Tag Archive: Life


History consists of a long series of attempts to achieve what seemed to someone’s imagination and plans to be a “better world”, but which often involved revolution, war and mayhem…

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Mankind never actually succeeds in achieving perpetual happiness for anyone, let alone everyone. But with human nature being as it is, many people are certain that they can lead us to that magical and mythical utopia.

Twenty and twenty-first century radicalism as studied by the likes of President Obama and Hillary Clinton* aspires to something seductively labelled “fundamental change”, among other things. The radicalism of such groups as Antifa aims to achieve its ends in any way possible including violence if necessary, in order to eventually end up with the kind of world radicals desire. Millions of those flocking to Western shores with the aid of globalists and radicals seeking upheaval, and well-meaning but blinkered politicians, are bringing with them their own distinct and extreme idea of utopia which is in total opposition to the founding ideas of freedom they’re invading.

Those seeking fundamental change have no regard for traditional views of right or wrong, or any fixed notion of such things. In fact, they work to dismantle or destroy traditional views of right or wrong. Since we evolved out of the slime, most radical adherents believe, there is no God to answer to, or if there is, he/ she is such a cool dude that he wants us to do what we want to do anyway. We determine what’s right or wrong, in their minds. When I say “we” I mean those who agree with radical ideology get to choose. The rest of us-those who disagree-don’t deserve to choose, because we’re “bigoted”, “racist”, “ignorant”, “homophobic” and so on, ad-nauseam. Please don’t think I mean to say that only leftist radicals are guilty and the rest of us innocent: we all hold to some degree of faulty thinking.

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In that above series of accusations which we’ve all heard many times in recent months, and in other similar derogatory labels, are attempts to blame someone-anyone- for the fact that we as a nation, as a race and as individuals haven’t arrived at the desired place of bliss and wholeness. And even if we aren’t among those who stoop to such attacks in blind hypocrisy, we all indulge in the same blame game. Husbands blame wives, wives blame husbands, kids blame parents, parents blame kids, voters blame politicians, politicians blame each other…and so it goes on. Someone else is always to blame, and in the dark world of politics there’s always someone at or near the top to blame for our problems.

Every politician attempts to ride to glory on the promise of “change”. Why is the idea of change so appealing to so many people when it comes to election time? The nicest, most constructive answer, and the ultimate answer to that question is that we as humans, having strayed far from our Creator and his ways, are attempting to bring happiness and fulfillment to our lives without Him.

Have you ever taken a wrong turn in your car somewhere, and continuing on, you find that the road you’re on gets smaller, bumpier, more remote, and more distant from your destination? That’s where the human race is now. We’re all on roads which lead the wrong way: away from our God. I’m not talking about failing to be “religious”, I’m talking about failing to seek our Almighty, Holy God.

For many people the contrary route is the chosen and preferred route. People are intentionally heading away from God, because they’re certain they’ll be better off. But  the road gets rougher, and narrower, and dirtier. It begins to wind around some tricky ledges and over some rocky passes, further into the uncertain and uncharted wilds, while the sky gets darker and darker. At the end of the road is…the end of the road.

“There is no peace,” says the LORD, “for the wicked.” (Isaiah 48:22 ESV).

‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace (Jeremiah 6:14).

But the wicked are like the tossing sea, which cannot rest, whose waves cast up mire and mud (Isaiah 57:20 NIV).

* BARACK OBAMA’S RULES FOR REVOLUTION: THE ALINSKY MODEL by David Horowitz.

 

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WHOSE BODY?

Who hasn’t heard or read the slogan “My body my rights!” being used to defend abortion? 4810137-portrait-of-a-cute-caucasian-baby-girl-beige-background

People who defend the “right” to abort babies do so in a myriad of ways. Those most in a state of denial attempt to tell us that women must have abortions in order to survive the pregnancy. I say that in those few cases where that’s really true then yes, the mother must come first. However, the majority of abortions-close to a million in the US every year-are carried out as acts of convenience.

The above slogan has now descended further into the gutter, morphing in recent times to “My vagina my rights”. I agree that women own their own vaginas, until the Judgment, and can choose to have sex: sex is a creation of God and a blessing within commitment and marriage. They can also choose to live immoral lives if they wish. But when it comes to a “fetus”-a baby forming in the womb, they’re wrong. The “right” to choose ended at sex.

It’s got nothing to do with “punishing” the girl “with a baby” as former president Obama once callously worded it. And why should the baby be punished for being conceived?

From the beginning, and within two or three months of conception, the baby has its own brain, its own heart, its own fingers and fingerprints, its own nervous system, its own muscles and bones, its own DNA, and very possibly its own blood type. He/she can move. If you slice or dissolve and then suck the baby out and throw it in the trash, you’re not disposing of your own body, but another human being.

Please note that I believe there’s forgiveness and mercy for anyone who’s had an abortion. But let’s work to stop them happening in the first place…

 

Are cookies, coffee and calories sinful? Is it wrong to put a spoiler on your minivan? Are drums from the devil? Will you become an alcoholic and go to hell if you allow a drop of alcohol to pass your lips?  Is it wrong to watch secular movies? Will you become demon-possessed if you dare to look at paintings by the likes of Picasso and Van Gogh?

