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Showing posts with label Love. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Love. Show all posts

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Universal Constants

    From the very creation of Physics, certain things were thought to be unchangeable.  When Newton first developed the laws of physics he said that mass, time and space never change.  It seemed reasonable that these aspects of the universe were unalterable.  The mass of an object should not change and everyone who measures the mass should measure the same amount (note: he never defined what "mass" was).  Time also, should be unchangeable and it too should always be measured the same by everyone everywhere.   It makes sense!  Why would your watch run different from mine?  Space as well should not change.  If my ruler is the same length as yours, why shouldn't we both measure the same distance?  It all makes sense!

   250 years later Einstein showed that mass,space and time are not constants at all, but the speed of light ("c") is a constant and is measured the same by all observers despite what speed or direction they are going.   For 250 years the scientists were wrong, they just didn't know it yet.   At first Einstein was lambasted for his ideas.   Did he think he was greater than Newton??    Yet, eventually he was proven right anyway.

   Sometimes we are like that to God.  What makes sense to us is not what makes sense to God.   What we think matters to God, really doesn't matter to God at all.  In mathematics we refer to a variable that has no effect on another variable as being an "independent variable".   The function "y" is not altered by this variable.   Take for example,

    y = 5x + w

    The function below has two variables: x and w.  If I asked you what effect does "s" have on the function you would have to say that y is independent of s as it doesn't even factor into the equation.

    In the Psalms, David often writes about the "steadfastness" of God's love.  It is steady and strong no matter what we do.  It is "independent" of our actions or lack of love.  It doesn't change.  It's constant like the speed of light.   What we think changes God's love of us, doesn't really change it at all.   We think God should be like us.  Makes sense right?   But like Newton, what makes sense isn't always reality.

   I remember when I had to fly down to Southern California because my son had crashed his car into a tree.  It was the 3 am phone call you don't want to get as a father.  Our son was always a handful and a challenge at times to raise (he would even agree to that).  I remember vividly walking into that hospital room and seeing him laying there with his head all stitched up and his arm in a sling.  I remember feeling nothing but love for him at that moment.  Not disappointment.  Not despair.  Not anger.    Just love.   His actions had no bearing on my feelings for him.  I would always love him no matter what.

   God loves you too.... no matter what! 



Friday, March 30, 2018

Exception


ex·cep·tion
ikˈsepSH(ə)n/
noun

  1. a person or thing that is excluded from a general statement or does not follow a rule.
    "the drives between towns are a delight, and the journey to Graz is no exception"

    synonyms:anomalyirregularitydeviationspecial case, isolated example, peculiarityabnormalityoddity

     Depending on the situation we either LOVE or HATE this word with very little in between.   We LOVE this word when it benefits US and we HATE this word when either it benefits someone we dislike or leaves us out in the cold.   Just take time to look at our tax laws and you will find it filled with EXCEPTIONS.   Recently I was doing my taxes and noticed that people living in the Washington DC area get a "First Time Homebuyers Credit".   It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out how that got inserted into our 1040 forms.  If you live in DC, you love this law.   If you don't live in DC, you hate this law.

In our Christian Faith we fall victim to exceptionalism as well.   There are 2 forms of "exception-ism" we see in play in our lives.   The first has to do with our relationship to God's law.   Some flaunt that the law doesn't apply to them anymore... they are an exception.  This isn't just within the church but can be found in the world as well.   Take for example, two people living together.   We insert an exception to the 6th commandment that isn't there.   That exception is :  We love each other.  Love is often used today as an exception clause for just about anything under the sun today. 

We love each other.... so we are having sex
We love each other.... so we are living together.
We love the children...so we are getting a divorce.

     But in reality these are not exceptions, instead they are excuses for why we want to disobey God.   There are no exceptions written into God's laws.   There are no "if  X then the law does not apply".   We are all guilty of breaking it.

