Wednesday, November 18, 2020

God doesn't need us, He delights in us

God doesn't need us but he does want us and enjoy us. So why would God want us and how can he enjoy us if he doesn't need us?

God is not like we are. He operates on a totally different - infinitely higher level than we do. We operate *out of need but God operates out of fullness i.e. overflow. 

God enjoys us because he is a being of joy who from all eternity past gives and receives love, honor, and delight among the Father, Son, and Spirit. He is perfect fullness and love. He is perfect community. 

He is not just full but overflowing. God doesn't need us because he has **himself. But

because he has himself - as a community of overflowing love and delight - he desires we too share in the glory and joy of who he is as a perpetual overflow of love, glory, joy, and delight. 

When someone else finds delight in Him and His delight, he is delighted in them and for them. He loves it when others experience His love, joy, and glory. 

In short, both God's independence from us and desire for us is because he has himself i.e. He is not only complete as a being, he is overflowing because of His completeness/perfection. He is perfect in love, glory, and joy. And because He is, He desires we too partake in His bliss. 

In summary:

God loves perfectly because he is perfect love as Father, Son, and Spirit.

God is independent because he is inner dependent, self-sufficient, and overflowing for the same reason.

For related discussions about God see the following:

The importance and necessity of the Trinity 
The essence of God's life 
Thoughts on the Trinity 
Overview of Jonathan Edwards theology.
Why do the Father and Son love each other?

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* Because we operate out of need it is hard for us to comprehend and relate to someone that operates out of perfect fullness and overflow. We simply can not relate to this from our own experience i.e. it is not how we operate.

** To be loved by the most perfect being is to be loved perfectly. Christ is the perfect image of the Father and therefore most highly regarded and loved by the Father. And in response, Christ adores the Father in whose image he is, who also desires we know and experience the Father as he experiences Him. To be loved perfectly is to be in a state of complete fullness, bliss, and contentment. This results in God overflowing in love and moves Him to share Himself with others – as Father, Son, and Spirit - so they too can participate in this state of blissful union.


Wednesday, November 11, 2020

What does it mean to be broken?

What does it mean to be broken and living in a broken world? It means we are no longer personally and deliberately connected to the Source of life, love, and all things and therefore no longer fully operational. It also means the rest of creation itself is "in bondage" as a result. 

Therefore we no longer function at the maximum capacity we are designed to - nor does the rest of creation. We are like a highly efficient and beautifully designed catamaran with no wind or sea... or a powerful and precisely engineered flashlight with no batteries... or a gloriously decorated Christmas tree sitting unplugged in the dark. Each of these has great intrinsic and innate value but their potential can never be realized without being coupled with that which they are designed to operate by.

When we do not operate according to our true design, we may still function but at a very shallow level, if at all. We are dysfunctional to use an overused but familiar word - i.e. We are broken. You may put a catamaran up on a stand, hook things up - not the sails - and live inside it, but you will never experience the full benefit of what it is designed to do, i.e., sail the world experiencing great adventure and beauty.


Without God, we can still function at some level but nowhere near the capacity we were designed for. And no matter how well we fix up the outside or inside of our catamaran to make it more comfortable - even luxurious - we will always have a sense that there is far more to be engaged in than what we are experiencing.

As Augustine said, "You (God) have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they can find rest in you."

For a discussion on how we are fully loved yet fully broken click here

For a discussion on how to be freed from our brokenness click here

For a discussion on how it's impossible to live for God in our own strength click here

For a discussion on how we are free yet bound click here

Monday, November 9, 2020

How to fix fake news

We have all heard the expression “fake news” in the last few years. Who makes the assertion doesn’t really matter. The fact that it’s made at all tells us things must change.  

If we are ever to return to sanity in the news, getting to the truth must be our goal. The following are some items I find overlooked or ignored regularly that prevent this from happening. A clear list of standards in determining truth is vital and must be established to assess the accuracy of any report and restore confidence that when we hear a report it is in fact actual news.

Of course, the ultimate standard is laid out for us in the Bible itself. Here are at least two expressions of that standard.

Exodus 20:16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor”

Matt 18:16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.

So what must be done to help us get to the truth in the news arena?

*1st we must distinguish between reporting and an op-ed i.e. An opinion piece or opinion editorial. Very little today is true reporting on both sides of a debate. What is usually promoted most are opinion pieces.

Though opinion pieces have their place and value they don't always get to the facts. They can be good to stimulate discussion in a healthier environment but in today's climate, it usually results in disagreement and division.

