Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Just a Dash Too Few....

I've always been of the mindset that observation beats pontification any day. To observe allows the benefit of maybe not opening mouth before brain is engaged, and further benefits in that what is observed often allows that which might finally be spoken to be accurate. The observation that is being brought to light is the result of at least 5 years of time spent watching, analyzing and testing before it is presented now. This deals with a group of folks that are loosely clumped into what may be called "Messaventacism". Messianic leanings, but unfortunately compromised by Adventist doctrines blended into a mostly homogeneous group of those who call themselves Jews in the sense of Revelation 3:9, but are not. The specific marker that seems to permeate their ranks (and others) is the use of the dash. Drawing from the rabbinical traditions (not God's law) they will not write the Name of God, choosing instead to place a dash between the letters or replacing one vowel with the same in the manner of the ancient writers who placed the YHWH in Hebrew without vowels to avoid writing the Name of God. They apply the same practice to the word "Lord", producing a L-rd instead where written. This stems apparently from their desire to NOT make God's Name common (or use in vain) by writing it on paper or other material that may be ultimately discarded, whether purposely or intentionally. Herein is the rub...the said messiventist will apply this principle as well to their writing, typing or sign making with everything BUT the Name Yeshua, which is their determined Name for Jesus. Jesus, being the Greek transliteration for this chosen word that they have adopted, despite its lack of historical basis. It is the Hebrew word for salvation, which is what Jesus is and would provide, but there is ample evidence of several other forms of this word, such as Yehoshua, Joshua, etc that also fit the bill. That is not what is in view here however; what IS in view is the fact that they will arbitrarily apply this principle to the words, God and Lord, but leave out the Name of the Son of God. This is unfortunately a reflection of the Adventist side of the camp, drawing from its beginnings, denying the deity of Christ. Acknowledging His "Son of God" position in the same manner in which they view their own "sons of God-ship". How can one leave out the very One who died for them, rose for them and lives for them in their acknowledgement of God? Only by reducing who they believe Him to be in their own hearts and minds. This same principle is also reflected in those of the more Messianic side of this group, who apply various "pick and peck" principles of Jewish law to their religious practice, sheltering it in the name of cultural traditions, but holding it forth as a proof of their religiousocity. You'll see these, who will loudly proclaim their disgust with the Gentile (& pagan, in their mind) observation of the birth of Christ that we call Christmas, (and all that surrounds it, such as Christmas songs, gifts, etc), singing in the Christmas choir of the church that pays their salary.  They will Twitter and Facebook to no end to show what can and cannot be eaten during Passover preparations to avoid the Leaven spoken of in the book of Exodus, but not sticking to what Exodus says, depending instead on the non-inspired rabbinical musings of the last 2000 years, claiming grace when they themselves get hungry for prohibited food, but using the previous stated "guidelines" to condemn anyone who might happen to eat a kernel of popcorn or a hot dog (depending, of course on whether they're holding to the Sephardi or the Ashkenazim rabbinical traditions of man). Others, in similar manner will to tell that all but they are in danger of Hell's fire for even thinking that Jesus could possibly have been born in December, trotting out much in their internet fueled research (unfounded statements of webpage proclamations) as they place the Name of "Yeshuah" on a Happy Birthday tarp that will then be taken down, folded and stored in a mouse and vermin infested garage. They will deny the Son of God His deity, but proclaim their own righteousness as they gather together to celebrate the feasts and days, which the Word of God clearly states are nothing but "Shadows" of what is to come, of which Christ is the Substance!! They will choose to ignore the entirety of the Word of God and our responsibility to it, by hiding behind the precepts of Law already fulfilled and fading away in the light of the Glorious Gospel...yep, Jesus Christ. Sadly, they will draw some to themselves, having a pretense of religion...as the Holy Spirit thru Paul wrote for us in Colossians 3:20-23 "Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations—“Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh." So perhaps, in the course of life and the observation of it I find that a very necessary understanding must be priority and central for my life and that is this: Jesus is the Son of God, He is God, always was God, always will be God in full authority, power, honor and glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit as the Godhead. If the Father deserves a dash in His Name to avoid the trivialization that man so often does, then so does the Son and for that matter, so does the Holy Spirit. But on the other hand, I would choose to just place God in His place in my life; King, Savior, Lord and forever God without a single dash!! First place, everyday, all day, and forever! 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Two Weeks; or Most of One Lifetime