     Another form of exception-ism we can fall victim too is even more deadlier than the former version.   This form says that I am exception to God's love and grace.  Even though the Bible is chuck  full of stories of horrible people having their sins forgiven, we tend to view ourselves as somehow worse than them and an exception to God's grace.   Here a just a few of the Bibles "sinner-saints"

Noah       - alcoholic
Abraham - idolater,  liar , adulterer (has sex with his wife's servant and later abandons Ishmael)
Sarah       - doubts God's promise, gives her servant to Abraham and then has her sent away
Jacob       - liar, extortionist, cheater
Moses      - murderer (kills Egyptian slave owner with his own hands)
Rahab      - a prostitute who helps them take down Jericho and becomes a ancestor of David/Jesus
David       - adultery, murder, lying (and he was supposed to be a man after God's own heart)
Solomon  - over 1000 concubines who lead him astray to worship other gods
Woman caught in adultery - Jesus forgives fully
Samaritan woman - Jesus forgives though she is married 5 times and is living with a man
Peter        - abandons Jesus and yells down curses on himself when question by a servant girl
Disciples  - all abandon Jesus and run away and hide
Thief       - the thief on the cross next to Jesus who Jesus gives certainty of eternal life with him
Paul         - formerly called Saul who went after Christians and murdered them in God's name

     Many of these men even "knew better" when they committed their sins against God and God forgave them all their sins out of his grace and mercy.   Yet somehow we think we are worse than them.   We have somehow found the one sin God cannot forgive.   Out of the BILLIONS of BILLIONS of BILLIONS of sins committed since time began which God can forgive, we have found the one EXCEPTION that he cannot forgive.  We believe we are an exception to God's love.

ISN'T THAT RIDICULOUS??

   This is why God chose these people in the first place.   To show US his boundless mercy.  Paul writes in Romans,
"Where sin abounds ... GOD'S GRACE ABOUNDS MORE!!"  
    So you think you have sinned too much?   God has a message for you; You haven't!  A problem with us humans is that we have a problem with grasping the idea of infinity.  Scientists talk about the ever expanding universe.  But "Expanding into what??" we ask.  It boggles the mind.   Maybe God made it that way to show us just how immense his grace is!   His grace is ever expanding like the universe...swallowing up whatever sins we might have committed in order to show how great he is!

   Yes, of course, this does not give us a "license to commit sin" (like 007 has a license to kill), but it frees us from the fear of God's retribution and being frozen in our tracks from living for him.   We can live in complete confidence that we are his children and nothing can take us from his hands.

NO EXCEPTIONS!!





Friday, April 14, 2017

WHY

   The word "why" seems to be one of the first words children seem to learn, right after "momma", "dadda" and "no".    This word can drive a parent to near insanity on long car rides.

Why is the sky blue?
Why is the grass green?
Why can't I drive the car?
Why do we need to go on vacation?
Why can't we stop for ice cream?

The questions seem unending to a young parent.  This line of questioning would put a CIA operative to shame who must resort to water-boarding to inflict higher levels of pain and mental distress.

Some questions of "why" we can answer, but the child is too young to even understand our answer if we gave it to them.   We know that such answers would only be open to 10 more "why" questions that we don't have the time or energy to answer.  To this, we often resort to our simple answer:  "Because it just IS!",  This answer will hold a 5 year old for about 10 seconds before they bellow out a loud "WHY?" from the back seat of the car.

On Good Friday, while Jesus is hanging on the cross he screams out a question for God the Father to answer:
"My God! My God!  Why have you forsaken me?"
Christ, suspended on a cross between two worlds: earth and heaven.  Rejected by the earth and forsaken by the Father.

Why?

Why is often the hardest question to answer in stories like this.  Journalists can give you the Who, What, Where and How, but often they struggle to come up with the WHY.    When a crazed husband shoots his wife at her school and 2 other children we are left empty when we search for the reason of WHY.  Or when a soldier sees his friend take on heavy fire from the enemy and dies so he can crawl to safety we are left empty as we search for the answer to WHY.

The answer to Jesus' question comes to us earlier in the book of John
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whosoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life"
The answer is because he loves us.

All to often we get too caught up in answering the other questions that we overlook (or maybe we just don't want to face it) the most important of questions.  Knowing HOW Jesus died, WHERE Jesus died, WHEN Jesus died won't bring you any closer to God.  Today we are blessed with great cinematography and actors who can portray Christ's suffering in great detail and almost make you feel like you are standing right there under the cross.  But that won't save anyone.  Only when they come to face the question of WHY... are lives changed.   When we see that it was for US that Christ died.  He acted as the mother stepping in front of her child to shield them from the oncoming bullet to protect them.

I have often found it amazing that the one thing you can say to a child that you will never get a WHY question for is this:   I LOVE YOU!

Children just get it.  They accept it.   They know they are not perfect, but they accept the love of their parent as irrefutable and will often immediately respond with "I LOVE YOU DADDY!"

God loves you too and all he asks us to do is to accept it and not ask WHY.