Who to TRUST?!

THOUGHTS, WORDS, TRUST

Pro. 23.7 For as he thinks within himself, so he is. He says to you, “Eat and drink!” But his heart is not with you. -NASB

And from some English translations something pretty intense to say the least:

For like a hair in the throat, so are they. “Eat and drink!” they say to you; but they do not mean it. -NRSV, CEB

There have always been fakers, people without integrity who scam people, say things with motive to curry favor and in essence, are not people of integrity. The “I’ll pose as your friend to get what I want from you” game has always been played and one can easily find people in both Testaments as well as everyday life who consistently do so.

Here’s the problem: how to know the difference between actors and real-deal people, between sincerity and someone currying favor because they want something they perceive you may have that they desire.

Years ago a very genuine person asked me “How do you tell when someone is lying or being honest?”

My reply included thoughts about the difficulty yet necessity of hearing (and if possible reading, etc.) their words, and watching their lives over time, if possible even years, not mere moments. What sort of consistency in relational dealings did/do they exemplify?

The foundational issue is trust.

This is true about what we think and believe about Jesus Himself, Paul, Peter, John, James, Moses, David and others we read about in scripture. It is also true regarding Judas, Jannes and Jambres, King Saul, Ananias and Sapphira, those Jude mentions in his letter. It is just as true about you, me and all of us dear reader.

If you truly don’t believe you can trust God or someone else no authentic relationship with them is possible. In fact a close relationship with them doesn’t make sense.

You and I have experienced such, true?

How do you love someone you don’t trust?

First off, God loves us even though He’s well aware of our propensity to ignore and at times even outright rebel against Him. He does not automatically trust us, nor is He at all ignorant about our being made in His image. He recognizes we are imperfect, flawed sinners, not totally righteous in all our thoughts, words and deeds. He IS Love and the Source of all true love – it’s His nature.

For us to love one another with any reflection of Him we must ourselves be accountable to Him and godly people of integrity He sends our way. Risks abound in all this, don’t they?

The fear- reverence, respect and knowledge we shall all give account to God rather than the fear of people is truly key to all this. Eyes on God, deep desire to truly serve Him and others, faith that God is indeed WITH us throughout our days and even “the dark night of the soul” are all core-core-core to how to navigate such people and whatever the circumstances involved.

Knowing and following the Risen Jesus, studying and application of His Word the Bible, confessing OUR sins, walking our (HIS) talk puts our feet on solid ground in relation to both God and others.

Yet none of this fully removes us from rip-off people- disingenuous, self-worshiping or even those with evil-motives in this fallen world.

Can we learn how to truly pray? Is James correct that if we lack wisdom God will give it to us? Is it possible for us to not get fleeced by the “P.T. Barnum’s” of our world, even in the church world? I believe it is quite possible if we ourselves will guard our own hearts, forgive those who have sinned against us -and one more thing:

If your motive and focus is regularly about getting rather than giving (please meditate on this point) you may find within yourself seeds very alike those in the person mentioned above in Proverbs.

Certainly there are times justice requires confrontation and for example, Matthew 18 -but if getting, taking, receiving, the me-first attitude is the motive you share with the actor, and/or false prophet you will likely reap what you’ve sown and find yourself often in such company.

God give us grace to check our own hearts, keep focus on Him and not merely look for gain in our relationships -but being a loving, serving gift to others.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Early June 2021 UPdate

First, Big Thanks for all the kind words and wishes for Wendi and myself re. our 49th Anniversary! It was a truly cool time together… so many of you here and via social media I just couldn’t reply to all of ya’s!! THANK YOU.

So a number of folks have requested GK solo shows/appearances. I’ve told all including confirmed gigs not to publicize at all until 3 weeks prior to the actual date/s, and then they can and I will via all sites. If Covid kicks in here or where they are re. at-risk folks I’d have to cancel and I’d rather not publicize and then have to do such.

Meanwhile I’ve another chapter (Five) up at the YouTube GrrrRecords channel from my simple reading of “Now What?!” which details the first 9 months of my walk -roller coaster as it truly was- with Jesus.

