More Things I Think About and Wonder About
The way my mind works is that I need to analyze to understand the how’s and why’s things are the way they are but not from a technical basis. I don’t care how a car runs just that it does. As a kid when my grandparents were visiting, my grandmother would tell my grandfather “Bob, we better go before it gets too dark.” Finally late one afternoon I asked, “When exactly is “too dark”? I got in trouble with my mother for asking the question. She thought I was being a smart mouth. I really wanted to understand what my grandmother meant. Never did find out.
The answers, “that’s just the way it is”, “that’s the way life works”, or “that’s the way we’ve always done it” frustrates me. Yes, I’ve given my children and grandchildren these answers mostly out of exasperation because I can’t really explain things. Early in my career I had a boss tell me to never give the answer “that’s the way our company has always done it”. My clients never heard that answer from me because it’s not a satisfactory answer.
My logic does not always seem to be on target with others. Whenever green beans were served, I was made to eat some. “Just try some!” I had already tried them hundreds of times. I just did not like them. But, according to Mom they were good for me and the starving children of Africa, China or take your pick of countries would love to have them. One night at dinner I had a revelation, “I do not like them, and the starving children wanted them so let’s ship them to those children.” My Mother was not happy with my logic and turned to my Father for help. He just shrugged his shoulders. I thought we solved the problem! Those kids are still looking for the green bean shipment.
By the way, when I was in the rehab hospital, the therapist said I was ready to graduate from soup three times per day to pureed food. I was really looking forward to the change. The first morning oatmeal was for breakfast, good start! Some kind of pureed meat, mashed potatoes and pureed green beans were for lunch. The hospital must have bought a train car of green beans because they were served each day at lunch or dinner. To honor my Mother I did try them, but pureed green beans are not any better. I figure Mother was not just smiling from heaven but laughing out loud.
I had a boss, Bill, who told me to never bring him a problem without also bringing him a potential solution. He also told me to view them as “opportunities” not problems. That’s what I am trying to accomplish in this article. These are not problems nor worries but just what I wonder and think about. Included is what I believe the answer should be. Let me know what your answer is! PLEASE!
1. While talking with a gentleman recently, he told me he was trying to digest something I had written on the blog. He wasn’t telling me my logic was absolutely wrong but was not sure he agreed with it. I had asked a question about why we think our doctrine must be pure, and perfect without fault, when we don’t live a pure and perfect life. We sin in a number of different ways and believe God will forgive us if we confess and tell him we are sorry. So, if I am in error concerning my beliefs about singing with or without instruments, orphans’ homes, Sunday school, drinking alcohol, etc. am I hell bound? I do not believe I am because my intent is to follow the Bible in all things. If my intent is to go through the Bible to dismiss parts because they don’t suit me or have not kept up with times or social correctness, then I believe I have a problem. My ego has gotten in the way of what the Bible says. Intent is important!
Revelation 22:18-19: “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.”
Example of my thoughts: Barnes seems to believe these verses are about the writing in Revelation only, but Johnson believes the verses are about the entire Bible. Which one is correct in his interpretation?
The elders have allowed me to write articles on the blog for approximately eighteen months. It’s a very serious responsibility so every morning I pray for God’s guidance. No God does not inspire me, but he will lend guidance and understanding if my intent is to use the Bible as a guide.
2. Why does the scripture record that Jesus cried out in a loud voice asking God, His Father, why he had forsaken Him? Are the writers just reporting the “news of the event” or does it have some meaning? One interpretation is that Jesus’ crying out is taken by some as an abandonment of the Son by the Father. Another interpretation holds that at the moment when Jesus took upon himself the sins of humanity, the Father had to turn away from the Son because the Father is "of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong" (Habakkuk 1:13).
I believe this was recorded to help us have a deeper appreciation for Christ’s suffering. Not only did he suffer extreme physical pain but harsh mental anguish. I’ve never felt abandoned by anyone especially not a parent, but Jesus did feel abandon by God, His Father. We tend to focus on his physical suffering but don’t overlook his emotional suffering. I know people who suffer with anxiety and depression. It’s real and terrible.
