THE FORGOTTEN PAIN

THEY WHIPPED JESUS. THEY HUMILIATED HIM WITH TAUNTS. THEY SPAT ON HIM.  THEY SHOUTED SNEERING INSULTS. THEY LAUGHED AT HIM.

But there was a stabbing pain of the soul not recorded in Scripture.  Oh it’s there alright, but very little or nothing is written about the hurt, the disappointment Jesus felt when Judas stooped so low in his betrayal for a measly 30 pieces of silver.  Jesus loved Judas. He occupied an important position as treasurer of the group.

Jesus told the assembled disciples, “‘One of you is going to hand me over to the conspirators.’”

Matthew 26:20-21 (msg)

It could have been any one of them.  Jesus didn’t name the guy because he didn’t want to embarrass anyone.

If your husband or wife or friend betrayed you, would you publicly hold them up for ridicule?  Jesus would never hold anyone up for public embarrassment.  He knew  the unexplainable pain of disaffection and deception.

“Then Judas, already turned traitor, said, ‘It isn’t me, is it, Rabbi?’ Jesus said, ‘Don’t play games with me, Judas.’”

Matthew 26:25 (msg)

Although nothing is mentioned of Jesus’ feelings at the time, but can’t you just feel Christ’s mixture of anger and hurt.

Arrogantly taking someone for a chump creates a toxic emotional poison in body and mind.  You may have read my article on oxytocin, a hormone associated with betrayal and revenge (“Love hath no fury like a woman scorned!”)  Oxytocin is a hormone produced by the hypothalamus.  In my book, WRITE IT ON MY HEART, I address the issue more completely, but suffice it to say that if you betray her or him, you better watch out!  In fact, if either of you starts to nibble around the edges of moral certitude, you’re a goner. Something crazy and destructive begins to happen and all hell will break loose. Your sins will find you out.   Have you noticed it in real life? Oxytocin & Cortisol – Tiger Woods, John Gotti, Charlie Sheen, and countless others great and small are gluttons for punishment?

Write It On My Heart – Speaking Truth in Love

Screen Shot 2018-08-13 at 9.13.36 AM.jpg

No, I’m not a molecular biologist so don’t get all freaked out that this is an illustrious article with ibids, op cits and quotes from noted scientists, PhD’s, DD’s, MD’s, DVD’s, and other learned D’s past, present and future.  Cortisol is a hormone finding its origin in the hypothalamus which then tells the pituitary gland to shoot out Oxytocin, known as the DEATH HORMONE. I think the medical name for it is hydrocortisone. Sometime, old people have too much of it, and then they kick the bucket. BUT, would you believe, IT CAN BE TRIGGERED BY GUILT!

It is a “stress” hormone.  Cortisol, the hormone,  can increase blood pressure, diabetes, depression, anxiety and other stuff.  From a “ministerial” (😊) perspective, I might even jump to this conclusion: since guilt is  “a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined,” tragic consequences occur in your body, daily activities and even in your thinking.

We know – it is proven – that the mind affects the body. I would submit that your spirit affects both mind and body.  The Psalmist wrote:  “Then I let it all out; I said, ‘I’ll make a clean breast of my failures to GOD.’   Suddenly the pressure was gone— my GUILT dissolved, my sin disappeared.”

Psalm 32:5

CORTISOL is the Death Hormone. Oxytocin is the betrayal/revenge Hormone.  It could be that Jeremiah is addressing this thought:

“All … your friends have forgotten you. They don’t care about you. I have hurt you as an enemy would. I punished you very hard, because your GUILT was so great and your sins were so many. Why are you crying out about your injury? There is no cure for your pain. I did these things to you because of your great GUILT, because of your many sins.”

Jeremiah 30:14-15

“Let me tell you something wonderful, a mystery I’ll probably never fully understand. … in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three—sin, GUILT, death—are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God!”

1 Corinthians 15:51-57

Jesus, being fully human as well as fully God, most assuredly had a broken heart beyond words when Judas betrayed him. But think of Judas – he “threw the silver coins into the Temple and left. Then he went out and hung himself.”

Matthew 27:5 (msg)

Oh the hurt that Jesus felt!

