Can You Dissect God?

I think not, in a total sense. He is infinite in every way. We are finite on this earth:

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Is. 55:9 NKJV

Yet, God loves us so much that He gave us a huge picture of Himself (in the Bible and in His Son), which we can use. It takes a lifetime and more to get to know Him as well as we can. But that’s okay, because God wants to keep a running conversation with us so that He can continue to reveal Himself. (Joel 1:13; 2 Th. 3:1)

Some people throughout history, have devoted themselves to the pursuit of this increased knowledge – creating dissections of God and His designs, at least as far as a human can perceive. These people were and are deep thinkers, always waiting upon the Holy Spirit for revelation.

One such individual was a Christian monk in the 1500’s by the name of Thomas Aquinas (or Saint Thomas Aquinas for those of the Catholic persuasion).

I am not a fan of church denominations, but I believe that God will bless all who seek Him – especially those who whole-heartedly press towards Him. Tomas Aquinas was such an individual.

Today, we’re going to dip ourselves into the depths of his theological dissections to further enrich our understanding of God, as he understood, through his Holy Spirit inspirations – written in his book Aquinas’ Shorter Summa; a 1993 edition based upon a 1947 translation by Cyril Vollert.

Aquinas begins by examining the existence of God. He calls Him the ‘First Mover’ – the highest God that moves all other things; but concerning Himself, He is immovable.

“For I am the Lord, I do not change…” Mal. 3:6 NKJV

If God is immovable, then He exists just as He is, without change. Therefore, He is also eternal. There is nothing else He needs to be for Him to be complete; He just is. And if He just is, then He is outside of time: past, present and future exist simultaneously for Him.

If God is complete, then He is pure and indivisible. Thus, there is but one God.

‘I am the First and I am the Last; and there is no God besides Me.’ Is. 44:6 AMP

And if God is indivisible, He cannot have component parts, e.g. a body. He is pure Spirit.

“God is spirit [the Source of life, yet invisible to mankind]…” Jn. 4:24 AMP

If He is limitless, God is infinite, as well as is His power.

Given (through your faith) that God created and maintains the entire universe, He also must exist in a state of pure action; and that action is defined as existence.

Observing all of creation, we can see portions of God’s perfection in those creations. Thus, it is a given that God must contain the totality of His perfection, i.e. our God is perfect.

If God is infinitely powerful and perfect, He cannot make mistakes. And if infinite, He cannot be defined by His finite creations.

If God is perfect, then He is perfectly and most highly intelligent. He doesn’t have to cogitate, because He exists in a state of complete simultaneous understanding. God knows all things.

Finally, everything that we have seen about God is what comprises His essence. And God (this ‘first mover’) brings that essence to bear, through His will.

Whetting your appetite. To be continued…

Goodnight and God bless.

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God Wants You to Live – part 2

Last time we talked about positioning ourselves to be able to live a good life. It’s crucial to get a handle on life because it’s so short:

“Remember, O God, that my life is but a breath…” Job 7:7 NIV

Yet you do not know [the least thing] about what may happen in your life tomorrow. [What is secure in your life?] You are merely a vapor [like a puff of smoke or a wisp of steam from a cooking pot] that is visible for a little while and then vanishes [into thin air]. James 4:14 AMP

We cannot take it for granted. God gave us a life to live; and to do that, we must engage life for every second that is allotted to us.

…[look forward and confidently wait for [the coming of] His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead – Jesus, who [personally] rescues us from the coming wrath [and draws us to Himself, granting all the privileges and rewards of a new life with Him]. 1 Thess. 1:10 AMP

At the end of time, we are rewarded by Christ for the fruit of our godly walk. At the spearhead of that walk is our ‘great commission,’ bringing souls to Jesus. And we are to have many other godly interactions with people. Thus, we must also engage with the people in our lives. This means we must not succumb to the electronic gizmo addiction that is isolating us from others.

This begins in our family. We must pour our love into each member: children, parents, siblings, spouses, etc.

