160 – Jesus the Bringer of Heaven to Earth

When Jesus returns, he will enter through the a window to Heaven in sky and descend in glory and in force, leading an army of at least 2 billion super-powerful Christians who either came back to life or were teleported and given new bodies to be with him.

The Devil and his fallen angels know about this. Non-Christian fiction tries to twist this with lies that “the bad guy” descends through the “wormhole” in the sky to madly destroy everything, heartlessly kill innocent people, and wrongly seek to rule over Earth.

Actually, all of those bad qualities belong to Devil, his fallen angels, and people on Earth who serve him either in creed or merely in ill deed. Jesus is the righteous hero who will descend through the tear in the sky to rescue us from that evil, global suicide cult, controlled by elites, attempting to destroy Earth.

Heaven will invade Earth to confront every bad thing that we all hate. But, non-Christians—who don’t not regard the Bible as supreme, who make up their own self-made morals, and who invent their own fiction to describe reality only God could Create—already despise the return of humanity’s rightful, self-sacrificing, just, and fair King Jesus.

False religion doesn’t seem so bad. But, it is a rebellion against God and it is behind the injustices that both Christians and non-Christians protest in agreement. Once false religions merge, only Jesus will be able to save us from them.

When Jesus returns, it will be “terrible”, but in goodness, help for the needy, wrath against the oppressors, and will be a good thing.

But, we do not need to wait for Jesus’ Second Coming in order to bring Heaven to Earth. We can help our neighbors, love all people as we love ourselves, pray for people who try to injure us, spread the value of morals from above, clarify the truth about the Good Creator God in Heaven—such deeds bring Heaven’s virtues to the world around us.

These things are all of what Jesus will bring when he descends in wrath and in glory in order to save humanity from consolidated false religion. In the meanwhile, bring Heaven nearer.

Daniel 7, Matthew 24, 1 Cor 15: 50-57, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Revelation 11-13; 14-17; 20

159 – Why God is Good to Let Bad Things Happen

“If God is good, why does He let bad things happen?” This is the age old question called “the problem of evil”, more specifically said, “If God is all powerful and good, then why does evil exist? Something must give.” The cheating, easy, faulty answer is that “God is all powerful, but not all knowing” and other lazy solutions that diminish God. The better and shorter answer is not that God is “less” than we think of Him, but God is more than we think of Him. God is not “good”; God is “Holy”, ultra-good, and thus remains ultra-good without evil harming Him or His ultra-good plans.

Dealing with this question is essential to understanding the Biblical-Christian worldview. Part of the Biblical-Christian worldview and “the problem of evil” both relate to “redemption”, that moral rules are not sticks to beat others with in the public square; moral rules guide us to happiness and when we stray away from those good, helpful morals, we come back to them in love and friendship. That concept of “the good path”—stay on the path, return if you wander off—is the essence of Biblical-Christianity and the reason God is good because He allows bad things to happen.

God is the God of Means—He works through others. Jesus did miracles giving the fishermen many fish, but the fishermen still had to let down their nets as Jesus told them. Jesus fed 5,000 people with five loaves and two fish—but the people had to pass the food around. Peter walked on water, but he first had to step out of the boat. God does miracles that we can’t, but He always—always, every time, no exception—does His work in a way that we have some ownership, responsibility, and participation in the results.

Sometimes life is hard because winning is tiring work. Other times jealous people are cruel. But, in everything, we have some ownership—of the bad so we can learn something and the good so we aren’t immoral to enjoy the results. That is good and that requires letting bad things happen. So, God doesn’t put an end to evil because ending evil is our responsibility.

158 – Celebrate Celebration

When people thank you, be grateful. When someone throws a party in your honor, attend and give a speech when they ask. Know how to accept a compliment with humble dignity; practice if you need.

When you make a positive difference to others—even when you don’t see it yourself—allow them to show their appreciation. Even when you’re sad or you don’t feel like being the birthday boy, attend for the sake of others. At least pretend to enjoy yourself.

Between the green room and the front stage, when overly-excited and unexpected fans tell stupid jokes—or complain about things they actually care little for—because they don’t know what else to say, recognize it for what it’s worth: They consider you family and are doing their best to show you the proof. Complainers often just want attention; answer with affirmation.

Respond with gratitude and love, whether to children or your uninvited fan club. My grandmother often reminded me of my cousin, “Look behind you.” I would turn around to see my younger cousin. “You have a little shadow that follows you wherever you go and does whatever you do.”

