Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Right of Naming

A man had a vision in which God visited him.

God said to the man, “In the beginning, I named Adam. Then I told Adam to name all the plants and animals. Today a father names his child, and a child names his dog.

“Until the child names it, that dog is merely a dog. But once named, it is the child’s dog. Until a baby is named by its father, it is merely a baby. But once named, the father has stamped the child as his.

“In the same way, I have named you, for you are mine. The name your father gave you is your earthly name, but that is not the name I gave you. Nor is your father’s earthly name the one that I gave to him.”

Then the man said to God, “Tell me my name, Lord.”

But God replied, “I will tell no one the name that I have given to them until men stop trying to name Me. For I do not belong to men. All of their names…Allah, God, Yahweh…are intended to possess Me. But I cannot be possessed. Even Moses wanted to know my name so that he too might possess Me. But I told him, ‘I AM who I AM.’ No man on earth and no angel in heaven can ever possess Me.

“Be at peace and know that I have named you. Do not worry about your name, and do not worry about My name. For both will be made known to you at the end.”

Be possessed by Him, but do not try to possess Him.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Good Question from a Friend

I had a friend ask me a question about my very first post, and I thought it was difficult to answer, but a wonderful issue to explore.

He wrote, "In your first post you touched on Jesus being baptized. I just read that the other day and it talks about the "Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him" do you read this that until then he did not have the spirit of god with him, on him? obviously this is when he started his ministry, and had lived the life of a carpenter prior, but was he really just a human who happened to be God's some conceived by the virgin mary before this point? just thoughts..."

This is one of those questions that can't be truly answered, so all I am doing is giving it my own shot, so here is my (condensed) response:

"It's true that this is the point at which Jesus begins his adult ministry. He did have some kind of ministry as a child, but we don't know a lot about it, or about the time in between.

I personally think that the point of the Spirit descending upon Jesus is the Lord being proud of his son for getting ready to do his duty. The voice of God speaks, and I think it's the only time in the New Testament that God speaks other than the visions in Revelation (I might be wrong on that), and God says, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." That's a statement you say when you are a proud father. How could there be any Father who was ever more proud of His son? So I think God was always with him, but at this point, His son was taking on the job that he had been created for. And the Lord saw that it was good."

I am of the opinion that Jesus was human. I could get into an argument over the trinity, but what does that ultimately accomplish. That's the problem we have faced in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam for centuries. We argue over the minutiae and ignore the big picture...that we are to worship the Lord God Almighty in all that we do, and that everything comes from Him.

I have a son, and although he is still only a toddler, he does things that make me so proud. But if he told me, as an adult, "Dad, it's time for me to do what the Lord has called me to do," I think I would fall down in praise and say, "This is my son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."

I know...pride can be a sin...but it doesn't have to be. Pride can also be a wellspring of joy.

Special thanks to my friend who asked me this wonderful question.

The Mountain and the Heart

God uses the greatest amount of pressure, force, and time to create each mountain. Yet only the smallest forces are required to destroy it: wind, rain, and sand. Only God can create a mountain, and only He may destroy it.

But the barriers that we throw up in our hearts, we do so with the smallest amount of pressure and resistance, and in such short amounts of time. Yet it takes the greatest amount of force to tear those barriers down, because we are such stubborn people.

Be careful that you do not put up barriers to God, for though He can destroy them as easily as He can a mountain, you must come to God of your own accord.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Father and His Three Sons

A father had three sons. The firstborn honored his father, but he was stubborn and obstinate. The second had a good heart and loved his father, but he was easily led astray. The third was as loyal a son as any father has ever seen, but as a brother he was hateful and often cursed his own blood.

Many came to the man, saying, “You should cast out your stubborn and obstinate son,” or, “Stop allowing your wayward son to return to you,” or, “Your hateful son will be your downfall.”

But the father only replied, “They are my sons, and I love them all.”

Today's Post

Okay, I'm going to post my next parable, and it does not come right out and say what it is about. My hope is that someone reading it will want to leave a comment about what they think it says. I know what is intended, but the power of a parable is that the reader (or the person who hears it), must interpret for him or herself.

So if you have a question about its meaning, or you want to see if you can decipher the meaning, please post a comment about it. I love reading comments!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The King and the Cobbler

The king looks at his sons running around his feet and wonders, ‘Which one will kill me when I am old?’

The cobbler looks at his sons running around his feet and wonders, ‘Which one will care for me when I am old?’

The king wishes he were the cobbler, and the cobbler wishes he were a king.

Every man wishes for what he does not have. Very few wish for the right things.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Bar Owner

A man owned a bar, and each day many people would visit to drink his beer and to enjoy themselves.

But each day a small group of people would gather outside the bar and hurl insults at the man. “You wicked man!” they would yell. “The people who come here might drink your beer and become drunk.”

The bar owner would greet the mockers kindly and invite them in, saying, “Come in and see for yourself. Have a taste of the beer I have to offer. I think you might enjoy it.”

“Never,” the crowd would respond in protest, then walk away. Each day this happened, and each day the result was the same.

Until the end of his days, the Bar Owner was surrounded by many friends. Though a few became drunk and uncontrollable, most drank in moderation and were friendly with their brothers.

But the crowd of mockers were never happy. They remained miserable each day the bar was open out of fear that they might become drunk on his beer.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Two Fields of Corn

Two farmers had fields next to one another, both full of corn stalks.

