Tower of Babel

When I was little, I was told a bible story. The Tower of Babel was built to reach heaven. The people thought they could reach heaven by building a tower very high.

I read this story as an adult and found that their real reason had nothing to do with heaven. Nothing at all. The people were not even interested in heaven.

The enormous tower was a celebration of themselves. They built this tower to focus the people on their goal to have a central point. A city would surround the tower. A great city. This tower would show that this group was going to do great things.

They said, “We will make a name for ourselves!” Look there. We built that tower. It shows our power. We are the greatest people on this planet. Stay with us and feel our greatness.

God wants to stop the project. Because he doesn’t want any towers coming up to heaven? No. He doesn’t want the people to stay together but rather to spread out on the earth.

God does something only God could do. He changes their one language into many unlike languages. He rewires their brains to a new vocabulary, new grammar, new structure of thought. This forces them to divide into groups by language for convenience. It would be too hard to overcome these language differences.

The people leave off the tower. Construction stops. They disassociate from each other and eventually move apart to various areas of the world. They become the beginning of nations.

Now the story has meaning. And many people want to be part of a big thing even now. They join groups to increase their power. Countries train armies. They make weapons and conquer others. They form alliances. They make big groups of people who speak different languages. They still want to make a world governed by a small group with great power.

The story has meaning for today. The language thing worked. It prevented people from organizing into a one world order. But look! They are doing just that right now. They are overcoming the language problem with translators that work in real time.

Not long ago, it was hard to translate a book and really get all the meaning to come through. Now you can translate something written two minutes ago in a country many miles away into your language with a push of a button. You read it and can respond in your language, and they can translate it to theirs.

Do you want to be part of something big? Something that will endure. There is an organization that will last forever. It’s called The Kingdom of God. The king is known. He is Jesus. Right now, he is filling up the list of those who will be in that kingdom forever. But we have to be changed to fit into this kingdom. He can do that. If you are happy the way you are, forget it. If you want to become better, ask him to open your eyes to his kingdom.


Treasure in Heaven

Matthew writes, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Luke writes, “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Treasure! What does that bring to your mind?

I think of The Count of Monte Christo who finds a great treasure with the instructions of his cellmate given with his dying breath.

People are always giving advice about how to guard wealth. Once you have something of value, you think about how to preserve it. I had a cashmere sweater. Moths found it delicious. “Get a case for that new phone.” “Do you want insurance on that?”

Now we have Jesus giving advice on preserving wealth. He says there is a theft-proof, moth-proof, age-proof wealth. What is it? Luke gives us a start. Give to those who need it. Somehow this will accumulate treasure in heaven.

We can expand on that. What you do, unselfishly, for those in need has heavenly consequences. In another place, Jesus says giving to needs of others is the same as giving to him. He will repay you when the receivers can’t.

Jesus made a very clear statement, “Love one another as I have loved you.” How did he love? He gave people what they wanted, sure. But he was always trying to give them what they really needed.

A woman was condemned by a crowd. Jesus said to her that she was not condemned to a sinful life. She should begin again that moment. To another he said, “Your sins are forgiven.” His problem was that he couldn’t walk. Jesus thought his sins were holding him down. He did heal his body as well. In both situations, the person was at a point where they could listen to Jesus.

Jesus was always stretching the minds of his disciples. Is that our experience? Are we growing in faith? Do our experiences make us stronger?

Our experiences can leave us bitter or they can make us better. When you feel a tug to do good to another, where is that from? Maybe the Spirit of God? Look at Peter. He is requested to go speak in a gentile’s home. He has never done anything like this. But God has reminded him that this gospel is for all people in a dream. He goes. He speaks and things happen that surprise him.

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

Each generation takes on the work of Christ. If we follow the leading of the Spirit, we join in the works of God. But look how he says it: Put up treasure for yourselves. It takes faith to trust God to reward you. Can an ordinary human act with God? Yes, we, like Christ, like the apostles, are sent by God to do good in this world. What is your part? What is my part? First, we come to him. Then we go with him.

Two things to remember: First, he has given us a place in his kingdom. We are assured of a welcome into the next life. It is called eternal life.

Second, we have a secure place to accumulate wealth! Add to your reward. God is rich. He pours out his wealth of mercy on you and me. Now, share my wealth with others. Be merciful to others.


The Eye

Mathew writes, “The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light.”

Luke writes, “The light of the body is the eye: therefore when your eye is single, your whole body also is full of light; but when your eye is evil, your body also is full of darkness.”

How we see things is important. If our vision is distorted, we may easily interpret events badly. How could our vision be distorted? We are speaking now about our attitude.

