Chapter 2: So They Came Up with a Plan

God and the Word lived together in love, joy and harmony for who knows how long.   Their favorite joke might have been:  “We’ve gotta stop doing this!”  And then the other would laugh:  “We never started!”

Did they get lonely?  Bored?   They didn’t stay home on a Saturday night.  They hadn’t yet created a Saturday night!

At some point they decided they wanted to share what they enjoyed with others.   They were generous (Luke 6:38), giving (Acts 20:35) and hospitable (Rom. 12:13), but who else was around to benefit?

So get a dog?  No, that would be somebody else’s best friend, remember that for later!

Erect a robot and program it to be perfect?  No, they wanted other God Beings who would choose to be fully like them (Eph. 2:13)—filled with the Holy Spirit, “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4), having a mind just like them (Php. 2:5).

So they created a plan to reproduce themselves

To create more God Beings like themselves (Gen. 1:26) who would live on for eternity in a special, intimate relationship.

God and the Word knew that the first law of success is a good plan.  If you don’t make a good plan, you still plan—to fail.

Who knows how long they worked on the plan with all its intricate, interconnected, exciting details!  They had no deadline.   They had all the no-time in the no-world!  They didn’t miss sleep over it.

They knew they would pull it off!  (Isa. 46:9-10).

The family plan

They decided this amazing creation would best take place within a family arrangement.   They would bring many sons and daughters to glory (Heb. 2:10).   Their long-lasting relationship would take on a whole new dimension with God becoming the Father and the Word His Son and our older Brother.  The sons and daughters would become the Church of God which would be the Mother of us all and the Bride of Christ to marry Him at His return.

So, just snap their fingers and voila—some more God Beings?  No, the sons and daughters must have free moral agency and character to always choose the Love Way of God and the Word.  This would require time and experience.

God and the Word devised an amazing plan where

Every human will have his or her opportunity for salvation and eternal life 

They desired all to be saved! (1 Tim. 2:4, Rom. 11:26).

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you … thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon me and go and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  And you will seek me and find me, when you search for me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:11-13).   May this “you” be you!

God and the Word planned three crucial action steps

“From the foundation of the world”

♥    The Word willingly became the Lamb slain (Rev. 13:8).  He would become our Savior, crucified in our place.  God and the Word knew what loomed ahead.   They didn’t flip a coin—God being greater (John 14:28), the Word would become the Son who would become the first human resurrected to the God Family and Kingdom (1 Cor. 15:22-23).

♥   “He [God the Father] chose us in Him … that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us …” (Eph. 1:4-5).   God the Father, the Master Timer, decides who understands and when (John 6:44).   May it be happening for you now!

♥   Names would be written into the Book of Life (Rev. 13:8).   This occurs when a new Christian receives the Holy Spirit after repentance, baptism and having a true minister lay hands on him or her (Acts 2:38).   Mark 16:16 and Rom. 8:9 provide motivation!

What a plan!

Two God Beings would become Father and Brother to billions of God Beings.  Then this unstoppable God Family and Kingdom will go on to never-ending accomplishment that the Bible only hints at.

God and the Word were ready to make it so.  Hopefully you are actively engaged in the enterprise that would boldly go where no man had gone before because there was no man yet!

First, to start the plan, some extra help was needed.  Maybe not angels in the outfield.  But despite all their power, omniscience and omnipresence, God and the Word realized they needed some ministering spirits to serve the Gods to be (Heb. 2:14).

Don’t miss next Friday’s
What’s It All About?
Chapter 3
Be an Angel, Would You!

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Three Years as a Blog!

Shall We Go Another Year?

It makes you think when you ring in another year with a blog.  After 226 posts, is there anything left to say?

Yes, because we all should keep learning and growing.  After 47 years of learning God’s way from the Bible, it seems like there’s more I don’t know than early on when I knew everything.   And I keep forgetting so much that I need to restudy.

Tomorrow I post the second chapter for my new book called

What’s It All About? 