Bring back your passion for your spouse. Make a serious effort to know him or her at depth. Review where your relationship is going; and if it’s taking a bad direction, work with your spouse to redirect it. Nothing is more important than love, and your spouse should be the #1 target for your heart.

Live life with love reigning over every aspect of it, even if you are engaging with someone who is ideologically opposed to you. Ask them why they take that point of view. Look for common ground.

The servant of the Lord must not participate in quarrels, but must be kind to everyone [even-tempered, preserving peace, and he must be], skilled in teaching, patient and tolerant when wronged. 2 Tim. 2:24 AMP

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Rm. 12:18 ESV

All things in life are fleeting (e.g. fame), but true love stands forever if those who practice it keep working on those relationships – stoking the flame and staying committed to continual dialogue.

Be transparent with your kids. Allow them to see you successfully overcome your challenges, showing them your talents and strategies. Shower them with love. It nurtures them, strengthens their sense of self-worth, and fills them up so that they don’t have to hunt for love from bad people.

Let them know what you had to work through to create your good life, so that they don’t have to waste time treading the same path. Also, be adamant about cleaning up any ‘messes / wounds’ you may have between you and your kids. At the same time, hold them responsible for their behaviors.

Most of all, talk to them. Communication is everything. Ask until you understand. Support them on their paths. Give them the space to have a different point of view.

Ask God what He wants you to accomplish in this life. He’s already given you the gift He wants you to bring to the world at this time. Your gift will be associated with whatever has greatly moved you in your life so far – be it good and bad. For the good, look for how you could promote that; for the bad, you now have tools to help others overcome what challenged you. You can be a healer.

Use your time wisely and love every moment. Live healthy. Contribute to others. Do what’s right, regardless of how you feel.

You have to do before you can have. Take that good idea and act on it. Go beyond saying you love someone, show them. Make the changes you need to make.   

Life is cyclical – filled with peaks and valleys. You have to grapple with life at times. Yet each effort will bring you strength because you’ve got God on your side. Life can be difficult, but it’s the only game in town. if it was easy, everyone would be happy. Any dose of nightly news will tell you that they are not.

As we said last time, happiness is a choice. If God points you in a certain direction, go for it. He wouldn’t set you up to fail. You were born for your path. Rekindle your awe at the wonder of life and work to grow your soul in every moment, by being inquisitive about life.

God gave you a life. What you do with it is up to you. Don’t waste a blessed moment…

Goodnight and God bless.

God Wants You to Live!

…’As I live, says the Lord GOD, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back (change your way of thinking), turn back [in repentance] for your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’ Ezek. 33:11 AMP

“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” Jn. 10:10 NKJV

God is telling the Israelites that if they straighten up and return to His ways, they will preserve their life. This is still applicable today. Yes, God also has a focus on the eternal aspect of our lives, (after all, that is the total focus of the Bible), but here, He is telling us to adhere to His words so that we can have a good life while on this earth!

Jesus is the centerpiece of God’s salvation for your entrance into eternity. Yet also here, He is telling us to embrace Him, so that we can have a full life in present time! You don’t need a more abundant life in heaven; you will have everything at your fingertips when you make that transition.

You’ve all known well-meaning Christians whose lives are in disarray for one reason or another; who stay locked in that confusion and chaos, instead of actively trying to remedy their situation (with God’s help). Many of them repeat some form of this mantra: “Oh my life is horrible. Nothing can be done. I’m just waiting for Jesus to take me to heaven.’

That’s a slap in God’s face. Life is His greatest gift to all of us. He obviously wants us to enjoy it to its fullest.

So why don’t we?

It’s because we become indifferent to life. We’ve lost our thirst for the awe and wonder that life used to bring. Why? Because life hasn’t turned out the way that we though it should, and we feel a helplessness when we contemplate the possibility of changing that outcome.

The problem is almost always because we are locked in the past.

