Every Day Easter

Posted: 20th April 2014 by admin in Uncategorized

All around the world today, believers are celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Why? Because His victory over death is the beginning of something spectacular for anyone who dies — in other words, all of us. His resurrection was an announcement of victory over the grave, as well as any power or authority that sets itself up against Love and Life.

The place of death, called Hades in scripture, is locked up tight from the perspective of the living. Retrieving a loved one who has passed away (and I’m not referring to one who has just temporarily flatlined) is scientifically impossible. All the money or power or medicine in the world can’t open the “door” of death.

This door has a set of keys. These are symbolic keys, of course, representing the power or ability to cause someone who has passed away (to death) to pass back again (to life).

If any fallible human being were to gain that power, there’s no telling how he or she would use it. They say power corrupts. Can you imagine the level of corruption we might witness were that kind of power to fall into the hands of anyone other than a perfect, sinless person? But, I digress…

When Jesus rose again, when he went through that mysterious door and returned holding the keys to death and Hades, this is what happened:

Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

— The Apostle Paul, to the believers in Corinth


Let’s break it down:

  1. Death no longer has victory.
  2. Sin is no longer the venom of death. (Romans 5:12), and the law no longer gives sin power. (Romans 7:8)
  3. Believers’ labor (i.e. the work of the Lord) is not in vain.

What are the practical implications for the world?

  1. We die, but we won’t stay dead.
  2. It’s no longer about law and sin (i.e. bad people should be good); it’s about death and life (i.e. dead people should be alive).
  3. God’s work produces the intended result.

Either Paul had an overactive imagination, or he believed something larger and more hopeful than many believers today. According to many official statements of faith and orthodox doctrines, today is the day believers celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, because His victory over death is the beginning of something spectacular for them.

Just them.

They have victory over the grave. Never mind their families, friends, co-workers, neighbors and acquaintances. They have victory over power or authority that sets itself up against Love and Life, but their families, friends, co-workers, neighbors and acquaintances will remain enslaved to the powers of darkness, tormented forever and ever.

If you are counted among those who agree with or defend the doctrines of annihilation or eternal torment, I hope you stop and think long and hard about numbers 3 and 4 above.

You say you are free, but in the same breath, you condemn yourself and others because of this or that sin. Don’t you realize that the resurrection of Christ does away with that entire way of thinking? You don’t live for Christ because you choose to live for Christ; He chose you to live for Him, to begin passing from death to life on this side of the grave. If you sin, do you think you have somehow undone what Christ did for you? No? Then stop worrying about whether people think you are “Christ-like.”

Christ-like character is a result of Love and Life at work in you, because you know that when Jesus strutted out of that grave with those keys in His fist, everything changed. You have the strongest sense of blessed relief. The salvation of others does not depend on you. If you fail, God will not abandon you. If you fail, God will not abandon those He placed in your circle of influence.

It’s not about whether you are good enough to participate in the work of the Lord. Are you alive? Then you qualify.

If you still don’t feel qualified to partner with God in His redemptive work, then refer to number 4. It is not YOUR responsibility to make sure God’s work accomplishes its purpose. Your work is God’s work, and God makes sure His work gets done. Completely.

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.

— The Apostle Paul, to the believers in Rome

 

Do you know what this means? Do you realize the incredible implications?

If not, then this Easter will be just like every other Easter, that is, a day to be happy about you and your Christ-like friends who have it all figured out.

If so, then you see that this resurrection celebration continues until the whole world is swallowed up in victory, even if you stumble, even if you fall, even if you fail miserably in your attempts to be Christ-like.

God isn’t asking you to hold the keys, to be the one responsible for making sure the people you know pass from death to life. God’s just asking you to share the good news that Jesus, Whose mission is to seek and save the lost, Who said He would draw all people to Himself, holds those keys.

Doesn’t that kind of all-consuming love compel you to live for Him? And in living for Him, one day you realize you are becoming like Him, without really even trying.

easter

Spiritual Eclipse

Posted: 18th April 2014 by admin in Uncategorized

Christians often teach their little ones that believers should be like the moon, reflecting the light of the sun (Son) in the darkness. While this analogy is by no means evil or heretical, it is a flawed analogy that doesn’t pack the punch of the spiritual reality it is supposed to represent.

According to scripture, believers are light. In other words, not mere reflections of a light source that is out there somewhere, but actual light sources:

sons of light ye may become (John 12:36)

thy whole body is lightened (Luke 11:36)

you… are now light (Ephesians 5:8)

children of light (Ephesians 5:8)

Ye are the light (Matthew 5:14)

let your light shine (Matthew 5:16)

you are seen as lights (Philippians 2:15)

I have made you a light (Acts 13:47)

a light for the nations (Isaiah 42:6)

 

Consequently, believers are more like the sun or stars than the moon. So the analogy Christians teach their little ones should go something like this: Believers are like the sun, shining the light of Creator in the darkness.

In light of the eclipse the other night, further consideration of the reflection analogy is in order.

The moon produces no light. Its surface is like worn asphalt under a thick layer of space dust. The sun, however, produces plenty of light. It is most definitely a light source.

What, then, is the moon?

It is a dead object that seems to be a source of light. Its appearance changes all the time, but the object itself does not change. It has a dark side, but people only see the side presented to them.

The thick dust of religious traditions, pretenses, ceremonies, by-laws, flatteries, hierarchies, and doctrines has settled on the worn asphalt face of the object. Because the source of light is so near, the surface has an appearance of light (godliness) that gains the confidence of those who live in darkness, who desiring to know the Creator of light, are always learning, but never knowing.

eclipse

Usually during a total lunar eclipse, the full moon appears coppery, because the dispersed light from all the Earth’s sunrises and sunsets falls on the face of the moon.

