THE CONVERSATION


father and son

Daddy, why do you live here?
Because my job is here.
But, why not somewhere else?
Because what I do is important to the people here?
But, why wouldn’t you be important to other people somewhere else?
Because there are other people in other places that are just as important to the people there.

Daddy, why do I do wrong sometimes?
Because you have a choice, and sometimes you choose the wrong thing.
But, why do I choose the wrong thing?
Because you don’t know any better, or because you think it’s right at the time.
But, why don’t you stop me?
Because if you don’t make mistakes, you’ll never learn.

Daddy, why do you love me?
Because you’re my child.

Daddy, why do you know so much?
Because I’ve been around a long, long time.
Daddy, why should I believe everything you say?
Because I said so.

© Simply Consider This, 2014.

COMMANDMENTS


mirror image

Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” And, “Love your neighbor as yourself.

For centuries we have been reading and quoting these two ‘commandments’ and that is fine. One should, above all else, love God first and foremost. One should also love their neighbor— ‘neighbor’ being one’s fellow man—no matter who that might be. There is also a third part to these ‘commandments’, which is grossly overlooked. This third part is the last two words. “…as yourself.”

We talk about the love God has for us and how this should be reciprocated. We talk about how we should love the sinner (which is anyone and everyone) but hate the sin. We talk about loving our enemies, even if we don’t like them, which almost seems like an oxymoron. We talk about showing the love of God, letting God’s love flow through us, being an example of God’s love to others, and countless other Christian clichés about loving others, but we, and those who instruct us, forget one tiny detail. If we don’t love ourselves, how can we love others?

The “normal” answer for this is – once we accept Jesus as our personal Savior and truly love God with all we are, then that love will permeate our being and flow out of us to others. That still doesn’t account for the fact that we find everything about ourselves to be hideous and repugnant. We still need to find some way to forgive ourselves for what we may have done in the past and accept the person we have, or will, become. That is the one thing that is not taught in our churches. “If God can forgive me, why can’t I?”

Yes, there are scriptures to help with this, such as, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.” (Rom 8:1) But that is taken out of context. The condemnation referred to here is man being condemned by God for sin. Once the gift of salvation is accepted, God grants a ‘pardon’ for our sins and wipes the slate clean of any record of sin. The sin stain is gone and we now appear before God as ‘spotless.’ But, when we look in the mirror, we still see the same person with all of our character flaws, past sins, evil desires and so on.

We can run to the altar and tearfully throw ourselves down in sincere repentance, asking for God’s forgiveness until every one of our sins are recounted, relinquished and removed from God’s sight, but, when we are alone with ourselves, we still feel disgust, or even a loathing, for ourselves. So we are back the next week, repenting and sobbing, trying to get the love, forgiveness and acceptance we already have from God, when we are the only ones holding out on us. We know that He knows who we are and what we’ve done, but so do we. And therein lies the rub.

Usually, it is at this point that the Apostle Paul comes to mind saying, “I die daily,” meaning that little by little we are to take off the old man and put on the new. Some, like Paul himself, make an over night transformation, but for the rest of us it is a lifelong process.

Does that mean that we all have to become Christian Clones? At times it seems that way when you talk to some groups of believers. They all act the same, talk the same, and begin to look the same after a short time of being around them. If they are content to be the Stepford believers, then that is fine for them.

But it is our uniqueness that God likes. He created each of us individually, to be individuals, for our individual purpose. The only one we have to try to be like is Jesus, and that doesn’t mean we have to run around with an angelic face, spreading love and joy and peace all the time. We can have a personality of our own. We do have a personality of our own. That personality is what makes you you and God loves you for being you, just as he made you.   And all of your past experiences have shaped and molded that personality into who you are today.

So where does all of that leave us on loving ourselves so we can love our neighbors? Let me take a scripture totally out of context and say, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31) If God can forgive and accept us and love us for who we are, then why can’t we? Or better yet, why shouldn’t we? Are we greater than God? Is there any other standard higher than God’s? If we are good enough for God, we ought to be good enough for us!! Realizing that this is not going to be easy for some, if not most, there is just one more thing to say, meant as nicely as possible – Get over yourself. You are who you are and will be whom God created you to be if you quit trying to tell yourself you’re not good enough. If you’re waiting until you’ve arrived, you’re never going to get there. Never stop trying to improve, but realize that there was only one sinless, regretless, perfect man. Chances are that probably isn’t you, but it is a goal to strive for. In the mean time, just relax and know that everyone else was and is a sinner saved by grace.   You are the same as everyone else in that respect. Accept yourself for who you are and it will make it easier to accept—and love – others. You are unique, just like everybody.

©  Simply Consider This, 2014.

SWEETLY KISSED BY JESUS


father kissingBeen sweetly kissed by Jesus

A tender kiss He placed upon my cheek

Affectionately given, as a Father loves his child

As I came to Him, with my arms reaching out

My heart calls to Him, my lips lovingly proclaim

Abba, Father!