As schedules permit for all involved I’ll be getting back to work on “Ain’t No Bars” which is essentially a blues/worship record. I hope to get it finished and released this year via Grrr.

Been so busy w. family and special events I’ve not had time to get out front w. the guitar, harp and battery-powered amp this past week but will continue doing so asap. So love chatting and interacting w. our neighbors here in Uptown Chicago!

I’m up to some 240+drafts of starts, partial edits or otherwise bits of writing in this blog… I pray, re-read and edit and sometimes post, sometimes not, but much writing going on.

I’ll soon post web addy, date and time for an hour-long video I’m doing on building a simple found-object and/or cigarbox guitar. Stay tuned.

My “Swamp Gas Messiahs” record has been well received and grateful for the many kind responses to it.

As Covid gets in control via vaccinations and sane protocols I look very forward to continuing in chaplain’s work and shows in Cook Co. Jail, Stateville CC and other Illinois, etc., prisons.

I continue to join many brothers and sisters in our Sunday Vigil here in Chicago- silently holding up signs w. names of Black and Brown people killed by police (and on occasion vigilantes). Those are imprtant times of prayer, reflection and convos with people, perhaps even life-saving and in the long run a matter of justice. Many of you know I live out of Matthew 25, John 15 and Micah 6.8 in these matters. And then there is 2 John 6!

I hope your summer is good, safe and filled with learning, grace and yep- fun!!

As always, thanks for stopping by:) -Glenn

Eternal Repetition

I’ve shared this before, but I suppose someone needs to hear it or remember…

Five amazing words so packed with meaning! They appear in other, similar phrases throughout the Bible but today leapt out at me once again from Luke’s gospel via the angel Gabriel who proclaimed “His kingdom will never end.” -Luke 1.33b


He was speaking of Mary’s soon-to-be reality, her miraculous pregnancy though yet a virgin, and another coming and unstoppable reality:


This child would rule and reign as King over HIS kingdom -which will never end.


Never. End.


Jesus Christ, the will of God and working of the Spirit of God will never change nor require human permission or agreement to be accomplished.


He does not even require our faith to be Who He is, do what He’ll do and ultimately fully establish His kingdom in His way and His timing.


As we make our choices and create our “kingdoms” it is as essential as it is sobering, perhaps even frightening to realize only His kingdom is unending.


I choose to live with this in mind.


Paul wisely wrote to the Christians in Corinth “For no one can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1Cor. 3.11) Why? Because no other foundation is eternal -no other foundation will last.

This is an essential thing to consider.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

The Blame and Antidote Shift

As life continues on I find myself often quoting the phrase “One day at a time” as well as “Your mileage may vary” in terms of life experiences.

The Church -either the whole of those professing to follow Jesus Christ and/or a local fellowship you’re involved or were involved with- STILL does what it does together or apart one day at a time. Regardless your experience or another’s, it’s still a matter of mileage -which varies. Comfort, discomfort -is-, regardless.

One person seems to truly find blessing, grace, purpose and peace with this or that group of people while the next person among the same people consider their experience one of misery, confusion, perhaps even rejection or plain crazy and irrelevant.

There are so many reasons for either person and the layers of positive or negative feelings and actual struggles or uplift there’s simply no way to list them all.

What I’d like to say is that the issue of life is always that of a third phrase I’ve also repeated continuously over some past decades: “Wherever you go, there you are.”

Whether The Bible, interpretation of it, application or lack thereof regardless of interpretation, then whether it seems God has answered your specific prayers, considering what we need versus what we want, the timing of or zero “answer” or perhaps even “No” seemingly from God Himself all enter into one’s judgment as “This church”, or even God Himself “works for me” or not.

Understood.

What I’ve found is that the sun indeed shines on the just and the unjust, same for the rain. Our perception is so often focused on us. Physical pain is a massive culprit that tests our ability or certainly willingness to both seek and be faithful to God in practice.

One of many, many things I’ve learned from my wife is the ability to love, serve and be a blessing to others though much of her life she’s suffered pain. From actual abuse in her younger years through mental/emotional roller coaster rides trying to cope up and until following the Lord in her 18th trip around the sun right through our marriage (at 19) to now- 49 years later in our marriage I’ve watched the grace of God displayed in her life.