In two weeks, our family will stand on the shore of Hawaii's Oahu to hear our eldest son and his bride to be exchange vows and affirm their commitment together...forever! At least, that is the prayer that his mother and I have always held. Whether they, like the world so often does, try to shorten forever into a mere clump of years will be up to them and their dependence on the Grace of Jesus. Life will assail them with all sorts of opportunities at trouble and unrest, but the Grace of God will provide all they need to weather any storm. 
Speaking of storms...
Some have sought to create storms ahead of the ones that will certainly follow. Some need to understand that this is about them, the two of them, and their desire for each other and how they will carry out their vows. As such, if they choose to stand on one foot and hop around like rabbits (which they're NOT going to do), that is their choice; its their day, we choose to honor their choice. Who goes, who isn't going is their choice as well. Its not a matter of who they like more or who they don't, but rather reflects a line they have drawn (reflective of their budget, family needs and brother's soon to ship out date). So I choose to support their choice, to protect them from others who don't and to honor what the day is about. Others will get their opportunity to celebrate with them later this year and will miss nothing; If others truly care about whose day it is, they would understand and support the two as well. If you care more about your place here...I'm sorry!
Aloha, 2 weeks from now!! 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Wide Open Curtains, but Alas, Those Shuttered Hearts

Noticed a new trend of late in our fair town (fair as only a measurement of the beauty of the surroundings, for the people oft bring much more than fair to light) as the local social group of departed gather for their weekly food and feel good sessions. In a house where the lights are usually off, curtains are almost always drawn and the welcome mat extended only for those who join in their return to the law activities or who present an opportunity to be the helpful hero, on the nights of those gatherings every curtain is drawn back and tied, every light is lit and an awkward attempt to portray a "wonderful time of fellowship" is made. Me thinks, at times, that this is mostly a show for the ones who do NOT attend their celestial gatherings; to demonstrate just how wonderful things are since they departed the fold and sought pastures of their own grooming. The telling factor in all this is that this same party, who hosts this open window extravaganza now, is the one who for 13 years did not open her door to anyone except family, other than once under duress. Now it has become an almost pre-requiem for any of their events, to have all open and exposed to show their "loving, open" hearts. Unfortunately, this doesn't add up with the rest of the week exposure most in town receive of the angry, bitterly driven ruler of all things related to her kingdom. But of course those moments are dismissed as just incidental events of no consequence, except perhaps for the victims left bleeding in the streets.
Speaking of the streets...All is not well on the lawless side of the family either it appears. What one person described as a "tweeker showdown" was noted this weekend. An elder brother of the above described party and his significantly drug charged other walked down the street screaming at each other. Calls from the female half were for the male half to stay away from her family; his were to defend his actions assaulting her family female member who was attacking him...leads one to believe that drugs or alcohol were certainly a possibility. What is most likely though is that another rift within the structures of town's "whose with who" have just been rewritten again. Which will also affect the "who is hating who" groupings, which then will affect the "who is not nice to who" category, leading to a further breakdown of the "who doesn't like poor me" cult. Needless to say, things is always a changing!
Speaking of changing...
Once again the thought arises; How much change is good and how much is dangerous? At times, complete isolation from all those who have demonstrated their dislike and irritation at us seems to be a admirable goal. But then I run into the teaching Jesus made regarding enemies; to love them, pray for them, do good to them, etc. And I find good cause to seek out a definition of who is my enemy? Is that my choice or their choice that He is talking about? (in terms of who qualifies to be an enemy) Am I to mirror His actions toward those who He spoke harshly about (ie. pharisees, scribes, hypocrites) or are those the enemies He describes? Or are my enemies those who betrayed us (ie. the Judases of life)? Wish sometimes there was a checklist for some of these things!!
Speaking of things...
Time for spring cleaning (yes, I know it is the middle of winter) but there is so much junk that has accumulated over the past 30-40 years, that I believe a good sort is in order. Now to find the time...er, read that, to MAKE the time to get it done. Hopefully, sooner than later!! Meanwhile, may my curtains never be an indication of my heart...guarding, except when it is desired to let others see our "goodness".

Friday, January 13, 2012

An End or A New Beginning?

