Wednesday, September 20, 2006


What is God's will for our lives? Is it something written before our birth that if we deviate from we will live a life of misery? It it set in stone, or is it a flexible, fluid concept that we strive to stay inside. I hear a lot of talk about God's will, and good Christians can even disagree about what God's will is in a particular situation. The better question is how do we go about discerning the will of God?

There are many ways to seek God's will. We could do the Elijah, and throw ourselves in the desert and beg for death. That works if you have a desert handy, and some birds, but not all of us have those readily available.

For me, the best is to search the scriptures and see if it is mentioned there. If the Bible teaches that something is permissible or forbidden, then the story ends there. If the question is not directly answered, the process becomes more problematic. Prayer is always the best option, even when searching the scriptures. Prayer allows the Holy Spirit to more easily guide our thoughts. It also opens our heart to other-centeredness, which is almost always a good thing. It quiets our soul, which allows us to hear His voice more readily. And God does speak through prayer.

The real sticking point is when scripture leaves the issue alone, and prayer doesn't produce a discernible answer. Such as in a new job offer. Assuming the job is not in an immoral business, how do we know whether to accept the new offer and leave our current job? That is an agonizingly tough call for many people. I guess this is where we look at a cost/benefit analysis of the new job, or whatever the situation is. Will the negatives outweigh the positives? What will it cost my family? Lost time with me? Additional communting costs? Stress?

Here is where good counsel from mature Christians can play a role. They can help you walk through the process without judgment and join you in prayer. If the person has your best interests and God's instruction at heart, their role can be a great asset. Just be cautious in whom you seek counsel. Job received some bad advice from good people. And that still happens today.

If you have additional thoughts on finding God's will, I'd love to hear them.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


The Bible uses the word EVIL more than 400 times. But what is evil? From a narcissistic point of view it is bad things that happen to us. But that is an incomplete definition, because it excludes the thought that evil can originate in us. I prefer to think of evil as that which causes us to sin and violate God's righteousness.

This week America's thoughts have been on the horrific events of September 11, 2001. On that day, America realized that there are evil people who hate us and want to kill us. We all knew this in the back of our minds, but on that day it became a front-burner issue. And most of us viscerally felt the rage, disgust, horror, fear and helplessness of watching our fellow citizens die in an unimaginable horror.

What happened that day was evil. Al Qaeda and its associated groups launched an attack on innocent civilians to make a political point. That is the basis of terrorism. What they did was evil. More than 2800 people died that day, and thousands more in the wars that have followed as the United States and its allies pursue terror groups around the world.

I appreciate the President using the term "evil" to describe the people who did this and their actions. Moral clarity is helpful when dealing with evil. And this type of evil is pretty easy to recognize. But there are other types of evil that are less evident. But they are evil nonetheless. And allowing evil to fester in our midst is always a bad thing.

Why do we allow subcultures to abuse their members? There are immigrants to this country who work in virtual slavery to pay off the fee for their transport. Leviticus 19:34 instructs Israel to treat aliens as one of their own. Shouldn't we?

Why do we allow corporations in the U.S to sell goods made with slave labor, or near-slave labor, in Third-World countries? Better yet, why do we buy those goods?

Why do we look the other way and allow drug communities to exist in our cities as long as the violence that accompanies drug dealing stays in that neighborhood? What about the innocent people trapped by economic circumstance in those communities? Don't they deserve the same protection the suburbs receive?

Why do we allow inner-city school children to receive a sub-standard education? Many cities have made dramatic improvements, but there are still far too many children trapped in schools that cannot properly educate them. These kids will be hampered for the rest of their lives, but that doesn't bother many of us. Why is that?

Sept. 11 was a day of evil actions. But evil abounds in the world, and we can stamp out many types of evil in our local communities. We just have to see the evil around us.

Friday, September 08, 2006

This is wretched

Isaiah had it right in Chapter 5, verse 20: Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.

Read this story and just think about how wrong it is that we as a society celebrate people like this. She, and the whole Hollywood culture, are so narcissistic it makes me ill. Maybe that is why I don't watch network news shows anymore. Other than her fine acting in "The Simple Life" and a homemade porn video, why do we know who Paris Hilton is? It's not as if she is a consequential person who has done significant things. She is a party-girl heiress with a good publicist.

This is America?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Sadly, we mark the death of one of my daughter's favorite TV personalities, Steve Irwin, aka The Crocodile Hunter. While I was not a fan of his over-the-top reptilian hunting, my kids liked the show, and he did an excellent job of explaining habitat and how many violent animal-human interactions could be prevented if we were more sensitive to the animal. Basically, don't corner them, frighten them (especially their young) and watch where you are walking.

Americans tend to have a poor attitude toward wildlife that is not convenient for their viewing pleasure. I'll confess that I have killed my share of racoons and skunks for various garbage can infractions. But Irwin did show us how to respect God's creation and demonstrate the purposes that some of the creatures have.

He will be missed. He leaves behind a wife and two small children, who need our prayers.