My Takes

Just my humble opinion…

Archive for the tag “God”

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.

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!

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.

 

Psst, I Agree With Victoria Osteen

A while back, the wife of renowned televangelist Joel Osteen made headlines when she made the following comments,  “When we obey God, we’re not doing it for God…we’re doing it for ourself. Because God takes pleasure when we’re happy. Do good ’cause God wants you to be happy. When you come to church, when you worship Him, you’re not doing it for God, really. You’re doing it for yourself because that’s what makes God happy.”  This set off a maelstrom of criticisms from Christians who were dismayed over these words.  Some church leaders and pastors posted the incriminating video on Facebook with various unflattering captions.  I read a few but try as I may, I just could not see what the issue was. Maybe I need to be prayed for because, heaven forbid, not only did I not see a problem with what she said, I actually saw the point she was trying to make.

As selfish as it sounds, Victoria Osteen is right, we really are worshiping God to ensure our own happiness.  The Psalmist sings that ‘Trust and obey to be happy in Jesus.”  We sing it in our churches without ever questioning the merit of it.  So why now?  We try to bring people to Christ by telling them it’s the way to their happiness.  We promise the sad and depressed that their lives will be happier and more fulfilling if they find and follow Jesus.  Isn’t that what our Christianity is based on?  We never start by telling the non-believers that they should worship God because he needs it.  Or that he deserves it.  No, we tell them how much their lives would be enriched by knowing Christ.  Your neighbour complains to you how miserable her life is and you go, “Maybe you should come to church with me.  It might make you feel better.”  Isn’t that exactly what Victoria said?

So in a nutshell, we are not exactly doing it for God since his existence does not hinge on whether we worship him or not.  We are doing it for ourselves.  For our continual happiness and existence. To say it doesn’t make him happy when we do worship him is denying a fact.  When he’s happy with us, we reap the harvest.  We find happiness that comes from him. Therefore, we really can’t deny the fact that we are indeed doing it for ourselves.

Victoria’s wording may have left a bit to be desired but the message is not entirely lost.  It’s funny that even though we all fall under the umbrella of Christianity, we still can’t agree on what and who God is. and what he wants of us.  We have our own ideas and opinions, I do too, and that’s why this is just…

 

My Take.

 

 

Who Found Who?

I have always wondered about the saying,  “I was lost but Jesus found me”.  I never fully agree with it and have spent hours analyzing its true merit.   I have no argument with the ‘being lost’ part of it but the way to salvation or ‘Jesus finding you’ is what I am not in agreement with.

Before we are saved, we stumble through life blindly or lost but remember, we are lost to knowing Christ but HE knows where we are.  He does not need to find us. We need to find HIM. When a hunter or a hiker is lost in the woods for a few days then suddenly emerges to see his cabin in the distance, he cannot claim that his cabin found him. Yes, he was lost indeed but he was searching for a way back to his cabin. In the same way we search for God or some other reason for our existence and we find him.  He never finds us because he was and is, always around us!  Get what I’m saying here?  I know there’s a parable about the lost sheep being found by its shepherd but that’s different.  The sheep NEEDS to be found.  A sheep would not go looking for the shepherd.  Luckily, we are a bit smarter than sheep.

Saying we were lost but Jesus found us sounds as though we were sitting there waiting to be found and Jesus showed up and that was it. Found!  It’s not that simple.  We need to search for a way to HIM.  We were LOST TO HIM and need find our way back home, TO HIM.

Again, this is just, MY TAKE.

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