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Time travel -take a look around you!

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I was watching a science fiction  movie last night about time travel.  Scientists and the military had made a huge expensive machine that smashed sub-atomic particles together at incredible speeds and energy.  In the zone of collision an ‘exotic’ window opened up to the past.  The scientists were completely amazed as they gazed back at scenes 10, 20 and hundreds of years ago.  I got thinking about that and realized – big deal! It happens all the time!1324691504375720516

Have you ever looked up the beautiful night sky and wondered what’s out there right now! It’s too bad you will  never know and can’t ever know because you’re not looking at the sky as is is right now.  You’re looking at the night sky as it was thousands of years ago! If you could locate our closest star neighbors – the Alpha Centauri System – you would be seeing them as they were a little over  four years ago.  That’s how long it takes the light to get from there to here.

A lot of us have looked up at the night sky at the North Star.  It is a little over 300 light-years from us.  A light year is the distance light can travel in one year.  So if you’re navigating with the North Star you are using information that is a little over 3oo years old.  The oldest object visible to the naked eye in the night sky is the Andromeda Galaxy which if you can find it is 2.25 million-years in your past.

m41You might say; ‘So what! I’m not a star gazer – I’m a practical person! I deal with what’s real in the here and now’!’  No you don’t and that’s the point.  You can never deal with the ‘hear and now’ because all you can ever see has already happened.   Would you put up with a watch that ran five minutes behind without you knowing it? I don’t think so but in reality if you’ve ever checked the time by looking up at sun – say at noon when it is the highest in the sky – you’re automatically eight minutes behind.  It takes about eight minutes for the light from the sun to arrive at earth.  The sun could disappear and we wouldn’t know it for eight minutes.

‘So what!’ you retort, ‘I have a good watch and when I want to know the exact time, this very instant, I’ll just check it!’

Sorry to say this but that’s impossible! You’ll never see the right time ‘this instance’.   If your watch is about 1 meter from your eye then it will take light 3.3 nano-seconds to get to your eye. From there,  it will take about 50 more milliseconds for your brain to register the information.  What difference does 50 milliseconds make?  Well if you were a passenger in a car on the freeway cruising at 100 km per hour and you checked the time ‘this instant’ you would ‘know’ the time as it was 1.4 meters behind you!  That is not ‘this exact instance!’ As a matter of fact because of our physical bodies we actually ‘live in the past’; “. . . about 80 milliseconds in the past, to be precise. Use one hand to touch your nose, and the other to touch one of your feet, at exactly the same time. You will experience them as simultaneous acts. But that’s mysterious — clearly it takes more time for the signal to travel up your nerves from your feet to your brain than from your nose. The reconciliation is simple: our conscious experience takes time to assemble, and your brain waits for all the relevant input before it experiences the ‘now.’ Experiments have shown that the lag between things happening and us experiencing them is about 80 milliseconds.”   (Discover Magazine)

So looking into the past isn’t a big deal.  It happens all the time and we don’t need a Billion dollar particle accelerator to do it.  We’re born with that ability and many don’t even know it!  Because the ‘lag of our flesh’ automatically puts our consciousness 80 milliseconds in the past in a real sense we live in the past.    But what about time travel further back into the past? Is that possible?  Do we have to step through the portal like the scientists did in the movie?  And suffer all kinds of ‘time travel’ motion sickness?time

No, transporting things into the past is a snap!  It’s as easy as throwing a baseball!  Think about it.  When you’re holding the baseball it is right there with you.  Setting aside the time for the nerve impulses to get to your brain and just looking at the instant you throw the ball into the air.  If you throw the ball with a horizontal velocity of 20 meters per second, after 0.5 seconds, the ball is 10 meters away from you and  it takes the light from the ball 3 microseconds to get to you.  Essentially, you are seeing the ball as it was 3 microseconds ago.  The ball exists for you in the past but it has no meaningful  existence in the present.  At 100 meters distance you have projected the ball a full 33.3 microseconds into the past.  As a matter of fact the further you throw the ball from you the further back you are projecting it into the past.  That’s time travel.

What about the future?  The ball moves at 20 meters per second so after 5 seconds it is 100 meters away from you.  Surely you must be able to perceive it as it exists.  No, it’s gone – all you’ve got is an image that is 33.3 microseconds old.  I don’t think we can time travel into the future faster than we already are but that is for a later reflection.

What do you think?

Fake holiness – a death trap!