Oft times I wonder if considering the end of any given time or relationship is what causes us anxiety or if it is the anticipation of what lies beyond that which we know that causes us the more angst. In many ways, endings come with the consideration of all that we have know, or much of what we have known, no longer being a part of our future. We learn how to do things, we learn about people, we interact based on those "learned" subjects, but in an end all those things learned have the potential of no longer being "usable" in our future interactions. Of course, with all that we have learned there will be things that we've learned not to do and things we've learned to do, but in the new all those learned concepts and actions will again be tested in the new situations, relationships or cycle of events we find ourselves embroiled in. The application of failed ideas in a new setting, may actually turn out for the better, especially if the failure was linked to one or more of the components of the prior situation be that people or events. For example, sharing your heart with a person who has proven themselves to be just a facade of sincerity wrapped around a core of deception will produce a different result than sharing your heart with someone who actually cares because that IS their heart. Unfortunately, the tendency most often experienced, is that once hurt, we never expose that part of our life to ANYONE ever again. The healing that is necessary is not perhaps of the original relationship or situation, but for that which has been damaged BY the original situation or relationships, to allow future relationships and events to be successful and authentic. The missing authenticity of the prior will often negatively influence the future. Herein is the greatest need for forgiveness and healing. NOT perhaps to restore the broken, but to prepare for the future. This is exaggerated in situations were the broken is broken because of the choice of the party involved who desires the breakup of the relationship. There is little to be gained in repairing what is damaged when the damage is what is desired by the damager. What needs repair is the hearts and minds of the damaged, to allow sincerity and authenticity to still be viable in future relationships and situations. 
The future potential of people, especially in relational matters, influenced by the failures of the past rather than the potentials of the parties involved. This is clear in matters related to the relationship with Christ. IF the past provides so much hurt and damage, some will be unwilling to surrender their all to Christ, because they have "learned" to hide and protect their damaged components from all else and they are unwilling to allow Him to repair and make new their future. So they remain relationally broken, spiritually handicapped and disabled from experiencing ALL that God has for them. 
In a "sinless"(nature of) world, all would be restored...including the past broken relationships. But because of sin, specifically, this will NOT be the reality. That which I surrender to Christ WILL be made new, but too often those who are the cause of the pain which He repairs will not be, because they choose not to be. Always in hope that this will change, but never allowing the past to dictate the future potential of Christ in me.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Valleys and Ridges

Spent a fair amount of time working on a roof Saturday. Seems pretty simple really...put down some tar paper, put down some metal and a few screws and voila, a perfectly secure, waterproof roof. Ah well, that is the premise anyway, at least when we started. On this particular roof, a series of four valleys creates an obstacle that requires good planning, steady measuring and a patient application of all good double-checking techniques. For each of those valleys there are two peaks, rising alongside the valley, but a different pitches. The hardest to stand on requires the metal panels to be cut to follow the lowest pitch, and the easiest to stand on requires the greatest pitch. Or in other words, the seemingly easiest provides the greatest change per length, while the hardest provides the least amount of change, but both provide the same coverage. The constant in all of this is that all the valleys and all the ridges lead to one peak. The pinnacle of this roof is the same for all angles, pitches and valleys. All the varied elements contribute to the same goal. Much like the church, not the building but the people. Many different elements, but One who stands in prominence to all. All move to the Head, to the One place of prominence, each providing different combinations but all producing the same result. All must work in conjunction with each other to arrive at the goal. All must be interlocked and connected to remain part of the covering provided. Any disengagement produces a hole, which allows the entire structure to be compromised if not corrected quickly. Done right, in submission to the head, the total result of the elements provides safety, shelter and a covering to all who come beneath it's influence, ministered to by different components, depending on where one might stand, but all in conjunction with and under the direction of the head. Some will be ridges, cutting into the storm, breaking the onslaught into manageable, directed waste. Others will be valleys, carrying away the waste and the remnants of the storms and yet others will just be the connections between the two, but ALL will produce the right result when tested if and when all are in and under the leadership of the Peak. Amazing to me at times how much life, as we experience it, speaks of the Lordship of Jesus Christ in even the simple, components of building a house. All glory and honor to You, Jesus!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Appropriate or appropriate?