In large part she chose and chooses to respond to life by faith. She was given plenty of reasons to disbelieve, is a truly intelligent person (moreso than I) and could have cursed God, anything to do with church, family and etc. long ago but chooses to love, forgive and set an incredible example in my and many other lives.

So many times the tests have come to her! I’ve also lost count of how many others I’ve known who also responded as she has!

Then again we’ve known plenty who continually chose to break off relationships again and again, even to the extent of breaking fellowship with God, with His Word. In part this was (or currently is) their method of avoiding, numbing the pain they experience in reality, by their own belief or the beliefs of others.

A ship that never finds or chooses a port escapes one set of risks only to face a fresh though perhaps different set of them.

A sense of control seems to be the issue and of course there are plenty of things we cannot control in this life, on this planet or among person or people group X, Y or Z. What to do?

For myself all of this finally placed me in such desperation I called on Jesus in faith after He showed up -totally unexpectedly I might add! I certainly had no real idea how things would go in my life after.

In that my addictions and sense of deep lost-ness had only served to rot me through and through -and I had simply withdrawn from people repeatedly when things didn’t “suit” me… until that time of surrender to the Lord opened me up to relationships with a wide (and I mean broad) sort of Christ-following people… I finally realized most of my pain was self-induced.

Continually splitting from discomfort didn’t comfort me in the end. What a shock, surprise and sense of relief when I began to experience healing from the worst tyrant I’d ever known: myself.

For now I’ll just finish this post by saying one more thing: nobody is flawlessly, perfectly faithful and unchanging but God Himself. Regardless of circumstances or suffering, nothing can nor will ever change that. It IS a matter of faith, but what a difference Jesus has made in my life, in a world so laced with lost and sinking ships.

His love and grace has sustained me right through my lifetime and I simply cannot recommend anything or anyone more than the risen Jesus as there simply isn’t anyone who can match Him in terms of a relationship of love and provision -even when things don’t go my/your way.

The church? Ha! In that all of us put together don’t equal God I never expected perfection nor even maturity of the family of God on earth, so when I saw actual sin, nastiness and at times in history brutality I wasn’t all that surprised knowing all those things are always possibilities and even probabilities in me also. You find them right through both world and church history.

Nothing new under the sun until He began (and still is…) making me new!

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Glenn & Wendi- 49 Years Today

49 years ago today: SO deeply Grateful for my best friend, lover, partner, Dear wife Wendi!

Image
Glenn and Wendi Wedding Day

I’ve learned more about love, grace and service from this incredible woman than from anyone. SO Thankful!

-Glenn

Thoughts-Words, Speak/Refrain

It’s likely been 20 years or more since I realized my prayer life and times kicked in far beyond what they’d been earlier.

As I age and with so many friends and a few not-so my ever-expanding list of who and what to pray for has gone sky-high (see whut ahh did ther?).

I suppose closer to 50 years ago I began reading, even memorizing Bible truths about speaking and being silent. Hooo-ya: is that not a continuing lesson, an out-of-turn shoulda NEVER said that all the way in the spectrum to HOW could I pass on speaking even a word in that moment… arrgghhhh…

A word fitly spoken, a time to refrain from speaking, spiritual gifts including evangelist, pastor, teacher, prophet and on it goes, the fact is, gifted or not, led of the Spirit or not, at the right or the wrong time we all pass on info. to others. Communication happens -whether it should have or not!!

So “the wisdom to know the difference” (to borrow a bit from that ol’ Serenity Prayer) also relates to this topic.

Nobody gets it right all the time. God and I and anyone who knows me even in passing knows I sure don’t.

I love to quote Jesus on this point often- “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil person out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.” -Luke 6.45 You could dig much deeper in scripture but even a quick read of this in context along with, say Psalm 37.30, 31; Matthew 12.34, 35 brings us to the issue of heart, motive, goal.


It’s interesting in a time when so many are in what I’d say is a pattern of re-thinking just about everything including faith, the Bible, church and certainly issues around politics, disease and how to navigate loss, pain, racial, cultural divides and more that how, when and if we communicate is a massive fulcrum upon which all of us pivot or in any case, sit.

