Please Keep Upright

I have a bulk, plastic container of dish soap with a sticker boldly requesting, “Please keep upright.”  It is plainly said, implying dire consequences if the large bottle is not kept upright, which would be soap leaking over the counter, the sink and floor.  The soap company sweetly warn us against the dire consequences.  They don’t need to come and demonstrate the dire consequences to each customer.  Anyone with elementary reading skills would be foolish or thoughtless not to obey the instructions!

The soap container warning has a spiritual slant.  God is upright, just, sinless, faithful and perfect (Deuteronomy 32:4).  David was upright and warned Solomon to be upright, too (1 Kings 3:6; 9:4).  Job was upright, blameless of evil doing and feared God (Job 1:1, 8).  Since God invented uprightness, He can instruct people about it (Psalms 25:8).  His instructions are in the Bible with plenty of examples (Psalms 25:8).  God doesn’t leave the dire consequences to our imagination.  He explains that if we tip over and spill our souls out over the earth, there won’t be anything left of us to get to heaven.  He, like the soap company, doesn’t have to come to each of us and demonstrate the consequences.  It’s in the Bible.  People who don’t keep upright are called perverted, evil, walkers in darkness, perverse, crooked and devious (Proverbs 2:6-15).  God created humans upright, but we like to find ways to tip over (Ecclesiastes 7:29).

Wise people seek to practice walking upright, but “unwise” people (foolish, thoughtless) stumble over or ignore the instructions.  Paul made a list of the uprightness qualities and immediately spelled out the tipped-over qualities (Titus 1:5-16).  God’s scepter is called “Uprightness” and He rules His kingdom with it, and He expects anyone who wants to live in heaven to keep upright, too (Hebrews 1:8).  Tipped over souls are not capable of dripping through the pearly gates.  Please keep upright.

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Truth in the Flower Bed

While hoeing weeds in the flower bed, over a period of a month, I discovered several truths…

Truth #1: I can get rid of weeds, but within the next week, I’m still getting rid of the same weeds!

Note: I manage to uproot some of my sinful activities or thoughts and “voilà!” those same ones crop up again, at different times! I’m forced to keep noticing them and uprooting them. This is a chore that never ends and if I think it’s ended, I am so wrong.

Truth #2: Some weeds manage to entwine their roots around the base of the flowers, or they grow next to the base of the flower. So, when I attempt to remove the weed, often I uproot the flower too. Only once in a while, can I return the flower after disentangling it from the weed.  Usually, I have to replant the flower hoping it will grow again, or replant another flower.

Note: Every now and then, a sin will get entangled with a good work, and to remove the sin I’ll have to stop the good work. Many people would leave things as they are and let the sin remain, so as not to stop the good work, but God wouldn’t except good works based on or connected with sin under the Law of Moses (Deut. 24: 17-18), and I doubt He has changed. It’s better to stop the good work for a time to get rid of the sin. The good deed can be restarted.

Truth #3: Many people love gardening, which includes weeding, sweating, getting dirty and an aching back. I find it too hard. But the results of hard work are stunningly beautiful flowers or veggies. I can tell who is willing to spend the effort and time in weeding.  My flowerbeds are not stunning like the house further north on State Route 9 with amazing bulb flowers everywhere.

Note: It takes a lot of effort to uproot sinful thoughts and activities. Some people will take the time and effort to keep an eye on their soul, and as soon as they see a sin cropping up, they do what it takes to get rid of it. Their lives are a stunning example of goodness and greatness. Most of us aren’t as vigilant. We have to be told we have a problem when our life is a mess and the clean-up a whole lot harder.

Truth #4: The absolute best time to do any weeding is after a deep watering, a good rain or even a violent storm, it doesn’t matter—water perfectly loosens the ground so I can easily (although still bending over and grunting a bit) pull out the weeds along with their roots!

