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Common Sense

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Blessings Corrupted ~ John C Calkins

Posted: December 17th, 2016 | Category: belief, Christ Follower, Common Sense | Comments

blessings-corrupted

Most of us have learned or at least heard that the wages of sin are death …. Romans 6:23, but what about the here and now, is this sin sprinkled life a free ride until death? If that’s really the case and we still suspect that what lies beyond death is just an uncertainty at best, then what’s the risk? For the answer to that question we’ll have to dig a bit deeper into the Biblical Word of God’s instructions.

GOD said, “The Man has become like one of us, capable of knowing everything, ranging from good to evil. What if he now should reach out and take fruit from the Tree-of-Life and eat, and live forever? Never—this cannot happen!” So GOD expelled them from the Garden of Eden and sent them to work the ground, the same dirt out of which they’d been made. He threw them out of the garden and stationed angel-cherubim and a revolving sword of fire east of it, guarding the path to the Tree-of-Life.” Genesis 3:22-24 MSG. This was the first recorded human punishment by God, in this life, for sin. Yes, our sin has consequences in the here and now. Why, because God said so and it makes perfect sense! Punishment is not just somewhere beyond the secular mystery of when death ensues, but potentially anywhere, at any time. That’s because we need incentives and disincentives to make good decisions. The expulsion in Genesis 3:24 is hardly an example of corporeal punishment but in this example it’s definitely punitive. What happened later on to everyone except Noah and his family (Genesis 6) is however both corporeal and punitive. These are of course Old Testament examples of punishment for sinful actions or depravity. Just to be clear here, defying God’s directives or commands is the very definition of sin. For the first 5,000 years of human history as recorded in the Bible, we proved this consequential condition of free will, over and over again. But then comes Jesus.

Jesus didn’t alter God’s Word, He explained, accepted and as painfully as possible exchanged His sinless life for our lives of sin from a totally new alter. The wages of sin are still death (separation from God), but Jesus changed the condition of death for those who believe (100%) in Him. He also shrouded the world with blessings from His blood. Here’s the catch, not everyone believes Jesus and not too many of those who do believe in Him do so completely and 100% of the time. There are a lots of dangerous rips and tears in that blanket of blessings which God has draped over the lives and nations who recognize Him. Lots of sin centered holes for the enemy to drift through in the darkness of our apathy, doubts and unbelief. The holes and tears seem to appear where any evidence of unbelief makes an appearance. Here’s an example of that in Jesus’ own life. It can be found in the gospel of both Mark 6:5 and Matthew 13:58. “But Jesus said, “A prophet is taken for granted in his hometown and his family.” He didn’t do many miracles there because of their hostile indifference.” Matthew 13:58 MSG. The blanket of God’s blessings can be lifted or thrown aside but the blood of the cross can not be. The blood of the cross exposed for the first time the previously locked door between spiritual life embodiment and the embodiment of life by the Spirit. Essentially between the realms of earth and heaven. Believing 100% and behaving 100% sinlessly are rare indeed, but they are the ultimate objective. Jesus alone accomplished that objective and then swapped His perfection for the imperfect lives of those who have come to know Him well enough to have no doubts. It seems like a bad deal for Him and good for us, but that’s only because we can’t fathom the depth of His love for humanity. Since there was only one perfect person, the old question of “why do bad things happen to good people” is a nearly moot point. Good to God as used here is not as much a matter of our behavior as it is a condition of our hearts. Jesus proved who He was when He walked among us, beyond every shadow of doubt. Yet doubts persist. It’s not folklore, it’s fact. None of the rest of us are good all of the time and that separates the seams in God’s protective blanket of blessings as much now as it did in Jesus’ time. We doubt, ignore, reject and conveniently overlook (defy) God’s instructions regularly. That is the basis of the penetration of evil into our otherwise blessed world. Our sinful, selfish nature is what has always been the key to our undoing. Being good most of time, isn’t all of the time. Jesus will stitch up the holes of our defiance for those whom He knows, but the rest are on their own under the Old Testament rules. Not just later after the sun sets on this life, but now too. The embodiment of life by the Spirit of God is what we need in order to know doubtlessly. Selfishness, the basis of nearly every sin makes more appearances in a second than selflessness does in a day in our world. That’s a lot of holes. Bad things happen when the blanket is corrupted. Our man made holes are hellish, while the tightly woven, seamless shroud of Jesus is as protective as it gets.

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Lost or Misled? ~ John C. Calkins

Posted: November 2nd, 2016 | Category: Common Sense, Conflict, Deception, Inspirational, Truth, Understanding | Comments

Is there something interfering with your pretty picture? You believe that simply because you’re a good, law abiding citizen, who once or thrice a year stops in at a church, that you’re good with God? You’re in the good minority as far as you can see, given all the crooks, cheats, liars and greedy sons of something you interact with daily, right? God has so many jerks to deal with that you must be a shoe-in for heaven … if… read more

Being Open To God ~ John C Calkins

Posted: June 21st, 2016 | Category: Christ Follower, Common Sense, Inspirational, Love, Truth | Comments

For the most part, this is a well intentioned world but this upbeat description pretty much ends there. IF our positive intentions were to be regularly carried over into similar actions, I believe that this world would be very different. Delightfully different. God agrees and inspired the Apostle Paul to write this. “It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but… read more

Judgments and Opinions ~ John C. Calkins

Posted: March 7th, 2016 | Category: Common Sense, Inspirational, Love, Truth | Comments

Judgments and opinions are in some ways quite different while in other ways they are very much alike. Judgments are considered decisions leading to sensible conclusions. Opinions are judgements which are not necessarily based upon facts or knowledge. The outcome of judgements can carry legal penalties of various sorts and some opinions might well have social consequences of similar severity. Some people are paid or ordered to judge others in criminal or civil disputes and it’s safe to presume that… read more

Love Without Faith? ~ John C. Calkins

Posted: March 2nd, 2016 | Category: Common Sense, Faith, Love | Comments

How can love and faith not be brothers or sisters of the same blood? Can we have faith without love? Of course not, that’s part of the package. Can we offer (Agape) love without faith? If we understand the meaning we can’t. Isn’t saying I love you the same proffer as saying I have faith in you? That is after all, how love begins. For those who have not invested in the Greek language, Agape love is usually defined as:… read more

Set In Our Ways ~ John C. Calkins

Posted: December 6th, 2015 | Category: Common Sense, Conflict, Disappointment, Faith, Inspirational | Comments

  For a select few, being set in our ways might be a good thing. For most of the rest of us however, it’s not. I’ve written about change before, about how uncomfortable it makes most people feel. I’m not writing about convenient change, like walking the dog someplace different, rather about the unsolicited wholesale change we need but casually avoid. Most who have established some modicum of relative comfort in life, even if they are otherwise miserable in it,… read more

Courtesy Begins At Home ~ John C. Calkins

Posted: November 19th, 2015 | Category: Christ Follower, Common Sense, Hope, Inspirational, Love | Comments

  Courtesy requires neither love nor respect. It’s a showing of politeness in our attitude and behavior toward others. We needn’t even like someone to be courteous. Perfect strangers are a good example. So why do so many of us show so very little, if any, tolerance for the character traits and behavioral patterns of those we profess or believe to be the closest to us? Does being too close or somehow irreversibly committed, erode our civil tolerances and perpetuate… read more

Awakening ~ John C. Calkins

Posted: November 8th, 2015 | Category: Christ Follower, Common Sense, Faith, Inspirational | Comments

  Awakening for most is simply a matter of of opening their eyes in the morning (ideally) and then allowing the brain to activate some of it’s millions of tiny cylinders. That’s not really awakening because it’s simply another day, rather than a new beginning. It’s the same portrait flavored with different spices, colors and accents. THAT daily process is just an activation, like the starting up of the same old worn engine to head out to the same old… read more

Firmness ~ John C. Calkins

Posted: August 23rd, 2015 | Category: Common Sense, Hope, Inspirational | Comments (1)

In this world which nearly everybody is trying to make softer and fuzzier, this may sound a bit counter-culture. It’s not, it’s pro-culture. Major Robert Rogers, a military strategist and leader wrote the following instruction, which he believed every commander should never veer from, “To preserve a firmness and presence of mind on every occasion.” This officer may well have been the forerunner to the present day Army’s Ranger School. This training  has produced or at least fine tuned most of… read more

Who or Where We Are? ~ John C. Calkins

Posted: August 20th, 2015 | Category: Common Sense, Deception, Hope, Inspirational | Comments

Which matters more to us, who we are or where we live? Most people would answer this question from the more singular, personal perspective. We’d rationalize that we have more control over who we are than where we live. Where we were born (country) isn’t something we had any control over. Where we live is often a result of where the citizenship, work or family is. Who I am? Now that I can take some responsibility for and/or pride in…. read more