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Archive for January, 2017

What Can God Do For Me?

People may think I don’t show enough reverence toward God by talking more about what God can do for us and not what we owe God. It is because of the kind of Creator I believe we have. When children are grown, we may think it should become what the children do for their parents. But, it is the parents who brought children into the world. Children may one day return their parent’s love but hopefully not out of a sense of obligation. God isn’t always getting their panties in a wad, and God as a Parent seeks a mutually satisfying relationship.

God often does the most for those who are desperate.

When life is trouble-free, we don’t always look for help from others. But, we may have committed such horrible acts that we can’t forgive ourselves much less expect others to forgive. God never gives up on us. Sometimes, parents or partners betray us. God never betrays us. A relationship with God always entails mercy and acceptance. Jesus’ death on the Cross enables us to know God sees us as Christ as our sins are nailed to the Cross. Jesus sought to help us be comfortable with God despite our guilty feelings.

But, we don’t have to be desperate to benefit from a relationship with our Creator.

My wife and I have been married long enough for me to have desires to be a great husband toward her. I fall short frequently, but I remain desirous to take responsibility for and confess wrongdoings than blame others. That is on God who allows me to continually pursue perfection while not being paralyzed by guilt when failing. God helps me avoid stupid thinking that marriage is only about being good 85% of the time or not as bad as other partners.

Life isn’t fair thankfully. We don’t always get what we deserve. Most sense a need to treat others like we want to be treated. But, what do we do when children, parents, partners, friends don’t act that way to us? God encourages us to go the extra mile in relationships for the possibility of reconciliation if people come to their moral senses. Many relationships can be saved when we aren’t focused on being as good as the other person or demanding others treat us perfectly or else! We may need the same treatment one day. God can be our sounding and leaning board as we seek wisdom and patience in relationships that may lead to healing.

What can God do for you?

  • God gives the motivation and encouragement to continually strive to be the person we desire
  • God helps to not fear death and look forward to be reunited with our loved ones
  • God provides insights into what true freedom is. If freedom is doing what we want when you want, we may never make sacrifices in relationships to benefit in the long-run

  • God enables suffering, that is inevitable in a troubled world, to not be meaningless by empowering us to help others facing similar undeserved sufferings

The biggest reason for being a God-follower is the continual inspiration received in striving to be the kind of person we deep down desire to be.

My attitudes don’t always translate into actions but I cannot imagine the man I would be without God. The encouragement I feel from my God is the encouragement I have always desired from my parents. God doesn’t seek adoration for ego reasons. God seeks our love and respect to provide comfort and security and empowerment. God is no different than a selfless, uncontrolling parent who we come to trust always has our best interest in mind.

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How The Heck Does Prayer Work?

The Bible doesn’t answer all our specific questions, but understandings about prayer can evolve as does our relationship with God. We can rule out unanswered prayers as God’s fault as if God created suffering or our fault due to lack of faith. The biblical writers thought prayer was important, but the Bible is clear that we will not be healed of all physical or emotional ailments by just having enough faith. Such erroneous advice can be emotionally devastating.

Genuine freedom must involve the right to do as much harm in proportion to how much good one can do

Prayer isn’t as complicated if we accept the challenges of running a free universe. God may not intervene hoping one eventually freely chooses to love. Who thinks forced than chosen love changes the world unless just out to control? God can’t make one to want to be a better parent. God can’t control evil here on earth if God creates freedom. 

We can pray without knowing what difference it may make due to all the factors involved

We act morally though not knowing the impact on relationships if any. We can pray for safety but one is free to drive drunk. God’s accepts certain restraints because of the gift of freedom, though God is surely doing all they can to influence for good.

Suffering isn’t God’s design but God can influence others for good

Suffering sometimes can accomplish more so God may not answer (i.e. Jesus’ death). But, we can’t always know this because of so many factors. Jesus’ prayer to avoid the Cross may be the best model in times of suffering: God if there is a better reason to not intervene please stay close to me. God doesn’t cause or want us to suffer.  Pray for healings but will we trust that God knows best how to oversee a free world, and a loving God always act in the best interests of all.

If you seek forgiveness but don’t forgive yourself, think again!  

God can’t always forgive if one doesn’t forgive others. That would make God an enabler and afraid to challenge you to change. If you regret how your actions harm others, know though God is a God of a thousand chances and keep seeking help from others.

Talking and getting to know God can lead to the encouragement we desperately need

Don’t underestimate the power of support. Prayer isn’t just asking God to grant wishes like a genie in a bottle. We tell our children associating with the right people leads to making wiser choices. I talk with my wife, knowing she can’t solve the problem, but I feel less burdened and supported.

