Archive for September, 2010

The God of Abraham

September 30, 2010

Jews, Christians and Muslims all look back to the God of Abraham.  Therefore, it can be claimed that they all worship the same God.  However, Jesus said “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God: nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me.” (John 8:42)  He also said ” I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father except through Me.”  (John 14:6)  Since neither Jews, nor Muslims recognize Jesus as the way to God, they no longer have access to the God of Abraham.  Furthermore,  Jesus said that “I and My Father are one.” (John 10:30) .  Therefore, if we accept the gospel of John, by rejecting Jesus, they have rejected the God of Abraham.

Walk with God

September 23, 2010

What’s my motivation?

I put in quite a few hours every week working on this, that, and the other.  One day I was struggling for the motivation to keep it all going and it occurred to me that my goal in life is actually very simply stated.

I want to daily walk with God.

I want to encourage others, in their walk with God.

As I go through each day, I remind myself of these simple goals.  I try to keep my spiritual eyes open to the presence of God in my life and in the lives of others.

It provides motivation.

Feathered Fireworks

September 22, 2010

There is a piece of art for sale on Ebay called Feathered Fireworks.  It is a painting that is the result of a chicken having its feet dipped in paint, and then allowing the chicken to roam around the canvas which was lying on the ground.  It is being auctioned for a charity.  It was over $500 Tuesday night.

I have previously said that art is an attempt by an artist to communicate through a chosen medium.  I may have to broaden my definition since I really don’t think the chicken is trying to tell us anything, and I hope that the artist isn’t letting a chicken do the talking!

Be Careful Who You Follow

September 21, 2010

Yesterday as I was running out in the country a large dog came running up to me.  The dog appeared friendly, just an overgrown pup, much like our dog at home.  As I continued to run, I extended my hand down by my side so that the dog could get my smell.  The dog smelled my fingers, then licked them, then put her mouth on them.  So here I am, fingers all slobbered up, digits still inside the dog’s mouth, still running down the gravel road.   The dog decided that I was ok and went to running down the road ahead of me.  When I reached my turn-around point, he turned with me and ran back towards his house.  As I passed by the dog’s house I hoped that the dog would be tired of this adventure and return home.

Nope.

The dog continued to run with me for about two miles down the gravel road.  As I approached a highway that I was going to run down I became concerned for the dog, not that he couldn’t find his way back, but because of the heavier traffic on the road ahead.  I tried yelling at him to go home, but he just ran faster away from me in the direction of the highway.  He wandered off to check out a pond, but came after me as I passed.  Eventually, I stopped and walked back in the direction of the dog’s house.  The dog turned around and again ran past me, into the lead position in our new direction.  As we passed an implement dealer, I ducked into the parking area and got behind some equipment.  The dog did not notice at first, and did not come back.  I assume that he returned to his home.   I was able to continue after that without the dog running with me.

The dog might have been all right on the side of the highway, but I would have felt bad if it had been hit by a car.  It’s not my dog, but I felt a bit of responsibility because it was following me.  (Actually, he stayed ahead of me.)

We should be careful who we follow.  We might, unwittingly,  find ourselves in dangerous places.

Speaking in Tongues

September 20, 2010

There are three different purposes for the gift of speaking in tongues.  The gift can be a sign to unbelievers,  used for the edification of a group of believers, or for individual edification.  Edification basically means to strengthen our faith.

The sign to unbelievers is when an individual is given a message in a human language that the speaker does not known, but the listener, does know.  This is a powerful sign of God’s working.  It does not happen often, but there are still stories of it occurring from time to time.  (Acts 2:5-11)

The edification of a group of believers is when the gift of tongues is manifested in a group setting.  One person gives a message in tongues, then the same person, or someone else, gives a message in the common language, that is the interpretation of the tongues.  This is effectively two separate gifts, the gift of tongues, and the interpretation of tongues.  This gift is far more common than the first gift, but its frequency varies from group to group. (I Corinthians 14:26-28)

The edification of the individual is the most common form of this gift.  Although not all Christians do speak in tongues, I believe that it is a gift that is available to all who desire to receive it.  It is basically used as a prayer language, where we have the opportunity to pray with, or in, the Holy Spirit.   (I Corinthians 14:4)

Speaking in tongues is a wonderful gift of God that is still experienced by believers today even as it was in New Testament times.

