The Foolishness of Nature Worship

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The Foolishness of Nature Worship by King Solomon.
(Reflections of a royal philosopher)

For all people who were ignorant
of God were foolish by nature; and
they were unable from the good things
that are seen to know the one who exists,
nor did they recognize the artisan but his works.

They supposed that either fire or
wind or the circle of the stars, or
turbulent water or the luminaries of
heaven were the gods that rule the world.

If through delight in the beauty of these
things, people assumed them to be gods, let
them know how much better than these is their
Lord, for the author of beauty created them.

And if people were amazed at their power
and working, let them perceive how much
more powerful is the one who formed them.
For from the greatness and beauty of
created things comes a corresponding
perception of their Creator.

Can we blame them? Perhaps they go astray
while seeking God and desiring to find him.
For while they live among his works,
they keep searching, and they trust in
what they can see, because the things
that are seen are beautiful.

Yet again, not even they are to be excused;
for if they had the power to know so much
that they could investigate the world,
how did they fail to find sooner the
Lord of these things?

Credits:
Text – Paraphrased from The Book of Wisdom (Chapter 13) – NRSV Edition
Image – Pixabay

 

 

 

 

 

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Selfies, Fleshly Cuffs – Much Ado About IT

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Credit: Pixabay Images

This is the way a certain man’s *story ends:
He had John beheaded in the dungeon. And John’s head, ratty with matted dreadlocks and a thick, scruffy beard, was placed on a gleaming silver platter and given to the girl, who served it to her mother, Herodias. Then his followers came, took away the decapitated body and buried it…
The it stopped me cold. Why didn’t the story say buried him?

In our self-obsessed culture, we tend to place people with the It-Factor on ivory pedestals, gawk at their sculptured (airbrushed) perfection in glossy prints and agree that they are entitled to a form of rarefied air and lifestyle. Somehow the image, this physical part of us has become our highest hope. We obsess about body image, contour, nip and tuck our angles and curves. In this selfie-crazed world, what chance does the soul, the spirit have to thrive?

“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.” Luke 12:4

I live in LA, the most cynical city in the world and as Andy Warhol’s  Interview Magazine promotes their “The #ME Issue” an issue dedicated to the art of the celebrity selfie featuring eight covers profiling the “Instagang” – Victoria Beckham, Selena Gomez, Kim Kardashian, Miley Cyrus, Mert Alas, Madonna, Jennifer Lopez and Zayn Malik et al., I wonder if there’s a place for higher-level introspection, for God, for selflessness in our dizzy urban kaleidoscope.

Really??!

Really?!

It sucks, but at some point, everyone’s story will come to an end. What’s left behind becomes it and lest the decaying, decomposing carcass constitute a health hazard, it is buried in the original organic matter to bond with grave robbers, maggots and critters. For some, their real essence, (the genderless soul) will be shocked to find that beyond our fleshy cuffs, this shell of flesh, this body of death, what you look like doesn’t matter after all.

Neither does what you do or who you are. The most important attribute is who you believed in. Here’s wishing us all a selfless life and a happy ending.

*story @ Matthew 14 (paraphrased)

Living Out The Plan

Living out the plan

There’s got to be one. A plan that is  – for my life and yours, otherwise why are we still occupying precious space on this crazy earth, breathing without effort. If there was a Garden of Eden for Adam and Eve, a head-strong mother and a wicker basket set among the reeds in the crocodile-ridden Nile river for Moses, and the *Magi who fascinated by a lone star in the sky, travelled thousands of miles laden with gifts for a baby boy born in a filthy manger, surely God designed a unique destiny for each of us before we showed up wrinkled, loud and cranky.

Some have retained those loud and cranky traits because sometimes, life simply sucks! On a conscious level we acknowledge the strain of our journey but it helps to go deeper and not stay at the level of frustration when our carefully crafted plans crumble. There is this inner gnawing, an acute distress and emptiness when we are not living out the plan. God has a good plan, for each person as unique and distinct as our fingerprints to bring us out into a wealthy place. (Psalm 66:12)

Living out the plan

My loving mother was always ahead of the times. In elementary  school, she got us monogrammed tee-shirts. This was the eighties, so it was a big deal. I don’t know if any of my four siblings remember that afternoon surprise, but the message on my shirt – Future Hope  –  stuck with me. Mom was inspired by the promise that God’s plan for us are good and leads us to an expected end. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Remember that as God’s children we are not left to figure out or do life on our own – that helps put our successes and even failures in the right perspective. We can live out His plan for us if we:

