Tag: life and death

skull on top of Bible

The Death Grip

FOLLOWING THE GPS WITH the full expectation of reaching my destination early, I noticed I was almost back where I began. That’s when I pulled into a parking lot to take a look at the map and soon realized I was going to be late. 

 

That’s when I felt the grip of Death.  (more…)

Dark Valley

20. The Valley of the Shadow of Death

AT THE RISK OF being condemned by the church people, I want you to consider the possibility of a dark side to God. To say there is a dark side of God may seem blasphemous, but it is my perception—and you may take it as only my opinion of reality—that God has a dark side.

To believe that God has no dark side is a contradiction to what you will find in the Old and New Testament of the Bible.

For example, God told Abraham to take his son Isaac up a mountain and sacrifice him as a burnt offering.

If Abraham had run down to the church to get the opinion of others, what do you suppose they might say about Abraham? My guess is they would have thought Abraham was off his rocker or listening to the devil, and then called Child Protective Services to get Isaac out of harm’s way.

How could a good God do something so evil?

You may recall the atrocities performed at the hand of Saddam Hussein, who thought of himself as the reincarnation of the former murderous king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar. God said in the books of Daniel and Jeremiah that he put the evil Nebuchadnezzar in power.

Can this be the works of a good God?

Also, contrary to popular belief, it was not Satan’s idea, but God who gave Satan the idea and authority to destroy, but not kill Job, a man God declared as righteous.

It was God who said, in the book of Acts, that he chose Paul as an instrument to carry the name of the Lord before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.

He also said, “I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”

Would a good God cause pain and suffering to his faithful followers?

It was Jesus who foretold Peter’s brutal death. And it was Jesus who suffered so much angst that he sweated blood the night before his brutal death, and God who said that he gave his innocent son to die for the sins of the world.

Would a good God bring to death one he loved?

Jesus said there is no one good except his father, the God of creation. And, I believe, given enough time, Jesus will be proven correct. But, until that day comes, can you agree with me that God appears to be both good and evil?

I have learned that appearances can fool us.

It was my faulty belief—which is nothing more than my opinion rather than the truth—that if I obeyed God, he would bless me with a hedge of protection around me.

The belief was that God would protect me against the wiles of Satan. The belief was that if I were devoted to God, I would enjoy a full measure of love and security. And after eighteen years of following the Lord, God appeared to be all good.

And then the Lord appeared to change.

At first, I was concerned about how I was going to look to the world around me when I seemed to have fallen out of God’s favor, and my abundant life turned into scarcity.

But, still clinging to my faith as my life turned upside down, I was then concerned about how God was going to look to the world around me.

It seemed to me that we both had reputations to uphold, me being the faithful church lady, and he, well, he being a good God.

As he led me through my valley of the shadow of death, where my demons lived, and I did not rest comfortably by the still waters, the truth was revealed to me.

I learned that I have no clue what good is.

I also have no clue what evil is.

Good and evil are value words used to describe my perception of reality.

I learned that I do not have enough information to declare what is good and evil, but I do have enough faulty beliefs to think that I do.

Today, I have a better understanding of why Adam and Eve had to eat the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; why it was God and not Satan in control of that scene; why God set them up to disobey the only rule given; and why they had to be banished from their paradise. Read More...

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Flower in the chaos

Beauty In The Wilderness

UNTIL I WAS LED INTO A wilderness experience, I did not know how frail I am. After finding myself financially, emotionally, intellectually, and physically exhausted; I would have been happy to die, for, in the midst of a nightmare in which I could not escape, my life no longer had meaning or purpose.  (more…)

2 Corinthians 5:17.

15. Jesus

HIS VERY NAME CAUSES your spirit to quicken upon hearing it and conjures emotion, whether you know him or not. Take a moment to capture your thoughts about Jesus because it will be very important to the work we are doing.

Do you believe in Jesus or not? Either way, capture the reasons for your choice.

If you are making me wrong for asking you where you stand, please create a space in your mind for the possibility that it can be of great value that you do not.

Let me say, too, that I am not in the business of converting you to Christianity, and, if anything, I would like you to stand on the outside of any religion. If this statement conjures fear, please capture your thoughts about this as well.

If you are devout in any religion, even atheism, my work should not threaten your beliefs, but rather it should cause you to be fiercer in what you believe to be true.

What is important to me is that you be fully present in our work and not afraid that I want to force you to give up any beliefs that work well for you.

I know firsthand how precious our beliefs are and how we like to protect them like we would our best friends.

The religion of Christianity has caused an aversion to, or an avoidance of, Jesus for many people, but my relationship with Jesus has caused an aversion to, and avoidance, of Christianity for me.

I seem to be in good company for in Revelation, the last book of the Bible, Jesus had a message for seven particular churches, especially in chapters two and three, and for the most part, it was not pretty. In my opinion, his message would still ring true for the organized church today.

It was obvious that Jesus had a problem with religious groups during his time on the planet, and he was killed while trying to break them free from their faulty beliefs and counterfeit strategies related to God.

He was accused of blasphemy against God, while God himself said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him, I am well pleased. Listen to him!” (Matthew 17:5)

This conversation is important because as you find faulty beliefs and counterfeit strategies that you want to change, you will need to replace them with new beliefs and strategies.

All beliefs come from one of three places; personal experience, the witness of the personal experience of another person, or some form of media.

Above all else, you do not want to exchange one faulty belief for another faulty belief. This will only lead to another counterfeit strategy which, given enough time and stress will also fail you. Read More...

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