Note: Most of the time, after trials and tragedies, my sins are more easily rooted out because my life has been properly shaken up!  Ouch.  King David found that out many times.  King Rehoboam had to be humbled in 2 Chronicles when Shishak the Egyptian Pharaoh whirled in to conquer Jerusalem—Rehoboam repented and God sent Shishak back home.

Gravity, God, and the Human

Did you know that you have gravity? In fact, every object has gravity, and believe it or not, you are an object! Yes, you! And the larger an object is the more gravity it has to haul other objects closer to itself, which means (contrary to my own popular opinion) that I actually am the one that pulls chocolate to me, instead of the other way around! Drat!  Also, the distance between objects controls how much of a gravitational effect we have on each other.  Every object has a pull on other objects around us, strong or weak, one to another, back and forth. So, as small as a chocolate bar is it still pulls at me, although weakly, but it’s up to me to respond to the pull or not and snake that puppy into my grasp.  

Even God has gravity! Both distance and size play huge parts in whether or not God’s gravitational attraction has an effect on a person; just like with any other object.

An example of this godly-gravitational attraction can be found with the first Christians in Jerusalem, on the Day of Pentecost, when they were close enough to hear God’s words, and they allowed themselves to be pulled to the crucified and resurrected Jesus, and to change their lives, and to wash their sins away in water. As soon as they did these things, God pulled them into His environment, and then they pulled each other into more love and good works, which drew more people to them, and then those people were also drawn into God (Acts 2:38-48). God says that, after entering His atmosphere, we are to grow in knowledge about Him and do righteous and good actions, which will make us grow larger in size, which in turn will help in keeping the gravitational attraction strong between God, us, and others.

Our sun does not have all the galaxies, the stars, the planets, and moons in the universe drawn to it; only a very few—especially when considering the whole universe.  Likewise, God doesn’t draw a lot of followers to Himself; only a few, when considering all the human lives since the dawn of time.   There are many passages in the Bible that talk about this magnetic-like pull or lack of pull, and my favorite two are, “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you (James. 4:8),” and in Isaiah 59 starting with verse 1, Isaiah tells us that God would love to be near us and part of our lives, but our sinful living pulls us away from Him.

The planets, moons, and stars have no control over what pulls at them and what doesn’t.  But humans do.  We can choose to be drawn toward one way or another, toward light and energy or toward yawning black holes.  The stars, asteroids, planets, and moons have no choice at all.  

Personally, I am drawn to Jehovah God, because I have a desire for good, kind, fair, truthful, happy, and just things; and He is the only object of power that offers these things to me—a woman—and to men also, and to children, and to old people, and to sick people, regardless of age, color, or nationality.  Jehovah God is the only gravitational power who truly wants all humans to be educated, knowledgeable, self-sufficient, and interacting in beneficial ways with others, and He even offers heavenly bliss in eternity, including women who’ve been married or not married!

May you let the gravity from the best large object be pulling at you!

Cheap Vs. Priceless

Recently, I learned that my body’s material worth is only about $3.50! This is not discussing the selling of viable organs, just the material that makes up my flesh.

So, $3.50 is about the price of the cheapest of cheap toys for a child, a toy that doesn’t last very long and ends up in the trash. When God tells me not to be enslaved to the desires of my flesh, he’s saying not to be enslaved to a $3.50 cheapest of cheap toy or tool (Rom. 6). The soul, on the other hand, is priceless, although it is encased in this very bargain basement priced body. Rather like a pearl hidden in an ugly, crusty clam at the bottom of the ocean. So, God says to spend more time taking care of my immortal soul, which means to focus on that which not even multi-gazillionaires can buy!

I’m enslaved (enchained, enthralled) to my soul because that’s who I am. My soul is me! Me is not my $3.50 body!!!!! Need I do more exclamation marks? Paul says the body is just a material tent that wears out. Jesus says the body is like flowers that bloom, wilt, and poof, are gone! When I allow Me to be ordered around by the desires of my $3.50 body, Me will lose out on a grand inheritance that God has set up for Me—not my body. I must take care of Me, behave considerately to Me, love Me enough to cater to Me spiritually, instead of letting my cheap, rotting tent lead Me around by the nose!

