Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving

I don’t quite understand the holiday known as Thanksgiving. It seems to be a day when people gather together in one place with all their relatives and eat a bunch of food.

If you want to eat turkey, mashed potatos, or pumpkin pie, you don’t need to use the fact that it’s the fourth thursday of November as an excuse. You can buy and eat these things any time of year. If you happen to have relatives or friends that you want to talk to, you can also do that any time of year. If you want to give thanks to God for what you have, you can also do that any time of year.

And finally, if you know of someone who doesn’t have food, you should probably help them at other times of the year instead of just Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Does God’s will always come to pass? (written by Judena Klebs)


Does God’s will always come to pass? (written by Judena Klebs)

I recently wrote an essay called “Is God responsible for our suffering?” which considers whether everything that happens is because God either causes it or allows it. The question which may be asked is “If God is sovereign doesn’t this mean that everything that happens is God’s will?”
First, what does “sovereign” actually mean? One of the definitions from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sovereign) defines sovereign as “One that exercises supreme authority within a limited sphere.”
It is true that God is the ultimate authority and power in the universe but if one believes that He gave free will to His creatures, then He must have chosen to limit His own power to share it with others.
Throughout my life I have heard the slogan “God has everything under control.” Does God control everything? Even the evil done by people? Does God cause or ignore the terrible things that take place on the earth? If God is in control, that would make Him either evil Himself, or just indifferent to those who are suffering in various ways all over the world.
At some later time, I want to explore more about accidents, sickness, and natural disasters. I want to consider if they are ever God’s will. But for now, I want to explain one of the main areas where God is accused of having His will done: People’s choices. What does the Bible say about this?
2 Peter 3:9 says that “He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”
Genesis 6:5,6 tells us that God saw the great wickedness on the earth and regretted that He had created people and that He was “grieved at His heart.”
Jeremiah 19:5 says that people were sacrificing their children as burnt offerings to the god, Baal, and that He, the true God, never told them to do such a thing, neither had it “even entered His mind.”
Abuse and neglect are not God’s will. Murder, theft, adultery, false witness, coveting, worshipping other gods, dishonoring parents,etc. are all condemned in the Ten Commandments(Exodus 20), so it cannot be God’s will that any of these things take place.
In Matthew 6:10, Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” We would not need to pray this if His will were already being done on the earth.
God’s sovereignty does not prove that His will is always done. Angels and people have free will. This means that Satan’s choices were not God’s will and that many people’s choices to harm themselves or others in any way cannot be God’s will.
“Calvinism” believes that people don’t have free will but that God “predestines” some to be saved and to go to Heaven, while others are created for destruction and to go to Hell.
There are many things I could say about this theology, even showing a better way to interpret the verses in the Bible which are used in order to prove this doctrine. But a whole new essay would need to be written to cover this, so for now, let me just say to whoever believes that God’s will always comes to pass that it must be “God’s sovereign will” for me to disagree with you!

Why do I look so young?


Why do I look so young?

Recently, I’ve been reminded a lot that I look like a teenager. See, at HyVee, there is a rule that no one under 21 can even touch alcohol products even to put them in someone’s cart. Therefore, even though I’m the person who is supposed to do that, they try to find someone else to do it who looks older. This goes on until I convince them that I’m 25.

I don’t usually complain about looking young. That seems to be what a lot of people want, but it does make me wonder what are the reasons. So far, I’ve tried to think up a few.

I have a hard time remembering the few men who were shorter than me. Even many women are taller than me. I don’t really mind being short because I don’t play basketball, although I do get annoyed that all the pants sold at walmart are too long for me.

I don’t act mean and tough like the majority of men do. Somehow being violent and cussing people out has become a symbol of manhood.

People think I’m ignorant because everything that they’ve learned or experienced in public school I’ve never really known because I was homeschooled since I was 9. No doubt I’m better off that I never learned Darwin’s theory of evolution, never had peers to act cool in front of, and don’t remember hearing anything about sex until I was around 14, and then it was in Sunday school at a Nazarene church.

I don’t eat junk food. I can’t tolerate foods that are extremely greasy or sugary. I can’t even eat peanut butter unless it’s the kind with no sugar added. This is just because my mom never fed me or my sister that junk.

