Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Lately and Early

I’ve been thinking lately and early about God and man. In my church we have been going through a very good Bible study: “Trusting God-Even When Life Hurts” written by Jerry Bridges. I would encourage anyone with questions about God’s Will and purpose for us all to check it out.
Bridges shows the strong Scriptural basis for trusting God, His Sovereignty, Wisdom and Benevolence.
I have faith that God loves me and will continue to lead me. I’ve been assured of that for nearly 30 years.
I look out at a world which doesn’t even trust that God exists, and I see the turmoil which comes from fear. Without God man has absolutely no purpose. To exist isn’t a purpose. Rocks and trees exist, stars and galaxies exist. But the purpose we all serve comes from the Creator Who designed us for His good pleasure. We exist to give glory to God, because God wants us to exist.

“15And He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.” Colossians 1:15-16

So, as we were created for Him, it is the most natural thing in the world to trust Him, to accept that He is in charge of all Creation. You may think of a thousand reasons to reject God, deny His existence, pretend that He doesn’t love you. But He does. And He proved it a long time ago on Calvary. And He continues to prove His love for you today, in a million and one ways. One of the most basic are us Christians who keep sharing the Gospel. I personally would love it if God would pop us right up into Heaven as soon as we accept Christ. Just: “AMEN *POP* I’M HOME!”
But instead God sees fit to keep us here, getting the Word out, telling a troubled, frightened world that God cares.

“For you were taken from the mud
Reached with words you knew were spoken
In a special Christlike love-
You may have been unlovable to anyone but God
But His love sent someone searching through the world,
And you were found.”

Saturday, January 27, 2007

On Point

When we can’t see past the present
When we fill our lives with lesser things
When we haven’t got a prayer

God is there.

The other day I was angry with my brother and, rather than forgiving him and moving on, I was going to “talk with him” which actually involves raised voices and very unpleasant unpleasantness.
He had broken something, left it for me to fix, and I felt I was justified in giving him both barrels.
Then I got a little nudge from God:
“Hey Doug-done anything I’ve had to forgive you for lately?”

Point A to Point B. Simple. Point A is Now, Point B is Heaven. We who belong to Christ have just a short time, a scant few decades, before we reach our destination. Hang on for dear Life.
God is in control of every facet of existence, every moment of created time. There is not a life lived which is not ordained by Him, whether we live as objects of His love, or objects of His wrath-we all live.
Charles Spurgeon once wrote:
“Truly, whatever else we do not know, we know the Lord. This day is this promise true in our experience, and it is not a little one. The least believer among us knows God in Christ Jesus--not as fully as we desire, but yet truly and really we know the Lord. We not only know doctrines about Him, but we know Him.”

And He knows us. Those who are called by Him respond to His voice. All others may rage, grind their molars, call God unfair, be clay finding fault with the potter. It’s not like God made it impossible for them to come to Him-it’s extremely simple-Point A to Point B-but only through Jesus Christ. If someone would rather die in his or her sin, that is extremely sad.
Think about this-God created Hell because of His love. Love? Yes.
God is Perfect, and will be bringing His loved ones into a perfect Kingdom, one free from any stain of sin. Anything less wouldn’t be good enough for them.
Those who love God have their greatest desire fulfilled: Heaven is only Heaven because God is there.
Those who reject God have their wish fulfilled also: they will spend Eternity without Him.
Point A to Point?

Thursday, January 25, 2007


“Idiocracy” review-

First things first: it isn’t a comedy. I think that everyone (most especially the Fox movie studio) was expecting another comedy hit like “Office Space”; Judge played against the expectations-he’s had so much success that he could do whatever he wanted, and he wanted to make a critical allegory. But what was he saying?
I mentioned in the previous post that Judge ‘lifted’ his story from Robert Heinlein’s “Farnham’s Freehold”. Heinlein specialized in social criticism masquerading as “Science Fiction”-“Farnham’s Freehold”, written in 1964, detailed a group of present day citizens somehow advanced centuries into the future to a time when black people are in charge, and white people are enslaved, looked down upon as cattle, are considered unintelligent, etc. Most of the group is a family who had with them their black servant-who becomes their owner in the new earth. Farnham, the family patriarch is valued because of his intelligence and ancient knowledge-as much had been lost in the intervening centuries. Idiocracy plays like a vulgar burlesque of Freehold. And I mean Vulgar.
Good points:
Maya Rudolph did a very good job with the nothing/one-joke role she was given. Terry Crews was a blast as the President of the United States. Luke Wilson isn’t as irritating as his brother.
One major problematic point: in the future Idiocracy, 98% of the moronic (and I mean downright stubid) population seems to be Latino/dark skinned/mixed race. Except for cameos by Stephen Root (Milton in Office Space) and Thomas Haden Church, there’s hardly another blonde in the future-even Dave Herman (Michael Bolton in O.S.) has his hair darkened. I don’t think Judge intended for his movie to be racist.
I think the point he was trying to make is that in the melting pot future, there are few defined ‘races’ anymore. We’re all blended. Indeterminate. Maya Rudolph is right for this movie, where a Reese Witherspoon would look out of place.
I think Fox movie studio saw this movie as possibly racist/insulting towards it’s audience, which is why they did nothing to promote it, releasing it for only a few days in a few theaters.
Did I mention vulgar? Imagine a civilization of Bevis and Buttheads being crass and nasty.
This may sound absolutely ridiculous, and I can hardly believe I’m writing this, but I think that Idiocracy shows the world as it would be if not for God. If man were just a jumbled mess of chromosomes, amoral, with no sense of God/Holiness, they would be much like the morons in Idiocracy. There’s not a hint of religion in the movie; I’m assuming that this is a reflection of Mike Judge’s beliefs. So his world is populated by Cavemen. Cavemen not smart enough to dig caves, who enjoy the technologies of the past (until they break down) but are unable to think for themselves.
Digital clocks all blink “12:00”, signage on buildings doesn’t fit, everything looks unkempt and dirty. What a world.
Tell me if you think I’m off base. Or dumber than Frito.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Idiocracy II (Is Sequel A Bird?)