One farmer feared that his stalks of corn would be broken if the local children played in his field, so he took great measures to frighten them and yell at them so that they stayed away from his land.

The other farmer enjoyed watching the children play, so he encouraged them to play amongst his corn, even though they would sometimes break a stalk or two.

When it came time to harvest, the farmer who had frightened the children away found that most of his crop had been picked clean by crows and by vermin.

The farmer who had encouraged the children to play in his field, however, had a beautiful crop. The playing children had frightened all the birds and rats away. With nowhere else to go, they had gone into the other farmer’s field.

The farmer who befriended the children was doubly blessed, because of the great crop he reaped, as well as for the many hours he had been granted watching the children at play.

He who shuns the Lord’s children shall be cursed, while he who invites them in shall be doubly blessed.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Make Straight the Path of the Lord

I had not told my wife that I had started this blog, because I was afraid that she would either be embarrassed by my actions or think I was crazy. Sometimes I worry that I am crazy.

But today at lunch I told her and she gave me some sage advice. She said, "I don't know if you're truly God-inspired or if you just have a really good way of writing down religious thoughts in a way that's reminiscent of the way Jesus spoke. Maybe it's both. But either way, if you're going to do this, do it with some humility."

First off, I was relieved that she wasn't embarrassed or irritated. But second, she touched on the whole reason I waited so long to even start posting these parables. I too wonder whether I am God-inspired or whether I can just write in this style. I am afraid that I will be perceived as a crazy person who had some delusion of grandeur of being the second coming of Christ, when that couldn't be further from the truth.

John the Baptist was "A voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'" (Matthew 3:3).

Isn't this what we are all called to do? We are told to be ready at all times. Well, I know that I am not. I fall short, but as I struggle in my efforts to prepare the way for the Lord, I think this is one of the ways I am meant to do so.

I am not crazy. And I do not know why or from where my inspiration comes. All that I have comes from God, so I can take no pride in my words for they too come from the Lord.

The Thief in the House of Sin

Each man, like a thief, will enter the house of sin. But tread lightly, for in this house, the occupants will rush out to greet you if they hear your footsteps. They will take you deeper into the house, loading you up with all the treasures they can find, and they will make your burden so heavy that it will be very hard for you to ever leave.

But if you are quiet, and you go unnoticed, you can exit the house in stealth, having realized that there was never actually anything of real value to be found.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Parable of the Beautiful Song

Three men were sitting together listening to some music. Suddenly, the most beautiful song they had ever heard began to play.

The first man thought, “This song is so gorgeous, it reminds me of the love I have for my wife.” So he got up and went home to see her.

The second man thought, “This song is so lovely, it reminds me of the love I have for my children.” So he got up at once and went off to see them.

The third man thought, “This song is so glorious, it reminds me of the love God has for me.” So he got up at once and set off to share it with anyone who would listen.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Parable of the Two Brothers

A father had two sons. To the older, he said, “God is everywhere and nowhere. He is without form, and yet He is in everything.” And his eldest son believed him. To the younger son, he said, “God lives and dwells in this house. That way He is near to us always,” and the younger son believed him.

When the boys had grown to be men, the older said to the younger, “We should move from this place, for there are many other places out there to explore.”

“No,” the younger said, “God lives in this house. We cannot move from here.”

“God does not dwell only here, you fool,” the older brother said. “God is all around us. He is not confined to a building.”

So the younger went to his father and asked, “Father, is God in our house?”

“Yes,” his father answered. Satisfied, the young man went back and told his brother what their father had said.

Then the elder brother went to their father and said, “Father, I thought God was not limited to just a house, but that He lived everywhere.”

“What you say is correct,” his father told him. Satisfied, he went back and told his younger brother what their father had said.

And so the two brothers hated each other, though they both worshipped God faithfully. They warred with one another, as did their children, and all their descendants to this day.

Does God call people to start a blog?

As a Christian, I feel that God can and does talk to people. Not necessarily the voice of God coming down from on high to tell us what we should and shouldn't do. He hasn't spoken to humans that way since His son was baptized. However, God does put things in front of us several times until we finally realize that He wants us to do something.

So a few months ago as I was sitting in church a thought popped into my head which I thought was interesting. I mulled it around for a second and then I promptly began to forget it. But strangely, I couldn't forget it. I actually tried. And I kept getting the feeling that I needed to write it down and save it.

Despite this fact, I still tried to forget it and I refused to write it down, until it finally occurred to me that it was beyond my control. I had to write it down or it would end up driving me crazy. So I did.

Then it happened again. And again. And again.

It wasn't always at church. Sometimes it was as I was lying in bed, or when I was at work, or when I was just trying to spend some time with my son. So I have compiled a set of what I can only describe as New Parables to share. I don't have enough to start writing a book. But I do have enough to start writing a blog. So my next post, which I will do in just a few minutes is the first of these parables...the one that was driving me crazy.

I don't know who will read this, if anyone. But for the past month I have felt compelled to start this blog, and in my typical stubborn way I have tried to ignore this sensation. But the word of the Lord cannot be ignored. So I guess what I am saying is that I feel God has called me to start a blog (which looks crazy to me as I type it out!). But God also called 11 men to go to countries they weren't familiar with and to start talking with complete strangers...and to die for His word.

So who am I to complain? I just have to type something into a computer.