Is Ignorance Bliss

Have you ever heard the saying, “Ignorance is bliss”? I think there are times that the saying is very true. Case in point, having not been raised in a house where theology was a big part when people start throwing around Christian theological terms I rarely have any idea what they are talking about.

For instance; baptismal regeneration, or the belief that baptism is necessary for salvation, or even more precisely, that regeneration does not occur until a person is water baptized. I had no idea for quite a while that this thought process even existed in the Christian church. I had been taught that salvation came because of grace through faith and accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior. It appears that this belief comes from taking scripture and not applying it with its surrounding context and historical background. I know one of the big passages that is used to support this thought process is Acts 2:38 when Peter is speaking to the Jews at Pentecost. The Jews ask how they can correct the fact that they were the ones who put Jesus to death and he says, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Jews did not baptize at all, so Peter was telling them to repent of their sins and then show their repentance by an outward sign…baptism.

One of the ones that puzzles me the most is the difference camps as to when the Rapture will happen. I didn’t even know what the rapture was till I read and was fortunate enough to attend a Bible study on the book of Revelation. There is the Pre-Trib (tribulation-the 7 year period before the return of Christ for his 1,000 reign) camp, the Mid-Trib camp and then the Post-Trib camp. I am firmly in the former most camp and don’t exactly get how people could justify being in the others, but the real issue is do you know that you WILL be raptured.

Then there are the Calvinists versus the Arminiusts. This one still confuses me in the most confounding way. I know the acronym TULIP, is involved along with predestination and election sure, but to me a tulip is a pretty flower and I in a sense elected to follow Jesus, He sure as heck would not have wanted to follow me, because that would have required a very large shovel to clean up my mess.

I think my favorite is when I am around believers who have been in the church for years or almost since birth and they start to name drop. Suddenly I am that friend that becomes a bobble head doll that nods with a stupid grin on my face like I have a clue who you are talking about. Make no mistake I know the TV evangelist’s names, most especially the ones that have taken Christianity and made it a business instead of a deep abiding faith and using a spiritual gift of teaching. But ask me who Spurgeon was or Jim Rayburn and I would only be able to tell you one is a name I have seen in commentaries, other than if you don’t know you have come to the wrong place, in other words, “Who you talking bout?”

The good part about all the ambiguity and personal spin is, if we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior in our hearts all the rest is pretty much window dressing and won’t matter when we stand before God and we hopefully hear, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

 

 

 

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I’m Not Stressed, Why Do You Ask?

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Stress is defined in the dictionary as “a specific response by the body to a stimulus, as fear or pain, that disturbs or interferes with the normal physiological equilibrium of an organism.” In other words outside and inside forces that cause you to be anxious or worried sometimes to the point of physical pain or distress.

No one likes to feel like that. It gives you headaches, stomach issues and can make a body ache. We do it to ourselves all the time, we stress about everything from money to “does he/she like me”. There are people who if stress or being anxious was an Olympic sport they could certainly bring home the gold and then there are others for whom very little raises their blood pressure, yeah those are the people that I am not usually fond of. I can’t quite call myself a gold medalist, but there are days I could easily bring home a bronze.

In Philippians 4:6 it tells us “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” In verse 7 we are told why, “ And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Finally, in verses 8 and 9 we are told how, “8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything, worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Those are great verses, but it’s the second half of verse 11 that really speaks to me, “for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.”

It’s hard to be happy all the time, but it is quite another thing to learn to be content.  To be content means, “satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else.” Satisfaction is something that I have had to work hard at to obtain. For me being happy all the time is not something that I can achieve, because there are just times that happy doesn’t cut it and there are times that real sorrow encroaches on life and happy and sorrow do not go together. However, satisfaction and sorrow can coexist.

I think that satisfaction comes from believing that someone else has “got this”. That the enormity of a situation does not rest solely on our shoulders. John 14:1 tells us ““Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.” Jesus is talking about our eternal salvation in chapter 14 and the many mansions in His father’s house, but He is also speaking to the fear that resides in a person’s heart when they do not easily recognize what to do or more importantly what to expect.

