Thursday, October 22, 2015

Another God Moment

     I only left the house once yesterday.  I took my granddaughter to get an ice cream cone at Dairy Queen.  We were sitting outside at one of their tables eating the ice cream when a lady asked me if I could help her.  She said she had dropped her pen down beside her seat and she could not get it out.  She said she needed someone with small hands to reach it.  When I looked at my granddaughter's ice cream covered hands, I asked her to let me have a look.  It was a tight spot and when I reached for the pen I pushed it under the seat.  I pushed the seat back and looked under the seat but could not see the pen so I pushed the seat all the way forward and looked for it from the back.  There was no sign of the pen.  I laughed and told her I did not think God wanted her to have that pen.  I was looking under the back of the seat at the time but she did not say a word.  When I looked back up at her, she was crying. 
     I offered to try to find her another pen and then she asked me why I had said what I had said about God.  I told her I had meant it as a joke and I was sorry if I offended her.  She sat down in her car and through tears she told me she had been married for 22 years but she and her husband had not communicated for the last 10 years.  She was roughly 100 miles from home and was headed to see some of her family and she said she had no intention of going back home.  While she was driving, she felt compelled to stop and try to put her thoughts down on paper to send to her husband.  Then the pen literally disappeared and I told her God did not want her to have the pen.  She said she felt I may be right. 
     I asked her if I could pray with her and I said a rather brief prayer asking God to guide her down the right path.  When I finished, she told me she knew she had to go back home.  She felt it was truly what God wanted her to do and she said she was confident her husband would listen to her since she was now sure she had God's help.  With that, she hugged me, kissed me on the cheek, and thanked me for helping her set her path.  She waved and smiled as she drove away.
     Isn't it amazing what a brief outing can yield if you but invoke God's name.  And to top it all off, my granddaughter said the ice cream was delicious.  God is good, all the time.

How to Pray

     When Jesus's disciples asked Him how to pray, He gave them what we have come to know as The Lord's Prayer.  This prayer gives us a little insight into the nature of God.  "Our Father, who art in Heaven"  He likes for us to acknowledge who He is and His relationship to us.  "Hallowed be Thy name"  He wants us to revere and worship Him.  "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven"  He wants us to understand His power and might.  "Give us this day our daily bread"  He wants us to understand He is who provides for us and to be thankful for that.  "and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us"  He wants us to confess our sins to Him as well as ask for forgiveness and He expects us to love and forgive each other.  "Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil"  He is again who leads us and protects us.  "For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever"  Again we acknowledge His greatness.
     My granddaughter is 7 years old.  Even though I, too, was raised in the church as a child, she seems to have a much greater understanding of who God is than I did at that age.  She wasn't really happy with the traditional blessing kids spout out at meal time and wanted something different.  We sat down and worked on it together  and this is what she now says before every time she eats.  "Father we love You.  Father we praise You.  Thank you for this we are about to receive and help it nourish our bodies so we may serve you better. Help us love one another.  In Jesus's name.  Amen"  The first time I heard her say this by herself, I have to admit it brought tears to my eyes.
     It was pretty amazing and it certainly hit the high points.  She acknowledged who God is by calling Him Father.  She let Him know we love Him and she worshiped Him with praise.  She thanked Him for the blessing of the food and asked only that it nourish us for His sake.  Then she asked for His guidance in loving each other.  What a blessing she is and has been to me.
     Personal prayers are a little touchy for many folks.  Mainly, I would say, just remember to whom you are talking.  It seems many people are afraid to talk to God because they don't know what to say.  My advice to all is to remain reverent and then talk to Him in much the same way you might talk to your earthly father.  He wants us to be close to Him and believe it or not, He is listening more to your heart than He is listening to your words.
I believe that while He is our Heavenly Father and He wants respect for that, He also wants to be our friend.  He does not want us to have any problems we can not bring to Him.  He wants us to be filled with His love and He wants us to know He is always with us. So, what is the most important message here?  Talk to Him.  Just talk to Him.  If you talk to Him, He will listen and you will be surprised at how He answers if you will just open your heart to listen.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Power of Converting Your Faith to Knowledge

