Posts Tagged ‘Isaiah 55:8’

plan 10.14It’s something most serious followers of Jesus of Nazareth believe, that God has a plan for each human being who decides to follow Jesus  (who many people believe is God’s son).

For people who have accepted the gift of Jesus, that means seeking God’s will for their lives through carefully reading the original source documents about Jesus’s life, praying (alone and with others) and attending worship services.

Does this mean we’ve got it all figured out — that’s learning God’s plan is simply a matter of following an equation? Not even a little.

One of the things thoughtful Jesus followers take very seriously is the truth that God is God. And we are NOT. God is, in many ways, a mystery. Indeed, God described Himself through one of the ancient prophets, who wrote “I [God] don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work.”

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that figuring out God’s plan is sometimes as easy as decyphering string theory. Frustrating? Sometimes, but careful reading, praying, attending church and consulting knowledgeable, experienced people of faith can make the process easier.

So what about the graphic (found in an atheist internet community) that inspired this essay? Is God’s plan for so many a life of starvation and early death? Absolutely NOT.

Let me go out on a limb and write that in many ways, starvation is humanity’s plan. What am I talking about? Consider this:

  • Corrupt governments in developing nations are often far more interested in spending money on guns than on growing food.
  • Stingy governments — and the citizens they represent — in well-off nations just don’t care about people far away (who should just suck it up and feed themselves, darn it!).
  • Big business, which is beholden to shareholders, usually concentrates on sponsoring local charity runs and local community projects. In other words, helping people in well-off nations who are potential customers and/or shareholders.

All these things are certainly NOT part of God’s plan. Indeed, a case can be made that on a larger scale, the God that Jesus followers believe in makes His plan crystal clear. In one of the original source documents of His life, Jesus tells anyone willing to listen that “Anything you refused to do for any of my people here, you refused to do for me.”

And because God so loved THE WORLD that He gave His only Son (that fact is found in one of the four original source documents of Jesus’ life), that includes everyone who is starving.

You can be part of God’s plan, by welcoming Him into your life so you can learn what He has planned for YOU. Just accept the gift of His Son. And if you’re serious about it, watch as things start to change. For the better.

Read Full Post »

Memorial candleAnother act of sickening horror. It seems like every six months or so, many of us are shaken to our cores as yet another crazed lunatic carries out an act of utter depravity.

The 2012 massacre in Connecticut (20 children and six adults shot to death at an elementary school) was all over TV, radio, newspapers and social media. We couldn’t escape it, even if we wanted to.

Indeed, one blogger, struggling to deal with the tsunami of emotions brought on by this slaughter, went so far as to ask “Is this what the end of the world feels like?”

Such questions were asked beyond U.S. borders, since mass shootings happen even in countries not known for violence. People in Norway are still haunted by the indiscriminate killing of more than 70 people in July 2011. And Canadians haven’t forgotten the 1989 murder of 14 women at a college in Montreal.

With each of these events, every news report brings with it the nagging question asked by everyone from angry atheists and normally indifferent agnostics to serious people of faith: where was God??

I would be a sheer idiot to attempt to provide an easy answer because it doesn’t exist.

But as a follower of Jesus of Nazareth (who many people believe is the divine Son of God), I feel confident in writing two things:

1. Every deadly attack is just one more piece of proof that God’s gift of freewill is permanent and rock solid.

When humans betray each other, we often get angry and withdraw our trust or love or commitment. Connecticut, Montreal and Norway are glow-in-the-dark proof that God is different. No matter what we do (or don’t do) to spit on the gift of freewill, God simply WILL NOT take it back.

Indeed, an ancient prophet states it this plainly: “I [God] don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work.” And as we all struggle with the deaths in Connecticut, I’m profoundly grateful for this truth.

2. God was ALL OVER this event.

For example, church pastors across North America dropped their planned sermons and turned all their skills and time to addressing the massacre, even if it was only to ask the same questions and pray for the families of the victims. That may not sound like much, but it can still bring comfort to suffering people.

In addition, faith organizations like the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association sent crisis-trained chaplains to Connecticut to help survivors, emergency responders and others deal with their emotional agony. As a serious Jesus follower, I see these amazing people as the hands and feet of Jesus, in action where and when it matters most.

So what do you think….do these two points make any sense? Do you believe in God any more or less as a result of tragedies in Connecticut, Montreal, Norway and so many other places? Post your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.

Read Full Post »

How’s this for a rags-to-riches story?

When 2011 started, Ted Williams was a homeless man in Columbus, Ohio. He possessed an incredibly rich, refined announcer’s voice, but lost everything else and became a convicted felon due to drugs and alcohol.

Then a guy made a quickie video of him on the street, begging for handouts. Ted spoke on film, mimicking a radio announcer (his former career), and the guy put the video on YouTube.

Well, faster than a government runs up debt, the video went viral. It was viewed by 13 million people and, overnight, Ted Williams and his amazing voice became a star. Talk shows battled to get him on TV first, thousands of newspapers published articles on him, and job offers poured in from companies such as Kraft, MTV, and the Cleveland Cavaliers NBA team.

Through it all, Williams, 53, did three things: vowed to get his life together, be a real dad to his nine children, and give credit where credit belongs.

“The difference between my successes of years gone by is that I didn’t acknowledge the Lord or thank him for anything before,” he told CBS Early Show. “This time around, I have God in my life, acknowledging him on a daily basis. I’ve found a new sense of spirituality now.”

This led USA Today to asked readers “Do you think God or a YouTube video gone viral was the key to Ted Williams’ great second chance?”

One anonymous responder declared, “Why attribute the kindness of society to ‘God’ when ‘God’ clearly wasn’t listening to this man FOREVER?”

Another person wrote, “It was Youtube and the dude who filmed Ted who deserve most of the credit, but I can’t really find fault in the guy’s statement. I’m sure his faith got him through a lot of cold nights.”

Finally, I found this comment: “God is willing to use whatever predicament we’ve got ourselves into – good or bad – to help us see Him. Those who catch a glimpse of Him and hunger for more, will find more if they seek Him.”

So, if you believe in God, did He ignore Ted Williams for years? Was it just a random YouTube video that turned Ted’s fortunes around?

Valid answers to each question can be based on what you want to believe.

Maybe God had a very good reason for waiting so many years before giving Ted Williams a chance to change his life. And maybe God worked through YouTube to achieve his goals with Ted. Sound preposterous?  Then consider these words from God, channeled through an ancient prophet: “I [God] don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work.”

The bottom line is: do you want to think of God as a big nothing or a distant ogre? Or do you want your life enriched – just as Ted Williams’ life was enriched – by thinking of God as the loving creator of the universe who cares so much for us that He sent his Son Jesus to live, die, and come back to life for us?

Read Full Post »