We never know how big of a positive impact we can have on others. Let people show you their appreciation, even if you don’t see their math add up from where you stand. This will be most important on your bad days when you’re behind schedule, fighting the weather, and feeling more tired than usual. Those are the days when Jesus will send his favorite children—young children and elderly children—to visit you and tell you what a difference you still can make by encouraging them.

So, when you don’t feel like it, put on your best face for the sake of others. Deal with your inner problems genuinely, but don’t let your personal dilemma of the hour rain on someone else’s parade. Plato said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.” It could be your very ability to look past your own problems to help someone else with a hand or a smile that gives you the joy you need to get through the rest of your day.

Romans 12:15

157 – The Novice Connoisseur

Take some time to discuss colognes or attend a coffee tasting class. Watch some videos about difference in clothing fashion or ask a potter about different methods of working with clay. You don’t need to become an expert, just learn enough to appreciate people who are.

Of course, you need to have your own areas of expertise; excel beyond novice at those things. But, some awareness of other skills and arts will help you respect your fellow man. This is what it means to “never stop learning”. Continued learning fuels a life of mutual respect.

Two topics often overlooked are politics and Bible. Both of these are prone to “noob” mistakes. Everyone can read the Bible and vote in America, so everyone has an opinion about them, but these topics also require due diligence before understanding them.

Every opinion is equally allowable, but not equally guaranteed to work. You need a good reason for any opinion you have other than that “you just have an opinion”.

The Bible is literature, so grab some books on “Bible Hermeneutics”, Church history, and theology. JM Boice is good for theology. CS Lewis is good for deep thinking. Queen Elizabeth had a lot to do with Western Church history as well as politics. Read the US Constitution, Declaration of Independence, Mayflower Compact, and review other writings and history from early colonial America. Do a little homework in Bible and politics before being too opinionated about whatever first thought comes to your mind.

The Pilgrims introduced the Bible to America. The result was an economy injected with crafts and arts. Studying craftsmanship of that industrial effect grants a fuller understanding of what it means to be good at anything. But, don’t stop there. There’s always another art or skill to learn.

Go to craft shows and ask people how they made their stuff. Ask a competent friend to do some home or car maintenance with you. Ask some downtown local shop owners why their businesses succeeded; their answers might surprise you. These three are for all people: Bible, politics, and craftsmanship. They each require diligence. Make sure you appreciate and respect that, not just in yourself, but also in others.

156 – Jesus the Brother, God the Father

The strength to love is a choice that must be made strong through practice, but, like food with exercise, it is fueled by the knowledge that our Heavenly Father loves us.

When you know you are loved by your Heavenly Father, all other fathers find their proper places in our hearts. When a father or leader lets us down, it doesn’t matter so much if he is not our biggest father. We can then expect less of them, as we should; we can more easily forgive them, as we ought; we can more readily love and help them, as they actually, also need.

Parents often look up to their own children. I don’t defend this behavior and, if you do that, then stop it and look up to Jesus.

But, more importantly, let children know about this!

When you’re helping children understand the normal things of life—teaching entry level problems, but talking in the tone and manner you would use addressing a 30 year old when you are 35, of course—include the lesson about role models…

For some reason, moms and dads are just really big and old children who still want to learn from mommy and daddy; sometimes they even try to learn from their children that way. So, when adults act stupidly, it’s time for you to honor them, but be the adult and encourage them. You are allowed to be more mature than the “older people”.

…and, that’s much easier if your biggest role model is Jesus and your true father is your Heavenly Father.

Parents who have Jesus as their older sibling role model and God as their Father won’t try to look to their children for encouragement. But, if you are the younger one and you find older people looking to you for encouragement, remember this: Those people are like drowning victims; 1. don’t let them hurt you (they can, they are ‘older’) and 2. it’s okay to be the mature adult in the room if you show respect and give encouragement.

When Jesus was born human, he genuinely entered our human situation. He literally is our brother. In his day, people looked up to him, young and old. You can too.

Proverbs 22:6, John 13:15, 1 Corinthians 11:1, Philippians 3:17, 1 Timothy 4:12, 1 Peter 2:21

155 – Perfection Is a Direction, not the Minimum

I attended college at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. It has many problems as does every institution. Thankfully, it’s not a “church”, it’s just an organization with the founding mission to “create gapmen” who intellectually and academically “stand in the gap” between over-educated preachers and the laity that just wants to understand God’s Word.