We can be confident of many prayers that are always answered

God has endless mercy and forgiveness so we don’t give up no matter how demoralized we may feel. We know God is speaking when we hear: I love you, I forgive you; I won’t abandon you; I want what you want deep down.

God created freedom and not a world where future decisions are already determined

We don’t need God to speak to us specifically about many decisions in life. God supports our freedom to make future decisions based on our gifts and aspirations. We are free without strings attached as God invites our participation to make for a better world. 

Prayer is not a substitute for action

It is easier sometimes to pray for someone than take supportive actions which is the most common way that God answers prayers. Rather than praying your friend’s spouse stop drinking which is harming their family, see if your friend would rather you say something to their spouse. When you know two friends are in conflict, speak to the one wrongly denying any wrongdoing. God seeks permission to use our lives to help others.

 

Why Wouldn’t God Give Second Chances After Death?

I care about God and the afterlife because certain views on this subject impact one’s view of God. If God really tortures people forever for choices made here on earth, one can understand why some may not be interested in such a God much less be able to explain such a God to others. Why would we risk turning people away from God unnecessarily because of unproven views?

Is a perfect, loving God really that much different than a perfect, loving parent?

The truth is we cannot know for sure what happens after death when we meet our Creator in person. Bible scholars have used certain verses to lean on either side of the fence about whether God gives second chances or not. I suggest therefore we take a stance based on an understanding of a loving God. All have some inclination what a good God would do when it comes to second chances after death just as we know how a loving parent should respond to a child in such circumstances.

Why would God have a complete character lobotomy after we take our last breathe here on earth?

Most believe God’s forgiveness here on earth is unconditional when accepting our wrongdoing. There are consequences due to actions but most agree nothing we do here in this life would deprive us of God’s mercy. God can’t stop being God somehow after our last breathe by refusing to forgive any offense. I cannot imagine even imperfect human parents ever cutting off a child when finally accepting responsibilities for their actions.

Why would God pretend that every reason for a person refusing God in this life is equal?

Does God really forgive a serial killer who may have warning of their last breathe but not others, who commit far less heinous actions in this life, killed suddenly in a car accident? Is a thief going to enter Paradise but not others with lesser sins because they weren’t next to Jesus hanging on Cross right before their last breathe? Some rightly despise their Heavenly Parent because of the abuse suffered by their earthly parent. Some have numerous opportunities to respond to God while others have very few times. Is God’s grace dependent on circumstances or God?

One may argue why then even bother living a good life here on earth since all is eventually forgiven.

This supposes God’s advice is for selfish reasons. Parents don’t deny their children of freedom for ego reasons. Encouraging sacrifices in relationships leads to true fulfillment in the long-run. I can die with my toys or in the arms of others. But, for the love of justice! No punishment wipes away memories of abuses by parents or friends. True justice is understanding your victim’s pain and accepting the harmfulness of your actions. After death God may bring to memory every action of betrayal and how it felt to their victims. The cleansing and educative effect may take longer for some than others.

There is hope for our loved ones who had their reasons for not accepting God in this life, or we question if they did accept God.

If they denied God to justify a self-centered life, they missed out on this earth and will experience regrets in the life to come. We shouldn’t assume people will magically change character after death. Some constantly justify harmful actions toward others despite the consequences and advice of others. The more we justify actions in this life, what keeps us from becoming set in such ways after our last breathe. Be careful for what you wish for! For the rest, God and not circumstances or chances determine our final destination.

Maybe God Does Communicate Clearly!

Divine hiddenness or lack of clear or direct communication on God’s part has been a reason many question if there is a God or if God truly loves. Parents don’t hide from a child who is seeking their love and comfort. I have written a great deal on this topic so I am hoping to summarize the main reasons God may communicate the way God does.

God may communicate more clearly than we realize.

We only need to look inwardly as to how to be in family, work, or other relationships. We often don’t take risks telling our friends that something bothers us about them but gossip to others. How do you wish your friends would treat you if something was bothering them about you? We hate when our partner turns their desires into expectations, but then we act the same to our partners. God is considered a sexual killjoy but come to find out God only advises what we sense about commitment, lust, adultery, etc.

God often doesn’t need to communicate as we are free to make our own decisions.

God gives us a sense of morality for our own good, but then sets us free to follow our desires. The future isn’t already determined, making freedom an illusion. God’s plan is not a detailed blueprint but a general one to set us free to love. Controlling love is an oxymoron. Just ask older children! We are free to choose paths at this time in life based on past experiences, current circumstances, and future aspirations. There are many ways to do all the good we can, to all the people we can, as long as we can.

God’s direct communication doesn’t always produce the results we may think.