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Is it always wrong to generalize?

I’ve used the British spelling of “gray” ( g-r-e-y) in my title: I hope you can indulge me. If you can’t, you really do need to read this post.

A Christian comedian who was very popular a few decades back, Mike Warnke, once described legalistic Christians as being “so narrow that they can see through a key-hole with both eyes”. Not only do some people want to avoid enjoying their lives, but they don’t think anyone else should enjoy theirs either. I don’t think…I hope I’ve never been that extreme in my zeal for God. Such legalism is usually-but not always-a sign of self-righteousness and a holier-than-thou attitude. This attracts no-one to the faith or to us.

THE ULTIMATE REDUCTIONIST/ MINIMALIST

When I first became a Christian I was so intent on parting myself from my former way of life and all that I perceived to be “of the devil”, that I purged myself of almost everything I possessed, everyone I knew, and all I had previously enjoyed.

I cut myself off from all my former influences and pleasures. Friends thought I’d been brainwashed by some American cult (cults from anywhere else in the world were perfectly acceptable). In fact they were so “concerned” about me that they avoided me like the plague. Perhaps this was a sign that I was actually on the right track, because:

“What fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14).

Having been a bass player by profession, I sold my bass and my amp. I detached myself dramatically from my musical and theatrical contacts. I disposed of all my books, memorabilia and photographs, and my entire record collection-all the music I had loved, enjoyed and been influenced by for years.

For a time I was terrified that if I so much as puffed on one cigarette ever again or had a single sip of beer I would be cast immediately into the lake of fire. God would reject me, the rapture would pass me by, and I would be “left behind” to suffer all the evils of the Tribulation and subsequent judgment.

All that remained of my possessions and my former life was a bed and a Bible…and I was considering getting rid of the bed.

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SWINGING BACK AGAIN

About two years later I underwent my first and my deepest bout of backsliding. Disappointment with God’s performance-the one I expected from him-made my heart sink a million miles. I didn’t reject the Lord in my life: I just put him to the back of my mind so he wouldn’t become a hindrance. The cause of this pendulum-swing turnaround was my own loneliness. I was so hurt that God would not give me a lover, a family and some Christian friends as he seemed to do for everyone else, that I intentionally allowed myself to slide at least part way towards that perdition, in a quest for company and for a girl.

Now I’m going to disappoint some of you by fast-forwarding to the present without sharing the intervening juicy details (for details, send a check or money order for $5000 to the address below…)

IN THE MIDDLE

Now, many years later, I find myself enjoying things which some Christians would consider unacceptable, un-godly, too worldly, and maybe even damnable. In fact, I regularly thank the Lord for what he allows me to enjoy and blesses me with.

No, I’m not one of those people who gets high every day and has a string of live-in lovers. Such things are among the “black and the white” things of life as far as I’m concerned: the things we can know are wrong in the eyes of God. As Paul said after listing some of the real sins of life:

“…those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

Instead of those damnable lifestyles, I’m speaking here of things which are not forbidden or perhaps not mentioned in the Bible, but which some self-appointed judges among Christians decide are sinful, shameful and damnable.

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COOKIE-CUTTER CHRISTIANS

“Cookie-cutter Christians” is another of Warnke’s terms, which describes the product of some in the Christian world who, if they had their way, would have us all be identical to them or their favorite preacher in every detail. Even the discussion of grey areas is out of bounds in their eyes. If we were really Christians, they think, we would all be just like them: bored, boring and dispassionate.

FREE TO BE GREY (NOT GAY)

God has called us to freedom within his clear laws, not to a regimented tyranny (2 Corinthians 3:17). Yes, I agree that it’s sinful and damaging to indulge in certain things perhaps not mentioned directly in scripture, such as cannabis and over-graphic movies. And yes, he wants us to spend our lives in worship of him and loving and caring for our fellow man and those around us, rather than in serving ourselves. But it’s a big beautiful world which our God made: he didn’t make it to be ignored. He didn’t design our incredibly complex, inventive, creative human nature just so that we can cower in a corner and be bored out of our brains until we die.

It’s not God’s desire for us all to be the same (and how boring life would be if we were). Why does our DNA contain so much potential for variation, if we’re supposed to be cookie-cutter humans? This variety in our genotypes and our phenotype and our personalities, is there for a reason.

CAUTION

Grey areas do require some thought and prayerful Biblical consideration: are they really grey areas or are we just trying to excuse our disobedience? What kind of guidance does the Bible give for our consideration of grey areas?

 

“Everything is permissible for me-but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me-but I will not be mastered by anything” (1 Corinthians 6:12).

Paul advised care for others as our ultimate guide in those grey areas:

“Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak… “…so this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge” (1 Corinthians 8: 9, 11).

We must consider others in the out-working of our freedom. We don’t all have to conform to the life of the ultimate Christian reductionist in order to avoid creating stumbling blocks, but rather those things not forbidden in scripture which we may allow ourselves and which others are not able to enjoy or accept, should not be flaunted in front of others whose faith may be damaged.