You find out how much you don’t know when you try to teach others.  I recommend you reread Chapter 1 because some refinements were needed.   So far I’ve only written the first two chapters, and I’m counting on God to give better understanding of Revelation by the time I get to that.   Hope I get there before it unloads on us!

I don’t think anybody has ever written a book like this.  I knew it was a daunting task, and a few weeks ago I started and quit!  I’m counting on God’s inspiration to finish and to bring whoever He wants to read it.

Thanks so much for shares.   You have a vital part in God granting readers in 64 countries (Matt. 24:14, 28:18-20).

Shall we go another year?  You, as a cherished reader, have a big say in that!

world map 64 countries final

 

What’s It All About?

Don’t ask Alfie.   If you even know somebody named Alfie, you’d be better off asking an ox or donkey! (Isa. 1:3).

Have you ever seen a book that shares:
♥   what God’s doing
♥   what’s His plan
♥   where’d we come from
♥   where’re we going
♥   what’s our purpose for being alive

Yes, you’ve no doubt seen a Bible.  That’s the only source that can really answer these big questions of life.   God is the only one who knows, and the Bible is His book revealing what each of us must understand, despite all the cares of this life that I hope you won’t let get in your way.

This is my first post to become a book that aims to make plain and simple what the Bible reveals.   Watch for each new chapter to be posted Fridays.

Chapter 1:  Thoughts That Would Lead to You

How did it begin?

It didn’t.   Yes, translators write “in the beginning” in Gen. 1:1 and in John 1:1.  A book usually begins on page one, and Genesis means “beginnings,” but the Bible is full of surprises.

People call it the Good Book, not realizing why they are so baffled by it.  God inspired it to be a Good Puzzle—“precept upon precept … line upon line” (Isa. 28:13).   Only with God’s help can we properly piece it together.  If  you want to understand it, each time you begin studying it, ask God to open your mind, guide you, and then help you to live it (Psa. 111:10).

Already we learn that John 1:1 precedes Gen. 1:1, the beginning of the world.  The “beginning” of John 1:1 really isn’t.

John sets the record straight that God and the Word just always were.   The Word was God also.

Two God Beings without beginning!

John was given special revealed foundational knowledge about how God and the Word lived.

They lived in perfect harmony and unity for who knows how long.   Jesus said of their relationship, “We are one” (John 17:22).   One but also we!

God and the Word were both composed 100% of Spirit (John 4:24).   The Holy Spirit is their essence, nature and character.   God is love (1 John 4:8)—and also the other eight fruits of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).   The Holy Spirit gives power, love and a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7).

God and the Word have always been wise (Prov. 8:23).   Their law is “holy” and “spiritual” (Rom. 7:12, 14), and they have always kept it.

God and the Word were not bound by time and space.   They hadn’t yet created them.

Besides these two great Beings, powered by the Holy Spirit, the Bible mentions nothing else—material or spirit—existing all that indefinite time which really wasn’t.

Our limited minds can’t really comprehend it.  We pretty much must take their Word for it (John 17:17).   The Living Word inspired His written Word!  There were no reporters around to come up with fake news.

Don’t be misled by Plato and philosophers. Don’t be duped by Darwin. Don’t climb a mountain to reach a guru. Don’t be swayed by family and friends.  Resist peer or appear pressure.   Especially watch out for ministers and religions.  They weren’t around when only God and the Word were.  “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Tim. 3:16).

Don’t deny yourself—take the time God is giving you right now.  Look up each scripture in your own Bible and prove for yourself like God says His Bereans will do (Acts 17:11).   Don’t believe me or anybody else.  There is nothing more important you can be doing.

The Bible doesn’t say much about how God and the Word amused themselves.   But they obviously thrived without NetFlix.    “Without true love we just exist,” goes the Burt Bacharach Alfie lyric, and God and the Word embodied love by their actions and thoughts.  The givers of abundant living (John 10:10) surely were living it.   Those promising  “fullness of joy [and] pleasures forevermore” (Psa. 16:11) no doubt lived a good, fun life!

The Word became Jesus, and Jesus said “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working (John 5:17).   It must have been fulfilling.

Who’s the Greatest

Sorry, Ali.  These two created the butterfly and the bee that you could only float and sting like.