This is going to be very hard to write. How can I post about the sequel to Idiocracy without spoiling the fun for those who haven’t seen Idiocracy?
Joe and Rita are two ‘volunteers’ who are frozen in a military experi…doesn’t matter-just a plot device.
Instead of one year in stasis, ooops-500 years pass before they wake up. And, because evolution is false, they wake up in a world which has devolved to the point where stupid is as stupid does.
Intelligence Quotients have slud (“He slud into third”-Dizzy Dean) down the slippery slope to algebraic negative numbers. It would be dystopian if anyone was left besides Joe and Rita who knew what that meant.
As Mike Judge stoled (as in “I Stoled This Record” by Cledus T. Judd) his main plot from Robert Heinlein’s “Farnham’s Freehold”, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Judge once more lifts a story from Heinlein for “Idiocracy II (Is Sequel A Bird?)”
In “Citizen Of The Galaxy” young Thorby is a slave in a dystopian (I used it!) civilization on a planet far removed from Earth. Freed by his Master Baslim he becomes a top gunner on a spaceship, as is the case with most young heroes in Heinlein’s Universes. Eventually his Pimpernel is discovered (Danny Kaye- “The Court Jester” 1955) and of course he is the richest man on Earth, who returns to his home planet and runs an inter-Galactic corporation and is secretly working with the military to end slaving among the star systems. Enter Mike Judge.
In Idiocracy II (Is Sequel A Bird?) the aliens who set up shop about a billion years ago come to check on the progress of their ‘plantings’. As Beldar is still protected by copyright, Judge calls the alien leader, Exec VP of an Omni-Galactic corporation, Gaydar, which leads to humorous misunderstandings.
At first Joe and Rita welcome Gaydar-I should mention that Joe has become the President of the World- Heinlein would have made Rita President, but oh well-at first they welcome Gaydar, but when he sees how stupid the people are, he want to cut his losses and break up the world for it’s minerals. Joe and Rita attempt to convince him that their fellow earthlings ARE smart-and the more they try to prove this to Gaydar, the more the ‘crop’ fails.
Gaydar and Joe get high (This IS a Mike Judge movie, after all) and Gaydar confides that he’s had a rather shaky lightyear-this is his fifth failed crop in a row. His head will be on the chopping block if he doesn’t show results, and Earth was his last hope dashed.
Joe and Rita search for a way to give Gaydar aid. (I did it, but I’m not proud).
They fail. Gaydar has his finger on the button which will Mulligan the world, all hope is lost…when another space ship arrives, from a rival Omni-Galactic corporation.
This Executive VP, Laughtrack, is looking to purchase a world population of low IQ party idiots-he has a another world of startlingly beautiful people who have become so intelligent that they are losing touch with their humanity. Laughtrack wants to improve the herd, so to speak.
Gaydar closes the deal, invites Joe and Rita to come visit the stars with him, happy ending.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Philosophical Square Circle

The Father of Lies has more kids than Ma and Pa Kettle. We live in a tainted world, hoping for honesty, seeking truth among the lies and liars and deluded ‘truthers’ who can’t find an egg in an omelet.
Those of us who attempt to remain unsullied, our self-image tied to belief in our own honesty, wake up each morning to a dishonest world where absolutes seem to have disappeared. Christians recognize that God is watching, and that we will have to answer for every stray word which comes out of our mouths. We are called to worship God in Spirit and in Truth, and read in Scripture of how very important it is to remain honest, not bear false witness, etc.
But the world operates on a different system, where dishonesty can be advantageous-or so it appears.
Here is the simple philosophical question:
In a conflict between someone who is honest and refuses to lie and someone who is willing to lie to achieve an advantage…who will come out on top?

