Posts Tagged ‘good’


hocus pocusWe can’t understand everything. In fact, we can’t understand most things. When life moves along logically, the idea of “why” we choose to go one way or another might make perfect sense in the moment. But as soon as circumstances drop a bomb in our midst or we look back with 20-20, no answer to “why” explains or justifies the outcome. Not now, not ever. Whether the events are good or traumatic, the why this or why now will remain a mystery. Some can accept the miracle and others cannot.

As soon as Jesus threw the evil tormenting spirit out, the man talked away just as if he’d been talking all his life. The people were up on their feet applauding: “There’s never been anything like this in Israel!” The Pharisees were left sputtering, “Hocus-pocus. It’s nothing but hocus-pocus. He’s probably made a pact with the Devil.” [Matthew 9:32-33, The Message]

Personally, I would say it’s equally miraculous to make a pact with the devil as it would be to make a pact with the Lord. Both require a leap of faith. But what these Pharisees were really doing was rejecting something that was  “not-I.” They did not enter into the event; they remained aloof and thereby guarded.

It’s a negative view of the world: It’s a trick! The devil made me do it. My glass is half-empty. Fake! Liar! Thief!

All of these possibilities may be true since I would be the last to say that evil does not exist and people can be less than altruistic.

miracle02But, when a person crosses the line into faith, the potential for good manifesting out of the seemingly bad circumstances goes up exponentially. When a person accepts the Presence of God in the universe (both macro and micro), then why becomes less important. (Please, scientists, I’m not blasting your world at all, you grace our world with understanding.) I simply believe that there will always be inexplicable events and human decisions that cannot be explained away by what we know now, or more likely, ever. Our reality is not driven by 3-D but by an unseen realm we cannot fathom.

Miracles are possible because this world is fleeting. And in the same vein, sorrows happen too.

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Art by Little-LadyBee

Art by Little-LadyBee

Reuben, eldest son of Jacob and Leah, has quite a sin in his past. There may be scholarly argument about it, but the NIV clearly states that Reuben slept with Bilhah, who was Rachel’s handmaid and concubine to Jacob and who bore two of the twelve tribal leaders of Israel (Jacob). What Reuben did was a slap in the face to his own father, and somehow, I think he intended it. For it was Reuben who also found the mandrakes for his mother (Leah) in hopes of helping her carve a more loving relationship with Jacob. It never happened. Reuben had some issues with his father.

And yet, it was also Reuben who tried to save his brother Joseph and his many-colored coat, despite his father’s favoritism.

When Reuben heard the plan, he tried to help Joseph.
Reuben: Let’s not kill him. We don’t need to shed any blood to be free of him. Let’s just toss him into some pit here in the wilderness. We don’t need to lay a hand on him.
Reuben thought perhaps he could secretly come back later and get Joseph out of the pit and take him home to their father before any more harm came to him.  The brothers agreed. [Genesis 32:21-22, The Voice]

Reuben had a bit of righteous indignation, whether toward his father, for the way he treated Leah or, in this case, about the impulsive decision of his brothers to kill Joseph. And yet, whether for good or for ill, Reuben was blinded by his own point of view.

This is a good warning for me. It’s a good warning for us all.

hero or villainWe have all sinned or made bad judgments/decisions along the way. That doesn’t mean we can’t choose rightly today or do a courageous and honorable thing. That thing in our past does work to keep us humble. And that’s not a bad thing really.

The hero act does not erase the past but it does give hope that we can change. All have a potential for good. But we must also take care how we view others: villain or hero?

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Lions and tigers and bears. Oh my!

I almost feel like Dorothy trying to navigate her way through the Land of Oz. But where she chanted lions and tigers and bears; we are told to beware of dragons, beasts, and 666. Dorothy and her friends didn’t know what to expect and honestly, either do we.

Revelation 13:11-12a, 18b
Then I [John] saw a second beast, coming out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon. It exercised all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, . . . Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.

Whether these are mythical dragons or early man’s interpretation of dinosaurs, they represent something bigger than we are, stronger, fearsome, and non-human. Let’s just take a Sauropoda or Brontosaurus, an average human next to that one is about as tall as toe to mid-calf of one leg of the dinosaur. That would be like a man next to a mouse, a very small mouse. What do we have in common? What do we share? And if, today, we actually encountered a malevolent creature of that size, wouldn’t we fear it?