How did God and the Word relate to each other?

God became the Father when Jesus was born as His human Son.   The Fifth Commandment directs all sons and daughters to honor their fathers. And when Jesus was going back to the Father, He said He was returning to the one who was greater than He (John 14:28).  He asked the Father to restore Him to the original glory He had (John 17:5).

Rather than think God Beings are equal, clearly the Word has always been happy to accept God as greater and will always think that way.   They can teach us about true humility because they model it.   They do not think of themselves more highly than they ought (Rom. 12:3).   Imagine that because they are the highest!

Jesus said the greatest is he who serves the most (Matt. 20:26).  God and the Word fully serve each other and happily submit to each other (Eph. 5:21).  Each esteems the other better than himself (Php. 2:3) by serving the other and by looking out for the other’s interests.  Jesus said God (the Father) is greater, and therefore serves the most.

At some point they wanted

Additional companionship

They would rather give than receive (Acts 10:35).   Who else could they give to?  Who else could they love?

They were thinking thoughts that would lead to you!

Don’t miss next Friday’s Chapter 2:  So They Came Up with a Plan

world map 64 countries final

 

I Was Actually Born in December

The most important December birth?

God didn’t send a prophet centuries in advance to announce my birth in La Junta, Colorado (Micah 5:2).  Carolers don’t stand outside in the freezing cold singing “O Little Town of La Junta.”

God didn’t inspire a prophet to declare a 70 weeks prophecy so mankind could figure out I’d be born in 1950 (Dan. 9).

He didn’t send an angel to Southern Colorado “shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night” (Luke 2:8), inspiring them to “find a Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger” (verse 12).  Anybody looking for this Babe would have found him in the nursery of La Junta Memorial Hospital.

There was no decree from Harry Truman that all Americans should go to “be registered, everyone to his own city” (verse 3).  But my father and mother, Glen and Jessie, saddled up their Mercury and drove me home to nearby Las Animas where I grew up in obscurity.    With nobody thinking it would impress anybody to take my name in vain and with one-third of the earth seeing no reason to follow after me.

My birth was hardly a case for the greatest December one ever.  For sure you wouldn’t pick it.  I wouldn’t out of false humility.  Even my Mom would have probably split her vote between mine and my sister Jan’s.

Yes, I’m a son of God, through Adam.  But nobody argues that I’m the reason for any season.

But here’s a huge point:

I was actually born in December

Though the whole world wants to believe otherwise, all Bible scholars know that the Son of God was not born in December.  There’s no way shepherds would have been out in a Judean winter.  Not in a Las Animas winter either.  There’s no way the whole nation would have been on the move to participate in a census during treacherous wintry roads.

Unlike me, Jesus has no birth certificate.  The birth of the Son of God is obviously the most important birth ever, but the Bible nowhere commands the observance of His birth—or mine or anybody else’s.  Ecclesiastes 7:1 says the day of death is better than the day of birth, and the Passover picturing Jesus’ sacrifice is one of God’s holy festivals (Lev. 23) that Christians are commanded to observe.  Paul said we proclaim His death until He comes (1 Cor. 11:26).

How mixed up are historians, scholars and pretty much everybody?  Their dating pegs Jesus being born between 6 to 4 B.C.    B.C.?  That’s Before Christ!   Talk about off  to a disputable start when you’re born years before you exist!

Yet, the Bible gives some obvious clues to

When Jesus Christ was really born

Harmonies of the Gospels—putting the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in chronological order—show He ministered 3-1/2 years.  Dying at Passover time would stake the obvious claim He was born in the fall.

A wonderful clue, John 1:14 says “the Word … dwelt among us.”  The Greek word for “dwelt” can also be translated “tabernacled” or “tented.”

How fitting for Jesus to be born during the Fall Holy Day period called the Feast of Tabernacles which pictures His coming 1,000 year reign on earth.  If Jesus were born on the opening Holy Day of the Feast (15th day of the 7th month), then He would have been circumcised on the “Eighth Day” which is the Holy Day immediately following the Feast.

Others who know the utmost importance of the biblical Holy Days believe that Jesus surely would have been born on the Feast of Trumpets (1st day of the seventh month).  This biblical Holy Day pictures the return of Christ at the seventh trumpet, so what a perfect package for Him to be born on it.  Especially if you believe creation week of six days and then the Sabbath rest pictures mankind having exactly 6,000 years of misrule before the King of Kings replaces all of the misguided rulers of the earth (Rev. 11:15).

It seems quite logical that Jesus would be born on the same day of the year that He returns exactly 6,000 years later.  Of course, God the Father says He is the only one who knows the day or the hour, so that can rattle  all the best of foolproof theories and add to the already extensive collection of fools! (Matt.24:36).

For Sherlock Holmes-type sleuths, the Bible gives the fascinating clue that John the Baptist’s father Zacharias was of the eighth course of Abijah (Luke 1:5).  Figuring conceptions of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ to fall within probable two-week periods, the aha! is that Jesus would have been born in the fall during the time of the biblical Holy Days.

Jesus Christ was the God of the Old Testament who commanded the observance of His Holy Days (Lev. 23)—but didn’t specify any particular day to be His birthday.  During His 3-1/2 year ministry, He celebrated those special days.  Nobody could hold a candle to His amazing life and nobody put one on a cake.

If we simply must celebrate somebody’s birthday, at least find somebody who was actually born in December.

World 51 8-30-17

 

 

 

 

So God Won’t Say No

Why bother praying if we don’t expect answers.
Common thought says the answer
will be yes, wait or
no—I’ve got something better in mind.

So many times God gives us our hearts’ desires (Psa. 37:4) that we expect yes’s to our prayers.

Nobody ever hears or sees the Father say no (John 5:37).   For us yes seekers, He’s the right one to pray to!

What seems like a no

may well be the opportunity to persevere like the Luke 18 widow.  “And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?   I tell you that He will avenge them speedily” (verses 7-8).  Even the unjust judge answered the widow’s persistent request, and God is so just.  Just keep asking!

Henry HigginsIf God says “just you wait,” it’s because He knows Henry Higgins needs to learn some valuable lesson besides that the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain.  “The testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking  nothing” (James 1:3-4).

It looks like three times God said no to Paul.   Actually He told Paul, “Yes, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness'” (2 Cor. 12:9).

It looks like God said no to David, though he pleaded for his child with Bathsheba during seven days of heartfelt fasting (2 Sam. 12:16-18).  I’ve never fasted for more than two days.  So what an effort David made!  Actually, God told David:  yes, I forgive sin, but it has disastrous consequences so you must choose to reject it.

Astoundingly, Paul and David are

The only two examples in the Bible

that I’ve seen where healing was asked for and not quickly granted.   God says He is our Healer, and people in the Bible were healed!

So what about all the people we know on our long list of those needing healing?   It seems like YHVH-Ropha is saying a loud NO to so many.  I can’t help thinking, if only they had been in the Bible!

Is there anything we can do so God doesn’t say no?

Yes, yes, yes

Jesus calls us friends (John 15:15), and friends want to hear from each other.  God wants to hear our prayers, and He wants us to reason with Him (Isa. 1:18).   Some matters take prayer and fasting (Mark (9:29).

But we should never think we can tell God what to do.  We should never fast to make our voice heard on high (Isa. 58:4).

The model prayer Jesus gave teaches near the top:  “Your will be done” (Matt. 6:10).

At His greatest time of need in the Garden of Gethsemane, three times Jesus prayed for one hour, passionately asking that there might be some other way than His suffering ahead.  The answer would have been no.  Jesus knew that because He and the Father had planned everything from the foundation!

But Jesus always ended His prayers with

“Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (Matt. 26:39)

We should always pray the same way, whether for healing or any other matter.   The Master Timer knows the best time.  And He knows what and how would be the best for all concerned.

Healing is guaranteed, if only in the resurrection.  It is appointed unto all to die once (Heb. 9:27).  We  need trials to develop patience, perfection and completion (James 1:4).

