My Takes

Just my humble opinion…

Archive for the category “Faith”

A Thought

Think on this:

If today is the best day of your life, it won’t last. Tonight might be an inch short of hopeless; it won’t last either. Whatever has brought you to this moment is only part of the story of your life and relationship. The rest is yet to come. Put all of it—dark thorns and shining threads—into God’s hands, and he will sustain you.

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Hell! It Can’t Be Real! Or Is It?

I have been thinking a lot about Hell lately. You know the Hell your parents and your church warns you about.  The place where bad people go to burn forever.  With the horned devil perched on his seat while he pokes sinners who dare to try to escape his fiery pit.  Try as I may, I just cannot fathom something so unimaginable.  (As a little boy, I would look at the big painting on the wall of my aunt’s house of Satan sitting with a harpoon and watching as tormented souls writhed and burn in his fire.  For some reason, I was always mesmerized by this painting, even as a kid).

Pardon me if you perceive that I am venturing out on the edge of blasphemy here.  It’s just your perception, I am a proud believer in God.  Now this Hell thing is what confuses me.  God Is Love, the ultimate unselfish lover whose love and forgiveness is bottomless.  I love my kids to no ends but that pales in comparison to the love that God has for his children.  And we are all his children, sinners and…never mind, there’s no ‘and’, we are all sinners.  There is nothing that my children could possibly do to make me sentence them to a life time in a burning pit of fire, in fact, there’s nothing anyone could do that would get me to wreak such a punishment on them.  God gave me that kind of Love.  If my puny love could transcends whatever wrong was done to me, how could his much greater love allow for any of his children to suffer this way? Yes, they broke a commandment and did not repent but does stealing a goat equate to an eternity in burning flames?   The funny guy in me is imagining a conversation between two burning souls:  Soul #1: So what are you in here for? Soul #2: Oh for murder, you?  Soul #1: I made a graven image.  Soul #2:  What the H E double hockey stick is that??

Maybe I am missing a big chunk of the picture and someone with a deeper understanding of the Bible needs to bring me up to speed or maybe it’s just my cynicism.  See my last blog here.  So, is Hell for real?  Would God really allow his children to suffer in anguish and torment while he feeds his other kids milk and honey as they walk the golden streets of Heaven?  I have to say no.  But then again,

That’s just My Take.  If I’m wrong, I pray God will forgive my ignorance and save me from the pits of Hell.

 

 

Are You A Cynic Too?

So I have been diagnosed as a cynic. Well it’s not a legit diagnosis done by a qualified doctor or anything like that.  In fact, it’s not even a medical condition. It’s a self diagnosis borne out of the realization I am a person who takes everything with a grain of salt.  Everything!  Ever seen those people who reach for the salt as soon as their food is brought to them, without even doing a taste test? Well that’s me.  Except for the food part.

What am I cynical about? Every darn thing! See above.  Take for example the good old tried and true recommendation that one should hide underneath a door frame during a hurricane.  Do I believe that?  Nope.  I saw photos of Haiti after it was hit by an earthquake.  Not once did I see a doorway just standing there, in the middle of the carnage. Not one doorway!  Indonesia, no intact and untouched doorway there either. In fact, in all of the photos of earthquake devastation, I have yet to see proof that this works.  That’s not the only example of my cynicism though. There’s more. A lot more.

I am also a cynic of political promises.  Do  you really think I believe one word uttered by those smiling, well-dressed politicians? No way Jose! Why do I vote for them?  I do because I am tired of listening to the ‘If you don’t vote you blah blah blah’.  Newsflash! They are all the same.  And if you don’t believe that, show me solid proof that they aren’t.  I didn’t think so.  Just like that phantom doorway…

You are probably thinking that I have to be positive about something right? Maybe world peace.  Lmao! World Peace? Isn’t that an oxymoron? I do pray for world peace but I know that this would never be achieved.  Not while humans walk the earth.  End to racism? Sure, when pigs fly.  While humans of different color, class or creed share the planet, never happen.

So you get the picture, I am as cynic as they come.  Are you one too? Or do you share and like Facebook posts that promise blessings and winnings if you like or share?

I join the masses in praying for the stuff that I am cynical because cynic or not, you never know, and I have had misplaced cynicism before.   I do, however, cover the spread.  I pray harder for patience to deal with the undesired stuff that comes to me. Understanding to discern why it is happening and strength to deal with it.  I also pray for a small portion of the faith that Job exhibited in the Bible.  Without it, all is lost, cynical or not.

 

My Take

God’s Gone High Tech!

When my Pastor walked up to the pulpit and opened up his Ipad to read the Bible passage, I was aghast!  This has got to be sacrilegious!  Blasphemous even!  That was about 15 years ago.  I was slow to embrace this new trend.  How could the Holy Bible be traded in for an electronic device? It’s just not the same. What would people think?  What would God himself think?

