Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Good Reading on Historical Matters?

Watching all the current political TV has got me thinking.... and reading. Was just online reading through pages and pages of forum discussions (one I found was on a "physics forum" of all places) about why Bush is so hated these days. The thread got off-topic, like I would assume it would, into all kinds of history of the US involvement in the Mid-East, plus our Cold War with the Soviets. Very fascinating, but one thing that was hilarious is how many people are just spouting stuff that's more opinion and obviously just regurgitated from talk shows, talk radio, etc.

What I'd like to know is if anyone has some good reading about these issues? I'd like intelligent writing, dealing with the subjects listed above, but also about how God is woven through all of it, i.e. how are these world events occurring, from God's perspective? Something that has some Scripture to back it up. There might not be much out there that fits this description. IF there is, please let me know what you know! If I can read up some more, and balance this with prayer and seeing God's heart on the world at large, I could find some revelation, hopefully. In fact, Revelations might be a good book to start in..... but it's a tricky book, in many ways.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Travis : Something Anything

From one of my favorite groups..... this is super catchy and ultra melodic like all their stuff.

Gotta love some Travis (plus, they're Scottish!) ---

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Flesh & Blood

You know how someone can get under your skin and it can drive you crazy, to the point of near obsession? Maybe it's a co-worker or a relative. Maybe it's a classmate from back in the day; you still might have a grudge. The point is, we can become angry (with good reason, many times) and focus on this person. It can eat you up, as you mentally pour over all the little details and what exactly you don't like about the person.

If, in fact, we are right and just in our anger against said person, what should we do? I believe the answer comes from Ephesians 6:12. "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." So many times, we focus on this person and see their face in our mind's eye when our anger rises. We hold them personally accountable and hate can take root in our spirit.

If I ask myself what Jesus would do, I think he would look past the obvious and shallow first layers that our reactions usually lead us to. Jesus fully engaged the spiritual realm when He walked this earth. He looked into that realm and spoke to the active parties. One thing I can learn from this is to ask the Lord for wisdom and to pray into what's really happening. In my earthly "wisdom" I can perceive lots of motives and become very angry at the person. However, with the extra firepower of God's Spirit, I'm more inclined to know the heart of the matter. More importantly, I could begin praying for the person instead of cursing them in my anger.

Now the question arises: can you always hold the "spiritual realm" fully accountable for a person's actions? When does the person take some sort of responsibility for their actions and attitudes? This is where I'm not sure. I don't know how to discern when a person is responsible for their own actions versus when to target the "spiritual forces of evil" that might be acting through that individual. For me, this is when I lean on prayer and God's wisdom.

This makes me think, though. When we engage in warfare of the physical, like what's happening now in the Middle East, we are not shooting ammunition of prayer at our enemies. It's bullets that infilct the mortal wound. How do I reconcile this to our struggle not being against the flesh and blood we're killing? Sometimes this is necessary, I suppose.

When I ask for the heart of Jesus in a situation, I believe He sees the person's heart I'm having trouble with. I believe He sees this person from the day they were a baby until the present time. Take the darkest example of our time: Hitler. God created this guy. God loves Hitler, the person, devoid of all the evil actions he inspired and carried out. God saw little boy Hitler, playing in a field. God saw the young man, Hitler, who wanted to be an artist and get into art school. (an aside: I really think the person on the board of that art school where Hitler was denied access had a huge amount of regret. Who knows what the world would've been like if the only mention we heard of Adolf Hitler was a brief news clip of some fringe artist whose work sold for a moderate amount at a New York auction?). God sees the heart. This leads me to believe I should always pray for the salvation of a person and ask for God's mercy on their life, regardless of my own anger towards the actions of that person.

Because God sees the heart and because each person is, in the end, accountable for the sum total of their life's choices, there is a judgement on each person. So, even though we can look to the spiritual realm and battle in spiritual warfare, we can't place all blame on said spiritual realm, leaving the person totally innocent. "The devil made me do it," doesn't get a pass here. At some point, the person is responsible. This is tough, though, because the person might go their whole life and be blind to the fact that they were steered and prodded by an unseen realm. Kind of like the Matrix, when Morpheus is revealing to Neo what's really happening beneath the surface.

