Saturday, December 24, 2011
The most important question, ever
It’s the day before Christmas. We have snow, as you can see from this picture I took this morning. I had planned on making the two hour trek to the Lynaugh prison today but the people I was going to ride with decided road conditions make that unadvisable so it was cancelled. That’s unfortunate because this time of year is always extra hard on those in prison, locked away from family and friends. But this time of is hard on so many in this world. I will call my friends in Ohio to try and give them some cheer and hope. Allen may be in jail by now, facing a charge for growing marijuana, and Suzie had recently been calling and texting, desperately looking for financial help since her car got impounded because of her son. How I wish we could help but we struggle just to put gas in our vehicles and pay the bills as it is. If we still lived up there I could at least provide transportation for her and the teenage daughter who is now pregnant. It breaks my heart to watch people suffer the consequences of decisions made, knowing the answer to their problems but unable to make them understand or accept that answer.
So, unable to go to the prison, what will I do today? I must finish writing the short version of the story of my life. I have been so undisciplined in pursuing the writing that needs to be done. Discipline is simply something that must be applied, something I must make myself practice. A big part of the issue here is the remaining effects of my brain injury. I have improved and healed tremendously in the ten going on eleven years since the accident but there are still some problems I must battle. My memory is better but still very poor, and my ability to follow through on tasks is a continuing struggle.
Cherie is getting better at helping me, a little more understanding that I must be reminded repeatedly, like a child, in order for some things to get done. I was taught to have a written schedule of tasks to be completed at the Brain Injury Institute in St. Louise but have yet to make that a practiced part of my daily routine. It is hard for Cherie to understand for she sees me daily and thus observes that I am very intelligent but there is the rub. The score of the IQ test I was given by the psychologist a month or two ago was 112, definitely above average but a far cry from the 136 genius level I was tested to be during high school. What is hard for people to understand, seeing an obvious level of smarts, is why I seem unable to remember things or complete tasks, and why I sometimes have a hard time comprehending easy stuff. Some people judge me to be lazy or a dunce because of that. I’m not, it’s just that some parts of my brain don’t exist anymore or don’t work as good as they used to.
But there is another aspect of this equation. It is known that Albert Einstein had to be reminded to tie his shoes. His teachers thought he was just plain stupid in his childhood years of school. Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, was often so focused on things he needed to be reminded to bath, unaware even of his body odor. There is no question these two men were and are highly intelligent but despite that displayed what some considered signs of a lack that intelligence. Am I equivalating (Equivalate is now listed as a new word by Webster dictionary, though it has been used in several publications on occasion for some time now) myself with Bill Gates or Einstein? Not at all, I can’t even pretend to approach their intellect but I am no dummy. But I am absent minded and take comfort in having good company in that respect.
So I digress. I need to write. There is much I have to say and much that needs to be said in these last days. I understand that it is through writing that I will have a voice. I also understand that my voice can be heard world wide through the poser of the internet. I also understand that our enemy will work to keep me distracted and thus keep my voice from being heard. So discipline must be practiced because time is getting short. There are some hard days ahead for us all, what we considered to be secure will be shaken hard, what we thought was solid ground will become sand.