*The best facts are those that can be substantiated by an eyewitness (with 1st hand knowledge of the facts) or better yet confirmed by the source itself - though even a source is not always reliable e.g. They may be coerced to say something that is not true to avoid a greater consequence than the "confession" - such as with torture or some other threat.

Nevertheless, the best source for accuracy comes from the party involved in the action, coercion aside. It doesn't matter if this is a willful admission or unintentional. Documentation of an event either in writing, audibly or visually, acquired or disseminated by a 3rd party - e.g. wikileaks, is still an admission by the party committing the act even if an unintentional admission. 

*Reporting only some of the facts, not all of them. What is shared may be true as far as it goes but it doesn't cover everything relevant to the issue. Partial reporting of facts may give the appearance of being truthful but is actually the most subtle form of lying. We sometimes call this a “half-truth.” Often these kinds of reports are made of information taken totally out of context. When you tell only part of the story, you can claim someone said pretty much anything you want to.

*A witness that openly and willingly identifies themselves and their reason for reporting are always far more reliable than an anonymous "source" whose identity or motive cannot be confirmed. A witness who openly identifies themselves has "skin in the game" i.e. Their reputation is on the line - or often more - making it far more likely they are telling the truth. If they're not willing to put their neck on the line, their testimony should carry far less weight.

*Multiple witnesses are far better than a single one. But they still must produce evidence for their reports/claims e.g. 10 liars are still liars. One person with hard evidence trumps (no pun intended) an unlimited number of liars. More liars saying something doesn't make it more true.

*Facts are facts regardless of who reports them. Many good facts are being promoted by outlets or persons with opposing views but are ignored simply because those outlets or persons have been discredited by their opposition or competition. This results in a very lopsided view of the world. If all the facts are given, they stand on their own two feet regardless of who gives them. We should never be afraid of facts only cautious of the reporter.

*It helps to keep in mind that the "news" is also in the sales business. The more sensational the news the more viewers they draw which brings in more revenue from advertisement. I'm not saying advertisement in itself is necessarily bad as long as integrity is priority. Strong advertisement revenues should be the fruit of doing a good job and not what drives the story.

In conclusion, I find it best to wait 48 hours after an initial report so it can be scrutinized more closely before I assess its accuracy. News stations wish to be the first out the gate with a story but premature opinions on events before all the facts come in and are reviewed have incredibly negative consequences and are highly irresponsible. When all the facts come out contrary to the early views pushed, it's too late. The following clip of a police cam on the Floyd arrest is a recent example. Even if there is a retraction - which often doesn't happen - the damage has already been done. Worse yet the bad initial reports still circulate after the facts prove they were completely wrong. This happens way too much – especially with police related matters - and is why many official news outlets have lost their credibility.

These are things I always look for when assessing any "news." These all may seem obvious and common sense but they are ignored regularly so they should be raised. Many things that are put forth today as facts do not pass a rigorous application of these tests if they are applied at all.

Even the so called fact checkers often don't pass this list. I have seen many reports by "official" news sources that turned out to be garbage after being scrutinized more closely. Long established outlets often depend on their "official” status as a reputable source or on self proclaimed "fact checkers" instead of actual facts to persuade the public. As a result they often do poor work… in many cases very harmful work.

Last, the above list should be something everyone agrees on regardless of your political bent. This is not a list that favors one side over another. It favors getting to the truth, which everyone should agree to and want. Truth is always better than lies.

For a discussion on the history behind fake news click here


Friday, October 30, 2020

The necessity of faith and an infinite God

Belief is powerful, both positively and negatively. By nature, we are *finite and therefore **dependent beings. Because we are finite, **trust is necessary. 

By virtue of being created beings we must trust. 

As finite beings, we must trust in order to function properly. 

By God's design we are dependent creatures.  

But who or what do we trust? We either place our trust in ***ourselves or in someone greater-wiser-more powerful than us.

When we trust in God and recognize he - not us - is greatest of all we can accomplish amazing things. But if our faith is placed in the wrong thing, it can result in us doing incredibly harmful and destructive things. How harmful and destructive is determined by ****what we believe best brings life and how deeply we believe it.

Faith is powerful and when coupled with the right object - i.e. the all-wise, all-powerful, and all-loving God - it can release in and through us amazing outcomes. To do amazing things requires amazing faith but not faith in anything but in the right thing i.e. the all-powerful loving and wise God. The benefit, value and effectiveness of our faith is determined by the object of it.