Even so, when the light source “leaves behind” or “abandons” the dead object, its usual brightness is diminished. People who relied on the object as a source of light, not knowing it was just a reflection of the light source, begin to recognize it for what it really is.

The stars shine, and the sun rises, and the nations hear the voice of their Creator, Who will not leave them to stumble in the darkness,

I, Jehovah, did call thee in righteousness, And I lay hold on thy hand, and keep thee, And I give thee for a covenant of a people, And a light of nations. To open the eyes of the blind, To bring forth from prison the bound one, From the house of restraint those sitting in darkness… And I have caused the blind to go, In a way they have not known, In paths they have not known I cause them to tread, I make a dark place before them become light, And unlevelled places become a plain, These are the things I have done to them, And I have not forsaken them.

 

lunar eclipse

This is slowly but surely happening now, all over the world. What now?

Invisible Poets

Posted: 11th April 2014 by admin in Uncategorized

Exciting News!

In June, I’ll be going to Washington, D.C. for a conference, National Leadership Exchange and Conference (by the National Center for Creative Aging). Along with doing an overhaul on the WhatGodDoes website, I’m also building a website for Alzheimer Chronicles, Inc.

What is Alzheimer Chronicles, Inc.?

Perhaps you recall a series of blogs about a collection of short stories by people with Alzheimer’s, framed in my observations and commentary. I called it Invisible Poets, and started a Kickstarter campaign for funds to have it printed in bulk. Although the campaign was by no means a flop, it failed to reach the goal, and consequently no one has the Invisible Poets book. Since I believe everything happens for a reason, I did not give up on the idea of sharing the stories of this segregated portion of the population. I shelved the idea for a while. Now, it’s off the shelf again, and it is evolving into something that I think will be much more exciting and meaningful than reading a book.

Why AlzheimerChronicles.com Went Away

The website I built previously, AlzheimerChronicles.com was hosted by a company that, unlike DreamHost (which is awesome, BTW) did not bother to send me a domain name renewal. It looks like someone from China or Japan got ahold of it! I can’t pay $5,000 to get the domain name back, so I’m creating a new website, InvisiblePoets.org.

just-the-boat180x180The Unfinished Website Is Already Live

Instead of unveiling it all at once, I decided to give anyone interested a chance to engage in the website design process by offering feedback and suggestions. That way, I can adjust the direction I take it, if necessary. I hope to have the site completed mid-May. You are welcome to follow the progress and take part in the discussion.

You can also use Twitter and Facebook to offer input.

 

Moonstruck

Posted: 10th April 2014 by admin in Uncategorized

Trying out my new camera the other night, I snapped this picture of the moon:

moon

Then my friend Mary Koeditz sent me this article, Sky Watch: April 2014, which has some very specific information about an upcoming lunar eclipse, including a sky map from AstronomyBoy.com.

An eclipse of the moon, though less awe-inspiring, is nevertheless sufficiently so to awaken in the superstitious brain fearful forebodings of impending calamity. Science may demonstrate that there is nothing abnormal in these occurrences, but to the seeker after signs it wilt be throwing words away; for, as Lord Kames says, “Superstitious eyes are never opened by instruction.” (Moon Lore, Timothy Harley)

According to the Spiritual Science Research Foundation,

Eclipses are significant events at a spiritual level. There is an increase in Raja-Tama which has negative effects on humanity. Ghosts take advantage of the heightened Raja-Tama to create a variety of issues that have global negative repercussions. Regular spiritual practice ensures that we are insulated from its subtle (intangible) harmful effects.

In Islam, a lunar eclipse is a sign of Allah’s majesty, and there is a special eclipse prayer called salat ul-khusuf. Here’s the story behind the prayer:

During the time of the prophet, a solar eclipse happened. People hurried to link this to a worldly event, namely, the death of the prophet’s son, Ibrahim. The prophet explained the truth of this matter to them. In his Sahih, Imam Muslim reported that `A’ishah said: …”The sun and the moon are two signs of Allah; they are not eclipsed on account of anyone’s death or on account of anyone’s birth. So when you see them, glorify and supplicate Allah, observe the Prayer, give alms. O Ummah of Muhammad, none is more indignant than Allah when His servant or maid commits fornication. O people of Muhammad, by Allah, if you knew what I know, you would weep much and laugh little. O Allah, witness, I informed them.”

(see this Wikipedia article for the full version)

The Bible references to the moon are about marking times and seasons, “from new moon to new moon,” or used in poetic and apocalyptic language like “the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars” and “the sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood.”

Ancient Greek mythology finds its way into Matthew 4:24 and 7:15. This is what Strong’s concordance has to say:

lunatic

Here is some more background on lunatic from Jules Cashford’s book, The Moon: Myth and Image:

lunatic 2

Lunar eclipses throughout history have given us the opportunity to gather insights into cultures, traditions and beliefs of people in different time periods. Eclipses are visually fascinating and astronomically interesting (pun intended). Between now and very early Wednesday, I’ll be considering lunar eclipses and what spiritual insights we, in this glorious age of scientific discovery and technological advancement, might discover in the shadow of a moon that’s turned to blood.

Christian Magic

Posted: 4th April 2014 by admin in Uncategorized

homespun life

This blog by “Sis-Lisa” is a reminder to me, in my utter contempt for institutional church, not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I used to read Bible stories to my son, and he would say, “God sure does know a lot of magic tricks.” In reexamining every belief I’d held over the past couple of decades, there are some I haven’t quite figured out, yet. Among them — the power of prayer. You can read about this and more in Learning Magic from Mr. Disney.