Pride

pride

I don’t own the rights to this amazing pic. It’s from Imgur. And I’m not making any money on it.

It was the first sin, both in Heaven and on Earth.

It was what made Lucifer think he could replace God in a Zeus-like bid for power. Instead, he fell to Earth and became Satan.

It was what motivated Adam and Eve to transgress.

When he tempted Jesus, he made unsuccessful use of pride to get our Savior to stop being sinless.

Because of it:

  • We don’t forgive.
  • We don’t ask for forgiveness.
  • We pay attention to comparisons.
  • We don’t mind putting down another person.
  • Our families fall apart, our kids get lost.

It is the sneakiest temptation because when we have conquered most other temptations, we feel proud of ourselves.

It is the most human of condition. It doesn’t afflict only the rich. The poor, too, are proud. Not only the beautiful are caught in its ways.

We lie because of it.

Revolutionize your life (one small decision at a time)

revolutionize your lifeThis world is mean. If you obtain bad results, it criticizes you virulently. It casts you off.

But if you start to get a victory — a small victory — nobody says anything. So you may need to congratulate yourself for every small good thing you do:

  • you passed up the donut
  • you didn’t yell at your wife
  • you turned off the television and did something productive
  • you didn’t take a swig of alcohol.

Since no one is taking the time to pat you on the back, let this blog be your congratulations! Woo-hoo! I’m impressed for you! Keep it up, and soon, no one will recognize you. Your critics will fade away. You’re on the road to success.

My son, at 16, is working for NASA

LCA student works for NASA

In the background, Rob Ashcraft participates in some hands-on work with NASA.

No kidding! No, he’s not a child prodigy. It’s simply a story how if you stay where God has planted you and remain faithful, He’ll bring big opportunities to you. Read the full story.

Rob made a wise but hard decision to give up summer fun for a pre-calculus class. He wanted to be an engineer, so he wanted a jump on math. It turns out the teacher, a member in our church, was working on NASA’s antenna for the 2020 Mars rover (yes, they’re still looking for life up there). Eventually, he invited Rob to see the practical applications of the math he was working on.

What an opportunity! To work on a NASA project! Being exposed to greatness doesn’t make you great, but it sure gives you the chance to aim for greatness. See also.

In memory of Robin Williams (voices in your head)

voices in my headFor many people, the negative rant you hear in your head actually goes audible. And science can’t adequately explain it, so they pretty much dismiss it. It’s wonderfully consoling to know that you are not going crazy. Those voice are actually real. Robin Williams confessed to hearing voices in an under-reported interview: “You have an idea there’s a dark force when you’re in that space, and it’s totally the opposite of doing the right thing… You’re standing at a precipice and you look down, there’s a voice and it’s a little quiet voice that goes, ‘Jump!’” Unfortunately, he ultimately listened to those voices and hung himself.

Those voices are demons. They hate all humans. They come to us because of sin. They literally want to take you and me to Hell. In the name of Jesus, you can rebuke them, and they have to flee. Read the Bible. Confess your sins to God. Get some mature Christian to help you with prayer. Begin to director your life more and more towards God and away from sin.

My mom was a counselor in the Sylmar juvenile hall facility in the L.A. area, at the time, the largest in the nation. Kids would come to her to share the frightening secret: they were hearing voices. Frequently, those voices were telling them to kill, either another person or themselves. Guards and psychologists had told these kids they were crazy. My mom no. She prayed for them. They got free from the voices. They had opened themselves to hear those voices from their gang activities (violence, drugs, murder, other things).

As we saw from Robin Williams, you don’t have to be a gang-banger to wrangle with demons. The further you stray from God’s plan, the greater the danger you can actually to start to hear these mean voices.

I feel for the girl who’s cutting, the guy who’s taking anti-depressants, the alcoholic who’s gone over the edge. You can be a supposed mirth-filled person (like Williams) and be struggling privately with deep melancholy. Whatever the case, Jesus IS the answer. Doping people up doesn’t help. Counseling can help. But the real solution is God.

