I NO LONGER MAKE NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS!!
WHY? Two things!
- I have come to view the end of one year and the start of another as
- a little too artificial.
- Imagine looking back to the earth
- from the vantage point of the moon.
- What is the difference between
- December 31st and
- January 1st?
- Or Imagine being a bird, or another animal.
- What is the difference in the experience
- of December 31st relative to January 1st?
- I have resolutions,
- but they are no longer bound by an artificial timeline.
- My resolutions
- like time itself,
- are always on a continuum; and they
- are about
- ‘always growing’;
- always becoming a better version of me.
- I don’t stop striving to become better version of me
- just because I broke a resolution after two months.
- Neither do I wait until the next December 31st
- to resolve to start again;
- to become a better version of me;
- after I fail by February 1st each year.
So what should we do on the 31st of December each year?
- Do celebrate
- the end of a block of (man made) ‘time’ and the start of a new one,
- like everybody else; and
- it is useful to have time markers along the way, but
- Do, never become obsessive
- that you must meet all your benchmarks within the year
- to consider yourself successful!
So here is the ONE AND ONLY RESOLUTION you need to have:
- Always strive to become a better version of yourself with each passing day:
- Be better at your faith, you know,
- trust, pray, love, give, testify, know, and serve more, etc.,
- about and as a result of your faith!
- Better in your character
- (the real you;
- what’s inside;
- like toothpaste,
- what comes out when pressure is applied);
- Be more dependable, more patient, more truthful,
- more balanced, less self-centered, more at peace with yourself,
- more generous with others,
- with your resources as well as with their faults etc.,
- more self disciplined with time, words, and actions; wiser.
- Better in your relationships: more
- serving, self-less, open, forgiving, listening and less talking,
- considerate, gentle, humble, and more self-control.
- Better at your Career: Make it your goal to be
- more dependable, knowledgeable, skillful, useful, available, etc.
A wise man once said, long ago:
“…One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize…” Paul (ca. AD 52-62, Phil 3.13-14)
HAPPY NEW YEAR!! PLEASE LIKE AND SHARE!!
This should have been posted before Thanksgiving Day. All the same,
“Better Late than never,” and on thanksgiving week,
I heard one radio announcer say:
“Thanksgiving is not a day, it is an attitude of the heart.”
T – THANK and PRAISE God
- for all things BIG and SMALL!
- And do not forget
- the precious people in your life!
H – HEALTH AND LIFE
- are things we can all be thankful for
- even if we are ill at a hospital
A – APPRECIATE and ADMIRE
- the beauty of God’s creation around you.
N – NAME and NUMBER
- your blessings,
- its a rewarding experience,
- including the precious people in your life.
K – KINDNESS and THANKSGIVING
- in the heart
- are twin siblings in the same home.
S – A SMILE and a CHEER;
- want to see it on the face of the deserving?
- Just say, “Thank You!”
- from the heart
- and with a warm smile!
G – GIVING and RECEIVING:
- The one exists not without the other
I – ICTUS;
- Five Greek letters for ‘fish‘:
- Jesus, Christ, God, Son, Savior:
- at least one reason to “give thanks!”
V – VISION and VALUE:
- Nothing says:
- “I see and I value what you have done” like when you say
I – INSIDE and OUTSIDE:
- A thankful heart, expressed outwardly in sincere words
N – NICE and NEW:
- Thanksgiving is always that
G – GOOD to GREAT:
- ‘Good Gifts’ become ‘GREAT GIFTS,’
- when it is received with a heartfelt:
Where does Satan and our Sinful Nature fit
- in explaining the evil that is in the World Today?
As a Christian
- I learn about the existence of ‘Satan‘ and of the ‘Sinful Nature,’ but
- I have not fully resolved
- how those two (sinful nature and Satan) interact to bring evil in the world.
Regarding Satan (the devil, serpent, tempter, accuser, destroyer, etc.)
- Is he present everywhere at the same time?
- everyone appears to be constantly being affected or
- How is he able to tempt each person individually?
- How come he knows what we are thinking?
- How come he knows so much
- about our individual histories, personalities and weaknesses?
- If Satan, ‘the devil’
- can tempt, deceive, dissuade, discourage, destroy individuals
- even as the human population on the earth
- continues to grow and
- has reached over 4 billion; and if he
- can work his evil from generation to generation for thousands of years;
- the way some people say he does,
- does not that make him a very powerful person
- with some attributes like God(!)?
- But he is NOT GOD!
This brings us to another source of evil in the world:
- The Sinful/Evil Nature in all of us.