Your presence surrounds me

I feel so safe in Your arms

Yes, sweetly kissed by Jesus

A tender kiss He placed upon on my cheek

Treasuring this moment, forever

Until eternity

When at last I reach Heaven

We will finally meet

Remembering how You held me

In Your arms cradled tenderly

Never forgotten will be

The tender kiss placed upon my cheek

Running toward my Savior

My God, my King

The One who so willingly died for me

Bowing humbly down before Him

Overwhelmed by His majesty

There at His feet to adore Him

The One who kissed my cheek

©  Simply Consider This, 2013.

WHEN LIFE HAS SUCKED THE LIFE OUT OF YOU


at wits endWhen life has sucked all the life out of you
When there is nothing you can say
When there is nothing you can do
When overwhelmed by more than you can stand
When all emotions are emptied from inside
When your heart is so heavy with grief
When in the night there is no sleep
When all you have tried has failed
When all around you portrays hell
Storm’s raging turmoil
Tortures the essence of your being
There is no comfort to be found
Darkness will not relent, determined to destroy
Weariness encamps around about you
Like fountains overflowing, tears freely fall

Broken, bruised the spirit cries out to be heard
Desperate the soul bitterly weeps for peace
Jesus, Jesus, whispered oh so tenderly
From lips that can barely speak
I worship You, Oh Holy One
I worship You, Oh Holy One
In the midst of this raging storm
I worship You
Knowing there is nothing the soul it’s self can repair
There is nothing the spirit by it’s self can restore
But God, Your presence, Your presence!
It is all I have, it is all I need
It is my all in all –
The world swirls around my mind
Blinding my eyes from Your beauty –

Jesus!  Jesus!  Cries my heart – come sweet Holy Spirit
Come!!  Come to this desert place in which I dwell
Come rain, Come rain gently
Your peace upon this parched wounded heart
Seeking solace, Seeking You
I know You will be found
It is there, there in You alone
My soul finds peace, my spirit is restored
It is there in Your presence, Oh my God!
Oh my Savior, My King,
The Restorer, the Life Giver!
I come seeking You and only You!
I come, I come waiting, I come praising
I come to worship You – longingly
Oh My God longing for You!!
Refreshing renewal, like rain to the thirsty ground
You come to me
Drinking in Your Presence – I breathe in once again, Life
Rising up from the ashes, soaring like the eagle
You Oh God, have given me wings to take flight
With You I soar, with You I find relief
Nothing can ever compare
Oh the sweetest of Your Presence!

©  Simply Consider This, 2013.

HIDDEN BEHIND A MASK


masks

Oh how sad it has come to be
Hidden behind a mask are we
Unable to reveal our identity
Stuck away where no other can see
Is the unique personality
Self preservation has taken place
Because of the past we change our face
Afraid of rejection, judgment or scorn
Before the world a mask is worn

Crying out from underneath
The soul is yearning to be free
Free of wearing another face
For this mask has taken its place
In the quiet of the night
Tears fall because of it’s plight

In secret places solace is found
There true self is finally unbound
Free to be just who you are
Without fear or alarm
Flying, the soul dances again
Wishing this time would never end
Treasuring the moment for we know
This glorious time soon must go
When once more we will conceal
Behind a mask just how we feel

Isn’t it true God made us to be
Who we are individually
Why can’t we accept each other
That we are different one from another
Yet we keep the world at bay
Knowing there’s no other way
For revealing who we really are
Can, and has led to many scars

Forgive us Father for being so cruel
And for breaking a golden rule
That speaks of loving one another
Accepting our sisters and our brothers
Not for who we think they should be
But for their God-given individuality
Judging isn’t what we’re called to do
For Jesus, that is up to you
Let the mask fall from our face
Replaced by God’s tender grace
In our eyes let others see
God’s love for unique personalities

©  Simply Consider This, 2013.

MORE THAN A CASUAL MEETING


handsI want more than a casual meeting
More than a how-do-you-do
More than once or twice in a season
For this will never do

Not quite sure how it all starts
To get to where I want
But this one thing I do know
I have a willing heart

To be intimately familiar
With all you are and do
Only way, one could achieve that
Is with spending time with you

What is your favorite color
Why is the grass green
And why did you make
The weeping willow trees

To know what makes you laugh
To listen to your wisdom
Above all those who are wise
To understand the reason
Of why you gave your life

Yes, my desire is to know you
I understand what is required of me
To give all my life to Jesus
The One who set me free

My heart, Oh Lord
Desperately hungers after you
I need more than a casual meeting
I need more than a how-do-you-do
For when I’m in Your Presence
Nothing less, will ever do

 

©  Simply Consider This, 2013.