I don't know all these things. I can only lean on the Spirit of God to give me His heart for people. Let God be the judge of the secrets of men's hearts and agendas.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Punching in the dark while being mad at the wrong guy

Now, if that's not a title for a blog entry, I don't know what is.

Was thinking about how people, in general, react to God. God gets alot of blame. I mean, ALOT. He's blamed for not doing anything to save our world when things are so bad, He's blamed for not existing (is that even possible?), He's blamed for being too much of a control freak. There appears to be so much contradiction in all these accusations.

What I find most curious is how people blame God for the state of the world. "It's so bad. There's evil everywhere. Why doesn't God DO anything??" We have free will, people. Secondly, people blame God and Christianity for being so "rule-oriented" and don't like how they'd have to conform to someone else's standards. Hell, who am I kidding? I don't like it either. We're human - we revolt against being under anyone's thumb. Plus, I just said "hell" in a post about "religion." Now I'm freaking out because of my legalistic upbringing.

People (myself included at different points in my life) just have a problem with God, period. They want someone who will just step in a fix things. Well, God has ordained us with free will and humanness. We are apt to do evil things and have wild mood swings. That's who we are. So, God has decided not to run the earth with a totalitarian choke hold. I respect that. People, in general, also don't like it when God sets standards and rules that are, in the long view, for our own good. He designed us and knows us better than we do. Our independent nature revolts against that. We want it both ways.

When the crap hits the fan and life gets messy, we find ourselves being "mad at God." Why does God make this happen? Why has God done this? We need to break down the situation a little more. Much (notice I didn't say "all" - "much" is what was said) happens due to our own choices and the fallout from it all. We bear the weight of our own consequences. When bad things happen to us that are in no relation to our control, we become victims of evil. We are touched by darkness. LIke many have heard before, this is the devil's greatest victory (I believe C.S. Lewis said that): No one thinks he exists. By default, God gets the brunt of the blame.

We find ourselves punching in the dark while being mad at the wrong guy. We're frustrated and angry at God. In reality, God is our hope in these situations. We live in a world where bad things happen to us, either from our own hand or from the hand of another. God is our friend, reaching out a hand to us, looking to step in when invited. Sadly, we easily fall into the trap of turning our backs and eating the bitter pill of stubborn independence.

Monday, August 04, 2008

I'm an Uncle

Well, well.... finally, the day has arrived. I am now an Uncle.
Even more importantly, my younger brother, Clay and his wife, Deborah, have become parents.

They have experienced not only the miracle of childbirth but a miracle of life, in general. I won't go into any more detail than to say that Clay and Deborah weren't given a high chance of having children. God apparently has different opinions than doctors, in this situation. To say that God has proved Himself the keyholder in their circumstance is an understatement. He has opened a door only He has the power to open. It's amazing to see God prove Himself and to bless the life of my brother and sister-in-law.

Little Daniel Fields Kirkland was born Saturday, August 2nd, at 4:21 in the p.m. From first glance at his eyes, he looks like my bro. I'll see him in person tomorrow, so I can give more accurate feedback then. But, the eyes say Clay. I've heard that the mouth and nose look like Deborah. Now, I won't go into facial feature debates here on the blog, but I have to say the kid is

I am so happy and excited for Clay and Deborah. I've got a wonderful (nearly) 4 years of fatherhood under my belt and it's taught me so much. I have different perspectives, values, and feelings that were never present pre-baby. Your emotional spectrum takes a huge leap and you learn to love someone like you never have before. Your own child. You get a more accurate and immediate glimpse into the heart of God the Father than previously possible. It truly rocks your world.

It will be fun to see Clay and Deborah experience this firsthand. It will be so much fun to have our families experience life together as we continue to expand and grow in years to come. God is good.