Cutting to the Chase

    By my fortieth birthday I had made more than enough bad decisions to assure that my time spent here on earth would wind up being nothing more than vanity. Not only did I make vain decisions much of that time, but I made decisions throughout my late teen years which were so bad, that outside a bleve of miracles there would have been no chance of my living to see my twenty first birthday. So what am I saying? Am I saying that I somehow saw the light, came to my senses and am now writing this to give the reader some insight on how to model their life after my life? Well, that is ‘kinda” what I am saying “Sherlock” but how does anyone really know how to make a change that will ultimately wind up being the real deal for their life just because it seems to be working for someone else? Again, everybody goes through changes in life but how can we be sure that the changes we make ourselves are the right ones for the long haul? For example, there were Jews who got advance degrees and then started very lucrative careers in 1920’s Germany but then along came the Nazi’s in the 1930’s. My point is this. It doesn’t take long to realize that there are more questions than answers when it comes to deciding how to live life successfully and it gets even more complicated to make good decisions as life progresses. No, my story is more than just a story about one man changing his life for what turned out to have the appearance of a better life. It is really a testimony confirming the truth about all mankind’s purpose here on earth including you, “Sherlock”. You see, changes are going to happen whether by choice or by circumstances, but making changes deliberately to bring about meaningful lasting results requires a person to develop an attitude sensitive enough to continually and successfully adjust to a multitude of ongoing changes around them for as long as they live. Quite frankly only one person who has ever lived on the face of this earth has been able to pull "that one" off. His name is Jesus.     

    For starters, meaningful change only comes when we are finally able to face up to the truth. Then we have to learn to walk in that truth, sometimes for quite a while before seeing visible results. A big problem here is that many dead end roads in life look so promisingly "true blue" when you first start down them. They can feel like the real deal and yet turn out to be the furthest thing from the true path you thought they were in the beginning. Now, here you are, a little older and a lot worse for the wear and left still wondering, "What in the world is right for me anyway"? Family, friends, teachers, coworkers, clergy, politicians and our own opinions can and do blind most people to the real truth. Besides, isn’t truth relative to each person’s beliefs? Isn’t it true that what is true for you may not be true for me? To complicate matters further, there are half-truths. A crude description of a half-truth is a meal cooked by a 5 star chef with just a little dog poop mixed into it . If you knew, would you eat that meal “Sherlock”? Well, that is a very apt description of a half-truth accept the nasty ingredient in half-truths works more like cyanide than dog poop on those who ingest it.   

    Again, if you think the meaning of the word true for you does not mean the same as it does for me, you are absolutely right because my truth is the real truth and if you believe differently, your truth is not. It's simply a lie, though maybe a well disguised lie. Wow! Did I just call a large portion of the people in this world, liars? No! I did not call them liars. I said they believe in lies. They, themselves are fools! Wow! And double wow! Raise your hand “Sherlock” if you are now one hundred percent sure that I am nothing more than a “bigot” or else how could I make such a statement and if this statement hasn’t seared every conciliatory brain cell in most new age thinkers' minds, then maybe this next confession will. The word “bigot” is derived from the expression “By God”. It was a derogatory expression used by the French toward the Normans because the Normans used this expression all the time. I am siding with the Normans. I want everything I do to be “By God” so in that way I am a "bigot" too. You see, when things are done “by God” there are no three ways to Sunday for you and four ways for me. There is only one way and that way is through his Son, Jesus Christ. By all means please feel free to call me a "bigot" anytime. After all It's the truth. I am a self confessed "bigot".            

    No doubt many readers are long gone after reading what I have just written. Goodbye. Now, for those who have decided to stick around, the question these readers should be asking is, "How is Jesus Christ the only way and the only true path for every single person who has ever lived or ever will live"? How is he the solution for my needing money to pay bills, finding the right helpmate, needing a cure for my illness, needing a place to live, needing an education, needing transportation, needing parents who love me and needing anything else the reader wants to think of here?  If you are asking these types of questions now, let me say just one thing. Good questions! Now, here is my answer. A relationship with Jesus Christ is the answer to every need that you or I have ever had or that you or I will ever have. Now, if you would like to know how to start that relationship then by all means read on. However, just remember this one thing. You must choose to believe what I am about to say or it won't work.      

