Monday, August 22, 2016

An 8-year-old's Explanation of God

-- By Danny Dutton

Written by an 8-year-old from Chula Vista, CA, for his third-grade homework assignment. The assignment was to explain God.

One of God's main jobs is making people. He makes them to replace the ones that die, so there will be enough people to take care of things on earth.

He doesn't make grownups, just babies. I think because they are smaller and easier to make. That way he doesn't have to take up his valuable time teaching them to talk and walk. He can just leave that to mothers and fathers.

God's second most important job is listening to prayers. An awful lot of this goes on, since some people, like preachers and things, pray at times beside bedtime.  God doesn't have time to listen to the radio or TV because of this .

Because he hears everything, there must be a terrible lot of noise in his ears, unless he has thought of a way to turn it off.

God sees everything and hears everything and is everywhere which keeps Him pretty busy. So you shouldn't go wasting his time by going over your mom and dad's head asking for something they said you couldn't have.

Atheists are people who don't believe in God. I don't think there are any in Chula Vista. At least there aren't any who come to our church.

Jesus is God's Son. He used to do all the hard work like walking on water and performing miracles and trying to teach the people who didn't want to learn about God. They finally got tired of him preaching to them and they crucified him. But he was good and kind, like his father, and he told his father that they didn't know what they were doing and to forgive them and God said O.K.

His dad (God) appreciated everything that he had done and all his hard work on earth so he told him he didn't have to go out on the road anymore. He could stay in heaven. So he did. And now he helps his dad out by listening to prayers and seeing things which are important for God to take care of and which ones he can take care of himself without having to bother God. Like a secretary, only more important.

You can pray anytime you want and they are sure to help you because they got it worked out so one of them is on duty all the time.

You should always go to church on Sunday because it makes God happy, and if there's anybody you want to make happy, it's God.

Don't skip church or do something you think will be more fun like going to the beach. This is wrong. And besides the sun doesn't come out at the beach until noon anyway.

If you don't believe in God, besides being an atheist, you will be very lonely, because your parents can't go everywhere with you, like to camp, but God can.

It is good to know He's around you when you're scared, in the dark or when you can't swim and you get thrown into real deep water by big kids.

But... you shouldn't just always think of what God can do for you. I figure God put me here and he can take me back anytime he pleases. And this is what I know about God.

Monday, July 11, 2016

God: Religious or Systematic


      I grew up in a Christian home with a strong belief in God and considered myself religious.  Until recently, I had never considered if God was religious.  I took it for granted that He was.  If God is religious would He be non-denominational?  Growing up my friends would ask me questions regarding my faith and denomination and I was more than happy to respond to them using the bible as reference.  However, when they asked about other Christians from different denominations along with other religious groups and the claim of serving the same God referring to Him by different names I would simply point them to scripture, "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice: and there shall be one fold and one shepherd." John 10:16.  However, the Apostle Paul states, "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints," 1 Corinthians 14:33.
     One key thing to scripture is its reference in context.  Miss the context of a verse and you open yourself to misinterpretations.  Now to get back the question of 'God's denomination' or lack thereof.   To answer that question let's examine the meaning and the origination of the word religion. It consists of a broad definition which is simplified to mean 'the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods."  Some argue if this is the case where would others such as Buddhism, Hinduism fit in.  A humorous case appears in the novel 'Tom Jones' by Henry Fieldings, confusing as what you thought was where he has one character say: "By religion I mean Christianity, by Christianity I mean Protestantism, by Protestantism I mean the Church of England as established by law."  By these definitions, religion can be said to be exclusively Christian.
     To make religion more inclusive, Kile Jones, a Ph.D. student at the University of Glasgow, Scotland wrote the following in an essay as a possible definition; "It is apparent that religion can be seen as a theological, philosophical, anthropological, sociological and psychological phenomenon of human-kind.  To limit religion to only one of these categories is to miss its multifaceted nature and lose out on the complete definition."
     Further confusion is rendered by religion's further separation into denominations - 'a recognized autonomous branch of the Christian church.'  This further strengthens the claim that Christianity is the only form of religion.
     Interestingly, when we look at a 'system', we see a general and simple definition, applicable to the context; a set of principles or procedures according to which something is done; an organized scheme or method.  By definition, a system is a set of principles that can be successfully duplicated anywhere and for the most part is not affected by a theological, philosophical, anthropological, sociological and psychological phenomenon of human-kind.
     Looking at the definitions God could not be religious as there is no higher being than Himself and there is no other worthy of praise like Him.  As a matter of fact, there was an angel named Lucifer, who challenged Him in this regard as recorded in Isaiah 14:13, 14; You said in your heart, I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God ... I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High."  Needless to say, he was cast out of Heaven.         Since creation, everything God did was done in a sequential and systematic manner.  He found that it simplified things and made it duplicatable.
      Sin entered a perfect world when man exercised his power of choice to make decisions based on information he chose to agree with emotionally. Nothing has changed.  Daily we continue to make decisions based on our personal preferences, culture and all other factors combined.  Most people, research shows, make their decisions based on emotions rather than logic.
      Armed with this knowledge we are manipulated by the press, salespeople, businesses, politicians and unfortunately, some preachers, to make snap decisions.   Can you leave your future and eternal life to an emotional decision?