In recent months I’ve made myself a promise: I refuse to snore and to fade and to fizzle out until I’m dead. I intend to make fireworks and go out with a bang. God gave us life. Life is beautiful-let’s not waste it. Let’s live it to the full!

FAUX: THE NEW REAL

In my higgorance and naivety I’ve fallen for the fancy synonym for “fake” too many times, and in this case, once is too many times…

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All kinds of things are advertised as being “faux” these days, the word being paraded as though “faux” were something chic, valuable and amazingly desirable. And of course many things are fake without giving any such warning as the four-letter “f” word in my title.

We have fake leather, fake wood, fake flowers, fake glass and fake metal. Fake organs, fake fruit, chocolate, leather, tans, news, scientists, hair, teeth, nails, boobs, men, women, trees, pottery, religion, healing, prophets, apostles, Republicans, beggars, music, promises, names, I.D., money…and the list goes on for as long as you can list anything pertaining to human beings.

The first five readers who’ve read this far will receive a Ferrari…

…but not a real one.

Who won the cup final in 1957? All correct answers will receive a…well…they won’t receive anything (except perhaps a big smile).

Welcome to all you fine people out there who are brave enough to consider the causes of suffering rather than trying to ignore them. Part six of my up-dated series on suffering (first published in 2011) concerns the subject of testing…

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Like it or not, we’re all tested at different times in our lives-perhaps throughout our lives-believers and non-believers. Our faith, our character and our motives are tested by the circumstances we face in life, by temptation to sin and to do wrong, and (this one is difficult for many believers to accept) by God himself. Our enemy the devil also tests us, inasmuch as God allows him to.

Original Greek and Hebrew words in the Bible translated ‘test’, ‘trial’ and ‘tempt’ can be used interchangeably: they have related meanings. They’re often only selected by the motive of the source.

Mankind has been tested from the beginning of creation. I’ve already discussed in part four how Adam and Eve failed the simplest test they could have had- that of resisting the temptation to eat the one forbidden fruit compared to the many that they were allowed to enjoy freely. Remember that God intentionally placed that tree of forbidden fruit in the garden where they lived. He could have left it out, if he wanted: see part two of the series.

Later in scripture we see the struggles of the Israelites, as they wandered in the desert after failing to enter the promised land by faith. Over and over we’re told that they were being tested:

“Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert, to humble you and to test you, in order to know what was in your heart” (Deuteronomy 8:2).

When God provided Manna, he said, “In this way I will test them and see if they will follow my instructions” (Exodus 16:4).

Once they were finally in the promised land, God used other nations “…to test Israel and see whether they will keep the way of the Lord and walk in it…” (Judges 2: 22).

David was aware of testing. He said “I know, my God, that you test the heart…” (1 Chronicles 29:17) and he even invited the Lord to test him:

Test me. O Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind (Psalm 26:2).

Testing was not just an Old Testament phenomenon. James said:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance” “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him (James 1:2, 3,12).

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Even Jesus Christ himself was led by the Holy Spirit to be tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1).

It’s during the hard times that God, and others, and perhaps we ourselves, see what’s really inside us, and the true condition of our hearts. I’m not trying to say that every hardship we face is sent by God, or that he’s going around like some malevolent, hateful ogre. We need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit so that we can hope to discern the reason for our problems, and then we need to have the correct, godly attitude towards our situation, as Job did.

Sometimes God doesn’t have to do anything to test us: our real character is shown in the way we respond to everyday trials which come to us by the laws of nature and the nature of man. Whether our trials are expressly sent from God or not, He allows them to happen, and all trials can reveal our true character!

Some people make the mistake of blaming the devil for all their problems. Everything pleasant is from God, and everything unpleasant is from Satan, they think. Even when they sin they blame the devil. This is the “devil made me do it” mentality, and it’s not scriptural. The devil can’t make true believers do anything, and very often our problems are our own fault. That’s not to say that our enemy doesn’t ever test us: he does. Sometimes he’s the one to put that proverbial spanner/wrench in the works of our life. Satan tested Job with severe suffering. However, it’s important to remember that he had to get God’s permission to do it (Job 1: 6-12).

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Job was severely tested when Satan decided he should be, and though Job was a righteous man God allowed Satan to inflict all kinds of horrors on him. Satan had claimed that Job only had faith because things were going well for him (Job 1: 9-11).

Jesus said to Peter, “Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail” (Luke 22:31). Jesus didn’t say that he refused Satan’s request, but that he was defending Peter’s faith.

We’re all being “shaken” and sifted like wheat. The good grain is kept, the weeds disposed of. In the future all of humanity is going to face a time of severe trial, known commonly as ‘the time of Tribulation’. Jesus said that this “trial is going to come upon the whole world, to test those who live on the earth” (Revelation 3:10), We can see in other scripture passages that this ‘hour of trial’ is not sent by Satan (although he certainly plays a leading role) but by God himself, because He has said:

“Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens” (Hebrews 12:26).

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