Tag Archive: Free Will

God and Man part 2


Second in a 3 part series on God and Mankind

Yesterday, we spoke of ten Truths. They are important enough to be re-stated, again:

1- There is a God, He exists, and He was not created.
2- God is Infinite.
3- He is infinitely good. (Can do no evil)
4- God has every positive quality, to an infinite degree.
5- Love is one of the positives that God has.
6- God existed before any material thing came into existence.
7- God created the world and mankind. He is the prime mover.
8- God crated mankind with a soul, and free will.
9- Through man’s free will, man can choose evil over good.
10- God loves us with an infinite love.

God created man, but why? Was He bored? Did He want to see what the result would be? “Bored” is a quality that mankind experiences, it is a negative and not within God. “Want to see what the result would be”, God is infinite, is not limited by time, and therefore knows what the result is. So why would God create mankind? Did you ever experience something so wonderful, so joyous that you wanted to share it with others? God’s love is like that. He gave us feelings, and thought, and memory, and soul. All of these take pleasure in joyous occasions. God could not help Himself, so to speak. His infinite love and infinite goodness demanded that they, also, be given to the greatest of His creations, man. The gifts that God gave man, would make mankind be His greatest creations. He created mankind so that they, too, could experience this wonder and joy. But He did not create us to be robots. He created persons who could think, feel, hope, laugh……and choose. Robots cannot feel; they cannot make abstract decisions; they can only do what they are programmed to do. God gave man the ultimate gift. He gave man Free Will.

This gift, allowing us to choose what we wanted, opened Pandora’s Box. We can do whatever we wish. We can temper our actions by whatever means possible. We can choose to love or hate God. We can choose to treat people kindly or with contempt. The choice is ours to make. This Infinite God has tied his own wrists together, so to speak. He allows the gift of free will to even go counter to His Will. Mankind was free, free to do whatever it wanted. Mankind could freely choose to love and serve His God, or he could laugh in the face of that loving God. Such was the gift, the nature of free will.

With such unlimited power, mankind chose again and again to fly in the face of his maker. Wars were started. Atrocities were done. Mankind did every crime imaginable against his fellow man. And still God loves man. Time and time again, God sends His prophets, leaders and, priests so that they will instruct, guide and pray with His people. He sends His Son. He will show them how to live. He will manifest the goodness that they are to share with each other. He will be the model of how to live, how to treat others, how to love their fellow mankind.

For three years, Jesus walks among the people reminding them of the goodness that they are to give to one another. He preaches what makes goodness, and who is their brother. Through His love, the sick are healed, the lame walk, the dead are raised back to life. He does all of this and then He thinks of all the people not present, you and me. We aren’t with Him. We didn’t see the love in His eyes. We didn’t feel His hand on our shoulder. There are many who haven’t seen or heard. How can he reach through time and ask us “Hello, how are you today, my friend? Walk with me and tell me what is bothering you? What can I do for you, today?”

Throughout these three years, Jesus has a small band of followers. They walk with Him, and listen and learn from Him. These men are fishermen, they are not theologians. They are not very learned. They do not logically come to the conclusion that this Jesus is someone special. They SEE that He is special. There is a goodness and love about Him. He really means what He says. Slowly, but gradually, they come to the realization that this man is special. He means what He says. He loves everyone, not just a few. He treats everyone equally, judges, tax collectors, the lame, the leper. He loves everyone. His message to them is go and do likewise. These men, the Apostles, live their lives as Jesus lived His. They taught, they loved, and they cared for others. Through them, they brought Jesus as best they could to those who hadn’t met Him. They wanted these peoples to see Jesus through the lives that they brought them, their own lives. See me, see Jesus. Through the years, the Apostles through people they reach out to, bring Jesus to all of us, you and me.

Tomorrow Link to: GOD and Me part 3

The 6 Posts directly below, blend with this theme. They continue the thought. Thanks for coming:

1) To You, My Friend
2) The Mystical Body Of Christ
3) Be Me!
4) Mankind And God, Body And Soul
5) The Love Of Creation
6) What Does Your Ism Need


Peace Within


Those three lines are the beginning of St. Teresa of Avila’s prayer. They will be the central theme for today. Reread them. Each line is bringing us the calm assurance that God is, indeed, with us. Each line is telling us something important for us to know. The entire quote can be found after these thoughts.

Each one of us, everyone, no exceptions, has made bumbling, and sometimes tragic mistakes in our lives. We have all done it, so why do we pretend that this does not pertain to us? We know our past. We fear the effects of our past. We are even ashamed at how crass we have been in our past. Don’t we even try to hide it? Don’t we pretend that it really never did happen? We try to forget it, but it is still there. It nags us. It shames us. It is relentless. Before you read any farther, read again this current paragraph and decide once and for all what it is that is nagging you, shaming you, causing you to flee from your God?

