate about being a Christian is that you can’t have a good sulk. You can try but the Holy Spirit is like having a nagging voice in your heart that will always remind you that you have no good swampy sulk to sink into. You can never stay crabby with Christ in you.
I have been looking forward to this week literally for months! Folks are teaching us how to make computer apps! And we even got new software to play…I mean work…with! But we had pre-class online training and that training wasn’t accessible for my low vision so I couldn’t take the class. When I reported it as an Americans with Disabilities Act violation hoping to get it fixed for others I was told “Don’t worry you can take the next class because they’ll fix it by then.”
Ridiculous. The online lessons are obsolete anyway. The company doesn’t even support it. If the program is so mismanaged they’re doing that warning them about ADA won’t help anyone down the road and unless they plan to give me new eyes it will just be me trying not to have a seizure…literally…with their old software and it still not working. And I was looking forward to that class!
Holy Spirit: Because that’s your mission, right? Making apps…
Me: No but…
Holy Spirit: What did you come up with as your life’s mission statement:
Me: ‘Meet the Master!’ is the Message and the Message is my Mission!
Holy Spirit: So…GOD so loved the world that He gave His only Son from birth that anyone believing in Him should…make apps?!
Me: No…Okay…But they hate me!! They just ignore me…
Holy Spirit: So you’re not KM anymore?
Me: Yeah I’m KM unless they gave somebody else my job without telling me again.
Holy Spirit: Because I saw “KM” written all over that OPORD yesterday…
Me: Okay! Okay! I get it but I just sit in that stinking cubicle all day…
Holy Spirit: Oh, so your cubicle is in the Commandant’s Conference Room now?
Me: C’mon! That’s silly…
Holy Spirit: Because I see you spending the afternoon there yesterday, today, tomorrow and meetings at least monthly…
Me: But they literally just walk by me as they go to luncheons and out to eat…
Holy Spirit: Because you’re undernourished…
Me: HEY! Okay! How about this stupid degree! Unless You’re planning to keep me around until I’m 120…or back from the dead…I’ll never finish…
Holy Spirit: Because learning about Me has a timeline and all the Apostles had DMins?
Me: Oh alright already…But anyway I need a Sweetie…
Holy Spirit: That’s between you and Me. I don’t let humans do miracles at the moment. You are the miracle.
“I am standing on a mountaintop looking across a foggy valley to the mountaintop I’ll be on when I go Home to JESUS. I don’t know what’s in the valley but it’s adventure He will bring me through.” Sound familiar?
Me: Yeah. I wrote that as a baby Christian. WOW! We’ve had some adventures since then!
Holy Spirit: I love you, Paul. I love you.
Me: I know! I love you, too, for loving me even though I whine and don’t accomplish anything. I’ve got to tell people about how much You love us! GOD Almighty! GOD the Son came to give us eternal joy!! It’s incredible! I want to write sermons and books and preach and…
See what I mean? Christians can’t stay crabby. And we’re not meant to grab onto the things of this world with our little crab claws.
Holy Spirit: “”No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
Matthew 6:24-34 ESV
So if you know it’s “rigged” and you can’t win why not fix the system instead of abandoning the people who voted for you like Romney did?
Very simple. You realized what Romney realized. You know to contest it means civil war and to actually effect change if you won means civil war. Politicians (including Trump & Pence and Clinton and Kaine) are taking turns at the wheel of the Titanic. No one can keep it from sinking because any attempt to change course only makes the sinking faster.
GOD is bringing judgement and nothing and no one can stop it. It’s just a matter of how quickly we sink and whether you are on Lifeboat JESUS or not. #Trump #Pence #Clinton #Kaine #election #debate
As anyone who knows me knows I’m a big fan of Doctor Who. As I’m listening to a podcast I’m getting teary eyed just listening to the description of (what I thought then) was the last time I’d ever see my favorite Doctor (David Tennant in The End of Time, part 2).
Part of it is that Doctors are Christ-like figures so when they “regenerate” into another one it always reminds me of the Crucifixion and I can’t read or watch movies about that without crying.
Part of it is that even though I know a later writer, Moffat, will ruin and even mock this moment with the return of the actor, it’s so well acted it still makes me emotional. So I tear up.
I was praying for forgiveness for getting teary over a stupid TV show and not crying more over people going to hell. Then I realized part of why I cry is for myself and the loss of what could have been.
That’s where the Proverbs 17:6 comes in. My whole life, literally since When I was a little boy I dreamed of being the big, tall good looking guy who found a girl and had a crowd of children. I didn’t realize anything was wrong with me.
I realized none of that was true. But although I thought at least finding someone would come true several times it always fell apart. So I’ve become the old man just watching it happen to other people.
Enter the second verse. I know as a Christian that GOD says in Isaiah 56 that those who have no posterity to leave behind, no children to carry on their name (a tragedy in ancient Israel), will have a name that will be remembered because of what they have done in the LORD. I even wrote a sermon about it. Anyone can serve (pray, etc.) somehow. And somehow, even if we don’t see it or feel it GOD says He gives us a remembrance for that and if He says it I believe it will happen somehow.
I know it and I know it’s true. But the potential of there never being my wife, my kids, my memories is all potential that is lost. So when David Tennant says “I don’t want to go”, in The End of Time, part 2 I get misty eyes because it’s me looking at a shorter road ahead than the long road behind and thinking, “neither do I” even though the road never led where I’d hoped. And catharsis through a TV show is cheaper than self-medicating with chocolate.
The relevance to you is that you only have three things you must do in life: Live long enough to give your life to JESUS so death is not the end of life for you. Let Love pour out of you every day. And allow Love to come back into you from every source you find. Then when death comes, your time will never end. And you will be prepared for an eternal Life of Love.
Woe to you Tweeters, Facebook users, hypocrites! You cry about the sins of a private citizen billionaire businessman when you know you have done the same in your heart and are only jealous he gets away with it and has what you want. You sin more than him by coveting everything he has.
Woe to you, Tweeters, Facebook users, hypocrites! You condemn a rich man’s shock that married women allow him to grab their crotch because of his wealth but you scheme how to keep your wealth from Me.
Woe to you, Tweeters, Facebook users, hypocrites! You have made yourselves judge and jury over how another man lives but you allow schools to teach innocent children perversion I hate is more loving than I AM and are more concerned about
thugs disrespecting your flag by kneeling than that your country refuses to kneel before Me.
Woe to you, Tweeters, Facebook users, hypocrites! You assassinate a man’s character in My Name for using legal means to save tax money he uses for charity yet excuse leaders who deny my existence, contradict my Word, teach that idolators are good and My people are evil and ignorant, and murder babies in the womb and at birth.
The Trumps and politicians will enter Heaven before you.
Matthew 11 and 23, paraphrased
Cling to the King
There is only one king. No, don’t pass that off so fast because you think “Yeah, yeah, I see where you’re going. JESUS is king, blah, blah, blah” because you know you don’t live like that’s true. From childhood cartoons of the devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other, to Star Wars having the “Dark Side” to the Force, to the Ying and Yang of Chinese philosophy, we all are raised with the idea that Evil is the equal to Good, just the opposite side. But that is not true.
JESUS, GOD the Son, was tempted in the wilderness by Satan, the Chief of Evil. Satan even bodily took hold of JESUS and carried Him, twice. First to the top of the Temple and then to a very high mountain, perhaps the highest on earth. Both times to try to tempt JESUS into forcing the Father’s Hand and betraying the Father (and us) by sin. But being able to carry JESUS no more makes Satan the equal of JESUS than it does make a horse equal to a king that rides it. Even in this temptation Satan is only a servant who rebels against his Master. Just as he is summoned into the throne room of Heaven by GOD in the book of Job to give an account of himself, Satan was allowed by GOD to carry JESUS, GOD the Son, only to serve as the means of temptation. You will see this in the Old Testament where GOD, Who cannot lie, appoints a demon to deceive a wayward ruler. There is only one King and that is JESUS, but we do not live that way.
Satan is like a child molester. First he will use sweetness. He tempts with puppies or candy or rides or compliments. He offers JESUS all the Glory of all the kingdoms on earth. The word used for “all” here is specifically used by JESUS elsewhere to mean every one. So it’s not symbolic. All the glory humanity is capable of withstanding, the worship and adoration of all of the citizens of the Greeks, of the Romans, of China’s dynasties, of the great Aztec nations and Native Americans covering North America. All of it was offered to JESUS. But then the door closes behind the child with the molester and the touch is made as he reveals his true intent. GOD had given Satan rule of this world. It was his to offer. But only at the cost of purity. His demand was that GOD the Son worship him.
Elsewhere JESUS refers to Satan as the prince or ruler of this world. The Greek word is for a ruler still subservient to other rulers though the ruler over a certain group. Satan was given power over the world in a sense for a time but as demons acknowledged never were they or Satan who was ranks above them in power anything more than servant traitors against King JESUS.
The answer JESUS gives is “No!” Only GOD the King is worthy of worship and service. There is some irony here since He is GOD the Son. Satan seems to “get it” and sense he may be forced to worship JESUS so he runs until he can try to catch JESUS off guard.
JESUS resists the devil and clings to the Father. He leads by example for us to fight the pervert; confront the liar; cling to GOD, the only King.
So, yes, I did say just what you thought I’d say but I also warn myself and you not to just say JESUS is King but to live like it. The devil is not your boss and there is no reason to listen to whatever he says. There are better compliments, sweeter candy and more puppies in purity than anything that soul molester Satan can offer you. He’s just a failed flunky. Resist him. Cling to King JESUS and live.
Matt 4:7-11 (ESV)
Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'”
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.
9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”
10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'”
11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.
I deny GOD in the defining statement of who I am and what I represent (until an unproar rises against me). I deny the Word of GOD, its laws, its validity, and the history of GOD’s people. I tell all those who depend on me they are forbidden to speak against me. Who am I?
You probably thought I was describing a politician but this is basically a description of a police state. You may think it’s a description of Satan but even the devils acknowledge GOD and tremble (James 2:19).
To accept what you know to be Truth as false and what you know to be lies as Truth is a form of insanity. Where is the choice for a sane person?
Even though a lot of people who know me would deny it, I’m an adult now. (Stop shaking your head and pay attention!) But I can still remember the days of the playground. Facts are something that seem to no longer be important in the world. But back on the playground they were. Someone would make some great claim about their favorite team, themselves or someone else and the answer was always “Prove it!” Whether it could be proven or not, the self-appointed judge immediately held the power by demanding proof (which, of course, was subject to their accepting it or not).
We all still use that playground power of demanding proof. But the worst part is that we do it with GOD. And in so doing we are joining the devil’s team.
The Bible tells of when GOD the Son, JESUS, submitted Himself to hunger and humiliation in the desert. It was sort of an exercise regimen on the playground, strengthening Him for the lifetime of abuse He willingly suffered for us. Part of that was the devil trying to get GOD the Son to betray GOD the Father. The devil immediately played the “Prove it!” ploy by demanding over and over that JESUS prove He is GOD the Son.
One of these demands was the devil physically taking JESUS to the top of the Temple and telling Him to jump. By misapplying a Scripture out of context the devil tried to force JESUS to say “Prove it!” to the Father to see if angels would protect Him from suicide.
This verse has special meaning for me. When I was struggling as a teenager with the contradictions between my family’s nominal Roman Catholic faith and the Bible I had a dream. In the dream I was sitting in a field behind our house when the devil appeared and sat nearby. I couldn’t look directly at him but knew who he was and ran to my parents’ bedroom where they kept the family Bible.
Now I was the only one in the family who read it. My parents just treated it out of superstition. In fact there was a rule by the Catholic Church when I was a boy that no one should read the Bible for more than 15 minutes without an explanation from a priest. The Church was afraid people might get ideas that Catholicism was wrong like that nasty guy Martin Luther and as I was doing now.
In the dream I clutched the Bible to my chest to be safe from the devil. To my shock, the devil grabbed it out of my hands and held it! I shouted, “You can’t do that!” To which the devil replied, “You (fool)! Do you think I could be permitted to carry the body of your GOD to the top of the Temple and not be permitted to touch a book?” And I woke up.
Prove it! That playground lawyer is the role we play every time we try to get GOD to answer prayer as we want Him to. But the only answer JESUS gives is to stop playing by the devil’s rules and that we are not to put GOD to the test.
We are to be on Team JESUS, not the devil’s team. JESUS already proved Himself and proved the Father’s love for us by His sacrifice of His Life for us and giving of eternal Life by rising from the dead. Instead of proof we are to do what I came to do soon after the dream. Rather than demanding proof, we are to give ourselves over to the Truth. JESUS is the Truth of all GOD’s promises. By giving ourselves to Him at His Word we have His Holy Spirit to reveal the truth of all GOD’s promises in us, through us, and in front if us, forever.
Matthew 4:5-7 (ESV)
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple
6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'”
7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'”
Butter Your Bread
Being of the Mediterranean heritage, my blood is probably 75% olive oil and garlic. And there is a reason Italian bread and bread of all varieties are so popular all over the world. Bread is delicious and filling. (Especially with garlic and olive oil). But whether flavored with butter or seasoning, bread is rarely eaten alone. It’s not meant to be. The bread is the delivery system to make you more aware of its flavorings and contents.
This is the recipe for Life that JESUS gives when the devil tries to tempt Him in the desert. It was no accident that JESUS was in the desert. The Holy Spirit led Him there. The word for “led” is the word for launching a ship. Immediately after His baptism by John the Baptist to show His dedication to GOD the Father and empowerment by GOD the Holy Spirit, JESUS, GOD the Son, was sent on His initial voyage into the desert specifically to be tested by temptation.
The hungry JESUS was tempted by the devil to turn rocks into bread. The devil tried to put doubt into Christ’s mind by using the word “if” and to put himself (Satan) in control by making GOD the Son answer his wishes.
But JESUS has an interesting response. He says that even if He made the bread that wouldn’t be enough. It would be meaningless and tasteless without GOD. Notice that He doesn’t say bread is bad. Bread is good. But if it means disobeying GOD’s Word to obey Satan rather than serving only GOD it would be dry and tasteless.
We all have the bread of life, the flesh life of every day living. But we were never intended to have that alone. GOD calls us to enrich our bread, give it flavor and nutrition, through His Word. Life without GOD is dry and meaningless. It may keep our body alive but without GOD life is not worth living and our bodies will die and go back to the desert dust. Only the Word of GOD gives life meaning. GOD calls us to butter our bread with the Spiritual nourishment only He gives.
JESUS is the Word in Flesh. He is what GOD says in human form, yet fully GOD. What’s more, later in His ministry JESUS offers His Body as our bread. But He also offers His blood. If He only lived and died for us, that would be meaningful. But there is Life in the Blood. He rose from the dead to eternal Life for those He gave His life to save.
Christ means anointed with oil. JESUS is anointed to be the King and Rescuer of those who accept it. And that is only possible when the bread of our ordinary life is anointed by His Word in Scripture, by Himself as the Living Word, and by the Blood that gives us eternal Life if we will accept it.
“‘…Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” Matt 4:4 (ESV)
“If” is Important
Whether and how you use the word “if” is important. It shows how you think about GOD and who controls your life.
Have you ever prayed “GOD, if you…”? That’s the language of the devil not a prayer. Satan uses that phrase to try to control JESUS in the desert and it’s a paraphrase of what he used on Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Satan basically said that if they believe him rather than GOD (and think GOD intended less than their best) Satan could out-give GOD. He told JESUS the same thing. He tried to gain control. Whomever states the condition of blessing, “if”, is the one in control (or trying to be). “If” is a conditional phrase and we are to love GOD unconditionally. GOD even honored such request from His people in the Old Testament who knew no better but anyone after the Cross does not have that option.
The exception is when GOD the Son (JESUS) asks GOD the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane if it is possible for Him (JESUS) to fulfill the needs of salvation for us without separation from Him (the Father) by our sin. That is a conversation that can only be held in the mystical union of equality and submission of the GODhead among sinless equals in perfection.
But for any created creature, “if” is off the table and not a part of vocabulary we should ever use with GOD. Especially since the Cross when JESUS already met every possible condition for rescuing us and there is no other way He can or we can expect Him to rescue us. His death, burial and resurrection did it all perfectly.
Only GOD can use the control of establishing conditions. GOD the Father made conditions on how to know and worship Him all through the Old Testament in anticipation of JESUS coming in the New Testament. JESUS made conditions for how we can come to Him and accept eternal life all through the New Testament, while on earth in the Gospels and through the Holy Spirit in Acts, the letters, and the Book of Revelation.
JESUS says, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”
John 14:23 ESV
To love JESUS means we give ourselves totally to Him unconditionally because He suffered and died on the morning after that conversation with the Father in Gethsemane. He gave Himself unconditionally over to the will of the Father and rescued us from death as a result. Only the presence of the Holy Spirit, given at our surrender to Christ, can have us love Him. Only then can we acknowledge His total control. Only then can GOD be at home in the heart of His own making. It is the new heart He gives those who have given themselves unconditionally to Him, no “ifs”, “ands”, or “buts” about it.