This Saturday night come to seminar X to find out exactly the will of God for your life

Hey, that’s great!  Where do I sign up!?

Every Christian worth his or her salt wants to know the will of God for their life, right?

unmatched!Of course you do! You are a Christian! You are all about doing the right thing!

OK. We’re going to let the cat out of the bag ahead of time. You won’t have to sign up for seminar X and pay $75 to Pastor Gnosticfeld and buy his latest book, “Green Socks, Red Socks…know for sure which ones God wants you to wear today.”

Here is the super-special, hard to find out secret that all Christians everywhere are yearning for…

towards the end of Matthew 22, our Lord Jesus says it Himself when asked what is it that we need to do to fulfill all righteousness, ” Love God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. And, love your neighbor as yourself.”

Also in John 6 verse 28,  the people asked Jesus, “What must we do to be doing the works of God?”  Jesus replied, “Believe in the one whom He has sent.”

There it is.   You want to know God’s will for your life?  “Love God and your neighbor as yourself.”   You want to do God’s will?  “Believe in the one whom He has sent.”

“Yeah…that’s great…but what color socks should I put on today…?”   Holy mackerel!!!

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‘Are We Sitting Comfortably?’ by Howard Nowlan

 

“The Kingdom of God is like”….

 

What is it that makes a good movie or novel?
No doubt we could all identify several key aspects or ingredients that we look for, but there are a couple of things that are probably essential.
The first, I would say, is where the story takes us. When we get to that final scene or chapter, we want to reach a point of genuine satisfaction with the resolution. It no doubt is part of the reason why we will recall the story, perhaps read it again or recommend it to others – we feel it got somewhere. The other, which is equally important, is our journey with one or more of the characters in the tale. We often connect with their thoughts, insights and desires. We recognize and even identify with their growth and perhaps triumph through hardship and we revel in their moments of joy. It’s all (to re-work a phrase from a popular movie) ‘ a pleasant fiction’, but the really good stories, of course, are much more – they often reflect and can even teach or confirm to us the realities of life.

 This week I’ve been thinking that the ‘story’ of Creation may well be just like that.
Becoming thirsty allows us to truly appreciate the value of a cool refreshing drink. The bleakness of winter brings into sharp relief the majesty and joy of the arrival of Spring. Could it be that all the present travail of our present world is actually the pain of purpose – the ‘birth pangs’ that are necessary for a creation not merely complete in the glory of its physical splendour, but crowned with a life which resonates with the knowledge of the healing goodness and mercy of God?

 

The Scriptures make it clear that the events which have unfolded since we exiled ourselves from Eden are not a mystery to our Creator. The pain and misery we have brought upon ourselves have been allowed to run their course, but not without purpose. Amidst the very ugliness of such trauma, God has woven a use to death, an engagement with our agony, a point where all that is broken and violated by sin meets with the rich depths of His unmerited mercy and become changed by such. The place is in the broken body, the shed blood, the resplendent forgiveness given in the death of Jesus Christ.

 

This one moment is where all the pain and anguish of our existence in a ‘far country’ is drawn and salved, that we might taste of a far greater life, made possible by His bruising for our transgressions.

At the end of the movie, The Shawshank Redemption, Red and Andy meet for the first time in many years on the edge of a faraway ocean. They have been deeply changed by their lives, by their experiences and by their knowing of one another, and all of this has brought them to the point where they can now begin a new life – building a boat to explore a new vista.

 

All of history is moving to a point when the trails will end and such a new day can begin, but it will be a day where all that has been done of value, all that has been learned that holds meaning, will underpin that venture that is to come.

                                                                          – Howard Nowlan 

                                                                                     Rebel by Nature, Righteous by Force                                                                                       

               

‘A Proper Diagnosis’…

xmas2005 PICT1047A startling medical discovery was made 52 years ago today by Doctor Swami Jenkins Ali  MD, of Hemet, California.

I would never have known of this debilitating degenerative condition, otherwise known as LMD, had it not been for some old medical journals that were piled up in the corner of my garage.

Doctor Ali wrote about his findings, the result of 36 years of intensive physiological and physcological lab work on 11 individuals from Barstow, CA.

These men (all but 2), were commonly referred to as “the Barstow 9“.

The Barstow 9 were studied at length, in isolation for a period of 3 weeks in an old abandoned fertilizer storage shed somewhere in the Mojave Desert. The exact location is still classified as Top Secret and is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act of 1976.

According to the Journal of Chiropractic and Toenail Health (March 27th issue, 1955) LMD or Lazy Man’s Disorder, was deemed to be a real, degenerative condition that affects 2 in 3 males over 8 years of age.

I read further, and what I found shocked me.

Here are some of Dr. Swami Jenkins Ali’s findings :

Most of the Barstow 9 (except the two gals) would not readily get up in the morning and get to their appointed tasks without some sort of grumbling. All of the “B 9” males were oblivious to the needs of others around them. They all exhibited a desire to flop on the couch and watch football, and then re-runs of football and war movies until it was time to go to bed.

None of the “B 9” would actually prepare the food that was placed in close proximity to them, but rather waited for the two women to do it (very interesting).

Every one of the “B-9” refused to go near a bucket of paint and a brush even though it was made clear that if they did not paint the shed where they resided that they would all be subject to torture and death.  (the two women painted the shed)

I dropped the magazine in horror. This is what I had. I was a victim of LMD!

I gave the article to my wife to read and she agreed with me 100%.

I am now in the process (at least I will be when I get around to it) of trying to learn how to live with my LMD.  Thanks to Dr. Swami J. Ali,  I finally am aware that it is not my fault.

I have a disease. 

I do not want to accept the fact that I have it. I do not want to join a support group.  I have learned that beer exacerbates the symptoms (but it tastes good), and there is no known cure for the disorder.

I  know what it is to be a victim. My heart goes out to all you other guys out there with LMD. I will be praying for you (if I can get around to it).

             – Steve