You see someone doing something. If you don’t trust that person, you might think they are up to no good. But the same thing done by someone you like and trust may seem fine to you. They probably have permission, you think, and are not stealing that item. You might stop the first person and question them about what they are taking. They said you could, huh. No doubt, a lie, you think.

Jesus speaks of ‘the eye’. He doesn’t say ‘eyes’. From this we know he is speaking of something other than simple vision. Also, he tends to speak in spiritual terms while using common examples. The eye is the internal eye. The light is the understanding, through which the soul sees things. What might distort this?

Well, let’s take it in the context of other statements. Judge not, unless you want to be judged.

In the story of Alice in Wonderland, soon after meeting Alice, the Mad Hatter says to Alice, “Your hair wants cutting.” “You should learn not to make personal remarks,” Alice said with some severity; “it’s very rude.” Later in the conversation, Alice says to the Hatter, “Nobody asked your opinion.” “Who’s making personal remarks now?” the Hatter asked triumphantly.

We laugh at this because we do the same thing. We watch someone’s behavior who has corrected us to see if they are consistent in this matter. This is the exact meaning of the “Judge not..” statement.

So, a judgmental attitude hurts a relationship. Also, an “eye” which is evil distorts your view of life. Do we want our internal life filled with light? If so, our eye must become good. It must be clear or “single” as Luke says. Let’s quickly look at an event. Jesus healed a man’s eyes. He could see clearly but he could not interpret what he saw correctly. He said, “Men look like trees walking.” Jesus touches him again and he can understand what he sees.

We spend our early days connecting our vision to people and things. We understand that the movement of animals is different that the movement of a battery-operated toy. But here is a step further: We accumulate experiences that may teach us that few people can be trusted. Can we trust a God who is invisible? How can we obtain this clear vision?

Clear vision comes from God. It is maintained by trust in God. Only if we believe God is looking out for us can we relax our guard and see things as they are. We can live with the Spirit of God informing us of danger or leading us to truth. This is much different that taking all the responsibility ourselves which is our natural condition.

Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

This means to look beyond what your eye sees. Righteous judgement can only be made with the clear view that Jesus had. Having your “body full of light” means there are no hidden places, no shadows. No suspicions of evil yet never deceived by it. What can lead us to this?

A view soaked in love. Love knows there is evil in the world and those who do it everyday. But this love believes ‘all things’. It believes God is above evil. He is all good and powerful and wise. This is part of the attitude that sees clearly. This loving God cares for his own and protects them.

How is this eye ‘single’? It sees all in one look. It never forgets God in its looking at life. It drops the focus on evil and sees God behind the scene, doing good and believing the best about us. He is the wonder parent that makes no mistakes. He sees us correcting our mistakes, confessing our wrongs and improving in our time here.


Mother Nature Waits

There are times when we sense there is something behind nature. The term Mother Nature becomes a good expression for the feeling we hold for that moment. But other aspects remind us that nature can be cruel.

But what if it is not nature that wants to be cruel? What if nature desires to mother us? Sadly, she is held back. By what? When did nature begin to change?

There was a time described where animal and tree were at peace with humans. This was when a man named the animals as they came before him and received their name. Trees were glad to produce their fruit to be eaten by humans. How long did this last? Long enough to sink deeply into the soul of man.

After man and woman made their choice to live apart from God (a sad day, indeed), nature began to change. The earth produced weeds and the roses grew thorns. The animals also began to change until they were violent towards men. They had no fear of men at that time.

It says all were corrupted, both man and beast. There are no details given. But a new beginning took place where a few people and select animals were saved in a boat, an ark. The earth has maybe one hundred years to go as Noah and sons build this massive boat.

Everyone knew of this crazed endeavor of Noah. No one believed the boat would be needed. But Noah was inside when it started to rain like it never had before. Both men and beasts were washed from the land.

We don’t know when this took place. Five thousand years ago? Fifty thousand? No one knows. But nature was restrained somewhat after this in that wild animals avoided men. But the basic conflict between men and nature remained. Cultivating land was still work.

So nature did not turn evil. Man took independence from God and was divorced from nature. Then nature became like the man, undirected. It resisted the work of men, yes, but eventually complied and grew the needed food.

Nature waits for men to become what they were supposed to be. That day will come when harmony between nature and people is restored but only to the children of God.

Romans 8:19, “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.”



What is the indescribable longing for something, you don’t know what, which makes you wonder if life has purpose. It lives in the back of your mind or really in your heart.

It is like when you are young and gaze too deeply into the eyes of another. You see something that is beyond words that two in love may share. But the desire is more than that and can lead to hope or despair.