In 2013 the movie Frozen came out and you could hardly go anywhere and not hear the song the Let It Go (I prefer Do You Want Build A Snowman…..stuck in your head now huh?). Sometimes you wished that the song would just GO AWAY, but the words do speak to us being able to let things go and standing firm while the storm rages on. The one thing it doesn’t talk about is letting God.

In 1 Peter 4:12-13 we are told, “12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.” I got the do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal thing down. I KNOW that there are going to be trials. I am not too happy about the testing part and I am especially resentful at times when I am being tested so that someone else gets to learn a lesson, but the rejoicing thing is an area that I am in serious need of grace and mercy. So, if you have the rejoicing thing down pat could you email me your secret? I can use all the help I can get, heavenly and earthly.

 

 

Humor Me

 

I have heard the question asked, “Does God have a sense of humor?” My first reaction is, “Are you kidding, have you met me?” I have come to believe that occasionally, when we fall into a trap of our own making and God sits up there laughing at our human-ness. I think that at times He leaves us to our own devices strictly because He needs a good laugh. I KNOW He gets plenty of them with me. If God were the type of person here on earth that we have all encountered He would constantly be telling me, “I told you so.”

We have seen examples of God’s humor (at least I think so) when in 1 Samuel the Israelites were using the Ark of The Covenant like a very large rabbit’s foot or good luck charm. They brought it into the house of Dagon. The next day they found the idol of Dagon face down on the floor. So, they picked the idol back up and set it to rights. The next day the idols hands and head were cut off. In this instance though God was laughing at the opposition that the Israelites were showing by bringing The Ark into the house of Dagon.

Sometimes I wish God would hit me with a metaphorical 2×4 like He did with the idol of Dagon, but nooooooo those are the times where I must learn the lesson on my own by tripping over either my own feet or tongue. The tongue one is usually the more painful of the two because then I usually need to apologize and that is so hard to do. Then there are the other times where I do get the metaphorical 2×4 and I don’t even know what I did. That is when it’s so much fun…..said no one ever! That is when I have to figure the lesson out instead of having cliff notes to at least give me a clue. Let’s face it I am, for the most part, lazy and I don’t want to have to figure the lesson out. But God in His omniscience knows this and understands that for me to learn the lesson I need to discover what it is first.

There are all sorts of examples of humor in the Bible even if the word is not in there (I’ve looked so I will save you some time). Although I am not sure who cannot laugh at God using a donkey to speak to Balaam even in His anger. In the creation of the animals, who doesn’t find how a penguin walks humorous or that a walrus has a beard, and come on really, do you not find the existence of the platypus  hilarious?

God created us in His image, so if there are things that we find funny I am sure that He too finds humor in our everyday happenings. The world has taken and warped what is considered funny in many cases, so that could be the impetus for the question, “Does God have a sense of humor?” If you can’t find the answer in your own life, come find me, have I got stories to tell.

Where HE Leads

So many thoughts run through my head at times. Some sound really good while still trapped in my head and others find their way out of my mouth and I wish I could take them back.

I wasn’t always raised to follow Jesus. That doesn’t mean I did not have a relationship with God I just wasn’t all that invested in the whole “He is my Lord and Savior” thing. I had read the Bible, not sincerely understanding parts of it and others dismissing because I simply couldn’t be bothered. It has been said the fastest way to find your way back to Jesus is to experience a trial. It took till I was an adult and was embroiled in one whopping trial before I actually reached out and prayed with all I had to Jesus to just help me. There is no doubt in my mind that I could not have weathered that storm without Him and other trials that have come along. However, it’s the day to day living that I find most difficult; the moments when things are going well and I become complacent and apathetic that I feel I just don’t follow through with the whole following the prompting of the Holy Spirit or even looking for the sign that I need to zig instead of zag. That is what this blog is all about, or at least that is the direction I am starting out in and I promise I will do my best to listen to that still small voice to lead me where my writings are to go.

So pull up a chair and join me in the chaos that I call “ME”. I am hoping that my learning to follow where HE leads will help someone, let someone know that they aren’t alone in their earthly flesh, or at the very least prompt you to say, “Thank goodness that is not me.”IMG_2975