Living Free in the Spirit of Christ

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A Father to the Fatherless 4

Posted on August 18, 2011 by Alexander

God is a Father to the fatherless

And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. (Matt 23:9 KJV)

If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26 KJV)

God is my father.  I had no problem accepting His Fatherhood in my life when I came to saving faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.  Yet, as I have come to know many believers over the last 25 years, I could not understand why so many have difficulty in embracing this truth in their own relationship with God.

For some it is the difficulty of knowing the fatherhood of God because their own fathers were such poor examples.  Their natural tendency is to superimpose the image of their earthly father onto their heavenly father.  For others it is a theological abstraction that blocks  their grasp of  the fatherhood of God.   For them, only Jesus is the Son of God, and we are merely adopted creatures.   To think we are actually the children of God is to imply  that we are divine, too, and that would be blasphemous to that theological frame of mind. Read the rest of this entry →

King of Kings Online 0

Posted on May 21, 2011 by Alexander

Christian game programmers could create a discipleship online game

I first heard the Lord of the Rings read to me in 1965 by my 6th grade teacher, Mr. Lum, who read the entire trilogy every day for the school year. Since my attention span was not good back then, I decided in 1967 to read the trilogy for myself as a 7th grader. Since that time I have re-read the entire series about 20 times.

Indeed, God used the Lord of the Rings as stepping stone to Christ in my life. In 1973 He gave me a dream with the Silmarillion in it. At that time the book was yet to be published. He gave me the dream because I was reading the Bible for myself just to see what was in it. I was reading many Christian fantasy books at that time: George MacDonald’s “Curdie” books; C.S. Lewis’s “Perelandra” trilogy; and the many Frank L Baum “Oz” books. I had bought those from a Christian bookstore, although I was not aware of the religious significance. The store had all these great fantasies that Tolkien had enamored my heart towards. So when I told the book store owner of the dream, he told me that it was written by Tolkien and was going to be published in a few more years. That convinced me that my dream was from God. Read the rest of this entry →

Struggling on the Edge 0

Posted on April 15, 2009 by Alexander
The world can bring anyone to the brink of madness

The world can bring anyone to the brink of madness

Ecclesiastes and the Dark Side of the Moon

Previous posts in the series:

Chapter 1/Speak to Me-Breathe

Chapter 2/On the Run

Chapter 3/Time

Chapter 5-7/The Great Gig in the Sky

Chapter 5-6/Money

Chapter 4-9/Us and Them

Chapter 1-10/Any Color You Like

Both the book of Ecclesiastes and the Dark Side of the Moon list the path to insanity that the world system tries to drive us  onward.  Here is a brief review of those things in the world that tends to frustrate everyone and that we all struggle with.

  • Futility of our Labors In chapter 2:17-19 Solomon laments that building wealth is futile because when he dies, someone else will control the wealth. Pink Floyd begins their album with the main character overwhelmed and running on a treadmill going nowhere.
  • The Fear of God’s Judgment Even when one denies the reality of God, the fear of His judgment in this life and the afterlife nags everyone. In chapter 3:14-17  Solomon says, “God shall judge the righteous and the wicked, For there is a time there for every purpose and for every work”
  • Time and Chance Time runs out for everyone since we die. In chapter 3 we are told that there is a time for everything and in chapter 9 time and chance happen to all. Without knowing God it seems that some just get lucky and that life is not fair.
  • Injustice To further increase the disbelief that God exists is the sense of injustice that occurs all over the world when wicked people are not punished and innocent people suffer. Solomon says in in 8:11, “Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.”
  • Oppressed by the Wealthy Since the wealthy oppress the poor, then everyone wants to be wealthy so they won’t be oppressed either. In chapter 4:1-2 he says, “And look! The tears of the oppressed, But they have no comforter— On the side of their oppressors there is power, But they have no comforter.” He concludes that it is better to be dead than oppressed (v. 2).
  • Over Taxed In collusion with the wealthy, the governments of the world serve the wealthy in over taxation of the poor for the benefit of the wealthy, and to fund their wars which increase the wealth of those already rich. In chapter 5 Solomon says, “Moreover the profit of the land is for all; even the king is served from the field. … When goods increase, They increase who eat them; So what profit have the owners Except to see them with their eyes?”
  • Loneliness Pink Floyd did not address this, but loneliness is a huge struggle for many. If you make a lot of money, what good is it if you have no one to share it with? In chapter 4:8 he says, “There is one alone, without companion: He has neither son nor brother. Yet there is no end to all his labors, Nor is his eye satisfied with riches. But he never asks, ‘For whom do I toil and deprive myself of good?’ “

So in chapter 10 Solomon metaphorically speaks of the edge. Which way should one go? Try to be wise (v.1)? One mistake removes all that benefit. Live as a fool and be mocked by everyone (v.3)? Obey rulers (v. 4)? Why should we when so often the rulers are fools and the wise are debased (v. 5-7). Why try to do anything when every activity is fraught with danger (v. 8-11)? Too much talk is liable to drive one mad (v. 12-13). We all get pushed to the edge. Some make wise decisions, others make foolish choices. And this is the litmus test for us all. Which way do we choose: hope or despair?  Solomon chose hope.   Pink Floyd chose despair as their main character gets his lobotomy.

