Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Living in Darkness ~ Wake Up to Resurrection!

As a Christian, one can love all of God's creation, even those still in darkness. Who are those still in darkness? Many people who delve into animism and the philosophy of 'saged' men. Example ~ The philosophy we can read in "Tao Te Ching", an ancient Chinese school of thought, is deeply concerned with man's dilemma of good and bad/evil. Tao was one of a hundred schools of Chinese thought. There is one poetic text that is for the Christian worthwhile to share as it stands as an example of those still in the darkness - those who remain outside the light of the Christian mind - the mind of Christ.

The name I can give to this text is - The Good Traveler. In this, we learn that a good person leaves no sign/tracks or anything which can be detected and that this person is good because of the bad person he encounters on his journey. The bad person is the resource for the good person and the good person the teacher for the bad. What is the darkness and who is in it? The bad and the good person are both in darkness. Because they in their casual meeting deny the ultimate source of the way and meeting of the two- both good and bad. What is the purpose that they meet at all? For the Taoist, there is no answer.

Perhaps, for the Taoist, the point is to reduce being in a place to a singularity. Perhaps, their argument is in such reduction man become a thing outside of himself. Maybe? It can be also reasoned that there is No reduction (it never happens) at all because there is No pointing out the original source. Is that what leaving no trace is about. What one discovers is that reducing man in such a way reduces the philosophy to a mere teaching which in the end leads to man's inability to answer anything leaving to trace/tracks. Reducing man in this way reduces man to a mere soulish tree/plant or animal with no hope beyond the encounter of good/bad... 

There is no answer and no future for anyone in this for they have reached a dark hole, a singularity in their rejecting the original source ~ the Creator. The Created Human Being has a built-in ability to know and have a relationship with the Creator (all they have to do is pick up the call - seek and ye shall find); the Creator loves His Creation who is the source of all things who purposes all things! ~ Dr. Ef Gallion

Wake up to Resurrection! 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Agape love ~ How to live in these times?

Christianity developed 'Agape' as the love of God or Christ for humankind. In the New Testament, it refers to the covenant love of God for humans, as well as the human reciprocal love for God; the term necessarily extends to the love of one's fellow man ~ Encyclopedia Britannica.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said:
You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love (agapēseis) your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love (agapāte) your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?
— Matthew 5:43-46, RSV
This is not easy in our times, as we do not feel safe voicing in public spaces our love of Christ. Yet, this is the greatest sacrifice we will and do face as Christians. Jesus asked "Will you lay down your life for me?"  We as Christians, must answer "Yes Lord"!

There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends ~ John 15:13. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die ~ Romans 5:7. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us ~ Romans 5:8..

Many Christians think that "agape love" is to reject yourself and serve others, as in being a service to man. That would be giving up yourself for another man. Christ asked only that we give up ourselves to Him ~ that is Holy love which is 'agape love'which about loving and serving the Lord and only Him. We cannot and should run around looking for works so that we are loved and others are loved, that is not the "agape love" that is not what God wants for mankind. He wants us to love Him and His creation which you/me/we are. We are to love His creation 'humans' which is loving His work, not man's. That's all there is to it. Just love! We should not love technology, nor man mixing with machines, we should not love anything that God did not create. We can appreciate man's creativity, but we give thanks and praise to the Lord God for His Creation  - mankind.

Some think that 'agape love' is  rejecting the self to order to get busy working and serving others. No, its not. We are not called to be Martha's. We don't have to bake cakes, run soup kitchens, or do anything that man expects a good Christian to do. If we want to, of course, we can. But, we don't have to. We should remember that if we do what Christ's asks, which is to give up ourselves to Him then we give up the notions of busy work, trying to please in order to gain reward in the eyes of others and in the presence of God.

It does not mean that we don't care, or that we can just hoard, or be selfish in anyway. If we see a brother or sister in need, it would be obvious to help them or share a meal. The point is that we don't have to seek them out, God does. He calls and they/we respond. We are called, and in hearing His voice, we respond to His love and His love for His creation - mankind. 

We will not be know this kind of love by doing our own calling and running about like Martha did ~ Luke 10:41. Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me." But the Lord answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary to be at rest in the Presence of the Lord), for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her "~ Luke 10:40-42.

When we hear and accept the Lord's call, He is Present in us. This gift is everyone's! That is 'agape love'! It is for everyone and by our display of embracing that love, we are living for Christ in these times! We are examples to everyone. We are telling others that we love God first, we love His creation which translated = 'agape love'. In this way, we love others. In responding to His call, His love for mankind, we become born again, we become truly Christianized in our love of God and for His creation!

...that is 'agape love'! It is for everyone and by our display of embracing that love, we are living for Christ in these times!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Obedience Flows Freely!