Monday, June 13, 2016

Power of Prayer

A poorly dressed lady with a look of defeat on her face walked into a grocery store. She approached the owner of the store in a most humble manner and asked if he would let her charge a few groceries.
She softly explained that her husband was unable to work, they had seven children and they needed food. John Longhouse, the grocer, scoffed at her and requested that she leave his store. visualizing the
family needs, she said: "Please, sir! I will bring you the money just as soon as I can." John told her
he could not give her credit, as she did not have a charge account at his store.
Standing beside the counter was a customer who overheard the conversation between the two. The
customer walked forward and told the grocer that he would stand good for whatever she needed for her family.
The grocer said in a very reluctant voice, "Do you have a grocery list?"
Louise replied, "Yes sir." "O.K." he said, "put your grocery list on the scales and whatever your
grocery list weighs, I will give you that amount in groceries."
Louise hesitated a moment with a bowed head, then she reached into her purse and took out a piece of paper and scribbled something on it.
She then laid the piece of paper on the scale carefully with her head still bowed.
The eyes of the grocer and the customer showed amazement when the scales went down and stayed down.
The grocer, staring at the scales, turned slowly to the customer and said begrudgingly, "I can't believe
The customer smiled and the grocer started putting the groceries on the other side of the scales.
The scale did not balance. So he continued to put more and more groceries on them until the scales
would hold no more.
The grocer stood there in utter disgust. Finally, he grabbed the piece of paper from the scales and looked at it with greater amazement. It was not a grocery list. It was a prayer which said:
"Dear Lord, you know my needs and I am leaving this in your hands".
The grocer gave her the groceries that he had gathered and stood in stunned silence. Louise
thanked him and left the store. The customer handed a fifty-dollar bill to the grocer and said, "it was
worth every penny of it." Only God Knows how much a prayer weighs.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Next Step to Success - "Be Thankful"

     In today's society, people have lost the true meaning of gratitude.  We open the door for the stranger who steps through and sometimes keeps walking without acknowledging the kind gesture. The words "thank you" are becoming increasingly extinct.  Personally, I have become immune to people being ungrateful and see it as being 'just one of those things' and I, go along my merry way.  My wife, however, isn't as tolerant and becomes infuriated by the total discard of the small phrase that consists of those two words.  Can the level of one's success and happiness be measured by the use of this small phrase especially if it is written?   As the clip below shows, there are some individuals who think it does.

     After reflection, it is easy to see how saying thank you may lead to happiness and fulfillment.  After the earth was created and everything else was put in its place, God saw that it was good.  It was the sixth day and there was just one thing lacking; a caretaker.  He could have given the garden to the angels, however, they already had a home of their own called heaven.  They liked where they lived and they were not looking for another land of opportunity.  I doubt having angels inhabiting the earth was a part of God's plan.  He, therefore, added the finishing touches to his creation in the form of mankind.
     Everything was already in place.  Adam had fresh air to breathe, the freshest and coolest water to drink.  He was blessed with fruits, nuts and seeds from every herb bearing seed as food.  The only thing required of Adam, which came naturally at that time, was to give thanks.  He was never asked to pay rent neither was there a surcharge for food and water.  The only thing required of him was his faithfulness and gratitude.
     People who refuse to acknowledge kindness and thoughtfulness tend to be bitter and cynical most if not all of the time.  They blame their lack of possessions and unhappiness on others, not realizing that by giving thanks for the little they have more can be done with it.
     In teaching His disciples how to pray the Lord began with gratitude and the acknowledgment of God as Father.  What better example do we need for the expression of appreciation for all that God has done for us?
     Today, let's pause to tell God thanks for all he has done for us.  Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good for his love endures forever.  This process will uplift the spirit and prepare us for what he has planned for us.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Faith’s Foundation