That first line above of St. Teresa’s prayer, it cries out to each of us, “God loves us, be at peace”. He has already forgiven us of all that we have done… AND WILL DO. (Remember God is not constrained by time. For Him there is no past nor future.) We find it very difficult to understand such an all-forgiving God. Does He not understand what we have done? What is this perfect love? All the times that we say, “I am sorry”, “I will do better”, “I won’t do that again” … and then go out and repeat our offense!! In spite of this, He loves us? Does He not understand our fickleness, our shallowness? God knew what difficulties would arise from free will. And yet He says, “Trust me”, “Believe in Me”, “Follow Me”. THIS is the exercising of our Free Will that He wants. Yes, He wants us to freely follow His love, freely follow His directions, but He also wants us to freely follow Him with trust, and have belief in Him. Be at Peace, follow Me.

Each of us needs to focus on all the twists and turns that have happened in our lives. Do we really feel that we are where we are right now, because of those past events? We think that this event caused us to go right, and that action caused us to move in the opposite direction, or further to the right. And then from that vantage point we went farther left or right. Is that what we think? Yes we are free. Free to choose good or evil. Free to walk whatever path that beckons us. But, through all of this our LOVING God watches over us and nudges and makes adjustments, whenever harm or evil will result. We can say, “No, that is not true. I can do something that will result in harm and evil”. Yes you can, but the final result, the final effect of your action will be God’s decision, not yours.

What is being said here is that our God loves us so infinitely much, that He is always watching over us, directing us, guiding us. Because of this, that second line of the prayer means exactly what it says, “May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be”. Your choices, your decisions, your intentions may not have been in line with what God wanted of you, desired from you, but He never stopped loving you, and protecting you. Back to that free will, for a moment. Here is the perfect time to exercise it. Freely trust God that right NOW, He sees where you are, what is happening to you, what problems are assailing you (even though they may have resulted from your own actions). He knows what you are feeling, dreading and crying over. Trust Him. Trust His love for you. He will shape events somehow, in some way, so that the final outcome will be more than you could have ever hoped for.

Because of His infinite love, because of His infinite vision, no event is a surprise to God. Furthermore, there is no bucket that says, “All problems must fall in here”; nor, is there a drawer labeled “Put matters of this kind inside”. God is without limits. His vision is without limits. No two problems must, or will be solved in exactly the same way. For example: you and your sibling, though everything, and I mean everything, is the same, the two of you will still be facing different problems, different choices and wind up in different places, with different results. “May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.” Your life does not, will not, cannot be the same as anyone else. God has made you special. There is something special about each one of us. God wants us to find Him, trust Him, and discover His love. And, in that process we will find out what our role in this life is to be. We will find ourselves.

* * * *

May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us.

* * * *

The 5 Posts directly below, blend with this theme. They continue the thought. Thanks for coming:

1) Christ Transforms Us
2) Our Weakness, Our Strength
3) Our Demons
4) Our Strength
5) Thy Will Be Done

God and Man

breath of life

Let’s look at man’s concept of God. But in order to do that, we must first look at man, himself. Mankind lives and dies. He is born, grows, and with that growth, eventually ages and dies. All matter has this same progression of existence. Over time, matter is formed and eventually ceases to exist. Because of this passage from one stage to the next, mankind can measure how long it takes to go from beginning to end, from start to finish. That measuring stick we call “Time”.

If we could find a box large enough, all matter could be placed in that box. Stars, planets, moons, sun, people, every material thing could be placed in there. Since all matter has a beginning and an end and that box holds all matter, we can call that box “Time”, our measuring stick. Everything in this box is dependent on time. We judge how long it takes for earth to make one complete revolution on its own axis, and we call it a day. We split the day into segments and we call them hours. And so the progression proceeds. We notice also, that the earth while spinning on its’ own axis, is also orbiting around the Sun. As it progresses through that orbit we notice that seasons change. All of this is measured by Time.

Well, what is not in this box of Time? Does anything exist outside this box? If the box contains all material things, then only non-material things could be outside the box. Non-material!?!? What exists, and doesn’t have matter associated with it? We inside the box, only experience the material things. Whatever is outside this box of time, had to be the …person? Entity? that created the box, in the first place. That person cannot be in the box and the creator of that box, at the same time. That force, that entity, we simply call God. God is outside the restrictions of time.

Since that box contains created matter, and since God is not in the box and therefore non-material, He must be the Initiator, the Starter, the Creator of that box of things. And so we have the concept of God, the Creator.