    Let's start by finding out where you came from in the first place. The Bible says that every human being has been given the breath of life by the Spirit of God. (Gen. 2:7) Indeed, every created thing in the universe was created through the breath of His Spirit and by His word. Isaiah 44:24 goes on to say, “Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer and He who formed you from the womb: “I am the LORD, who makes all things and stretches out the heavens all alone”.  Psalms 33:6 says, “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth”. The Hebrew translation for “all the host” can correctly be interpreted to mean “all creation”. It is not limited to mean only heavenly bodies in space like the moon, sun and stars. However, mankind was God’s crown jewel. Mosses said, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man become a living soul”. Job corroborates this same truth in a more personal way when he said, “The spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty has given me life” (Job 33:4). Paul also spoke of this quickening by God’s Spirit, in a general way, when he addressed mostly non-Christian Gentiles at the Areopagus in Athens, saying, “It is in Him that we all live and move and have our being”. (Acts 17:23). Here, Paul was noting the fact that God’s spirit is the life creating force which gives unique existence to every single human being on the face of the earth. Yes, the Bible makes it absolutely clear to anyone who has an ear to ear that it is the breath of His spirit which transforms us from inanimate lumps of clay into living beings. Without this spirit our body can have no life. James 2:26 says, “The body apart from the spirit is dead”. Solomon said in Ecc. 12:7, “Then the dust will return to the earth as it was and the spirit will return to God who gave it”. So, if we can believe the bible, the short answer for “Where did we come from?” is this. We all came from God and are alive at this instant because the breath of His spirit resides in us. It makes no difference, weather we are a Christian or atheist. We all came from and are alive because the creative spirit of God dwells in us.

    Secondly, what is our purpose, or more aptly put, the primary expression of our purpose? I know it is a stretch for most people to believe that knowing what their purpose is can help solve their immediate problems but trust me. It can. However, it is impossible to embrace one's God given purpose if the reader believes that he or she is just an accident. Knowing we come from God allows us to be able to understand our purpose. It took years of being led from a very dark place, although I was born in Spirit, for me to begin to realize my purpose here on earth and I only began to understand that earthly expression of purpose better as I allowed the Bible to give me a clearer understanding of the eternal purpose of mankind in general. Psalms 8:5, 6 says, “What is man that you are mindful of him and the son of man that you visit him. For you have made him a little lower than the angels, and you have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet”. So there you have it. Mankind’s eternal purpose is to reign and rule over everything God has created or ever will be created. Is this it then? Is this our highest purpose, to rule and reign? Or is this just a function of a much more profound purpose. No doubt, I love the idea that the Bible says I am made to rule and reign. It just has a nice ring to it. Don’t you think? I know many others too, who love to rule and reign and I bet you know people like that too. Ruling and reigning is definitely a very lofty purpose which God has created us to carry out but at the same time this ruling and reigning thing requires a steep learning curve to be pulled off successfully. We only have to read about the leadership issues with some of the Old Testament Kings in the Bible to realize that. Ruling and reigning is definitely not as easy as it sounds. For example, how’s that ruling and reigning working out with you and your spouse, your kids, other family members, your new job assignment, your business partner, clients, your deacon board, your congregation or maybe your constituents who voted you into office? How about your boss? Can you see yourself telling telling him or her that you are made to rule and reign? Ruling and reigning? “Ah” yes. It sounds so good on the surface but when we have to face the consequences as we begin to actually believe this, it becomes really hard. Let me let you in on a little secret. It's not just hard. It is impossible.

    The truth is still the truth though, as strange as it may sound to our natural mind. To have an everlasting successful life, we must first believe that God made us for a purpose and the major expression of that purpose is to rule and reign with him. To get started, we must allow the Spirit of God to teach us daily how to rule and reign while here on this earth. To further complicate matters we must have a relationship with God in the first place to get this ruling and reigning thing kicked off. So, having said all this, let's start at the beginning. How do we begin to have a relationship with God, who is someone whom no one can see, touch or smell?