By Darrell Huffman
Faith is like a house; it must be built on a strong foundation if it is going to stand tests and storms. Faith’s foundation is the Word of God. You cannot build a great faith life without it. The best part about this truth is that the Word of God will never fail. Its success rating stands at 100 percent.
Solomon knew the power of God’s promises. He saw the Lord keep His Word to his father, King David, with the completion of the Temple (Israel’s house of faith) in Jerusalem. Solomon declared at its dedication, “Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses” (1 Kings 8:56 NIV). God’s own Word—His promises to the children of Israel—became the foundation for the Temple itself.
Nothing has changed since that time concerning the promises of God. God wants to be the foundation of your personal house of faith, and He is still fulfilling His promises. Therefore, you can trust Him to do what He has said.
In Hebrews 11, The Amplified Bible describes faith as “. . . the title deed of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see . . .” (v. 1). If I have the deed to a house, you can stand on its front porch and threaten me all you want to keep me from trying to enter the house. But it won’t make any difference what you say or do, because I have every legal right to grab you by the nape of the neck and throw you out into the yard. If I have the title deed, it’s my house, and I am going in! In the same way, faith will give you all the assurance you will ever need in this life to take what is yours according to the Word of God.
If you build your faith—your title deed—on God’s Word, it won’t matter if the devil hits your body, attacks your finances, or tries to steal your peace. You can kick him off your property because your faith will be the proof of ownership you need. With that assurance, absolutely nothing can stand in your way. So build that house of faith and move in! God’s Word promises that He gives “. . . everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him . . .” (2 Peter 1:3 NIV). So find out what His Word says—gain the knowledge you need to take hold of your title deed. As a deed enables you to lay claim to property that belongs to you, so your faith enables you to lay claim to God’s promises that belong to you.
Therefore, it is an absolute necessity that we know God’s promises so that we can begin to build our houses of faith, for “. . . faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). It is only as you and I hear God’s Word—His promises— concerning us that our faith will grow and be stable. That same Word then becomes all the evidence we need until the manifestation comes.
I challenge you to take the Lord at His Word. Since the Bible is God’s Word to you, choose to believe Him. When you do, amazing things will begin to happen in your life.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Four Steps to a Positive Attitude with Faith

It is not what happens to you that counts. It is how you react to what happens to you, especially when you have unexpected problems of any kind. In this message, you learn powerful strategies you can use to keep yourself thinking and acting positively and creatively. Here are four things you can do to assure that your attitude is the very best it can be, under all circumstances. 

Focus On The Future
First, whatever challenges you face, focus on the future rather than on the past. Instead of worrying about who did what and who is to blame, focus on where you want to be and what you want to do. Get a clear mental image of your ideal successful future, and then take whatever action you can to begin moving in that direction. Get your mind, your thoughts, and your mental images on the future. 

Focus On The Solution
Second, whenever you’re faced with a difficulty, focus on the solution rather than on the problem. Think and talk about the ideal solution to the obstacle or setback, rather than wasting time rehashing and reflecting on the problem. Solutions are inherently positive, whereas problems are inherently negative. The instant that you begin thinking in terms of solutions, you become a positive and constructive human being. 

Look For The Good
Third, assume that something good is hidden within each difficulty or challenge. Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, a major proponent of positive thinking, once said, “Whenever God wants to give us a gift, he wraps it up in a problem.” The bigger the gift you have coming, the bigger the problem you will receive. But the wonderful thing is that if you look for the gift, you will always find it. 

Look For The Valuable Lesson
Fourth, assume that whatever situation you are facing at the moment is exactly the right situation you need to ultimately be successful. This situation has been sent to you to help you learn something, to help you become better, to help you expand and grow. 

Do What Successful People Do
A Positive Mental Attitude and faith is indispensable to your success. You can be as positive as you want to be if you will simply think about the future, focus on the solution and look for the good. If you do what other successful people do, if you use your mind to exert mental control over the situation, you will be positive and cheerful most of the time. And you will reap the benefits enjoyed by all successful people. 

First, become solution-oriented with every difficulty you face. Make a habit of looking for the answers to your questions, the solutions to your problems. 

Second, seek for the valuable lesson in every adversity. Make a list of every idea or insight you can gain from every setback or difficulty. 

Third, think on paper. Take some time to write out every detail of the problem, and then take the most logical next step to solve it.

Have a wonderful week and as always: "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospereth. (3 John 1:2)

Monday, March 21, 2016

Change Begins with Choice

Originally by Jim Rohn

If you don't like how things are, change it! You're not a tree. 

Any day we wish, we can discipline ourselves to make important changes in our lives. Any day we wish, we can open the book that will open our mind to new knowledge. Any day we wish, we can start a new activity. Any day we wish, we can start the process of life change. We can do it immediately, or next week, or next month, or next year.
We can also do nothing. We can pretend rather than perform. And if the idea of having to change ourselves makes us uncomfortable, we can remain as we are. We can choose rest over labor, entertainment over education, delusion over truth and doubt over confidence. The choices are ours to make. But while we curse the effect, we continue to nourish the cause.
As Shakespeare uniquely observed, "The fault is not in the stars, but in ourselves." We created our current circumstances by our past choices. We have both the ability and the responsibility to make better choices beginning today. Those who are in search of the good life do not need more answers or more time to think things over to reach better conclusions. They need the truth.
They need the whole truth. And they need nothing but the truth. We cannot allow our errors in judgment, repeated every day, to lead us down the wrong path. We must keep coming back to those basics that make the biggest difference in how our life works out. And then we must make the very choices that will bring life, happiness and joy into our daily lives.
And if I may be so bold to offer my last piece of advice for someone seeking and needing to make changes in their life: If you don't like how things are, change it! You're not a tree. You have the ability to totally transform every area in your life—and it all begins with your very own power of choice.