Thursday, July 4, 2013

ON TIME TRAVEL

How many of us have used the cliches, "If only I could go back in time and do things differently.", or "If I knew then what I know now.", or "If only I could-a/should-a/would-a done this or that etc."?  Time travel is a popular science-fiction topic enjoyed by millions of people everywhere including me.  The most popular scenario is for the protagonist to travel back in time and change something so that the future changes for the better.

All Judeo-Christian faith traditions dogmatically believe that God is timeless, eternal, and everlasting.  God is not limited by time and space.  In fact, God's Hebrew name "Yahweh" literally means "I Am."  God has no beginning or end.  He created time and space.  To God, a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day.  God is also all-knowing.  He knows what the future holds.  He knows every possible alternate future or reality.  But out of deep love and respect for mankind, God gives each of us the freedom to choose our own futures and destinies (i.e. freewill).

Nevertheless, God knows the weakness of our human nature and tries to lovingly lead and guide us in the best path for us to follow.  Some choose to listen to God and follow him wherever he leads them; unfortunately, most do not.  They do what seems right to them at the time.

Having faith in God is infinitely better than having a time machine and traveling back in time to make different choices.  Like the movie Groundhog Day, there are just too many different combinations of choices we'd have to make in order to affect change.  We just don't know all the possible combinations that would produce the most ideal results.  But God knows.     

If you program an address into your GPS navigation device it will guide you turn-by-turn to get you to your destination.  But if you miss a turn or an exit, the GPS will announce, "Recalculating" and try to reroute you to your destination.  Sometimes the route the GPS brings you on does not make sense, but if you trust the programming of the GPS and stay on the pre-planned route eventually you'll hear the GPS announce, "You have arrived at your destination."  

In a sense, God is like the GPS device.  He has a  pre-planned destiny for each of us and he tries to lovingly guide us to our ultimate destination (eternity with Him in heaven).  Since he knows the future consequences of our human decisions, sometimes He has to reroute us in order to get us back on course.  Sometimes we do not understand the route that God has us on and we complain and want to go a different way.

Trust in God's all-knowing plan for your life and it will turn out infinitely better than you could ever have imagined! 


             

Sunday, June 30, 2013

THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT by Allen Laudenslager & Bryan Neva

Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly’s Wings in Brazil set off a Tornado in Texas?  —Edward N. Lorenz, MIT meteorologist, 1972; aka “The Butterfly Effect!”

How does any one of us change the world for the better?  We see problems all around us: in our families, at work, in our neighborhoods, in our cities, in or society, in our nation, and we feel totally helpless to change anything.  Well here's a few things to consider.

For starters, if you want to change the world first begin with yourself.  Start by reexamining your belief system.  After all is said and done, if you haven’t bought into a new paradigm for living you’ll just be spinning your wheels.  Repentance literally means to change your mind, and changing your mind is half the battle to changing your life.

It takes time to become a better person; it doesn't happen overnight.  Psychologists tell us it takes at least six weeks just to start building one good habit.  So if you’re trying to lose weight or stop smoking it’ll take time and effort, but the rewards you’ll reap will be tremendous.  The process of working towards our goals each day is what makes life so interesting and enjoyable.  Breaking old habits is not easy and it won’t happen overnight, but if you start today you’ll be one day closer to a better way of living.

You must begin wherever we are.  The Stoic philosophers believed that in life there are things within our control and things outside our control.  We shouldn't concern ourselves with things outside of our control; we should only worry about what’s within our control.  And when you really think about it, the only thing really within our control is our ability to choose. You can choose good rather than evil.  You can choose to behave honestly, ethically, and morally rather than dishonestly, unethically, and immorally.  Everyday is full of choices including the choice to do nothing!

So when we choose to cut corners, to lie, to cheat, to steal, to mistreat others, or to turn a blind eye to injustice, we should ask ourselves who else is affected by my choices?  Here’s a clue: there’s a lot more than you think! 
  
Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing’s going to get better, it’s not!  —From the book The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss

Whatever we choose to do we must keep in mind that we’re not only responsible for what we do but for what we don’t do.  If you legitimately have it in your power to improve things, then, by all means, you should.  Sometimes it only takes the flap of a butterfly’s wings to cause great change in the world.  History is peppered with great men and women such as Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa of Calcutta who flapped their “butterfly” wings and affected great change in the world.  History is also littered with the corpses of bad men and woman whose unethical and immoral behavior has been harshly judged.  God loves to use simple people to help bring His Kingdom into the world.

We can start today by not returning evil for evil or injustice for injustice.  We don’t have to be dishonest, unethical, or immoral because others are.  We don’t have to hold grudges against others and get even with them every chance we get.  Instead we can help to change the world by choosing wisely, and by living a life of love and forgiveness for others.  Then and only then we’ll be able to help change our world for the better.  And maybe if we’re really blessed, people will see our good-works and want to emulate our honest, ethical, and moral behavior.  Little by little, when each of us does our part to make our corner of the universe a little better, the rest of the world will slowly but surely get better. 

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