    Well, just for starters, here is what many people will do and also what I encourage the reader not to do. Many people will work hard to become a better person and some may even join a church somewhere and maybe read Christian self-improvement books like Rick Warren’s best-selling book, “The Purpose Driven Life” or even some of the stuff I have written on my own web site. In this way, many humans will be distracted from the "real deal" in some way. You see, one can never begin to start the everlasting journey that I am describing here unless they can find the doorway. God has already designed and placed in every one of us the potential for entering into an eternally purposeful life but that purpose can only begin to be realized by first “entering in“ through the right door. Until we “enter in” everything else we do or ever will do is meaningless. At birth, every one of us are just one step away from entering in this door which leads to an eternally purposeful life and it is the same door for each of us at that point. All other doors will eventually lead us down a meaningless path ending in total vanity. Jesus said in Matt. 13:7, "Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many”.  Jesus also said in John 10:9, "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture". He also said in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life". Yes, I know. At this point there are those readers who are shaking their proverbial heads with eyes glazed over, and asking themselves, “How can he say this?” They will then go on to remind themselves of some of the many advances in science, engineering and technology which have saved so many lives and made life in general so much easier for countless other lives, curing diseases, preventing other diseases, growing more and better food supplies and on and on their mind will race as they also are reminded that many of these wonderful advances have been made by people who had not entered into any kind of door at all. For goodness sakes, many of them did not even believe there was a God, especially the one described in the Bible. Yes, I am well aware that millions, upon millions of people would agree that what I have just said here is nothing more than mere foolishness written to appease the naive mindset of a few fundamentalist Christian holdouts still living in a fantasy world of their own creation who are holding up an otherwise modern and enlightened world with their screwball ideas. You “betcha”. I get it. I have already thought of many counter arguments to what I have said here, because I too once had a godless mindset. So, read on “Sherlock” if you dare. Read on as I continue with what many would call more foolishness! And If you are thinking this way, did you know that you are not thinking in any surprisingly different way then those losers who came before you? The bible has already said that you would think this way. 1 Co. 2:14 "But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: because they are foolishness to him: Neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned."      

    I was convinced to enter into the narrow gate when I was eight years old by an old white haired lady, whom we called mom Cole and who taught bible study on Tuesday nights in my mother’s home. This was 1955. That spiritual breath of God which is in each of us at birth was united in that instant with Christ’s redemptive Spirit, making me become “born of the Spirit” and at the same time I became a new spiritual creature which had never existed before. Paul mentions this new creature in 2 Cor. 5:17 when he says, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things have passed away and behold, all things have become new”. Simply put, there is no other way to qualify for a purposeful life than for one to purpose in their heart to enter into the kingdom of God by becoming this new creature and that can be done in less time than it takes to pour a cup of coffee by confessing Jesus Christ as Lord of all and believing that God raised him from the dead. (Rom. 10:9) But you have to mean it. It's not like trying on a pair of shoes to see if they fit. You have to mean it when you do it. Jesus said in John 3:5, “Except a man be born of water (natural birth) and of the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God”. Jesus also said that we cannot even see it unless we are born of the spirit. If we cannot see, we cannot enter. If we cannot enter we can never hope to do anything that will truly last. Sad to say, there are a lot of people who are calling themselves Christians and doing a lot of good works but good works are not the same as everlasting works. Good works will someday fail but everlasting works will never fail because they have everlasting purpose.

    Solomon was a man who learned how meaningless it was to be able to accomplish only earthly goals and he is a man who purposed and accomplished more earthly goals for himself than any other human being who has ever lived. Yet he said in Ecc 12:6-8, “Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the well”. Solomon is speaking of the natural death here and he goes on to say, “Then the dust will return to the earth as it was and the spirit will return to God who gave it”. Here, he is talking about that same spiritual breath of life that is in all living human beings but which has not yet become a new creature in Christ. Solomon’s conclusion for any earthly purpose mankind may choose outside of God’s purpose for him is vanity. “All is vanity”. He says, “Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher. "All is vanity." In other words, Solomon is saying that all earthly goals are worthless. He ends by saying, “Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone's duty”. You see, for much of his life, Solomon saw mankind’s purpose being fulfilled through performing his legalistic duty, unlike his father, David, who saw his purpose being fulfilled by loving God with all his heart. In the end, however, Solomon began to understand that all everlasting purpose is wrought in God. Why can’t millions who read this also understand that what I am saying here is not only true but if embraced can become life to their bones? Could it be because the Bible is concerned with what is sometimes called eternal truth and the average person including myself sometimes is more concerned about a truth that will get them through tomorrow or at the longest, next week?    

    So there you have it in a nutshell. We came from God and we were created to reign and rule over everything He creates but how we do that is revealed one step at a time in everlasting relationship with Him after we become new creatures in Christ growing in love and trust for the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ forever. Sadly, it took many years for me to realize what I have just said here. The good news is this. I entered in by the straight gate when I was only eight years old simply by believing Jesus Christ is who he said he was and although I was born into a family infested with demonic spirits which split my soul at birth, I have had the redemptive Spirit of Christ united with my spirit since the age of eight, making me a new creature in Christ and thereby giving me the power to become an overcomer. Otherwise, I would have become one more barren human life who passed on into eternity before the age of twenty one, like the hundreds of lost souls that passed before my very own eyes in a wicked land far removed from the grace that can be found only in Christ Jesus.