God dropped manna from the sky to help a nation survive in the wilderness and separated the Red Sea to escape one’s enemy, but the Israelites still did not believe or at least put their total trust in God. God even came in person but Jesus’ miracles did not obtain the results some may suggest if God would stop hiding.

God’s overpowering presence in our lives may only lead to consuming guilt or brief obligations to obey.

God’s lack of interference may allow us to make heart-felt, lasting choices. God’s invisibility may be out of uncontrolling love than cruelness. God’s interference and presence might prevent a superior world from emerging as a result of limiting the moral development and improvement of free creatures to make independent choices.

What we do with the communication we have than lack of communication may be the main problem.

God supposedly communicated through the Bible but that has led to divisiveness through tens of thousands of denominations. Imagine if religions discovered what they shared in common and allowed differences to be between that person and God. Certainty rather than accepting of differences only leads to pushing “supposed truths” onto others. What if churches combined their resources thus wasting less physical and emotional resources?

Communication can be excessive.

Constant communications can become confrontational. Convictions aren’t taught but caught. Convictions develop over time in one’s own time. I could have been told in the beginning that marriage isn’t about being right but flexible, but I would have still had problems. Relationships can’t be declared, they must evolve. The journey of learning, reflecting, and accepting convictions that last over time is unavoidable.

God’s invisibility and current communicative ways may be out of uncontrolling love than hiddenness.

God didn’t predetermine the future so God could dictate to us our choices. Don’t we know enough from God in terms of our relationships and what is better for the world? Perhaps we need less communication and more dependence on God for help in carrying out our convictions.

 

What’s Required To Believe In God Or Have A Relationship?

I was reading that the majority of people may actually believe in a God or Supreme Being as opposed to not believe in such a Deity. I have thought for years my purpose for writing wasn’t to convince people there is a God but to convince them that God may not be as represented by others. We may be rejecting God for the wrong reasons. If God desires a relationship with each person, individuals with God can best decide what God is like.

Believing in God doesn’t mean you have to accept the Bible hook line and sinker.

Some Old Testament passages may suggest to you that God advocated genocide. I believe there are possible alternative interpretations, but we have every right to believe God’s views were either misunderstood or misrepresented by the writers. You may feel the OT is just too complicated or not all that relevant. Such views of the Bible don’t mean you don’t believe in God.

Believing in God doesn’t mean you don’t have doubts at times whether God really exist.

We can’t really prove anything that is invisible or not observable. Faith isn’t avoidable in life. We can’t really prove God exists or doesn’t exist. Faith is required for either belief. Having doubts about what you believe about God doesn’t mean you don’t believe in God.

Believing in God doesn’t mean you aren’t so sure whether there is life after death.

You hope Heaven is real and allows an opportunity to be reunited with loved ones. Why can’t we hope for second chance encounters to be reunited with our loved ones, who couldn’t accept all this God-stuff on earth though they lived out the message of God as much as anyone? Having doubts about anything doesn’t mean you don’t or can’t believe in a God.

Believing in God doesn’t mean you don’t question how good God really is because of all the evil in the world.

The problem of evil is a main reason some don’t believe or accept God. If God is powerful enough to create, surely God could stop at least some evils that obviously serve no good purpose. Any good parent prevents such evils if they can. There may be explanations as to why God’s love must be influential but not coercive to remain moral and honor freedom. You can still believe in God while hoping one day God can explain your challenges to your satisfaction.

You may have heard the devil believes in God but that isn’t good enough for God. The Devil in the Bible didn’t doubt that God existed.

The Devil thought they knew more than God about good and evil. Guess what! The Creator may know more than we do about true freedom. Freedom must have limits if you aren’t the only person living in this world.

God doesn’t have a litmus test of beliefs to be accepted.

Now, your parents may still love you but any kind of relationship isn’t possible if you think your freedom entitles you to treat others like dirt all the time, but I doubt you would be reading this. It may be worthwhile not listening to how others describe God. If convinced there is a Supreme Being, a Creator, figure out God on your own with God. I doubt you will regret pursuing more of a connection with your Creator any more than regretting having more of a connection with your partner, children, or friends.

 

What Is The #1 Myth About God?

When I coached my children’s sports team I imagine my enthusiasm was misunderstood. Appearances may have seemed as if I didn’t care the most children having fun and feeling good about themselves. I definitely could have done some things different, but appearances aren’t what they always seem. God may appear at first glance to always be angry or quick to take offense and the assumption may be that God is responding only because of being disrespected.

Skepticism about God is understandable.

God’s response to evil was severe at times – destroying humankind by flood, advising the Israel army to destroy all including women and children during times of war. Terrorists can shine a different light on evil and how taking innocent lives is not always avoidable. Terrorists use women and children for shields. God didn’t revel in having to take strong actions during certain times in history, but evil is complicated and certain actions are often necessary to save future generations.