A ‘celebrity’ (in the early church) once said this about himself:
- (in the first century)
- “For I know that good itself does not dwell in me,
- that is, in my sinful nature.
- For I have the desire to do what is good,
- but I cannot carry it out.
- For I do not do the good I want to do,
- but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.”
This is what that sinful nature looks like:
- He(She) is lazy, slow, and a procrastinator.
- He(She) lies, exaggerates, and deceives
- He(She) is incredibly selfish;
- He(She) is greedy, proud, boastful, and self-promoting
- He(She) can be lewd, nasty, and insensitive
- He(She) is utterly against God
- He(she) does not want to submit to God’s rule or to worship him;
- He(She) does not like to humble himself before God;
- He(She) does not like to pray;
- He(She) does not want to read sacred scriptures;
- He(She) does not like limits
- if the speed limit is 40 mph, he(she) wants to go at 45 mph or
- if the speed limit is 55 mph, 65 mph seems attractive to him/her
- He(She) lacks self control, prefers excesses,
- he(she) does not want to wait or to accept limit on him/herself
- whether it’s with regard to food and drink, or
- in relation to social interactions,
- including sex, and marital fidelity;
- he(she) does not want to go to bed or to wake up early;
- with regards to words and conversations,
- he(she) can be mean, insensitive, inconsiderate, gossipy, and crass.
- He(She) is never satisfied, always wants more.
- He(She) works against the interest of the person in whom he dwells;
- the excesses of the sinful nature may cause
- disease, physical harm, crime and punishment;
- auto accidents, fire, financial ruin,
- ruined relationships and broken families,
- loss of face and status, loss of power, etc.;
- but this does not stop him or cause him to change direction .
I believe that
- this sinful/evil nature is in every human being;
- it can be conditioned/tempered by
- parental discipline and personal experiences;
- Christian (religious) conversion and education, and by
- custom, and the laws of society;
- this sinful nature is a “he/she” because
- it is a part of but
- not the totality of who we are as individuals
- because he(she) appears to operate by ‘reason’ and ‘persuasion’
- to our minds and/or to our will
- (See Paul above in Romans 7.15-25);
- as individuals we have still have the ability
- TO MAKE A CHOICE between what
- the persuasion of what the sinful nature wants and what
- commons sense, conscience, laws of society, and the dictates of our faith, tell us.
- (Personally, I refer to this sinful nature as “THE BEAST”).
- Bring a community of people together
- with this sinful nature and its tendencies,
- we then have endless possibilities for evil,
NEXT POST: BRINGING THE TWO TOGETHER:
- SATAN, OUR SINFUL NATURE, AND THE PREVALENCE OF EVIL IN OUR WORLD!!
Questions: Pain, Suffering, Evil, and God?
- What is my ‘SATISFYING ANSWER’?
- If God is ‘ALTOGETHER GOOD AND ALMIGHTY’
- why the pain, the suffering, and all the evil
- that we see in the world?
I now believe that this
- God-designed creation runs on a ‘natural order’ (!)
- based on the laws of science in
- biology, physics and engineering, chemistry, geology, astronomy
- mathematics and statistics, electronics, nuclear physics, etc.;
- based on the laws of society and human interactions in
- sociology and anthropology,
- political science and economics, etc.
- It is the challenge and opportunity of all men
- since the days of Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon, etc.,
- including Christians, and all genuine God worshipers,
- to discover and utilize these laws for their benefit;
- as stated in the book of Genesis when God’s says to man,
- “fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1.28)
- “work it[the garden-creation] and keep it.“ (Genesis 2.15)
- Creation running on the ‘natural order’ is also ‘broken’ and
- all men are subjected to this broken natural order INCLUDING
- Christians, people of earnest faith, genuine God Worshipers;
- evil, vile and wicked men;
- evil schemes, wars, crimes, corruption,
- are to be expected and do happen;
- typhoons, storms, tornadoes, earthquakes, accidents,
- diseases like cancer, deformity, fatal accidents,
- God is making a NEW HEAVEN AND A NEW EARTH,
- a restored creation with a restored ‘natural order’!!
I also believe that God rendered himself ‘Almost Powerless’
- in the affairs of men
- when he gave man total freedom to make choices!
- Most of the evil in this world
- comes from men and societies making evil choices,
- spouses cheat, abuse, and abandon families;
- wayward children choose wrong paths;
- criminals, political leaders, sociopaths,
- make wrong choices that harm others,
- ensure continuing cycle of evil
- as their ‘broken’ victims
- turn around and victimize others.