Our past begins with our parents. We didn’t pick them; and many of them consciously or unconsciously indoctrinated us with some version of what they were brainwashed with. And some of this indoctrination may have been harmful – words and actions that instilled a sense of self-doubt.

Perhaps, mom and dad, through their own lack of self-awareness, spoke harmful words, such as: ‘What’s wrong with you?’ ‘When will you ever learn?’ ‘How could you be so stupid? There are multitudinous examples of bad parental behavior. And a very common result is the formation of children branded with these two damning sentences that curse them for life if they don’t wake up:

“I’m unlovable,’ and / or ‘I’m not good enough.’ Yet they pretend to be, by trying to present themselves to others as someone they are not – a totally ineffectual and sad way of being.

Further, children are then thrust into schools where other unhappy children are trying to survive that environment of through fight or flight. Then they get their minds twisted up by the dysfunctional social engineering being passed off as education these days.

Ultimately, many of these lost souls waste their lives away searching for something to fill ‘what’s missing in their lives’ – e.g. addictions, erratic behavior, cheap sex, etc.

Our past can be tense if we don’t learn to keep it in past tense. No one makes the conscious choice to be wounded. However, those wounds will continue to fester if we don’t shed that past.

Whatever happened to you in the past may or may not have been your fault. It may or may not have happened in the way you remember it. Whatever happened, it doesn’t matter! What matters is that you learn from it and move on.

You can never get that time back, or undo what has been done. You must ask God to help you let the past go.

Most human misery is a product of their own making. That was not God’s plan. Thus, the world is not a very happy place. What’s to be done? Stop doing things the way the world does them:

…do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind… Rm. 12:2 NKJV

What God is saying is to get the garbage out of your mind and listen to your spirit.

God put us here and gave us a choice:

“…I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, so that you and your descendants may live; that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of you days…” Dt. 30:19, 20. NKJV

God asks you to choose life by choosing Love, instead of just surviving the ways of the world. It is an appeal for you to follow your heart. Ask God to show you what’s haunting you so that you can give it up to Him. He promises to help:

“Fear not for I am with you; be not dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Is. 41:10 NKJV

We must build a relationship with God in order to be free of our mental fetters, so that we can build a healthy relationship with ourselves, which makes us great material for have relationships with others.

Start with bringing your ‘willingness’ to take your life back – to return to the authentic ‘you’ that God made, before you were corrupted. People think that they can do this without God, but clearly, the world reflects the fruit of this lie.

Given that most people are swimming in the same soup, the only guaranteed help comes from God. With God on your side, you can get your slate made clean with Him (through confession and repentance – Jer. 31:34; Is. 43:25, 26 & Heb. 10:17.) with regards to anything you may have committed that was contrary to His word, that has been ravaging your life. In fact, if you’re a child of God, it was already made clean; but you forget that because of your suffering – even though it is mostly based upon illusions.

Why is it so important to clean up our thinking?

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. Pr. 23:7 NKJV

We literally become what we think! If we are carrying the baggage of the past, we can be sure that we are re-living it in our minds over and over, which freezes us in time and gives us the life that we have. Why? It’s because we are world-focused instead of God-focused. Not a good place to focus, because in the eternal scheme of things, this world will not survive. (2 Pt. 3:10)

When we focus on God, what happens?

…those who seek the LORD understand all things. Pr. 28:5 NASB

And if we don’t?

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Hos. 4:6 NKJV

We look to God for the true meanings in our lives instead of the fiction that we built around it. When we engage in ‘right thinking,’ we can let go of our obsession with the past (which we don’t accurately recall anyway). Then, we will be predisposed to living right, and we can start living anew in present time..

Most of how you’ve handled your past has been an unconscious process. Not really your fault, but neither is it a reason to make yourself a victim. it’s time to dig into your head to see what you have been cultivating.

Questions are powerful. They put those voices in your head on notice that there is a new sheriff in town. Take a week and write down everything you hear in your head that denigrates you. (That will be your ego). Question everything it says, answering to yourself, ‘Is that so?’ ‘Is that really true?’ ‘I’m far better than that.’ ‘What would my life be like if I didn’t believe this lie?’ If it says you don’t deserve something, go get it for yourself.