3. Jesus promises that God will provide our needs in Matthew 6:25-34. The promise includes food and clothes then why are people, especially children, going without? Is there a qualification we need to meet? Most commentators write that we must be a believer and “seek first His kingdom and His righteous” and then we will have these blessings. But what do children understand about seeking Him? Are these children going without because of their parent’s lack of seeking God? The only answer I have is Matthew 26:11 “The poor you will always have with you”. This doesn’t really satisfy me.
In Matthew 6:11, the “Lord’s prayer”, we are instructed to ask God to give us “our daily bread”. Why do we need to ask for something he promises us just a few verses later? Some commentators believe that God wants our prayers as a reminder that He is the giver and wants us to continually be reminded that all blessings come from Him.
Philippians 4:19 – “And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Jesus Christ.” When I was growing up, a need and a want were the same thing for me. My “need” was for good reliable transportation to and from school and work. My “want” was for a black Dodge Charger! My grandfather gave me his 1957 Chevy. Wished I still had that car! We should keep the difference between a true need and a want in mind as we pray for God’s blessings.
4. How long will God hang in there with you? Does he ever just give up on us? Most of my effort with CASA has been with teenage boys. I admit to having the feeling of great frustration with them and their parents. Why am I bothering? Just give up! One young man has been in jail for over three years and another one is headed there on multiple charges and a third is back in jail. But God reminds me of his promise: Deuteronomy 31:8 ESV: “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” If He’s not willing to give up on His children, why should I? I can’t walk away because I believe I would be giving on God!! He’s hanging in there on these young men.
There were times in my teens and young adulthood that my relationship with God was strained to the max because of the way I was living. I tell Him in my prayers everyday how grateful I am that He hung in there with me. One author wrote, “You will give up on yourself long before God will ever give up on you!” Sorry but I don’t remember the name of the author. If I were God, I would have gotten tired of me a long time ago and let go but praise Him because He hung in there with me! He’ll do the same for you!
5. Do we believe or understand what we sing in worship and why? Is it possible that we are just going through the motions? Sometimes, I’m just calling words.
For me, How Great Thou Art, is a perfect praise song to God. Read the words.
Read the following two verses:
Colossians 3:16 ESV “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
Ephesians 5:19 ESV “Addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,”.
It’s not just an opportunity to sing to God, it’s a responsibility to sing to one another! Do You Know My Jesus? is a great song to sing to one another. Near to the Heart of God is comforting to sing to one another and also a request for Jesus’ help.
Be with Me, Lord by L.O. Sanderson, a minister of the Church of Christ for many years is an excellent form of a prayer song. I cannot sing but by joining with others, hopefully others are encouraged.
We visited a congregation of about one hundred people in a Harding Academy school building one Sunday. The congregation was being criticized by other congregations for doing a number of things during worship. The only one they were guilty of was setting in two semi circles facing each other. They were trying to practice Colossians and Ephesians. When you are facing your brothers and sisters to encourage them, it’s very difficult to avoid singing. Yes, it was intimidating at first, but it brings you to the realization of the value of encouraging one another in song and hymns.
6. Sometimes being a Christian is a tall task! The Bible tells us we are to love everybody, even our enemies without exception. I Corinthians 13 describes what love is and is not without exception. We are to pray for our enemies without exception. The only exceptions come from our great ability to rationalize and justify. One of my justifications is people with huge egos who think rules, laws, etc. are meant for you and me certainly NOT them. Many times their arrogance causes me not to love.
This is not a real scenario but very plausible. You are driving on 231 North and you see Filbert, who is an ego maniac, standing by his car looking at a flat tire. Do you stop to see if you can be of assistance or just drive on? You notice Filbert is on a cell phone probably calling for roadside assistance, so you turn your head and speed up hoping he doesn’t see you. Some of us might smile and wave as we drive by enjoying his problem! Did you demonstrate Christian love? Would you have stopped if it had been Mrs. Filbert? Just how far do we have to take “love”? As far as God does!
Will God not allow me just a few exceptions every once in a while? Seems like a reasonable request! I don’t believe he does. Remember the Bible records no exceptions nor justifications.