!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> rachman-unprecedented: August 2006


So what is this going to be? A little bit of everything I think. Maybe that's it. What I'm thinking. What I'm believing. I hope what I'm knowing. And why would anyone care what I think I know? There's no reason in the world that you should. But then why are you here? Cuz you have to be somewhere I suppose. I've never been here before. I may not be back. I might get too busy to care; time is short. That's fine. Nobody can deal with it all at once. There is a lot to deal with.

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Location: The Great Plains, United States

I try not to take myself too seriously, but I know I have far too much. So I'm trying to learn how to laugh again, as I had forgotted for a while there. Also I'm relearning to enjoy life; you know, like when we were kids. The biggest challenge ahead is learning how to love God with all my heart, and soul, and mind, and strength. This one is not really that hard when you know the truth. But along with it comes learning to love others as I love myself, and that one is, as they say, "a horse of a whole different color." I think I need to learn to love myself a little more, but the problem may be that I know all these facts about me. Sometimes the facts are simply wrong or they are just stuck in the past. I'm trying to get my facts to line up with the truth. As someone once asked a great man, "what is truth?" If he had only known.

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Saturday, August 26, 2006

Want More of God?

John 1:16 (NLT) ~ "We have all benefited from the rich blessings he (God) brought to us--one gracious blessing after another."

Most of us in this world don't know that it is God who gives us the things we need for life. "From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky and all that God made." (Romans 1:20 ~ NLT) "For He gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and on the unjust, too." (Matthew 5:45 ~ NLT) No matter which side we think we fit into, God sends the rain and the sunlight to us on this home we call earth.

Ephesians 5:1-2 (NIV) ~ "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us..."

We have all read the tee shirt that said, "Love is not love till you give it away." I laughed when I first read it, but I guess it must be true. If we learn to be imitators of God and live a life of love, we are learning to go through life as "givers" instead of "takers."

Luke 6:38 (NLT) ~ "If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving--large or small--it will be used to measure what is given back to you."

If we don't believe that this Word from God is true, all we have to do is smile at the next stranger we come across. Nine times out of ten, they will smile back. An instant pay back for our "gift." Wow! We do get what we give out. And if God gives us His word on it, then we can't out give God. If we learn to empty ourselves into the lives of others, then even if they don't return the favor, God will fill us back up. God rushes into our emptiness if we let Him. Our emptiness keeps God's presense with us. (Cool, I could use more of that.) When we are "full," it's for the benefit of someone else's "emptiness." We draw close to God by emptying ourselves into others. How much of God do you want?

~ rachman

Monday, August 21, 2006

Do You Have a Character Deficit?

Jesus replied, " `You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: `Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments." ~Matthew 22:37-40 (NLT)

We can't love our neighbor anymore than we love ourself. This is a real challenge for many people, including myself. (Sometimes I think I'm loving myself only to later realize that I'm just giving in to laziness by being too easy on myself. And even worse than laziness, I realize I am giving in to fear and denial. More on fear and laziness at a later time.) And perhaps the really big challenge (in my eyes at least) is that we can't love God anymore than we love our neighbor. How we treat our neighbor is how we treat God. (Oophhh! That one hit low. But I guess it's true since Matthew 25:40 says, ...the King (God) will tell them, `I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!') Ok, ok, we have to treat our neighbors a little better it looks like. But how do we get started?

In every relationship there is friction. My mentor says that there is a miracle lubricant. (No, probably not what you think, nor is it politeness as suggested by Robert A. Heinlein, although this probably never hurts.) As oil is to a car, so character is to people. Character is the lubricant that allows our personalities to mesh. For example when a man "strays" in a marriage, it's because of a character flaw or a deficit in his character. It is more than the notion that "men's brains are in their pants." That's really the easy way out. "It's biological, I can't help it!" No, that excuse only works for animals. Human beings, and in this example, men, are meant to come up to a higher level. Regardless of where you think we came from, does any of us really want to stay at the level of animals? Whenever or wherever there is a deficit of character, we all pay the price in our relationships. A character deficit is not just a mental or emotional issue. It is a "heart issue." Another example is "conflict evasion." As in when a conflict, of any type, shows up and we avoid it. This may be part of the giving in to fear and denial issue that I admit to dealing with. It is one of the deficits of character that I'm working on now.

All these things happen because of missing ingredients in our character. The first law of relationship is "seek first to understand and then to be understood." At first I thought it kinda' sounded like Socrates' guiding principle, "Know Thyself," but more than knowing or understanding ourselves, we need to understand God. When we pursue character, we are pursuing God. When we pursue character, we are also pursuing other people's concerns (moving beyond ourselves). Where there is character there is compatibility. When a couple claims lack of compatibility as grounds for divorce, it is not just an excuse. At least one of them has a character deficit causing incompatibility. God wants us to come up to a higher level and do the right thing even when we don't feel like it. Character involves doing things we don't like doing.

If we avoid doing the things character calls for, then we avoid God. When we avoid the God of the Word, then we end up creating God in our own image. And our "god" will overlook whatever we do or don't feel like doing. We get on dangerous ground when we do this. "Character involves submitting to God's standards and surrendering to God our expectations of one another." To check and see if we have been doing this, all we have to do is look at how many relationships we have in our life that are healthy (or not). Be a man (or woman), and commit yourself to pursuing character.

~ thoughts on a strategy session by LSJ

Monday, August 14, 2006

If God Starts Something...!

Only I (God) can tell you what is going to happen even before it happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish.
~ Isaiah 46:10 (NLT)

God never starts something unless he has already finished it! He has the answer, which was ready before the foundation of the world, for anyone who knows and acts on His Word.