If we pray for God’s will, not our own, God won’t say no.  It’s a guaranteed “yes, I will.  Now buckle up and see what I’ve got in mind.”

World 51 8-30-17

 

 

Give Thanks? Who Knew It’s Neuroscience!

corned beef hashI love corned beef hash.
But who can afford to pay $3 for a little can of it.
So recently I saw corned beef hash
for only $1.99 at Walmart.
I drove home drooling over the prospect of
enjoying it for breakfast the next morn!

Until family says,
“Perfect, we’ll take that to Denver for our brunch this weekend!”

Moment of decision and reaction:

♥   Give thanks—that we’ll be seeing our daughters for brunch and sharing MY corned beef hash with them?

   Or complain and moan:  “That’s my corned beef hash that I was dreaming of for breakfast this morn!  I was figuring on half the can!”

Grateful?  Or gripe?  The situation comes up countless times a day.  Spiritually the choice is clear.  Sounds like a no-brainer!

Who knew it’s neuroscience!

quantum-leap-2Study of the brain is discovering that our thankfulness or negativity changes the neurons in our brain.  We build a network of thankfulness or complaining in our three pounds of grey matter.

It has to do with synapses.  What’s a synapse?  “Is that in Google Store?”

No gripes about my joke, please!

A synapse is a minute gap at the end of a neuron.  When we think, synapses “fire” and send signals across to other synapses.  This forms a bridge over which signals and information are transferred.

“Complaining and the Brain—How ‘Bad  Karma’ Is Created” by Viatcheslav Wlasoff, Ph.D.

Should it surprise us that somebody who understands neuroscience has a name you can’t spell or pronounce!

Never mind that, the exciting discovery here is that each time an electrical charge triggers, the synapses involved are actually brought closer to each other.

When it’s time for a new thought—give thanks or complain—the one most likely to surface is the one which can form a bridge between synapses in the shortest period of time.

“What all this means,” writes Dr. Wlasoff, “is that thinking about something initially makes it easier to think about it again in the future.  As such, if a person is constantly unhappy, it makes it more likely that he or she will continue to have negative thoughts if nothing is done about it.  On the bright side, though, this also suggests that if we make a conscious effort to think positive thoughts, the positive feedback cycle helps us to become a more optimistic personality as well.”

We build a neuron network in our brains by what we think.  And then that change of neurons most often fired gives us a bias to think that way again.

Hebb’s Law puts it:  “Neurons that fire together wire together.”

“So,” says Alex Korb, Ph.D. in “The Grateful Brain—the neuroscience of giving thanks,” Nov. 20, 2012, “once you start seeing things to be grateful for, your brain starts looking for more things to be grateful for …”  It creates a virtuous cycle.  We look for what’s right instead of for problems.

This is boosted because it feels good!  Expressing gratitude increases the production of serotonin and dopamine.  These neurotransmitters then fire up the bliss center of the brain.

It’s like we make paths of thinking—and the more we walk down them, the more they get welcoming, and the more we choose them.

A desire becomes a thought, then an action, then a habit, and finally character.

Neuroscience is also discovering that

Who we spend time with can change our thinking subconsciously

Yes, expressing negativity can be bad for both complainer and listener.  Giving thanks can fire up both the speaker and listener.  No wonder “The righteous should choose his friends carefully” (Prov. 12:26).  And the righteous should be an example to others.

So when you wake up each day, thank God for a new day of life.  Each day is a gift from God, called the present!  Dr. Natalie Engelbart advises that we start each day by specifying five blessings.

The Blesser commands through Paul, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thes. 5:18).

hugI want to move my giving thanks synapses so close together that they hug!

complaint deptI want Christian neurons!  Who wants a Complaint Department upstairs!  Who really wants the nerve to say that.

The next time you stand at the crossroads, choose the thanks road.

Start a virtuous cycle, not a vicious one.

Instead of beefing, give thanks for the Hormel you can share—in my case, Mary’s Kitchen.

Recent research finds that complaining corrupts the portion of the brain called the hippocampus.   You wouldn’t want hippos to not be able to go to college.  Seriously, decision-making and intelligent thought center there.