Monday, January 15, 2007

In Memoriam, Not Memorabilia

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is remembered today, and that is good.
Every child of God is special in His sight. Though some may feel that Dr. King’s assassination
was a terrible tragedy, I don’t see it that way-bear with me for a few more sentences.
Think about this: our lives are the Lord’s, to do with as He sees fit. God is the one who sets the number of our days. To think it shameful that someone is struck down in his prime is close to second-guessing God. God made no mistake on that day in Memphis. He brought His child home.

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21

I encourage you to read about Dr. King today-websites and newspapers and media programs will all be remembering the man. As you look through the tributes, see if you can find any mention of Jesus Christ.
Dr. King was a Baptist minister, though denomination isn’t as important as to Whom we belong.
Dr. King is our brother in Christ, who, if he could look down from Heaven, would probably be dismayed at the co-opting and hijacking of what is called his legacy.
Dr. King was a sinner saved by Grace, just as I am, just as many of us are. That is our only legacy-not what we did in this world, but what God did for us. We echo how Charles Spurgeon identified himself:
“His undeserving servant.”
Remember Dr. King today by Glorifying God for raising up such a man to accomplish His Good Will.
Oh, and if you do find any mention of Jesus Christ in the tributes, please link them back here in the comments. I’d love to see them.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

One Nation Under God

Just wanted to share a powerful link with you, friends. It does my heart good to read these words, because it confirms what I was brought up to believe about our nation, but it also makes me sad. We are so far from our beginnings, I think our country would not be recognizable to the Founding Fathers were they to observe it today. Is there a patriot anywhere who can pull us back from the brink? Have we gone over the edge? Are we a nation under God anymore?


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Whadzit Dos

Shabby Hotel At The Corner Of Valley And Gone

This post is going to be short on scholarship and long on opinion. I was watching a bit of TV tonight after work and I saw a Christian singer back in the spotlight who I know has been down a rough, hard road.
Names don’t matter here-he had been a part of one of the premiere Christian groups 20 some years ago, was in fact a “Christian Celebrity” and that right there is where the trouble started. A Christian is nothing but a sinner saved by Grace, and we are all susceptible to falling, getting tangled up in this world.
This singer got caught up in drugs and alcohol, and he lost his way. But God never lost track of him.
Why does God allow us to be as bad as we know we shouldn’t? I guess in part because we don’t learn as much from other peoples mistakes. If God were to send down a lightning bolt to cinderize every Christian who messes up, there wouldn’t be one of us left to share the Gospel. But God’s Grace is greater than our sin.
Unsaved sinners can’t fall-they’ve never yet been lifted up.
But Christians can and do fall, and it’s not pretty. And I fear that many ministries are falling into error, a very old and common error: “All Mountaintop, No Valley”
Can you watch Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, Jesse Duplantis, etc. without wondering what they are so cheerful about? Do you ever see any of them admit to struggling? They are chock full of advice about how you should live-“10 Rules To Change Your Life!“ “Five Promises You Can Make to God!” “8 Daily Miracles Through Prayer!”
Are they Super Christians who have never fallen or messed up?
No. There are no Super Christians. We are called to be honest, and it strikes me as particularly dishonest to pretend that you never tred through valleys, but instead go from mountaintop to mountaintop.
Can you imagine a Joyce Meyer breaking down in a meeting and admitting to some serious sin, asking forgiveness? With their treasures built up here on earth rather than laid up in Heaven, they have too much at risk. God allows them to fall, and once they have lost everything, such as happened to Jimmy Swaggart, maybe, just maybe they will learn to depend on God again instead of their own abilities.
That singer I mentioned-he’s been through the valleys, and has been restored by the Grace of God.
Brothers and Sisters, be honest above all. Leave the painted on smiles to the politicians and game show hosts. Thank God for the bad days as well as the good; at least you know this world is only temporary, and we are only passing through. Bad days will end. God is Forever.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

2007 Schemes and Imaginings

I cleaned my desk this weekend. It was quite the monumental chore since I haven’t cleaned it since 2005. Can anyone relate? Anyway, I wanted to start the New Year with a new, clean workspace so I can be more organized in 2007. I can’t seem to reduce my obligations, but perhaps I can make myself more efficient and get more accomplished than I did in 2006, right?

I immediately got sick on 01 January 2007. “The best laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft a-gley?” Or as the bible says in Ecclesiates, “What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun?”

God is in charge. I can take a step forward and He can knock me back on my butt. Praise be to God that He knows what is right for me! Someday I’ll have all the answers to the whys in my life, but today I am just content in believing that His bigger plan has put the brakes on my bigger plan. If nothing else, I have to marvel at the self-healing power of the human body and God’s wonderful plan in revealing Himself through that healing process. God is so smart!

Not quite in context, but a lovely verse in parting: “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” 1 Peter 5.10

May 2007 be restorative for you, friends. Happy New Year!