  • Connect with the Source of our life-plan – time spent with God either in prayer, worship or meditation is never a waste. Looking back I wonder how much pain I could have avoided if I just sought His way and ideas first (Matthew 6:33). God should not be our last resort.
  • Build up faith by considering His word and promises – the game of life is won or lost not based on the events themselves but on our interpretation of them. Whose opinion or report will you believe?
  • Trust and obey – sometimes like Moses, we’ll be instructed by God to grab a proverbial snake by the tail. God’s ways are unusual, mysterious, creative but always in line with His word.

living out the plan

God leads by revelation and illumination, we learn by experience.  We’ll sometimes fail but are not left to pick up the pieces alone.  In living out the plan, there’s more than at stake than what we see or perceive – it’s about changing  the world.  Someone on assignment is the one making a difference.
For more resources about living out the plan for your life, check out Rick Warren’s books – “The Purpose Driven Life” and “What On Earth Am I Here For?” Shalom.

*Magi – the “wise men” from the East who brought gifts to the infant Jesus (Matt. 2:1), said in later tradition to be kings named Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar who brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Images: Pixabay/Google.

The Four Blood Moons Phenomenon – Tetrad and Feasts

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This is for the eternally curious. Q – What is a Passover holiday without a Full Red Blood Moon?  A – Another Jewish Holiday.

There will be a total lunar eclipse starting early Tuesday morning at 12.53 a.m.  A very rare “blood moon” will mark a first of four between now and next year, forming a series of  four consecutive total lunar eclipses known as a “tetrad.”

According to NASA eclipse expert Fred Espenak, “Sometimes centuries can pass before a tetrad occurs, so the fact that one is about to unfold is a special occurrence – one that Americans should enjoy considering they’ll be able to see all four blood moons.”

What Exactly is a Blood Moon?

Speaking with ABC News Digital, NASA scientist Michelle Thaller explained the phenomenon.

“The moon is going to line up in just the right angle to pass through the shadow of the Earth,” she said.“That’s going to block the sun’s light from reaching the moon, and that means we’ll actually see the earth’s shadow creep across the full moon. At the deepest part of the eclipse, the moon does actually look red, it really does.”  Check out my Mie’s Gone poem.

This year, the intrigue of the impeding blood moons, forecasted by NASA and prophesied in the Bible is a mystery in the workings of things beyond our control. The significance of these four blood moons on very important Jewish holidays  is explained by Bible scholars and in books by Pastors John Hagee,  Mark Biltz and  Mark Hitchcock.

While Christians and Messianic Jews celebrate Easter, all Jewish people will traditionally celebrate the Passover, and we know what they say, “As Israel goes…so does the world.”  Sorry Americans 🙂

It is significant when scripture, science and history collaborate each other, as noted with the earlier tetrads. Here are references to blood moons in the Bible:

In  Joel 2:31, God says there will be “wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire…the sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” In Acts 2:20, the Apostle Peter repeats that verse from Joel. And in Revelation 6:12,  during the Great Tribulation, “the moon will become like blood.”

Credit: Mark

Credit: Mark Biltz

 

According to Mark Biltz, The earlier sets of blood-red moons tracked by NASA have  corresponded to significant events:

The Spanish Inquisition — 1492  – This set of blood moons followed the Alhambra Decree ordering all remaining Jews during the Spanish Inquisition, who refused to convert to Christianity to leave Spain. The Jews were promptly expelled.

* Passover, April 2, 1493
* Sukkot, Sept. 25, 1493
* Passover, March 22, 1494
* Sukkot, Sept. 15, 1494

The War of Independence — 1948 – This next set came after the War of Independence and Statehood of Israel

* Passover, April 13, 1949
* Sukkot, Oct. 7, 1949
* Passover, April 2, 1950
* Sukkot, Sept. 26, 1950

The Six-Day War — 1967 – The Six-Day War had back-to-back, blood-red moons occur on the first day of Passover and Sukkot the following two years:

* First Day of Passover, April 24, 1967
* First Day of Sukkot, Oct. 18, 1967
* First Day of Passover. April 13, 1968
* First Day of Sukkot, Oct. 6, 1968

So here we are wondering what is ABOUT to take place during this 2013–2015 time period, after the same phenomenon of the Tetra – Four Blood Moons appear on these dates listed on NASA’s website, which coincide with Jewish feast days?

* First Day of Passover, April 15, 2014
* First Day of Sukkot, Oct. 8, 2014
* First Day of Passover, April 4, 2015
* First Day of Sukkot, Sept. 28, 2015

These Pastors explain through their books and history that something dramatic might happen in the Middle East involving Israel that will change the course of history and affect Israel and the world, following these blood moons. We are in the world and that is why we care. Please stay safe, pray for your family, Israel and the world, also be mindful of your pets and animals who are often very sensitive and easily spooked.  

God says the lights in the sky are for “signs and seasons, and for days and years.” Are we paying any attention?

Also for eternally curious people like me and geeks, NASA has set up a live web chat to answer questions about the blood moon, starting at I a.m EST.

God’s Not Dead – This Should NOT be Headline news!

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The movie, GOD’S NOT DEAD by Pure Flix Entertainment featuring  Kevin Sorbo (Hercules) and Shane Harper (Spencer in Disney’s Good Luck Charlie), Dean Cain (Superman) and David A.R. White (Jerusalem Countdown) with special appearances by Christian super-band, Newsboys who perform — God’s Not Dead , Willie and Korie of the Duck Dynasty (which I do not watch)  opened today in theaters across America. There are plans to screen the movie in other parts of the world too.

The movie synopsis stems from the book by Dr. Rice Broocks  a highly respected senior minister and founder of  Every Nation  family of churches, which according to the website, “currently includes more than 1,000 churches in more than 60 countries …  is on hundreds of college campuses ….focusing on equipping college students around the world to defend their faith.” He also developed the 10 questions conversation – The God Test.

The book presents Nine (9) basic proofs of God’s existence and includes stories of the journey of faith, doubt, disbelief from people ranging from an atheist Harvard Professor to campus students having to defend His existence intellectually. The reality is that while God is evident to Christians, the rest of the human population could be completely oblivious or worse indifferent.

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The book tackles the arguments of atheists such as Dawkins, Harris, Krauss, Mahrer and explores the direct  impact that the teachings of Darwin and Nietzsche have, especially on the highly intellectual communities and shapes the minds our children and young adults. (Parents need to pay attention…our children have to learn to defend their faith.)

Why is this important and Who needs this?

  • The Seekers – those wondering, what if God REALLY exists? It’s not a sappy movie, but a serious INTELLECTUAL, CEREBRAL discourse around the question that plagues our hearts.
  •  The Hungry – people feeling empty and searching for more in life. C.S.Lewis said, “If you are hungry, that points to the existence of food.”
  • Christians  who have always wanted a non-preachy way to articulate and express their faith. The Spirit convicts the heart, we cannot do His job, but we can offer plain intellectual and logical answers to questions about our faith and belief in the Lord.
  • Parents who want to fortify their children with information that is powerful in the face of dogmatic philosophies that run rampant in colleges and schools.
  • Anyone who is still alive, breathing and just for Pete’s sake, wants to know the straight forward truth
Screen Shot 2014-03-21 at 2.04.54 PMI entered college as a Christian, got carried away, flunked a few (OK, a lot) of courses, got angry with God for “failing” me and basically ignored Him for a good chuck of my early adult years. That decision cost me dearly.
Without a solid foundation and core understanding of WHY we believe, by the time we get through college, most us will suffer a crisis of faith.

Here are some questions from the Dr Broocks’ book to ponder as you head into the theater or order the book:

  1.  Why would you believe that there is nothing rather than something?
  2.  Where did life come from? Evolution doesn’t explain where the first self replicating mutation came from.
  3. Where did our unseen conscience come from? Across cultures, nations and creed, why are we moral, how do we innately and universally know right from wrong?
  4. Who can you trust? A being who demands sacrifices from you or one who became the sacrifice?

Sites like RatioChristi and PoachedEgg provide apologetic resources that shakes us out of our comfort zone, so that we learn to give logical reasons for our faith.  Some one said, “We are not salt-shakers but real change agents when we engage our world.”

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So get out there, get some organic popcorn (*wink*), grab a friend, your child or loved one, pay for a stranger to go see the movie and  if you stumbled on this post after it’s gone from theaters, please get the DVD and read the book. In the indelible lyrics of the Newsboys, “Our God’s not dead, He is surely alive!” (And this should NOT be headline news.)

*All image credits from God’snotdead.org site.

Prompt: How far would you go…to defend your belief in God?