I didn’t eat enough during my teenage years. This had a lot to do with not having enough money for food. Even when I was 20 I was around 155 pounds. I’m sure I didn’t grow exactly the way I was supposed to.

I don’t act mature(the modern synonym for boring). I can sing silly songs like Hit Me Baby One More Time. I can DDR dance, and I will tell the honest truth, not caring how it sounds to others just like a toddler can do.

I look deceptively stupid without meaning to. While I may not be able to detect sarcasm or match the colors of my clothes(according to my mom), I can still win at chess, arrange polygons in inkscape, or follow directions at my job.

If anyone else has more reasons why I might appear to be so young, leave me some comments, it might be entertaining.

Favorite colors


Favorite colors

I have a precise method which allows me to pick between any two colors which I like best.
When speaking of colors, it’s hard to be specific without pictures. What I call green is not the same as what other people might call green. However, at least we can both agree that grass is certainly closer to green than a cloud is.

First of all, I like white and black. Not necessarily can I say that one is better than the other. They are opposites and are almost defined by being different from each other. If I had to pick an object that was either, I would probably go with white but it doesn’t matter that much.

Aside from that, I like colors on the red side. What I mean is, colors which contain a high amount of red light. If you’ve ever messed around with computer graphics, you’ll know that white light is composed of red, green, and blue light.
So all colors you see on a computer screen are some combination.

Colors on the red side would of course be red, orange, yellow, magenta, pink, and even white since red is a third of it.
Naturally, these take priority over things which are more blue or green. Between blue and green however, I like blue better.

No one can really explain why some people like the colors they do. We can only come up with guesses as to why this is.
In my case for example, things I like such and ketchup or the inside of a watermelon happen to be red. That alone might explain it. Likewise, I tend to dislike green things mostly just because there are so many green plants that I get tired of seeing it. Also, some people are slightly colorblind to certain colors.

Who can know if the colors I see are the same as everyone else? Maybe my red is someone else’s blue. I thank God that these things don’t really matter. I’m just glad that we have a variety of colors or life would be really boring.

Actually, though, I wouldn’t mind if the world were reduced to black and white, they are the perfect colors just because it’s easy to read black on a white backround or white on a black background.

I never knew you


I never knew you

Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven – only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. 7:22 On that day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons and do many powerful deeds?’ 7:23 Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Go away from me, you lawbreakers!’

The verse above is very interesting. Jesus is saying that doing things in his name isn’t the same thing as knowing him. This implies that someone may be able to cast out demons and do miracles in the name of Jesus and not really know who Jesus is or have accepted him as their savior.

I think what he’s describing is a case of identity theft. It’s a lot like if someone were to steal someone’s debit card or birth certificate and claim to be someone they are not. Eventually they would be caught. If some strange woman decided to steal my mother’s stuff and pretend to be her, then it would not likely work very long. On the other hand, when I go to the HyVee pharmacy to pick up prescriptions for my mom, I usually have some identification with me, but they don’t even need to see it anymore because everyone knows by now that I’m her son and that she called and said she was sending me.

In the same way, since born again christians are God’s children, wherever we go and whatever we do should have the same effect as if Jesus was here. Why then don’t we see christians walking around teaching, healing, casting out demons, walking on water, or feeding fish and bread to thousands of people? I guess it’s really quite simple, we haven’t really spent enough time with Jesus to learn how. It’s directly a result of how well we know Jesus. People shouldn’t have to ask the question “what would Jesus do?” because we should already know.

But then again, not all of us had the same advantage of being with Jesus while he was on earth in his own body. The people who knew him then were able to see with their own eyes the type of person he was and couldn’t doubt that he was God in the flesh.

However, there have been other people long before that in the old testament who clearly knew more about God than people in our day do.

One of my favorite examples is Noah. Genesis 6 tells the story of Noah and how God told him to build a boat to protect him and his family from the flood. We don’t know much about Noah except that he found favor in the sight of God, that he was blameless, and had a wife and three sons. God spoke to him very specific directions on how to build a gigantic boat. How many of us if we heard a voice telling us to build a gigantic boat would know it was God?

