Hail the Light!

What a wonderful day when the power of God explodes in a flash that  incinerates all darkness!    

The power of God is the Light of Christ.  The darkness is the shadow that I cast in my soul when I turn away from God.

O’ Lord!  Let that day be now!  Let me face into, and experience the cleansing of, that Light and never again turn to admire my own shadow.

Baby Steps

     We human beings are born with the capability to walk.  But to walk can only become ability, then facility, if we reach up and take the hand of a parent, who holds us up, steadies us, and guides one foot in front of the other.

     By the work that Christ did on His cross, we human beings are all offered salvation – release and deliverance from the power of worldly distractions, natural passions, and satan’s wiles.   But we only experience such a blessed state when we, as little wobbly-legged babies, reach up and take the hand of our Savior and allow Him to take control of every step that we take.

Stay in the Light

The wolves and the jackals and the hyenas lurk in the darkness just beyond the verge of the campfire’s light.  They crouch and drool and growl and gnash their teeth, waiting for the flickering flames to die down, for the darkness to crowd in, so that they can strike and rend my life among them.   Yet the light that I can kindle with my earthly means is weak.  I cannot tend it constantly.   I do not have enough fuel of will to keep it going around the clock.  

Dear God, make thy Light blaze forth, brighter than the brightest day!   Keep me in that Light; never let me stray from it, for only It has the power to keep the evil at bay.

Choosing a Master

Once I knew a young man who felt that his parents were too controlling of his life.  As he looked toward finishing high school, he declared, “I am not going to colllege.  I am going to join the Marines.!”   When his parents asked him why, he replied, “To get away from authority figures.”

“WHAT?!   Don’t you know that in the Marines you will have a drill sargeant yelling at you every minute, with complete authroity over ever move that you make, every word that you say?”   they asked.   “I know,” said the young man, “but it will be OK because it will be an authority figure of my own choosing.”    This incident reminded me of the Bible verse, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”  (Mat 6:24)  

“But who wants a master, anyway?”  I thought.   “I am  a free man, in charge of my own life.”  Then I would eat too much or the wrong food.  I would get caught up in career to the harm of my family.  I would waste hours watchig T.V. or surfing the web.  In times of clear thinking, I would determine not to do those things again.    “But the cares of the world, and the delight in riches, and the desire for other things…”  (Mark 4:19) took over again in a moment and I was back to the same old routine.    “Mammon,” I realized, is not just “riches” or “wealth.”    It can be any worldy, temporal thing, action, or comfort the desire for which takes over my life.

I did, in fact, have a master – one whose goal seemed to be my harm and destruction.   Again and again I tried to take mastery over my own life, the fighting for freedom with my own efforts and will power.  Again and again I was exhausted and overcome by my enemy, the bad master.  Finally, I saw the light.   “If I am going to have a master,”  I said to myself, “let me choose a master who is good!”   Then I turned to the Lord, Jesus, and following His example in the desert, I chose God.   Now, when I say, as He did,  “Not my will, but thine, be done,”  (Luk 22:42), when I adopt God’s will as my own, I am no longer subject to the world’s master.  Instead I can say to my divine master, “I shall walk at liberty, for I have sought thy precepts.” (Psalm 119:45)  

I invite you to choose freedom by choosing to be a slave of God.

The Center

Sink down within yourself – Down below seeing, Down below hearing, Down below feeling, Down into just being.  Here there is a flow of life – flowing in from God and flowing through into eternity.  Keep it pure!

Sustainability

             Had Adam and Eve stayed in the Garden, all would still be sustaining today, for there is the tree of life.  We witness, or give testimony, that we are to return to the Garden – to the place where we Trust God in all things, with all our being, unashamedly naked to the inspection of Him who sees even our deepest secrets.     When we are thus, we become His hoe and spade and pruning shears, ready and willing instruments in His hands “…to dress and keep…” (Gen 2:15) the Garden for Him and His purposes.  

            In all things let us live humbly, simply, patiently, generously, and gratefully.  Let us yield our natural lives to Him, accepting His invitation to share in spiritual life with Him.   This was the life of Adam and Eve when God gave them dominion of all the earth.   It is only in this eternal, self-less life that we can be properly exercise that dominion.   

Is the Bible Literally True?

The other day a someone asked me, “Is the Bible literally true?  

As a Friend (“Quaker”), I recognize that what is True exists beyond what I know, even beyond what I believe.   So my answer went like this:

How could I possibly know?  Where was I when God laid the foundations of the earth?  (from Job 38:4) I cannot confirm nor contradict the truth of events reported in the Bible.  All I can declare as true is that I have encountered One who fits the Bible’s description of God.  

I have experienced the condemnation and expulsion, bit by bit, of evil in my thoughts and deeds as was done to the nation of Israel in its 40 years in the wilderness. 

I have seen that it has been my desire, like Adam and Eve, to judge for myself what is right and wrong, that has tricked me into labeling what is pleasant as “right” and what is unpleasant as “wrong.”  Oh, how much trouble I have caused that way!  How I wish I had always remained innocent and trusting, like a little child, that I might enter into the kingdom of heaven, which is so close!  (Mat 18:3, Mar 1:15)

Once I was was literally groveling and writhing on the floor in battle with a dire temptation.   How powerfully I wanted to follow my desires!  How terrible the consequences would be for many others if I did!   Suddenly, there beside me, kneeling in the Garden of Gethsemane, was Jesus, attacked by even greater temptations.    “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” He said (Luke 22:42)  I repeated his words to God and my temptation was instantly and permanently removed!

I could go on.  The point is that I cannot say that every single word in the Bible is “true,” especially an English word translated from some ancient language.  What I can say is that the story of God’s work in history as an allegory for His work in my heart and life, is true.  The good news of God’s Word and Light, Jesus the anointed One, present with me and within me is true, “Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.John 14:17.

I exhort all, not in criticism but with love, to look within for this Spirit, the divine Light, and to let it reveal truth to you.

 

 

Where do good and evil come from?

If there were no human beings on this material earth, there would still be hurricanes and balmy summer days.  There would still be wild fires and plagues.  There would still be bounties of fruit and fresh springs of water.  For the rocks and seas and birds and trees, some of these events would be beneficial and some would be harmful, but none would be good or evil.   They would just be the material world at work.

Now add human beings.  All these natural things would happen just the same.   Some people might benefit, some might be harmed.  Some people might be happy about them and some might be unhappy.    But the events themselves would still be just that, natur

 

Is there a Quaker creed?

A “creed” is defined by Webster’s as, “A brief authoritative formula of religious belief.”  

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith,” (Heb 12:2) Friends deny any human “authority” over that faith. 

A second-hand man-made “formula”, however fervently believed and recited, is of no more value for eternal life than the scriptures were to the Pharisees.   “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”  (Acts 4:20)  Friends’ religion is a witness to personal and corporate, direct experience of the inward, resurrected Christ.