In order to understand a little about the Creator, we had to first start with His creations, those things that we see, and can touch. So maybe in order to continue our admiration of our God, we must, once again, look at His creations. This would be very much like looking at a series of paintings by a painter, to understand the driving force of the painter, himself. All matter, as we said, is in this box of time. We can see majestic mountains, birds flying in the sky, all manner of fish in the deep blue oceans. We see animals of all sorts walking the lands of our earth. And we see…MAN. The best that the animals in the air, or sea, or on the land can do is to live by the natural instincts within them. Only man, however, can think. Only man can make decisions and choose one way or another. These are not instinctual choices, they are reasoned. Man utilizes his thinking, as well as his instincts, his fears, and all of his other emotions to settle on a course of action, to make a choice. He can freely do this or that, seeking no one’s permission, but his own choice. Man is truly different from every other animal on this planet.

Why is this so? Why would the Creator make this creature so different from all the rest? The short answer is LOVE. The Creator, being All-Good, loves us with total abandon. He wanted man to be able to make a free choice to love Him back. What good would a forced response of love back to the Creator be? It would be like a child exclaiming, “Look mom, I made the robot do what I wanted it to do”. No, a free will would be bestowed on a rational creation. This was how God wanted man to be. The love back to his God would be knowing, and willing, as well as loving.

The 5 Posts directly below, blend with this theme. They continue the thought. Thanks for coming:

1) Mankind And God, Body And Soul
2) Memories
3) Who Or What Is God
4) Come Back To Me
5) The Love Of Creation

Thy Will Be Done

father love

“Thy will be done”. “Your will be done”. Every Christian in the world, whether Catholic, Episcopalian, Protestant, Baptist, Reformed, Born again … all denominations, every one of them will say those words at least, once or twice, during the week. What do those words mean? What do you mean when you say them?

What are we really saying when we pray the Our Father, and utter these words? It is not a meaningless phrase, just one more line to be raced through as we say (pray) the prayer. We are telling God that we acknowledge His Deity, His Supreme Being. We, His creatures live only to do His will. Though we have a free will, we forego that luxury and tell Him we want to, and will to, accept His wishes, whether joyous or sorrowful. We will not try to bend nor shape the events so that they are more pleasant to us. We trust Him and know that whatever He foresees and permits will be beneficial to us; and so, we accept the events, as they are. Unfortunately, many times we think ‘beneficial to us’ as meaning good things happening to us. We pray like, “Lord, God, we will accept all the joyousness You can throw at us. The Sad, well ehh, not so much”.

We forget that this all-loving God, Who exists outside the box of time, sees the past (our past), present and future in the same instant. He sees all the problems we have let ourselves fall into, He allows the present to happen because He knows and sees the good that can come from it, and He permits all that the future has in store for us, for the same reason. This is not His determination because He truly allows our free will to work, to function, to be directed by us. But one thing He does do is to love us, as only an all-loving God can. So when death, or sickness, or misfortune presents itself to one of our loved ones, or our self, our future is being shaped and will provide us the opportunity to GROW, to become an even more loving child of God. This may sound like some person’s fantasy, a dream world, but it is not, it is reality. This infinite God, who sees everything in an instant, shapes the events of our lives so that even hardships can become the source, the beginning point, of growth. But the key is for us to accept, truly ACCEPT EVERYTHING that comes our way, as coming from a loving God.

Everything covers a lot of territory. It means the times when we get passed over for a promotion. It means the sicknesses that we experience. It means the trials of going through a difficult period. It means rejection, and failures, discouragement and abuse. Oh, everything covers just about …. every event in our life. But, it is because we know how much He does love us that we can trust and say, “Your Will be done”. These are not words that roll off of our tongue just to get us to the next part of the prayer. They are the cornerstone of the Our Father. We recognize how critical it is to joyfully accept these events, good and bad. And we can accept them, only because we already recognize how much this infinite God loves us. Through that recognition of His love for us, the significance of the hardships that come across our path permit us to meaningfully say, “Thy Will be done”. If we can understand, say, and mean them they will bond us to our God in a way we could never foresee.

So the events in our life have great significance to us. But, we have to stop looking at them to see if they are pleasurable, or beneficial, or helpful to our own goals. This view cannot be the sole mechanism to judge whether or not the event has any meaning for us, any good meaning. If instead of depositing them into “good” bins and “bad” bins, we must stop judging the events as they happen. Every event, every circumstance that occurs is directly permitted by our loving Father in heaven. Don’t look at “the what if” possibilities. Don’t judge how beneficial they are to you, right now. Graciously thank this loving God, our Creator for giving us a life, in which we can grow and become even closer to this loving source. We may not see the benefits of events immediately. We may never really know for sure why it was necessary that the events even had to happen. But we can always know that our loving God is smiling on us, all the time. His love for us is all we need to know, to care about. With His love surrounding us, protecting us, we can smile back and say to Him, “May Your Will be done, in my life. Thank you”.