Ecclesiastes Chapter 10

1    Dead flies putrefy the perfumer’s ointment, And cause it to give off a foul odor; So does a little folly to one respected for wisdom and honor.

2    A wise man’s heart is at his right hand, But a fool’s heart at his left.

3    Even when a fool walks along the way, He lacks wisdom, And he shows everyone that he is a fool.

4    If the spirit of the ruler rises against you, Do not leave your post; For conciliation pacifies great offenses.

5    There is an evil I have seen under the sun, As an error proceeding from the ruler:

6    Folly is set in great dignity, While the rich sit in a lowly place.

7    I have seen servants on horses, While princes walk on the ground like servants.

8    He who digs a pit will fall into it, And whoever breaks through a wall will be bitten by a serpent.

9    He who quarries stones may be hurt by them, And he who splits wood may be endangered by it.

10    If the ax is dull, And one does not sharpen the edge, Then he must use more strength; But wisdom brings success.

11    A serpent may bite when it is not charmed; The babbler is no different.

12    The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious, But the lips of a fool shall swallow him up;

13    The words of his mouth begin with foolishness, And the end of his talk is raving madness.

10. Brain Damage
(Waters) 3:50

The lunatic is on the grass.
The lunatic is on the grass.
Remembering games and daisy chains and laughs.
Got to keep the loonies on the path.

The lunatic is in the hall.
The lunatics are in my hall.
The paper holds their folded faces to the floor
And every day the paper boy brings more.

And if the dam breaks open many years too soon
And if there is no room upon the hill
And if your head explodes with dark forebodings too
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.

The lunatic is in my head.
The lunatic is in my head
You raise the blade, you make the change
You re-arrange me ’til I’m sane.
You lock the door
And throw away the key
There’s someone in my head but it’s not me.

And if the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear
You shout and no one seems to hear.
And if the band you’re in starts playing different tunes
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.

“I can’t think of anything to say except…
I think it’s marvelous! HaHaHa!”

The Israelites were given a choice between two mountains before they entered into the Promised Land.   If they chose Mount Gerizim they chose life and blessings (Deut. 27:12).  If they chose Mount Ebal they chose cursing and death (Deut. 27:13).  Yahweh encouraged them to choose life (Deut. 30:19).

The Church of Jesus Christ has been given the same choice, and we need to encourage one another in what life truly is, and not the life presented in  the church sales pitch.  Life has been allowed by God to be very difficult to obtain.  He is not willing that any should perish and he wants all to come to repentance (2 Pet  3:9), but He is seeking a quality of character in His children, that lets many perish.

All life is a struggle whether in Christ or apart from Christ.  God allowed Adam and Eve to sin, which brought death, war, and disease into His creation.  Nature demonstrates the struggle to all who will bother to look.  Millions of sperm are sent, but only one gets the egg.   In many creatures many young have to be born to increase the odds of survival.

Jesus said that broad and wide was the road to destruction, but straight and narrow is the path to life, and few find it (Matt. 7:13-14).  It is a grave mistake to assume that simply means accepting the salvation of Jesus Christ.  The path to life begins after we accept Christ, and is littered with failure.  John Bunyan illustrated this in his book, “Pilgrim’s Progress.”  Jesus spoke in parables intentionally to keep people from understanding.  When Jesus walked on the water  He would have walked passed those in the boat if they had not cried out to Him, even though He was walking to help them.  We are told to seek God with our whole heart, not casually.

God wants us to have a love of the truth at all costs (John 3:21), wants us to do justice, love mercy and to walk humbly before Him (Micah 6:8).  The fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23 is not automatic.  The struggles of life are used by the Spirit to carve these characteristics into our hearts.  These qualities are only created within us when we deny our lives (v. 24) and walk in the Spirit (v. 25).

Without struggles there can be no cross to bear.  Choosing life means losing our lives for Christ’s sake.  It is not religious behavior. It is trusting and depending on Christ in all our Spirit led endeavors.  There are many whose faith is shipwrecked like Hymenaeus and Alexander (1 Tim. 19-20).  It is a blindness on our part to believe that many in the body of Christ are not struggling with the same despair that the Pink Floyd character on this album had succumbed to.  God is willing to help anyone, and does help everyone, whether saved or lost, but He maintains a goal and standard that never changes.  So many in the Church, misunderstand the work of God in their lives when the struggle comes.   Jesus, in His parable of the sower and the seed, said that these are those with no root in themselves (Mark 4:17).

Root in oneself is knowing that you have remained in the center of God’s will for your life, despite the trials or tribulations.  Joseph had root in himself when he was sold into slavery. He did not try to make God’s will happen as he saw in his dreams, rather he made the best of every situation he was in knowing that he remained in the center of God’s will.

We all struggle with the troubles that come with life, but to choose life means trusting Jesus in the midst of your every circumstance.  This is the choice that Solomon made, it is the choice that Joshua made, and it is the choice that my wife and I have made. It is the only sane choice that can be made.

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