Over the River

September 16, 2010

World renown environmentalist artist Christo is proposing to cover sections of a forty-two mile stretch of the Arkansas river between Salida and Canon City with large pieces of fabric.  It would take many months to install, and would only be in place temporarily.  It has been in the planning stages for years.  It has broad support from people of the area who would benefit from the increased tourism, and jobs, during the construction and viewing stages.

I wonder about the environmental effects?  How can you deprive such a large area of natural sunlight for this length of time without ill effect?  What about the act of construction?  The project is currently undergoing an environmental impact study before it will be able to proceed.

I hope they know what they are doing.

Is It Art?

September 14, 2010

The other day in my philosophy class we discussed art.  We had basically agreed that art was an attempt to communicate through the creation of something using visual, audio or other sensory experiences.

Then it was suggested that nature itself was art.  At first I thought that nature is often the inspiration for art, or the subject of art, but in itself, it is not art.  However, the more I thought of it I realized that maybe I was wrong.  Maybe it is art.  I found this to be an interesting concept, because normally we think of art as something created by humans.  Obviously, humans did not create the world.

God did.

So is the natural world a work of the Master Artist?  Does God seek to communicate something to us through the created world?

Yes, I think that I can accept that.  So yes,  nature is art.

Wilton Candy Shop

September 13, 2010

The other day my wife and I were enjoying a motorcycle ride.  We were taking turns picking destinations.  I chose the Wilton Candy Shop.

The Wilton Candy Shop actually sells candy, ice cream,  sodas, and sandwiches.  They make their own candy, ice cream and the sodas are actually soda water mixed with syrup at the counter.  The proprietor, George, is a ninety year old man.  He and his wife (she didn’t volunteer her age) are the only employees.    His father owned the shop before him, and he has worked there all his life.  The shop is open every day, seven days a week.  In the early years it was open from 7am to 11pm.  Now that George is advanced in years he has slowed down to working only half days…7am to 7pm.  It is a unique shop with a lot of history.

I am glad that I visited and became a part of its’ story.

Why Muslims Will Celebrate On 9/11

September 9, 2010

Muslims will celebrate the end of Ramadan on 9/11.  Ramadan is a month of fasting from sunrise to sunset every day.  The end of the month is celebrated with a special holiday called Eid ul-Fitr.    The Muslim calendar is a lunar calendar so the actual start, and end, of the month moves through the Julian calendar.  This year the celebration that marks the end of Ramadan falls on 9/11.  That is unfortunate, because some people will probably misinterpret the celebration.  It has nothing to do with the destruction of the Twin Towers.  If you had just finished a month of fasting, you would probably celebrate too!

Eat, Pray, Love (movie review)

September 7, 2010

The film “Eat, Pray, Love” starring Julia Roberts is not so much a love story as it is a life story.  Roberts plays a writer who takes a year off to get her life in order.

The first four months she spends in Italy, basically eating and spending time with friends.  This time period represents the need to find enjoyment in the simple, material, things in life.  It also points out the need to slow down, and the value of doing nothing. Tasting life, you might say.

The next four months are spent in India learning the value of prayer, meditation and forgiveness.  This time period helps her to connect with the spiritual aspect of life.  Her earlier existence had been without spiritual influence.  There is a brief prayer in the beginning where she states that she had never talked to God before that point, so this is very new, and difficult for her to learn.

The next four months she spends in Bali.  During this period she rediscovers the importance of human relationships, and yes, love.   Also, she is taught the  importance  of balance.  Balancing the various aspects of life is the final lesson.

So “Eat, Pray, Love” is a story about appreciating, practicing, and balancing;  the material, spiritual and relational aspects of life.  In some ways, it teaches some very valid principles.  Unfortunately, these principles are discovered by pursuing non-Christian religious paths.  The movie could easily be used to encourage individuals to find meaning for their lives through various Eastern religions.

The only true and lasting meaning for life is to be found in Jesus Christ who said that “I am the way, the Truth and the Life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”  (John 14:6) and “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10b)