But I can’t leave you between hope and despair. First, why despair? If you are sure you can never find this desire, there is nothing but despair in this world.

But the fact that you have this desire contains hope. How can you desire something that does not exist? This would be most cruel. Worse than the one who desires a mate but can’t seem to find the one they seek.

But what if the love, and it is love, is beyond you? That is not a problem to The Lover. He must understand love to create us able to love at all.

So we must become lovers not just beloved. What was the first command? Love God. Why? It is the only way to begin. To love the most lovable one is the easiest love. Then loving people can begin.

Our self-love is misinformed. Can we please our conscience? It wants perfection. When does it ever say you are good enough? The one who says they are a good person seems to be waiting for their conscience to say, “No they’re not!”

Now we can turn outward and begin to love. Love God. This is the first outward turn. The second is to love other people. God supplies this love. But we have to activate this gift. We love unselfishly.

Impossible? In our own strength, yes. But we have met the Inventor of Love. Someone went this far: saying God is Love.

So your desire is not wrong. You want love that heals you. This is the love of God that changes the receiver into a lover. What is this pure love? What is the love that gives without thought of receiving back. Divine love from the Divine Lover.


What is Light?

Some people read the bible and think, “Why is Jesus so different from God in the older parts of the Bible?” I had the same thought for many years. We could put this question as – Why doesn’t God behave like I think he should behave?

The problem is that we don’t understand God. We assume that God’s actions should be understandable. They should make sense to us. But sometimes even our friends act in strange ways and we are not sure why they act like that.

Let us look at the first thing God did. “And God said, ‘Let there be light.’ And there was light.” Now, what exactly does that mean? I don’t know. Light wasn’t. Then it was, because God said it. Let’s take an easier question: What is light? We have had light for, let’s say, 20,000 years. That is enough time for us to figure out what light is, don’t you think?

Well, it travels fast. Like about 186,000 miles per second. It heats things when it hits them. Light consists of photons. Now we are getting somewhere. So these photons are particles, right? Maybe. One guys says particles but the other says, no, it’s waves. Now, it is said that sometimes light behaves like particles: other times, it behaves like waves.

When you ask about the colors of light, they give you a prism and you hold it up and it splits white light into a rainbow. Ooh. I can see violet, blue, green, yellow, orange and red. Don’t forget indigo, they say. Each color is a different wavelength, they say. Wow.

In 1950, a machine was made that intensified light beams called laser beams. These were useful. You could put them in a laser pointer and drive your cat crazy. You could also do laser surgery with them instead of a scalpel. So, we have been able to do amazing things with light without really knowing what it is. Then someone pipes up and says, “That is just visible light.” What do you mean? “There are other kinds, you know, like x-rays, ultraviolet rays, infrared, microwaves and even radio waves. You can’t see any of those.”

Now we have microwave cooking and UV filters in our sunglasses. We know so much about how these waves behave, we can use them for many things. Yet, while we know how light behaves, we still don’t know what light is besides calling it electromagnetic radiation.

My point is this: if we can’t really understand the first thing God created, light, how can we understand the Creator? I am glad we don’t have to understand him. He is not like us in the sense that he is completely good. We are not very good in comparison. He is powerful enough to effect change within people, yet he refuses to force people into doing good. Let’s say we now believe that God is good, powerful and wise. Is that enough? Not a chance. This powerful, good and wise being may want nothing to do with us. Maybe he would remain aloof to our plight as fallen creatures.

The Apostle John wrote that God is Love. He cares much about men and women and wants to help them. He is willing to overlook our messed up situation and move us forward in his plan. Most people like his willingness to forgive them. Some call his plan redemption or salvation. But rather than a return to our original state, like Adam and Eve, he wants to make us better than that.

He will only accept our voluntary involvement in his plan. Jesus said something like this: we think we are free but we are not really all that free. Your God-given freedom will become much more real. If the Son of God sets you free, you will be free indeed.

So, we have a God who loves the people he created. He has a plan to make us to what he had in mind for us. Our cooperation is a must. Can you believe that he is preparing us for a great future? He will create a new earth where goodness can live without restraint. Do you dare to follow his Son, Jesus? He calls you now. He desires your company.

If anyone follows me, he must become as I was in the world. Look at Me and see if it’s worth it. I have finished my course and now you can begin your new life on earth. Follow my path and you will surely end up with me in my kingdom.

Jesus was what a man was supposed to be. And he was in the same situation as you and I. He took no special privilege as the Son of God. He embraced his humanity and began reaching out to all people. And now he is calling you to himself. Why? So he can make you into the best you possible.