The 5 Posts directly below, blend with this theme. They continue the thought. Thanks for coming:

1) Humanity of Jesus
2) What is the Will of God?
3) Are You Important?
4) Embrace Life: Embrace God
5) Whispers

Our Strength

my strength

These posts have covered many areas, such as Goodness, Love, Trust, Weaknesses, and Faults. The list is quite large and is far more than the few that I just listed. How do we live these areas of goodness and avoid the problem areas of faults? Remember, we are constantly struggling to avoid evil, and are even prone to evil. How do we, a fallen people, pick ourselves up, change our own lives, and live clean and upright lives? The answer is, “WE DON’T”. Oh, we can live upright lives, but it is also correct in saying, “We don’t have the capability of picking ourselves up, of doing the changing on our own”. We do not have the ability, nor the strength to re-shape our lives, to re-direct our lives. So what do we do? How do we choose acts of goodness?

The Christ came into this world to save it, to show it how to live and to act. “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life”. There is so very much contained in those nine words. Why did Jesus utter them? What was He implying when He said them? What do they mean? Simply put, we have to become like Jesus. If we do that, then we follow His way, understand His truth and live His life. But that is really no answer at all. It implies a life time of growth, a life time of trust, a life time of love. He really is saying, “Be Me”. Obviously, we cannot do that on our own. Think about it, can you be Jesus just by saying you want to be, or will be? We don’t have the power or ability to be Jesus.

So where does that leave us? I believe we have to come to the realization that we, of ourselves, are sadly lacking. We know what we should do, but we don’t do it. We see the path that we should walk, but we stray. We want to be like Him, but we are swayed by other things, seemingly more desirable, and follow those instead. “Lord, you see all my weaknesses. Please, help me. Guide me. Show me what I must do”. … NOW WE ARE BEING HONEST!!!

It is only when we admit, truly mean it and admit, that we are helpless, that we cannot do it on our own, that we need the help of Jesus, then, and ONLY THEN can Jesus take over. It isn’t because He wants to see us helpless. No, He wants us to understand our own helplessness and gladly accept His involvement in our life. Don’t forget that He loves us more than we can possibly imagine. Remember, that infinite love involves respecting our free will, also. We must truly ask Him for help. We must truly set aside our dependence on our own free will and stretch out our hands to Him.

To set aside our own free will sounds simple enough. It is just one more choice. Right? Wrong! That is the way the fickle world would see it: “Just one more choice, and if I don’t like it, I can always take it back”. No, that is not the way we reach for Him, stretch out our hands to Him. To accept His involvement in our life is to TRUST Him. It is setting aside our choices, our wants, our desires and WILL-ingly, acquiesce to His will. Trust is difficult, but oh so freeing. “My Jesus, I trust in You. You take care of it” (or Thy Will be done). Will you accept what Jesus decides is best for you? Can you accept what Jesus decides? If you can answer, “Yes”, then you have gained a strength that will never fail you. To place our lives into His heart, to accept His love, to accept the will of God over our own….how can these be a cause for alarm?

Are we not saying, “O Lord, I love you and I know you love me. You love me with an infinite love and you care for my well-being more than I possibly could. With such a love for me, how can I not trust you? Lord, I accept all that you will allow to come into my life. I may not understand the reason why, but I know that your love protects me always and that is sufficient for me, now and for all eternity. You are my strength.”

The 5 Posts directly below, blend with this theme. They continue the thought. Thanks for coming:

1) Jesus Meets His Mother
2) The Power Of God
3) Our Wake Up Call
4) Embrace Life: Embrace God
5) What is the Will of God?

Are You Important?

jigsaw fin

Let me ask you a question. How important are you? Before you answer, though, I want you to think about your parents, your children, your neighbors, your co-workers, and your fellow students. Think about the people who you don’t like, and the people who don’t like you. Who are you? What are you to them? Do these people depend on you? Do they expect you to be there for them, when it counts? Do they need you? Do you need them? Do you know them? Any one of these questions you can and should think about. They will help you shape your outlook on yourself.

Now for the next and bigger question … How important are you to your God? We might gloss over all of the people that we see on a daily basis. But, God? Did we even think about our being important to Him? God is infinite. God is omnipotent. What could He possibly need me for? If we think along those lines, we are missing some very key pieces of evidence. Like a jig saw puzzle, these pieces all fit together. The Will of God. God’s Goodness and Love. Mankind’s Free Will. Peace and Serenity. Let’s see how these four pieces, when brought together define our importance.

First, let’s focus on God’s Goodness and Love. God must be a God of Goodness and Love. Why do I say that? How can I say that? For God to be God, He must be perfect. He must be everything He can possibly be and to the nth degree. Evil is the lack of good and therefore no vestige of it can exist within God. So we can truly say that He is complete with goodness and love.

Next, we look at God’s Will, His plan for the world. That plan flowing from this God, (Who is total Goodness), it also must be something positive, something very good, very special. If it were otherwise, it could not come from this all-good God. So these two pieces fit very nicely together. They seem to almost flow into one another. It is very difficult to see where one ends and the other begins.

When this God of Love, created the universe and mankind, His love, out of necessity, flowed into them as well. Do we think that God would create or would allow to be created, an evil that would go counter to all the Goodness that He places in the world? He loves mankind, so much, that He gives every person in the world, their own free will. No one in this world would be forced to love God, forced to do anything that they didn’t want to do. Mankind is totally free. This freedom is a good thing…but, as we know, and have seen, it can be abused!!

However, when each of us uses our free will and endeavors to flow in sync, with God’s Plan for the world, then mankind and God are in harmony. That harmony is the last piece of the puzzle, called Peace and Serenity. The plan is complete. The accord that exists is all of nature being in harmony.

But, unfortunately, we don’t have to make our free will and the Will of God blend together. We can do as we wish. But, in so doing, that is when disharmony results. God’s plan is harmonious. People seeking their OWN will, moving towards their OWN needs, forgetting their purpose in life results not in harmony, but chaos. We then don’t have the perfect world envisioned by our God. We have a world fashioned by man catering to the wants of man. We have a polluted world, a warring world, a hateful world, a dis-functional world.

So I ask you, how important are you? Is everyone? Each one of us has an important role to play in God’s plan. Our actions, our cravings, and our deeds are they flowing from our own needs, our own wants? Or are they striving to follow God’s plan? Each of us has something, just over the horizon, waiting for our response. Sometimes, we don’t even have a clue that that something is depending on us. We don’t know the future. But we do know right from wrong. We do know how goodness should act. We know how the Christ wants us to act with respect to others. No, we don’t know the future, but we don’t have to. All we need to know is that our God loves us, and is waiting for us to love Him back. If we do that, the future will take care of itself. And, we will take care of loving our God and ALL of His creation. Especially, the people I asked you to think about at the beginning of this writing.

The 5 Posts directly below, blend with this theme. They are listed to help complete this theme:

1) Are We Free Or Not
2) I Believe In God
3) Embrace Life: Embrace God
4) The Tree
5) A Meal With Friends

Embrace Life: Embrace God


Who are we…REALLY?? We want. We need. We crave. We are definitely part of the “ME” generation. Everything revolves around us….or, at least, so we think. But, take a step back. Look at yourself from outside of yourself. Really, look at yourself. Look at your motives, your cravings, your acts of “love”. What do you see? Do you see selfless actions? Do you see caring and concern? Do you have genuine love and trust in others? Unfortunately, we see someone totally different from who we think we are.

Taking stock of ourselves, we realize that, in our minds, our happiness, our joy is rooted in what WE WANT. We want people to treat us differently. We want our life to be trouble free. We expect people to see us and automatically treat us with gentleness and kindness. Is this really what our world is? What our world needs? Does it really need self-centered people clamoring for attention, expecting respect? Is this the whole reason for our existence?

Take another step back, this time, a big step back. In the creation of the world, a loving God filled the abyss with planets and stars, oceans and mountains, plants and animals…..and US!!! (No matter if you hold to evolution, or big bang theory, or whatever, it takes an infinite, eternal Being to start the process and get it moving.) This Being, this loving God gave us a free will, so that our choices would be just that…”our choices”. He does not force us to love Him. He gives us the freedom to say, “No”. So we can freely say, “I want, I need, I crave” or we can say, “I love”. The former leads us to turning in on ourselves, seeking whatever it is that WE think will make us happy. The latter, the “I love” portion, frees us to see God’s Goodness in ALL of creation. Everything that happens to us, “the good, the bad and the ugly” all stem from this loving God. He is LOVE and truly wants us to understand His love. He is not tormenting us with these events.

We must try to look at the misfortunes that befall us, you and me, not as obstacles, not as the result of a vengeful God who is getting back at us for our doing….whatever. God is not vengeful. He is loving. As such, everything that happens to us, “the good, the bad and the ugly” are truly part of His omniscient, loving plan for us. In our tormented, warped view, we only see the ugliness and the pain and feel like we are being punished. But this is really not the case. We have separated ourselves from our purpose in life, our God. And, it is because of that separation, we see only the pain, the sadness.

Then, how do we look at the troubles that befall us? All the pain and heartaches that we experience…they are acts of love from our God??? How is this allowing us to grow closer to Him, to become part of His infinite love? In that Love, there is a Divine Plan. We don’t know what that plan is, but it is there nonetheless. Our love response is Trusting Him. In trusting our God, in loving our God we really become enmeshed in God. We may someday understand the why. And maybe we won’t. But of this you can be certain, our “yes”, our “acceptance”, our “embrace” of the events in our life are major acts of trust and love in our God. Our life is to be, must be, a continuous acknowledgement of His love for us. Seek Him out in everything that you do, in everything that comes upon you and you will be locked in an embrace that will take you to eternity.

Here are some other Posts that blend with this one. Continue the thread:

1) I’m Fine
2) Are We Free or Not?
3) Happiness
4) Christ Transforms Us

Advent 2nd

Well, the second candle is now lit. We are beginning the 2nd week of Advent. How are we doing? That really is not a fair question, because a change of attitude, a different perspective is not easily accomplished. Definitely, it does not come about, in just a week’s time. But as we know from past attempts, a new beginning, a fresh start can happen at any time.

What we know from our past is that a new diet, a better outlook, a well-intentioned new start can quickly fade into just one more aborted false start. Why do you think that is? What causes us to falter so predictably, and so suddenly? We think to ourselves, “This time, I will make it happen. It will be different this time. I will make this a challenge that I cannot lose”. And so, with all the good-intentions of the world we begin anew. We might even make better progress than ever before, but in the end we trip, we stumble, we fall.

If I may suggest, maybe we rely on ourselves too much. We feel that this time WE will do it right. But, you see, we are weak. We have the effects of all the bad choices, which have ever been made, handed down to us. We call that Original sin. What the first sin was is unimportant. But it was the beginning of mankind’s reliance on self and not God. He created us to blend with Him, to merge with Him and gave us our Free Will to do so.

Our lives, our job, our weight, even our goodness, these are not goals in and of themselves. They are not the ends that demand our attention. All of them are important, yes. But how we address each of them must be associated with our God. We cannot pray to God with the thought of, “Oh please, let me be better, let me do better.” As good as that sounds, we are praying for our own goals. We are praying so that an end that we see as desirable may be achieved.

Think of God, the Creator. Think of Jesus, our Teacher and Savior. Think of the Spirit of God who enlightens us. This Triune God loves us so very much. He desires us to mesh with Him. He created us so that we could have the satisfaction of using our free will to embrace Him.

When we begin a task, start it with a union with this God who loves us. Pray to Him. Embrace Him. Ask Him for His guidance. In such fashion is trust built up. By doing this, we come closer to the prime reason for our existence. This is not a one and done deal, however. Begin each day, with a prayer to offer this day and all of our actions to Him. Mean it. Think of yesterday with its successes and failures. Resolve to make our lives a gift to Him. Our struggles then become a prayer. Our pain and sufferings become a prayer. Our daily actions and choices give God a continual, “I love you”.

The title may seem to be a contradiction, but in reality it isn’t at all. The usage of “Pro Choice” in the world today is simply focused on the wrong timeframe, the wrong action. We all have choices to make. Each man and woman must make the choice of who will be their mate for life. Each must make the decision: is so-and-so the right person for me? Will my choice complete me? Will it be good for me? Will I be good for the other? Will this person be the one with whom, I spend the rest of my life? Do I want him/her to be the parent of my children? These are the choices that we must make. The engagement time is not a time to impress or wow the other person. It is a time to allow that person to see us as we really are. If we put on a mask which we think the other wants to see, or wants us to be, then our marriage will be based on deception.

Having made all of these choices the married couple then has different sets of choices to make. Is now the time for the two of us to bring a baby into the world? Are we ready at this time of our life? Do we want this to happen? We are, after all, intelligent, thinking human beings with free will. Aren’t we? The choice is ours to make. In marriage, a husband and wife become co-creators with God. They have made as many choices that they could possibly make as thinking, loving human beings. Their responsibility as co-creators is to bring all the natural elements together to produce another human.

But wait, we are more than just animal. What makes a human being, a human being? What separates us from all other animals? We have a mind that can think. We have the ability to love. And there is something else within us. We have a spirit, a feeling inside us that tells us that there is something else, someone else. Our hearts are restless. We seek a union with our God, our creator. Where does this feeling come from? Why do we have it and not other animals? With our creation, God breathed into us a desire to be re-united with Him for all eternity. When does God breathe His spirit into us? At what point does He give us the greatest gift possible? Himself! We know that a baby begins to take shape the moment the sperm impregnates the egg. Does God wait awhile before instilling His love, His spirit into us? I don’t see it that way. I can’t see God pacing the clouds waiting to complete this new creation with His spirit. If a man and woman determine that it is time for a baby to begin its life, then God, as co-creator, does His part and instills the spirit, the soul into the child, at that same wonderful time.

From the first moment of conception, the child’s potential is known by God. This is not some microscopic bug, to be squashed under a thumb. If allowed to come to completion, the child will have a mind, a personality, warmth, a smile. It already has a soul. The moment for making a choice has passed. This is not the time to decide if we really want this child, to decide if this child should enter this world or not. In this regard, our choices should have already been made from the time of our engagement down to the very moment of conception. To make a choice now would be like making a choice not to speed in a car, as it careens over a cliff at 120 mph. At this point, our relationship with our God and with our mate comes to the foreground. It is here that our trust in Him, in His love for us, in His concern for our well-being and that of our unborn child comes into play. The very love that we have for our God guides us, directs us to focus our love on the unborn child. The very love that we share with our mate reveals to us the new responsibilities that each of us now have. If the act of conception was not completed out of selfless love, but rather self-pleasure, then it will be self-indulgence that will determine the life or death of the unborn child.

So we do make both. We crave to be independent and make our own choices. But we must make sure that those choices are made continuously throughout our engagement and married life. And not just at the last critical moment. As was said earlier, that is not the time for choice. We really have to ask ourselves the one most important question, which is, “Do I choose to love God or myself?” With love for God, we trust in Him. With love for our self, we trust in a fool.

Good Friday

Leaving the Last Supper, the twelve, Jesus and the remaining eleven, walked to the Garden of Gethsemane. Here, the Christ was reduced to tears and fear. His humanity was once again evident. Why a man? Why this man? Was it really necessary that He die? Is God so demanding? What would be accomplished? To answer these questions, let us step back and quickly look at what has led to this state.

Someone, (Our first ancestors, Adam and Eve), defied the will of God. Using the free will that God had given them, they chose to use it in defiance, as we do, even today.  In so doing they paved the way for a weakened mankind to defy God. This action brought evil, sickness and death into the world. Throughout time this evil, this cancer grew and continues to grow and spread. To restore the balance in the universe, to restore justice, a sacrifice has to be made. What could offset the evil, the hatred, the murder, the lust, the continuing disregard of God and His Goodness, all of which built up over thousands of years? A god must suffer and die. But, then, God would not be God, if he could suffer and die. A man, a God-man, a person so perfect that He knew not sin would have to the sacrificial lamb.  He would have to be the sacrifice. And so, from all eternity we have Jesus designated for the task of saving mankind from itself.

All of this defies logic. It sounds like a fairy tale. But here is where our faith must bridge the gap. A loving, caring God wants man to freely love Him and so gives him free will. That it is possible that man can choose to turn his back on God, and does, is the price of free will. We have been given a gift. How we use it is totally dependent on us.

The sad part of this is that we, all of us, have sinned. Maybe it was a slight disagreement, or a heated argument, or a murderous attack. Maybe it was stealing a nickel, or something of much greater value. Maybe it was a desire, a lust, an adulterous relationship. Small or big, our sins are added onto the heap of mankind’s willful self-serving. Restoration of order in the universe must be accomplished. If it is not restored, if it is ignored, then God could not be perfect, could not be just, could not be God.

So, here we are in Gethsemane, the apostles , asleep, Jesus, afraid and in tears. We gather our clubs and go after this Man. His agony, His scourging, His pain and torture, and ultimately His death will all take place very soon. Which of these things are we responsible for? Surely, my evil was not this huge.  I am not a mass murderer, like Hitler. Mine was just a small, minor transgression. But, Jesus is suffering for ALL mankind. You and I are part of that group. Our transgressions, big and small are part of this trash heap that He is paying the price for. The pain in His muscles, the flesh being torn, the punches, the insults, the mockery, the nailing to the cross, we are responsible for these. And his response to all of this? “Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing”. He makes excuses for us.

It is much easier to think of all of this as a fairy tale. It didn’t really happen, so I don’t have to be concerned about it. Let me shove it to the back regions of my mind, where my thoughts rarely go. … But it did happen. We are responsible. For us to make amends we have to honestly look at Jesus and see what He did for us and why. Realize that He did this for us. Our free will must again come into play. We must use it now to recognize our guilt, our complicity in this tragedy. With our free will, Jesus wants us to recognize and admit our guilt, accept His act of Love and freely give our love and concern to the rest of mankind. If we do this, we show our love to Him. We give back to God our love using our free will.