PROSPERITY

NOT OFTEN DO I AGREE WITH STUFF ONLINE (sometimes, not even my own stuff), BUT I READ AN ARTICLE PUBLISHED BY CRUX that addressed the issue of THE PROSPERITY GOSPEL, which traces its origins to the United States in the late 19th century, views wealth and success as synonymous with true religious conviction and consequently, sees “poverty, sickness and unhappiness” as a lack of faith.

This idea of “send ME your seed” and you’ll be healthy, wealthy, and wise is a hoax.  Don’t fall for it!  The idea that you can pursue the American dream by sending money to someone who lives in luxury doesn’t make Biblical sense.  This idea of affluence associated with Christian theology crawls with the snake that deceived Eve.

By the way, those same positive speaking guys and gals, although making us feel good, cannot “heal” everyone; maybe no one.  If we simply say that God can heal EVERYONE, no one would ever die.  Spiritual vitality is far deeper than anything physical.

Evil is always parasitic!  As with Eve, the Evil One will always appeal to those areas of life in which we are most vulnerable; sex as pleasure – lust,  money to bring self-gratification – greed, having a physical god – idolatry, pride and arrogance or anything that replaces the goodness of God.  Evil resides in our will, our choices.  There is nothing in this world more powerful than the power of our free-will.  When we give in to those destructive things, those attitudes toward base desires, sin occurs.  Sin is much more than holding your little bow and missing the bullseye.  Sin was so destructive that it created within the human being a toxic, poisonous mental and emotional stew causing terrifying consequences.  It is so bad that it put Christ on the cross!

To consider serving the Lord God a celestial vehicle for prosperity is the height of selfish greed.

God is not a plaything.  His church is not to be “used” to satisfy greed.  And for sure, the poor and unsuspecting should not be used to purchase someone’s Gulf Stream IV.  Oh I know, we have considered old fashioned the idea of Christian theology …; “its boring.”  But you know what?  It would be wonderful to hear the powerful Word of God preached so that “heaven came down and glory filled my soul.”  Most of the time, however, we …  “tell [our] spiritual leaders, ‘Don’t bother us with irrelevancies.’  They tell their preachers, ‘Don’t waste our time on impracticalities. Tell us what makes us feel better. Don’t bore us with obsolete religion. That stuff means nothing to us. Quit hounding us ….’”

Isaiah 30:8-11 (msg)

No wonder the popular thing today is a church Rock concert with a “Speecher” telling us how good we are and how we deserve to “think and grow rich.”  Oh, and this is after we went shopping in the church mall buying our Starbucks and picking up the latest T-shirt that says, “Don’t Blame Jesus if You Go To Hell” with a big yellow happy face on it.   Or another approach is to scare the living daylights out of us predicting when Jesus will come followed, of course, by an exhortation to “give and you’ll get!”

TATTOO HIS NAME

NOPE! TATTOOS ARE NOT MY CUP OF TEA.  SEEMS THAT SUDDENLY, all over the place, our younger generation has tattoos. I saw an old codger – wrinkled and everything (‘bout my age) – with tattoos all over his arms and neck.  Then I read  Isaiah 49:16 (kjv)
“Behold, I have engraved thee upon the palms of my hands; ….”
‭‭Next, I was shocked how the Living Bible (paraphrase) translates it.
“See, I have “TATTOOED”‭ your name upon my palms ….”
MORE COMPLETELY THE NIV SAYS:  “Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.  “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; ….”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭49:13, 16‬
Jesus “‘said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side.  STOP DOUBTING AND BELIEVE.’”
‭‭John‬ ‭20:27‬ ‭(niv)

MUSCLEBOUND!

ARE YOU MUSCLEBOUND?  WE HAD A GOVERNOR here in California who was known all over the world. He was a bodybuilder and powerlifter.  He preened, primped and pranced before thousands with the crowd praising his appearance.  I looked up the medical definition of muscle bound.  It is,  “having some of the muscles tense and enlarged and of impaired elasticity sometimes as a result of excessive exercise.”

A musclebound person can have serious medical problems.

It is clearly understood that Saul of Tarsus (the Apostle Paul) was not only ordained by God, but was a resolute intellectual.  He could have continued on to be a serious, intellectual, spiritually  “musclebound” man of history heaping praise on himself.  After all, it is known he wrote 13, maybe 14, of the Books of the New Testament.