Doing Good

How can some people do so much good in this world? Let us talk about doing good. It was written that Jesus went about doing good. This tells us a lot. He made it very clear that everything he did was the will of God. This idea of the will of God may surprise you. Isn’t everything the will of God?

This seems to confuse some people. Why does God allow evil to be done? He could stop it. He certainly has the power to do so. It says that in the future he will stop all evil actions from being done by any creature to any other creature. The lion will lie down with the lamb and not in its stomach. Satan will be bound and held from any activity.

So we know that God can and will deal with all evil and it will be stopped forever. But who will then do good? Good angels will do good. But what about people? Those that do good now will do more in the future. What do we need to do to become these do-gooders?

Selfishness is our problem. What if you think that something is good for you? But this same act is bad for another. Let us take an extreme example. Some is trying to kill you but you have the means to kill them first. Should you do so? Stop, you say. Drop your weapon! They advance toward you.

What can be done about this? Anything? Should anything be done? Isn’t it natural to defend your stuff. Yes, it is. But there is another nature that Jesus revealed on this earth. That is doing good with all your heart even at your own expense. This is the opposite of our natural state. But this is the great plan of God for people: to change their nature to good. It is a job only God could attempt and accomplish.

Where do we begin? We are told to begin with repentance. I don’t think so. The disciples did not begin that way. They began with the attraction of Jesus. He shocked them over and over with his unselfish behavior. Peter had a moment where he said to Jesus that he was nothing like Jesus and that they had nothing in common. But Jesus said to him, we will work together to change the world. This is not a direct quote, by the way.

Jesus said that when he was lifted up, he would draw all men to him. Some say he meant the cross. But he was not drawing anyone at that moment. Others say he meant his resurrection. He spent his time convincing his followers that he was alive mostly. When did he draw all men to himself? It began after Pentecost. Many were draw powerfully then. Thousands.

Jesus draws you now. He draws you to follow his path. He will care for you forever but now is the time for us to begin doing good. How? The same way as Jesus did. What did Jesus do first? He got baptized. You would think Jesus would be the last person to need be baptized. But what happened? The Holy Spirit came down upon him. Again, Jesus needed the Holy Spirit? Yes. How much more do we need the Holy Spirit? This is great gift of God to people. Ask God for his Spirit. Or ask to be filled with the Spirit of God if you have received from God already. Learn to love the will of God like Jesus did. Glory awaits those who follow his path.


Looking Back

Imagine yourself in the future – one hundred years from now. Yes, you are dead. But you still exist. Who are you now?

Really, your soul cannot be destroyed. You, in some form, will continue to exist. Do you know people were not meant to die? Death was added on. All the self-aware creatures were meant to exist forever. But we are on Plan B. Plan A: live forever. Plan B: we die and move on to something else.

We have little information about the next state. But we have at least one historical example. A guy named Lazarus who was dead four days and was brought back by Jesus. He was no worse for wear it seemed. His sisters were glad to have him back after the shock wore off.

It’s good to have a friend like Jesus. But he himself had a bit of a time convincing his close friends when he came back from the dead. They looked at him like he was a ghost. He asked for some food. Ghosts don’t eat food, right?

Anyway, back to the question: who are you? Should you be included in the next big thing? God has a long range plan to have the earth like he wanted it: filled with good people doing good things.

Do you think God will be thwarted on his plan? He won’t. Are you in or out?

Not ready? Who is? We have to be changed, yeah, no one is ready, really. Start with forgiveness. Get it from God; give it to others. Jesus came to change us from the inside. Do we act like our first parents? Do we do wrong and believe it will somehow do us good?

Jesus will forgive your sins if you ask him. But he wants to do more than that. Jesus came to deal with that bigger issue: Sin. That was a big prediction about the Messiah, that he would deal with sin in a final way. Remember how he said to some, “Go, and sin no more.” How could he expect this change in behavior?

Let’s look at what happened to Jesus. This good man was convicted by a kangaroo court at midnight. He was turned over to a Roman governor who was coerced into setting him up to die. This was a dreadful punishment for the enemies of Rome, a humiliating kind of torture death.

Roman soldiers carried out the whole business with grewsome enthusiasm. It took each type of evil found in men, hate, indifference, coercion, and just plain evil. Jesus forced the issue when he appeared in Jerusalem and insisted that he was the only hope for people.

They asked him who he thought he was. He quoted their book that he was the person God will appoint as the ruler over everyone and everything. He was that Son of Man.

Religion met politics that day and killed the best man to ever walk the earth. One reason this happened is so we could see what sin does to men. This power of sin that ruined people was what he came to destroy.

God cannot be thwarted in his plan for men. The triumphant return of Jesus back from the dead convinced his friends that God could do anything.