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Holiness in an unholy world is an idea that creates havoc when an ‘us and them’ approach is taken.  It is tempting to think that the world is totally separate from us and our own integrity  sets us apart.  People act like they are a candle in a sealed glass jar shining their light into a dark world and never having to fear that a dirty wind will blow out the flame. Try it.  Put  a candle in a glass jar, light it and screw the lid on tight and watch what happens.  Sadly this has happened to many a church seeking holiness by sealing themselves in tight by doctrine, rules and ritual.  Toxic pride soon blows their flame out.  Fake holiness puts up barriers that not only keeps people out but extinguishes their light.fig2

The Bible does tell us that we are a ‘chosen’ people; “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”  (1 Peter 2:9)  We are ‘special’ not because of our own merit but because of God’s mercy.  And we are to declare His praise not our own;  “for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (1 Peter 2:10)  We are called to; “Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.” (1 Peter 2:17)  We cannot ‘honor all people’ when we judge them less worthy because they don’t measure up to our self righteous  standards..

jar_of_pickles_cb101311We are born into the world. And we are  of the world in our flesh.  Like pickles in a jar the world’s brine has soaked us through right into our core.  God help us!  Jesus prayed to Our Father for His disciples; “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” (John 17:14-17)  Jesus knew that though we may be His disciples we could still fall into the hands of the ‘evil one’. Pride and hard heartedness gives authority to the devil to torment us and through us, others.  Jesus knew also that our sanctification wasn’t dependent upon what we did to purify ourselves. God’s word, His truth is the only path to holiness.

We come to Jesus as we are – soaked and steeped in worldly brine – the wrong kind of salt – the worst kind of salt. Lord have mercy! What drives this out of us? By what process? Where does it start and where does it end? Can a pickle stop being a pickle by draining the brine around it and finding like minded fellows to occupy a ‘purer’ jar? Wouldn’t just what’s inside each ‘holy striving’ pickle pollute the purity of the new jar? Jesus taught us; “Listen to Me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man.” (Mark 7:14,15)And; “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.” (Matthew 15:19,20)

How does the ‘worldly worthless brine’ get driven out of us?  Jesus, Himself, tells us; “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” (John 6:63,64) Jesus makes us clean: “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.” (John 15:3) Yet many of us don’t really believe that – we make ourselves clean by being ‘pure’ by our own efforts.  And then we demand others ‘clean up’ by making them conform to our notions of ‘purity’.

hqdefault‘Good’ people can fall into a ‘terrible’ soul killing trap if they become obsessed with making themselves ‘holy’ and the putting their own standards of purity on others.  Jesus nailed the Pharisees for this very thing; “For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do to be seen by men.”  (Matthew 23:4,5)  And; “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” (Matthew 23:25-28)

You can have a ‘zeal’ for God but not according to knowledge of Him; “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.  For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”  (Romans 10:3,4)  Self-righteous fake holiness bears no fruit; “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.”  (Matthew 23: 15)  Do we not see the empty dying worldly church of today bearing no fruit because of it’s fake holiness;

Love seems to be a pretty big deal to you, but we’re not getting that when the rubber meets the road. In fact, more and more, your brand of love seems incredibly selective and decidedly narrow; filtering out all the spiritual riff-raff, which sadly includes far too many of us.  It feels like a big bait-and-switch sucker-deal; advertising a ‘Come as You Are’  party, but letting us know once we’re in the door that we can’t really come as we are. We see a Jesus in the Bible who hung out with lowlifes and prostitutes and outcasts, and loved them right there, but that doesn’t seem to be your cup of tea.  Church, can you love us if we don’t check all the doctrinal boxes and don’t have our theology all figured out? It doesn’t seem so. (John Pavlovitz, Dear Church, Here’s Why People are Really Leaving You.

The people hated Jesus for calling out the fake holiness of the Pharisees and there were many that wanted to kill Him because He said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”  (John 14:6) Holiness has a name – Jesus.  Holiness has a face – Jesus’.  Holiness has a body – His true church; “He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.”  (Colossians 1:18)  Any church where Jesus and only Jesus is high and lifted up is holy.  Where Jesus is not high and lifted up, there is no real holiness.6a4cb547af743adf0699745f0b323e0f

What is true holiness?  How is it achieved?  You can’t become holy by your self.  Joining a ‘holy’ church won’t do it either.  Casting out some pagan practices but not others is a dead end as well.    Only God makes us holy; “God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made Him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; He made us pure and holy, and He freed us from sin.”  (1 Corinthians 1:30) Like King David we must learn to look only to God for holiness; “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence,And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.” (Psalm 51:10-12)

When God has made you holy, you are fit for a fruitful ministry; “Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You.”  (Psalm 51:13)

His holiness always bears fruit.

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