What is Obedience? It is an Act of Worship; thus, not a 'work', for the work has been done in us!

While the Bible places strong emphasis on obedience, it's important to remember that believers are not justified (made righteous) by our obedience; because then our obedience would be work. Salvation is a free gift of God, and we can do nothing to merit it. For obedience not to be a work, it must flow from a heart of gratitude for the grace we have received from the Lord in which there is no work!

Obedience to God's will is not about waiting for a specific direction about 'what to do' for that would be work. Both the waiting and then the doing especially if thought the call was to act on a specific direction given. Yes, that was purpose of the Old Testament. It was a necessary illustration of work to prepare us for a greater understanding of the needful coming of Christ and His purpose to set us free from such work.

The Old Testament beginning with Abraham's calling set the stage for salvation in this fallen world. In reading both the Old and New Testaments, we come to a full understanding of what it means to be called... to hear the voice of God and rise up in obedience to it. In our rising up, the body is filled with the Spirit and for that we give thanks and praise and in that there is no work. In the New Testament, this was/is best illustrated in the story of Lazarus.

He was called from the dead (dead in sin/dead in the past);... in fact it was needful for Jesus to arrive late to show that there is no timely ordered work/place to be done by anyone. Timely work/place was illustrated by the sisters who were 'working' to have their brother saved by sending pleading messages as for them time and place mattered... time and place in this world of the flesh. Yet, the Lord's time and place are not of this world.

That is why Lazarus rose up to the call of Christ the Lord for it is He who takes away the sin of the world, the sin of death. There is no specific time and place in that. His time and place are always and forever and everywhere. Our mission field works the same and there is no one particular person, no one particular place as all are worth salvation.

Praise the Lord!

We in our obedience are always in a time and place of joy. Our only work is to obey His call which is to rise up from our transgression! There is no work in that, there is freedom... for in Christ we are free indeed! "So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed...I know that you are Abraham's descendants; yet you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you.…John 8:36.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Jesus said ~ Follow Me

Jesus said "follow me" for “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" ~ John 14:6. What did Jesus mean? He did not mean for anyone to become 'religious' about it, that is not the way, for that is work. We know this based on the life Jesus led. For He was not religious about being Jewish; Christ was about being right with God.  Jesus did many things in His times that were considered anti-religious acts by the Pharisees. Jesus healed on the Sabbath, He turned the tables in the temple ... a couple of many examples.

How can we follow Jesus? When we read in Luke 18:11 about the publican 'tax collector' and the Pharisee who was religious we learn that Jesus saw the publican as more worthy than the religious man. Again, how can we follow? When reading James in the New Testament, we learn the difference between hearers and doers. Jesus asked us to be doers of the Word; yet He was not asking us to be religious about the Word for those people are only hearers and they delude themselves... If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless. Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world" ~ James 1:22-26.

It is clear what is meant about visiting orphans and widows but how can we keep ourselves unstained by the world without being religious? People used to think and many still do that by being religious we can keep ourselves unstained by the world. Yet, Christ asked us not to be religious. How then to keep oneself for Christ...to keep oneself unstained by the world?

When Paul was in Athens, he met with the Gentiles. Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, "Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, 'To an Unknown God.' Therefore, what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might reach out 'grope' for Him and find Him, though he is not far from each one of us: for in Him we live and move and have our being" ~ Acts 17: 22-28.

OK, but then upon reading Romans 3:10, we learn that no one seeks for God. How is it then possible that we can reach out as we read in Acts 17? It is not possible on our own. We cannot. No one turns to God or reaches out to Him on his/her own. For there is none who seeks after/for God ~ Romans 3. It is the Lord God who calls. Why? Because it is only Him that is faithful and true. "God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord" ~ 1 Peter 5:10. "For He is Lord of lords and King of kings--and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers" ~ Rev. 17:14. Being called, one listens as a hearer, being chosen one accepts the Word of God and in being faithful to it becomes a doer.

Even in this, we know that "...many are called, but few are chosen" ~ Matthew 22:14. This means that some people will not hear though He draws near to them, so they will not be chosen in not drawing near to Him (as in seeking - groping for Him in return) and thus they will not follow...Only, "He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them" ~ Hebrews 7:25. In this way, going to Him we are kept unstained by the world.  Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" ~ John 14:6. Taste and see that the Lord is good! ~ Psalm 34:8. 

Believing is work, trying to hear the call is work, yet following the call is not. "Taste and see that the Lord is good" this is the faith that we are called to. Through Him Jesus Christ, we turn to God already knowing we are called, already knowing we are chosen and forgiven of sin... Jesus came for the sinner. His sacrifice on the cross is our gift of salvation!