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Thursday, December 8, 2011

First Things First

Been out of town for a while? What are the “first things” you do when you get home? Who are the “first persons” you just have to connect with?

Are you finding your daily activity restricted – new baby, surgery, planting and harvest, or whatever? What is the “first thing” you plan to do when you get your life back? the “first place” you want to go?

Unexpected expenses? Once you get your budget back in line, what are the “first things” you are likely to splurge on?

These 3 questions help us realize the true priorities of our hearts, who and what we value as significant and special to us. These are the things and these are the people we need to be thanking God for every day, as well as to be praying for.

These 3 questions also help us realize that the concerns of God, our life with God, and our service to God are not among our “first things”. Sorry for the guilt trip, but no apology.

God came among us that first Christmas. We cheat ourselves when we ignore Jesus. God instituted the practices of the spiritual life for our benefit. We cheat ourselves when we do not practice them. Be good to yourself. Put Jesus first. Go to church. Give outrageously. Take holy time with your family. Pray.

Jesus is a friend like no other. But he is also sovereign God. Put him first.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Is There A Parallel Universe?

We spend our whole earthly life on a single planet, in a small galaxy, somewhere in the vastness of the universe. Oh, the genius of it all. You’d think that would be enough for the human mind to ponder. Wrong.

The human mind imagines more. We visualize that which we cannot see or know. And we delight in questioning everything that is. Religious mystics of every age, ancient philosophers, theoretical scientists and endless writers of fiction feed imagination and fuel inquiry.

Thus my opening question, “Is there a parallel universe?”
And (for you SciFi buffs) the further questions, “If there is a parallel universe, what might be the classic character markers defining a hero in that universe?” And, “How would you know who was greatest of all?”

My answer to my opening question, “Is there a parallel universe?” is yes there is and it is now. It is a spiritual universe, concurrent with the created one in which we live. Its values are strange to us and its heroes even stranger.

It is a universe where each person’s character is revealed, not by how they live, but by one thing only, by how they respond to Jesus.

It is a universe where suffering equals victory and where death has no power, where the greatest one is the least among all, and where the triumph of the self is the self’s ultimate defeat.

It is a universe measured by different dimensions, not by time and space, but by sacrifice, love and grace. It is a universe of endless joy and perfect peace, as sung at the manger in Bethlehem when Jesus was born.

Hmmm. Parallel. Spiritual. Universe.
Hmmm. Christmas. Savior. Carols.
Hmmm. Character.
Hmmm. How they respond to Jesus.

May your Christmas be Merry, full of endless joy and perfect peace. God bless you.