Noah must have talked to God enough in his life to know God’s voice and believed him about the flood. Either this or he was crazy and planned on turning the ark into a petting zoo if the flood never came. Still, it must have been a lot of work, but he still finished it by the time he was 600 years old. It’s amazing that he didn’t even have the Bible to read back then but he must have been able to listen to God. Then again, he didn’t have anything else to do since the internet hadn’t been invented yet.

But today, while many people not only don’t know the difference between God and a squirrel, there are some who think he doesn’t exist.

This is very silly, even the demons know who God is.

Mark 1:34 So he healed many who were sick with various diseases and drove out many demons. But he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.

Luke 4:33 Now in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, 4:34 “Ha! Leave us alone, Jesus the Nazarene! Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God.”

James 2:19 You believe that God is one; well and good. Even the demons believe that – and tremble with fear.

And because the demons know very well who God/Jesus is, they can also tell when those who don’t really know Jesus try to use his name.

Acts 19:11 God was performing extraordinary miracles by Paul’s hands, 19:12 so that when even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his body were brought to the sick, their diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them. 19:13 But some itinerant Jewish exorcists tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were possessed by evil spirits, saying, “I sternly warn you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.” 19:14 (Now seven sons of a man named Sceva, a Jewish high priest, were doing this.) 19:15 But the evil spirit replied to them, “I know about Jesus and I am acquainted with Paul, but who are you?” 19:16 Then the man who was possessed by the evil spirit jumped on them and beat them all into submission. He prevailed against them so that they fled from that house naked and wounded.

And so apparently, even the name of Jesus is rather useless when the demons know who he is more than the humans who speak about Jesus.

Isaiah 29:13 The sovereign master says, “These people say they are loyal to me; they say wonderful things about me, but they are not really loyal to me. Their worship consists of nothing but man-made ritual 29:14 Therefore I will again do an amazing thing for these people – an absolutely extraordinary deed. Wise men will have nothing to say, the sages will have no explanations.”

Make sure that you really know who you’re talking about when you talk about God, whether the father, son, or holy spirit. You don’t want to hear Jesus say “I never knew you”.

HyVee vs church


HyVee vs church

At church, you sometimes get a small amount of grape juice and a tiny cracker during communion.
At HyVee, you can buy a big bottle of grape juice and a loaf of bread.

At church, if a pastor, elder, or a member who gives a lot of money in the offering, insults you, sexually harasses you, or wants to start a fight with you, you’re told you must forgive them and act like nothing is wrong.
At HyVee, if an employee upsets you for any of the same reasons, you can write a note for the store director and someone will correct or fire them.

At church, you’re expected to sing along to the slow boring worship music and raise your hands or people think that you don’t have the right relationship with God. If you dance then you’re considered a distraction.
At HyVee, you hear better music on the radio and you can dance. No one cares as long as you buy something.

At church, people expect you to put on your fancy uncomfortable clothes on Sunday morning or they’ll assume you have no respect for God’s house.
At HyVee, they simply appreciate that you are wearing clothes. Only employees must dress professional but at least they get paid for it.

At church, there is nothing going on except on Sunday and Wednesday.
At HyVee, you can buy food every day of the week.

At church, if your kids scream and run around, you are considered a bad parent and people will tell you that God is punishing you for some sin.
At HyVee, kids scream, run around, and throw a fit when their parents don’t buy them everything they want but HyVee employees think it’s entertaining and will attempt to calm the kids down and have an intelligent conversation to distract them while their mother pays for the food.

At church, you don’t have enough hands to hold your Bible, purse, the bulletin, and still have a free hand to shake hands with everyone.
At HyVee, we can use shopping carts.

At church, you’re told that you’re robbing God if you don’t give ten percent of your income to their church. You don’t get anything in return, not even a bottle of Pepsi.
At HyVee, you can buy a 3 egg omelette with hash browns and toast for $3.99 . You can also buy a small soft drink for $1.59 and get free refills.

At church, if people are rude to you, you’re still expected to come back. Otherwise, you are considered a “church hopper”.
At HyVee, if employees are rude to the customers, they will not feel like coming back and will shop somewhere else.