I think this is pretty cool. You should, too!

300 words a day

(This post was first published May 9, 2009.)

Lots of people are wondering what God is calling them to do. And that is a good question. But on the way to the answer, we fill in many answers. So let me suggest some of the things that God did not call you to.

You are not called to be me.
You are not called to be your mother.
You are not called to be your pastor.
You are not called to be happy all the time.
You are not called to be rich.
You are not called to be as organized as the neighbor on the right.
You are not called to be as disorganized as the neighbor on the left.
You are not called to be as ___ as your uncle dave.
You are not called to be your sister.
You are not called to be the guy…

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Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 07/15/2012

Do not forget Proverbial Thought!

In May of 2007, a friend and I had a ministry we dubbed “Drunk Bus”. We would drive around our little college town on weekend nights from 11:00 pm until 2:00-3:00 am picking up partiers and club-goers, pub-crawlers and night-on-the-towners, and general drinkers and drunks. All we offered was a ride home. Only if people asked would we share that we did it because God first loved us, so we love them enough to give them rides (1 John 4:19).

We saw some lives cleaned up and others turned to our Lord!

I also wrote this poem on one of those nights.

Drunk’s poem

Nightly selling their souls.
Don’t they have anywhere else to go?
Drowning their emotions away
Thinking they are truly happy.
Why can they not see the truth?
Why do they waste away their youth?
Moving around from place to place
Not realizing how off base
Their actions really are.
Salvation cannot be found in a bar.
Don’t they know there’s more to life than this?
Don’t they know their wanderings are pointless?
God, open their eyes up to real life.
Help them see Your glorious light.
Show them life can mean so much more.
Move them into a better future.

Taken from deeper words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m  klem, page 101.

Imagine There’s No Heaven – It’s Easy If You Try

First, I ask that you please pray this week, as we are with our youth in Colorado Springs, CO, for the Desperation Youth Conference!

Second, make sure to read David’s thoughts today and the rest of ours every day over at Proverbial Thought!

John Lennon offered this atheistic approach to life in the song “Imagine” that there is no Heaven … nor Hell, for that matter.

I am going to argue why he was right and wrong!

For starters, I must put this disclaimer: no one living on Earth truly understands Heaven and Hell.

I would even argue that most people on this planet are almost completely wrong on their beliefs on Heaven and Hell, including pastors, priests, and other clergy.

I am not going to get into a long list that dives deep into all of the theology of Heaven and Hell.

Why John was wrong

For starters, there indeed is a spiritual realm. For anyone who believes as an atheist, at the very least you have to acknowledge that there is a realm of reality which we cannot see and we know has an effect on our universe. We just argue that the spiritual realm is such a place.

Again, this is not where I dive into the deeply theological parts of this. Though, here are a few places in which we know something else exists:

Why John was right

We hear many Christians talking about spending eternity in Heaven or Hell.

Quite honestly, as they seem to be understood in at least our Western culture, I do not think so.

If you go with the definition of Heaven as “with God” and Hell as “not with God,” then I concede and concur with you.

However, many Christians see Heaven as the place we go to be with God when we die if we believed in Him, and Hell is the place we go to not be with God when we die if we did not or refused to believe in Him. Most Christians agree that eventually God will ultimately judge all the people, the living and the dead, at some point in what we call the future.

(Disclaimer: I hold to the Revelation of John being a prophecy that, while some things may have come true, has largely yet to take place. If you disagree, we can have that conversation later!)

Here is the thing: God will one day make His home among His people on a renewed Earth, and all those who reject Him will be cast into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20).

As it stands, nothing as it is will exist:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
Revelation 21:1-5

Perhaps you can understand now why I say John Lennon can be right.

I am not an Universalist, and I am not claiming to be an Annihilationist, but I do not believe everyone will be in “Hell” for eternity. Again, what this really means is for another discussion. However, the places we tend to call Heaven and Hell, as evidenced in the Scripture above, will no longer be.

Are there any thoughts on this?

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 07/08/2012

Do not forget to check out Proverbial Thought everyday!

Monsoon season for Arizona started a few weeks ago (while my lovely wife and I were in Illinois), but there has been very little rain to date. We even have been hearing about many wildfires that have destroyed thousands of acres of land, hundreds of homes, and made life all around miserable for many people.

We are also taking our youth group to Colorado Springs for the Desperation Youth Conference.

We all can desperately stand to have more of God and His blessings.

Therefore, the poem for today is also a prayer for the Southwest region of the United States (and other places). It is a prayer for our youth. It is a prayer for all people.

Let it rain
Let it rain
Let Your power come
Let Your will be done
Let Your love flow on
Manifest Your Kingdom

Let it rain
Let it rain
Let Your glory fall
Let our souls stand tall
Make all Your people
Something beautiful

Let it rain
Let it rain
Let Your Spirit move
Let the earth see You
Let people come to
The King of the Jews

Let it rain
Let it rain
Let me see Your face
Let me offer praise
Let my spirit say
Jesus is the Way

Taken fromdeeper words for God from a simple man of Godby daniel m  klem, page 97.