Are We Free or Not?

Puppet or Free Will?

We speak of God as being our father, our creator; and, that He is love. In our mind’s eye, we picture some elderly person with a long flowing beard, dressed in a white robe. These are our attempts at trying to comprehend, something that defies comprehension. So what can possibly be said about God that contains objective truth and is not mere speculation?

This whole discussion is predicated on two beliefs. The first is that He is responsible for the creation of all that is in the universe. We look at the order that we see in the universe, and in ourselves. This did not just happen by chance. Someone, something is responsible for all the order. This someone we call God. The second belief, that we are holding here, is that He must be perfect. This is essential in our concept of an infinite being. And since perfection involves all positive qualities, and love is positive, God is love.

Before I go any further, I acknowledge that these few lines do not constitute a proof of the existence of God. They are just intended to present a summary of many lines of thought about God, His existence, His makeup, His love.

Having stated these things, picture a box. In that box is every person that has ever lived, or will ever live. Everything that has ever been in this universe is in that box. Holding this box is God. This box is time. We are in time; God is outside of the box, beyond time; He is infinite. He can see, right now, from one end of the box to the other. He sees (now) what we see as having happened in the past, and he sees (now) what will happen in the future. We on the other hand, living in time, we see everything as having a cause and effect, a start and an end. This start and end view constitutes what we call time.

Having said all of this, an interesting position comes forth, namely Free Will. There are some that deny the existence of free will. Instead, they claim that man is pre-ordained, or pre-destined to do things, even to what his eventual end will be. They say, “If God knows what we will do, then we must not be free; we do not have free will. It is already pre-determined what we will do.” Think back to the box. We can do whatever we wish. We can do good or we can do evil. The choice is ours. We are free to decide what we will do. God knows (now) what our eventual choice will be, because He is outside of time, outside of the box.
What we do, what we say, what we think, how we treat others, our lives are determined by ourselves, not by God. We cannot blame outside events, or other people as to why we do, what we do. We, and only we, are responsible. We may allow events to affect us, but it is WE that do the allowing. People may hurt us, but WE allow their words and actions to affect us. God has given mankind, and only mankind, free will. He has given us the intelligence to cope, to understand, to act in ways that we see fit. It is OUR choice to act as we do. What is your choice?

I Believe in God…

God and Mankind

(1st in a series of a presentation on The Apostles Creed)

Looking out over my back yard, I can see my garden, trees, rooftops, the clouds in the sky. This panorama greets me every day, and I hardly take notice of the beauty. Usually, I am too busy with the “needs” of the day, to slow down and look at the beauty that God gives us on a daily basis.  If I pay closer attention, I might catch sight of a hawk or two gliding with the thermals, the constant jabber of smaller birds in the trees. Looking at my yard filled with multi colored flowers, I can see butterflies flitting from one flower to another, in search of what I don’t really know.  All of this and more exists every day for us, and it might, just might, get a casual glance from us.

We deceive ourselves very easily into thinking that this job, this project, this goal is what is necessary to make our lives complete. We allow ourselves to settle for this world’s offerings, as though they are why we are here on earth. Very early in our lives we were taught that to be happy, we must have financial security and we must satisfy our wants and needs, no matter the cost. Slowly, over our lives, these goals became paramount in our lives. So important are they that we teach them to our young, and the cycle begins anew.

IF you believe in God, then you must have thought at some time, why am I here? Why did God make me? I think it is safe to say that from God’s viewpoint, “The purpose of life, the purpose of our existence is not to gain financial freedom and not to satisfy our every want.”

My belief is that God, a loving god, could do nothing less than to share His goodness with His creations. His love demanded it. So in the creation of the world, God reveals His beauty, His artistry. Mankind was created, with the sole purpose of experiencing the goodness, the beauty, the joy of being united with their Creator. Every aspect of God’s creation has the sole objective of revealing a different part of Him.

God’s love gave us free will, too. What joy could we experience, if we were compelled to love God? The freedom of choice is the highest gift that God could give us. It elevated mankind above all of the rest of creation. Unfortunately, if we use this free will unwisely, we can forfeit our experience of the goodness, the beauty, the joy of being united with our Creator. Yet, our God saw this as the necessity it was, so that mankind could experience the dizzying heights of being united with our God, through their own choice.

We have allowed ourselves to dig the holes that we find ourselves in. As we try to emerge from these graves, we should, we must re-focus our gaze on God. He is a God of Love. He is not something, someone made up. He is not the confused ramblings of a madman. He is. He does exist. He created you for one purpose and that is to be united with Him. What is important to us, what we pursue is up to us. What is YOUR choice?   goto next segment>>