God’s angry wasn’t simply because God was offended or only cared about their reputation.

Obedience sometimes has to be the focus for the safety of others. Without laws there is chaos. Tough love is often just another side of one’s true nature which is love. God and parents much prefer the focus be on enjoying relationships and supporting and encouraging the pursuit of one’s dreams. God desperately sought to forgive and give people changes when seeking help.

The main myth about God reinforced by religion is that God cares more about obedience than a relationship.

We all are familiar with parents who seem more concerned with being in control and how they appear to others. A meaningful bond with our parents, not fear, is what leads to lasting changes of the heart. A fear-based and punitive God has been a misguided attempt to control behaviors and produce unselfishness.

God desires a relationship based on mutual respect than a demanding presence.

Obedience, which can be in one’s best interest, is not taught but caught when you get to know who God really is. We often don’t recognize about God that a full understanding of the depth of God’s love for us is what leads to life transformations. Has gloomy uncertainty as to God’s favor conquered your battles against self-centeredness or long-standing habitual sins? God’s or parents’ continual encouragement and mercy are what lead to eventual changes.

A deeper bond with our Creator is what really transforms us into the kind of person we want to be.

Can We Know What God Is Really Like?

Many believe the Bible is our main source for knowing what God is like. The challenge is many sincere people, including biblical scholars, have different views of the same biblical passage or topic. This clearly suggests that discernment and a flexible attitude is essential. Lack of certainty with interpretations suggests the Bible can only be one source for knowing what God is like.

We obviously can’t know what God is like because of direct communication by God.

Besides, God could write instructions in the sky and the bigger challenge may be what we do with such communication in our lives and telling others what to do. Religions typically don’t seek commonalities but divide over differences. God’s invisibility may be out of compassion than cruelness. God’s overpowering presence in our lives may only lead to consuming guilt or brief obligations to obey. God’s lack of interference may allow heart-felt, lasting choices.

We can’t really totally rely on religious experts as to what God is like.

Religious experts were the people Jesus had the most confrontations with. Religious leaders Jesus encountered seemed more in love with their rituals to stay in power than concerned for others. Jesus saved tough conversations for religious pretenders who claimed to represent God. Jesus seemed to hang out more with those not caught up in religion than those who prayed and went to church all the time.

Most sense if God exist, God is perfect.

Doesn’t what I had hoped from my parents and the kind of parent I wished to be give clues as to what perfection is? A perfect parent and a perfect God are surely the same unless God doesn’t desire to be a role-model. Based on my experience it seems the following much be true of a perfect God or parent.

A perfect God or parent is uncontrolling though it could be argued they possess the inherent authority to control.  

It doesn’t matter if parents truly know what for best for their child. Addicts understand what we all must know – choices must be our own if we are to begin making lasting choices for our best interests. God knows moral than immoral choices are always in our best interest, but God still doesn’t stop us or there would be no evil. God’s created freedom in the beginning for such decisions best lead to genuine transformations and relationships.

A perfect God or parent is quick to forgive, despite their initial warnings, when a child accepts and admits their wrongdoing.

A perfect God is certainly entitled to judge me to the fullest, but few dispute that God in the Bible is always forgiving. Parents’ constant disfavor despite our mistakes robs us of the encouragement we need. Why then would gloomy uncertainty as to God’s favor help us to conquer battles against self-centeredness or long-standing habitual sins in our life? A perfect God is willing to start over no matter how many times it takes.

A perfect God or parent is obviously morally perfect.

It is never acceptable to say: “do as I say, not as I do.” Who doesn’t know advice is cheap unless you follow your own words. A perfect God cannot declare partiality to be a sin but show favoritism toward others. The most likely interpretation of Scriptures is that which portrays God as the most moral to the human mind. God cannot participant in any behaviors that are declared evil for humans. God is morally perfect humanly speaking.

A perfect God or parent never advises for self-interests reasons as opposed to what is in the best interest of their child.

God warns actions have their own consequences, but God knows even moral decisions must be personal to be lasting. Parents must be careful that advice never be because of how it makes them look. Parents must listen respectfully and respond carefully. God’s advice is always for our interest and the interests of others.

Many would like to be more in tune with their Creator.

Your beliefs of a perfect parent may bring you closer to understanding what is a perfect God is like. God is often portrayed in ways that seem less than perfect from our perspectives. Such a God is less inviting for a relationship. Would you have more of a relationship if God turned out to what you know deep down a loving, perfect God is like? I would argue such a perfect God is worth following and is the only kind of parent, heavenly or earthy, that I want a close, non-obligatory relationship with.

 

 

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