I reluctantly started using my cell phone in church to access the Bible about 2 years ago.  Before using it in church, I used the Bible Gateway app for my daily devotions.  In church, I was not comfortable and felt the urge to make sure everyone knew that I was not on my phone texting but perusing the Gospel. Hello! I am actually reading the book of John here, not texting my friend John.

Last week, a friend posed the question pertaining to the above on his Facebook status.  He had visited a church and was surprised to see the elders using their cell phones instead of Bibles.  He wanted to see how his friends felt about this. Many felt that cellphones or any other such electronic gadgets had no place in a church. Although I understood the sentiments, I had to disagree.

Having the ease to access the Bible using an app on my phone has actually enabled me to become better at navigating the Bible. It also encourages me to read more often by the suggestions of devotions, geared to every life issues.  I always have my cell phone but I do not always have my bible.

Like it or hate it, technology is here to stay.  A phone is not just a phone anymore,  it’s our computer, our planner, our journal, our Bible.  It’s our one-stop shop. In order to reach out to the masses, we need to be on their level.

The world’s a changing place.  To attract people to God, we need to adapt to the changes. Music has to have appeal without sacrificing the Message. The Bible has to appeal to young readers, churches need to feel like a happy fun place.  Whatever medium it takes to realize this, as long as God is not compromised, it’s all good.

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Say A Prayer Then Do Something

There’s a joke about a woman who prayed every day to win the lottery.  One day while praying hard and telling God how she’s at the end of her financial rope, a voice was heard from Heaven, “Work with me here, first buy a lottery ticket!”

That’s the mentality of many of us Christians, myself included.  We pray for everyone and everything but do nothing further.  A friend on Facebook announces that they have cancer and our statuses send up prayers.  Earthquake devastates a country and our prayers are with the victims.  How many of us, again myself included, are quick to jump when these victims are asking for money or material help? All of a sudden we are MIA.

Prayers are good. We need to pray.  We also need to spring into action.  Telling a starving beggar you would pray for him does not feed him. Give him bread and then pray that he finds food or that someone else would also give him bread.

Praying is good. Very good. But sitting at home praying for a job won’t get you the job unless you send out some applications.

Just my take!

Who Are Our Enemies?

Have you heard about the attacks? No, not the attacks in Paris.  Or Baghdad or Beirut for that matter, the attacks on Muslims.  Here’s one such attack.  Yesterday in Toronto, Canada, a Muslim woman was attacked by two men while picking up her young son from school.  They punched her to the ground while calling her a terrorist and telling her to go back home.  That’s’ the attacks I’m talking about here.  Muslims are finding the world very unwelcoming these days but is it deserving? Should we hate Muslims?

I have news for you.  Muslims are not your enemy.  The enemy lurks outside our doors. He is our neighbor, our friend, our family.  We know him but we really don’t know him.  No border security can stop him because he is already within the walls.  In fact, he was born within the walls. He doesn’t wear a turban or even knows the Koran.  The Governments promise to eradicate him and all those like him but how?  They don’t know him. He blends in.  He’s Canadian, French, American.  Then what can we do?  I would say pray but you don’t believe in God.  In fact you protest prayers in schools and think Christianity is the root of all evil.  The enemy outside your door is not a Christian but he is the root of some serious evil!

Many pray for peace, I pray for understanding, strength and faith. Understanding so I can understand why this is happening, strength to cope and faith to stand firm in my belief.  I wish for peace but it’s just a wish.  God’s will must be done.  Again, what can we do?  Love more, Hate less.  Would it stop those terrorists? Probably not but doesn’t hurt to try.

My Take

 

 

 

Fill My Cup, Lord. My Starbucks Cup or I’ve Got 99 Problems And The Cup Ain’t One

I unfortunately overhead one of the most asinine things I’ve heard in a long time, on the radio while driving to work a few days ago.  I wish I could ‘unheard’ it but it was cemented in after various other media blasted it into my brain. It was the story about the Starbucks Christmas Cup Controversy.  Lucky you if this is your first time hearing about this. Some guy with obviously too much time on his hands and a penchant for igniting controversial discussions, made a video stating that Starbucks was out to wage a ‘war on Christmas’ because of its minimalistic Christmas coffee cups. They were not Christmassy enough for his liking.

Joshua Feuerstein, the guy behind all this, wrote, “Starbucks removed Christmas from their cups because they hate Jesus,” Yes, Josh, that’s a pure sign of hatred if I ever did see one.  It reeks of disdain and loathe for Jesus!

“I think in the age of political correctness we’ve become so open-minded our brains have literally fallen out of our head.” Feuerstein said in his Facebook video “Did you realize that Starbucks wanted to take Christ and Christmas off of their brand new cups? That’s why they are just plain red.”  I applaud you for bringing this to my attention Mr. Feuerstein, I knew my head was missing something, just never realized it was my brain.  I know a few others with missing brains.   Have you found yours yet, Josh?