Truly amazing outcomes are the combination of great faith in an infinitely great object. The more we recognize the greatness of the object the greater our faith-trust in that object.

For a further discussion on related topics, see the following: 

The essence of God's life and therefore ours.

Why do the Father and Son love each other?

Why are relationships important?

Is God dependent?

Beatific vision - what is it?

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*By finite I mean we are not all-knowing, all-powerful, everywhere present. I am not saying we are not able to do far more than we presently do. Our capacity for great good and achievement is far more than any of us realize, but only if and when we are fully “plugged in” to our Creator (which starts in this life through Christ and is fully realized when we are with him face to face). We are, after all, like God or god-like if you will. And we are this way so we might participate in all that God is, to the greatest extent possible, without actually being Him - we are not God (infinite in love, wisdom, power, and existence) and never will be. We are finite and wholly dependent on God to be all we are designed to be.

**In the physical realm, it is easy to illustrate our dependence. We must have air, food, water, and shelter to survive. In our present circumstances, we have come to take for granted our air, food, and water are helpful and not harmful i.e. We trust this is true because we have found it to be so. But if we went to an unfamiliar environment - such as an alien planet - we would be cautious because we wouldn't know whether the air food and water are life-sustaining or not.

***Trust in ourselves includes trust in persons or things we think we control, i.e. we are ultimately trusting in our ability to obtain from something or someone else what we need - and we may, for a short time, but not ultimately. God ultimately controls and sustains everything, and our experiencing the benefits of these is a gift from God, whether we acknowledge it or not. To not acknowledge this however has significantly dire consequences. This results in us eventually no longer having these good gifts or the provider of them, once we leave this world.

To trust in ourselves also means we think we are better able and wiser than God to take care of ourselves.

****This can be wealth, power, pleasure, or whatever we think (believe) will give us what we most need.

Having faith in God does not mean we can't believe in ourselves it means we can't believe we are wiser than God. It is not just OK but good to recognize and acknowledge our abilities as long as we also recognize they are not and will never be greater than Gods but in fact come to us because of God. Neither will they give us what we ultimately need and seek. 




Sunday, October 18, 2020

The necessity of choice

Choice is essential. It is a *vital part of what gives us innate value. Our dignity is tied to our freedom to choose i.e. free choice is an essential part of our significance. Without it, we are programmed robots who do not pursue God freely.

However, our choosing rebellious independence - i.e. disobedience - with its negative consequences shows the necessity of choosing God vs attempts at being our own god. We may be free to choose but we are not free from the consequences of that choice. Through painful consequences we hopefully learn to willingly and delightfully choose God's way - as we were designed to - over our own way i.e. the way of independence from God. 



Both our free choice and our choosing the right direction are vital i.e. we can choose whatever we wish, but the consequences of those choices are according to our design. To act contrary to how God designed us is to suffer loss i.e. to lose God, and all that comes with knowing Him. 

Our freely choosing the right direction is God’s aim. He wants us to choose freely but also correctly. He doesn't want us to choose to live contrary to our design, but neither does he desire we be automatons. He lets us choose freely, even if it leads to our own destruction. He desires we choose both rightly and freely. 

It is truly our choice whether to pursue God but our dignity and the **strength and greatness of *our value – our innate worth - make this a **difficult and ongoing process. After we accept his offer of restoration from our rebellion, we must be weaned from being our own god and persuaded to freely pursue the only true God. To keep our dignity intact, God does not force or program us to choose him. It is only in freely choosing God we can truly and fully experience all of God and all He intended and designed us to be. 

This process is not difficult for God but for us. Choosing to be our own god has so **deeply and subtly bound up our heart in rebellious unbelief, we are slow to relinquish our independence and submit to God in total dependence/trust even after we've been restored to him by grace. We are slow to believe someone is wiser than us and trust He cares more about us and is better able to provide what's best for us than we can - especially when it looks like the opposite is true.

Our challenge is we are free but also dependent - far more dependent than we are willing to recognize or admit. We believe to be truly free we must be independent and to be dependent we can no longer be free. God however knows our greatest joy - and his greatest glory in and through us - comes when we freely and delightfully (willingly) choose dependence on God and not ourselves. Not to minimize us, but just the opposite... so we will fully be and experience all he created us to be and freely recognize God for who He truly is - the source of life, love, and all things. The irony is, when we do, we experience our greatest purpose and meaning - i.e. we are maximized - if you will - when we are most humble/dependent; when we act according to who we are, dependent image-bearers of Almighty God. To say it as the bible does, to live we must die. 