My wonderful Catholic brother makes some great points. It does not matter your political affiliation (if any), because we need to understand our nations history and heritage and, more importantly, to pray and seek God’s wisdom before we vote (or even listen to the candidates)!

In Dependence Day

Happy Birthday, United States of America!

I realized I have not posted a song in a while that I enjoy. I think this one is a good one for today.

The only way to truly have freedom in this life is to surrender to our Lord and Savior (Galatians 5:1).

Until then we are merely slaves to our own desires and sinfulness, and only through the Cross can we attain freedom and righteousness (Romans 6).

Remember on this day of celebration of freedom from tyranny (or whenever you celebrate freedom in some way) that it is only through the Lord Jesus Christ that we truly experience freedom.

It does not come through physical war. It does not come through destroying buildings or cities. It does not come through protests. It does not come through fighting or arguing.

It only comes through faith in the saving work of Jesus Christ through His death on the Cross and resurrection from the grave.

Happy birthday, United States of America! Happy Re-birthday, all who have found freedom in Christ!

America, Taxes, and Choices

Tomorrow is July 4. In honor of the day, HAPPY 236TH BIRTHDAY, USA!

It also seems appropriate to gear my post toward current events in this nation. Let first warn that this is merely a very short summary, not a specific and detailed explanation. This is also not an attack on one political party or support for another (but it sure will seem like it). I merely am using an example. (Though it is no secret I do not care for Obama as POTUS)

This past Thursday, June 28, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) voted 5-4 in favor of upholding the Affordable Care Act (affectionately named Obamacare), with Chief Justice John Roberts writing the majority summary.

To sum up the basics:

  • everyone is guaranteed health coverage;
  • all people must have health insurance;
  • if you do not have health insurance, you are fined every year.

The Obama Administration, including Obama himself, said this Act was not a new tax.

This claim caused conservatives to decry the Obamacare as a violation of the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution, which allows the Federal government to regulate commerce but not to force citizens to use one specific good or service.

Most people (including the Obama Administration) thought the conservative leaning SCOTUS would strike down Obamacare based on this Act. Instead, they upheld the law as a tax.

The Administration praised the decision.

Conservatives and many Americans were very upset and felt betrayed.

At least one conservative praised the decision.

Erick Erickson wrote an article titled I’m Not Down on John Roberts. He argues why Roberts did the right thing:

  1. He kept the court above partisan politics;
  2. He kept the Law political instead of legal (stemming from reason 1);
  3. He “expanded” taxation powers, but he limited the Commerce Clause powers of Congress;
  4. The Democrats (and anyone else who supported Obamacare) are now fighting an uphill battle in an election year, especially seeing as a new giant tax was levied against everyone;
  5. He took away the Democratic Party’s recent argument that Obama needs to be re-elected to remove conservative activist judges;
  6. He galvanized Conservatives.

As Erickson put it here, “I am disappointed, but not distraught. In reading his opinion, I conclude Roberts is playing at a different game than the rest of us. We’re on poker. He’s on chess.”

Why do I share this on a blog about theology and Christian living?

First is this: “Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it fully.” (Proverbs 8:5, NIV)

Clearly, both Democrats and Republicans, Conservatives and Liberals, the Left and Right do not understand justice. Both cry for it, but neither understands it. Both have hoped for courts to save their laws or deny the laws of their opponents (Remember SB1070 of Arizona or Prop 8 of California).

Both sides have resorted to sneak attacks and scape goats, letting others take the fall for their underhanded practices, while barely actually representing those who have elected them.

Secondly: “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16, NIV)

I do not completely agree with Chief Justice Roberts, but he did make a very wise play from a conservative standpoint. When he made his decision to uphold Obamacare as a tax, he refused to play by the rules set up for him in the recent political climate. He still played by the rules of politics, but he put the responsibility for change back into the hands of the people. In his words:

Members of this Court are vested with the authority to interpret the law; we possess neither the expertise nor the prerogative to make policy judgments. Those decisions are entrusted to our nation’s elected leaders, who can be thrown out of office if the people disagree with them. It is not our job to protect people from the consequences of their political choices. (Emphasis added)

Which leads to the final point: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” (Galatians 6:7, NIV)

Our nation is in the position it is in not just because of our elected leaders. For far too long the citizens of the United States of America have by and large voted in reaction to policies and people. Most people do not look into politicians histories or voting records. Most people do not look into facts as presented.

Most voters vote on how they feel or how a politician makes them feel.

No wonder our nation (and many nations globally) are so torn and divisive.

I am not telling you for whom you should vote. Instead, you should not play the fool but know what politicians are saying, how they stand, and how they have acted.

Pay attention to the details. Do not just react to what you think you know or what makes you angry, upset, or happy. To do so can lead to consequences you may not like.

Seek God. Make wise decisions.