Me wants eternal life in heaven. What about You?

Toast is Preferred

I absolutely adore buttered toast, at any time of the day. It has a satisfying, mouth watering flavor and aroma. I did some research and found out about the Maillard Reaction. A French chemist named Maillard first explained this delicious, toasted flavor back in 1912. My fabulous toast is a reaction between amino acids (main elements of proteins) and sugars seared together in quick, hot temperatures. This brought a spiritual parallel to mind.

God explains to us many times that He puts all of His souls through hot temperatures to destroy dross, which is scum, impurity, something that is inferior (Isaiah 1:24, 25; Ezekiel 22:18); to burn out weaknesses (1 Corinthians 3:11-15); and to make us sweet smelling aromas (Ephesians 5:2; Philippians 4:18; James 1:2-4).

Everyone on earth goes through quick, hot temperatures in this life (problems, trials, tragedies). If we have been gathering spiritual proteins and spiritual sweetness, then when we endure quick, hot temperatures, we’ll pop up as marvelously delicious saints each time; behaving as souls that are desirable to be around. (Luke 2:51, 52; Acts 2:37-47). If we have NOT collected spiritual proteins and sugars, then the hot temperatures will just burn us out, reduce us to sludge or ashes. What’s great is, we can change that. If we have been “burned” and we didn’t come through it successfully, and we’re still breathing, then we can determine to start over, gathering spiritual proteins and sugars, latching onto them, ingesting them, and making them a part of our living, so that when the hot fires of troubles flame up around us again, we will become desirable to both God and mankind.

TR

Pumpkin Seeds: To Plant or Eat?

A business expert recently wrote an article entitled Pumpkin Seeds, basically saying that there are two things we can do with pumpkin seeds: horde them, eating them for ourselves until nothing is left, or plant them and reap a harvest of thousands more pumpkin seeds. Money, education, and business work the same way. And, I thought, guess what? The Word of God does, too!

Jesus ordered us to preach, teach, and demonstrate God’s Word to others (Mat. 13:3-9). Hording it for ourselves will leave us not only disobeying a law of nature, but also God’s commands! Sooner or later, Christians will become scarce and congregations will close down, all because we are not planting the seed of God’s Word around us (Mat. 28:19, 20).

Paul said he planted the Word, Apollos watered it, and God causes it to grow and produce a harvest (1 Corinthians 3:6, 7). Maybe we forget that we’re not the ones responsible for the harvest, and that’s why we stop planting, because creating harvest is impossible for us. It happens to be an act of God. So, when there is not much to harvest, we blame ourselves and stop planting, and just sit back to enjoy the seed of the moment, hogging it all (Mat. 25:14-29). Wrong!

Not even businesses or bank accounts can stay in operation for long with that view! Planting, watering, weeding, and keeping the bugs away all require time, sweat, and some elbow grease; but if we do it, then God can cause a harvest to grow. We just have to trust Him, and do our part.

TR

Overcoming Ugly

My sister, Gayle, has this hobby that I call creepy cactus cultivation. She loves finding weird, ugly, exotic cactus plants and coaxing beauty out of them. Gayle just sent me photos of a cactus she found recently that she calls a caterpillar for lack of knowing its real name. It’s as ugly as sin, motley browns, looking a bit like animal droppings. But, one day, a pod-type extension appeared on it, also ugly, and then a couple of days later, a gorgeous flower flushed out of the pod! Delicate; pretty colors of pink, purple, blue; multilayered; and beautiful. I saw the photos and thought, “Wow, this is like people!” And thus, the following article was created.