So on the one hand we must completely have free choice to be and *live as the true image-bearers of God we were designed to be, yet our will must be totally in submission to our Creator **in order to fully display that image and experience who we are to the maximum of our design and to our greatest joy. Our submission to God must be done both freely and fully to experience God to the greatest extent possible and properly honor Him according to His true worth. We are created to glorify God and enjoy Him forever at the same time. Though these may be distinct, because of how God made us, neither happens without the other.

The following links are a further discussion on related matters...

We are created for glory

Does God value us?

For a further discussion on choice, click here.

Why freedom of choice is important click here

How sovereign is God? Click here

Giving and receiving glory

Do we have a "free" will or are we heavily influenced? Click here

The value of paradox and truths in tension click here.

The question of fairness click here.

The necessity of mercy click here.

Is the election and wrath of God unreasonable? click here.

The practical importance of God's electing grace click here

How we are free to choose yet bound, click here

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*The more aligned we are with God's will and design, the more we experience our true significance and greatest joy. The more we freely choose God the more we honor him. For this reason – i.e. His own honor/glory - God will not violate our choice. This is so we might gain the most out of our participation in the community of Father, Son, and Spirit i.e. experience God to the maximum potential without being God.

**Our ability to choose is at the heart of who we are and an essential part of our innate value. If we choose wrongly, the necessity and importance of having choice does not go away, it becomes misdirected. The challenge is our being redirected to choose correctly again. The primary reason for this challenge is choice is so essential to our makeup, the pull of our misdirection (rebellion) is equally as strong in the wrong direction as it is in the right direction (submission). The strength of our rebellion is equally as powerful as the joy of our willful submission. To have the ability to enjoy God as great, our ability to refuse God must be equally great.  

To fully appreciate what we have, the possibility of not having it must also exist. The absence of good - or the possibility - makes the presence of good all the sweeter.


Monday, October 12, 2020

The exposing of globalism and its dangers

This is not necessarily an endorsement of Trump. However,  one thing a Trump presidency has done is forced the *globalists out in the open resulting in their exposing themselves. 

In America, we are free to believe whatever we want, including globalism, but to pretend to be a Patriot when one is a traitor to America's founding principles is deceptive and wrong. I am not saying you have to agree with those founding principles; I am saying don't pretend you do when you don't. 

Then we can have an open discussion of the virtues and fallacies of globalism or any other system. This is what has made American unique; the free exchange of ideas. Globalism wishes to shut down that exchange. 

Not everything desired by those sympathetic to the globalist agenda is necessarily bad, but deception is wrong no matter how justified one thinks their end goal is. If an honest person is sympathetic to globalism, it would be worth reassessing that sympathy knowing that deception is common to their methodology.

If someone wishes to be a *globalist it would serve them better to go somewhere where globalism is gladly embraced and live with the fruit of that world view, not try to turn America into a globalist system so some can rise to power and feast off the blessings of liberty. 


America is not perfect but people come here because it's better than where they came from. Freedom to think, do, and speak as we wish - as long as it does no actual harm (vs perceived harm) to our fellow Americans - is a central tenant in the founding of America. Whether good people within the globalist group understand it or not, Globalism takes away our liberties think, and speak freely, which ultimately leads to tyranny for everyone else, who is not in power.

America has much to get right but if we wish to remain free to figure that out, globalism must be rejected November 3rd.

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*What is the driving force behind globalism? When you get past the more superficial elements of its agenda it is control of the economic system of the world for the benefit of those who seek to control it. This is why you have people on both sides of the political aisle advancing it. In truth, globalism is exactly like communism in this regard. Some would argue they are one and the same.               

Trump is an existential threat to the globalists (and this destructive agenda). The primary promoters do not care about being right or what you think of them. They're fighting for their existence and only focused only on succeeding. Fair play or truth are not guiding principles for them, winning at all costs is. Staying in power is more important than being good, right, or honorable. They are more concerned about being feared and obeyed than respected or admired. They are relentless in their pursuit and will eliminate you if necessary (figuratively or otherwise) to achieve their ends of power and control.

I should add many embraced and incorporated into the globalist camp are not necessarily aware of the destructiveness of this underlying agenda. Many are sincerely passionate about some of the values promoted by Globalism. However, those few who have a nefarious agenda (control of the economic system of the world for their personal benefit vs the benefits of those within that camp) have cleverly grabbed on to and harnessed these sincere passions and incorporated them to appeal to a good sentiment and give the emotional drive and appeal of an otherwise very destructive agenda. A perfect example is environmentalism. There is a strong sentiment today for stewarding our planet more responsibly. I am totally in agreement with that value. Being a surfer for 45 years has likely played a role. Fossil fuels can be reduced if not eliminated altogether given all the developments in alternate energy sources over the years. The issue isn't whether this is viable, it's that there is an unwillingness to invest in developing alternatives to fossil fuels. Ironically, though it shouldn't surprise us, the globalists own the fossil fuel industry. 