- God let’s men have their own way so that they can see
- in themselves and in the results of their choices
- a need for God,
- if they would believe
- (Romans 1.24a, 26a, 28b).
- God’s purpose and plan is seen
- in those who willingly let his kingdom
- reign in their hearts and lives
- becoming his “witnesses” to the world,
- “salt of the earth”, and
- “light of the world.”
- As before though
- God will judge.
- God will restore all things.
- God will be proven right, just, loving, faithful and true.
- God will remake a new order
- without the problems of this old order.
I also believe that God is incredibly Great, Powerful, and Sovereign
- If (since) there is an ALMIGHTY God
- from our knowledge of astronomy
- he must be incredibly great
- (Please take a look at this astonishing video on YouTube
- This limits the extent to which my puny mind
- can understand him or his purposes
- for the world he has created.
- If (since) he made the universe as we know it,
- he is sovereign over it;
- (free to act as he pleases)
- he owns everything!
So how then shall we live?
- God takes pleasure WHEN we trust him
- so I will trust him, what is the alternative(?)
- Can you change him?
- Can you change his purposes against his will?
- Can you fight God?
- If you reject God and abandon your faith
- what difference will it make?
- what will you replace God with?
- God has revealed himself to man in the only way he can
- by becoming man through his Son – Jesus Christ!
- God has demonstrated that he cares
- when Jesus died on a cruel cross
- as we struggle in this fallen creation
- so I will trust him
- that he will make all things right again!
We can still pray for and expect ‘miracles’
- God breaks through the natural laws of creation
- from time to time,
- to let us know
- that he is there and he is not silent;
- to demonstrate his power and
- to encourage our trust in him;
- (all answered prayers are miracles!)
- God sometimes answers prayers
- which appear to be the result of the ‘natural order’ but
- which are ‘too coincidental’
- since we prayed specifically about it!
- The genius of God is that
- while it appears that things happen
- according to the natural order of things,
- according the fallen-ness of creation and human nature
- according to the arbitrariness and capriciousness of human choices;
- his purposes are clearly still being fulfilled in the world:
- righteousness matter,
- evil is wrong,
- truth is desirable,
- and faith in him is
- enduring and cannot be destroyed;
- meaningful and practically rewarding!!!
Notice, I did not say anything about Satan?
- HE IS NO MATCH FOR GOD! BUT more about this next time!
Let me know what you think. Send me an Email, or a tweet. Please share!
I ADMIT IT!!!
I have had a lot of questions that have plagued me for a long time
- about pain, suffering, evil, and God!
I have seen (first person) or heard and read about
- Christian men and women (young and old)
- faithful to Jesus Christ,
- active witnesses for Christ,
- righteous in their lifestyle choices,
- selfless in service to others,
- regular and authentic worshipers,
- loved by all, and then
- fall ill and die,
- drown at a Church outing or swimming in a home pool, or
- killed in gruesome road accidents, sometimes
- while out or soon after evangelizing, or
- while going about their normal business;
- leaving behind grieving
- (sometimes young) families,
- congregations and the church at large,
- while their ‘less worthy’ and sometimes criminal compatriots
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I have read about
- how about five million Jews (‘God’s people’)
- were killed in the second World War;
- how over two hundred thousand people
- were killed during the Tsunami in Asia in 2004,
- how hundreds of thousands (including many innocents) were killed during
- World War I, World War II,
- Genghis Khan Wars, Alexandra the Great wars, Roman Empire Wars,
- wars of Independence in US, India, Nigeria, Pakistan,
- in South America, Africa, Asia, East Asia, Europe,
- in civil wars and terrorist plots all over the world, etc. etc.
I/We have seen TV/Video clips of infants and babies
- struggling with cancer and other horrible diseases
- that adults find it difficult to cope with, much less little children
- born with birth defects
- (blind, deaf, without limbs, joined with other children etc.)
I/We have seen the crooked and the unrighteous
- get rich and powerful
- by engaging in ruthless, unethical, and evil schemes,
- swindling their customers, investors, and society as a whole,
- beat the system instead of paying for their crimes,
- appear to continue on with their lives
- after destroying the lives of others
- including family, trusting friends, and associates.
I/we have also seen
- the poor remaining poor
- the sick remaining sick
- the rebellious child remaining rebellious
- the marriage not becoming healed
- even after a lot of prayers!
PAIN, SUFFERING, AND EVIL, GOD! QUESTIONS?!!
I CAN NOW SAY THAT I HAVE ANSWERS THAT SATISFY ME AND I WANT TO SHARE THEM WITH YOU.