Beauty can come from ugly. God finds sin uglier than the caterpillar cactus, but He created a way for humans to pretty-up and produce beautiful flowers—Jesus. We’re all obnoxious in sin without Jesus, but in Him we can overcome ugly and produce great splendor! Paul proudly tells us that God “delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son (Col. 1:13).” And because of this, on a daily basis, we need to take long looks at ourselves in the spiritual mirror and continue transforming ourselves into good, acceptable, and brand new creations in God’s eyes (Ac. 2:38; Rom. 12:1, 2; 6:4; 2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15). God excels in creating beauty out of ugly; He’s the master craftsman in this field (Ez. 37). GayleCactusPhoto A1 2015-05-23 GayleCactusPhoto A3 2015-05-23

Let’s Do “The Cherubim”

There are alien-like creatures that spend their time, with power and authority, praising God, without waiting for permission! Just take a moment to picture this:

Four very alive living creatures (called Cherubim in Ezekiel, imaginary-like) function as heavy-duty guards in Heaven, and constantly surround the thrones of God and Jesus (Revelation 4:6-11). In the book of Revelation, each Cherub has SIX wings. The apostle John does not say if the wings grow out of its shoulders, back or hips; or grow all in one spot or layered down its body. Each Cherub is jam-packed with eyes—in other words, a Cherub is like a computer-generated, made-for-movie mutant, with thousands of eyes staring, moving here, there, and around from under the skin, on top of the skin, and all over the skin, both front and back! One Cherub has a shape like a lion, while another Cherub has a shape like an ox, and one has a face like a man (what about the body?). The fourth Cherub is shaped like an eagle in flight.

John takes great pains to explain that these four living creatures absolutely BURST with life, action, and vigilance! They erupt with a loud roar every now and again, proclaiming to everyone, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty; who is and was and is to come!” They shamelessly bellow this confession, regularly, at the top of their lungs!

Try this out today: Every so often, just loudly explode and do “The Cherubim” by repeating what the Heavenly monsters say to God and Jesus Christ, or make your own praise statement! Don’t wait until you’re prompted by an outside force (Revelation 14:11, 12; Philippians 2:10-13)!

TR

Peace on Earth, Peace off Earth

(I’ve been creating a word puzzle book using the whole book of Revelation, and came across thoughts that piqued my thinking apparatus. Here’s one.)

Jesus, pictured as a living, yet bloody, grotesque, dead-like Lamb, sits on His throne in heaven and opens a seal, a fastener or an impressed signet wax impression on a special scroll, which is a fancy, rolled up paper of some kind (Revelation 6:1-6). When the scroll opens, a bright red horse literally jumps out, with a rider on its back, and Jesus Himself gives this duo the authority to “take away peace on earth,” so people would kill each other!

What a paradox that these orders (to take away peace on earth) came from the very person, who came to earth as a human, to bring “peace on earth and goodwill toward men” (Luke 2:14). The prophet Isaiah even said that Jesus, the Messiah, was the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6, 7). But in the last book written in the Bible, a last revelation from Jesus and God in heaven to man, Jesus informs us that a time is coming when He will call for the removal of peace on earth, or maybe He means that there are times when He calls for the removal of peace on earth (we’ve seen it during horrible times like World War 1 and 2, and the Black Death plagues).

Regardless of whether the revelation here is talking about the end of time or the many times when there has not been peace, when people say today that the Bible is just a “love letter” from God, I almost start sweating in fear. In the ancient past, those who claimed to be God’s people used to say things just like that, “Peace, peace…” but they were enormously fooling themselves and God told them so (Ezekiel 13:9-16)! Strangely, people have a knack for being totally blind to what’s actually in front of our eyes, like the words in the Bible. Some would call it denial.

A Day is coming when Jesus will arrive to avenge Himself and His obedient followers on those who do not know Him and on those who do not obey His call to repent (change) by becoming new and righteous people. On that special Day, the only souls who will have peace will be those who made the effort not to ignore the will of God, who took the time not to be blind and lazy, and who obeyed the will of God instead of changing it to fit their own ideas or desires (2 Thess. 1:2-12).

TR