When you feel the mental jabs, ask yourself, ‘What is real, true and important in this moment?’ That voice will begin to whimper.

Interrogate yourself to find out what your unconscious self has been up to: knee-jerking to your past and living it out in the present. Ask yourself these questions:

1. What is it about other people’s behavior that bothers me? (Note that we tend to reject in others what we don’t like in ourselves). People who irritate us can be some of our best teachers.

2. What keeps you from being happy? (The answer is ‘you,’ because of your obsession over a dead past that you haven’t buried). Happiness is a choice. You have to think happy thoughts.

3, What makes you sad? (‘Being sad is what we do when we consider how a loss of something or someone affects us). It’s a hurt that needs to be healed so that you don’t cling to it and have it morph into ‘suffering.’

4. What is your Life Story? (You know, that embellished past that is used to justify your present station in life.) It’s mostly a lie; give it up to God and return to the present moment.

5. Who is in your life? (Who you hang out with our don’t says a lot about you). Are they ‘safe people’ who don’t call you out on your unconscious shenanigans? Are they abusive because you have a low opinion of yourself? Is it toxic family members? Not worth keeping.

6. Who are the people who cause you pain? (Big hint: you must choose to be hurt). These are the same people who you have chosen not to forgive, who you consider to be your enemies.

7. What are you afraid of? (You’ll be found out? Failing? Relationships? Dying? The unknown?)  Fear is only based upon unexamined beliefs from meanings that you made up as a child.

Don’t waste your present by waiting for a future when you’ll finally get it all together. No one gets it all together.  Life is a training ground; we are all a work in progress. There is no goal! Life is the goal!

Discover the meanings that you brought to life that aren’t working for you and disgorge them. If your dissatisfied with life, look at the meanings you brought to the events in your past that is shaping your present life.

Drop the meanings and how you act them out.

You are a child of God. Have compassion with yourself and your journey of actions and thoughts that you thought you had to do and have to survive. Once you have compassion, you will finally come to accept yourself.

Yes, you are a child of God – a gift to everything in this universe that no one else possesses. God put you here by design. You bring that gift by just being who God made you to be, special beyond measure, like everyone else as well.

The past is dead, the future unknown. Life is now, and God wants you to live it! You do that by living in the present moment – where life lives and works and where love, peace, contentment and joy are found. And when you’re quiet in your head, you will be able to hear the voice of God.

Our life is lived best when we let God drive:

You will show me the path of life; in your presence is fullness of joy. At your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Ps. 16:11 NKJV (see also Ps. 16:11 & 36:8, 9; Pr. 12:28; Mt. 16:25 & Jn. 1:4)

Happiness is what happens when we accept and love ourselves, and when we embrace God through Christ – letting all that love and peace flow through us. Then we can see life as the incredible gift that it is; and it’s always available when we stand in truth and reality. living as our genuine selves by walking with God.

Happiness is always available when we accept our experience of life rather than a belief about it – when we trust Jesus and drop the suffering over the meaning-less meanings we brought to life, take nothing personal, give up the search for happiness and just be happy and at peace. It’s our natural state…

Goodnight and God Bless

Raising Godly Children – part 4

The best way to raise godly children is to lead by example. Do Mom and Dad portray a strong commitment to their marriage? Life has its peaks and valleys. The valleys are filled with tough times. During those times, do your children see you and your spouse coming together as a team to weather it out? Or, do you let those same times buffet you, leaving you worn and frayed – taking it out on your spouse with anger, disrespect and threats of divorce?

If it’s the latter, you are showing you children that love, marriage and family is fragile and does not last. They lose their foundational grounding for dealing with life. If you don’t want to send those messages (and who does), turn to your spouse and ask them how you can be a better mate. Re-commit to your vows.