For myself, it’s not always easy to know when to speak and when to hush.

My desire, hope and experience is that love isn’t continually silent, certainly not regarding true injustice.

God loves, cares and has not Himself been forever silent though at times we may not have ears to hear.

Listening to Him (via His Word, the Spirit genuinely speaking through others, in nature and our circumstances as well as in prayer times) is on occasion difficult. even painful -and painfully needed. The ebb and flow of life, negative and positive produces real treasure to share and encourage those around us.

Listening, really listening to Him and others is not effortless, but so greatly needed.

God is listening to us always. May we do likewise.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

Multiplicity AND Exclusivity Part Two

Yesterday I tried to set the stage for understanding of how God, the creation and people are not continuously static nor fluid. Though God Himself is unchanging (“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.”) we are not. We each and all change in some, sometimes many areas of our lives while in other matters never change.

One of several helpful lessons I learned from being the youngest child, my Dad marrying late in life and him often in convos with friends much older than he was that age is a huge difference-maker.

Older people seem to end up either more gracious or more brittle, with more kindness or conversely meanness. As one who seeks to please God above all else which do you think the Spirit desires in we who profess to follow Jesus?

The reality is that there continues to be two mission fields- the one around the church and within the churches themselves.

Showing up doesn’t equal following the Lord, living a life that reflects His love, confessing and repenting of what He Himself calls sin in His Word nor confessing Christ before a sometimes hostile world and sometimes hostile church.

Reformation first and always must begin (and has in history) in “me”, the individual. RE-THINKing, RE-forming -being formed by God the Holy Spirit indeed must happen for a loving, truth-facing/bearing disciple of Christ. Consider the harsh, mean focus of the religious leaders called Pharisses, Sadducees and the scribes (who clearly delved into scripture daily) or teachers of the law who opposed the true Lord and Savior rather consistently in the four Gospel accounts.

On the other hand His GOOD News of salvation, mercy, forgiveness, the pardon and welcome of Jesus was among His own disciples sometimes diluted by “They’re not with US Lord, shall we pray the Father to rain down fire upon THEM?” as though all who disagreed with them were another form of the prophets of Baal. His response to them? “You do not know what spirit you are of.”

MY way isn’t always God’s way! Consider the vast differences within the larger church in the world, the ongoing disputes and disagreements between otherwise professing followers of Christ from the earlier history of the church until this day! MULTIPLICITY EXISTS AND WILL NOT GO AWAY BY OUR INDIVIDUAL/SHARED CLAIMS TO ORTHODOXY.

Flawed, unlike the Perfect Savior we trudge on and often leave blood in our wake.

“But” you say, “I KNOW the truth! THEY deny it!” There are times I’m sure you are correct -and other times you are not regardless how deeply-held your particular position may be. Me too.

What to do if this is the case re. understanding, application of God’s Word, in some cases denial and rejection of what it says, churches containing unsaved, backslidden people, a world full (like the churches) of sinners, people who sometimes more closely live out the good, gracious commands of Jesus than we professing disciples of His do?!

Face multiplicity as reality and learn to treat others with the grace, compassion and indeed agape love of Jesus.

SOOOOO much easier said than done.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” Matthew 23.37/Luke 13.34 When the Lord sums it up it seems to me “you were not willing!” leaps up in my face.

To demand all think, dress, play music, do church, live in “civil” society, vote and otherwise choose as you do isn’t going to “win” hearts to Jesus, neither in nor outside of the churches.

Why is such attitude a fail?

The Perfect (and ONLY so) Jesus Himself lived, daily walked among flawed and sinful disciples, seekers, enemies during His earthly ministry. How did He treat them? Multiplicity of belief and actions even when He was correcting them was done from a motive of pure love. For you and I dear reader, not so. We are often more concerned about others conforming and converting to -us- than to Him.

Finally, what about this thing called exclusivity?

We could discuss sanctification as a doctrine (which is another of those issues the vast sea of believers on earth have varying views about) but unlike God, we are not fully perfected/holy/separate in the literal sense. God IS. We’re not!

God has every right, claim and ability to be fully exclusive. Read that sentence again please. It’s Who He IS, the only nature He has in Himself. Notice any difference between the LORD and us???