If you need wisdom--if you want to know what God wants you to do--ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking. ~ James 1:5 (NLT)

~ rachman

Friday, August 11, 2006

How Can I Know God?

The way to know God is through God's Word. And Jesus Christ is the Word in flesh and bone. First John 1:1 (NLT) says, "...Jesus Christ, the Word of Life." So it is through Jesus, the Word, that we can know God.

It doesn't really take a lot to be saved, or in other words, know God and live forever. John 6:47 (ESV) says, "Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life." This is one of the clearest and most concise verses in the Bible describing the way of salvation. It's not by our good deeds and it's not by our church membership. It's not by keeping the law, nor by being good, but it is simply by believing that Jesus paid for our sins on the cross.

The simplicity of the gospel is brought out even more in the following verses: John 3:14-15 (ESV) "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life." The Biblical story of the snakes biting the Israelites in the desert is very simple. In Numbers 21:6-9, Moses was told to put a bronze snake up on a pole. When someone was bitten, all he had to do was "look" at the pole with the snake on it and he would not die. In the same manner, anyone who sees that he is sinful (or has a snake bite) and "looks" to Jesus for salvation from his sin, will be saved.

When we "look" to Jesus, we simply have to call on Him. Romans 10:13 and verse 9 (NLT) says, "Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." And then "... if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." It is that simple.

Salvation is eternal, so remember, you can't have eternal life today, and not have eternal life tomorrow.

~notes from a "Good Morning, Lord" Bible study

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Life is a Gift~Don't Throw it Away!

When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling.

Live your life so that at the end, you're the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.

~things found on the w.w.w.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Which God Do You Know?

God's Word is the measure of His Character. Character can be defined (according to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th ed.) as the combination of qualities or features that distinguishes one person, group, or thing from another.

Therefore by looking at the words of God, we can see and understand (or measure) the differences between God and everyone else, and more specifically, between God and our own perception of God. In other words we can come to know what makes God unique in all that we perceive about the world. We tend to see God as we are and not as He really is. For example, if we see the world in a negative fashion then we see God in the same way. If we're an addict, then we think of God as nothing more than the source of our addiction. We need to look at the Word of God to get an accurate picture of what God is really like. (One might say, "well of course the words about God in the Bible are positive, they are propaganda written by those who call Him God." If this is a good argument, then why are the "gods" of other religions so often evil, wicked or cruel? Maybe it is because their idea of God is based on humankind and human reasoning instead of the one true God.)

By looking at the Word of God we can see who God really is:

  • James 1:17 ~ (NIV) "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." Unlike us and our changing perceptions, God never changes.
  • 1 John 3:1 ~ (NLT) "See how very much our heavenly Father loves us, for he allows us to be called his children, and we really are!" God, the Father in Heaven, loves us and He won't change His mind or His ways. He will always love us and allow us to become His children.
  • Matthew 6:30 ~ (NLT) "And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won't he more surely care for you? You have so little faith!" We have little faith because we don't know the Word of God.
  • 1 Corinthians 8:3 ~ (NLT) "But the person who loves God is the one God knows and cares for." To know God is to love God, and He cares (that is He is concerned about us, watches over us, and provides needed assistance) for us as a Father (a loving father, which may or may not be like the one you had) cares for his children.

Another definition of character is moral or ethical strength. By getting an understanding of who God is, just from the few examples above, we can determine that God's moral or ethical strength lies in the fact that He never changes. We don't have to wonder if He is in a good mood or if He will be drunk and beat us. Every good and perfect gift comes down from Him, the God who never changes. We are all His creation and He wants us all to become His children. He does not hate us, he is not angry with us, nor is He the least bit indifferent to us. By learning His Word we come to trust Him and love Him and know that He will care for us.

Unlike the people we have known in the past, unlike the abusive stories we have heard about God, the God of the Word may not be like anyone you have ever known. If you are "lucky" then a few of those people and stories may have pointed the way to the one true God. If not then take a fresh new look at the real God of the Universe, through His Word.

~ thoughts on a teaching by Ed Cole

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Got Worries?

Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. ~ 1 Peter 5:7

I know that this isn't an easy thing to do, but as you begin to learn about who the one true God is, it gets easier. As you begin to believe what God says about Himself and about you, there is no other way to go than towards Him.

If you look at, let's say ten examples, you can see that God really does love you. No foolin'.

  • Deuteronomy 23:5 ~ the LORD your God loves you.
  • John 3:16 ~ God so loved us
  • Romans 1:7 ~ God loves you dearly
  • Romans 8:39 ~ nothing will separate us from the love of God
  • Ephesians 2:4 ~ God loved us so very much
  • 1 Thessalonians 1:4 ~ God loves you
  • 1 John 3:1~ our heavenly Father loves us
  • 1 John 4:9 ~ God showed how much he loved us
  • 1 John 4:16 ~ We know how much God loves us
  • Jude 1:21 ~ God's love can bless you

This is just a sampling of the times that God tells us what he really thinks of us. Why do we listen to all the folks who tell us that God is angry at us, or hates us, or wants to make us miserable. Because we know of all the (imperfect) people in the world who say they love us, but they treat us like dirt, or they desert us or leave us, or they abuse us, or all the other things that one mortal soul can do to another.

And of course most of us have been taught some pretty stupid things. If we could just start to understand the truth as opposed to the "facts" that we have been taught.

Ephesians 3:18 (NLT) ~ And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his (God's) love really is.

I started out talking about giving all your worries and cares to God. Then I realized that you have to know that He loves you so very much that He wants you to come to Him for the help that you need. He does love you, so go ahead and let Him take over.

1 Peter 5:7 ~ Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you.

~ rachman