Do your children see that you and your spouse love each other, and do you demonstrate it often? You are the first example of godly love that they are exposed to. When an altercation arises (and they will), do you get over it quickly with respect, forgiveness and engage in the search for solutions?

Children do what they see. If you argue and show disrespect, they will do the same. Worse, they will come to think that this behavior is normal, and actively seek it in a future mate. Doomed to failure.

Your partner should be your best friend, as well as your lover:

This is my beloved and this is my friend… Song of Solomon 5:16 NASB

Listen first, to understand. Be loving in speech and have your words reflect your integrity. Do not shut your spouse out (silent treatment) to either manipulate or avenge.

If one is aware, they know that their ‘silent treatment’ has the whole family walking on egg shells. We have been talking extensively about how communication is everything. The silent treatment is the antithesis of that.

Teach your children about money through your own frugal example of godly application wisdom with regards to finances – how you save, spend, investment and give.

Be available and be patient. Let your child speak all of what is on their mind before answering.

You and your spouse must present yourselves as a solidified team with regards to discipline, already having decided on what the consequences will be. For this to be fair to the child, you must have clearly defined the rules for the home and defined boundaries for behavior. Consistency for transgressions is vital; don’t let them off the hook at times. Have the punishment fit the crime. And always deliver it with love.

The focus of all discipline is to build their godly character.

Let them know that your values are God’s values, which is what you expect them to have as well, and teach them. For example, have the sex talk when they are approaching puberty! Show them what God says. Give it to them piecemeal, matching their level of understanding. Listen to their feedback.

In the end, if we want to raise godly (conscious) children, we ourselves must become conscious first. We don’t want to infect them with our old ways of the world. How does that look?

There would be a mom and dad who co-create a home that provides an environment of peace, love, joy and exhortation for all. The home would nurture a thriving family where hostile conflict would be a foreign concept. It would also afford a space where children could immerse themselves in the experience of being a child for as long as possible.

Besides being committed to each other, mom and dad would also be committed to the children: spending time with them as they grow up, rather than shipping them off to preschool, after-school programs, or forcing them to play organized sports that they have no interest in – just to satisfy a parent trying to live vicariously through them to fill some perceived hole in their own childhood.

We don’t want our children to suffer the pain of unconsciousness that we had thrust upon ourselves. That’s we don’t engage in, and discourage in our children as well: criticism, sarcasm, nor disrespect. Instead, we practice selflessness and compassion, hopefully instilling it in our children’s hearts, so that they are filled with a desire to reach out and help others work through their pain.

Children are mini versions of us – but not extensions; we are all unique. Even so, we all want the same things: love, acceptance, and acknowledgment. The kids need to see Mom and Dad give that to each other first.

Breaking bread as a family at the dinner table is essential. It provides structure, routine, bonding, increased communication, lessons in civility, better vocabulary, healthier eating habits, and a deeper understanding of who they all are as a family. It also provides a forum for problem-solving.

It is sacred time – not to be interrupted with any type of media distraction, which only promotes inattentiveness, aloofness, and a loss of connection with the juice of life.

Give your children reasons for wanting to stay home – making it fun, interesting and exciting through your interactions with them. Strive to make their experience of childhood better than your own.

A child cannot get too much love. Praise them for who they are, letting them see the joy that they bring you. You are their world; they are lost without you. That’s why it’s such an abomination when unconscious parents choose to be cruel to them. The child does not blame the parent for the cruelty, they blame themselves.

He or she needs to know that you are a safe space to go to in times of trouble. If they don’t, they will go to someone or something else for what they think is comfort.

Give them your full attention so that they learn to live in the present moment. Channel their interests into beneficial and moral pursuits. Teach them to love learning.

As we teach, we must evaluate the contents by asking ourselves, ‘How is my child likely to interpret what I”m saying? ‘What will it cost my child to do what I want?’ The answer to both should be, ‘In ways that will make them grow.’

Finally, teach them to trust the guidance of their hearts – seeking their true value from God.

We cannot be a perfect parent, but we can give them perfect love…

Goodnight and God bless.