 

MILK AND HONEY


beecowOur journey today begins in the book of Exodus when God told Moses that He was going to free the Israelites from the hand of Pharaoh. God said that He was going to take them to the promised land.  A land flowing with milk and honey.
God did not instruct Moses to tell Pharaoh to free His people because they were slaves and slavery was wrong.  God had heard the cries of His people due to their oppression, but this was not the prime objective.  He wanted the Israelites freed so they could worship Him. This was what Moses told Pharaoh over and over when he presented his case.  “This is what the Lord says, ‘Let my people go, so they may worship me’.”   God desired, and still desires, the worship of His people.  So, after Moses bugged Pharaoh (he used real bugs), and a few other plagues were inflicted on Egypt for not listening to God, Pharaoh let God’s people go.
After three months, they arrived at Sinai where God gave them the law, they rebelled and built an idol, were forgiven after punishment and proceeded to Kadesh, where they were supposed to go into the promised land, but got scared off by the “giants.”  So they wandered around another forty years until they were ready to receive the promise (very abridged version).
When they were entering the promised land, God told them to destroy all the people in the land, not to make any treaties with any of the inhabitants, and definitely do not inter-marry.  Of course they didn’t listen, and they had nothing but trouble from then on.  God knew that if they did not eradicate all the inhabitants, soon they would be adopting their ways, accepting their cultural differences, and worshiping their gods. This brings us to the milk and honey.
I have often wondered why God would tell them that the promised land  was flowing with milk and honey.  They had milk and honey in Egypt.  Why would that be such an enticement for an oppressed people?  Cows and goats give more milk when they are well fed and bees make honey from the plants that they pollinate.  It stands to reason that if the promised land was a lush vegetative haven that there would be an abundance of milk and honey. That would be a sharp contrast to the deserts of Egypt where they had been enslaved for 400 years.  But was there more to the “milk and honey” than just provision?  Lets take a brief look at milk and honey.
Honey is sweet.  It contains nutrients which can combat illnesses.  A spoonful of local honey a day can help with allergies and the comb  can help with digestive disorders.  You can cook with it, use the wax for all sorts of things, and even use honey on your skin for irritations, according to the old timers.  It is all natural and God given with no artificial preservatives.  But if you get too much it can have an adverse reaction on your digestive tract and is strongly advised against for babies.  Honey, like any good thing, has its limitations.  It may be sweet, but must be used in moderation.
Milk has made a lot of changes over the years.  In the days of Moses, a cow or goat would have been milked, then the liquid strained for any substances like unprocessed grass or seed remnants. As they let the raw milk set, the cream floated to the top and was usually skimmed off to make butter or whipping cream.  Pasteurization is now required for milk to be sold in the U.S., which is basically a heating process to kill any contaminates.  This is done now to purify the milk.  Then there is the homogenization.
Homogenization is the blending of the milk fat into the rest until it is virtually undetectable.  I remember going to the dairy and buying milk in a glass, gallon jug.  It was always a treat to be the first one to peel the paper top off the jug and lick the cream from it.  It stuck to the roof of your mouth and was what could only be described as sweet.  Now, everything is blended together so much that you can’t tell if there really is any cream left in the milk at all. We buy milk in plastic jugs in varying degrees of milk fat content which is pasteurized and homogenized and sometimes even in the skim variety which tastes, to me, like white, colored water.
Now that you have had a brief lesson in milk and honey, lets get back to Israel. God knew that if the people were to intermingle with the local populace, their worship would turn from Him to other gods.  The only way for the Israelites to remain spiritually pure and true to Him would be to get rid of all remnants of  other gods and their worshipers.  God did not really want genocide but he knew that after 400 years of being around the Egyptians, it would be very easy for them to fall into worshiping false gods.  The milk and honey of the land would lead them to the watered down religion and the false security of plenty, and soon they would be worshiping the provision and not the provider.  They had already proved that with the manna and quail in the desert.
Lets put this into perspective for today.  First, I am in no way advocating genocide for non Christians.  That would go against everything that Jesus taught and would be utterly absurd.  But lets look at the facts.  We, as Christians, are being told that we are to accept and embrace any kind of lifestyle, or belief, that agrees with, or goes against,  all that we hold as truth.  Our government is embracing military advisers who firmly believe that Christians are a threat to our national security and should be deemed traitors to our government. (See  “”http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2013/04/28/Pentagon-Consults-Extremist-Who-Calls-Christians-Monsters-and-Enemies-of-the-Constitution-to-Develop-Religious-Tolerance-Policy )

Our society would rather that Christians are silent.  We are to keep our faith to ourselves and do not try to share the Gospel.  We are to be homogenized into the mainstream and accept all that is happening in society.  Christians are never to be outspoken about their faith or moral values if they go against the public opinion which is propagandized by the liberal media.  We are not even to be seen, much less heard.  Isn’t the fact that there is a church on every block (no matter how empty) enough for us?  All of our Christian “holidays” have been stripped of their original meaning in the mainstream.  Of course, these were homogenized into pagan holidays back in the 4th century.  Christmas=winter solstice/ Easter=bunnies and eggs honoring the sun god and moon goddess on the day of Ishtar.
Wake up, Christians.  We are being integrated or exterminated.  We must either stand for God or fall with Satan.  The milk and honey of American prosperity has lulled too many to sleep and it is time to honor God with our hearts and lives, not just with our lips.  A little Radical, yes. Extremist, maybe. Unrealistic. Psychotic.  Paranoid.  I think not.
Matthew 24 read and heed.