Moody teaches Bible, they don’t obey it perfectly since no one can. But, the world needs more people who know the Bible. In the end Moody, with all its problems, makes the world a better place by producing students who know God’s word inside and out. It helps. I would never ax that help just because it’s not finished arriving at perfection.

I won’t excuse injustice and I occasionally chase down wrongdoing with a fierce wrath, if so provoked. But, I’m glad Moody is there, injecting a world with people who actually know what God’s Word actually is and says. Part of the message of the Bible is imperfection. We are imperfect. If someone has a problem, saying so only proves that the person exists. Of course, if you have a solution to the problem, that’s another story. But, “Lay down, cry, and die,” is not a solution, it’s a sentencing.

So, when you address problems and people addressing problems, pay attention to whether a “complaint” is acting like a proposed solution or if it is an attempt to deliver a cease and desist order. Where we are concerned with the core topic of the fact that sin will always exist in every one of us in this lifetime, the only thing that needs to cease and desist is the expectation that people be perfect in order to exist.

Sunday morning “Churchianity” is one of the best—if not the very best—at expecting perfection, but only achieving pretended perfection, which is nothing more than pretension. Once a religious institution of a religion that teaches “imperfect pursuit of perfection” pretends to be perfect, it’s time for it to cease and desist.

Only God is perfect. The most godly people can do is pursue perfection. Requiring perfection in order to pursue perfection just doesn’t make sense. Being imperfect, we need reminding.

154 – Test Everything

Marketing must match its product, both the content and the method. Sometimes, “not marketing” at all is the best kind of marketing. We never know. Never believe someone who claims to tell you the right way of marketing a product. If a business must reinvent itself every five years—and introduce new products every year—and come out with multiple advertisements for each product—that puts marketing on the more extreme list of things that need constant reinvention.

Some skills and theories never change, such as color theory and typing speed. But, non-changers are few. Think beyond the billboard itself. Is a visual ad even necessary? What about strategic logo placement or contributing to a needy open source software project? To some extent, the best products market themselves.

Of course, when you have a hammer in your hand, everything looks like a nail. That explains the marketers who want everything to be done via one specific action plan of, say, social media. Those marketers happen to be familiar with that particular marketing avenue: social media. Stay shy of such people, they want to sell you something.

In order to know if something works, it must be tested. Whether in product development or software development, flaws are found by trial, error, and stress. Tradition carries beauty and wisdom, but even traditions can be tested and come out wanting. It is the test, not the tradition, that proves a thing valuable.

Writing endless blog posts just because everyone else is writing endless blog posts doesn’t mean consumers will have more time to read every piece of blogosophere spam—though many copywriters would have us think so. Copywriting is useful, but not over-useful. Stay focused on your mission—on your pivotal purpose.

Marketing “lets people know”. We market ourselves all the time. It’s called “fashion”. Economic recessions zero impact on cosmetic sales. That doesn’t prove makeup is a “need”, but that individual marketing is a marketable “need”. The same psysiological programming that drives people to spend emergency money on hairspray also drives those same people to post pictures and “statuses” on the “bragosphere”. We know that because recessions test markets. Test everything and everything will make more sense.

153 – Reject Sympathy

People in your life will pretend to offer your sympathy. Reject it. Be kind. Be thankful. They may be friends who will be loyal to you a long time. But, don’t let sympathy go to your heart.

No one can sympathize with your situation like Jesus. He grew up human and died on a Roman cross. Jesus knows pain and hardship better than anyone else. Friends will encourage you, everyone needs this. Sometimes you must be the friend to encourage others. But, sympathy misplaced can lower your standards. If you need a shoulder to cry or lean on, don’t turn it into a crutch.

When Frodo and the fellowship departed the caves after crossing the Bridge of Khazad Dum, where Gandalf had just fallen, they did not have the luxury of sympathy. “Giving them a moment” would have spelled their death.

Many people offer sympathy, understanding, excuses, lowered standards and, in the end, if you accept and act on those opportunities to pause and grieve for yourself, you will be overrun. This is why quiet times and regular prayer are vital.

Spend every waking moment you can in a state of fellowship with Jesus through his Spirit. When you have a strong emotional connection to Jesus, you don’t the usual, addictive, seductive, ensnaring sympathies from people who can’t help you anyway. Unwarranted sympathy is, after all, an impostor—a counterfeit—of real understanding and fellowship that only comes from the one, perfect human—the one human who can identify with you the most.