So here we are, later. There is no new plan. The power of God works in us and begins to make us ready for his great future. Hope past the grave. Life changing power, right here, right now.

Are you in God’s plan? Who are you? You can be changed. You can become good through God’s power in you. But he does not coerce. He never has, and never will. Only the willing become the sons and daughters he always wanted people to be.


Finding the Hidden Manna

The mysterious box called the Ark of the Covenant held several items. One was a bowl of manna. In Revelation, we find Jesus referring to the Hidden Manna. He says he will give you some of the hidden manna. My question is this: how is it hidden?

The Ark was a strange box that was carried around in the desert by the descendants of Israel and was finally placed in the temple built in Jerusalem. The top of this box was called The Mercy Seat. Once a year, during a special ceremony, lamb’s blood was put on this Mercy Seat.

So the hidden manna was covered in mercy. We found Jesus to say that his food was to do the will of God. I offer that the reason the will of God may be hidden from us is because it is wrapped in mercy. We can recognize justice easily enough. Is justice, also, the will of God? Of course, it is.

But mercy is what God is really all about! We are called to act justly but we are called to love mercy. The will of God is wrapped in mercy. It is hidden in mercy. Do you find the will of God difficult to discern? Look at his mercy and you will discover his will.

What does this mean? If we would find the will of God, we will move in mercy toward others. By doing this, by having mercy on people, we act with God toward them. He is always being merciful toward each person. But sometimes, too often, we will not receive his mercy.

How do we receive mercy? By lowering ourselves. If you hold yourself high, usually in pride, you cannot receive mercy because mercy flows to the lowly in heart.

And mercy only flows through those who are lowly in heart because they have received mercy. Now they are able to show mercy to others. Jesus said that he himself was lowly in heart.

And so we may miss doing the will of God. We are quite willing to join in calling for justice. We are willing to point out the faults of others. But mercy?

I have seen two people in my life than showed mercy. They did so in the worst of circumstances. One was in Detroit. He had a small mission outreach that helped children. These children were either neglected or from very poor families. He had what he called his breakfast club. He would provide breakfast food for children in the mornings. He did much more than this but that part really touched me.

Another person went to Beijing, China and began to help young people who had fallen out of the system. She helped them get a place to stay and to get some work. They were done with education for whatever reason. She also created a shop than made bread and cakes. It eventually became a café and the kids were the workers.

These two people showed mercy to those who needed it. They did it without any fanfare or expectation of recognition. They were eating the hidden manna and found it very satisfying.


The Hidden Manna

The mysterious box called the Ark of the Covenant was carried around in the desert by the descendants of Israel and was finally placed in the temple, built in Jerusalem. There were several things inside.

In the Book of Revelation, Jesus says than we will be given some of the hidden manna. He is referring to a bowl of manna that was inside the Ark of the Covenant. But my question is this: How is it hidden?

This manna was food given by God. It was given when there was no other food to be found. And it was given faithfully every day by God.

So how would we eat the hidden manna? When Jesus was asked if he wanted some food that the disciples had obtained, he said, “I have food you don’t know about.” What did he mean by that? As we read the story, we see he was talking to a woman who was amazed by what Jesus had told her. Jesus found it very satisfying. Jesus found doing the will of his Father to be as satisfying as eating food.

Now, are we interested in eating the hidden manna? Eating the hidden manna is doing the will of God. And how is it hidden? It is hidden to those who are satisfied with other food.

Are you satisfied with your life? That is fine, but you won’t discover the hidden manna because you are already full. “That hidden manna sounds interesting. I’ll have to check it out sometime.” But only when you are dissatisfied with your present food will you desire a better kind.

What do you think the will of God is for you? Maybe you don’t know but are pretty sure you won’t like it. It’s easy to think that. People tell us of a strict God who will have perfection only. But let’s look back at the story. Jesus spoke to a woman. But what a woman! She was obviously a Samaritan. Common wisdom said best stay away from those people. And since when was it proper to talk to strange women? Jesus had to step past local social boundaries to do this.

So, we find doing the will of God may involve getting out of our ‘comfort zone’. But many of us have such small comfort zones anyway. “But someone could get the wrong idea!” But Jesus has the right idea and he leads this woman with a bad history to hope for a new life.

Are you happy with what you were told would satisfy your heart? You will discover that those things are not able to feed your soul. If we reach out for the hidden manna, we will find real food to satisfy our appetite for life.

Think again of those in the desert so long ago. They saw nothing to eat around them. Then God could give them this wonderful food they called manna. As long as they desired something else, they would be unhappy. But when they ate the manna, they found it satisfying.

Finding the Hidden Manna