Faith:  confidence or trust;  belief that is not based on truth;  belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion;  a system of religious belief.
Belief: confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to immediate proof; confidence, faith, trust;  a religious tenet or tenets
Knowledge:  the fact or state of knowing;  clear and certain mental apprehension;  acquaintance with facts, truths, or principals as from study, investigation, or first hand experience

     Every minister I have ever encountered talked to me and to others about faith.  They talk about a belief in God, in Jesus, in His love for us.  What I am going to present to you here is just a bit different.  Please note the definitions above for Faith and Belief.  Truly we can all see that these two words are synonymous.  There is very little difference in them as their definitions are virtually interchangeable.  The part that bothers me here is that they both refer to that which is not based on truth or immediate proof.  From a Christian point of view, these are words that most likely should be used by every "new" Christian.  As we grow in our faith, we learn.  We learn from other Christians.  We learn from writings such as those in the Bible.  We learn from pastors and ministers.  Most importantly, if we pray earnestly, we learn from God himself. 
     There should come a point, in our growth as Christians, for us to put aside the "wanting to know" as God reveals to us His truth.  At that point, faith and belief should become knowledge.  One should come not just to believe but because of our communion with God to know He is there, He watches over us, He cares for us, and He loves us.  Your life will be transformed once belief that is not based on truth or confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to immediate proof is proven beyond a doubt and becomes knowledge.  Let me explain how I know this to be true.
      Let's examine a fellow named Sam.  Now Sam is living a pretty good life with a descent job, a loving wife and even a couple of children who love him.  He is basically an honest man and generally tries to do the right thing.  He believes in God but he is not much of a church goer and he seldom speaks of God to his wife or his children.  Like many people, he is content but not exactly what you would call really happy.  Then one afternoon, something different happens to Sam.  While on his way home from work, Sam narrowly escapes a terrible traffic accident.  He pulled over to the side of the road to calm his nerves.  Once stopped, he laid his head on his steering wheel and said out loud, "Thank you Jesus."  A voice next to him said, "You are welcome."  Of course Sam is startled and even more so when he sees what appears to be Jesus sitting beside him in his front seat.  At first he is frightened and demanded to know who this person is and how he got in his car but immediately he is filled with a peaceful feeling such as he has never before encountered.  In the next few moments of conversation, Sam gets to know Jesus and comes to realize Jesus is always with him.
     Now how do you think Sam's life was different the next day?  Did he simply go to work as usual?  Did he continue on with his life as if nothing happened?  Sam now possessed the undeniable truth of the existence and love of God.  Surely things drastically changed in Sam's life from that day forward.
     Truth be told, the chances of something like Sam's experience happening to us is pretty slim.  However, it is a relatively simple matter to reach the same point of knowledge he achieved.  That is most easily done with prayer.  If you pray with earnestness and honesty, God will reveal himself to you.  You might think this could go without saying but you must also pay attention.  Too many times God talks to us or sends us messages and because our thoughts are elsewhere, we just don't get it.  Try this.  Get away from everyone and everything in your life for just a little bit.  Find a quiet place with no distractions and try talking to God.  You may well be amazed and you may very well be able to exchange your faith for knowledge.  Understand also that when it happens, you life will undergo drastic changes.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Spreading the News of God's Love