According to Revelation, that’s not all, we also have multi-headed beasts and mysterious numbers to fear, or just one number, really, that mysterious 666 which has become synonymous with evil, the devil, and other negative connotations. It’s universally accepted as sinister except for those who relish in sympathizing with such symbolism such as the Aryan Brotherhood, the Growing in Grace Church of Miami who follow self-proclaimed “christ-figure” Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda, the Cult of Saturn, and many more.

I remember my first exposure to all of the prophetic tumult in the 1970’s about the end times, 666, the mark of the beast, and so on. I was terrified as more and more people seemed to believe in it and write about it. For many, the last days were identified by many signs like the modern day happenings in Israel, the European Union, and the demise of paper money for e-cash. And of course, more recently, the pathetic predictions of charlatans such as Howard Camping whose rapture was to have happened last year on May 21st.

Just as there are good witches and evil witches in Oz, so do we have the spectrum here in “Kansas.” Good and evil are ever before us with the narrow good road generally appearing as the least likely way to travel.

Wisdom calls out in the market place [Proverbs 1:20] and yet we do not hear her. We are running to and fro looking for signs and wonders and yet do not see the most obvious sign of all: our own biases.

The poor, the orphan, the widow, the single mom, and the homeless are fighting the dragon and beasts every day as well as those humans who behave as though 666 is their motto, withholding what they have out of fear losing it all. Oh God, is that my number after all? Forgive me.

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Of course, this “war in heaven” is raged all the time. Despite the various views of Bible scholars, both Old Testament and New, I cannot eschew my commitment to timelessness to all things heavenly and Godly. And how do I know this? Just look around.

Revelation 12:7-8, 9b
Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. . . He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

If the effects of this war in heaven is the hurling of evil forces to earth, then we have had no respite from it. Throughout the ages, earth and human have experienced nothing but travail, fighting against one another for one stupid reason after another.

We have always longed for things we could not have. This is the mark of evil.

“They [Michael and his angels] triumphed over him [the dragon and his angels]
by the blood of the Lamb [the Christ]
and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
as to shrink from death. [Revelation 12:11]

This is the life of paradox: taking the “strength and power” of the Christ, the lamb, the peace that passes understanding, and doing battle against evil. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” [Ephesians 6:12]

Oh, if I could just get this in my head and heart and mind and not struggle so much with traditional strength, with my own determination, and my own flappings.

Gandhi got it. Martin Luther King got it. Mother Teresa got it. What about you and me?

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It’s so much easier to speak of the spirit world in different contexts, fantasy for instance. In those circles, it’s the norm to speak of spirits, magic, miracles, powers, spiritual enemies and spiritual good guys. But we have lost our ability in this age to speak of the Spirit World.

I John 4:4
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

Despite the fact that numerous references are made to this spirit world in scripture; I am particularly thinking of Ephesians 6:12 as a good example, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms,” we hesitate to claim it as our own. It’s all woohoo stuff! And so, most folks shrug off spirit talk.

But I cannot. The epistle of I John speaks at length about spirit relationships: our own spirits, those of the “anti-christ” opposed to all Christ spirit, the spirits of the world, the spirits of believers, and the spirits of God followers. This is the unseen world and yet, more and more, I do believe it is the most important part of our existence.

We are multi-dimensional for a reason. And there are enough people, even in modern times, who have had significant experiences with Spirit that it seems foolish to disregard this aspect of our humanity, our spirituality, our essence.

I guess the big question is in the tension that arises when we refer to “good” and “evil” spirits. And I understand that hesitancy, but there is simply too much evidence to deny them. For me, the truth of evil places human depravity at the feet of its source: the realm within.

Do we really think that the battles we carry on in the flesh will change the spirit? Will our wars block the power of evil’s presence and influence? Will our gun laws prevent their distribution on the streets of our cities? Will our capture of kilos of cocaine prevent the fields of poppies from being grown again?

We are back to the single word that explains the Way of the Spirit realm: paradox. It’s not the very reasonable approaches to problems of our world that will change it, but the opposite. If not, if it’s all Pollyanna, then why did Jesus bother to say any of it? I know things are bad now, but things were bad then too: almost everyone was poor or under the iron fist of a dictator or slave owner, violence was the norm and so was hunger. There was no “upward mobility,” there was no middle class. Back then, it wasn’t just the 99% but 99.9% of the people who suffered under human indignity and loss.

They had good reason to look and wait for a revolution. Instead, Jesus proclaimed a victory for the interior life as the starting point for change. Do we follow? Do we believe?

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