So it sounds like a no-brainer but it isn’t.  Our brains are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” as David exclaimed in Psa. 139:14.

The right spiritual choice through the Holy Spirit guiding our spirit in man changes our physical brain—which then promotes our future spiritual choices and inspires those around us to be thankful too!  Exhortation by people and scripture is great, but I hope you’re like me that

This neuroscience motivates me extra special

to want to make the right choice to give thanks.

World 51 8-30-17

Thanksgiving: Time to Elevate

This modern convenience dates back at least to Rome 336 B.C. when Archimedes built one.   That we are going the way of Rome is bad prophetic news, except in this mode we would hate to do without:  elevators.

elevator oldThose back then were open cars hoisted manually by people, animals or water wheels.

The first dedicated passenger elevator was used by King Louis XV of Versailles to get from his first floor apartments to the second floor apartments of his mistresses.  So no worries about getting caught sneaking down the stairs.  Men in a chimney lifted his “flying chair” with ropes.

In 1823 British architects Burton and Hormer created a steam-powered “ascending room” to take tourists up for a view of London.  But cables could snap and you’d descend!

elevatorToday if you work crosswords, the answer to “the name in elevators” is Otis.  In 1852 Elisha Otis invented the safety brake and later formed the Otis Elevator Co.  Thanks to him, we can have the ups and downs without plummets!

Today if all the backup systems fail, there’s still shock absorbers waiting at the bottom of the shaft.  Comforting knowledge that probably won’t stop you from screaming to death!

When life is not going our way, and in fact seems to be going down and downer, God in us can absorb the shocks.  Keep us from hitting bottom.  And at the Master Timer’s right time

Lift us up!

In Num. 14:24 God praised Caleb because he “thinks differently and follows me completely” (New Century Version).  Why’s that so relevant for us today?  God allowed Caleb and Joshua to enter the Promised Land whereas the discouraging spies were plagued to death (verse 37)!

How should we think differently?  Nut jobs think differently!  We need God to crack our hard, stubborn shells.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways … For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:8-9).

God isn’t saying we should forget it, we can’t possibly muster up godly thoughts.  He says we can if we elevate them!  The ladder to His higher thoughts is His Bible.

Paul said we can have the very mind of Christ (Php. 2:5).  How?  When we esteem others better than ourselves by emptying ourselves to serve them humbly.

What powers this?

Willis TowerWe take the elevator rather than walk up all the stairs.  When I took the one-minute ride to the top of the Willis Tower in Chicago, for the thrill of standing on the Ledge, a glass balcony extending four feet outside the 103rd floor, it spared me from walking up and down all those flights!  The man who never returned would be in Chicago not Boston!

We elevate our walk on this earth by walking as Jesus walked (1 John. 2:6).  That’s not talking about platform sandals.  That’s living with a higher purpose and plan.

Top floor, please

For the power to elevate, we can go up any time we choose to the very throne of the universe (Heb. 4:16).  Up where everybody shouts “Glory!” (Psa. 29:9).   That beats any British ascending room!

Tellingly, we go to the upper room—the uppest room—by humbling ourselves on our knees.  And in attitude.

In many elevators, you can go down to Parking.  We must not park spiritually!  Not bury our talents.  Not scoff off hastening His coming.  Not take our hands off the plow.  We must be found “so doing” now and when He comes (Matt. 24:46).

Agreeing with Matthew, Paul commends “those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality” (Rom. 2:7).

You reading this now have opportunity to “seek the things that are above” (Col. 3:1).   To urgently pursue the higher thoughts and actions of God the Father and Jesus Christ.

In the Old Testament ceremony on Pentecost, the High Priest held up two loaves representing the first fruits.  He elevated them—waved them—before God to be accepted (Lev. 23:17).  We can do all things through Jesus Christ, our High Priest (Php. 4:13).

At Thanksgiving, we usually find that we take everything for granted.  It’s time to rise above that.

The clouds, please

So when the seventh trumpet blows, and the first fruits are changed from physical to spirit, and rise to meet Christ in the air, we’ll get to elevate!

World 51 8-30-17