Adjective or Verb? Depends....especially when both are in play at the same time. Someone who may be acting inappropriate may at the same time try to appropriate something that is not his to have...or for that matter to touch, while at the same moment he is telling someone else to BE appropriate. I guess this is the usual "do what I say, not what I do" deal. On one hand it is okay (?) to burst into someone's house, begin yelling at them with profanity laden, anger driven ranting, but it is not okay for them to be wearing a tee shirt that you feel is not quite high enough to be appropriate? And to further demonstrate your superiority it is okay to appropriate a handful of the shirt and pull it to a more "appropriate" height? Nah, sorry buddy doesn't work that way. You toucha my daughter's shirt, you're gonna draw back a bloody stump!! (to put it in terms that may be better understood for the young sailor) 
But unfortunately, this is just another reminder that for some folks, Christianity is just another adjective, not a verb. To be Christ-like requires constant verb state; doing what He would do, because it is He who is doing it inside of you. Not the adjective state of "here is another title to carry around with my life".  Because the adjective state will always be set aside by the underlying verb state. Who you really are inside will set the tone for who you really are, not what you like to be described as. I am a father, not because some adjective description has been hung around my neck, but because I spend every day of my life fathering my children and remaining responsible for the spiritual leadership in the house. I don't have the liberty of setting aside an adjective title to fulfill my own desires because I am a bond servant to the fatherhood God has called me to. Similarly, in my relationship with Christ, though the flesh would like to strike out at every attacker in the similar manner of their attack, Christ in me requires that, well....Christ be in me. I must be being Christ in me, because He IS!! As far as the bloody stump thing? Yep, that is part of fatherhood...until the day she is given to the one who will have her for the rest of her life...you're gonna answer to me!! 
Oh yeah, one more thing about cleaning the cupboards out of the items of clutter...I realized that it is NOT necessary to tell all they have been discarded or removed, rather to just let it be so. To tell is to give the flesh occasion to say "look what I have done, because of what you've done to me"....not a good proposition. Much more affirmative is to allow these things to make their way out with as little to do as possible. In some quarters, ignorance is indeed blissful! 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Cleaning out the Cupboards

Comes time when the best available solution is the removal solution. Oh, where it that easy with memory! But in light of the immediate availability of the services represented in the movie Push, where an "eraser" takes out the desired memory, a more practical everyday solution must be found. And to that end perhaps the best is just removing stuff. Take for instance those cupboards that you search through for the non existent can of "I need this right now", digging through stacks of "we'll never use it but can't throw it away" cans, or boxes of "used to be consumable food product, now experimental weevil farm". Why can't we just discard those things rather than be oft reminded of the fact we'll never use them each time we open the cupboard. A simple removal and discard would be the best all the way around. No more reminder of the useless, more room for the useful and less reminders of failed purchases. And perhaps so it should be with people. At times there are just constant reminders of those who have chosen to label us useless or are themselves contaminated and/or just plain rotten. Why do we keep them around in our visible cupboards of life to remind us again and again of their choices to leave and our inability to function with them? So, how to discard....some thoughts; first, remove all visible connections..ie. social media. Truth is, we're probably keeping them there just to satiate our lust for knowing what they might be saying about us. Time to let go of what others think, say or do.....discard now. Secondly, make it clear to those who may be in the intermediary position of knowing both or interacting with both, that we are not interested nor find it pleasant to hear about how wonderful the others are, or what exciting things they might be doing, etc. We would do the same with a friend about politics or shopping, or any number of other activities that we are NOT interested in; why not the same with people? Lastly, stay out of the discard bin. Too often, that which is discarded gets rescued at the trash can. Maybe not by us, but by someone else in the house. Making clear that what is gone is to stay gone maybe the best ahead of time; avoiding hard feelings later. 
Now to some, this would seem hard-hearted and driven by bitterness, but to those I would pose the following question. Does the fact that you have know someone at some time in the past make it mandatory that you must continue to know them forever? I would say no. An affirmative answer would mandate that anyone we've ever known, met or associated with remain in that state forever. We have plenty of folks that we've encountered in life that come and go and there is no reminder unless they reappear and life is nothing less for it. But if there is ever anyone who in the course of life we have a problem or disagreement with, we are suddenly held to a new standard that they must remain ever present and in the thought cupboard forever? I think not.....time for some discarding! Paths that have crossed, people we have known for a few years, jobs we've undertaken, hobbies attempted....time is now for some house cleaning. I think it high time to get to the place where those relationships, jobs and people which are in play be cared for properly, and those things which have remained by sheer failure to clean out the cupboard be DISCARDED!