However, what was formally called "global warming" plays right into the hands of the globalists and their desire for world control.  In truth, it's a bait and switch tactic. They need a global problem to rally people around a global solution - which they claim to offer - even if they have to fabricate one. Climate change may be real - it's obvious the climate has changed up or down over the years - but a steady upward trajectory in global warming is an unproven conjecture yet to be clearly established. Many scientists argue against it as well as for it. And predictions of some apocalyptic demise of the planet have fallen short consistently. 

How does Trump fit into all this? Trump's brilliance is not his ability to think deeply but to think strategically and broadly. He is more like a general on the battlefield with a genius in knowing how to address a crisis once he has all the facts - facts that are often withheld by some globalists - often within his very administration it appears. He is about results not style or manner of operation. He is a bottom-line pragmatic businessman, not a politician.  This is why so many support him… they are tired of politicians who promise everything but do nothing - or the opposite i.e. more harm than good. This is why he has the support of the highest percentage of minorities (blacks and Hispanics in particular of any president in years, maybe ever). People want results. This is also why globalists dread and hate him... he gets results. Results they despise because he is also a patriot (he loves the principles of freedom on which America was originally founded, which is an obstacle to globalists achieving their agenda). 

Globalists love freedom also, but not for everyone. They love the freedom to exploit others which is actually slavery for everyone else.



Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Our value is the foundation for offenses

Because we are significant and valuable, when we are treated otherwise, something is taken from us. You can call it a sense of dignity, worth, self-respect, etc. 

Instinctively we all know this is wrong, especially when we are on the receiving end. We also know someone should restore the one who has been mistreated, i.e. someone should pay for the loss. So what are the options?

*We (the offended) can pay for it - i.e. forgive - which means we incur the loss. 

*The offender can pay for it - i.e. restore what they took or damaged ... or

*Someone else can step in - a substitute - and cover the loss for the offender. 

The foundation for right and wrong.

When it comes to God, because he created and sustains us, all we are and have comes from him. Therefore, we owe it to him to live in a way that acknowledges this i.e. honors him for who He is and what he gives...yet we don't.

And because we don't we not only dishonor him but we cut ourselves off from the life and love we were designed to receive i.e. His life. God doesn't reject us, we reject him.

Without his life in us, we can never be all He designed us to be. Because we do not recognize him as our Creator and Sustainer or seek to live for his honor - but for our own - we are no longer *spiritually alive i.e. alive to God.  We are like a flashlight with the batteries removed or a sailboat where the wind has died. We still have the capacity to be all God created us to be - we have simply unplugged from the source of life.

So what are we to do? How can we restore ourselves? We can't. Without his love and life filling us - giving us a sense of meaning purpose and value - we can't live the way we were designed to.  Only his love - the wind in our sails - can move us to live for him as we were created to.

To be restored, someone else had to live that life for us - option 3 above - then offer to credit to us what they did. We also needed someone to pay our debt - restore what we damaged - for not treating others as they deserve - both God and our fellow image-bearers - i.e. treat them according to their true worth and dignity. Option 3 is the only way we can be restored back to God. We simply will not and cannot restore ourselves.

And option 3 could only be carried out by somebody who lived for God's honor and glory **perfectly because we can not without the love and life - power/wind - of God stirring in us the desire to live for Him. 

To say it another way, we can not live for God without the life and love of God moving us. And the love of God is not available to us until we are restored to God. We are stuck. We need someone outside us to take care of our problem. 

Thank God, he made the way. He sent **Christ to do for us what we could not do for ourselves. The only thing that remains for us to do is to believe He did everything necessary to restore us. It is up to us to accept his offer. Will you accept it?

For a further discussion on how the most valuable values us click here

For further discussions on our value click 

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*We no longer experience our true value and dignity as intended because we are cut off from the true source of it i.e. Our Creator.

**And how did Christ live/obey perfectly? By trusting the Father's love, wisdom, and power perfectly. The very same love, wisdom, and power we too, as a child of God in Christ, have available to us through the Holy Spirit given by grace - i.e. because of what Christ did to restore us back to the Father.