Wednesday, February 27, 2008

That Your Joy May Be Full

When ever I am under stress, my joy reserve depletes quickly. Recently (under stress) I feel the Lord speaking to me about my attempts at adding to the blessings of God. About my being unsatisfied with the blessings God has provided and my trying to come up with something better, more in line with what I think would be a blessing de jour. The blessing of the day. When I was healthy and modestly well off financially, more money would have been a blessing. So I tried to work more money into my theology and find Scriptural applications for God blessing me financially. When in an unhealthy period, now good health became my priority and I searched for Scriptural application for God blessing me with good health. I bring God along to bless me by giving me that which I think is lacking in my life.

Is this what Jesus meant when He said, Jhn 10:10 "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly."? Or Jhn 16:24 "Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full."

Remember when Jesus sent the deciples out on their first little missions trip? They returned rejoicing that "even the demons obeyed them". Jesus gave them a rebuke and said, Luk 10:20 "Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.". Joy, full life to the deciples, as with all of us, was obtaining more than you have at the moment. They did not understand that true joy was knowing and understanding what Jesus had really provided ... acceptance and forgiveness before a just, righteous and all powerful God.

Before Jesus came few if any men clearly understood what God is really like. Would understanding what the creator of all things is really like bring men joy? It would seem so. Before Jesus came man had no means of permanent redemption and acceptance by God. Should God's permanent redemption and acceptance of man bring man joy? I would think so.

Does God provide for our financial, health and relationship blessings as we walk through life? A yes answer is inescapable while reading any version of the Bible. But these blessings come not from seeking after the blessing itself but in relying on and trusting in God's provision through an understanding of who God is and through acceptance of God's redemption through Jesus Christ. After all, "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!"

Let's be real. Many Christians don't have joy because their God ship has not yet come in carrying all of God's blessings: new cars, bigger houses, better children, more money, better health. How many had a sister, wife, mother suffer and die from cancer and as a result they stopped believing in a loving God because a loving God would not let such a horrible thing happen. We are blessing experts. We know a blessing when we see it and death by cancer is no blessing; therefore, God does not exist. To a lesser but equally joyless extent, some are still struggling financially and can not have joy until they see the money. Some still drive that old junker ... no joy here.

Yet there are plenty of Christians who trusted God and were beaten, imprisoned, martyred and yet their joy was full. Full because they understood who God is, what God is like, and were assured of God's acceptance and forgiveness. They rejoiced that their names were written in the Lamb's Book of Life. Their joy was not in what they could get from God but in their relationship to and understanding of God.

When a child wishes to run out into traffic but is restrained by his parent, the child is in a joyless condition. I want it and can't have it so I am unhappy. Many of us live our lives this way. No matter how mature we feel nor how seemingly clear is our understanding of a situation, we will never have the entire picture from God's point of view. We do not understand the traffic. As long as we insist on running the railroad we will live in a derailed condition, Christian or not.

Have you heard someone talk about how much closer to God they were during times of distress? Did they mention a clearer understanding of God? Was some strange sweet joy during a time of trouble mentioned? I have experienced this myself and can attest to the truth of it. Is there some oddity of the human condition that we understand a thing better when we lose it or lack it.

I love this little poem by Emily Dickenson:

Success is counted sweetest
By those who ne'er succeed.
To comprehend a nectar
Requires sorest need.

Not one of all the purple host
Who took the flag to-day
Can tell the definition,
So clear, of victory!

As he, defeated, dying,
On whose forbidden ear
The distant strains of triumph
Burst agonized and clear!

This poem is not a direct application to experiencing the Joy of the Lord but there is a point well taken. Is it possible that man has difficulty seeing and understanding the true Joy of the Lord while he possesses the world's joy? Maybe our joy vision is clearer when we lose our worldly joy and lie defeated, dying. Maybe only then can we hear the distant strains of God's triumphant joy being celebrated in the distance. Can what we lack in the here and now be a blessing of the eternal kind?

So again I must remind myself that my Joy is in the Lord, knowing who He is, knowing what He is like, and trusting in Him. Then I must let God decide what is a true blessing for me. My joy can not be dependent on what the blessing looks like or what form it takes or when (if ever) it arrives. My joy is in the Lord.

BigHugeThing needed a BigHuge attitude adjustment.

Fighting Evil
Sometimes it's hard to believe in God even as a Christian. Little doubts (some not so little) creep in and we must rely on what we know of Scripture and our own experiences to support our faith. For most of us that gets us through the rough spots. Some don't make it through and give in to the world's logic and wisdom and lose faith that there is a God of any kind.

As hard as it may be to believe in God it is harder to believe in the existence of a devil. Entire denominations view the devil as a myth or metaphor. The Bible clearly speaks of the devil and demons as real. Most of us live our lives oblivious of the reality of these dark spirits. confronts this evil head on and presents a provocative viewpoint. It contains many interesting mp3's to download. Even if one does not agree with everything on the site, Christians would be well advised to be informed about such things.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Earthquake Damages Temple Mount and Shechem - Inside Israel - Israel News - Arutz Sheva
Earthquake Damages Temple Mount and Shechem - Inside Israel - Israel News - Arutz Sheva: "( An earthquake shook Israel at 12:37 PM Friday. The only damage reported in Israel was on the Temple Mount and near Shechem (Nablus).

