Wednesday, May 25, 2011

It's About Love

I have read that there are tragedies surrounding Harold Camping’s Rapture prediction, people that killed themselves or tried to before May 21st. That makes me very sad.

Before May 21st, I saw frustrated Christians trying (sometimes with humor) to belittle Harold Camping. That makes me sad too.

Those of you who know me, know that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit Evangelical Harold Camping’s website and see where he got all of his “material.” I am always curious to see what makes people believe in predictions of the end of the world and why so many people take them seriously.

I did find that Mr. Camping was bold enough to formulate a comeback to Jesus’ direct words, “of that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” (Matt. 24:36). But I find his logic skills somewhat lacking since he uses Noah, Nineveh, and Sodom as examples. In MY Bible, Noah was told by God to build the ark, Jonah was told by God to preach repentance, and Abraham bartered with God to save Sodom. These were direct revelations from God. Is Camping claiming direct revelation? His website doesn’t say, however, since Jesus is the Son of God and enjoyed direct revelations from his Father (“This is my son with whom I am well pleased” at both his baptism and Transfiguration), and Jesus said neither he nor the angels knew, then why should I believe a human being? For goodness sake! Jesus even told us not to believe those that would foretell the end.

Is Mr. Camping claiming he is higher than the angels or Jesus? Whether he enjoyed this as direct revelation or he is so desperate for attention that he believes he’s beyond such encounters, it is quite a bold statement of ego. I would tend to believe the man might have a bit of an ego problem, especially since he was asked if he should apologize and couldn't even get that right.

In my Bible Study, the moderator talked about the Beatitudes in a very unique way. He said that the first Beatitude required us to learn humility and that every other Beatitude was built on this first one. In other words, the Beatitudes could not be accomplished completely without addressing humility. This brings me back to ego. I question Mr. Camping’s humility factor considering he claims to be know more than the Son of God.

On a different note, I know that Mr. Camping is a father of seven. As a parent there is a fine art of a loving discipline that is only accomplished through much discernment. We are reminded of this with both Jonah’s story in Nineveh, and Abraham’s bartering with God to save Sodom. God told Jonah to tell the people of Nineveh to repent and they did, so God spared them. Abraham kept entreating the great I AM to save Sodom if a certain number of good people to be found. Does Camping consider God his Father or does he understand the love that a father has toward his children? I believe the man is disconnected from Christianity in this way.

There is a theme and I believe that is why we will NEVER know God’s plan (precisely because it is God’s plan). God’s infinite love and mercy is unfathomable. He will continue to forgive us and give us more time as long as there are people on this earth forwarding his mission of love and salvation and those who continue to pray with fervor.

Mr. Camping’s notion that the Holy Spirit abandoned the church during the years of 1988 to 1994 is simply another slap across the face of God and in fact calls Jesus a liar. Jesus clearly said he would be with us always and that the Father would send the Holy Spirit (John 14:15). ALWAYS means ALWAYS. Jesus never minced words. He was direct.

I can’t imagine the pain the Holy Spirit must feel to think that one of God’s children would say He abandoned us.

It is my opinion that the Lord is a loving parent who is desperately trying to ask us to come back to Him and He will give us as many chances as possible. It is also my opinion that any person who uses numbers to determine the end of the world, or the Rapture or anything else is limiting a limitless Father. I realize that Camping is a former engineer and therefore thinks of his God from his own experience, but numbers are finite and I don't believe God uses the finite to determine His love for us. If He did, He would not have sent His Son.

Our job as true Christians is not to listen to human predictions nor condemn Mr. Camping. Instead we must gently remind him and his followers that TRUE relationship with Jesus is pure love and in that love we can trust that God will take care of us.

God said He would. Both Father and Son repeatedly offered the following, "Do not be afraid." Why? Because above all else, God is love.

There is no need to panic or foretell anything. It simply doesn’t matter. It's about Love.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Dash In Between

I recently attended a funeral for man of 55 years old. He was taking a shower one morning and just dropped right there. Heart stopped. It was his time. The eulogist talked about the man’s life and how each of us will end up with a dash between the years we visited the earth.

It occurred to me that it doesn’t matter how long we live, that dash is the same size, same length, and same font of boldness. Whether we live on the earth for 5 years or 105 years, the dash is the same.

What the dash doesn’t describe is the life that is lived in between. We all have the same ability to make a difference, but it is in the daily choices we make that determine the life in between.

Mother Teresa lived to be 87, while Adolf Hitler lived to be 56. Each had an impact on the world. One worked for peace while the other worked to destroy. One lived for God, the other for power. Both had an impact on many nations and many lives. Can you tell that from the dash? What do you think God sees in that dash?

I had a brother that lived three days. There is still a dash that delineates the time he spent here before he moved on to heaven. He made an impact on hearts as well, a quiet silent impact, but one just the same.

There are times that many of us believe that our lives are so insignificant that we do not make a difference on this earth. We believe the ugly lie that says unless we become a Mother Teresa or an Adolf Hitler, we have no impact on history or anyone else. That is the ultimate lie that the Deceiver wants you to believe. That makes his job easier. He can chip away at our self worth so much easier if we think we are insignificant.

He wants us to believe that no amount of selflessness will make a difference and that our existence is irrelevant.

But if we choose Truth, then we choose victory. It may be the silent victory of a suburban mother who chooses to nurture her children and grow them into loving, caring, believers of God who will save their souls. It may be the public victory of writing a best seller that touches the lives of unknown souls that leads them to God. For many of us, it will be somewhere in between. But I challenge you to consider that the quiet, subtle role of Elizabeth raising John the Baptist was just as important as the role of Mahatma Gandhi.

God creates each of us with purpose. God creates each of us with free will. God creates each of us with love. We are not insignificant to Him. Every soul matters.

And it is everything in between that tiny dash that makes us who we are. All the love we give freely or all the hate we spin daily affects those around us. But it is our choice.

In the end, all the world will see is the dash between the short years we are here on the earth. But in the end, God does not see that speck of dash; He sees a soul so precious to Him that He gave his only Son. So how will you spend your dash?