When we claim or live out exclusivity (not uncommon at all…) in a world and Church/churchES chocked full of multiplicity we can so easily become like the Pharisees Jesus debated, rebuked and called out in public. He told His disciples the leaven of the Pharisees was hypocrisy. It was and still runs through each (and I do mean each) of us.

When Paul wisely writes the church in Corinth to “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?”

I am convinced Paul is calling for a brutal honesty, integrity, humility, needed confession and repentance.

When do we not need a re-thinking reformation in our hearts and lives where faith, hope and the love of God mark us in our interactions with both God and others?

John put it in the most simple terms: “We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him.” 1 John 4.16

If we will not learn to interact with others in/by/from God’s love, grace and compassion what we say, write and shout about doctrines and “church preferences” display not the mind of Christ nor heart of God, but instead brittle, exclusive people who are merely fighting a multiplicity in humankind that will never go away prior to the church being gathered into the literal presence of God at the end of time as we here experience it.

What of Christians who swing at the air trying to land blows in the lives of sinful people or defeat demons and doctrines of devils? That’s a fruitless effort in a fallen world of multiple choices, multiple options, paths, cultures and subcultures both in and outside of anything we might consider “church”.

For those who prefer to keep shooting, shall we not best make God’s love our aim?! Paul sums it up perfectly:

“All that you do must be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 14.1

I am fully convinced our exclusive God has created a world of multiplicity and seeks to redeem us to Himself as well as one another. It’s Who He is, and also how He made us and the world we live in.

All will give account to Him for what we did in and with it -and how we treated one another.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

Multiplicity AND Exclusivity Part One

Ok, big words for big worlds here.

Dig into dictionary definitions of both and things still don’t clear up for folks who are afraid of or even hate either or both of these terms and their ramifications. Of course… depending on who you are that is…

When considering narratives and reality, each of us has both of those as well – and they’re not always the same, in sync with at least some people on the planet, maybe even on our block or county. Yep. Complexity is part of life.

I’ve often discussed options in my writing – we all love to have them ourselves but at times truth be told, don’t like others to exercise them. On one side of that is multiplicity, on the other exclusivity.

Most urban dwellers have to make peace with folks around them who don’t think, dress, talk or behave as they wish them to. Small towns tend the same to a point and rural folks living farther apart in terms of space get more of a “pass” on dealing with this stuff -sometimes at least. More distance, more “buffer zone”.

The God of the Bible is exclusive. Nobody else exactly like Him though we all bear His image. According to Jesus- no life or eternal life but from and in Him.

The God of the Bible reveals multiplicity in the Trinity – Father/Son/Spirit which the Celtic Christians often refer to in their prayers and poetry as The Three. “I am God, there is no other” is a theme running right through the scriptures.

He created humans with foundational characteristics of exclusivity AND multiplicity, male and female, and each/all with different elements of facial features, hair and skin color, etc.. Human creatures in comparison to all other creatures offer some similarities but also glaring contrasts in human abilities versus even species most “like” us.

Consider the most trained, sophisticated gorilla piloting your flight to London, or sea bass your Caribbean cruise ship, perhaps a grasshopper in front of the room instructing your university course. Well, your narrative might be different than mine or others… but…

When we study the vastness of multiples in flora and fauna throughout the earth we see drastic, truly drastic differences, uniqueness as well as similarities.

California alone demonstrates everything I’ve written here. If only studying that state in the U.S. we see exclusivity as well as multiplicity in layer after layer of humanity and the natural world, even climate differences.

If God is the God of the Bible, and if Jesus existed/exists, spoke the truth and John quoted Him correctly, this among a number of Christ’s “exclusivity” phrases stands out clearly though it may provoke to no end:

“This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” John 17.3

Note, this is Jesus praying and mentioning Himself by name. For context see: https://biblehub.com/parallel/john/17.htm

Two more scripture statements, then tomorrow Lord willing, I plan to publish the second and concluding part to all this.

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” John 14.6

From 1 John 5.11 And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. 13. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.

One exclusive God Who reveals Himself in multiplicity- The Three.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn