Links to my Books

Links to My Writings

Meditations on Maintenance for the Kindle
Memoirs of a Super Criminal for the Kindle, Nook
One Year in the Mountains for the Kindle, Nook
Adventures of Erkulys & Uryon for the Kindle and Nook

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Matthew Chapter 8

Matthew Chapter 8

Jesus, finished with this section of teachings, begins to heal all those who come and ask for healing. A leprous man, a Centurion’s servant, and a woman, are all outsiders to the community of Jews. In them, Jesus finds great faith, even greater faith then among his own Jews. So much faith that it will replace the Jews and many will come from the East and West to sit with God at the final banquet. Great faith is found in Jesus’ ability to heal. This adds weight to Jesus teachings.

Jesus’ power seems to have no limits. But the faith of his disciples is limited. They have yet to understand the true nature of Jesus. Yet power can frighten. Instead of faith and freedom at the power over demons, some turn to fear. Responding in faith means over coming fear, fear of the expected, fear of the unknown, fear of the outcome. Faith means seeing a better possible future where the servant is healed, the leprosy is gone, and the demons ran off. Faith is holding to what can be even in the face of the fear which only focus on what is. How does one respond to Jesus power and authority?

Only gaze upon the slumbering lord in the midst of troubles to be comforted that peace can be had, even here.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Matthew Chapter 7

Matthew Chapter 7

As the Sermon on the Mount continues, Jesus turns towards attitudes of judgments. One’s life is so full of wrongs, evils and sins that there should be no room to point out other’s errors unless one it trying to distract from one’s own wrong doing. Concern yourself with your own life and then use that which you learn about self-improvement to help others. Judging is not the goal. You cannot see clearly to help others until after you have cleared the “plank” in your own life.

God will give good gifts to those who ask, seek and knock. It is an active faith in God, a faith set on God and searching after God. God will provide all the blessings in an active faith.

The Law and the Prophets are summed up in one easy saying: do to others what you would have them do to you. This follows God’s blessing. God will bless those who bless others. This way is not easy for the gate is small and the way narrow but leads to life. One will know by the fruit produced those who are the right way. The good fruit is a sure sign of a righteous person walking the narrow way. Others who come boasting and preaching but not producing are suspect. All who hear and obey are building a solid foundation for life. Treating others with compassion and justice is never the wrong way. This is self-evident. And a plain truth, but one that has been hidden. It takes Jesus to state it plainly. And in so doing reveals his authority. Those who do not know try to hide their lack of knowledge with confusing and contrary discourse. The truth is simple and simply revealed. Its simplicity carries weight and authority. It makes common sense that all can follow.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Sample of my Work in Progress, Untitled.

The force in the lift began to lessen as they reached an opening of a branch. They all followed Elijah out into the branch tunnel. It was dim after the brightness they had first experienced. Not too far along the tunnel of the branch leading away from the trunk was a set of windows. They stopped briefly to admire the view. Reagan judged they were three quarters of the way up the tree and well above the forest. They could see for miles and miles.

“Wow” Layla said stepping back from the windows. “That is high.” 

Windows continued to dot the walls as they walked further out in the branch. They could feel a slight breeze that was growing steadily stronger. They reached a place where the tunnel branched into two slightly smaller tunnels. It was unnoticed at first but obvious once Reagan began to look for it, the tunnel had been narrowing slightly. The group, following the Raven, turned down the left hand side of the split and after a dozen steps was greeted with an opening stretching before them. It was the source of the breeze. A large green deck stretched out from the opening. Another green “leaf” covered part of the deck.

“This is where I would have landed. But obviously your vehicle could not make a landing here. So we walked, and floated. Take a look if you would like.” Elijah spoke calmly. His feathers ruffled slightly in the breeze wafting in from the opening in the branch to the landing pad.

Reagan, Clara, and Olivia walked out on the deck. It was made of a very sturdy ceramic. Layla hung back. “No thanks. I can see fine from here,” she offered at their quizzical looks.

Reagan now noticed that each leaf hanging from the branches surrounding them was much thicker than he had first realized. Each one served as a room, or in clusters of leaves, as a whole house possibly. He could also make out other landing areas, usually near branch junctions. He walked near the edge and peered down. He could see the trunk stretching down to the ground far below.  He realized that many of the trees were similar to this one, housing a whole community of Ravens. He stepped a little closer and noticed the lack of a guardrail around the deck. Of course, what need would a bird have for guardrails? It was a long, long way down. Maybe Layla had the right idea. He moved slowly back from the edge. He sighed and moved to join her in the tunnel.

Clara laughed at him. “A space captain afraid of heights?” She mocked, as she stood motionless near the edge.

They resumed their walk and came to a cluster of leaves. Elijah rang a discrete buzzer at the opening. And they waited. It was not long until an aged Raven appeared whose dark feathers had mostly turned gray. He slowly inspected his guests. He greeted Elijah coolly.

“You have brought me humans.” It was not a question, but a statement directed at Elijah.

Read another sample here

Monday, June 10, 2013

Matthew Chapter 6

Matthew Chapter 6
One’s life is a demonstration of one’s heart. If one acts just for show or accolades then it demonstrates a heart not set on God, but rather on the approval of others. Charity, prayer, fasting and other spiritual disciplines are not for outward appearances or for a demonstration of righteousness. These things are between you and God, done for your own soul and should remain private. They are a personal discipline but with a communal aspect.

If one only looks to the approval of others and to earthly wealth then it can all be taken away in a minute. A fall from great heights is easy. But life in God through Christ and Spirit brings rewards that cannot be taken away; nor will they fail. Seeking God first lessens worry in life over things and positions, it also puts you in the care of God who knows what you need and how best to provide it. We often confuse our wants with our needs. God will provide for our needs if we trust in him to do so. But our wants are ours.

The Kingdom of God is not a future event but a way of living here and now with eternal rewards. Righteousness is how one lives from the heart, not in judgment of others or in self righteous legalism, but in mercy and compassion.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Sermon on the Mount, Matthew chapter 5

Matthew Chapter 5
Jesus begins to teach. This section encompasses so much that a lifetime could be devoted to its study and yet more would still remain to be discovered. But a lifetime of study would miss the point of it because Jesus’ teachings are about actions. Real actions in a real world require real attitudes. Study leads to understanding, which is important, but can often lead to legalism, the Law. A life lived in these words of Jesus, leads to compassion and acts of righteousness. This section is all about a transformed heart which allows the Law to be lived as it should be, through compassion, not legalism.

Jesus begins with the beatitudes. Attitudes to hold in life. Attitudes which will bring blessings. These attitudes will end in persecution, just as they persecuted the prophets, and in time, Jesus. How can persecution be a blessing? The blessings are earthly possessions but rather the ability to handle life in a peaceful and godly manner. Persecution comes because we are the salt and the light, which is too much for the world to handle. The world is used to a bland, dark world. To challenge it with salt and light invites persecution.

The Law had been turned into a legal system bent on control. Jesus is going to free the Law and therefore the people, from legalism. The Law starts in the heart. Actions start in the heart. Without a heart set on God, transformed in the spirit, the best it can do is legalism. And the worst it can do is evil. But a transformed heart makes sense of the Law through compassion, mercy and peace.  The spirit of the Law which moves a transformed heart is an attitude of mercy, hope, forgiveness and compassion. It is going beyond the expected, the strict confines of what is required to the openness of a tender heart intent on right actions. Righteousness and legalism may look similar in actions but are worlds apart in intention. Righteousness is only possible through an open and transformed heart intent on God through the spirit. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Matthew Chapter 4

Matthew Chapter 4
After baptism come temptation and a wilderness experience. This experience is part of the winnowing process which turns a “calling” into a “ministry.”  Every new believer will go through a similar experience. If one is true to the calling of God then you will follow where God leads depending upon God for guidance, even if that means into the wilderness. Jesus rebuts the devil with words from Scripture. But these words reflect a willingness to be in God’s hands not tempted to take a short cut to success which is often just a trap. Israel went though a time in the wilderness, but they failed in obedience. Here in this time, Jesus remains faithful to God and his calling. And when it is done angels come to minister. A respite from the tempter does not mean the job is done. It means it is time to start working on the real task set before you. Beating temptation is not the active ministry only the prelude to active ministry. Devils and angels, if you are not in the hands of one you are in the care of the other.

Now Jesus is ready for his ministry to begin. Ordained by God, tempted by the devil, his course is set. Jesus takes up John’s message: “repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is near.” A theme seen in the Gospel of Mark, but a theme developed much more in this Gospel.

Jesus goes out to the common people, not the professionals and experts. Jesus seeks his first disciples among the average people, not religious leaders or other rabbis. And four fishermen respond. Why? Did they know Jesus? Did they sense his power or hear his words? Were they looking for a reason to escape the common life? Were they looking for excitement and a change of pace? Did they know the consequences of their “yes” to Jesus?

We see Jesus’ power revealed in the next section. He heals many. People are attracted to power, power that heals and a message of repentance draws the crowds. There seems no limit to Jesus’ power to heal “all” kinds of illness and disease. He is becoming famous. Now that his resume has been established, his power revealed and crowds gathered we get a glimpse at his teachings. He taught the disciples and the crowds. The next three chapters look at the teachings of Jesus in depth. It is not just a few sentences strung together or a few parables as we see in the Gospel of Mark, this next section reveals the heart of Jesus’ teachings and attitudes.