Gene Simmons vs. Jesus

Photo: Reuters

Photo: Reuters

Thanks for speaking clearly, Gene. There are actually a lot of people out there who think the world is preferable to the church. (My apologies to any offended fans of Gene Simmons for this comparison. I send you a KISS.)

Rebuild

rebuild your life

Do you know what city this is?

It’s Hiroshima.

I was blindsided. We host international students in our home and got one from Hiroshima. Honestly, I had heard so much about the atomic-bombing of Hiroshima and the controversial question of use of nuclear weapons that I never learned anything about the reconstruction of the city. In the abyss of my mind, vaguely I assumed that it was never rebuilt. The wasteland was so contaminated with radiation that no one ever dared to get within 50 miles of it.

Hiroshima after the atomic bomb leveled the city and ended the war with Japana. from Wikipedia

When I asked my new Japanese student where he was from, I was dumbfounded by his simple answer: Hiroshima. Next, I had a stupid thought: he didn’t look like a nuclear fallout victim. Then I peppered him with questions. I asked for pictures. I looked it up.

The oleander was named the official flower of the city because it was the first to bloom after the devastation of the atomic bomb. In a desperate attempt to defeat the Japanese in World War II, the Americans dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945. It killed 80,000 people and leveled 70% of the city. Subsequent radiation and injury killed another 40,000 by the end.

In 1949, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial City Construction Law funded the reconstruction of the city. Life would return to normal.

It’s no matter how destroyed your life (family, finances, whatever) is (by sin). You can rebuild.

Don’t get frustrated with the people around you

frustrated with peoplePeople are either a blessing or a lesson.

That is beautiful because it almost rhymes and expresses profound truth. So we should not despise the people who are lessons to us — the frustrating ones. It appears to me that is generally cute to despise others: “I don’t hate people. I just feel better when they’re not around,” one T-shirt says. And thus we families that fall apart. Since we can’t get along with others (we are unwilling to work at building relationships and blame others, not ourselves), we wind up with loneliness.

This is my plea for you to work at relationships, to restore, to forgive, and to give without expecting in return. Demolition is much easier than construction. To tear down feels pleasurable. But the rubble left is no fun. It is better to build, even if it is costly. Build your family, your friendships, your church.

The most beautiful woman on earth

most beautiful womanis your wife. Don’t look elsewhere. Swoon your wife like you once won her when she was your girlfriend.

To forgive others is to become a Christian

forgiveness
Even unbelievers admire Jesus. From the excruciating agony of the cross, he uttered these words about his crucifiers: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.

It is another testament to the veracity of the crucifixion story. That unschooled fishermen could concoct such a counter-intuitive and unnatural denoument is the more unbelievable story that atheists buy into. Remember Peter’s natural reaction was to cut off the high priest’s servant’s ear to defend his Lord. All of the disciples expected Jesus to throw off the hated Roman domination and set up an earthly kingdom to the style of David. That things worked out completely so unexpected attests to the truth of the story.

So Jesus is our example of forgiving. I believe we become Christians when we forgive. And when we become Christians, as the years pass, we — I — need to continue to forgive. It is never easy, whether the offense be small or big. Especially as the offense gets bigger. I’m not trying to be glib. It may be an internal struggle requiring all of our effort, this difficult task of forgiving.

No, I’m not throwing stones at people struggling with forgiveness. Really, I’m trying to encourage you to continue trying to forgive.

Does God love me?

dont feel loved by GodGod’s love for you is not based on how well you have behaved lately. You don’t earn or lose His love. It’s constant and immeasurable. There have been many times in my life I have felt unloved by God, but these were my own feelings working interference. I couldn’t receive a clear signal from God because of this interference.

Even if you don’t feel it, God loves and accepts you. I understood this only when I studied more profoundly the Word of God. It’s funny now, but the devil used to lead me to those passages that spoke of severity — and only to those passages. In reality, I was falling into the error of condemnation. When I understood the totality of the scriptures better, then I realized that God loved me. And He loves you too.