The earthquake measured 5.3 on the Richter scale; its epicenter was located in northeastern Lebanon. Earlier last week an earthquake measuring 4.1 was felt in northern Israel, also originating from Lebanon, near its northern city of Tyre.

A large hole opened up on the Temple Mount during Friday's earthquake (click here for pictures), which was soon covered by officials from the Wakf Islamic Authority that administers the mosques built atop Judaism’s holiest site."

BigHugeThing views earthquakes and holes on the Temple Mt. as possibly significant. You replacement theologists see nothing significant anywhere in Israel aside from dusty bones and artifacts. Nothing has changed, everything is as it was ... Ah Ha ... that too is significant!

Forget global warming: Welcome to the new Ice Age
Forget global warming: Welcome to the new Ice Age: "Snow cover over North America and much of Siberia, Mongolia and China is greater than at any time since 1966.

The U.S. National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) reported that many American cities and towns suffered record cold temperatures in January and early February. According to the NCDC, the average temperature in January 'was -0.3 F cooler than the 1901-2000 (20th century) average.'"

BigHugeThing is still skeptical of all the "sky is falling" rhetoric from the Al Gores. There is just too much money and power and self-serving involved to swallow the thing whole. But who knows and I refuse to care based on I can't do anything about it anyway.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Thursday, February 14, 2008

You Have The Mind Of Christ

As I was eating my Raisin Bran Crunch today a little thought popped into my head, "you have the mind of Christ." So what does that mean, having the mind of Christ? A good source might be the scripture passage that states it.

1 Corinthians 2

1When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.[a] 2For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. 4My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, 5so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.

How did this "demonstration of the Spirit's power" present itself? Was it healing, miracles, stigmata ... If it was not men's wisdom and there is no mention in this context of miracles, then what did this power look like? The subject of the message was "Jesus Christ and him crucified" but where and what was this power?

6We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

No worldly wisdom was taught but "God's secret wisdom" and it was taught to the "mature". Does that mean that the mature saw this power more clearly than the immature? And what about "the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing"? Does that apply to all rulers of every age, even ours?

9However, as it is written:
"No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him"[b]— 10but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.

If the mature can see by revelation what God has prepared for them, that would be powerful. If it is impossible to see the things of God except by the Spirit of God, then seeing the secrets of God would be powerful, no?

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.[c] 14The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment:

It is becoming inescapable that those "without the Spirit" can not understand these things. Apart from the power of the Spirit of God revealing the things of God, we can not understand the secrets of God. So is this the power?

For who has known the mind of the Lord
that he may instruct him?"[d] But we have the mind of Christ.

If we have the Spirit of God, we have the mind of Christ to understand the things about "Jesus Christ and Him crucified".

Many take this out of context and wish to add power to it. Understanding the secrets of Christ's crucifixion is just not powerful enough these people. They blow right by the empowering truth in search of the spectacular. For them the mind of Christ must understand what stock to buy and power must be raising people from the dead. If Christians could become wildly successful by world's standards or perform eye popping miracles, then the world would come to Christ, is the thinking I assume.

I recall the rich man asking Abraham to send Lazarus back:
Luke 16:19-31
27"He answered, 'Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father's house, 28for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.'

29"Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.'

30" 'No, father Abraham,' he said, 'but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.'

31"He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.' "

If they do not listen to the Prophets, they will not be convinced (period). The greatest power was in hearing what the Spirit of God has to say. No worldly wisdom compares to God's wisdom, in fact it is contrary to God's wisdom. That should be a mind bender.

The power (all power) lies in hearing the Spirit of God and having the Spirit of God within us. Who knows, the Spirit of God may even perform a few miracles along the way.


Saturday, February 9, 2008

President Hillary Presents New Opportunity

We could become Health Brokers and send people to Mexico.

Is Warren Buffet, Bill Gate's real dad?

Am I trying to start a malicious rumor? Sure, but do you see an eerie likeness (other than billions) or am I just sick of hearing about them.

No BigHugeThing

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

the evangelical outpost: The Myth of Galileo:
A Story With A (Mostly) Valuable Lesson
I can see your eyes glazing over at the thought of reading this. (see link)

I'm often surprised at how much of our "common knowledge" is distortion of the truth, or complete falsehood, and blindly repeated by those who should know better. Galileo is usually pictured as some kind, infallible old genius, innocently going about his earth shattering discovering, when (without provocation) that nasty Pope throws him on the rack. How much crap do we, ourselves, simply repeat as gospel to make our points (and worse, make our decisions), when in reality those facts are mere distortions and/or myths?

Intelligent people feel immune to deception. Once they "know" a thing, it becomes unquestionable. So how do they "know" the thing? Well they heard it or read it from some other bonifide intelligent person of course. Temper this with political or existential bias and you have truth for them. True because other intelligent people say it is true. True because it feels true. True because it makes them feel good about their world view. Sound like you and me? I think so. Whether wildly intelligent or commonly stupid, we are all prone to deception by our very natures.

This might be a good place to mention tempering our truth with the written Word of God (Holy Spirit in written form) and tempering our truth with the living Holy Spirit who leads us into all truth. Should Christians have better insight into the truth? It would seem so. But I suppose the necessity of relying on the Holy Spirit would be a prerequisite. Christians have a choice (by some accounts) whether or not to rely on the Holy Spirit, therefore a Christian's advantage is not automatic.