Overarching Themes

Usually I am the type of person to see the trees and not the forest. I depend on others to help me connect the celestial  dots. I recently came across something in which the trees are the point.

I’m talking about the book Revelation. I suppose there are people who have a great deal of insight into the book, but I dread it because I couldn’t make sense of it. Commentaries haven’t helped.

Oh, and I haven’t ever gotten to Revelation in my daily readings. The end of the year I am usually behind by quite a lot.

So, today I was reading chapter 16. Particularly the following passage:

10 The fifth t poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, u and his kingdom was plunged into darkness. v People w gnawed their tongues because of their pain 11 and blasphemed the God of heaven x because of their pains and their sores, yet they did not repent of their actions.

There is this type of phrasing for seven angels. (7 being the symbol for perfection.)

Ok, so what I see here are sinful people like you and me who are put into painful situations in their lives. They can’t stand the pain so they curse God. God can take away pain. He doesn’t however. He is looking for a heart change.

I look for the Lord to stop my pain, but I don’t want to change. It is hard to want a change. You can know you need to, but in your heart you don’t want to.

The good news is that God can change your heart. Rely on God, don’t curse Him.

The Holy Bible: Holman Christian standard version. (2009). (Re 16:10–11). Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers.

Overarching Themes

What the Underlying Principle is

I used to be really actively opposed to abortion as a means of terminating a pregnancy. I spent time talking to people about it and urging them to get my point of view. I spent time praying about it. I gave money to Christian pro-life clinics.

I was harsher then, and more judgmental. I made it too important.

My philosophy was valid. I said that scientifically, a fertilized egg is a separate and distinct human life at conception. Any scientist will agree with that.

I think people who are pro-choice in general do believe that the fetus becomes a ‘person’ at some point in the pregnancy. They recognize that there is a life in there who feels pain, but they can’t draw a line, so they say whatever they say, up to the point where the baby comes out. Oops, I said baby. But you know what I mean.

There is this horrible third-term abortion procedure involving putting scissors into the baby’s brain before it comes out. So, the pro-lifers work on ending that practice because it gives them leverage to work their way backwards.

A baby can survive outside the womb when it’s somewhere around 22 weeks, but at that age they have a lot of medical hurdles to jump. It is still a baby, and they treat it medically. It’s problematic as medicine advances.

Women say that it’s their business, and you know, that’s awfully true. It is their body. But to say that pregnancy is a great medical risk is a little disingenuous. Let’s be honest.

For me, the bottom line is now just how we honor life.

When women get pregnant, it’s a big deal. It’s big emotionally and it affects people economically, socially, physically and so on. We can’t pretend it’s like removing a wart. Really. It’s not. We all know it.

I can’t say that another person doesn’t honor life because they think it’s ok. But when I say I think abortion is wrong because it dishonors life, that is what I think. It’s what I believe is true. I will vote for bills that curtail the number of abortions because that is my truth. It’s what I think is good for the country.

I am not; however, going to stand outside of an abortion clinic and harass scared women. I’m not threatening any abortion doctor even if I do believe they are killing human beings. That’s not my place. God hasn’t called me to do that. If others do, that’s their right.

Christians have done a lot to help young mothers to have healthy children to raise or adopt out. We try. We don’t do enough, but we do something.

The issue of life isn’t just about conception. It’s about how we treat each other. It’s about people taking their own lives. It’s about euthanasia and ethnic cleansing.

And it’s about Jesus.

We could all value life a little more highly.

“I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life y so that you and your descendants may live”

The Holy Bible: Holman Christian standard version. (2009). (Dt 30:19). Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers.

What the Underlying Principle is

God’s Will

I had a job interview last week. I haven’t been to a real job interview in a very long time.

Given the social insecurity I feel, I was pretty calm about it. I wore a nice outfit. I had everything organized. I wasn’t afraid or jittery.

I also didn’t pray. Why wouldn’t I? I have prayed for everything for a while now. I know God acts in my life. I have felt grace. But this time I didn’t tap into it.

I think the reason was that I didn’t want to ask God for this job. In my own self, I want it very badly. I have to be willing for anything to happen. I cannot place God in a box. I do have a lot of faith that the right thing will come along.

So, I just felt open, serene, trusting and calm.

It was a great place to be.

God’s Will

Culture Shock

I know I’m both old and old fashioned. At least to the kids.

In reality, I’m a little more to the left of my peers. I could shore up my morals a bit. I’ve become more forgiving than I was in my 20s.

The thing is, I started thinking about Muslims and their relationship with the U.S. or Western culture. We do a lot of pretty hideous things.

Dress, music, sex, drink, drugs, gluttony, sexual identity, books, movies, television, bars, actors and actresses, morally bankrupt business entities.

We have no honor, we look out for number one.

I sigh because this whole thing is too cumbersome to try to tackle. I think it’s safe to say culturally Christians do not appear to be very different from non-Christians.

In Islam, we think of people being kind of fierce, angry, dangerous, intolerant, oppressive….and so on.

If I were a Muslim, I would condemn the U.S. I would view us as the enemy. I would see us as a great evil. I would be afraid of Western ideas contaminating and corrupting my children.

But I don’t. Because I’m here. I’m not Muslim. I’m a Christian. Why is that ok?

Culture Shock

Sacrifices

I am reading the book of Ezekiel and I read something a little different. The verse is in chapter 20. It is   talking about the Israelite making sacrifices.

As a primer, the way the Israelites could be forgiven is from a blood sacrifice. Blood had to be shed for the forgiveness of sins. The sacrifices made; however, weren’t enough to save the people. Instead, their salvation was through (and is through) faith.

In chapter 20:30, it says:

30 “Therefore say to the house of Israel: This is what the Lord GOD says: Are you defiling yourselves the way your fathers did, q and prostituting yourselves with their detestable things? 31 When you offer your gifts, making your children pass through the fire, r you continue to defile yourselves with all your idols to this day.

The verse that rang out to me was 31. It is as if the people would make sacrifices in the hopes that they wouldn’t defile themselves. Like, “I will throw out all the cookies, and then I won’t break my diet.” It is saying ‘if I sacrifice my children, THEN I will stop defiling myself.”

Doesn’t work. Hasn’t worked for me really. I still do it. I think ‘I’ll do it tomorrow.’ I pray, I read. I DO. It isn’t bad to do those things, it’s bad to depend on them to do what only God can.

I realize I am trivializing human sacrifice. It’s not about that. It’s about the things we do to try to get into God’s favor and still continue in sin. I hope I can make that much clear.

The Holy Bible: Holman Christian standard version. (2009). (Eze 20:30–31). Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers.

Sacrifices