I am a Christian and I love Christmas.  I know that the day is not actually the day Christ was born but I use it to remember the BIRTH and celebrate accordingly.  I really don’t give two hoots about who wants to join me in celebrating or who choose not to. In fact, I barely notice the difference these days.  In this age of political correctness that Joshua refers to, I have seen ‘Christmas’ switched to ‘holiday’ for fear that it tramples the rights of those who choose not to celebrate this day.  Still, I see it as a non-issue.  It’s the way of the world.  Farther along we’ll understand why.

Making a issue over a company’s choice on how they want to adorn their cups is silly and a waste of thought.  Surprisingly, millions like-minded people agree that Starbucks is definitely out to kill Christmas! Astounding!  It’s only a cup. My Christmas does not hinge on a disposable cup.  Well maybe what’s inside when I wake up early on Christmas morning does help…so why are we discussing this?  Folks, there are more important things out there to worry about, like how do they get the caramilk inside one of those caramel bars.

When Jesus said ‘Take this cup away from me’, he wasn’t referring to a Starbucks cup. Or was he??

Starbucks

Just My Take

 

Unplugging From God

Last night I felt too hot to be comfortable so I got up in the middle of the night and opened the window, letting in some much-needed cool air.  My wife awoke to my rustling and warned me that it wasn’t a good idea as it would get extremely cold in the room.  I didn’t listen.

It didn’t take long for my wife’s words to prove prophetic.  I tried to hide under the blanket and the sheet to get warm.  The thought of getting up and closing the window crossed my mind but the idea of getting out from the covers was not appealing. My face was cold and so were my fingers and toes but I couldn’t risk a total body chill so I chose to stew in my own stupidity.

While I lay there fighting against the smart thing to do, which would have been to get up and close the window, I thought to myself that what I did was like unplugging a heater that was keeping a room warm.  Then I drew a parallel.  Unplugging the heater was like unplugging from God.  We are warm when we are plugged into him but sometimes we feel like it is not comfortable enough.  We want it our way.  So we unplug.  We live with the consequences of unplugging, coldness, distant, lost…We try to cope by seeking comfort elsewhere or by other quick-fix means other than just re-plugging in, even though our families and friends urge us to just plug back in.

Stay warm, stay plugged in.

 

Hey, Look Who Showed Up To Church!

English: St Michael's Church, Llanvihangel Pon...

English: St Michael’s Church, Llanvihangel Pontymoel St Michael’s Church at Llanvihangel Pontymoel. Services are held here on two Sundays each month, three if a month includes five Sundays. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I hate missing church.  But I do.  We all do. In a perfect world, nothing we do should supersede God but we still let our personal agendas interfere with HIS schedule. So yes, there are times when I miss church to attend personal and pressing matters.  Don’t you?  Now don’t you hate when there’s that one Sunday you just cannot get your worshiping mojo on?   You just don’t feel it.  Even playing some religious music is not doing it.  Going to church is perhaps the least thing you feel like doing and you would stay at home but you have missed the last two Sundays and the regulars, including the pastor would surely notice your extended absence.  At least you think they would.   So off to church you go.  Decision made based solely on not wanting to let your brothers and sisters down rather than a motivation to give praises to God from whom all blessings come.

Now don’t feel bad. We are humans and I am sure that even our pastors have days where they feel like staying in bed.  The thing is, it’s not how you go, it’s that you go.  People have wandered into church quite by chance and found Christ.   The times when I have dragged my butt out the door, I have actually had the best worshiping experiences.

If you have taken a more than a few Sundays off, don’t feel bad and give up altogether.  Go back next Sunday.  Or the next.  No one will judge you.  At least they shouldn’t.

My Take.

 

God vs The Rainbow

Older LGBT Community

Older LGBT Community (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recently in Calgary Alberta, Canada, a city transit driver was taken to task for refusing to drive a bus that was draped in the rainbow colors supporting the gays and lesbian pride festival.  He cited that it went against his Christian beliefs.  Fair enough.  Last time I checked one cannot be forced to do work that contravenes their beliefs.  We live in an accepting society, right? We accommodate.  He doesn’t feel right driving the bus, we get him a non-pride bus and get another guy to take the wheel, right? No biggie.  Everyone’s happy.

In Dallas, the police have taken to putting decals on their cars with the words, “In God We Trust”.  Apparently this is in response to escalating violence against cops.  You guessed it, they are being taken to task for promoting God.  How dare them put a religious decal on their cars?

So the impression I’m getting here is that it is becoming more acceptable to advertise homosexuality than it is to advertise God.   If God was painted on that bus, it would have been acceptable for the bus driver to refuse to drive it.  In fact, he would have been encouraged to do so.  How do we then explain this double standard?  This hypocrisy?

I want to advertise my God, you want to advertise your sexual orientation.  The stage is big enough so can’t we all just get along?

 

In God We Trust, He made the rainbow.

 

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