     Many of the readers here are aware of the fact that a bit more than a year ago, I suffered a mild stroke.  While my recovery has been nothing short of remarkable, there have been some residual issues.  My energy level, for one, has not been what it once was.  As a consequence, I have not been able to be out and about as much as I would like.  God has shown me He is still in my life and I have been pleased to find out that almost every time I do go out, He puts someone in my path who needs His love. 
     Just the other day, I went with my family to a store in a neighboring city.  I grew tired in the store after a short while and went to a place next door that sold coffee and had seats outside.  I prefer the seats outside if the weather is pleasant.  While sitting there, a gentleman walked up to where I was sitting and simply said hello.  Of course I returned his greeting and asked him to have a seat as he looked tired.  He sat down and began to tell me of his problems.  He had lost his job a while back and his inability to find work had caused a rift between him and his wife.  They separated which also separated him from his teenage daughter.  He confessed to depression so great he was having trouble even thinking about employment.  All he could think about was his wife and daughter. 
     After listening to him for a while, I asked him if he believed in God.  He did not answer definitively but rather with almost a sense of sorrow.  He told me he really wanted to believe but had been told so many times unless he lived a certain way, he was condemned to Hell.  He was crying as he relayed this to me.  I told him he was truly one of God's children and I gave him a guarantee that he would not go to Hell.  (To you the reader, if you do not understand this, read the entries before this one.)  I explained most of what I have written here to him and explained that giving his life to God would not guarantee the circumstances of his life would be better but he would no longer be alone.  For this reason alone, I assured him his depression would be lifted and he would begin to see life as the gift it was meant to be.  He asked me if I would pray with him and in doing so give him some idea how to go about talking to God.  I prayed for about 5 minutes I guess and then paused.  He began to pray in such a sweet and innocent way I was brought to tears.  After the prayers, he rose and held out his hands to me.  We embraced and he thanked me for what he said was the greatest understanding of his life.  He told me he knew God had led him to talk to me and then he walked away.  It took me several minutes to compose myself and I said a prayer of thanksgiving for that wonderful encounter and opportunity God had placed before me. 
     There was another trip as well that I took with my family to a family fun center.  As usual, after a while I grew weary, procured myself a soft drink and sat outside in a little patio area to rest.  I was approached by 3 people while I sat there who were seeking spiritual guidance.  With all three there was relief in them as I explained God's love to them. With all three there was prayer.  With all three there were hugs and tearful goodbyes.
     Truly God continues to bless me with these encounters each time I leave my home.  I find myself putting a much greater effort into improving my health so I can go out more often.  I am sure there will be many more as He guides me in spreading this news.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Holy Trinity

     It would seem every Christian religion has a little bit different take on what is commonly referred to as the Holy Trinity.  All of them recognize it as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit all rolled up into one entity.  Each religion has a different explanation of its existence as well as its function.  It’s best to think of it in a bit simpler form than most would have you believe. 
     While everyone knows the concept of God the Father, many have trouble understanding the concept of a second entity as the Son.  While we refer to Jesus as The Son, we also refer to Him as God.  While He was given to us as The Son, we must remember He truly is simply a part of God the Father.  This must be so as we worship Him as a God and God the Father was pretty specific when He said, “Thou shall have no other Gods before me.”  Therefore, it is just common sense that God and Jesus are the same being.  There is no way for them to be separate beings and still honor that commandment issued by God.  I look at them as simply different aspects of the same being.  One could easily surmise from this that God gave a piece of himself to save us or an even more wonderful way to think of this is God Himself truly walked among us for a while.
     Now let’s discuss the Holy Spirit.  This I view, more or less, as Gods DNA.  Think about this.  If I have a child and that child carries my DNA.  The children of that child will also carry my DNA as will all the children of all the generations to come.  Eons from now, the child’s DNA can still be traced back to me.  Keeping all that in mind, we are all children of God, created by Him and in His image.  I believe the Holy Spirit is the little piece of Him, DNA if you will that He put in each one of us.  Bearing in mind He gave us free will, each of us has a choice whether or not to acknowledge His spirit within us.  Some will refer to it as a conscience.  Others will refer to it directly as The Holy Spirit guiding our way.  The very fact that He gives us a choice is what makes this so special.  Much more on this later.
     So there you have it.  God and His Son are just different aspects of the same being.  The Son is the part of Him that He gave in order to show us one way to get closer to Him.  His Son was the greatest gift ever given to mankind.  While some may say that greatest gift was life, a pathway to eternal life is a much greater gift.  His other great gift to us was also a piece of Himself that dwells within each of us as the Holy Spirit.  The more we accept and acknowledge these gifts the more wonderful will be our very existence.