BUT, HE WAS GIVEN A “THORN IN THE FLESH!”

“Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

2 Corinthians 12:8-9.

From this scripture, we learn a great deal about suffering, weakness, and the power of God. We learn from Paul’s experience that God will allow our strength to be sacrificed so that we may experience His true and greater strength. We can only go so far in our own strength for the following reasons:

1. Our strength stifles our experiencing God’s strength in our lives.

2. Our strength limits us to only what we can do.

3. Our strength can serve as a temptation to boast in ourselves when our purpose is found in giving God glory.

In God’s response to Paul, we learn two significant lessons when dealing with difficulties in life.”

(1)  I won’t boast “because I don’t want anyone to give me credit ….”

2 Corinthians 12:6 (nlt)

(2)  “… when I am weak, then I am strong,”

2 Corinthians 12:10.

Strange, isn’t it!  In our weakness, in our surrender God’s amazing power enters us.

DOES GOD HAVE A ZAPPER?

LET’S GET THIS CLEAR: GOD DOES NOT “CAUSE” EVIL!  HE DOES NOT HAVE A ZAPPER THAT SHOOTS DOWN A LIGHTENING BOLT SIMPLY TO SEE HOW YOU SQUIRM.  

We live in a fallen world! To fully understand what happened in the eons of time before the earth was created is above my pay-grade … and your’s, too.  But this we know:

“when God created he “looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!”

Genesis 1:31

Human beings allowed themselves to be deceived by “wrong theology” – [so to speak]. 

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The Woman said to the serpent, ‘Not at all. We can eat from the trees in the garden. It’s only about the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, ‘Don’t eat from it; don’t even touch it or you’ll die.’”

Genesis 3:2-3 (msg)

“The serpent told the Woman, ‘You won’t die. God knows that the moment you eat from that tree, you’ll see what’s really going on. You’ll be just like God, knowing everything, ranging all the way from good to evil.’”

Genesis 3:4-5 (msg)

Does anyone know how, what, when or why Satan rebelled against God?  No!  Apart from the Holy Bible we know very little, but speaking of Satan, Isaiah 14:12 says, ‘How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!’”  And Isaiah indicates in vv. 13 & 14 that this fallen angel wanted himself to be something more than an angel through pride.  “You said to yourself, ‘I’ll climb to heaven. I’ll set my throne over the stars of God. I’ll run the assembly of angels that meets on sacred Mount Zaphon. I’ll climb to the top of the clouds. I’ll take over as King of the Universe!’”  PRIDE!

Isaiah 14:13-14 (msg)

A shallow reading seems like God causes evil and makes bad things happen like an evil genius. 

IT. WAS. SIN. and DISOBEDIENCE, NOT GOD’S PLAN! 

God’s sense of justice demanded he give humans the freedom to choose.  Otherwise, he would simply be a celestial puppeteer.  So Eve chose to give in. 

“‘The serpent seduced me,” she said, ‘and I ate.’”

Genesis 3:13 (msg)

“GOD told the serpent: ‘Because you’ve done this, you’re cursed, cursed beyond all cattle and wild animals, Cursed to slink on your belly and eat dirt all your life. I’m declaring war between you and the Woman, between your offspring and hers. He’ll wound your head, you’ll wound his heel.’

He told the Woman: ‘I’ll multiply your pains in childbirth; you’ll give birth to your babies in pain. You’ll want to please your husband, but he’ll lord it over you.’ He told the Man: ‘Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from, ‘Don’t eat from this tree,’ the very ground is cursed because of you; getting food from the ground will be as painful as having babies is for your wife; you’ll be working in pain all your life long. The ground will sprout thorns and weeds, you’ll get your food the hard way, planting and tilling and harvesting, sweating in the fields from dawn to dusk, until you return to that ground yourself, dead and buried; you started out as dirt, you’ll end up dirt.’”

Genesis 3:14-19 (msg)

God didn’t cause Adam and Eve to receive bad things.  It was a volitional choice on their part. 

Therefore, in this fallen world Jesus [God in human flesh] says, “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

Matthew 5:45 (niv)

This world is set in motion with immutable laws of the universe; some visible and some invisible; some tangible and some spiritual. 

Does God always protect us in all circumstances?  No! 

Does God heal all diseases?  No!

Does he give us answers to everything?  No! 

Is this an exhaustive study answering all questions about the subject?  No!

But this we know: His eternal, everlasting love will be manifested in all things.  He will not always protect you from cancer, but your faith in him will bring you a joy you have never known and bless people around you, maybe to their salvation. 

As with  HORATIO G. SPAFFORD.  Successful lawyer and businessman in Chicago.  Wonderful family.   Living a beautiful life. Then, his son died with pneumonia in 1871.  Later that year,  the great Chicago fire occurred and he lost his business. In 1873, his wife and their four young daughters took an ocean liner to Europe.  Mr. Spafford was to join them later.  Four days into the crossing of the Atlantic, an accident caused the ship to sink and all four children drowned.  Mrs. Spafford was found hanging on to some debris.  Later, they had another son who also died. Through these awful tragedies and sufferings, Mr. Spafford wrote:      🎼🎶

“When peace like a river attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll,

Whatever my lot, 

Thou hast taught me to say,

It is well, it is well with my soul.

“Though Satan should buffet,

Tho’ trials should come,

Let this blest assurance control,

That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate, 

And hath shed his own blood for my soul.

“It is well (it is well) 

with my soul, (with my soul),

It is well, it is well with my soul.”

“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:7

Save Me From Sniffles

HEALING! OH, YES.  WE WANT IT NOW.  NO SUFFERING, NO PROBLEMS, NO HURT.  Everything from the sniffles to devastating illnesses – “heal me Jesus!”

When Jesus walked the shores of Galilee, were his disciples ever sick or tempted?  Did they ask Jesus to protect them?  If so, there is no record of him saying to Bartholomew, “No more sniffles.” Or to James the Less, “You won’t have an ear ache any more.”  Zap!  Bingo!  Yes, they were scared from time to time. They got angry.  They were uncertain in certain situations.   I can’t find where Jesus protected them from temptation either. The key was – they left everything to follow Jesus. Talk about total commitment!

“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 1:6 (niv)

🎼🎶🎹

“Does Jesus care when I’ve tried and failed

To resist some temptation strong;

When for my deep grief there is no relief,

Though my tears flow all the night long?

“Does Jesus care when my way is dark

With a nameless dread and fear?

As the daylight fades into deep night shades,

Does He care enough to be near?

“Oh, yes, He cares, I know He cares,

His heart is touched with my grief;

When the days are weary, the long nights dreary,

I know my Savior cares.”

(Frank E. Graeff)

 

HONOR CAREGIVERS

RONNIE MILSAP SANG, “Please don’t tell me how the story ends.”  It’s about the end of a love affair,  but one of the lines caught my attention when THINKING OF CAREGIVERS.  It says,

“Just let me go on loving and believing – ‘till it’s over.

Please don’t tell me how the story ends.”

Children of the elderly or spouses, are susceptible to the pathology of depression, guilt, anger, fatigue, arguing, insomnia, anxiety, resentment and exhaustion when acting as CAREGIVER.  In fact, being in the assisted living business, it has been necessary for my administrator to ask a caregiver to take some time off due to their being overwhelmed.  The constant drip-drip of demands  and activities of daily living such as toileting, dressing, eating, ambulating, medication, etc., start to bring on frustration exhibited by impatience and yelling at the patient.

As a general rule, caregivers don’t recognize their mental and emotional anguish. The sad thing is that in many cases the caregiver will take on the symptoms of the person they are caring for – even death.  Or, they start to neglect their own care and health.

Caregivers are givers and hesitate to admit their exasperation and guilt.  Little by little a dark resentment gathers steam in their heart and mind.  Too often they will say, “I don’t know if there is a God, but if there is, he sure doesn’t know what I’m going through!”

To caregivers I say, “if you really, really want to, you could find a way to take a day or two off – frequently! You may need sleep. You may need to eat a quiet, healthful meal with someone.  You may need to talk with a friend. Mothers of small children should talk with an adult … frequently. Seeking out professional help should be considered.”

YES. YOU. CAN!   If you want to.

Here are seven things to think about from the pen of Paul.

“(1) Don’t worry about anything; (2) instead pray about everything.

(3) Tell God what you need,

(4) thank him for all he has done.  (5) Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.

(6) His peace will guard your hearts and minds

(7) as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7    🎼🎶🎹

“Does Jesus care when my heart is pained

Too deeply for mirth or song,

As the burdens press, and the cares distress,

And the way grows weary and long?

“Oh, yes, He cares, I know He cares,

His heart is touched with my grief;

When the days are weary, the long nights dreary,

I know my Savior cares.”

(Frank E. Graef)

“God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have …  plenty left over to share with others.”

2 Corinthians 9:8 (nlt)

CAREGIVERS ARE GOD’S HELPERS AND NEED OUR LOVE AND SUPPORT!

Are We Warthogs?

IF THERE IS NO GOD,  NO HEREAFTER, NOTHING MORE THAN THE PHYSICAL floating through millennia of transmutation, why do we sometimes hurt deeply in our soul?  Why don’t we die like a dog or mosquito or a fish in the ocean?  What’s the big deal!

Why is it that for the last 6,000 years human beings have yearned for a supreme being making gods of wood and gold?  Who put the hunger in our heart for love, purity, moral conscience, for order?   What about that yearning to live forever?  If we are animal only with no hereafter what, then, is the big deal about dying – we just disappear, rot away in the dirt?  To the dialectical materialist/Left/communist crowd, you and your family are only economic animals to be manipulated for what they would interpret as the good for the whole of society.  Are human beings possessor of some kind of strange spirit that other creatures don’t have; or, does a dragonfly have what we have?  A cow, horse, warthog, grasshopper?   If we are no different, why not feed the hungry with human meat?

NO! A thousand times NO!

“In the past you were spiritually dead because of your sins and the things you did against God. Yes, in the past you lived the way the world lives, following the ruler of the evil powers that are above the earth. That same spirit is now working in those who refuse to obey God. In the past all of us lived like them, trying to please our sinful selves and doing all the things our bodies and minds wanted. We should have suffered God’s anger because we were sinful by nature. We were the same as all other people. But God’s mercy is great, and he loved us very much. Though we were spiritually dead because of the things we did against God, he gave us new life with Christ. You have been saved by God’s grace.”

Ephesians 2:1-5 (ncv)

 

To the eternal God the writer of Hebrews wrote: “‘You made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.’”

Hebrews 2:7 (nlt)

 

“Now we did not receive the spirit of the world, but we received the Spirit that is from God so that we can know all that God has given us.”

1 Corinthians 2:12 (ncv)

 

“I want [you] to be strengthened and joined together with love so that [you] may be rich in [your] understanding. This leads to [your] knowing fully God’s secret, that is, Christ himself.  In him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are safely kept. I say this so that no one can fool you by arguments that seem good, but are false.  “When you were spiritually dead because of your sins and because you were not free from the power of your sinful self, God made you alive with Christ, and he forgave all our sins.”

Colossians 2:2-4, 13 (ncv)

 

“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

John 4:24 (ncv)

You are not just a piece of evolutionary meat roaming the desert of confusion.  You are a spirit longing to join the Spirit of God Almighty.  Your spirit is that something God put within you that gives you the ability to have an intimate relationship with God through the redeeming sacrifice Jesus made on the cross for the penalty of your sin and mine!

CITIZENS OF ETERNITY

WHEN WE STEP ON THE PROPERTY OF THE AMERICAN EMBASSY IN A FOREIGN LAND WE STEP INTO AMERICAN TERRITORY, OWNED LOCK, STOCK AND BARREL BY THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA – but there is an exception; ownership is by agreement. According to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 Embassy property is owned by the sending state and is agreed to in Article 21-22:

Article 21

The receiving State shall either facilitate the acquisition on its territory, in accordance with its laws, by the sending State of premises necessary for its mission or assist the latter in obtaining accommodation in some other way. 2. It shall also, where necessary, assist missions in obtaining suitable accommodation for their members.

Article 22

The premises of the mission shall be inviolable. The agents of the receiving State may not enter them, except with the consent of the head of the mission.

Therefore, we can state with confidence that when we step on Embassy property of the United States, we have entered America. As it is now spiritually, we are living in a foreign land, but our homeland is in heaven. Philippians 3:20 encourages us to rejoice because “we are CITIZENS of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives.”