I am a voice crying in the wilderness. A light in darkness that grows deeper every day. Some will think me delusional but time will prove my words true, and truth is becoming ever harder to discern as the days turn into night. Truth is called a lie by those who’s deeds are exposed by it. There are those whose concerns regard more of what others think of them, of their reputation among men, rather than what the living God, who sees all, even the deep hidden thoughts of the heart, perceives. The sadness is many of these have deceived themselves, have formulated a gospel that is a lie, one that makes their actions and thoughts acceptable in their minds when they are repugnant to God. My dog took a dump on the living room floor last night. We were almost overwhelmed by the odor of it and not at all happy, but such are some of the deeds, words, and thoughts of many, who wear the label of being a follower of Christ proudly, to the living God. A detestable pile of dung, whose odor permeates the very garments of all around it, yet they try to say it is a pleasing thing to God. Try to dress it up and make it pretty. Put a bow on it proudly say “Look at what I did for the Lord”. Listen to what Jesus says “I know what you are doing: you are neither cold nor hot. How I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm, neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth! For you keep saying, 'I am rich, I have gotten rich, I don't need a thing!' You don't know that you are the one who is wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked!” (Revelations 3)
There is a doctrine preached these days that is all about money. It says that if you are a child of God you will be blessed with great prosperity and wealth. It also implies that if you do not have wealth you must not be doing something right in your spiritual life. And thus, with this doctrine, comes judgment. It is judgment that is one of those detestable piles of dung that permeates so much of the church. Judgment comes disguised in many spiritual garbs. Sometimes it is dressed as the “gift” of discernment or it comes packaged as doctrinal superiority, where all those who don’t believe as you do haven’t received the “revelation” and thus aren’t as high as you are on the spiritual ladder. So there is this sense of superiority, which automatically makes the rest inferior, that becomes a vital part of all false doctrines. That in itself is often the draw, the bait so to speak, that attracts so many to take up the flag of deceit and run with it, clueless that they are causing more harm than good. At the core of this sense of superiority is that most dangerous of all sins and internal flaws, Pride.
The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil and pride is the root of all sin. Join them together and you have the basis for one of the most eagerly sought after and quickly accepted false doctrines there is. And it is powerfully destructive as well as causing great division within the body of Christ. Like Jesus said, that I quoted earlier “For you keep saying, 'I am rich, I have gotten rich, I don't need a thing!' You don't know that you are the one who is wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked”.
Is wealth bad? No, it is not bad at all, but it is dangerous. All of our life must be kept in balance and balance is often so hard to achieve. The bible doesn’t say money is the root of all evil, it says the LOVE of money is. Why is that? Because anything that we make more important than God becomes our god. Colossians 3 says ”Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry”. How is greed idolatry? The desire for more, whether it is money or possessions, can become a focus in life and thus the thing you worship. We are to trust in the Lord to take care of all our needs, to not worry about it. We are also to work hard and take care of our families too, but that is not greed.
Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?" "Why do you ask me about what is good?" Jesus replied. "There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments." "Which ones?" the man inquired. Jesus replied, " 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,' and 'love your neighbor as yourself.' " "All these I have kept," the young man said. "What do I still lack?" Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." (Mathew 19)
Does this mean that Jesus wants us all to sell everything we have? I don’t think so. He said “If you want to be perfect sell your possessions and give to the poor”. A key here is having “treasure in heaven”. But let’s be real, as uncomfortable as it is. What does Jesus require of us, exactly what He gave for us, our lives. What it boils down to is what is most important to you. Are you willing to give up your life for what you believe in? I ask this question with the hope that what you believe in is God and His love for you. Are you willing to sell what you have and give it to the poor? Would you do that if God asked you to? What do you have in your life that is more important to you than God? These are serious questions you need to ask yourself. I know many people who hang on to what they have, even when they no longer have a use for it. There are many who have died clinging to all of their possessions, and even trying to still control them after they die through their will and the legal system.
It’s sad to see. But I have had the privilege of losing everything I own, from being worth over a million dollars on paper (though the reality was I would have been hard pressed to come up with 70 grand cash at the time) to wandering homeless carrying everything I owned in a plastic garbage bag. I had the privilege of dying and then was miraculously brought back to life, not by men but by God. The medics had given up, the coroner was called out to the scene of the accident, where he officially declared I was dead, I was covered up and on the way to the morgue. That brings the reality of death home for me.
So here is a serious question I would like you to consider. When you die, what will have been the value of your life? What will happen to all your things, your possessions and money? Will there be the divisions and fighting over it I so often see? Will family members and loved ones get angry and bitter as they rush to get what they can out of your estate? But the important question, the only one that matters, the only one you will be worrying about as you stand before the Throne of God, is…Will God be happy with you?