Jesus understands you. He knows your situation. When only one set of footprints mark the sands of painful times, those were the times when he carried you. Don’t give into self-sorrow and drop your guard along with your standards, all in the name of so-called “sympathy”.

Cry when you need to; Jesus gave us tears. Cry with your friends. Deal with your pain. Talk with your friends and open your heart. But, don’t let sympathy grow into an undue addiction. Anything good can be used in the wrong setting and, sympathy notwithstanding, end up baiting you into a state of weakness that you might not grow out of this side of Eternity.

152 – Jesus the Bridegroom

The most consistent illustration and description of Jesus in his relationship to Christians and to Israel is the bridegroom.

Don’t make the novice mistake of thinking that this is literal—whether reading about Jesus as the bridegroom in the Bible or reading an article about Jesus as the bridegroom in the Bible. It is a figurative relationship, not at all erotic, and a good Bible student should easily recognize it as such. Jesus does not literally marry any of us; he had no wife or literal romance during his life on Earth according to the Bible, only in ancient, demeaning fiction written by non-Christians.

The Bible dedicates two entire books to marriage, making it the most important illustration for understanding God’s Son.

The Book of Hosea records a living example of the steadfast love of a good husband—like God was—toward the unfaithful nation of Israel. This also applies to us as Christians who constantly make foolish and regrettable mistakes, yet God still loves us and works through circumstances to bring us to have a healthy, faithful love back toward Him.

Song of Songs uses the “superlative genitive” noun case—where “of” makes this mean “the greatest song of all songs that ever were and ever will be”. It is about love in marriage. But, combined with Hosea, what John the Baptist said about Jesus, what Jesus said about himself, and Revelation’s description of Jesus as the bridegroom, the Song of Songs was a foreshadowing picture of the personality of God’s great love for us. Whatever we feel about ourselves, no matter how insecure, God’s love for us is greater than we could ever convince Him to have.

John the Baptist describes Jesus as the bridegroom and talks about the “friend of the bridegroom”, which is wedding terminology. Jesus told multiple parables about wedding customs and gave us the Holy Spirit as a kind of wedding engagement gift, a down payment for his promise.

God is a ruling Father and His Son, Jesus, is a bridegroom “given” to us. Jesus has all the power and authority, yet he is our friend who loves us in a deep way that no human terms fully describe.

Song of Songs, Hosea, Matthew 9:14-15; 22:1-14; 25:1-13, Luke 5:33-35; 14:7-11, John 3:27-30, Revelation 19:7; 21:2 ; 22:17

151 – Heavenly Fascination

Pop culture has always tried to mimic the grand splendor of Heaven. From the Garden of Eden, devils have spread lies as truth, “wowing” humanity with their twisted perversions of the awesomeness beyond Earth. Those ideas have always floated around society and literature in whatever form of mass media exists at any particular time, whether in lore, poetry, music, theater, books, comics, or video.

Whatever imagery of Heaven and the heavens beyond Earth you see in pop culture, the real thing is better. Know the real thing by knowing God’s Word.

Images of Heaven and truth from pop culture were not invented by pop culture, they were invented by God and expressed in Heaven before Earth was made. Even mischaracterizations of God and Heaven carry some truth. These not only include beauty, fantasy, and technology, but they also include ideas like Zen. Just as music and math began as man-made religions, many other worthy sciences are only religious because of misunderstanding. Zen, wisdom of Buddhism, psychology, and other “life sciences” hold fragmented truth, just as Thomas Aquinas said, “All truth is God’s truth.” The calmness of Zen is better known by the peace Jesus made when he calmed the waves. That peace first existed in Jesus’ prayer life.

Don’t allow secular sciences outdo your own diligence. Pray in a way that takes your heart and mind to the place of peace that’s greater than the peace of Zen; God’s Word will tell you what it looks like as you study diligently. Just as any apprentice must work and study to become a master, so God the Master expects you to study and perform the grunt work that will make you strong and teach you to calm your heart to enjoy the peace of the moment.

Part of knowing Heaven involves knowing peace and stillness. No stillness is greater than the stillness God spoke of in which to know Him, “Be still and know that I AM God.’

Heaven itself is an expression of God’s own imagination. With God’s peace in your heart, your imagination will blossom into reflections greater than Heaven. As you become fascinated with God’s beauty, pop culture’s “lesser” expressions will bore you.